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Leonard Kriegler

Mark Hoover's page

4,997 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.

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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...

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Tursic wrote:
I have had at least three TPK. I have a player who's character died a lot. I am taking every game at least once per a game. The character had died about 20 times over the course of 7 levels.

Were they bards?

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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)

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Profession: Scribe

- Throw quill pens like darts
- Throw ink for Blinding attacks
- Use a book as a bludgeoning weapon or a buckler shield
- Scrolls as whips or clubs

This actually sounds like a really fun character.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
Chris Lambertz wrote:
Removed some back and forth posts. Be civil to each other, if it's not a comment/opinion about slings, take it elsewhere.
To be fair, they were slinging insults and accusations.

... katanas?

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Treefolk wrote:

My favorite is a low level combo that takes a little more effort but results in a rewarding level 0 alternative to lugging about a light crossbow all based on Ray of Frost.

Rime-Blooded Socerer
Liquid Ice: Ray of Frost (F): The spell deals +1 point of damage

End result is a 0 level spell that forces the target to take 1d3+1 damage and make a DC10+Cha Mod or be Slowed.

IMO save vs slow is better then the couple of points of damage you get from using a crossbow (also easier to land).

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.

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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.

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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.

Be ready.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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One of the things I hear in these threads often is that historically the sling was used by everyone (Simple Weapon Proficency) but that to be really amazing at it took more training than the bow (more feats overall). Unfortunately the game doesn't support this concept as there are several feats that add damage options only available to bow/crossbow users.

Deadly Aim and Focused Shot come to mind. The implication to me is that mechanically you should be getting your extra damage from strength since that's one of the values of using a sling but it still requires Dex for accuracy.

It also suggests though that the sling was a less precise weapon. You can use your Int and "Focus" (I assume this represents a brief physics exercise calculating angles and wind speed and such) or you can take "Deadly Aim" with a bow or crossbow, lining up sites and such. Not so with a sling. Is that to imply that there's no aiming with this weapon and of course using it can never be an intellectual exercise.

The sling itself will always do less damage than a bow or crossbow, that's fine. But why exclude this weapon from feats that seem to focus on aiming, focusing on a single target and all that? Oh right... water baloons.

I'm just being sarcastic. I don't mean to insult or offend. If I have, sorry. Hope everyone's having a terrific morning so far.

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Flaming Crab Games wrote:

Flaming Crab Games looking for freelancers!

Project: The Dragon's Hoard
Project Length: Up to twenty 500-word purchaseable magic items (with a gp value)
Pay Rate: Detailed in contract/ thread. Based on sales.
Additional details:Go on this thread or email us at for details/contract. Please ask for a contract before you get started so that you can at least know which format is required!
Respond by: Submissions are due February 15th, 2015. Please respond before then, though!

I've sent an email. This sounds super cool!

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Kobold Goatlancer/CR2
LE male humanoid (kobold) adept 3/warrior 2
Str 12, Dex 15, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8
HP 26 (3d6+2d10+5)
AC 20; touch 13; Flat Footed 17 (armor +5, Dex +2, natural +1, shield +1, size +1)
Fort +4, Ref +3, Will +4
Weakness: Light Sensitivity
Melee mwk lance +6 (1d6+1; x3 damage on mounted charge)
Range mwk sling +7 (1d3+1)
Spells (CL3; concentration +4)
1st Burning Hands, Protection from Good (x2)
0th Detect Magic, Guidance, Stabilize
Skills Handle Animal +7, Perception +6, Ride +13
Feats Mounted Combat, Ride By Attack, Spirited Charge
SQ Beast Bond +2 to Handle Animal and Ride checks
Familiar: goat (Mauler archetype)
Gear: +1 chain shirt armor, mwk light shield, x8 scrolls: scorching ray (CL 3), scroll: Mirror Image (CL3), x2 scrolls: Cure Light Wounds (CL1), other gear

Minutes before combat: cast Protection from Good on himself, familiar; cast Guidance on himself and Familiar; cast Mirror Image on self

In battle: attempt to charge with lance as much as possible. If there is a foe with an AC that is too hard to hit in melee stay at short range and cast Scorching Ray from scrolls or use Burning Hands spell. During mounted charges goat attempts a charge attack with its gore attack. The goat will be in battle form with a 15 strength and Medium size; it has swapped out its starting feat for Power Attack:

Goat melee gore +4 (1d6+4)

If both lance and goat manage to hit on a charge the average is 21 damage in a round. If this monster were used against an APL 3 party or lower it has the possibility of finishing the part singlehandedly if its buffs are in place. If you want this creature to completely anhialate the party give it CL3 scrolls of Bull's Strength and possibly either Cat's Grace or Invisibility.

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I think the bigger question is: how do you know you're diseased? The rules for diseases basically say you contract on the first failed save and actually take damage on the second, so between 1 and 2 by RAW you have NO symptoms.

Filth Fever has an onset of 1-3 days I think? So if you get bitten by a Dire Rat, fail your save and no one makes the Knowledge roll to know they usually carry the disease you could be somewhere 3 days later and suddenly all at once suffer a fever that deals 1-3 Con damage.

If you are suffering an inhaled disease, like Cackle Fever, can you give it to others by breathing on them during that first day before you take damage? If so, you've probably exposed your party, friends, family and everyone at the tavern while you were sleeping off that fight.

There's no RAW on transmitting a disease or the contagious period. I suppose if the GM wanted he could make one PC a Typhoid Mary and bring down an entire city from one botched Fort save.

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Y'know what I never understood? Treasure. It's one of the prime reasons for being a murderhobo, but why does ANY monster ever have it? Where do kobolds, bugbears, and fire giants spend all of their treasure? For that matter, when they're not spending it why is it sitting around in chests in their living room?

Just once I'd like an AP to include a goblin bank, or kobold markets or whatever.

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You're right, of course. You and I, sitting across the web from another having a civil discourse can easily debate this gray area of the game and I agree on your point of alignment.

Try telling that to the peasant mother whose infant daughter was slain. Or the angry mob waiting outside with the rope. Or the baron whose land has just been burned and salted.

None of those folks, save a few adepts or other spellcaster types out of, say, a hundred people are going to bother reading your alignment with a spell or power. You have no reason to trust a villain, but you also have to know that since this isn't a video game EVERY action you take as a PC will have some kind of consequence in the world. If you DON'T kill the villain, he gets away. The goblin thing may have just been a ruse but at least the countryside is safe, for the moment. If you DO kill the villain and the goblin thing ends up being real, well...

