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We didn't get any gaming done yesterday. I decided to have folks roll up their characters so we just did a Session 0.
We have a party now though:
The basic premise of the game is going to be that the PCs have been drafted as agents of the Lantern Watch, an organization dedicated to exploring the wilderness. This motley crew is being sent to a Small Town on the edge of the wilds; there they will meet up with local NPCs, find landmarks lost in a recent global calamity and slowly begin to combat the monsters making a name for themselves.
Per the players last night this'll be a fairly beer & pretzels kind of game. As one gal put it "we just want to get together on a Thursday night, roll some dice and smash something." FYI, she's the barbarian.
Tomorrow begins the first session. Let me know what you think of the plan
Welcome to Valyg's Crossing:
1. PCs hired to travel to Valyg's Crossing, a town on the borderland of a rugged wilderness.
2. Mission 1: meet with Rowana Thrune (NG f hum Wizard 3)
3. Social encounter: meet Rowana
a. she is friendly to the PCs guild
b. Rowana came to Valyg's Crossing to learn of her ancestor, another wizard
c. she has heard rumors of strange noises coming from a ruin on an island in the bay but hasn't checked it out
4. PCs ambushed by the water
a. Monsters: x4 kobold warrior 1/CR 1
b. Clues point back to the ruin
1. they use slingstones of the same rock as the ruin
2. the kobolds are wet and slimy with lake scum
3. the kobolds are a variety with racial talents as excellent swimmers
c. if clues aren't enough, a drunk in an alley tells the PCs he saw them climb up off the quays
5. On the isle of the ruin
a. monsters: x2 dire rats; kobold rat master (warrior 3)/CR 1
b. traps: shallow pits (5' wide, 10' deep) lined with stones (1d6 damage; Ref save DC 15; Perception DC 15; Disarm DC 15) CR 1/2
c. kobold and rats try to drive PCs into the holes
d. there is either a secret door through a pit or the PCs can enter the ruin through a hole in the side; if through the hole Ref save DC 13 or fall for 2d6 damage
6. Under the old ruin
a. Monsters: x3 kobold warrior 2; kobold adept 3/warrior 1 (familiar: donkey rat with the Mauler archetype; he rides the beast through the battle)
b. treasure: along with combat gear there is ancient loot, an old spellbook and a dragon's skull
7. Epilogue: PCs retrieve the spellbook and learn from clues at the scene that the kobolds really came for the skull. They are warriors of a cult worshipping ancient dragons that one roamed these wilds.
I don't really know where I'm going with this storyline yet but this is my opening shot across the bow. Tell me if you think it's too ambitious.
How realistic do you want to go with this? It'd take a good minute for the roof to burn enough for it to cave in. That's when I'd have folks start waking up if they haven't been suffocated to death or set on fire already. 'Course if this were the heroes setting a village on fire I'd basically say that their main villain(s) make it outside to do battle having suffered a little while the NPCs are basically just left in the background. After the adventure I'd epilogue about how many bystanders died in choking agony, a moment of horror seared forever into their charred flesh.
Then I'd have the Flame oracle with the burns curse appear and start hunting the party...
I love everything you're saying right now. I'm using the 5 Room Dungeon design ethic for my initial adventures. That is:
5 room dungeon style:
Room 1: entry/set the theme/usually a minor fight like meeting an outer guard or initial threat
Room 2: trick, trap or RP challenge like having to get info out of a bouncer or cross a raging river
Room 3: setback/PCs are close to the objective but held at bay by something that eats up a few more resources like they slide down a level and have to fight back up
Room 4: final confrontation/bbeg/major conflict dealt with
Room 5: revelation where the PCs find the treasure or the bbeg is shown to be a pawn or whatever
So usually how it turns out for me when I run these is minor fight/skill challenge/minor fight + skill challenge/major fight/? Think this is good time management for 3 hours?
The OP suggests a problem with adding class levels. Does this include NPC class levels? Take a kobold; a party APL 1 faces one kobold warrior 1 (CR 1/4) and laughs; they face four of them and it's an average challenge.
Take the same single kobold and add Adept 3. Now this kobold has 4 total CR of 1. Phyiscally it looks no different but now it has a bit of magic, a few more HP and slightly better chance to hit. It also has a familiar which, with a few choices on your part makes it almost a double threat for its CR.
Keep that logic going. Perhaps later in the campaign around level 5 PCs encounter kobolds with the Simple: Advanced template on top of Adept 3/Warrior 5. These kobolds ride their familiars in battle. Give them lizards with the Mauler archetype. All they are is beefy acolytes of the dragon at the end of the game. Explain their Burning Hands spells as breath weapons; give them the kobold alternate racial trait that gives them a bite attack. They don't have to be super elite well-konwn people in the campaign.
Finally the PCs make it to APL10. You throw in some kobold adept 5/warrior 7 with some tricked out stats and the Simple: Advanced template. Again with the lizard familiars but said familiars have some magic items that gives them wings and a breath weapon. Now they're dragon-riding kobolds flying around, breathing fire, shooting bows with extreme accuracy and doing crap damage. These are the uber-dragon's tooth guard meaning they are fit to clean his teeth between meals.
