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The other thing about playing heavy is that the villains' behaviour still needs to make sense.
The BBEG is fighting for his life. Does he spend a round to make a CDG against a fallen enemy? Not if other enemies are in his face. His decisions should be based on what gives his best chance of survival, not what gives the party the worst beating. If one character is neutralized, and others are still a threat, then he should be concentrating on neutralizing more enemies, not kicking characters that are already down.
You could trade in your +3 mithril shirt for Celestial Armor - this adds +1 to your armor and +2 to your Max Dex bonus, making further increases to DEX more worthwhile.
Ring of protection +1 is always decent - surprised you haven't found any. They are pretty common treasure.
Are you encountering many swarms nowadays? You could swap out the swarmbane clasp for an amulet of natural armor. Keep the clasp in your pocket just in case.
Definitely improve your save item. If you have a cloak of res then you could upgrade. If you don't, well, you probably don't need the muleback cords since you have a bag of holding.
You could up your DEX item, or upgrade to a belt of physical might which gives +2 DEX and CON.
The Quick Runner's Shirt can be really useful and it doesn't cost that much.
Without some details on your character's build it's hard to say more.
I don't mind the idea of other charmed minions, though the minion would have to be pretty loyal to be able to handle Xanesha in her true form. AFAIK she only ever appeared to Ironbriar in her humanoid form, and Ironbriar doesn't know her true species.
I am thinking that I may go with a Faceless Stalker with a couple of monk levels. I figure as biological shapeshifters, stalkers probably wouldn't want to take levels in a class that wears armor, yet a major minion would need the boost to AC that monks get. Also going to give him a potion of mage armor and maybe some other stuff.
If I do that should I boost the stats of the stalker or leave them as is?
Any other thoughts?
Wikipedia has been shown to be, on average, about as accurate as published encyclopedias, such as Encyclopedia Britannica. So there's no reason to snub data from it.
However, using Paris as your primary example is not a good idea. Firstly this is because estimates of the populations of Paris (and also London) are victims of a certain degree of bias based on "competition" between Pro-French and Pro-British historians.
Another problem is that the "middle ages" is a thousand-year period in history. Any city would have gone through a wide variety of population levels during that period. Even according to pro-French historians Paris had a population of under 50,000 people for the first half of the middle ages.
Thirdly, Paris has a couple of things going for it that most cities don't. Firstly, in around 900 AD it became the capital of France, and as the government bureaucracy grew this caused the city to expand faster than any other in France. And secondly, Paris had a university, founded around 1160, which was rare for medieval cities of the era (London did not have one, for example). So the draw of students also increased the population ahead of most cities.
Magnimar and Korvosa are the prominent cities of their regions, but neither is a capital city like Paris. Varisia is pretty sparsely populated. Magnimar is only 100 years old, whereas Paris was founded in around 250 BC.
So looking at a major city like Paris for inspiration on what Magnimar should be like is probably a mistake.
If you are looking at Earth analogues you need to set down a date for the period you are emulating.
If we are sticking to the middle ages, we could get some data from there. As I mentioned, using stats about London and Paris can be tricky. So it might be better to look at other, secondary towns. The city of Lincoln in England was England's second-largest town in 1190 AD, and it had a population of about 8,000. So by medieval standards, 16,000 should be considered a "large city." They were rare.
But if you want to place Golarion in a later era then you could look at different periods. Technologically Golarion seems to have the same technology as Earth from around 1750-1800 AD. That's a lot later than the middle ages and populations were much much higher. A town of 16,000 in that period is a local hub but hardly a metropolis.
However, you still need to consider that not only is Magnimar a very young city but also there aren't large groups of people emigrating to the area.
Another thing to remember is that the population of any pre-industrial region is going to be at least 90% rural. Magnimar is kind of a weird case because as a port it likely trades imports upriver with towns like Nybor, Galduria, and Wartle, so the total rural population will be spread over this "triangle" of farmland that has at its corners the towns of Galduria, Nybor, and Magnimar. I can't find populations for these other towns, but if we assume that between them and Sandpoint they add up to about 7,000 total then the urban population of the "triangle" area is 23,000, with another 230,000 people living in the countryside. So 253,000 people, spread out over an area of about 6000 - 7000 square miles gives a population density of between 35 and 42 people per square mile. This is actually quite reasonable for a prosperous region in the middle ages and is a little low for 1800, but then Varisia is supposed to be a "frontier" country.
The population figures from the original DMG were clearly based on the high medieval period. Since RotRL was originally published for D&D 3.5 it used these numbers. If you want to update the figures for a later period, go ahead.
Since I have a party of five I want to increase the difficulty Xanesha fight a bit, though not too much.
