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Gremlin, Pugwampi

John Mangrum's page

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber. 350 posts. No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist.


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I've sorta stymied myself with a fairly simple question here: Can Medium characters wield Small crossbows? I've gone looking and found a fair amount of discussion on the reverse (characters wielding crossbows sized for larger users), but nothing on this. The issue I'm getting stuck on is that crossbows are generally two-handed weapons, but can be wielded one-handed, so I can work my way to either a "yes" or "no" answer with equal parts certainty and hesitation.

Here's the answers I've tentatively settled on for now; tell me your thoughts.

Hand & Light Crossbow: When wielded one-handed, both of these weapons are treated as light weapons, so my inclination is that these weapons are too small to be used by a larger wielder.

Heavy Crossbow: When wielded one-handed, this weapon is treated as a one-handed weapon, so perhaps it's possible, treating it as a light weapon?

Either way, regardless of size, I'm confident that you always need to use two hands to load a crossbow regardless of how small it might be.

If anyone's curious, I'm running a variant version of Sewer Dragons of Absalom as a home game, and the question arose when it came to looting some height-challenged baddies.


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Matthew Boehland wrote:

Having just bought most of the Adventure Paths, player's companions, and campaign settings in a short time, I researched to see which supplements were relevant to each adventure path.

Just looking for feedback and addendum for the lists I came up with. These list are not made with any expertise, I mostly just know Rise of the Runelords. I've come up with this information mainly by looking at PLayer's Guide for each AP, and at the descriptions of each supplement.

I did not list the obvious things that have the name of the adventure path in the product title (item cards, face cards, map folios, pawns).

Legacy of Fire:
Dark Markets, A Guide to Katapesh

Tangential, but 4 of the 10 creatures covered in Mythical Monsters Revisited turn up in Legacy of Fire, and one of the example creatures is a potentially significant NPC from the AP.

Matthew Boehland wrote:
Serpent's Skull:

Also Heart of the Jungle.

Matthew Boehland wrote:

Supplements that seem like they might be useful for a particular Adventure Path, but I'm not sure:

Cities of Golarion

Handy for Reign of Winter, and much more tangentially for Serpent's Skull, as background material for potential PCs and a major faction in that AP.

Matthew Boehland wrote:
City of Strangers (Kaer Maga)

Shattered Star.

Matthew Boehland wrote:
Lands of the Linnorm Kings (for Reign of Winter?)

Handy for Jade Regent, actually.

Matthew Boehland wrote:
Towns of the Inner Sea

Solku is handy to have if players in Legacy of Fire stretch their legs (it's also the home town of a handful of NPCs).


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Halfway through Legacy of Fire, I've had three fatalities, but the only one that was permanent was a semi-planned event.

Name: Erryou
Race: Gnoll
Class: Rogue 3/Barbarian 3 (no racial HD)
Adventure: House of the Beast
Where: The Carrion King's harem
Catalyst: The Carrion King

Erryou the gnoll had been on a dark path since the days of the Kelmarane Expedition, a gnoll-hating gnoll recruited to act as a sword arm or an envoy between the Expedition and the Kulldis, whichever turned out to be more prudent. Since that time, particularly since likely siring a litter of whelps with a Lamashtu priestess (half-mad wife of the Kulldis' slain chief) he'd developed a brooding temper, his alignment had shifted from LE to NE, and it was well known in Kelmarane that he was the muscle backing up Undrella's black market. When Erryou pieced together that the Carrion King was the same giant gnoll who'd slaughtered his pack and sold him into slavery as a whelp, Erryou took Zayifid's warning of coming war as a personal mission to slay the Carrion King, seize the Carrion Tribes, and drive them into a mutually destructive war against the Sandstalkers.

But in truth, what really sealed Erryou's fate was that in between wrapping up Howl of the Carrion King and starting House of the Beast, Erryou's player changed jobs and could no longer participate in the game. Everyone knew Erryou's time was limited; the question was whether he'd go out in a blaze of glory or "go native" and turn on the other PCs.

When the PCs infiltrated the House of the Beast via the Mountain's Maw, they wore themselves down through a serious of encounters, most recently having battled a massive spider whose venom had left the party ranger weak as a kitten. Looking for somewhere to hide before the gnolls noticed their incursion and raised the alarm, they slipped down a web-choked, seemingly abandoned staircase. At the bottom, they found a sealed stone door, and the party cleric, Jaali, used stone shape. This popped the tired party out directly into the Carrion King's harem, where he was busy enjoying himself with his wives.