Not every monster needs to keep current with the PCs. Those that do can gain quite a bit from the following sources without mucking much up in your story or setting:
- Simple templates
Finally, don't forget the Voltron effect. By that I mean combining lesser monsters to make one devastating combatant. A medium skeleton bolstered with some magic items, the Simple: Advanced template and Simple: Fiendish for the defenses is bound to a sanguine alchemical ooze swarm advanced several HD into one slimy skeleton that can debuff combatants with it's attacks. Perhaps you even count it as a single monster so the party has to chew through ALL its HP before it's destroyed.
Ok I need some advice. I've been invited to run a homebrew game for some new players but they meet every other Thursday for 3 hour sessions. I haven't run games in that short of a time ever for PF. Normally I run 4-6 hour sessions, sometimes longer and even then it doesn't feel like we get a ton of stuff done.
Please offer any advice or commentary on running short sessions here. I know I can use modules but I want to keep a lot of the game homebrewed. Are there things I should avoid or trim back in the game to maximize the time?
132. As you enter the tavern you note that the crowd is gathered around the center table. At one end a Halfling and a dwarf stand glaring at each other while in their hands are small pebbles. At the far end several full mugs of beer a lined up like a triangle with its apex furthest from the competitors. The pinnacle mug bears a handle resembling a rapier and is of obvious import (Knowledge: Religion this honors Cayden Cailean). The game is bierstone...
133. Several young women swoon before a bespectacled lad with a pimply complexion wearing a pointy hat and a robe. "We get it... CHARM spell... you still can't tag a long kid" a group of adventurers mutter from a nearby table.
134. A sweaty-lipped half-elf hands you a sealed scrollcase. "Get this out of the city... NOW!" he barks as he drains a flagon in his other hand. With that he makes to dash away as spectral hands appear from midair and sink barbed claws into his shoulders. "NOWWW!" he screams before being hauled through an infernal rift.
Here's the list that I always go over in my head
- partial charge
Also don't forget Free actions like Knowledge checks, some skills and a few words of speech. That's all I can think of off the top of my head.
So a fighter with a familiar, snap shot and these 2 feats above could, conceivably receive a +4 bonus to hit against a flanked foe if their familiar were part of the flank? And then isn't there another ranged feat for getting an AoO from Ranged Tactics? This all bodes well for my halfling slinger build...
Its nice to have fans :)
421. a young girl in black and red garb chases a group of thugs; suddenly she spins, spectral rose pedals in her wake while a red baton springs from a wrist sheath. With clicking and clanking and more than a little magic the baton extends and transforms into a great scythe glowing red with eldritch energy
422. in the midst of a darkened alley you spy a bowl of cream left on a doorstep; the liquid is rippling. 3 tiny, winged forms circle the bowl, each seeming to want to prevent the other from getting any. (Three pixies are arguing over who gets the first drink).
423. A pair of mangy dogs snarl at the PCs while guarding their food; if the PCs look closely (DC 15 Perception or DC 15 Heal check) they note that the "food" is a humanoid's leg, freshly butchered.
424. Coy pond
425. At night a crowd of teens gather in a side lane off a main plaza. They watch in rapt anticipation as one lad nervously mumbles some statement to his compatriots and then extends his hand into the mouth of a draconic bust in relief on the wall. (Knowledge: Local DC 15 reveals that this is a Test of Truth: supposedly the bust is an aspect of Apsu. The ritual goes that a statement is spoken before it and then the hand is placed inside the mouth at which point the truth is judged by the god. If true nothing happens; if false the dragon supposedly roars and marks the offender as a liar for 30 days. The bust holds a mild aura relating to Illusion and Transmutation magic if detected for. This can be identified as a Ghost Sound and Arcane Mark trap though there is no obvious trigger)
I like super heroes. I'm not ashamed of it. I also enjoy the occasional Anime-style piece in a variety of media.
Over the weekend my girls found RWBY on Netflix. We watched the first half of Vol 1 together and I freaking loved it! In the show there's a scene where a bunch of year 1 students are put on their first school challenge: stand on some catapults, get launched into the monster forest, and use what little training you already have to destroy everything you need to in order to find a relic in a temple at the far end.
Remember: the characters are year 1 now.
So they are shot into the forest and each character uses a combo of skills, powers, magic and unique weapons to survive their fall through the canopy. They then fight serious monsters, get their relics, and have an epic fight in order to get back out of the forest.
That's what I want my PF games to be. I want rogues to bounce from tree limb to tree limb; I want martials to be able to wield their weapons in order to slow themselves to a stop through the trees. Maybe this is Mythic but I want the non-caster types to have such amazing skills that they imitate the reality-shattering stuff that spells do.
And deep down I want everyone to do this without magic items. I don't want a PC to have to add a cloak of flying into their build in order to fly just so they can compete with the wizard casting the same spell. By the time the party sorcerer gets Fly I want the party fighter to be able to leap skyward 60' on a Mover and perhaps do a Full Round action to bounce wall to wall with several leaps moving 120'.
Spellcasters become superhuman at high levels. Why not non-casters too?
