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Witch Doctor

John Lynch 106's page

FullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 223 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 10 Pathfinder Society characters.


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In 30 scenarios I've had 2 death.
In 7 modules I've had 2 deaths (2 in one game).

So that's an average of 1 death per 9 games. Most of the time I've GM'd for power gamers though (or at least people who are VERY very good at making characters). Only 2 of my regulars has died with two walk-ins dying (I'm pretty sure one of them was playing up as well). This was GMing Season 0 to 4 games+modules. 2 of those deaths were at Sydney's deadliest Con. We had an unusually high number of deaths that Con. Dunno why. Just bad luck mostly.

Incidentally in my home campaign I had around 11 deaths between 6 players (only ever had 4-5 at one time). Same group of players as my usuals.

Here's some adventures I think would do particularly well in any campaign setting.

Pathfinder Modules
Crypt of the Everflame: Very generic undead dungeon crawl.

City of Golden Death: Very generic city of gold dungeon crawl that was really well done.

Shore to Sea: Great module set in a small coastal town with abberation horrors.

Broken Moon: Part of an adventure path, this works great as a stand-alone adventure. It's a whose done it in the middle of a werewolf infested forest.

Wake of the Watcher: In the same adventure path as Broken Moon. Change the initial plothook and you get another coastal town filled with abberrations module with cosmic mi-go and Shub-Niggurath.

Souls for Smugglers Shiv: A great opening where the PCs are washed ashore after a shipwreck. A very brutal survive or die module where PCs are forced to decide whether to hunt or move their camp so that they can eventually get off the island.

All good modules that can easily be transplanted into any campaign setting of your choice.

Kobold Cleaver wrote:
In fairness, any martial character worth his salt can't afford to fully dump his Strength. Damage an' all that.

Weapon Finesse for attack, Agile enhancement on the weapon for damage and Pirahna Strike for power attack.

You'll be dealing a bit less damage then an ordinary fighter, but in return you get to dump strength and boost dexterity.

I thought we already had this item in the game so I went looking for it and found this: -familiar

I'm surprised no-one else has made the connection thus far (although it is from Ultimate Equipment so I don't know how standard it is for tables. It's standard issue for our tables when there's a witch in the party). The end result is pretty much the same (witches familiar dies, PC ends up with a familiar that has the same spells). That said thematically and the details are quite different.

The stone familiar is effectively a spellbook for witches. Let's the GM hand out witch spells to witches and gives the witch a backup for if the familiar dies. This item on the other hand is a consumable raise dead your familiar. I like that thematically it lets you keep the same familiar and in story that's awesome. But is there any mechanical benefit (besides time taken to relearn the spells?). If not I'd drop the price to at least 6,000 gp if not even less than that. I understand the price for the competition (or even core rules), but the witch familiar spellbook element always rubbed me the wrong way. Even with the stone familiar item, witches are hesitant to use their familiar.

[EDIT]: Aaaah. I just saw it works on animal companions. In that case I think the price is appropriate. Animal companions are much more powerful, often out shining PCs. My comments above only refer to it being for familiars. In which case as a player I'd stick to the stone familiar.

The Thing from Beyond the Edge wrote:

I am partial to the idea of using the race building rules.

Perhaps there is some form of (malfunctioning?) automated genetics lab that is mixing genetic material that it collected long ago during its trek through space (and has continued to collect since landing) and creating "races".

Of course the race builder says that races are more than just a collection of qualities and traits...

"A race is more than just a group of individuals with similar qualities and traits. A race is a collection of people with a shared history and cultural identity."

So, perhaps the lab could also be programming memories into these creatures, memories that may not exactly match their new bodies.

Science that could appear to be souls reincarnated into new bodies when in fact it is just memories programmed into bodies grown in vats.

Note: This is listed as a separate thing from androids who have many overlaps.

I really like this idea. Normally I'm all about playing thematically and regionally appropriate races, but this would be the perfect excuse to let the players go crazy. An alternative spin on the concept could be: A spaceship hurtled through the ether that connects the world together. As it passed each planet inhabitants were abducted and placed into suspended animation. After crash landing on Golarion the magic/science that was keeping the specimens in suspended animation has malfunctioned and released them. They must now learn how to work together with these other people and make their way to freedom.

Players are given the opportunity to create their own races from scratch using the Advanced Race Guide (subject to approval by the GM). These races can be from any time period of any campaign settings they desire, or can be from their own imagination. Those who don't want to may opt for one of the following GM created races:
* Thri-Kreen: Giant insects from a dying desert world, thri-kreen are alien to most mammalian races and have difficulty distinguishing members of other races from each other.
* Dragonmen: Humanoids draconic creatures, Dragonmen are heavily militaristic as they fought their way to freedom against their draconic masters.
* Minotaurs: Medium sized bull faced warriors who hail from the world of Krynn, minotaurs are a fairly cultured breed who worship their god, Sargas.
* Drow: Hailing from a world far, far away where their race was cursed a by demon-goddess, forcing them to live deep underground.

Would it allow for rampant abuse? You bet ya. But if the player's willing to work with the GM you could keep the flavour while rounding off the edges and bringing it down in power.

Brandon Hodge wrote:
I'd be curious why you substituted the in-book nightwing backups in favor of fire elementals. As Zhangar points out, very easily banished.

One of the tweaks I made to Gallowspire was that within a X-mile radius extra dimensional travel ceases to function. Dimension door, teleport, plane shift and banish don't work. Nor do extra dimensional spaces. Adivion took advantage of this by calling the elementals just outside of the radius and then taking them into the radius thus allowing them to stay well beyond the spell's normal duration (an unintended side effect rather than an intentional abuse of the rules by me).

The reason I swapped out the Nightwings was that they're undead and my party is well suited to killing undead. I'll be keeping them in the fight just before Adivion to soften them up. But I expect them to be little more than speedbumps for my party that will hopefully chew up some resources.

Zhangar wrote:
Do remember that some of these don't do anything for Adivion once he's a lich

As far as I'm aware the only buffs that don't help are Mage Armour and Bless.

Zhangar wrote:
but a pretty piddling offense.

As I see it he's got about 8 offensive spells.

Unwilling Shield is my opening move and is intended as my strongest offensive attack. I can't keep up with the amount of damage my party is capable of throwing at undead. So I'll halve the damage I take but significantly increase the damage the party member takes. This will be aimed at the Dex based Fighter whose AC is reliably 40 allowing me to damage him without having to hit him.

I've got an archer bard who I'll be throwing a Baleful Polymorph on. Even if she makes the will save I'm hoping she'll fail the fort save.

I'm looking to Icy Prison the Witch in my party. She'll have a good fort save, but reflex I'm hoping is her Achilles heel. Once in she won't be capable of making the required strength check which means either she's out of the fight or an ally will need to do so (thus taking two people out for two rounds or taking the witch out indefinitely).

This leaves an Oracle and a Paladin. The Paladin is essentially immune to my attacks with ridiculous saves with the Oracle also having very good saves. The Paladin will smite Adivion which means I'm hoping to throw the Fire Elementals at her (her lowest defense is AC).

The Oracle unfortunately is the only one I can't work out how to take out. He'll have resist energy EVERYTHING, Spell Turning, Death Ward, Protection Against Evil and Spell Immunity to a few spells. If I'm worrying about the Oracle it's hopefully because this fight has managed to survive 4 rounds. My offensive spells are still: Bestow Curse, Blindness, Pugwampy's Grace, Sonic Thrust and more Vampiric Touches then you can shake a stick at.

Zhangar wrote:
The fight looks more like a prolonged nuisance than actually dangerous, but again, we have no info about your players.

Alas this is the best I could do I'm afraid.

Brandon Hodge wrote:
Have you seen this stuff?

I have :) I'm wary of using it as it isn't official and I'm worried about it TPKing my party ;) I already did that after the first book so I'm remaining well within the realm of the official legal rules.

I'll definitely use the thematic and descriptive text though. If my PCs manage to kill my Adivion at the end with relative ease then I'll definitely have the Greater Shadow appear.

Likewise I'll be keeping the Wardens of Tar Baphon within mind so that if I need to I can have them animate at the start of a particular round (although I'm fairly confident my players won't need it).

Here's my revised stats for the final fight. I've looked to exploit everything I possibly could.

4xElder Fire Elementals:

N Huge outsider (elemental, extraplanar, fire)
Init +13; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +19
AC 31, touch 19, flat-footed 21 (+4 armour; +9 Dex, +1 dodge, +8 natural, –2 size; +1 haste)
hp 152 (16d10+64)
Fort +14, Ref +20, Will +7
DR 10/—, Immune elemental traits, fire
Weaknesses vulnerability to cold
Speed 60 ft.
Melee 3 slams +25 (2d8+8 plus burn)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks burn (2d10, DC 22)

Adivion Adrissant:

M Human Forsaken Lich Wizard 13
NE M undead
Init: +1; Senses: Perception: +14; darkvision 60 ft; see invis;

AC: 33, touch 26, flat-footed 30 (+1 armor, +3 Dex, +7 natural armour, +8 Ablative Sphere; +1 haste; +3 deflection; +1 luck); +4 ranged attacks
hp: 169 (13d6+91+26-2) +15 temps +36 temps;
Fort +12, Ref +10, Will +9
Channel Resistance: +4; DR 15/bludgeoning and magic; regen 4; SR 25 and spell turning on failed SR (always 10 levels); soul shield concealment (20%); mirror image 5 images; resist 30 acid, 30 fire, 30 electricity, 10 positive energy immune cold, electricity, mind-affecting, death, disease, paralysis, poison, sleep, stunning, non-lethal damage, ability drain, energy drain, exhaustion, fatigue, grapple,_______________________________
; Delusory Aura; Repulsion

Speed 60 ft; 40 ft fly
Ranged Attack: +10; +11 if within 30 ft
Special Attacks: Disembodied Strike (+8 / 1d8+6 negative energy)
Soul Lash swift (6d6 damage and paralysed for 1d10 rounds; DC 24 reflex halves)
Reach: 10 ft (disembodied strike). 5 ft;
Spells (CL 13):
Level 1: 2xRay of Enfeeblement (DC 19 Fort half): 1d6+5 strength penalty for 13 rounds.
Feather Fall
Level 2: 2xBlindness (DC 20 Fort negates)
Level 3: Pugwampy’s Grace (DC 19 Will negates): roll 2d20 for 13 rounds.
2xBattering Blast: +10/+10 touch; 5d6 force; Bull rush +21 (+10 if 2 hit and roll twice taking the highest) CMB; Reflex (DC 19) or fall prone.
Vampiric Touch: +11 touch; 5d6 damage and same in temps
Level 4: 2xOverwhelming Grief (DC 20 Will negates): No dex to AC; -2 AC; No actions. New save for 13 rounds.
2xBestow Curse (DC 22 Will negates): +11 touch; Will save or 50% do nothing.
Level 5: Baleful Polymorph (DC 21 Fort negates; Will)
2xIcy Prison (DC 21 Reflex negtates)
Sonic Thrust: +13 ranged; 13d6 damage.
Suffocation (DC 23 fort partial)
Level 6: Unwilling Shield (DC 24 Will negates)
Empowered Vampiric Touch
Level 7: Heightened Unwilling Shield (DC 25 Will negates)

Before Combat: Uses Greater Scrying to watch the PCs; When they’re about to reach him he buffs (see buffs for details).
Morale: Fights to the death.

Str: 14 (+2), Dex: 13+4 (+3), Con: -, Int: 24 (+7), Wis: 12 (+1), Cha: 22+4 (+8)
Base Atk: +6; CMB: +##; CMD: ##
Feats: Point Blank Shot, Scribe Scroll, Precise Shot, Toughness, Empower Spell, Spell Focus (necromancy), Greater Spell Focus (necromancy), Heighten Spell, Unbanned School (Evocation is banned); Spell Penetration
Skills: Perception +14; Knowledge (arcana) +24; Knowledge (history) +24; Knowledge (religion) +24; Knowledge (local) +24; Knowledge (geography) +24; Spellcraft +24; Bluff +22; Intimidate +22 Diploamcy +22
Languages: List all
SQ: List all class abilities and special abilities (short)
Combat Gear: 2xScroll of Mirror Image (CL 12), 2xScroll of Spectral Hand
Other Gear: Headband of Vast Intelligence +4, Deathless Bracers of Armour +1

Delusory Aura: Like its soul, a forsaken lich’s mind is discorporated and scattered across the area around its corpse. This fills the area within 100 feet of the forsaken lich with an ever-shifting panoply of its darkest dreams, dashed ambitions, and enraged insanity. This area is considered to be under the effects of mirage arcana, but of a particularly disturbing variety. All living creatures within the area take a –4 penalty on any saves against fear effects. If the effect is dispelled, it reconstitutes 1 round later.

Repulsion: An invisible, 20ft mobile field surrounds you and prevents creatures from approaching you. Any creature entering the field must attempt a save. If it fails, it becomes unable to move toward you for the duration of the spell (13 rounds total). Repelled creatures' actions are not otherwise restricted. They can fight other creatures and can cast spells and attack you with ranged weapons. If you move closer to an affected creature, nothing happens. The creature is not forced back. The creature is free to make melee attacks against you if you come within reach. If a repelled creature moves away from you and then tries to turn back toward you, it cannot move any closer if it is still within the spell's area.

Jingasa of the Fortunate Soldier: Once a day spend an immediate action to negate a crit.

Pre-Fight Buffs:

Adivion’s Buffs

Scroll of Overland Flight (813 gp)

Level 1

  • Shield: +4 shield bonus to AC.
  • 3xMage Armour

Level 2

  • Mirror Image: 1d4+4 illusory doubles
  • Resist Energy: resist 30 acid
  • Resist Energy: resist 30 electricity
  • Resist Energy: resist 30 fire
  • See Invis
  • School: Spectral Hand (2 HP)

Level 3

  • Ablative Sphere: +8 AC and +4 Reflex; +4 AC and +2 reflex; +2 AC and +1 Reflex; 13 inches; hardness 5; 39 HP
  • Cloak of Winds: +4 AC vs ranged attacks.

Level 4

  • Haste: +1 AC; +1 Reflex; +1 attack (12 rounds);
  • Greater Infernal Healing (10 rounds)
  • School: Greater False Life

Level 6

  • Repulsion
  • School: Maximised Vampiric Touch

Level 7

  • 2xGreater Scrying

Cleric’s Buffs
Level 1:

  • Shield of Faith: +3 deflection to Wizard’s AC
  • Bless: +1 morale to attack for all but Adivion
  • Domain: Shield

Level 2:

  • Status
  • Eagle’s Splendor: +26 HP; +2 fort saves
  • Cat’s Grace: +2 AC, +2 Reflex
  • Domain: Barkskin: +4 enhancement bonus to natural armour

Level 3:

  • Meld Into Stone
  • Sacred Bond

Level 4:

  • Air Walk
  • Freedom of Movement: Wizard
  • Domain: Spell Immunity: Immune to 2 4th level spells or lower

Howdy everyone.

I'm revising the end fight for the entire campaign. I appreciate the work Brandon Hodge did. But my players are freaking powerful. As such I'm optimising the heck out of my final fight because they've certainly done their best to prepare for it (I've got one guy whose AC is reliably 40).

Up till now my PCs have managed to one shot the big bad guy largely due to lucky crits and also them being very good at ganging up on a single enemy. As such I've kept my PCs to level 14 for the end fight. I'm keeping the fight's CR at 17 but I'm lowering the level of Adivion Adrissant so I can include allies. I'm also changing Adivion Adrissant's class to be a wizard because magus aren't really well thought of in my group, my players are also very good at having high ACs. As such I need the full power of a wizard (on the road to becoming a lich) to throw at my PCs.

The final fight is:

  • Forsaken Wizard 14 CR 15 (51,200 XP)
  • Human Cleric 8 CR 6 (2,400 XP)
  • 4 Elder Fire Elementals CR 15 (51,200 XP)
Total XP: 104,800

I've had Adivion Adrissant greater scrying on my PCs since mid book 4 so he's well educated on their abilities. As such he's called in some Fire Elementals from a previous day (using Planar Binding spells) giving him all of his spell slots for the final showdown fight.

Does this seem like a balanced fight?

Tactics are: Cleric casts buffs and Shield Other. Then hides while healing himself and Adivion Adrissant in a stone meld. Fire Elementals beat on people (ideally blocking them from Adivion although it seems unlikely people won't be able to just fly around them) while Adivion attacks them from range.

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Here's the last of them.