I was thinking of putting a faceless stalker or two in her aerie. She has sneak attack so that feature is kind of wasted if she doesn't have any flanking buddies.
However, my party mostly has very good armor classes and most "minions" are unable to hit enemies most of the time.
FYI (pardon the threadomancy) the spellbook in the sawmill (which was presumably stolen) is worth 635 base price (sell for half this)
Lyrie Akenja: 515 gp (257 gp, 5 sp)
Caizarlu Zerren: 954 gp (472 gp, 5 sp)
Justice Ironbriar: 635 (317 gp, 5 sp)
Mammy Graul: 1,805 gp (902 gp, 5 sp)
Barl Breakbones: 3,580 gp (1,790 gp)
Mokmurian: 71,310 gp (35,665 gp)
It's a single sentence, so the "against creatures of the giant subtype" clause applies to the entire sentence. If it were written as two sentences (or a semicolon was inserted after Sense Motive) then only the later bonuses would be limited.
Technically no, the word "and" can separate a sentence into two separate clauses.
This is one of those situations where the Oxford Comma (and getting rid of the superfluous "and") would have really clarified things.
From a GM perspectiev though, most traits grant a +1 bonus to one skill which is also then in class. Getting a +1 to three skills plus a +1 to hit and damage to giants would way more powerful than most traits. So I definitely think the intent is to grant those bonuses only when interacting with giants.
Some good stuff, Karolina!
The Tiger-kin's backstory involves him fighting giants in the Realm of the Mammoth Lords before coming to Varisia. So perhaps I can flesh out a frost giant clan and shoehorn them in; the leader could be the skinwalker's old enemy.
The Runeforge is self-contained so it's hard to do anything there. However we ran the Chopper's Island mini-adventure and she deliberately defaced the statue of Pazuzu, so I may work some things in where Pazuzu periodically sends demons after her. For example, I may have the Glabrezus know her name. Stuff like that.
I really like your idea for the rogue.
And I have just the NPC friend that could "become" Viorian Dekanti. That's totally awesome. But right now she's a perfectly normal crime boss. So it would be really cool if we could have her find the sword in game somehow... I am thinking that the players could be sent on a side quest to find it for her.
Can anybody think of a published adventure that could be easily re-themed as a quest to find Chellan, the Sword of Greed? Preferably for levels at least 7 and no higher than 13? If I do that I'll want to complete the adventure before they do the runeforge.
Sorcerer:I'd like to do something a little more involved for the sorcerer.
I had considered the issue of rescuing family members as a part of the raid on Sandpoint. But that's just a momentary thing, and the Rogue has family there too; he's just not from there.
The sorcerer's father is a local merchant in Sandpoint... maybe there is something his father can try to get him to "acquire" in Turtleback Ferry when he finds out he is going there. Thoughts? Aside from supporting the Black Arrows stronghold and having lots of fishermen, what kind of economic activity goes on in Turtleback Ferry?
I could always add something:
That alone though doesn't create drama on its own, though.
Any other ideas? Anyone else?
I ended up skipping that encounter as I don't think it would have gone that well with my group.
Aside from comic relief though the only point of the encounter is to set Ven Vinder up as a red herring in the Skinsaw murders. Another way to do that would be to have the party deal with the fallout between Shayliss and an NPC friend who Ven beats the crap out of. Shayliss comes to them teary-eyed asking them to intervene because she's afraid her father will kill the NPC. Ven issues a bunch of serious-sounding threats but they end up talking him down or subduing him.
My campaign is in the Skinsaw Murders right now - we're near the end.
I like how the adventure puts one of the characters in the spotlight.
By this I mean the character who is the focus of Aldern's obsession.
But I would like to see if I can work things so that other characters get a chance to have the spotlight, in a similar way.
The characters I have are:
* A human Oracle of Life with the clouded vision curse (this was the character mentioned above)
I know there's a bit of room for spotlights in Sins of the Saviors
The Runeforge since the different enclaves can work with different characters, especially if their sin points fall in different categories.
But I'd like to see if I can add some kind of special connection to an adventure for the other characters, in some kind of rotation.
I'm thinking the skinwalker has the big game hunter feat so I might be able to work something for him in the Fortress of the Stone Giants.
Sadly it's a little late to let the Rogue do much in Magnimar (though he's done some cool stuff). Is there a one-off module set in Riddleport that they could do on the way to the Runeforge?
Any other ideas/suggestions?
Taking advantage of item crafting feats I find my players seem to be getting ahead of their WBL, actually. We have had a fifth player join the game, but at this stage I am not adjusting the treasure upwards as I feel they have enough loot at the moment. Splitting the loot five ways instead of four may solve the problem.