I'm always looking to become a better GM. I popped into this thread and realized I'm already doing nearly everything your mom is in BSF. The only thing I don't do is work with other GMs.
I've been the defacto GM for decades through several different gaming groups. For some reason each group I've been in has always been composed of folks who just don't want to spare the time to run a game. Most of these other players though have the skill and have done it in the past, so they COULD take on the job, they just choose not to.
I feel like one of the ways I could be a better GM would be to be a player and let the responsibility rotate through the group a bit. Then after a time take on your mom's idea of a GM's meeting. What's working, what isn't and why? Those are good things to get specific feedback on.
The dice have a mind of their own. You roll some dice, the PC dies; everyone shrugs. Luck didn't go their way right?
Name me one story, movie, tv show, song or even a youtube video of a game session where the heroes of said media opened a door, a goblin got a lucky shot and one or more of the protagonists died and you went "Man! That was awesome!"
Yeah, I didn't think so. That's how your players feel.
Almost no player wants total PC immortality. Equally almost no player wants to die from a cheap shot. I say almost because there are always exceptions.
Most players I've asked say that if their PC has to go down they want it to be story-enhancing. They don't want to die; they want a death scene. There's a difference.
There are ways to threaten death without killing the PCs. Again, back to your favorite media. There are epic moments in stories where an NPC dies. Off the top of my head I can imagine a few TV shows where the heroes live at the very edge of death but their trusted NPCs are shredded like so much wheat.
I guess my point is that PC death in my experience isn't fun. It doesn't always add anything to the story and it never serves as a "teachable moment" for the player whose character just died. Mostly it's just a negative: a stop in the action for at least one player, a break in the communal narrative, and ending of a sort and a loss on the part of the team.
So if you've got some dice that decide a PC is gonna die, prepare yourself. You all have some decisions to make. How will you pull the silver lining out of this? How will you turn this defeat into a victory?
You sit down to your first adventure with this new GM. The first encounter is between your party of 1st level, mildly optimized PCs and, say, a bunch of goblins. You're like "awesome; let's unleash the hurt!" and wade into the fight.
The goblins turn out to be tactical geniuses. They use the terrain, hit-and-run tactics and their leader is a battlefield control type spellcaster that seems to know your party's every weakness. The fight is over before it began. After it wraps and your party limps off the battlemap down one PC who got killed you can either
1. Amp up your optimization
2. Talk to your GM
If you take option one you begin an arms race. Suddenly you're a primed group of military commandos but the GM strikes back with more diverse monsters. Now you're golf-bagging weaponry to deal with DR, Flying and other defenses. Your GM puts in some deadly puzzles, social encounters with demigod level forces and what not and suddenly its a player-versus-GM game.
If you go option 2 though a lot of things can go wrong. Maybe the GM was new too and didn't know how to run the encounter; maybe now they're embarrassed for being called out on the carpet or the GM expresses frustration with your level of skill as players; maybe the game collapses right then and there.
But here's the light at the end of the tunnel. If you have that conversation with your GM about their game things might get fixed. It doesn't HAVE to turn into a body count comparison unless that's the game you all want. If you pick option one and never have the conversation then no one really learns anything. If you have an open and honest dialogue about it however then you at least have the chance of fixing things.
Think about some of your first games as kids. Unless you were at a convention did anyone ever sit down with a total stranger and just go "ok lets play!" I'm guessing not many of us. Rather we sat with friends we trusted; we called out our friends when they were being jerks, whether they were other players or the GM. We said things like "wouldn't it be cool if..." or "remember in that movie where that one guy..." In those conversations we began the dialogue that led to everyone at the table knowing what they all considered cool and epic.
Embrace conversation. Get to know your fellow gamers. Feel the confidence to make the game what YOU want to play.
I always come back to the same thing when talking about PC deaths: did they really die?
Once a game session someone drops into negative HPs and has the Dying condition. The couple of times someone's actually reached Dead I've offered alternatives. Could be that the PC was devout to some god that offers a save... with a catch; perhaps the character is dragged out of the scene by a villain and awakens on an operating table with a new limb and lack of personal control. There are really very few ways in my game for a PC to really die.
PC death as a consequence is, to me, a really crappy punishment. People say all the time that they'll kill off a character if their player does something stupid. Firstly that's really subjective; what is stupid to the omniscient GM who knows EVERY monster/trap/hazard in the vicinity by stat-block may not seem stupid to the player just trying to get his John McClaine on.
Another reason to let a PC die is to teach the player a lesson. Frank is being a game-hog. You've talked to Frank and he refuses to change. You crank up the CR on the next fight and Frank takes the bait, only to have his bardbarian/vivisectionist completely incinerated. Ha ha, take THAT Frank; now I bet you learned your place am I right? Except... Frank didn't learn anything other than 1. you had to jack with everything to murder his PC, proving he WAS the center of attention and 2. you're kind of a jerk that doesn't acknowledge how good a PC builder he is so he doesn't really want to be around you anyway.
