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Leonard Kriegler

Mark Hoover's page

5,529 posts. 1 review. No lists. No wishlists.


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@ Ryn tin tin: I agree. If I want fighting I'll go re-watch Daredevil. It had good camera work, it had "the hallway" and it really showed how DD in the end is just the boxer too punch drunk to know when to go down.

But that's not why I'm watching Jessica Jones.

I'm only 4 episodes in so far but after every one I feel like taking a shower. And I feel that, while I'm in that shower, I want to drink a 5th of whiskey and cry. Afterwards I want to scrub my brain.

In short, I watch JJ for the more emotional piece.

Last night I caught the episode where

the dude in the "Kilgraive Support Group" shares that he was the villain's chauffer. That was tough to watch being a dad. He was having a tough morning in traffic with his kid and suddenly a madman gets in his car. Without another thought he takes his baby out of the car and drives off, staring at the child in the rear view as he speeds off.

That's brutal.

I've read comics off and on since I was a little kid. There was always a mind control thing happening, like Dr Faustus or Mastermind or whoever. But those were comics; they made Phoenix be mean or they tried to get Spider Man to rob a museum. You didn't SEE the really dark crap it could really do.

Nowadays sure, comics are a bit more gritty but they're still a bit limited. In JJ you are watching it, experiencing it with all the shame, horror and degradation it invokes. What's more you come to understand that what you're feeling on an empathetic level the person being controlled either IS feeling that or WILL feel that if they survive.

It reminds me of the possessed folks on Supernatural. A demon gets inside them and they are just passengers, watching themselves do horrifying things to other human beings. In that show they do most of the horror off-screen or in narration.

In JJ you're in it with the controlled victims.

Finally in Daredevil you have a hero trapped in a mortal man. Murdock sets out from the very beginning to do something good. He's not always successful nor is he always doing it the right way, but he's trying.

Jones played the hero once and failed. By the time we pick her up in the series she's broken, defeated and unwilling to try again. She wants to run and hide at first. Even when she decides to act she's brutal, reactionary; she's scared.

Murdock is the "man without fear" while Jones is terrified of everything. Not surprisingly, even though both shows are gritty, Daredevil's world is always tinged with a bit of hope while JJ just keeps slowly sinking deeper and deeper into the quagmire.

But... I'm only up to episode 5 having watched 1-4. Who knows; maybe this is where it all turns around and her costume comes out of mothballs and the whole show gets its hero on. Maybe this is when the light comes in!


I need another shower and another bottle.

I got my book in the mail today and I am STOKED! My oldest daughter is interested in learning PFS. Both girls are going to try some board games and this year they're going to learn the magic of "deck building" games.

As for me there's gaming, a bar, cheap hot dogs, gaming, open tables for impromptus, the painting contest, gaming, networking... did I mention gaming? GET EXCITED Minnesota! Feb 12-14, Plymouth, MN, the Crowne Plaza... IT IS ON!

Wait, I thought you said Reign of Winter? I copied/pasted to my browser and got Wrath of the Righteous?

Boarding axe: P and S; it's a 1h melee weapon.

So a tazlwyrm is a primitive dragon that lives in the woods. It's also ripped from RL folklore. Finally it shows that it has Standard treasure in the Beastiary.

Does it desire treasure as true dragons do?

I'm looking t give a tatzlwyrm levels in either a PC or NPC class and am trying to give it some kind of realistic motivation. It's Int is 5, so it isn't a mastermind, but it's Wis is a 14 so it has plenty of natural cunning. The fluff describes it as sort of a really smart animal. Why would an animal have Standard treasure?

My rationale so far is kobolds.

Kobolds worship dragons. A Tatzlwyrm is a kind of dragon. Some really minor kobolds find the CR 2 dragon and placate it with some treasure, awakening some long-dormant hording instinct in it. Once it begins acquiring loot it NEEDS more and demands its "minions" gather more.

Since I'm going to be giving it some kind of divine spellcasting class (either Adept, Cleric, Druid or something else) the tatzlwyrm began to come into its faith and power as well through exposure to the kobolds. It learned to worship and earned rewards from the patron it began to serve. Using this as a model it rewarded some of the kobolds serving it to the best of its ability and earned a place at the top of this weird heap of dragons and reptiles.

Now when the PCs come along the dragon is sending his kobolds far and wide to find more sparklies for his nest. Meanwhile the dragon takes a few elite kobolds with him on hunts in the woods using superior Survival skills and simple traps to keep the entire tribe fed and happy.

Should a tatzlwyrm have a desire for treasure? Further is this simple rationale enough to make a bunch of PCs want to destroy the creature?

I know: depends on the players. If YOU were a player, what would YOU think?

DMMMITTT!!!!! I JUST found this freaking KS today!!!


I'm running a Barakus game that started this weekend. Sigh. Well, I guess I'm going to have to buy it all piecemeal...

Can someone do the same thread with a mauler familiar? I'm horrible at optimizing but I have this dream of running a kobold adept NPC with a mauler familiar dealing all his damage and acting as his mount.

It also sort of depends on your players. I had a group of guys that were really into the whole "kill monsters, get treasure" aspects of the game and could care less about plot. The second adventure they met an intelligent female ghoul who was going about eating people ritualistically to regain her former spellcasting powers. They stumbled into the middle of her plans, defeated her minions and saved a bunch of teenagers but the ghoul got away.

They couldn't have cared less.

Said ghoul then sent undead to attack a neighboring town, summoned up the ghost of a PC's mom and even turned some of the teens they saved into undead. Nothing I did lit a fire under them to track her down, they just kept utterly destroying all the things she threw at them without emotional engagement.

For them it was a video game so the villain taunting them off screen didn't matter.

The campaign ended due to scheduling/real life issues. The last adventure they were going on though was to go end the "Ghoul Queen" once and for all. They weren't doing it for a sense of pathos or closure; the local nobles were fed up with the Plague of Undeath she was causing and they were willing to pay these unfeeling mercenaries well to put an end to it.

TL/DR: like in all things, test the waters with your players before committing to the escaping/recurring villain thing.

