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Gnoll Warden

Naal's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 131 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 5 Pathfinder Society characters.


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CorvusMask wrote:
Umm, so bit late, but what book are you two referring to?

Legend of Five Rings (the RPG) pumped out a lot of sourcebooks, mostly for the various samurai clans or groups, but occasionally a book or two about another subject. One of these was The Merchant's Guide to Rokugan. It was apparently a sourcebook about the odd economics of the pseudo-Japanese setting. The first couple of pages were simple economic stuff, and then you turn the page and get basically this:

"...okay, that's enough about that. Now that we have scared away the easily bored people, it is time to get to the point. This is not a treatise on Rokugani trade. This is the Kolat sourcebook."

Kolat was the L5R version of the Illuminati/Hydra/freemasons. It was a consipiracy run by ordinary humans, with the intent to get rid of practically every divinely-inspired clan and concept that subjugated the peasants, including the entire samurai class and the Emperor. It was the most secretive organization in the entire setting. It had to be. If it became known, any other faction would have tried to exterminate it forthwith.

I think it was a fairly late addition to the setting. It gave the metaplot a severe kick, revealing some important NPCs as secret masters behind the Kolat. A rough comparison would be a Pathfinder sourcebook that revealed that Razmir was set up by Rahadoum to discredit religion, or that Abigail Thrune I was actually a priestess of Calistria who sacrificed herself to get Hell to overextend itself in order to get revenge for some slight that happened when Rovagug was being wrangled into Golarion.

I liked most L5R sourcebooks. Especially Way of the Shadow, which still creeps me out.

My interpretation (just ran into this myself).
If you pick the phrenic adept archetype (or any other archetype that has a level 9 swap ability), you choose to lose one of the following perks.
a) healing touch (you never get it at all)
b) level 1 feat
c) level 3 feat
d) level 5 feat
e) level 7 feat
f) level 9 feat
You can postpone the decision to level 9, and by then you have no choice but to lose level 9 feat.

The reason you might want to lose an earlier feat is to use a higher-level feat to access something with higher prerequisites. The reason you might want to lose a later feat is to front-load your character's capabilities.

But I also hit the FAQ button.

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SenahBirdR wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

A friend spoiled the surprise for me when he got upset that the book did not throughly explain how koku worked. Those first couple of pages were hilarious when compared to a typical sourcebook. There was an actual graph for rice production. :-)

Nothing to see here, just unimportant peasant conversation!

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Eh, economy. How ordinary. Unless...

First two pages are marketing jargon, after which the book becomes Ultimate Aspis.
0.5 internets to the first who gets the reference.

If not, I'm happy if there is something neat in the centerfold. I like stuff such as the maps in the People of... series and Faiths & Philosophies.

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Make the assassin bring back a specific object such as a signet ring, a wizard's bonded item, the target's nose or whatever. Either as proof, or because the employer just happens to be weird. Easy pickings: the target is probably a level 6 expert or something like that.

Then have another assassin (hired by someone else) appear at the scene of the crime, and try to get the same object. Only one can get the spoils; no sharing. Were either of them prepared to fight each other? Bonus points if the target is not dead yet, and attempts to flee while the assassins are fighting each other. Extra points if you leave the competing assassin dead on the scene without leaving evidence of your own visit.

Shared target.
Unknown to the employer (or perhaps the employer just didn't tell you), the target is under observation of the city watch, a criminal gang, intellect devourers looking for a host, or whatever.

When the your player suddenly inhumes the poor NPC, a stake-out team gets very angry that all their hard work is suddenly wasted. Fortunately for them, there is a black-clad PC for them to interrogate, liquidate, or use as a corpsemobile. Cue chase.

The target has a dangerous disease. For some reason he cannot be cured or the infection cannot be publicized (perhaps the target is the head of the local church, and nobody can know that he has fallen from grace and can no longer cure himself), and has to be eliminated swiftly. Killing is easy, being infected may cause some complications. This is relatively easy to counter with access to healing magic, though.

This ploy is only useful if the backstory is sensible. Depending on the local access to healing, players may think it is absolute nonsense.

It's amusing that Jang and Parthuk can't talk to each other despite being friends for a long time. They don't have a common language. Not that it's a problem for the two nature-lovers. Either they just grunt and growl at each other, or they use speak with animals abilities and use Ruanni or a random chicken as a translator when grunts are not enough. Language issues might be important for Parthuk's tactics, though. Command is a language-dependent spell, so he is wise to talk to the PCs before attacking to find out who is going to be vulnerable to it.

In order to keep Eygara safe for an extra round or two, her Fort save should be +11 (5 class 5 improved Con 1 cloak) instead of +9.

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My interpretation. Phantoms get four skill points per level. Two of these ranks are from their emotional focus, and cannot be freely placed. Another two skill ranks can be placed in any other skills.

Reasoning: Phantoms are outsiders. Outsiders get 6 skill points per HD. Intelligence 7 eats 2 of those skill points. Four remain. (I consider the "2+Int modifier" to already include the penalty for Int 7.)

If you were to increase the Intelligence of a Phantom to 8, it would gain one additional skill point per HD.

Phantoms also gain the same class skills as basic outsiders, with the exception of Intimidate, one freely chosen skill, and the two emotional focus class skills. Since each outsider gains 4 additional class skills, this is fine. One of the many tiny things that bugs me is that they often 'lose' some of these additional class skills, since since emotional focus class skills sometimes overlap with existing class skills.

Since the thread is up again, here is one unlisted method.
Kitsune oracles also have a favored class option that reduces nonproficiency penalty of a weapon by 1. Once the nonproficiency penalty is 0, they are treated as having the martial or exotic weapon proficiency. Advanced Race Guide.

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Wzrd wrote:
Just watched the Taking20 interview and it seems that the AI machine god's name is 'Triune' (not sure about the spelling). Mentioned at 13:51, 16:12 and 16:27.

Somewhere in the depths of Absalom Station sits a vault ringed with ancient empyreal holy symbols and bright lights. Within the vault reside the leaders of the Cult of the Forgotten Darkness, a little-known sect believing in ancient gods. They are generally held to be harmless, but recently their members have come out to preach and disturb the peace.

