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Karzoug the Claimer

Nearyn's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 1,062 posts (1,067 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 2 Pathfinder Society characters. 2 aliases.


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You might find the advice I offer in my GM tips useful.

-Nearyn


Net wins.

Freedom of movement allows you to move normally, while under the effect of movement-impeding spells. It also makes grapple checks against you automatically fail. A net uses an attack roll, so it can hit you just fine. Once it does, you're entangled, and freedom of movement has no interaction with that condition.

Hope it helps.

-Nearyn


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I have a very "gloves off" approach to GM'ing. If it's in the book, there's a good chance I won't have compunctions against using it.

-Nearyn


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You: Aleristhe starts chanting in a low whisper. As he does so, other whispers seems to join it, in a chorus that reverberates through the air. Tendrils of black serpent-like smoke seems to rise from the ground, and wind around him,...

It's looking almost like black and purple cigarette-smoke.

Suddenly the whispers are pierced by a creepy, high-pitched scream and the tendrils strike forward like biting snakes, or the scythes of a mantis, tearing at the flesh of the orc. Then they fade, dissipating into the air.

picks up 2d4 and roll them. They come up 4 and 2

The orc takes 8 damage.

Your GM: Okay, very cool. The orc lets loose a cry of pain as your dark assault starts ripping at his body. He falls to the ground, dying. You notice that off to the side, the orcs' spirit-caller is staring at you, unblinkingly, trying to figure out what sort of vile dark arts you're employing. Just to be clear, that spell you just used functions like magic missile, right?

You: Yes, it's magic missile.

Your GM: Well, it probably isn't. It's probably some weird, unpronouncable spell, gleaned from the other side of the dark tapestry, but mechanically it's magic missile, cool. Ahem... It's the spirit-caller's turn, and you see realization in his eyes, as he notices how you weave the eldricht powers and realizes the properties of your dark arts. He starts stomping the ground with one foot, yelling in a guttural language, and shaking a stick adorned with goat-bones. He's casting shield. Would you like to try to identify the spell as it is being cast?

Hope it helps.

-Nearyn


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This is probably entirely unhelpful to you, but I feel like it's obligatory that I suggest you take a look at the RPG Torchbearer, since Darkest Dungeon is basically that.

If that piques your interest, have a look at this recent series, that was hosted on the Roll20 Twitch channel.

Hope you find what you're looking for.

-Nearyn


If we had to build him by RAW, then yeah, we'd have to increase his HD. What we attempted was to build something we felt could represent the count, as he is in the book. It was easily attainable at much lower level than what you generally see suggested. Same for Van Hellsing.

Don't remember the exact detail, but I do remember we placed Abraham van Hellsing as a level 1 aristocrat/2 expert.

-Nearyn


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So I had to look back a bit in my skype-log, but I found a conversation I had with a friend of mine. She'd read Dracula and the we talked about Van Hellsing being this overblown vampire-hunter in pop-culture. Somewhere in that conversation, this happened.

Dracula talk wrote:

Count Dracula

NE male undead (vampire )
level 3 aristocrat/1 warrior
Init +6; senses darkvision 60ft, perception +12
AC 19 (10base +2 dex + 6 nat +1 dodge)
hp 34(3d8 + 1d10 + 12cha + 4 toughness)
Ability scores
Str 21, Dex 15, Con -, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 16
Skills Appraise +5, Bluff +16, Diplomacy +8, Fly +3, Intimidate +13, Knowledge (History) +5, Knowledge (Nobility) +6, Knowledge (Local) +5, Perception +12, Sense Motive +11, Stealth +17;
Feats skill focus (stealth), skill focus (intimidate), cleave, alertness, combat reflexes, dodge, improved initiative, lightning reflexes, toughness;
SQ blood drain, children of the night, create spawn, dominate, energy drain, change shape, gaseous form, shadowless, spider climb

Should probably be built with exceptional wealth, increasing his CR by 1.

Just felt like I should share that, what with the present conversation =]

-Nearyn


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@Ridiculon:

Not extremely confident in my Golarion-fu, but I do know that it is possible, in Golarion, to be afflicted by madness that prevents you from being able to distinguish your own illusions from reality. Although this doesn't answer whether you can elect to not see through your own illusions, it does tell us that if afflicted with the right dementia, you may not have a choice.

source (spoilers for RoTR):
This is proven in the Golarion-based adventure-path Rise of the Runelords, in the 5th book - Sins of the Saviors. In that story, a wizard from ancient Thassilon, named Vraxeris, becomes incapable of telling his own illusions apart from reality, and wastes away in front of his mirror, garbing himself in illusions, until he dies. The same character slept in an unadorned bedroom that he would decorate with illusions, although the path doesn't explicitly state whether he was able to enjoy them, or merely the translucent outline that would be left if he automatically disbelieved them

EDIT: Vraxeris also had simulacra of Delvahine, a succubus he fancied, in his bedroom. Again, this doesn't explicitly prove or disprove anything, but I'll take the opportunity to repeat that I prefer to think that the illusionist has the choice whether to disbelieve the illusion or not. If not, then Vraxeris enjoyed the "pleasures" of 6 elaborately crafted snowmen, draped in a translucent outline. An amusing mental image, sure, but also somewhat pathetic in comparison to the alternative.

Hope it helps.

-Nearyn


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@Ridiculon

The RAW of your question can basically be read in two ways.

disbelieving illusions wrote:
A character faced with proof that an illusion isn't real needs no saving throw

If you're arguing that an illusionist CANNOT disbelieve her own illusions, then the argument is that since no saving throw is needed, you automatically see through it.

If you're arguing that an illusionist CAN disbelieve her own illusions, then the argument is that the rules tell you, you don't need to make a save, but not that you don't get a save. This means you can elect to take your save and then choose to fail it.

None of these readings are wrong, by RAW, so it becomes a matter of preference and what you want illusions to do.

Personally, when making these decisions, I like to ask myself what either decision will ADD to the game, and what they will DETRACT from the game.

Now, at my table, Illusionists can choose to whether to disbelieve their own illusions or not. I like the idea of a vagrant wizard who has made her stinking alleyway look like a nice, warm study, even as she wastes away in squalor. I like the idea of the aging sorceress, who is deluding herself into thinking she's young by hiding her looks from herself, behind a veil of illusions.

16 year old spoiler:
In Baldur's Gate II - Shadows of Amn, there's a circus-tent that the guards have quarantined, because weird stuff is going down inside. When you enter, you find the tent contains a vast lake, with a single bridge guarded by a genie, leading into a luxurious crystal-domed palace, where a mighty monster holds court for a number of mystical beasts. The twist? Exploring the palace was just you walking circles inside a completely normal circus-tent, and the palace and all its wonders were the products of the circus' gnome illusionist, who, angry with the way the world treated him, had made his own little universe inside the tent, using illusions. Once you deliver the fatal blow to him, and the illusion drops, he screams in torment as his world dissipates around him, and everything is returned to normal.

Hope it helps

-Nearyn


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Regarding the ability to follow the group of bad guys, the obvious solution is to use survival checks to track them. Tracking a large group of creatures, is not gonna be too hard, and even if the players lose the track, the occasional corpse could bring them back on it.

Survival can also be your way to showcase the dangers of journeying. Journeying in plain old wildlands can be incredibly dangerous, even if you're properly prepared, and the dice are against you, and these darklands are probably not gonna be more hospitable than grassy plains.

Further, and this holds especially true for undeveloped routes or regions, there is not always a path to follow. I'm not just talking about a path, in the sense that someone had walked where you're not walking and have trodden a brown trail into the ground for you to follow. I'm talking about the way you want to travel, abrubtly ending in a deep ravine. There's not always a path.

A long, steep incline, that either needs to be travelled around, taking you through unknown terrain and off your general direction, or perhaps you have to go back and try a different route entirely. Maybe you elect to try to climb it? Maybe the giant spiders living in the holes in the incline would like you to try to climb it too?

Dungeons can sometimes be the least dangerous part of the journey, because depending on the leniency of the GM, travelling can either be super dangerous, or trivially easy. Sticking with the dice, and accepting the randomness of the system, can sometimes provide great challenges for the players to overcome. Sometimes the challenges are even too much to handle, but that's okay - the players will then have to decide if they want to go that way, or find another.

