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Serpent God Statue

Matthew Downie's page

2,056 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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I wish people would be clearer about what they're trying to debunk. There's a lot of things being suggested by the video, some of it true, some of it debatable:
Lars can literally fire at twice the rate any other archer in the world can manage.
Some / many ancient archers used a technique similar to this.
This technique was used effectively on the battlefield, not just for display purposes.
These arrows are fired with enough force to penetrate light/medium armor.
Lars has enough accuracy to shoot arrows out of the air.
Lars has enough accuracy and power to shoot arrows out of the air even when they're fired with full force by a competent archer.
Quivers of arrows weren't used in real battles.
Something something Hollywood something.

Not all battles are the same. If you're firing at French knights mired in mud, you have a couple of minutes to shoot at them before they get to you. In this situation, you only need so much rate of fire because if you're firing every two seconds you'll run out of arrows in no time. What you need is good range, and good penetration because they're going to be in high quality armor. (If rate-of-fire was everything, no-one would ever have bothered with crossbows.)
If you're fighting mongol hordes or peasant spearmen, the situation will be different. Or you might be in a siege, or fending off lions, or trying to defeat a single guy with a sword ten feet away, or in an archery contest firing at a non-moving target.

His technique is impressive, and would be useful in some of those situations, and not so useful in others.

Raziel Hethune wrote:
A person standing right next to you in thick smoke can still see you, its just harder.

That's concealment - 20% miss chance. Total concealment is when there's so much smoke between you that you can't see them at all.

I treat all forms of "can't be seen" the same - blindness, invisibility, impenetrable darkness, etc.

Yeah, if you're willing to make the Crown less of a desolate wasteland, you might be able to pull it off. (And if it doesn't work out, you can always drop the caravan rules half way through and just have the party fight regular encounters, as many other GMs have done.)

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Having played in games where the party is willing to spend whatever it takes to have enough wands of cure light wounds to always get back to full health after a battle without expending valuable daily resources, I don't think an unlimited healing item would make all that much difference. It's the same as that, only with more up-front cost and less expenditure over the long run.

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It might work, but there will be quite a lot of issues to resolve.
Are you saying the caravan battle will end as soon as the leader is defeated?

This was one of the original complaints about caravan balance:

"Our first random encounter was with a polar pudding, a CR 7 caravan encounter. The pudding has AC 20, HP 85, Attack +13 and does a whopping 6d8+3 points of damage with each attack. Our caravan has a 55% chance to hit the pudding, and assuming average damage, does 11 damage a round (15 on the first round due to First Strike). By contrast, the pudding has a 90% chance of hitting the caravan, doing an average of 30 points of damage a round. Worse, if the pudding hits the caravan, it has to make a DC 22 Security check (our caravan has a 45% chance of success) or become mired, taking a -2 penalty to AC and attack rolls and becoming unable to move (i.e., flee the encounter)."

Now, this could easily become hundreds of points of damage if the PCs don't manage a swift victory, and there won't be much the players can do to prepare for it, repair any damage done, or replace slain NPCs. (Wounded NPCs could probably be fixed up by Koya so won't have much gameplay impact.) And an attack by a pudding is hard to translate into a 'PCs fight boss, caravan fights minions' encounter, and doesn't have much prospect of loot, prisoners, or gaining reputation (since there won't be any witnesses in the frozen north). I suspect the majority of the caravan battles are like that.

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Grokk_Bloodfist wrote:
You don't get to that level without some basic defences in place.

I can see a crafter thinking that being a Clone is a sufficient form of protection. Not everyone is as paranoid as the average PC who expects to be attacked by powerful enemies every day and win.

Relevant to the 'chances of passing a DC 23 Fortitude save' discussion: since an Investigator could use Inspiration, the chance of failure is probably 15-20% lower.

But a Con of 16 (via a magic belt), Toughness feat, or similar might bring that into the 'not quite dead' category. Starting from a Con of 12 makes it a lot harder.

The longer you intend to play the character, the more important Con is likely to be, because Investigator Fortitude saves go up slowly.

For example, a CR 13 Banshee can force all creatures within 40 feet to make a DC 23 Fortitude save. Those that fail take 140 points of damage.
A level 13 Investigator gets +4 base Fortitude save. With a Con of 12 and a +5 Cloak of Resistance you'd need a 13 to pass the save. If you fail (60% likely), you're going to drop to around -40HP instantly.

Buri Reborn wrote:
+1 AC to avoid ~50+ damage sounds more worth it to me.

