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Serpent God Statue

Matthew Downie's page

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As GM, I never found much of use in NPC backgrounds. Sure, they could potentially add extra depth, but they always seem to leave out the stuff that is directly useful - the things the PCs would actually notice.

How does the NPC talk? What does he like to talk about? What does he want? What intriguing mysteries does he hint at but not want to fully reveal? What could the PCs say to him that would make him change his mind? What does he do for fun in his spare time? Why should the players like him? Why would the players even remember him at all?

I want dialogue suggestions and conversation starters. I don't want to have to rely on my players to say, "I want to have a personal conversation with Koya and find out about her hopes and dreams and hope that something interesting comes out of it."


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GMing Jade Regent, I tried to keep NPCs following the PCs around and adventuring with them to a minimum - the more I used them, the more time I spent either battling against myself or talking to myself.


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I'm still not convinced that wolves aren't useless.


Tremorsense appears to work (on creatures touching contact with the ground) like blindsense, not like blindsight. So you know what square they're in but nothing more detailed than that, which isn't enough to overcome mirror image. See Eidolon tremorsense ability.


No - in round 2 he was using a standard action to interact with the pearl of power, not to cast magic missile. So that was only 14 damage. (Using a bonded item at this point might help. Or having at least one ally who was capable of contributing.)


That's a very cynical attitude to take towards crazed genocidal maniac terrorists. Whatever happened to trust? Anyway, did I mention that these particular crazed terrorists are robots programmed to only ever be able to tell the truth?


I inquired about this before.
Basically I got told by the authorities that it was three times each, without any rules citation.


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The readied actions rules are built around events that occur at specific times in the initiative order. Blinking does not have a defined initiative count.

And, as above, there's no guarantee the target won't blink out immediately after appearing so it still wouldn't eliminate the miss chance.


"We terrorists have a nuclear bomb and will use it to destroy a major city, killing millions, unless you, the president, murder a baby on live television in the next hour, which will also humiliate your nation and satisfy our bloodlust!"

There's broadly two kinds of morality - do the greatest good for the greatest number (save millions of lives by killing the baby) or following strict principles (never murder an innocent).
Lawful Good tends to mean the 'principled' style of morality.

But honestly, if the paladin is trying to do the right thing rather than acting selfishly, they shouldn't fall.


The group needs a decision-making process. The GM needs to facilitate that process.

For example, force them to elect a party leader (something that was common in early D&D). The leader is the one who is responsible for making that kind of decision. If they are unhappy with the leader, encourage them to elect a new one.

Also, try to avoid giving them decisions with nothing much between them.
"Do you want to fight ogres or undead? Of course, you have no way of knowing which is more dangerous or more rewarding and you'll probably wind up doing both anyway."
More meaningful choices:
"Do you want a quest that pays lots of money but which will make you unpopular, or do you want to rescue some kidnapped peasant children?"
"Do you want to do a quest for the favor of the priestess, or to serve the king?"
"Do you want to fight the dangerous drow, or the less dangerous goblin tribe?"


(1) Ban all spells and metamagics that aren't in the core rulebook.
(2) Ban anything in the core rulebook that looks abusable (Simulacrum, etc.)
(3) Make a rule that for every two levels you take in a full-caster class, you have to take one level in another class.


Do you mean 'trust the GM not to fudge dice rolls behind a screen'?


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Bad DMPCs are when the GM cares about their PC too much - they want to win, save the day, hog the glory. This is a distraction from the main duties of the GM (providing a fun challenging adventure for the players) and a conflict of interest.
Nothing in any of the APs that I have seen encourages this type of DMPC.


Dimon Scion wrote:
Imagine hunting in a forest at night, approaching your prey. You get close enough to hear it mumbling some giberish, see it point its finger at you, and suddenly it sends flashes of light out from nowhere that hurt you when they touch you and you are incapable of evading. If I were you, I'd start running like hell personally.

A real-world wolf wouldn't attack four guys with weapons and armor in the first place.

Magic missile has its place, but if you're using it as a standard tactic you're basically turning a caster into a martial character with inferior damage output, AC and HP.