My point is only that, in order to end rocket tag sometimes you have to target the players, not the PCs. If you give them somthing else to fight they use other skills, talents and abilities and the fight turns out very differently. It becomes more than "Beat initiative... charge/cast spell... roll damage... fight over" and instead it becomes "Stop the hammer from striking the anvil seven times to call down the demigod; destroy the creature's slime-armor before he can take damage; save the innocent town and wail on the villain another time."

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Nicos wrote:
Mark Hoover wrote:

The point is that, when all is said and done if, in your game the primary method of conflict resolution is dealing enough damage to render your conflict unconscious or dead, then the sling is inferior to other options long term. If however you have a game that places emphasis on other forms of conflict resolution and damage is not a priority, the sling is an excellent choice.
Not sure what many other things the sling do besides doing damage to kill enemies in combat.

You're right of course; all they DO is deal damage. However they are cheap, so another thing they DO is save your PC money. They also save your PC some encumberance. Finally they are very easily hidden so they also do something with that, though it's not quantifiable here.

Long term with one feat they're usable at melee range; with another feat they can actually be used IN melee. Enchanting the sling provides attack and damage bonus for range but also in melee if you're using it with that one feat, so the money savings continue. The ammo's also cheap and there's even a cheap ammo to make the damage non-lethal for a build that focuses on NL damage.

As I said though, in the end if it IS all about the damage then a sling-focused build will ALWAYS be inferior. If however you have a need to build in a resource-restrained campaign or you'll be saving every gold piece for other stuff a sling-emphasis build is worthwhile.

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Why are they so bad? Because they will always do less damage than the crossbow and the bow. Period. Now they're not worthless and yes, they have many fringe benefits. But then so do bows, crossbows, thrown weapons, and most melee weapons.

The point is that, when all is said and done if, in your game the primary method of conflict resolution is dealing enough damage to render your conflict unconscious or dead, then the sling is inferior to other options long term. If however you have a game that places emphasis on other forms of conflict resolution and damage is not a priority, the sling is an excellent choice.

One of the things I've noticed is that lots of folks talk about how great it is that you add your Str bonus to damage. Well there are ways, with melee weapons to use Dex to hit, and further use Dex for damage, keeping the PC SAD long term. Any build however that takes the sling seriously is automatically dependent on 2 stats, forever. There's no way to make Str the determining factor of attack bonus with this weapon and if you go with a straight Dex build for attack bonus and some feats you're leaving one of the so-called "advantages" of the sling on the table.

So in order to take full advantage of the sling you have to be a martially-motivated ranged attacker with lots of disposable feats, not a lot of cash, willing to pump up Str and Dex, and also able to tank somehow despite the lack of cash. Also you've got to pump some of those disposable feats into Will saves and some of your tanking into saves since you'll be flagging at those.

So, a human fighter in a primitive setting maybe?

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Take 4 PCs, APL 5. They're pretty bad-a. The blaster caster can unleash several Burning Hands spells that deal 35 damage plus 1d6 Burn for 1 round and carries a DC 18 save; the fighter can slam with a +1 flaming greatsword +13 (2d6+16 plus 1d6 Fire); these 2 alone pre-buffs on average deal 61 damage in 1 round. If your villain is not immune to fire or weapon attacks these 2 alone can solo a CR5 or even 6 monster.

Why are PCs so bad-a? Feats and builds, sure, but also action economy and tactics. The four people playing these PCs WANT to win and will use EVERY advantage. A PC in my game remembered he picked up a homebrewed magic item that gave him a ridiculous Acrobatics for Jumping; he leapt 10' in the air to get on a ledge and gain a +1 to hit for higher ground.

I know you say you use some of the tactics above but if you do then your bosses would last longer. So really challenge yourself and determine: are you playing bosses like PCs?

1. Build: all PCs are build to succeed in combat. Most monsters as written in the Bestiaries aren't. Some have a skill focus in Perception when if they only took Power Attack instead they'd be DOMINATING solo combats. This is by far the easiest way to boost your boss - build them purely for that one, glorious gorefest that is the PC/Boss fight.

2. Tactics: PCs have an APL, or average party level. Emphasis: party. A single fighter at level 5 is dealing 26 HP damage in a round. With the addition of a single arcane casting PC he has the chance to be buffed with enhanced AC, Str and they do a combined total un-buffed of 61 damage. The PCs succeed because there's a lot of them. They have action economy, group tactics like flanking, and they use each other's strengths in tandem while covering one another's weaknesses.

Bosses should be no different. If they're called a boss they should command someone or thing; otherwise they're just a "specialist". If PCs get a boost from having one another around, your bosses should be gaining similiar advantage from their minions. A kobold NPC boss to challenge an APL 5 party could be a kobold Adept 2/Warrior 6; not super impressive but with buffs can be extremely tanky riding around on a medium sized mauler arch rat that deals as much damage as a 3/4 bab PC with its bite.

Now imagine if you added in a cleric 3 and a couple warrior 5 kobolds. yes the CR of the fight jumps to epic but no one kobold poses that much of a threat. But then the cleric tanks behind some kind of barrier and keeps dropping buffs on his boss; the 2 warriors survive the first round and are adding in Aid Another bonuses ensuring the kobold boss and his mount are always hitting. Suddenly after 2 rounds the fighter of the party has taken 60 damage and is starting to realize toe-to-toe isn't getting it done while the koblds keep taking 5' steps, flanking, using acrobatics to take no AoO's. The 2 warriors then suddenly change things up in round three, moving to flank the arcane caster and using their teamwork feat plus decent attacks to deal 2d6 +6 plus 2d6 SA damage to him while the cleric comes out from hiding sacrificing himself to heal the boss and also drop a quickened channel.

Hmm, PCs are starting the fight over again at half-strength? Now THAT's epic...

Finally, a note about enviornment and motivation. If you want your boss to last, give them an environment tailored to them. A shadow shouldn't be going toe-to-toe in a big open empty room with lots of PC generated light spells. A giant shouldn't be static in the middle of a cramped cave. If your boss has massive strength give them big things to throw, knock down or break. That frost giant? What if he smashed a false wall that contained frigid glacial waters? Suddenly the chamber fills to a depth of a Medium creature with icy water - the frost giant ignores the cold, acts as Entangled but still walking through the water and all of his opponents are making swim checks every round while taking non-lethal damage from the cold.

The motivation piece comes in 2 parts.

1: sometimes the boss is merely a smokescreen for the real threat. You could kill the boss easy, but the four diseased fast zombies headed up through the sewer will be in the market square in a few rounds and then you'll have an undead plague on your hands; the boss is coated in a slime swarm to which he's immune but the layers are so thick that their own immunity to weapon damage confers to him too; the worg sorcerer is behind a wall spitting Acid Splash spells. In these cases you have to deal with some other thing before you can land those satisfyingly murderderous crits on the boss' face.