Action heroes weasel out of death all the time. Anyone in this thread from the US? If so, are you fans of the show Supernatural? If so you're a fan of a TV show whose whole premise for seasonal continuance is that one of the 2 main characters routinely comes back from the dead, so much so that they make fun of themselves for it.
Dying in a Pathfinder game is like getting a magic item. For the GM they want it to be an experience, a story element; something really EPIC! For the player it's a Condition that can be removed and is as arbitrary as the +1 to hit and damage that the magic sword adds.
This is why I offer alternatives to my players. Their characters rarely die in my game and so far none of them have taken me up on my offers. This is probably because it's easier to just die and make up a new character than to have me mess with their character in some way. However the next time you as a GM are facing a dead PC scenario, consider the alternatives:
Spontaneous resurrection by a patron with an agenda
Undeath - potentially negative like a skeletal champion or maybe divine like an angelic ghost
Your new boss, the villain, has brought you back to lead those foolish heroes into a final deathtrap
Feel free to concoct your own. These I feel would teach your players so much more of a lesson about roleplaying and add more to your game than if the character was just a corpse to loot.
I have re-watched the finale to season 5 about a dozen times. Every time I think "Man, this show has become some really hackneyed schlock" I just go back and re-watch it again. Frankly I think at this point I'm probably just watching to watch, to see how it all turns out. I assumed from that series 5 finale though that
Carver Edlund was god
so I figured that eventually it would all come back to that point. Then I found out the ending of the first ep this season was a nod to some fan fiction and just kind of shrugged
... and went back to the season 5 finale. I wish they hadn't jumped the leviathan. I wish they hadn't done Bobby that way. I wish Crowley didn't have a mortal fetish. I wish...
I think I'm due for another re-watch. Because the whole thing can be summed up as 2 boys and a car. Everything else, the rest of the world and the universe and bunkers and monsters and demons and all of it, came second. I suppose an argument could be made otherwise, but not for me.
I'm only caught up as far as both the Scarecrow episodes. I find I differ from several folks on this thread:
Nygma: I love everything that's happening here. His awkward flirtations with Kringle, his incessant riddles, his overstepping everyone's jobs. He really hits all the marks of what the character should be, in my opionion.
Dr Thompkins: I think this is a much more fun relationship to watch than Jim/Barbara. Barbara just seems like a little girl, a damsel in distress. Lee is a woman, nuff said.
Penguin-as-wimp: I really like this in the show. Yeah, in the comics we see a few different Penguins but all of them are grown ups and as tough as the times and writers will allow him to be. If this is about becoming Batman, Penguin is EXACTLY where he needs to be right now. He talked his way out of a deathtrap, moments before impact; he's tough enough for now.
I still find Gordon a little too lunkheaded for my tastes, but he's growing on me. Bullock of course continues to be the best part of the show for me. I also really like their captain.
Alfred was great, forcing Bruce to climb that hill. He won't ever be Bruce's "father figure" in that he won't be a traditional loving nurturer. But he will raise a little soldier in the only way he knows how. If Bruce is going to have to survive on his own, Alfred will teach him EVERYTHING he knows on how to endure. I really wanted there to be a cave though...
One place I agree w/everyone: Fish has run her course in the show. Nothing against the actress or even the character, but her role in the show is sort of done. And of course I gotta agree with the whole "you're in a horrible prison... poof; now you're in charge" thing was kind of ridiculous.
Now I need to get home and catch this latest ep. Hopefully it is another lovely homage to the characters I grew up with.
Combat Patrol lets you AoO all over the place with a reach weapon. If your Dex is high and you've got space to maneuver, you just 5' step into an area and then wait for the villains to move. Suddenly you're a whirling vortex of attacks. Consider that, by the time you get the feat (BAB +5) you're hitting foes at 10' already and this feat expands that out to 15'... every direction. That's kind of ridiculous.
Also if you're thinking of tripping or hindering your foes, try Spear Dancer. It's not much; your foes are -1 to attack, but it happens for 1 round on everyone you hit. The feat doesn't require you do damage, just that you hit. So...
Combat Patrol + Trip + Spear Dancer means that you could potentially trip every foe provoking within 15' of you and debuff their attacks the next round. Then as they all stand back up... BLAM! Fouchard damage + another round of debuff.
Transor-Z: I'm pickin up what you're putting down here. I imagine the PCs coming into, say a 5-room dungeon layout built from an ancient tomb. The construction is old and gothic; the plotline of the adventure is basically that a moronic bandit stumbled on this tomb and opened it, getting killed in the process. Now the malevolent undead inside, cursed into reanimation out of a sense of martial failure, has begun campaigning through the countryside slaying the living and assembling more wights like the master of the tomb.
So the tomb might have some obvious burial treasure, like coins and goods for the dead to carry into the next world. But also you might have:
Banners of the Ancient Lord - a crimson pennant, trimmed in gold with the crest of a black wolf and tower (Profession: Soldier, Knowledge: History, Appraise)
Wrought-Iron Candle Stands - these gothic sculptures are cobwebbed and riddled with crusted wax drippings but their ornate construction reveals powerful craftsmanship (Appraise, Craft: Blacksmith)
Relief of the Oathsworn Company - the three-pannel carving depicts a glorious battle of a bygone age (Profession: Soldier, Knowledge: History, Appraise)
Weapons Cache - an armory of dozens of extra weaponry lays here. Though age and the elements have affected many spells and hard work might be employed to reveal the elder skills and techniques that went into their construction (Craft: Weaponsmith, Knowledge: History, Appraise)
I could imagine other stuff too, like maybe the journals of the company's conquests, perhaps some arcane materia entombed with the ancient lord's second-in-command (skeleton champion wizard) or some ornamental shields displaying the crests of the vanquished.
