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My paladin of Abadar has switched over to Sovereign Court. There are some nobles who want to use their power and wealth to make the world better, including my now 15th level Taldan noble PC. That certainly fits with a paladin of Abadar.
For Iomedae, who can raise an army to fight vast forces of evil? That's what turned my paladin away from the Silver Crusade. Sure, you can do good things here and there, but individuals have a harder time trying to make as big an impact as an ambivalent, wealthy leader.
You can make any character interesting to role-play. There's no limitation in the rules about how you role-play or what you do with your character.
You can't make every character that was built to be interesting by introducing flaws or using sub-optimal builds into an effective combat character.
The former is an easier objective and doesn't screw over the other members of your community as they expend resources trying to keep you alive in difficult encounters. It's like the bard that ran away from every fight that someone described in a similar thread a while back. That player probably thought the role-play was awesome. The rest of his table probably thought he was an a+!+*%#.
So my group is currently at Ascanor Lodge, and they've managed to make Estovion pretty paranoid an angry. One of them told him that they are following the trail of a friend's murderer but that the trail ends here.
Is there any reason he wouldn't try to find a way to sell out the Whispering Way so long as it can't come back to him? I'm thinking about having him tell them to go find the Prince's Wolves. They have a similar interest and will get the party out of his hair. He just wants to keep the Lodge safe, and that's more likely to happen if Mathus has more enemies and he gets a reputation for not being allied with Mathus.
Kristie Schweyer wrote:
I think this reinforces my thinking about improvisation skills to make this scenario good. I'm upping my earlier statement to be that if you can't improvise well, you shouldn't try to run the scenario.
Good GM improvisation means many things:
One of the keys to improvising as a GM is listening to the players and using "yes, and" for their ideas. "Yes, and" is an improvisation trick where instead of negating the person who just spoke, you build on top of their idea. So if one of the PCs suggests that maybe Scenario X is what happened, try to make Scenario X the reality within the framework of the written scenario.
The reasoning is that "No" or "But" kills the story's progression and should be avoided as much as possible.
Player: "Maybe she's actually a demon pretending to hear the voice of Iomedae."
Player: "The second victim had a family, I want to try to find them."
I used a couple of the things from the above commenters in today's table. One is the "crusaders vs. pathfinders" idea. I think it does a good job of setting the tone - I also used it to open up Perception vs. Stealth as another contest, sort of a hide-and-go-seek. The other thing I used was the identities of the the people who were murdered.
Repeating what someone else said, do NOT try to run this scenario cold. If you do, you are taking away from what could be a very fun experience by eating up a chronicle play-through for the players. I also recommend against running this scenario if you are uncomfortable improvising as a GM.
Here's what happened at my table:
My group failed some of the initial Diplomacy checks, so they were doing their investigation without knowing any evidence or much detail of the crimes. Later, their failure on their only attempt to get the Sheriff to talk made them decide that breaking into the Sheriff's home to speak to the prisoners was a good idea. The Sheriff heard the intruder in the middle of the night, and it advanced the track quickly in both the town's sentiment and the opposition track.
They had alienated so many people that they were getting desperate.
This culmination of events made a lot of things start happening quickly. As the trap in Encounter 4 began, Encounter 5 also began with a mob forming within rounds of the cries of "murder" from Krunne. Despite his cries for help, they continued to attack and nearly dropped him before he was able to get out of the house with the Luin and Ekira at the front door.
Their bad luck with Diplomacy turned around, and they imagined to convince Luin and Ekira that someone was secretly sowing chaos in the town. If not for that, I think they'd have been jailed and failed completely.
In my table of all the pre-gens plus a second warpriest, the final battle had both warpriests down and the bloodrager down. The swashbuckler finished the mummy off with panache! One of the warpriests ended up dead. The two wands of CLW were completely expended, and orc ferocity plus the swift healing of the warpriest class probably kept it from being a TPK.
The Pharaoh walked over and his despair froze Oloch, and coup de graced killed him. Only death for two tables.
Why? This seems like a jerk move from the GM. The tactics don't say he does this, so why would he spend two rounds doing it: one to move adjacent, a second to full-round action coup de grace.