I think for my next campaign I will get rid of crafting feats. I will say that by having the minimum level required by the feat and making the requisite skill check they can make any item they want... at full price. Let them spend feats on actual character abilities. My party oracle does all the crafting and he's a bit behind everyone else in terms of character power, partly because of this.
You're using Harsk as your avatar. Harsk is an iconic that is well suited to the campaign. So yes, rangers can do quite well, a dwarf ranger in particular.
Tangent is right that there won't be any treasure for a gunslinger. Likewise there probably isn't anything there specifically for Alchemists. Likewise as Tangent said there is a lot of areas where wizards will do well treasure-wise. Most of the treasure though is fairly generic and a lot of it is just meant to be sold.
Having two characters play full BAB classes would not be a bad idea. Alternately having a 3/4 BAB class that can easily buff its hit chance is probably good, like a combat-oriented bard or an inquisitor. I am running the campaign and my starting party had mostly +1 or +2 to hit which was a problem. It balanced out fairly quickly but it was kind of embarrassing early on. You don't need a barbarian with 20 STR but you do need something.
I think the campaign would probably work fairly well with some of the newer classes so you shouldn't feel restricted to the "classic" four character types. There are some traps but you probably don't need a dedicated trap spotter. There are lots of ruins in Varisia so an archaeologist bard might work well.
A Paladin will totally ROFLstomp a lot of areas of the adventure. I actually would suggest NOT having a paladin as it may make certain parts seem too easy. YMMV. Some of the parts of the campaign are meant to be mysterious or suspenseful and the detect evil at will kind of ruins that.
I guess the party has lost out on the reward that would have been given to them by the mayor if the hellknights are taking credit.
I would definitely add Ironbriar to the shadow clock. If you have seven players you want extra bodies in the last fight. When they get there they might hear him trying to get Xanesha to help him.
I don't think Ironbriar can return to his former life unless the PCs are dead, and the HKs are placated somehow.
If you are giving XP the party will be behind since they didn't face the enemies in the sawmill; they also didn't get any of the magic items and there was a fair bit of treasure there. So it's also good for your players if they get the chance to face him.
Latrecis' ideas for the HKs are interesting but if the players act quickly they could get X and JI before any of those plans are enacted by them.
Xanesha is powerful but I'm not sure she could pull off an assault on the HKs with what she has at hand. A decent sized group of Fighter 5/Hellknight 1's could probably take her on, though with some losses. How big is the HK outpost that you've added? I'm pretty sure canon does not have any Hellknights in Magnimar (though they are in Korvosa). If it's a small embassy then this might work. Also remember that not every member of the cult was necessarily at the sawmill, so there could still be cultists around for Xanesha to use.
the Lorax wrote:
SOMETHING has to occur that is unintended by Ironbriar to give the PCs a chance without downplaying Ironbriar.
Yes, this is my conundrum. There are a number of scenarios here that could just end the adventure in a variety of ways. One is that Ironbriar sets a trap for the players that is severe enough to defeat them.
Another thing that had occurred to me was having the cult clean up everything - they arrive at the sawmill but thanks to Ironbriar's warning the place has been scrubbed. The Skinsaw cultists do not attack unless the PCs actually figure things out. They don't conduct rituals there and there isn't any physical evidence of wrongdoing really. They don't perform the murders at the sawmill.
However, I'm pretty sure this would stump my players completely.
A wand of magic aura and undetectable alignment would be enough to "cover" everyone and everything at the mill; my players don't have the system mastery to figure that out barring a lucky roll. Basically they kind of rely on the Paladin detecting evil and the full casters casting detect magic.
They happily lead the pc's upstairs, intending to trap them between cultists and the Scarecrow from below and Ironbriar and the remaining cultists from above
Latrecis, I do really like your scenarios, and I think I could work with the second one.
I think a trap involving the scarecrow might be too much... this isn't supposed to be the "big" fight of the adventure. I could basically say that Ironbriar would prefer to present Xanesha with the dead PCs than ask for her help. He wants to look strong in her eyes. So he hasn't notified her yet.
Kruge: [shouts] "Get out! Get out of there! Get out!"
I don't get this reference. Who is Kruge?
the Lorax wrote:
If any of the named NPCs from Thistletop arrived in Magnimar,
The only survivor was Orik. There has been enough time for him to end up in Magnimar, but he doesn't know Xanesha and she doesn't know him. I'd rather not play it this way as it seems like a stretch to me. Also they basically got everything out of Orik that he knew, so I don't want to change his story now.