Whispering Way Curate:

Female human cleric of Urgathoa 7
NG Medium humanoid (human)
Init: +1; Senses: Perception: +3

AC: 24, touch 14, flat-footed 23 (+9 armor, +1 Dex, +1 enhancement +3 deflection)
hp: 52 (7d8+14)
Fort +7, Ref +3, Will +8

Speed 20 ft.
Melee: +1 scythe +8 (2d4+13/x4)
Domain Supernatural Abilities:
6/day – Ferocious Strike
6/day – Death’s Kiss (3 rounds)
Cleric Spells Prepared (Concentration +10/+13):
4th – Blessing of Fervor, EnervationD
3rd - Animate DeadD, Magic Vestment, Dispel Magic, Wind Wall
2nd – Ghoul TouchD, Bull's Strength, Hold Person, Hold Person, Silence
1st - Bless, Deathwatch, Divine Favour, Enlarge PersonD, Infernal Healing, Shield of Faith
At-Will – Bleed, Detect Magic, Guidance, Light
Domains Death (Undead), Strength (Ferocity)
Before Combat: Cast bless (+1 attack), shield of faith (+3 AC), bull’s strength (+2 attack, +3 damage), enlarge person (+2 damage, 2d4 becomes 2d6, -2 AC, -1 Reflex), blessing of fervor and divine favour (+2 attack and damage).
During Combat: Use minions as a delaying tactic before full power attacking. Use Enervation against a heavily armoured foe at the start, or ghoul touch against a heavil armoured foe when in melee.
Morale: Fight to the death.

Str: 16 (+3), Dex: 13 (+1), Con: 14 (+2), Int: 8 (-1), Wis: 16 (+3), Cha: 10 (0)
Base Atk: +5; CMB: +8; CMD: 22
Feats: Combat Casting, Command Undead, Furious Focus, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (scythe)
Skills: Heal +6, Knowledge (arcana) +3, Knowledge (religion) +9, Sense Motive +10, Spellcraft +3
Languages: Varisian, Taldane
SQ: Channel Energy (4d6, 3/day)
Combat Gear: 1 Potion of Cure Serious Wounds, 1 vial of unholy water
Other Gear: Full Plate, Pearl of Power I, 300gp of onyx, +1 Scythe, 25gp of silver, silver unholy symbol of Urgathoa, spell component pouch

Ferocious Strike (Su): Whenever you make a melee attack, you can designate that attack as a ferocious strike. If the attack hits, it deals additional damage equal to 1/2 your cleric level (minimum +1). You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Wisdom modifier (already factored in).

Death’s Kiss (Su): You can cause a creature to take on some of the traits of the undead with a melee touch attack. Touched creatures are treated as undead for the purposes of effects that heal or cause damage based on positive and negative energy. This effect lasts for a number of rounds equal to 1/2 your cleric level (minimum 1). It does not apply to the Turn Undead or Command Undead feats. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Wisdom modifier.

Adimarus Ionacu:
Male Fiendish human natural werewolf fighter 4/antipaladin of Jezelda 3
CE Medium humanoid (human, shapeshifter)
Init: +2; Senses: darkvision 60ft., low-light vision, scent, Perception: +6

AC: 27, touch 13, flat-footed 24 (+10 armor, +2 Dex, +4 natural armour, +1 dodge)
hp: 67 (7d10+25)
Fort +13, Ref +8, Will +9
Defensive Abilities DR 5/good, DR 10/silver; Resist cold 10, fire 10 SR 11
Defensive Abilities Bolstered Defense (immediate action, double DR against 1 attack)

Speed 30 ft.
Melee: Bastard Sword +14/+7 (1d10+16/19-20), bite +5 (1d6+9 plus trip and curse of lycanthropy)
touch of corruption +12 (1d6 sickened, fort DC 14)
Special Attacks: curse of lycanthropy, smite good 1/day (fiendish; +3 attack, +7 damage), smite good 1/day (antipaladin; +3 attack and AC, +3 damage), precise strike (+1d6 damage)

Before Combat: Drink potion of bless (+1 attack)
During Combat: Tries to go after casters or paladins, getting a flank whenever possible. Always full power attack (already factored in)
Morale: Fight to the death.

Str: 20, Dex: 15, Con: 15, Int: 10, Wis: 12, Cha: 17
Base Atk: +7; CMB: +10; CMD: 24
Feats: Bolstered Defense, Dodge, Furious Focus, Power Attack, Precise Strike, Toughness, Weapon Focus (bastard sword), Weapon Specialisation (bastard sword)
Skills: Bluff +7, Disguise +7, Intimidate +12, Knowledge (religion) +4, Perception +7, Sense Motive +5, Stealth +7, Survival +5
Languages: Varisian, Taldane
SQ: armor training 1, change shape (human, hybrid and wolf; polymorph), lycanthropic empathy (wolves and dire wolves), track +1, wild empathy -1
Other Gear: Potion of Bless, +1 Cloak of Resistance, +1 Bastard Sword, +1 Full Plate, Unholy symbol of Jezelda, Wand of Cure Light Wounds (32 charges)

Curse of Lycanthropy (Su): A natural lycanthrope’s bite attack in animal or hybrid form infects a humanoid target with lycanthropy (Fortitude DC 16 negates). If the victim’s size is not within one size category of the lycanthrope’s size, this ability has no effect.

I'm going to use these tomorrow. I'll post the results.

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I decided to keep the class levels the same for the Demon Wolf Marauder. Here it is.

Demon Wolf Marauder:

Fiendish human natural werewolf fighter 4/ranger 1
CE Medium humanoid (human, shapeshifter)
Init: +2; Senses: darkvision 60ft., low-light vision, scent, Perception: +6

AC: 26, touch 12, flat-footed 24 (+10 armor, +2 Dex, +4 natural armour)
hp: 49 (5d10+18)
Fort +10, Ref +6, Will +0
Defensive Abilities DR 5/good, DR 10/silver; Resist cold 10, fire 10 SR 11
Defensive Abilities Favoured Humans (+1 AC and CMD)

Speed 30 ft.
Melee: 2xclaw +9 (1d6+11) and bite +9 (1d6+9 plus trip and curse of lycanthropy)
Special Attacks: curse of lycanthropy, favored enemy (humans +2 attack and damage), smite good 1/day (+2 attack, +5 damage), precise strike (+1d6 damage)

Before Combat: Drink a potion of bless (+1 attack)
During Combat: They try to get a flank and then claw, claw, bite. Always full power attack (already factored in)
Morale: Fight to the death.

Str: 20, Dex: 15, Con: 17, Int: 10, Wis: 6, Cha: 14
Base Atk: +5; CMB: +10; CMD: 22
Feats: Aspect of the Beast, Favored Defense, Improved Natural Attack (claws), Power Attack, Weapon Focus (bite), Weapon Focus (claws), Weapon Specialisation (claws)
Skills: Intimidate +10, Perception +6, Stealth +7, Survival +6
Languages: Varisian, Taldane
SQ: armor training 1, change shape (human, hybrid and wolf; polymorph), lycanthropic empathy (wolves and dire wolves), track +1, wild empathy -1
Combat Gear: potion of bless
Other Gear: +1 full plate, +1 cloak of resistance, wooden unholy symbol of jezelda

Curse of Lycanthropy (Su): A natural lycanthrope’s bite attack in animal or hybrid form infects a humanoid target with lycanthropy (Fortitude DC 15 negates). If the victim’s size is not within one size category of the lycanthrope’s size, this ability has no effect.

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After last session and several rather disappointing combats. I've redesigned the NPCs. I'm using the exact same class levels as before (with the exception of the demon wolf maurauders). Instead I'm simply changing stats, archetypes and feats.

Below are two of the stat blocks (still working on them)


Female human dread wight flowing monk 6
LE Medium undead (augmented humanoid)
Init: +3; Senses: blindsense 60 ft., darkvision 60 ft., Perception: +12

AC: 25, touch 18, flat-footed 21 (+3 Dex, +4 natural armour, +3 enhancement, +3 Wis, + 1 monk, +1 dodge)
hp: 51 (6d8+18)
Fort +8, Ref +8, Will +8; +2 vs enchantment
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +4, evasion, flowing dodge, elusive target; Immune undead traits

Speed 30 ft.
Melee: unarmed strike +9 (1d8+10 plus energy drain) or flurry of blows +9/+9/+4 (1d8+10 plus energy drain)
Special Attacks: Ki strike +9 (1d8+10 plus energy drain), vicious stomp +9 (1d8+10 plus energy drain), redirection +13 trip, command wights, create spawn, energy drain (1 level, DC 16), flurry of blows

Before Combat: cast barkskin by spending 1 ki point (already factored in)
During Combat: Try to trip foes and then use vicious stomp. Use ki strike when full attacking, otherwise use the AC bonus. Always full power attack (already factored in)
Morale: Fight to the death.

Str: 22 (+6), Dex: 16 (+3), Con: -, Int: 10 (0), Wis: 16 (+3), Cha: 17 (+3)
Base Atk: +4; CMB: +11 (+13 trip) CMD: 28 (30 vs trip)
Feats: Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Unarmed Strike, Improved Trip, Vicious Stomp, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (unarmed strike)
Skills: Acrobatics +8, Intimidate +12, Knowledge (history) +4, Knowledge (religion) +5, Linguistics +1, Perception +12, Stealth +12
Languages: Varisian, Necril, Taldane
SQ: Ki pool 6/day swift actions: +4 AC for 1 round, ki strike, barkskin for 1 hour
Attack of Opportunity 4/round: flat-footed until end of monk’s next turn (reflex DC 16 negates)
Redirection 6/day
Maneuver training
Gear: Belt of Giant Strength +2

Redirection: Once per round I can attempt a trip attempt on someone within reach that attacks me or an ally as an immediate action. Target is sickened for 2 rounds (reflex DC 16 to lessen to 1 round). +2 on the attack and DC if the target is power attacking.

Flowing Dodge: +1 dodge bonus to AC for every adjacent enemy (maximum of +3 dodge bonus)

Command Wights (Su): A dread wight can automatical-ly command all normal wights within 30 feet as a free action. Normal wights never attack a dread wight un-less compelled.

Create Spawn (Su) Any creature killed by a dread wight’s energy drain ability rises as a dread wight in 1d4 rounds. A dread wight created in this manner is under the command of its creator and remains so until either it or the creator is destroyed.

Whispering Way Cultist:

Male Human Rogue (spy) 3, Necromancer 3
CE Medium humanoid (human)
Init: +2; Senses: Perception: +0, low-light vision

AC: 17, touch 13, flat-footed 15 (+4 armor, +1 Dex, +1 deflection)
hp: 31 (3d8+3d6+6)
Fort +4, Ref +6, Will +4

Speed 30 ft.
Melee: mwk heavy mace +8 (1d8+9)
Ranged: mwk light crossbow +5 (1d8)
Special Attacks: +2d6 sneak attack;
touch of the grave +7 (shaken 1 round)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL Caster Level):
2nd - Bull's Strength, False Life
1st - Mage Armour, Shield, Vanish
At-will - Bleed, Mage Hand, Detect Magic

Banned Schools: Divination, Evocation

Before Combat: Start patrols with mage armour and false life. Just before combat cast bull’s strength (+2 attack, +3 damage) and shield (+4 AC)
During Combat: In the first round of combat cast vanish and then cast buffs while moving into a flank.
Morale: Full power attack to the death

Str: 18 (+4), Dex: 13 (+1), Con: 12 (+1), Int: 14 (+2), Wis: 8 (-1), Cha: 10 (0)
Base Atk: +3; CMB: +7; CMD: 20
Feats: combat casting, command undead, dodge, power attack, scribe scroll, weapon focus (heavy mace)
Skills: Acrobatics +7, Bluff +6, Escape Artist +7, Perception +8, Stealth +10, Sense Motive +5 , Knowledge (arcana) +11, Spellcraft +11
Languages: Varisian, Taldane, Necril, Thassilonian
SQ: arcane bond (amulet), poison use, rogue talents (swift poison), skilled liar

Combat Gear: wand of command undead (6 charges), bloodroot poison (4 doses);

Other Gear: mwk heavy mace, mwk light crossbow with 20 bolts, backpack, cloak of resistance +1, ring of protection +1. spellbook (all prepared spells as well as blur, command undead, 1 random spell of level 1), spell component pouch, backup spell component pouch, thieves’ tools, whispering way amulet, 43gp

Are these guys amazing? Not really. It's a CR -1 for the monk and a CR -3 for the cultist. However they at least have a fighting chance at challenging the party now.

Snorter wrote:
Not only do I consider most '+X' items boring, I believe them mostly unnecessary. Most PCs' attack bonuses and saves scale far faster than opponents AC and save DCs. Beyond the first few levels, it is common to see PCs who rarely miss opponents of equal CR, and can only fail saves vs their abilities on a natural 1. Yet the players still insist on boosting these areas, then crashing into a dead-end of their own making, for lack of basic utility items (like being unable to climb/fly/swim/etc).

I'm not so sure that this is accurate. Here's a build of a character I have on file. Now I admit it's not an optimised build but it's the only one I had handy. It's an Elven Oracle.

Elven Oracle (Seeker) (Dual Cursed Oracle) 12
Ability Scores
STR 16 (10)
DEX 10+2 (0)
CON 15-2 (7)
INT 10+2 (0)
WIS 7 (-4)
CHA 15 (7)
Mathematical Prodigy (Magic): +1 trait bonus to Knowledge (Arcana) and Knowledge (Engineering). Knowledge (Engineering) is always a class skill.
Observant (Grand Lodge): +1 trait bonus to Perception and it’s always a class skill.
Haunted (doesn’t improve)
Lame (does improve)
4 (base) + 1 (Int mod) + 1 (Favoured Class) = 6
1. Diplomacy
2. Knowledge (History)/Knowledge (Planes)/Spellcraft/Knowledge (Arcana)/Knowledge (Geography)/Craft (woodwork)
3. Knowledge (Engineering)
4. Knowledge (Religion)
5. Perception
6. Disable Device
1. Elven (free)
2. Taldane (free)
3. Thassilon (int mod)

Level 1) Extra Revelation (Weapon Focus)
Level 3) Power Attack
Level 5) Combat Casting
Level 7) Extra Revelation (Improved Trip)
Revelation 8) Improved Critical
Level 9) Extra Revelation
Level 11) Divine Interference
Revelation 11) Greater Trip
Level 1) Skill at Arms
Feat 1) Weapon Mastery
Level 3) Seeker Lore (mandatory)
Level 5) Misfortune
Level 7) Battlefield Clarity
Feat 7) Manoeuvre Mastery
Feat 9) Combat Healing
Level 11) Iron Skin

Level 0
I know 9 spells:
1. Detect Magic
2. Guidance
3. Create Water
4. Light
5. Mending
6. Purify Food and Drink
7. Read Magic
8. Stabilise
9. Detect Poison
Level 1
I can cast 6+2 spells a day. I know 5+cure spells:
0. Cure Light Wounds
1. Bless
2. Shield of Faith
3. Comprehend Languages
4. Protection from Evil (swapped for Remove Fear)
5. Magic Weapon (swapped for Endure Elements)
Level 2
I can cast 6+1 spells a day. I know 5+cure spells:
0. Cure Moderate Wounds
1. Silence
2. Delay Poison
3. Resist Energy
4. Lesser Restoration
5. Bull’s Strength/Hold Person
Level 3
I can cast 6+1 spells a day. I know 4+cure spells:
0. Cure Serious Wounds
1. Borrow Fortune
2. Dispel Magic
3. Invisibility Purge
4. Magic Circle against Evil

Level 4
I can cast 6+1 spells a day. I know 3+cure spells:
0. Cure Critical Wounds
1. Air Walk
2. Blessings of Fervour
Level 5
I can cast 4+1 spells a day. I know 2+cure spells:
0. Mass Cure Light Wounds
1. Breath of Life
2. Righteous Might

• 25% on weapons 27,500
o 18,380 Elven Curved Blade +3
o 460 Cold Iron Elven Curved Blade
o 210 Silver Heavy Flail
o 500 Composite Longbow STR 5
o 2,500 Golembane Scarab
• 25% on armour 27,500
o 26,650 Full Plate +5
o 4,000 Belt of Incredible Dexterity +2
o 5,000 Dusty Rose Ioun Stone
• 25% on other 27,500
o 16,000 Headband of Alluring Charisma +4
o 16,000 Cloak of Resistance +4
o 2,000 Handy Haversack
• 15% on disposables 13,000
o 11,000 Consumables
• 10% on ordinary gear 10,000
o 2,800 Pathfinder Gear

A summary of the vital stats are as follows:

Attack Rolls
+16/+16/+11 = +8 (BAB) + 3 (strength) + 3 (enhancement) + 1 (morale) + 2 (strength enhancement) + 1 (size) + 1 (weapon focus) – 3 (power attack)

Armour Class
29 = 10 (base) + 9 (armour) + 5 (enhancement) + 1 (dexterity) + 2 (deflection) + 2 (natural armour) – 1 (size) + 1 (insight)

Saving Throws
Reflex: +8 = + 3 (base) + 1 (dex mod) + 1 (belt) – 1 (size) + 4 (cloak)
Fort: +9 = + 3 (base) + 2 (con mod) + 4 (cloak)
Will: +9 = + 7 (base) – 2 (wis mod) + 4 (cloak)

Now at level 11 vs a CR 11 creature:
I hit on a 9/9/14 (target AC: 25)
I save on an 11/12 (target DC is 20)
I get hit on a 10 (target attack bonus is +19)

For an at CR creature these numbers seem fairly reasonable. I hit and save about 50% of the time, but I also get hit 50% of the time. Higher CR opponents are going to prove more difficult, as they should.

