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Michael Cummings's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 70 posts. No reviews. 1 list. No wishlists. 9 Pathfinder Society characters.


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Dark Archive

I know this is kind of an old thread, but I am just in the early stages of Shattered Star and I also looked at some of the Season 4 PFS scenarios and thought it would be a good tie-in to the Shattered Star AP. One major curveball I'm contemplating is having Sheila be a turncoat and have been the major villain at the head of the Lissala cult the entire time. I think it would make sense for her to send the PCs on the side quests of the PFS scenarios - by doing this she is attempting to send the shards into the hands of the Lissala cult agents. Her ultimate betrayal will occur at the Reforging ceremony. I'm giddy with how this will all play out.

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If you think about combat abstractly vs on a tactical map, you are coordinating your movement with theirs, mirroring them. Should it matter whether they move "away" from you and really if they move to the side they have moved "away" from you. I think a good perspective would be dancers - when one moves the other follows to keep their steps in coordination.

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The Step Up feat is somewhat ambiguous in its wording. It states "When a foe takes a 5ft step away from you". Does that have to be to an unadjacent square? The obvious use for Step Up is to close with casters or ranged attackers that move back to blast you, but the feat could also prove useful when fighting rogues to stay out of flanking if you were allowed to take a 5ft step when an adjacent for takes a 5ft step.

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Please cancel my Pathfinder Roleplaying Game subscription.

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I plan to expand on the daemonic hints in Book 3 and incorporate the return of Choral the Conqueror to have an epic Apocalypse ending where the PCs stave off the end of the world fighting against minions of the Four Horsemen and draconic hordes of Choral. Looking to take the campaign to level 22-23. When PCs uproot The House on the Edge of Time to the Material Plane, it will become a planar portal that other factions will try to use to open gate to Outer Planes. PCs are going to be from Cheliax, so they may look to use House to open gate to Hell.

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I also decided to use a dire bear to up the power level slightly. Another addition was 2 graven guardians of Erastil, powered down slightly from the Bestiary 3 version:

lesser graven guardian CR 3
XP 800
N medium construct

Init +2; Senses darkvision 60ft, low-light vision; Perception +1


AC 15 (+3 natural, +2 dex); touch 12, flat-footed 13
hp 50 (4d10+20), DR 5/slashing
Fort +1 Ref +3 Will +2
Immune: construct traits
Weaknesses: faith bound, vulnerable to fire


Sp 40ft
Melee: slam (atk +7 dmg 1d6+4 crit 20/x2)
Ranged: +1 seeking longbow (atk +7 dmg 1d8+1 plus 1d6 vs chaotic incr 100ft crit 20/x3)
SA: magic weapon, lawful weapon
Spell-like Abilities (CL 3rd; concentration +4)
3/day - entangle (DC 12)


Abilities: S:16(+3) D:15(+2) Co:-- I:-- W:12(+1) Ch:1(-5)
Base Atk +4; CMB +7; CMD 19
SQ: guardian domains (Law, Plant)

Special Abilities

Faith Bound (Su): A graven guardian cannot attack any creature that openly wears or displays the holy or unholy symbol of the deity to which the graven guardian is dedicated unless that creature first attacks the graven guardian.

Magic Weapon (Su): A graven guardian that carries its deity's favored weapon treats that weapon as a +1 weapon as long as it is wielded by the guardian. If it is a ranged weapon, it gains the seeking weapon special ability, and generates new ammunition with each attack (this ammunition is destroyed whether or not it hits).

Lawful Weapon (Su): The graven guardian's weapons and slam attacks are treated as lawful-aligned. Its magic weapon deals +1d6 points of damage to chaotic targets.

Dark Archive

Does anyone else have a problem with Cleanse being a "personal" spell rather than a "creature touched" spell? For a 5th level cleric spell it doesn't seem to have a lot of mileage when the cleric can only cast it on himself (other threads bring up the conundrum of the spell curing nausea but a cleric being unable to cast the spell while nauseated) and kind of goes against the typical cleric role of spells that help others. For a group using 3.5 material as well, Panacea is a much better option - a level lower with basically the same effects but able to cast on others. Also, comparing Cleanse to Heal (1 level higher) - Heal cures pretty much all the same effects, heals a great deal more hp, and is a "creature touched" spell. Our group has house-ruled that Cleanse is a "creature touched" spell and we use this spell in place of Panacea, which in 3.5 seemed overpowered for a 4th lvl spell. Just wondering what others thoughts were as I couldn't find any sort of errata on the spell on the messageboards.

