Gnoll Warden

Naal's page

FullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 146 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 11 Organized Play characters.


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After-action report from Tier 1-2 game with six characters ranging from levels 1 to 3.
Players were leery of the betting mechanic, but eventually three of them agreed to bet against Falbin. One player wanted to bet against both (in character), but I had Jamila and Falbin agree for once and just look aghast at him like he had suggested clubbing baby seals or something.

Fights were fairly easy with the help of a couple of higher-level characters. The assassin vine was troubling considering the number of first-level characters in the party, but the druid made his Knowledge (nature) check and identified it from afar, so it wasn't a surprise. Wild Hunt had a team-building excercise, and the party skedaddled before they recovered. All in all, a nice scenario. The most complicated thing was understanding Azure.

The loot (I rerolled doubles and a couple of duds):
An arrow that giggles and coos.
A coin that cries if left behind.
A pine-scented rope.
A bedroll covered in purple hair (purrs when petted).
A candle that emits a stream of bubbles when lit.
A hat made from a frog's head that repeats everything its wearer says in a singsong voice.

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A lot of what I had in mind are already spoken for. The following ones would be welcome for conceptual reasons.
Cleric: Cardinal. A priest who actually knows something.
Cleric: Varisian Pilgrim. Love this, had to mention it.
Fighter: Tactician or Drill Sergeant. Assist your buddies by shouting a lot. After playing an Envoy in SF I like the idea of a martial support class.
Monk: Martial Artist. Not every monk has to be a bald ascetic with a rigid worldview.
Rogue: Eldritch Scoundrel. Already mentioned a lot, but still a favorite.

Tangentially class-related things:
Honorary mention outside core classes: Magaambyan Arcanist for arcanist. Finally got to play one, and I'm pretty pleased by the flavor.

I'm with the people who say that rogue archetypes that replace trapfinding are undesirable.

I am also one of the people who loved Occult Adventures. Its classes revitalized my interest in the game. Running an occultist and a spiritualist has been a joy, and I may soon have a chance to play a psychic investigator. This is one of the primary reasons I am not too enthusiastic about PF2. It feels like a step back after basking in many choices available in PF1. Time will tell how it is. It's too early to praise or condemn it.

I'm willing to sacrifice Dhampirs to the great fusion reactor in the sky if I can save Wayangs, Kitsune, and Tengu. But I'm also really interested in Halflings. How are they faring now that the shadow of slavery is no longer looming over them? How have they changed? Are their starships built to have cozy 4-ft. high corridors and rooms, which incidentally makes customs inspections for Vesk and other biggies a pain?


andreww wrote:
Page 5 provides the table for different skill and saving throw DCs across the tiers. Is it really intended that skills and saves use the same DCs?

I believe the DCs are correct. There aren't that many saves required by the scenario itself, and most of those are used to halve damage or avoid a minor penalty. The only one that might be really dangerous is the Average Reflex save on A7 due to the possibility of Constitution drain.

That reminds me of one possible permadeath combo in low tier Raising the Dead. Constitution poisons combined with mummy rot have a small chance of dusting an unlucky player character beyond the reach of raise dead. It's unlikely someone runs to hug a mummy at Con 6 or lower, though.


Tineke Bolleman wrote:
Naal wrote:
Beginner question here... *snip*
I took it to be total.

Thank you. The die roll was 1, so I didn't have to worry about it this time.

High-tier drow raiders, five characters (one of them a pregen) with two pets. Seasoned and prepared players who found and correctly interpreted every clue and throughly spanked the dark elves. Scenario timeslot management is a skill I have still not learned (too much time spent describing strolling around Kaer Maga), and I had to ditch the finer aspects of roleplaying at the end. But the players seemed to be happy with the end results.

keras_terune wrote:
Antother question: in the Shining Deeps Option 1 it says to "apply the implement" somehow i seem to miss, what this is doing.

Editing or formating problems. Correct lines should probably be these.