All of the treasure hearkens back to the time of this lord and helps tells his story. He was a great general but over time his power waned. When a young rival(monster, witch, evil dragon etc) came to challenge him he was beaten back and fled into his own tomb where he slew all of his loyal retainers and then himself out of desperation. He reanimated as did his "Oathsworn Company" and now they terorize the region seeking vengeance or final peace.
Power Stunts. This was a great idea that came with the old Marvel Super Heroes game in the 1980's. Maybe it's been around longer, but that's where I heard it.
Anyway, one way to make magic items more unique is to flip the paradigm. It's a +2 Longsword but it has a bunch of blood grooves that capture the wind and whistle when the blade attacks. First couple times the fighter swings it, have them make an Intimidate check to Demoralize. Then flat out tell them "the sound might do other things as well."
Let the player play with it. Can it make a sonic boom? I don't know, maybe. How about Ghost Sounds or something? Sure. I guess what I'm saying is if you want the players to want their magic items, work with them to make the items what they want.
Have a goal. It doesn't have to be elaborate like some ancient prophecy or the politics of immortals. Something as simple as "a red dragon attacks a town and demands tribute while it's kobold and monster minions vex the land; the PCs will rise up and smite him" is fine if the players are on board.
Design to your players' strengths, not their characters' weaknesses. If you've got a group that loves the Tomb Raider games, Indiana Jones and other stuff in that genre throw in plenty of puzzles and twists.
Variety is the spice of life. If the adventures that make up the campaign focus on the same monsters, the same locales and the same formula for success chances are your players will get bored. Of course if your group likes this style of play, ignore this point altogether.
Be inclusive. As others have mentioned above involve all of your players. Its fine to highlight one at a time but try to engage as many of your players as you can in the action.
Be a set designer, not a storyteller. If you're narrating it may get boring for your players. Similarly if it's your story and not everyone's you may get possessive of it and lash out at your players when they try to deviate from your campaign. If you instead content yourself to just creating "sets" that your players can interact with then everyone takes ownership of the game.
Expect that your players will get bored. There's no shame in it. Human beings are prone to it and sometimes even our best tricks fail to engage our players. If this happens just roll with it and throw a curve like an unexpected encounter or something. One GM I had as a kid noticed we were all bored and made a roll behind his screen as we were opening a chest. "Out jumps... a full-grown Bengal tiger." he stated blankly. We all just stared... "what?" I asked. Suddenly we were in initiatives and I still remember it 25 years later.
Your players will hijack your game sometimes; let them. If your players have an idea who the villain is, where the McGuffin is located or just simply want to look at that stream you mentioned off-hand as they were getting to the cave-dungeon, roll with it the best you can. You don't have to be a master of ad-libbing, just grab your Bestiary and make a roll. Since it's partly their game too its nice when they make assumptions that turn out to be right.
All that being said, what kind of campaign are you looking for?
Rime Blooded slows, yes but only for a number of rounds equal to the level of the spell. Since it's level 0 they're slowed for 0 rounds.
What is the organization? Are they still around? If so do they still control all of Almas?
Try this on for size:
Confessions of an organization prisoner:
We never meant to destroy anyone or anything; we were going to save you all.
When you look around Almas you see the faces of the common folk. Our leaders saw the demons lurking under the surface. This is not a lie or some metaphoric debate. Demons ride the souls of the citizens and our organization was founded to cast them out.
In our... zealous pursuits we fell in with lawful beings from beyond our world. They are not angels who claim that they can do nothing to aid our cause for it would infringe upon the rights of those we mean to save. No, in our desperation our organization made a pact with the one being capable and willing to help cleanse our people. Asmodeus.
The Devil's Horde that you hate us for is a necessary evil. They have a means of finding even those demons our magic cannot see and removing the offending parasite from their mortal host. You've seen battles in the streets with demons and our legions; what you haven't seen are the exorcisms, the inquistion and the good that we've brought with our rule.
You must understand: we have no intention of ruling forever. Our leaders will abdicate power once the threat is gone. You must believe me; once you are cleansed you will all be free!
So the idea would be that the "evil organization" isn't evil, just misguided. They have a rough way of doing business but the business they're in is saving lives, or so they believe. They're "ends justify the means" types.
You don't have to take my spoiler either as their reason. They could be looking to stop war by chemically lobotomizing whole regions (Firefly) or looking to bring law and order to a decadent republic (Star Wars). They have evil, corrupt beings in their ranks but the organization itself has or had noble ambitions.
As for personal revelations:
A PC's parent returns from the dead. This could be accomplished by retconning their death and saying they faked it; resurrection for a specific purpose; undeath inflicted by either the villain or their own need for vengeance.
