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Karzoug the Claimer

Nearyn's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 797 posts (800 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 2 Pathfinder Society characters. 2 aliases.


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When I GM, I usually establish the following rules to my players:

A)You may make a character of -any- alignment, but I do not want any disruptive characters.

B)You can add as much flavour and ideas to your characters as you will, but I expect you to make compromises with your character, for the benefit of the group and the story, if necessary.

C)[if playing an AP] If guys still make the story, you push it along. But as we've agreed to play <AP name>, I expect you to help progress the story in the AP, although you are free to make what extra adventure you will on the way. If I feel we're getting too far from the established plot and it's about time we get back, I'll tell you.

And since I started doing so, I've had minimal problems of the kind you describe.


Okay I'll do that. The information is a bit conflicting, because his summon ability reads the same as normal ice devils, but his tactics block reads 2d4.


My players are in the Heptaric Locus in Xin Shalast, and are likely gonna encounter Gamigin(The Ice Devil Sorcerer). Gamigin's tactics involve summoning 2d4 Bone Devils, but an Ice Devil's summoning ability reads:

1/day—Summon (level 4, 2 bone devils, 50%)

Can someone please tell me if an Ice Devil -can- summon 2d4 bone devils, and if not, if I should let Gamigin summon 2d4 BDs or 2.

Thanks in advance for your lightning-fast, helpful response.


I'd let the player make his case, it sounds like it could be fun :)


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If you make a FAQ thread to clear it up, PM me, and I'll drop by and leave a click.

A good one to you, as well :]


DominusMegadeus wrote:
Nearyn wrote:
DominusMegadeus wrote:
Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

How about trying to redeem your mother?

I'd consider that a valid reason to associate with an evil character.

You are not fighting a greater Evil. You are fighting an equal Evil.

Wouldn't that depend on how mean your mother is? O.o


The Evil you are 'fighting' by redeeming your mother is herself. Your Mother = Your Mother. Not a greater Evil than the one you are working with.

Hhmmmm, but what if your mother's redemption would mean a great triumph for good? Like you're telling an inverse version of the story of Faust? :P

That'd be a great story, I think. I'd at least have fun with it as a player or GM. A paladin is so outclassed by his opponent (who just happens to be his mother), that he decides to travel with her and act as the angel on her shoulder, chipping away at the evil around her heart even as she subdues a nation :D

Nah, but I'm just having some fun before leaving the thread. I've provided opinion and RAW, so there's not alot else for me to do here XD


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DominusMegadeus wrote:
Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

How about trying to redeem your mother?

I'd consider that a valid reason to associate with an evil character.

You are not fighting a greater Evil. You are fighting an equal Evil.

Wouldn't that depend on how mean your mother is? O.o


I think the reason they say you should seek out an atonement spell is that paladins should ideally not surround themselves with evildoers, and if they do, it would be flavourful and feel "right"(?) if they sought out atonement for having to do so.

But there is already plenty of consequence for the Paladin in the Associates rule: you'll notice that the rule prevents them from making use of non-LG henchmen, followers, and cohorts. That is the ACTUAL impact on the Paladin class that that rule has.

There is no consequence for associating with evil, it is merely bad form, and you'll probably want to atone for it. Why you would want to atone for it, I'd argue is completely up to you. Maybe you feel like you're risking tarnishing the name of your order a bit? (like a cop being seen talking to a known gangster may tarnish the name of his department?). Or for any number of reasons.

Point remains however that there is no consequence for associating with evil, outside of GM Fiat.


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You are plain incorrect DominusMegadeus, I'm sorry to say. I'll make the effort and provide a screenshot, gimme a second.


Here you go Screenshot from the CRB

Screenshot of CRB

The exact same font, written in the exact same way as every other entry in the class. They are two seperate entries. Associates is no more a part of Code of Conduct, than Code of Conduct is a part of Holy Champion.

If Associates WAS a sub-set of Code of Conduct it would have said.

hypothetical rules that do not actually exist wrote:

Code of Conduct: A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class features except proficiencies if she ever willingly commits an evil act.

A paladin's code requires that she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth), help those in need (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends), and punish those who harm or threaten innocents.

Additionally, while she may adventure with good or neutral allies, a paladin avoids working with evil characters or with anyone who consistently offends her moral code. Under exceptional circumstances, a paladin can ally with evil associates, but only to defeat what she believes to be a greater evil. A paladin should seek an atonement spell periodically during such an unusual alliance, and should end the alliance immediately should she feel it is doing more harm than good. A paladin may accept only henchmen, followers, or cohorts who are lawful good.

But I have already provided you with the screenshot, so I don't know why I bothered typing that last part.


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Do NOT make that mistake. Who the paladin can assocaite with IS NOT part of the paladin code of conduct. The two are completely seperate entries in the Paladin-class.

You cannot logically tie the two together any more than you can consider the Code of Conduct a part of the Holy Champion(Su) power.


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Well, firstly we can at least be happy for the paladin that his career is not in danger based on his associates, since it is not part of his code. Even if we look at the full text

Paladin wrote:
Associates: While she may adventure with good or neutral allies, a paladin avoids working with evil characters or with anyone who consistently offends her moral code. Under exceptional circumstances, a paladin can ally with evil associates, but only to defeat what she believes to be a greater evil. A paladin should seek an atonement spell periodically during such an unusual alliance, and should end the alliance immediately should she feel it is doing more harm than good. A paladin may accept only henchmen, followers, or cohorts who are lawful good.

Secondly, I don't think being your mother's son counts as adventuring with/working with someone. Nor are you encouraged to smite the wicked woman :P

Even if we assume the Paladin is actually adventuring with his mother, why would he give a rat's ass that she pings evil? It's not like there are any consequences for associating with evildoers. At worst it's considered bad form, but if the woman pings evil, yet remains his loving mother and doesn't actually act evil, then why would the paladin have cause to act? :)

He would not.


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Best way I can think of, is making sure the Evil NPCs don't act like A**holes. It is true that some players have evil-phobia, but in my experience, players would rather be buddies with the potentially evil sellsword/thieves guild enforcer, who's willing to share a beer and a story, over a game of darts, than they wanna be buddies with Sir Stickintush, chaste, preachy paladin do-gooder.


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First off, Unless my mother is a cleric or evil outsider (and assuming she doesn't smell like gravedirt ;) ), GO MOM! :D You've got 5HD?! That's pretty darn impressive.

Second, I continue with my life and don't treat her any different, that is, provided that she pings evil, but has always just been a devoted, loving mother.

After all, alignment only represents a character's morality, not whether they are willing to act, based on said morality :]


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Here's the thing though Ryric. The descriptors description say:

Descriptors wrote:

Appearing on the same line as the school and subschool, when applicable, is a descriptor that further categorizes the spell in some way. Some spells have more than one descriptor.