"I'm telling you to forsake this new form of travel! You do not know what is behind it! You believe this ascendant AI would just give us the tools to travel to stars, and there is no cost? You are blind!"

"The truth stares you in the eye! For is the AI not called Triune? Thousands of years ago it held sway in a shadowy land on the surface of Lost Golarion. Only then it was called the Black Triune, and it served a master more ancient and terrifying than any of your gods!"

"We believed that the Black Triune fell during the age of enlightenement, but darkness is not so easily eradicated. When their benighted land was overrun, they refused to fight a hopeless battle against light and progress, and hid. Now we know they eventually uploaded their consciousness into a computer, pretending to be an AI."

"While the world forgot them and their dark master, they plotted for revenge, and now their hour of wrath is at hand!"

"Already Golarion is lost, conveniently just when this new damned spacedrive appears. For it is damned! All who use it endanger their mortal souls, for it will deliver us all into the hands of the master of the Black Triune."

"The Triune promised us such sights to see! Do not fall for its lies! Do not use the drive! Do not put us all to peril! Golarion is already lost, but it is not too late for our souls!"
Rant diminishes

Triune + Zon-Kuthon + Stardrive = Event Horizon. Eyup. I'm not setting a foot in a spaceship for a while.

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Just saw it. I muffled my common sense and suspended my disbelief, and all was well. The very first scene with C.A. highlighted that the tone of this movie was going to be a bit different. Most of the actors did a good job, the scenery was nice, and there were no cutesy droids. Hey, maybe it is possible to have Star Wars, despite distasteful memories of TFA.

Then Tarkin appears on the screen, and for a split second I thought they found an actor that looks almost like Peter Cushing. Immersion completetly lost. I felt anger. About half of the rest of the movie I was left wondering will I have to look at that again, or can I push it out of my mind and concentrate on what actually happens to the real characters.

Necromancy is bad.

RIP Bodhi. Without your defection there would have been no Rebellion.

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I have been reading the Numenera rule book lately. Every measurement is given as "Imperial (metric)", and it feels jarring. I get that the writers wanted to make everyone feel welcome, but the method is a strange deviation from the generic tone of the setting. Here we are a billion years in the future, and the distance from the floating monolith to the edge of the pit of amber-encased alien statues is 1500 feet (457 m).

Pick one method and stick to it. I don't care if it is feet, meters, or a complete fabrication. This is a game, not a binding resolution on the clash of pounds versus kilograms.

I'll throw my vote for the CI system (Cheliax Imperial, Common Infernal, Convention Infernalis, or whatever). Axis could devise a better system, but Hell is going to be better at selling their system to the mortals. Why, let the base time unit be sell, the time given to write a basic contract that allows a sentient creature to damn itself. Let the base distance unit be cry, the distance at which the tortures of a freshly arrived petitioner on Phlegeton can be heard by an osyluth guardian. Let the base weight unit be sharp, the mass of the regulation glaive given to a newly-minted barbazu. Let it be a base-nine system to honor the glorious tiers of Hell and Asmod- is shot

I wonder about ship sizes. Will the available campaign technology/technomancy support ships from a tiny one-man speeder to a supercarrier, or are there practical limits to what can be built or operated? For example, if there are no large ships (arbitrarily set the limit to a space equivalent of a frigate/galleon/destroyer/corvet), then:

1. There is less need for superheavy weapons that could accidentally vaporize a smaller craft (the player characters). The players would be less likely to possess weapons that can be used to bypass problems by simply atomizing them. These weapons could still exist, but could not be installed in a typical craft either because of size, energy, or side effect considerations. "Space forts" become somewhat practical, and now someone has to infiltrate then instead of just bombarding them.

2. Transportation of troops or cargo is harder, giving smaller groups (the player characters) more influence. Instead of carrying 10,000 grunts to deal with a problem, a team of less than a dozen is the norm. When mass deployment of troops or firepower is not an option, even smaller operators can thrive.

3. Crewing ships is easier. You don't need 300 redshirts and an equivalent of the Leadership feat to crew your cruiser. A smaller crew would also remove beam spam (which can become a chore) from combat, assuming that every weapon needs a gunner. Assembling an experienced crew becomes easier, as you only need a few hardened spacers instead of an academy that churns out 2,000 middies to crew the dreadnought Vainglorious.

4. Instead of upgrading to a larger ship, upgrading the existing ship becomes an option. Customize it to match party capabilities or treat it as a character that can be equipped according to mission specs. This can make it more unique and interesting.

5. Smaller ships can be subjected to a lot of stuff. They can be landed in small clearings, hidden in caves, swallowed by space whales, easily damaged to herd the players, easily repaired by conveniently located supplies, docked, impounded, surrounded, enveloped by energy fields, driven through collapsing portals, chartered or purchased without too improbable amounts of currency, or nimbly flown between the chaotically bouncing asteroids.

Alternatively, larger vessels may exist, but are either very clumsy, slow, limited, or expensive because the technomancy that makes smaller craft so good does not scale up well, or at all. Nothing says that all Starfinder ships need to behave exactly alike. Perhaps the small craft are technomagic and require specialized crews, while the larger craft depend on more mundane physics and handle the boring background stuff.

Lady Ladile wrote:
If two players would like to make paired characters for this, what would be the best way to go about it in light of the fugue state being a thing? Early memories ala childhood or adolescence with the last few years a mystery? Nothing at all but a vague feeling of, 'I know this person, somehow'?

If you want to avoid the subconscious flashes, have both characters just start with matching items and have them automatically notice them. Maybe they are Varisians with similar kapenia scarves. Maybe they have lockets with the same pictures inside. Perhaps both carry swords with praising inscriptions for the same deity or ancestor. Mass production is rare enough on Golarion to implicate a link between two persons with similar stuff.

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Somewhere around the fourth book the PCs have defeated REDACTED and recovered their memories.
"I can't believe I forgot I am the heir to the throne of Ustalav!"
"Woohoo! I'm a Kalistocrat! I am RICH!"
"I voluntarily helped them. I must brood and atone."
"...wait. I went through all that and I still got nothing?"

John Lance wrote:

"About ability damage. I'd prefer that even incorporeal phantom would continue taking Strength damage from an ongoing effect."

