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Owly's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 607 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Mathius wrote:

How do you have the dragon act so that is a real challenge to the PCs?

Ho Ho! Go look up "ancient copper dragon" for starters. Here is a CR17 that can cast (at will): Grease, Hideous Laughter, Stone Shape, Transmute Rock to Mud, and Wall of Stone. ...What do you think an encounter with one would be like? It would be like a 3D funhouse of terrorlaughs. It's a dungeon designed by M.C. Escher and run by the Time Bandits. It's doubtful any of them would ever actually FIND the copper dragon unless he wanted them to. Never mind WHAT the party is doing there in the first place.

At that level, you gotta go beyond just the list of stats and putting them in a 30x30 room. Go down the monster's list of feats and abilities and put together a story of how they got to be so old and powerful. Consider all of the friends and alliances they've made in their lives and the general ecology of how they live. You'll come up with some epic encounters to keep high level characters guessing.

Mathius wrote:
As a fighter I feel useless unless there is a combat going on.

Just like a high level dragon, how did a fighter get so experienced? Does he live in a vacuum? What about all of the enemies he's made along the way? What about all of the friends who want a powerful martial to come help them out? (think of all those westerns where they want to recruit the hero). Remember a martial is what the people SEE when they picture "adventurer" or "hero". He should be casting a long shadow.

Mathius wrote:
What do you do to challenge the wizard?

Make the world a deadly place for someone with less than 100 hit points. Make it a dangerous place for someone with an AC of only around 20 or so. Adjudicate EVERY SINGLE SPELL as it's written in the book. There are actually a surprising number of limitations.

Then...make him work for it. Creating an adventure? Surprise! It takes place in a cavern system that is incredibly hot and full of smoke. (Gonna need that Environment spell). Find the bad guy's castle? Surprise! It doesn't have any doors or windows! (Gonna need a transmute or something). It's up on that floating island in the sky? Surprise! How you getting up there? Surprise! It's guarded by invisible redcaps! Now the spellcaster has to somehow make all those redcaps visible for the party...You get the idea. If he thinks he's so great, make him work for it.

...and then have him roll a save for his spellbook the next time they cross a river. He'll start feeling vulnerable.

It's brutal, but consider that's what wights DO; they draw out the life force of their victims, while an experienced adventurer actually has a chance to withstand the attack.

I agree with Starmight; elementals do have a corporeal body, and can be grappled.

In our Kingmaker campaign (which we just wrapped up) I had taken Brew Potion. I was constantly telling everyone what the potions they were drinking tasted like. I'm all about the immersion.

Enlarge- chocolate milk
Spider Climb- cotton candy
Displacement - licorice

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It tastes like burning.

Thumbs up to SKR for posting for a newbie. Class act.

We were all new once, right?

There is plenty of precedence in literature of heroes and unfortunates being summoned or finding themselves in some outer plane, answering the call of some powerful entity. Hellraiser comes to mind.

Perhaps NOT summoning mortals is part of the protections and pacts the gods have made with one another...?

A polymorph spell can arguably be used to turn anyone into a different gender of themselves, since it is polymorph that is used to create the Elixir of Opposite Gender.

A female cat? Why not. Go with it. You yourself are not a female cat, I assume...? You asked for cake, and got a cake with frosting. Think of it as a challenge from the gods. Young king Arthur got turned into a hawk and an ant and a fish, after all.

An argument can be made for casting spells without somatic components because it is said dragons can do so. I would be tempted to lend you Mage Hand and allow you to cast that cantrip to explore and discover what has happened to you and why.

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Fergurg wrote:

... The setting has its own rules, its own gods, and its own laws of morality.

So is there a reason why an adventurer would not choose to have physical gender match up with chosen gender?

Sure. An adventurer doesn't choose their gender. They're born with it. Their culture and customs and local mores determine their sexual identity.

Just like in real life.

andreww wrote:
Owly wrote:
BUT...I've softened to the idea as there is value in open discussion as to the combat capabilities of the classes. It helps the game system evolve (sometimes). This idea of "is capable of doing" is very...misleading, unless we're talking about a 30x30 room with a monster in it.

I think it is a useful concept at the point of game and character creation. It allows the GM to estimate more readily what sort of situations the group is likely to be able to handle and allows the players to decide just have much variation in PC capability they are willing to tolerate.

Also they are very useful for sparking 100 page long messageboard arguments with all of the usual suspects.

Haha. True and true.

If I recall correctly, doesn't it have something to do with the relationship between the Prime Material and the Outer Planes? A summoned animal comes from the Happy Hunting Grounds (and returns there after the spell) while demons and devils and other spirits come from their respective planes. A GATED creature or being is dead if slain, while a summoned one is not.

