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I'm in the same party as Damon and I'll add a couple of things.
A) The wizard also failed his save and would have also been confused but it was moot since he was also taken out on the surprise round. Actually, I think he was the first to drop.
B) While it is true that the DM was not giving us the miss chance, it is also true that he was not giving the shadows the total cover they would have been entitled to. As a result, I suspect the outcome would have been about the same, just taking longer to play out. The shadows might have missed us a few times, but the melee characters would have gotten a lot fewer attacks on them and that's where most of the damage we did came from given that the spell casters were almost all neutralized before they got to take any action.
It was a great story, but I have to wonder what comes next. I see nothing to indicate that the urdefahn will be unable to continue coming to the surface in the future. The kids got away for now, but what's to stop their pathetic parents from turning them back over in the future? They did it before, after all. Hopefully at least Caleb and his father can get away from the area.
I have to admit that after the first couple of parts to the story, I was thinking the villagers had better hope I didn't survive because, if I did, I'd see to it that justice was done.
Has anyone created mythic statblocks for the Avatar of Ydersius, Emperor of Scales, Sargogen or any of the other foes detailed in the final book of Serpent's Skull? If so, would you mind sharing?
My players just defeated the Avatar of Ydersius and are trying to figure out what to do about the skull. Assuming we continue now that the AP is over, it occurs to me that defeating an avatar of a god should qualify one to pick up at least one mythic tier. That might lead to a planar rematch as they try to destroy the skull once and for all and I'll need stats for it. If someone has already done the work to upgrade some of those statblocks for mythic, I may as well see if they want to share. :)
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I think a stereotypical barbarian would be a blast in a magic academy comedy. Kinda like that tourist from "The Color of Magic", from what I recall. ;D
I suddenly want to play a barbarian who is the son or nephew of some chief or other important person. He has grown up (so far) thinking he would be a stereotypical barbarian but now, thanks to an agreement between his people and some neighboring people, has been uprooted from his home village and stuck into some magic academy. Suddenly, he's expected to make friends with his fellow students (who all look like they'd break if you so much as breath hard on them) and learn magic.
So, not as bad as I feared and not as good as I hoped. I can understand and sympathize with their reasoning but it seems counterproductive to put deliberately suboptimal options into the game given the importance of optimization to so many in the d20/Pathfinder 'world'.
I agree. If that's true (and I'd be very interested in seeing the 'proof' - either for Monte Cook or the Paizo designers), then the I'll have to seriously reevaluate my opinion about the game and its designers. I've always assumed that the disparities in character effectiveness resulting from system mastery were not deliberate and were simply the result of the fact that its really hard to balance so many moving parts (so to speak) against each other. If the designers have been deliberately introducing inferior options, well, wow...
Yes, that's pretty much what I was trying to say only you bring the absurdity of it out much better than I did. RPG villains remind me of Dr. Evil sometimes...
If they say that the GM will just change the game to allow them all to survive and succeed, tell them you don't want to play a game where success is engineered by Deus Ex Machina.
There's always Deus Ex Machina involved. It's what makes your opponents in virtually every encounter come conveniently packaged in groups that happen to have an "appropriate" CR for your APL as determined by the designers of the game. I don't really think it's any more or less "Deus Ex Machina" if the GM ends up adjusting what counts as an appropriate encounter for the party based on their capabilities. (That goes both ways, by the way. I don't see anything wrong with the GM scaling down encounters for unoptimized PCs OR scaling up encounters for optimized PCs.)
The PCs have just cut through all of M'deggog's most powerful defenders like a hot knife through butter. I have a couple of rules related questions about the final encounter I would like to ask. One of my players reads the boards so I thought I'd ask questions here instead (he will know its a spoiler if I post in this forum).
1. The PCs have not opened the secret door yet. Would clairaudience allow M'deggog's to target spells and abilities in the bush devil's room from inside the secret room? I'm thinking about having him drop black tentacles in the other room then start trying to dominate and feeblemind PCs before they can get in and start targeting him.