How would that work? Incorporeal creatures don't have a Strength score. There is nothing to damage. But I feel your pain, trying to keep some of this stuff organized is damn near impossible and just keeping things cut-and-dried has a lot of appeal. In home games, the almighty GM can just home-rule it and drive on. PFS is where I see the real problems cropping up for this particular critter....

If we want a technical answer, I have a stupid question. Is there a rule stating that a creature can't take ability score damage if it lacks the ability? Such damage would have no effect, since the creature does not have a score that can be reduced, but can it technically take the damage anyway? This is irrelevant nitpicking for almost everything, except phantoms and those few rare powers that allow someone to turn incorporeal.

Other than that, I would just wave my hands and default to "it would be easier that way".

A related question. If my phantom dies of Constitution damage or drain, how do I revive it? It does not heal naturally. Con 0 or Con dmg ≥ Con means it is dead, which banishes it to ethereal plane. If I summon it, it is still dead, and a ruleslawyer would probably bounce it back to ethereal. Would the acceptable procedure therefore be to...

a) ...summon it; dead phantom appears and stays put; use restoration; profit.
b) ...use restoration on myself; the effect channels to the phantom and removes the drain/damage.
c) ...summon it; phantom appears with Con 1 or Con damage equal to Con -1; use restoration on it like on any other character.
d) ...retire knowing that the spook is laid to rest, and my spiritualist can finally have some peace and quiet; purchase smoked goggles and hit the beach.

Phantoms can talk, but they are probably one-sided conversationalists thanks to their emotional focus. Yet that is fluff. Nothing says they can't use their skills like any other character. A phantom could use Diplomacy to gather information or affect NPCs. Some GMs probably won't like the idea of a vaporous monster acting as a party face. Others will shrug and say there are far weirder critters running around Golarion and talking. Table variation is likely. Some NPCs are also more likely to talk to otherworldly creatures than others. That could be bypassed by training the phantom in Disguise and getting it a hat of disguise to boost the skill.

Now that I remember, phantom's skills bug me. Regular outsiders get Bluff, Craft, Knowledge (planes), Perception, Sense Motive, and Stealth as class skills, plus four others (flying creatures also get Fly). All phantoms add Intimidate, their two emotional focus skills, and one skill chosen by the player as those four. But many emotional focuses already include one or two of those skills, so phantoms 'lose' class skills.

About ability damage. I'd prefer that even incorporeal phantom would continue taking Strength damage from an ongoing effect. Otherwise it is too easy to forget to apply the damage. And I have a spiritualist (though at a very low level).

Wirt wrote:

The phantom "shares" its master's item slots. But, obviously, an incorporeal phantom can't wear corporeal items. Even an ectoplasmic phantom can't phase lurch through walls if it's wearing anything.

So I interpret the whole passage to mean that the master wears the item, and can choose to have their phantom benefit from it instead of them. It's the only way I can make sense of it.

I don't think it works like that. You need to equip the items on the phantom or it doesn't gain any benefits. Giving it a belt of increadible dexterity and amulet of mighty fists will boost its attacks but prevents it from walking through walls. Gain on one area, lose on another.

james swetnam wrote:
Puppeteers, Kzinti, Jotoki, Kdatlyno, & Outsiders - all from Larry Niven's Known Space setting. He would likely be fine with them being used.

What the scenario assumes: Puppeteer hacker. Kzin pilot/armsman. Jotoki tech. Kdatlyno melee specialist. Grog telepath (in a wheelbarrow/hoverplate). Pak protector big bad. Needs Map Pack: Ringworld.

What the players brought: Puppeteer bloodrager. Kzin broodmaster summoner. Jotoki swashbuckler. Kdatlyno sniper. Grog pilot. Could be awesome. Plz ban conversion weapons and reserve thrint/tnuctip for boon races only.

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Krackne wrote:
Okay so my party just hit 2 Scrapworth and triggered Dinvaya sending out her silver raven to invite the PC's. Should the invitation allow them to bypass Dinvaya's junk golem or should she have it ready to fight so she can size them up?

Your choice. If your group doesn't have antiswarm weapons or has been fighting enough already, feel free to skip straight to discussions. I had them fight it. It wasn't that she wanted to size them up. She was just completely focused on her work and forgot to alter the golem's orders. When the fighting died down, she peeked out of the workshop with a hammer, goggles and an oily apron, and the conversation went roughly like this.

Dinvaya speaks with almost no inflection:

Din: "I though I heard something." walks to the wreckage and pokes it
PC1: "Your guardian tried to kill us!"
Din: "Not kill, actually. Not you, specifically. It was built to repel unwanted visitors. Here that requires lethal force. Usually the intruders run away." picks up the golem's head
PC2: "But you summoned us, here, lady."
Din: "Thank you for coming. I have many questions for you." starts screwing off parts from the head.
PC2: "Wha- Why didn't you command it to let us pass?"
PC3: "Or turn that thing off?"
Din: "It could not differentiate between you and regular unwanted visitors. I was planning to change its orders in the evening. It was a golem, not a robot, and golems cannot be turned off."
PC2: "It is evening."
PC3: "You know what I mean!"
Din: "Apparently I lost track of time. I cannot read your mind."
PC2: "How did you lose track of time if you were expecting us?"
PC3: "Are you daft? Do you know what that thing almost did to us?"
PC1: to PC3 "Shh!"
Din: "I was disassembling the primary gearbox of a skydrone propulsor. My mental state is stable, and I would like to know how it fared, if you do not mind telling. Most people run away from a golem, and interviewing someone who has first-hand experience in defeating it should be educational." pockets a few parts, and drops the head
PC1: "You don't mind that we destroyed it?"
Din: "Its loss was to be expected at some point. I can build a new one."
At this point the party was convinced she was not dangerous, and the scene continued more or less as expected.

Dinvaya did not intentionally make the PCs fight the golem. But I certainly did.

Heretek wrote:
Shakalaka wrote:
The sorceror isn't an arcane caster anymore, so wouldn't meet the requirements for eldritch knight
When did this happen?

It's a feature of the psychic bloodline (from Occult Adventures). "Your sorcerer spells and spell-like abilities count as psychic instead of arcane."