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Please cancel my Pathfinder Campaign Setting and Pathfinder Player Companion subscriptions.

Dark Archive

This year was my first attempt at a submission for the RPG Superstar contest - any feedback/criticism is appreciated to help me start preparing for next year:

Swifttouch Gloves
Aura faint necromancy; CL 3rd
Slot hands; Price 7,200 gp; Weight

These fingerless black leather gloves can most often be found adorning the hands of foul necromancers. Three times per day, they allow the wearer to make a touch attack as a swift action. Their most common application is to allow a caster who is holding the charge on a touch spell cast in a previous round to release the spell in a following round with a swift action rather than a standard action. They do not alter the casting time of the original spell. The gloves can also be used by a creature with a natural touch attack (lich’s paralyzing touch) or a touch attack special ability (necromancer’s grave touch ability).

The creation of this item dates far back to the cyclopean empires of ancient Golarion; but the height of their popularity came during the rule of the Whispering Tyrant, who himself wore a much more powerful version of the gloves that gave him the swift touch ability at will along with several other potent powers. Most arcane casters serving the Whispering Tyrant possessed these items, which can still be found today throughout Ustalav in ancient ruins, haunted crypts, and battlefield sites.

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, spectral hand; Cost 3,600 gp

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Please cancel my Pathfinder Campaign Setting subscription.

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I would like to cancel my Pathfinder RPG subscription to avoid the Pathfinder Beginning Box set. I will re-subscribe with the Bestiary 3.

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Sara Marie wrote:

Unfortunately there is no way to remove a subscription item with out canceling the subscription. Many of our subscribers who feel the Beginner Box is for them, are planning on giving it as a gift to new players they know; nieces and nephews interested in gaming or using it as a tool for teaching friends who are new to the game. There are also new adventures and lots of many new goodies in the box, but if you would like to cancel and restart after the Beginner Box that is not a problem.

Just let us know what you would like to do.

I would like to cancel my subscription, and I will pick it back up with the next product after the beginner box set. Thanks!

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I do not have interest in receiving the Pathfinder Beginner Box. What is the best way to avoid receiving that item with a Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscription? Can a hold be put on the subscription to skip the Beginner Box or would I need to cancel the subscription then renew it for the Bestiary 3?

Dark Archive

captain yesterday wrote:
i would like a pirate theme adventure path, with ships and everything

I would also love a pirate-themed AP - I've actually been contemplating a campaign using some of the Freeport stuff and pirate adventure from Dungeon #16 (Vesicant) set in the Shackles. Rules for ship-to-ship combat would be awesome as well as travel through the Eye of Abendego. With all the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise (#4 upcoming in May), it seems like a slam dunk (though I also know that Paizo has tried to steer away from cliched and overdone themes).

Dark Archive

Seems there are many different interpretations here. Here is what I see from the ability's description - before remove curse is cast, the afflicted takes 1d6 Con and 1d6 Cha on a failed save so I attribute that to the "curse" aspect. Once remove curse has been cast, the afflicted still does not benefit from natural healing and magical healing must succeed on a caster level check, so I attribute that to the "disease" aspect. It does seem to make more sense to have it the other way around - the "curse" prevents healing while the "disease" causes ability damage. FWIW - mummy rot appears under the Curse section of the Core Rulebook on p. 557 though even there it shows as both a curse and disease. It is clear there is no consensus on the issue, so at the end of the day it will be a DM judgment call. Thanks again everyone for your input.

Dark Archive

Looking for a semi-official ruling from the Paizo staff on some rules ambiguity resulting from a mummy's mummy rot vs. a paldin's divine health as it has come up in our campaign.

As the Core Rulebook states, at 3rd lvl a paladin becomes immune to all diseases, including magical and supernatural diseases. As the Bestiary states, mummy rot is both a curse and a disease. The 3.5 paladin entry explicitly included mummy rot amongst the magical diseases that paladins were immune to, but the Pathfinder Core Rulebook does not make this distinction and the addition of the curse aspect to mummy rot is a change from 3.5 to Pathfinder for the monster's entry. Discussion in another thread suggests breaking the ability into its two component parts - having a paladin affected by the curse aspect (taking 1d6 Con and Cha on a failed save - save frequency 1/day) while immune to the disease aspect (no natural healing and a caster level check required for magical healing). That seems like a good compromise and is what I'm leaning towards, but want to make the correct ruling according to the intentions of the RAW (rules as written). Any help/guidance here is greatly appreciated.