The descriptors are acid, air, chaotic, cold, darkness, death, earth, electricity, evil, fear, fire, force, good, language-dependent, lawful, light, mind-affecting, sonic, and water.

Most of these descriptors have no game effect by themselves, but they govern how the spell interacts with other spells, with special abilities, with unusual creatures, with alignment, and so on.

Now I -could- take from this that "spell descriptors govern how the spell interacts with unusual creatures", means that if I hit an Air Elemental with a [Fire] spell, the Air elemental becomes a Fire Elemental. It's based on my reading of a line from the above rules regarding descriptors and describes how a [Fire] spell interacted with the unusual creature(in this case an Air Elemental).

The logical response to this is: "What the hell are you talking about? That is not at all what the rules are saying, you cannot simply look at that snippet of rules-text and decide that, that is the intended RAW interaction between fire spells and creatures from the plane of air. That idea is based on you superimposing an idea you had on the rules, because the words do not expressly deny your obtuse angle"

And that is, in my opinion, the exact same issue with people who argue that [evil] spell = evil act. It is not based on any -real- reading of the rules. It is people who want their setting to have corruptive black magic, attempting to superimpose this idea on the core rules, because if their position was backed by RAW, it would be convenient.


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Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
Since we're demanding book quotes, is there anything that says evil stops being evil if you put brackets around it?

Not those words exactly, but there is a definition of descriptors, descriptors being the words with brackets around them. Said segment on descriptors tells us how they work and what purpose they serve. This has been mentioned earlier in this thread. I'll re-quote and help clarify.

Descriptors CRB p.212 wrote:

Appearing on the same line as the school and subschool, when applicable, is a descriptor that further categorizes the spell in some way. Some spells have more than one descriptor.

The descriptors are acid, air, chaotic, cold, darkness, death, earth, electricity, evil, fear, fire, force, good, language-dependent, lawful, light, mind-affecting, sonic, and water.

Most of these descriptors have no game effect by themselves, but they govern how the spell interacts with other spells, with special abilities, with unusual creatures, with alignment, and so on.

A language-dependent spell uses intelligible language as a medium for communication. If the target cannot understand or cannot hear what the caster of a language-dependent spell says, the spell fails.

A mind-affecting spell works only against creatures with an Intelligence score of 1 or higher.

Now, I imagine we're only interested in the bits where it says descriptors govern how spells interact with alignment. To me, that appears to be the last vestige of the [evil] spell = evil act, argument.

You COULD look at that spit of text and predicate on conjecture, saying that, despite it not saying so, this is proof that an aligned spell counts as interfering with the morality of an action, which is normally governed by an entirely different set of rules, those being the rules on alignment.

Now, as some, myself included, have pointed out, this is conjecture, whereas there is ONE part of the rules we KNOW for a fact provides an interaction between spell descriptors and alignment, and that is spell memorization for clerics.

A cleric cannot memorize spells in opposition to his or his deity's alignemnt. By looking at the descriptors, the player can determine which spells his cleric character can use, and which he cannot. If we did NOT have this descriptor to tell us how the spells interacted with alignment, that would mean that at EVERY. SINGLE. TABLE. all the many poor GMs would have to trudge through the INCREDIBLY tedious work of deciding, on each and every cleric spell "is this evil, good, chaotic, lawful, or a mixture of either?".

Therefore, we can safely say that we KNOW of ONE interaction between alignment and alignment descriptors, an interaction that does NOT signify that the casting of an aligned spell is an aligned action in itself.

Did that clear it up a bit?


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Eltacolibre wrote:
Alight my bad on this then. Still tho, in game where evil and good are personified, guess I would be better off saying that I agree with how Golarion and Champion of Purity handles the uses of Evil descriptor spells shifting someone toward the evil alignment.

And you are perfectly within your rights to do that. I think the idea of a campaign where evil is an insidious force that seeps into your soul if you cast black magic, is flavourful and interesting.

My only point, and the part I was very adamant about, is not confusing this very interesting idea for the Core Rules, because it involves a bit of mental gymnastics on the GMs part, that should not be considered part of how the basic game is run. Rather a thing the GM can do to spruce up his setting for his players, should he decide to let Good and Evil have a more immediate impact on his setting and players :)

Glad we got this out of the way.


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Eltacolibre wrote:

from the alignment section of the core rulebook:

alignment wrote:

This game assumes good and evil are definitive things. Evidence for this outlook can be found in the indicated good or evil monster subtypes, spells that detect good and evil, and spells that have the good or evil descriptor. Characters using spells with the evil descriptor should consider themselves to be committing minor acts of evil, though using spells to create undead is an even more grievous act of evil that requires atonement.
Here's your rule.

Thank you for proving my point. You have NOT read the core rules, you are getting your rules off the SRD website, WHICH IS NOT the core rules.

The rule you have bolded is AN OPTIONAL RULE, that is specific to the setting GOLARION, and posted in the supplemental book "Champions of Purity".

You see what happens when just make claims, and don't check your sources? Your cited rule is no more part of the Core Rules than [acid] spells turning the caster into an ooze, over time.


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Eltacolibre wrote:

Casting evil spells is committing evil acts, justified or not. Mostly why, clerics of opposed alignment can't cast evil spells, if not it would be fine and dandy for good clerics to cast animate dead, but by raw, they can't.

It's not what I want the rules, to say, you are still committing evil acts, which in alignment terms, mean your alignment is eventually going to shift after awhile. Casting an evil spell once from a good character is of course, not ground to shift alignment but doing it repeatedly is ground for an alignment shift.

You do, of course, realize that repeating falsehood, does not make it correct, yes?

Because it appears to me, that you haven't the slightest clue what you are actually talking about. You claim that your presentation above is the alignment rules, when even a cursory reading of the alignment rules will tell you that they are not.

Here is what you will not find in the core rules:

A rule saying that casting an [evil] spell is an evil action.

A rule for "Repeatedly casting an evil spell is grounds for an alignment shift".

You can look at the Core Rulebook until you grow old and die, but you will not find anything to back your claim, short of fabricating evidence and glueing pages into your CRB.

The onus is on you to prove that the core rules back your ridiculous claim. If you cannot provide any citation, do not expect people to treat your "rules", and anything but the house-rules they are. And expect me, and other people who have actually bothered to read the rules, to call you out for it.


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Eltacolibre wrote:
It's evil magic, there isn't a shade of gray here. The spell is actually evil, it doesn't matter how your player wants to justify it, I would switch their alignment little by little if they keep using evil spells. Now it is your prerogative to do house rules on why a spell isn't "evil", but for me, it is a pretty clear situation.