Suffice to say, neither party was terribly happy about this chance meeting, and both sides leaped to the offense. With the ranger in bad shape, sidelined to taking on the king's wives, Erryou found himself the only frontliner, holding the Carrion King back for round after round as the party alchemist and sorcerer hung back and pelted the warlord with bombs and magical cold, while Jaali kept pouring positive energy into Erryou to keep him going. Had the Carrion King managed to drop Erryou any sooner, he likely would have torn through the humans in the party like tissue paper, but alas, even giant gnoll warlords can last only so long when they spend an entire combat engulfed in flame. In his final round, the Carrion King (who had been rolling just awfully, I have to say), finally tore into Erryou with tooth and claw, ripping him open just before burning to death in turn.

With reinforcements already fighting their way in, the surviving heroes had only moments to grab whatever loot was in reach and flee. They left Erryou and the Carrion King's burning corpse lying together on the stone floor, their pools of blood merging into one.

Name: Jaali (but he got better)
Race: Human (Garundi)
Class: Cleric (evangelist) 8
Adventure: Broken Chains (being played in conjunction with The Jackal's Price)
Catalyst: The Midwife

I added Broken Chains into the AP, so this is a bit of a cheat, but: Jaali specializes in three things: Exceptional social skills, healing his allies, and summoning monsters to fight for him. Things he does not specialize in: Wearing armor, wielding weapons, or taking damage. Yet, sadly, as the heroes were hacking their way through a hidden temple of Lamashtu, the chaos of the fight briefly left Jaali wide open, with nothing standing between him and a monstrous spellcaster with a smite good burning a hole in her pocket. The Midwife charged Jaali and her kukris sliced him to ribbons. The priest was dead before he hit the ground, and without his healing to bolster the party, the remaining PCs found themselves hard-pressed to defeat the Midwife.

Fortunately, however, Jaali and the PCs happened to be exceptionally flush with cash at a time, and this took place on the far side of town from one of the largest temples to Abadar in northern Garund. After the heroes wrapped up the immediate issues facing them, they left a PC, Hollistan, and a cohort, Hollistan's sister Haleen, to guard the temple while the others wrapped up the priest's corpse and carted him off to get raised. (This in turn nearly resulted in Hollistan and Haleen's deaths at the hands of a vengeful goblin, but that's another story.)

Name: Hollistan Tropp (but he got better)
Race: Human (Keleshite)
Class: Alchemist 9
Adventure: The Jackal's Price
Where: The Jackal's Lair
Catalyst: A one-two-three punch

Hollistan Tropp, a teenage alchemist who had joined the Kelmarane Expedition, was pretty sure he was done with the adventuring life around the time he tried fleeing back to Kelmarane alone from the House of the Beast, but he stuck it out until the PCs' trip to the city of Katapesh about six months later. There, the PCs found themselves drawing all kinds of unwanted attention and running afoul of one evil cult after another.

The 24-hour deadline to assault Father Jackal's lair took the PCs by surprise; that's why Hollistan's chain shirt was off for alterations when the PCs breached the thieves' den. After tearing through the Demon's Womb, the heroes were feeling confident. Despite this, when Father Jackal's minions split up to surround the PCs, the cocky PC allowed themselves to be scattered. Hollistan's grisly demise came as a three-part blow. First, the high priest, Khair al Din, lived just long enough to successfully target Hollistan with a spiritual weapon, which continued to harass Hollistan for several rounds. With the opposition's back broken, Hollistan chose to chase after a lone cultist who went fleeing down an unexplored hallway. Sadly for Hollistan, no one else in the party followed him, and that cultist wasn't fleeing--he was leading Hollistan into a trap in a room filled with illegal contraband--and a trio of gargoyles that Hollistan failed to notice. While the cultist distracted Hollistan, the gargoyles tore into him, dropping him. Yet it was the final strike from Khair al Din's spiritual weapon that posthumously slew the young alchemist, depriving the thugs of their potential hostage.

Fortunately, the party was still cash-heavy, and being so close to the temple of Abadar, even managed to get Hollistan raised that same day. Still, a violent death was the final straw for Hollistan Tropp, and he chose to retire from the adventuring life in favor of settling down in the city of Katapesh (to pursue a petty vendetta against the ruk league; that too is another story).

(The PC left, the player remains with a new character.)


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Gordo the Generous wrote:
The rules for staves state that only one charge can be refilled per day. A riftwarden orphan rolls 1d10 + his mythic tier to recharge a chargeable magic item. I was just curious if the mythic rule overrides the staff rule.

In my game (my PCs just became mythic last night), I'm house-ruling that the staff takes precedence (1 staff charge per use of mythic power).


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Ravenloft--all of it--for obvious reasons.


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They do appear to be political borders. Looks like a bit of a discrepancy between the maps and the text in the Guide to the River Kingdoms, which focuses on Tymon as an individual city-state rather than a capital.


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Joe M. wrote:
* Present Day: ???

The real official answer is "whenever you set the campaign," with all of the other "X years ago" dates keying off that. (This is doubly so for later adventures in an AP, since timelines for individual groups can be highly fluid and completely unpredictable.)