Sammy T wrote:
If time runs out, you didn't do enough to manage the time. I can only recall a single PFS event that I've run that went over time, and I asked the players and the venue before the event if that was okay (Waking Rune at Winter War with you amusingly). I have my maps pre-drawn in almost every case. I ask players what they are going to do in-character when they seem to be going off into unrelated discussion.
There are dozens of things you can do to make sure going over time doesn't happen. If it DOES happen, it's not the players' fault, and they should not be "punished" by being shorted on rewards for the scenario.
I don't see anyone asking how much time was scheduled for the scenario. If it was for less than 5 hours, the players should get the rewards for completing the final encounter. While it's not explicitly in the Guide that scenarios should be allowed 5 hours to be completed, that seems to be repeated by Paizo in other places.
I will always put sessions going long on the GM which means the players get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to handling such situations. The GM knows what the scenario's RP scenes are, what the combats are, what the PCs are, and how much time is available for the session. It's on the GM to keep an eye on time and ensure as much as possible that the session completes on time. Sometimes that means doing the things Chris mention, and sometimes it means having to be tough on players who want to have side conversations or debate rules. It also means sometimes telling them that there's no traps or trickery involved when they are spending too much time being paranoid. Good GMs are able to manage all those factors to ensure the session runs within the time allotted.
The only trigger for going long that a GM can't manage is a long series of bad die rolls that results in PC deaths or even a TPK. Those events can have a significantly negative impact on the time required to complete the scenario.
Bruno Breakbone wrote:
To be fair, he didn't forget to spend the Ki point, he just spent his swift action doing something else. Let's make sure we're accurate when we get inquisited. :)
Venture-Captain Grikmet Grandovalna, Viscount of Wispil, Unredeemed King of the Gnomes, Consort of the Wyrm-Queen, Proprietor of Grandovalna's Marvelous Machinations, Delver Extraordinairre is also a Dean of the Acadamae. After easily disabling the traps that had baffled other contenders for decades, Grikmet has taken to teaching wizards the true art of trap crafting. The first lesson he teaches is this: a found trap is a disabled trap. When your potential foe is walking around with a +34 Perception to find any trap he passes within 10 feet, you have to be a bit more clever.
Kyle Baird wrote:
Do you have space for one more? A friend may also be interested. I should also include summoning Bralani Azata as a standard action. ;)
While exploring an ancient ruin trying to track down an evil overlord, we encounter some enslaved minions guarding an altar and a set of double doors. We try to talk our way passed them by telling them they were free to go. They didn't buy it and said we had to leave.
"Is your overload behind those doors over there?" I ask.
I step over to the rest of the party and cast Dimension Door to take us all just behind the doors. We see the BBEG across the room who is then hit by a full-round of attacks from the archer, a Blindness from me, and a Fireball from the sorcerer, killing him before he even gets to his initiative.
We open the doors behind us less than 6 seconds after disappearing, "Okay, NOW you can go."
I've run it twice now, and both times the players felt challenged and that they barely survived. That's what I think is an ideal running of the scenario.
The last time I ran it, Krune got cut out of his sarcophagus by an adamantine axe-wielding barbarian. He was unable to act before he was almost dead (managed to disable all runes). He used dimensional steps to get away and then Phase Door to hide in a wall. He summoned bralanis to heal him, but the party had True Seeing going which allows seeing into ethereal. He was mostly healed when a successful Dispel Magic popped him out. The party had a couple wands of Dispel Magic at high level thanks to a particular scenario, and they rolled well. His Black Tentacles suffered the same fate. He readied an empowered maximized horrid wilting for when the last party member ran into the room. It went off and made them all pray that the barbarian's attack would finish him off. It did.
Die rolls can make a big difference.
Charm X, Suggestion, and Dominate X for a hierarchy of spells. An important part of understanding them is understanding their spell-types in addition to their descriptions.
Charm X are a set of enchantment (charm) spells.
A charm spell changes how the subject views you, typically making it see you as a good friend.Suggestion and Dominate X are enchantment (compulsion) spells.