Actually it is never mentioned, nor inferred by the core rules on alignment, nor spells, that casting evil magic makes you evil, nor that it affects the alignment of your actions. That means that claiming that it does, is to make a ruling based on nothing but your own sense of "how I want the game to be", making the ruling that [evil] spell = evil act, the truest meaning of a house-rule :)

Make sure you do not mistake "What does the rules say" for "what do I want the rules to say". Claiming something incorrect (or at best, completely unproven) to be RAW will confuse people and create arguments, where there is no need for any.


Ashiel wrote:

But being Good is not hard, and going from being Evil to being Good is no harder than going from Good to Evil. For some people, being Good is easier than being Evil. I can't even be a bad guy when playing KotR II. :P

Whenever I try to be a bad guy in KotoR II, I always wind up walking the middle-line. Of course, the same thing is true for whenever I try to be a good guy. Middle of the road is just much more appealing for me :D

"When one relies on sight to perceive the world, it is like trying to stare at the galaxy through a crack in the door"


Tequila Sunrise wrote:
Nearyn wrote:
Clipped scene
Well written, sir, and an excellent demonstration of the hazards of tying too many rules up with alignment!

Thank you so very much ^^


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Rogar Stonebow wrote:
TOZ wrote:
Rogar Stonebow wrote:
How do you read my pasting from the prd, i'm curious.

The [Evil] descriptor governs how the spell interacts with alignment. Nowhere does that state 'casting this spell is an Evil act'.

Remember this is from the lens of 'what do the rules actually say' not 'what do I infer from the rules'.

You can absolutely infer that casting an [Evil] spell is an Evil act. But that doesn't mean the rules say that.

Will you give an example of how an aligned spell interacts with the alignment of a creature?

I know I'm not TOZ, so I apologize for taking a stab at this:


(Good)Cleric: "Hey God? This is Cleric, your #1 fan! Listen I wanted to tell you that I continue to do your good work down here, but I'm gonna go ahead and need to memorize Unholy Blight today pls"

God: "I am sorry Cleric, your Good alignment prevents you from memorizing spells with the [Evil] descriptor. I hope this does not inconvinience you, and I want you to know that we are all cheering for you up here. So, since I cannot offer you Unholy Blight, would you prefer to memorize another spell?"

Cleric: "Oh, thanks God, but I think I'm ok. I'll just leave that spell-slot open and wait and see if something comes up during the day, where I may need your great and benevolent powers. Thanks for the reminder on my spells btw"

God: "Don't mention it. Now, go forth and bring my will into the world!"

Cleric: "Will do, big guy!"

This is how the alignment descriptors interact with alignment.


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@Rogar Stonebow:

Your words confuse me as to whether we are talking about the same thing. So instead I'll tell you what I thought you were saying, and then what I am trying to respond.

I followed, from your post, that you took: "Most of these descriptors have no game effect by themselves, but they govern how the spell interacts with other spells, with special abilities, with unusual creatures, with alignment, and so on."

To mean: "Since descriptors affect how spells interact with alignment, that must mean that the [evil] descriptor, makes the act of casting such a spell an evil act".

Where I commented that, that is reading too far into it, making conclusions based on conjecture, instead of concluding that it is refering to the ONE segment of the rules WE KNOW it interacts with, that being which spells clerics of certain alignments can, and cannot, memorize.

I apologize if I mistook your meaning.


@Rogar Stonebow:

I was just about to say, but Scythia ninja'd me. Alignment descriptors do NOT interact with the alignment of an action, the interaction mentioned on p.202 of the CRB refers to the limit on spell memorization placed on clerics, who cannot cast spells of a certain alignment. Without these descriptors, saying that "A good cleric cannot memorize evil magic", would leave the decision of what spells are evil entirely in the hands of the GMs, requiring them to make a decision on every sodding cleric spell in the game, which would be tedious, time-consuming and tremendously boring.


@Ryric: Oh no doubt. It is just fine to run it either way, if you and your players have fun with it. :)

Also, I don't disagree that there may have been other options for poor Garret, formerly paladin of Iomedae, presently slobbering mind-slave to the evil queen Yara. Perhaps he could have defeated both Yara, a sorceress great and terrible power, as well as Sachiel the Astral Deva. We may never know :P But in the situation he found himself in, attempting to do so would be at the risk of the lives and freedom of the entire nation. Does a guardian of the innocent choose to play dice with the safety of a nation like that? A question for another thread, no doubt.

I'm a RAW kinda guy, and as such, my players know that at my table, casting [evil] magic is not an evil action. So if this had played out at my table, noone would have batted an eyelash at Erasmus keeping a scroll of protection from good, nor would I have had Garret fall for trying to save the day.

It appears to me that we do not disagree that both options can work from a story-telling perspective, and I have yet to see you claim that the position [evil] = evil is Core RAW, so I don't think you and I disagree on anything immediate Ryric :)


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ryric wrote:

So in game mechanics terms, your paladin bought an evil magic item, invested ranks in UMD to be able to use it, and now we're supposed to be surprised when this has repercussions?

In game mechanical terms, Erasmus the wizard, who believed in being prepared for everything, had prepared a scroll of protection from good, which he had never had the opportunity to cast, because it had not been relevant. Garret the paladin of Iomedae, had invested ranks in UMD for any number of reasons, but none of them evil in intent.

And yes, now you are supposed to be surprised, because Garret, who opted to use the option whereby he could at least have a shot at fighting for Varisia's future, while not simultaneously (and perhaps suicidally) attempt to murder a dominated angel, has fallen for the 'evil action' of casting protection from good.

This is of course based on the Champions of Purity reading of the [evil] descriptor, which I am happy to say has no bearing on the core-rules of the game, whereby the casting of spells with the [evil] descriptor, doesn't make you any more evil than casting [cold] spells give you the flu.

The question asked in the opening post is whether or not descriptors SHOULD have an impact on alignment. I say No, they should not, and people are free to disagree with that. Of course, if we're discussing Core Rules, as written, then there is only one answer "No, it does not".

What I have provided is a spit of story, for the purpose of highlighting why I find the contrary ruling, presented in the optional and setting specific "champions of purity" to be a hilariously bad idea. And while I still maintain that any GM is free to play WITH this rule, I am simply offering my opinion that I don't find it smart from a mechanical or story-driven perspective.


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Icyshadow wrote:

That was both incredibly awesome and utterly ridiculous.

No deity of Good alignment would be that stupid if you ask me.

Making that Paladin fall because of one scroll led to the triumph of evil.

First, thanks for the compliment ^^

Secondly, Champions of Purity tells us that casting an [evil] spell, for any reason, is at least a minor act of evil. And ANY act of evil, if done willingly, will make a paladin fall.

I've always said that I found the ruling in champions of purity ridiculous, but that I accept people's right to use it, it being non-core and all.

This is just one of MANY stupid situations that would arise from such a ruling, when you say that the alignment of an action is impacted by a spell descriptor.