Dark Archive

This is an improvement over 3.5 where it required a Concentration check (which most casters would smartly max at lvl+3 ranks) at DC 15+spell lvl. It did not take long before this was basically an automatic, especially with Combat Casting adding +4 to the check.

There needs to be some risk involved in casting while threatened and I think the Pathfinder rules fixed the issue while still granting a good chance of success for the caster.

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Please cancel my Adventure Path and Companion subscriptions. The material is top-notch, but most is not being used right now so it is hard to justify purchasing more.

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Mosaic wrote:

Going back to the drawing board on the whole Readied Action issue, I have two thoughts.

1) Readying an action ought to cost something. Right now, the 'costs' we have are swift, move and standard actions.

2) To me, it would seem more straight forward and easier to determine what's legal and what isn't if the cost for readying an action were separate from the action itself. I think we can all see that the current "it's a standard action that includes another standard action ... or maybe it isn't" is too confusing.

So, give readying an action a cost like any other action - I lean towards swift or move, but could handle standard - and it becomes just another part of the 'action economy' (Quandry's term from another thread, I believe).

There is an implied cost with readying an action - if the situation does not develop then you lose that action for the round. So, as one poster pointed out the caster could simply move 30' before casting the spell, putting himself outside of the range of the fighter. I would also allow the caster to notice the fighter focusing on him in which case the caster could cast defensively.

This is definitely a thought-provoking subject. In my opinion, casting in combat carries very little consequence. Casters can often shield themselves by simply taking a 5' step. The casting defensively check is pretty much a joke by mid levels. I would like to see more opportunities for spell interruption, back to the days of 1e/2e where casters very seldom cast spells in combat since all it took was a hit prior to their spot in the initiative order to ruin a spell. The situation in the OP does have an issue though - if the spell being cast is a standard action and the fighter uses a move action to approach the caster (and move/standard actions are assumed to take the same amount of time) does the spell complete before the fighter even gets to the caster? I would probably house rule that the two combatants roll an opposed initiative check (or just an opposed Dex check) to see which action gets off a split-second before the other (fighter cleaves caster in two just before he gets out the final syllable or caster completes spell just as fighter gets to him).

Dark Archive

Pax Veritas wrote:

IMHO, the "True Problem" is a social/inter-personal/communal issue that 1) stemmed from corporate greed in publishing all rules for players to rule lawyer and judge (in an obvious attempt to make everyone the type of consumer that would buy the 6x-as-much that the DM was buying and 2) the result of years of manipulative "forgetting" about the art of dungeonmastering (and the lack of senior DMs teaching younger ones this art). DMing has become characatured as a series of "handwaives" and "rule-breaks" instead of what it is/what it was designed to be.

Restore the skill of DMing/GMing and you will have addressed the "True Problem" for a great GM can make any system work incredibly, more miraculously than ever imagined.

Just my two cents.... I return you now to your regularly scheduled thread, and will...


You are truly on point with your assessment of the current state of DMing. I would like to take this a step further however, and make the same argument of the player. Being a purveyor of D&D since 1st edition (one of my original group members had the PHB w/ the thieves carving the jeweled eye from the demon statue), my early gaming decisions were made in a manner that helped bring my mental view of my PC into clearer focus and drive character development rather than character building. In my experience with 3.0 and 3.5, this is really not a driving factor anymore. Much character building discussion now revolves around min/maxing and character optimization which has turned the D&D game into one of pure mathematics. I think the OP does have a valid point regarding the breakdown of the game due to the 1d20+X issue but I also agree with you that the mechanical flaws of the game would not be as evident if both the DM and players made more decisions based on the campaign storyline and character development rather than maxing skill ranks, attack bonus, or AC.

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Vic Wertz wrote:
They begin shipping today.

My order shows "pending" - come on, come on, flip the switch on the PDFs already so I can get me some Crown of Fangs goodness.

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sempai33 wrote:

Interesting but if the king has an illegimate son, the curse didn't work, so?

If the king is still alive, what about the curse? What about the Queen and her way to rule the city?
I don't thnik that you can use it with the same name of the campaign, but, you can do what you want. It's an interesting point of view.

Curses are meant to be broken (or started anew). The PCs will not know Eran is the heir to the throne right away - I will probably have Zellara reveal this at a later date, with her informing the PCs initially that he is important but not releasing the details of that importance. By the time the PCs do find this out (when they rescue Neolandus in Escape from Old Korvosa), Ileosa has grown powerful and entrenched herself in the ruling seat, so even if the PCs brought forth this information they would not have the might to install Eran on the throne. They must continue along the AP to learn about the Fangs of Kazavon and recover Serithtial to be able to face Ileosa in the final installment. All of this just adds an extra twist to the plotline of the AP.