Here's a rebuild of that using the inherent system above

STR 16 (10)
DEX 10+2 (0)
CON 14-2 (5)
INT 12+2 (2)
WIS 8 (-2)
CHA 14 (5)

Attack: +18/+18/+13 = +3 (starting strength) + 1 (lvl 3) + 1 (lvl 6) + 1 (lvl 8) + 1 (lvl 9) + 1 (lvl 11) + 8 (BAB) + 1 (morale) + 1 (size) + 1 (weapon focus) - 3 (power attack) + 2 (strength enhancement)

AC: 21 = 10 (base) + 1 (starting dex) + 1 (dex lvl 2) + 1 (lvl 3) + 1 (dex lvl 5) + 1 (lvl 6) + 1 (dex lvl 8) + 1 ( dexlvl 11) + 3 (studded leather armour) + 2 (deflection) - 1 (size)

Reflex: +11 = +3 (base) + 1 (starting dex) + 1 (dex lvl 2) + 1 (dex lvl 5) + 1 (dex lvl 8) + 1 ( dexlvl 11) + 3 (level enhancement)
Fort: +8 = 3 (base) + 2 (con) + 3 (level enhancement)
Will: +9 = 7 (base) - 1 (wis mod) + 3 (level enhancement)

Charisma: 19 = 15 (base) + 2 (lvl 5) + 2 (lvl 9)
Constituion: 14 = 12 (base) + 2 (lvl 2)

This means:
I hit on a 7/7/12 (target AC: 25)
I save on a 9/11/12 (target DC is 20)
I get hit on a 2 (target attack bonus is +19)

Overall I don't think this character is overpowered.

Snorter wrote:
Or are you playing a high magic game, where the PCs are even more powerful than they ever were, because what they used to spend gold on have been made slotless items, that have melded with their flesh, and can never be disarmed/stolen/sundered/etc?

I've never seen an item sundered. I've seen a weapon stolen once when that person fell unconscious and the DM started softballing the fight. The only times I've seen PCs without equipment is when they're sleeping for the night. And in those cases the second PCs get access to extradimensional spaces, they start sleeping in those.

For me the PCs "always having their equipment" isn't too much of a power issue because 99% of the time, they'll have their equipment anyway.

Overall there's clearly some flaws in the system. I dislike how dramatically his AC decreased. Largely because he was in full plate. The above system has the flaw where stat bumps into dex are actually useless because they don't achieve anything. I'm better off keeping full plate and putting those stat bumps into charisma and constitution, meaning I can keep more of the stat bumps for strength meaning my to hit gets even higher. Introducing: The glass canon.

I'd like to see this system used for a few more traditional character builds and see how it compares to see where tweaks might be required.

Snorter wrote:
Or is it that you want to run a setting where players budget their gold toward kingdom-building, where traditional elements like castles are still relevant?.

This. Also I don't want to have to worry about putting enough gold ahead of the PCs. I don't want them to have to greyhawk every single combat/dungeon because they're chasing that elusive WBL because I haven't put enough gold ahead of them.

I want them to be able to take that flavourful cloak without going "well if I keep this highly situational but very flavourful cloak, my saves are going to decrease by 3. Also I'm really struggling to hit anyone because my sword is only +1. Selling this cloak increases my to hit by a fair chunk and increases my saves due to the fact that I'll be keeping my cloak of resistance."

I'd rather they just say "I'm going to keep this cloak because I've never seen it used and it sounds like fun."

Snorter wrote:
It also helps you sell the idea to your players, set the tone of the genre and setting, so they make PCs that are relevant and appropriate.

Well yes, I definitely would. But having a working system would help considerably in swaying them to try something a bit different.

So the Wealth by Level was first introduced to D&D by Wizards of the Coast with 3rd edition. It was pretty much baked into the math and they only exacerbated the issue with 4th ed where it was much more stringently baked into the math. That said, WotC finally addressed the issue in 2009 with their "inherent bonuses" system in the 4th ed DMG2. It's where some of the wealth was removed in favour of just giving PCs a flat bonus.

Pathfinder, in seeking to remain compatible with 3.5e as much as possible, inherited this problem. I'm looking at mechanics in order to get rid of it, much like 4th ed did with just handing out bonuses at the appropriate level. The reason for this is I quite like the idea of running a low magic campaign. Which RAW isn't possible for Pathfinder without a lot of changes on the GM side of the screen.

As such, here is my effort at addressing the math.

How many bonuses do PCs normally get?
I'm looking at this for the first 15 levels of play because most games only go up that high as the higher you get the more the game starts to fall apart (or so I've heard). Unlike 4th ed where you continually get bigger pluses to hit and defences, Pathfinder is much more diverse. You can have someone with appalling AC, that instead relies on blur or other effects to keep them alive. Or instead of getting another +X to your weapon, you might buy boots of speed which for 10 rounds increases your attacks, AC and also gives you 1 extra attack.

Trying to map all of these effects is impossible. As such I made a generic fighter's worth of equipment to determine how big those pluses get. No fancy boots of speed or horseshoes of the zephyr, just flat out mundane equipment that has no thought put into it whatsoever. If you think the assumptions I've made in that thread are wrong, head on over there and let me know why.

Here's a summary of those bonuses:

Weapon attack bonus: +5
Other Attack Bonuses: +4
Armour bonus to AC: +5
Other AC Bonuses: +8
Saves: +5

This would replace the "ability score boost" you get every 4 levels.

Level 2: +2 to two different stats;
Level 3: +1 enhancement bonus to attack, weapon damage and all AC defences;
Level 4: +1 to all saves;
Level 5: +2 to two different stats;
Level 6: +1 enhancement bonus to attack, weapon damage and all AC defences;
Level 7: +1 to all saves;
Level 8: +2 to two different stats;
Level 9: +1 enhancement bonus to attack, weapon damage and all AC defences;
Level 10: +1 to all saves;
Level 11: +2 to two different stats;
Level 12: +1 enhancement bonus to attack, weapon damage and all AC defences;
Level 13: +1 to all saves;
Level 14: +2 to two different stats;
Level 15: +1 enhancement bonus to attack, weapon damage and all AC defences;

In comparison to the generic equipment I listed above here's how this implementation pans out.

Weapon attack bonus: Matches
Other attack bonus: implementation gives you +1 extra.
AC Armour bonus: Matches
Other AC bonus: implementation loses you -3 to AC.
Saves: implementation loses you -1 to your saves.

ClarificatioN: The math above assumes that the "other bonus"es are supplied by putting the two stat boosts into your offense and defense stats. You could of course not do this.


  • Players can play around with their stats in order to get more HP, better wisdom, etc. Gives them some freedom.
  • Can’t completely dump AC to have a ridiculous attack bonus
  • They get something at every level and there is a pattern as to what they’ll get at particular levels.
  • Can overcome certain types of DR (if you consider “enhancement bonus to attack” to beat “DR X/magic” as that is the intent).
  • Works for clerics. Fighters, rogues and sorcerers.


  • Spellcasters are unable to get some fairly standard items (pearls of power, metamagic rods)
  • Casters who focus solely on spells with saving throws (so no ranged or melee touch attacks), they get no benefit from the “+1 enhancement bonus to attack” bonus.
  • Wizards and Witches simply do not work in this system.

Unintended side-effects:

  • Bull Strength and other similar spells remain valuable across all levels.

IMO this system would allow Fighters to be built well. Clerics to be built well. Even MAD monks would probably cope alright using this system. Sorcerers would be able to be built fairly well. The attack bonus would benefit their touch attacks while the bonus to AC appears to stack with mage armour (RAW at least. I believe I've worded it in such a way as to ensure that it does). This gives them some perks they normally can't attain as some compensation for not getting extend rods, energy type changing rods or circlets of persuasion). The only classes that appear unplayable are wizards and witches.

By 12th level you can overcome adamantine DR without an adamntine weapon and by 15th level you can overcome alignment based DR.

Of course, there's also some flex room for throwing consumables at the PCs (see this thread to see how much they should get in consumables per level per player by the WBL table).

You can also throw more flavourful and hilarious items at your players. They can now finally wear a Cloak of the Manta Ray (an item I've yet to see used in a game because everyone instead gets their damn cloak of resistances). You can give your players a Lyre of the Building. You'll want to keep an eye out for giving them too powerful items. But using the system above, you'll at least know they're AC, saves and to hit are at the correct amount for their level.

Oooh! You could use the above chart in a normal home game for the player who builds a "Vow of Poverty" monk while allowing the rest of the party to use the standard WBL chart.

As you can see I think the above system math balances out with what players would have using the standard WBL chart. I also think it allows people to make characters that aren't overpowered nor underpowered (wizards/witches not included). Am I hopelessly naive? Are there terrible loopholes basked into the above math that you could exploit to your heart's content?

What do you think? I started playing WotC D&D in 2008 with 4th ed. So for me it's taken quite a while to adjust to the WBL way of thinking (where the game assumes you have X amount of gold and thus increases the defense and offense abilities of monsters to compensate). I'm still not entirely happy with that style of game. So I've decided to try my hand at modifying the system so that I could game with a different style. I'd like to hear feedback so I can improve the math utilized in the above chart.

So with 3.5e and 4th ed it is assumed by the game's math that each level you gain X amount of gold which increases your to hit, spell DC, AC, saves, etc by Y amount. 4th ed later came out with "inherent bonuses" that allowed DMs to remove some of the assumed wealth. I'm looking to recreate that for Pathfinder.

However to do that I need to work out what the assumed math is for each level. I've done this using a generic "fighter type" that only buys items that add to their saves, to hit and AC. Realistically a fighter type would probably purchase things like boots of speed, etc. But for simplicity's sake, I'm just using generic items to work out the math.

Could people take a look at the items I buy at each level and let me know if they think these items look reasonable for the level they're obtained at.

Level 2 (1,000 gp):
• 150 Disposables
• 300 Mwk Weapon
• 550 Leftover

Level 3 (2,000):
• 300 Disposables
• 2,000 Weapon +1
• 250 Leftover

Level 4 (3,000):
• 450 Disposables
• 1,000 Armour +1
• 1,000 Cloak of Resistance +1
• 800 Leftover

Level 5 (4,500):
• 675 Disposables
• 4,000 Belt of Giant Strength +2
• 625 Leftover

Level 6 (5,500):
• 825 Disposables
• 3,000 Cloak of Resistance +2
• 2,000 Ring of Protection +1
• 300 Leftover

Level 7 (7,500):
• 1,125 Disposables
• 6,000 Weapon +2
• 675 Leftover

Level 8 (9,500):
• 1,425 Disposables
• 5,000 Cloak of Resistance +3
• 2,000 Amulet of Natural Armour +1
• 75 Leftover

Level 9 (13,000):
• 1,950 Disposables
• 8,000 Belt of Giant Strength +4
• 3,000 Armour +2
• 125 Leftover

Level 10 (16,000):
• 2,400 Disposables
• 5,000 Armour +3
• 6,000 Ring of Protection +2
• 2,725 Leftover

Level 11 (20,000):
• 3,000 Disposables
• 10,000 Weapon +3
• 7,000 Cloak of Resistance +4
• 2,725 Leftover

Level 12 (26,000):
• 3,900 Disposables
• 6,000 Amulet of Natural Armour +2
• 7,000 Armour +4
• 9,000 Cloak of Resistance +5
• 2,825 Leftover

Level 13 (32,000):
• 4,800 Disposables
• 14,000 Weapon +4
• 9,000 Armour +5
• 7,025 Leftover

Level 14 (45,000):
• 6,750 Disposables
• 20,000 Belt of Giant Strength +6
• 10,000 Ring of Protection +3
• 10,000 Amulet of Natural Armour +3
• 5,275 Leftover

Level 15 (55,000):
• 8250 Disposables
• 18,000 Weapon +5
• 14,000 Ring of Protection +4
• 14,000 Amulet of Natural Armour +4
• 6,025 Other Stuff

NOTE: I assume 15% of the wealth obtained at each level goes to consumables such as wands of CLW, potions, etc.


I have a character who is nominally factionless. He played a whole heap of adaptables (then had GM certs applied). Being factionless was an unintended consequence of playing adaptables, but I'm running sith it.

He's rather confused by this faction business, but the person who keeps writing him letters these days did help bring him back to life that one time, so he is willing to help them (although when playing an early scenario he got a letter from someone he'd never heard of before so he refused to do the mission).


Unless it's one of those couple of mods I ask my players what they do after the briefing. Some of them go to their faction leader and inform them what's going on. Most of the time a random person passes them the note. A regular standby is a pickpocket to slip them the note (often helping himself to a couple of coppers) and opposed stealth/perception's always fun when they fail their perception check (never had someone fail their mission as a result of this).

At cons players are surprised when I don't just hand them over. But I've never had someone complain about my style

Hey Jim. I just finished a con and somehow I ended up running this adventure three different times with 5 hour sessions in the space of 16 hours. Unfortunately due to the short amount of time before it's release and running I wasn't able to spend as much time prepping it as I would have liked. But the areas I didn't know about the rules I quickly made an adjudication and eventually found out most of my rulings were correct.

To begin with, this was an absolute blast to run. I'll admit by the start of the third session my enthusiasm had taken a significant hit (I was also running on 3.5 hours sleep yesterday), but I was fortunate enough to have a table of roleplayers who were simply a blast to play with. After the first 15 minutes my enthusiasm was renewed and I was back into the swing of running this adventure for them.

To start with the opening box text. I didn't like the "you harken back to a briefing you received from Venture Captain Amara-Li." I don't know if this was done as a tongue in cheek reference to many of the early modules, but I personally have grown a bit tired of that trope (personal pet peeve). I would instead have recommended you do something like "You are gathered into the Heidmarch Lodge for a briefing from Amara-Li who is on her way back to Absalom and can only stay for a quick thirty minutes before she needs to return to her ship." It gives the sense that this mission is actually somewhat important and also that the briefing can't go on for too long (helpful in a convention scenario). That said, there may be meta-plot reasons why that wouldn't be appropriate.

Next onto the faction missions, these were finally a breath of fresh air. With 12 factions I am simply unable to do any prep work for faction missions because I have no way of remembering them. As such, I was discovering each new faction mission as I ran the session and encountered new factions on my table.

The faction missions show a lot of depth and thought put into them. For 3 years I've heard about how wonderful the Cheliax faction missions were in season 0 (a season I missed out on), because I just have not seen that in recent times. Instead I see collect the macguffin faction missions and often that macguffin is an infernal sex toy. The faction mission for this one however actually has motivation behind it relating to the political landscape. THIS is what Cheliax faction missions should be. Here's how it went

We easily spent 20 minutes the PCs roleplaying their conversation with the undersecretary. Alas, they could not meet the DC listed in the module. During this time the Aspis consortium spoke to Zeeva Foxglove and were escorting her away from the marketplace to threaten her somewhere private.

I gave all my PCs 1 perception check to overhear the Aspis threatening Zeeva, one of the PCs got the DC. I then gave 1 PC a second perception check to simply spot her walking past (he failed). The PC who made the initial perception check pointed the group out to his fellow PCs and so I gave the PC who failed his second perception check a third perception check. He failed so he got told "she looks familiar, but you just don't know how you know this person" (he had met Sendeli her sister).

