I can't say I've had to deal with the 'murder-hobo' mentality, but I definitely have players who don't trust any NPC. They want to kill anyone who gets in their way because obviously that guy is part of the secret conspiracy.
Lodge owner who doesn't want let random unexpected armed guys into the lodge? Obviously a villain.
Vampire hunter wanting to help the players by directing them to a contact? Obviously a villain wanting them to walk into a trap.
Shop owner that doesn't know anything about anything (because the PC got a 3 on gather info)? Obviously in on it and intentionally trying to block the party so some physical persuasion is necessary.
Mayor that wants to pay the players to go find some missing people but not to let the sheriff know because the law man may be part of the conspiracy? Obviously go straight to the sheriff and kill him and his deputies and ransack their homes for evidence.
Luckily this is only one or two of the five person party... and, unfortunately, it is quite often that NPCs are there for nefarious reasons so I can't fault his metagaming concepts.
Then I read stories of other gaming groups where the party goes into town, the sheriff tells them to stop hassling the bartender for information, so the party kills the sheriff, the bartender, the other police, the farmers that saw it, and burn the bar down. But the party isn't evil, see, it was all the sheriff's fault for provoking the incident!
So yes, the term 'murderhobo' exists for a good reason. It isn't true for every party, or even the majority of them, but it definitely happens in enough cases otherwise the term wouldn't have existed.
One major issue that comes up is that the summoner will dump his physical stats and the eidolon would dump mental stats. Then, when they synthesize, they have something akin to a 32-point buy stat array since it uses the eidolon's physical and summoner's mental stats together.
The summoner gets a free layer of hitpoints from the eidolon and also uses the eidolon's AC (including its Natural Armor Bonus). It becomes that much harder to actually kill the summoner since it is one target with, effectively, double the hit points.
The summoner can also take combat feats that he will use when in the combined form, thus providing a means to marry eidolon evolutions with interesting combat feats, which can get quite messy for the enemies.
Overall, if the player is keen on optimization or min/maxing, this class can be a pile of pain for the GM. If the player isn't especially good at doing any of that, it will still be naturally stronger than any other character the player could make because of inherent design aspects (like the shared stats).
This is based on what I've read on the boards. I have actually banned the entire class, not just the archetype, in my games because I have a few players who love to min/max and could do bad things even with a vanilla summoner.
You got a bit too clever on this spell.
Call Lightning Description wrote:
The bolt of lightning flashes down in a vertical stroke at whatever target point you choose within the spell's range (measured from your position at the time). Any creature in the target square or in the path of the bolt is affected.
You don't target creatures with call lightning, you target vertical columns 30 feet high. So I'd say you don't even need to be able to see the ground where the lightning is striking, just the distance and direction of the place where you're aiming.
I do not believe the random hit location is necessary in this case.
Disregard potions and scrolls from the treasures rolled. If you roll that category on the treasure table, just reroll until you get something else.
Or go and pick some interesting treasure items from the book and offer those. It can be a good way to supplement the book's specific treasure with some items you know the players will consider buying.
I can also suggest perhaps you offer a bundle deal. So a normal CLW potion costs 50g, but maybe someone is selling 12 for 500g is a fun option (though a wand of CLW is the most cost effective)
PS - A wand's price is for 50 charges. You can reduce the charges by 10 and the price by 20% if you'd like. It is a good way to get a wand of utility spells for cheap (fly, knock, or even some CLWs for low level characters).
If it is untyped (as is the case with Giant Form) then yes, it should stack.
You're right for the wrong reason, heh. Natural Armor is called a Bonus for some reason (a hold over from other D&D editions and because it is a bonus to your AC). It isn't a "typed" or "untyped" bonus. It simply is the number that goes in the NA Bonus box when adding things up.
There is also the "Enchantment Bonus to Natural Armor Bonus" box that is a typed bonus. It is a bonus for the NA bonus and you can only have one enchantment of NA.