This is why rangers, or people who know the lay of the land, in general, are so valuable. This is why you bring maps and put ranks in knowledge (geography). Let's say you bring Aragorn along, because you want someone to guide you through the Kodar Mountains. Well, unless one of the PCs step up and teamwork with him, Aragorn is not only gonna be your pathfinder, but also your scout, meaning if something goes pear-shaped, he's probably the first to step in it. Now you're all alone in the Kodars, with the corpse of a dead ranger, biting cold, deceptively forceful winds cooperating with narrow ledges, and a GM with table full of high CR beasties and a bloodthirsty d100.

The travelling rules alone can make their trek into the darklands intense and dangerous as heck. If you want to change up the pace, offer them a skill-challenge that they can chose to try to overcome, or go another way and encounter a different challenge. Use monsters, hazards and traps, and palette-swap them as appropriate. Maybe they didn't encounter an elephant, maybe it's a west-varisian black-striped storm-elk (that just so happens to have the elephants stat-block), and maybe it doesn't attack, maybe it just blocks the way, leaving it to the players to decide if they wanna tango, run or get creative. Maybe that trap is not actually a mechanized spear-launcher, that harpoons you with spears from the ground, but rather a deceptive layer of gravel and sand, covering some wickedly pointy stalagmites. You can use the existing material, give it your own spin and make it fit the setting, and still have solid challenges without having to write anything =]

Hope it helps.

-Nearyn


houstonderek wrote:

You feed on sentient, living creatures to survive. You take their lives, not to save the world from anything, but to continue to exist.

The response isn't "helpful" because, from what I can tell from this thread, people want all of the power of being undead, but none of the consequences.

Mmmm no. The response isn't helpful, because it doesn't actually address the question I asked. The same holds true for your response, which is also not helpful to what I asked.

As for what people want, I'm afraid I cannot speak for "people", but what exactly I asked for, can be read in post 709 of this thread.

-Nearyn


Slithery D wrote:
You're dead, the GM runs the NPC inhabiting your body. If you're a particularly gifted roleplayers who's down for it you could run it for him within certain criteria, but that's unlikely. Most likely your undead self flees the party or attacks them. Your options are: 1) party tracks down and kills undead, resurrects PC, or 2) roll a new character.

Appreciate the answer, but your answer happens to avoid the context of my question. I'm asking this because it has been made evident, that some people believe that were I to remain in control of my character, through the transformation to vampire, my personality would then be radically changed. My question asks for their clarification on how they would have that change be a thing, at their table. So this response is not really helpful.

-Nearyn


As a point of curiosity. Can someone who has been advocating the "undeath turns your alignment to evil, which changes your personality" point of view, kindly tell me how exactly they'd make that work at the table?

I'm curious how this situation plays out in your mind's eye. So I'm a player at your table, I'm playing a LG Order of the Dragon cavalier, and as I ventured into the crypt of scarlet ashes, to scout ahead of the party, I was attacked by a vampire, drained and turned. My party, noticing signs that I've had a scuffle with a vampire, decide to retreat and go shopping in the Van Hellsing armory, for the proper equipment to deal with the longfang, and rescue me, if I'm still alive.

Now you describe my character awakening, I've been turned into a vampire. The argument here is that now that I've been turned, my alignment has been changed to any evil (Let's say Neutral Evil), and this is something I should roleplay. What do you, as the GM, tell me when my character wakes up?

What is my character's personality? It has just been changed, and not by me. If my alignment changing has forced an entirely different mindset, to such an extent that I now act and think in a way that fits the bill of neutral evil, what do you say to me? I have NO way of knowing what you expect of my new personality, or how my character justifies ANYTHING. I knew how my character thought and WHY she thought what she did, before, when my character was something I had constructed. Are you going to explain an entirely new character to me? And what does my character believe the basis for her new actions and thoughts are, having been a lawful good white-knight of friendship and loyalty, no more than 1d4 days ago?

When you give the reins back to me, and say "there, now roleplay your neutral evil vampire cavalier", what have you told me that would enable me to properly portray your vision, and how long have you taken to explain this to me?

I'm asking because, as I attempt to imagine my GM telling me these things, I'm left with an impression that I would be left with not nearly enough information to properly portray and understand my character.

Thanks in advance.

-Nearyn


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Well, my first addition to this thread will be to leave this link here.

That is a link to my old thread with advice for aspiring GMs, but can reasonably be employed by GMs of all calibers. It also lists tools to make the nitty-gritty of GMing go by a bit more smoothly, which can be useful no matter how accustomed you are to being behind the screen.

Since then I've happened upon an idea to help making NPCs. There is a really amazing roleplaying game out there called Burning Wheel, and this idea is taken directly from a mechanic of that game.

Making NPCs can be a bit daunting, you don't generally want to write a 5-page background for them, since the players will then reliably ignore the NPC or kill him when they first lay eyes on him. Don't question it, that is just the way the universe has decided it works. On the other hand, you don't wanna have nothing for your NPCs, or you risk them becomming stale and samey. Instead give every NPC one to three beliefs and one to three instincts. A belief is an assertion, followed by a statement of purpose, this is used to keep track of what would drive the NPC. Instincts are things the NPC does without thinking about it - they're generally great if acting on them can get you in trouble. A person CAN suppress an instinct.

When done, it takes this shape:

NAME: Briawick Riccaby. Merchant person.

Beliefs:


  • The merchant guild is charging their members too much. I will get influence in the guild and help the smaller businesses.
  • Adventurers are wealthy braggarts. I will charge them extra.
  • Shops are a mark success. When I become rich enough, I want to replace my stall with a real shop.

Instincts:


  • Talk down to dwarves.
  • Don't admit fault.
  • Respond to threats with snarkiess.

This is quick and easy to do, depending on how many beliefs and instincts you want for a given NPC, and it gives you an impression of how the person would act, both in the pressence of the PCs, but also once the PCs go off and do something else.

Hope it helps.

-Nearyn


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Berinor wrote:
...and statements in the CRB that GMs should seriously consider not allowing evil PCs. <-- attempt to give a nod to the thread topic

The wording you're thinking of, is as follows:

CRB: Alignment wrote:
The first six alignments, lawful good through chaotic neutral, are standard alignments for player characters. The three evil alignments are usually for monsters and villains. With the GM's permission, a player may assign an evil alignment to his PC, but such characters are often a source of disruption and conflict with good and neutral party members. GMs are encouraged to carefully consider how evil PCs might affect the campaign before allowing them.

While this does not permit a GM to take away a character, it does let them disallow the creation of evil characters. Naturally, talking about the right to take away a character could be a moot point, as a sufficiently determined GM can just declare that rocks fall and you die.

I would probably react to a GM who assassinated my character, because they disapproved of him, in much the same way I'd react to a GM who intends to take away control of evil characters, and then introduces elements in his campaign that forcefully changes alignment to evil. That is to say I'd inform the GM of their collossal conceit, and then leave the table.

On a note related not to taking away characters, but related to the disruptive quality of evil characters in good parties, I maintain that this is a myth, born of disruptive players.

A little slice of my own experience with evil characters and how disruptive they are:
When I mastered a Rise of the Runelords campaign, the monk and the rogue were effective LE and CE, but they were mechanically LN and CN because neither player was comfortable declaring their characters were evil. These characters worked in perfect tandem with the rest of the group, the chaotic good bard, the neutral good witch, and the lawful good paladin. The influences of the party even made the rogue change alignment during play, culminating in her change to CG, following the death of the group's Paladin.

In my present Jade Regent game, I'm playing half of a twin duo of chaotic evil ulfen Gorum-worshippers, and what conflict there is in the party stems not from their alignment, but from the neutral good gnome spiritualist being a racist who disapproves of their religion. The one time my character almost caused trouble for the party, was when he attacked a sexist dockworker who was cowing his wife - the attack happened after offering the dockworker the chance to run away and not fight. In a recent twist, the group's ratfolk alchemist, who likes the twins quite fine, saw them get hit with unholy blight, and realized they were unaffected. Realizing this made them evil, the player is now putting her character through a bit of a personal crisis, where she's wondering about the meaning of evil, and whether she should be judging the twins on this information, or on her friendship with them. It's fun watching her acting with cautious wonder, whenever my character does something, her character's does not equate with evil.

-Nearyn


Lord Foul II wrote:

interesting story.

Was that create undead or reiencarnate?

Thank you very much ^^

Create undead to raise her as a ghoul.

-Nearyn


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Grey.

