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@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 :(
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.
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 :)
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 =]
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 :)
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).
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.
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: Yeah, Vrolikais are just frightening. Did you notice the Juju zombie thing?
Yep. It's fairly good at what it does. The main problem with this dude is that he's not particularly strong on his merry lonesome, which IMO means he doesn't really deserve his CR. Still, definitely dangerous, especially to low fort, low AC characters whose primary attack and defense derive from class-level variables :(
requires Augment Calling(demons)
Heresy Devil (Ayngavhaul) [CR 12, Will + 13, SR 22, Cha 20] At first glance, this creature seems weak, and it IS one of the lower CR creatures we can call with GPB. This guy, however, is designed to make your enemy ragequit their lives. It can vomit on casters to force caster level checks to cast. It can stand on the backline and sling dispel good, dispel magic, major image, summon monster V and stinking cloud. It can use telekinesis to disarm people, it can use invisibility purge - this guy exists to invalidate your enemy's efforts and force tactics changes. It also empowers other devils to better use their summon ability, just by being there, which is great for the ambitious diabolist.
Well I guess we could start out big. I'm unsure whether or not you're considering Augment calling in this list, so I'll post and see.
requires Augment Calling(devils)
EDIT: If Pit Fiend/Augment Calling gets accepted on the list I'll go into more detail on its capabilities.
CASTS MAGIC CIRCLE AGAINST EVIL
By core RAW, the paladin only falls for willingly committing an act of evil.
1: - Who are you talking about? Who's killed everyone?
Killing is not inherently evil. Or else all animal predators would be evil. There needs to be intentional callousness or intent to cause undue suffering.
I appreciate the idea, but it is not grounded in the core rules. Then again, we're not talking in the rules forums, so I won't start a discussion. I've posted the relevant quotation, you're free to go read the alignment rules yourself - they're under the "additional rules" chapter of the core rulebook. If you want to run it by the rules, everything you need is in there. If you want to run with a different version of how alignments work, you're free to do so, but I'd advice you inform your players, since they can only assume the game is being run by RAW unless told differently.
EDIT: Also animals would not turn evil from killing, since animals are, per the rules for the animal creature type, ALWAYS neutral. one of the very few, if not the only, type of creature to have its alignment carved in stone.
Well, the emphasis was to draw attention to what qualifies an act as evil. Remember the part where I said "I leave it to you"? in relation to whether or not an evil act had been performed? Yeah, that's what's happening.
Also, killing being an evil act doesn't invalidate good characters whatsoever. It empowers the notion of good.
Your characters kills a creature(evil) in order to protect the innocent people who would have been eaten by the monster (protecting innocent life), and you have no intention of asking for a reward (altruism).
So now you're performing a good evil action? That sounds an awful lot like a neutral act to me.
So a good character who does NOTHING but kill and kill and kill and kill, guess what, no matter his good cause, will eventually turn neutral(if the GM changes character alignment, based on the alignment of their actions). So a good character has to be about more than killing, - empowering the concept of good, not invalidating it.
Well, this one, simple event probably won't change his alignment, so the Abadar paladin probably doesn't fall for no longer being lawful good, at least.
So the only question that remains is whether he violated his code of conduct or committed an evil act. Whether he violated his code of conduct, only the GM can answer, I do not know the specifics of the order in question. The only question left is whether the paladin committed an evil action.
additional rules: alignment wrote:
I leave it to you to make your own decision on this one, it's too early for alignment-fu.
"I'll ride your bloated corpse down the river Styx, before we're done here"
"Put em up, and prepare for a spanking, you inelegant clod"
"Come at me scrublord, I'm ripped"
"I'll beat your ass worse than your mom beat your dad"
"You dirt-eating piece of slime. You scum-sucking pig. You son of a motherless goat!"
"I'll smack you around so hard, the stink of your cheap perfume will flee to another state"
This is why I believe alignment descriptors on spells are sort of dumb. Actions are evil. Intents are evil. Power is just a means to an end, and can be used for good or evil. It has no innate morality. Why are spells evil in Pathfinder? Because they have the evil descriptor, that's why. It's pretty bad reasoning, and leads to a lot of headaches.