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Norgerber wrote:
What will you do with Eran once he is rescued by the PCs? Why would the Queen be more interested in Sabor than in Eran?

Ileosa still needs a scapegoat for the King's death, so that explains her continued interest in Sabor. I think my angle on Eran is that the Red Mantis did not get the information from Zellara, so they do not know that the illegitimate heir exists. Ileosa came across Zellara's name in Neolandus' journals - the excerpt just said "she has a secret which could destroy the monarchy." Ileosa had her assassinated to hide this secret, not knowing the secret was an illegitimate heir who still lives. I will probably tie Eran in with the Trinia/Vencarlo angle somehow so he escapes the city with Trinia. Not sure how I'm going to develop to the PCs that Eran is the rightful heir to the throne - probably through Zellara. Just have her be cryptic that he is important somehow and must be kept alive.

Dark Archive

I was somewhat let down with the character connection in Edge of Anarchy, so I've been thinking about a different approach. I think I have one that will be cool:

The characters happen upon a living Zellara being accosted by Red Mantis assassins. As the PCs intervene, one of the assassins lands a death blow and the two assassins escape. Zellara imparts the PCs with information using her dying breaths - "Gaedren Lamm, Old Fishery, save my son Eran". Some detective work on the PCs part can lead them to finding the Old Fishery. Eran remains one of Lamm's Lambs - a nine year old boy. In my campaign, I am planning to make Zellara one of Eodred's past lovers and have Eran be his illegimate son (on consequently heir to the throne of Korvosa). This will make for a very interesting twist in the campaign as Neolandus will have this knowledge. The PCs will not only need to de-throne Ileosa, but also keep the heir alive to take his rightful place upon the throne at the conclusion of the campaign.

Dark Archive

I really don't think the good save/bad save discrepency is much of an issue. There are feats that can be taken and applied to any saving throw type (Lightning Reflexes, Iron Will, and Great Fort) to close the gap by +2. What I've experienced that gets back to the 'spellcasters are overpowered' argument is with all the new splatbooks the number of 1)swift/immediate spells and 2)spells bypassing SR and/or not allowing saves both increase greatly. And with my group of admitted min/maxers much of their spell selection is often based on such criteria.

Dark Archive

I have to give some props to Five Finger Death Punch. After previewing the album on itunes, I immediately purchased the entire album. Good anger but still musical - somewhat reminiscient of Pantera.

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One addition to grapple that has a basis in cinema is to allow others an attack on the grappling creature to help release an ally from the grapple. Many fantasy movies show creatures like the kraken wrapping its tentacles around victims only to be injured and release its hold. This really wouldn't change the grapple rules as they stand, but would add an additional option for when the weakling wizard/sorcerer is in the embrace of a grey render.

Helping a friend in a grapple requires a standard action which grants one attack against the grappling creature. If successful, the attack deals normal damage and forces the grappling creature to immediately make a grapple check against the CMB of the grappled creature + 1/2 the damage dealt by the attack (this DC mechanic may need to be adjusted - just taking a WAG (wild a$$ guess) as full damage seems excessive).

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Smurf my smurf

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Epic Meepo wrote:
Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:
If you want dynamic combat, set up battlefields (and enemy forces) conducive to it. Fighters won't stand in one spot to get their full attack if their enemies are swooping out of the air or riding by launching arrows from horse/griffon/worg-back. Nor will they if the enemy outflanks them and gets to the party spellcaster.

The problem isn't that fighters don't have incentives to engage in dynamic combat. The problem is that fighters suck when engaging in dynamic combat. Fighters rely on their iterative attacks to be effective, and the minute they have to start moving around the battlefield, they lose their biggest advantage. The ability to hit a single opponent once per round for 20 or 30 points of damage is worthless at higher levels.

Incidentally, I agree with you that the removal of iterative attacks is not the answer. (And if I'm not mistaken, Jason Bulmahn indicated earlier in this thread that the removal of iterative attacks is not an option.) However, I do think something should be done to allow higher-level fighter-types to make more than one attack per round without having to stand in place to do it.

My suggestion given further back in the thread does give fighters an advantage by allowing extra attacks as part of a STANDARD action and having these extra attacks be at full base atk mod. That way the fighter isn't nerfed when he has to move across the battlefield and it makes winning initiative meaningful (a prior post gives the example of a fighter winning init, charging and attacking once while the enemy he charged gets a full attack on his init against the fighter who because of charging also has an AC penalty).