A slightly less real "official" answer would be "at some point circa 4707-4714 AR," the "present" day for Golarion since the line began.

Unofficially, however, if you want a specific date to key off of, you might go with 4714 AR. Golarion sourcebooks advance the timeline in step with their year of publication*, so the simple formula to work out the "present" in the Inner Sea is (real-world year +2700 = Absalom Reckoning).

* (keeping in mind that specific adventures don't happen until you as the GM say they do)


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No. Sarenrae merely happens to be particularly relevant to the AP on a thematic and cultural basis.


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chavamana wrote:
When I went through them, I think there was 3 pieces of artwork that were unique to the pawns (ie not in the Wrath books).

Ah, thank you; that's very useful.


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I have a persnickety, technical question for anyone who has this. I run my games using a virtual tabletop, and I've been thinking about picking up the PDF for use as additional art resources. However, before I do, I need to ask: How much of this artwork is new to the pawns? (I know at least some pawns have new art, but not how many.) And unfortunately I don't have any way of checking the contents of the box short of buying it.

I'm sure coming up with an answer to this would be a bit tedious, but I thought I'd ask in case anyone happened to have the numbers handy.


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James Jacobs wrote:

1) Yes, they can have children. Unless we have said otherwise in some book somewhere, of course... I'm not 100% up to speed on what we've published for them yet. And assuming so, then...

2) Yes.
3) Yes.

That lines up with what I was thinking as well.


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Having recently gained a changeling PC in my WotR campaign, I've gotten to thinking about the race. What's your take on these questions?

1. Are changelings capable of having children? (Or can they not become mothers unless they "mature" into hags?)
2. If a changeling *can* have children, are those children also changelings?
3. Assuming a changeling can have children, and that such a child is a changeling herself, could that child be targeted by "the call" from Grandma Hag?


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Closest I can think of is a spell I wrote for the 3E Ravenloft line, cuckoo's egg, which wouldn't work well in this situation for multiple reasons. Based on nothing more than my own arbitrary take on fantasy metaphysics, though, if the pregnancy's still in the first trimester (sound like this one was on the cusp), I'd have raise dead restore the the fetus to life along with the mother. Double the impetus to get that head back in time! I agree with others, though: if Mom and child are restored to life, that kid's definitely looking at potential as an undead-bloodline sorcerer,


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When dealing with kitchen sink RPG settings, when I've encountered something that didn't seem to fit, rather than insist "This can't be!" I've generally found it more creatively satisfying to instead ask "How come?"

Quick example: Way back in the protean days of Usenet, WotC listservs, and 2nd edition AD&D, there was a Ravenloft module, set in an isolated quasi-Victorian London demiplane, where one of the NPCs (a wizardy Sherlock Holmes stand-in) had Silver Dragon listed as a language. This fact was meaningless to the adventure (where there were no dragons and no one else spoke the language), but the inclusion these two words of flavor text actually led to some pretty heated debate. Most folks making their voices heard insisted that there was no possible explanation for *that* NPC learning *that* language.

Personally, I played the Devil's advocate and suggested that perhaps, in that setting, "Silver Dragon" was actually a language of magic and eldritch lore. And to be brutally honest, my argument didn't hold any ground. Not in that flame war, at any rate...

So long story short, my suggestion is that rather than drawing a line in the sand to cut off the larger warships, to instead dig in and imagine reasons why those kinds of ships could exist.

Disclaimer One: My entry in this book is about a ship which, historically, was edged out of use by certain other sailing vessels... for reasons about as weighty as a kobold's eyelash in a world with arcane fireballs and adventuring barbarians. So I had the advantage of, rather than swatting away history, simply scratching it behind the ear before gently setting it aside.

Disclaimer Two: I'm typing this right now from my bunk in the great cabin of a replica 17th-century Dutch jaght. There's a cannon roughly seven feet directly below me, and I know how to use it. :)


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CKorfmann wrote:
Perhaps this is discussed elsewhere, but what is the consensus on what happens to your gear when you are in animal form?

From the Bestiary: "All lycanthropes have three forms—a humanoid form, an animal form, and a hybrid form. Equipment does not meld with the new form between humanoid and hybrid form, but does between those forms and animal form."


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Azazyll wrote:
*The Ravenloft Gazetteers did this perfectly - a small selection of key words of phrases likely to be used in each domain based on the kinds of adventures you were likely to play there. Each was also based on a real world language, so if you really wanted more it was pretty easy to figure out which real-world language was being used as a base and work from there. As additional domains using the same language came up, more terms were added that were thematically appropriate to that domain.