RECOVERING IMPLEMENTS: Tier 3-4 four players: Linked threat: Abrelin & Drixel with sickened condition.
RECOVERING IMPLEMENTS: Tier 6-7 four players: Linked threat: Abrelin & Drixel with sickened condition.

Arglüe Coppertongüe wrote:
Do you read the emotional scarring from emotion oozes, as just like the spell, where the target can save for half damage?

I wouldn't give a save. But I have been wrong in the past, and I shall be wrong in the future.


Beginner question here. How do I use the pickpocket guide? If the PCs fail their Perception check, does she steal 20gp/75gp from each player character, just one player character randomly determined, or is she an equal opporturnity thief who steals evenly from every character to a total of 20gp/75gp. There are players who can shrug taking 30 hp from an random ambush damage based on "I can heal it", but touch their stuff and they yell murder.

I'd rather do this right than guess, in case the guide die rolls a 4.

The only thing I want from Azlanti ships is that the bigger ships have some of their components orbiting them, like aeon stones circling around the wearer's head.
"Fools. Now witness the power of our AEON MODULES."


Zareen's statblocks (both tiers) are slightly faulty. Her negative channeling is listed as having its own daily uses (antipaladins usually expend two uses of touch of corruption per channel instead).

I am considering giving the players a chance to tell what enemies they do not want to see (none have played this yet). That way, players can "vote out" certain concepts (undead, immunity to mind-affecting) without knowing what they are actually going to face. Whether this is a good idea or not, I have no idea.

I have the urge to use the drow, but I am slightly worried about saturating the player characters with sleep poison. The DC is not that bad, but low rolls happen.


Played this recently. The driftdead fight was terryfingly close to TPK since we had no casters (soldier-2, soldier-?, solarian-2, drone mechanic-?, and an envoy-2), and a total of two force batons plus one semiautomatic pistol with a called fusion. Four characters got confused. Two shot each other while confused (one critted). The driftdead made about 16-18 attacks, and only missed twice. Both soldiers and the solarian were dropped to 0 hp twice, and the mechanic, his drone, and the envoy were dropped once. The only things that saved us were the resolve mechanic that allowed us to get back to the fight, one use of welcome to Starfinder boon, and that one soldier pulled back to the corridor, forcing the driftdead briefly to single attacks instead of that deadly full-attack combo. Action economy prevented us from recovering the batons or energy weapons once their users dropped, since anyone who moved to pick them up was knocked out by the driftdead before the weapon could be used. The envoy was the last person standing, and had one bullet left in the pistol.

The confusion effect combined with small quarters meant most of us were dropped within a step or two of each other. The thing had incredible attack bonus compared to our AC.

I agree with Arutema about low Strength scores. IIRC we had two characters with Strength 12+.

Other than that, the scenario is fine. The fight with Honorbound wasn't tough. We took the Pegasus, played according to the rules given (took about 15-20 minutes real time) and departed with everyone's honor unsullied. Searching the wreck was fun/creepy, and I hope there would have been even more time to devote to playing that. After the driftdead, the last fight was almost a cakewalk. One soldier bravely (accidentally) engaged the Xill in close combat and got paralyzed and implanted while everyone else riddled it with bullets and lasers and the solarian did his stuff.

Robert Brandenburg wrote:
Is this problem still happening? It looks as though someone fixed it in the last day or two, but we'll be sure to look into it further if anyone is still having trouble reporting these sessions.

The scrambled information has been fixed.

Could someone please explain how to complete reporting a session? I have been poking this for a month now, and I'm no closer to enlightenment.

When looking at the GM Sessions tab of My Pathfinder Society, the "Reporting Completed" part of the filter list only gives "No" as an option for Event 157283 session 1. That implies to me that the reporting is not finished, and it probably should be. The filter list also only shows "No" under the "Scenario Mission Accomplished" section, but the scenario succeeded. Everyone got 2 prestige and the Dark Archive player got his special perks.

Am I misunderstanding the reporting system, or is this report still in limbo?