I really don't see iterative attacks as core 3.5 - the underlying core rule is really Base Atk Bonus, which would not change. I remember picking up the 3.0 PHB and paging through the first time. My first reaction was "Hey, clerics and wizards get additional attacks at higher levels - that doesn't seem right". Iterative attacks still don't make sense to me - fighters don't gain spellcasting or even the ability to use scrolls/wands; why give other classes an ability that was exclusive to fighters in earlier (1e/2e) editions?

Dark Archive

Keryth wrote:

Keep Iterative Attacks.

What is with the posts to get rid of Iterative attacks and change the magic system? You might as well go 4e if you're gonna do that. The thing that has attractied me to Pathfinder is the fact that ti is still 3.5 with some updates. Changing magic and Iterative attacks makes Pathfinder in-compatable with 3.5.

What about removal of iterative attacks is non-3.5 and what is the fascination with iterative attacks? To me, they are nearly a complete waste - each iterative attack basically means a -25% chance on your ability to hit. Basically at high levels only the first attack or two are going to hit in most instances - why have this rule in that causes the rolling of meaningless dice? Granting extra attacks at full base atk makes more sense, but this can't just replace the iterative attack rules because then it tips the balance too far in the opposite direction. A return to something akin to the 1e/2e rules where specialized fighters were the only ones who gained extra attacks makes sense. Other classes really aren't missing out that much - wizards and sorcerers hardly make use of iterative attacks and the change makes fighters better in battle than clerics which might make the fighter class viable again (current rules allow for a cleric build that can outshine a fighter in battle pretty easily plus have the added capability of spellcasting). Feats grant a good solution to the issue of extra attacks - fighters main boon is the number of feats they get. Now they can apply some of these feats to actually make themselves better in combat than other classes.

Dark Archive

Samuel Weiss wrote:
Slime wrote:

An option to consider in escaping a grapple would be to consider damage inflicted on the grappler.

It's both realistic (self-defence teaches that as the first way to try and get out of someone's grip) and cinematographic (hit the beast hard enough and it let's go of the damsel while yelling in pain) that a creature grappling someone could drop or let go of his victim if inflicted enough damage (possibly 10+CMB h.p. or more in a single attack).

Low intelligence creatures could get a penalty (ex.: double the int. score penalty). This option could also help some Wizards since they could use their 1st level damaging supernatural Ability (no casting or AoO) to try that option but damage is still on the low side but with the int. penalty option it could work out nice.

Just a thought.

Sounds reasonable.

How about just simply adding damage to the next escape attempt?
Or using the damage as a DC for the next grapple if it is greater than the usual CMB?

I like this idea as well as it would allow other party members to help get allies out of a grapple and it would add to the cinematics of the battle (barbarian clubs the gray render which then drops the wizard and turns menacingly on the barbarian). I'm thinking damaging a grappling creature forces a grapple check at DC 10+damage dealt or the grappling creature must release the enemy creature it is grappling.

Dark Archive

Terraneaux wrote:

I think that people are getting on the right track with how to resolve iterative attacks. Simple movement is *huge*; there's a reason a lot of powerful melee builds work off of pounce of some kind or another. There's a simple reason: Melee combatant A wins intiative and charges, dealing some damage. Melee combatant B retaliates with a full attack, killing melee combatant A. But if A had pounce, A stands a good chance of jumping the gun and outright killing B.

Something else I noticed reading through the Pathfinder rules was that they *drastically* lowered the amount of damage that can be added with Power Attack. In my mind, I think this was a mistake. Melee combatants, especially at high levels, had problems with simultaneously hitting and dealing enough damage to harm enemies (since, while spellcasters are much better at controlling a battlefield, melee characters are where its at as far as dishing out the damage goes). Iterative attacks were part of the problem, as each added attack effectively did less damage due to its decreased chance to hit. Also, Power Attack didn't exactly help, either, as you had to decrease your hit chance (thus basically lowering your damage) to increase your damage. The only real solution for a melee character was to beef up his attack bonus to such an absurd level that he would be assured of hitting even while power attacking. A lot of these methods were pretty messed up (Festering Anger, polymorph, frenzied berzerker, pounce+shock trooper, etc.), and, while solving the problem for that given fighter, still meant that without a lot of effort, a fighter had a hard time just hitting things in melee and doing credible damage.

So, melee classes need to see their average damage raised, probably by more than seems rational at first, to be able to hack it against those high level monsters. This can be done in a few ways, thought I think adding a mobile full attack with less penalties than in 3.5 would be huge. Also, the power attack mechanic needs to be changed from...