Although let me say, as one of the Gazetteer designers, that our choice to utilize real-world languages, while useful in many contexts, also led us down the occasional blind alley(1) and caused the even more occasional, entirely unintentional, offense(2). If I were to do it again, I dunno, I might back away from the use of real-world languages structures entirely, with the unfortunate side effect of severely limiting the utility of those introductory glossaries. (Or not; I've noticed that Kelish terms that turn up in Golarion tend to be modified Arabic or Turkish, and so to be honest I glom those vocabularies together willy-nilly when I need to come up with Kelish terms on the fly in my home games.)

1. Taking the Ravenloft domain of Tepest for an example, we were essentially the third-generation design team to tackle that domain. From the original design team we inherited the domain's entirely fantastical place names. From the second design team we inherited a heavy Celtic feel, including many fey with Gaelic-inspired names. As a result, I found myself kinda constrained into using a Gaelic tongue as the domain's native language, and then having to rationalize why the town names sound really absolutely nothing like what that language would produce.

2. Utilizing foreign words for basic terms (such as, say, "Black Forest") can be a minefield for an English-speaking designer with extremely limited time and resources to thoroughly research the alternative contexts of words most likely just pulled out of a dictionary. If you don't already have a strong grasp of the language you're pulling from, it... well, it can be tricky, let's just say.


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40 rounds against the Sons of Carrion in a slightly modified version of "The Jackal's Price."


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To what category do the cosmic caravan traits belong? Or do they slot into a mix of categories on an individual basis? (If the former, I'm guessing Magic; if the latter, it looks to me like Magic and Social could encompass them all.) Or, indeed, do they fall into their own category?


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I got to thinking about this topic quite a bit a while back in a Ravenloft context, and decided to go with the folk tradition of the "quickening," which refers to the moment the mother first feels her unborn child kick in the womb (around the end of the first trimester), and was held to be the moment the soul enters the unborn.

To extend that real-world folk belief into more of a basic fantasy/horror context, prior to the quickening, the unborn is alive but soulless, essentially sustained by the mother's life force. As an empty vessel, a pre-quickening unborn is vulnerable to spiritual possession and eldritch influences (including any present from the moment of conception). If the unborn's mother is afflicted with lycanthropy prior to the quickening, the child will be born as a natural lycanthrope, for example. Exposure to other curses, planar energies, and so on may result in children born with sorcerer bloodlines or as aasimars, tieflings, fetchlings, dhampirs, geniekin, calibans if we're talking Ravenloft, etc., etc.

After the quickening, the unborn has its own soul and is for all intents and purposes a living, individual person (though still physically dependent on its mother, naturally), with all the spiritual protections that entails.


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Barring the unforeseen, I should start running the Director's Cut (actually a freewheeling mix of the Director's Cut and published versions) this week!


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My master file of traits runs to over 100 pages. Remove the formatting and we're still looking at around 60 pages or so. It's too much to put between two covers.


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James Jacobs weighed in on this topic back in 2011:

Worldwound terrains

Timesaver: cold, forest, mountains, plains, and swamp. The region's most notable feature, the rifts spreading out from the heart of the Worldwound, is considered mountain terrain.


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I wouldn't sweat it. The pugwampis primarily rely on their unluck triggering environmental hazards to damage the PCs as it is.


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Voyd211 wrote:
Red foxes sound like the cries of the howling damned.

This is completely true, for the record. Imagine the sound of a feral housecat attempting to imitate a lost and frightened child.


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It was written for 3.5, so the Fast progression track is the closest to the mark. However, the 3E and PF XP tracks aren't identical, so conversion can produce some unintended results. It's entirely possible for thorough PCs to end House of the Beast a full level ahead of the curve, and if that happens, they'll probably remain a level ahead throughout The Jackal's Price. By the end of The End of Eternity, however, XP progression normalizes again and PCs should remain on target through the end of the campaign.

Personally, I'm running LoF on the Medium XP track. This smooths out the House of the Beast bump, at the cost of having to add a few side missions to Howl of the Carrion King and a widening XP gap that starts to kick in during The End of Eternity. (I'm filling that gap with side adventures; I inserted Broken Chains into the middle of The Jackal's Price, which has put my PCs a level ahead of the curve for the moment.) If you run LoF on the Medium track, I also recommend seeking out the "Designer's Cut" of The End of Eternity; it adds a lot of XP opportunities to the sandbox, which makes it fit the Medium track rather well.


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The immunity to fire certainly would have helped Sammadar in a battle, but fire elementals don't just deal fire damage with their slam attacks. If we assume for the sake of argument that Sammadar was a by-the-Bestiary efreeti (AC 25, 95 hp) and compare stats, that elder elemental would have needed natural 1s to miss with its slams. If Sammadar got himself blindsided, that one elemental could have put him down in as little as 3 rounds, even without its burn special attack.


