I made these for Scint's Babynerds game and thought I'd make them available for anyone else who wants some voice clips of a Mark Hamill's Joker-styled Rolth. I labeled them for use based on as he casts his spells, as per his default spell list in the original printing (not the rerelease, if it's been changed). Enjoy!
Here comes Azathoth! Here comes Azathoth! Right down Azathoth Lane!
Here comes Azathoth! Here comes Azathoth! Right down Azathoth Lane!
Here comes Azathoth! Here comes Azathoth! Right down Azathoth Lane!
Here comes Azathoth! Here comes Azathoth! Right down Azathoth Lane!
Here comes Azathoth! Here comes Azathoth! Right down Azathoth Lane!
When he wakes the world will end, ceasing his dream of our light;
No release date yet, but some FAQs:
Other than a break in college that led to skipping the entirety of Generation 3 - so not much of value lost - I've been heavily into the Pokemon series since I was a teenager. Unfortunately, while I did enjoy Sun (and Mimikyu jumped immediately to my number 3 favorite spot), the announcement of "Ultra Sun and Moon" as the followups was underwhelming at the time, and I had almost decided to skip the next games entirely and just wait it out for the unnamed Switch game announced for next year.
Then about a month ago I read the words that changed this from something I would likely pass on to something I could not wait to get.
Also new critters even from Sun/Moon and a very different looking story.
So yeah. Preorder already paid, just waiting for the end of next week to go pick it up. Anyone else?
Cormyr / Dalelands Chronicles: Rise of the Runelords - A Neverwinter Nights Persistent World Campaign Journal
As some of you may know, in addition to Pathfinder one of my primary hobbies is playing on, DMing for, and administrating for a Neverwinter Nights persistent world, Cormyr and the Dalelands (username there is Edge). Starting about a year and a half ago, I began running a highly modified version of Rise of the Runelords set in Faerun as a series of semi-weekly events, each about 2-4 hours long. After a long absence on Paizo, I've decided to cross-post my summaries of the events in a journal here.
Note that this will be highly modified from the base Runelords plot between the change of setting and an intent to connect it to a much larger, overarching plot involving all the Runelords.
So with that... let's begin =D
Book One: Burnt Offerings
Characters of Importance:
Quest One: Burn! Bobonga! Burn!
A cry for help came from the village of Collinwood, not far from the city of the Eveningstar, claiming goblins were attacking and the city was burning.
The party - composed of a combination of concerned or curious adventurers and locally-stationed Purple Dragons - heeded the call, routing the assault and tending to the fires and wounded. They discovered on some of the fallen goblins a curious seven-pointed star that none were able to identify. Goblins have always been a problem in Cormyr, especially in the forests around Arabel and Suzail, but to so brazenly attack the city was unprecedented, and especially the bizarre emblem they wore. Suspicions began to fly immediately that there was more to this than simple goblin troublemaking....
SO WE'RE DOING THIS AGAIN!
Welcome back to Orthos's insane attempt to run a Savage Tide campaign using the Gestalt rules. Like my now-completed Kingmaker campaign before - which I will be completing the journal for, eventually! when I have time! - this game is set in our homebrew world of Finiens, specifically in the country of Olympia and its adventurer-founded and adventurer-heavy southern port city of Port Haven in place of the standard starting location of Sasserine.
For quick reference: Audra's player played Elegy in Kingmaker, Twila's played Lilith, Nashota's played Takeshi, and Aidan's played Derrick. Rin's player is the new guy in the group, though an experienced player previously in his own right.
This is not an April Fool's Joke. I repeat, this is NOT an April Fool's Joke.
So if you've spent almost any time on YouTube within the past few months, no doubt you've seen the "Where's the Fair Use?" #WTFU movement and the mounting series of complaints about the abuse of Fair Use laws with regards to DMCA and copyright-related takedowns of videos and channels.
Well, unbeknownst to pretty much everyone, the government has had a form open for a while now for people to send in complaints and commentary as they prepare to re-analyze the DMCA laws and associated ordinances and consider re-evaluating and updating them. Unfortunately, this flew waaaaay under the radar and news only really got out last night/this morning... and the form closes at midnight tonight.
Here's a video explaining the basics, and includes links to the forms as well as phone numbers and other contact methods. I highly, highly, HIGHLY encourage everyone who is able to send something in.
So one of the PCs in my group is an Ifrit Wishcrafter Sorcerer who also happens to be a Harrow reader. Needless to say, she's the one who received the Cyclone card when Eloais's cart went up in flames upon their arrival, and after getting the fire put out and the rest of the opening scene under control, she sat down to do a Harrow reading while the rest of the party talked to the NPCs or scouted out into the nearby cactus forest.
Lacking an actual Harrow Deck of my own, I got her results by rolling d100 and rerolling any results over 54, then just counting down the list on the Pathfinder Wiki.
Here's the results of her first attempt:
The Paladin (LG, Str) - lawful good card of strength. It represents standing resolutely against trouble, without backing down.
The Queen Mother (LN, Wis) - lawful neutral card of wisdom. This formian is the personification of knowledge, who is fond of the powerless, the underclass, and those who will show her obeisance.
The Betrayal (NE, Cha) - neutral evil card of charisma. It represents selfishness and envy.
The Harrower's personal interpretation:
[9:20:22 PM] Belladonna: Past: A force standing against trouble, against all odds, attempting to help those weaker than him/it, standing against selfishness. This sounds like someone attempting to stand for the lower classes in Denvushain against a liege that is seen as selfish and abusive in power.
[9:22:23 PM] Belladonna: Present: Greed, folly, blackmail, pride / illusions, false dreams /poison, assassination, discord. Someone, perhaps the paladin from the past?, is deluded by their pride and ends up part of a plot to create discord.
[9:25:54 PM] Belladonna: Future: deaths in a disaster, masses of innocent / new creation, information, arrivals / impossible situation of traps, mind tricks, sleight of hand. This force will cause a great number of deaths and a large disaster, impossible to avoid, however something better may rise from the ruins of the devastation.
Looking not far from the mark, but just enough off to keep things interesting. =)
I'd like to allow her to keep the Harrow readings as a major part of her character and incorporate them more into the adventure as possible. As written, they really only make a direct appearance during scenes related to Eloais's death at the beginning; once the pugwampis have been found and dealt with, I don't recall the adventure ever making much of a deal of Eloais's ill-fated divinations, the repeated presence of the Cyclone, and so forth ever again.
So I know there have to be at least some Paizonians besides Icyshadow, Scintillae, and myself who are into this new little game that's part Earthbound, part Bullet Hell, and part gut-wrenching sucker-punch to your heart. Who's all out there, and which of us are trying to SAVE the world versus which of us are going to have a bad time?
So I'm wanting to look a bit more in-depth into Australian history, geography, culture, and mythology for a project of mine. Wikipedia is a... decent starting point, but I was hoping some of the locals might be able to point me to something more thorough, precise, and/or detailed, and something that will avoid too many misrepresentations or biases. Any links or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!