The PCs decided to follow the group and I made a mistake here. I had the Aspis lead her to a nearby alleyway. Realising the rest of the module wouldn't happen, I had to backtrack and say they simply corner her at the edge of the battlemat. This was the third time I had run this module and I'd only had 3.5 hours sleep the night before so my PCs forgave me and we moved on.

The fight broke out between the Aspis and the PCs and so the undersecretary hid among the food stalls. After this fight the leader of Aspis consortium member is unconscious along with one of his goons while the other 2 had been permitted to flee.

Suddenly fight 2 breaks out. During this fight the undersecretary and the crowd flee the marketplace. As the undersecretary is fleeing the PCs call out to him "we're going to hunt you down."

During the fight Kira is chanelling energy and not deselecting the Aspis member and so he wakes up and runs away during the heat of battle. Fortunately the hired thug was out of the channel energy radius.

They question him, he gives up his boss and here is where I had to improvise. I said the thug didn't know where the Aspis member lived. His group of thugs would meet the Aspis member at 9am sharp every morning at the Dancing Pony five streets away. One member had turned up 10 minutes late and had his pay docked.

The PCs asked this thug's permission to impersonate him. He said yes, as long as the Aspis member didn't survive so there was no retaliation on the thug or his family. They asked for more information on the Aspis Consortium's dealings so I ad libbed a bit about how the City Watch is hopelessly corrupt, they would do protection rackets, loan sharking. That sort of thing.

The PCs go disguised as the thug they captured. The alchemist uses ALL of his spells for the day as disguise self. I give them a bluff check vs sense motive with a +8 bonus to the thug's sense motive because they were close friends. The Aspis member got a sense motive of +4 because he was an associate. The player beat the sense motive check both times and so their plan unfurled perfectly.

The Aspis consortium were convinced that Cheliax was involved because the PCs consisted of 1 Chelish nobleman with two of his servants+Kira. They need to get Cheliax to move off the Green Market and take their shambling mounds and constructs with them. As such the Aspis Consortium has arranged a meeting at 11am with the Undersecretary.

The PCs got their second chance at defeating the Aspis Consortium (and thus winning half the module) and also got another chance at the Undersecretary. I was going to give the PCs a rather big bonus to their intimidate check but they beat the DC without it.

The Szcarni faction mission I got to roleplay handing this out in two different sessions. Because the players were leaving from Magnimar I didn't hand out this faction mission. I gave them one full day before they needed to leave to make any preparations they wanted (had they wanted more I'd of course have found ways for that, but they were surprised to have the one day prep time and were unsure how to use it). During their activities in this day the faction leader met them in person and we roleplayed them getting the faction mission over a meal/drinks. They needed to write down the pertinent information and rely on their notes. This surprised people, but they seemed to enjoy it (I know I did).

Finally I truly enjoyed the Silver Crusade faction mission. In one session the PCs didn't make the DC in their first attempt. I personally don't like "you get one attempt at this and then it is impossible to do" faction missions. So I allowed them a second chance at the end of the module.

In another session again the PC didn't make the DC at first. So another party member tried it and they did beat the DC. Now because of this faction mission I was able to react in an extremely interesting manner.

First of all both times I had a blast roleplaying the Shaman saying "you're certainly quite knowledgable and you show promise. Come to me again some time in the future after you have grown and matured in your understanding of your faith and perhaps then we can discuss the matter."

In the other session when a second PC (non Silver Crusade PC) beat the DC I was able to respond with "I will quite happily tell you of the information you seek. But as I said, it is not for those who have a less mature understanding of their faith. I will discuss this with you and you alone." The other PCs had to leave and only then did I give the second PC all of the information. They had to make notes and then returned to the Silver Crusade PC and convey the information they had learned.

Finally I loved this mission because it tied in with the apparent meta-plot of season 4 and it just gave a CRAPLOAD of flavour. I have never seen a faction mission chocked with so much flavour before. Kudos to you Jim Grove. Kudos.

Furthermore the plot itself was extremely freeform. I loved the amount of freedom it offered the PCs in completing this mission. In theory it could have gone on for in game days, if not weeks. That was an extremely nice change to have.

Roleplaying the main NPC was a blast and I loved how she played off the different players at my table. She was a DMPC, but not a single player complained about her and everyone loved her. It really allowed me to get involved in the roleplaying for this module. As someone whose style of play is typically roleplay heavy, combat light this module was exactly what I want.

That said, these fights were brutal. I've been growing and complacent with PFS scenarios. Overall season 4 has amped up the brutality. The first time I ran this there was a PC in the final combat who spent the entire fight 1 round from dead. She was going from 1 round from dead to "breathing and on 3 HP" back down to 1 round from dead, etc, etc. They loved it. Everyone was fighting for their lives. And the listed tactics were very, very effective. In one session...

I was able to wall of fire the cleric and isolate her from the rest of the party. When I created the wall of fire I placed it behind all the party and facing away from them and facing towards the cleric.

I had one PC say "clearly John isn't trying to kill us with this fight because that was the least optimal choice he could have made" but I did what I felt the listed tactics told me to. It was that session where the PC was constantly in threat of being dead and at the end the cleric player said "what really contributed to the lethality of this fight was that wall of fire. It hampered my ability to support my party for 1 round, after which they were really brutalised and in a bad way." That cleric spent the rest of the fight keeping everyone alive.

In the second session we had a party of 3 (plus Kira the pregen). This party used three dimensional combat (the first session didn't because no-one made their "Knowledge (planes) check" to know the no gravity rule on the Ethereal Plane. Also I was becoming more familiar with the rules of the mod by this point ;)

In this I had a tiefling alchemist, aasimar paladin and human witch. They played down due to being APL of level 6. The tiefling solo'd the fire elemental. The tiefling negated a crapload of damage thanks to his fire resistance. HOWEVER midway through the fight he got on the defensive and started 5 foot stepping back and healing himself. Despite his fire resistance, I was giving him a challenge and making him sweat.

The paladin drunk a potion of fly because without gravity every action has an equal and opposite reaction (people walking didn't suffer from this and people with magical flying also didn't suffer from this. I don't know if that's RAW, but it seemed like a fair ruling to me). He solo'd the ghost and was only dealing half damage to the ghost (RAW ghosts appear to keep their incorporeal status in the Ethereal Plane in this edition. I understand it was different in 3.5e). He smote the ghost and was surprised when I said the ghost was not evil. Every single round he was swift action healing himself to stop himself from falling unconscious. Alas I only realised too late that the optimal tactic was to use searing light. Had I known it could have been a TPK. I got 1 searing light though which was fun.

The witch finally was forced to spend a good portion of the combat flying off the battlegrid to heal herself. Now thanks to the Oracle curse, my ghost couldn't see her and so she was safe from attack. She then cast bestow curse (I believe this is the spell) onto her familiar. Then she flew into range and as a standard action tossed her familiar at the ghost. Because there was no gravity I had the witch make a ranged attack roll of DC 10 to get the correct square. She beat the DC and so then I had my attack of opportunity on the familiar, the PC rolled her melee touch attack through the familiar and got it off. But what to do with the familiar? Well there is no gravity. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The ghost had a stabbing weapon so I ruled the familiar bounced off the ghost and headed straight back to the witch. So the familiar essentially got a pounce. That really set the tone for this combat.

With this, I then rolled poorly on my "50% chance of doing nothing" and they won the fight.

That said, I really enjoyed roleplaying the monsters in the second fight as well

My first table played up and so they got the Quickwood and 2 Shambling Mounds. They made knowledge nature checks. When I saw "Quickwood Bestiary 2" I rolled my eyes going "oh great. Another splatbook monster. Here we go with some bizarro monster.

I then read out the flavour to my players of both creatures. I had seasoned 3.5e veterans as well as new players and both alike were surprised and shocked when I read out that both creatures crave human and elven flesh in particular. That right there set the mood for this fight.

I had a blast roleplaying the shambling mound. It taunted the PCs and was generally just creepy. I did "rend" on a poor villager with a Shambling Mound and simply ate the villager and then said "Hmmmm. That was delicious" in a deep voice and all my players screamed out "WHAT!?" They didn't seem to know Shambling Mounds could talk.

Finally the Quickwood was a blast because of the root attacks. I had 60 ft reach. Now RAW I should probably have been taking AoOs anytime someone moved. But I made a flavourful ruling which might get me in trouble. I ruled that the roots were underground and as such everyone had cover from them. Then when Quickwoods turn came up I had a PC that was flying above the ground. I ruled that the tentacles travelled underground to the square she was flying above and then broke through the ground in a spray of dust and reached up into the air to attack her. When her turn came around again she was now able to get targeted by Attacks of Opportunity because the roots were still in the square below her. As a consequence she was able to attack those roots.

She flew away so I had the roots attack a different PC. This PC I was able to pull along the ground. I described how the marketplace stones were getting breaches as the root pulled the PC towards the Quickwood.

All in all a very flavourful and memorable combat.

The lower tiers had 1 shambling mound (again, creeped them out) plus a scarecrow. I loved roleplaying these creatures getting formed/coming to life and it freaked my players right out.

That said I did skip the optional fight all 3 times I ran this mod. As I said, I emphasise roleplaying over combat and I felt the sessions were better for that extra time being spent on conveying the flavour and allowing the PCs to roleplay with each other than having that extra combat.

Finally as to the mistake with the map, I turned up to the CON and hand drew my map before the first session (something that a couple of GMs commented on favourably as most of the people were simply printing off maps). I drew the top half of the map as that's where most of the action was and it did not impact the fights at all. Width wise I had a bit of trouble with the office on the rightmost portion of the map, but that was the only noticeable quirk in the map. I liked how, given it was such a big map and such a complex map, I got a lot of mileage from it as every single fight occurs on this one map. Of course, there was one exception. It was the tavern fight that the Cheliax members had.

I wouldn't stress the size too much. Live and learn after all ;)

If my enthusiasm isn't obvious, I really enjoyed running this mod. Running this mod 3 times in 1 day was the highlight of my Con. I've already had one player ask me to run this for them at some point in the future (and I've said yes).

So well done. A++++ module. Would run more modules from this author again ;)


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Jeffrey Fox wrote:
Seriously though I do find it funny that it seems you subconsciously blame WotC for this.

Sorry, I first started playing organised play with LFR. Much of my growing issues with Pathfinder Society were issues I had with LFR and so it was just a slip of the tongue. I've had these discussions all before.

Jeffrey Fox wrote:
And goblins aren't much more odd than people walking around with pet lions or dinosaurs in a city.

And here lies my problem with animal companions 9 out of 10 times.

Corax the honest thief wrote:
If everything was SO sterotypical than why play??

You don't need to be a special snowflake in order to be interesting. There are a wide swathe of intriguing and fun characters you can make while still remaining true to the racial roleplay and campaign setting.

Corax the honest thief wrote:
Why cant a Goblin be better than the norm??

I'm not saying you can't have non-evil goblins. But if you remove their superstitious fear of writing, their hatred for dogs and horses are you really playing a goblin? What part of the character says "this is a goblin"?

Corax the honest thief wrote:
Why cant a half-giant be cunning and manipulative??? How do you get warriors and leaders then??

I could go on specifically about this example and explain how they're a magically created race from the dawn of time that had a magickal fusion between true giants and humans and how they're entirely dependent on human society.

But that's not what you're asking. You're asking (and correct me if I'm wrong): Why should we adhere to the racial roleplay?
May answer: Because that's what makes that race interesting and makes it unique.

If you play a Dark Sun elf who doesn't like stealing, trusts everyone and also rides around on mounts everywhere, are you actually playing a Dark Sun elf? Or are you playing a human that doesn't get the usual racial traits humans get?

I am of the opinion that by not adhering to the racial roleplay, you're not playing that race. Now there's a lot of variation you can explore while adhering to that racial roleplay.

Corax the honest thief wrote:
A poorly played character is doomed any how. Be it human, half-orc or Goblin.

True. And I have seen cases where people aren't roleplaying the core races according to the documentation available for the campaign setting. It can be hard to work out how to play an elf, dwarf, half-orc, halfling, gnome or half-elf. Heck, it can even be difficult to work out how to a play an ordinary human sometimes. By Paizo allowing this flood of races to be playable, we're increasing the burden on the player and the GM to ensure they adhere to the campaign setting.

I've seen characters that are basically humans with different racial traits. When I've seen half-orcs my characters treat them like the dirty half-breeds they are. And everyone is shocked at me when I do this. That tells me (1) the player themself isn't familiar with the place their own character is meant to occupy in the game setting (2) no-one else has treated them as the game setting says they should be treated. When someone saw me doing this with more than one character they said "oh, made another racist character there John?" As if my character is the one that's out of the ordinary. Now I can continue adhering to the campaign setting and encourage those players to read up on their race and roleplay their characters appropriately. However with Paizo allowing more and more non-core races in PFS, it becomes harder and harder. I personally don't even know what the appropriate roleplay is for a vishkanya (what the heck is that even suppose to be? Oh wait. It's in yet another splat book. That explains why I have no idea what this race is) or an udine. So they're making my job harder as now I need to buy more books for races I have no plan on playing just so I can roleplay with players that do play them.

And this is a great model for selling books. WotC did it with LFR and their "everything's core" model. It certainly sold a lot of books, but it killed any interest I had in the Forgotten Realms setting for 3 years. Only now am I starting to explore the setting once more (of course, avoiding anything resembles 4th ed Forgotten Realms). And while Paizo thankfully haven't taken the "everything's core" route, they are allowing more and more material to become legal which effectively ends up with there not being much difference.

Jack-of-Blades wrote:
Anywho, some characters are likely to balk at seeing goblins in their team, just as some characters will at seeing fetchlings, tieflings, or half-orcs.

THis is exactly the problem. We are seeing the return of team monster. There'll be parties composed entirely of Tieflings, Dhampyrs, Udines, Nagaji, Tengu and Fetchlings. The setting will play less and less of a role in the game as DMs have to ignore the flavour more and more just to let people play their exotic races. Meanwhile people are forced to ignore how their character should react and eventually it all devolves into no-one actually playing characters and simply building stat blocks that have the two correct ability boosts and we get 3 combats and a skill challenge and that's all people remember from the mods because we've seen the flavour sucked out simply to allow tables to play the game.

Now are we there yet? God no. But that is the direction we seem to be headed. The more splat books Paizo produces and the more races we see become legal (through boons or just open access) the closer we get to this situation. It happened with LFR and can easily happen with PFS if Paizo continues in the direction they seem to be headed.

As such I want to voice my concerns in the hope that those who feel the same also do and if enough of us feel this way, perhaps Paizo will reconsider.

Corax the honest thief wrote:
Who says the hatred and fear of Horses and reading needs to be removed in order to make them playable??

I can't kill animal companions.

Kain The Seeker wrote:
With the details changing every time because I'd be playing lying goblin rogue.

Sense motive. The second a city watch captain succeeds on his sense motive you're placed in jail for being a goblin. Which of course isn't legal.

But again the purpose of my posts isn't to personally critique every single goblin character people have. People have them, I hope they enjoy them, but I'm concerned about the trend they are a part of. I came to these forums to see what people thought of tieflings aasimars becoming open access (the two races that are now optimal for every class ever except alchemist. For alchemists we have humans with +2 STR, +2 INT thanks to Advanced Race Guide). I found this thread on goblins purely by accident.

Scott Young wrote:
Scribbleface from "We Be Goblins" could write; so could Vorka the cannibal (who also kept dogs, *and a horse*!). There, canon supports it! ('Course, it didn't end too well for either of them...)

I don't understand the appeal to playing a goblin if you're not going to adhere to all of the wonderful flavour Paizo has produced about goblins.

Black Powder Chocobo wrote:
There's still the possibility it may be opened up later down the road anyway (higher than a Paladin of Asmodeus at least!).

I'm fully aware of this and am quite concerned by this possibility.

I will quote what an organiser of PFS once said on this very issue:

Joshua J. Frost wrote:

I can appreciate that some folks really like playing monstrous humanoids in their PRPG games, but the Society doesn't allow them for two reasons:

1) As you noted, the world of Golarion is humano-centric and was always intended to be so. Though there are books written for our world that support non humano-centric thinking, the population of the Inner Sea is by far more human then all the other non human races combined. Because the Society is designed to show off our world and capture the flavor of our world, we stick to the core races only.

I really want to draw people's attention to one part: "to show off our world and capture the flavor of our world, we stick to the core races only"

I feel this new approach is not showcasing the world nor capturing it's flavour.