My opinion ofc, but as I said, I don't have to make any argument in my favor, because most of the arguments have already been provided :)


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”It’s too late, I am dead already” Erasmus’ voice was little more than a whisper. With every word forced through bloodied lips, there was an unsettling rattle. His body was broken, Erasmus was right, he was always right, he was beyond hope at this point. Garret stopped channeling and withdrew his hands, the palms were wet with blood, Erasmus’ blood. It was not fair, the wizard was not a combatant, he wasn’t even supposed to be here, yet now there he was, forcing his last words from his dying form. The injustice burned him, and Garret strained to hold back tears.

“I cannot leave you here” Garret objected. “First Thomas, then Hollt… I’m not losing you too!”

Even dying, Erasmus forced his knowing smile “That decision has been made for you” the wizard coughed. His hands, trembling and cold, fumbled, as if reaching, and as Garret followed the motion, the saw Erasmus was reaching for his knapsack.

“It’s all on you and your feathered friend now Garret. Take my bag, use whatever you must!” Garret looked back at his friend, his eyes had glassed over, he was no longer looking at Garret, instead looking at something beyond sight.

“You must…stop…Yara” and with that, Erasmus' last breath left his body. Garret's hands curled into fists. He wanted to scream. He breathed hard, through clenched teeth for an indeterminable amount of time, before reaching out, closing Erasmus’ eyes for the final time.

“We must go now” Sachiel spoke, and as the angel placed his hand of Garret's shoulder, Garret felt just the smallest glimmer of relief. Not completely alone. Not completely. Garret managed to stand, and look at Sachiel, the Deva’s face was sympathetic, but serene, lamenting the loss of their allies, but powerfully determined to see their quest done. They were right, Garret realized, as he stepped across the corpse of a fallen foe and picked up Erasmus’ knapsack. Both Erasmus and Sachiel were right, Yara had to be stopped, former friend or not, her sorcerous ways were threatening more than just them, it was threatening all of Varisia. Looking to his bloody hands, Garret wiped them on his scarf, before dropping it to the floor, picking back up his sword and shield and mustering his will and strength. This was going to be it, the last spurt, the final chance to stop Yara before she could activate the Jericho-device. As if sensing his determination, Sachiel’s sword burst into holy flame. They didn’t even share a look, they both knew it was now or never. They stepped forth towards the swirling portal, and crossed the threshold to the Jagged Spire.

From the moment of his entrance into the chamber, Garret had the strangest sensation. It was almost a sense of vertigo, as the room around him seemed to warp and twist with cascades of eldricht energy. The flowing waves of silvery energy seemed to pulse, emanating from a crystal suspended on a plinth in the centre of the chamber. The pulses were horrid things, instilling a feeling of untamed destruction with every pulse, like a heartbeat of uncontrolled calamity, patiently waiting, building.

“Here we are, at last” The voice shot up Garret’s spine, the feeling of freezing water. Yara stepped from behind the plinth, her dark eyes scanning across her former comrades who had come at this moment, to end her ambition. Her eyes were all that Garret noticed, her beauty and the nostalgic longing for a different time, a better time, a time where he would call her friend, all buried in a flash of righteous anger. He saw not her face, but the face of Thomas, of Hollt… of Erasmus, of every knight of the Shining Shield who had died on the steps of the Jagged Spire, fighting with them, dying for them, and for the safety and security of their families, and all the free folk of Varisia. He wanted to shout at her, to yell out, but he couldn’t find the words, couldn’t vocalize his anger, a cry pressed on his throat, and he forced it back, instead moving forward, slowly approaching Yara, circling from the left.

“Yara Quinn!” it was Sachiel, cirling from the right, who spoke, his voice ringing with a justice above what could be vocalized by mortals
“You have been found guilty of sins, severe and numerous. The blood of innocents burn your hands, the betrayed goodwill of the people mark your heart, and your sacrifice of all that is good, for your own selfish desires, blacken your soul!” As they closed, Yara assumed a posture he knew only too well, she was ready to channel her powers, to weave her sorcery if she thought they got too close. Sachiel must’ve known as well, but he kept circling.

“What say you Yara, daughter of Yselle, mortal turned monster, who would abandon her own beliefs and bring death to her friends and family. What say you, sinful creature, whose ambition has caused the death hundreds, and would still cause the death of thousands. What say you to those you have wronged!?”

“ENOUGH!” with a shout, her hands began weaving. Instantly, Garret launched at her, but even before his blade could reach her, the mystical words were spoken, the sigils drawn, phantom creatures began circling Sachiel, and the angel let out a cry of rage and despair, falling to his knees, clutching his head. Garret charged on, and swung his blade, Yara, turning to deal with her other attacker, barely managed to jump for dear life, Garrets blade still biting deep. Screaming with pain and hate, she began weaving sigils again, and Garret threw himself at her, determined to stop her sorcery. Again he was barely too late, as a swirl of red energy contorted into a door, closed around Yara, and vanished, taking her with it. Garret stopped his assault and spun on the spot, looking left and right, trying to determine where her dimensional magic had taken her. She would not leave the crystal heart at his mercy, not now, when she was so close.

“Up here Garret!” His gaze shot up, to find her hovering high in the room.

“Come down and fight me Yara!” he cried, and even though her face was painted with the pain of the wound he’d inflicted her, she managed a mocking laugh.

“Why would I do that, you self-righteous oaf?!”

“Because if you don’t” Garret said, raising his sword, pointing the tip towards the crystal “I will destroy this”. Again she laughed, and Garret, though determined, felt a sense of doubt. His eyes darted to the crystal. It looked sturdy, sure, and as it was, empowered with powers arcane, it would probably take a few good swings, but even she could not believe that he would be unable to destroy it, if she didn’t keep his attention with everything she had. Her laugh stopped, and she shot him a sadistic glare.

“And how will you be destroying the Jericho-device Garret? When you are so busy fighting for your life?! SLAVE! KILL HIM!”

A cry of desperate refusal echoed through the chamber, and to Garret’s horror, it was Sachiel’s voice.
“I … WILL… NOT… Do … Your … bidding”, with every word, the vigour of Sachiel’s voice lessened, a foreboding light had come to the angel’s eyes.

“You will, because I offer you no choice. Kill Garret, I command it!” Garret looked on in disbelief, as the ensorcelled mind of his last ally, drove the angel to rise and grasp the flaming sword. Garret took a step back, raising his shield, crying for Sachiel to snap out of it, but the angel merely assumed an offensive stance, and approached, and all around them echoed the throbbing of the Jericho-device and the mocking laugh of Yara. He could not strike down his friend, even if he was capable of defeating Sachiel in a fight to begin with. As Garret backed further from the approaching Deva, his hand bumped against something at his waist, and for just a moment, time seemed to cease. Erasmus’ knapsack. In a flash, Garret was reminded of their journey to King’s Peak, back in a different time, where they would travel with Yara, before the incident that had caused her to leave, and Thomas to join their band of adventurers. Yara had joked that Erasmus was always immersed in his studies, that his scribbling and scrawling would lead to him eventually rolling into a ball, and spending the rest of his life as human barnacle. Erasmus had retorted that you never knew what to expect and had presented her with a scroll, that he claimed would keep certain outsiders at bay. Yara had shrugged it off and continued teasing him, but Erasmus had maintained that if you didn’t know what to expect, you should expect everything, just to be sure.