2. Assuming M'deggog survives long enough, if he uses his body thief ability to inhabit the corpse of the bush devil the PCs just killed and use it against the PCs, does it regain its full hit points or would he have to arrange for healing before he could use it effectively?
3. If M'deggog casts black tentacles just inside his secret room such that half the area should be in the bush devils room, is there any rule that says those tentacles shouldn't appear?
I ask 1 and 3 because it seems obvious to me that the smartest thing for him to do (short of packing up his lab and leaving) is to keep the PCs from being able to make contact with him. He's seen several of the previous fights in the dungeon and knows how quickly the PCs were able to put down some very tough defenders. Once they do get in and kill his vessel, if he survives the daze round, he can dimension door out and use one of the other corpses to carry on the fight -- hence question 2.
If he waits for the PCs to get into the room and they can act without disruptions, I expect him to go down extremely fast.
Mary Yamato wrote:
This has definitely been my experience. I had one NPC recently who didn't even GET an action before being killed. And another one who was supposed to flee at something like 30 hit points and got knocked from around 75 to dead between actions. I think in the current AP (on book four now) we have had exactly one NPC actually get to flee according to the instructions in the stat block.
The main issue I have with high level play is the fact that encounters rarely take action economy and buffs into consideration. My before mentioned Jade regent group managed to constantly defeat encounters 3 or even four ECL higher than their level and even the toughest bosses rarely lasted more than 3 or 4 rounds, barely being allowed to show off any of their tricks.
I've had a similar experience. Not all of my players are optimizers, but all of them are veterans with decades of experience. They're very good at working together and know all the tricks. They can demolish encounters with ruthless efficiency and manage their resources extremely well. I've made the comparison to a fantasy version of a black ops team in the past.
I'm pretty skeptical of the Mythic rules myself. Things are bad enough that I really can't see how Mythic can do anything BUT make things worse.
I have my own frustration with high level play in Pathfinder (d20 in general, really). I have to admit, I've been gazing longingly at my HarnMaster books lately. :)
Has anybody ever had their credit card information stolen after making a purchase off the Paizo website?
Vic is right about generating card numbers. I've had two card accounts get compromised and that was how it happened for one of them. It was a card I had literally never used. I had opened the account, activated it and locked the card in my safe. One day, I saw on my bank website I had a balance and reported the fraud. I asked how the number could have been stolen. The bank told me it was most likely someone had generated my account randomly and used it the way Vic describes.
The other account? In that case, I was using the card and it turned out to be an "inside job" at one of the clearing houses that credit card transactions go through. When the card was first compromised, I assumed it was some unsecured site or merchant. Months later, I got a letter informing me that someone at a clearing house had used his system access to download a huge block of numbers and sell them.
If they did an Norret/Orlin novel, we could see both doing narration in different parts of the book.
The History Channel has a spinoff channel called the Military History Channel where they run a lot of the "Hitler Network" stuff now. The regular "History Channel" is reserved for important stuff like fake pawn shops, fake junk dealers, aliens, doomsday prophecies and monster hunters that never find any monsters.
I suspect that's because the rest of us rarely bother to participate in these threads.
In the interest of education, I'd like to point out that there are people who go hunting with handguns. It isn't as common as hunting with a rifle or bow, but it is not rare either. Handgun hunters generally use large revolvers and single-shot pistols made specifically for hunting, not semi-automatic handguns (though I know there are exceptions). I have fired two handguns designed for handgun hunting. Both were large pistols that fired a single, high-powered cartridge and then took several seconds to reload. Either would be an absolutely terrible choice of weapon for anyone wanting to go on a shooting rampage.
A couple of quick thoughts about paladins while I wait for the gaming group to arrive:
1. I think a lot of the problem is uncertainty involving interpreting the code for certain situations. The actual character has most likely trained for years in their religion and how to be a paladin. You would expect that most established religions would have a significant body of work about how to behave properly according to their religion, including both actual scripture and copious scholarly works interpreting that scripture. In addition, paladins would probably have further training about their particular code, including further scholarship about interpreting the code for various situations as well as plenty of examples of how various paladins handled different situations as lessons in what to do and what NOT to do. The player and the DM have none of that. That creates an uncertainty the character may not have even if the player and DM do have it.