2: Bosses should WANT to win! They were born to be #1, not turned into the party's #2. If your villain has access to treasure that helps them, use it; if they have poison or a disease they can unleash it should already be coursing through the PCs' veins. These creatures should be attacking by hit-and-run, leadig PCs into traps, using minions, their environment, and every possible buff to win. Moreover they should be lying, cheating, stealing, and using loved ones as bait constantly.

Level 1 the PCs encounter a Kobold Adept 6 as the head of a cult; they are soundly beaten by him and his minions but vow to end the cult's rule. By level 2 they've won a couple victories and meet the kobold again in battle; he unveils one of the PCs' siblings is a brainwashed agent of the cult and uses them to lead the fight against the PCs while he escapes. Level 3 the PCs have redeemed the sibling and bust up the main lair; the adept leader and his minions harry them with spells, murder holes and traps while the party barely survives to save a bunch of innocents. Now at level 4 the innocents have revealed that the real threat is the resurrection of a dragon and the PCs move to stop this. They again endure the nettling of the kobold cult in the primary cult temple making it all the way to the horde's chapel where they grind their way through dozens of fodder minions to finally go toe-to-toe with the adept who dies laughing; his death was the final ingredient to the dragon's resurrection!

Could the cult leader be brought back for as an undead for a couple slices of the next campaign arc? Who knows, but wouldn't it be fun to find out?

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That's RiDORKulous! TM

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If we're talking a level of stagefright that impedes every day life I'm not a licensed therapist or anything. I hope that it's not as bad as that. I have however been involved in a speech club called Toastmasters. Some tips I've used from that and my own experience to overcome nerves in running a game are:

1. meet them as friends first. Even if you're already friends, just have them over to hang out and then gradually work into a game.

2. Tell them you're nervous. It's freeing and you know your audience will be supportive.

3. Don't make eye contact. I know this goes against giving speeches but you're running a game. Maybe put up a screen and run w/that obscuring your audience. Otherwise turn sideways so you're talking at the wall; it'll add an air of mystery as well as keep your attention off the reaction of the crowd.

4. Have a fidget. Keep something in your hand to roll around in your palm or rub with your fingertips.

5. Practice in a mirror. At least if you're prepared this might squash some of the butterflies.

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So... where's the slinging video?

*ducks as everyone throws garbage and boos*

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A lot of people say "don't change my backstory because..." and suggest many reasons. I think the main reason is fear. The character is the one thing the player has full control of and if the GM changes some detail of the backstory it usurps that control.

But does it?

Luke Skywalker was destined to be a moody Jedi from the start. Why? Because he struggled with his feelings of vengeance against Vader BEFORE he knew that was his dad. Did the reveal change the story? Sure, but did it change LUKE? I think in the end his build remained intact but perhaps the character's motivations got knocked around a bit.

Modifying the backstory doesn't HAVE to mean changing the character.

I still feel though that changes should be worked out with the player. This is after all a coop game where the story is woven with the group. If however the GM wants to take a saintly father figure and make him a coward or a murderer, this only modifies the story. Your character remains firmly in your control.

Think from another angle: GMs can change any NPC from good to evil or back at a moment's notice. What if the sheriff that's been your patron this whole time was just using the party to wipe out her competition? Now that the monsters and goblins are cleared out the sheriff reveals she's secretly a dragon blooded sorcerer, a dragon disciple and has ties to a tribe of kobolds that have been living in the sewers while creating inroads into the local mines.

Suddenly the party returns from a mission out of town (that was supposed to kill them all) and finds that the kobold underlords have enslaved the town and put everyone to work in the mines. Their patron the sheriff is sitting on top of a mountain of fresh gold and the PCs would be hard-pressed to go toe-to-toe with her.

That's entirely in the purview of the GM. The players have no input on that, it modifies the story greatly and doesn't change the characters at all. Moreover it adds a new wrinkle that annoys some players and really grabs others. Why?

Because some people fear change.

Some players want consistency. They want the law of averages to work so that their build is consistently awesome. They want to talk to the important people, kill monsters and get treasure, then rinse and repeat.

There is nothing wrong with these players.

I love consistency in gaming but for me personally too much of it is boring. If the GM wants to throw me for a loop I just strap into the roller coaster of TTRPG gaming and start screaming with a smile on my face. But that's me. Not everyone will like this ride.

So talk w/the players, your GM. Find out what kind of gamers they are. Figure out what kind YOU are. Once you know, if you are someone who honestly is ok with change realize that a change in your character's backstory doesn't diminish your control over that character at all.

If done properly this change won't modify your build; if anythig it may possibly introduce items, powers or traits that your character may yet develop. A change in your backstory will modify the story which may in turn change your perception of and immersion in the gameworld. This is no different from a change in the current storyline so if you appreciate change these tweaks are to be expected and savored.

So in the end I say communicate, trust your fellow gamers and be honest about your play style and theirs.

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I love low level. When I have a few minutes' spare time I love designing NPCs, encounters or items specifically geared at PF gaming between level 1-6. I think this is because RL conspires to keep my campaigns in these levels. Due to scheduling conflicts, personality clashes and folks moving I haven't gotten higher than 6th level in a decade!

Anyway I hope this thread catches on. I love seeing what people can accomplish at low levels.

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Imbicatus wrote:

Mauler Archetype on a psuedodragon as a small character. You have flying medium sized dragon mount. You can do it with any flying familiar, but the dragon is just cool.

Kobold Adept 5/Warrior 4 with a Pseudodragon (Mauler arch)

Feats: Boon Companion, Evolved Familiar: improved damage (sting), Furious Focus, Improved Familiar, Power Attack

With the Mauler you now have a pseudodragon that grows into a Medium mount with a 21 Str and a BAB +8. Swap the dragon's base feat for Familiar Focus and then have the kobold cast Bull's Str before the fight; now the dragon has a 25 Str. It makes a single Melee sting +15 (1d6+13) which carries a DC 14 Sleep effect in it. Meanwhile the Kobold on the dragon's back makes either a 5d4+5 (DC 14) Burning Hands spell attack or a single Melee +1 lance +10 (1d6+8; x2 on a charge) or a ranged +1 sling +10 (1d3 +4)

This build is a CR 6 monster. Also if you give the kobold Use Magic Device w/9 ranks and give it access to x2 scrolls ea of Mage Armor and Shield, both the kobold and mount could potentially be rocking a +10 AC prior to the beginning of the fight. That would be a VERY interesting fight...

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I love low-level gaming! Give me a party of 1st level noobs and I'll give you an excellent adventure.