So a creature with +6 NA bonus and a +4 barkskin and a +2 amulet of natural armor has a +10 to AC. If the Trog uses Giant Shape 1, it'll drop down to +4 NA +4 barkskin = +8 to AC.
A natural armor bonus improves Armor Class resulting from a creature's naturally tough hide. Natural armor bonuses stack with all other bonuses to Armor Class (even with armor bonuses) except other natural armor bonuses. Some magical effects (such as the barkskin spell) grant an enhancement bonus to the creature's existing natural armor bonus, which has the effect of increasing the natural armor's overall bonus to Armor Class. A natural armor bonus doesn't apply against touch attacks.
So you have a base "Natural Armor bonus" and can have one "enchantment bonus to existing Natural Armor bonus". All creatures are said to have at least a +0 NA Bonus.
The distinction is important. A troglodyte (+6 NA Bonus) that uses Giant Shape 1 now has a +4 NA Bonus. Not +6 or +10, as the Giant Shape 1 replaced the Trog's inherent NA Bonus.
You're a complicated one, aren't you? Also sadistic, but against players so I'm cool with it. I have no experience with illusions, so I'm going to go read about them and answer as best I can per my understanding of the rules.
1) Reflex to avoid the pit, just like a camouflaged pit (which it is). The guy who falls through instantly disbelieves the illusion. Anyone who sees the first guy go in gets a will save at +4 to disbelieve. If they go over and poke at it and find nothing, they immediately disbelieve it.
2) Two options. The bridge is only 20% as strong as it really is once someone disbelieves it. So either it can only hold up 20% of the normal weight (perhaps breaking when the character notices it as an illusion) or as you suggest and they start to fall through. Strict interpretation would be a weak bridge.
3) Sure. Especially if the illusion mimics the position of the other character (so the body and limbs are in roughly the same spot). Treat it like two targets that have total concealment from each other but know the square to attack. 50% miss chance and use flatfooted AC. Every time the arrow passes through the creature, it is a chance to disbelieve.
They roll the attack rolls and you secretly roll the miss chance. If it passes the miss chance, take what they got and compare it to the other guy's AC. This should make it harder for the players to realize what is happening... until they disbelieve the illusion.
4) Not actually a question, but a pretty fancy way to screw with people, heh.
5) Hard to adjudicate. You could throw an illusion on the skin of a golem and then it would have the defenses and DR of the golem while looking like a frail old man. The problem is the save to disbelieve, since they aren't really failing to interact (especially if it brags about how it is impervious to damage, buwahahaha).
I'd say will-4 to disbelieve since it has very little obvious ways to tell. The -4 only counts for interactions that don't involve touching the thing (added fun: while easier to disbelieve by touching and seeing that the hair or clothes aren't really there, you should coat the golem in a contact poison or mimic glue).
6) Nothing personally, unfortunately. I have suggested a friend use her illusions to slowly turn a town against the mayor by creating overheard conversations, town guards dragging people from houses, etc in ways that cannot be easily checked if illusion (overheard at a crowded bar, seen from a few blocks away, etc). This could be used to slowly build up resentment.
Another similar option is to add a money-laden donkey image to follow a person around so the local thugs attack him, thus allowing you to come to the rescue and/or blame the assassination on the thugs. This may be best served as a phantasm between you and the thugs, so the actual target doesn't look around and wonder why there's a donkey following him.
A good idea would be for them to write the story and for you to invent two traits for them. This can be gamed, of course, but it far less of the current "I was born on the street so I could get the Street Urchin trait bonus".
Another approach is let them do the backstory and state one trait bonus they want (appropriate to what they wrote) and you pick the other one. A nice compromise without having the players feel like they lost something during creation.
By trait I mean a bonus at the power level of a trait, not necessarily a pre-existing trait.