All around, no matter where I turned, grey seemed to dominate. The landscape itself resembled an uneven wilderness, the ground jutting up one place, and drastically sinking another place, forming an impomptru, low-walled valley. Making up these walls, were rocky outcroppings and crags, appearing simultaneously weirdly spiked and jutting, yet softly rounded as if by the hands of someone of ungleanable artistic purpose. As my gaze travelled between the rocks, I saw a similar landscape stretching for as long as I could see, in all directions, all of it seeming to have been molded by the same alien hands that had touched the cliffs around me. And suffusing the world, as if dipped in a pale, completely saturated light – grey. Someplaces darker, a dark sometimes so deep, my eyes almost couldn't distinguish it from black. Someplace brighter, virtually indistinguishable from white. It lent an unsettling quality to the landscape – the grey of the sky, and the grey of the horizon matching perfectly, meshing togeter, seeming to bend the horizon up over the dome of the sky itself.

For the first time, I realized I was moving forward. I also realized I wasn't alone – not in the least. All around me, moving in the same tempo and direction as I, was the disembodied spirits of the departed, their bodies willowy and insubstantial, but their expressions terribly pained or confused. Most of them seemed to be caught, as I had just been, staring out into the grey expanse, moving forward inexorably, not seeming to know where they were going. Fear gripped me – wherever these spirits were drawn, so unwaveringly that most of them seemed not to realize they were even moving, I was not too intent on heading there myself.

I strained against my own movement, and through a considerable mental exertion, brought my pace to a halt. The world seemed to shift and become more clear around me, as if I'd been looking at it through the bottom of a glass. The clarity hurt my eyes, I turned my gaze from the horizon, and suddenly recoiled in shock. Next to me, standing within arms-reach, stood the form of a female human woman, but her visage was one of death – her form had long since lost any skin it once had, and perhaps it never had had any skin to begin with. From the skull-head of the skeleton lady, long locks of curly hair fell down over her beautifully embroidered dress. She seemed amused, her expression perfectly readable despite being completely unmoving, and she raised a hand as if trying to calm a wild doe.

”Why have you stopped?”

Her voice was almost like a pearly laugh, reverberating slightly in the noiselessness of the landscape – devoid of accusation, but filled with sympathy and curiosity. I didn't answer, my eyes were transfixed on her colourful dress, stading out against the grey as clearly as a house on fire. I tried to tear my gaze away, and repay her words with something more than slackjawed gawking.

”I don't want to go where they're going” I finally said, my gaze flickering briefly to the souls who had never stopped moving past me, like autumn leaves, slowly sailing down a forest brook.

”I know you feel uneasy, but you must not stop. You must follow your path to its end. This journey has been laid out before you, since the day you were born. It is time to see it to its end. Do not be frightened, for at the end of this path, lies only a new beginning. The cycle must continue”

Her voice was comforting, reminding me of a mother tucking in her child before blowing out the lantern. I felt myself not wanting to disappoint her, but my mind was racing, and I had so many questions.

”What will I find at the end? What will happen to me? I am sorry miss, but please tell me what is going on. I should not be here, I remember… I remember my companions. They still need me. Are we going to them. What will happen to them without me. What will happen to Kasey?”
She shook her head slowly, extending a bone-fingered hand, and closing it on my shoulder. It felt warm.

”You must keep going. Staying here will not help you, the clarity you are feeling will bring you nothing but pain. It is time to stop worrying about others. It is time to accept what cannot be avoided. You feel where you have to go. Don't resist it, let it carry you, and cease your worries, little one”

Her words resonated within me, for I indeed felt compelled to let my legs carry me on. Standing here, my mind felt clearer, but the landscape strained against the inside of my head with every passing moment. I wanted to know more, but her voice made it clear she would not tell me. I thought, perhaps, if I let myself get carried along, I would find my answers at the end of my path. Perhaps there, I could learn what had happened to my friends.

I looked up at her and nodded my silent agreement. She nodded comfortingly, and took a step closer as if to hug me. I wanted to give her a proper farewell, as well, but as I extended my arms towards her, it was her turn to recoil in horror. As she jerked back away from me, I was filled with confusion, for I saw in her eyes a horror so deep and so profound, that it almost drowned out the loathing with which she now regarded me, holding her hands between us, as if shielding herself from some vile smell. Then the pain happened. As if struck by the clawed fingers of invisible hands, burning gashes of white-hot agony opened across my being. I looked down myself, and saw the object of her horror – for my body was suffused with black, crawling tendrils. Small darts and flickers of reddish energy, danced across my frame, like tiny bolts of lightning, and the grainy, unidentifiable blackness, coalesced into more black tendrils and continued their uninterrupted crawl about my shape, wrapping me in their blackness. Another pang of pain cut through me, and I finally screamed through the shock. Panic had my heart in a vise, and I reached desperately for the woman, who seemed to want to reach for my hand with a mixture of rage and deep sorrow painted on her face. She didn't reach, instead she raised her hands, shielding her eyes from me, and hissed.

”Sacrilege. Sacrilege! The cycle must continue!!”

If she had any more words for me, I did not hear them. The claws of the unseen hands had embedded themselves in me, and despite not moving, I felt myself being pulled backwards. Grey turned to black, and the noiselessness of the world was replaced with an altogether different silence.

The blackness receeded as I opened my eyes, and I awoke, though I had not slept. My mind grabbed hold of something, something tangible, something that belonged to me, and instinctively, I pushed it forward. The world shifted before my gaze, and I sat up. As I did so, the roaring noise of the world slammed into me, and I closed my eyes reflexively, as the booming roar of the material plane replaced the noiselessness of the boneyard. For an unknowable length of time I sat there, whereever I was, as my mind adjusted, and the roar of moving air, falling dust, and shifting fabric, slowly died to nothing, and my senses readjusted to the physical. The time that passed, truly was unknowable to me, for my attempt to count my heartbeats was met only with cold nothing.

”Is she going to be okay?”

”Of course she is not! Look at her!”

”Be silent, both of you. She will be fine, she is adjusting”

The voices all rang with familiarity, and joy washed over me. I opened my eyes again, now recognizing the inside of Adwyn's chapel. I turned, looking for my companions, and felt claws dig into stone. My claws. I gazed at the faces of my friends, but their looks were worried, matching the confusion I knew was visible on my face. My body moved under my will, fast, strong, and with none of the heavy slowness I expected, what with my recent… waking.

”It is you” I cried, though I felt no tears. My lungs felt weird.
”It is you! You are all okay. You are all okay!” I shifted, wanting to move closer, and immediately felt gravity's merciless hold, as I shifted my weight from the altar my body had been placed on, out into thin air, and fell. My form shifted swiftly in the air, my reflexes, a concious effort, my body completely at my command. As I landed nimbly on all fours, shocked horror gripped me, and I beheld the grey-skinned, hook-clawed hands I knew to be my own. I looked up, confused, wanting to ask questions, but it wasn't necessary. There they were: Kasey, my love, looking at me with a combination of elation and deep worry, burning in her blue, expressive eyes. Jorrik, my sword-brother looking more grim-faced than ever, one hand tugging worriedly at his magnificently combed beard, the other one in a white-knuckled irongrip around the hilt of his short-sword. And there, finally, was Rymn. The Halfling's expression was what had stiffled the questions in my throat. I had seen that look in his eyes many times before. Pride and caution. But this time it was not directed at his man-sized glass containers, or a circle of powdered silver – this time, that gaze was solely for me, and I knew from that look, that my unique awakening had been at his hand. And for all Rymn's power, he had never been able to bring the dead back to life. Not to life.

I willed my body to stand, and as it did, I felt a deep, black lump form in my stomach. A sucking feeling of emptiness - and unquencable appetite. A longing, previously unknown to me, shot through me, riding on the pangs of hunger-pains, rolling out of that black lump inside me. I looked back up at my friends, and following their gaze, saw that I had unknowingly placed a clawed hand over my grey-skinned stomach. My body was elongated, and deform. A rattling sound made itself known at the edge of my hearing, something I had never heard before – Jorrik's blade, clattering against the inside of the scabbard, his sword-arm shaking. It was then I realized that the dwarf was afraid. That I was the object of his fear. And I knew then, with certainty, that whatever I had now, was not a continuation of what had been, but the beginning of something altogether different. A warmth snaked up my arm, and my eyes darted away from Jorrik to find the source. Kasey. She was holding my hand in both of hers. Confused, I caught her gaze, and in her big blue eyes, I saw determination and elation slowly pushing away fear. Her grip on my hand tightened.

I cried. Though I felt no tears.

-Nearyn


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Moving Goalposts wrote:
We're set on moving then, huh?

You poor thing =[

You deserve the chance to catch your breath.

-Nearyn


The Sword wrote:

Naeryn: Are you saying you could animate a ghoul PC with create undead to play as a ghoul in a standard game without some special dispensation from the GM, including continuing to gain class levels?

You are saying that is possible under the rules?