A compulsion spell forces the subject to act in some manner or changes the way its mind works. Some compulsion spells determine the subject's actions or the effects on the subject, others allow you to determine the subject's actions when you cast the spell, and still others give you ongoing control over the subject.
Charm doesn't give a lot of room. When I adjudicate them, I tell players to think of the PCs and NPCs as real-life friends they may have had in the past that hate each other. If you try to get a charmed target to do something against their friends, the target weighs the two sets of friends against each other. In other words, a charmed enemy is only marginally useful when the enemy has other allies around them. In other situations, they will help however they can just like they would help any other friend.
Compulsions are much different. They force the target to do things they would not normally do. It is very much a form of control. Suggestion offers NO opportunity to re-save although it does have to be "reasonable" and more reasonable Suggestions may even trigger a penalty on the save. Dominate X only gives a re-save when the action is against the target's nature. Most Pathfinders are quite eager to kill things and take their stuff and the same goes for most intelligent enemies they might encounter.
Charms - would I do something for a friend against some other friend? Probably not in most cases.
Compulsions - unless the spell gives an out, the target does it. Period.
Michael Brock wrote:
Was that the same for last Gen Con? I ran two slots worth and nothing shows up on my credits as far as I can tell (not sure if the number is just incremented or if it should appear as a game). I'm getting close to 100 tables, but I'll take every credit I have earned. :)
I had Adivion (as simulacrum) appear at the funeral as well as a new NPC, an alchemist by the name of Dr. Jamison Kelly (Dr. Jekyll if the players realize later). Dr. Kelly came on behalf of Count Galdana who was unable to attend. A Sense Motive from the PCs revealed that Adivion was little disappointed at that information. Both are members of the Palatine Eye, and the PCs also picked up secret gestures between Kelly and Adivion.
Since this is a four-character group, I wanted to have NPCs around that the PCs could go to for help. This will include Kendra but also Dr. Kelly. I've also decided that Adivion is going to try to groom these PCs into allies. He will hear about their assistance with Harrowstone and investigation of Prof. Lorrimor's death, and he will send them each some special armor once they reach Lepidstadt as gifts. That armor will be the first step in his effort to turn the group into Graveknight body guards as well as keep an eye on them.
There's a pretty good chance they will get the book open on the Secret Order of the Palatine Eye, and I think this group will likely attribute the gifts to the Eye and not to something more nefarious.
Sorry, it was a mistake in my rush to post. CR + 15 is what I did. In my hurry to post, I was thinking it start at DC 10. It starts at DC 0 plus CR plus rarity adjustments.
Pirate Rob wrote:
As a note I have not yet run into any tieflings or aasimar to nom on while running this scenario.
I had a sleeping tiefling via Cloak of Dreams, but she died before her next turn. :(
For identifying her, I went with 10 + CR + 15 as suggested by Knowledge rules and inferred from her rarity as described in the scenario. As a herald, I allow both Planes and Religion. Someone might know who she is but very unlikely to know what she can do. My table panicked when they realized she had regeneration. They figured out it was regeneration at which point I read them the mechanics. They panicked when fire and cold didn't do it. Lucky for them the alchemist had Acid Bombs.
He wishes all the stirges to attach to the caster or a suitably damaged tank. Enjoy your sub-10 Con there, buddy.
Some people are so unoriginal with wishes. ;)
So a player is supposed to figure out that the Craft Wondrous Item feat and having Alchemical Allocation in order to create a Volatile Vaporizer (Ultimate Equipment) is not legal? The obvious interpretation would be to have the Craft Wondrous Item feat (which is apparently not allowed for Alchemists since they are not spellcasters) and the spell Alchemical Allocation prepared via extract (which is also not possible because extracts don't count as spells in this case so just use the Crafting rules for when you don't have the prerequisite).
It's an inconsistency that makes the 3.5 rules for Grapple seem trivial. Where's Bruno?
So if alchemists can't take item creation feats or cast spells as required for item creation, how does a Formula Alembic (Ultimate Equipment) ever get made? I'm sure this is not the only magic item that takes a Crafting feat, a spell, and something specific to alchemists.