This thread really has gotten me to thinking about the whole Base Attack mod and iterative attacks. One thing I'm contemplating in my campaign is to wipe out iterative attacks - with a standard action you may make a single attack. I would also make a change to full attack where when making a full attack you would gain an additional attack at your full base attack bonus. This would make full attack meaningful at low levels (right now it is not very meaningful because until a character hits at least 6th lvl they only get one attack (unless you take two-weapon fighting, Manyshot feat, or some other feat that gives you an extra attack of some sort)). Finally, I would create a feat(s) that allow for extra attacks with a standard or full attack action. The prereq would be based on Base Atk Mod so fighter-type classes would qualify most easily (probably +8 for Extra Attack feat and +16 for Improved Extra Attack). Using this methodolgy, a 16th lvl fighter with both feats would gain 3 attacks at full atk mod w/ a standard action and 4 attacks w/ a full atk action. I believe this would make straight fighter-types more capable of holding their own in higher level play. Since all attacks gain full atk mod, I would probably return Power Attack to 3.0 version with a 1 for 1 exchange on to-hit & damage.

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Biomage wrote:
Erik Randall wrote:

Are you thinking 10 + 1/2 caster level + ability modifier?
Exactly! It makes all levels of spell actually useful and doesn't inflate the spellcasters power. It is a realistic reflection of the spellcasters ability.

This has been a house rule instituted in our campaign - it makes sense because most creature abilities are generated off the same calculation, so not allowing it (using RAW for spell lvl) actually weakens the PCs in comparison. It also allows wizards to memorize 1st lvl spells other than Magic Missile (OK, maybe not).

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A house rule I am implementing in an upcoming campaign used a similar 1d6 per 2 cleric lvls in a blast radius, but also allowed a more powerful attack if touching undead with the holy symbol. In this case, the damage was 1d6 per cleric lvl but required a successful touch attack on the undead with the holy symbol. An undead with turn resistance gained the turn resistance as a bonus to their touch AC against such an attack. You see this type of attack in old vampire movies where the cross burns the vampire as its pressed into his flesh.

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I hate the turn undead rules as written in PHB, but I don't think the Pathfinder changes are good either. Like others have stated, good PCs will heal non-undead enemies and evil clerics will harm non-undead allies. I also don't like the idea of this being abused outside of combat as a group healing measure. What I think might make more sense is to give a benefit rather than healing:

For good-aligned clerics - allies within the burst radius gain +2 atk & dmg vs undead affected by the turning (those that took dmg) and those undead are -2 atk & dmg vs cleric and allies in burst for 1/rd per cleric's Cha mod.

For evil-aligned clerics - rebuked undead gain +2 atk & dmg against targets they are commanded to attack by the evil cleric and cleric's enemies are -2 atk & dmg vs. the cleric and any rebuked undead.

Undead take damage from good-aligned turning (positive energy) and heal damage from evil-aligned turning (negative energy) due to their unique nature and direct ties to the negative material plane. Living creatures do not have such a tie to the positive material plane so they are unaffected hit point-wise, but still may benefit or suffer from the other conditions.

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DMFTodd wrote:

I like the idea of one feat building on another through the combat. Rather than just attacking round after round, you get possibilities for some "combos". Seems like it would add some excitement to the combat to see if you can pull off the later feats.

As I think about it, I would also be a fan of combo feats - feats that build off each other or give added benefits when used together, rather than making a character choose either/or. WOTC did try to do this somewhat with Tactical feats, but to me they were very poorly done because of the specific situations they could be used in and the long list of prereqs needed. I think a "combo" approach would be a great way to give characters more options in a combat. Combo feats that improved tactical mobility would be sweet - it would hopefully bring an end to the constant 5ft adjusting that makes tactical battle not really that tactical.

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Count me in on the banishment of iterative attacks. While getting to roll more dice can be fun, the success level of iterative attacks from my perspective makes them not that helpful to characters. You're basically -25% to hit on the second attack, -50% on the third,... If you're fighting things of a CR near the party's avg level and not playing an uber min/maxed character, you're probably only going to hit on the first and possibly second attack unless you get lucky and roll a "natty 20" on one of the later attacks. I also never liked the idea of sorcerer/wizards gaining additional attacks at higher levels. Guess it's a hold-over from 1e/2e where only a fighter-type class was able to gain multiple attacks in a round.