It is absolutely possible to continue playing a character, that has been animated with create undead. I'd personally like my GM's cooperation in the matter, since there is no ghoul template - meaning I'd rely on my GM and myself adjusting my newly ghouled character with the rules found in the bestiary, which include adding class-levels to monsters.

I cannot say if you would count that as "special dispensation", but it is very much within the rules of the game. =]

-Nearyn


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Ryan Freire wrote:
Kind of a hair splitting arguement there. What about a disease makes it more likely that the personality changes than say, being crafted from black necromancy?

What you call hair splitting, I call paying attention to the words of the game, and playing by the rules.

And just to provide you with a potential in-world explanation:

Ghoul Fever... is a disease.

Create Undead... is a necromantic ritual performed at night, by a caster spending a full hour weaving eldricht sigils and chanting ominously, in a ritual during which a clay jar full of grave dirt, and an onyx gem of variable value(that is based on the HD of the creature you're attempting to raise), is destroyed to provide the catalyst for the spell to work.

If the rules themselves aren't enough for you, maybe that difference provides you with what justification you'd need? =]

-Nearyn


Getting Ghoul Fever is not the only way to turn into a ghoul, and wasn't even mentioned. The Ghoul Fever entry specifies "A humanoid who becomes a ghoul in this way..."

If you become a ghoul through a casting of create undead, there is no reason to believe the same would apply. So it is perfectly feasible for a player to play a ghouled character.

-Nearyn


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The Sword.

Ashiel has never contested that a cursed item (like helm of opposite alignment) can tempoarily force a change in the alignment of a character. Your claim, that the quotes from the CRB are being used as a tool, to try to justify nullifying such an effect, is false. This may be because you have failed to properly grasp what is being written, making it a simple matter of misunderstood intent, or it may be that you already know, and have elected to make yourself a strawman.

I am not discussing this with you, I am telling you. Accept or do not, you have been informed, and I have no intention of turning this assertion of plain fact, into a discussion.

-Nearyn


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That's a pretty poorly crafted strawman you got there, The Sword.

It is also either a prime example of you not actually reading what the person you're debating with has been posting - OR it's the thinnestly veiled, most transparent attempt at discrediting the person you're debating with. Neither or these options are particularly positive, but I hope that you've merely failed to properly read and absorb what's been written, rather than the other, much less sympathetic alternative.

-Nearyn


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The stat-block entry to any kind of creature is inconsequential to whether or not the creature can be of a given alignment.

Looking at the entry for ghouls and saying "ghouls are neutral evil" is no more valid than looking at the entry for Aasimar and saying "Aasimar are neutral good".

If we're going to talk about the bestiary, why don't we talk about how there is only one creature type in the game that is stated to always be of one alignment, and that is animals.

Animals are Always Neutral. The only creature type in the bestiary, who have their alignment set in stone.

If you read on, you'll notice that it says that conventional skeletons are always neutral evil, and that conventional zombies are always neutral evil, but we're talking about individual creatures and the mindless undead here. The undead creature type, the category of creature shared by all undeads, provides no alignment restriction whatsoever.

-Nearyn

*Edited, ironically, because of DnD-related brainfart


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Alot of made-up evil going on in this thread, now. Alot of flavour and personal narrative, delivered by people whose arguments are completely removed from the word of the game.

If, by now, you're among those who have yet to read the chapters on alignment, and as such have yet to understand that the list of things that are evil, according to the game itself is:

  • Debasing innocent life
  • Destroying innocent life
  • Hurting others
  • Oppressing others
  • Killing others

Then let me be the one to point you to that very list and say "This is it". Those 5 things are the complete and total extent of any and all acts that ARE actually evil, in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

Any other thing, any thing that in its execution, does not make itself guilty of one of those 5 things, is not evil as far as the game is concerned. YOU may find it morally reprehensible, entities IN your setting, be they gods, societies, religions or ethnic groups, may find it morally reprehensible, but it is not evil. It is a thing that someone doesn't like, it may be icky, sticky, amoral, wrong and injust, but it is not evil. Not unless it qualifies on the above list.

I would say that now that we know this, we can all stop making up nonsense, but I don't truly expect certain people to care. Someone is bound to ignore it and stick to their own vision of how the game "should be". And how they think the game "should be", they will argue that the game actually IS, and heed no argument to the contrary, even when provided with proof in the form of the written word of the game itself.

-Nearyn


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Brain in a Jar wrote:
So by your logic anytime your character suffers a magically induced alignment change all they have to do is tell the GM nope and then can change their alignment?

I am only aware of one way to magically have your alignment changed, and that is via a cursed item whose sole function is to inverse your alignment. That effect also explicitly lasts for as long as the helmet is not removed. Outside of that, am I arguing that you can just change your alignment by saying so? Yes, I am. Because the game is telling me so.

Brain in a Jar wrote:
The rules your are speaking of help determine normal alignment. If you get cursed by an item or changed into an undead that results in you changing from Lawful Good to Lawful Evil. That is in game your characters morality now.

I don't believe the game supports your assertion. I didn't see any such qualifying statements in any of the chapters I read through or posted quotes from, anyway. I think this is your opinion, but it is not described as being the opinion or intention of the game, which instead tells us what I have already posted. Regarding getting cursed by an item, I've addressed that.

Brain in a Jar wrote:
It might not be permanent but magically forces literally changed how your character thinks and acts. It will take more than just saying i don't want to in order to change that.

The game can be seen to clearly disagree with your opinion on how it works. I don't think your opinion is bad, or that it would not make for dramatic story-telling, just saying that the core game assumes you can change your alignment by asking for it. Again, which makes sense, seeing as how alignment is supposed to summarize how your character thinks, and the player is the arbiter of that.

Brain in a Jar wrote:

At least in my opinion Alignment determines actions and actions determine alignment. They work hand in hand to determine your in-game behavior.

Most of the time the player has full control over how their character grows during a game.

Sometimes situations, like with curses and undead (specifically evil undead), can change your characters morality and outlook. This can be reversed but should require atonement and hard-work.

I think your opinion could lead to some interesting games, and I'm sure it already has. My opinion is not quite the same as yours, especially on the whole 'alignment determines actions'-bit. Nevertheless, my opinion matters not to this particular discussion.

Instead I choose to just say that while I can see your opinion adding a certain kind of flavour to a game, I maintain that the core assumption of the game disagrees with the notion that it takes anything more than player suggestion to change the character's alignment. This is based on my reading of the words of the game itself.

-Nearyn


HWalsh wrote:
Pretty sure becoming undead falls outside "in most cases"
full wording provided for the sake of clarity wrote:
It's best to let players play their characters as they want. If a player is roleplaying in a way that you, as the GM, think doesn't fit his alignment, let him know that he's acting out of alignment and tell him why—but do so in a friendly manner. If a character wants to change his alignment, let him—in most cases, this should amount to little more than a change of personality, or in some cases, no change at all if the alignment change was more of an adjustment to more accurately summarize how a player, in your opinion, is portraying his character.

That's an interesting take on that sentence. I read that sentence the following way:

If you have a player who says he would like to change the alignment of his character, just let him.

Usually this will amount to little more than a change in personality, or no change at all, if you think the new alignment better match the way the character is being played.

I'm not sure about what I perceive to be your take on it. It seems like it would be the only case in the CRB of such weird, implicit and unhelpful language.

I'm assuming you're suggesting the sentence be read as follows:

If a player wants a character to change alignment, you should let him, most of the time

Is that right?

I personally find it unlikely that that is the intention, simply based on the language used; you should let them change it, except sometimes not? I'd like to think, based on the general language of the CRB, that were that the intention, they would have made examples of cases where the GM should not permit alignment change, instead of just letting those words hang in the air.

-Nearyn


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Let's come at this from the perspective of someone who wants to play the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Not a person who wants to play "my ideal narrative"-simulator 2016, but someone who is playing the game, by the game's own words and therefore implicitly, by the game's own design and intent.

I'm playing a Lawful Good character. I have chosen this alignment for my character, at character creation, because it fit what I wanted to play, and matched what I believed to be my character's philosophical outlook on the world.

Alignment wrote:

A creature's general moral and personal attitudes are represented by its alignment: lawful good, neutral good, chaotic good, lawful neutral, neutral, chaotic neutral, lawful evil, neutral evil, or chaotic evil.

Alignment is a tool for developing your character's identity—it is not a straitjacket for restricting your character. Each alignment represents a broad range of personality types or personal philosophies, so two characters of the same alignment can still be quite different from each other. In addition, few people are completely consistent.

