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Mathius's page

1,672 posts (1,765 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 2 aliases.


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birth control?

The problem with going small is that there are not enough high level caster to pull this off. I can not see there being more then 1 guy in a million who can cast 9th level spells. That means that a tippy city has about 10 to 100 (the stack up over time due to immortality) in it.

I just looked at the rules for magic item creation. By formula an item that can make a greater demi-plane once per day only costs 55080 GP. You need a guy with spellcraft of 22 simply take 10.

3 ranks + 4 trained +5 item +5 int +5 feats=22 I guess a 3rd level caster could pull that off. I guess anything larger then village could pull off this trick.

Okay, lets say that 99.9 percent of the world does just this and are never seen again. That .1 percent is still left as the world.

The CL requirement should be able to be skipped. Also traps should require source for the spell such as wand, staff, or charges per day type item.

Those are not very anti tippy but they would cut back on some of the crazier stuff.

That would we a fun encounter but the sale of the artifact prevents is designed to prevent exactly that. They will sell it to whomever and the whomever will destroy the clones and end the contingentiences.

One of my players had a great idea. Each of the NPCs they go up against should have a fractured soul. As long as any of the foes in the encounter survive then the soul of the major NPC will take it over in time. For this to work they minions need to stay withing X range. This means no one will flee until they are the last guy and the PCs can just kill the NPC and move on to the next one.

I do plan to stack the terrain in the the NPCs favor in major ways. The anti evil traps will be there but just as decor since the PCs are all evil. That gets far more evil (pun intended) if I can find a way to make them detect as non evil.

Those two encounter are great! One of my players will go ape about a chance to snag a pit fiend that way. He claims that he is a the god of charlatans and liars, if he walks into a room with a pit fiend by himself an and emerges victorious he will milk that forever.

They will love sorc encounter. The cleric has remover fear preped and will love a chance to use it and the magus has fiendsight. I will need to change darkness to deeper darkness since the entire party has dark vision.

For the sorc are you proposing to use NPC wealth? Think it would make sense to have her well covered with shield other. The way we have always run that spell is to split the damage equally among all who in the loop. For example if the 3 bodyguards each had it active she would take 1/4 damage and they would take like amount.

For the bodyguard, inquisitors would be fun. Great use of teamwork feats. At least 1 of the 3 should make use of the bodyguard feat.

My PC do not like it when I have caster target their water breathing with dispel magic. At one point the had 3 layers of it to prevent being dispelled. The got nervous when I got through 2 of them.

I do not need it until a week from wed. Also reskinning is good.

Thanks for the feed back.

I know that we low balling their power, the problem is this is how my PCs want to end the game and I do not want to draw it out. I am not big into high level play. We all realize that the artifact trade is a Dues ex Machina that puts a thin veneer of plausibility over the whole thing. None of us have and issue with that.

My big problem is with designing 5 NPCs and placing them in 5 interesting encounters. Out game is more about tactical combat then role playing and I would love to give them an epic 5 part combat to end it.

The 24 hour limit serves only to put them under time pressure and prevent them from resting during the climax.

Given that most any high level wizard can bind and hold several of these at the same time, how can you ever really defeat a high level wiz/sorc?

On a different note, would not many of these guys have have plans in place that make binding them a really terrible idea?

Many outsider with low HD have commune and that would mean the big ones should see the binding attempt coming. I would think that pit fiends and the like would keep track of anyone who had needed feats to bind them. Unless you take the feat after you get mind blank then they should know about you.

Also how do run a balanced game with this spell? I can see allowing for 1 bound outsider at a time but with spell you can get a dozen or more with little effort. If you bind something that can bind more for you then the size is limitless.

Can you bind an outsider already bound to someone else?

That campaign sounds like a great time for those who love the highest levels of play. Personally we as group do not, that is why a 13th level party will get to topple house Thrune and start a civil war. I realize that the cannon Cheliax would not be this easy to topple but who cares.

What I really need to do is build the last 5 encounters in a way that will be memorable and fun. The issue I have is creating mid to high level NPCs is difficult and making a sting on encounter that will be fun. I need to avoid going so whole hog that the PCs can not win while still making it take 3 or 4 rounds to finis the encounter.

So what do them thar stars mean any way?


Can you take look at conclusion to my game and give me some ideas?

Sadly we play in 2 hour blocks once week. We can get in about 1 encounter per session and the auction will take one as well. Based on my original plan that would be 6 sessions. That works for our end as we have more then a year into the game.

I like the idea of having many powers to influence and that giving them some sort of benefit in the final encounters.