I don't understand Azten: a Black-Blooded Oracle is a vaguely necromantic curse that reverses healing and gives a couple interesting revelations. Otherwise we're talking a cha-based divine caster. Tatzlwyrms' casting stat should be Wis-based since they have a Wis of 14.

Per the Beastiary 3 these creatures are primarily combat focused. Under the Monster Advancement rules this means the first 2 levels of a spell-casting PC class count as 1 towards the final CR. I could either add Adept 4 or PC Spellcasting Class 3.

If I go Tatzlwyrm Adept 4 the final creature has an additional 4d6 HP, +2 BAB, +1 Fort and Ref, +4 Will, 3 level 0 spells, 3 level 1 spells, and 1 level 2 spell. He'd also get some simple weapons, maybe a club or sickle. Lastly he'd get a familiar and 2 feats; maybe Boon Companion and Improved Familiar to give him a Level 8 familiar

What if I go druid though? Three levels of Druid grants the same BAB and Saves as Adept, an Animal Companion, 2 feats, and 3d8 HP. He'd also get a couple more spells, Wild Empathy, better spell selection, and he could trade out the Nimble Moves feat since he'd have Woodland Stride. He'd even get Trackless Step helping him remain a recurring villain.

What do you folks think?

So some kobolds worship dragons or Dahak directly right? They are meager minions claiming kinship to dragons and worshipping them for power. In PF mechanics all it really takes to use divine spells and powers is a high Wis.

Imagine another draconic kin with decent Wis. It sees kobolds gaining power from this worship and learns to mimic their prayers and devotions. Unlike others of its kin this creature is willing to add these devotions to its daily routines of nesting, trapping meat and sleeping.

Enter: Umbravex, the Black Hearted Wyrm

This would be nothing more than a tatzlwyrm with levels in some kind of divine casting class. Right off the bat I'm thinking of advancing him with the NPC class Adept. I'm wondering if folks have other ideas though. I'm looking for an epic challenge for a group of optimized level 1 PCs. Despite their optimization they are all level 1, so they're APL 1. For this reason I'm thinking of advancing the tatzlwyrm no higher than CR 4.

What about a sorcerer? A Halfling sorcerer drops your Str to 10 unfortunately but you'd get an 18 Dex and 16 Cha out of the bargain. Decent spells, used ranged touch attacks and try not to get targeted by any compulsions or mind effects.

Then again you could go grippli too. Still lose 2 Str but your Wis goes up 2. You get net proficiency and you could take a tongue at level 1 as a feat that delivers your touch attacks 10' away.

With a Wis 8 you're always going to be hurting for Will saves so best to shore that up best you can and stay away from being the party scout or survivalist.

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Also I had an Aid Another on Diplomacy tonight. The PCs met a group of travelers (gypsies) in an inn and said travelers are between Indifferent to Unfriendly depending on who they're talking to in the party. The party wants to get the gypsies to smuggle said NPC into the city.

First the bard started in and said he'd open with music and stories. From there the paladin chimed in to expound on the greater good the travelers would serve. The Halfling druid related the NPC's struggle to his own oppressive experiences and the sorcerer helped explain the NPC's predicament and play on the emotions of the travelers. After all of that the bard actually made the ask.

Mechanically the bard rolled a couple Perform checks and a Diplomacy as well. Each of the other PCs rolled a Diplomacy for Aid Another and succeeded. Their total roll finished out to a 28 and I rounded it up to a 30 adding a +2 circumstance bonus for the bard's performances.

Fluff-wise it turned into a similar scene to the Podling scene from the Dark Crystal. The bard offering some music, then the travelers joined in, and the sorcerer added some special effects. The Halfling used some acrobatics against the travelers in a dance-off; the paladin, reserved and stodgy, played a great "straight man" against it all and got dragged onto the floor by a group of old Nonas.

In the end everyone had fun and the entire group of travelers were shifted to Helpful. The travelers consented to the favor but on the condition that the party continue to party with them when they meet next. The Silverhair Family will now become a recurring contact in the game world.

Arclight; do all those stack? I thought it was if an ability says you grant +3 you just grant +3. So:

Cavelier = you deliver a +3 on aid another

Helpful Halfling = you deliver a +4 on aid another

I thought this meant that Helpful Halfling overrides the Order of the Dragon ability, starting your Aid Another at +4, not that the 2 add together and give +7?

The nice thing about a Halfling sling staff is that enchantments to one part work on both. Also you're ALWAYS armed. No need to grab Quick Draw or burn Move actions on swapping out weapons. So starting at level 1

Halfling with weapon focus: slingstaff and the Warslinger trait is able to carry a light shield and still load the device as a Free action. At all times he's got high AC (light armor, light shield, decent AC and Small size), he's highly accurate with the ranged function of the weapon, he moves slow but can use his Move actions to actually move as opposed to 5' steps, and if a foe gets inside his range and he can't back up or someone moves past him within 5' he's got a handy club waiting.

I imagine you'll see a lot of fighter builds that start out Weapon Focus: Slingstaff, Point Blank Shot, then build up the ranged piece while also tacking on Specialization. No, you'll never be finessing with the melee part of the Slingstaff so your accuracy in melee may suffer but when you take Focus or Specialization feats they'll tack on bonuses to either Ranged or Melee with the weapon so that's nice.

Its a very efficient way to build a switch hitter. Downside is low strength but there's ways to pump that later in the game.

Ok, one last rules question before today's game then I'll stop bugging you folks for a while. Help me wrap my head around the action for jumping.

In one game I have a grippli ranger 2 with the Jumper and Glider traits. As I understand it I can't jump further than my base speed of 30 but I can combine my jump with a Move so 10' Move +20' jump. Grippli with the Jumper trait don't need to move 10 for a running start and can always take 10 so just standing still and leaping I can jump ahead 30'.

This is the part I get.

Now this hasn't come up in the game yet but I'd like to know: can I combine jumping with other forms of movement? What I'd like to do is:

Climb up 20' and take 10 with a Jump, moving me forward 30'. In the process I glide adding an extra 5' forward for every 10' up, so in total +10'.