The Naga called me Sukoshi Toge, or "Little Thorn" in their tongue. Not an uncommon appellation, given the cloak of brambles and briars I wear, as much a part of my flesh and bone as anything else that grows from within them. The Dwarves on the ships hence and Humans of this land like simpler terms, of which "Thistle" seems to be the most common, along with "Ivy", "Monk", and "Archer". These callings are sufficient, all in all. A name that is not a Name is but a name, and I will answer to any that does not malign me. So long as it is not that which I hide, it holds no power over me.
I only hear my Name in my dreams, in deepest slumber and vague memories of a life I left behind long ago, or in the invigorating fevers and muse-images of a flayleaf haze. These have been more and more as of late, as I find my worldly possessions swiftly dwindling and with them any opportunity to escape the confines of this wretched bolthole of a town. Yet better this than the battlefield, where from the Shadowlands flow the Never Dead, the Oni, the Maho, and the Kage-no-Ongaku: the Music of Shadows. Yes, better this than the ever-lingering risk of the taint, the sundering of the soul, the endless dissonant song of corruption.
My countrymen - by life if not by birth - would call me a coward and denounce me as without honor. I would see no reason to argue such with them. But there is no weight of honor that is worth the danger posed by the creatures of the Shadowlands, most of all that dreadful song, that ancient otherworldly melody from the skies that sings of the end of worlds. I have heard its songs before, in my youth and in my nightmares, and there is no price I would not pay to put myself well away from its symphony.
Thus am I here, in the land of Storm and Wind, tucked away between the forests and the mountains in the miserable little hovel called Diamond Lake, stolen coin flittering away on days of pointless labor and failed pursuits and nights lost in a mist of illusions and inspirations, one ear open to rumors and legends of something, anything that might begin a road toward escape from this place. Safe I may be from the horrors of the Shadow, but a safe prison is no less a prison.
I have heard tales of an abandoned cairn, a tomb of lost treasures and old histories left fallow, secluded away and out of sight to all save the most perceptive of strangers and most informed of locals. Noted for the strange sounds and voices heard from within its dusty catacombs, this Whispering Cairn has received far less attention than some of its sister tombs, and may still have riches for the taking. And it's not as if my dwindling honor will be noticeably besmirched further by adding graverobbing to my crimes....
So long story short my players have been trying to do research on "The Queen of Forgotten Time". For the first time, they've dared to ask people outside their inner circle, and one of their allies - a council member from a neighboring colony - mentioned she'd heard the title before as part of a childhood rhyme. Figured I'd post it here for anyone who might want to make use of it.
The Queen of Forgotten Time
The Queen of Forgotten Time
The Queen of Forgotten Time
The Queen of Forgotten Time
The Queen of Forgotten Time
The Queen of Forgotten Time
Have a dance at the crystal ball
With the maiden who tempered the fiend
Beyond the hedge of the thorn
Won’t you dance with the dragon at dawn?
New SquareEnix RPG... well, this thing has an awesome soundtrack, which is to be expected. But that's not enough to carry the game itself, sad to say, and SE just doesn't have the mojo it once had to guarantee anything they make is a must-buy for me.
So. Has anyone else managed to play it? Is the gameplay any good? And the story? Recommend or not, and why?
Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
It's been over 7500 years since the first human, halfling, and dwarf expatriates left behind the shores of Paziou, ancient motherland of their kind, and set to the seas - the dwarves to never leave it, the halflings to ply the world over, and the humans to settle, beginning first in desert Anhur just across the Gulf then spreading to lands beyond and afar. In this time the old continent and its history have been lost to time, ancient civilizations of man and dwarf consumed once more by mountain and jungle, banished by neglect and forgetfulness back into the stones from whence they grew. History records almost nothing of this ancient time and the civilizations that once existed within these lost lands, and both our most coherent records and our counting of the years begin not from the emergence of intelligent life within the depths of the dark continent but on the year of the founding of the first civilization after departure.
My name is Siobhan. I am a historian, scholar, seeker of ancient truths, legend and lore, and the thrill of the hunt. A few years ago, I had learned that travelers had returned to the ancient continent and founded new coastal communities, the port villages of Sandpoint and Magnimar, providing an incursion for inquisitive and adventurous minds to return to Paziou and investigate the deep secrets of history. I and my sister Roisin, though somewhat reluctantly on her part, spent the next year preparing, gathering information and supplies, and at last catching a ship at Quenton to make the journey north around Anhur's coast to Sandpoint, where our investigation and adventure is soon to begin.
So rolled up a 10th-level Spriggan Arcanist (CR 13ish) in preparation for my Kingmaker session last night, and did some pre-game testing with her to have a feel for what I was up against. Note that this is pre-revision.
Her blood foci were in Conjuration and Protean Bloodline, with Spell Focus and GSF in both Conjuration and Evocation, Eschew Materials (bonus feat), and another feat I can't remember at the moment (sorry!). I actually was kind of lazy about the setup and didn't actually put together a whole spellbook for her, just what she had prepared at the time, but I can definitely see the appeal of having the ability to reshape your entire spell list when you find your setup doesn't quite work against your opponent - great for PCs for obvious reasons, as well as for recurring enemies or enemies who have the opportunity to study up on the PCs in advance.
In play, it really felt very little different from running a Sorcerer. Spells on-hand were about the same, spell slots available were about the same. She made very sparse use of Blood Focus, and the few times she threw it out, it was always to use her Protean Reality Wrinkle ability. (Saved her spell slots that would have been spent otherwise casting blur, likely, since she got it as a bloodline freebie.) It won't be missed. Combat-wise she tossed out some pit spells, ice storm, and black tentacles, flew away from melee threats, and plinked away at foes with Evocations when they couldn't reach her. Standard Conjurer tactics given she didn't have a BSF to go kill things for her.
Players should run into this NPC in next Friday's session so I'll be back then with live play results, hopefully using the revised Arcanist if it's re-released then.
I'll post her statblock when I get home, though that will be late tonight - it's going to be a long day here.
That last line is a potential gold mine. I know I've seen another thread like this but my search-fu has failed me so let's make another one. Let's see some interesting, fun, flavorful, and/or just plain out-there curses that fit the bill of "no more powerful" than the listed three but are certainly more interesting alternatives.
1. "May you be just about to sneeze forever."
This imposes a -4 penalty on Perception, Initiative, and Concentration checks due to distraction.
Act One: The Devil of Dark Wood
In the northern regions of Olympia, near where the Titans part to create the great mountain walls that separate the southern lands from the frigid terrain of the Ice Claw, tucked away in a series of valleys and plains between the mountain foothills and the westernmost edges of the Sentara Woods, is the city of Meinwenn. Northernmost true city in Olympia, this metropolis is sequestered at the foot of the mountains, built like its capital predecessor onto the slopes of the Titans through the masterwork combination of human ingenuity and kobold skill. A city of trade and travel, it is the last northbound and first southbound gateway of Olympia before entering or after departing the icy tundra of the lands beyond the mountains.