Eric Clingenpeel wrote:
Yeah, your average goblin hates writing, but this is 30 some goblins in all of Golarion.

Unfairly stereotyping would be saying all goblins are evil.

Fearing the written word is part of the racial roleplay and is an intrinsic part of being a goblin. But let's say you overlook that aspect. For playability reasons you're also going to need to remove the hatred for dogs and horses (otherwise animal companions are going to get slaughtered which is against the rules). Furthermore DMs are now going to have to work extra hard to explain why this goblin is permitted in the area that the adventure module takes place in. Sometimes this just won't make sense and so we'll have DMs saying "you're not allowed to play that character in this game" or "the town guard imprisons you until the Pathfinder Society pulls enough strings at the end of the mod to allow you to go free, escorting you to the border to ensure no further confusion occurs."

AFAIK DMs aren't allowed to categorically say "you fail the mod because you're playing a freak" (trust me, I would have loved to do so on a number of occassions). So instead what will actually happen is DMs will gloss over the flavour of goblins in order to adhere to the rules of PFS and players will gloss over the flavour in order to be able to partake in the Pathfinder Society.

The end result is we either receive flavourless characters that have lost (due to the rules) all of the wonderful flavour that makes up goblins. Or we see players playing special snowflakes.

In my view this is no different to having an elf that rides a kank in Dark Sun or a Half-Giant that's cunning and manipulative. If you want to be cunning and manipulative, you don't play a half-giant, you play a race that can be manipulative and cunning.

Eric Clingenpeel wrote:
How often do you really see stereotypical PC's?

There's a difference between playing "a stereotypical member of a race" and "adhering to the racial roleplay." I always adhere to the racial roleplay.

My Taldanes? Manipulative and cunning. Their motives are different (one of them has the motive of trying to stay alive. Another's motive was to serve his noble family to the upmost of his ability).

My Andoran? A Chelish halfling that was freed from slavery who became a squire of a knight in the Pathfinder Society and now carries on the virtues that knight lived by as a fully fledged agent of the Pathfinder Society.

That isn't a stereotypical halfling. But it does adhere to the flavour of Cheliax, Andoran and halflings.

Eric Clingenpeel wrote:
If everyone was able to play Goblins, then I could see that as a problem, but these are maybe 37 people at max out of 50,000+ players with who knows how many characters each. It is not the end of the world.

And thankfully I live in Australia so I won't have to jump through these hoops to permit goblins at my table. And I want to make it clear, I have no issue with those who gained these boons to use these boons. If I had survived insurmountable odds I would also want to benefit from the reward I had received.

My issue is entirely with WotC for handing out this reward in the first place. I am disappointed they did this and I think it cheapens the world setting they have worked so hard to establish.


Chris Kenney wrote:
You don't. You had to complete the Part 2 of the "Race for the Runecarved Key" Special at GenCon this year. This was a run-once event that will not be repeated, and the Goblin boon is unlikely to be awarded again. If it is, it will probably be for another one-shot event at GenCon (Maybe Paizocon.)

I am disheartened to hear this. Verisimilitude-wise, it makes 0 sense for PFS characters to be goblins. Goblins hate words and think they steal the thoughts from your brain. Therefore logically they can't receive faction missions unless someone reads it to them. That's not very practical.

So either those 37 people will have characters quickly falling behind the prestige award curve. They'll not get to play the goblins. Or they'll have to sacrifice part of the flavour that makes goblins unique and fun in order to simply play these characters.

I am disappointed that Paizo chose to go down that road.


David Montgomery wrote:
I will note, even though this gets covered to no end in countless other threads, Infernal Healing is a spell with the [Evil] descriptor. In Gods And Magic, it also has the requirement that you be a worshipper of Asmodeus. Your GM may not like your use of spells with the [Evil] descriptor if they feel the spell is not necessary or for good reason. That is a whole different pot all together though.

It is available in Inner Sea World Guide which has no such qualification. And that qualification is from a 3.5e book. There are Pathfinder specific spells that are only accessible to worshipers of a particular deity. Infernal Healing as presented in the Inner Sea World Guide is not marked specifically for that deity.

Also it's a wizard spell so it's simple to get a wizard to make the wand of Infernal healing (given that wands aren't specific to particular types of magic, AFAIK).

So unfortunately rules as written there is no way a PFS DM can say 'that's not allowed.'

All that said....

Worldbuilder wrote:

Alright, got in a minor truffle with the GM at the local game store today, so my question's (more sources I need) are:

1) Is Infernal Healing Legal?
2) Can you buy a wand of it?
3) Is Devils blood considered an expensive component?
4) Any source saying any of this?

He almost TPK'd us, because he said it wasn't legal. Everyone else I talk to says it is legal. Trying to get source for next time. Thanks.

Some players are willing to restrict themselves from taking things that are clearly too good. In this case, wands of infernal healing are 200% better then a cure light wounds wand and is ideal for out of combat healing. You effectively save 75gp per wand when you use a wand of infernal healing.

To me that is an example of splat book creep and is something I would advocate other players to willingly refrain from using such items.

Also don't confuse this with me having an issue with the spell. I think it's an awesome spell and I have a non-Society Wizard who happily casts it whenever he can. But I'm using spell splots to use it in those cases, rather than simply saving 75gp per wand of CLW.

The cast

  • Human Wizard (Enchanter)
  • Human Wizard (Evoker)
  • Human Cleric (Erastil)
  • Elven Oracle (Battle)
  • Elven Druid

We went around the back during the night and triggered the shrieking zombies. The Enchanter cast sleep on the lone guard who was watching our direction, but not before the guard called out to his friend. The Druid than ran up and hid flush against the wall while her tiger killed the zombies. The Battle Oracle and Cleric beat at the zombies while the Wizard used Fire Breath twice before falling unconscious. The Druid cast warp wood on the palisade.

A guard came to see what was going on and saw his comrade asleep. He woke his comrade up, watched the fight for a bit (they briefly saw a mountain lion but the night sky was keeping the rest of us hidden). I cast sleep on the same guard and then we all ran up to the wall.

We broke in and the Cleric and Oracle went to go fight the two guards on watch. The Enchanter Wizard peered through an open gate and saw a big bad guy and a few other people. Not wanting to get attacked from the rear he cast web into the complex, isolating the Staglord (by accident) and entangling a big guy. The Staglord got up, got his bow and then tried to hit the Enchanter's flat-footed AC. He missed.

We fought off the mooks while the Staglord slowly made his way out of the webbing. The other guy near the Staglord came out and suddenly Akiros turned on the bandits and started fighting the big guy. We quickly dispatched the rest (enchanter throwing putting hideous laughter on the mentally handicapped fighter, glitterdusting Dovan).

Before Dovan was glitterdusted he released the Owlbear just in time for the Staglord to get out of the webbing. The Owlbear fought the Staglord until the Staglord retreated (having burnt away a substantial portion of the webbing), so we killed the owlbear rather quickly. We then killed the Staglord with the NPC barbarian helping us quite a bit. We wanted to keep the Staglord alive so it was quite difficult for us to achieve this. Thankfully we managed, but only by the person dealing the final blow getting an assist from the Enchanter who had a longspear (-6 to the attack roll due to cover) and a guidance from the Druid.

At this point the Evoker Wizard's player turned up. We got to Nestle's Crossing and hand over the Staglord, alive. The zombie eviscerates the staglord's body. The Enchanter felt himself move a step away from NG and felt a bit bad over the whole ordeal.

Unlike other groups we were unable to use the "Hatchet Woman" (as she'll be known in our campaign) because we beat her in initiative, critted her and then killed her with 1 more hit. We did hear though, that she did unspeakable things with those hatchets.

Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:
Well unless your GM made some modifications to make it tougher, your party was one level too high for the fight...

Unfortunately so was ours. That said, we initiated every single combat at once (with the exception of the zombies). Thus far team caster has done rather well (everyone wanted to play a caster once we learned the AP goes to level 17).

Archmage_Atrus wrote:
The Stag Lord's first move should be to use his insightful shot, against the party's healer if he can see him.

Pfft. That insightful shot ability is completely overrated. He missed a Wizard with Dex 12 (but Charisma 14 :D) who only had mage armour running (no shield due to banning abjuration). If he can't get a Wizard with that shot, he's got no hope on anyone else!

(FYI: He missed by 1 point! And only because the webbing provided me with cover! And the GM rolled a 3! I was on 10 HP, I would have just died if he hit)

Helic wrote:
You could go Transmuter, grab the Disguise skill and use that Diplomacy/Bluff/Intimidate as a master of disguises.

Already got a transmutation specialist.

Helic wrote:
Also, I notice you don't have Sense Motive, which is a real handicap for a socially based character.

That was quite deliberate. I have the best chance of making any knowledge roll (I tried to not do it, but I just have so many skill points), I want to need to rely on the other characters. Fortunately 9 times out of 10 I'll have the other PCs with me so I can rely on their ability to sense motive and somehow signal that to me. Once we get high enough level it will be telepathic bond in such scenarios.

I wanted to give myself a weakness, so not having sense motive seemed a pretty big one.

So I made a Charisma 5 dwarf. My very next character was suddenly an Enchanter Wizard. This has got to be my favourite character I've built thus far. I am optimised not for combat. Everyone does that, it's boring. I'm optimised for Roleplaying! Here it is.

Human Wizard 17

Human Racial Traits
Core Rulebook Except I've taken Focused Study which swaps out the bonus feat for 3 skill focus feats across 16 levels.

Background Traits
Fast Talker: +2 to Bluff and it's a class skill.
Noble Born: +1 CMD, +1 Diplomacy and Diplomacy is a class skill (this is a Kingmaker campaign and our GM houseruled the campaign traits because boy were they terrible).

Ability Scores
Point Buy: 25 no buy downs below 10. Personally I don't like this system as it gives me all the advantages of buying down without any of the penalties (I never buy down more than 1 ability score).

STR 10 0
DEX 12 2
CON 14 5
INT 17+2 13
WIS 10 0
CHA 14 5
Level 4, 8, 12 and 16 = +4 Int

Under a standard 20 point buy my starting stats would differ as Strength 7, Int 20, Con would be 14, Charisma 12 and Dex 10.

So he forced me to decrease by Int but increase every other ability score except wisdom.

Class Skills
Bonded Object: Amulet
School Specialisation: Enchantment
Banned Schools: Conjuration and Necromancy
Favoured Class Bonus: +1 HP.

Human 1) Skill Focus (Diplomacy) (+3 to diplomacy, +6 at level 10)
Wizard 1) Scribe Scroll
Level 1) Spell Focus (Enchantment)
Level 3) Greater Spell Focus
Level 5) Persuasive (+2 to diplomacy at level 5, +4 to diplomacy at level 10)
Wizard 5) Still Spell (with the understanding it works in grapples)
Level 7) Rhetorical Flourish
Human 8) Skill Focus (Bluff) (+3 to bluff, +6 at level 10)
Level 9) Combat Casting
Wizard 10) Opposition Research (Conjuration)
Level 11) Spell Penetration
Level 13) Greater Spell Penetration
Level 15) Varisian Tattoo
Wizard 15) Selective Spell
Human 16) Skill Focus (Intimidate) (+6 to intimidate)
Level 17) Spell Specialisation

7 skills with max ranks = 2 (base) + 4 (int mod) + 1 (human)
1. Bluff
2. Diplomacy
3. Knowledge (Arcana)
4. Knowledge (Planes)
5. Knowledge (History)
6. Linguistics
7. Spellcraft

Headband Skills are:
1. Knowledge (Nature)
2. Knowledge (Dungeoneering)
3. Knowledge (Religion)

Bonus Int Skills (51 points total):
Appraise – 7 ranks
Intimidate – 17 ranks (not a class skill)
Knowledge (Nobility) – 6 rank
Knowledge (Engineering) – 6 rank
Knowledge (Geography) – 6 rank
Knowledge (Local) – 4 rank
Knowledge (Nature) – 1 rank
Knowledge (Religion) – 1 rank
Knowledge (Dungeoneering) – 1 rank
Perform (String Instrument) – 3 ranks (not a class skill)

Starting Languages (5):
1. Taldane (free)
2. Thassilonian
3. Hallit
4. Giant
5. Draconic

My skill ranks give me 17 languages:
1. Sylvan
2. Elven
3. Gnome
4. Undercommon
5. Jistka
6. Infernal
7. Kelish
8. Dwarven
9. Shadowtongue
10. Skald
11. Aklo
12. Necril
13. Abyssal
14. Ignan
15. Orvian
16. Azlanti
17. Gnoll

130 Assorted Level 1 gear
205,000 Cost of Various Spells (estimate)
6,000 6xPearl of Power I
4,000 Pearl of Power II
2,000 Handy Haversack
2,500 Circlet of Persuasion
2,500 My Share of a Bag of Holding
12,000 4xLesser Rod of Extend
3,000 Lesser Rod of Elemental (acid)
35,000 Rod of Quicken
25,000 Cloak of Resistance +5
36,000 Headband of Vast Intelligence +6
27,000 Tome of Clear Thought +1
16,000 Belt of Mighty Constitution +4 (Constitution)
5,000 Dusty Rose Ioun Stone
25,000 Rod of Splendor
2,600 1/5th of a Lyre of Building
1,270 Leftover
Total GP: 410,000gp

So that's the most powerful Wizard I've made to date (I've made 1 Wizard previously and a sorcerer). A Wizard that has Skill Focus (Diplomacy), Skill Focus (Bluff), Skill Focus (Intimidate), Persuasive and Rhetorical Flourish. And a Charisma score. I took 14 Charisma over Dexterity because I want to be good looking!

I don't have any archetypes or focused schools. I'm simply a straight Wizard. I had to take the extra HP per level because I ran out of skills to put ranks in!

Some fun facts about this Wizard at level 17:

  • His walking around Diplomacy score will be +43 = 2 (charisma) + 2 (rod of splendor) + 17 (skill ranks) + 3 (class skill) + 5 (enchanting smile) + 3 (circlet of persuasion) + 1 (trait bonus) + 6 (skill focus) + 4 (persuasive)
  • Fully buffed I'll have a +49 bonus to diplomacy = +4 (rhetorical flourish) + 2 (cultural adaptation).
  • 1 of the Lesser Rods of Extend and 3 of the Pearl of Powers will be dedicated to extending Cultural Adaptation. With these items I'll have Cultural Adaptation running for 17 hours a day. Or I can have it running 3 simultaneous times for 3 different cultures for 5 hours and 40 minutes a day.
  • I'll have a +40 to Intimidate and it's not even a class skill.

I would like to think this is the first time someone has built a character like this in quite this manner.

Berselius wrote:
So in a nutshell you play a strong/tough dwarf with a personality akin to a piece of sandpaper and the appearance of a walrus cadaver.

Wow. I've never had someone actually attack my ability to roleplay correctly before. I'd like to think you would have taken more then just 2 stats to condemn the character though.

Berselius wrote:
Does your GM have the NPCs who meet your "dwarf" recoil in utter horror or do they get a chance to run away in terror beforehand?

He has a very patchy beard (it's just abysmal really, but he does do his best to grow it because damnit dwarves are suppose to have beards). He also smells a bit, and so he does his best to cover it up with cologne. He either puts too much on or not enough so that after an hour's work he's not the most pleasant person to smell (he does do his best to fix that before dinner).

I'm going to be honest, he can be a real so and so at times. But he makes a concerted effort to be nice to people, and while it doesn't always work, once people get to know him they eventually warm up to him (playing in Jade Regent where I have a -3 to my starting relationship score with every single NPC).

I view that by his nature he can a really horrible person. But over the years he's done his best to be nicer to people (+4 to diplomacy) and so when he does make an effort he's not outright rude to them.

The idea that stats and stats only determine your character's nature is a false one IMO. My dwarf will succeed on more diplomacy rolls then you're average fighter (CHA 10 and has no ranks in it because he only gets 2+Int mod and it's not even a class skill). He's easily overlooked at first (or otherwise stands out for the wrong reasons) but given half a chance and you'll discover he's not a complete jerk.

Kvantum wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
Does anyone know what you can get for replacing the "sword training" trait from Tengu?

Here you go.

Advanced Race Guide wrote:

Claw Attack: Tengus with this racial trait have learned to use their claws as natural weapons. They gain two claw attacks as primary natural attacks that deal 1d3 points of damage, and are treated as having the Improved Unarmed Strike feat for the purpose of qualifying for other feats. This racial trait replaces swordtrained.