Is the above legal? If I climb with a Climb 20 speed I haven't moved my full base 30, so that's how I'm justifying the initial jump but would I be able to make the full 30' jump or only 10'? Also can I glide so that it moves me further than my base speed?

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By RAW you're touching AC 10. Since it has no Armor or Dex indicated there is nothing to subtract for Touch or Flat Footed AC, so it remains a 10 for those purposes. Therefore:

1. PCs enter the room; Perception (or Knowledge: Religion; I don't know how they act on the surprise round with haunts)
2. If the cleric has an action and act before Initiative 10, they attack an AC 10
3. If the Haunt acts first the effect happens and the party simply needs to deal with that.

Also to your second question once the Haunt's effect takes place the PCs are left to deal with the effect unless the thing is Persistent at which point you can neutralize them before their effect goes off next round.

That's the rules, now let's look at the fun.

Take a look at the example haunt, Bleeding Walls in your link. The trigger is a proximity; PCs must enter a space for the Haunt to go off. Also there is a DC 20 Perception check to act in the surprise round.

the PCs are in the bar one night and a crazed drunk is getting belligerent with the owner. The PCs overhear the old man screaming that his sister haunts his dreams, even though she died all those years ago. The noble that done her in never paid for his crimes. The creepy old house on the hill was the last place she ever was and at night the man can still hear his sister weeping.

In talking to the old man he reveals himself a Cyrus Burg, a troubled soul whose mind broke years ago from the weight of guilt and the poison of alcohol. He mutters, sees things that aren't there and on many occasions has tried to hurt himself and others. Despite his mania the party is able to ascertain that Burg's sister, Malia, was a maid for a noble. The cruel lord used and debauched her but Malia's wages were the only thing keeping the family going so Cyrus urged her to stay quiet. One day she decided she'd had enough and went to work one last time to confront the noble; she never returned home.

Now, decades later a new noble has taken possession of the house. He and his manservant entered three days ago; they haven't been seen since. The place has been abandoned and rumored to be haunted all this time. Now Cyrus believes its somehow connected to his sister.

Leaving the party at their table the man staggers out into the night. Seconds later the PCs hear a scream. Racing outside they see the new noble's manservant dropping Cyrus' limp form to the ground. Disturbingly the servant's eyes have been completely torn out leaving dead, bleeding sockets behind.

The party battles this horror and destroys it. During the fight the servant's voice is that of a woman's but disembodied. Once the battle is over Cyrus confirms with his dying breath (no amount of healing/restoration saves him) that what they just fought was somehow his sister, taking her revenge.

After busting into the house, dealing with some other hazards and undead the PCs begin to ascend to the second floor. As they do the floor gives way and the staircase collapses; a harrowing moment later the party is at the top of the steps staring down a 40' drop into the cellar far below. Thankfully avoiding this close call the party heads down the hall to the master bedroom.

The PCs can tell the room was once opulent and masculine, but now the furnishings are all covered with dusty sheets. The bed itself has thick drapery enclosing it; as the PCs look on a sudden breeze flutters it from the inside. One of the party members gives into the temptation and gets close to the bed. Flinging back the drapes nothing waits on the other side.

Then it begins.

All the PCs roll their Perception checks. The ranger and the cleric make theirs; the wizard and fighter do not. The ranger and the cleric hear a soft sobbing echoing all through the room; the sound is disembodied and unnatural making the hairs on the back of their neck stand on end. The cleric rolls her initiative, an 11, with the ranger having a 16. The ranger casts about for an enemy, something to attack but the danger seems all around him at once; this is no ghost or goblin, but the threat is no less real!

Holding his initiative the ranger waits, desperate for something to hit. Then to the cleric whose fingers tighten on the wand still in her hand from healing the wizard the round before. Despite years of training and months of adventures something about this moment makes the blood in her veins freeze. She hesitates and the ranger glares at her: "Do SOMETHING!" The sobbing begins to twist into a cruel laugh and out of the corner of her eye the cleric sees small rivulets of blood forming on the walls. The air is suddenly so cold the cleric can see her breath and there is a copper taste to it. Evil is coming.

Then from the bed another sudden breeze. No, not a breeze, a FACE starting to form from a rising mist. The walls are definitely starting to bleed. A sudden calm guides the cleric. Pharasma is the mistress of all things beyond; her wisdom and strength flows through me. The wand comes up. The face becomes clearer, that of a woman. The blood is streaming now. The celestial words to activate the wand begin to tumble from the cleric's steady lips. The weeping laughter rises to a fever pitch. All the party can see all of it now and a palpable dread begins to rise! "... NICTU" the cleric finishes and the moonstone with the black rose relief flares to life on the item's tip.

The cleric surges forward a few feet and thrusts the wand forward. "Back to the GRAVE with you woman! Pharasma waits for you!" The cleric's wand snakes out and the glowing stone makes contact at the last second with the maid's ghostly face. There is a shrill shriek of a woman's voice but not in triumph but in pain. A blinding flash goes off.

The cleric rolled a 10 on her attack roll and hit the Haunt with a wand of Cure Moderate Wounds. She inflicts 12 damage from positive energy. This is enough to inactivate it. The result is that the moment after the light fades the party looks around the room and finds everything the same as when they entered. No bleeding walls, no cold in the air and no disembodied voices or faces. The Haunt has been shut down for the moment.

The bigger problem now is figuring out how to reveal the Haunt's final resolution. Remember that even though the mechanics of the device are set the "flavor" of it all is up to you as the GM.

So there's Ranged Cover, Melee Cover, Soft Cover, Partial Cover, and Low Obstacles, no two of which act EXACTLY the same. Huh, I can't IMAGINE how I could've been confused ;)

I think the thing that's confusing me and my players both is that the rules completely depend on who the shooter is as much as where they are. The guy questioning me specifically argued 2 points:

1. if the kobold can see him he can see the kobold so Cover shouldn't help them at the moment they're firing

2. by the logic of point 1, if the players use a Readied Action they should be able to hit the kobold bereft of Cover as soon as they pop out to fire

By RAW though if the kobold is around the corner or standing in a Small sized niche in the wall behind a 6' tall stone statue they can pop out, fire and Cover still applies even to Readied actions. Do I have that right?