While we're on the subject of attacks, I'd like to see a little more love given to the two-handed fighting style in Pathfinder RPG. It just seems with 3.5 that all fighter types walk around with a two-handed weapon because they get the max Str adj to dmg with none of the penalties associated with two weapon fighting. Even with a light off-hand weapon and the two-weapon fighting feat you're -2 (or -10%) on every attack - the best case scenario. Maybe having Dex offset these penalties like in 1e/2e is a possibility, or allowing full Str mod to dmg on both weapons to give it an advantage over a two-handed weapon to justify the associated penalties?

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Mary Yamato wrote:
Chris Mortika wrote:

Hi, Mary.

Let me ask: what has been your most positive role-playing adventure? What's been the best for you, and why?

Gosh. Twenty-nine years of gaming gives a lot to choose among.

Probably the most fun was the _Radiant_ space opera campaign (run in a homebrew) where the PCs started out as crew of a struggling tramp merchant starship, and ended up as major players in two different star systems (one highly civilized and connected, one a "lost colony."

The background and setting became very rich over five years of play; the PCs' home base was particularly well developed, as was the lost colony world. The PCs had enough power to do a lot of interesting things, but they had to use finesse--they couldn't go head-to-head with their biggest opponents, like the demon-possessed AI that turned out to be running the colony planet.

My favorite part was the PC infiltration of a "self-improvement company" (really a dangerous cult which was using demon possession as its road to self-improvement): one of the PCs managed to get himself quite far into the cult leadership, while the others worked from outside to support him and gather the evidence needed to convince the authorities. The insider PC complicated things immensely by falling in love with the cult leader's daugher.... The arc ended with a very tense raid to extricate the PC (and his girlfriend) and try to bag the cult leader; and a lengthy roleplaying situation where the PCs were trying to discover if there was any way to redeem the daughter.

I think fantasy is a lot easier to run, and I've had good experiences there too, but this game really stands out for me. It rewarded thinking, planning, and understanding the setting. The PCs managed to uncover a ring of vampires by tracing a complex series of clues starting with "Why does this class of people on the space station spend more money and drink more fluids than they ought to?" and ending with a PC needing to deliberately bait a suspected vampire into...

If the first volume is any indication of the series, I think there will be much opportunity for characters to form relationships and bonds with NPCs in the CotCT AP - volume 1 introduces a number of NPCs that it seems will be recurring characters throughout the campaign and puts the PCs in situations where they can interact with the NPCs. This is one of the main reasons why I love urban campaigns so much - the opportunity for the DM to grow and develop NPCs in much the same way the players grow and develop the PCs.

Dark Archive

Nicolas Logue wrote:
Coridan wrote:
Nicolas Logue wrote:
Mr. Slaad wrote:
I just want to say that the early boss in EoA is NOT the major crime boss at all, but a very old and not very powerful little leaguer. So there is not real "1st level pcs killing big baddie" feel to it.
Word. He's a dweeb in the scheme of things. He's a nothing and the module makes that as clear as clear can be. He never amounted to anything.
In the words of my character after we killed him. "Wow, he was much scarier when I was 12"
Ha! Great! :-)

That is a good approach that I'll have to keep in mind - make sure the characters write Gaedren far into their backstory (10 or more years) then play up how feeble he has become and how he's a shell of his former self.

Dark Archive

This was one more thing that struck a bad chord with me - when the PCs go into Gaedren's lair, the city is fine and when they exit the city has gone out of control. I know other posts have suggested giving more lead up to the event in the introduction, but as written it seemed very contrived - like we'll send the PCs here to keep them occupied then spring the plot hook on them when they come out.

Dark Archive

I was a little put off by the early boss in EoA as well. The characters are supposed to be built with an eye toward hatred for this guy then he's most likely killed off in the first act?? It would be like the Joker getting killed 10 minutes into the upcoming Dark Knight movie. I can see my players having a real problem with this - taking the time to write up a detailed history on how they hate this guy, then offing him very easily in the initial encounter. It just doesn't make for a compelling encounter for me. I know I plan to re-write this section to hopefully give said boss a little more facetime in the first couple installments. I still have high hopes for the overall AP, but the initial volume did not reach my expectations.

Dark Archive

In the reefclaw's bestiary/monster stat block entry it has a special attack of tenacious grapple, but there is no description of that special attack. I'm assuming it gives some sort of bonus on grapple checks since the reefclaw is a small creature with 10 STR, but has +5 grapple check with only +1 base attack. Can we possibly get a write-up on this description so we can apply it to an advanced reefclaw of larger size?

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Is the Paizo staff close to announcing a release date on the PDF yet? I'm assuming like Rise of the Runelords that the PDF of the Player's Guide will be a free download and print copies will be $2. Really looking forward to taking a look at this - urban adventures rock!!!