Well, that's a 5% chance it will allow you to avoid a hypothetical 50 point damage attack. Which on average reduces the damage you take from that attack by 2.5HP. Which is less than the extra hit points you gain from the Con by level 3. Which is way sooner than you start fighting enemies who can do 50 points of damage in one attack.

In conclusion: which one will serve you better largely comes down to luck.

I tend to favor Con. Failed Fortitude saves are nasty.

There's lots of good advice on the internet for subjects such as overcoming stage fright - if they work for performing in front of crowds of strangers, they should be good enough for hanging out with your friends.
I've found the Anxiety Trick approach quite effective but I don't know if that's the right one for you.

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A Medium-Sized Animated Object wrote:
Fighter characters should be the best at fighting. If rogues fight as well as (or better than) fighters while still having access to a variety of skills and abilities, why would you play a fighter? (The popular answer is "to tank," but I don't think most people enjoy standing around getting punched so someone else can play D&D), and if the only condition for putting out the damage you want them to put out is "playing smart and knowing what you're doing," they will almost always be _just_ _better_ than a fighter, and then we'll be having this same conversation about the fighter class.

We do have much the same conversation about the Fighter class. Fighters are the worst at non-combat abilities. They lack skill points, special abilities, magic, etc. This is not balanced out by them being the best in combat.

And getting sneak attack damage as a rogue isn't something you can do reliably just by playing smart. Whatever you're doing depends on your opponent being flankable, vulnerable to feinting, etc.

I find characters like Han Solo with normal human motivations who are hesitant to put their lives on the line for some grand cause more relatable than, say, the blandly heroic Jedi from Phantom Menace.

But my advice for gamers would be to work out what the deal is for the campaign in advance. Is the campaign about saving the world, about defeating an evil tyrant, about building a kingdom, about exploring the land and killing monsters? Once you know, you can make a character who's interested enough in that theme that they'll have a motivation to stick with the story.

thejeff wrote:

Yeah, but the traditional career merc isn't shooting up the pay scale in the same way a PF character is.

It's not to long from I'll be able to "retire and live in a cabin and fish all day" to "I'll be able to buy a private tropical island."

If you want to play a money-oriented character it's not that hard to find excuses to keep playing them. As they get richer, their ambitions can grow. "I should be living like a king! I should actually be a king!" Meanwhile, your wealth is all tied up in the items that keep you alive so you never actually find yourself with 100,000gp in cash. Or if you do, hopefully by that time the campaign has provided you with some kind of motivation that makes it hard for you to just stop, like Han Solo joining the rebellion.

Dedicated monster hunter is a valid option for a character, but I wouldn't want to play in a group where that was used all the time. You need alternative options.

As a concept it might benefit from some more nuance. Would this character be willing to participate in an adventure with little apparent prospect of monsters? To go on a diplomatic mission, or investigate the cause of a mysterious plague, or to find evidence of an accused man's innocence?

Kamala is pretty popular, so case you can expect her to keep going as long as that's the case.
The 'classic' male Thor is bound to be rebooted sooner or later - you just have to hope it doesn't happen prematurely.

The problems of long-running comic book characters are pretty much inevitable. Ms Marvel was an example of a character that could attract new people to comics, but already there's enough issues and ongoing story to make new readers reluctant to try to get on board at this point, compared to (for example) buying Issue 1 of Squirrel Girl instead. As time goes by, Ms Marvel's continuity will get more complicated and then what? Will it desperately try to cling onto the readers it has rather than attempt the virtually hopeless task of finding new ones? Will it reboot itself and make everything that's happened so far irrelevant? Will it just end? Best case scenario for her is if she manages to branch out of comics and into a movie or TV show. If that happens, this new version of her will become the one most people expect to see, and the comic will probably keep her like that from then on, which reduces their ability to tell developing story-lines...

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A traditional party has a Cleric who, by level 5, will have access to Remove Curse, Remove Disease, and all the other status removal spells they're likely to need to survive failed saving throws.

By having only 3 PCs, and no full casters, they are at a disadvantage compared to what normal adventures expect. It's perfectly reasonable to go easy on them under those circumstances.

If you look at any Paizo adventure path, you'll find the motivations are built in from the start, usually connected to campaign traits. Maybe you're saving your home city. Maybe you're helping your childhood friend travel to the other side of the world and free a kingdom. Maybe you've made an enemy of a cult of necromancers.

These situations allow a variety of more grounded 'Bilbo'-type characters to keep on adventuring until the story is done, even though they'd rather be living a life that doesn't involve them getting stabbed on a daily basis.