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My group just recently concluded this adventure. Here's a sad statistic about the difference between live and virtual gaming: We got together for Origins 2013 and blasted through about half the module in a weekend. Playing online via D20Pro and Skype, it took us another 8 sessions to complete. With some exceptionally long and unplanned breaks in there, that means we started in May and finished in December!

Anyway, I'll post a recap shortly.


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I did not make this map, but I use it regularly to determine day/night cycles.


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Zaister wrote:
Well, except for the first two APs , where the covers featured the iconics, hasn't the "BBEG" (I hate that term) always been on the cover of AP part six (exception: Jade Regent)?

Technically, the genie on part 6 of Legacy of Fire is intended to simply be generic, but it seems that most people treat it as an illustration of the BBEG (as do I). The genie on part 5's cover was likewise initially generic, but has since been retconned into a specific NPC--for the purposes of naming a Reaper mini, at any rate.


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The ease with which I could use Paizo's PDF maps in D20Pro is one of the things that weaned me back into gaming. I do have to spend a few minutes in Photoshop to convert the map squares' pixel width into whole numbers, but I only ever recall one map that gave me memorable issues with attaining the correct proportions.

(To note, I do appreciate that they quickly ended the practice of slicing large images into numerous smaller ones--using maps from the early days requires assembling them like a jigsaw puzzle.)


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Generally speaking, since serpentfolk are CR 4, a DC 14 Knowledge (nature) check is enough to see one and go "Yep, that's a serpentfolk, and they're monstrous humanoids." At each +5 DC beyond that, (DC 19, DC 24, DC 29), you gain additional information, which various folks handle various ways. As written, at each tier of knowledge, the character learns one new fact (a special attack, or a defensive ability, etc.) I'm more generous myself and tend to offer an offensive quality, a defensive (or otherwise notable) quality, and a bit of "ecology fluff," such as languages, habits and so on.

I sometimes also ponder adding a +5 modifier to the DC if a creature is particularly obscure (such as a creature only found in the arctic in a tropical campaign, or one thought long extinct), or possibly even a +10 if it's incredibly obscure (native to another world, or vanishingly rare), but I haven't actually ever put those house rules in place. If I did, I'd go with the +5 modifier for the mostly forgotten serpentfolk.

I also write up lore tables in advance*, going from "most essential" to "most obscure" in order of revelation, but other GMs use entirely different means of determining what the PCs learn. I think James Jacobs asks his players if they want to know something offensive, defensive, or otherwise about the creature, and then selects something from that category.

* Despite being in the early stages of running Serpent's Skull, I haven't actually typed up a lore table for serpentfolk yet (and don't have time at the moment to do so on the spot), or I'd include it here.


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Within the Inner Sea region, how common are wayfinders outside the hands of the Pathfinder Society? Do they attempt to maintain a monopoly on them, or are they fairly widespread? (Well, as widespread as any magic item.)


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WillowX wrote:

User junglefowl26 posts the following:

junglefowl26 wrote:

Not Africa also includes -

The most technologically advanced nation in the world, and the sole maker of guns.
The world's greatest magic academy - and the most ethically sound
A utopic civilization with direct ties to celestial beings
A mighty matriarchal militaristic empire
And a few other undetailed civilizations and cultures.
These are all really cool. Why weren't any of these on the poster? They're much more interesting than what was presented.

Some of them are off the map. The first one is mentioned on the poster.


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I have notes and conversions for Legacy of Fire here on the forum as well.


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Here's another option to try as well.


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My thoughts lean toward People of Mana for Nex, Geb, and the Mana Wastes, and People of the Lamp for Qadira, Jalmeray, and Katapesh. Those groupings, at least; titles are not my strong suit.


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With vampires in the game, there is at least a long-standing (and suitably vague) mystical connection between a private residence and its owner to help justify this spell's quirks.


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Evil Lincoln wrote:

I'm thinking about doing this.

Right now the party is 6th and they're about to enter Kakishon (after a totally rewritten book 3).

Anyone have ideas on how to fit LOF and COB together? Where Mythic might come in?

Are you referring to the boxed set?


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Blue Tempest wrote:
Other then Shattered Star, are any of the other Adventure paths considered "sequels" to past adventures?

Jade Regent takes place a few years after Rise of the Runelords and acknowledges those events, but as APs they're loosely connected at best, tied only by two NPCs and JR's starting location.


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The general pattern I use is this (which varies slightly from the rule as written):

At the creature DC, I give the name of the critter, type, subtypes (it's an aquatic magical beast; it's a chaotic evil outsider--a demon; etc.). Note that if numerous possibilities exist based on physical appearance (is that a werejackal or jackalwere?) I'll hold off on the Knowledge lore until the creature has demonstrated a few of its defining powers.