You'll be happy to know then, that by core RAW casting an [evil] spell makes you no more evil, than casting a [cold] spell gives you the flu.
There are optional setting-specific rules that a GM may employ whereby aligned descriptors influence the alignment of actions, they are specified in the book Champions of Purity. As long as you stick with core, you can save yourself the headache and just say:
"no, your character doesn't get to go to heaven, just because she chain-casts protection from evil on herself for 2 months straight - the descriptor does not change your character's alignment"
It's true that by RAW the magus cannot have an imp familiar, but the OP has made no claim that he's running the game strictly by RAW.
In fact, since he's letting use of a spell have an effect on the magus' alignment, we can safely say he's not playing it by RAW - at least not Core. Also, he's talking about adding an extra effect to the use of the spell, an effect not covered in the rules.
So yes, he's coloring outside the lines when it comes to which familiar the magus has, but I don't think it really matters =]
He wants to get some hellish funtimes going with the magus, and at his table, that is his right, as long as his players are in on the fun :)
Good GMs don't use traps unless they're thematically important. The trap-rogue interaction is bad for the metagame. If this were single player CRPG where having a rogue only cost a party slot not an actual human being forced to play a specific class it would be fine, but it's not.
"Good" GMs do many different things, so many in fact that it's hard to really categorize "Good" GMs - the unifying feature of "Good" GMs seem to be to make efforts that everyone has fun with the game and the story.
Not using traps unless "thematically important" doesn't ring like "Good" GMing in my ears - you can employ many different types of challenges with a multitude of differing aestetics, and they don't have to be in any way chained to the theme, much less important to it, as long as they're enjoyable. Also, the pressence of traps doesn't force a player into a class. Having a rogue is merely convenient for dealing with magic traps, - the system is versatile enough to give players options for dealing with stuff that is not their class' forte. If the adventure in question doesn't, then that's more likely to be an effect of weak writing/planning, than anything else.
Since the spell uses devil's blood and has the [Evil] descriptor, you could let a person who has been a repeat recipient of this spell have a -2 penalty to will-saves against mind-affecting spells used by devils.
I'm not gonna pretend I'm a fan of letting spellcasting affect the magus' alignment, but since you're going with it, I'll applaud that you're trying to add flavour based on the spell description, rather than jerk around your players.
A good person can strife for a non-good goal. People in the world generally speaking don't know or adhere to any percieved alignment - they just live their lives and then they die. Personal opinion, tradition, political affiliation and religion are but few of the effects that help shape a person into who he becomes, but a person who hold certain evil values can still be good.
You could easily have a lawful good racist, for example. Sure if goes out and curbstomps gnomes for giggles, then the GM may decide his alignment changes, but the point is a perfectly good person can have opinions and want for things that do not expressly fall within some meta-category that matches an alignment he's not even aware he has.
To a good person the "old ways" and the "old gods" may simply mean he remembers a time where people were well-fed, disease was not running wild through the country-side, or invaders never made it far within the borders of the land, before mysteriously perishing at the hands of the Old Gods and the spirits that serve them. He may not realize he's worshipping demons, or he may realize and not know why that is supposed to be a bad thing; after all they're protecting the people, and sacrificing to can guarantee a pregnancy ends with a healthy, well-born child, that the herd of cows don't get sick, or that wolves stop prowling the countryside.
In short: An aligned person does not necessarily (or is even likely to) make decisions that only match his alignment. There are alot of values that mortal holds, even in the same circles of society, that fall on diffferent spectrums of the alignment-chart, and good people worshipping evil, or evil people worshipping good, would not be weird, - I'd go so far as to say it's probably common.
EDIT: Not to mention that most people propbably pays lip service to many different gods, depending on what happens in their lives and what the gods represent. A Chaotic Good character, for example, would be unwise to sign a contract without sending a small prayer to Asmodeus, in the hopes that the contract will benefit him and not hurt him. An evil chelish admiral would be a fool to set sail without a prayer to the neutral goddess Gozreh AKA The Wind and the Waves. Since the gods embody/represent certain aspects of normal everyday mortal life, not showing proper respects, no matter your affiliation to mortal factions or belief-systems, would be asking for trouble, IMO.
