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Leonard Kriegler

Mark Hoover's page

4,613 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Pan: One player has decided to quit - him I knew through a mutual friend and board game nights. The others have all seen my recruitment threads and asked if I had open slots. I have only gamed with them (besides the guy leaving) a few times.

DM Cal: as always, thanks for the vote of confidence. I too try to keep up w/everyone via email and should use even more social media.

I mentioned a former player that moved away upthread. When he lived here he and I would carpool, we'd chat about stuff in and out of the games. I asked him about all this and his response was a fresh take on my game, a new perspective.

That's part and parcel to what I'm talking about. When I used to hang out w/my gaming buddies more often they'd suggest stuff like that. I love it when I can ask a friend "Is my game getting stale?" and he answers me honestly "maybe a little, but what if you tried something like this..." and we bounce some ideas around.

In my opinion I lack feedback and connection to my players. As a result there's no real connection to game.

*Thread Res*

I found this thread by typing 2 simple words in the messageboard search: Donna Noble

I watched Who as a kid in America but it was too weird for me to really appreciate at the time. I remember thinking it was a fun, rubber-monster way to watch hot girls with British accents run around. Of course then I saw the episodes with Tom Baker and Sara Jane and my mind exploded.

I lost interest with the arrival of the 6th doctor and didn't watch anymore. I saw the Fox made-for-tv special and got excited, but that didn't go anywhere either. Then I caught Eccleston and Tennant episodes on Netflix and sure, Rose was kind of cool and all but it was just so...DRAMA all the time.

I just couldn't get myself re-addicted to Dr Who. Then Donna arrived.

I REALLY wish they'd done more with her. Catherine Tate is freaking hilarious alongside being a really good actress IMO. Seeing her and Tennant miming to one another through windows when they finally reconnect was absolutely priceless!

But more than that, she didn't instantly LOVE the Doctor as the other nuWho companions have. I'm sure Donna was at some points attracted to him but there was no soap opera love thing going on. But more than that she was more human than a lot of the other companions I've seen in a while. She wasn't particularly smart, or brave, or strong. But she was loud, insecure, and her heart was ALWAYS in the right place.

I honestly felt for the character when she had kids, KNEW they weren't real, and still sat with them for one final bedtime. That was the real deal, I don't care who you are.

So for this thread, fave companion, I'd give it to Donna. Balsy, brash, easy on the eyes and on top of it all... scared. Exactly what I picture a real person would be like if they went off on adventures with an alien.

Maybe it's just me. I vibe off people. I tend to pick up the mood at the table and play to that. The same thing goes for the plot. I run all homebrewed stuff and currently my game is a giant megadungeon. I throw out a mission and the guys go off but if they zig where I figured they'd zag I just sort of wing it and hope for the best.

It sounds like it should be perfect but lately its just ended up tedious.

My players don't seem enthused to be at the table. As well we've been caught up with the current objective for a while and haven't gotten a lot of traction on the goal so I think they're bored. Now that the game's losing momentum I'm looking for ways to give it a shot in the arm.

But then when I ask for feedback, even in personal emails, I get no response and instead get comments like "hang in there, the game's fine." Well if it's fine, why are a couple of my players staring at their devices instead of the map?

I suppose I started this thread as I was reminiscing with a friend of mine. When I gamed with folks I saw outside the game we'd chat about stuff from the table. There were inside jokes; guys would trade build advice and just general impressions of each others' PCs. We all sustained our own desire to play THAT game, with each other, just by virtue of rehashing the shared experience of it.

Now I'm relying on 3 strangers to bring their own enthusiasm every couple weeks to the table. Further I'm looking to condense all the banter and frenzy from the weeks in between into a 20 minute sound byte that whips my players up enough to get them rolling. It just seems like more of a chore than a privelage. But as I said, maybe its just me...

I gamed with the same group in HS and college. 10 years ago I moved away from that group. Since then I found the input for my games utterly gone; wringing it out of my players was like getting blood from rocks.

I think I've figured why. In HS I had classes with my gaming buddies every day. In college we all still went to the same parties and some of us rented a house together. After college we still went to movies together, attended each others' weddings, etc.

My current group in my new home state have barely spent more than a few hours together. The one guy I did know outside the games moved away. I notice that my GMing is getting more and more stale, like I'm running my game in a vaccuum. I think one of the contributing factors is not hanging out together.

How much do you hang out w/your gaming groups AWAY from playing at the table with them? Does this affect your game at all?

The wealth for an individual treasure pile as I understood it was based on full value. If you wanted to reward a party with a hoard of magic items worth 8k you'd give them 4 +1 swords. This also works into their WBL; a PC with a +1 sword has 2k towards their WBL.

I know this isn't the Rules section but, am I right or did I misread the RAW?

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Folks, we have a company that is willing to hear and sometimes respond, in real time, to our concerns about the rules. They have also hired someone recently whose stated role, among other things is to answer FAQ requests and make clarifications.

I don't think we need a new edition.

What we need is to have access to these FAQs in errata updates, which we have and to make some judgment calls of our own once in a while. Also Paizo announced a new project suggesting alternate rules to adjust some of our pet peeves like Rogues, martial characters and monks. Use these.

I have been through this ringer with D&D. I really don't want to keep re-buying books and re-learning a game every 5-10 years. Tinker Paizo, please don't overhaul.