Depends on "lively." Here's some guidelines:

- I've never had to put plastic down before a game or steam clean after

- We have over the years broken furniture (2 lamps, a bookshelf and several chairs)

- I speak with my hands

- I act out bits of the fight scenes; it doesn't matter if I'm the GM or a player; it doesn't even matter if its MY character

- No one has ever needed rubber pants for my games

- Criticals are not a big deal anymore

- While illegal substances are absolutely forbidden at my tables drinking is limited only by participants ages; in some instances its encouraged

- Its been many years since my game led to an arrest and never a conviction

Hopefully that gives you an idea. For a more serious take, I'm 41 years old and my games contain players between the ages of 35-50. We all work too much, see our family and friends too little, and generally spend part of the game ranting about stress, work, and how the world went and got itself all changed since we were younger.

I am proud to say though that I got so animated acting out a combat I nearly knocked over a massive TV. This was followed by another player following suit the next week and he slipped off the couch.

Marc Radle wrote:
Mark Hoover wrote:
Diagonal. Otherwise I run from behind a potted plant.
Pan wrote:

Funny! Not helpful in the slightest, but funny!

Maybe we can stick to the actual question? Maybe? I'll give everyone a shiny copper piece ... :)

Fine. I prefer playing live so I used to use cardboard screens. I mainly used them though for the data tables or random generators on the inside though. Now I just have books and my own homebrew tables out in the open.

Also, I'm hilarious.

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Diagonal. Otherwise I run from behind a potted plant.

Currently I'm running a homebrew game that's made it to 3rd level. Our primary villains are kobolds and they use Cover often. I've been told though by a player that I may be running it wrong.

I've had these kobolds (upgraded from using slings to bows) firing arrows from corners, behind stalactites and boulders, etc. In this instance I've given them +4 AC and +2 Ref saves until the moment they pop out to fire; then I give them Partial Cover; +2 AC, +1 Ref. They are not Sniping; they're not using Stealth and trying to target PCs' Flat-Footed AC.

My player is telling me that the PCs should be getting Cover from their shots. Since I'm giving the kobolds Partial Cover at the time they fire the PCs should have a +2 AC from that same cover. My players have also mentioned that the kobolds should be taking a 5'step and then firing, leaving them exposed for an entire round unless they have Shot on the Run and can Move/shoot/Move in a round.

Am I running this wrong by RAW?

I have my Valet familiar aid me in everything. We're still only 3rd level so no speech yet but my GM has handwaved this so the owl nods, shakes it's head, points its talons or taps for numbers, etc. to give me clues as to what it thinks of my conclusions and such.

So far it's helped with Knowledge, crafting items, one time with Intimidation and another time while enlarged it provided me with an AC bonus when a kobold got too close.

The one thing I really like is that it has Prestidigitation. Remember it can move 1 lb of material that way, albeit slowly. It's a pretty handy scroll holder when I'm going to be casting from multiple scrolls.

Familiars and animal companions are the most consistent use of Aid Another in my games.

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Fresh off another thread that dipped into this topic I thought it was worth discussing. Aid Another is, at it's heart, a mechanic that encourages all the players to work together at a common goal. In my own home games I've houseruled that in some situations players don't even need to use the same skills.

I had a scenario once where the PCs came to a magical trap. There was a rogue in the party but I didn't want it to be just him making dice rolls so I asked the other players their skills.

One was a wizard and he'd noticed the magic of the trap with Detect Magic so I asked him to use Spellcraft to try and figure a way around it. Part of mechanism involved a relief of a face on a door; the mouth would open to unleash the effect so the fighter got to make a Strength check and finally the trap had been created by an adept so the cleric made a Knowledge: Religion check to analyze the faith that contributed to the device and any details that would yield.

In all every player at the table helped disable the trap. Yeah, that's not RAW and may have detracted from the rogue's unique ability to break magic traps but in the end everyone participated and had fun. Mechanically all that happened was the rogue got +6 on his own roll and since the DC was a 21 on the trap it ended up helping him.

Anyway, since then I've strongly encouraged my players to use Aid Another. Not just with different skills. Any untrained skill can be used. We've had a party face talk to an NPC and had a second player chime in; no skill in Diplomacy but a natural +2 from Cha so on an 8 or higher they're helping. I've also reminded players that Craft is an untrained skill. So one guy wants to make a bow? The other 3 PCs can help somehow and tack on +2s so long as they roll a total check of 10 or better.

In combat no one ever uses Aid Another and I get it; the action economy is bad and there's better things to do with your actions. Still against single opponents it might be handy or, say, if you've got an animal companion, familiar or other helper with no chance of hitting this might be a worthwhile standard action.

I had a level 2 wizard use her Enlarge Person on her owl familiar in one fight. Next fight was only a minute later so the familiar was still enlarged. It flew in and granted the oracle a +5 (had a trait from a feat that allowed it to give +2 on Aid Another) to attack from Aid Another and Flanking. That's no small bonus at level 2.

What have your experiences been with Aid Another in your games?

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One thing in this and other threads (paraphrasing): there's a better way to do that. Ending a fight via the Disarm, Steal, and Grapple maneuvers is feat intensive and not the most efficient I'll grant you. However if players build their characters that way and WANT to do that why NOT throw a few kobolds at them they can harass?

After years on these boards I've come to appreciate that there's more than one way to skin a cat, or a monster, or a PC concept. Most recently I was a player in a game where the party was missing a classic "thief" type; a skills monkey that could stealth, scout and disable devices.

I decided on a wizard.

The other players were upset. We already had a switch-hitter oracle and a sorcerer, so why another squishy spellcaster. But then I unveiled Argentica, the half-elf with high Dex, Int and Wis (we were able to roll stats and I rolled well). With her familiar at hand, in Dim Light conditions she started at level 1 with like a +11 on Perception, she got Stealth and Disable Device from traits and wasn't too bad at them. Plus with a flying familiar of Tiny size and the right spells the two of us could scout pretty well.