If there's a summons that brings someone or something from elsewhere in the Prime Material, I'd like to know about it.

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OP wrote:
Capable of doing...

I'm not a huge fan of the idea of "tiers" and the gnashing of teeth that goes along with the idea. To me, we play these games to bring fantasy worlds to life. I'd be as happy running a group of rogues and monks as I would a group of clerics and wizards and druids. It's all about helping that player see through his character's eyes. Anyone who talks down to someone else at the table saying "Oh, you're playing a tier 3 character." gets the Eyebite from me.

BUT...I've softened to the idea as there is value in open discussion as to the combat capabilities of the classes. It helps the game system evolve (sometimes). This idea of "is capable of doing" is very...misleading, unless we're talking about a 30x30 room with a monster in it.

Feats and numbers...feats and numbers...have fun talking feats and numbers, but don't forget it's a roleplaying game.

I second the swizzle sticks.

Good stuff. Thanks Jiggy.

Drejk wrote:
It's sixth level spell. If would be terribly crappy spell if it could only affect single target per casting.

Yes, like Flesh to Stone, Geas/Quest, Disintegrate, Enemy Hammer, and Unwilling Shield. ..All terribly crappy.


Eyebite seems like a very potent necromancy spell. It reads

paizo wrote:
Each round, you can target a single living creature, striking it with waves of power.


paizo wrote:
You must spend a swift action each round after the first to target a foe.

Am I right in reading this as the caster is able to target ONE DIFFERENT foe (as a swift action every round after the first)? So a 10th level caster could sicken/panic/comatose ten opponents?

Does the target need to be able to see him or her to feel the effects of Eyebite?

Since it's just a swift action, can I assume the caster can be casting and doing other things besides laying Eyebite on someone?

If only Elric of Melnibone were so lucky as to meet a simple rust monster.

It's mature of you to bring it up, and show concern. If I had a 14 year old daughter, I'd raise an eyebrow at her hanging out with young men whom I've never met.


Your party is going up against a lieutenant of the BBEG and a half dozen minions. Describe your first few rounds of combat, if you please.

You might ask your GM if the First World features prominently in the adventure.

Ascalaphus wrote:
I'm a big fan of the Dream spell. Unlike Sending, you can send much longer messages. It's a bit slower and only one-way, but the information load is huge.

Do you suppose that two wizards could collaborate and agree to cast Dream at a particular time, and meet one another in a shared dream? Does that sound on par with a 5th level spell between two colleagues?

I've been itching to do a dreamscape adventure, and this has me pondering possibilities.

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Polymorph any Object is a good solution, in my opinion. It's the ultimate polymorph spell, and incorporates doing anything at all to your opponent if they fail their save. At that level, there's no reason why a collective figurine wouldn't be do-able. Are you going to keep them in the package to maintain value?

But howabout a little fun? What if we combined a number of spells and (with your GM's permission) made a fun adventure hook out of it?;
- maze
- imprisonment
- baleful polymorph
- create demi-plane
- polymorph any object
- sympathy

Through careful planning and treacherous skullduggery, you've managed to entrap your lifelong enemies in a demiplane of your own devising. It's a nightmare world where they live, fight and die for your pleasure. Each enemy is controlled inside the world through the use of a game piece (of themselves) and an elaborate gaming table. You and your fellow wizards delight at playing "gods" to these men and women inside the demiplane, who play out dreadful stories for the amusement of you and your guests.

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Hehe. Wylliam, this isn't a good idea. Tongue-in-cheek and off-color humor is good ONLY in very small doses, and ONLY if you know your audience really, really well. It can be a tension-breaker, but it falls flat if force fed to an audience.

Want a joke? Have everyone the party meets become polite and deferential (monsters too) because they're women. Every act of violence on the group's part results in apologies. Every tough guy and thug wants to "explain where they're coming from", Every barbarian is a metrosexual, etc. etc.

When the group becomes sick of it, have a laugh and move on.

APL 5? You should send a CR8 or 9 at the party.

Consider too, the use of neat little items like mistmail (chainmail shirt that turns into a cloud of mist. SUDDEN CONCEALMENT. Another is boots of spider climbing. Now he's standing on the ceiling laughing at the group.

Simple environmental things too, like there's a secret door that leads up to a balcony where he has 50% cover and higher ground. Stuff like that.