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Insain Dragoon wrote:
Ok, your character comes across 10,000 gold. This is enough for you to buy a house in a decent city or town and live a year or two unemployed. Why is it that you instead plan to go and upgrade your great sword and armor to +2?

If taking a couple of years off ever seems like a good idea, it may be a sign that the campaign, not the character, is lacking.

Although if you were warned in advance that this was going to be a sandbox campaign with no urgent problems to solve, then you could bear that in mind during character creation and make a character who is driven to hunt down evil, fight for the sake of fighting, map the world, or similar.

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Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:

If you don't want me using or altering it, don't make backgrounds.

The character is yours and yours alone (given that it fits the game), the rest of the world is mine.

If the character is mine alone, and the background is part of that character, why are you allowed to alter it against my will?

Sauce987654321 wrote:
I disagree, mainly because any sort of damage reduction can pretty much shut down the entire encounter, even as low as 5. Just about any class can gain access to damage reduction through spells, class abilities (like a barbarian), or feats such as stalwart.

But that doesn't mean all level 16 characters will have DR 5+ active at all times. In my last two campaigns, none of the PCs had regular damage resistance at level 15.

568 goblins is trivial if you're prepared for it. It's potentially deadly if you're not. Same as most CR=APL encounters. The only difference is that a 568 goblin encounter is ridiculously cumbersome to actually play out at the table.

I stopped trying to follow superhero continuity a while back. I think it was around the time Professor X died in the Avengers versus X-Men event, and I thought, "Wait, didn't he die in the Messiah Complex event? When did he come back to life?"

And DC rebooted their entire universe, which made me lose interest there.

There's a limit to how long any one person can stay invested in something that tries to produce a thousand pages of drama events every month. It doesn't mean they've got worse overall - just that eventually any one reader starts to notice the patterns and gets bored.

They're still plenty profitable - Marvel's cinematic universe, DC's TV superhero universe - both of which mostly use source material that would be familiar to readers from thirty years ago or more.

I dunno - 568 goblins might be as much of a challenge as any CR 16 enemy to a level 16 group. Give them all, say, light crossbows. Even if they can only hit on a natural 20, that's about 128 damage per round. Surprisingly close to what a CR 16 monster might do with a full attack.
Like most threats, they can be largely crippled within a round or two by any level 16 casters who know what they're doing.

thejeff wrote:
You're still assuming that Peter Parker needs new life breathed into him. Peter's doing just fine. You might not like him, but he's quite popular. Why are you so insistent that any fix to sales problems with other characters involve major changes to Peter Parker?

Peter gets rebooted / refreshed / resurrected constantly. Let's see - in recent times he's had his mind erased completely and overwritten by Dr Octopus. Before that, he had his past rewritten and his marriage erased by making a deal with a demon. Before that, he revealed his secret identity to the world and was given a new high-tech spider suit by Iron Man. Before that, I seem to remember something about him turning into a spider-monster and dying and being reborn? And before that he was a clone of himself. And before that he was attached to the Venom symbiote.

That's how comics stop characters going stale. Yes, some of the character events are pretty silly, but it means when they return to a the status quo (usually with a new variation, such as him having a job as a scientist instead of a photographer, getting a new girlfriend, or whatever) and enough time has passed that it seems interesting to have him fighting regular super-villains again.

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Ashiel wrote:
I might just be an elitist jerk, but it seems to me like the majority of this thread is "Monsters that have odd attacks, resistances, or otherwise require you to change from the 'I whack it with my sword/spell' default" or "I need to actually defend myself against attacks, this monster is unfair".

Well, sometimes it means "my overly focused martial character is rendered completely useless", or "I need to defend myself against its attacks by not being surprised by it, by passing a hard saving throw, or something else which is largely out of my control".

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Ashiel wrote:
stormcrow27 wrote:

Definitely this guy.

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!
He doesn't seem that bad.

Well obviously, any competent adventuring party can beat a Cthulhu, due to superior action economy. It's when you're facing a group of four or five Cthulhus who work as a team that you have to watch out.

Irontruth wrote:
I no longer see it as my responsibility to "hook" the players.

I see that as my primary responsibility. Everything else is bookkeeping.

Waiting until level 5 to 7 is probably OK - failed Will saves at low levels are less likely to be deadly. (Although a killer GM could easily send you against a wizard with Color Spray and coup de grace you while you're unconscious.)

It depends to some extent on the rest of the party. High-Will-save spellcasters can often rescue you from the consequences of a failed save - although they may resent having to do so.

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Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
I don't like it when GMs use elements of my backstories as adventure hooks. I'd like my characters to actually be able to have family without worrying about them being used as hostages or killed.