I would always have assumed that this tactic would work. (Another situation where this would come in handy: an enemy cleric has cast a darkness spell that the party cannot dispel or see through in a 50 foot by 50 foot room. The cleric is channelling negative energy every round. What are the party's options?)
Also, just because you can let someone through your square doesn't mean they wouldn't notice you as they were passing through. If you were walking down a narrow corridor in pitch darkness, do you think you'd be able to tell if you passed another human being who was trying to hide from you?

But if you want an excuse to ban it: if you can run through six squares as a move action and automatically connect with any enemies on the way, then that would be a really convenient way to deliver touch attacks.


The Crusader wrote:
How many Paladins are Fey Foundlings?

If I'm GMing? I would allow one fey foundling. Then no others until we'd worked through all the other possible optimized characters, which would probably never happen. I'd be more generous with less specific character abilities like Travel Domain. Orc/draconic cross-blooded sorcerer, I probably wouldn't allow even once.

If every other group in the world has a Fey Foundling paladin, that doesn't affect me in the slightest. An original character doesn't have to be the first of its kind in the world, it just has to be novel within our world.

(In my fairly limited experience, there is no particular correlation between optimizing and role-playing in either direction.)


Yes, but as has been demonstrated, characters with the same stat array can be incredibly varied.


GreyWolfLord wrote:
Although I think I might be able to dominate your group...I don't think I'd ever want to play in it.

I have no idea what you mean by that. Why do you think you might be able to dominate this group based on this limited information? Dominate it physically, magically, verbally...?


It's a Ranger 3 spell and can therefore be made into a potion. By casting Alchemical Allocation you can re-use a potion.


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MattR1986 wrote:
Really, how many ways can you hash out a story of why your orc barbarian has an 18 str and 5 charisma?

I don't think many optimizers are likely to repeatedly play the same character class, race and stats.

But here are some barbarians with high strength and low charisma:

Julbo is an orc, kicked out of his village as a child for being too meek. He was raised by a pair of kindly halflings who taught him to be incredibly polite so that people will realize he's not like other orcs. He's very shy, and reluctant to ask anyone to do anything they might not want to do. In battle, his suppressed rage takes over, and he becomes a whirlwind of death.

Hellgha was a nice middle-class girl who saw her family murdered in front of her. She escaped, physically unharmed, and learned to survive alone in the wilderness. She calls herself Princess Hellgha of the Deathskull clan, a tribe she entirely invented. She deliberately scars herself to make herself less attractive. She is obnoxious to everyone because she doesn't want to form any close bonds, to lessen the pain when her companions die.

Simoon is a human, treated as a village idiot for most of his life until his incredible strength became apparent. He's a simpleton who always blurts out whatever is in his mind without concern for the consequences.


MattR1986 wrote:
Ineffective and effective is all relative. A challenge is a challenge whether its a +500000 melee vs a 500000 ac or its a 0 melee vs a 10 ac. The fault lies in DMs not adjusting their encounters to fit players and forcing them to have to go into these mechanical boxes to survive.

In order for the strength 10 Barbarian to be viable character the player must first persuade all the other players to be equally suboptimal - otherwise his character will be relatively worthless to the party and the GM will be unable to adjust encounters to fit both styles of play at once. Then the GM has the chore of going through the adventure path he's running and make every encounter easier to avoid constant TPKs.

(Of course, much the same can be true for very highly optimized characters...)


Touc wrote:
While some skills are math (a knowledge check), others have a social game aspect that should be played. Unless purely mechanical, players should have to describe what they're doing, and if it's unclear if it'll automatically succeed, we can apply a skill check.

One modification I've read about (but haven't tried) is that you can describe what you're doing (or say what the character would be saying) instead of rolling a d20, and the GM decides how well you did and assigns you a number from 1 to 20 based on that.


Karl Hammarhand wrote:
Roleplaying should be collaborative storytelling. Anything that gets in the way of that is not better.

I suggest playing one of the many collaborative storytelling games. These games (usually) eliminate dice, the GM, character stats, and the goal of 'winning', replacing them with imagination and creativity.

Wil Wheaton playing Fiasco.


The counterpoint to which is, any time you're thinking about optimizing, you're not thinking about role-playing. So to make an optimized character who is also an interesting personality takes more time and effort than doing just one alone.