Glad to hear you like it.
The way you calculate exp is on a fixed track depending on the strength of what you want to run. You can see the table HERE
It's the table called Table: Experience Point Awards
This table shows you how much exp an encounter of a certain challenge rating is worth. So let's say you want to design a CR 11 encounter. You just take a look at the table, find CR 11 and see that it awards you a budget of 19.200 experience points. The table further shows how you can split these points between party-members in case you have a party with 1-3 PCs, 4-5 PCs or 6+ PCs, that's not really important to what we're doing, but it's a helpful addition.
Okay so our CR 11 encounter has 19.200 experience points. Well, from here on we can basically do whatever we want. All monsters, NPCs, Traps, Hazards and what have you, has a challenge rating. Monsters and prepublished NPCs will usually have their CR stated up front.
A juvenile Green Dragon is CR 9 and worth 9.600 experience points. So if we wanted to, we could have the party attacked by 2 juvenile green dragons, and we'd have spent our 19.200 experience budget, meaning these two creatures are a CR 11 encounter. There'll be times where you have to eyeball it a bit. For example no matter how you look at it, there is no way a group of 12136 lvl 1 commoners will ever constitute a CR 25 encounter, even though the exp calculation says they do - they'll get wiped out by a single level 9+ wizard. Learning how exactly to judge these things can be hard, but reading guides can help, and its basically something you'll learn the more you try it.
Now the question then becomes, how do we calculate the CR of creatures that do not have it written down in a book? Like when we make a custom bloodrager like the one I did? Well, there are rules for custom monster creation in the bestiary, those can be followed with high hopes of succes, but when creating NPCs it's really easy to do.
If you're making an NPC with levels in an NPC class (commoner, expert, aristocrat, adept or warrior) and give him gear suitable to his level (as noted in the NPC creation tables) his CR will be equal to his HD minus 2. You detract 1 for it being an NPC class (they're weaker than the heroic classes), and 1 for having very little gold to spend on gear.
If an NPC has levels in a heroic class, but you still build him with the suggested wealth (as is the case for the bloodrager I gave you), the CR is equal to his HD minus 1. This time you don't detract 1 for the NPC class, since his class is heroic and he's stronger for it. You still detract the 1 for less GP to use on gear, though. If we had given him gear with a value equal to that of a normal player character of his level (level 4 heroic NPC gets 2400gp, level 4 heroic PC gets 6000gp) then we don't detract 1 from the CR. So if I'd made the bloodrager with 6k worth of gear, he'd be CR 4, instead of 3, and then he'd be a Hard encounter, rather than a challenging encounter.
There are also rules for making combinations of NPC classes and heroic classes - you can find them in the relevant rules chapters :)
You'll also note that normal NPC-classed NPCs are usually constructed with point-buy 3, where heroic NPCs are constructed with point-buy 15.
But these are just minor details when constructing and since we're interested in how we calculate the experience budget, the only thing you really need to remember is the rule that: If it's NPC-classed detract 1 from the CR. If it's has less gp for gear than a player character of the same level detract 1 from CR.
With this knowledge you can make any combination of stuff you want.
So let's make a final example. You have a group of 4 level 2 PCs. Their APL is 2. You want the encounter to be hard, so you want it to be CR=APL+2 or CR 4 in this case. We check the Experience Point Awards table and see we have 1200 experience points to spend.
So we could make this bloodrager dude we just made, who costs 800 exp, and then we have 400 exp left for other stuff. We could give him a bodyguard who was a level 3 warrior (CR 1 = 400 exp) or we could have there be a CR 1 pit trap in the room where the fight is going to be. So as long as we keep track of the experience we have left to use, and what we use it for, we can tinker around with any combination of challenging stuff to spice up the encounter, and give our players a fun and memorable time :)
Hope it helps.