The Gory Details:
The party dispatched Radvir and his group with such ease, I figured I'd bump up the first fight of the Abbey too. So I moved the demon into the Winery and had the witchfires pop up about 4 rounds into combat (the six guards, modified to use crossbows, showing up another few rounds later).
The demon confused the bard and wizard, beat the monk and inquisitor hardily, but the inquisitor and a huge earth elemental took it down. The three Witchfires with their incorporeal qualities and their piles of fire damage did phenomenal harm to the party despite everyone having at least some resistance. One dead, two below 10, one around 20. They had to teleport home.
Tobias, upon his second resurrection in a week, decided he couldn't cut this adventuring business any more. He was still dealing with the massive change in his life that going from Gnome to Tiefling causes and he still hadn't told his father about the slight problem this will create around the dinner table. So he's off to see which god or goddess offers the best deal for turning him back into a Gnome (always the bargainer).
His replacement is a halfling paladin with a celestial giant bee mount because why not?
My players finished up the tailor's shop and moved on to the beginning of the abbey on Saturday.
I tried to be tricky in the basement of the shop, which would have worked... if the players weren't also tricky. I had the vampires (Radvir and a sorceress) summon 7 rat swarms. I was going to flood the room where the wizard was and make casting difficult. Unfortunately, the wizard using force wall to block off the doors north and east, then stood just outside the doorway into the dyer's room. So when the rats entered (from the side closet via a secret door), he just fireballed the room. Most of the other players have fire resistance.
Then the wizard glitter-dusted Radvir and he was blinded. Then the inquisitor shot him with five arrows for 254 damage (204 after DR). It was very anticlimactic. I don't know what to do about that guy. He was one-shotting the enslaved spawns before Radvir popped up.
At the abbey, I combined the demon with the witchfires. The demon was fun to run and he did a solid 60 or so damage to the monk and then to the inquisitor. He also confused the bard (who was unaffected for two rounds, then babbled for one) and the wizard (who scorching ray'ed once, then hit himself in the head, then was dispelled of the confusion). That was great fun. The inquisitor and a summoned huge rock elemental beat the demon to paste.
Here's the problem: The witchfires are seriously overpowered for their level it seems. 150 max HP, incorporeal (so more like 300) with a +13 touch attack doing 8d6 fire damage with the possibility to jump that to ~12d6 with the debuff. That's a lot.
Even with nearly everyone having fire resistance, the fight ended with the wizard teleporting the party back to Caliphas. The bard was dead, the inquisitor had 2 hp (only because he used the Fast Healing and the +fire resistance judgements), the monk had 8 (and he healed almost 60 with potions/ki during the fight), the wizard had low 20s. One witchfire had 45 health left, another only took 30, and the third was undamaged. And I even held off the witchfires for about 4 rounds.
The difference being preparation and the wizard being confused for a few rounds, naturally, but still. Those witchfires are serious business.
How did other people's parties handle them?
This comes from two sources. First is the sorcerer class. At level 3, you can cast zero-level spells 5 times a day and first-level spells 3 times a day. Next you look at the ability score, which gives you bonus spell castings per level. At 21, you get +2 1st level castings.
So at level 3 with 21 CHA, you can cast zero level spells 5 times and first level 5 times every day.
Now, the 21 CHA gives you a +1 to spell levels 2nd-5th. However, you cannot cast these spells until your character class grants you access to those levels. So you can cast zero 2nd level spells until you are a 4th level sorcerer (at which point, assuming your CHA stays the same, you'll be able to cast 3+1 = 4 second level spells a day).
I was going to say "sorry but no dice, charge is a full round action"... and then, just because I've said things based on invalid assumptions before, I read the ability.
In all the times I've read charge, I've never processed this part: "If you are able to take only a standard action on your turn, you can still charge, but you are only allowed to move up to your speed (instead of up to double your speed) and you cannot draw a weapon unless you possess the Quick Draw feat. You can't use this option unless you are restricted to taking only a standard action on your turn."