I was thinking the throne and 4 others since 5 encounters in 1 day can be tough. I was thinking APL+1, APL+1, APL+2, APL+2, and APL+4. They can take them in any order but I want and incentive to take the APL+4 last or near the end. I also want it to be that if even 1 makes it through the day they disturbance will be minor.

For each encounter I want at least 3 bad guys since 1 vs many is seldom satisfying. Since my PCs will want to buff up and run through all 5 in as few rounds as possible I was think having every other NPC know when one is attacked and start casting their own buffs. This means that later encounters will be harder since the bad (well non PC bad) guys will have longer to prepare.

I just wish it was not quite so much work to plan 5 encounters with a CR in the mid teens. If any one wants to take stab at it feel free.

My PCs realize that they have no chance of claiming the Cheliaxian throne. Instead they simply want to topple the powers that be and start a new civil war, preferable a long bloody one. One of the PCs worships the NE horsemen of war.
At this point the PCs are number 2 power in the shackles and they have worked hard to gain Tessa's and the Hurricane King's support.

I realize that if I stick to canon the PCs really could not make topple the country but this is the desired end of the game and we do not wish the game to go that much longer so we are going to do it anyway. They have acquired a major artifact and this a plausible enough reason other power players in Galorian would create the 24 hour period of vulnerability to the leadership of House Thrune.

House Bruhne and Hell itself are good choices for those interested in doing just that with the above outcomes coming to pass. Maybe Geb could take an interest. I do not know who else might have the power do what the PCs want. Any interest god could send a herald.

I do need to find a reason for House Thrune to not know about the loss of the artifact. Maybe hell does not tell them so that they can create a theocracy or maybe the NE horsemen covers for it to help incite a major civil war. The party gnome claims to be a god of charlatans and liars, maybe a really one helps him to cover up the theft.

So we have been playing Skull and Shackles and are now about to engage in book 6. Having looked in book 6 and discussed it with my players we have come to the conclusion that we do not want to play it. That leaves me needing to write the end of the game.

All of my PCs really really hate Cheliax and would love to see the country burn. I modified the end of book 5 to include a an artifact of significant power. The PCs had the idea to auction it off for a shot at House Thrune.

So my outline for the conclusion is
Auction of a major artifact to the high power folks of the world in exchange for 1 day of vulnerability to the most important NPCs of house Thrune. Following that will a 24 hour period where the PCs must travel to the lair 5 NPCs and slay them and their guards.

My PCs are a level 13 party of 5 that is well optimized to work as a team.
I was thing of having the scion be a level 15 devil cleric in demiplane of hell. Each of the other 4 will have a way to get to that plane and back him up and a way to bring him back to life should he fall. This will ensure the PCs take his heirs and advisers first and end with the ruler of Cheliax itself.

I need help designing the auction and the encounters that will be the end of my game. My target for the ruler is a CR 17 (for 5 PCs) and for the other four to be between 14 and 15 each.

My PCs are evil to the point where the forces of good would need to be highly motivated to work with them. The fall of Cheliax may be enough be they would not want my PCs to replace house Thrun.

Mundane ships serve little purpose in a high magic setting.

Teleportation of mounts is more effective then sailing a ship and cheaper to boot.
They also fail to project power since folks with 6+ PC levels will find wiping on out to be trivial. They only deterrent would be other folks with equivalent PC levels.

In a high fantasy setting ships are useful for cargo runs of less then 500 miles, passenger service, trade routes with many local stops (river boats) and as base for exploration.

Had a player that was frustrated by this. I let him take a feat that let his channels go through barriers. He had to know the target was there to make it work though.

Right now I am thinking of using a fighter (mutation warrior) 13/Caviler (gendarme) [order of the cockatrice].

He will start with dazzling display and try and keep his target scared with cornagon smash. On the second round he will challenge 1 of the melee types. From there it is a slugfest.

Any way to get even more benefit from the shaken condition?

Just a general tips.

Do not let the random encounters be random. Roll them ahead of time and stat them out so you do not have to do that during the game. Also try and answer what it is doing there in case the PCs go social or backtrack it.

Instead of random it is simply not related to the main plot. Feel free to skip them if will not be fun.

At these levels it is possible to get lost so you might want to look at those rule. Alternatively, a guide can make a great NPC. They can go traitor, savior, comic relief, or awed audience with ease. I like using a first level expert with skill based feats. Make the guide a wanna be hero that is about 13 years old and you great excuse to have him rush into things the PCs would rather not do.

A guide also points nicely back to the main plot if they get side tracked or just do not know what to do.