Yet it is not in Meinwenn that our story unfolds, merely where it begins. For in Meinwenn is where our protagonists receive word of trouble, adventure, and mystery. A couple of days to the east, at the edge of the elven wood, lies the village of Rybalka. There a strange rash of unprecedented crime has been unleashed. Animals and people have gone missing, seemingly without reason or hint as to their departure, frequently over the past few weeks. Furthermore, the city's temple and library, a shrine to Corian the Ascendant, has been raided and ransacked, seemingly without provocation. The villagers, wary of the dangers of the wood - this region, closest to human lands, is said to be fiercely haunted - have elected to request the aid of investigators from afar, and called upon the adventuresome population of Meinwenn's ever-shifting citizenry to answer their pleas.
Our story begins five days after the temple incident, as our would-be heroes complete the two-day journey to arrive in Rybalka at dusk's first dark.
"Prince of Demons" contains an extensive set of criteria and list of possible options and sidequests that the characters can undergo for the - eventual - purpose of powering-down Demogorgon so the PCs can take him on pre- or early-epic. Without this, in the original system, he was a CR 32 threat that could easily trounce a team of 20th-level (or higher!) heroes singlehandedly. However, today was released a ruleset allowing PCs to take on monsters of that kind of caliber without relying on extensive epic-level advancement, and thanks to the blog and Wrath of the Righteous we have a solid foundation for the expectations of dealing with Demon Lords.
SO. What are some ideas for Mythifying Savage Tide?
(Note that it's been quite some time since I read through STAP extensively, so my memory may be subpar.)
I'd say the optimal place for the PCs to pick up their first dose of Mythic power is the Shrine to Demogorgon in Chapter Four, with the battle against Olangru and the Lemorian Golem as the capstone that gives them their abilities. However, if you wanted to introduce the power sooner, you could tie it to the Idol of Camazotz in Chapter Three, or even go back to Chapter Two and have them pick up Mythic somehow during the investigation of Kraken's Cove and the Savage Tide there. However, IMO at least, those are a bit too early and a little underwhelming for Mythic triggers, while decimating the villain's temple and destroying a golem built in his image pretty much screams the perfect opportunity.
Defeating Vanthus in Chapter Five is the next obvious advancement point, and the Bilewretch in Chapter Six and Cold Captain Wyther in Chapter Seven after that.
Scatter further advancement points through the Abyss after that (navigating Divided's Ire and nixxing Vanthus for good for starters; after that, negotiating with Iggwilv, Charon, Red Shroud, Ahazu, Shami-Amourae, Orcus, Malcanthet, and many others are all notable points, as are defeating/negotiating with Demogorgon's generals), and heck just scattering a few through the last chapter for successfully invading Abysm as needed. In a few months, thanks to Wrath, we'll have an example of how it looks to sic a level-20/tier-10 party on a full Demon Prince, and can use that as a guide for how an encounter with a non-debuffed Demogorgon should go.
Thoughts? Suggestions? Alternatives? =)
Chapter One: Thorn Within
"So point your fingers, Point right at me;
Noon rings twelve strikes on the great bell of the Grangoban, towering tall over the city of Suir - tradepost, military city, metropolis, and last leg of the first line of defense of northern Galadae against potential aggression and assault from the lands of Anhur. Despite the hint of impending threat, there is no brooding melancholy nor fearful hush over this city. High noon is a bustling, busy, noisy time of day as in any major metropolis, a vast swarm of activity milling about its many streets, market-goers and soldiers and travelers and simple passersby coming and going, living and loving, dreaming and doing. Were it not for the occasional sight of passing troops marking in formation as they move from base to base or go about their daily drills, it'd be easy to forget that the threat of war was only a few hours away, should someone choose to make the first move.
All is not peaceful, though, and that's where you've come in. Whatever your reason, you've found yourself in Suir, looking for work. The flyer from the military caught your eye: a simple bounty hunt, kidnapping, or search and rescue, it seems. Without enough information to discern which and no description of the missing, you've been forced to attend the scheduled meeting to glean more information. Noonturn, on the nineteenth of Ianuwary, at one of the military installations sprinkled across the city, Station Dair.
Dair is little different from any other Galad urban outpost: A large ring of buildings, some inventory, some barracks, some various training quarters, around a wide field used for drills, skirmishes, and the like, with a sturdy wall of stone and iron around its borders to prevent accidental or intentional civilian presence, patrolled by armed troops in groups of three to keep an eye out for too-curious flying passersby. For those familiar with the local timeline, Dair was constructed twenty-four years prior, after military forces being moved north to reinforce the border began to swell over the resources of the prior three stations. A fifth was built some nine years later, but none since, and the flow of volunteers and conscripts alike has slowed to where no excess appears needed.
The only entrance by ground to Station Dair is a single gate on the north side of the west wall. It is to here that your directions sent you, and a mention or a copy of the request flyer is enough for the attendants there to allow you entrance... albeit escorted by a soldier called, requiring a wait of a few minutes. Led in, you passed several barracks and training chambers before being escorted into a meeting and consultation area with a moderate-sized waiting room. Several simple chairs are arranged around a large wooden central table, where several pitchers of water and empty glasses have been left waiting for you.
You are left here in the company of other adventurers, bounty hunters, or would-be do-gooders, likely here for the same reason you are, with only a word of, "The Captain will be with you all shortly" from your escorts. Any attempts to leave the room are met by two armed soldiers stationed just outside, who ask you politely but forcefully to return to the waiting room until the Captain arrives.
N/A Entropic Axiomite Doodler 1/Author 5/Talespinner 7/Ad-Lib Artist 2/Worldbuilder 5
"And now the dreams and waking screams that ever last the night;
Link to the player info document, for easy reference. Apologies again that it's so big, I tried to narrow it down as much as I could without losing too much necessary information. Be sure to read the racial sections - some of the core races (mainly elves and dwarves, sorry Tordek/BT!) have had their core flavor changed for the setting.
Campaign Starting Information:
The sun is a legend, its light long forgotten. The moon a myth, empty and vain. The cycles and patterns they established, more habit or tradition than fact. Years, months, days are as they are only because they always have been.
The year, such as it is, is 887 SA. Which stands for “Surface Abandoned”. 887 years - or so the sages have reckoned - since the Above was devastated by the Catastrophe, driving the survivors deep below ground. None - even the long-lived elves, ael, dwarves, or arachnes - still live that remember that world firsthand, but the earliest years of exile below were filled with the records of the escapees. They tell stories of devastation and loss, cities reduced to ash in seconds, magic setting the sky aflame, summer turning to winter in an instant, people turning to stone or smoke or water on the spot, or - worse - warping into insane, hungry monstrosities and devouring their friends, family, and countrymen without hesitation.