Gisher wrote:
Naal wrote:
I have wanted to play a Magaambyan Arcanist ever since I first read about it. Its prerequisite feats are Scholar and Spell Mastery, and I don't even care; my next wizard/arcanist is going to take them and like it.

If you haven't seen the Magaambyan Initiate Arcanist Archetype, you should take a look. (Note that d20pfsrd altered the name for legal reasons.)

It is decent on its own, but it was specifically designed to progress into the Magaambyan Arcanist Prestige Class. For example, it gets Spell Mastery as a Bonus Feat. It's from Arcane Anthology. It's also PFS legal is that matters to you.

Thanks for reminding me! I have it on print, but binge-reading other stuff made the archetype slip from my mind. Thinking about a new character could be wise now, as our last game ended with the party between rock and a hard place.

(These characters are not for PFS. I have participated, but my work schedule is often uncooperative.)

I managed to guide my players through Scrapwall more or less in the default encounter order. They interrogated Marrow and found out about the undead in the mists. They were not sure what kind of undead they were encountering, so they went in with hide from undead active. The poltergeists blew their saves, and I had the party notice them as glimpses of skulls and weird shimmerings in the mists (to increase tension and let them know the spell was good for something).

One poltergeist in the wreck made its save, and all went south immediately. They were telekinetically tossing grenades at everyone, only the mage (with see invisibility) could see them, and the will-'o-wisp got involved after the mage retreated to the engine room and reacted badly to it. Fortunately the quarters were so tight they could guess where the enemy might be, and dispatched them with magic weapons, channeled energy, magic missiles, and lots of yelling and panicking about the grenades (none detonated).

After hacking through the skeletal technicans, they congratulated themselves, opened the bridge door, and that was when all the spooky setup paid off. Panic levels went up to eleven since they were out of magic missiles. They couldn't go out (more poltergeists), they couldn't fight properly (too little room), and they couldn't pull back to regroup (the wraith was too close). But they had a hit everyone with a wand of mage armor. Despite more yelling and panicking the wraith got one hit and drained 2 Con.

They looted the shuttle, cast another hide from undead, and went out to see the sun was beginning to shine through. I had Dinvaya restore the Con drain (diamond dust got handwaved as something she had lying around in a jar after cleaning her workshop), and then it was exposition time with the envoy's mouthpiece.

TL;DR. They picked up the clues, were prepared against incorporeal undead (since they figured Marrow wasn't scared of ordinary shambling cadavers), and had a cleric with positive channeling. It was scary and tense, but they were so pleased when all that planning worked out. I liked the encounter. It was a nice change of pace.

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I have wanted to play a Magaambyan Arcanist ever since I first read about it. Its prerequisite feats are Scholar and Spell Mastery, and I don't even care; my next wizard/arcanist is going to take them and like it.
It may not be the strongest prestige class, but it feels right.
If the GM won't allow the it, I will try flattery, bribery, and begging.

If all of them fail, I might try to break free from my bias against 6-level casting by playing a Hunter or shudder an Alchemist (or Investigator). But hopefully not yet. Our current characters are still alive and well.

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Tacticslion wrote:
Awakened giant ants: they do construction, haul heavy things, and have max ranks knowledge (engineering)? Sorry. Not very punny...

Formidable Formian Fortifications Inc. With actual formians in charge.

On the opposing side, vexgit wrecking crews. You need to herd them somehow, but it's possible Kragreth-Kol or his halfling sidekick (or one of their descendants) managed to figure out how to do that. Give them tiny yellow hardhats (safety first!), unleash them, and look at them dismantle that dinged-up Kuthite cathedral at Juniper Street with only some collateral damage.

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I quit Thomas Covenant after two books. Maybe one day I'll reread it, but it's not a high priority.
The Gap Cycle was harsh and a bit too long, but I don't regret reading through it. It's different from the regular heroic space opera, to be sure.

Hammer's Slammers books by David Drake might be worth including on the list. Stuff about mercenaries, not adventurers.

Some slightly lighter material (comics), assuming they are not already on the list:
Sillage by Morvan and Buchet (The Wake, English translation). For both pretty pictures and ideas. First book is set-up, the others have a different tone and stand-alone plots with some overreaching storyline.
Yoko Tsuno by Roger Leloup, particularly the books about Vineans. The later stuff seems stiff and lifeless, but the earlier stories are very dear to me.
Jeff Hawke by various (Sidney Jordan may have been involved with the most). Something old, something odd, something funny.

swoosh wrote:
When did dump stats become something to sneer at? Never understood that.

No sneering or snarling involved, despite the gnoll face. Just figured I'd note what I was working with. The actual stat array at level 1 was 14+2, 14, 13, 14, 10, 12. Social side of the campaign warranted a human with at least rudimentary social ability, and I elected myself to fill that role (other players then gleefully picked nonhumans). Int for skill points and feat preqs, Cha to smoothen the way a little. Iron Will to help with average Wisdom.

I tend to make my non-casters flexible, and often multiclass on a whim, depending on where the campaign is going and how our fortunes go. There was no intention to go "nyah, my gaming style is so much better than you" or anything.

The last two characters I made are both melee fighters. They are different from the wizards and rogues I had before, of course. Thus far I have not been bored by my choices in combat. Whacking aberrations with blunt instruments is still shiny and new, and I have noticed that combat maneuvers work decently against rank-and-file enemies even if I don't have Improved X feats for them (I have Improved trip for one fighter now, but I have actually bull rushed more enemies). I think it depends on the GM and other players. I find fights with many mid-level threats more interesting than so-called boss fights, where a bunch of heroes go against a single bigger critter.

When I have the HP to take a few hits and the AC to avoid many, I can move closer to the enemy group, hit them where I want, and herd them. I can control the battle by moving closer to certain enemies or chokepoints, pull others to protect them, and use terrain to restrict their movement. It helps that the GM is a devious old monster who plays these enemies well. They do not behave like chess pawns, and do not always fight to the last HP. Escape and surrender are possible for both sides.