My pleasure =]
Here's a sample character I've made for the infernal bloodrager. I've made a challenging version - if you want a stronger or weaker version, lemme know.
challenging infernal bloodrager:
infernal bloodrager - CR 3
Male human bloodrager 4
CE Medium humanoid(human)
Init +2; Senses perception +7
AC 20, touch 13, flat-footed 17 (+7 armor, +2 dex, +1 dodge)
hp 46 (4d10+12con+4FC+4Toughness)
Fort +6(+2 vs poison), Ref +3, Will +3
Defensive Abilities Uncanny Dodge; resist fire 5;
Melee mwk glaive +6 (1d10+3/x3)
Ranged javelin +5 (1d6+2/x2)
Special Attacks Hellfire Strike(Su) 3/day
Bloodrager Spells Known (CL 4)
1st(2/day) - enlarge person, shield
Str 14, Dex 14, Con 16, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 12
Base Atk +3; CMB +5; CMD 17
Feats Toughness, Dodge, Iron Will
Skills acrobatics +8, intimidate +8, knowledge(arcana) +4, linguistics +0(1 rank for abyssal), perception +7, spellcraft +4; ACP -4
Languages common, abyssal
SQ Bloodline(infernal), bloodline power (hellfire strike), bloodrage (13 rounds/day), uncanny dodge, blood sanctuary, blood casting, eschew materials
Combat Gear potion of cure moderate wounds, potion of bear's endurance, potion of infernal healing, oil of magic weapon; Other Gear +1 chainmail, masterwork glaive, javelin x5, dagger, 5pp 35gp
treasure 550gps worth of treasure
How he plays: If he knows the PCs are on the doorstep he casts shield which last 4 minutes, and downs his potion of bear's endurance which lasts 3 minutes. When he notices the PCs he applies his oil of magic weapon and casts enlarge person on himself before raging and entering melee.
When enlarged, in a bloodrage and under the effects of Shield and Bear's Endurance his statblock looks like this:
infernal bloodrager - CR 3
Now he hits pretty hard, his glaive reaches out 20 ft., and he can spend a swift action 3 times during the battle to add 1d6 fire damage to his attacks.
Hope you can use it, or that if you can't, that you'll have found some inspiration in it. As I said, if you need him taken up or down a peg, I may be able to help with that also, just post it here and I'll help if I don't forget to look :P
EDIT: Fixed his HP, I had gotten it in my mind that he was level 3 for some reason.
Hello Grenage. Welcome to the GM chair. I'll not speculate on the density of the population or whether or not this or that number is off, I don't have the head for it right now, and honestly, I might suck at it, even if I had the head for it right now :P
What I'll offer you is this LINK to my list of tips for aspiring GMs, and these two links:
and Donjon's website that contain random generators for a truckton of stuff and can shave loads of time off this sort of work.
Hopefully these things will be helpful to you and save you time.
Hello Sunwarrior and welcome to the GM-chair.
I suggest you ask yourself a question:
Do you want the encounter to challenge your players? If yes, then tailor the encounter to be challenging. If not, then make the encounter so its fitting to the world you're playing in.
I'll assume you want it to be challenging, and so we come to another question:
Do you want the infernal bloodrager to be a single boss that challenge the party in 1v4 combat, or are you fine with him having backup?
Depending on which you prefer, the way you create your encounter will change. However, no matter which you prefer, we can look to the rules for help on the basics of how to design the encounter.
If this fight will be against 4 level 2 player characters with standard 15-20 point-buy abilities, then the exp budget for your encounter would look like this:
If the encounter is supposed to be average (which means the challenge rating of the encounter is equal to the average party level) you have an exp budget of 600.
If the encounter is supposed to be challenging (CR = APL+1) you have an exp budget of 800.
A Hard encounter (CR = APL +2) would have 1200 exp.
And finally an Epic encounter (CR = APL +3) would have 1600 exp for its budget.
Depending on your decisions on whether you want the boss to fight solo or with minions, and the decision on the difficulty of the encounter, you build it differently.
If you'll tell me what you prefer, I'll see about helping you build something :)
One of the worst pieces of trash adventures ever published, is a waste of paper called The Apostasy Gambit, a 3-book adventure series published by Fantasy Flight Games for the Warhammer 40K Dark Heresy RPG.