2. I think it is also problematic that the class really only allows one punishment -- "falling" for everything from the most trivial violation of the code to the most grievous offense. One would think that there might be more minor punishments for more minor breaches of a code (like, say, failing to perform a ritual properly) with falling being reserved for more heinous offenses (like slaughtering innocents).
I saw something on the history channel recently where they described an Aztec ritual where they set up a ritual combat with a respected captive. They tied his leg to a post and attacked one at a time until he finally fell. The warrior that brought him down got the honor of consuming his flesh and wearing his flayed skin for a few weeks. If that's not too gruesome for your group, maybe you can adapt that. Seems like it might be memorable and, if she does well, could significantly thin the ranks for the rest of the party to deal with later.
Maybe the other PCs can sneak close enough to see but can't take the gathered might of the cannibals so they're helpless to do anything but watch.
Even if I'm an 8th level cleric, am I so relentlessly paranoid that I assume airborne invisible death squads are going to swoop down on me whenever I do any activity?
Sadly, the way the game actually plays out it seems as if there is a certain point where anyone who has any enemies absolutely must be incredibly paranoid every second of the rest of their lives or risk having the flying invisible commando death squad show up and slaughter them the moment they let their guard down and don't put up an array of defenses. Or have the gall to go to their daughters dance recital that isn't triple shielded against everything anyone can think of.
Of course, it's also interesting to think about a world where higher level characters have a sort of "understanding" that nobody will do "scry and fry", for instance. It isn't that it isn't effective in their world, just that enough of the people capable of doing it refuse to do so and act against those who do because they don't want to live in the kind of paranoia that results from having that be an accepted tactic. People who try to use the tactic anyway find people they never heard of and even people who would normally be allies coming after them for it in a form of mutually assured destruction. The consensus is anyone who takes the genie out of the bottle, so to speak, gets obliterated themselves to make the next person to think about breaking the rules think twice before they do it.
I disagree with the description of higher levels as being like a superhero game. I liken it to some sort of fantasy version of black ops. Substituting magic for technology, it seems like parties at that level are more like a fantasy SEAL Team trying to slip into a bad guy's lair with a wide array of cutting-edge magical spells and devices and a compact but lethal arsenal of the latest magical weaponry intent on causing as much death and destruction as they can (except the treasure, of course). They often seem to prefer to try to catch the bad guy unaware (literally asleep or in the bath, if at all possible), substituting scry-buff-teleport for spy satellites and stealth choppers to conduct surprise raids. They try to stay hidden as as much as possible and utilize brutally effective tactics to keep the enemy off guard and control the battlefield (aided by their array of magical tricks, of course). They never EVER give the bad guys a fair fight if they can possibly avoid it. (And the bad guys don't tend to survive to become recurring villains like they do with superheros). I am not making a judgement call on anyone's play style here, just observing how games at that level seem to play out to me.
Er...hamstrung? I've never noticed...
Judging from comments earlier in the thread, the GM isn't supposed to change anything in the module and isn't allowed to house rule. To me, that is hamstringing the GM.
Reading this thread -- and specifically how hamstrung PFS GMs are -- has certainly convinced me to never be a GM for PFS...
Depends on the person. One of the worst power gamers I ever played with was a guy I gamed with in college and he hated being challenged. He wanted to breeze through everything with no effort and then bask in the glory of everyone telling him how awesome he was. When he'd play video games, he would play on the easiest setting and use all the cheat codes he could get. Then he would show off how great he was doing and expect the rest of us to be really impressed by how badly he was smashing the computer opponent.
someone who seems to think that a good character is a blind, deaf, one-legged pacifist who gives all their gold away and is half-insane
Of course, I've also gamed with this guy. He once wanted to play a lame, hunchbacked kobold.
I have a friend who requested a D&D bachelor party. He was part of my old gaming group in college and his wedding was going to represent the first time since graduation that the core members of that group got together in one place. He wanted a D&D game with the old gang. He could get falling down drunk any time. He hadn't been able to play D&D with his old friends in years and he wanted to do it again one more time.