Boss fights are more static. There is no maneuver to speak of. Casters do their thing, martials make their saves against fear or other stuff, and then most of the fight is "flank if possible" and try to make your saves. Combat maneuvers either rarely work (non-caster enemy), or work so well that the fight ends the moment I get close (humanoid caster), and that is a bit boring. Action economy is very hard on lone enemies.

Some background. My main group swapped roles a bit. I have traditionally been the know-it-all egghead caster, but now I have the meat shield and another barbarian-prone guy runs a snooty elf wizard and gets to rub our ignorance on us with every knowledge check. Thus far we have liked the change. But please note this: in this group the wizard has the greatest stopping power. My fighter is a bit like a sheepdog, running between the other players and enemies, troubleshooting. And I don't mind. It's a nice change of pace for me. I have saved the other party members a couple of times, and they have saved me. The team works.

Neither fighter has reached level 10, where the fun supposedly stops. Neither is optimized for a single weapon or tactic, or has dump stats (the sheepdog is pretty much the party face, too). Both have useful levels of UMD for minor buffs, though they do not always work, and their low duration sometimes forces me to take risks or go to defensive.

Expectations matter, I think. I don't expect (or plan) to succeed on my every combat maneuver, so I don't worry too much about getting every feat or item I would need for the perfect build. It gives the character a bit more room to grow. I can take failure or a bad roll, since there are other members in the party. I don't weep when I have to miss an iterative attack because of movement, and I take childish pleasure when my Combat Reflexes triggers against the enemy who tried to charge the healer. If it's easy, it isn't fun.

Edit: Ninjaed by three minutes!

Deighton Thrane wrote:
DragoDorn wrote:
My lodge's leadership says that if you can't cast yet, you don't have a spell list so you would need to UMD it.
Has anyone pointed to page 458 of the core rulebook where it states; *snip*

Edit: Ferious Thune corrected me, so I have removed an irrelevant post. I missed the part about multiclassing into bloodrager, and went on about pure occultist rules.

Thanks, Ferious.

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Imbicatus wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
I really hope the red skin humans of Akiton get a name they call there race and no, not "human" or "the people of Akiton".

They are humans. Just like Shoanti, Garundi, Mwangi, Kellid, Ulfen, Vudrani, Tian, and any other ethnic group. I'd love more information about them, but whatever they're called, they are human.

As long as they lay eggs, all is fine by me.

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Slavery in science fiction with advanced robots is not an economic issue. It is used to show that the nations that embrace it are not your friends.

Blade Runner had replicants. They were created to fill the role of robots, but were living creatures treated as slaves, with predetermined death-switches built into them. The society built living creatures and treated them like tools.

Kzinti conquered other species not to destroy them, but to enslave them. Menial work was beneath their warrior traditions. Most of the conquered races also provided a handy food source for the carnivorous aliens, who hunted their criminals. Robots could not fulfill that role. Kzinti treated their slaves almost like pets. Valuable slaves were treated well and rewarded. Others were culled when necessary.

Dune did not have universal slavery. House Atreides did not keep slaves, and stood mostly for the values we appreciate. House Harkonnen was known for its slave pits, and treated everyone as disposable.

Honorverse has 'genetic slavery', which seems to equal replication. It had no androids or humanform robots for unspecified reasons. Slavery exists because the story needed someone vile enough for both major nations to fight together.

Old SpaceMaster was basically a combination of Blade Runner and Dune, with a healthy dose of space opera. Androids and near-sentient robots were ubiquitous, and replicants were used for the really demeaning tasks. Still, slavery was a secondary institution of the Empire and some of the great houses. You either sold yourself to slavery when you could no longer afford the cost of living, or you were sentenced to slavery. These slaves had rights, and could be respected, but they had no freedom. Slavery existed to remind everyone that failure and disrespect for the Empire had a price.

Several science fiction stories feature aliens who enslave cultures to harvest something out of them, breeding them like cattle when necessary. There was a story (the name of which I have sadly forgotten), where a human explorer visits an alien ship and listens to the alien say that the useful parts of humanity will be preserved in some form. It then underlines this by showing an organism that is basically a living vacuum cleaner and mop, telling it was all that remained of another sentient starfaring species after their modifications.

Slavery in these settings mostly exists because it represents decadence and power. Power over the fates and lives of other sentient creatures. Power to force other people to bend to your desires and whims. You do not need something as mundane as machines to do your menial work. You may bow to the Emperor, the Hereditary President, the Sultan, the House Lord, or whatever, but you wield power over lives of others, so you are not at the bottom of the social pyramid.

Dragon78 wrote:
An alien species that looks like an elf with green or blue skin and a +2(maybe +4)cha bonus. It could be a new type of elf or something else entirely.
I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Why CHA and not INT? Being a scion of Might & Magic, I'd love to see a blue-skinned +4 INT a science-fantasy setting, so much the better!

Just in case you missed it, may I direct your attention to this post.

Morgan Champion wrote:
Can I nominate the Loroi (and their archfoes the LE Umiak) from Jim Francis's webcomic Outsider?

Elven spacefarers reminds me: I wonder if vrock-powered spaceships are still going to be a thing.

Wizard. I like to play smart characters (no comment on whether I am actually smart), and the class is flexible.
Fighter. My recent characters have been fighters, and they are more flexible than the used to be. Hitting things is fun, too.
Occultist. Never had the chance to play this, but it seems interesting.

I suck at playing spontaneous casters, since I can never decide what spells to take, but I have been eyeing the spiritualist with interest for roleplaying reasons. I've also started warming for the ACG classes, especially slayer (I'm an old rogue fan) and hunter. Whenever I look at bard or alchemist, my brain locks; there are too many nice archetypes to decide.

Barbarians or druids are out of the question. Completely burned out on them after player shenanigans. :-p

Terquem wrote:
TheAlicornSage wrote:
How about starship design rules? Star wars the first d20 version had an awesome book for designing and modifying starships. I even used it as a base for one of my earlier starship minis games.
I prefer Traveller, both LBB2 and HG

Ad Astra recently had a Kickstarter campaign to convert Traveller ships to Squadron Strike. SqSt is different* from the earlier Traveller ship combat systems. Based on my limited experience, it is flexible and versatile enough to be interesting.

*in my humble opinion, better, but your mileage may vary, as always.