Hoping, praying, Garret quickly grabbed into the knapsack, and retrieved what he’d hoped to find. The magical scroll that would protect him from the agents of good. Never before this moment had he imagined that he would ever see that scroll used. He had trusted in Erasmus when he’d said that you needed to expect everything, but he’d always scoffed at the idea of that particular scroll seeing any use. Now, he realized, was the time to use it, the last triumph of Erasmus’ paranoia. “A paranoid man is just a man in possession of all the facts” the wizard had used to say. Unrolling the scroll, Garret spoke aloud the words of power. Sachiel darted forward, seeing the opening, but as his blade neared Garret, a wave of blueish energy washed out from the Paladin, pushing back the angel. A yell of disbelief issued from Yara, and Garret smiled in triumph, it had worked. Tossing the, now blank, scroll to the ground, he once again grabbed his sword, prepared to end this conflict once and for all.

Then… horror. It happened so fast, but it may as well have taken a hundred years for the sinking feeling of utter blackness that filled his heart. A sinking, bottomless feeling of horror so surreal, that he’d never known its like, or imagined such a feeling to exist before. Before his eyes, the shine of his sword seemed to dim and fade, no longer it appeared a pristine tool justice, but just a dull metal instrument, sharpened to cut flesh. With a sickening twist in his stomach, and a sudden, horrifying realization of what was happening, Garret fell to his knees as his world cracked like a mirror, and the veneer of righteousness was pulled back, his divine focus shattered, the grace of his god retracted. Loneliness and vulnerability washed in on him, crushing him, choking him, he looked in disbelief at the sky, but saw only the chamber ceiling and the mystified look of a confused Yara.

“NO!” he screamed, dropping both sword and shield, and reaching for sky, as if clawing for something that he could not see.

“WHY! NOT NOW! NOT WITH SO MUCH AT STAKE!” He prayed with every fiber of his being, his mind aflame with desperate desire for an end to this cruel irony, a blind need for the joke to end.

“MY GODDESS! MY INHERITOR! WHY DO YOU DO THIS?! WHY DO YOU ABANDON ME!?” But for the first time since his youth, for the first time since he’d donned the mantle of the protector, and been willing to lay down his life to protect that of others, there was no answer when he called. No feeling of assurance, no clarity. Just silence, and a darkness that deepened around him, as surely as if his soul had been dragged to the Pit. Again he saw the faces of his fallen allies, and this time, there was no holding the tears back. Helplessly he let them flow, as he slumped back, looking at the ceiling, hoping to see the skies above, the shattered hope for something that would not come.

Thus began the 100 year reign of the Dark Queen Yara of the Jagged Spire, iron-fisted monarch of the formerly free frontier of Varisia.

Proving to the world that all that is needed for evil to triumph, is for good men to do something.


As I cannot write about the heroics of the rogue of my RotR party without spoiling the AP, I won't. I'll just plainly state that the rogue has saved the day plenty of times. And she didn't do it by magically turning into another class in the nick of time. She's playing her character, who just so happens to be of the rogue class, and said character is just as much an addition to the team, as any of the other party-members :)


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I've been wondering whether to post in this thread at all. I didn't want to have to repeat the logical argument, over and over again.

Luckily, now I don't have to. Everything that needs to be said, has been said and repeated by Ashiel. I am firmly in the camp that the [Evil] descriptor has -NO- impact on the alignment of the action you are performing, BY THE CORE RULES.


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I use the alignment system in my games, and I use it as written. The funny thing about the alignment system is, if you read it, and if you respect the simplicity of it, it works quite well with the game. It permits the players to roll and work with basically any character concept, to fill any role in almost any setting, and the alignment's interactions with the game's mechanics remains intact.

I have become convinced that alignment "problems" usually stem from people inventing problems. Either because they cannot be bothered to read the alignment rules, or want to discard the simplicity of it, in favor of something that takes into account their personal views on what is good and evil. Either will make the system appear clunky and useless.


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Beware! long-winded non-answer:

Presently mastering the 6th book of RotR. My party has had the following forms.


The rogue moved and was unable to continue participating. The Alchemist discarded her alchemist to make a rogue to fill the gap left by the old one. The summoner discarded her summoner for a witch, because the character of the summoner was not well-written and was unsuited for the campaign. Lastly, another player joined the campaign, and rolled a bard. This left the party with the following.


For the longest time, this party worked just fine, but then the Inquisitor died to a few unlucky dice-rolls, and rerolled as a paladin.


This party continued all the way to book 6, and only just recently changed, with the death of the Paladin and Witch. The Paladin had respectfully requested from the beginning that if he died, he'd be left in the ground, rather than the party attempting to bring him back. And the Witch, mentally distraught after the death of the paladin, wanted to just slip away from it all, when she died, and as such, her soul refused to ressurection. They were replaced by an Arcanist and a Fighter.

During most, basically the entirety of this campaign, there has been both a Bard and a Rogue in my party. None of them have felt useless, outshined or outclassed by anyone. Both invest themselves in what is happening and their characters work with the rest of the party, and that is enough to make the wheels turn.

RotR is a rough path, make no mistake. But it is not so rough that you cannot work your way around the problems, even if you are playing classes that this board claims are weak.

I'd say go with the Rogue, and if you ever find that the task becomes too uphill for your class-kit, do what your character would do in-world, and sit down and talk with your party-members. Let them understand and work out how you can all fight smarter, instead of harder, and watch as the characters becomes what solves the problems, instead of players tossing numbers around to defeat the enemy numbers.

FYI - the Rogue in my party is specialized in ranged combat and scouting.


Thanks alot for the quick and helpful responses, everyone :)


Basically the questions in the title.

Since NPCs have half hp, can you retrain their hp? if so, can a PC be the trainer? If so, can you, as the PC, chose to ignore the money that are supposed to be changing hands? Or do they represent more than a fee for services rendered?


Thanks a bunch :)

Akerlof, your take on it brings it as close to the set price as I can think of. It might be that the book has a power that I don't know of.


That's weird, I think it's crazily underpriced.

BretI could I persuade you to spell out a bit clearer how your calculations work?

Because to me it would be worth ALOT more than 1445gp


EDIT: Thought I'd explain my own take on the math.

magic, on the price of spellbooks wrote:
Captured spellbooks can be sold for an amount equal to half the cost of purchasing and inscribing the spells within.
magic, on the cost of scribing spells into a spellbook wrote:

The cost for writing a new spell into a spellbook depends on the level of the spell, as noted on Table: Spell Level and Writing Costs.