No, there aren't a list of boons unfortunately. Some I've brainstormed in the past have been:

- A book of wilderness lore that provides +2 specifically in Forest terrain

- A faerie mark (Arcane Mark spell bestowed by a homebrewed Pixie variant called a Gravesworn Piskie) that grants +2 on Diplomacy with other Fey

- A dungeon room which, when activated by placing a specific magic rod in a console provides detailed instructions on the use of other magic rods, granting a +2 UMD specifically with magic rods

You might also just page through the Traits section and selecting boons from them. Finally the NPC Guide has suggested boons w/their NPCs; these may provide a template as well.

So... I can now start adding those "weapon" feats to Acid Splash? Then tack back in the Arcane Strike (there's another +1 damage).

I guess I don't really know what you're asking. Are you looking for items besides spells to be on scrolls/in books? If so, try handing out boons. Say the party kills a bunch of goblins and on said goblins is a hastily scrawled map showing a nearby tomb they were using as a lair. They also were carrying a book they were going to burn.

The book contains martial disciplines carried out by the general buried in the tomb. Anyone who studies and practices these disciplines for a week gains the Armor Expert trait, giving them a -1 Armor Check Penalty for all worn armor and shields.

Or were you asking what spells should you have buried in these side quests? Any spells is the answer. If you're going to restrict spells from being auto-learned then you might want to include any and all of them in loot piles. There will always be that ONE time the PCs need to cast Unseen Servant and to never have had the chance to have the spell would be frustrating.

Eigengrau wrote:

A 3rd level Dwarf Cross-blooded Orc/Draconic Sorcerer with Zest For Battle Trait, Havoc of Society Trait, Flag-bearer feat and False Focus feat, can do 1d3 +1 Havoc +2 Cross-blooded +1 Flag-bearer +1 Zest for Battle and +1 for Dwarf FCB.

So he's +2 to hit (BAB and Flag-bearer) and 1d3+6 damage and can use False Focus to make that Acid Splash last for 2 rounds, by using a divine focus as part of casting, you can cast any spell with a material component costing the value of that divine focus (maximum 100 gp) or less without needing that component.

That's not too shabby for a cantrip.

If False Focus can sub in for any component under 100 GP then it can sub for the Brimstone I mentioned upthread adding an additional +1 damage. Ranged Acid Splash ranged touch +2 (1d3+7) and since its all feats and non-consumables its all day, every day. Not bad indeed...

Coulson died in Avengers. Then Fury says they have to honor his sacrifice and become a team, giving them the catalyst to become the Avengers. I just always pictured every meeting of the Avengers after that being Hulk, Thor and the rest standing around a table chanting "His name was Phil Coulson... His name was Phil Coulson..."

Anyway I suppose I'm a bit of a sap and not very smart. Not as smart as some of you guys who see right through the tropes he represents. I give that opinion because I like the character and the way the Gregg plays him.

I like that he's a goof; I like that he's childish. I was actually moved when he had his breakdown in the snow outside the secret base. Sometimes leaders don't HAVE all the answers and they aren't the square-jawed heroes. Sometimes regular guys fall down on the job. But it has to MEAN something.

That's the brilliance of Whedon in my opinion. Mal, like Coulson, is portrayed as a cookie cutter formula whose tropes are so obvious even I get 'em. But when the chips are down they don't instantly man up, super-charge and have a getting stronger montage. They crack, they cry, they show weakness and fault. They're HUMAN!

That's the thing that keeps me coming back to Coulson. The rest of the characters on this show are 2 dimensional and even Sky could disappear and I wouldn't notice. But Coulson is one of us. He's what we'd be under the exact same circumstances. He keeps trying, but he makes mistakes and loses it.

Remember; agents in SHIELD don't really have names. Maybe LAST names, but not real names. Its only in death that we really know their names. His name, was Phil Coulson... His name was Phil Coulson...

Umbranus wrote:

Owning a flask of acid adds 1 point damage when used as a focus material.

The other damage cantrips have additional methods which only work on rays, which acid splash is not. Inspire courage and flagbearer for example.

Things that work:
- Havoc of the society
- Acid as power component
- sorc bloodline arcana

Things that work on rays but not acid splash:
- Point blank shot (the to hit bonus applies)
- Flagbearer
- inspire courage
- for evocation spells the evoker wizard school power intense spells

Rays count as weapons while acid splash doesn't as far as I know. Because of that everything that states increasing weapon damage doesn't apply.

Edit: If you are not a sorc then the traits mindlessly cruel or zest for battle can work when combined with flagbearer.

Also for rays: Arcane Strike. +1 damage/5 caster levels.

Alchemical Reagents in the PF Alchemy Manual have Brimstone/Sulfur doses that add +1 damage to Acid spells.

Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
SeeDarkly_X wrote:
The toughest challenge for AoS in this coming season for them will be that they moved into a competing slot with Supernatural...
I'm lame with tech in general, but even I have at least one rank in "Profession: Use DVR" :)

Wait, there's still networks? I thought everyone just watched these on Hulu now...

@ Diego: so, you're saying that during 8 hours of working your wizard doesn't have morning preparation, take a lunch or stay awake a little afterwards? That seems odd.