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djones wrote:
Cole Deschain wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
I'm actually far more interested in what YOU ALL are interested in as your favorite space-magic groove.
Dune.(Bene Gesserit, Tleilaxu, Ixians...)
I liked the Dark Space setting for SpaceMaster/Rolemaster

Perhaps the only setting where you could buy church-approved tentacles.

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Vehicle and mecha issues may have an additional complication in adventure design. Usually stories with mecha tend to be stories about the mecha and their pilots, with everyone else in a supporting role (significant others, bridge bunnies, mechanics, and gruff mustachioned commanders). How are they handled with a kitchen sink game where they are just one option among the others?

Do you need a specific class or feat tree to make vehicles or mecha work? If so, some characters will take them. Can these classes pull their weight when not stomping about and kicking Hyundais around? When they are required, what do the other classes do? These questions are not new, since there have always been roles (face, blaster, archer, melee, skill monkey...), but they are magnified, since it is difficult to carry around a hardsuit or Marauder 'mech and pull it out only when needed.

Torbyne's idea is one solution. If there is a mystical component to the mecha, their spread and use can be controlled (perhaps they only work near ley lines or something). Mystic mecha could also be carried around as amulets (shield guardians) or conjured when necessary.

The last piece reminds be of Exalted. It had a couple of spells that created a warstrider (battlesuit) for you. It also had Hellstriders; warstriders imbued with an essence of a demon. Perhaps that is one solution. It takes an outsider to power the suit. Evil outsiders are plentiful and easily press-ganged by their superiors, so there is always something to fight. But a good or neutral outsider is less inclined to infuse with a suit, unless a mortal with a proper mindset is available.

You have been chosen by the Lion Amulet. You are the carrier of the Spirit of Voltron. You defend the Absalom Station from the Encroaching Darkness. When you reach level six.

I tried UltraPro nine-card pages, with one large, two medium or four small pawns per pocket. They were unwieldy, and difficult to transport.

Then I bought 3 millimeter foam card (or something like it), cut it apart with a boxcutter, and used it to make storage rows in the original pawn boxes.
Take two pieces of thin cardboard about as long as the narrow side of the box. Height does not really matter.
Glue about pawn-wide pieces of foam card on each in the preferred row configuration. Leave foamcard-wide spaces between these pieces (and at each side; this makes flipping through the contents easier).
Put these backends at the narrow ends of the box. Slot long pieces of foam card (a little lower than a pawn is tall) between the backends.
There is no need to permanently glue this contraption to the box; long strips of foam card are rigid enough to hold the cardboard backends in position.

A pawn box can handle the following configurations.
1. Four rows of large pawns.
2. Six rows of medium pawns
3. Five rows of medium pawns, one row of large pawns.
4. Two rows of small pawns (with two extra rows on top in a detachable tray), three rows of medium pawns, one row of large pawns.
Each row holds about 110 pawns, with some room for flipping through them. Make cardboard dividers as appropriate. Huge pawns are in their own box, but most configurations can handle a few on top of other rows.

I sorted the pawns by type and then alphabetical order, but reserved configuration 4 for summonable creatures, so (almost) everything is easy to find when the conjurers go crazy.

Next step. Where do I store the boxes?

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Ambrosia Slaad wrote:

So now I'm really curious... we all know none of these ships will appear in Starfinder except maybe as a heavily-modified homage. What makes these ships your favorites? What lootable qualities do these favorites have that Starfinder ships should also include (or improve on) to be considered great? What inspiring qualities do these favorites have that Starfinder ships should also aspire to (or improve on) to be awesome?


For me, the answer to your first question is almost certainly nostalgia. I was exposed to Blake's 7 and original BSG as a child, and Aliens was a a rarity among sequels (it did not suck). There are plenty of other ships to like, but I had to pick three, and those popped into my mind first.

Most of the stuff I like either looks functional (Sulaco), distinct (Liberator, Cylon Basestars), or is something I link with likable characters (Starjammer mentioned by Grey Lensman). I just realized Millenium Falcon did not make my list because I link the ship to Han Solo and Chewie, not vice versa. If I think about Blake, Avon, Jenna, Vila, Gan, Soolin, and others, I remember Liberator. If I think about Cylons, I get a raider or two approaching a Basestar. There is also some sort of theme attached to all three. Liberator's theme is hopeless struggle against Orwellian dystopia, and the need to keep fighting it, no matter how bad it looks. Sulaco's theme is power, arrogance, and hubris. Cylon Basestars represent darkest evil. To this day, I can't see one without hearing the theme, and knowing it is finally time to end the lifeform known as man. Battlestar stands for hope and protection. Starjammer is adventure, freedom, and the good days of X-Men against the Brood (which will always be a favorite of mine).

Why not give ships domain powers?

Babylon 5 ships lack these themes. But they were very varied, and made an impression as a group. Starfuries and Omega class destroyers emphasize function over form. Narn and Centauri capital ships look right to me (flat is good). Vorlon transports and Drazi Sunhawks had their weird glimmering propulsion systems. Minbari and Brakiri cruisers had atypical geometry (I can't remember anything similar except possibly the alien carriers in Space: Above and Beyond). Streib collector was weird. Vree had saucers. Shadow ships with their shifters and slicers were just unfair. It also helps that combat scenes in B5 were more interesting than those in Star Trek or Star Wars (where ships usually shake before shields fail, and explode into sparks afterwards when hit). Benefits of being produced in CGI era, I suppose.

Farscape was more focused on people. I liked the designs of Command Carriers and Scarran Dreadnoughts better than Moya, who was more interesting as a character than a craft design. There were other singular interesting designs such as the Nebari transport, but my DVDs were made by the lousiest, poorest, cheapest excuse of a production company ever, and half of them have degraded into uselessness, so I have not seen the series in years.

Federation vessels from Star Trek have always felt daft. There are in-universe reasons for their shape, and yet... the engines are easy to shoot off, and the bridge is the bull's eye in a round plate. But the duels between Enterprise and Reliant were pretty. Klingon and Romulan vessels are more to my tastes. Borg were boring. What few DS9 ships I remember were mishmashed boxes.