Amazing what one learns! Unfortunately, now my party's always-in-dire-tiger-form druid with haste is going to be pouncing everything even in the surprise round. Siiiiiigh. But I feel it is my obligation as GM to let them know.
A quick and dirty way is to max all monster HP. You can also give them a +2 to all rolls and to all defenses. This makes them last longer and be a bit more dangerous. Though, my best experience so far is combining several encounters into one large fight.
For example, in book 3...
When they get to the Stairs of the Moon where they take on the two pack leaders, there are several boring independent combats. There are archers on the roof and then the two leaders and some werewolf rangers in the tower. I'd instead move the rangers to the roof top, put the archers in the tower, and have the pack leaders come out after the first round or two of combat.
I'd also have some of the barbarian werewolves charge out of the woods and attack on round 3-4 as well. If things are going too easily for the players, have the Ghost Werewolf (and/or the Lodge owner) show up and attack as well. You could even have some of the Whispering Way casters from Feldgrau happen to be visiting with the pack leaders pop out and support after a round or two.
This has two benefits: Epic fights are fun AND it speeds the game up immensely. Nothing in the fight is especially strong, but it will give the players a lot of threat sources and make them constantly readjust tactics.
Green Eyed Liar - You will need to enhance the combats in this case. You have veterans that are ahead of the level curve, so expect some ease on their part. The books don't really talk about how monster group B will come to the aid of A after X turns if they hear something. Of course, you can also simply upgrade the number of creatures in a fight, but that'll ensure they keep ahead of the xp curve.
I've determined that an easy encounter is one in which my players walk into the fight, kill everything, use some Cure X Wounds spells, and are good to go again.
So the alternative is a challenge in which substantive resources must be expended (high level spell slots, piles of cash on a rezz, greater resto, etc) AND/OR a challenge in which tactics and planning are required. I'm happy if they sit down and discuss an approach and execute it successfully, regardless if the fight is then a cake walk or still difficult.
You can also combine them into an encounter that is suicidal if you take the direct approach, and only kills one or two PCs if they get it right. Character death is absolutely meaningless after about level 9 because you can just hop over to a temple or teleport to home base and get a rezz (or, heck, have the party's cleric/druid/whatever raise the person on scene).
What combat death does (somewhat cheaply) is ramp up the tension by reducing the party's combat capability and prove they can be killed. The first time someone dies in a fight, with my party, shows them that this combat is serious business. Then they start pondering if maybe they should have been smarter about the approach (yet, the next major encounter is still "kick in the door and start blowing things up" tactics yet again, sigh).
1. No. The ability to spend a ki point to gain an extra attack is a 4th level monk ability. Without four levels in monk, you don't get that class feature.
2. As written, no. There is no provision in the Sohei class that allows it an exemption from the general monk rule of no FoB or Fast Movement when wearing armor. The intent seems to be that you should be able to do it, but that's up to your GM to allow.
The party's monk got kicked off the bridge by the elemental, but survived the fall and swim. The party hid out in the buildings from the Erinyes while also fighting the hooked horror (it was fun; the gnome bard ended up in the wine storage room during the fight and just drank for 10 rounds).
The biggest danger were the leeches. The gnome was riding on the inquisitor's shoulders and they both fell in. The inquisitor didn't quite die.
The Promethean was an interesting fight. I think the party of 5 were a level above what they should have been, but they (and six lantern archons and haste) took out the grillion golem, ran up stairs, and killed the promethean in seven or eight rounds. They didn't even know about the roof, the control device, etc. Got the druid to 1 hp shy of death (though, he should have died if I hadn't messed up something; didn't realize until later).
Like most premade adventures, some fights will be cakewalks and some will be nightmares and it mainly depends on your party and the how they approach fights. If things are going easy, up the number of monsters in a fight or have a few fights combine into one brawl (just stagger the arrival of the monsters and you can have waves arrive in such time as to keep the tension up without overloading the party).