A member of the organization feigns friendship only to turn on the PCs at the zero hour.
The PCs' noble family was actually the progenitor of the organization in the first place.
Open/Close has its uses, like popping open a scroll tube or poton bottle so that a familiar can use their Move action to deliver said magic item. Generally though I don't find much in-combat use for it. Close range, Will Save if object is attended and a Standard action affecting only a single portal at a time.
Personally I think Acid Splash is pretty ridiculous. There's no SR so as long as you hit you're doing some damage and all kinds of damage-enhancement can be added to it.
Mite with levels in Witch. They have a vermin familiar. With the Familiar Folio options its a Mauler and Medium size. With Vermin Empathy she's got a small horde of other vermin exactly the same. There's no way to target the familiar.
Mites in general. Throw in some levels in Slayer; they're a rogue/ranger combo riding amid a pack of giant spiders. Tack on levels in oracle since they've got decent Wis; with the Nature mystery they've got a bonded mount.
The nice thing about all this verminy goodness is that the mite gets to use their Move action on worthwhile stuff like reloading their poisoned bolts in their crossbow. In the meantime most vermin have a Climb speed and some even have Fly. These things can be anywhere on the battlefield, make their attacks and then chill while your low to mid level fighter tries to figure out how to unload all that melee damage he has.
Finally, vermin empathy technically works on swarms. That's right... SWARMS....
Nothing on my computer unfortunately. I use a LOT Of notebooks. I also grabbed a couple setting books from Raging Swan. I'm also perpetually stuck between levels 1-6 so most of my stuff is in that range.
All of that being said I'll transcribe some stuff and put it up. If you're honestly interested PM me and I'd be happy to work on something specific.
Hey waitaminute. Slings are counted in the Thrown Weapons category for fighter weapon groups. There's also a feat called Throw Anything that lets you throw improvised weapons. Can you SLING anything?
No I'm not trying to be stupid here. I'm really asking if you can combine the Throw Anything feat chain with a sling so that you could sling, say alchemical splash weapons.
Find out how into it your players are. Not just helping by making NPCs or whatever, but drawing maps, immersion, that kind of thing. I planned out a sandbox campaign, told my players and they were excited. Then we started playing and I got "deer in the headlights" from most. The reason is because they liked the idea of it, but they didn't want to be on the spot for moving the campaign along.
I guess my advice would be have an idea of where you want the campaign to go. One way to do a sandbox is the Western March type where you hand the PCs a hex map and say "go." I did that with mine since I was going to have a rotating mix of players but after the players got fixed and they wanted more plot, suddenly my campaign didn't make sense to anyone.
So the other way to do sandbox is the one I recommend to most folks. Its more like a shotgun start than a sandbox. Here's an example:
1. PCs are in a wilderness town; there's lots of independent farmsteads and tiny settlements out there, but this is the last bit of real "civilization" for miles.
2. The town is attacked by an adult red dragon (CR 14). The PCs aren't up to goting toe-to-toe with the wyrm, but it's attack has trapped folks in burning buildings. The first adventure is spent helping the town by rescuing people.
3. In the aftermath of the battle its learned that kobolds have infiltrated the town in service to the Red Queen. What's worse, the attack has set off a chain reaction in the wilds. Ancient sites boil with eldritch power, vicious monsters have come crawling up out of the earth and villains far and wide are answering the dragon's siren song.
So now the campaign has an identifiable point: stop the dragon, but there's no set way to get it done. The PCs don't have the power or intel to march up to Mount Blastfurnace and murder the Red Queen so they use the campaign to get the resources they need.
Last but certainly not least: random tables. Make TONS of them. Buy books full of them. Know what monsters are coming, what treasure they have, what the weather is, how fast the wind's blowing and what direction, etc. Always be ready and willing to just chuck everything to the side when the players get a wild hair about some detail you mentioned as fluff. "A murder of crows rises at your approach away to your left as ahead a cave comes into view..." you're totally geared for a cave dungeon and suddenly one guy's like "hey, what were those crows doing?" and bam, you've got wilderness exploration.
Sniper Shot - not the greatest feat in the world but a good one to have if you're a rogue. Who's good at being a rogue? Halflings. Who's good with slings? Oh yeah... HALFLINGS! Man this is gonna be great except...
Snap Shot wrote:
Benefit: As a full-round action, you may make an attack that allows you to deal precision-based extra damage to a distance equal to your weapon’s range increment. You may only make this attack with bows and crossbows.
Bow-only feats make you a good sniper, once/day you can heal at range, you can fire 2 arrows on your first shot, add your Int to damage and even give yourself a 2 Str range Adaptable enchantment (Exceptional Pull feat). With sling-only feats you can full attack and PBS from 50'.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: I don't mind that slings deal less damage. Most bludgeoning weapons in this game do and that's fine with me. But if there were at least some interesting options with this weapon versus the bow or crossbow, that might make it worth keeping in the game. As it stands right now I don't see a reason to use a sling as anything more than a backup weapon after level 1, and even then I'd probably give my PC a javelin.