So let's say that Ironbriar wants to set up the trap for the players at the sawmill. Anything you can imagine that might tip the players off at the last moment? Something that plausibly would give the players a chance to spring the trap early?
Good ideas, guys, keep them coming!
Be cool and charming. He knows about them, but doesn't know for sure what they know about him. When they come to visit him, he'll try cleverly to find out, do they suspect him or not. If they do, if they start accusing him right in his office, he can deny anything and even take them in custody for false statements. And give him some potions of misdirection, that he took prior meeting them. He's clever enough to hide his alignment.
I'm pretty sure he also has undetectable alignment on his spell list too. Considering the duration he'd probably always have that going.
The party isn't going to start accusing him because they are completely unaware of his connection to things other than as the investigating official. They actually are trying to avoid some kind of legal consequences if they get caught sneaking into the sawmill, and is hoping they can get some kind of warrant to go in there.
And about Magnimar prison - don't remember details, but wasn't it a one way ticket? In City of Monuments was something about that guards lost any contact whit it, or it's lower levels. That some mad aristocrat is now running the show there.
Sounds like you are talking about the Hells... but they wouldn't end up there until they were actually sentenced. If they were arrested they would end up in a local jail to await trial. One of the players has enough street connections that even if he couldn't get out on his own someone would probably spring them.
Digital Mystic wrote:
you could add these from my previous two posts:
1. BURNT OFFERINGS
Glass and Wrath
2. THE SKINSAW MURDERS
Chasing the Skinsaw
Tsuto is already dead, sadly, so I can't use that idea. Not bothering having Ironbriar being his father anyway.
I am thinking about what should happen when the party goes to Ironbriar's office to talk to him. Obviously if they do so then the Skinsaw cult would be alerted and could set a trap at the sawmill.
But what would you have Ironbriar do when they meet him outside the sawmill? Before going to the sawmill? Remember that Ironbriar knows who they are (the stalkers in the townhouse were placed there by Ironbriar), but is probably not expecting them to come looking for him.
If he were to have them arrested I think the players would likely avoid doing too much damage to non-evil guys. I also think that if they were thrown in jail they wouldn't have too much of a problem getting out again. Of course, I'd need to make up a prison map.
Any other ideas?
Finally got around to it; I threw it in my session last night. Party had 5 members at level 6. Worked out pretty well. The monster gave the party a good scare despite going down pretty fast.
I swapped out the phantasmal killer SLA though. Having a DC 17 will save or die in a party that cannot yet cast raise dead seemed overly harsh and potentially could lead to a TPK. The Paladin in our party would be immune but the rest of the party has only mediocre or poor will saves. I have an oracle and a sorcerer but neither has a good wisdom.
So I gave it a call lightning SLA instead of the phantasmal killer SLA. It made sense to me since it already gets fog cloud and gust of wind so another weather-themed effect seemed like a good idea. I had it attack during a storm so the lightning did 3d10.
In the end the barbarian and the paladin both scored a crit in the same round, between those two hits they scored 65 damage and the devil had only 45 left before that. That was round three or four.
Yeah, it sounds like they have missed a bunch of things.
If a party buys and uses a lot of consumable stuff, the party wealth will go down.
My party has yet to reach the Seven's Sawmill, but they were already in the total 65k range after finishing Thistletop and doing some crafting. WBL would put them at 42k for the whole party at 5th level.
There are also times when the party gets rewarded for things. for example, the Mayor of Magnimar is supposed to give the party 6000 gp each upon completing the Skinsaw Murders.
It seems to me that the treasure is there if the party is taking time to look for it.
However, if the players aren't the type to just loot the bodies every chance they get, then I would give the party more gold in the form of rewards from good guys for completing these quests. The Black Arrows could have some stuff they can reward the party with when the party comes to their aid. That kind of thing.
I decided to have Justice Ironbriar in charge of the investigation into the rash of Sihedron murders, just for fun.
After finishing the Misgivings, the party decided to take time to craft items before heading to Magnimar. This means that Ironbriar has had lots of time to find out who the players are; it has become common knowledge in Sandpoint that they defeated what was left of Aldern and solved the murders.
When my players arrived in Magnimar, one of the players was carrying a shield marked with the Sihedron Rune (it was a bit of treasure I added to the Catacombs of Wrath) and this made quite a stir at the gate, but the players aced their diplomacy rolls and calmed the guards down. In the conversation they found out that Ironbriar was the Judge in charge of the investigation.
Anyway, they have since investigated the townhouse and found the deed for Foxglove Manor, and know about the connection to the Seven's Sawmill.
Now, before staging a raid on the sawmill, they plan to see Ironbriar in the hopes that they will be deputized and have the authority of law when they enter the mill.