I've only ever played the first book of that 3-parter, a brainless little piece of garbage called The Black Sepulchre. I played that with my favorite GM, playing with a circle of some of the people I enjoy roleplaying with the most. I struggled through the book, then, at the end, I thanked my GM for his time and informed him I would be backing out of the campaign because the astounding level of sh*tty writing and storytelling, despite my GMs best efforts, had turned me completely off the story, and I'd be unable to enjoy it because I'd be thinking back on the first book with loathing, fearing that anything of similar quality may be in store in the next 2 books.
After that I sat down and read the remainder of the adventure, and while it remains really bad, the two following books do not approach The Black Sepulchre in sheer lobotomized worhlessness.
The reasons that particular adventure is so bad, and the reason I hate it above any other adventure I've read are many, and would take a long while to describe - but one of the worst things in that book is that it is completely irrelevant what kinds of characters the party have brought. There is a grand total of ONE, count them, -ONE- non-combat skill-check that contribute to the completion of the book, - everything else is simple, meaningless combat (BORING combat, no less) or can be solved by mindlessly walking back and forth between seperate rooms, until you've followed the stupid breadcrumb trail long enough for the game to flat out tell you what to do.
In my opinion, every skill need not see use in resolving the plot - a skillcheck need not be the gate to heaven, but skills are part of what make the characters, and whether it relate directly to the story, or to completing the challenges that mark the path the characters travel, skills should have a chance to come into play in, at leasts, semi-significant fashion.
I'm running a sandbox exploration game in Varisia - are there certain types of monsters and animals that are more common in that land?
Is the region supposed to mirror a region of our world, when it comes to the fauna, or is a region that reliably contains mostly everything?
Thanks for your time.
When considering bound outsiders and their attitude, there is, of couse, always the consideration that a called outsider who either has experience with how callings work, or has the spellcraft/Knowledge Arcana to know what's being done to her, will realize that a caster powerful enough to bind her may very easily be powerful enough to end her.
This is also a consideration worth keeping when dealing with warding diagrams and magic circles, since a creature caught in such a thing is entirely at the mercy of the binder. The binder can slay the outsider right then and there, and there is nothing it can do to stop her.
I realize outsiders cannot be expected to think like humans, but if I was an unaging and powerful creature, who could potentially live through the rest of existence if I play my cards right, I would have a hard time thinking of something more terrifying than being at the mercy of a mortal creature.
What is and is not reasonable to ask of an outsider takes on a different shape if the outsider has to weigh the downside of having to obey a mortal now, or get snuffed without a chance to retaliate - the most impotent of ends.
Anyhew, didn't mean to hijack, just thought I'd share my thoughts.
By RAW there are none outside of what is written in each individual spell's description.
Many times in fantasy, magic has been fairly flashy. Have a look at this video from the ADnD-based game Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn (SPOILERS).
If your GM has decided that magic works that way, then certainly there are very clearly visible components of spells, and personally I use something similar to add flavour to my spell-casting characters.
I have an Asmodean cleric, where I described the bless spell as ghostly images of devils, made from reddish smoke, steadying the aim of the party's gunslinger, helping the party fighter add power to her swings and so on.
I also described Infernal healing as my character laying a hand on the wound, then raising it up, palm down seeming to pull phantom tentacles out of the wound that then squirmed around, knitting the wound back together, before vanishing from whence they came, closing the last opening of the wounds as they went.
However, back to the point: By RAW there is are visual component to spells outside of what the spell-description says. You speak in a strong voice if the spell requires verbal components. You move at least one hand, weaving precise sigils if the spell requires somatic components. And POOF - a spell has happened.
Hope it helps.
The following is a combination of stuff that is true by RAW and my personal opinion.
A paladin's ultimate devotion is to Good - everything else is second. This is reflected in their ability to act in opposition to their deity's dogma without punishment, yet if they ever willfully commit evil, they are stripped of their divine power.
A paladin of Iomedae is someone Iomedae trusts to go to war against her, should she ever turn from grace. Because a paladin's ultimate devotion must not be to the god, but to Good itself. And Good is not a concept that bends or warps at the whims of mortal(or divine) cultures, societies, or religions, but a cosmic concept, one of five, that are absolute.