This is where you were born, grew up, lived, learned, and worked all your life, never having once seen the surface in anything more than books and paintings. Such dangers are lost to you except as part of history - now, you simply have to deal with warring neighbors, natural dangers, the occasional earthquake, rampant lycanthropy, lurking unchecked vampirism, and the hidden dangers of the dark imprisoned within the stone.
You're an adventurer, tradesperson, wanderer, or whatever you choose to call yourself, currently located in Galadae. You've had some historical success, a few minor adventures of your own or with friends and allies you've since parted ways with, and gotten some practice under your belt (hence your characters beginning at Level 2). You are in Suir, a city in northern Galadae. You're looking for work or money, bored and looking for adventure or entertainment, or perhaps feel it your civic duty to assist the powers that be when a notice for help catches your eye at a local inn, tavern, bulletin board, or waystation:
Wanted: Adventurers, Bounty-Hunters, and/or Trackers to locate and return missing person. Meet Captain Milton at Station Dair on 19 Ianuwary 887 at Noonturn for details. Payment offered.
Thanks to the Grangoban, the massive clocktower erected in the center of Suir, knowing the current time is far from difficult, and any native of the city can point you in the direction of the various troop stations on request, so finding your way to your destination is simple. Station Dair is a secondary facility for Galad soldiers - a training hall, medical facility, and fallback point should ground be lost against the Anhuri in the conflicts along the northern border. Thankfully it has been years since the Sand Empire gained ground so swiftly, so you do not fear having to worry about a sudden influx of wounded or retreating soldiers during your meeting.
Further information about the city, the region, the ongoing Galad-Anhuri conflict, or other world details can be ascertained with appropriate knowledge checks, gather information, and such like.
Our story begins with your arrival at Station Dair. An aide ushers you into a large, spacious waiting room with several chairs and couches as you arrive, informs you that Captain Milton will be arriving shortly, thanks you for your patience, and returns to his post.
"Have come ye now to seek the wise
'Tis boots much smaller than thy own
A most intriguing tale, is it not? And merely the beginning thereof, penned centuries before even I set foot upon this lowly earth. One might declare such things prophecy; in my time however it has become foolish to place too much stock in the ideals of such preliminary declarations. Everyone knows the tales of kings and tyrants undone by prophecy, when had the word of divination been discarded and ignored all would have passed without incident or notice. No, most prophecy is merely a skillful maneuvering of the mind into predictable, expected patterns and a series of desired reactions... or a hidden message that all things have been put in place, arranged in advance, to give the impression to the unlearned, unaware, or unobservant that mystical precognitive power rests within the hands of the declarer. Such is the case in this tale.
But I get ahead of myself.
Some of you may know who I am, by reputation or rumor if nothing more. Many of you do not. Allow me to explain for the uninitiated and clarify for the marginally aware. I am The Informant. A sage, much like Vafthruthnir of old, keeper of knowledge, learner of legends and lore, giver and seeker of information.
What's that, you say? My name? Such information is highly prized, my guest, and all things come with a price. No, spare your coin; I only accept payment in such triflings for information of equal value and availability. Gold, for all its assigned worth, is plentiful enough that it passes through the hands of all of us from time to time, some more than others. Information, knowledge, truth, however... these have true value. Rarity, indeed, shared only sparsely and available to few, and as a merchant of the highest caliber I will accept only something of equal worth for that which I wish to distribute. Sometimes a favor, sometimes a task, sometimes a secret of equivalent value. My price? Nay, not the method by which I work. Rather, name your own price, curious one, and I shall determine if it be significant.
But we may attend to such business at a later time. For now, we are distracted from my true purpose here. My title you have, and it shall have to suffice for now.
The strange events of the past year have demanded answers from across the lands and over the seas, as far as the Isles of Senkaku and yes even the distant shores of Wachara and Teremvor. And the blame lies at our dear kingdom's feet, and dare we blame them? For the lands to the north have no king, answer to no lord, and did the storms of vengeance not sweep through our forests and our plains, ravaging the land and scarring the sky? But no, the blame is not ours to bear. Thus have I been summoned before the queen and court, to provide our questioners with the answers they so seek.
For knowledge is my business, and it is business I do well.
Still yourselves. The tale is long, and there is much to tell. We shall return to the mysteries of Vafthruthnir in time. His name shall mean much, you shall soon see, but more important are names with which a sparing few of you will be familiar, and the rest no more so than that of a long-ancient giant sage. This is a tale far more recent, for it begins no more than a trifling few years ago, at the closing of the year, in a village of our very own - a tiny hamlet upon the border of our lands, neighbor to Sentara of the Elves, a little place called Somerset.
It is here that we begin the tale of Fimbulwinter, the Storm of Storms.
To avoid taking over Magical Beast's thread, I'll just move this discussion over here. Sorry for the derail MB!
So as stated in the prior topic, my players have voted four-to-one to scrap mass combat entirely. Which, I don't blame them. Any mass combat system complex enough to be interesting will likely be a pain in the neck for us to learn, and the extremely simplistic one packaged with Kingmaker/Book of the River Kings doesn't have the detail and complexity wanted by the one player who wants mass combat and is sluggish and boring for the rest of the group.
What they'd rather have is a system in which they get to be the superheroes that Pathfinder PCs level 5+ are supposed to be - shock troops and one-wo/men armies who can stand their ground against entire hordes of lesser opponents. And, for situations over even their head, the option and opportunity to find, mentor, and train NPCs with similar superior potential to fight alongside them in the "small army" of their kingdom.
Well, it certainly supports the Royals Who Actually Do Something trope. =)
While this saves me having to learn a new mechanical system, it also requires me to replace the mass combat sections of the story with massive fields of mook soldiers, preferably with a handful of superior general "boss fights" for the party to actually have difficulty with after mowing through or fireballing down the mass of enemy forces. From what I remember, the places where Mass Combat is a big thing are in Chapter 4 (where there's some barbarian gangs, if I recall?) and Chapter 5 (versus Pitax).
For the Barbarians, I'm heavily considering just using the 3.5 Mob Template to create massive enemy swarms for the party to fight. For Pitax though, they're more likely to have regimented soldiers who will hold the lines and fight in a more traditional warfare manner. By this point, also, Irovetti (or in my game, Havelock) would be well aware of the party's shock trooper techniques and have prepared ways to face off against it, either trying to overwhelm them with sheer numbers or to face them with equally-few but superior forces of his own.
Thoughts? And any scenes I missed?
By suggestion of this thread, here is where I shall be displaying some of my ideas for magically-potent versions of ancient animals.