Sure, I could've gone rogue, then spell caster, and finally arcane trickster and been doing more damage or been a better "thief" type, but this fit better with what I wanted: a bookish female half-elf escaping a misspent youth.

My point is that I don't want my players thinking in terms of what Feat choices are going to "win" mechanically but rather what concept they want to achieve. I know there's nothing wrong with mechanics first/concept later, I just don't want it to be ALL mechanics y'know?

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If you wanted to go NPC... go kobold.

1. The CR of a kobold with NPC levels is Level - 3 instead of -2 so a kobold Adept 5 is a CR 2 encounter, not a CR 3

2. Small size (see below)

Give your kobold Adept 3/Warrior 2. This lets your kobold wear some armor, wield different weapons. Then give them the "swoop dinosaur" familiar. Not super-optimized for combat, but whatever; it flies. Finally, give the familiar the Mauler familiar archetype.

Now you have a kobold flying around on his "dragon" (Medium sized swooping dinosaur familiar) lobbing spells from overhead or attacking with a ranged weapon while his familiar charges and therefore gets reach with its bite attack. Give him the following feats:

Mounted Combat, Evolved Familiar: Improved Damage, Point Blank Shot

Your kobold could stand in for an Inquisitor or a Warpriest. He's flying around in decent armor, the familiar has leather barding without hindering it too much and he could even have a light shield. Suddenly this CR 2 encounter with the Heroic array for NPCs is dropping +9 or better crossbow attacks from range, then strafing the area with 3d4 Burning Hands spells while the familiar charges from Reach with a bite +7 (1d8 +1 plus Poison DC 11) attack.

Whoa. That'd be nice.

Don't want to spend a cantrip slot on Ray of Frost? Fine. Make a scroll. 4 shots of Ray of Frost on a scroll costs 25 GP and in a pinch either destroys Brown Mold or delivers an extra 1d3 damage to your enemies.

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CBDunkerson wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
CBDunkerson wrote:
The idea that there is only one 'optimal' way to do things is too narrowly focused on combat...
Either that, or it recognizes that Pathfinder isn't nearly as supportive of building the type of character you described as the Star Wars game you were playing was.
There is absolutely no reason you couldn't play a similarly non-combat oriented character in Pathfinder. Every example I gave in that post has an analogous situation in Golarion (escape artist, safe cracking, navigation, sailing, et cetera). It really comes down to the kind of games you play. If the GM throws nothing but unavoidable combats at you then combat optimization is the way to go... though personally at that point I could get a similar experience from Xbox. If you're playing in a complex world where 'I kill it' is NOT the answer >50% of the time then diversity is good. Heck, even in kill fests... you want to be able to kill things in different ways or you'll be in trouble when the GM throws something at you which CAN'T be killed in the 'one true optimized way'.

I think this gets at the heart of what I was trying to explain to my player. Sure, if I'm running a "kill fest" then Weapon Focus/Specialization; Power Attack/Furious Focus and so on.

I frankly don't run like that. I homebrew or use published material that includes a mix of combat, non-combat, traps, puzzles and rarely just empty scenery in the encounters. I try to encourage my players not to just attack every monster and use the world as a giant loot pile.

That being said, if my players want that game and make 4 combat-optimized PCs then I'm not going to stop them and I'll even up the combat to match what they want to see.

But even then I have an expectation that I don't have 4 players solely focused on the same feats and general approach to every combat.

If I have 4 combat-centric players I would hope that I've got a couple focused on range and a couple on melee. Even in that, you could have a maneuvers guy, a ranged touch attack caster, a power attacker and a zen archer, all approaching combat from 4 very different angles.

In short: there's more than one way to "win" encounters.

One thing I tell new players all the time is that ESCAPING from a fight gives you experience. Sometimes resource management means knowing when to just drop a Smokestick, get out the door and beat feet to the main exit.

The other thing I'd mention in regards to the above quote is that just because you're mediocre at combat doesn't mean you're not useful in the game, at least not at my table. I have a player running a druid, currently at 3rd level who's really focused on Perception and Diplomacy. In danger zones he's a scout that keeps the PCs from running into trouble in the first place and thus contributes to combat by helping the party avoid needless ones. Outside normal adventure sites he's gathered tons of info, guided the PCs to key clues and used his charisma and skills to keep a bar fight from breaking out.

Yes, there's probably better builds for it. And also yes; if the party had been optimized for combat and just let the bar fight or kobold ambushes happen they more than likely would've whomped through to victory anyway. But then why don't I just run Descent from Fantasy Flight Games?

So that's Spider Woman and Purple Man?


They're really digging deep for TV stuff. I read Marvel for years, from 1980 - 2000 and even worked in a comic book store and I don't remember ANYTHING on these 2.

No wait, I do remember a couple things. I thought Spider Woman was a silly psychic version of Spider Man and she was de-powered and I thought Purple Man was a joke villain. Also I don't remember either of them being particularly dark.

Can anyone explain?

Live in Los Angeles once, but leave before it makes you soft

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard

... and also my vote is for the Twin Cities in Minneapolis too.

Jiggy wrote:
Mark Hoover wrote:

Sorry, I didn't mean to drop a thread grenade and walk away. I had company come by and then got caught up with kid stuff too. Anyway, one of the reasons this debate about feats came up was because this new player and I were discussing what we liked about 3e/PF versus 1 and 2e as well as the new 5e D&D.

The new player's contention was that 1e/5e was awesome because you just pick "Fighter" and you get a set package that includes the best of EVERYTHING that has to do with being a fighter; you don't NEED to customize because you're already the best at what you're supposed to do.

My reason for liking PF was that my fighter can be the best at: grappling, ranged, melee, dueling, tanking or a dozen other niches but still positively contribute to other areas of combat. I can BUILD my character for either as specific or as general a role as I'd like and unless I'm doing a terrible job I can build to be very effective.