If the world's end is inevitable, Good doesn't change. Good remains the same. While the clerics, inquisitors, and general servants of a Good aligned deity may wish to reap the souls of the living, in order to prevent their destruction, that is not Good. It is killing of the innocent and it will tarnish the conciousness and purity of all involved - that doesn't mean the decision is wrong, it doesn't mean it isn't right, only that it is not Good.
Needless to say, not all paladins ARE blindly devoted to Good, like some weird form of cosmically driven construct. Paladins are people, they have doubts, they feel love, hate, and other feelings that can lead to their falling from grace, or otherwise question their code and actions. But these things are ultimately part of the Paladin's never-ending test of devotion - those who maintain adherence to Good will be out there, trying to prevent the end of the world, rather than serve a deity who has given up and wish to reap the innocent.
They will be okay IMO. They don't have trapfinding which could hurt in certain locations during the path, but generally, if they work together and don't just try to hammer their face into every challenge until something gives, they'll be fine. Most parties will. ROTR is pretty forgiving, accessible to most combinations of party-members. There are exceptions to this rule, and the path features some of the most notorious encounters in pathfinder, but with that said, it's not impossible.
Teamwork is the name of the game. If the party synergizes, and use their ressources smartly they'll triumph. Unless Nuffle wills otherwise, of course :]
Thing is - while GMs and players everywhere can tell whatever story they like and have fun in whichever way suits them, surely you'll need to take, at least a few steps back from reality when playing in a game such as this.
Pathfinder isn't really written for super-realism, the laundry list of trouble that would arise from trying to maintain a realistic feel while playing by the rules, is really quite amazing.
Heroes falling off an airship and dropping a clean, uninterrupted 800 ft, before hitting unyielding flagstones. Then stand back up and brushing the dust off.
High-level martials destroying an iron-golem with a soup-ladle.
Characters outrunning horses.
Characters standing in lava.
Characters doing more damage with a chair-leg than a dagger on an equally clean strike.
The worlds greatest archer misses the broad side of a barn 5% of the time.
A character just punched through a solid-oak door.
A character just eviscerated a stone-collumn in 6 seconds flat.
The list goes on, but it seems impractical, to me, to try to reason away everything the system permits. Surely, if you wanted to run realism you could use the Storyteller system or somesuch. I remember Dark-Ages vampire Chronicles I've played in. Combat tended to be over in one or two solid hits.
Stops sharpening headsman axe - suddenly looking up, scowling at TGTG
U wot mate?
Resumes sharpening axe with slow determination - still scowling
@RDM42: A commoner could retrain his HP to get the 3 hp from his hit die up to 6, I guess. So could most NPCs if they'd put their minds and cash into it. As it stands though, assuming the NPCS populating the world are made with the rules governing NPC creation, all their HD come out to average.
Creating NPCs wrote:
Determine the character's total hit points by assuming the average result.
But yes, you are absolutely right, theoretically they can get half again as many hit points out of their their HD.
The average human commoner has between 4 and 6 hp. :)They have 1 HD and a d6 for their hit die. Since they're NPCs, by default you assume average result on all HD so 3 hp. Since they are probably physically active, giving them the melee-NPC stat array nets them a 12 con which would mean they get +1 hp, coming up to 4. Then the human stat-bonus gets factored in - for those who have that bonus to con, the hp increases by another +1, to 5. The last variable is whether or not they use their favored class bonus for +1 HP or +1 skill point. Commoners are not very durable :P
EDIT: Well, I say that, but let's see how beefy we can make a level 1 human commoner. Non-heroic NPCs use point-buy 3, so we could make an NPC with:
9 STR, 7 DEX, 18 CON, 7 INT, 7 WIS, 7 CHA
Then add the human ability bonus to con for 20 con. Use the favored class bonus to add another HP, and then take toughness for a level 1 feat.
This will net us a level 1 commoner with 12 hp. I don't know if they come any tougher than that :)
Matthew Downie wrote:
I refer you to my explanation of my position, 2 posts up :)
@Orfamay Quest: Since this is off topic for the thread, I'll say my piece briefly and then suggest we leave it at that. After all, there's no need to derail. What follows is my opinion:
WBL has little impact on the balance, unless the GM lets it have impact, and following it does nothing whatsoever to make the game fun.