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What types of stories do others want to see?

I would like to see a Q series that focused on Quests - most would likely be quests for magic items, but there could also be quests to save important figures (like the 2nd Ed Iuz adventure). I think an adventure path dedicated to a magic item quest could be a nice change of pace from the usual "Save the World from the BBEG" that it seems most of the paths have revolved around.

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ericthecleric wrote:
Jakoov, I wish more players were like yours- ie. actually acting like good guys. Too many people I've player with or DMed for have acted like a bunch of tiresome mercenary jerks.

Eric - I can't agree with you more. Seems like every time an NPC offers the party a reward amount the first statement out of the PCs mouths is "each?".

Dark Archive

It can be very gamebreaking to allow druid animal companions to grow. We had a druid in our campaign with a wolverine and he believed that adding hit dice should follow the size rules in MM. When the wolverine grew from Med to Large, he added the +8 Str (on top of the Str increase from being an animal companion). This creature far outdistanced the PC fighter in melee with its 20-something Str plus reach for being large. It was obviously broken. I believe one of the Sage Advice columns (can't remember which Dragon issue) addressed this topic and ruled animal companions do not increase in size per the MM.

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Two DM/players trying to recruit players (2-4 additional) for weekly Friday night 3.5 D&D in the Milwaukee/Madison area (game will be held either in New Berlin or Oconomowoc). One DM will run Ptolus-based urban campaign while other will run Pathfinder adventure path. Sessions will rotate between the two campaigns. Looking for players able to commit to the weekly schedule and who are character and story-focused. If interested, e-mail

Dark Archive

Our group has also been tossing around the idea of improvements to 3.5. Here are some of the suggestions I'm proposing:

Iterative attacks - after the first attack or two, I think these basically become worthless. I would rather see some type of increased damage scaling rather than additional attacks that have little or no chance to hit. I think this would also make the fighter-types more viable as compared to the spellcasters at higher levels.

Grappling - basically impossible for characters to beat large or larger creatures. Plus what you can or cannot do is always a question that requires looking it up in the PHB and slowing down the game. Not sure how to improve - maybe just dump?? Give monsters with improved grab a replacement ability.

Skills - (a) 4e looks to be moving towards a trimmer skills set, combining Move Silently and Hide into Stealth and Spot/Search/Listen into Perception. This makes sense to me - often times you're asked to make multiple skill checks (Spot & Listen or Hide & Move Silently) - what does one success & one fail mean? or two successes? Seems more intuitive to have one check in these cases - either pass or fail. (b) base skills more on race, at least as far as skill points gained. It also appears 4e is going to address this as well. My thoughts were to have skills available at new levels based on class but have points gained based on race (for example, regardless of class Humans gain 8 skill pts each level, half-orcs gain 2 pts, elves & dwarves maybe 4 or 6). Again, this more closely matches the approa ch for monsters in the MM. It would also allow some different archetypes - the stealthy human fighter (taking stealth skills cross-class) and the scholarly human wizard (more points to spend on Knowledge skills).

Turn Undead - both the RAW (undead cower) and the optional rule (I believe from Complete Divine - 1d6 dmg per cleric lvl) do not appeal to me. Not sure what I'd do to fix it, but there has to be a better way.

Actions - I have not been a big fan of the swift/immediate actions since they came into existence. To me they are unbalanced, as they generally favor spellcasters granting them the ability to do more than the fighter-types. Plus it's additional bookkeeping to track. I would prefer a simpler system of having a set number of actions per round (2 or 3) and limiting casters to one spellcasting action per round (though a caster could cast a spell and use a magic item in the same round). This would also be a good replacement system for the iterative attacks - fighter types can attack once per action, so if we go two actions they could double attack - two attacks at their base attack bonus.

Dark Archive

Black Baron wrote:

Mordenkainen's Disjunction.

Just plain nasty!

I am actually contemplating a living spell version of Mordenkainen's Disjunction - gleefully awaiting the point I ask for a list of all the characters' magic items and start making Will saves.

Dark Archive

I'm excited by the reviews so far. I have an Age of Worms campaign starting at some point in the future and am basing the campaign in the Realms. I really didn't like the Champions Belt adventure so planned to incorporate some Skullport/Undermountain in its place. In looking at the table of contents on Expedition to Undermountain it seemed as if it was somewhat modular which had me excited to be able to pick and choose sections to fill-in to Age of Worms. The death of Halaster and doom on the horizon fits in well to the overall premise of the Age of Worms. Ordered my copy and have not yet received it. Definitely anxiously awaiting its arrival.

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