It surprises me to see 'family used as hostage' put in the same category as 'family murdered while you were away'. I've done so in the past (once, and the family members weren't really in much danger) without considering whether the players would mind.

Trying to motivate the variously-aligned PCs to actually want to do the next thing in the story is difficult for GMs. Rescuing someone your character cares about is more interesting than rescuing generic NPC 17.

Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
That's a situation where the cop should not be allowed to have any involvement in investigating the case or pursing the perpetrator under threat of suspension or termination from the force, not a situation where the cop should go after the guys who did it.

PCs are not police.

In real life, pretty much every type of situation the PCs deal with should be handled by a large force of well-trained professionals. These guys should receive regular pay, and not loot the bodies of the people they kill. They should follow strict laws to protect the innocent and not let it get personal.

RPG characters tend to live in worlds where no such force exists. Maybe the police are hopelessly corrupt. Maybe they're not strong enough to deal with an evil necromancer. Maybe they're too stupid to recognize that the king is a vampire. Or maybe you're operating beyond civilization, in a place where no government exists.

The PCs aren't the ideal people for the job - they're the only people available. The PCs aren't doing it because it's their job. They're doing it for personal reasons.

It would be better in real-life terms if someone other than Luke Skywalker could avenge the death of Obi-Wan, rescue Han Solo, and so on. But within the fiction, he's the only one who can. And because it's more personal, it's more interesting.

It's a (finessable) martial two-handed weapon for elves.

nosig wrote:

DC to identify a Skeleton would be ... 5+CR at my table. and Knowledge checks for DCs below 11 are possible untrained.

So... INT 7 fighter to ID a Skeleton would be something like DC 5 or 6, so he needs to roll a 7 or 8. He still will miss it 30-35% of the time (say 1/3), but then there are other PCs at the table who could easily point out the problem.

IDing a skeleton lets you know that the skeleton is a skeleton (which sounds easy but telling a skeleton from a skeleton champion isn't always going to be obvious). You'd need to make DC 11 to know one useful bit of information about a skeleton - which hopefully the GM would allow to be the DR.

selunatic2397 wrote:
Does not DR1/- mean you can pretty much ignore mosquitos/ticks/bed bugs and the like?

A Tick Swarm does 4d6 damage per attack, so apparently not.

This is also RAW:
"You know how to use the tools of your trade, how to perform the profession’s daily tasks, how to supervise helpers, and how to handle common problems. You can also answer questions about your Profession."

Melkiador wrote:
And since you will almost always have someone in your party that needs a light source anyway, the low-light vision will probably see more use.

Though if the entire party has darkvision, darkness (magical or otherwise) suddenly becomes a really powerful weapon.

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A Medium-Sized Animated Object wrote:
Yea, your damage output is going to be weak sauce. You're a rogue. Deal with it. You can use your mobility to stay out of trouble and harry soft, high value targets while contributing slightly to damage output. Combat isn't your job.

Every other class seems to be able to handle combat...

Up to you. It may be that what Yugureda is trying to do is impossible without deity-level magic.
You could just have Yugureda better prepared when the PCs turn up. I boosted the encounter by adding a few more undead to it.

The adventure assumes you successfully rescue O-Sayumi and she arranges a meeting with Sikutsu Itsuru but if her soul is lost forever you could have that meeting happen in another way. The PCs could fail to make an alliance with the geisha, costing them rebellion points in book 6.
Alternatively, O-Sayumi's soul could end up in Tarukimi's aged body, and vice versa, and the PCs would have to persuade O-Kohaku that this still counts as a success.

It doesn't look like it. Failed save against coup de grace (probably) just reduces you to negative CON hit points if you're above that. This does nothing to disable regeneration.

You can saw a troll in half down the middle, and it will just start regenerating from one of the halves.

Is it weeks because they were waiting for the Seal to recharge?

Have they checked in on home? You could have the attack from the end of book 5 take place while the PCs are away - they come back and find the fortress in ruins. Various minor NPCs are dead. (The most important ones have fled, but the PCs don't know where until they've searched the place for clues.) So instead of defending the fortress, the PCs are assaulting it, and the Oni have brought in a couple of extra lines of defense.

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The standard Bestiary Storm Giant carries a +14 Strength modifier Composite Longbow.

thejeff wrote:
OTOH, it's quite possible to get past 31 points with your first five rolls meaning your final stat can't get the total back down to 15.

Well, that's your good luck! You get to play a character with higher Points Buy than the rest of the group! However, your last stat will be zero and you will be in a permanent coma.