Of course, most role-playing and character development happens after character creation (when you spend the most time optimizing), so it's not impossible to make a character while focused entirely on optimization and then develop a personality during play.

(I am currently playing a game where we make characters by rolling 3d6 in order for each stat. It is very hard to optimize. Anyone think this will improve the quality of role-play?)


If white light from the sun hits a solid red object and bounces off, you see the color as the photons of red light hit your eye. If a red laser is fired directly at your face, you will also see a red light. (Others will see it too but will not be blinded by it.) The Color Spray sounds more like the latter than the former. If you're not emitting light, what are you emitting?

Incidentally I don't think the lack of a 'light' descriptor says anything about whether it emits light or works in the dark. I'm pretty sure a fireball emits light; it just doesn't do it for very long.


Remember, there is not one standard (or even 'uncommon') race option for PCs that is outside the small-medium range. The sample large races have well above average build points.
The ARG just provides rules for how to make large PCs if the GM decides to run a 'monstrous' campaign.


Because Pathfinder has squeezing rules that allow large PCs to go through doors?


To answer the original question (rather than exploring the word 'intended'): switch-hitting fighters and rangers can use archery to do full attacks at range, and quickdraw a melee weapon for adjacent foes. This allows them to do full attacks every round too.


It says it creates colors. Colors are lights.


You're probably right. Though it's a bit confusing because it says "A figment spell creates a false sensation" which makes it sound like a hallucination.


Phantasms and figments aren't real; they're entirely in your mind.
Glamers and patterns are more like holograms; tricks of the light (though patterns have a mind-affecting component too) that can be seen by entities immune to mind-affecting effects. More advanced glamers can also produce smells, etc.
This is my understanding from reading the Illusion rules.


It makes light that screws with people's heads.
It's possible I'm using too much physics here for something made of magic, but there are three types of things you can see: emitted light, reflected light, and imaginary things. It's not imaginary because it's not a phantasm. If you can see a table, that's reflected light. A Color Spray is not a physical object so reflected light is not relevant here. Emitted light is what comes from a monitor screen, light bulb, or the sun. Since you can see a Color Spray and it's not a solid object or imaginary, it is emitted light.


No, because a sleeping person has had their eyes closed the whole time and cannot be affected by colored lights.

I think Color Spray is like a laser beam that affects your mind if you're caught directly in its cone. If you're outside the cone, you can see the reflected light emitted but it won't be strong enough to affect your mind.

I would interpret 'sightless' to mean creatures who wouldn't be able to see light using normal sight. For example, a Gelatinous Cube isn't blind by the game definition of 'Blinded' because it has blindsight (ie radar sense). However, it is sightless, because it has no eyes.


RAW says:
"Damage to your Dexterity score causes you to take penalties on Dexterity-based skill checks, ranged attack rolls, initiative checks, and Reflex saving throws. The penalty also applies to your Armor Class, your Combat Maneuver Bonus (if you are Tiny or smaller), and to your Combat Maneuver Defense."

It doesn't say 'everything affected by the modifer'. So taking RAW literally, dex damage does not affect AoOs from Combat Reflexes.


DM Under The Bridge wrote:
On fighters and heavy armour (sorry, can't get into every point, bit short on time atm), good luck moving around a treacherous and challenging environment like a dungeon, ruin, spire, cliff or volcano in all that armour. I am sure you won't fail any physical checks on those massive armour penalties and slip and fall to your character's death.

That's only true at low levels. At mid to high levels you have fly spells from allies, mithral, armor training, enough hit points to survive a hundred foot fall...


NobodysHome wrote:
SKILLS: It never hurts to have redundant skills. Diplomacy? Perception? Disable Device? Acrobatics? All are fine even when multiple people have them.

You're playing in a very large group. In a more traditional four-PC group, covering all the important skill bases is very difficult, and much worse if there's significant overlap. "Anyone have Knowledge: Local?" "No." "No." "Nope." "No."


Do you mean you don't want to play online, or you don't want to find a group by looking online?


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Orfamay Quest wrote:
The most iconic rogue of all, Bilbo Baggins, didn't expect more than his fair share of treasure and in fact accepted far less of it.