Looking at the WBL-table is useful for getting an idea of what amount of gear a certain encounter might be designed around, and I use it when my table introduces a character above level 1, but outside of that it detracts from games, rather than add.
A GM who adheres to the WBL table artificially narrows the scope of what the player characters can do. Following WBL also limits agency, and encourages players to not seek out adventure, and take no initiative on their own.
At my tables, if the characters suspect they need gear they don't have, they get to make efforts to acquire it, WBL be damned.
If the characters are undergeared, I'm not gonna drop the items in their lap because WBL told me so, - they get to have agency, they get to make decisions that matter. They get to be the ones who decide to take a trip to the Janderhoff archives of subteranean cartography, and chart a course to the legendary treasure of Zatarax. Items are not going to fall off a cart for them, nor is the next random encounter spontaneously gonna fart CMW potions.
If the characters are overgeared, then what do I care? I'm the GM, they're never gonna win an arms-race against me, even if that was an issue. I can add items to creatures with the snap of my fingers, WBL does NOTHING to upset the balance of the game unless I let it. And if, for some reason, my campaign hinges on the group NOT having that +4 greatclub (which I'd chalk up to bad campaign-writing, not bad GMing) I can make efforts to take it away. Thieves, robberies, enemies with sunder, diplomatic encounters with someone important who wants the wizard's headband of intelligence in return for helping the party. It is SO easy. SO so easy.
If my players decide to take the adventure in a new direction all of a sudden, and rob a coinhouse in Magnimar, you can be damned sure I'm not even thinking of looking at the WBL table. Because I don't care, and it doesn't matter. No way are they gonna beat in the faces of 12 Abadar cleric/fighters standing guard, crack the vault and then find 2060 gp in there, because the WBL table told me that is how much they were off their recommended wealth. That vault is gonna explode in showers of gold, art, gems and exotic items, magical and mundane, and my players get to feel like criminal masterminds and complete badasses for just pulling an Ocean's Eleven.
WBL is utterly useless outside of eyeballing encounters and creating characters above level 1. I prefer my players have agency, and get encouraged to forge their own paths, take their own initiative, rather than just mindlessly chasing the nearest breadcrumb-trail, because whatever they need, is just gonna fall out of the sky anyway.
Let me reiterate that this is just my opinion. Anyway Orfamay Quest - that is why I find it inexplicable that a GM should elect to use WBL. In case a party-member needs raising you go out there and you get him raised. You don't sit there with your hands up your arse, because some weird pseudo-mechanics of the game won't let you earn a buck. :)
I assume transformation into superhero in my games. That way I don't have to reason away everything that happens, and I can still maintain whatever flavour I want to.
GM: "You fall off the 200 ft cliff and take 60 dmg"
That works, right up until the character falls off something where the shape allows no such thing. Like doing a Denethor-dive off Minas Tirith. Then reasoning away how you survived becomes hard.
Same thing happens when you fight a dragon with the Snatch feat. Normally you get a reflex save so it goes like this:
GM: "The fire licks across the ground, you throw yourself for dear life..."
But once Snatch enters the equation, where you take the full blast of dragonfire directly to the face(No reflex save allowed), because the dragon is holding you trapped in its mouth, then you have to reason away why the PC is alive, but every building in a 60 ft cone behind him has been reduced to molten rock, charcoal and scorch-marks.
In my games, you rise to herculean levels of fortitude and strength. A martial with a high damage output, swinging a warhammer at the ground is gonna shake the dust off every nearby building.
Getting stabbed with a dagger and collapsing on the ground, slowly bleeding out is reserved for the level 1 NPC classed people, who make up around 99% of the world's population. So there's plenty of novel-realism IN the world. The heroes just rise above it, becoming more akin to superheroes, demi-gods or warriors of ancient mythology.
That is just my way, though. :)
@Matthew Downie: I didn't mean that it had to be -made- of cubes, but that the shape you create has to fit within 25 connected 1 ft cubes.