Next thing I know my new player is giving me the "only a few feats are worth taking anyway" which inevitably led back to his contention that you only need one fighter, one wizard and so on.

I just want my games to offer more to the players than "you're good at fighting. You're good at wizarding." I mean, what if the guy playing the wizard, with 6 skill ranks/level, takes Disable Device and Stealth as class skills through traits and is playing a half-elf with an owl familiar and Skill Focus: Perception? They can be a spell casting thief that picks locks, finds mundane traps and stealths around while ALSO unleashing decent fire power to make up for no sneak attack.

They CAN build that way, even if there's more effective ways to do it. I'd validate their choices by giving places where a rogue or a spell caster would be useful. I'd like to think I would anyway.


So the thing he LIKES about 5E is that there's just one fighter, and the thing he DISLIKES about Pathfinder is that (due to a small list of viable feats) there's just one fighter?


Yes. Frustrating, right? Said new player is just upset you gotta go through all the work of "building" a character in PF just to end up with the same fighter every time. My contention though is that you can be JUST as effective if you take Improved Unarmed Strike, Improved Grapple and Weapon Focus: Grapple at level 1 as if you took Power Attack, Furious Focus and Weapon Focus: Greatsword. Sure, you'd do less damage by grappling but you'd still be melee focused, have a great attack bonus and you can still take an opponent out of the mix. What's more, your extreme grappler might look, feel and play differently from the 2h fighter.

If someone "gimped" their PC by extreme focus on grappling (or whatever) I'd try to include:

- combats with single, multi-limbed foes
- Non combat challenges like grappling or arm-wrestling challenges
- (for a challenge to the PC) occasional fights against oozes or natural grappler villains

Sorry, I didn't mean to drop a thread grenade and walk away. I had company come by and then got caught up with kid stuff too. Anyway, one of the reasons this debate about feats came up was because this new player and I were discussing what we liked about 3e/PF versus 1 and 2e as well as the new 5e D&D.

The new player's contention was that 1e/5e was awesome because you just pick "Fighter" and you get a set package that includes the best of EVERYTHING that has to do with being a fighter; you don't NEED to customize because you're already the best at what you're supposed to do.

My reason for liking PF was that my fighter can be the best at: grappling, ranged, melee, dueling, tanking or a dozen other niches but still positively contribute to other areas of combat. I can BUILD my character for either as specific or as general a role as I'd like and unless I'm doing a terrible job I can build to be very effective.

Next thing I know my new player is giving me the "only a few feats are worth taking anyway" which inevitably led back to his contention that you only need one fighter, one wizard and so on.

I just want my games to offer more to the players than "you're good at fighting. You're good at wizarding." I mean, what if the guy playing the wizard, with 6 skill ranks/level, takes Disable Device and Stealth as class skills through traits and is playing a half-elf with an owl familiar and Skill Focus: Perception? They can be a spell casting thief that picks locks, finds mundane traps and stealths around while ALSO unleashing decent fire power to make up for no sneak attack.

They CAN build that way, even if there's more effective ways to do it. I'd validate their choices by giving places where a rogue or a spell caster would be useful. I'd like to think I would anyway.

the David wrote:

I've already pointed out that I'm gonna replace the alligator with a tatzlwyrm. I'll take a reefclaw over a lobster, and aboleths might have to wait a few levels.

- Tatzlwyrm
- Mutant Something
- Lacedon
- Reefclaw
- Young Otyugh
- Sewage Elemental/Excremental
- Hazard/Trap
- Rat Swarm
- 3 Dire Rats

Not so sure about the rats. I don't just want to throw them in because it's a sewer. The other stuff is a definitely.

Wow, I probably should've read the entire thread before posting my list. Still I like also adding the fey angle. Do you have a plot or hooks in mind?

If you're looking for plot hooks:

1. Stores are getting robbed; kobolds from the sewers.
2. Sentient humanoids in the sewers are trying to flood the city above
3. Mites using vermin empathy have been culling in all manner of insect and are going to destroy the city; termite swarms, spider swarms, etc.

If you're looking for less "whole campaign" arcs and need just one-shot adventure hooks:

1. An evil ranger is training, housing and feeding mutant animals in the sewers
2. A local ratcatcher and his apprentice niece need help recovering loot from an underground cache accessible through the sewers; the niece is a budding sorcerer though and the ratcatcher needs the money from the score to get the girl the help she needs
3. There is an evil cult meeting taking place in the sewers that needs to get broken up... or else.

As for sewer monsters I've used:

1. Reefclaws reskinned as "mereclaws" since there was a swamp nearby the creatures were coming from
2. dire rats
3. oozes, especially alchemical ooze swarms being used by an evil alchemist
4. Small to Tiny sized humanoids and fey
5. bats and dire bats
6. Juvenile black dragon
7. tatzlwyrms adapted to sewer environs
8. evil grippli
9. dretch demons
10. chokers
11. any kind of Undead, though Beheaded variants are my fave
12. bullywugs

When it comes to sewers I like a lot of monsters with a Climb or Swim speed. If not that I look for things that can fly or would be smart enough to use tools and flotillas. I'm a big fan of monsters using their environments to their advantage and making PCs crawl through slime at a snail's pace while the monster(s) speed along the walls or pop up out of the water is lovely.

The other thing to think about is if this is part of a megadungeon, how do the sewer monsters interact with the other levels? Maybe dire rats and bats are completely natural here but in another level kobolds use them as guard animals. Where do the kobolds GET their pets? They keep an outpost with a ranger and a bunch of subservient warriors in the sewers. The ranger manages the training, the warriors monitor the breeding and growth and, when not whelping litters of rats these warriors sneak out into the city using their Small size and their own Escape Artist skills to break in through Tiny size shop windows and rob the locals.

At level 1: grippli with Jumper, Glider. He gets a Climb speed of 20. Move up a wall/tree/tall PC and then jump up and attack or throw a net.

I'm kicking off a new game and invited an old-timer player to join. He's grudgingly jumping into a PF game. When I asked what his frustration was, he lamented that the character building process was such a joke.