It can go either way. You can argue that the specific rule for Storm Shape overrides the more general rule of Whirlwind, so you have to use the unarmed strike damage. Alternatively, you can see that caveat of the Storm Shape as simply a placeholder to handle the fact that most PCs do not have slam attacks, so here's a quick alternative solution.
I'd say the most 'correct' interpretation is the first one. It says unarmed, you get unarmed. However, in any game I were to run, I'd allow the second one.
I've run into some similar questions as my party's druid likes the Air Elemental form if he needs to go flying. I can only offer my speculation and educated guesses, but I'll try to give reasoning. I also borrow logic from the Whirlwind spell. Also read the full entry for Whirlwind here.
1) Based on the elemental's normal size. The whirlwind form doesn't have a specific Size (capital S for the game term), so there's nothing there to use. Also when the phrase is used, they mean the monster's size. The idea being that the volume of the whirlwind is based on the elemental's size, so should the size of the creatures picked up.
2) No, per the whirlwind rules it cannot make its normal attacks and does not threaten. But it should still get standard actions (and thus double move).
3) Instead of allowing attacks, I require the elemental base to move over the square of targets in order to trigger the 'affected creature' event. In this case, attacking the whirlwind won't trigger it and the creature can't attack anyone. Moving back and through a square is hard due to flight rules and pulling 180 degree turns, but it will technically work.
4) They move with the whirlwind. They do occupy space, which is part of the 'maximum number of creatures for the volume' idea mentioned in the rules. When dropped, I'd say they fall downwards and take up squares accordingly. You would have them spread outwards as they fall on top of others and roll off.
5) Most reasonable is to apply it at the start of the victim's turn, like bleed damage. This represents damage taken over the last round and ensures they take at least one dose of it before escaping. I'd rule this 'continuing damage' like acid arrow would do, for spellcasting purposes. Though the rules suggest otherwise as there is already a concentration check required of any casters in the whirlwind (15+spell level)
6) Mundane effect based on there actually being debris to be picked up.
7) The use of 'must also succeed' makes me think that you only take the second save if you fail the first save. This also matches the probable intent, so that's a plus!
8) If the caster is performing a long casting (full round or more) and the whirlwind gets them, I'd say Reflex to avoid damage. If failed, a concentration check with the damage in mind and then the second reflex and a second concentration check as they get pulled up into the air. Is this what you meant?
9) I'd say yes. Since air elementals, which are just bundles of air, can be shot with arrows I'd say the whirlwind form can too. This may take some hand-waving and belief suspension.
10) Bit... more complicated. I'd say single target attacks, no, as they hit the elemental first. AOEs may catch the people inside if it crosses into the internal volume of the whirlwind. Fireball centered on the whirlwind is a definite strike. Burning hands at the base of the whirlwind, then probably not.
11) I'd say anywhere in the three dimensional area taken by the whirlwind.
12) "Trapped creatures can otherwise act normally... Creatures caught in the whirlwind take a –4 penalty to Dexterity and a –2 penalty on attack rolls." So it seems like no, but there's definite room for the GM to plan.
13) I'd say no because it does not provoke attacks of opportunity, but that's my interpretation. Strict interpretation says they can be flanked.
14) It is a creature and should follow the normal rules of such. Both to creatures beyond it and those inside it. I don't believe it would be able to affect any of it, but that's again up to the GM.
Hope this helps. It isn't perfect and there's enough holes in the rules to allow the GM to do what it would like to do.
1) It isn't divine magic, it is some weird arcane magic just pretending to be divine.
They ran into him in the park and staked two of his enforcers while he ran off. They just killed everything in the upper two levels of his lair and are about to go downstairs to kill everything in the building. Disguise is probably off the table at this time. What I will probably do is give him greater invisibility and have him just wander around sneak attacking all the things with that scarf. I'm also going to add a number of non-evil, non-undead monsters to the mix so that the players can't keep abusing their holy weapons.