I thought this was going to be a chat about when you've hit a wall as a GM and don't recognize your own campaign anymore. That's where I am; I've run too long and too inconsistently to know where I was going with any of this stuff.
As for rules bloat and such, I've never really noticed it with PF. I guess the only thing that grates on me is that in their setting of Golarion you have a realm for everything: cyber, uber-horror, witches and fairy tales, etc. That to me seems... bloated.
I'm in the Frog God Games camp with lots of folks here. Pick one setting, make it vague, and throw together a single ruleset. Then pile on the monsters. GMs can make up their own stuff if they want to, otherwise go core and conquer.
I like everything you're saying here! Please give a sum up of how you tell the players to loot the envirionment using skills. Do you just paint the picture (there's a faded mural on the wall) and then make them roll the skill or did you train them a long time ago and now they just do it?
I'm asking because I run a lot of dungeon crawls in my current campaign and I have a really hard time making the players interact with the environment. I feel like treasure done this way would be one more way to not only create immersion for the experience but also make the dungeon environment come alive for the players. I have a guy running a PC with Craft: Cartography and another PC in the campaign has Craft: Bowyer so including perhaps old, dog-eared maps or warped bows that just need a good Make Whole spell (in the party's wheelhouse FYI) to be valuable again would be really cool!
Who are the 2 iconics for bows and slings? I postulate it's an elf for the bow and a halfling for the sling. Now what is the major boon for the sling, right at first level? Str to damage. Who takes a hit to Str? Halflings.
Then a couple levels and feats later, what's a nice add-on for damage with a bow? Focused shot that grants damage from Int. Who has a bonus to Int? Elves. To me it appears that in the long run Halflings gain accuracy (Halfling Slinger) with their racial weapon but that's about it.
As far as sling use in general there's only one thing I can find that slingers can do that bow and crossbow wielders can't: Arc Slinger. You eliminate the first range penalty and you can Point Blank from 50'. Your enemies can still charge you, but if that charge is hindered for some reason you've got 2 rounds worth of full attacks from that range before they reach you.
Something to bear in mind for PCs with low to hit options and a hard time surviving in melee (I'm looking at you CRB rogue): the Emissary archetype gives them either a +1 to hit every round (casts Guidance at will) or hands out a +3 AC bonus in melee (for this familiar Aid Another to grant AC works even if not threatening and gets a +1 boost).
By 3rd level a PC needs to hit an average AC of 15. With a ranged attack this needs an investment of 2k GP and at least a +3 from Dex as well as this familiar.
- A wizard built on Ray attacks could use an Emissary familiar from level 1 and be extremely accurate w/their rays
- A rogue could use their level 1 and 3 feats to pick up this familiar, using their Rogue Trick at level 2 for Weapon Focus with a ranged weapon. Since Dex is likely to be their highest stat and assuming a 20 pt build it's not a stretch to see a level 3 rogue with the advantage of the Guidance spell cast on them to be sneak attacking with a +9 to hit.
I've been struggling to build a decent Halfling slinger rogue. What I keep coming back to is full attack versus a single sneak attack. There are ways to get my rogue to sling in melee (6 level dip in either slayer or ranger) but not only is it a big step away from rogue but also rogues at higher levels don't last long in melee.
This brings me right back to 1 SA versus a full attack from range. The build is tough and feat intensive, meaning he doesn't really carry his own in combat until about 5th level but even at high level he's got one SA from stealth, then he needs to burn a Move action to re-hide via sniping. Normally he's taking a -20 but with being a Halfling and the Rogue Trick he's got no penalty and ridiculously high stealth. As long as he's got concealment, he's got SA every round.
But it's ONE SA. I have to blow through another 3 feats to p/up Bludgeoner/Sap Adept/Sap Master and buy a Merciful weapon to really make that one shot worthwhile. I've been combing this thread and others to find a way to make multiple ranged SA's but I'm convinced its just not possible.
I hear what you're saying, but you might consider just leaving her as a finesse type. She'll already pickup your 2weapon feats through EG archetype, so she can finesse 2 weapons (scimitar and kukuri) and threaten a lot of crits.
The fact is that, even enlarged she's never going to deal lots of damage. Since you're taking a str-based DPR build she's not going to get a lot of ranged feats, maybe none at all. That means she's going to be in melee next to you or hanging nearby throwing out weak poison dust clouds and absorbing a couple hits via mirror image.
If you want your pooka then to take advantage of the 2weapon feats you'll need to ensure she can hit. Wielding a double weapon in melee or attacking with 2 separate ones is still going to be 2 attacks at -2 penalty, so you want her to hit cranked as high as it can go. If you take Weapon Finesse she's attacking with Str modifier (Str 10, so no mod) whereas if you levave that feat your pooka is walking in the door with your BAB +3 from Dex before feats/items/buffs modify that.
Since she's size Tiny and fighting in melee she's never going to deal a lot of damgage. Better to capitalize on her to hit and see if you can grind out some crits than trying to bump up her damage output.
There are multiple options for threatening in melee with a sling; not so with a bow. The other thing I've noticed is that since slings don't initially deal a lot of damage nor do you get some of the higher level feats for ranged damage you tend to be more accurate with them.