Okay, so my character is Lawful Good, but being an adventurer and living the adventuring life, he's very often doing aligned acts, that are not LG. This is fine, nobody can reasonably only conduct themselves according to a single alignment. Even Paladins do a truckload of neutral stuff all the time.

Anyhew, now my character dies and rises as an undead. Let's assume for the sake of argument that I rise as one of the types of undead that have their alignments change. I am now the very same character, but I am also a neutral evil undead. Now what do I do?

Well, to find our answer, let us look at the section of the game that talks about changing alignment.

Changing Alignment wrote:
It's best to let players play their characters as they want. If a player is roleplaying in a way that you, as the GM, think doesn't fit his alignment, let him know that he's acting out of alignment and tell him why—but do so in a friendly manner. If a character wants to change his alignment, let him—in most cases, this should amount to little more than a change of personality, or in some cases, no change at all if the alignment change was more of an adjustment to more accurately summarize how a player, in your opinion, is portraying his character.

Great. So the game is directly and clearly telling me, that I can just inform my GM that I want to change my alignment. That is great, I didn't think the whole Neutral Evil thing was something that fit my character's personality anyway. It is clear, from this, that it is the explicit, and easily-pointed-to intention of the game itself, that a person can change their ways, simply by wishing to do so. It says so, right there in the CRB.

So as a player character, there is no problem here. If you're the GM and an NPC turns into an undead, then we look to the rules again.

Changing Alignment wrote:
Alignment is a tool, a convenient shorthand you can use to summarize the general attitude of an NPC

Oh well, that was easy. So we just have to make up our own minds what motivates the character. Well that sounds pretty easy, because it is based entirely in the heart of whatever story we want to tell.

Ser Gawain, the recently turned: "What is this. This feeling... this feeling of power so tanglible, of strength so true. I feel no fatigue, my body feels at peak condition, I feel no heartbeat, yet I could sprint for a year. This power, I cannot fathom how I ever thought of what I had before as life. This! This is truly what it means to live! I am so much more than I was but a day ago! I can take what I wish! Do what I wish! Now, for the first time, I can truly feel what I was meant to be!!"

Ser Gawain, the recently turned v2: "Don't look at meeeh! Don't looook! I am a monster! Oh woe, oh terrible woe. What is this horror that has befallen me, that I look on you now, my friends, and see you just the same, yet my heart does not beat, my lungs do not breathe. Oh what cruel tragedy that has befallen me, to experience my body as a corporeal shell and nothing more. Oh woe! Oh appalling fate!"

Ser Gawain, the recently turned v3: "Sup guys... why... why does everything feel so different? Oh! OH! Oh dearest gods, wow... this... this is certainly new. I... I don't know how to respond to this, I... I feel so alive, yet at the same time... What happens now? I am a monster now, am I not? I dare not assume you'd want anything to do with me, but... but if you do. I still feel like myself, just... different. Will you still be my friends?"

Take your pick or write your own. It doesn't really matter as it is just whatever fits the NPC in your story. Make the NPC into a villain, make a plot our the heroes talking him back to his old self, - do something entirely different.

It doesn't rightly matter, the game flat out said you could work this however you wanted.

-Nearyn


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Not naming names, but certain people should stop posting their opinions as fact and read the rules of the game they're discussing.

I am sick and tired of people with artifact-opinions, dragged with them from former experiences and other roleplaying games. Opinions and biases cobbled together from X units of experience, that they now feel compelled to insist all other people share.

Just read the system. This is not your friend's DnD home-game. This is not that one time where you made that really cool world that should totally have been published professionally, and as a result its rules should apply to all other tables. This is the pathfinder roleplaying game. If you're gonna talk about a part of the game, from an honest fact-sharing position, at least have the common courtesy to read the relevant chapters before you start talking. That way we can cut out the parts where people state objectively wrong, opinionated drivel as gospel, and instead keep the conversation somewhere where disagreements are born of genuinely different interpretations of the written word of the game.

But spare me the made-up collage of tropes and 'classic fantasy values', fabricated in your personal mindscape, that is simply so amazingly cool and obviously superior, that everyone should just accept it as much better than the core assumption of the game. Especially when you're presented with the written word, taken out of the game-book itself, that clearly speaks the intent the game was designed with.

In Pathfinder, undead are not evil by default. The reason for this is that the game says so. =]

-Nearyn


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@Nox Aeterna: The game can't possibly account for every possible situation, quite right. However the game does provide a clear frame to avoid bias, and it works quite acceptably if you play it as written.

The link I provided in my first post has all the info from the relevant chapter of the core rulebook, but here's the piece about what makes something evil, or good.

Additional Rules wrote:

Good Versus Evil

Good characters and creatures protect innocent life. Evil characters and creatures debase or destroy innocent life, whether for fun or profit.

Good implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others.

Evil implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master.

People who are neutral with respect to good and evil have compunctions against killing the innocent, but may lack the commitment to make sacrifices to protect or help others.

So while, as you so correctly stated, the book cannot, and indeed does not, attempt to account for situations, it lays out which acts are good and which are evil.

  • Protecting innocent life
  • Acting altruistically
  • Acting in a way that shows respect for life
  • Acting in a way that shows concern for the dignity of sentient beings
  • Acting in a way that makes personal sacrifice to help others

In a vacuum, if you're doing any of those things, you're doing something good. Usually you're not doing these things in a vacuum though.

Example: You're putting the orc encampment to the sword to protect the villagers who have been raided these orcs.

In this case your actions are killing, which we can see the rules say very clearly is evil, but you're doing it to protect innocent life, which the rules equally clearly says is good. What we wind up with is an evilgood action. That sounds like neutral to me =]

Very little GM adjudication is necessary in these situations if sticking to the rules in the aforementioned chapter. Naturally there can be corner-cases. Rare are the arbitrary game-rules that cannot be made to look ridiculous in the right circumstances. That's just the way the cookie crumbles.

Hope this was informative.

-Nearyn


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@Dorkis

When you look at a character, there are two different kinds of alignments at work.

One is the alignment of a character.
The other is the alignment of a character's actions.

The alignment of a character is their philosophical values. It's the notions that guide their life and shape their opinion of right and wrong, what they consider ethical, and so on. The alignment of a character is very malleable, very flexible, in order to permit the players to create a wide mixture of characters. You can add alot of interesting angles on a character, without the game straightjacketing you into a certain alignment. This is what permits you to make a Shining Knight-type character, who is LG, but also offer no quarter. Or a simple, boring merchant, who is CE because he believes in anarchy, and is a terrible murderous racist, but he lacks the conviction to act on his beliefs, preferring instead to live his life, acting like polite society expects him to.

The alignment of a character is flexible, because it allows more freedom to create different characters, than if it was not.

And then there's the alignment of a character's actions. These are the exact opposite. They're simple, they're precisely defined, and they're not flexible. "Is my character's action good or evil? Lawful or chaotic? Neutral?" consult the Additional Rules chapter on alignment - good vs evil, law vs chaos sections. Link provided.

The reason the alignment of an action is very inflexible, is probably because there are classes in the game who have very hard-and-fast interactions with alignment. A person playing a paladin for instance, may want to ask his gamemaster "is Sir Gawain committing an evil act by <insert example here>", or "Would this be a good act?". In such a case, the GM needs to be able to provide a clear and unbiased answer, based on a baseline for what the game, not he, considers good, evil, lawful, chaotic and neutral.

Hope this helps you, and hope it helps in future decisions about alignment. Remember, it is not forbidden, or even discouraged for a good aligned fighter, to commit evil acts. In fact, classic adventurer-behavior is riddled with all sorts of aligned actions. Having these decisions change a person's alignment however, is a decision exclusively in the hands of the GM, and is not part of the core assumption of the game. Consult the same link and look in the "changing alignment"-section, for more detail.

Now, because you also asked what other players/GMs think about the alignment of killing the sleeping people in this example, I'll chime in.

Yes, it is evil. Plain and simple. That does not mean every player around the table should hang their heads in shame, just wipe off the swords on their pajamas and move on - life is tough. You don't know if these guys would have escaped - they could have... and boxed you in... they might at least. Not taking chances could have saved you, or saved someone else... could. It is still evil, you're killing people, people who are of no immediate, only potential, threat, and you're doing so without offering surrender or any other out. You can't even claim to be protecting anyone, as nobody is in danger of these sleeping men. If they woke up, took out their weapons and attacked, then you'd be defending yourself, which is neutral.

Nazgûl'ing these people would be evil.