Per this player there's only a few "correct" feats to take and everything else is a trap. His example was Power Attack for a fighter. If you're a fighter Power Attack is the "right" feat to take and everything else is either sub-par or a trap.

That's been really grating on me. It assumes that my game will be so combat heavy that most scenes will be melee. What if the game slides political, or all the villains are ranged attackers?

Yes, some rare feats are brutally ineffective (I'm looking at you Fleet) to buy with such a finite resource. But as a GM I'm more about player empowerment. If you WANT to play a grippli with an Agile Tongue that you use for the Steal maneuver, I want that ability to shine so your feat choices are validated.

So does that make me a wuss GM? Are there really certain feats that are a "must" for PCs and everything else is worthless? Who else out there is willing to modify their game if their players want to make some of these so called sub-par feat choices?

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At Artie Farty: yes, those game groups sounded like a myth to me too. I found one though, Wednesday nights here in MN in the USA. We only play 3 hours a session but the players are all willing to try anything. We've had some epic fights, a swinging vine charge, a seriously tactical crawl through a kobold enclave and lots of really fun moments.

These gamers are out there, but they're in short supply.

At everyone else: you're all correct, there's 2 games going on. The "build" game is fun for me, both as a player and a GM. I can build interesting characters or, in the case of one game, I made a real twist of an NPC that was completely in the rules but was not like any kobold they'd ever met before.

The GM fiat stuff is still annoying though. I agree; making up arbitrary numbers for DCs is sucky but at least with the multitudes of rules in PF that everyone laments I've got less moments when it really is arbitrary.

Take Knowledge checks in the PF system. In D&D 1e/2e I'd have tons of metagaming; people knowing that skeletons required bludgeoning damage or that demons had telepathy, etc. No matter how I punished the players they still used that info, even subconsciously.

In PF the players make a roll to justify such knowledge. Such a roll is clearly laid out in the rules. If I want to make it tougher that's built into the rules too.

And while I'm at it, everyone rants about the minutiae of "da rulz" being a downfall of new-school type games. There were TONS of rules for small stuff back in 1e; we just never used 'em! Yes, there's more rules now than in 1e, but we can just do the same thing and ignore 'em. You have to make a contract with the table is all. That's not really "new school" though but maybe that's one way to bridge the gap.

And finally: let's stop blaming video games or the "player entitlement" of younger generations. I've had players going all the way back to AD&D who whined about not getting cool stuff, getting their characters killed, and having the attention spans of gnats. It's not a generational thing; it's a people thing.

The EXPECTATION that by virtue of sitting at the table a player automatically gets stuff they want is as old as gaming. We might see an uptick of it from youngsters but it may only be because they don't have a lot of experience.

AZ: Remember that Death will reap God someday so it might all end with that.

The problem I have is reducing God and the Darkness to beings at all. I had a really hard time buying Death as a being until his meeting with Dean in Chicago. His whole attitude towards Dean, as utterly insignificant; that is IMO how these entities should exist.

Last season when Dean

reaped Death
and the subsequent effect that's had just seems ludicrous. Death is a force, not a person. You can't escape it, outrun it or destroy it. Sure this is Supernatural so you can cast a spell or make a deal to AVOID death for a while but in the end EVERYTHING dies.

So by that note saying that Amara is a being that can be killed is insulting. The first couple episodes this season established that God COULDN'T kill her - couldn't, not wouldn't. So assuming that a mortal with a knife could take her down is nuts. But wth right?

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So my gaming friends and I were chatting the other night about old school versus new school. It was the same old; we all ranted about kids these days... video games... get off my lawn, that kind of thing.

Somewhere in the middle of it all I went quiet. My one buddy mentioned that the GREAT thing about all these old school systems is that there were a LOT of rules, but not for players. The DM handled everything. Players just rolled some dice and got their little package of class stuff and went along with the plot.

Right there it hit me: I HATED that.

I don't want to get my old school card revoked but I gotta admit that there were tons of games of D&D when I was a kid where I tried different things to make MY fighter different from other ones. I'm not talking "this one carries axes" different but like asking the DM if I could have a mutant power, or a combat tail, or be super-acrobatic or something.

The other thing I always hated about back in the day was that EVERYTHING was on me when DMing. If a player wanted his character to throw a grappling hook and swing out dramatically, there weren't a lot of rules for it and no skills. So... I'd just make up an arbitrary number. It was a ton of "mother may I" situations and I ended up being the biggest "mother" of them all if you catch my drift.

So I have to admit that I LOVE Pathfinder. I loved Marvel Super Heroes back in the day for the same reason: player agency. Sure the villains are left up to the GM but the rules and customizing the PC is ALL you!

Please tell me that there's a way for me to be a little old school, a little new at the same time. Do any of you guys play the same way? Help me out here.

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Yeah, Ollie's crawling slowly toward the character he is in the comics. Very slowly. Like glacially. A sloth in slow motion could've hit that mark by now.

Did I mention its a slow progression?

Still it is nice to see him getting there. I just hope there isn't some brutal consequence that comes along and reminds him what happens when he cares about other people and turns him dark again.

Hammy, the link on Legends of Today suggests there's a serum for faster speed that gets tested on Jay. I'm guessing THAT'S what gives him back his speed. Could that also be the "speed formula" that empowers Jesse? I'd prefer it if it was a recited equation like the comics, but whatever.

Maybe it's AIM?

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I'd also add: play to the players' strengths, not the characters. I mean, consider what the characters are capable of when you're creating encounters but like, if you've got a friend that's really jonesing to mix sci-fi and fantasy maybe throw in a bunch of homunculi that are like little server droids.

When the players are engaged they do a lot of the work for you. For example say you randomly add a detail to a cave they notice: there's blood on the entrance. If one player suddenly remembers a cult attack that left a similar scene and guesses that the cult is back but you hadn't planned anything like this, maybe just run with it. Suddenly the player thinks they've discovered something and feels cool while you have a new direction to take a random scene in.