Ok, regardless of making 1 or 4 scrolls in a day, there's nothing RAW that says a wizard CAN'T make one while spending Downtime right? Example:

Wizard with Craft: Books +8 and an Owl (Valet archetype) familiar takes 10 with his Craft skill for a 20. He uses this and 50 GP to acquire 2 Magic Capital. He then turns right around and spends that Capital to pay the costs of the material to make 8 Scrolls, 1 of which he makes that evening.

For the next 7 days he's spending his time doing other things; building more Capital to spend toward the construction of a Scriptorum, copying spells into his spellbook and earning regular gold. All the while, each day he's taking 2 hours on his lunches, between jobs or in the evenings scribing more scrolls which he's already paid the cost for with the Magic Capital.

Do I have this right?

At first level I've seen a well-prepared group of players and their equally well-equipped PCs grind through 6-8 combats plus other assorted challenges. On the other hand I watched some "invincible" 5th level characters stride into a single melee with a hag and her ogre minions and get eviscerated and flee.

I guess it all comes down to the players. Their ability to recognize threats and manage resources is critical to success. Also their access to consumables factors in as well. Consider:

The PCs start off PFS style with 150 GP each at the beginning of the game. If the PCs have a wizard and he has Scribe Scroll they may begin the game with dozens of scrolls already at hand. If these are attack/defense scrolls this means the wizard can offer spell support to 12 combats.

This party then, after one adventure with 250 GP each could settle in for a long stretch, collaborate on a bunch more scrolls and gear, and walk into the next dungeon with everyone carrying a single alchemist weapon and a potion of CLW. The divine caster meanwhile is carrying a party-use wand of CLW and he and the wizard are slinging a few more scrolls beyond.

These resources get even more ridiculous if the GM is using Ultimate Campaign and the Downtime rules.

TL/DR. The players will answer this question for you.


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Just an FYI: an upcoming book announced at Gen Con is going to offer a revised rogue.

So... the rogue is getting a revision?


*starts Snoopy dancing*

So the CRB says you can take 2 hours out of your day to scribe a cheap scroll (250 GP or less) and perform the act of completing the scroll while doing other things such as adventuring. What about OTHER other things?

I am going to be using Ultimate Campaign for my home game. If the party wizard is using Downtime to generate 2 pts of Magic Capital in a day and I houserule he can use these to buy up enough material for, say, 8 scrolls, then could he conceivably spend another 8 days gathering other kinds of Capital for the party's construction AND scribe one scroll/day?

Kthulhu wrote:
It looks like Skye's dad is Kyle McLachlen. Skye is the spawn of BOB confirmed!

The only way this gets better is if he's an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. A special agent. Special agent Dale Cooper. Now that's a DAMN good cup of coffee.

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Talk with the player. Really talk to him. Ask him why he wants to drown out others when he is center stage. I'm guessing in combat he is also very aggressive; ask why.

Often the combat-focused player is looking for more of a board-game like experience. They want action they can get behind, beat some foe, and move on. Ask this player if they want to instead play a board game with you from time to time. I find Talisman or Descent are fun for this kind of outlet.

I had a similar situation. I moved years ago, had trouble finding a group but when I did 2 of the 4 players I was able to find were extremely combat focused. Even today, 6 years into playing alongside one of these folks he's still extremely bored unless we're in combat.

When I chatted with him I realized that for him the tabletop RPG was just another battle simulation like his favorite video games and board games. His gaming represented an outlet from the banality of every day life but also gave him some foe he could best, some mechanics and data he could manipulate and optimize and "win" with.

My latest attempt at a compromise was a megadungeon. Folks think of these kinds of games like mindless, endless slogs through room after room, but I don't run it like that. There's a lot of combat, to be sure, but there's also sentient monsters and not all of them are purely evil. In my game we've seen:

- a LN kobold "courtesan" that smuggled the PCs into a brothel in the dungeon

- a homemade pixie variant, many of whom have interacted with the PCs and watch over the dead

- a weapons maker and merchant who utilizes the PCs to gather materials for her

The players can also leave and go back to town, which bores this combat focused player. I once asked everyone to describe their actions back in town and this guy did "nothing" so I would periodically ask for ever increasingly hard Fort saves. His PC literally just stood in the town square for a day, staring into the sky, exposed to the elements and such until he finally collapsed and had to be cared for by a healer.

The other thing to think about if you've had this talk, want this person in your game and he's aware of your expectations, is consequence. Give him a reason to interact with the fantasy world and lay out what could happen if he doesn't. If he still sits out, stick to your guns.

Perhaps there's a petty noble who wants the PCs to raid a ruin. Your man sits on his DS and ignores the roleplay. The noble announces that for his "heroes" he's going to anoint them with holy oil in a ceremony. If this guy still doesn't care, everyone else in the party gets a temporary boon that gives them +1 to hit and damage in the ruin and a 1/day fire effect that adds +1d6 Fire damage to their weapon/ray attacks for 1 minute.

Turns out one of the main baddies is vulnerable to fire. Everyone else is whomping; this guy is dealing mediocre damage unless he's got a flaming weapon.

You could also have him receive less treasure, get attacked for his reputation or have his silence read as insolence and have his character get locked up/arrested/hunted down by an important NPC.