Using the alembic does not harm the potion, but the process makes it nearly boiling hot (it cools normally). The alembic can only distill the knowledge of formulas on the alchemist extract list (for example, it cannot turn a potion of a cleric-only spell into something an alchemist can learn).
3) Predraw all of your maps. It saves time and energy.
This is my pet peeve of Gen Con or really any convention PFS game. Of the problems you might have GMing at Gen Con, drawing maps should not be one of them. Lots of flip maps have blank sides. If you have a vinyl map as your only map, you should invest in Gaming Paper and or more flip maps. Gaming Paper is only $4 for a roll, and there's really no excuse for not coming with pre-drawn maps*.
* The only time I don't pre-draw is if a map is easy to draw and I want to slow reveal as the PCs explore. I still mark up my PDF with counts of squares for dimensions so I can draw as quickly as possible.
One thing to be concious of is that the Ring of Spell Turning does take a standard action to activate so may well not actually be worth it.
Same thing with the swift on messing with people's runes. There are a lot of other swift actions for him to take. The one time I considered it, it would have taken him moving out of the Black Tentacles he was using to keep most of the party at bay. Instead, he used Quickened Dispel Magic on the Life Bubble that he realized was blocking his Empowered Cloudkill. I kind of which they had done something different for that action since the party was never in a configuration that made it a worthwhile action.
Pirate Rob wrote:
Note that the rod doesn't have quicken on it.
Ha! I think I might have used it once that way since he has so many of his own Quickened spells prepared. I also didn't realize that Maximize is now 3 levels higher instead of the 4 that it was under 3.5. ;)
Additional tip: write down the metamagic feats and level adjustments that the Rod can do. :)
joe kirner wrote:
That's the space it takes on the map so seems pretty obvious.
I ran Waking Rune this past weekend at high tier, and I have to say that I'm glad I read this thread.
I had Kurshu use Cloak of Dreams with one of her Limited Wishes, and it definitely made the characters want to stay away from her.
I ran the first two encounters and the runes quickly and efficiently. This meant there was 2.5 hours left in the slot for the last battle.
I put Krune into Hero Lab and added all the rune buffs as adjustments on the Personal tab. This worked out fantastically! I uploaded the portfolio to the Shared Prep folder if anyone else wants to use it. As the party disabled runes, I made adjustments to the Personal tab. This was also useful for quickly seeing what spells he had available.
I also picked out some likely summons for different needs and added the Augment Summoning to them: damage dealing and inhibiting movement of characters. I had a prevalence of Greater Invisibility at my table, so I would recommend adding creatures with See Invisibility and True Seeing. Krune is in trouble if his summoned monsters can't see the enemies even if he can.
His spear should be using Telekinesis constantly to help control the battlefield. It should be pushing melee characters away. The Ray of Enfeeblement is also very helpful. It managed to rip the great grappler Bruno off of Krune multiple times (Tetori monk able to overcome Freedom of Movement).
Be sure you know his magic items. Freedom of Movement and Ring of Spell Turning are right there and do a lot to protect him. My table had zero casters that cast offensive spells, so the Spell Turning never fired.
Don't overuse his metamagic rod. If you are doing a Quickened Empowered Maximized Horrid Wilting, he will be in trouble later.
Know your rules for Dimension Door and Dimensional Steps. Dimension Door ends your turn so cast another spell before it if you can. Dimensional Steps is SP, so you need to make concentration checks to avoid AoOs. It's also a standard action.
In the end, the party knocked Krune unconscious by 3hp after about 15 to 20 rounds of combat. If they had failed, I had already planned to use Arcane Bond for another Empowered Horrid Wilting with the last charge of his rod which would have killed at least a couple members of the party as most of them had taken a lot of damage. I felt like this was a perfect ending that meant the PCs were on the ropes but succeeded.
I signed up to GM 5 slots last year, and it didn't quite go as I would have liked for a variety of factors.
I requested to run the same scenario in 5 specific slots. I initially got what I requested, but that was later changed to 3 different things: the scenario, We Be Goblins twice (two 2-hour games), and Goblin Attack twice. I had to prep two additional items which was okay in the end.