For each +5 above DC, I provide two bits of statblock lore (rather than 1, as the skill actually says), typically a special attack and a defensive ability or special quality, plus a sentence or so of "fluff." Languages spoken generally gets included at the CR+5 level. To determine what lore to provide, I go from most significant to most obscure. Take a vampire, for an example. Since it's a template, I generally use CR 10+template modifier to determine the lore DC, rather than the CR of the full templated creature. So, with a vampire, that means that at DC 12 I reveal that it's a vampire and undead. DC 17, it drains blood and is destroyed by sunlight.

I'll sometimes pack extra info info in for really complex creatures (like vampires, actually), because even when giving out lore at twice the recommended rate, the DCs for Knowledge checks can otherwise skyrocket into mythic realms. My version of vampire lore goes up to DC 27 and is densely packed; at a straight 2-per-+5 DC rate those DCs would probably reach the high 40s, just to learn that vampires can command the children of the night and can't enter a house without an invitation.

I actually went through and wrote up lore blocks for nearly every WotC creature back in the 3.5 days (might still be available on their old forums), and I've been updating them as needed for my Pathfinder games.


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Early in the line--the 3E Campaign Setting, I think--briefly lists the Lust Festival (first full moon in Calistril) as a Calistrian holiday. Since then, however, Calistria's been described fairly consistently as not being into major set holidays, so the Lust Festival seems to have quietly faded from canon. Without double-checking, I think individual temples may recognize local events important to their faith as regional festivals.


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Back when I was working on Ravenloft, my general take was that even a rampaging lycanthrope perceives its own familiar as "part of itself," and thus wouldn't attack it. The familiar, on the other hand, would still be assisting its bestial master to the best of its ability. The same spiritual connection doesn't exist regarding animal companions, however, so they don't get that protection. Unless, of course, the animal companion is the same sort of base animal that the lycanthrope turns into--then it could be accepted as a member of the hunting pack, so to speak.


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I don't think it's quite that short, but when I encountered this problem in the past I developed a quick fix: After writing a long post, I hit CTRL+A, then CTRL+C before clicking "Submit Post." (Select All and Copy, for clarity.) If it then happens that I have timed out, I can just paste the text back in.


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Can't remember experiencing any as a player. As a GM, I've run one and came close to a few others. The actual TPK was the first encounter in The Red Hand of Doom, essentially a random encounter with a hydra. What neither I as GM nor the players understood about the 3E hydra was that it was a vicious exploit monster--it struck me in hindsight that entering melee with a hydra without having the Improved Sunder feat was a death sentence. The melee fighter rushed in and was immediately overwhelmed; now the other PCs needed to save him and engaged, but were overwhelmed in turn.

In a near-TPK (different group, different game), a stealthy PC slipped into a villain's lair to scout (and loot) it, but was captured. The sole other PC watching her back was forced to flee, getting separated from the rest of the party for a few days. Another PC went in after her -- and was immediately captured. Fortunately for all of these PCs, the baddies in that case found the PCs more useful alive than dead, so they all got out alive eventually. Before that came to pass, however, it came down to the last two PCs debating whether the higher moral responsibility was to go in after their lost allies or to cut and run, since they were also watching out for a young NPC.

I'd say the theme connecting the actual TPK and the close calls was player ambivalence. Namely, a foe engages them, and the PCs can't decide whether to take it on or to flee, so rather than doing either, they hang back. One PC ends up closing with the foe (or the foe closes on them), and has to take it on alone while the others urge the PC to flee. Then that PC goes down, and now the other players know they have to try to save that PC, but some of them still want to flee, so another PC jumps in and goes down, then another, and then another.

In action movie terms, the PCs suddenly turn themselves into the stereotypical mooks who line up to take on the big foe one at a time rather than as a coordinated team. Whenever the PCs have immediately engaged a challenging foe as a group, they've always pulled through (with the very occasional lone casualty).


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Here we go; I statted up the expedition leader and typical guard for my option:

Spoiler:

BARONESS HARIZI
CR 8 (XP 4,800)

Female Mwangi oracle 9
CN Medium humanoid (human)
INIT +0; SENSES Perception +2
AURA faint chaotic

DEFENSE
AC
16, touch 10, flat-footed 16 (+6 armor)
HP 63 (9d8+18)
FORT +5, REF +4, WILL +9
RESIST FEINT DC 25; RESIST DIPLOMACY DC 29 (hostile), DC 24 (unfriendly), DC 19 (indifferent), DC 14 (friendly), DC 4 (helpful); RESIST INTIMIDATE DC 21