Again, hope it helps =]

-Nearyn


I'd suggest a cavalier of some description. It's just the two of you, so pick a utilitarian teamwork feat like Escape Route or something along those lines, and you'll always know who is gonna be the target of your Tactician ability. Your mount can add a third body to the mix, and you have what's needed to take and give punishment in equal measure.

If not, then maybe consider a druid with a beefy animal companion, or a conjuration-focused wizard. Teleportation subschool of conjuration will let you reposition effectively in fights, mitigating some of the problems with the low amount of party-members, and a good familiar can provide excellent scouting.

Finally, think about (and ask your GM about) investing in some hirelings if a certain part of the adventure looks too rough. 400ish GP for a team of cavalry-men(presented in Ultimate Campaign) is 5 level 3 warriors complete with gear and mounts, fighting loyally, even earning you money. It's a very good purchase at those lower levels, far better than most conventional items of the same price, and viable no matter what class you choose to play =]

Hope it helps.

-Nearyn


The 50% chance to avoid crits and SAs is really, really good. Pick that one, is my advice. It guards equally well against the odd natural 20 crit from some big beastie that'd slap you with a 40 STR x4 crit, or the quintuple scimitar lawnmower monster who has 11 feats dedicated to critting. It's basically a moderate fortification enhancement on your person, instead of a given defensive item. It leaves you with extra room to pimp your armor with other goodies.

Hope it helps.

-Nearyn


Your Norgorber cleric would only need to brandish his unholy symbol to cast spells with the Divine Focus component and to channel energy. Since channelling, according to Pathfinder artwork, looks like an explosion of brightly coloured energies, channelling negative energy would probably alert your immediate surroundings that something is wrong, anyway. So your main problem is using the spells with the DF components. The most obvious solution is to not rely on those spells when you're in the company of people you want to hide your allegiance from.

-Nearyn


I'd advise picking whichever type of cohort you think would be fun to have tag along with your character. If you're asking what type would be the strongest choice, then the answer, of course, if a wizard.

Personally I'd go for a cohort that would fit a role my character would want in his retinue, or perhaps even have my queen as my cohort, your most loyal of followers =]

-Nearyn


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The consequence for death is not playing that character anymore. The consequence is the shared experience of the players around the table, and the change in companions for the characters in the world. Character death should not affect the player's next character. Dying is a part of the game. You die, then you make a new character and continue to have fun. If the party is going to "waste" a 10k ressource, it'd be an excellent time to teach them about speak with dead and other divination spells, with which they can double check if their compatriot's spirit would actually accept ressurection.

Don't impose "consequences" on players for changing characters, people aren't going to have more fun if you do, so you're just artificially contracting the scope of your players' options, if they don't want to deal with said consequences.

-Nearyn


Had it been any other template, I'd have said "Why not do it?", but in case of lycanthrope, I'd say don't.

This is solely based on the fact that the material on lycanthropes is a horribly disconnected mess of weirdness, brought on by artifacting and general non-functionality. The less you have lycans in your games, the less you'll have to tinker with the nonsense mechanics.

-Nearyn


I'm very happy you're happy :)

I hope you and your players have loads of fun in your campaign.

-Nearyn


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Sphere of incontestible comprehension

Aura strong divination and enchantment; CL 15th Slot none; Weight 2 lbs.

This perfect sphere is made from an otherworldly metal, lighter than mithral, cool to the touch, and with a dull, dark sheen. When touched barehand, one can feel grooves running along the immaculate-looking surface, seeming to form a pattern mimicking a whirlpool.

Whenever the possessor of this sphere attempts a knowledge check, the sphere thrums with alien purpose, and whispers and images wash over the user. The sphere grants a +10 bonus to any knowledge check. In addition, whenever the user rolls a knowledge check, he rolls 2d20 and adds the result, rather than roll 1d20. The unfathomable knowledge hidden away in the sphere cannot be accessed without risk, however.

Each time the sphere is used it deals 1 point of wisdom damage. Furthermore the result of the die rolls can affect the user of the artifact.

If both d20s roll the same uneven number, except double 1s, the user is the target of a feeblemind spell. A DC 19 will save prevents this effect, but the user takes 1d4 points of wisdom damage.

If both d20s roll the same even number, the user is rendered permanently insane as if by an insanity spell. A DC 19 will save prevents this effect, but the user takes 1d4 points wisdom damage.

If both d20s roll 1s, the sphere steals the knowledge of the user, imposing a -10 penalty to all knowledge checks. This penalty is a curse-effect and cannot be removed for 1 full week except through wish, miracle or divine intervention. For the duration of that week, the sphere goes inert and will not function for the cursed user. Once a week has passed, the curse can be removed by a a succesful casting of Remove Curse - the DC to dispel the curse is 15.

DESTRUCTION
<insert whichever means of destruction you think would fit your campaign, here>


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Okay that makes it a bit easier. You might be able to simply redesign existing artifacts, and as a GM I would definitely look into this, if only to get an idea of the scope of certain artifacts.

Suggestion for the first artifact:

Sphere of inestimable transfiguration

Aura strong transmutation; CL 15th Slot none; Weight 2 lbs.
DESCRIPTION
This perfect sphere is made from an otherworldly metal, lighter than mithral, cool to the touch, and with a dull, dark sheen. When touched barehand, one can feel grooves running along the immaculate-looking surface, seeming to form a pattern as if a sun was collapsing in on itself.

As a full-round action, the sphere can be made to release its transformative magics on an object it is touched to. An object so touched has its basic material transformed by the sphere. The sphere is capable of generating a value of 10.000 gold pieces per day in valuable transmutations. The transmutive magics are not stable, however, and using the sphere is not without risk. When the sphere is used roll 1d100.

1: Perfect transmutation - increase the target object's value by 10.000 gp.
2-10: Near-perfect transmutation - increase the target object's value by 8.000 gp.
11-30: Brilliant transmutation - increase the target object's value by 5.000 gp.
31-50: Great transmutation - increase the target object's value by 3.000 gp.
51-70: Succesful transmutation - increase the target object's value by 1.000 gp.
71-80: Fickle transformation - increase the target object's value by 100 gp. The object loses 80% of its hp and gains the broken condition.
81-90: Twisted malformation - the target object contorts into a jagged, gnarled material resembling charred wood, dotted with greenish postules and becomes utterly worthless. The postules burst immediately, squirting and oozing a luminous green goop. The person using the sphere must make a reflex save DC 19, or be hit by the goop, taking 1d8 points of con drain.
91-99: Catastrophic malformation - the target object is enveloped in a flash of uncontrolled transmutation and immediately explodes in a shower of shards, dealing 6d6 points of piercing damage to everyone in a 30 ft radius. A DC 19 reflex save halves this damage. The user must make a DC 19 fortitude save or be struct blind, in addition to taking the piercing damage.
100: Cry of the beyonders - The object warps and contorts, bending in an astounding display of physics-defying ways before imploding and turning to nothing. Witnessing this deals the user 1d4 points of wisdom damage, but that is not the true threat. The reality-defying warping of the object attract the attention of 1d6 Hounds of Tindalos, who immediately enter the plane within 1d100 miles of the artifact's location. These otherworldly hunters are perfectly aware of the identity of the person who used the sphere, and will never stop hunting her for as long as they remain alive.

No matter how succesful the user of the sphere is, the sphere cannot generate more than 10.000 gp value per day. For example: rolling 2 near-perfect transmutations will not yield 2 transmutations of 8.000 gp, but rather the first will be of 8.000 gp, and the following will be of 2.000 gp. Once the sphere has generated 10.000 gp in value, it becomes heavy, increasing it's weight from 2 lbs to 10 lbs. This lasts until the next sunrise.

DESTRUCTION
<insert whichever means of destruction you think would fit your campaign, here>

I'll drop by with suggestion for the other spheres at some later point.

Hope it helps.

-Nearyn


Hello there.

Well, given the title of the thread, I'd be remiss if I didn't offer you a look at these, my advice for aspiring GMs

Now as to your questions. I'll start by saying that it's hard to properly consider their strength when we don't have anything solid to go on. You've described ideas, but not mechanics, and usually we look at the mechanics when we wanna gauge power. At a glance, only one of these approach artifact-level power and that would be the one that can turn stuff more precious. The rest are interesting and cool baubles.

If you can be more precise about what you want each item to be able to do, how big bonuses they provide, and how strong their effects are, then I'll be able to give you better advice =]

Hope it helps.

-Nearyn


Very easy in both cases, you should be able to use these encounters, no problem.

