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Leonard Kriegler

Mark Hoover's page

4,618 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Lathiira wrote:

If it worships Zon-Kuthon, is it a House of Pain?

What if it worships Desna? Is it then a Dream House?

Worships Saranrae: House of the Rising Sun

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I still keep coming back to Donna in the library episode. Martha, Rose, Amy; I could see them saying "sorry darlings but you're not real - I have to get back to the Doctor" but not Donna. Come hell or high water she was going to fight for every second with her pretend husband and kids. That was touching, sweet, human and heartbraking all at the same time and in a way I haven't seen in Dr Who before. Sure Amy wants a family but she has Rory with her most of the time. The other companions, even Rose, got to take their significants with them from time to time. Donna is the one who suddenly had someone significant in her life, some people to really love and care for, but she didn't get to keep them.

That, the miming through the window bit, and Donna running in that dress in the Pompei episode. You guys can all keep your Perris and Leelas and such; Donna's the total package for me.

Ah Rose. A lot of people bag on her, and an equal amount call her "Fantastic." For me I really liked her because like Donna she was very real. But then she developed into this badass and I sort of lost interest. Its not that I buy into the "damsel in distress" trope all the time but she just sort of became obvious in her toughness, like she was completely together all the time.

I guess that's why I liked Donna, or Mickey when he was first around. These are people who never really got comfortable in their travels. They still seemed vulnerable, mortal, like even standing next to the Doctor they weren't quite sure if it was all going to be ok. I like that.

I was leafing through Ultimate Campaign yesterday and came across Bloodline Traits; traits any PC can take to reflect the taint of their lineage without them needing to be a full-fledged sorcerer. This got me thinking of another group theme - Common Bloodline

You could have everyone have something to do with, say, an undead bloodline. From one PC being a dammphir to another taking the trait Deathtouched to yet another being a sorcerer and still another being an oracle of bones.

Actually you could use traits to really tie a group together too. If everyone in the group took Reactionary you could say they all suffered the same bully. For extra points their bully isn't even mortal but some supernatural force like they're all tormented by the same fey or hunted by the same undead.

The one player who quit the game said it was getting stale. When I asked for clarification he said he meant PF in general. He's running his own 5e game and is looking to play other systems. However he's also made comments to me in the past that my games tend to be overly wordy. He didn't like RP scenes at all and is famous for once having a dwarf PC that nearly died from standing around. The party came back from an adventure and had some downtime.

The PCs parted company in the town square and I asked what he was doing; he just shrugged. The other players gave a detailed account of interactions with friends, family and such but this player didn't give me anything. As a result his dwarf just stopped doing anything and stood in the middle of the square for 3 days. He was generally ignored after a while by the townsfolk, exposed to the elements and eventually collapsed from exhaustion.

Anyway, so now he's gone. My other players are used to APs, do a little PFS, and I think are generally expecting a 50/50 ratio of RP to combat. The campaign is a non-linear sandbox style with an emphasis on a megadungeon. Though I haven't gotten much specific feedback I have observed commentary from one player who is shocked whenever a foe of APL +3 or higher shows up.

Its a PF game but I'm trying to run it like a classic D&D megadungeon setting. If it helps with perspective I've taken a lot of inspiration from Frog God Games' products Rappan Athuk and now Lost City of Barakus. In other words there's a city (with adventures of its own), a wilderness area nearby with numerous smaller dungeons and entry points to the megadungeon, and then the megadungeon itself.

I wonder if the other players wouldn't be better served with a linear storyline. I don't enjoy railroading as a GM or a player, but maybe a little bit here would go a long way. The campaign has numerous plot hooks and such, but here's an observation I've made: these players are very passive.

I had another player in the game when it started but he moved. Before he left however he had 2 separate PCs. One was a paladin who knew that the city was using child labor and slaves in the slums as well as resources from the dungeon to maintain its decadence. He then determined that he was going to use missions to the dungeon as a means to the end of saving the children in the slums. His second PC was a mercenary who'd been sent into the dungeon by a dwarf guildmaster that the previous PC had confirmed was evil. The mercenary was left for dead and barely made it out alive. Now he's working to build up a crew of his own in order to exact revenge.

Both of those PCs were actively working toward something. The other characters in the game however have backgrounds but they are vague and not really plot-rich. As well none of the players really plays up any of the details. As a result I have no idea what the players or the characters are looking to achieve so I don't know how to provide it.

The PCs in the game are:

- NG male Halfling sorcerer (Faerie Dragon Bloodline) 2
- NG male human rogue 2
- NG male half-elf summoner (master summoner) 2

The Halfling is a cartographer who came from a small village and left behind a mentor (he never elaborates on said NPC and doesn't seem to care about them). The rogue is a dungeon delver who works for my homebrew version of the PF Society; he wants to find old stuff for the guild. The summoner hasn't really fleshed out his background yet; I don't even know what his eidolon is other than it's physical attacks.

If you need more detail just ask.

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.

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*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.

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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.

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