He had the One True Ring of Power, the most powerful artefact in the entire world AND a magic sword AND mithril armor. He was WAY over WBL.


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In designing a character you owe the other players the following:

(1) Make a character who wants to do whatever the party are going to be doing. If the party are a pirate crew, don't play someone who'd refuse to be a pirate.
(2) Make a character who the other PCs would willingly travel with. Not too annoying, and not so useless they'll get the rest of the party killed.

Surely that's the bare minimum the other players can expect if they're letting you play with them?


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The rogue concept itself (not just the class) doesn't work very well in Pathfinder as it is most commonly played.
Pathfinder design priorities seem to be:
- Everyone is good at multiple things and no class is essential.
(This means rogues can't have monopoly on anything vital. Either multiple classes can handle traps, or handling traps must be non-essential. Same goes for stealth and other traditional rogue strengths.)
- This is a team game. Never split the group. (This means that solo tasks like scouting and disarming are dangerous / brief / rare.)
- Do not exceed Wealth By Level. (So if you want to break into the house of the richest guy in town and steal his stuff, the average GM is going to say No.)
- There are lots of big weird monsters to fight. (Which means that if rogues are to be specialists in Disarm and Trip there's going to be lots of situations where they're weak.)
- Combat takes up most of the rules and often most of the game time. (Since rogues are defined as 'better out of combat than fighters' they must also be 'worse in combat than fighters'.)
- Magic can do anything. (If you have the right spell, skills can be boosted by +20 - like invisibility for stealth - or made irrelevant - Fly beats Climb - so being the best at skills is of limited scope by the time you reach higher levels.)


It doesn't apply to touch AC except against incorporeal touch attacks. Same applies to the Shield spell.


Paizo has given us shuriken Ninja, a ranged roguish attacker that works just fine.


Book 2 of Carrion Crown uses (flesh) golems as a theme.


A sensible approach might be to walk around in your cuirass but if you know you are approaching danger, stop and take if off, then cast Mage Armor. Then you have your full AC and no spell fail chance for the next few hours.


Small character, Dex of 18 & Dodge feat? It could certainly be done...


Zhayne wrote:
if the soul is in hell, doesn't that by definition mean it's not innocent?

There are quite a few creatures in the Golarion who seem to be able to steal people's souls and sell them to evil outsiders - Night Hags and so forth. I wouldn't count on the afterlife being particularly just.

The subject of evil healing reminds me of the ethical paradox where there are four patients in a hospital, all dying because they need organ transplants and there aren't enough donors. Is it OK for their doctor to murder a hobo and harvest his organs in order to save four lives?


Ravingdork wrote:
Since she had only made one attack, she used her move action to stand up which got her punched in the face.

Sounds like a tactical error. A level 10 fighter should still be able to hit a level 4 monk with the -4 penalty for fighting from prone.


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Infernal Healing transfers the injuries to an innocent soul trapped in hell. Every time you use it, it weakens the barriers protecting the world from a demonic invasion. Also, a kitten dies.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
I know that the improvised weapon rules say they are for objects not designed to be weapons, but the blunt end of my longspear was not designed to be a weapon, right?

This is, in fact, the question asked in the OP. : )

Please hit FAQ.

I know. I was quoting you out of context because I was puzzled as to why you are arguing so passionately against being allowed a longspear as an improvised weapon at close range when it was your idea in the first place. Are you just trying to argue on the less popular side so the thread keeps going and you get more FAQs?

I won't hit FAQ myself because the question is too trivial. In a home game, house-rule it. In a PFS game, wear a glove-weapon to keep things simple for the GM. It's not something that comes up all the time like a Paladin trying to use Detect Evil as a move action.


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(1) There is no need for a Fighter BBEG. Other classes could fill the same role.
(2) There is no difficulty in making a Fighter BBEG. I can give him whatever stats, level and equipment I want. I can make him strong enough to kill a PC every time he does a full-round attack. I can have him followed around by invisible casters who buff and heal him as he fights and who magically move him into position to make full attacks. I can give him a pet kraken or an army of gelatinous cubes. I can give him a defensive position surrounded by complicated traps. Will he still lose? Probably. He's a bad guy. They usually do.

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