Exotic Weapon Training: Instead of swords, some tengus are trained in exotic weaponry. Such tengus choose a number of eastern weapons (Ultimate Combat 131) equal to 3 + their Intelligence bonus, and gain proficiency with these weapons. This racial trait replaces swordtrained.


bigkilla wrote:
That's what I was thinking as well, just a bummer to limit it that much when giving up Chanel Energy is already a huge drawback IMO.

Pfft. I've got a strength based Charisma 5 dwarf (with max ranks in bluff and diplomacy). Does this ONLY replace Channel Energy? Because if so I might need to hassle my GM into letting me get it (it's flavourful!). At the moment that's just a dead class feature for me.

Dragnmoon wrote:
Those who will have problems are groups that try to play with less then 6 players or/and groups that decide not to do their own investigation.

Our group did do a fair bit of investigation and got the

site of the temple information. We didn't get the knowledge of a demon on our gather information so we weren't able to prep for it. None of us had the appropriate knowledges to face a demon so we didn't have the appropriate gear
Dragnmoon wrote:
I think my biggest problem with the scenario was there was way too many stat block errors in it

Out of interest can you detail what the errors were? We TPK'd which is alright. I've yet to die in PFS before so I'm more than happy. But I'm curious as to how much contributed to the TPK.

Reckless wrote:
The Tengu, not the claws, are considered to have Improved Unarmed Strike regarding prerequisites, I see. That makes more sense and makes the claw option even more interesting. I rescind my "boring".

This seems a bit too good. I'm dealing 150 DPR at level 11 (assuming all 3 attacks hit and I have a flank. I have a +18/+18/+17 to hit). I don't like too good options because I feel guilty using them :(

I'm willing to rescind this once because I just absolutely love the flavour of tengu.

Do my claws count as unarmed strike (because otherwise most unarmed strike feats are useless)? Also does my beak count as unarmed strike?

[EDIT]: I'm hoping it's not my claws counting for unarmed strike (I don't think it is). There is a feat called Feral Combat Training which allows me to use stylistic feats for it.

Cheapy wrote:
I would take 3 attacks at full bab at first level over some extra weapon profs. Maybe that's just me.

Is it actually all primary? Because I had just built a Ranger 2/Rogue 9 to get that working.

Out of interest are there any interesting things you can replace sword training and gifted linguist with for tengu?

Does anyone know what you can get for replacing the "sword training" trait from Tengu?

Very nice. Opening a page at random on the old files took 2 to 9 seconds. Now they load under a second (instantly for sequential pages).

You got me to purchase all the hardcovers except for Bestiary 2 and the GMG.

Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
i need suggestions for a character to play.

A pirate.

I'm serious. This is the pirate campaign. Definitely play a pirate.

That said, my understanding of party roles are thus:
* Frontline fighter: Dale primarily covers this as does Kevin in a secondary manner.
* Rogue: Matt (assuming he isn't swapping out disabling magical traps) covers this.
* Healer: Aaron, Ashley and Lyle cover this
* Arcanist: Kevin and potentially Javier cover this.
* Face: Lyle covers this along with potentially Seth covering it.

Wow, 8 players. That's a lot of players. You'll have 3-4 frontline fighters, 1 arcanist 3 healers and 1-2 faces (a 3rd one if Rogue takes diplomacy and bluff).

You're pretty much welcome to play whatever you feel like. Pirate themed characters:
* Fighter/Rogue: Easy pirate characters. You can also take Ranger (Trapfinder) 2 / Fighter XX and be a trap disabler if the rogue has swapped out disable magical traps.
* Cleric/Oracle: Easy to have a Besmaran cleric/oracle.
* Alchemist: Could have been the last ship's chirugeon (recommend you swap out bombs)
* Sorcerer: Being a sorcerer isn't a life choice. It's something you're born with. You could easily be a pirate sorcerer.
* Barbarian: Angry drunken pirate who constantly gets into bar-fights. Definitely flavourful.

These are my recommendations.

Oh wait, you could totally be a tengu. They're used by Shackles pirates to soak up bad luck so it doesn't afflict the ship. You could totally have deliberately not soaked up the bad luck on your last ship because they mistreated you causing them to sink and for you to manage to escape.

You can then spend the entire campaign saying "you'd better be nice to me. The last ship just totally sunk." As a tengu I'd recommend a TWF ranger/fighter build or a rogue.

I recommend the tengu option. But any of the ones above are definitely fun classes as well if you don't feel like being a non-human or don't feel like being a fighter/rogue type.

Does anyone know what Angradd's Holy Symbol is? I've searched Dwarves of Golarion and Faiths of Purity and been unable to find it.

I am a player of this campaign. I have read nothing in this thread, nor will be visiting this thread again. I have an in character journal here should anyone wish to read it.

If you would like to make any comments that I can view feel free to reply in the campaign journal thread.

This is the in character journal for Rogar, son of Odol of the Ghalkin Clan. More details on this character are available here. At the bottom there is an OoC area where I talk about notable events.

7th of Calistril, 4712
I have arrived in Sandpoint. I have taken lodging in the Rusty Dragon as I have always done. It’s good to be back, I haven’t been here for 20 years. Young Ameiko now runs the place, although she wasn’t able to give me the usual room we stay in. It seems a young Tian man has been staying there for some time.

8th of Calistril, 4712
I went and saw Niska first thing in the morning. She isn’t doing well. I’ve never seen her look so old. We caught up and I of course told her all about my training to become an ordained priest. She marvelled at my holy symbol and for a brief moment I was able to forget just how bad she looks. I of course insisted on cooking a meal, it wasn’t the best I’ve ever prepared as Niska and Koya barely touched their plates.

Afterwards Niska pulled me aside and asked me to look after little Koya after she passes away. I hope this does not come to pass anytime soon, but I fear it will become a reality all too soon. It seems Koya hasn’t matured very much as Niska insisted that I accompany young Koya should she ever go on a long journey. While I would not begrudge someone for travelling abroad, Koya’s health doesn’t seem to be anywhere near strong enough to cope on such an expedition.

10th of Calistril, 4712
Niska passed away last night. It is a sad day for all.

10th of Pharast, 4712
It’s been a while since I wrote in this journal. To be honest I simply have not had the motivation. I organised Niska’s funeral. I was of two minds as to whether or not we should wait for my family to arrive before holding the funeral. I also wanted to have a grand crypt built to house Niska’s remains, but my parents rightfully pointed out it would take far too long to see one constructed and it would not be fair on Koya.

As such we had the funeral on the 5th of Calistril. Since then I’ve been helping Koya out. Doing my best to ensure she eats properly and takes care of herself.

9th of Gozran, 4712
I have been keeping my distance for the past few weeks. I need to give Koya room and time to grieve. She seems to be coping much better now, although she still isn’t eating properly. I have tried to offer coin in case it is for financial reasons, but she became quite angry at the suggestion.

I’ve been butting heads with the man whose stolen my usual room at the Rusty Dragon. He’s actually been throwing me out of the tavern on a regular basis for being “too noisy.” Who ever heard of a tavern that was being too noisy! It’s outrageous and I’m starting to consider having serious words with Ameiko over this young man.

10th of Gozran, 4712
I met a rather nice fellow today. I don’t know his name, but he’s a graduate from the Acadamae. I don’t normally take kindly to the wizardly types. They’re normally too bookish for me, but this one doesn’t seem too bad. He’s here to investigate the old Lighthouse. He’s convinced it’s a Thassilonian ruin.

I tried to tell him that it could not possibly be Thassilonian as the construction is clearly 600 years old at the absolute latest. But he would not listen.

More importantly the Sheriff came around and told us that the bounty on goblins has been re-enacted. The wizard was surprisingly keen on aiding me in collecting this bounty (proving he isn’t too bad of a wizard). Surprisingly Mr. Hirato requested he join our expedition. Afterwards he immediately insulted my honour and so I had to show him just how strong my honour is.

He’s actually got a mean right hook. He kept trying to kick me which was rather underhanded of him. But he does land a solid punch and can take something of a beating himself. Perhaps I have been maligning his character for the past two months. Perhaps he really isn’t that bad of a person.

Koya told me that there is a Halfling they call the Warden of the Marsh. She believes his shack is along the old fishing trail and that he might be able to tell us where the goblin camp is.

11th of Gozran, 4712
That damn Hirato woke me up at 6am! I cannot believe this man! And he made breakfast… well he called it breakfast. I don’t know what he tried to poison me with except it contained seaweed. Give me a good old fashioned baked mushroom cup any day of the week over that crap.

Hirato and Teotos were rather insistent that we go along the new fishing trail. I think it is a mistake, but they are insisting upon it. It was an arduous affair with poorly constructed bridges allowing us to cross the rivers. Give me a good old fashioned dwarven bridge any day of the week. I do not trust these haphazard constructs.

12th of Gozran, 4712
We reached the Warden of the Marsh’s home today. He greeted us at the door, or so I thought. It was in fact some sort of terrible monstrosity. I went down from the creature’s blows, however thankfully both Teotos and Hirato were able to take it down and revive me.

The true Warden of the Marsh was upstairs. I am currently tending to his wounds and will continue to do so for another two days. I did not bring enough rations or waterskins, thankfully he is well stocked on his supplies.

For saving his life he gifted us a lucky cloak. Mr. Hirato insisted on taking it and I have begrudged him this with Teotos’s blessing. He did fell the beast and help save my life.

13th of Gozran, 4712
Walthus’s condition continues to improve.

14th of Gozran, 4712
Walthus has agreed to take us directly to the goblin camp on the morrow.

16th of Gozran, 4712
I dishonoured myself yesterday. I allowed myself to be taken down by the goblins with me unable to even strike a blow against any of them. Mr. Hirato is a very honourable man and an extremely proficient fighter. I owe him a great debt as he saved my life once more. I am afraid I will not be able to repay this debt.

We did collect 12 goblin ears for which the Sheriff was very grateful. As was Ameiko strangely enough. We were able to negotiate 300gp for the camps leader, however we are unable to procure crucial supplies that we need. Although I was able to buy myself a new shield.

On the morrow we journey to Old Megas the Marsh Witch’s house to see if we can either pay her for some potions or find some potions in the ruins of her home. I get the impression from Koya that she was old a long time ago.

It seems she was run out of town for creating alchemical potions. I argued with Koya about this as it is wrong for this town to run her out simply for being interested in alchemy. Koya still has a lot of growing up to do, perhaps her travelling abroad wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all.

18th of Gozran, 4712
I have done my best to stop arguing with Mishu Hirato. However he is a belligerent man and seems to contradict everything I say simply to be contrary. However I continue to make the effort in the hope he will stop.

We got to Old Megas’s home today, and as I feared she is dead. We were attacked by some strange manner of creature. I believe it may have been a direrat. Mr. Hirato conducted himself in a fairly peculiar manner. He was afraid of this direrat. We did find a map with two shipwrecks clearly marked on it.

We argued about if we should go to the goblins first or if we should check out the shipwrecks. Hirato is interested in naught but looting these relics. He is ignoring the fact that we need to wipe out this vermin before it launches a retaliatory strike against the people of Sandpoint. We will discuss it in the morning.

19th of Gozran, 4712
We were attacked last night by goblins on Teotos’s watch. Both he and Mr. Hirato went down like a tonne of bricks. I was able to recover some of my lost honour in destroying two of the goblins and saving both their lives. Alas Hirato’s weaponry were both stolen by the goblins. Thankfully he is now hell bent on killing them and retrieving his ancestral weapon.

I can sympathise with him and I feel bad for being happy that his weapon was stolen by the goblins. However it has forced him to rearrange his priorities. First we return to Sandpoint where I can revive the wizard. Then we slay that vermin.

20th of Gozran, 4712
Hirato agreed to hand over the map to the Sherriff to be copied by a local cartographer. I felt this was a mistake but I was able to quickly chime in and register our legal claim to the historical sites on the map. The Sheriff concerned about our motivations, but I assured him that the state would have first rights of refusal for any items that could have their legal owner identified.

We leave tomorrow for the goblins.

22nd of Gozran, 4712
My honour is reclaimed. We slayed the goblin chief and the last remaining lackeys he had. It was a team effort with Teotos pulling his fair share of the weight. I have never seen a wizard adapt so quickly to the rigours of combat.

We were also able to reclaim Mitsuhirato’s ancestral weapon. I feel the debt I owed him is now repaid. I will need to send word back home to ensure these deeds are recorded in the Book of Grudges.

24th of Gozran, 4712
Mitsuhirato did not comport himself in the manner that is befitting an honourable person. He sliced off the ear of the chief in an attempt to get an extra 10 gold pieces. I feel we had a verbal contract with the sherriff and that to do as Hirato did is a mistake.

I am going to relax for the next few days and also purchase a new greataxe.

26th of Gozran, 4712
We have sent word to get a wand of cure light wounds shipped to us. But more importantly I have received my Greataxe. It have named it Wut Zon. I have also given Koya a map of the Brinestump Marsh. When I mentioned we had it I just had to hand it over. For the first time since Niska’s death I saw Koya smile. I plan to give her the fan with the map as well. I shall have the local cartographer duplicate the Sherriff’s copy of the Brinestump Marsh on it and also fill in the new details from the fan map.

30th of Gozran, 4712
We have left Sandpoint once more to brave the Brinestump marsh. We are going to the first shipwreck where I hope to start recovering any valuable goods within.

1st of Desnus, 4712
We arrived at the first shipwreck. It was called the Kaijitsu Blossom. Unfortunately there was nothing to be recovered. But as we feared, there were animate skeletons contained within. We have taken their rusty weapons which Mishuhirato informs me are called Wakizashis. Teotos has agreed to repair them.

Tomorrow we start heading out to the other ship.

2nd of Desnus, 4712
The second ship was called the Kaijitsu Star. There was no treasure here either. I know some of these skeletons have treasure about, a couple of weeks ago I spotted tracks and it was littered with golden coins. They must be hiding in the cave. That is the only possible explanation.

I have been seeing The Bog Marsh Monster chasing us since our first day in the marsh. However he has not attacked and we have certainly had times when were extremely vulnerable. I suspect he is a friendly hermit. I think he might be looking for company, but I cannot take that risk at this stage.

3rd of Desnus, 4712
We felled the remaining skeletal warriors. I was able to save Hirato’s life and destroy it with my morningstar. The skeleton and Hirato kept yelling at each other about something. I was unaware that skeletons could even talk.

We are now on our way back to Sandpoint.

6th of Desnus, 4712
I spoke with Koya and have given her the fan map. She didn’t seem to be particularly grateful. I was rather intrigued by this item myself. I cannot help but wonder who drew this map. Why did they draw it? Who did they draw it for? Alas, such questions are unlikely to be answered.

We will be leaving for Brinewall soon. I fear that Koya will want to come along. Normally I wouldn't begrudge her this, but I am fearful of us needing to flee as we're chased out of town. I will try to convince her to stay, but I may need to enlist Hirato's and Teotos' help in guarding her during the trip.

Out of Character:
So our GM had us rolling reflex saves at each bridge because I was approaching them with particular fear given their poorly made construction and that they were wooden. So we would spend half an hour on each bridge just to get across.

When we got the Walthus's home we all failed to spot that he wasn't Walthus. But he was wounded, so as a cleric I offered to heal him. I hadn't brought enough waterskins with me so I was dehydrated. In order to ascertain how safe his water was to drink I needed to get water to clean his wound.

The GM had him take a minute to get it for me (as he was unfamiliar with the kitchen). During this time I was carefully laying out my healer's kit when Hirato asked if I was getting warm water. I said good point and when he returned with a bucket of water I informed Walthus I needed a kettle to boil it in (at this point completely unaware of anything suspicious).

I resumed getting out my supplies and Walthus took another minute to find a kettle, during which time Hirato got suspicious. When Walthus returned Hirato declared this wasn't Walthus's home and that he was a squatter. At which point we rolled initiative.

I was flat-footed and closest to Walthus. I went down to sneak before I got to even act (10 HP). The others were able to kill him though. If it wasn't for the fact I was tracking food and water that I was consuming, I would have healed the creature and then left. Hooray for accidentally ruining the GMs plans!

In the goblin village we were planning on just rampaging around and triggering all the encounters at once (we didn't see any other way). I was going to get super buffed at the gates. However my dwarf immediately became suspicious as there were no goblin children in the yard. We slowly started making our way through the huts. We finally found them, they got a surprise round on me. They then went first in initiative. I went down into negatives once more. The others had to kill the goblins (with Walthus's help) before we retreated, having only searched half the town.