Star Wars suffered from scale escalation. The Zahn trilogy and X-Wing series books were good. But after the succession of bigger and bigger ships and battlestations in other books and comics, I can barely take a classical Star Destroyer seriously. It was always "same, but bigger", and the latest movie's doomsday weapon continued this.

I don't really care for Mass Effect ships due to way the games developed. ME1 was good. ME2 went south, and I never bothered to play ME3 after that. While I love Flash Gordon, it never had very interesting ships. Culture ships were characters, but I have never been able to visualize them as anything but glittering ovoids. I liked the look of WarShips of BattleTech and various craft from Jovian Chronicles, not to forget Traveller. But few of them mean anything to me.

What to use in the game? Form follows function, but technologies in the game may not require forms we have come to expect. Traveller capital ships were skyscrapers with engines on bottom. SW and ST ships had crew standing perpendicular to the axis of thrust. B5 EarthForce ships did not have artificial gravity. Moya had no weapons, and was alive. Depending on technology, make a few very basic rules and stick to them. If you draw deck plans, try to remember everything important (such as toilets and airlocks). Don't try to make a ship awesome. Millenium Falcon was a junk. Moya was scared or perplexed half the time. If a ship is too powerful or invulnerable, it is boring. A ship becomes awesome if the story works, and the same story may not work for everyone.

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Trying to give everyone what they want is futile. The other thread contains requests for warhammeresque marines and orks with a k. But even if obvious expies for existing campaign universes are not included, it is difficult to include both hard scifi lighthuggers (á la Alastair Reynolds) and hyperdrives. Technology options are too diverse to include everything. Very often, tech is used simply as a flavor, anyway. Everything is cyber-, quantum-, gluon-, nano-, nanonic-, fractal-, phase-, or gravitic-something, or runs on antipositron flux cells, and the principal difference is that one flavor inflicts electrical damage and another bypasses physical armor.

I don't think anyone really expects chaos marines (unless you can enlist/entice/aggravate proteans) or timelords. There will be many familiar tropes. Tropes are fine. But I still find it weird that there is a new setting rotating into view at the terminator and some are clamoring for the same old stuff they can get by playing some other game.

Topic. I hope the following things are absent: time travel, digitizing people into the cyberworld, personality downloads or transporter buffer recordings as affordable immortality, holodeck plots (oh noes, Treerazer.exe is running wild), and clunky grimdark armor.

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Sulaco from Aliens. It is the iconic generic warship in my mind.
Liberator from Blake's 7. Gotta love the underdogs and their weird ship. Remember to clear those neutron blasters.
Cylon Basestars, from the original Battlestar Galactica. Proper ominous hovering.

I seem to like grey ships. There are so many more to choose from, but I get confused by all the options. About half of Babylon 5 and half of Farscape. Klingo-Romulan Bird of Prey, and the ST:TOS Romulan Warbird. A flat ship is good ship, too.

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Master Pugwampi wrote:
I want to see space gremlins!

That's a pretty idea! Then we need either ventilation shafts marked on maps, or some abstraction rules for them. It'll be fun!

PC 1: Who was the idiot who fired the phase cutter? I said no firearms when boarding!
PC 2: Well, I got Weapon Focus (Phase Cutter) and Prolonged Burst feats, and I'm going to use them. My DPR is 2.6 higher, and I bypass 10 points of hardness.
GM: And the cargo manifest said 800 Vexgits. 400 of which have now bypassed their recently ruptured stasis containment cylinders.
PCs 3-5: Abandon ship abandon ship abandon ship!
PC 6: Who the #%!#& ships vexgits?

Slightly related: have you read The Mote in God's Eye?

Nutcase Entertainment wrote:
Joana wrote:
Why would someone go to a store to buy a card/code to go home and order something online, when they can just order it online to begin with and avoid the trip?
Those who can not get credit cards, those who don't want to use credit cards, etc...

Both are valid reasons. However, setting up a formal system of cards/codes will cost at least something, and may be too bothersome considering the expected returns.

An informal system might work in these cases. Set up a Paizo account. Go to the FLGS and ask them nicely to set up a Paizo account. Pay them an agreed sum in cold, hard cash to purchase you a PDF as a gift option. That would also take care of the personalization issues. Or you could ask a friend to do the same.

The problem with the informal system is that some stores might not want to do this for bookkeeping reasons, or because it could collide with some obscure laws or consumer rights. I don't know; I have never asked. Small shops can be flexible with nonstandard requests, but midsize businesses have some really arcane bureaucratic knots that usually resolve into "I can't, accounting/my supervisor would yell at me".

For the record, I haven't purchased any Paizo PDFs. Dead tree interface FTW. Some day I'll fold and get the out-of-print stuff I want. But not yet. For me PDFs are the last resort.

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A group of half-orc dirge bards. Doom metal.
A group of broodmaster summoners. It's going to be so cute!
A group of skalds. A bunch of roosters competing about who crows the loudest. May also (d)evolve into doom metal.
A group of occultists. Five characters and 20 implements so strange no town wants to let them enter twice. "Oi, who stole the egg from my chicken-feet tetrahedron again!"
"An abjurer, a conjurer, a necromancer, and a transmuter go into a tavern. Nobody saw the illusionist enter, and the diviner was already present."
A group of spiritualists. Now The Haunting of Harrowstone can be both module name and party callsign.
A bunch of separatist clerics who try to figure out Grand Unified Theology of everything.

I like the kineticist or fighter options. I still have fond memories of Avatar The Last Airbender, and archetypes plus UMD can make the latter work. Cult of Vorg also has something that sounds interesting.

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Obviously when an Oma uses this ability, the entire crew of the target vessel bounces around like in the original Star Trek series. Dramatic music blares, anyone wearing red is going to be in a world of hurt, and some unfortunate NPC will be crushed by a falling girder.

Alternatively, the ship might be pushed off-course and fall into the gas giant or (more adventurously) crashland on a barren moon filled with hostile bug people.

captain yesterday wrote:
I like Norgorber. Sounds nefarious.

I am very slightly annoyed by all the deities with grgrgrgrgrg in their names. It feels repetitive. Norgorber, Urgathoa, Rovagug, Gozreh, Gyronna, Groetus, Gargamel...