They might be able to cover more ground if the all get mounts so they could get things done faster. See also the forced march rules.

Opps forgot to take the name out of where I borrowed the clock from.

That other forum is so very dead that I will get no help over there. Also this is more of NPC creation issue since the sheet needs a total overhaul.

I need an npc sheet that will be a nice challenge for my PCs. This is climatic battle for my PCs and needs to feel very epic. It also needs to be a 1 vs 5 battle.

To help with action economy the BBEG is tied to an artifact that grants the following abilities.

The Wormwood Clock:

Aura: strong conjuration (summoning) CL 20th
Slot: None Weight: 10 lbs.


This macabre brass-and-copper clock depicts worms writhing through whale corpses. The clock makes a heavy reverberating tick each second, and chimes with haunting bells at dawn and dusk. The Wormwood Clock also has another purpose. Within is trapped the soul of Barnabas Harrigan, and as long as it ticks Barnabas Harrigan will never be free of the bargain he made to save his life from his Chelish captors, or even this mortal coil. This clock is an anchor that weighs Harrigan to this world. Unfortunately stopping its infernal ticking is as difficult as freeing the trapped soul within. Each week the clock torments Harrigan's soul, causing the pirate intense physical and spiritual agony, but the Clock can be appeased. As each punishment performed before the clock eases the torment on Harrigan's soul.
As long as the clock ticks Harrigan has the following qualities:

Unstoppable: If Harrigan starts his turn suffering from any or all of the following conditions, he recovers from them at the end of its turn: blind, confused, dazed, deafened, dazzled, exhausted, fatigued, nauseated, sickened, slowed, staggered, and stunned. Each condition lifted does 15 damage.

DR 15/Lawful Evil: Nigh unkillable by most weapons Harrigan's diabolic masters left him with a weakness to the weapons they favor best.

Immunity: ability damage, aging, bleed, disease, energy drain, mind-affecting effects, negative levels, paralysis, permanent wounds, petrification, poison, and polymorph. Instead any effect that would cause any of the above does 5xCL HP.

SR 11+HD: Harrigan is resistant to magic except spells with [lawful] or [evil] descriptors.

If Harrigan is reduced to 0 HP he takes 1 con drain and heals 50 HP. If this ability is triggered he may use it a again as free action to heal additional damage. This effect is similar to breath of life.

I need a pure martial with full WBL that do 100-150 DPR (with self buffs) against an AC 40. I would like him to make good use of shaken condition but frightened kills the fun for a PC. 20 point buy. Feats like iron will include the improved version for free. Reasonable custom items allowed. I am thinking of sword saint samurai order of the cockatrice, maybe with an improved familiar.


Basically the title. I find that many casters use the money that would go into a weapon on rods. If this does not exist then I will endeavor to try and make it.

I go a step farther and make it all sources of income get 1 roll. I also limit the how large a bonus you can get before you need a manager. This way managers are actually needed to run a large business.

An item like this would make stock construction pointless. You still need skill craftsmen for finishing details but...

In my opinion this item needs to be more expensive. When my PCs took over an island the made 6 of them. Combine that with undead with ranks in perform and you get never ending construction.

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A lyre of building should here but there are no rules for it.

It can produce 300 man days of labor every 30 min or 1GP/min of unskilled labor. The guild all would require 44.5 hours of playing to complete. The skill check to keep going should be trivial but you will need magic food and rest to pull it off in 1 session. If you assume the lyre provides skilled labor then the work value is at least 11 times as great. That means your hall is done in 4 hours.

I would allow for a faster but not cheaper guild hall.

Managers never seam to work out well enough to earn their pay.

Also remember that if you choose the run your business action you gain an additional +10 to your roll.

To make managers better I let the take an action for you each day and use their skill mod in the check. This is still not enough to make them profitable but it helps. On top of that I cap the size of each business that a person can at +10 per rank in the relevant skill with an additional 10 for feat related to the skill. Managers allow you go beyond that cap.

Seams reasonable.

Double the HP since you two sections of wall for each square. Each section needs to be targeted separately so it will take 4 hits to break it. AoE damage will all sections so 35 damage from 1 source will pull that off.

I am bring up the white dragon again just to see if anything has been done on that. Also any other projects that you have been working on.

Swarms are very difficult a low level but if the party will think to use burning oil or has access to spells like burn hands they can be dealt with. If the party lack AoO damage I would use catdragons idea. 3 of those with mama would make a good CR 3 encounter.

one thing to note is that a CR 2 encounter is not supposed to be all that challenging to even a 1st level party. A coin flip encounter does not happen until you reach average party level +4.