10. Keep a trunk full of all of the things a party needs but doesn't carry in their backpacks:
-a full list of camping gear (pots & pans, tents, water, etc. and feed for the horses),
-a trunk containing spell books (seriously, count the number of pages in your spell book and think of how many spell books YOU have), and
-a trunk containing all of the things I don't want existing on the real world.

I keep the portable hole folded up and stored in my other spell book. NEVER stick it in your handy haversack by mistake!

11. It's been a great investment, especially for keeping those weight requirements down to low encumbrance.

12. It's also good for teleporting that fourth party member.

Demand is an 8th level version of Sending. It incorporates a Suggestion as part of the spell, so a party that is getting close to some dark secret can be given a magical suggestion to get them back under their benefactor's thumb. Imagine the fun that will ensue when the party fighter begins to INSIST the party ignores the warnings and proceed to the goal by a direct route...Maybe that noble's wizard has a few secrets he wants to keep for himself, and is willing to sacrifice the party to get to them.

Of course, he'll be keeping an eye on the party using scrying and giving suggestions via Message.

Energy Drain and Negative Levels

Nope. Pathfinder makes it very simple. Think of the PC as being slathered in whipped cream from head to toe, except the delicious whipped dessert topping(tm) is a cumulative -1 to everything listed in that link above.

I imagine such an institution would have vaults devoted to hiding-away and securing important and dangerous items from the world.

It would also likely have a dungeon or two where a few certain dangerous individuals would be kept; the kind of prisoners no king's dungeon could contain.

A magic academy would have some world-renowned experts in residence; wizards and sorcerers who explore the limits of magic and mortal existence. They would either teach classes as part of their tenure at the academy, and/or have a staff they would instruct to teach a certain curriculum, and teach a new generation of wizards and magic-users.

Speaking of "vaults", I am of the opinion that the corollary to liches and their unholy quest for immortality is old wizards who use magics like Clone and Ethereal Jaunt to secure their aged bodies away in safety and suspended animation while their souls pursue important missions in the the Astral Plane, the Outer Planes and the Dreamlands.

Hmm...this explains a lot about my real life "Knowledge Checks" then.

I like y'all's conclusions.

In Danger - Knowledge Check

Plenty of Time - Take 20 - recall every book you've read on the subject

Discover a new book, Hear a new personal account, Discover a lost manuscript, Arrive in a new city library - New Knowledge Check

Here's some food for thought: Do you have a group of murderhobos bullying a village because they feel invulnerable for their level? Show them that being surrounded by angry villagers is really dangerous.

Maybe the PCs AC is high enough someone would need a 20 to hit them. What about 7 villagers all using Aid Another to help that 8th individual make his grapple check to take down that pesky PC...?

Get enough angry villagers and it's almost like "Take 20", as those villagers will just keep coming at you until they score a hit. Then it's tar and feathers time.

Why, a Circular Saw Blade Gun, of course.

Since we're in a magical world, why not make it so that I can sort of steer the circular saw blades in flight? :)

Undone wrote:

Right that's completely fine by me. That's not the same as breaking the gear. Breaking the gear should never be done. Tactics, corners, cover, weather (Not every single day but at least once), terrain, and otherwise some spells.

Never touch the PC's gear or permanently delevel them. It just creates bad will between pc's and GM. If they've earned it they should at least keep the loot.

Rubbish. There is no entitlement. Remove any sense of entitlement from the game and players will enjoy conquering the world all the more. That's all I have to say on that subject.

Back on topic: Archers are glass cannons. Bear in mind "glass" and "cannon" and you can design some very challenging encounters for them.

Great idea for an adventure. I dig.

"Digging" may be the thing. Perhaps this wizard has the location of valuable gems needed to cast high level spells, and he wants the mechanical power of moving water to power his drills.

Plot elements:
- A famous gnome engineer turns up dead. His plans for mechanical drilling apparatuses have turned up missing.
- A famous geologist has turned up missing/dead, his last reported investigation was of a deposit of raw diamond in the mountains near a certain lake.
- A well-known engineer is missing.
- A tribe of kobolds has been sort of "missing", in that they're not the nuisances they've been in recent years.
- A certain lab technician knows something he dares not tell anyone else: a certain wizard long thought dead has turned up buying expensive lab equipment (to make clones). The lab tech's wizard guild is sworn to secrecy and he fears for his life.
- Several local towns are interested in controlling the flooding in their valley, and have hired a mysterious "engineer" who promised a year ago to do something about it. He took a number of people for labor and they've all disappeared.

DominusMegadeus wrote:
Undone wrote:

As a note don't sunder gear.

Sundering is like CDG'ing someone while other players are still up. It creates bad will between you and your players.