Spell Level Writing Cost
0 5 gp
1 10 gp
2 40 gp
3 90 gp
4 160 gp
5 250 gp
6 360 gp
7 490 gp
8 640 gp
9 810 gp

So the price would be the price of acquiring the spells + the cost of scribing them into the book.

I have 2 different types of calculations here. One assumes that the price of acquiring a spell is the same as buying a scroll with the spell in question, the second is that it is priced as if acquired through spellcasting services.

Scroll version:
4 4th lvl spells (4x700gp) for the scrolls + (4x160gp) for the scribing of spells.
4 3rd lvl spells (4x375gp) for the scrolls + (4x90gp) for the scribing of spells
7 2nd lvl spells (7x150gp) for the scrolls + (7x40gp) for the scribing of spells
6 1st lvl spells (6x25gp) for the scrolls + (6x10gp) for the scribing of spells
5 cantrips (5x12,5gp) for the scrolls + (5x5gp) for the scribing of spells.

Totalling a cost of 6927,5gp, halved for the market to 3463,75gp.

Services version:
4th = 1120 in total + 640 scribing cost
3rd = 600 in total + 360 scribing cost
2nd = 420 in total + 280 scribing cost
1st = 60 in total + 60 scribing cost
cantrip = 25 in total + 25 scribing cost

Totalling a cost of 3590gp, halved for the market to 1795gp

The Heart of all Flame, the spellbook that can be acquired in The Knot of Thorns, is listed as being worth 1445gp.

The book contains
4 4th lvl spells
4 3rd lvl spells
7 2nd lvl spells
6 1st lvl spells
5 cantrips

I don't agree with the math that brings this book to a 1445gp value. Can someone please explain?


I gave the wrong impression. I do not mean to say that my Asmodean has any intention of forsaking Asmodeus, the thought would never cross his mind, but there is a backstory reason for this. What I meant was that my soul is chained by contract to the self-proclaimed 'most powerful asmodean on the continent'. The contract is a minor problem, for I have a dozen loopholes to choose from, to have it made null and void, but all in its own time. Eventually my 'master' will cease being useful, and I'll assume direct control of his assets. Before such a time though, I mean to prepare for failure, and that means consolidating my own power, in the material, as well as Hell.

My GM has given me no cause to believe that my god would interfere with me stealing/trading souls. In fact, they seem to be valuable currency in hell, with a hellish economy (in rough strokes) considering enslaved petitioners the equivalent of coins, and enslaved souls the equivalent of gemstones.

I'll ask my GM about hell being a bit of the Abyss that was beat into shape, and whether that could be a workable angle.


@Cap. Darling: I'm making a note saying hostile take-over is a definite possibility. My character has the pride-drawback and is an unrepentant megalomaniac, which of course could affect how, and for whom, he'd be willing to bend the knee, but I can still see this idea working.

@Dafydd: I have actually thought favorably of being able to use the weapons abhorred by devil-kind, just to make a statement that I'm not willing to get stepped on. But this is all planning for the future, and the idea of a demi-plane is not a bad one, at all. I'm gonna look a bit more closely at what can be done with it, and how many resources I'd have to dedicate. The idea of bringing in creatures from other planes, mortals included, is not actually a bad one. After all, why would we who pride ourselves on our efficiency, limit ourselves in the weapons we use? Definitely noted.

@Westphalian_Musketeer: Thanks for the suggestion on the practical side of things. I completely agree with you, I'm going to do the research needed to minimize the effort my GM will have to spend on the nitty-gritty. In terms of contract, my soul is already signed away to my 'master', but the contract is full of loopholes, and he won't remain my master forever >:) I have plans in the works to attain a unique pit-fiend themed version of the half-fiend template, and transformation to full devilhood, could be an objective for later down the line.

@Mysterious Stranger: My GM informed me, while we were talking about hell in general, and approaching this topic, that all in all, Asmodeus is the lord and master of hell, and everyone in it. And the arch-fiends, each have a layer above Nessus, to call their own. But while they, in principle, have total rulership of their layers of hell (which is one of the aforementioned myriad of potential complications), they leave enough wiggle-room for the servants of Asmodeus to in-fight just enough to let the strong survive and the weak wither. So in terms of stepping on the toes of an arch-fiend, or gods-forbid it, Asmodeus himself, I don’t foresee enough of an issue to –not- try my hand, at cutting myself my own slice of hell :)

Aside from the excellent above ideas, two ways I thinking of acquiring my own force of the infernal host, was to either take one by force: basically showing myself as a fierce enough conqueror and Asmodean that I'd attract certain kinds of devils, and with their power at my side, I could then draw more?

The other idea was to buy my forces. My Asmodean is more than willing to risk the ire of Pharasma and the harrassment of her Psychopomps, if it means capturing souls to trade for power.

Any thoughts on these approaches? Any ideas of your own?


I intend to have my Asmodean cleric claim territory in hell, and establish a powerbase there. In an attempt to better understand what I was getting into, I'm having talks with my GM, trying to clarify how the cosmology works an how mortals interact with the planes. During these talks, my GM told me that while there could be a myriad of complications, the main thing my character would have to do to get a domain in hell, is to lay claim to a piece of hell, and then be powerful/deceptive/resourceful enough to keep hold of it, when someone wants to take it away from you.

In addition to laying claims to territory, I intend to construct a stronghold to better defend said territory, and in order to do this, I'm thinking I'll be needing a small army of Petitioners as slaves.

How would you go about acquiring the manpower to catch and use a large amount of slaves, to construct you such a structure in hell, and how would you get the forces required to defend your domain from the greedy claws of other devils, who think they can muscle in on the "little mortal"'s territory?

Thanks in advance for your input and help.


Thanks a bunch you two. I appreciate it :)


My players will soon reach the fabled city of Xin Shalast, and as I was reading up on the city, I found it mentioned that I should double the frequency of wandering monsters.

I have 2 questions.

1: Using the Random Encounters tables for Xin-Shalast, as presented in Lost Cities of Golarion, would you use only the High-level table (party is level 15), or would you use both the medium level and high-level table? Or maybe even the low-level table? If you would use multiple tables, how would you decide which table to use?

2: How often should I roll to see if my players attract attention, while exploring Shalast? Twice as often, the book says, but how often is that? Anywhere you can direct me to? If not, could I have your opinion on the matter?

Thanks a buch.


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Summary: Room with glass ceiling, that predicts hazards.

CR: Any CR really. Change the monsters and hazards in the room, to fit APL (if you want to :P ).

Type of Encounter: Mobility based combat encounter

Backgroud: Made the encounter for a friend to use in a homebrew gestalt campaign, where the players had to clear a tower of challenges.