I recommend adding more monsters instead of beefing up solos. Solos either die fast or are immune to the party and curb stomp them.

Is a bound genie casting wish something that most DMs who play at high levels allow or not?

I just realized that adding 4 or 5 to all stats through wishes is the same as using the advanced template. So a wished out fellow should have his CR increase by 1.

A permanent lessor demi plane to retreat to is good idea.

It can bind a genie and have it use clone on it so that even if they kill him he will come back.


The main reason I bring up my NPC conjurer is that my PCs will want the same latitude with planar binding that I give to my NPC.

I do like the idea that "follow all my orders" is not a task that can be given to bound outsider.

I am thinking about the unwishing an inherent bonus. If it is done by the orginal wish granter in can be done from anywhere with no save. Otherwise it is a short range spell that allows a will save. This way you have good reason to keep the genie that granted you the wish around and happy. Also genie granted wish end if the granting genie dies. That way you can not bind, wish and kill your way into the bonuses.

This is from a DMs perspective but I also have to remember that what is good for the gander is good for the goose.

My PCs are a 11th level and will be facing a NPC party that includes an 11th level conjurer.

What is a reasonable number of called creature for a conjurer to control?
My first thoughts say 2xCL and creatures of the same alignment count as 2/3rds HD.

Is follow my orders a reasonable task?
I lean towards yes.

Should called creatures be able to call more creatures?
I think not. Not sure if gate should be an exception.

How should inherent bonuses be handled?
I single bound genie can upgrade every single ally that conjurer has and then be dismissed. What if they fade after the genie is longer bound? What if a genie can remove the bonus if they can find some one to unwish it. Should the genie need to remain alive to power the bonus? The main reason I bring this up is because my PCs rule a small island. If they can they will upgrade everyone on it.

Any other thoughts?

If I am playing a 10th mutagenic mauler and I select feral mutagen can i take weapon focus (claws). If I do so and then go on to take feral combat training what is my damage die type? Do I add my str to damage (like an US) or 1/2 str (like secondary natural weapon)? Would this allow me to add the claws to brawlers flurry or simply replace attacks?

Is there a way that using natural attacks is better then just using brawlers flurry?

A divine class is ok, I was thinking about brawler but what were you thinking of?

My PCs are about to take on the slanderers in hell harbor. I love the personalities but the sheets are so unoptimized that it is not funny.

My PCs:
All 11th level
tiefling blackblade Kensai magus, standard SG crit build for offense with an AC of 40
Dwarf Martial artist monk with dragon style, AC 30 gets buffed alot and grapples very well
Gnome prankster bard, not very optimized but but buffs the rest of the PCs decently
Teifling cleric, casts mostly also buffs the PCs a fair bit.
Were croc witch, lots and lots of will save or die hear. Some fort thrown in for good measure.

For my NPCs, I want a powerful martial character that uses unarmed strikes and is mostly not monk, a diva buffer bard that uses the fear song alot, and conjurer wizard.

Also what escape and back up planes would you have in place.

I house rule that the save feats get the improved version built into them and that planer binding has a HD limit of 2x your character level. creatures that match you alignment only count as 2/3s their HD for purposes of control.

Note that a single use of BC gets you 2 full ACs of any type all the way through 20. If you go that route you do not need to dedicate your character to your ACs and it will play much better at the table. Having crafter for all the extra items your ACs will need would help.

My I suggest an inquisitor (sacred huntmaster)?

Take the animal domain.

Take hunter (pack master) first and boon companion as needed. The rest is inquisitor with the animal domain.

This really starts to kick in at level 5
You have an AC from class and an AC-3 from domain
If all 3 of your feats are BC that adds 12 more.
At 5th you have 6 druid level split 1/1/1/3 witch ends up 5/5/5/3
At 7th you take BC again and 11 levels to split up. 3/3/3/2=7/7/7/6

As an inquisitor you get free teamwork feats and all your ACs get them as well.

If you are willing to take AC from the beast rider list you can use this feat to add 2 to all of you ACs. At 7th that looks like 1/1/1/5/3=7/7/7/7/5.

If you go this route, give a mount to every PC in the group and let them control it. The pteranodon makes a nice flying mount for any for any ranged characters while several other make good chargers. The steg can works well with a trippers.

If you do not end up with a cleric you will want to consider the warpriest due having a better AC and healing ability. The barb is going to get hit and the DR only helps so much.

Thanks for both of your responses. I really like the idea of running it like the regatta or the party. That makes all the recruiting still important but it can be made up for if the PCs play ship smash in the final battle.