Amorphous Elasmosaurs are seafaring predators who evolved from lesser common plesiosaurs due to frequent exposure to elemental energies, often due to their hunting grounds or lairs being near a rift to the Elemental Plane of Water. They have developed the ability to dissolve their bodies into liquid form, mimicking the elementals from which their power is inherited, and hunt stealthily through the water near-invisible and unheard as they pursue prey, then reverting back to their natural form to attack - these Elasmosaurs almost universally prefer the taste of live prey, and always fight in their natural form unless on the hunt or forced to take elemental shape.
In areas with a high population of Amorphous Elasmosaurs, especially if there are large levels of competition among packs or within a pack to establish an alpha, it is extremely common to see Amorphous Elasmosaurs with a second neck and head replacing their tail, due to two of the creatures accidentally or deliberately retaking physical form while in the same location and merging. These Elasmosaurs have the Amphisbaena template in addition to the extra abilities of the statblock above.
Hello SS folks =)
After nearly four years of hiatus, I've decided I want to run Savage Tide again. However, save two of my players I have a completely new group these days, and the chances of gathering up the remains of my old one - even after the coming year or so it will take to finish the Kingmaker game I'm in the middle of - are slim to none, so I've decided with the approval of the two players who remain to restart STAP from the beginning.
Unfortunately, my last group was halfway through The Lightless Depths - at level 10, and halfway through the plot - when the game I ran back in 2008 finally died out. So that's six chapters of STAP that, while some things might be different, would still be pretty repetitive to the two returning players. To keep it interesting for the people who have run through this bit before, I decided I'd use another adventure to insert new plot threads, new dungeons, new NPCs allied and enemy alike, and possibly shore up some parts of the plot. As the title suggests, I obviously decided to go with Serpent's Skull. (Skulls and Shackles was actually my first choice, given the shared pirate theme, but one of my players has expressed repeated eagerness to run that one, so I decided I wouldn't steal it from him.)
So I'd like this thread to be collective advice for merging the two. Fleshing out weak encounters in both plots, fitting things together, interweaving the various details. There's a good bit of fortune in that there's already some bit of a decent-sized snake theme in STAP - a few Yuan-Ti are encountered in early chapters, building up toward Serpents of Scuttlecove - and it doesn't take much reflavoring to paint Demogorgon as a major patron of the snake people, now even superior to Ydersius since the latter's decline. It also allows me to move STAP's plot out of Greyhawk, where I ran it previously, and into my own homebrew setting, something I'm really enjoying converting over for my current Kingmaker game.
Here's the basic ideas I have so far for plotting things out:
1. Run There Is No Honor as normal. Maybe replace some of the Lotus Dragons with Yuan-Ti.
Any advice would be appreciated! I also posted this over in the STAP forum, so hoping to get input from both sets of players and GMs in the long meantime between now and when I actually begin running this again. Greatly looking forward to it, and would like to use all that time to make these two plots work together as well as possible. =)
Looks like the links for "last post in this thread" and the link that goes to each individual post (under the "x hours x minutes ago" or "date and time" text on the right of each post, next to Edit/Reply/Flag) have vanished some time within the past ~30 minutes. Gary, what button did you click now?? ;)
EDIT: And now they're back. Huh. Nevermind then?
Dual Path feat specifies that the character gets both of the first-level abilities of their respective paths, but makes no mention of the final 10th-tier ability. Does this mean they only get the ability from their base path? Or is it missing some text that should say they get both, choose one of the two, or something else?
I'm about to start a PbP in my homebrew setting, in which one of my players will be playing a Paladin of Hades (who in my world is LN, to stave off impending alignment questions). Said player is looking for a replacement idea for her Divine Bond mount besides a horse. Given her patron and the character's love of all things fuzzy, a Cerberus Pup was the obvious answer.
Since Divine Bond already says "as a Druid's animal companion of the Paladin's level", the easiest way to manage the base creature is to start with the stats of a Dog or Wolf companion (probably Wolf, since it starts at Medium and moves up to Large; I can't imagine a Cerberus Pup as anything smaller than Medium, personally) and add another two Bite attacks. Then as she levels, give it weakened versions of the actual Cerberus's special abilities (fear howl, petrifying gaze, poison breath) instead of the normal progression of the Paladin mount (Celestial template, SR) or some of the Druid companion abilities.
Note the Paladin will not actually be riding the Pup much, given her skirmishy, Spring Attack-based fighting style; it'll be more a companion, flanker, and fighting partner.
I'm not guessing you know much about my neck of the woods, so I suppose I'll fill you in. Westcrown's the name of my home, and it was once a pretty prosperous place. Best and biggest port on Olympia's east coast; I guess "crown of the west" came from us being west of Wachara, where most of our ship traffic comes from... what's left of it, anyway. We're tucked along the northeastern corner of Olympia, nestled with the plains to the south and southwest, the ocean to the east, the Titans to the north, and the Sentara Wood and its Elven hideaways to the northwest. Used to be a prime location for ocean travel and trade: ships bound west from Galadae, Olorunium, Iomrall, Naltaskar, heck even the Northlanders send the occasional longship and I've seen one of Anhur's black galleys in my life. Sure, not much trade from Senkaku, but they tend to sail through to Osprey Harbor on the other side of the continent rather than come 'round the Titans' southern island tail to reach us... or Port Haven.
Yeah, Port Haven. That's where everything went wrong for Westcrown. About 200 years ago, give or take, the now-near-legendary Heroes of Haven showed up. They weren't from Port Haven, originally, not a one of 'em. Two were Elves, one from Sentara - from a small town not too far from Westcrown, even, she was - and the other from somewhere in Denvushain, the desert kingdom to the Titans' west. The third was a Dwarf, a seafarer whose homeland was the ocean; only the aspects know where he was born. The other three were human, two from a small town a few days' ride southwest of us called Lake Miaabre, and the third from the royal city of Olympia itself. They were just a bunch of adventurers, really, nothing too special about them to start with; the eventual leader, a half-elf named Amelia Delaer, apparently had a little royal blood in her, and after the big war they were involved in she got crowned queen, since the Yuan-Ti killed off the king at the time as well as all his heirs, and this was apparently better in the eyes of the gods than letting the nobles squabble for the throne. She and her husband, one of the other Heroes named Ezekiel Morwen, are the grandparents of the currently-reigning queen. But that's not the point of this, really.
The Heroes did some pretty amazing stuff. After all, they were successful adventurers and they did participate in one of the biggest wars Olympia's ever seen, as well as a ton of connected and equally awe-inspiring events and battles. The rise of Ratach of Pale Keep, the hobgoblin warlord, and Halaganda Baneglaive, the orcish witch-queen? The Yuan-Ti incursion? The Ghost Ship? The ascension of Ssnethra, Exalted of Nidhoggar? The awakening of the Third Child of Perdition, Tarrasque? And that's just the quick summary version. So yeah, they did a lot. They certainly earned their reputation. Not begrudging them that. They did a lot of good.