Thankfully I stopped dropping every single fight after that and started contributing.

Our GM was impressed that I was able to work out how to boost my relationship with Koya however I feel he telegraphed it quite a bit. I went to her, was telling her about what I've been doing. The exact manner in which I gave her a map of Brinestump Marsh is unclear, but I think the GM gave me a pretty solid hint. But perhaps I'm just more intuitive then I thought.

Funnily enough a quirk of my character given he's a trader is that he is interested in maps. The OoC reason for this is that I know we're going to Tian and it makes sense for my trader to want to document how to get there. I have no ranks in knowledge (geography) or survival so I will be forced to ask NPCs to help me with this endeavour so I can give it to my family so we can start trading in weapons to and from Tian. I love that this just so happens to be a common interest with Koya.

We finished at 2 in the morning so we handwaved the return to town. As such the final two entries are going to be expanded after next session when we actually roleplay returning to town.

All in all, fun was had by all. My current relationship scores are:
* Ameiko: 2
* Koya: 3
* Shelaleu: -2

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I started building my character 3 days ago and started playing it yesterday. It was very impromptu decision to run this campaign right now.

I am playing Rogar, son of Odol of the Ghalkin Clan (dwarf cleric 15. No archetypes or prestige classes planned at this stage).

In Pathfinder I have 10 characters, 8 of which are human. The reasons are three fold:
1) Most areas are human centric so I keep making human characters so I can hail from that region and embody it's unique culture.
2) +2 to any stat of your choice is really good (I see no reason to play a half-orc given they are socially ostracized and I like to play characters that can participate in social encounters).
3) An extra bonus feat is so amazing as this edition is quite feat intensive for most classes. I sometimes take hilarious feats such as "cosmopolitan."

So playing a dwarf is out of my comfort zone. Playing a Charisma 5 character is well and truly out of my comfort zone. This is the first time a Charisma 5 character has actually been legal. I cannot bluff, I have 0 ranks in it and a -3 modifier. I do have max ranks in Diplomacy, netting me a +2 in it at level 2.

I've started to become concerned that I'm relying too much on humans +2 to any stat and bonus feat. So I'm trying to force myself to play different races more (it doesn't help there's only 7 races legal for PFS play and 3 of them have the +2 to any stat of your choice boost).

I am enjoying being 107 years old. I am enjoying having bonuses in very specific circumstances.

Rogar's Background
Rogar is the the third son of a dwarven merchant Clan who are weapons traders. His family waited until the eldest child had a couple of children and then shipped me off to become a priest of Angradd. This nets them some prestige for giving up such a valuable commodity to a church. However it also stops me from being a drain on the family's resources.

I am 107 years of age and my family has been trading through Sandpoint for quite some time. I have the "friend of the family" trait with Koya. Initially I was going to be a best friend to Ameiko but one of my players who has the potential to romance her requested I pick a different NPC as that was the NPC he chose. Not wanting us to all have the same NPC as our "significant other" I chose Koya for three reasons:
1) I wanted perception as a class skill.
2) She's 60 years old, there was no chance of our player wanting to romance her. Given I'm a dwarf I have no potential to romance any of the NPCs so it seemed like a good choice.
3) I'm 107, she's 60. I love the fact I get to call her "young lady" and be somewhat protective but patronizing towards her (Charisma 5 for the win!).

Given I had a starting relationship score with Koya of 1 I decided that I was very good friends with her mother. I first met Niska when I was 13 years old. I was friendly with Koya but I always considered myself an unofficial "Uncle Rogar" to young Koya. After all, I was 47 for her very first birthday. An adult by that point. For the past 20 years I've been studying to become an ordained priest of Angradd and so the last time I saw Koya was when she was 40 years old. I have corresponded quite a bit during the last 20 years with Niska.

Upon becoming ordained I immediately travelled to Sandpoint as I was concerned for Niska's health based on how she had been talking in our letters back and forth. I arrived a few days before she died and have been keeping an eye on Koya to make sure she is handling her grief well and is taking care of herself.

Rogar's Catch Phrases
I don't normally have catch phrases with my characters. But I had 2 days prep time to make this character so I am relying on this crutch for the time being.

1) "Have a sandwich! You look like you're about to faint." "Have a sandwich! I could snap you in two without even trying." - This is one of the ways in which I am playing out my Charisma 5. I am genuinely concerned for all of these frail humans. Especially Koya. They look like they're about to pass out and waste away to nothing."

2) "I bloody hate goblins!" - It's true because I have a hatred for goblins. Especially the goblins that blinded me, forced me to fall off my horse and then have it bolt away with them chasing it. (I didn't have enough starting coin to buy one).

3) "Now look here, young lady..." - Whenever Koya and I disagree on something.

Rogar's Memorable Moments
Koya: You don't even know how old I am.
Rogar: Excuse me, young lady! I was there for your very first birthday. I know exactly how old you are!

The Rest of the Party
We have a Varisian wizard called Teotos (Wizard X/Loremaster Y) who graduated from the Acadamae at Korvosa. He took a campaign trait related to Shalelu.

We have a Tian Fighter 1/Sorcerer 4/Dragon Disciple X/Something else Y called Mitsuhirato Yaramoto. He has either a "childhood crush" or "hero worship" of Ameiko.

Party Roles
In the mindset of one of my players (and consequently my mindset as he taught me how to play 3.5e D&D) there are 4 party roles:
1) Front-line Fighter
2) Healer
3) Trap Disabler
4) Arcanist

Given we only have 3 characters we have filled these party roles thusly:
1) Rogar: Primary healer, secondary fighter (I was always going to be a secondary fighter as I have not seen a well made caster cleric that contributes as much to fights as a strength based cleric).
2) Mitsuhirato: Primary trap disabler, secondary fighter
3) Teotos: Primary arcanist, secondary nothing (as it should be).

Here is my take on the Eberron races. I found it interesting how my thinking differed from John Templeton's and would appreciate any feedback (I was less willing to tweak the rules as John did).

Changeling Racial Traits
+2 Charisma and +2 Dexterity: Changelings are natural chameleons, able to blend in wherever they go.
Medium: Changelings are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties to their size.
Normal Speed: Changelings have a base speed of 30 feet.
Change Shape (Sp): Changelings can transform into small or medium creatures as the Alter Self spell.
Integrated: Changelings receive a +1 bonus on Bluff, Disguise and Knowledge (local) checks.
Languages: Changelings begin play speaking Common. Changelings with a High Intelligence score can also select Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Gnome, Halfling, Orc and Rierdran.

Changeling Creation Costs:

Type: Humanoid (0 RP)
Size: Medium (0 RP)
Base Speed: Normal (0 RP)
Ability Score: Flexible Modifiers (2 RP)
Language Trait: Standard Array (1 RP)
Magical Racial Abilities: Change Shape (6 RP)
Skill and Feat Abilities: Integrated (1 RP)

Total: 10 RP

Kalashtar Racial Traits
+2 Wisdom and +2 Charisma: Kalashtar minds are strengthened by the merging of quori and human psyches.
Medium: Kalashtar are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties to their size.
Normal Speed: Kalashtar have a base speed of 30 feet.
Adaptability: Kalashtar receive Skill Focus as a bonus feat.
Dreamspeaker: Members of this race gain a +1 bonus to the saving throw DCs of divine spells and spells that produce sleep effects that they cast. In addition, if a member of this race has a Charisma of 15 or higher, it may use dream once per day as a spell-like ability (with a caster level equal to the individual’s character level).
Dual Minded: +2 on all Will saving throws.
Integrated: Kalashtar gain a +1 bonus on Bluff, Disguise and Knowledge (local) checks.
Sociable: When Kalashtar attempt to change a creature’s attitude with a Diplomacy check and fail by 5 or more, they can try to influence the creature a second time even if 24 hours have not passed.
Languages: Kalashtar begin play speaking Common and Quor. Kalashtar with a High Intelligence score can also choose any languages they want (except secret languages, Such such as Druidic).

Kalashtar Creation Costs:

Type: Humanoid (quori, human) (0 RP)
Size: Medium (0 RP)
Base Speed: Normal (0 RP)
Ability Score: Flexible Modifiers (2 RP)
Language Trait: Linguist Array (2 RP)
Defense Racial Abilities: Dual Minded (1 RP)
Magical Racial Abilities: Dreamspeaker (2 RP)
Skill and Feat Abilities: Adaptability (1 RP)
Skill and Feat Abilities: Integrated (1 RP)
Skill and Feat Abilities: Sociable (1 RP)

Total Cost: 10 RP

Shifter Racial Traits
+4 Dexterity, -2 Intelligence and -2 Charisma: Shifters can be rather bestial, a holdover of their lycanthropic heritage.
Medium: Shifters are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties to their size.
Low-Light Vision: Shifters can see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light.
Animalistic Heritage: +2 racial bonus to Acrobatics and Climb skill checks.
Language: Shifters begin play speaking Common. Shifters with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Elven, Gnome, Halfling, Orc and Sylvan
Bloodline Trait: Shifters begin play with one of the following traits, owing to her bloodline:

  • Beasthide: Shifters of the Beasthide bloodline receive a +2 natural armour bonus.
  • Longtooth: Shifters of the Longtooth bloodline receive a natural bite attack that deals 1d4 points of piercing damage. This is a primary attack or a secondary attack if the shifter uses manufactured weapons.
  • Cliffwalk: Shifters of the Cliffwalk bloodline receive a climb sped of 20 feet, gaining the usual +8 racial bonus on climb skill checks. In addition the shifter also receives a +2 racial bonus to their CMD against bull rush or trip attempts while standing on the ground.
  • Razorclaw: Shifters of the Razorclaw bloodline receive 2 claw attacks that deal 1d4 points of damage. These are primary natural attacks.
  • Longstrider: Shifters of the Longstrider bloodline receive +20 feet bonus to their base speed, gaining the usual +8 racial bonus to acrobatics on jump skill checks.

Shifter Creation Cost:

Type: Humanoid (shifter) (0 RP)
Size: Medium (0 RP)
Base Speed: Normal (0 RP)
Ability Score: Paragon Modifiers (-2 RP)
Ability Score: Advanced Wisdom (4 RP)
Language Trait: Standard Array (1 RP)
Senses: Low-light Vision (1 RP)
Skill and Feat: Skill Bonus (2 RP)
Skill and Feat: Skill Bonus (2 RP)
Shifter Bloodline (2 RP)
  • Beasthide - Natural Armor (2 RP)
  • Longtooth - 2xBite (2 RP)
  • Cliffwalk - Climb (1 RP), Stability (1 RP)
  • Razorclaw - Claws (2 RP)
  • Longstrider - 2xFast (2 RP)

Total Cost: 10 RP

Warforged Racial Traits
+2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma: Warforged were created as machines for war and as such have trouble relating to people.
Medium: Warforged are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties to their size.
Normal Speed: Warforged have a base speed of 30 feet.
Living Construct: Warforged do not eat, breath or sleep. They can benefit from potions and need only refrain from mental or physical exertions in order to benefit from the benefits of sleep such as prepared spells.
Hardy: Warforged get receive a +2 bonus on saving throws against disease, mind-affect effects, poison and effects that cause either fatigue or exhaustion.
Destruction: Warforged cannot be raised or resurrected.
Living Weapon: Warforged have a slam attack that deals 1d4 points of bludgeoning damage.
Languages: Warforged begin play speaking Common. Warforged with High Intelligence scores can choose any language they want (except secret languages, such as Druidic).

Warforged Creation Cost:

Type: Half-Construct (7 RP)
Size: Medium (0 RP)
Base Speed: Normal (0 RP)
Ability Score: Standard (0 RP)
Language Trait: Linguist Array (2 RP)
Offense: Natural Attack (1 RP)

Total Cost: 10 RP

I realise there's quite a few threads about artificer archetypes, but they all seem dedicated to one specific way of doing it. This approach is rather different than all the others and I'd be interested in hearing what people think.

Artificer (Alchemist Archetype)
Artificers are the ultimate tinkerers. They specialise in using magic to enhance the abilities of constructs.

Alchemy (Su): This behaves like the alchemy class feature except for extracts. Extracts are like spells but in potion form which allows their effects to be dispelled by effects like dispel magic using the artificer’s level as the caster level. Unlike potions, an artificer’s extracts can only affect constructs, although they can have powerful effects and duplicate spells that a potion normally could not.

An artificer can create only a certain number of extracts of each level per day. His base daily allotment of extracts is given on Table 2–1 from the Advanced Player’s Guide. In addition, he receives bonus extracts per day if he has a high Intelligence score, in the same way a wizard receives bonus spells per day.

When an artificer mixes an extract, he infuses the chemicals and reagents in the extract with magic siphoned from his own magical aura. An artificer’s extracts can normally only affect constructs. An extract, once created, remains potent for 1 day before becoming inert, so an artificer must re-prepare his extracts every day. Mixing an extract takes 1 minute of work—most artificers prepare many extracts at the start of the day or just before going on an adventure, but it’s not uncommon for an artificer to keep some (or even all) of his daily extract slots open so that he can prepare extracts in the field as needed.

Although the artificer doesn’t actually cast spells, he does have a formulae list that determines what extracts he can create. An alchemist can utilize spell-trigger items if the spell appears on his formulae list, but not spell-completion items (unless he uses Use Magic Device to do so). An extract is “cast” by applying it, as if applying an oil — the effects of an extract exactly duplicate the spell upon which its formula is based, save that the spell always affects only the construct that has had the oil applied to. The artificer uses his level as the caster level to determine any effect based on caster level.

Creating extracts consumes raw materials, but the cost of these materials is insignificant—comparable to the valueless material components of most spells. If a spell normally has a costly material component, that component is expended during the application of that particular extract. Extracts cannot be made from spells that have focus requirements (artificer extracts that duplicate divine spells never have a divine focus requirement).

An artificer can prepare an extract of any formula he knows. To learn or use an extract, an alchemist must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 10 + the extract’s level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against an artificer’s extract is 10 + the extract level + the artificer’s Intelligence modifier.

An artificer may know any number of formulae. He stores his formulae in a special tome called a formula book. He must refer to this book whenever he prepares an extract but not when he consumes it. An alchemist begins play with two 1stlevel formulae of his choice, plus a number of additional formulae equal to his Intelligence modifier. At each new artificer level, he gains one new formula of any level that he can create. An artificer can also add formulae to his book just like a wizard adds spells to his spellbook, using the same costs and time requirements. An artificer can study a wizard’s spellbook to learn any formula that is equivalent to a spell the spellbook contains. A wizard, however, cannot learn spells from a formula book. An artificer does not need to decipher arcane writings before copying them.

Trapfinding (Ex): An artificer adds 1/2 his level to Perception checks to locate traps and Disable Device checks (minimum +1). An artificer can use Disable Device to disarm magical traps. When determining the ability of an artificer to deal with locks or traps, treat his alchemist levels as rogue levels. This ability replaces the Brew Potion bonus feat.

Mutagen (Su): This functions exactly as the mutagen ability except it only works on constructs.

Discoveries: An artificer may take the following rogue talents as discoveries: quick disable, trap sense and trap spotter. Treat the artificer’s alchemist level as his rogue level for these talents.

New Discoveries
Versatile extracts: Extracts that can normally only be applied to constructs can also be applied to living creatures.

Self-Forged (Ex): The artificer starts experimenting on himself, replacing parts of his body with artificial analogues. The artificer counts as a construct for the purposes of his class features. Furthermore when a critical hit or sneak attack is scored on the alchemist, there is a 25% chance that the critical hit or sneak attack is negated and damage is instead rolled normally. This does not stack with similar abilities that negate critical hits and sneak attacks (such as fortification armor). An alchemist can take this discovery up to three times; the effects stack, increasing this chance to 50% and then 75%.

Warforged (Ex): The artificer has mastered his self experimentation and can finally replace his final organs with artificial counterparts, turning himself into a living construct. After learning this discovery, the artificer must spend 30-days constructing the final organs to place into his own body. At the end of this time he falls undergoes a painful surgery to put into place these final components at which time he falls unconscious for 24 hours. Upon awakening he is a living construct. The artificer’s type does not change, but he becomes immune to fatigue, exhaustion, nausea, paralysis, and sleep effects. An alchemist must be at least 10th level and must have the self-forged discovery before selecting this discovery.

Discussion of Archetype

  • Cannot apply extracts or mutagens to themselves. If there isn't a Warforged in the party then this means they simply cannot benefit from this class feature for an entire level and are then forced to take one of two discoveries so they can benefit from these abilities.