Has there been any official ruling on how experience should be handled when the PCs have NPC allies in the party? Specifically, I'm running Serpent's Skull and the PCs are running around with several NPCs helping them (about all I feel I can say without spoilers). Should I divide the XP among the PCs only or give each NPC a share?
In 3.0, I remember giving the NPCs a share (and included them in the average party level) but the current rules don't seem to mention NPC allies in terms of experience.
I suppose I should add that my reading of the rules is that I should only divide between the PCs but I'm wondering if that's wrong.
I told my PCs right from the start that they felt their "destinies were intertwined with the other castaways on the island." They got the hint that there would be story award xp for winning over the other survivors and assisting with their quests. Also xp bonuses for getting the other castaways off the island. You may want to tell your players this straight up if you want them to help the castaways.
I flat-out told them there were quests associated with the NPCs.
Of course there's really nothing that says once the PCs get the lighthouse lit, they can't go back and help the castaways with their quests after. It could be quite a while until a passing ship sees the signal (i.e. as long as you want)
I won't rule that out but I'm not feeling optimistic about it either.
Yes, I have plenty of good-aligned PCs. There are both a paladin and cleric of Sarenrae. They already feel like they're on a rescue mission since Ishirou got captured and they want to rescue him. I'd hate to force a second rescue just to get them in the caves. The lighthouse part thing is good and I'll consider that, though I wonder if they'll take the bait laid out in the caves and move on to the next temple if I do get them down there.
If your party is as experienced as you say, you might consider having the full contingent of cannibals present, and include both the witch and the chief in the battle. Remember how fast the cannibals are, with a base speed of 45 feet, so unless the PCs use something to slow them down, they're not going to be able to just run. This is the primary reason my party resorted to jumping off a cliff to escape the cannibals. Even spells like Entangle won't hold the cannibals for long.
Before the campaign started, I had decided to beef up the number of cannibals because of the size of the party. Even with current losses, they're still above 20 cannibals and neither the chief or the witch have made an appearance. Of course, the logical course of action right now is another night raid since they know where the PCs were and the PCs haven't moved.
I'm going to have to be careful since I just did the math and realized the PCs have skipped so much they're still going to be 1st level when they attack.
I've been adjusting by adding extra creatures to encounters. If I had it to do again, I think I'd make encounters and diseases more frequent. I am sure some of it is dice luck but they've almost completely avoided random encounters the week or so they have been on the island. They've had exactly one. They've also avoided diseases almost as well and shook them off almost immediately. The whole environmental danger thing has been almost a non-issue so far.
They've proceeded toward the lighthouse without letting themselves get distracted. I tried the brown island in the distance, the personal quests for three of the NPCs (the other two have not gotten a good enough attitude to reveal theirs yet) and foreshadowing the chupacabra but they have pressed resolutely on. When they got ambushed at encounter M, I even tried to use the fleeing cannibal and sound of running water to distract them toward the cabin with no luck. They know about Sasha's quest and camped right next to some Dimorphodons one night but would not try to capture one since it would just be one more mouth to feed and is not a proper pet anyway.
They are fairly close to the lighthouse now and actually got ambushed by cannibals in camp the last night we played through. Aerys and Ishirou were panicked and fled as soon as they woke up. By random roll, Ishirou went right toward the camp and I had him get captured. The next day a couple of PCs scouted the camp and did not get spotted by amazing luck (they've had a LOT of amazing dice luck). I figure the cannibals were mostly inside planning a bigger war party to go after them, especially since they made no effort to move or hide their camp after the last encounter.
I'm considering having the remaining NPCs leave under Jask's leadership. Aerys because she is panicked and wants no part of a fight and she wants to search for those berries more (one of the PCs is keeping an eye out as hey travel but there have been no diversions to search). Sasha because they refused to help her get her pet (I'm playing her a bit like a spoiled rich girl). Jask, of course, is worried about being imprisoned again and intends to look for evidence to exonerate himself. He hasn't told the PCs about the ship yet, but his observations so give him no reason to expect they'll help even if he did since they seem pretty focused on leaving the island. Under other circumstances, he would be with them all he way but he just can't leave without trying to clear himself. Gelik is the only wild card. He's told the PCs about the Nightvoice. It hasn't gone anywhere but he wasn't actually brushed off like Sasha was either. He could go either way.