Of course, I'll need to counteract the wizard's glitterdust... but I can work around that.
You can go a few ways. One option is the One True God ruling over patron saints of such-and-such. Alternatively you use angels as the middle managers. Either way, you have the primary god from which all life and magic and existence springs and then a collection of middle tiers that take care of the day-to-day management of domains.
The church structure would be pretty straight forward. All clerics follow the 'one true god'. There will be sects or orders or towns that follow Saint so and so or Saint what's his name as well, but they are all bound to follow the will of the church.
You can even build in a schism where neighboring countries both believe in the same god and same saints but have some particular point of understanding that they disagree on and have been at war over it for some time (alternatively, the beginning of a schism is a good point at which to have the players show up; the two sides get to fight over the adventurers in trying to recruit them for some reason).
Overall this shouldn't be different than how you're doing the rest of the stuff. Depending on how you do it, the monotheistic religion may not especially happy with other religions claiming to have lots of gods, since obviously those can't be other gods since there is only the one god... and so crusades will be kind of a thing.
I would say yes. Haunting Refrain is used to bolster a demoralization check and Blistering Invective as a fire chaser to a demoralization check. It is not overpowering, either, which is nice.
If my game's bard did it, I'd still require it to be language dependent. I imagine it as you doing the insulting tirade while playing terrifying music. However, anyone who cannot understand the language can still be affected by the demoralization of the music. Basically layering the two abilities on top of each other.
You could do a lot of non-region specific work at first. Design the maps but not the history, build the city and districts but not the major NPCs or population make-up. As Mysterious Stranger says, most cities and towns will look the same but for the small details.
This way you can have a backlog of maps and ideas that require far less work to specialize to a particular situation or area.
You could also approach it with modularity. So you have four cities (one on the sea, one on a river, one in a desert, and one in the highlands) and you have a bucket of dozens of special buildings (church to dragons, royal palace, gnome thieves guild, dwarven slave holdings, secret kitsune den, opium slum). You can have general city statistics attached to the city and NPCs/hooks written up for the buildings. So when it is time to go, you just pick a church that fits the city, a ruling building for the region, etc.
This lets you prep constantly, though with less time press and thus less work per day/week, and then spend a fraction of your normal time plugging in the various pieces. You'll probably still need to build a custom item or two central to the plot, but you won't have to build in all the supporting facilities.
My players met with the various vampire groups in the sewers and are done for the night. I am planning to have the two vampire drug dealers attack them at the inn when I can, assuming my players ever let me pull it off. I hate when I'm like "ok, so how do you guys handle nights at the inn" and they look at each other and say something like "we never sleep! wards everywhere! I sleep in my armor! I sleep in a rope trick that I use from under my bed!" because they know that I only ask the question to prepare for some kind of sleepy time attack.
Regarding the curse and the revelation (question 2):
The curse limits your vision to 30 feet but you get darkvision. Pierce the Veil lets you have 60 feet of darkvision. The phrasing of "You cannot see anything beyond 30 feet" is a hard limit that the revelation does not override. You may have 60' of darkvision but you're not capable of seeing anything further anyway. And then at level 5 (or 6 if you only go for 4 levels of Oracle), the curse opens up to 60 feet anyway.
It is pointless to take Pierce the Veil; the curse provides the darkvision and (eventually) the range.
A barbarian is a class which uses berserk rage tactics and actions to smash through problems. This doesn't make you a primitive. It doesn't make you stupid. It doesn't make you slow or short tempered or without social grace. You simply know how to put your adrenaline into overdrive and approach combat with gusto and force rather than stealth or finesse or technical skill.
Now, if you decided to dump int to 7, then that's your choice. However, even that doesn't mean you can't be scholarly... just that you're not especially inherently good at it. You're forgetful (lower attribute bonus on int skills), you need to take extra time to learn (fewer skill points), or you are just not especially quick witted.