OFFENSE
SPEED
30 ft. (20 ft. in armor)
MELEE +1 heavy mace +6/+1 (1d8)
SPACE 5 ft.; REACH 5 ft.
ORACLE SPELLS KNOWN (CL 9th; concentration +13; ranged touch +6)
4th (5/day)—charm monster (DC 18), cure critical wounds, divination, dominate person (DC 18)
3rd (7/day)—animate dead, bestow curse (DC 17), create food and water, cure serious wounds, fear (DC 17)
2nd (7/day)—cure moderate wounds, hideous laughter (DC 16), inflict moderate wounds, lesser animate dead, levitate, minor image (DC 16), silence (DC 16), spiritual weapon
1st (7/day)—bane (DC 15), charm person (DC 15), cure light wounds, detect charm, detect undead, protection from evil, speak with animals
0 (at will)—detect magic, detect poison, ghost sound (DC 14), light, mage hand, mending, purify food and drink, read magic, resistance, stabilize
MYSTERY Juju

TACTICS
BEFORE COMBAT
Baroness Harizi uses animate dead to maintain a full stable of human zombies, replacing destroyed zombies within a few days as resources become available. These zombies are stationed within earshot of wherever she is staying, or accompany her when she travels.
DURING COMBAT Harizi relies on her spells and zombie allies in combat, falling back to her mace only if given no other option.
MORALE Harizi flees if reduced to 15 hit points, sacrificing zombies to cover her retreat.

STATISTICS
STR
8, DEX 10, CON 13, INT 12, WIS 14, CHA 19
BASE ATK +6; CMB +5; CMD 15
FEATS Brew Potion, Craft Wondrous Item, Oracular Intuition (UM), Persuasive, Prophetic Visionary (UM), Toughness
SKILLS Bluff +11, Diplomacy +17, Intimidate +17, Knowledge (history) +7, Knowledge (nature) +12, Knowledge (religion) +12, Sense Motive +15, Spellcraft +14, Survival +13
LANGUAGES Abyssal, Common, Polyglot
SQ oracle’s curse (haunted), revelations (craft juju fetish, false death, spirit vessels)
COMBAT GEAR potion of barkskin +2, potions of cure moderate wounds (2), potion of hide from animals; OTHER GEAR +2 lamellar horn armor, +1 heavy mace, cloak of resistance +1, antiplague (4), antitoxin (4), defoliant (4), healer’s kit, kaava musk (2), parasol, scent cloak (4), spell component pouch, wooden holy symbol, valuable material spell components worth 800 gp

SPECIAL ABILITIES
CRAFT JUJU FETISH (Ex)
All juju fetishes Baroness Harizi creates are treated as being CL +2.

FALSE DEATH (Ex) Any creature under the effect of Harizi’s charm monster, charm person, or dominate person spells appears dead to any examiners. Although affected creatures do not detect as undead, they look pale and death-like while under the effects of her magic. Additionally, an affected creature ordered to lie still gains a +20 circumstance bonus on Disguise skill checks to look like a corpse.

PROPHETIC VISIONARY: Once per day, Baroness Harizi can enter a deep trance to receive a vision of the future. The trance lasts for 10 minutes, during which time she can take no other actions. If she is interrupted, she must begin again. When she comes out of the trance, she knows whether a particular action in the immediate future will bring good or bad results, as an augury spell with a 70% chance of success.

SPIRIT VESSELS (Su) Baroness Harizi can channel wendo spirits into lifeless bodies, reanimating them to aid her. Necromancy spells that create undead lose the evil descriptor when she casts them. Mindless undead created by her magic are of neutral alignment, while thinking undead she creates are chaotic neutral. When using animate dead spells, she can control a total of 54 HD worth of undead creatures. In addition, any zombies or juju zombies she creates using lesser animate dead or animate dead possess maximum hit points.

The Freeman insurgent is, logically enough perhaps, just a slightly boosted version of the guys the PCs face in Racing to Ruin:

FREEMAN INSURGENT
CR 3 (XP 800)

Mwangi human fighter 4
N Medium humanoid (human)
INIT +2; SENSES Perception +1

DEFENSE
AC
18, touch 12, flat-footed 16 (+4 armor, +2 Dex, +2 shield)
HP 34 (4d10+8)
FORT +6, REF +3, WILL +2; +1 vs. fear
DEFENSIVE ABILITIES bravery +1
RESIST FEINT DC 15; RESIST DIPLOMACY DC 25 (hostile), DC 20 (unfriendly), DC 15 (indifferent), DC 10 (friendly), DC 0 (helpful); RESIST INTIMIDATE DC 16

OFFENSE
SPEED
30 ft.
MELEE mwk club +9 (1d6+5) or
unarmed strike +7 (1d3+3)
RANGED mwk composite longbow +7 (1d6+3/×3)
SPACE 5 ft.; REACH 5 ft.