The same happened to me. I ran #9-05 on October 7th, and saved the data. Recently, the scenario started appearing as #9-09: Beyond the Halflight Path in the GM sessions tab, but the hovertext still displays the intro text for #9-05.

Looking more closely at the GM sessions tab, the scenario is still listed as #9-05 in the left-hand checkbox list. Apparantly the scenario's reporting is also not completed (there is a checkbox that says "no" at the Reporting Completed part of the checkbox list), and I have absolutely no idea how to complete it, nor do I dare to meddle with the system now that #9-05 does not appear in any dropdown. Did I miss a "complete reporting" buttom somewhere earlier, or is the site just ornery at me?

This is the first PFS scenario I have ran, so I don't know how these things should normally work.

Until we get a sourcebook that expands the available combat postures (Pact World Kneelers or something), we are pretty much officially stuck either prone or standing.

Kneeling might be missing due to action granularity. If dropping prone is a swift action and standing up is a move action, what sort of actions would kneeling take? If it doesn't take actions, either it will generate automatic benefits (and every firefight will be fought from the kneeling position) or the benefits generated are too small to matter (and can be treated as flavor text with combatants dashing here and there, kneeling to fire for their standard action and moving again next round).

Nothing seems to state that cover and prone condition do not stack, so why not fluff prone condition adjacent to low cover as kneeling? The character seeks tactical advantage (swift action) but sacrifices mobility (melee penalties, need to expend a move action to regain ability to move freely). I would probably allow characters to treat low obstacles as regular cover if they are willing to drop prone next to them, even if the obstacle would not typically provide more than partial cover (or turn no cover to partial cover in some cases). If you want to kneel without cover, I'd still make you choose between prone and standing postures, however.

The original question; I would not allow cover from a prone character. Unless the second character would go prone as well, and then first character would block the second character. As for case 2 in that post; go for it if someone volunteers as the meat shield! Use tactics to confound your enemy. And hope they don't surround you or bring plasma rifles if you take too much time leapfrogging. :-)

There are games and then there are games:
Some things are best abstracted or treated as subcases of other rules, or we might as well play GURPS or Phoenix Command.


I don't see why darts or arrows could not be made of special materials. While the first paragraph of page 191 talks about cartridges, table 7-12 is about ammunition, if someone wants to lawyer it out.

Pretty much everything in table 7-9 should be fair game for special materials, except batteries, flares, grenade arrows, and petrol tanks. And a lenient GM could let you buy a mithral petrol tank. (So you could bonk foes in the head with it when they get too close.)

Frag grenades should also be legal.

For the record, I believe C is the way to go as well.

Dart fun:

Not relevant to topic, but darts are funny.
Buy a box of darts. Use them to load a needler rifle and a dual acid dart rifle. Look at the damage. Where does the acid go/come from? Does the needler rifle have a DRM system that deactivates the acid reservoirs, or what? :-)


From the department of small questions.
When purchasing ammunition made of special materials (adamantine alloy, cold iron, silver), can I convert individual cartridges into special materials by paying the per-cartridge cost, or do I pay the special material cost per magazine or per purchase lot of ammunition?

I have an autotarget rifle (capacity 10 rounds) and a box of longarm ammunition (75 credits for 25 cartridges). I need adamantine alloy cartridges. Do I...
A) pay +50 credits per adamantium alloy cartridge, and keep the remainder of the box as regular cartridges.
B) pay +500 credits to convert one magazine (10 cartridges) to adamantine alloy, and keep the remaining 15 as regular ammunition.
C) pay +1250 credits because adamantine alloy cartidges are only sold in regular ammunition box lots.

A would be simple. B is kind of weird. C is not ruled out, since ammo is sold in specific quantities.


Page 8 has a slight oddity.
Inner Sea Monster Codex states "the magic items on page 41 are legal to play". There are no magic items on that page, only spells (which are noted as legal to play in the Spells section).
Should the magic items part refer to page 29, or should it be removed entirely?

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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.

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