  • Can heal Warforged without any issue (depending on how you convert them this may not be possible normally).
  • Can apply mutagens to other PCs (assuming they're Warforged or count as constructs). This is an ability unique to the Artificer archetype, and I think it helps offset the fact they can't apply extracts or mutagens to themselves for 1 level.

What do people think? This is a rather minimalist approach and you might not see much of what the Artificer had in 3.5e (my archetype does get trapfinding!) I tried to keep to the spirit of the class.

I wanted my players' journey from Ravengro to Lepidstadt to actually be exciting. As such I've reworked the encounters in both Trial of the Beast and Broken Moon to allow my PCs to encounter an issue. And thus that brings us to, Clover's Crossing.

Here's some notes/backstory I've created on the town.

What happened at Clover's Crossing
This town has gone to hell. A fissure erupted beneath the Church of Pharasma 2 weeks ago and the townsfolk have been terrified ever since. They first thought there were bandits in the countryside when farmers’ livestock was going missing as were the farmers themselves. As such many of the farmers fled into Clover’s Crossing itself for safety in numbers. However a week later a fissure erupted beneath the temple of Pharasma. Now the townsfolk are s$&~-scared and don’t know where to go.

What actually happened was:

  • A professor heard about some ancient Kellid ruins in a cave west of Clover’s Crossing. With some students he went to excavate this site where he discovered an underground complex. There was a shrine to one of their post-Thassilonic deities as well as a mining operation. They haven’t told the local village as they know that people out in these parts are extremely superstitious and aren’t going to appreciate their vital research.
  • The professsor and his students began excavating further into the caves, discovering a large deposit of marvos.
  • They started clearing a collapsed tunnel when something from within burst out. It bit one of the students before running off.
  • The student is infected with ghoul fever.
  • For the first 3 days the student manages to potter on with the work. He doesn’t eat or drink very much and by the third day is quite weak and faint.
  • The student sleeps for a further 6 days, not feeling well and eating very little.
  • On the 9th day of his infection a witch is brought in to look at the student. She immediately realises that he has ghoul fever. She says that she knows not how to cure their friend and warns them that they should chop off his head and burn his body before scattering it across the river. Dismissing the old woman as a superstitious nutter, they send her away and continue to care for the student as best they can.
  • After 3 more days the student is dead. That day the rain is pouring down quite bad and there are actually flash floods. They wait a day before burying him.
  • The next morning they find the student among them. He’s quite animated, eating a lot and is back to his old self. Later that day they realise one of the female students is missing. They send out a search party for her and the ghoul student helps.
  • That night all of the students have been killed and it’s just the professor and the ghoul student. He easily overpowers the professor and kills him as well. That night 2 of the students and the professor rise as ghouls. They all feast on the remaining corpse for dinner.
  • They continue with their excavation, going out into the countryside to seek out food and water. Once the food source runs out they cause the ground directly below the church to collapse into a vast cavern below.
  • They’ve been raiding the village ever since. Those who are taken down into the complex below never return.

The cavern is filled with Lazurite. Here is the information on Lazurite in my campaign:
DC 15: Lazurite. It’s a rather rare gemstone that is mostly found in northern Garund. Its name comes from the Osirion term for the sky, alluding to its blue colour.
DC 20: It’s illegal to have this gemstone in quantities larger than a thumbnail. As such jewellery involving this gemstone isn’t carried by jewellers in Ustalav.

History (possibly only after determining its name)
DC 15: The Kellids considered Lazurite to be a holy stone, although they
DC 20: The Hallit term for Lazurite is Marvos which means dead. It was used as warpaint as it was said to contain properties that made warrior’s stronger and heartier.
DC 25: Knowledge on how to process the lazurite was secret to all except the tribe’s shaman. The chief would go to the Shaman and have to convince him to transform the lazurite into the special warpaint to ensure their victory in an upcoming battle. If the shaman agreed, he would demand to lead the warriors into battle instead of the chief who was left behind with the tribe’s elderly and young.

Religion (possible only after determining its name)
DC 10: Lazurite is illegal in Ustalav. It is highly valuable as a component in necromantic spells.
DC 15: Large deposits of lazurite causes the dead to rise as zombies.
DC 20: The dead actually rise as either ghasts or ghouls. These are a ravenous undead who are driven by a terrible hunger that never leaves them.
DC 25: Unbeknownst to most people Lazurite is extremely common in Ustalav. The Church of Pharasma has worked hard since the original founding of the Kingdom to ensure that large deposits of it were shunned and definitely not mined for economical advantages.

Here are the encounters I've constructed. Keep in mind my PCs are level 4.

CR 4: Dogs and children (1,200 XP)
1xGhoul Dog – statistically same as a normal ghoul (400 XP)
4xGhoul Children – small ghoul (800 XP)

This should be an easy combat for them. It's largely atmospheric and to compel the PCs further on into the chasm.

CR 6: Patrol of Ghouls (2,400 XP)
1xGhoul Expert 5 (800 XP)
3 Ghouls Warrior 3 (1,800 XP)

This should make the PCs take notice and realise this isn't going to just be all dogs and children. That some of the ghouls down here represent a very real threat.

CR 6: The Cleric's laboratory (1,600 XP)
1 Ghoul Expert 3 (600 XP)
2 Ghouls Commoner 3 (1,200 XP)

Human slaves are kept in cages. The expert was once an academic at Lepidstadt university. He turned to religion and became a cleric of pharasma before coming to Clover's Crossing. Now that he's a ghoul Pharasma has forsaken him and he's lost his levels in cleric.

He is seeking a cure to being a ghoul and believes it lies in the properties of Lazurite. He feasts on the brains of his fellow villagers to help him in his research. He's gone completely insane, but still wears his cleric's vestments and holy symbol.

CR 7: Kellid Ruins Research (3,200 XP)
1xGhast Wizard 6 (1,600 XP)
3 Ghouls Commoner 3 (1,800 XP)

What do people think? Do these encounters seem balanced? The PCs will have an opportunity to sleep before fighting the CR 7 as the wizard is engrossed in his research. Do the fights seem not hard enough?

Any suggestions on possible changes?

I asked my players to not be jerks and they agreed not to create a necromancer wizard whose sole tactic is to throw the baddies at each other.

I did 1 round of by the book tactics which caused my PCs to disregard him as a threat. I then took down the healer with an AoO with my corrupting touch. I then almost took down the sorcerer with all my magic missiles aimed squarely at him (darn sorcerer was quite hardy). That's when they took the fight seriously.

I gave my PCs a chance to work out Splatterman's fears and tactics by using sense motive. I felt this was fair, and it tipped them off on how to defeat him (rip the pages from the book). Also the PC who had the spellbook also had shield running. I wanted to give them a chance to work out what was going on, rather than assume the GM was being a jerk and refusing to aim magic missiles at the one PC that was shielded.

After they passed their sense motive and started taking him seriously, they proceeded to rip ALL the pages from the book dealing quite a bit of damage. They were surprised after the game when I mentioned how many hit points he had.

Mort the Cleverly Named wrote:
Frankly, given the way Pathfinder works, a Rogue is never vital like 2e Thieves, or even 3e Rogues were. Anyone can find any trap, and disable any mechanical one. Rogues just get a small (and not unique) bonus to it.

The traps are going to pose a problem, but anyone can find them and your party should be able to move around most of them (with some resources expended and clever thinking).

If you feel uncomfortable with that (and with possibly toning down or removing some of the traps) have your fighter go Ranger (Trapfinder) 1 / Fighter 13. He'll have full BAB progression, get trapfinding as well as a couple of weird Ranger class features.

Thanks in advance (this is as close to my submission as possible. I think I made a couple of minor changes just before I hit submit).

Dead Man's Mirror
Aura faint necromancy; CL 5th
Slot -; Price 14,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.
A handheld mirror with a small bowl affixed to its base, this mirror is a favorite among agents of the Sleepless Agency who utilize it during murder investigations. When an eyeball from a corpse is placed into the bowl, the mirror displays the last thing the creature saw before it died. This image remains until the eye is removed from the bowl. Placing the eye back into the bowl causes the image to reappear.
Craft Wondrous Item, speak with dead; Cost 7,000 gp

Crimson Sword wrote:
And the flesh golem that's being lend around the house, all the doors are one tile large! I suppose the gate house could be larger but the house proper, the golem might have to be shrunk to a really big medium creature or the house might have a love of double doors....

that's a great point and all the justification I need to increase the size as I see fit.

NOTE: This contains spoilers for my campaign. If you're one of my players please don't continue reading.

So I'm running my very first Pathfinder Adventure Path and my players are 4th level and traveling from one location to another. While I could just roll on a random encounter table a few times, I hate doing that. While once or twice it helps serve a purpose for the story, ultimately it comes off as very unsatisfying for me.

So I wanted to throw some orcs at them, specifically a Belkzen raiding party. Thing is, I've never made NPCs under a 3.5e system before, so I've got some questions about ability scores.

If I was making a human NPC would I just create it as I would a PC (with the option to use NPC class levels) when it comes to ability scores? Would I employ a 15 point buy and create the NPC like that? Or should I use a stat array?

Second question is: If I'm making orc NPCs, should I just advance the Orc Warrior 1 from the Bestiary? Or would it not be unusual to instead make my own Orc Warriors using my own ability scores?

I'm just looking at the stats and I can't work out how these stats were generated.

Do people think it would unrealistic to double most rooms in size? I prefer a realism over convenience, but if the combats can't be played through due to size of the monsters (not including size of enlarged PCs) that's an issue.

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Rob McCreary wrote:
The adventure is designed so that the trial can take up as much space and time as your group would like. It is mandatory in that it is the background for the entire adventure, but it can be reduced to just a few skill rolls each day in between investigating and fighting. OTOH, if your group wants to roleplay out the trial, it can be expanded to allow that too.

I will be expanding it as this is similar to a scene in another campaign which half my players were there for and enjoyed.

As such I will be having the PCs acting as barristers and investigators. Although first

They’ll have to convince the Beast to accept them as his solicitors and to put in a plea of not guilty. This will be one of the greatest challenges they face in this case. The Beast has been reading the Bone Lands in a Spiral and believes he is an abomination. One of our players is an Oracle of Pharasma so he may be inclined to agree at first, but will eventually be the key to convincing the Beast to accept life and embrace it.

Otherwise if they fail to do this before the court case, they can act as his solicitors and stall for time as they try to convince him to change his plea.

When they make their motion in court to become the Beast's barristers, they will make the current lawyer quite angry. He remains on counsel and getting paid, but only if the PCs forfeit their court appointed pay. Otherwise he'll object strenuously to getting thrown off and have the support of the prosecutor.

After they're hired on a solicitor will approach them and ask the players if they truly believe their client is innocent. When they say yes, he will chuckle and offer them some advice:
1. Get all the papers and work off the Beast’s current solicitor and then tell him he doesn't need to do anything until the court proceedings start. He’s only in it for the money and will simply get in the way of the PCs.
2. Hire a private investigator. Don’t concentrate on just the evidence, but look into the witnesses. Find ways to discredit them (one of my PCs is a member of the Sleepless Agency and so this is a chance for him to shine).
3. Hire someone who actually knows the ins and outs of the courtroom.

At that last point he smiles at them and then simply walks off. The PCs will have the opportunity to engage in his services.

The Barrister will offer the following suggestions:
• Don’t have anyone acting as a solicitor that you might want to call as a witness. All solicitors must be registered and cannot give testimony in court.
• Get a scholar’s outfit for each of the solicitors. You’re expected to have one when acting as a barrister.
• Stall, stall and stall. Ask to bring in expert witnesses from afar. Do everything you can to stall for time while the investigation takes place.
• Investigate all of the witnesses. Ask for anything that might discredit them.
• Go to the crime scenes and see what evidence can be discovered.
• Among solicitors there’s a term called “Plan B” which involves pinning the crime on someone else. It isn’t important who did the crime, as long as the jury believes it wasn’t your client.
• If you can, investigate the jury. This can help tell you where their sympathies lie. Do they have any biases? If so, these can be exploited in the courtroom.
• In the courtroom don’t object to what the prosecutor says or does unless you absolutely have to. It makes juries think you have something to hide.
• If you’re desperate, bribe the jury. Plant evidence that discredits one of them. If you manage to get three jury members thrown off the panel then that will result in a mistrial.
• Do not use magic in the courtroom. Use it in your investigations, but you need to either trick the witness or present evidence in court. You cannot call in experts who testify to using magics which would impinge on someone’s personal freedoms. Detect Evil and Detect Lies cannot be presented as evidence in a court case.
• The barrister will not act as a barrister in court, but will simply be in the public stands. He claims it’s because he’s retired and doesn’t want his reputation tarnished.
• If you can't win the jury over, make them hate the prosecutor.

The purpose of the friendly barrister is to give the PCs the chance to ask any questions about court proceedings that they might have. The PCs may also fall into a few traps where they think they need to prove the beast is innocent, get caught up only making knowledge checks and generally not treat this like a courtroom, instead treating it like a 4th ed skill challenge.

I also plan on having the prosecutor basically testify via questions. Stuff like "Now Mr. Prosecutors Witness. Is it not true that you're sole old grandma saw the defendent carrying some corpses from the local graveyard? And upon seeing this she clutched her chest falling to the ground crying out in pain and you rant to her side to hear her dying decleration of The Beast. The Beast is back?"

I don't want the PCs complaining about the prosecutor leading the witness because I don't want to have to do a back and forth with witnesses and the prosecution, doing different funny voices each time. If the PCs don't object then he gets to do a narrative with his questions. However this does allow the PCs to do the exact same thing when they question a witness.

I'm basing the courtroom off Australia's legal system and courtroom setup due to the fact that the Palatinates are still loyal to the crown despite being democracies (much like Canada and Australia).

Is there any other advice or possible actions the PCs could make that I've failed to take into consideration?

Also, what are some delaying motions they could make? I want the PCs to have as much time as they feel they need to do the investigation portion of the mod. They can delay:
* DC 10: 2 days
* DC 15: 4 days
* DC 20: 6 days
* DC 25: 9 days

to get caught up on the case. But what's some more motions they could put forth? I'm thinking:
* Sentiency test. The creature must be sentient to stand trial. But is he truly sentient? Or does he simply mimic intelligence? This can give them 2 to 3 days more delay if they think of it.

I can also use the barrister to suggest some of these if they're really struggling. As in the case is about to start and they've done NO investigation.

Steel_Wind wrote:
A clue/evidence based adventure where the real "fun" of the adventure is figuring out how the clues all fit to reveal the truth is seriously undermined by DCs for finding the clues which are much too high to be practically accessible to a 4th level party at anything approaching a reliably good chance.

That's another reason for me to change the adventure to emphasise the trial. It gives the PCs alternate avenues. If they don't meet the DCs, they still stand a good chance at winning the trial.

Brodyz wrote:

This is a letter my group found in the Living Museum near the mummy. Just another way to tie the campaign together:

My Dear Count,
I have enjoyed our most recent discourse on the nature of the spontaneous creation of certain types of undead. In my many years of study on the subject, I have also attempted to discern the secrets from my own study of Osirian remains, those hulking mummies so prevalent in that desert environ. Perhaps when I travel back to the north country I will regale you with stories of my exploits in that dusty land. It has been a long time since I have enjoyed your company in person. Although I have grown greatly from the student I once was, the time I shared with you and Petros in study and event disagreement is one I shall always cherish.
However, I digress from the purpose of this current missive. Some retainers of mine have business in Lepidstadt in the coming weeks, and I was hoping to impose upon your intellect and unique point of view. They will be carrying a rather curious Tome, and I would love to have your learned opinion of it. If it is not too much of an imposition, please expect visitors toward the end of the month.
Adivion Adrissant

Since his endgame is so close, he is not worried about offending the Count by having his agents take control of the Beast and lock up the count.

Ooooh! This gives me an idea

Adivion Adrissant is a member of the Esoteric Order of the Palantine Eye.

He has an Exhibition doing the rounds of Osirion Goods. He funded an expedition into Northern Garund and now these goods are travelling throughout the major cities of Ustalav and was planning on being shown throughout the entire Inner Sea. Adrissant is rather busy so he isn't personally overseeing the exhibition. But instead has a curator overseeing it with Adrissant's name prominantly mentioned.

Unfortunately my PCs didn't get to meet Adrissant in Haunting of Harrowstone because they didn't attend the service after the funeral very much. So this would be a great way to have him mentioned, if not seen.

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