Lastly, you could play it as a if your barbarian has never had a chance to be scholarly but, now that he can, he finds that it is actually interesting. You find that there is so much more in life and that it is amazing how the written word can be used for things other than practical purposes like warning signs and menus.
Smart doesn't mean weak and strong doesn't mean stupid.
Confusion has a two-step process. First: Was the confused character attacked last turn? If yes: attack their attacker. If no, or if they cannot attack the attacker (dead, gone, otherwise unavailable to be targeted): roll on the table.
You could have the confused character chase after their attacker instead of rolling on the table, which would be reasonable.
In my game, the players confronted him in his room and killed him oh so very violently that he couldn't escape. I believe the AP suggests he bails out of the Lodge via the scroll should he not do so well in a fight while there. Thus, by the time he's confronted at the Stairs, he no longer would have the scroll.
He'd have had plenty of time to get enough of a look-see around the Stairs to use Dimension Door if he's still got the scroll. In fact, his running away and showing up in book 5 with some more power and several friends could be some fun! However, I suspect the AP is just cleaning up all the loose threads by having him fight to the death.
When running twix Lepidstadt and outlying areas to question the witnesses, fast horses may not be bad. Really though, it would just be a set of horses with exceptional breeding not ones with much mechanical effect (though +10% speed is a reasonable thing; will help with the various trips they'll go on between books).
Well, being a god would be considered house-ruling and not specifically a 'Rules Question'. That's because a GM is the final arbiter, so it doesn't matter what we say if the GM rules otherwise.
But think of it like this: The holy/unholy weapon's negative energy effect comes from a dissonance in the weapon's power source and the holder's connection to a higher power. It is basically applying a dampening field on the character. It isn't draining your power, it is causing interference, like how a microwave can reduce a wireless network's speed.
So if you're arguing that you're following rules about being a god that you made up, then we can't help. If you're saying "I'm a god and I achieved this by applying these qualities" then we can try, but it only goes so far. A good question would be if Wish can overcome the weapon's drain... and I'd say no. It could completely remove the Holy or Unholy weapon enchantment, which would have a similar effect (it could also be used change the character's alignment), but it wouldn't make someone immune to the effect.
There are a few other threads to describe how, but it seems a major bit of advice is to bring Andrissant in at the start. Introduce him at the funeral as a friend and professional rival of the Professor, have him provide some help for the trial, book 2 (perhaps a gift of fast horses), and maybe a nice welcoming gift at the lodge, book 3. You can start getting into a "he's not actually a nice guy" at the start of book 4.
Another bit of fun, in conjunction with the above advice, is to make it so the PCs feel attached to Kendra, have her accept Andrissant's offer to stay with him in Caliphas, and that way the PCs will start to be quite worried about her safety when they figure AA is actually a bad guy. Should be good fun!
You are not considered to be wearing armor while polymorphed. Even wild armor isn't really armor; it simply transfers the armor bonus through to your animal form. Thus you do not suffer penalties from wearing the armor when in another form.
Now, as for the shadow effect... I can see the argument here, since it is an 'always on' magical quality, like a cloak of resistance. I would probably allow it in my game, but I think a strict interpretation of the rules would say that it cannot. Then again, the rules are very clear that this (which effects are valid in the new shape) depends on the GM's decision.
I'd say a monk/druid would not count as wearing armor in animal form.
Name: Sadron Matsura
The Gory Details:
I ran a modified version of this fight which combined Merrick, the vampire spawn, and some dominated buffers and changed out Dragon for a pair of Quickwoods. It went amazingly well (see the Ashes of Dawn thread for a link to the modified encounter).