I expect the PCs to attack the Thrunefang net session to take the light house. They will be 2nd level. I expect them to try hit and run tactics once they realize the numbers they face. Everyone is an experienced player so I expect they can pull off a guerilla campaign and may prevail. We will see. Assuming they do, it will be interesting to see if they ignore the caves below the lighthouse.
I just started running that AP over the weekend. I'm curious if you can point out where you read that. (I'm not trying to be hostile or anything. I've got the impression it isn't well regarded and I'm just curious about what you read from that standpoint. )
Count me in for the epic sea voyage around the world!
Also count me in for an Arcadia AP.
Galt could be interesting depending on whose side you're supposed to be on. Same goes for a Nirmathas war AP.
I have: a human paladin, human cleric (both from Magnimar originally), Mwangi rogue, changeling witch, half-orc fighter (aiming to be an archery ranger) and an aasimar fighter.
I definitely intend to distract them. So far, they've been focused on salvaging anything g they could from the wreck and setting up a camp. They really haven't had much of a chance for anything to happen yet. I figure I'll start off next week with encounter and disease rolls.
If they take the proposed route, they'll miss the landing site and walk right into the area with the area with the cannibal traps.
We started Serpent's Skull yesterday with a short session. The PCs made it to the wreck and back to shore, set up a camp and did a short bit of scouting before the session ended. It is dusk on day 1.
They rolled well enough to know about the lighthouse and had recovered the maps from the captains cabin. I gave them a handout with the outline of the island on it but no other information (Much like the players map posted here but I printed it on a piece of parchment looking paper to make it a nicer prop. One of the players immediately took the map and plotted a direct route to the corner of the island where the lighthouse is supposed to be. As they were packing up after the game, he was advocating a plan to leave the NPCs in a safe camp, strike off directly to the lighthouse, signal a passing ship and then have the rescue ship pick up the NPCs after they're on board.
Of course, this is the evening of the first day. All they've encountered so far are the eurypterids. They didn't roll well enough to hear about the Thrune's Fang and have not encountered the cannibals. They also have not had to deal with poison (due to bad rolls, only one stinger ever hit and the PC saved) or disease. They really haven't even talked to any of the NPCs so far except Jask (who has been freed). I imagine things might change a bit once they experience a bit more of what the island has to offer. Or maybe not. We shall see.
and this is why a lot of players either won't make a backstory or write one that preemptively eliminates all plot hooks. A lot of players just can't be bothered to write a backstory, but others are actively trying not to give the GM any plot hooks or anything else that can be used to influence their character.
In 3e, our group used to use http://www.avalanchepress.com/gameNobleSteeds.php. It provides a system for giving XP to your horse to allow it to level and become tougher. We have not used it under Pathfinder yet.
As I recall, whenever you get XP you can choose to give up to a certain amount to the horse and that lets it level up in horse only classes like destroyer and charger, gaining HP, better saves and the like in the process.
Matthew Winn wrote:
This. This seems like a perfect niche for paper minis. They're cheap and can be produced in large numbers. It seems way more realistic than hoping someone will do preprinted plastic commoners and the metal ones out there are relatively expensive compared to paper, especially in the numbers needed for a town scene, not to mention taking a lot of time and effort to paint. I would definitely buy paper commoners. Just make sure we have a large variety so the town square isn't full of dozens of copies of the same three people. :)
The other problem with using PC minis to populate the town square is it means the whole town is populated with healthy, fit, mostly good-looking young adults. The town evidently has no old people, no kids, no fat people, no balding people, very few ugly people (and those that are ugly all tend to be non-human), no pregnant women, no people who are missing a limb (unless you have some pirate minis then you get lots of peg legs or hook hands), few of them are dressed like someone who has an ordinary day job and just about everyone in town is armed to the teeth.