Finally if you want to look for players online these boards have recruitment threads. If its a game IRL just put that in the thread. There's here in the states; don't know if there's anything like that in Canada. Also troll the local gaming/hobby stores or look for Pathfinder Society events in the area. Hope all goes well.

brvheart wrote:

Ok, not meaning to nic pic or complain, just a question:

** spoiler omitted **


OMG V-zip, that is awesome! Those are great ideas and totally inspiring. I have my PCs poised to enter an area of the dungeon they're in formerly under the control of a mad alchemist. Now the alchemist has been slain but her slimes and experiments are still lurking about and beginning to seep out into the dungeon at large. The dungeon is a ruin sitting above (among other things) a huge underground aquifer supplying the land around it. The PCs don't know it (haven't been out of the dungeon in a while) but the waste runoff from the alchemist's lair is oozing down into the water and screwing things up.

If they make it through this level and survive dealing with the "waste" problem, I wanted to reward them with something cool. They don't have any NPC followers in the dungeon so it won't be a rep thing and the alchemist wasn't hoarding a rare resource or anything. Instead I think if they make it through all of this and eliminate this environmental threat, one of the challenges to it is going to be the smell; the final fight involves an area under the effect of a permanent Stinking Cloud effect. Maybe a perk then could be a permanent +2 on saves against similar noxious gasses.

Thanks for that Z-town!

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Playing off Saturn's hook:

The faith of Saranrae is one of healing, of redemption. We bring the light with us and we wish for all people to see that light within themselves. There are some though who are beyond redemption.

For every light, even that of the Dawnflower herself, there are shadows.

You four are those shadows. Born of the holy radiance but existing just outside its reach. Yet you are connected, as one with the church and the faith.

We will train you, house and supply you with many of the resources you need. In return, you will go among these lands, unbidden and unfettered from our church. In public you are nothing more than adventurers, explorers. But you will have your mission and nothing should dissuade you from those.

Many will try to stop you. Many will attempt to seduce you from your vocation. Though you might no longer operate within the laws and light of civilization at hand, know that your actions are ordained by the Dawnflower and her will.

And so you shall be our Moonlight Brigade.

So the PCs are sort of like the characters from the VanHelsing movie with Hugh Jackman. They have a church, or maybe a couple where they have contacts who can supply them with holy water, alchemical goods, spare armor and weapons and occasionally magic items. They also have boltholes, contacts and businesses friendly to their crusade hidden among the cities of Golarion. In return for this support the PCs take on missions in the name of Saranrae.

These missions would negatively impact the PR of the faith. While the public face of the faith is one of charity, mercy and healing, the PCs are little more than holy warriors and assassins who root out undead, monsters, and cults. They also hunt for lost resources, sometimes in places where the church has no authority or presence.

As a GM I'd play up the angle that the public at large doesn't consider what the PCs are doing to be noble or heroic work. Even the few they might tell are disgusted that the "church of light" would hire mercenaries to go and murder the "unredeemable" as judge, jury and executioner.

So the party wouldn't have to be all rogue/clerics, but they'd have to cleave to a certain anonymity. They wouldn't be the typical "heroes" saving the city from a dragon and getting a parade in their honor. The roleplaying of the game would come from the players reconciling with working toward helping a world which both hates and fears them.

DrDew wrote:
Mark Hoover wrote:
3 bard/gunslingers (3 Mariachis)?
The Three Amigos

No no, the Rodriguez action films about 3 traveling mariachi performers in Mexico who are also heavy weapons experts bent on taking down a crimelord. the American film was Desperado with Antonio Banderas.

But 3 Amigos would work too.

What about a group united by a guild. Not an adventurer's guild or mercenary company though. Here's some ideas:

The Ratcatcher's Guild - the lowest of the low professions, these hunters scour the streets and sewers for the vermin and creatures who make their lairs in the shadows of civilization.

United Bakers, Butchers and Chandler's Local 344 - a union of commoners who privately supply most of the food and light to the entire city.

Wayfarer's Orphanage - Madame Pirha Wayfarer is a kindly Halfling and genuinely cares for children. As such she goes to great lengths to protect them, even if they are not her wards. The orphanage then trains promising children to enter their adolescence with a particular skillset useful in her endeavors.

One thing I've ALWAYS considered doing: pick out routines the PCs use and play into them. Case in point: knowledge synergies.

I've got 5 players currently, but one can never make games so really it's a 4-man crew. It just so happens that 3 of them have Knowledge: Dungeoneering and Profession: Engineer. They have used these to great extent with creativity in the limited time we've been gaming together. Even though we're just second level they make a point of using these to aid one another in finding weak spots in dungeons, possible trap sites, secret doors etc.

I thought it'd be cool to give them a free teamwork feat. I'm no good at designing stuff on my own; all of my homebrew boons/powers/feats end up being overpowered and game-breaking. Still it'd be fun to reward them at 3rd level with something like when 2 or more folks with the feat use either skill to aid one another they get a +4 Aid Another instead of +2.

Another thing I've considered was handing out a free Weapon Focus to the PCs. Sure, it's a free +1 to hit and the opening of a new feat chain to exploit but in and of itself this doesn't seem totally upending. For the one sorcerer in the party maybe I'd hand out a free Arcane Strike instead since his main go-to in nearly all fights is to get close and fling Acid Splash.

Velcronus Zippernicus, I want to steal your "new dungeon region" idea. My game is also a giant megadungeon. It would be cool to incentivize the players with some cool boon since they're on the verge right now of opening up one of these "lost regions". What kind of stuff do you hand out?