By the way, you can thank Tlavyn for getting all those names right. Without his help, I'd never remember half of this historical stuff. I don't have a head for these kinds of details. Who's Tlavyn? Oh, he's the wizard who lives in this coin I have. Don't tell too many people about him though, he doesn't care for the publicity. Sometimes he borrows my brain. It's a bit uncomfortable - I kind of just float along behind him while he's in control of me - but more often than not it's worth the inconvenience. Most of the time though he just tells me the answers to questions I never had the education to learn. I'm a sorcerer, see. I understand the language of magic, the words just kind of fade into my head, but I don't know the theory behind it or any of the history. Tlavyn knows all that stuff, though, and most of the time is eager to share. Most of the time.
Anyway. The Heroes did a lot of heroic stuff. I'm not gonna get into any more details because I don't know them, and I don't wanna hand the reins over to Tlavyn for THAT long, because he'll tell the whole damn story. But after they finished off Ssnethra and her armies and put the Tarrasque back to sleep, they mostly retired - the five survivors of the six, anyway - back at Port Haven. At the time it was just a small fishing village along the southern Olympian coast, and really didn't have any major traffic or trade there, as a lot of ships didn't want to risk the reefs east of the town and the mountains' descending isles to the west. The Heroes - who of course got their name from the place, having headquartered themselves there even before it got popular - settled there, and poured almost all their adventuring wealth into the city, building it up into a major trading city and port almost overnight. Between the sudden growth, location (despite the dangers around, it's closer to Olympia than we are in Westcrown, and Haven's harbor itself is much safer than the surrounding aquatic terrain), and fame of being connected to the Heroes, trade suddenly shifting emphatically southward. And in the echoes, Westcrown started to decline.
Things went downhill from there pretty fast. The rulers soured bad, people started dabbling in things better left untouched. Devils started being called in, or coming in on their own, offering deals and barters and whatever the heck else Devils do. It turned bad quick. By the time I was born, it was bad enough that we'd seceded from Olympia in every manner but officially; as far as I know no one in Westcrown reports to the royal family or the governors, and our governor is more like our king, or queen, or whatever we have. Crime shot up into the mountaintops, but at the same time the hammer of the law came down HARD. Order by force became the rule of the day. If you could operate within the letter of the law, you could get away with anything, and organized, neat, tidy criminal activity thrived, while commonfolk would get hounded by brute thug guards and worse for the smallest accidental infraction.
Needless to say, life in Westcrown is less than pleasant.
My name's Gwyn. Gwyn Vanderbilt. Sorceress, detective, vigilante, and occasionally magical consultant for the branches of the local watch who aren't up to their ears in corruption. I've been here for about seven years, making my living working odd jobs, mostly investigating murders, thefts, and disappearances. That's what I do. It's not much, but it's helped... at least, it's helped my clients. When I don't run into a wall, that is. One usually thrown up by either the powers-that-be or the powers underneath.
I'm running into a lot more of those lately, though. And it's getting worse. Something's rotten in Westcrown, and it's getting more and more rancid as time passes. I'm going to do what I always do - get to the bottom of things. All I need is a clue about where to look first...
Requesting some help from the folks here for a project of mine. I'm looking for some songs with winter, cold, ice, etc. themed titles. The song itself doesn't have to be so much about winter, just the title. Here's the short list I have so far:
Specifically requesting no rap, pop, or country songs, not a fan. Rock, metal, symphonic, orchestral, or other instrumental preferred. Links appreciated. Thanks in advance =)
Open your music player of choice, add all your music, hit "shuffle", and hit next.
Setting - "Power" by Helloween
Backstory - "Black in the Burn" by MasterPlan
Philosophy - "III Ways to Epica" by Kamelot
Strix (Black Wings) charlatan rogue (Disciples of the Lie) who's a military assassin (Ghost Division) in a war campaign (Power). Partnered with a gladiator (Into the Arena). Plagued by nightmares (Bad Dreams) but a strong believer in fate (The Prophecy). Atheist/misotheist after multiple bad life experiences s/he blamed on God/s (III Ways to Epica). Badly scorned and with dead family/loved ones (Black in the Burn, Dead Boy's Poem).
Setting - "The Coming Curse" by Iced Earth
Backstory - "Blizzard on a Broken Mirror" by Avantasia
Philosophy - "The Land of Hope and Glory" by Turisas
Aasimar (Kind-Hearted Light) Artificer/Engineer (Rocket Ride) in a Ravenloft-ish, nightmarish horror setting with an impending apocalypse (The Coming Curse), digging up secrets and treasures (Dark Chest of Wonders) accompanied by a reformed villain (Up Through the Ashes).
Knows the Antichrist is coming and preparing to oppose him (When Stars Collide), but is elderly and will soon have to hand over leadership of the rebel force to a younger subordinate (The Last Amazing Greys). Has a history of failure and heartbreak (Blizzard on a Broken Mirror). Despite all this has bright hopes for the future (Land of Hope and Glory).
Setting - "Higher on Fire" by Dream Evil
Backstory - "The Art of War" by Sabaton
Philosophy - "The Sun is in Your Hands" by MasterPlan
A high-powered, magic-heavy campaign (Higher on Fire), where a Fey (Avantasia) Crossblooded Infernal/Boreal Sorcerer (The Black Halo) who struggles against their own internal fiendish nature (Fiddle of Time). Accompanied by a highly-intelligent but narcissistic Alchemist (Center of the Universe).
An ex-soldier who has seen much of the horrors of war (The Art of War) and is prone to using overwhelming force even when not necessary (Nuclear Attack). Is jaded and distrustful of ruling powers (Blinded No More) and wants nothing to do with the system, preferring to act on their own initiative and play by their own rules (I Want Out). Believes everyone can forge their own path and decide their own destiny, rulers, fate, gods, devils, and anything else be damned (The Sun is in Your Hands).
Setting - "Turn the Page" by Blind Guardian
Backstory - "Bring the Hammer Down" by HammerFall
Philosophy - "Something for the Ages" by HammerFall
Dhampir (Rose for the Dead) Witch (The Coming Curse) in a Wheel of Time campaign (Turn the Page). Betrayed by lovers and masters alike (Dark Saga), her lone loyal companion is a shadow-touched, phantom- and fiend-haunted dream mage (The Lucid Door).
A crusader despite her strangeness (Bring the Hammer Down), and in spite of multiple betrayals and disappointments still remains loyal to her cause and her leaders (Love is Blind): she sees this as the only way to make up for sins of her past (What Have You Done?). She wants to leave behind a memorable legacy (Something for the Ages), despite the fact that she will live a long, probably unpleasant life in defiance of dark powers (Forever is a Long Time).
Setting - "Between Two Worlds" by HammerFall
Backstory - "Windrider" by Ensiferum
Philosophy - "Till the Last Man Falls" by Turisas
Planar Campaign (Between Two Worlds). A Strix (Ride the Sky) Vivisectionist (The Butcher) is right-hand to a deposed prince fighting to reclaim his throne (In Flames You Burn). She has no real place in the world (Windrider) and is frequently struck by wanderlust (Wander), and may well be very insane (Drop of Fuel) and otherwise just bizarre (Gothic Christmas).