One I ran a little while ago was the start to a new campaign. The game opened with each PC receiving a letter directing them to the library of a college each attends. They meet one another there for the first time and realize that their letters combined reveal a riddle. This leads them to a book on an ancient hero - the only section missing is where said hero is buried. They go looking for the professor that will know the answer and he's mysteriously disappeared.

The PCs use some skills, gather some info and find the tomb. There they find clues suggesting a recent struggle; they also find their professor's pipe. What followed was a five-room dungeon of all non-lethal traps, summoned monsters and my fave: the flood chase

At one point the PCs find a secret door concealing a dungeon level below the mausoleum. They enter a vast, winding staircase heading down into a massive vault. The chamber below is ruined and partially flooded. At the top of the stairs is a giant monster mouth on the wall. The PCs sense a cool breeze and smell the ocean far below. Suddenly a swarm of bats comes out; it's not attacking them but rather it's fleeing from a surge of sea-water from below. The chase scene begins!

PCs must get to the bottom at the head of the wall of water. The stairs have three balcony levels. Everywhere there's debris and detritus the PCs must avoid on their way down. If they make the flooded hall before the water hits them from behind they take no damage. If they get caught they take damage and risk drowning.

One PC hid on a balcony. Water broke off from the main flood and infiltrated cracks and holes in the wall, only to come shooting out of the wall at the PC like a Hydraulic Push spell. Three other PCs went down the stairs. One made it only a single level; the next got close to the end but was tripped up near the bottom and took enough damage to be knocked unconscious. The final PC (the only one with healing) got to the bottom and dove onto a side ledge while the wall of water (carrying his friends) passed him. He fished the other three PCs out of the drink and got them back on their feet.

In the end they found the hero's personal tomb. He was famous for his shield and they found it along with his body in a wood sarcophagus. This was atop a pedestal in another flooded chamber. As soon as they touched the shield the chameber sealed and the water started rising. the PCs all got in the sarcophagus and floated on the rising water to the top of the tomb where they found an escape hatch with no wheel. The shield had to be affixed and used as the wheel. Once free they were back outside and there was their professor.

He asked them for the shield and they grudgingly agreed. He took the device and smashed it to pieces; it was a fake. This was all a graduation test to see if they had not only the skills to be adventurers but the moral fiber to give up the historic pieces for preservation instead of personal gain. The game ended with the professor admitting them to a waiting carriage, chatting with them about the ceremony and... WHAM! The carriage is hit by boulders and all the PCs take enough damage to knock them unconscious.

They came to and found the professor had been murdered. A chest containing "important documents" had been stolen. The rest of the game was going to involve the PCs going on smaller missions while solving the murder mystery as the first larger arc of the plot. Unfortunately it never really got going.

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416. You encounter a child selling Tindertwigs. She is frigid cold but is dressed only in rags despite the temperature. All she will accept is small change for her wares; anything else or any other action and she sprints around the corner into an alleyway where there is no sign of her, save for a pile of rags and burnt twigs.

417. A cart is clattering down a slope out of control towards a few children at play

418. a man in white and black robes moves effortlessly through the crowds in broad daylight. The hood and cowl of his garments are drawn tight, obscuring his face regardless of Perception checks. He disappears for a moment and suddenly is moving up the walls of the buildings with unearthly style and grace

419: a down-on-her-luck wizardess is propped on a gutter. All she has left is a small portion of her spellbook and some pre-purchased scroll paper and inks. She will pen her only spell left, Floating Disk, as a scroll spell for only 10 GP, just to survive.

420: A summoner is entertaining a crowd with minor conjurations. Suddenly one of his spells goes terribly awry and infernal sounds ripple through an ever-widening portal of fire and brimstone. A singular voice cries out "AFTER TEN THOUSAND YEARS! AT LAST! FREEDOM!" as framed in the portal a skull-topped scepter crowned with ram's horns begins to appear.

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In 3.0 a backpack held about 40lbs of material. A small sack I think carried 10lbs and a belt pouch carried 5lbs. I could be wrong though.

Anyway based on that I'd wager that a small chest, like a coffer could carry about 50lbs, and a large chest like a foot locker hauls about 150lbs.

I know for a fact that if you pile enough sacks on an enlarged goat familiar with Ant Haul cast on it you can haul 258lbs before he's encumbered. Get your spellcaster to also throw out an Unseen Servant and a Floating Disk behind themselves and their goat, and now you're carrying at least another 240lbs.

For the weight you're talking Near-guy, you're probably looking more at the wagon train type scenario...

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chaoseffect wrote:

Going against the current conversation, I have to say that one of my pet peeves is people who ignore the resident rules lawyer (i.e. the one person at the table who knows the answer to the rules debate in question) when trying to figure out how the rules work in the middle of a game. And by resident rules lawyer I usually mean me.

I know what the rules say! Don't disregard what I told you, ask the opinion of someone else who has been consistently playing the class in question wrong because "they have experience," argue among yourselves for 10 minutes, and then look it up and announce exactly what I said originally!

It makes me die inside.

I'm sorry did you say something? I wasn't paying attention anyway...

JK Bubba. In fact I have an RL at my table. If I get stumped I usually just say "Here's what I'm ruling for right now" or if I suspect there's already a rule in place I just turn to my resident attorney and as him what I should do.

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Mark Hoover wrote:

63. Frosttouch Crossbow although this device costs as much as a standard +2 Light Crossbow many wielders seek these weapons. At close range their speed and accuracy is well worth the investment.

The weapon fires an eldritch bolt coated in arcane frost. This energy targets the Touch AC of the enemy and has a maximum range of 30'. The accuracy is further enhanced by a crystaline targeting array on the weapon made of pure ice maintained by the power the weapon houses. If the bolt hits it deals 1d3 +7 damage regardless of the size of the wielder.

The secrets of creating this weapon are a closely guarded secret. Requirements are known to include the feats Arcane Strike and Point Blank Shot, 50 vials of Liquid Ice, the cantrip Ray of Frost, and finally drops of vitae comingled from the Orcish and Draconic (white/silver) sorcerer bloodlines.

Note: Frosttouch Crossbows fire eldritch rays so there is never a need to load them (no Move action to load) and can be fired with 1 hand. The aiming of the device requires an extra half-second of the wielder's attention (uses wielder's Swift action).

A variant of this device is called the Iceneedle Crossbow. It costs an additional 400 GP but when fired the bolt solidifies into a piercing bolt of pure arcane ice. This variant deals 1d4+8 Piercing damage. Again like its sister the Frosttouch the Iceneedle never needs loading but requires a moment's concentration to aim.