3 bard/gunslingers (3 Mariachis)?

I have a way to almost always get sneak attack in melee. It's risky as heck since, y'know, you're in melee, but:

False Opening:

When you make a ranged attack while threatened, you can fool your opponent into thinking he has an opening.

Prerequisite: Dex 13, Dodge, Close Quarters Thrower or Point-Blank Master, Weapon Focus with selected ranged weapon.

Benefit: Choose a ranged weapon or a thrown weapon. When you make a ranged attack using that weapon, you can choose to provoke an attack of opportunity from one or more opponents who threaten you. You gain a +4 dodge bonus against such attacks. An opponent that makes such an attack and misses you loses his Dexterity bonus to AC against you until the end of your turn.

So you're in melee, use this feat and if they take the bait you've got at least a +6 (False Focus +13 Dex + Dodge) AC against their attack after which you make your ranged attack in melee to get a sneak attack. Now if only there was some way to guarantee they'd make that attack...

"Shut off the golden shower?" Are we cruising for yet ANOTHER thread along the lines of Succubus in a Grapple and Elixer of Sex Shift?

Anyway, yes, I think the PCs should probably taste the golden spray more often. I'm going to make a point to dump more change on them in the next few treasure-worthy encounters and see if I can't get this situation corrected.

Really though, no one hands out free feats? It seemed that for a while there everyone was giving out free Combat Expertise and free Leadership along with occasional bonus feats in their homebrews. I think I was just reading too much into the very miniscule portion of the gaming population I was actually seeing in those older posts.

If I had the ACG I would TOTALLY do that right now. Alas, not yet...

Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:

I thought a flock of Tengu would be hilarious. Maybe one is a druid with an Axe Beak animal companion. Another could have a Hawk familiar. Maybe a giant bird eidolon. Take a bunch of the flanking and distraction type teamwork feats to simulate a flock swarming a foe.

My group just looked at me like I was an idiot. {sigh}

Alternates: all of the tengu are bards and based on sea birds (Flock of Seaguls). All of them have a level dip in Paladin and wear unique plate armor; one is actually an android made to LOOK like a tengu (Silverhawks). If you're going to go corny bird theme, go big or go home...

El Freako: I like the sling-staff, but am not particularly attached. I'll crunch the numbers on Stabby McStabberson and think about it. I originally went Swashbuckler though because the archetype gives you one martial weapon as a proficiency and two chances to take the Rogue Talent Combat Trick instead of the standard 1. Being halfling then I could use the martial proficiency on sling-staff (which is considered martial instead of exotic for halflings) and the 2 combat tricks could help my build down the road.

DMdubs: I hadn't considered Slayer. I'll have to find it out there in the world somewhere and give it a look.

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Ipslore the Red wrote:
Lamontius wrote:

I am glad you all read past the first line

I sure did not
Hey, I don't see any problem with wearing it on the head.

Which one? HEEYYYOOHHHHH! I'll be here all week; be sure to tip your succubus...

I was given the opportunity to roll stats. The stat array I rolled was 15, 12, 17, 17, 12, 11. I have been jonesing to play a halfling rogue (flat-out rogue; I've already done a ranger-rogue build) for a bit. Here's what I am thinking at least for the first 4 levels

Ghilda the Stick:

NG female halfling rogue (swashbuckler, scout)4
2 traits: Reactionary, Rice Runner
Str 16 (17 -2 racial; +1 level 4 bonus)
Dex 19 (17 +2 racial)
Con 15
Int 12
Wis 12
Cha 13 (11 +2 racial)
Feats/Rogue Talents:
1st Point Blank Shot
2nd Rogue Talent: Weapon Training granting Weapon Focus: sling-staff as bonus feat
3rd Opening Volley
4th Rogue Talent: Befuddling Strike

The idea would be to make my first attack a ranged sneak attack or a ranged attack whenever possible. Follow this with a Charge and then on further rounds get sneak attacks from 1. moving to setup new Charge attacks, 2. eligible flankers from the rest of the party, 3. situational modifiers. My defense against AoO's would be managed by high Acrobatics skill.

I'm terrible at builds. If anyone has any critiques for me using the stat array above and the strictures that I remain rogue and halfling, please let me know. Thanks in advance!

Maybe I'm just spending too much time combing the boards then. Still there's WBL though. I looked over my notes on what I've handed out the last 2 sessions.

The PCs are exploring a megadungeon, have crawled through 11 unique areas, had 9 encounters between CR 1 - CR 3 (remember: APL 2) and for their troubles have received a whopping 2 arcane scrolls, 2 divine scrolls, a couple pieces of art, a handful of mediocre gems and mixed coins, all of which amounts to roughly 650 GP. They're almost all the way through 2nd level on the way to third and no one has their first masterwork anything yet.

I'm probably just being neurotic. I have had this complaint before though in longer campaigns. The starting package seems generous to the players but as the game goes on loot either gets missed or abandoned, PCs don't seek out NPCs for Boons, no one uses their skills during Downtime for anything more than cost-of-living and no one ever takes crafting feats. Those that start out with them use them a bit but that use drops off quickly.

As my campaigns drag on then I get called stingy. I make fights challenging which is why some of the loot gets missed/abandoned; NPCs rarely seek out the PCs in the first place; sometimes my pacing doesn't allow for much Downtime. But in these instances I don't do anything to bolster the flagging resources of the PCs.