Encounter: You can design dimensions to this room as you want, but I use a 60ft by 60ft room, with a 40ft high ceiling. Divide the room into 16 15ft squares, 4 rows of 4 squares. You now have a room that should look something like this:

1 2 3 4
1 2 3 4
1 2 3 4
1 2 3 4

With each number representing a 15 by 15 ft square, each line of 1234 being a row.

Now assign 2 hazards to each row, and place them in one the 15ft squares. Leave a gap between each hazard, so that it goes hazard - no hazard - hazard - no hazard. You can pick your own hazards, if you wish. My setup in the original draft was an area of reverse gravity, a floor-spike trap with poisoned spikes (that reset each round), an area of deeper darkness, a blade barrier, 2 torrents of insanity mist, and 2 lava-pits, all of these spread out and covering their own 15 ft square of the room.

Once the players enter the room (or observe it, if you have scouty players) start by rolling 1d4+1. In 1d4+1 rounds the placement of the hazards is going to change. Start by looking at row 1 - Pick a hazard and roll 1d4. Move the hazard to the area you rolled (If your lava-pit was in square 3 of its row, and you rolled a 1, the lava-pit is going to disappear from square 3 and reappear in square 1). Sometimes the dice will say their postion does not change(you roll the location the hazard was in before), but then just switch their location. Remember there will always be an area of no hazard, between each hazard, meaning you only have to roll once for each row, every 1d4+1 rounds.

Now spring an encounter on your players, while in the room.

The players (and their enemies) can predict the movement of the hazards, by spending a move-action to make a perception check (DC 12), to look at the ceiling, which changes to depict the new positioning of the hazards (but not -when- they will move).

Comment: I originally wanted the positioning of the hazards to be truly random, but it took up too much time with dice-rolls. As it stands, you have to roll 4d4s every 1d4+1 round, which is enough work on its own, while running an encounter on the side. First time I put it through a test-run, I found that it helps each group (players and enemies) to have a person dedicated to spotting the movement of the hazards, and warning his teammates where not to stand. I found that the result of this challenge is a highly mobile, chaotic combat sequence. For someone that may be a turn-off, but if that is what you want, this challenge -can- deliver. You could feasably make it even more chaotic, by changing which row the hazards appear in, rather than having them change position, but remain in the same row. And you could remove the hazard - no hazard rule, making it possible for 2 hazards to appear next to eachother in the same row. I'll leave that to you, should you wish to try this one out.

Additional comment: If you have players who liberally use flying, and dont want them to just fly around the hazards, use your imagination. Assign hazards that can hit flying creatures, or make it so the effects are floor-to ceiling (which could affect where you'd have to stand to see what the glass-ceiling predicts, in certain cases). Have some fun with it.

I hope you were entertained :)


I don't master dungeons differently than non-dungeons. If my players battle monsters in one room, the guards in the other room 30 ft down the hallway and through the door gets to make a perception check to hear the battle. If they hear it, they may spread the word, leave their posts, prepare for battle, come to reinforce the battle, or any other thing that I think would make sense.

Hope it helps :)


@SAMAS: Yeah, I think you and I are done for now. You have failed to stop strawmanning, failed to heed my very simple request, and have instead opted to make a nuisance of yourself. You are free to keep your opinion, however don't expect me to accept it as gospel, just because you tout it so. Also, when I say that (and can prove that) I've said something, telling me I haven't is not gonna convince me. The same thing goes for what I have not said.

Perhaps, if you cease your annoying attempts at reading into my posts, in order to back your argument, that I am saying something I am not, then perhaps you and I can continue something constructive. Until then, I'll probably continue to read your posts over to see if you make an interesting point about the subject at hand, but otherwise, don't expect to see a response from me.

@Aelryinth: Hey Aelryinth. You're late to the party I'm afraid, I was about to leave :(

Am I to understand that you maintain that circumstance and planning(and planning for circumstance?) cannot advance a lowish-mid-level character, beyond a person with no such drive, but who just happen to be higher level? Surely roleplay can help a player overcome challenges well above their normal paygrade, so roleplay (or in world actions, if you will) should be able to help an NPC do the same, right? Could it not be said that the math would not -usually- back up the fluff?

@Selk: Ho there Selk, and a fair welcome to you too :) Thank you for your sympathy. I'm afraid I don't agree with the point about you not being able to be a skilled tactician and whatnot, without being a good combatant. I can certainly see the point you're making about the relative escalation of skill, following the progression of levels, but surely the system is open enough for us to make a character who is weak(ish?) in combat, but can outdo his betters(by betters I mean certain people of higher level) in key areas?


It appears to me (though I may be wrong, so pardon me) that I'm hearing alot of "If you're not high enough level, some unscrupulous person within your organization will take you out, by virtue of being higher level", but does that generalization not avoid the 'human' aspect of the characters?

Perhaps I am a level 2 commoner trying to make a name for myself with the local guild, and maybe I -could- be easily outdone by Brian over there, who just happens to be level 6. But what if Brian likes me? What if Brian wants to see me succeed? What if Brian is non-confrontational, and achieved his level through a series of reactionary behavior, rather than proactive behavior? What if I am high in my hierarchy by virtue of lucky circumstance, and there -is- a person lower down the rung, who is gunning for my position, but he does not have the right skill(knowledge:local, or somesuch) to actually put together the pieces he needs to advance? Or perhaps he is so far down the rung, that despite him knowing in his heart of hearts, that he is better than me, he cannot make himself go through the effort it would take to deal with all the other people on the ladder, and then deal with me, not to mention the pre-planning? Again, this could be argued to be a corner-case, but don't the corner-cases deserve some love every now and again? That is, provided it even is a corner-case and that the human-element does not(should not?) seep into the explanation of how character A managed B?



SAMAS wrote:

Really, you're gonna pull the old "Declare Victory and Run" trick?

Fine, here's the parting shots:

Your position was built on the erroneous position that any character could be a big-time villain without actually earning said position. That, and that only combat gained experience, or that a character could somehow gain experience for a long time without going up a level.

None of that is true (and that's the nicest way I can say that). A level 6 character who somehow defeats a level/CR 15 enemy through wit, guile, or trickery and luck gains the same experience as if they somehow defeated them through combat (and let's be honest, luck). So madam Blood Mistress, even if she somehow managed to attain her position without ever touching a blade or at least being a really, really good liar (which, as repeatedly pointed out, is canonically impossible), would still be around level 19 or so.

Well, I guess I'm back. That didn't take long :)

I am sorry that you have come to believe, that this is some form of competition between myself and those who disagree with my viewpoints. I have considered, and still do consider, this thread an exchange of opinions on the setting, the prevalence of a story-telling trope, and the (in my opinion) misunderstanding of what constitutes a "challenge". As such I have never considered, nor do I consider, this a thread where I can "declare victory" as you put it.