Second was that for the scenario I was initially assigned, none of the tables went off due to lack of players. It was the scenario I looked forward to the most. In one slot I did manage to get a table of GMs who also had their tables not go. (On the positive side, I did have fun running We Be Goblins and Goblin Attack. I've now taken to enjoying WBG and run it whenever asked.)
When games don't go off, you either have to hope to find a table with a seat, or you go wander off to the exhibit hall. While the free badge is nice, I'm likely to pass on GMing at Gen Con for PFS in the future. Gen Con is a special thing for me and my family, so we're likely to go as simply players in PFS and other events.
I'm not trying to dissuade you from GMing at Gen Con at all. I offer my experience more as a data point in help you decide what you want your Gen Con to be.
I've already PM'd Bruno, but I'm trying to reach out to the Waking Rune players for Saturday morning. The scenario has the potential to go long, and I'd like to get an 8:30am start and go up to an hour after the end of the slot (still leaves an hour before afternoon slot). PM me if you're signed up for it.
I think the prestige costs are about right. Until an alternative cost comes along, I don't think there's anything better. I've retrained two levels of dipping on two different characters, and I've also retrained feats that no longer made sense after retraining the level dips. One of them is 8th level, and the PP cost is worrisome but lessened a bit by a couple boons. The other is 11th level and still has plenty of gold left over after the retrain. I also mind less if the 11th level dies since I'm doing it on slow.
GM stars are like the last few charges on a high level Wand of Dispel Magic. You aren't going to use them unless you really really want to use them. That means they are more likely to never be used.
Personally, I'm wanting to redo Echoes of the Everwar once I get my fourth star this spring because we totally botched part 3 with a near TPK in the first encounter.
Andrew Roberts wrote:
When I ran this module, the party ended up pulling the whole place at once cause they didn't want to play along with the RP of the module, especially the paladin.
If someone wanted to play a paladin (or some other LG or LN concepts), I would tell them the scenario is likely to involve subterfuge with consistent lying and infiltration. If your character's morals don't allow for that, I would stay away from this module. This module is great for the rogues with Bluff, Diplomacy, and Stealth to really shine, something that doesn't happen often in regular scenarios.
Ryan Blomquist wrote:
And that's why...
my Eyes of the Ten mentee character was Shadow Lodge. Who was double-crossed again by Torch. So now the characters are part of the Society to use it as a tool towards their own ends.
Hearing from your wife who subs as an art teacher that a kid who played at your table couldn't stop talking about his experience.
Someone telling you that they'd really like you to GM a particular scenario because they think you are a good GM or heard someone else describe how awesome a previous table of yours for the scenario was.
Michael Brock wrote:
Good to know. The copy I got on Friday had the right racial rewards scratched off, but the rebuild boon was not. I'll scratch it off myself.
If I am level 3 playing in tier a tier 1-5 scenario, I get out of subtier gold which includes the lower tier gold and a portion of the higher tier gold. therefore it's appropriate for me to be able to get the lower tier equipment and a portion of the upper tier equipment as well.
Except there is nothing anywhere that even comes close to suggesting that would be appropriate.
The Out-of-Subtier gold value is the average of the high and low subtiers; for slow progression it is half the normal Out-of-Subtier value, rounded down."
It's not the lower tier gold plus a portion of the higher tier gold - it's the average. You are making up an interpretation just like you are trying to do with equipment subtiers. The character isn't getting the higher subtier gold reward, so why would it get the higher subtier equipment reward? There is zero reason other than the argument that the Guide doesn't say you don't get the higher subtier equipment reward.
Reread what I wrote. I didn't say the players at the table, I said his own imaginary table of other characters that fit his own most appropriate subtier. The dice example is no less absurd than your argument that there is any possible interpretation for an out of subtier GM credit to get higher subtier rewards.
In order to change Domains, I'd have to use the GM boon. I've decided to hang onto it for now since I was only looking to retrain 2 levels and two feats. There's other ways to get extra movement that don't involve dragging an animal companion around, so I'm going that route for now.
I had thought the rebuild boon was going to be Tier-1 only, Adam, but the race parts were the only part that varied by tier.