Then I come to the boards and read threads where successful PCs are getting bonus feats for example. It gets me wondering if that might be an avenue for me to explore. No, your characters might never be at WBL, but you'll all get Combat Expertise for free at the start, regardless of prereqs. As the game goes on I'll hand out free Improved Trip perhaps or Imp Unarmed just so that folks always have something to do in combat.

I don't know, perhaps I should solve the ACTUAL problem and just increase the loot piles they DO find to more appropriate levels.

Pan wrote:
Mark Hoover wrote:
2 standard traits, 1 campaign trait. Since all of my stuff is homebrewed and I sort of make up the details of the campaigns after a couple adventures, I don't really ever HAVE campaign traits made up so it never occured to me to offer them. I'm getting the impression though that the 3 of 4 players in my current group who usually play APs feel a bit short-changed.
3 traits with 20 pt buy and they feel short changed?

No, I wasn't clear. I don't give them a 3rd trait. I give them only 2 traits, a 20 pt buy, and 150 GP, kind of like starting off in PFS.

It never occurred to me that some APs start you off with 3, 4 or even 5 traits. I started a thread here to discuss this and other freebies handed out to players over the course of a campaign.

When folks say "I don't want PCs buying items at ye olde magic mart" and then go to great lengths to create unique magic items, I wonder why. If the point is not to have them buy from a magic shop, just don't provide one.

You've got a guy in the group who can potentially brew potions. If he got that bonus feat, make him use it. Add lots of alchemy shops, but they're all run by NPC Experts. This not only means the alchemist shines as a special hero but also that they're in charge of making all the healing potions. They can still buy all the stuff to do so, but they have to devote the time/resources to it themselves.

Also as Cyrad suggests, find alternatives to the magic shop. I personally favor the Junkmangler's Guild in my own homebrew. They are the disgruntled cast-offs; kobolds, goblins and gnomes (gnomes are an NPC race in my world due to ties to the fey). These vaguely-magical creatures sometimes are dragged into civilization, slaves/minions of adventurers. Over time some of these creatures have been released from service but have domesticated to the point that they no longer wish to return to the dungeons of their race.

These retched refuse have banded together to form the Junkmangler's Guild. These traveling tinkers go from town to town using Mending, Prestidigitation and a host of crafting skills to transform junk into gear. The items they make are crafted with care and skill, so most are useful in some way. However the best Junkmanglers can infuse real magic into their creations. This in turn makes them powerful and unstable.

The magic items they make have the Fragile condition. They are like junk sculptures; a wand of CLW might be half an axe handle fitted with a wyvern's stinger and iron-shod, witch sigils burned into the butt. The players are free to buy from these merchants and can net good deals but the items they buy might break at a moment's notice or malfunction; using a Junkmangler's items in public can also have social implications.

The point is: consider the natural talents of the PCs as well as the expectations of the players before removing or severly hindering a resource commonly available by RAW.

2 standard traits, 1 campaign trait. Since all of my stuff is homebrewed and I sort of make up the details of the campaigns after a couple adventures, I don't really ever HAVE campaign traits made up so it never occured to me to offer them. I'm getting the impression though that the 3 of 4 players in my current group who usually play APs feel a bit short-changed.

In another thread about traits I see that there are some APs that hand out more than 2. I've also heard hints and rumors that some APs hand out special feats as bonuses to players. Finally in some homegames I've heard about in a multitude of threads I've heard GMs sometime award bonus feats, permanent Boons etc to the PCs in the course of the campaign.

I'd like to have a discussion on this. Currently I feel like an uncle scrooge: my PCs are only APL 2 but they're a little behind WBL, 2 have died over the course of the campaign to date and the only real "perk" to show for it is a homebrewed +1 Skill rank (only can be used in Craft, Performance or Profession skill and doesn't grant an extra Class Skill).

I'm trying to get a feel for how others do it. It might change my mind, maybe not, but I'd like to discuss.

Yes, I keep track and work directly with the players on the traits they pick. As double-barreled J mentioned above, I keep an eye on it more for story than for game balance. I only run home games though so...

I didn't know there were some APs that hand out 5 traits??!!!

This helps explain why some of my players when I rattle off my mantra: "20 pt buy... 150 GP... 2 traits..." give me the stinkeye when working on these.


Grab the Dragon's Demand module. Start it at the beginning (level 1) or drop the PCs in somewhere further along since there's several "chapters" of the module. There's plenty of both investigation and dungeoneering throughout.

That reminds me: when I get my poop in a group I need to get back out to Hennepin Tech for the next round of business classes.

I'll keep an eye on this thread as well. Life is going to be silly for me over the next few weeks with the summer ending, kids camps getting sporadic and then getting them into school after Labor Day. Still after struggling to find gamers in the TCs for years only to find you were all right here the whole time, it seems counter-intuitive not to try and connect.

The Medium track for gold/encounter suggests 260 GP/level. That is too small a hoard to contain a wand, but a 1st level spell represented by a potion/oil is 50 GP while a scroll would be 25 GP. 260 GP is a lot of loot to put together. Now what keeps your party going longer in an "endurance run" type scenario?