Well hopefully things have changed since last year.
Evidently, they have. I saw that post saying the story had been told, but I also found the one I just linked saying both the fans and the CEO asked for more Vancaskerkins and we have Natayla coming up so here we are.... The story around Saul, Orik and Veril may be done but it seem we have a whole new drama coming up with Natayla.
I apologize if this isn't the right spot for this.
I've grown curious about the Vancaskerkins lately. This post is going to contain disparate information about them gathered from multiple APs and a forum post followed by idle thougths and speculation. Some might consider these spoilers for RotRL, CotCT or SD so view appropriately.
Potential AP Spoilers and rampant speculation:
In PF#1, Orik's background doesn't say anything about his family or his age.
In PF#7, Verik's background mentions that he left "several brothers" behind but the only one he misses is Orik, who is older. It seems to imply that he left Riddleport before Orik because it mentions that he heard Orik had left Riddleport. I find both of these things a bit odd when considering what is said in SD. His description mentions that he's in his early 20s.
In PF#13, Saul's background gives us a lot of information. It mentions both Orik and Verik. It tells us that Verik refused to help Saul cover up evidence of Orik's crime and fled Riddleport after Orik fled. It also seems to imply this took place soon after the murder. It refers to Verik as his "other" son, implying that they are the only two sons he has. It mentions Saul murdering his third wife (implying he had two before her) Bertrida. It also mentions that Saul spent "several years" rebuilding his fortune.
In the Second Darkness players guide, Lavender Lil's background mention she has taken refuge for the last year (which seems at odds with the statement under #3 about "several years". We also get the story of how Orik murdered Falk Zincher, little brother of the powerful crime boss Clegg Zincher.
In the upcoming AP#61, we are going to be introduced to Natayla. All we know so far is that she is a rogue Pathfinder and she "also happens to be a member of the Varisian criminals known as the Sczarni."
James Jacobs comments in this post comments that Saul is of Chelaxian descent and that he only has two sons "that he knows of".
1. I wonder who Saul's other two wives were and what happened to them. He murdered at least one wife, after all... One wonders if this might have something to do with why Verik wouldn't help dad get rid of the evidence.
2. For that matter, which wife (if any) was Orik and Verik's mother?
3. We don't actually know yet if or how Natayla is even related to Saul and his sons. I note that nothing was said about whether Saul had any daughters or not. If Natayla is a member of the Sczarni and she is Saul's daughter, that implies she is Varisian. Since James Jacobs said Saul is of Chelaxian descent, could that mean that one of his previous wives was a Sczarni? Hopefully, we'll find out a lot more in August.
4. If Verik has "several brothers" but Saul only has two sons, that would seem to imply that Verik's mother had several boys but only one (Verik) or two (if Orik isn't Verik's half-brother) with Saul. That may mean she wasn't even Saul's wife or that she had multiple kids before she married Saul if she was his wife. I wonder where she is.
5. If Verik had "brothers" (plural), then that implies he has at least one other brother out there besides Orik, though he may not carry the Vancaskerkin name. I wonder about him.
6. I have to wonder if Riddleport is really safe for anyone named Vancaskerkin or connected to them or if there was a diaspora to safer parts after Clegg Zincher's wrath was aroused. You could potentially run into Vancaskerkins just about anywhere.
7. James Jacobs' comment about how Saul only has two sons "that he knows of" makes me wonder if Saul just left a few illegitimate children around here and there or if there is something more to it than that. (I imagine that's exactly what James intended. :) )
8. We also don't know anything about Saul's siblings. It could be he had siblings whose offspring could provide for a whole host of Vancaskerkins to populate APs for the foreseeable future.
9. We don't really know how long ago Orik committed his murder. SD implies it was "several years" in Saul's background but a single year in Lavender Lil's. I'm inclined to think it was more like 3-5 years, giving Saul time to suffer in the slums then build his fortune slowly, Orik time to wander around Varisia before falling in with Nualia and Verik time to join the Korvosan guard and then climb the ranks.
Ah, so it's a Galt AP, then...
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