Going to have to read through and find out what would be max points and do a break down but that is far better then just hand waving the whole thing.

I am running SnS and fast approaching the fleet combat sections. I am posting here because this topic has not got much play in the AP threads.

Has any one used these rules before? If so do they work? Are they fun?

How do you explain fleets clashing in engagements that might last as long as any hour when there are mid to high level PCs on board?

My PCs would be far better served simply destroying the ships personally instead of with a fleet.

My monk can easily hole the bottom of boat, climb aboard and kill the crew. No 3rd level warrior is going to stand in his way.

The witch has several spells will simply kill the whole crew.

The cleric can bring in outsiders who go through crew like a hot knife through butter.

Control weather is a thing and i would guess that hurricane would make short work of the fleet as well.

Is there way to make the fleet battle itself mean something more then a backdrop for high level PCs to fight over?

Nice campaign outline.

I guess a big part of good high level game is preparing for it from the word go.

Mechanically how would keep those you interested in scryed on regularly? You need greater scrying and seams that that would cost a pretty penny to use regularly. I guess that commune could tell you the best time to look in on someone.

The other thing I would want to avoid it the mad dash to high level. It seams many APs take place in under 3 months of game time. How did you gain that much power that fast?

I guess this could be my issue then. I have never actually played in a well done high level game. I mostly GM and we start from 1. I can keep that style of play going strong until 10th level. With proper precautions and proper architecture I can at least force the PCs to spend significant resources to bypass encounters. When 6th level spells come on line the amount work required to make the prep dungeon is no longer worth the amount of time at the table they will take up.

I have mastered the fine art of low level play and am having trouble adapting to the needed mindset of high level play.

Tim is correct about the tactics errors that I have made when attempting a world threatening plot line. To be fair I think most mods do this as well.

I might even be able to come up with a group that does something the PCs do not like and this leads to an interesting set PC prep and then an encounter or 2. At lower levels this same thing takes many more encounters and we call that an arc. I am not sure how to turn a sequence or BBEGs into an arc or campaign.

Will look at the suggested mod.

That makes sense.

I wish there was system to simulate 2 groups using divination on each other. At 17th level, if a caster does not want to fight then it is unlikely that you can force him to do so. A good way to make the BBEG want to fight is the ruination of his plans if he does not defend them.

You can always go into the BBEG's base but that is often a really bad idea. At this level I am going to be in a demiplane so filled with traps and minions that even a 20th level party will simply die. of coarse the PCs likely have similar fall back meaning that they can only engage each other in the world somewhere.

Still how do write a campaign with those assumptions that is actually fun.

I can write an encounter string that is fun even at these levels but I am not sure how to turn 1-3 good encounters into a campaign.

And I know to never ever have have the BBEG be alone.

I have seen many threads out there with advice on high level games that mention that at this level it is not about what you can kill but how you can change the world.

I know from experience that a dungeon does not work at high levels. The PCs have to many ways to simply jump to the BBEG. Is there a way to fix this? Is an example published anywhere?

The rules of the game are primarily about combat. What kind of combats are actually fun at high levels? What expectations does the GM need to bring to the table? What expectations do the PCs?

What kind of story is worth telling when 9th level spells are the norm?
BBEG threatens the entire world: PCs use divination find him and kill him. This is boring. What kind of campaign actually requires the PCs to go through it instead of simply around it. At this level if the the encounter or arc is not mandatory then the PCs will find bypass it. This means the attritional nature of low level games does not really work.
Is there a published adventure that deals well with this. I am mainly asking because I have run several APs now and for some reason I still find big dungeons in books 5 and 6. Whole swaths of them are wasted, the PCs have goal and exploring every room actually makes that harder.

This assumes some rationally house rules that prevent infinite wealth and limit beings under your control to the point where the PCs are still the most important things on the board and can not simply point and army Solars at it.

I ask all of this because my players would like to play with the high level tool box but it is to easy for them to simply stomp the plot and go home. If instead the build then can easily build the best X anywhere in the setting.

Azers work as race. Enslave some of them.

If tiny is your standard size then I would treat all sizes as 2 larger for game rule purposes.

How long do the intend to take at the job. If they have a week and magic then they should be able to do it with no check at all. If they need to get it done in just a few hours I would break out the knowledge checks to speed things along.

Have they already dealt with the inhabitants of it?
Do they mind if the villagers see them at work?
How long do they have?

My PCs ended up rounding up the whole village and forcing them to relocate. They leveled the whole place to make sure they would not come back.

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