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So, they're vaguely similar to the Guardians of the Galaxy? A walking tree, an uninassuming human, an anthropomorphic animal with a gun...

Anyway, from what I remember the high-level of the campaign is guilds controlling the city, some larger force menacing the land and the PCs will have urban and wild adventures within this framework yes?

Level 1: PCs are drawn together by the one honest guild... the rogue's guild. They're not so much all thieves. Instead it's sort of a cabal of scoundrels and dissidents.
- Adventure 1: Right now the guild is nothing more than an idea; they have no base of operations. While the higher ups are busy negotiating the politics of incorporation the grunts (PC's) are hired to go scout a potential base in the undercity. PCs are one of four groups doing so.
- Use skills to fight through the sewers into an old section o/the city one of the PCs knows
- Once there find an underground dungeon and clear it
- A rival guild team is actually a plant by one of the master guilds and looking to stop PCs at all costs

- Adventure 2: Now that the guild is settled into a new home they need capital. Like any corporation the executives of the guild brought a few "clients" or patrons with them as well as their own gold but that's only going to last so long. The PCs have a couple different missions to choose from
- woo a potential patron by doing her a solid on speck; check out some free low-level PFS modules for this
- Head out of town to loot a ruined tower (Master of the Fallen Fortress anyone?)

Level 2: By now the PCs have come together as a group. The guild has encouraged them to build cover IDs. The guild helps get the party out of the city to a small town in the hinterlands. It should be close enough to the city that they can still attend guild meetings but far enough that the PCs aren't constantly being hunted as dissidents. In their new home PCs do a few missions to ingratiate themselves to the residents.

Level 3: The running theme of the last couple levels is the establishment of the league of scoundrels. Now they're firmly up and running and the master guilds are taking their first organized swipe at them. PCs are called back to the city to help defend the guild. Adventures could include
- extended Gather Info runs to figure out when an attack is imminent
- siege defense in the undercity against mercs hired by the master guilds
- infiltrating one of the lesser master guildhalls to deliver a message like "Luca Brazzi sleeps with the fishes" or something

Following this pattern by the time the PCs hit level 4 they've got their own fronts in a neighboring town plus guild contacts and intrigue in the city. The PCs also should have the wealth and skills to earn a grudging respect/enmity from the master guilds. Finally the players can, by their words and actions show you if they want to continue with more intrigue, go find some dungeons/wilds to explore, or keep mingling the 2 together. You can also use these low level bits to flesh out your world and decide which type of adventure is easier for you to run.

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Four different characters in the party, four different approaches to combat.

Melee fighter: I like DPR and have maximized a Str build to deal as much damage as possible every round with a greatsword. My plan at the beginning of the campaign is to use Charge as much as possible to offset Power Attack penalty and consistently hit in melee.

Halfling ranger: I'm an anomaly and ride a dog as much as possible. My build is a switch-hitter but I'll never do tons of damage even with my chosen enemies. I focus on mobility and Aid Another as well as skills to ensure the party succeeds as a whole

Ranged inquisitor: I don't get many feats but I'm going to try and focus some of them on ranged attacks against single foes. Bane plus feats will give me at least one solid contribution to the team. I will grudgingly heal as well but I'm going to get a wand to cover that base as soon as possible.

Enchantment-focused wizard: I want all the villains as my slaves. At low level I'll have to settle for Charm spells but unless my foes have SR I'm going to jack my DCs so high that even fey witches will be eating out of my hands.

Now think about this: why are any of these guys built this way?

Melee fighter: I want to be the BEST! I'm a total BA and NO ONE will stand in my way!

Halfling Ranger: growing up we had to scrabble for everything we could among the human lands. Some of my kin became thieves but my mother and father taught me the value of honest work for honest pay. When the team pulls together, there's nothing we can't accomplish.

Ranged inquisitor: It only takes ONE shot to end a fight, topple a church or break a movement. Knowledge, aim and patience. I will know my enemies before they ever see me coming and end their villainy quickly.

Enchantment-focused wizard: all the others laughed at me. I was the outcast, the pariah. Now they'll pay. They're going to give me everything I ever wanted, and they'll do it with a smile on their faces.

I'm not saying you have EVERYTHING planned for every non-combat encounter but think about it - each of the above characters would walk up to the same non-combat scene differently. If the scene is: "You enter the tavern. The common room is bustling with scoundrels, sellswords and would-be saints. Behind the bar a sweaty fat man with a jolly smile beckons you in while the bawdy red-head clutching a half dozen frothing mugs winks at you as she passes by" each PC would have a totally different reaction to it.

Melee fighter: I wonder if there's someone here who thinks they're better than me? I bet if I slap the 50" pythons on a table someone will want to wrestle, and then I can prove 'em wrong.

Halfling ranger: man, this place looks shady. We could probably get jumped in the middle of the room and no one would notice. I better stick close to my crew and make sure when they need me I'm ready.

Ranged inquisitor: someone here knows something about all the crap we've been seeing. I wonder just WHOSE jaw needs to get broken to get the rest of them to loosen?

Enchantment-focused wizard: that barmaid is hot! She probably wants me. I bet by the end of the night I'm hammered on free drinks from the gullible lout behind the bar and big red there is taking me back to hers.

Now when the GM looks around the table and asks "so, what are you all doing?" they shouldn't expect 4 blank stares (which has happened to me a couple times recently). I'd hope putting the above attitudes with the characters' skills and abilities would yield up at least SOME roleplay:

Melee fighter: *player slams right elbow down on table* "AWRIGHT you chumps, who's ready to THROW DOWN?" I yell as I offer to armwrestle for money.

Halfling ranger: I'm going to keep next to the fighter, watching out for cheats and swindlers. I'll act like the Ref and put my hand on theirs, calling out the rules. "No sidewinding, no nailscratching and absolutely no OVERTHETOPPING! I'm lookin at you Stallone..."

Ranged inquisitor: I'm watching as well, from the sidelines. I'll use Profession: soldier to size up the crowd, try to pick out the toughest dude I think I might be able to intimidate. While the rest of the bar is focused on the match I'll try and corner him. "Allright tough guy; tell me EVERYTHING you know about the Rootrender Kobolds or so help me old painless here isn't going make a sound as your soul slides into Pharasma's Wheel!"