But that is still just my present reading of the spell. What is yours?
@Lathiira: indeed? That seems like it fall within the spell's use to me too. What are your thought on the area, though?
Last session, my players were fighting a large sized vampire. We had to end the session before the fight was over, but I get the sense they will win next time.
My players had a really good idea: When the thing turns to fog and attempts to slink back to its coffin, cast stone-shape and trap it in stone, then wait for enough time to pass and the vampire will be destroyed, because it cannot reach its coffin.
I like the idea, but reading through the Stone Shape spell has raised a question for me. A question regarding the shape of the area that can be affected.
Stone Shape, as cast by the party's level 15 cleric, would affect an area of 25 cubic feet. Naturally this is not the same as a 25 ft cube, that much is clear, but what are the rules governing the shapes of the stone and the area? For instance:
must the area the cleric affects be a 25 cu. ft. cube? A small block that is? Or must it simply be any shape that can be formed within 25 1ft cubes, that connect to each-other? Is it completely free of area and only beholden to the mass of stone contained within the 25 cu ft, so you could feasably make an extremely thin, thousand-mile long stone rod?
Personally I'm inclined to say the stone can be shaped into any shape that can be made within any combination of 25 1ft cubes, all of which must be connected - so you could make a 25 ft tall/long stone rod, with a height and with of 1 ft max. If that makes a lick of sense :P
Anyway, your reading of the spell, and thoughts on the are that can be affected, are very much appreciated.
I understand where you're coming from. Losing a character, one you care about and/or have put alot of work into, can be a bitter experience. It doesn't have to be, but it can.
I advice that you make sure to remember the duality of the game. On one hand, it is an around-the-table storytelling-experience, a book read to you by a friend, and you get to be one of the heroes. On the other hand, it is a game, it is a dice-base, chance driven game - like playing a boardgame with your friends, where the goal is to overcome challenges on the board, while having fun with the others.
This duality is why we have rules, but also have rule 0. It is why the GM can bend of break or create whatever he wants, but everybody else still plays by the same rules. Your character may die, but it is all a part of the game. A challenge happened and it overcame you, rather than you overcoming it. Bad luck of the dice? Maybe you accidentally stacked the cards against you while roleplaying? In the end, the reason why it happened can be just as important as the fact that it happened, but it is still just another part of the game. Every time your character picks up a gold-piece, someone else's character gets the axe in another game somewhere, because the risk helps make the game fun. It is why we have dice, and why we introduce chance as well as skill, rather than just participate in a mutually told story.
The best thing for yourself, in my opinion, is to understand that this is what makes the game satisfying, and learn to love it. Appreciate the risk your character takes, and see how the dangers of the world helps to shape it, make it come alive. How the risk, not just to your own character, but the other characters, and the threat of hurt or worse, becomes a vehicle for good roleplay and creativity.
Maybe the party shouldn't try to jump this gap. why? because it could hurt or someone could die. Maybe the party should find another way, or come up with a way to make it less risky? Or remove the risk alltogether? The risk becomes just another vehicle for the story - and if someone does get hurt, or someone does die, it is sad to see the character go, but that too then becomes a way to enrich the experience, not just for the others, who have just witnessed their friend die trying to jump the gap, but to the character who then takes his place, when you talk around the campfire and the friend that was lost is brought up.
I know this is getting ranty, and it's probably really unhelpful, but I cannot give more sage advice than this. Learn to love to win. Learn to love to lose. Be attached to your characters, but never so much that you cannot be attached to the next one. Roleplay and rollplay, have fun - with all of it - and the death of your characters will be just another enjoyable chapter in a long saga of heroes and villains, chancing it in a fantastic world.
DM Under The Bridge wrote:
That seems like a big *snicker* leap *end of snicker* in logic, you're making there. :P
Reading back through The Alkenstarian's posts, it appears quite clear that she's arguing her own opinion, and sharing her personal point of view - not telling others that they're obligated to share it :)
Surely there is no more point to chasing this conversation. Instead, why don't we leave room for others to share their opinion? I don't think anyone has any doubts as to your, or The Alkenstarian's opinion on the topic, any longer ^__^