Finally if you're really shy and introverted, just play the way one of the inventors of D&D did it. Gary Gygax supposedly used to sit away from his players, behind a screen so when he DM'd all his players heard was a voice.

As far as endings, take the advice of the character Chuck Shurley from the show Supernatural. "Endings are hard... there's always gonna be holes, the fans are always gonna bi&#h... no doubt: endings are hard. But then... does anything really end?"

So 4 kobold warrior 1 foes, each with a 10 Int, Wis 9 and Cha 8 are a CR 1 threat. I guess my point just was why in the heck would these 4 knuckleheads EVER just be standing in the open, a party of PCs enter said area, and then they charge attack dealing perhaps 5 damage and then all being killed? That's a CR 1 fight.

4 kobolds are foraging in the dark forest. The PCs are moving through the same woodlands and are moving with practiced stealth. Chances are the PCs are not ALL hitting the same Stealth checks that the kobolds are, so there's a chance that the kobolds hear the PCs first.

Now: you're 4 kobolds; you're out on your own, way off from your maze of deadly traps and such. What possible reason would you have to turn to each other and be like: "Y'know what'd be AWESOME? If the four of us, dressed in primitive armor and wielding stone spears and slings, charged out of the underbrush into the midst of 4 humanoids, 2 of which are clad in tank armor and all of which have better weaponry than us, even the one with the book on its hip!"

I suppose there might be some scenarios where said kobolds think they might be able to take the party or perhaps try to surround a single advanced scout but I think it's more likely that these 4 kobolds would tear back through the woods, at the very least to where they've got that Snapping Branch or Concealed Pit trap set up. If they haven't been seen yet they'd use Stealth to flee; once they're spotted they've got the SAME speed as most PCs and are at the same disadvantages in the woods.

Turin the Mad wrote:
29. Wandering monsters. They wander in from somewhere. Fleshfester Swamp, perhaps?

That's a good one right?

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I don't buy the whole overconfidence thing. Maybe if it's like, a Wyrmling sure but if it's lived a few years you gotta figure it knows EXACTLY how fragile it is. Consider:

A wyrmling black dragon is born into a swamp. Said environment is filled with MANY creatures around a CR 1/3 - 1. Unless these creatures line up in a straight line then that CR 3 monster has PLENTY of threats to it. Yes, the dragon is a bada$$ but after a few scrapes with 2 or 3 bullywugs suddenly it begins to get it - there's some strategy to fighting.

Now if the dragon is even one age category older, a Very Young, it's survived at LEAST 6 years. The word to remember is "survived." Sure, if a dragon was born at Adult level power then it would be an overconfident oaf. If it's fought and clawed and breath weaponed their way to Juvenile it's not going to be like "ok, NOW I can just sit back on my laurels and phone it in!"

No, IMO dragons are smart, cunning and have survived threats for ages. For years they've grown into their power and battled along the way. Add this together and dragons should not just be sitting around yawning as the party approaches.

Lastly, most dragons get the chance to communicate with or dominate certain creatures. Its programmed into their DNA to control other monsters. If a dragon can get some kobolds to defend them suddenly they've got a poky meat-shield that buys them a round to get in the air or whatever.

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The standard kobold in the Beastiary is a warrior 1 which is a CR 1/4 threat. They also automatically get Craft: Traps as a skill as well as Stealth. They get a +2 Perception for their Racial bonus, a +4 Stealth from their size and generally travel in packs. Light Sensitivity as a weakness as well as Darkvision suggests that kobolds generally don't walk about in broad daylight. Couple that with high Stealth and a low tolerance for damage (standard Kobold in the book has 5 HP) and you gotta figure these things generally keep to environments it's easy to hide in.

So if you surprise some kobolds I could see it being a CR 1/2 or even a CR 1/4 fight but if not then:

1. why would they NOT be using their environment to their advantage (Cover, Higher Ground, Difficult Terrain, etc.)
2. why would they not be in close proximity to their traps?
3. why would they fight ANYONE in the open?

I'm talking Tucker's Kobolds here; in their lair all the above makes sense. But like, I was writing a homebrew encounter involving some kobolds trying to steal a mundane book from a mundane library. Why would said kobolds in the library not be moving with extreme stealth, tossing smokesticks, attacking from the tops of the stacks and using ranged attacks to keep foes at bay?

All of the above, using their environment and decent equipment and superior tactics adds to the CR of the fight. So there's my question: why would kobolds EVER be a low-CR encounter?

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Aranna wrote:

The problem with comic book physics is that it depends on plot NOT on actual physics.

A super might struggle to lift a mountain one time then toss a planet with ease next time. It must truly aggravate the type of nerd who loves world building and knowing everything about the DCU or Marvel Universe.

Heh... yeah A-bomb, good thing we're not like THAT right? *grabs security blanket and begins rocking in the fetal position*

WHY did that take so long to get inside my eyeholes?!?

That was AWESOME! All the camp, the gore, and the cheese of the first 2 movies. I had to watch it again to make sure... "it DID happen!"

You think they'll be able to get away with some of the villains from the comics? Also I didn't see The Word anywhere in that trailer. Good to see Gilgun onscreen again. I saw him in Misfits but not anything else.

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Y'know what helped me have a decent session recently? Sort of along the lines of what Aux-ilery said above, but it wasn't mechanics prep. I knew the session was going to be a lot of talking with an NPC, an aberrant 10 year old girl named Little Bertha. To make it memorable I gave her a couple quirks.

Several times before the session I practiced her voice. I'd droop my arm, slack my jaw and speak with a lisp. I also really paid attention to how my daughter and her friends talked. I picked speech patterns and words they or kids younger than them might use.

It worked out pretty well. My players liked it and I felt dialed in. I think that when me and my players are all working WITH each other it's a fun time. Personally I think the thing that helped was practicing the NPC quirks.

So before a session now, if I have some exposition I'm going to do I practice it like I would if I was giving a speech or presentation at work. I try and prep at least one key scene (we only play 3 hour sessions so there's not tons of scenes to choose from) and really get it stuck in my brain so when it comes up I know how to deliver it with confidence.

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