Enchantment-focused wizard: *wiggles fingers at GM* Bippity Boppity boo-yah; I charm the bartender and remind him that, since we're such good friends he should start a tab for me and my cohorts. 'Course he doesn't need to know I'll never pay it. Oh, and I get him to tell me the red-head's name

That's all I mean. You can extrapolate from that exchange that the fighter is big and tough and enjoys just being that, so that's kind of a go-to for him. The Halfling meantime is all about the team and he's perceptive as heck so he's everyone's bodyguard and best bud, thus informing his general play style. The ranged inquisitor is take-charge and all business, focusing on the most efficient use of her limited powers for greatest effect so that gives an idea of what she'll do in a non-combat scene. Finally the wizard is selfish and may in fact be evil so we know any action he takes will likely benefit him first and the rest of the party second.

I don't need your life story. I don't need multiple pages of detailed drama. If you choose to provide that I'll try to work it in. But before the first initiative is rolled having "why" statements like the ones above fresh in your mind and jotted somewhere on the character sheet to remind you goes a long way to informing your in-character actions.

If you're not much of a roleplayer that's fine - you don't need a silly voice or accent or quirky mannerism to play your character. But walking into a non-combat situation without ANY notion of why your character is who they are and how that informs their interaction with the world around them is like showing up to a fight scene and having no idea what weapon or spell to use.

I'm sorry if I'm cheesing anyone off here. Its not my intention. This is just something I'm particularly passionate about when gaming.

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You're the best, around; no one's ever gonna keep you down! - D. Laruso

Seriously though I can't second it strongly enough, what Bookrat said: focus on description. Your title might be GM but you're just there for setting. Encourage your players to play, to interact w/your world. Don't solve things for them, don't purposely kill their characters, don't let the world around them force their actions.

Make lists. Even if you only use them once, you never know when you're going to need an orcish sounding name.

Never worry about being prepared. No matter how much or how little, your players will always throw you a curve.

Prepare to live outside your comfort zone. If you like control your players will take it from you; if you have an ego expect your players to deflate it. This is not to say your players are the enemy. Rather your players are simply not you and so they have their own desires which will at times supersede yours.

You are not an actor OR a storyteller. You are not here solely to entertain your players. Many GM's miss the subtlety to this point, myself included. You want to narrate an epic, and the game can BE epic, but the key thing is you're not the NARRATOR. You're ONE OF the narrators.

Be collaborative. If your players have an idea, play with it. This goes along with "never say no." You will rarely have to re-write an entire campaign in order to include some detail or change a player wants to add. Encourage your players to think ahead, to speculate aloud what's in the next room, town or plot point. Then steal their idea and work it in.

Take notes. No you won't ever be fully prepared but lots of time and real world experiences can happen between games. Glance over your notes from time to time and try to remember what happened and where you were going from here.

Try to remember that your players are people first. There's no need to insult, berate, or belittle the players or their actions. Celebrate their victories, even if it ruins your plans. Heck, you can even tell them it ruined your plans; that'll make them even happier.

Don't always play to the characters' weaknesses. If you have 4 characters in the game, all of which are great at short range and melee damage, don't constantly attack them with ranged ambushes and mounted flying archers.

Validate your players' choices. If they take an obscure skill/feat for the flavor of their character, try to work it in. If they decide to take an easy out of the dungeon to worry about themselves rather than save the princess, prepare a consequence.

Be consistent, honest and transparent. If you tell them you like RP in your game, RP with them and give examples. If the PCs rightfully obliterate the boss in round 1, let them savor the victory.

Work WITH your players; not for or against them. You are one of many people at the table and this game belongs to ALL of you. Own your piece of it and give them theirs.

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Another thought would be to let the players dictate what they find. Kind of along the same lines as Mythic EL is saying. If the PCs kill some orcs give them a budget appropriate to the encounter and their level. They can then use that budget and "buy" their own items from the encounter, explaining/justifying them however they'd like.

Ex: an APL2 party has investigated tracks afield, fought through an orcish patrol (CR2 encounter), used skills/powers to cross a flooded stream (CR2 hazard) and battled their way through a small orc camp even defeating the leader (a CR2 encounter followed by a CR3 battle). They finally stop to assess the treasure they have.

- Add up the treasure per encounter from the chart of the same name, then divide by # of PCs. In this case we'll go with 2000GP divided by 4 PCs, for a total of 1000 GP per PC. This is each character's budget.
- Players spend their budget on items they want their character to have at this particular point in time.

Perhaps the witch PC is sick of missing saves all the time and wants a Cloak of Protection; turns out that one of the orcs slain along the way was carrying one the whole time. The witch took it off the corpse because he liked the way it looked and now after a moment to look over its magical properties he's determined its true power.

Alternatively perhaps the party's inquisitor has a masterwork shield that the player intends to use as one of her primary items through the campaign. The player gets your approval to advance the same shield in power throughout their adventures, then spends her 1000GP budget saying that Iomedae's power shines down upon the inquisitor for the justice she's brought this day. The masterwork shield now becomes a +1 shield.

In this way the players feel connected to the things they "buy" since they're designing their own arsenal and you're off the hook with creating all of this stuff. It even provides you with plot hooks from time to time. What if the shield DOES become a +1 item but it is also aligned and starts displaying an empathic personality. Suddenly the inquisitor finds they can't sleep at night with all the injustices in the world... until the shield can be pacified or dealt with in some way.

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I actually find low levels the easiest time to drop loot. I like to do a little math and work backwards. By level 2 the PCs should each be at 1000 GP each on the Wealth By Level chart. That means 4000 GP total.

Now I generate some random loot drops, each worth somewhere in the neighborhood of between 200 to 500 GP. I generate 4000 GP worth of drops and then just randomly roll when they finish an encounter I decide should have some loot in it.

If you go this route coins and gems are actually the enemy and should be used sparingly. You want treasure that could fit anywhere, so filling several sacks with silver and gold coins alongside an entire pouch of mixed, cut gems is highly unlikely for a CR2 group of kobolds to have on them at random.

For that reason I stick to art items, consumables, and wondrous items. At 1st level for example a 260 GP loot pile might be:

A scrollcase carved from dragon's bone gilt in silver and pewter with a draconic motif. The silver dragons featured on the device have tiny garnets for eyes (160 GP). Inside the scrollcase are 2 scrolls, each containing 2 arcane spells each. These are Burning Hands, Jump, Mage Armor and Unseen Servant (100 GP).

Now what if you randomly roll this entry after fighting, say 3 goblin warrior 1? Well you might pick a different loot entry, but you don't have to. What if they were couriers? Could be they found the scrollcase locked and just liked the way it looked. Maybe it needs a Prestidigitation and Mending spell since the goblins have ben using the locked scrollcase as a hammer.