Valeros, Harsk, Kyra and Seoni are walking along, minding their own business, thinking about sweet, sweet loot, WHEN SUDDENLY!! THEIR GM ASKS THEM TO ROLL PERCEPTION CHECKS!!

Valeros: rolls 7
Harsk: rolls 18
Kyra: rolls 14
Seoni: rolls 13

Their GM informs them that with Harsk coming in at 18, he's the first to spot their enemy. Someone is up ahead, 180 feet away, and he doesn't look friendly. Provided their enemy has seen them too, combat begins. We assume the terrain does not permit run-actions.
que Final Fantasy Battle Music

VS Evangelist Cleric:

Round 1:
The Evangelist acts, casting levitate and ascending 20 feet.

Harsk acts, double-moving 40 ft closer, drawing his heavy crossbow.

Valeros acts, single-moving 20 ft closer, drawing his shortbow and taking an ambitious shot with a -4 penalty to hit, for distance. Despite the target's low AC, Valeros misses.

Kyra acts, casting shield of faith on herself and single-moving 30 ft forward.

Seoni acts, casting mage armor on herself and single-moving 30 ft forward.

Round 1 is at an end. Evangelist and party are 140ft apart.
Round 2:
The Evangelist acts, casting wind wall between himself and party. The wall is 30 ft long and 15 ft high. Seoni reacts to his spellcasting by rolling a spellcraft check, successfully identifying the spell as a wind wall. She talks out of turn, informing the party that a wall of wind is preventing their shots from passing through.

Harsk acts, he uses a move-action to reload his heavy crossbow and then single-moves 20 ft forward

Valeros acts, double-moving 40 ft forward.

Kyra acts, single-moving forward 25 ft, not wanting to overtake Valeros or Harsk. She spends a standard action aiding Valeros' AC.

Seoni acts, single-moving forward 25 ft, not wanting to overtake Valeros or Harsk. She spends a standard action aiding Harsk's AC.

Round 2 is at an end. Evangelist and party are 120 ft apart.
Round 3:
The Evangelist knows that his lightning arc only has a range of 30 ft, so he's waiting for one of his enemies to come close enough. Meanwhile, he fires his repeating crossbow at the target who looks to be least armored, which is Seoni (based on her artwork). Her AC is 19 because Valeros gives her soft cover, so his shot flies wild.

Harsk acts, he uses a double-move to move 40 ft forward.

Valeros acts, he uses a double-move to move 40 ft forward.

Kyra acts, she uses a double-move to move 40 ft forward, still staying behind the front-line.

Seoni acts, she uses a single-move to move 30 ft forward, still staying behind the front-line. As a standard action she casts magic missile, targeting the Evangelist, automatically hitting him for 1d4+1 dmg, coming out to 3.

Round 3 is at an end. Evangelist and party are 80 ft apart. The Evangelist has taken 3 dmg.
Round 4:
The Evangelist sticks to the strategy presented by the OP, and fires his crossbow, impatiently awaiting the moment his targets enters the distance of his lightning arc. This time he rolls really high, and hits Seoni for 5 dmg.

Harsk acts, he uses a double-move to move 40 ft forward.

Valeros acts, he uses a double-move to move 40 ft forward.

Kyra acts, she uses channel energy, healing Seoni of 3 points of dmg. She then moves in front of Seoni, providing soft cover.

Seoni casts magic missile, hitting the Evangelist for 3 dmg.

Round 4 is at an end. The wind wall ends and the Evangelist and party are 40 ft apart. The Evangelist has taken 6 dmg.
Round 5:

The Evangelist, predicting one of his targets will enter his range this rounds, readies an action to hit Harsk with his lightning arc ability.

Harsk acts, not knowing the wind-wall is down, he uses a double-move to move 40 ft forward...

The Evangelist interrupts, striking at Harsk with his lightning arc. The ranged touch attack hits, dealing 4 points of dmg.

Harks continues his double-move, he is now beneath the Evangelist and on the other side of the non-existing wind wall. He cannot see the wall, but he's guessing that if the wall was between them before, it is not between them now.

Valeros acts, he uses a double-move to move 40 ft forward.

Kyra acts, seeing the Evangelist's tactic, she now rushes forward to assist the party, double-moving 60 ft. She is now with her party.

Seoni acts, deciding she'd rather not come within striking-distance of the lightning, and instead fires her last magic missile, dealing 3 dmg.

Round 5 is at an end. The Evangelist and the party are now only parted by his levitation. The Evangelist has taken 9 points of damage.

From round 6 and forward, the party lays into the Evangelist with ranged attacks. If another wind wall is cast to prevent attacks from below, they move again to strike from a different angle. This battle either ends with the Evangelist horribly shredded by ranged attacks and dead, or using obscuring mist to try to escape.

Against the wizard, this encounter is trivially easy and I won't even bother writing it out. The wizard has 1 advantage - he can reliably hit any target within 130 ft. He is beset on all sides with disadvantages though. The party outranges him, meaning they can whittle away at his 30 points of arrow-protection from a safe distance, while he cannot attack them. Valeros can suffer a -4 penalty to his attack rolls, while Harsk shoot unimpeded. The wizard is the one who has to go on the offensive. If he doesn't win before his protective spell is out, he has to retreat. This means he has to levitate in place and get shot at until his protection breaks, or he has to be on the ground, in which case the party moves towards him, shooting him while they approach, and making sushi of him once Valeros enters melee.

If you want either of these encounters to present a viable threat, you have to force the group to fight in an area(and at a distance) that favors the enemy. But that's not really a strength of the enemy, since any encounter can be made difficult if the terrain is used against the players.

Hope it helps :)

-Nearyn


Core Rulebook Sorcerer/Wizard spells

20 cantrips - 20 pages
39 lvl 1 - 39 pages
51 lvl 2 - 102 pages
43 lvl 3 - 129 pages
42 lvl 4 - 168 pages
47 lvl 5 - 235 pages
47 lvl 6 - 282 pages

Total pages: 975 pages.
A standard spellbook has 100 pages worth of space for spells. In other words there would be at least 10 spellbooks, assuming standard size.

Hope it helps.

-Nearyn


@Doug M: There's something to be said for creative use of water-spells, and I won't pretend the Omox is useless, it can't be, even with just one casting of acid fog. The problem of the size and the restriction on grab persists though, making this thing's grappling really only useful against medium-sized creatures. You can't even enlarge it either, since enlarge is humanoids only, and the Omox is an outsider :(

-Nearyn


Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
By the way: Nearyn, have you read my Guide to the Diabolist? If you like playing casters who call things, you might find some items of interest in it.

That's a pretty good read. I've bookmarked it for reference on future characters. Thanks.

Omox [CR 12, Will +12, SR 23, Cha 18] This creature makes me sad, because it is very close to being good. Well... decent, - for its CR at least. The only thing this creature needs to be worth having on the battlemap is a size-increase(and reach). Alas, it's a medium-sized creature with no exceptional reach, and as such, it falls short. This outsider has two things going for it, and that is its grab ability into smother, and a load of immunities. However, since grab has a size-limitation, and this creature does not come packed with any grapple-feats, the usefulness of the smother ability becomes unreliable. If your lair is flooded, these guys could be decent sentries. Other than that, your efforts are better spent calling something else.

Man... imagine how great this guy would be if he was huge with 15 ft reach! You'd place him in the centre of the battlemap and let his 25 DEX + combat reflexes + grab + smother wreck bloody havoc on any enemy who as much as thought about taking a move-action. *sigh*

Nalfeshnee [CR 14, Will +21, SR 25, Cha 20] This is more like it. This creature's a better addition to the board. With a decent mobility, AC, DR and HP, this huge demon is a good blocker. It has a good fortitude and will-save, but its reflex-save eats, so keep that in mind. It has 3 solid attacks on a full-attack - it can even power-attack, turning a +11 dmg on each hit into +19 dmg on each hit. Unholy Nimbus is an OK ability too. The save DC is on the better end of 'not good' and it takes a round to go off, but if it works you're dazing your enemies for 1d10 rounds. The big selling features on this guy is constant true-seeing and at-will greater dispel magic. Couple these with his +31 perception, and the amount of creatures that are gonna sneak up on you, is gonna be limited. Finally, let us not discount the fact that calling this thing means commanding a hybrid boar/great unclean one, the size of an obese Orca.

-Nearyn


Douglas Muir 406 wrote:

Nearyn, this is terrific stuff, and I will add it to the Guide more or less verbatim.

Doug M.

Thanks for the compliment, mate =]

-Nearyn


Mathius wrote:
Given that most any high level wizard can bind and hold several of these at the same time, how can you ever really defeat a high level wiz/sorc?