At the end of the fight, Merrick had come out and wild shaped into Fiendish Vampiric Behemoth Hippopotamus. The inquisitor was right next to her when this happened with his holy composite longbow out, so he decided to take a shot at point blank range. Her AOO was successful (rolled a 20 but no confirmed crit), as was the grab, and that + the level drain knocked him to -7. She spend the next round drinking his blood, doing max con drain and killing him quick successfully.
The Gory Details:
Poor Tobias died right after the inquisitor when he tried to acrobatics away from the Fiendish Vampiring Behemoth Hippopotamus and rolled far less than necessary. Yet again, the hippo rolled a 20 on the AOO, but was also able to confirm the crit. Something like 8d8 + 28 damage later, the bard was dead before even the negative levels could affect him. While his upper half completed the somersault, he forgot to keep his legs tucked in... and attached.
Of course, this being Ashes at Dawn, the wizard teleported everyone to a church and everything was fixed up in no time. The inquisitor opted for a Resurrection so he wouldn't have to deal with any negative levels (since you can only clear one of the permanent negative levels per week and raise dead gives you two) while the Bard went with reincarnate from our druid (cheaper and more fun! Plus as a gnome, you almost always win out on this one). He rolled gnome and everyone was sad, so he let me roll to see what I'd have gotten. I, of course, rolled 00. So he became a tiefling!
I have to say, Mathius did a great job with the modified Greenhouse. My players couldn't figure out what was going on, who the actual target was, or what kept hitting them with roots and pulling them around the board.
It was a far better fight than having them go one on five against the druid vampire (which always ends quickly due to action economy).
Often Evil requires action while Good requires intent. Just like you don't get forgiveness for a sin if you don't actually feel bad about doing it no matter how many repentant actions you perform. Evil, however, is more about corruption which is why the road to it is paved with good intentions.
Beyond Morality should affect both good and evil actions. Your alignment freezes at the time you gain the mythic feature and, should you lose it, your alignment returns to what it was beforehand. Think about it; if you are beyond morality, then why should good actions and activities have any more or less effect on your alignment than evil actions?
Or just go with neutral and adopt the older 2.0 version of True Neutral, which required good acts to be balanced out by bad ones. You help the poor to atone for your undead raising and you raise undead to neutralize your healing of the sick.
I found making the Beast smart to be a lot easier to manage than him being a childish simpleton. He was dark and morose and when conversation was over, he would just go on and on about the philosophy of being a soulless golem.
The tradeoff was his fatalism over his impending trial. He just didn't care that they might hang him; held to the idea that what the mob wants, the mob gets and what is the purpose in fighting back? To combat wrongful execution with violence simply ensures that the execution isn't actually wrongful, etc.
What this also buys you is a cleaner way to get around the "why should we bother going to the castle?" questions the players will ask after the trial. There's no real reason to go there so you'll need to figure something out and this gives you a lever via invitation by the beast.
"While using this style and Elemental Fist to deal fire damage, you gain a bonus on fire damage rolls equal to your Wisdom bonus."
Pretty straight forward. Dark78660 is correct.
I wouldn't phrase it as "who is right? The GM or me?" because the answer is always the GM in any specific situation.
Now, how would we GMs have ruled things in a hypothetical yet identical situation? It would be determined at the point of summoning and thus grow with you. If they wanted it to be determined at the time of drawing, it would have been clear about that in order to prevent misunderstanding.
It is actually quite awkward to word the card in a way to explain that it is based on the time of drawing. You'd have to modify "character's level" with "character's level at the time of drawing this card" or similar wording. Or at the start, specify that the player picks a specific type of outsider of his alignment and with a CR <= level when this card is drawn; then go on to say he or she can summon it once a day for rounds = level at the time of drawing. See? Awkward.
But your GM is always right.
If the item (wand, scroll, etc) contains a spell that a Summoner can cast (e.g. it is a spell on the Summoner's spell list) then they can use the item without needing to roll any UMD check. Otherwise it is the same as any other class using an item with a spell they can't cast (cleric with a wand of magic missile, rogue with a wand of CLW).