Another note: anything can be loot. Your players might go down into a crypt, murder a bunch of undead, then search the whole place top to bottom and whine when they don't find chests of gold. You can then politely remind them that the torch brackets are made of expertly crafted brass (60 GP each); hanging in each cyst is an ornate tapestry depicting the lineage of the tyrant entombed there (100 GP each); the statuary throughout the catacombs are so well sculpted and lifelike they are unnerving (120 GP each); finally the undead that the PCs fought all had gold and iron inlay in their bones as well as eyes or organs represented by carved onyx (130 GP each). This coupled with the few obvious item treasures and a modest cache of coins interred with the leader of the dead is more than enough reward.

Finally not everything has to be gold. Trade goods or personal stuff is always an option. As small as a few pinches of the finest snuff in a Darkwood snuff box to 6 tuns of the best dwarven brandy can be treasure. If you want to add treasure don't just look at the monsters but where they're living. You might have a bunch of PCs kill some rats in an abandoned cellar. While searching they find a collapsed rack of sour wine; a DC 20 Perception check reveals one bottle of Elven Grappa, a highly-prized elf wine of a vintage no longer available in the city (100 GP). Also under the collapsed wreckage is the rats' tunnel and a skeletal corpse still bearing a (mundane) silver and amethyst ring (120 GP) as well as a chapbook of Sarenite prayers and devotionals tucked into which is a scroll of Lesser Restoration (150 GP). Finally the corpse has a simple iron key. Removing the rubble is tricky since a portion of it once supported the vaulted roof as an archway (either Engineering, Miner or some other appropriate skill, DC 20) but even without removing it the PCs can see the rats tunneled through wood as well as stone; there's a door back there! If they do manage to clear the way the key unlocks the door... to ADVENTURE (and more treasure)!

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A pet peeve of mine are folks who say they enjoy immersive RP but don't. For example if the GM presents them a moment of downtime and asks them what they do they say "I use Diplomacy to Gather Info about (insert plot point here)." *Rolls d20 before GM can speak* "I got a 21; what did I learn?"

RP to me is just that, playing a role. A lot of players tell me "I like to develop a personality for my character as I play" but by level 4-5 their character is still simply a collection of numbers to add to dice rolls that sub for an actual personality.

My other pet peeve is passive play. If you come to my table to play, actually play. And I don't just mean combat. If I take the time to set a scene, be it a dungeon room, town street or king's hall, don't just wait around for some detail or NPC to reveal themselves for you to work around.

I guess my peeves are sort of related. What I'm really saying is that tabletop RPGs are a collective exercise. If you're going to play with me play WITH me, not near me. Have a point to your character; some goals or firm likes/dislikes that can come up often and help define your role; seek out adventure instead of waiting for it to come to you.

Folks on these boards joke all the time that their players speculate at the table and then they change their game based on that player conversation. I used to have players who did that and those players told me that I'm one of the better GMs at improv and winging it. Nowadays though I don't get players like that anymore. Their table conversation is about work, home life or current media.

I'm not saying you should have your character planned out for 20 levels when you hit the table. Both your build and personality should be fluid, adaptable. But just as you should have an IDEA of what your want build-wise, you should be able to start right at level 1 with an idea of what your character is.

Right off the bat interact. "You're at the tavern and there's a board posting different adventures" the GM says. Don't just say "what are they" but declare "Gronk throws an elbow between 2 smaller blokes, grunting that they should make way!" or "Primwise the Halfling sorceress asks demurely if one of the nice, big, strong fools crowding the board will tell her what they say, feigning ignorance; all the while she'll be casing potential marks."

Provide roleplay that informs the table of who you are, not just what you're doing. You don't have to be a Cumberbatch-ian level actor but at least be able to show off that role. If you've stated your PC inquisitor is a stoic badass that doesn't say much then talking in character will be rare; find some OTHER way to communicate your role. When the GM says "you enter the shop; inquisitor, what are you doing?" perhaps just mime you're holding your loaded crossbow, stare stoically off into the distance and set your jaw into your best Judge Dredd grimace.

These subtleties matter. These are what informs your GM of who you are, what kind of game you want. Just SAYING you want as much RP as fighting and an immersive plot isn't enough. You have to ACTUALLY immerse yourself in said plot and then actively play a role.

Sorry, I've ranted too much here. Hopefully I didn't offend anyone and someone out there kind of gets where I'm coming from.

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40) Kobold's Eye: the victim of this curse is afflicted with Light Sensitivity as their eyes become draconic in appearance only

41) Mite's Eye: the victim of this curse is afflicted with Light Blindness as their eyes become pale, bloodshot and bulge as do the eyes of the fey for whom the curse is named

42) Brittletooth: the teeth of the victim become weak and unreliable for anything other the soft foods or liquids. Any critical hit with a Bludgeoning weapon or any damage sustained from a Force effect, fall or similar source causes 1d4 teeth to fall out. As well any food ingested by the food must either be pre-chewed or be in at least a semi-solid state or it cannot be consumed. Charisma based checks are all made at a base -2 penalty with an additional -2 for every 8 teeth lost by the victim. Bite attacks while affected by this curse automatically fail and cause the loss of 1d4 teeth.

43) Clockwork Orange: any time the victim of this curse enters combat they must make a Will save equal to the DC of the original curse. Failure means that the victim is Sickened for the duration of the combat.

44) Toad's Tongue: the victim's tongue swells and grows sticky at the end. For the duration of the curse the victim feels an uncontrollable urge to consume insects. When in the presence of common insects or the Vermin monster type their tongue reacts of its own volition darting out of the victim's mouth to snare prey regardless of size. This action causes the victim to initiate a grapple with the creature in question; this causes an attack of opportunity unless the victim possesses feats or abilities to negate this. The involuntary grapple attempts by the tongue continue until the object of the grapple is at least partially if not fully consumed by the victim. Finally victims of this curse suffer a 20% Spell Failure penalty on all spells with a Verbal component.

45) Viletongue: the victim of this curse inexplicably insults or offends anyone they speak to. Obscenities, hostile oaths or mundane curses find their way into the most common conversations. Any time the victim uses speech as part of a Free action or a skill check of any kind they run the risk of causing the Antagonized condition in any one listener. Unless only one listener is present the GM chooses a listener at random and the victim of the Viletongue skill makes either a Diplomacy or Intimidate check against the listener with a +8 bonus. The DC of this check is 10 plus the listener's level + Wisdom bonus. If the victim of the curse succeeds in their check the listener is Antagonized. This curse's effect does not cause attacks of opportunity.

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Pathfinders find paths of adventure. The Oathbound League form oaths. These "oaths" are the contracts of their service. When someone posts a job with the Oathbound they know it'll get done. Now the League can refuse jobs, and they do. "Go kill Asmodeus" is a job they generally dismiss. But when they DO in fact take the contract and post it in the Jarlshall (common room) or call in specific agents for the work, rest assured the League will see it through to the end.