Regardless she is determined and loyal (Till the Last Man Falls) and never gives up (Spirit Never Dies).
My setting is plagued by a species of pseudo-Lovecraftian, semi-alien sound/music-based creatures known as the Dark Song. I'm not feeling particularly verbose tonight so I'll save further overall flavor explanations for by request, while detailing out the basics for each statblock.
CR 1 : XP 400
CN Tiny Ooze [Chaotic, Sonic, Songspawn]
Accent (Su) Once every 1d4 rounds as a standard action, a Sedicesimo can unleash a pulse of sound from its body that deals 1d6 points of sonic damage to all creatures within 5 feet. Any creature damaged by the accent must make a DC 11 Fortitude save or be deafened for 1 round.
Silence Aversion (Ex) Notes cannot enter silence effects; if the spell is cast with one inside its range, it is shunted to the nearest square outside the border, and are pushed away from its edge as if bull rushed (no CMB check necessary) if the AoE attempts to move into or through their space. If silence is cast on a Sedicesimo and it fails its Will save, the spell deals 1 point of untyped damage per caster level to the Sedicesimo before ending completely.
Song (Ex) Dark Song are composed of living sound. They are immune to all sound-based effects. If a Songspawn takes sonic damage, it forgoes any saving throw and is healed by 1 hit point for every 2 points of damage the attack would have dealt as if it had failed its saving throw. It is immune to any effects caused by a sonic effect, such as deafening. Dark Song use their Constitution rather than their Wisdom for Perception checks, and gain a bonus on Perception equal to double their hit dice. They are immune to Wisdom damage or drain.
Tie (Su) Notes can bond together and combine into stronger, larger Note types. Two Notes must be of the same type to tie, and the process takes a standard action. Two Sedicesimo can combine, transforming into a single Ottavo with the combined hit point total of the two Sedicesimo or an Ottavo's maximum hit points, whichever is less.
That took stupidly longer than it should and I didn't even get the flavor text done. Bluh. I'll try to get the rest of the Notes - Ottavo, Quarto, Mezzo, and Tutto - statted up tomorrow, then get started on the other, sentient Song after.
So in my homebrew setting, one of the races I've added is an insectoid race I've called Entomorphs. Some details in the spoiler below.
Entomorphs are a race of insectoid demihumans who dwell primarily in the plains, swamps, and foothills, well away from civilized society, shunned for their alien appearance and unusual method of origin.
The original Entomorphs were not created or born, but rather changed. In these same regions in which they dwell, there exists an insect known as the Entonyd, which resembles a small, violet-grey grasshopper or locust with a thin scorpion tail and gripping claws on its foremost limbs. The origin of the Entonyd is unknown, but it is theorized to be connected to the magical catastrophe of ages past, in which mighty empires attempted to emulate the gods and craft new life forms to serve them; it was this catastrophe that - in theory - created the likes of Doppelgangers, lycanthropy, mimics, and other creatures of shape-changing nature. If true, the Entonyd is an unpleasant but undeniably connected result of that dread magic, for its most potent trait is its ability to enter a symbiosis with another creature and to metamorphose it into a form more like its own, bonding with it completely in body and sometimes in mind.
Entonyds are small, weak creatures on their own, but they live in dangerous regions where local predators, natural dangers, and other factors provide them plenty of "prey" for their sights. When an Entonyd encounters a suitable host that is either helpless, unconscious, willing, or otherwise incapable of escaping from or removing the insect before it can do its work, it attaches to the creature and injects its venom, then burrows its legs into the skin, attaching to the nerves within, preferably along the spine or at the base of the skull. The venom causes the creature to grow weak, lethargic, and eventually to surrender to inescapable sleep, at which point it begins expelling a thick liquid silk from its pores (or other method by which the creature sweats/releases internal fluids other than urinating) which in a matter of hours cocoons the victim in place and fastens hard to any nearby surfaces when it dries.
Once the cocoon is formed, the metamorphosis begins. The creature's hair, if it possessed any, falls out and is replaced by thinner, more sensitive fibers. Its skin, hide, shell, or other outer covering hardens into a tough exoskeleton, its bones within melting and being dissipated to provide the base material for the outer shell. Eyes are dissolved and reconstructed in compound form. Antennae, a third pair of limbs (for most four-limbed creatures), and wings (for some) grow. Last of all, the nervous system is rewired, connecting the victim to the hivemind. Once the process is complete, the newborn Entomorph emerges from its cocoon and answers the call of its instincts - to seek out the nearest hive, or establish one as a queen and begin creating Entonyds to seek victims from which to create workers and drones.
Most Entomorphs of this sort are converted from animal or magical beast stock, and almost none survive the transformation with their mental faculties intact. However, a few rare occasions have seen various humanoids taken (with no visible difference save a few minor variations in build, post-transformation), and within those occasions are those where the metamorphosis, at least in mind, is incomplete or nonexistent. These Entomorphs retain their intellect, memories, personality, and most importantly capacity for individual thought, severed - at least in part - from the Entonyd/Entomorph hiveminds. Strangely, once changed, these free-willed Entomorphs can breed true - while not in the bulk amounts of larval spawn as a mindless queen, nor can they spawn Entonyds, but they can perpetuate their own species through natural birth. Young natural-born Entomorphs are born from eggs, hatch as grub-like larva, then cocoon themselves after a year and emerge in a wingless (or venomless, in the case of those with the alternate racial trait) Nymph stage that lasts about fifteen years, after which they grow a thicker exoskeleton and the remainder of their racial traits as they reach adulthood. It is these rare few that will make up the entirety of PC Entomorphs, and the ones I want to work on.
So... this thread is for the purposes of actually putting stats to these guys, so that if a player plays one (potentially by choice, but just as likely due to reincarnate) I can pass them out the necessary building blocks for a character sheet.
Here's what I have so far, though this is of course subject to change per recommendations:
Obviously this would need to be eyeballed with the aid of the ARG, shooting for something not too high above the standard races (or on par with them, if possible). I'm just not sure where to find all the stuff or what to price some of this at, so I look to people who might be more familiar with the book than I. As well as anything that looks to be over/underrepresented or needs tweaking. Thoughts welcome =)
It usually only happens when the thread gets moved, so I'm guessing that something in the database/URL/other relevant info no longer recognizes it as the original thread that was hidden. But there's been a few times recently I've found threads I knew I hid popping up again in their original locations, and sit there wondering "Did I misclick and hide the wrong thread? *unhides threads, sorts through greyed topics* No, nothing in there I didn't intend to hide... huh. *rehides everything, hides original thread again*"
I figure it's just overload from the politics season, but a heads-up probably couldn't hurt.