STATISTICS
STR
17, DEX 14, CON 14, INT 8, WIS 12, CHA 10
BASE ATK +4; CMB +7 (+9 grapple); CMD 19, flat 17 (21/19 vs. grapple)
FEATS Improved Grapple, Improved Unarmed Strike, Step Up, Throw Anything, Weapon Focus (club), Weapon Specialization (club)
SKILLS Climb +7, Intimidate +6, Profession (porter) +7, Survival +7
LANGUAGES Common, Polyglot
SQ armor training 1
COMBAT GEAR alchemist’s fire (5); OTHER GEAR masterwork hide armor, masterwork heavy wooden shield, masterwork club, masterwork composite longbow (Str +3) with 20 arrows, antitoxin (2)


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I think Khelavraa's ideas and mine might mash-up well.


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I've been working on ideas as well. My thoughts have been going in the direction that introducing a native Mwangi faction might also be a good opportunity for PCs who want to be more in charge--creating their own faction, in other words.

So, in my campaign, I'm thinking of working with the Freeman's Brotherhood. Spoilers, I suppose.

Spoiler:

Once the PCs deal with the overtly violent Freeman's Brotherhood revolt early in Racing to Ruin, I'll have it be the case that Umagro and his thugs represent a particularly violent offshoot of the Mwangi liberation movement, but not its core principles. Once Umagro's band is dealt with, PCs who investigate the group would learn that with Umagro out of the way, the most influential leader in the movement is rumored to be an elderly woman who lives in the edges of Eleder's farmlands--the self-proclaimed "Baroness" Harizi. Among the colonials, she has a dark reputation as a necromancer whose turf is guarded by zombies. However, she isn't vocal in her opposition to the colonial occupation, she doesn't seem to be dangerous unless provoked, and it's her own people she turns into walking dead, so the colonial government has seen fit to simply keep a wary eye on her and otherwise leave well enough alone.

The local Zenj commoners, however, know that the colonials misunderstand Baroness Harizi. She isn't a necromancer, she's a juju oracle, and she's long served as a spiritual advisor and healer to her people. Her zombies aren't quite what they seem, either.

She sees Umagro's fate as typical for hot-heads who openly oppose the colonials, so it doesn't occur to her to try to beat the Sargavan government to the latest rediscovered city. However, if the PCs slips the thought in her ear and inform her of the Saventh-Yhi's historical significance, she quickly warms to the notion of claiming the lost city--which she views as an ancient symbol of foreign occupation--as a Mwangi free state where her people could anchor their liberation movement.

As a faction, the Freeman's Brotherhood is strapped for material resources, but they can draw upon a huge pool of manual labor, further augmented by Harizi's undead.

As a group, they would still need trailblazers -- the Mwangi jungles are deep and inhospitable no matter who you are. Well, unless "who you are" equals "king of an army of intelligent gorillas," I suppose.

Here's the faction camp stats for parts 3/4:

DEFENSE: 10; EXPLORATION: 8; SUPPLY: 12

PC BENEFIT: The leaders of the Freeman’s Brotherhood are both wise and ruthless in the practice of juju. If the Freeman’s Brotherhood camp is attacked, so long as the expedition leader Harizi survives and the camp has not been completely destroyed, it automatically removes 1d6 Destruction points 24 hours later as Harizi and her followers channel wendo spirits into the fallen to replace slain guards and workers with zombies.

LEADER: Self-proclaimed “Baroness” Harizi is known to the Sargavan government as a witch and necromancer, a frightful reputation she fosters to keep the colonials at bay. In truth, she is an insightful (if somewhat eccentric) spiritual leader who sees herself as a guardian of her Zenj peers. Her mindless zombie servants are animated by wendo spirits, not trapped souls, and she exclusively uses the corpses of defeated enemies or Mwangi volunteers.

Baroness Harizi cares little for wealth or glory, instead seeking to lay claim to Saventh-Yhi as a power base for Mwangi dissidents to push back against foreign colonizers.

Baroness Harizi is a CN 9th-level Mwangi oracle with the Juju mystery. I've statted her out in D20Pro but haven't typed out a stat block yet. I can do so if anyone's interested, though.

I also agree that if a native Mwangi faction is introduced, one of the existing factions should get wiped out on the road to Saventh-Yhi or in short order once they do arrive, just to keep the AP's assumptions working smoothly. As for which one to eliminate, I would just knock off whichever one the players care about the least.


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Many thanks!


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Serpent's Skull: Colonialism.


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Daronil wrote:

I'm a bit confused about the conflict points during background generation (which I think is my favourite section, actually).

I understand that CP increase your place on the alignment track, but I can't figure out which track to use: the Law/Chaos or Good/Evil. It seems that the CP are all lumped in together...it can't be that you just evenly split them, or you'd never get mixes from the ends of the tracks (LE, CG, for example).

As I understand it, you can either place all of your CPs (up to 9) in one track (your choice which) or split your CPs between the two tracks as you see fit.

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