Unlike the Pathfinders though, the Oathbound League is strictly found in Rukenvall. There are not Jarlshalls all through Karnoss (my homebrew). The League then has to abide by the laws of the Rukenvall. They hold charter for their organization with the Von Ruken Court; all members must have their letters patent showing them to be free citizens in good standing. This means that members of the Oathbound are not debtors, wanted criminals or fugitives... yet.

In the course of their duties the methods of the Oathbound League are often called into question by sheriffs, bailiffs and other local officials. Churches, particularly those of Abadar, Asmodeus and Iomedae often clash with the League. The executive leadership of the guild however, the Jarls as they are called, have reached understanding with the Von Ruken Court and even mingle with the viscount herself on occasion. As such the Oathbound are rarely prosecuted for their crimes.

Rarely however does not mean never. There have been occasions when Oathbound agents have egregiously flaunted and violated the laws of The Rukenvall. Murder and other violent or capital crimes outside the absolute necessity of resolving a contract are vigorously discouraged and actively denounced by the League. Several agents over the last century since the group's inception have been imprisoned or executed for their crimes.

Generally though agents of the Oathbound are trusted to do the job and do it well with minimal loss to life, limb or property. They are by their very nature dangerous and prone to vices, obscenity and numerous sins both petty and extreme. Not every agent lives through their contracts; not every agent remains active once a contract is fulfilled. Oathbound agents may resign their active service to the League at any time or resume it at will.

Every agent though undertakes the Oath. They pledge to respect one another; to respect the contract; respect the Jarls. No agent will actively undermine, harm, curse or otherwise impede another known agent or active member of the League in the course of their duties. Further they pledge that any contract undertaken will be seen to its end. Finally there is a pledge of aid, regardless of status, among agents. Once invoked it must be respected though the giver may choose its form. If the aid requested incurs a debt it must be repaid.

This is no secret society. The League was born of the Wilding when the hags and fey and other creatures of the primeval world cloaked themselves in mortal flesh and tormented the land. It was born in the midst of the Third Crusade, otherwise known as the Hexbane Inquisition. The inquisitors roamed the land seeking the evil hidden among mortalkind purging the blasphemies of knowledge, arcane magic and witchcraft from the Rukenvall with fire and righteousness.

Still through all of this the Oathbound League rose. They operated in the open and made no apologies for the agents they employed. When the Hexbane came to Jarlshall and demanded that the wizards, witches and libraries it contained be put to the torch a keg of sour ale dumped from the balcony was their reply. When the hag Nagruvygh made the mistake of infiltrating the League to form a coven and corrupt them from within she was slain, dismembered and made into a stew delivered to the doorstep of the Castle Brunnh and the Nightshade Coven who ruled the fane.

Many different agents join the League for many different reasons. Some seek gold or glory; others resources to resolve some personal wrong. Others still may seek to quietly gain converts for their otherworldly patrons. Not every agent of the League is primarily a field agent; administrators, sages and crafters all have a place within the ranks from time to time. But all who undertake the Oath honor it and all are changed by it.

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15) No vocal modulation: the victim of this curse has no ability to modulate the sound of their voice. They alternate between shouting or whispering or no sound at all at complete random. Spellcasting with verbal components carries a base 20% penalty and all Charisma-based skills requiring vocalization suffer a -4 penalty as well

16) Lack of internal monologue: the victim says whatever's on their mind, all the time. If they're lying once they finish the lie they'll announce they're lying. If a pretty girl walks by and the victim is attracted to her all of the thoughts pertaining to the attraction are verbalized as they happen. The victim must make a Will save (DC the same as the curse) every time they try to hold back their thoughts. If suffering any condition there is no chance for the save.

17) Gnats: everywhere the victim goes a cloud of harmless gnats follows them. The insects are a Figment illusion permanently affixed to the victim for the duration of the curse. The victim suffers the Distracted condition. As well all other creatures receive Partial Concealment from the victim.

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How about some more drinking too. In '46 wasn't there a lot of racism and ethnocentricity too? Maybe play up those themes as well.

Heck I don't want any of that. I just want a show about spies, pretty girls, handsome men and fighting set in the 40's. I have just about as much "real" as I can handle in my regular life, on most of the shows I watch, the books I read and what not. The whole reason I'm on these boards was to riff about fantasy games as an escape.

No more reality. Give me a fantasy of '46. Heck, if it wasn't specifically Marvel I'd ask for a cameo by Diana Prince.

Oh and one serious question: where's HYDRA in all this? Are they Leviathan?

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That would be awesome. Paladin of Saranrae enters the area of the blight, kills the evil hag making it and drives out the goblins and vermin. But at the end of the adventure the villagers are like "thank goodness the monsters are gone, but now, how will we survive?" Paladin kneels in the one shaft of sunlight coming down through the dead and dying trees dangling in the otherwise gray sky. "May the Dawnflower's Mercy be made to shine upon this land. Let her luminous grace fill you with life and heal this place."

Somewhere an angelic chorus cries out as the paladin's channel radius spills out. Everywhere it washes over in the forest the plants visibly respond. The disease is cured, the damage to the leaves and stems repaired. The local flora stretches skyward before the eyes of the assembled masses. The Paladin stands and where she knelt a single, glowing bloom has grown.


And centuries later a girl named Rapunzel is asked to let down her hair...

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359. The GM said "roll initiative"

360. Flatulence

361. An elven wizard/philosopher has been wandering through the tavern answering everyone with a wry question. "What'll you have?" the bartender intoned with practiced platitude. "What will YOU have sir?" the elf returned. This went on throughout the evening ad nauseum until someone asked him "I know you are, but what am I?" one too many times and the questioner decided to take him to school.

362. The halfling bet the half-orc he could juggle 2 balls with one hand. The half orc ably pointed out the halfling had no balls. The halfling replied "Neither do you" and things escalated from there...

363. Someone brought a knife to a gunfight

364. Cat Scratch Fever

365. Its right here in the Irori Handbook: Monks talk with their fists

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Use encumberance rules

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Oh, another one I put on the PCs at low level: prestidigitation to make them smell bad. There are some insects that are attracted to the scent of rot. Also mites have the Smell ability. When my PCs were going down into a mite-infested dungeon I had them hit by one of the little pests' prestidigitation that made them smell like rot... for an hour.

Suddenly no matter where they went in the dungeon all their Stealth checks were -8. The giant beetles they fought all got +2 attack/damage from being so attracted to the smell. That was the ONLY time that the annoyance of a prestidigitation turned into something game related that really worked well for me. For them... not so much.

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