I second this. Monsters don't care about getting their stuff sundered, PCs very much do. PCs, at least in my experience, like their +whatever greatweapon, even if it's generic as all get out. Should always be an unspoken agreement to avoid sundering their stuff.


Terrain, weather, adverse conditions...all of these can play a significant role in making the world challenging for a dedicated archer. We played a scenario recently where our archer, flying on her roc up above the forest, was unable to see the forest floor because of the canopy of trees. Simple. Realistic. Effective.

Think of it in degrees as well: you don't need to shut them down completely, just cancel out some of their major bonuses. Cover and concealment, movement, mist, smoke, dazzling lights, obnoxious vapors, etc. can lend a certain atmosphere to an encounter and remind the archer that "archin' ain't easy".

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Let me get this straight: You want to remain invisible, so long as you can make sure no one is looking at you...?

I wouldn't mind revisiting this thread, and get the opinions of others.

Does Incendiary Cloud move in any direction (at 60') or can the caster just make it move away faster at that speed?

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There is an old saying that I don't remember who by: "Dragons are the ends of the Earth", meaning the philosophical ends; the wind, the sky, the earth, fire, etc. I like to think that a god's portfolio isn't just part of their stat sheet, but what they ARE. That is, a god of fire isn't just tip-top with fire, can burn anything, can cast 100d6 fire spells, etc., but they're so big on fire, that they define it. They ARE it. They get to determine what this word called "fire" actually means in the world, for good and bad and everything in between. A rival deity who steals Fire from them gets to redefine it for the entire world, and possibly turns it into a dessert topping instead of a chemical reaction.

Games like Nobilis and In Nomine give one a little perspective on the philosophical side of things. It's kind of fun leaving the stat sheet behind once in a while.

And I'm one of those who thinks the gods don't need character sheets.

*Casts Raise Thread*

I played a scene a week ago in which my group fought a battle in a lake. My wizard summoned a dire shark to add to the fun,...

dire shark: gargantuan, space: 20, reach: 20.
"a megalodon is 60ft. long and weights 100,000lbs.

Hmm...I laid out a few 3x5 index cards to represent 60' length. Pretty big monster. Another player put out a dolphin plushie that was about the right size.

My wizard just made another level, and can now summon Elder Elementals. Some of them are pretty huge; an elder fire elemental is "Huge: 15 space and 15 reach. "an elder fire elemental is 40 feet long and weighs 12lbs."

So...for game purposes, we're sticking with the Space, Reach & Threatened Area templates? Should we assume that fire elemental HAS that size, but the area the players need to be concerned with is the 15x15...?

I'd rule that "anything where it behaves unlike its real counterpart" to you, would count as "interaction". Examples:
- You notice someone's body part intersect through the wall
- You pay attention, and notice arrows going through the wall
(perception checks on the above)
- You touch it, and it's not real, though your eyes tell you it is.

Is it an illusionary pit? Do you not have time to walk up and examine it? You say you just have to run over the top of it? Make a will save, or your sense of self-preservation keeps you from making that run.

Here's an example of a real-life Will Save, straight from the movie "Lawrence of Arabia"... hold a lit match while a friend does the same. Whoever drops the match first, loses.

Of course the flame is going to burn you. Of course it's going to hurt. How hurt will you be? A blister on your finger and thumb? It won't kill you of course. What's the big deal? Think you can hold on longer than your friend? The brain and body often stand in the way of the mind.

"Of course it hurts. The trick is NOT MINDING that it hurts." - Peter O'Toole as Lawrence of Arabia.

So Illusions. The game wouldn't be much fun if illusions were impenetrable and unbeatable, and everyone would play an illusionist if the illusions were so.

Interaction - using your own senses to defeat an illusion. This could be casual (perception check as a free action) or it could be active (perception check as a standard action "concentrating"), depending on how much your GM likes you.

And yeah, Major Image is a tougher illusion to beat, because it fools more senses more completely. It's a higher level spell. Still, if a PC knows what to look for, she can beat it.

Tels wrote:
Golems wrote:
Golems are magically created automatons of great power. They stand apart from other constructs in the nature of their animating force—golems are granted their magical life via an elemental spirit, typically that of an earth elemental. The process of creating a golem binds the spirit to the artificial body, merging it with this specially prepared vessel and subjecting it to the will of the golem's creator.

So, here we see that elementals, typically earth elementals, are being forced into slavery, bound to the will of the golem's creator.