Started noticing posts just up and vanishing a few minutes after I post them, or not showing up at all after submission. Anyone else getting this? They still show up in my post history in my profile, but not in their respective threads.
Given all the Fey influence in Kingmaker, I've been poking at the idea of retooling the later parts slightly. The biggest difference being setting-related: rather than having the First World and the Eldest, my world has the more traditional Summer and Winter Courts and the Wyldfae in-between. So I've been trying to revamp the core plot to take that more into consideration.
Here's what I have so far:
1. Nyrissa is a noble of the Summer Court.
It also means that for her to be focusing so much on the Stolen Lands and her plans there, there has to be something in the land that would be beneficial to Summer for her to present it to Titania (in place of the Eldest) to appease her. For this I'll be borrowing Gentleman's idea of Nyrissa's Stolen Ambition. This also answers why Winter would be in competition for the region: if Winter can prevent Nyrissa from reclaiming her Ambition, that's preventing a major potential power-grab by Summer, even if they can't claim it for themselves.
This also provides the PCs an opportunity to ally with Winter, a dangerous but possibly alluring prospect that might help them in the short-term but cost them in the long run.
The main question I have yet to ask is who stripped Nyrissa of her Love and Ambition in the first place, and why. Should it remain another noble above her station, and thus the punishment be handed down from Titania herself? Should it have been a dalliance across the lines of conflict with a Winter consort, and if so who caught them - her Summer superiors or his/her Winter ones? Or could it have simply been a cruel act by a Winter foe or a Summer rival looking to torment her for some reason? Up for suggestions.
2. Fey and Eldritch Horrors Don't (Usually) Mix.
I'm going to use Candlemere as sort of a "restraining bolt" put in place by a Winter agent, to prevent or at least slow Nyrissa's attempts to claim the land; said agent may still be in the tower somewhere, driven mad and/or warped by the experience had while performing the task given them and their proximity to the Old One's presence. Yog-Sothoth of course has no oppositions to his worship being spread, even by fey (who of course he doesn't consider near as much an enemy as they consider him and his kind), and now that he's here his presence is somewhat loathe to leave, and in fact may well be spreading.
This will leave the PCs in a bit of a conundrum, once they find out what's going on: if they brave the tower, they can (attempt to) cease the spread of the unnatural presence. However, unbeknownst to them, doing so will rid the Stolen Lands of Yog-Sothoth's taint, allowing Nyrissa to accelerate her plans. This could also be taken as a sleight against Winter, who might send a representative to demand reparations for costing them a significant foothold in the conflict.
3. Heeeeeeeeeeeeeere's Puck!
I plan for him to start tormenting the party in the next couple of chapters. Thinking of perhaps having Perlivash and Tyg share a few tales of the Puck's endeavors, to introduce the party to their ideal of a master prankster, then have Puck himself take an interest in the party after they actually succeed in starting something in the Stolen Lands where so many more have failed. Any ideas of things for him to pull would be much appreciated.
That's it for now, but any other random ideas or extrapolation would be much appreciated.
Two sessions ago my party (Spellscar Oracle, Bladebound Magus, and True Primitive Barbarian) gutted Tuskgutter, and while heading back to the Thorn River Camp (which they had just prior "liberated" from Kressle's control and taken "command" of the surviving bandits there, who were quick to surrender when the Stag Lord's rep had her skull caved in) happened to stumble across a Shambling Mound, which they'd been fearful of encountering ever since the Sootscale Kobolds had alerted them to the existence of the thing after coming across some trails. Being level 3, they of course fled like the dickens.
Last session the Oracle and Barbarian stumbled across a Will-o-Wisp while hunting for breakfast the following morning. It managed to lead them on a merry chase through the woods before looping back to the camp, killing a bandit, and severely wounding the Barbarian... before the Oracle managed to crit it with an eldritch bolt (Su, and thus ignoring its magic immunity) and deliver a suggestion via crit card (at which it rolled a 3 on its Will save -_-). Her suggestion? "Go fight something more challenging", and pointing off to the south where the Shambler was when it asked where. Probably shortly after it would have found the Shambler, the suggestion effect would have worn off.
So now we have a tiny flying creature that delivers electric damage with a touch attack hanging out in the same vicinity as an enormous, low-touch-AC creature that gets stronger if you hit it with electricity. And yes, now the combination is on the random encounter chart for that part of the woods.
Before they run into it though, I want them to get some hints that their plan of setting two of the only three things they've encountered thus far that they couldn't beat or negotiate with (the third being a pair of trolls they ran from four or five sessions back) against each other did not pan out as they intended. A few plots of scorched earth, some trees that look like they've been struck by lightning and are rapidly rotting, things like that. Any thoughts?
Tatya here is a Witch, a Halfling, and in a party with two Humans; a pack animal and mount was a must, simple as that. Enter Grom, her big, friendly, loyal Siberian Husky. The campaign just ended its fifth session and the party just leveled up from 2nd (our usual starting point) to 3rd, and Grom has gone from being a simple loot hauler and method by which Tatya can keep up with the rest of the party to a welcome and helpful member of the party - he tripped the boss opponent we'd been sent to deal with last session twice, was at the head of pursuit when the guy bolted, and with some encouragement managed to pin the guy down so the Gunslinger and Monk could surround him and pummel him into unconsciousness. (A fight in which Tatya, thanks to her slower running speed and needing to stop to cast, was having difficulty keeping up until the last couple of rounds; she had to dismount at the beginning of combat to douse the flames she'd caught, and thus couldn't remount and keep up.)
Sadly, Grom is - statistically - nothing more than your standard 50gp, 13 HP, 13 AC, CR1 riding dog. Meaning that he's got perhaps another level, maybe two, before he starts becoming significantly less helpful in combat... and maybe a level or two after that where his existence is under constant threat by being in our companionship. After completing this latest task, Tatya will probably be able to afford barding for him, which she has been considering purchasing for some time now; but that will only help him for so long.
Tatya has had Grom as a companion only slightly less time than her cat familiar, but Ksusha's survivability is significantly greater: as a familiar she advances with Tatya, plus her smaller size and Stealth score allow her to hide when danger arises, something Grom can't do as well. And out-of-character, I as a player have to admit to becoming attached to the big pup, and after the last session I estimate the party's thinking likewise.
Long story short: what are my options for helping my pet, mount, and companion get a bit of survivability beyond the first five levels? I'm the only caster in the party, but we now work for a rather influential NPC patron who might be able to get us in touch with someone using a spell list other than the Witch's if needed; beyond the obvious low-level solution of masterwork/enchanted barding and potions/oils of magic fang/GMF, I can't think of much. Awaken plus spending a feat on Leadership might be an option, Tatya has 18 CHA (yay rolling for stats + halfling bonus), but I don't know how feasible it would be nor whether or not the GM would allow it (I'll ask though). Any suggestions would be appreciated. =)