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Digitalelf wrote:
Tormsskull wrote:
tell the GM what is and is not off limits in your back story. If you write about your character's wife and family, you should be able to tell the GM that you don't want your character's wife or family to be used as a plot hook or at least you don't want anything terrible to befall them.
I just cannot agree with that on any level. I think that absolutely nothing within a background should have plot immunity.

I understand why you'd say that, but I've also heard a lot of stories about GMs who hear 'family' and immediately think, "Cool, I'll have the PC come home to find they've all been brutally murdered by the villain. That will motivate him."

I can sympathize with players who want to play a particular character concept, such as 'just wants to get the job done and get back to his wife and daughter'. If that's what I want to play, then taking away the family means I'm no longer playing the character I want to play.

Griffyn Maddocks wrote:
Sure, The Beast can still full-attack, but if the grapple is not broken the AP will Constrict (RAW: "A creature with this special attack can crush an opponent, dealing bludgeoning damage, when it makes a successful grapple check (in addition to any other effects caused by a successful check, including additional damage)."). So that's 4d6+9 for the Slam plus 4d6+9 for the Constrict. That's an average of 46 points per round. Even if I declare each a separate attack and apply DR twice, that's still 36 points per round. That'll kill The Beast in under 4 rounds.

The beast will be doing almost as much damage to the Promethean. If the rest of the party can help out a just little, like doing ten points of damage total per round between them, the Beast should win.

Sacredless wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Recently mentioned in another thread: rolling five of the six stats (using any method you liked) and then setting the 6th stat to be the value of whatever's left using a 15 (or whatever) point buy system.
Sadly, this method of compensation doesn't work if you have rolled, like, all 1s. Point-buy systems don't allow that

Sure they do, as long as you're willing to extrapolate a bit!

3 = -16
4 = -12
5 = -9
6 = -6
7 = -4
8 = -2
9 = -1
10 = 0
11 = 1
12 = 2
13 = 3
14 = 5
15 = 7
16 = 10
17 = 13
18 = 17
19 = 21
20 = 26
21 = 31
22 = 37
23 = 43
24 = 50
25 = 57
26 = 65
27 = 73
28 = 82
29 = 91
30 = 101
So, you have stats of STR 3, DEX 3, CON 3, WIS 3, INT 3. But that's OK, because you're going to be a Sorcerer.
After five 3s, you have 95 points remaining (15 + 5 * 16), so you can have a Charisma of 29. Boost it to 31 with your racial bonuses. Most enemies will need a natural 20 to pass your save DCs. As long as no-one ever attacks you, you'll be fine!

Recently mentioned in another thread: rolling five of the six stats (using any method you liked) and then setting the 6th stat to be the value of whatever's left using a 15 (or whatever) point buy system.

There's a community of not-too-evil undead in Planescape: Torment. I don't remember the details too clearly, having not played it recently, but you might meet, for example, a zombie who has lost almost all his memories. If you can identify him, you can give him a locket with a picture of his loved one, which acts as a comfort to him.

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BigDTBone wrote:
average on 4d6 drop low is 12.24 which is the same as 12,12,12,12,12,13 pt buy with a little left over. Or 15 points.

That doesn't take into account the higher cost of the more extreme variants you get from random spikes - a 15 and a 10 represent a higher point-buy than a 12 and a 13.

From another thread:
"Across one hundred trials, 4d6 Drop Lowest varies between a -4 Point Buy and a 50 Point buy, averages an approximate 20 Point Buy with a median of an approximate 18 Point Buy."

However, rolled stats are almost always going to be weaker than the equivalent planned point buy. They will typically include (a) odd-numbered stats, which don't help much, and (b) high chance of bad minimaxing for your preferred class choice - eg, for a monk I'd want four fairly high stats, but for a wizard I'd want one really high stat and a couple of decent ones. I can create that with Point Buy, but rolled stats might give me all 14s (bad for a wizard) or one 18 and a bunch of 12s (bad for a monk).

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Roll stats on 3d6, sorting them in any order. Once you hit level 2, you're allowed to increase your stats to a 15-point buy (assuming they're lower than that already). You may not decrease any stat during this time.

Griffyn Maddocks wrote:
The AP will hit The Beast on a 3+ and automatically grapple. The Beast can then only break free on a 12+.

Would the Beast need to break free? Surely he can full-attack while grappled?

Yeah, I remember meeting a leech swarm and trying to think of an anti-swarm weapon we had that actually made sense when dropped into a large body of water. Wasn't easy. On the plus side, unless you're in the middle of a lake, not that hard to escape from.

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