Torag and Gorum are short enough not to evoke this reaction in me. Kurgess and Ghlaunder are fine. I can't criticize the Strong Man, and Ghlaunder sounds appropriately creepy.

By the way, is there any connection with Thamir Gixx and Lord Gyr of House Gixx, or are their names just a coincidence? Puts on the traditional conspiracy tin hat.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Naal wrote:
I see why BigNorseWolf and Trimalchio write about cast+targeting=effect rule. Without first-hand experience, it sounds like this turns emergency force sphere into "kill my buddies instead, I'm turtling up" solution.
Which is still REALLY good. Because if someone it tossing a spell at you, chances are pretty good they picked one that would hurt you the most, like feeblemind.

True that. Plus there's still the problem of getting out instead of going on the offensive. Not everybody is a wizard with the teleportation school, and dimension door eats the same slots as EFS.

There are probably also several effective countermeasures against someone shacked up in the dome. Thunderstomp might be useful, since a tripped creature remains prone even if he teleports out. Black tentacles could work.

Orfamay Quest wrote:

The point is to be able to cast it in response to something that happens not on your turn, such as when the rocks of an avalanche are starting to fall, or when the water is rising in a flood.

But note that it's in response to, not in interruption of. Because, unlike readied actions, EFS and other immediate actions are not empowered to interrupt other actions.

I'll keep this in mind. I am still not signing the theory that immediate actions are unable to interrupt, but I have been wrong before, and I shall be wrong again.

Trimalchio wrote:

...closing pit example...

...allows the N/PC to complete their action and select valid targets...

The pit thing I fully agree with.

The second item is also something I need to keep in mind. Action economy is usually on the player's side, and negating an action powerful enough to warrant EFS is almost equal to dazing the foe for a round.

Thank you, all.


Serisan wrote:

Oh good grief they just keep coming I'm going to bed and not looking at this thread until tomorrow.

After rereading the first two pages, I think I now understand the arguments better. I just don't like the results of either very much when it comes to targeted spells. I need to talk to my players.

I share Gulthor's views about the cast+targeting/effect issues. I don't consider having the ability to block a targeted spell to be time travel. If the block decision is made before the attack roll/saving throw, I don't see that it matters whether the attack was a ray or a targeted effect. The real problem is this: giving emergency force sphere the ability to spring into existence after targeting means it voids practically any attack at the cost of level 4 slot. It becomes so good that after an intense caster fight it sounds like there can be a dozen of the little domes around. Automatically negating maze or imprisonment is too much.

I see why BigNorseWolf and Trimalchio write about cast+targeting=effect rule. Without first-hand experience, it sounds like this turns emergency force sphere into "kill my buddies instead, I'm turtling up" solution. Despite that, I think I need to adopt this method. Perhaps I should use a dice or card or something to decide the target without revealing it to the players, grant Spellcraft rolls and allow EFS activations, and then reveal the counter and finish the attack. That way I can still grant the players the feeling of success when the spell actually saves someone. Instead of dooming the non-arcane casters.

I also don't see immediate actions as being unable to interrupt actions. What would be the point in giving EFS immediate casting time in that case? If you would cast it just on your own turn, casting time: swift action would do. If you were to use it as a readied action, casting time: standard action would do.

After writing all that, I may be concerned over nothing. How common is this spell in practice?
Edit: Sweet Desna, I have been editing this for almost two hours? This thread moves too fast for me.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
It really wouldn't matter. If the spell is taking over your mind its too late to throw something between you and the caster. If the spell is in your brain putting something in between you and the caster doesn't do anything, just like teleporting your charmed/dominated friend 100 miles from the caster wouldn't do anything. They're still dominated.

That was the point of the last paragraph I wrote. Is it mentioned somewhere that there is "no time" between declaration of target and a rolled save?

Page 213 has this: You make all pertinent decision about a spell (range, target, area, effect, version, and so forth) when the spell comes into effect. But "comes into effect" does not necessarily mean "affects the target". When a fireball comes into effect it appears, is launched, and only then detonates. Should we also treat save-or-suck spells as having some aspect that gives the target time to react to them (or at least be properly horrified)? A mental equivalent of water pulling back before the tsunami hits.

For the record, I have zero experience with emergency force sphere, which seems to be the primary reason for this thread. But I expect it to become relevant to my games in a couple of months, and would like to be prepared when I have to state why the spell does (not) work against threat X.

Many apparently thought RD was being disrespectful toward her friends, picking a single personality aspect for each and running amok with it. Hyper! Country. Books! Timid. Fashion! The scene was done for the sake of comedy and the episode is only 22 minutes long, so the imitations had to be brief. Some consider the results cringy. Some also had the opinion that the episode supported hazing, which is mindboggling to me.

Personally, I think the episode was fine, and RD does not see any of her friends that narrowly.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Undone wrote:

Any time means any time. If there is a moment in the sequence of events where a target has been selected that is part of "any time" because any time is tautologically any time.
Thats the crux of the matter. There's nothing to indicate that there is any time between the target being selected and the spell being in effect for a targeted spell.

Do saving throws either take time or 'interrupt' time for this purpose?

Fiction has descriptions of mental attacks where the target is suddenly aware of increasing pressure or panic when some effect starts to overwhelm his mind. This usually leads to the "get out of my mind" trope, which could be considered a successful saving throw against the influence. In these cases there is some time between selecting the target and the effect taking over the target.

Would getting a saving throw be considered "any time" for these spells? Is dominate person a binary on/off event where the target has no time whatsoever to even realize he is being targeted. Or is there a moment of mental pressure (the announcement that you need to roll a Will save) which would give time for a panicking caster could get an emergency force sphere between himself and the caster before the spell fully asserts control (the Will save is actually rolled).

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Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:

If I lived in Golarion as a native, I'd be so different from the person I am now, that the question wouldn't make any sense. The person I am now is a product of a culture/nation/time combination which simply does not exist there.

If you'd talk about transplanting the person I am NOW, to the Golarion of 4716, any choice I'd made about gods would be weighted down by my American-bred cynicism, which would make it also meaningless.

Cough. Despondently hands out a ragged pamphlet about Groetus, then limps away, muttering about The End.

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