Golems wrote:
Being mindless, golems do nothing without orders from their creators. They follow instructions explicitly and are incapable of complex strategy or tactics. A golem's creator can command it if the golem is within 60 feet and can see and hear its creator. If uncommanded, a golem usually follows its last instruction to the best of its ability, though if attacked it returns the attack. The creator can give the golem a simple command to govern its actions in his absence, or can order the golem to obey the commands of another, but the golem's creator can always resume control by commanding the golem to obey him alone.

So, here we learn that an elemental that used to have a mind, becomes a mindless machine subject to his creators will. He can't think, he can't plot, he can't dream.

Infusing energy into a body so that it rises and serves the creator = evil.

Enslaving and wiping away the thoughts and feelings of a sentient being for the express purpose of a mindless killing machine subject to the creators every will = not evil.

Giving an elemental something to do is not an evil act, because it fits within the elemental's nature. If anything, it ought to be grateful that it can serve a sentient's purpose on the Prime Material plane. A petroleum elemental (for example) would enjoy operating an engine.

A camel that dies in the desert has served its purpose. It has lived its life and its suffering (from the desert) has ended. To reanimate its corpse is unnatural and a hideous violation of natural law. To do so is evil, whether or not its rider is stranded in the desert or not. It doesn't make the caster evil in and of himself, it just means he's committed an evil act. That's life.

Moral philosophy is not difficult.

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Taku Ooka Nin wrote:

MMORPG garbage is here to stay, and it isn't going to just magically disappear. Embrace change and the aspects that bring new members into your community.

*I wave my hand*

"By the power of Gygax, I invoke my power as Dungeon Master and hereby revoke and eschew the 'MMORPG garbage' that has invaded our beloved roleplaying game."

"I do hereby resolve to keep an eye on WBL, but only as a background concern and a general guideline to keeping players competitive versus the CR system of the game. Players are there to play their characters, not master a system that is the GM's concern."

"I do hereby pledge to challenge and entertain players with rich environments, intriguing story, dynamic and interactive encounters both malevolent and benign, and choose to encourage said players to adopt such an expectation that is wholly above and apart from the static themeparkeyness into which MMORPGs have evolved."

"I will be the provider of adventures, not the overseer of a tabletop looting and leveling video game."

*I bow respectfully to my peers and colleagues on this forum*

If you wanted to go nuts with it, you could rule that the lich has such deep and secret knowledge and mastery of his soul, that he can split it in to different components and use it to magic jar a number of opponents, while keeping the important bit in his phylactery.

The Egyptians believed the immortal essence consisted of many, many parts. No reason an ancient and undead necromancer couldn't know such deep secrets as to frustrate a party of adventurers with some heavy magic jar-ing while keeping his own phylactery safe.

Yes. This is exactly what Spock did to McCoy in Wrath of Khan.

Curse of the Crimson Throne begins with a "benevolent" ghost who has her own designs of revenge, and recruits the party...

But I'll agree with others here, and say that you can make your undead any way that you want. Democratus has the right of it: undead are evil by nature, but just like Louis de Point du Lac in Interview with a Vampire, an intelligent being can struggle against the dark forces that have made him, and try to live a noble un-life.

It's one of those "cinematic" spells that go great with villains, or "in-between" adventures spells that get the plot moving along, not so much for player-characters on the move, in my humble opinion.


One little 2nd level spell can change everything.

Some good advice here. I would emphasize taking things in order (using Kwauss's suggestions) and also putting your foot down, as CommandoD suggested.

Also, it's not a "wall of text" if you use paragraphs.

It's a lot more fun to design a dungeon around a villain and his group and his agenda. Give it a try. :)

The method you describe was intended to handle some of the oddities of MMO's, specifically, a world where there are hundreds of players looking for adventure. In a tabletop RPG, you have the luxury of catering just to your friends. So...why NOT design each dungeon just for them?

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Fromper wrote:
Graywolf777 wrote:
I used it once to dump out an enemy archers quiver. The DM gave me extra xp for that. Personally I just wanted the guy to stop shooting at me.
Creative, but illegal. As noted in the spell description, it can only target unattended items. If the archer was wearing the quiver, it's attended.

True, but in my home game, I'd allow it once for theatrical "Rule of Cool" reasons.

I once used Mage Hand to get caltrops from out of our horses throats when some conniving evil fey sought to feed said caltrops to our horses.

It's also good for sneaky situations, like creating distractions through windows, or getting that guard to stop being so attentive, etc. Spur an officer's horse, or set his cape on fire with an ember to get him riled up and distracted.

If a player expressed interest in using the spell, I'd be sure to include opportunities for him/her to do so; like gate latches that are just out of reach, or keys left on tables, or children's playthings fallen down sewer grates.

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