- a small, silver-gilt coffer (100 GP) containing 100 GP worth of mixed coins and 6 finely cut and polished agate beads (10 GP each)

- a finely carved bone scroll case with brass fixtures (60 GP) containing 4 scrolls: Mage Armor, Burning Hands, Cure Light Wounds, Bless

The second loot pile, in the hands of a sufficiently diversified party contributes a great deal to the success of the party's next fight. That seems to be the priority in doing extended dungeon delves.

Y'know what'd be awesome and make healing in combat worth it? If no one knew their HP. It'd be unworkable slowing down fights immensely but just imagine if you knew only what your starting HP was and never knew how much damage your enemies did.

You start out at 20 HP. The evil barbarian hits you, and the GM tells you only that your PC is hurt badly. Next round your fighter goes down; you don't have any idea how far negative your HP are or even if you're stable unless someone uses the Heal skill or a spell to check on you. Suddenly the PC cleric has a choice; heal you for X amount of HP or chance letting you bleed out while he buffs himself and moves in for the kill.

Other than that houserule though, healing in combat in my opinion is still just a 50/50 toss up.

Ironically I was reading this thread and another re: making settlements. I couldn't help myself and made up a new settlement using some random rolls. Purely off the cuff I ended up with a Lawful Good Thorp with a Council and their only Quality ended up being Racial Intolerance. I didn't want it to be the typical "orcs and 1/2 orcs" thing but I did want it to be a race that might impact my players. Here's what I came up with:


Elves once met at this ancient tree-tower and defended it against a dwarven mercenary band intent on clearing the hills for their own expansion. Recently three elven families rediscovered the tower and settled here to create a farmstead and a life for themselves.

The heads of these families share rule of the place eaqually through debate and compromise. Being close to the modern trade routes occasional wanderers and merchants have begun visiting Lamythra; a few outbuildings beyond the tower form the seeds of a town to come. But of course old enmity dies hard and the elder dwarves resent the tower as a mark of shame in their once-great campaigns here.

Lamythra has found itself plagued by raids. These are not goblin hordes or depraved fey. The torches and derision of the neighboring dwarves have rekindled ancient enmity. Any dwarves passing through this place, even those who have nothing to do with this feud quickly find themselves targets of the elves' frustration and scorn.

Still this place is not without its boons. While the Council of Elders are derisive slaves to their prejudices the curious family members are open-minded and willing to debate politics and culture (Society +1). Lamythra is also a bastion of law in these chaotic lands; they adhere to the tenets of their patron Erastil and the Common House in town is part shrine, part inn and the meeting place of the council as well. Minor healing and scrolls of divine power can be obtained here from Valda Whitefawn, the chief priestess. Though informed by the shadows of the past (150% cost to dwarves selling her healing and scrolls) Valda may be open to changing her tone for the right visitor (Society +1 means it takes only a DC 19 check to modify her attitude toward PC dwarves from Unfriendly to Indifferent.)

The Common House is also a place to buy, sell and trade the gear and knowledge of the Woodlore Hunters. These 4 family members are experts in the surrounding wilds as well as trained bow-makers, fletchers and tanners. If it's made from wood, hide, leather or bone, chances are it can be commissioned here. The trading post also boasts most items commonly needed for forays into wild such as packs, rations, rope and tools. Lamythra is quickly gaining a reputation as a way-stop into the forests and hills nearby. Desnan rangers have petitioned the elven council to place a Waystone, a carved lithic upright dedicated to the goddess, in a meadow nearby known to be frequented by migrating butterflies as they regard this place as sacred. The elves are wary though, as the Desnan can be a chaotic sort even when their hearts are in the right place.

Plot Hooks:

1. The Waystone - a Desnan priest, Rannefv of the Path (CG male Halfling ranger 2) has been the primary voice in securing the Waystone and has finally gotten permission to go ahead with the project. Some in the village however have heard that the Halfling intends to procure the upright from the neighboring dwarves and are outraged at the prospect. To make matters worse the ranger has disappeared on some mission. The players then are hired to go as emissaries of both Lamythra and the Desnan to ensure that the stone is nothing nefarious. Strange though that Rannefv would leave just as his shrine were being created...

2. Dwarf raid - the folk of Lamythra are somewhat justified in their scorn of dwarves. Two nights ago fire woke the Woodlore Hunters; the northern woodlots were ablaze. The elves were able to control the blaze with magic and skill but in the aftermath they've discovered a small outpost of evil dwarven mercenaries has been tunneled into the hillside a mere 4 miles from the Tower of Lamythra. The tiny thorp is not a place of powerful warriors; the PCs are retained by the Council to remove these villains in return for goods and gold from the village.

3. Under Lamythra - there's a reason the elves of old defended this place from dwarven attackers. The roots of the tree-tower run deep, permeating into the First World and there is power in the caves and tunnels below. However this power is chaotic; the tower was built to contain them. Recently however an outbreak of the Giggles; a fey-born disease causing loss of both life and mind (DC 14 Fort; 1d3 Con and 1 Cha damage/day; Cure 2 saves) has been spreading toward the village and now one of the denizens of the settlement has contracted it. The council fears that the fey have made their way into the caverns below in order to exploit the power there, however Priestess Whitefawn knows of a way to use the empowered roots of the tree-tower to help cure the disease. Now the PCs have been blindfolded and permitted to enter the bowels of the tower; from there they are allowed to descend into the darkness to end the villainy here while making their way to the Songlight Cave - a place where the veil between the First World and our own thins. Here they will find the dangling roots of the tree-tower and after collecting enough they may yet save the residents of Lamythra.