It -IS- really hard to defeat high level wizards and sorcerers... or really any primary spellcaster. But it's not supposed to be easy. After all, a guy being a high-level wizard tends to be the only thing needed to make an entire Adventure Path, with said wizard at the centre of trouble. This is not exclusive to NPCs, this level of power is applicable to PCs too.

There are, of course ways you can defeat these high-powered reality-warpers, but let's not speculate on that in here, since it'd depend on the specific situation, and take up time we could use to help Douglas make his compilation :)

Mathius wrote:
Also how do run a balanced game with this spell? I can see allowing for 1 bound outsider at a time but with spell you can get a dozen or more with little effort. If you bind something that can bind more for you then the size is limitless.

That depends on what you define as a "balanced game". I've been binding outsiders for a long time, ever since my first character in fact, and I've had my ability to do so "dealt with" by GMs before.

I had a GM who, upon witnessing the effectiveness of my binding a succubus, and directing her abilities to assist us, had her sent back to the abyss, using a spontaneous anti-magic effect. Then when I tried to call another creature, he had a Solar appear in the trap, for no readily explainable reason. The solar scolded me for using this kind of magic and threatened me with harm if I tried it ever again. Needless to say, if you do this, do not be surprised if you have alot of vacant chairs at your table in the future.

This ability CAN be extremely powerful - heck, it SHOULD be extremely powerful, it should feel amazing to negotiate a deal with a powerful creature from another dimension and have it assist you, whether it's a partner or it's enslaved, you SHOULD be able to feel the massive kick your power gets.

Personally I feel like the GM should not be adjusting the use of this spell. It should instead be on the player to adjudicate their use of it. Nobody wants to see the campaign broken after all, so as a player, you just have to not be an a**hole :).

In my Way of the Wicked campaign, my GM and I have talked about the use of outsiders, and I've told him I intend to make alot of use of it. But in order to not break the campaign, I'll be using a few, specially selected ones at a time, and the rest will be sent across the country to work missions in secret, direct the efforts of my character's cult, or otherwise do stuff that still means it feels awesome that I -have- these outsiders bound, but do not invalidate any kind of opposition we may face =]

Mathius wrote:
Can you bind an outsider already bound to someone else?

There's nothing in the rules preventing it. If you know the outsider in question, and he's not on the material plane, then you can try to snatch him up with a planar binding, even if he's already in a binding contract with someone else. If he fails his save, he's called into your outsider trap, and what happens from there is between the player, the GM and the dice :)

-Nearyn


Seraptis [CR 15, Will +13, SR 26, Cha 21] This creature looks pretty meh compared to some of the other options you've got available. Its AC and DR means it'll stay around for awhile, but you look at its attack routine and it simply looks too weak to really have an impact, even with the 15-20 threat-range. It looks like it becomes better when you look at her grapples - 4D6+12 + 2d6 bleed + 1d4 strength drain, it sounds pretty good, yes? The problem is that her best way of grappling is with her claw attacks and grab, but remember that grab is limited by size, and this demoness is medium sized. So you're thinking she can use standard grapple maneuvers, since they're not limited by size, and you'd be right, but she doesn't have improved grapple, so if she tries it she's taking AoOs. Even though she has a fun set of SLAs, the DCs are generally too low to be reliably used in combat. She has 3 real draws that might save her – She has constant true-seeing. She can cast dispel magic at will. And finally she has a gaze attack that drains charisma, and once the enemy reaches 0 charisma, they try to kill themselves. This gaze attack is not one of those where you become immune for 24 hours if you save, so if you know you're heading into combat against a certain type of creature, and you've used a relevant knowledge check to learn their stats and learned that they sport low Cha, then maybe bringing the seraptis along could be a smart move. Finally, if you use her to dominate creatures out of combat, she has better control of them, than most other dominating outsiders you can find, so there's that.

Oolioddroo [CR 13, Will +16, SR 24, Cha 23] Let's be clear: this is not a combat option. If you're considering calling this creature strictly for combat purposes, reconsider and call something useful. This creature may have SLAs, but the DCs are too low to be reliably useful in combat. This demoness' usefulness in combat is more or less limited to doing doing a series of weak sneak-attacks with a low chance to hit. So why do you want to call this thing? Well, ladies and gentlemen, meet your new spymistress. This creature can go full-on 80's sci-fi B-movie on your foes, implanting eggs in the brain of victims, and immediately erase the memory of such an egg being laid. When it hatches she can then cast select SLAs directly into the brain of the victim over any distance as long as they're on the same plane. You can have some real sleeper-agent fun with this demoness, so if you take your time and tinker with her abilities in a situation where you have the time and option to fail a few times, the payoff could be really good (or at least really fun).

-Nearyn


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Pit Fiend [CR 20, Will +18, SR 31, Cha 26]Before we start talking about calling this guy, let's take time to understand what we're going, okay? If you're calling this creature, while playing in the pathfinder campaign-setting, you're calling one of the top-dogs of the most ruthlessly efficient militant meritocracy in the multiverse. This means you run the risk of pissing someone off, someone that is not just the creature standing in your warding diagram. It could go over well, but it could also go over really, really bad, so make your preparations. This is likely the most dangerous creature one can actually call, and I'm not talking about CR here.

The Pit Fiend is a powerhouse. If you manage to get control of one, there are very few things that can challenge you. It comes strapped with 350 hit points, and those aren't going anywhere in a hurry. Without touching on the regeneration, that can only be stopped by Good aligned weapons or spells, this creature also has DR 15/Good AND Silver, against the attacks that manage to get past its AC of 35, which it is capable of buffing to 39 using an at-will SLA. It has the mobility to be a dangerous melee'er, as well as make good use of its SLAs, and both as a caster and in melee, this creature is a terror. Sporting the highest to-hit rolls of any outsider of its CR, on a series of 6 natural attacks, means that this creature has a good chance of hitting anything not optimized for AC. It's attacks can land the target with a strength-damaging disease, a fast-acting con-poison and the grappled condition (with constrict for added hilarity), all in the same full-attack. Yet despite these attacks, its SLAs are by far the most scary thing about it; featuring such heavy-hitters as blasphemy, create undead, trap the soul, greater dispel magic, mass hold monster, and power-word stun, all at-will. It further comes with meteor swarm, the ability to summon ANY CR19 or lower devil at 100% (that is ONE HUNDRED PERCENT) chance, and it may even have the ability to grant you a wish. Even out of combat these things will be of great use to you, as they effortlessly craft powerful undead minions, casts greater scrying and invisibility, and trap the soul (automatically creating the binding gem) of any other outsider you call, meaning you can simply break the gem later and demand the service of the trapped creature, when you need it – no negotiation required. This guy is a horror with almost no equals. If you decide to bind one, go conquer a nation or something, you're about as well equipped as you need to be.

-Nearyn

ADDENDUM: I misremembered the part about attack routines. It does NOT have the highest among the CR 20 outsiders. The highest is the Void Yai with +39 on its first weapon attack, followed by the Draconal Agathion with +36 on its bite. The Pit Fiend is on a shared third-place with +32 to hit on its 6 nattacks.


Vilsteth [CR 16, Will + 14, SR 27, Cha 23] This creature is all about deception. Whether you want it to be an infiltrator, a spy, or even an advisor, it's formidable set of SLAs, special abilities and high skills, makes it uniquely suited to cause some havoc in secret. You can imagine this thing taking down governments, no trouble. Its weakness is combat, with none of its abilities really adding anything spectacular to battle. If you've done your research, and you know you're about to fight a bunch of strong guys with low will-saves, you could bring this creature and have some use out of him.

Vavakia [CR 18, Will + 18, SR 29, Cha 23] This creature will make you scratch your head in the beginning. He's sporting a +1 unholy ranseur, which is fine, and could be useful in some cases. Using it extends his reach, but handicaps his attack routine quite severely against anything of moderately decent AC. Let it use its natural attacks instead, and this creature is a powerful melee'er, sporting close to 300 hp, AC 35 and DR 15/Cold iron and Good. Yes, not one or the other, BOTH. This means most melee'ers must either bring a weapon that is uniquely suited to kill this thing, or has at least a +5 enhancement. It has a stun-chance on its tail slap, level drain on its bite and constant true-seeing. Out of melee it sports some good SLAs, with Power-Word Stun and Blasphemy probably taking the prize. Finally it has a strong breath-weapon that not only deals alot of damage, but can stagger good creatures, deal wisdom damage and even heal the Vavakia. Overall, a really strong creature and a really strong combat option.

-Nearyn

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