Since I have returned, it would be a shame to let your claims go unanswered, so I will adress them.

My points were not built on the erroneous position that you can be a big-time villain without earning said position. My position was the exact opposite, so perhaps you should reread the posts I made, to ensure that you have not missed anything else. My point was in fact, that a character could be a big-time villain IF they earned said position, in spite of them of them being low level.

I have never claimed that only combat grants experience, so kindly stop claiming that I have. I have simply not felt the need to address your points about getting experience from social encounters, because it has been stated repeatedly (at least twice, I think) that there are no rules for NPCs earning experience. So while I have never claimed that you could somehow gain experience for a long time, without leveling up, as you so incorrectly state that I have, I'll clarify that what I -have- stated, is that I believe that a character's "worth" should be measured by their actions and accomplishments, not their level. And before that even becomes cause for an argument, let me clarify that I seperate "leveling up" and "accomplishment". A level 2 expert who brokers a very important and succesful deal for his guild has "accomplished" something, and as such would get promoted based on his actions(he might even level). While another merchant from the same guild could go out and slaughter kobolds and goblins, until he was level 4(or levels by whatever means, that are not immediately relevant to his guild), and while he would now be higher level than his colleague, his colleague is higher in the guild hierachy than him, based on accomplishment, not level.

Your final argument is again based on the presumption that NPCs gain experience in the same way that PCs do. I have explained how it is not impossible for a low level character to attain a high bonus on certain skill checks, and as such I take your claim of canonical impossibility and deny its validity. I also do not agree with the idea that such a character should necessarily be level 19, although I do not claim that attaining that level in this manner, would be completely impossible.

Finally I request that you please stop strawmanning me. Go back and read my previous posts, until you no longer mistake my claims for something they're not.


EDIT: I edited a rude statement. My apologies.

I would suggest taking the familiar. Aside from the many possibilities it opens in terms of roleplay, a familiar can be really useful. It allows you to roll most skill checks twice, and once you can communicate with it (either by leveling, or by getting the Raven or Parrot), you can effectively roll your knowledge skills twice, as well. They give fun bonuses, some of which are excellent, some of which are lackluster. The improved familiars can add some very useful abilities, for easy access.

I've always loved the familiars, and when I play wizard, I always take the opportunity to get one. Mechanically useful and lots of roleplaying goodness. How can you go wrong?! :D


Normally I'd say you should level them up when they get the requisite experience. If they fight challenges that are a smidge too hard for them, perhaps they should see if they can either level up somehow, or see if they can think their way around the problem, using tactics or other methods.

You ask if you should go ahead and tell them to level? Are you not using experience in your campaign? If not, why is that, and how is it working out for you?


I feel like we could continue this, but I no longer want to. I think I've established perfectly sound ways, in which a person of lower level can aquire more power and influence than is expected of her CR, and I've also made my point that level does necessarily equate to challenge. I see that not everyone agrees, but my points have been made. Some have disputed them, yet not proved them wrong. What I take away, is that we probably all agree that a GM can run the game as he wants to, but we all want the setting to make sense. To some that means rulers should be high level, to some it means rulers could be high level.

As stated in the opening post, I don't really know why I started this thread. Well, I still don't know why I did it, but I appreciate what I got from it. Thanks for your opinions and your ideas. Presently I don't feel like continueing the conversation, but should I feel like it, I might return. Until then...



Deadmanwalking wrote:
There's no 'probably' about it. And nothing stopping a 16th level Fighter being a social powerhouse.

I never said there was, and -yes- there is a 'probably' about it. Don't just contradict me to contradict me, I never said both characters used the same build, nor that they were the same class, only that they both tried to optimize for the same goal.

deadmanwalking wrote:

Not really, no. Not going by the rules, anyway.

Yes really, by the rules, yes.

deaddmanwalking wrote:
Uh...not by the rules. Bonuses of the same type don't actually stack, for one thing, and for another most skills have a pretty explicit list of what gives them bonuses. Anything beyond those is basically GM in "The GM gave you a bonus because it was cool." Which rings a little hollow and false if the GM is giving it to their own NPCs for stuff the PCs never even saw happen.

First off, Circumstance bonuses stack with all other bonuses, including other circumstance bonuses. Secondly if I work my ass off to stage a situation in my favor at your table, and you show me nothing in return, then I'm sorry to say, but I'm not returning to your table. This is one of those cases where I believe we DM in different ways. I believe in rewarding my players for effort. And I'm well entitled to do just that, within both the rules, and the spirit of the system.

deadmanwalking wrote:
Which in no way works on anyone, say, 5-10 levels higher than you. Or at least not reliably. There's a non-zero chance that the person in question simply puts a sword to your throat and says "Please give the signal."...with their Intimidate bonus higher than you can resist.

Now who is not being simulationist about it? You need to do a full minute of talking to her in order to intimidate her, and nothing forces her to give you that long past not simly agreeing to do what she says, before she up and leaves, or simply gives another signal to 'take her life'. Even should you attempt to charm her, you'd not only have to have charm memorized (or being spont casting), but you'd have to beat her initiative to not give such a signal(assuming the signal is not simply a word spoken to someone within earshot, in which case you're boned, because she can do that as a free action, out of turn). Again, my example works just fine from a simulationist standpoint.

deadmanwalking wrote:
But you can pick your targets, you say? People who wouldn't risk it? Not without Sense Motive you can't. Anyone with Bluff higher than you can see through you think is whatever kind of person they want you to think. Heck, at low levels, you're likely killing their unwanted fiancee for them, since they never cared about her in the first place!

Speculation and nothing more. Nothing in sense motive allows you to determine even the slightest bit about a person's level, nor their skills. Two people in love who don't believe they have anything to hide, would hardly be difficult to make out, I've witnessed such behavior among my friends, it's quite easy to spot.

deadmanwalking wrote:
Are these spies higher level than your hypothetical mastermind? And if so, how'd she acquire them? Because Perception checks reveal spies who are much lower level than the people they're spying on basically automatically.

Hirelings (easy to aquire), or they could be followers (requires leadership), or they could be teams (Ultimate campaign). That is, of course, assuming I wanna be simulationist about it. Also no, perception checks do not reveal spies, perception checks oppose stealth checks. Not every spy works with stealth as his main skill. Some of them just sit at tables and make perception-checks all day, then return home, write what they heard down on a scroll and passes it on. You are not guaranteed to spot everything wrong, jus because you have the skills to actually do spot that something is wrong. Just like you don't get to see through a disguise, despite your high perception, if you're not looking for someone who is disguised, or have a reason to really look a person over in the first place.


EDIT: Reading my post over, it comes off as snarky. It is not meant to. Please read it in a positive, conversationalist manner, because that is what it is intended to be.

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