I don't know if any of this was appropriate to list here, but thanks to DM Cal for inspiring me to dream this all up!

With Karnoss I went the opposite way that I had in previous worlds in that I did no big cosmologies or religions. I only vaguely hint at established doctrine, myth and dogma for a few reasons:

1. it's REALLY easy on me as a GM
2. there can be so many more "flavors" just in the same faith
3. the PCs can help retroactively create the myths by driving the narrative of the gameworld where they want it to go

To that point I basically just stole the core deities. The lawful gods are more likely to be worshipped in the cities; the chaotic deities in rural settings, and neutral all over. Of course there will be crossover. The basic tenets of the myth sort of follow Golarion, a little.

hackneyed creation myth:
Pharasma is the "mother" figure, who brings all out of some nebulous space. There are however older, darker forces in the cosmos already here; war ensues. Some deities are corrupted, some slain; the core deities emerge and decide they want to make something rather than just destroy. Pharasma forbids it foreseeing danger but they sneak off and make something anyway.

Without her wisdom and so as to escape her notice they take their cue from their own immortal realms and make someplace where initially things can't die - the First World. Here they try out all their ideas. They quarrel and despite the alignments of the deities chaos reigns. This draws the attention of Rovagug the Destroyer and the godwar begins anew.

Pharasma instructs her "children" to cloak the First World in a new place to confuse the Rough Beast. When they do he turns his attentions on it for a moment, giving the other gods the chance they need and they subdue the creature causing fragments to fall to earth (first major global calamity). With Pharasma to guide them this new place is made real, finite and a mixture of law, chaos, good and evil, yet not ever truly neutral. This constant shifting will make it a perfect prison for the defeated Rovagug who is imprisoned within.

Pharasma forsakes her own prophesies so that none may know the future, not even her. Now without her unfailing wisdom the other deities have matured into their current roles and have begun to subtly influence the new world. Some remember their First World with fondness and every so often peek in on it, creating rifts where the First World bleeds into the campaign world.

The immortal First Worlders migrate into the new world and some become trapped. They know nothing of the gods who made them and care nothing for the eternal knowing they spring from the same. In fact in the cosmology I made I stole an old idea that mortal fey killed in the game just return to the First World as spirits where they reincarnate with new lives and purpose. So the fey, assured of their immortality and magically unable to age, go about the world as they would their own homes.

The fey find their powers diminish the further they go from the sites of their portals, so they remain in the wilds or underground. Over time they learn how to make temporary portals of their own or coax the original portals to life once more, however briefly. During these times the power of the First World rips through the lands that will become Karnoss. The gods, amused momentarily by these gnats permit this to go on. The fey, their sentience and their power filters into the land and mingles with Dragons and the Elder Races (dwarves and elves) to create the spark by which these creatures gain a certain measure of self awareness needed to begin civilization.

From there it gets pretty mundane. Other, shorter-lived races evolve (humans, halflings, goblins and monsters) from the global forces of the Elder Races, the First World and Dragons. The dragons themselves, choosing either to horde the power they have or too aloof and superior to mingle among the lesser things they've inadvertently created retire to the corners of the world. The elder races, following the examples of the gods they come to worship turn on each other and the other races in endless war. The gods, fascinated by all of this and assured by the Mother of Souls that this is as it should be sit back and let it happen.

And so, life in the lands that would one day become Karnoss thrived. Yeah, I basically stole most, if not all of that from the Golarion setting or a dozen others but I've never put it anywhere but on these boards or in my own notes, and even then as a sort of rough outline. There's a lot of holes and gaps, and that is intentional to leave it open for reinterpretation.

The churches then in my world are sort of whatever I need them to be, even within the same faith. Most settlements, even as small as a Thorp, has some kind of worship space devoted to a primary and secondary deities. In point of fact you can usually figure out the general nature of a place or people if you use Know: Religion and look at the deities worshipped there.

Most clerics or divine casters also venerate multiple deities. A cleric with Saranrae as his primary deity might also be seen hanging a daisy chain on a postern dedicated to Desna to ensure his party has a blessed journey or invoking Pharasma while he places iron coins on the eyes of a fallen NPC he could not save. The point is the gods all sort of mingle and merge into a nebulous tapestry of the divine that is not clearly defined, so that me and my players can get away with whatever we need to in order to keep the game going.

Minor thread rez here. What if you put a spin on one of Tim's groups?

The Victims Who Lived
The PCs barely remember their childhood and can have teen years and beyond in any number of diverse backgrounds, but at one point in their youth they all lived in some creepy, backwater town. They survived some supernatural attack or bogeyman by sticking together and they made a pact not to let it happen again. Now the creature/force/evil is back but it has been busy creating networks of villainous proxies and schemes in the meantime. One of the PCs spontaneously remembered something and started making connections from local tales of recent calamities. Now it's time to gather the old crew and go out after this thing, and finally put an end to it once and for all.

Oh sure, I'm stealing from a very famous novel here, but that doesn't make this any less viable. From a GM's standpoint this one's great for them. They have a built-in overarching BBEG that they don't even have to define, they can drop in any number of layers between it and the 1st level PCs to build their levels to the right height and you can introduce past memories the PCs forgot as clues/teasers to keep the plot going.

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