Then there's the double sling. With the investment of not one but 2 feats (exotic weapon prof and 2 weapon fighting) you've got multiple shots. Nice thing is with high accuracy you've got less shots but more of your iteratives actually have a shot at hitting. Add in the Speed quality and suddenly you've got 6 shots/round but 5 have a 50% or better chance to hit.
Finally... ammo. The Ranged Tactics Toolbox has introduced some (expensive) magic ammo for slings. You can hurl bullets that deal their normal damage plus alchemical splash weapons as well; there are bullets that are actually shrunken siege boulders that deal at least 4d6 damage. The sling is free; for 800 GP or so you can have a simple leather pouch deliver a vital strike that deals 8d6 and whatever your static bonus is.
And a last note: Captain Chaos is right. The sling is a means to dealing damage and it takes more feat investment to do less damage with them. However with that feat investment eventually comes the ability to use a ranged weapon in one hand, possibly in melee and possibly even threatening foes with that ranged attack from up to 10' away. You're reloading with one hand which means the other could be holding anything: a decent shield, and alchemical splash weapon, a second melee weapon, or nothing at all being an improved unarmed strike that you're flurrying with.
My point is the sling gives you options, albeit minor ones. Building a certain way around this weapon versus others opens up possibilities you wouldn't otherwise have with a bow. With a crossbow there's Exotic Weapon Prof: repeating crossbow but now you're back to extra feat taxes and cash.
Kudaku has the right idea. Instead of focusing on the bad in slings we should focus on the good. Yes, not all of the gear will work for a slinging build and they won't do much damage. I think though if you go halfling (doing even less damage) you can make them extremely accurate and therefore viable.
By 10th level the average AC is a 24. We want a build that, by the law of averages, has a better than 50% chance of hitting. That means an attack bonus of greater than +14.
A halfling fighter, level 10, would have 10 feats. They'd also have Weapon Training 2, meaning they've got +2 to hit and damage right there. Add in that they don't have to burn 2 feats on Ammo Drop and Juggle Load and you could hit the accuracy he needs.
Point Blank, Precise Shot, Dodge and Close Quarters Thrower means that he can sling in melee with no penalty. Add in Weapon Focus, Greater Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization and Halfling Slinger and now you've got another +3 to hit and +2 to damage. The last two feats, I don't know. I suppose you could go Deadly Aim and Rapid Shot, but that defeats the purpose of an accuracy build.
If you don't lose any accuracy on the last two feats then you have a slinger full attacking with a 19 Dex and 14 Str (from Sonny above, -2 Halfling penalty to Str):
Ranged sling +19/+14 (1d3+6)
That's before any magic gear and situational bonuses. If you gave him Snap Shot and Mounted Combat for example you could spend all his money on some tricked out magical mount that will survive melee combat and then have him riding around full attacking from it's back and then getting into melee and threatening within 5' even though he's ranged. This means he joins his fellows on the front line, suffers no AoO's firing into melee and gets AoOs himself if his foe causes one to happen.
You might instead go the Vital Strike/Devastating Strike route and keep the Halfling on his own 2 feet. If they're not full attacking at least they're still dealing 2d3+8.
Finally if you went Rapid Shot and Deadly Aim you'd have the following full attacks
Range sling +14/+14/+9 (1d3+12)
I suppose it all comes down to what you want out of your build.
Magic items should be the icing on the cake, not the main entree. I know this game relies on a steady stream of them to fight higher level monsters and I haven't put a houserule in place to eliminate the "big 6" so I get why players jones for these things. Sometimes it gets to be too much. If one of my players is a DPR-focused melee fighter and I hand him a single magic melee weapon, there is no reason they have to whine about not having "a backup magic weapon, a magic ranged weapon, and energy damage contributing as well."
Besides, I'm a GM but I'm also human. I like challenging my players in combat but I'm NOT a killer GM. If the avg damage of the party all totaled is only about 80 HP due to mid level and low amounts of magic, I'm not going to throw in 200 HP worth of monster and then sit there and laugh. I want my players to have a good time and will build encounters they can handle based on their average abilities at hand. Trust in your GM, players.
If you're looking to go Mauler and share combat feats it kind of depends on what your character's focus is. With Bloodrager I'd assume strength and DPR, but if you're going to go Shadowdancer you might be thinking more stealth/Dex. Anyway here's my 2cp:
If Str/DPR, go goat: starting Str is 12 and size Small. Since it only gains +2 Str and a bigger damage die for its Gore attack when it achieves Battle Form this will give it a handy 14 Str and no Dex penalty. Tack on some sympathetic rage and a Power Attack and you're off to the races.
If Dex/Stealth, go owl: this bad boy has a 17 Dex and a +4 racial mod to stealth. This means even in battleform it still has a 15 Dex and that racial mod for a base bonus flying in the door of +6. Alongside that in battle form it's got 2 talons and a strength of 13, so it's got 2 talon attacks of 1d8+1 each before combat feats. Throw in maybe a piranha strike or something and suddenly this is a decent combat buddy.
Hope that helps.