So this could get really interesting. I am thinking that upon seeing the Sihedron Rune on the shield and on the medallion that Ironbriar will accuse the players of the murders. The players will then be fugitives. They pretty much have to go for the sawmill at that point anyway, but the cult will then be expecting them.
Any suggestions as to how I should play this out?
Basically another "expert" on Thassilonian Lore, well-respected in Magnimar, who thinks Brodert Quink is a quack. Actually when Bombastico and Brodert disagree, Brodert is usually the one who is right, but Bombastico is more charismatic and talks a lot louder.
Bombastico believes that Thassilon was an enlightened society modelled on Azlant that honoured the seven virtues of rule, but collapsed because it was overrun by giants. Obviously that is way off.
Bombastico is there to come up with ridiculous theories about Thassilon that will make Brodert's ideas plausible.
While I'm at it I might as well post this:
This was a re-work of the Catacombs of Wrath that I did to make it a bit less linear. There is only one spiral staircase that connects both levels. This fills the role of both stairwells in the original map. Also I added a number of collapsed tunnels for more foreshadowing about the scribbler's lair later on.
I reduced the amount of gold the party was going to get for selling Erylium's dagger so I added some extra treasure to compensate.
The room with the four statues was another "welcome" room. The eyes of the statues had gems in them that were enchanted with an alarm trap which would make noise if someone tampered with them which would bring Koruvus running.
The other room to the southeast is an old armory. Most of the items in here are trash but some good stuff remains. This is where the sinspawn get their ranseurs from. I also put a +1 spiked shield which had spikes laid out in a pattern like the sihedron rune.
The image is just a rough layout because I was using IxionZero's printable map and just swapped around components.
I wasn't really happy with the layout of the townhouse in The Skinsaw Murders. Many of the rooms seem far too small for their intended purpose (especially the dining room), and some things are missing, such as servant's quarters. Some areas of the building have no natural lighting at all and the magical levitating fireplace on the third floor nearly made me choke. Also the mystery room to the southwest kind of bothered me.
So I re-did the map. My results aren't as pretty but they can be found here: http://s12.postimg.org/gxzmrref1/mymap.png
C1: Front Garden This once neat approach to the house clearly hasn't been maintained for several months.
Other notes: There are no windows on the east side of the building or the west side of the pantry as there are other townhouses that are identical in layout but a mirror image of this one on the adjacent lots.
The white rectangles are doors; the rectangles with two dots are windows.
Some adventures have railroads and they can work. If you are going to railroad, make it painless.
By this I mean: don't have your players roleplay out a bunch of actions that are going to have no effect on the outcome. That's just mean and it violates the spirit of the game, which is that the players get to decide what their characters do. If you take away their control then you are basically playing by yourself.
For example, imagine your adventure plotline requires your party to be shipwrecked on a tropical island. This is a decent way for an exciting adventure to start and presents the players with some immediate goals, such as: How do we survive on this island? And how do we get home again?
But don't have your players play out the part where they try to prevent the ship crashing on the rocks. Forcing them to make a bunch of rolls that must fail for the story to go on is just cheap.
I have had a lot of success with starting an adventure off with "The Story So Far...", a bit of background that explains how the characters got where they are and what their immediate situation is. This amounts to a block of text that you can either read out or have the players take turns reading aloud. Try not to make it too long; if there are extra details you want to be available you could always allow players to ask questions later.
Sulis cost 16 RP...
Actually, this one is wrong. The person who did the math didn't double check their work.
According to the list, Suli "pay" 4 RP for their elemental assault ability. This is an error. 1 RP gets you an elemental assault that targets one energy type. 4 RP therefore would get you one separate energy assault for each energy type, for a total of 4 per day. That would be pretty awesome.
But instead, they get one assault which allows them to choose the energy type. This is arguably worth more than one with a fixed energy type, but is certainly not worth four. If you had all four, you could choose one of a specific energy type and still have 3 left over. So I peg the suli's assult ability at 2 RP (1.5 RP would be more reasonable if fractions were allowed).
Likewise, suli "pay" 3 RP for the outsider type, but do not get darkvision, which normally comes as a part of the outsider "package." Therefore, they have effectively "lost" 2 RP by not getting this ability.
So even by their own system the Suli are worth 12 RP, not 16.
You will notice that this "breath weapon" has a 5-foot cone. So it can only hit a single creature that is adjacent to the undine.
The standard 1 RP breath weapon has a 15-foot cone or 30-foot line. It's possible to hit 6 small/medium creatures with that.
A 1/day energy attack that affects 1 adjacent opponent for reasonable damage is probably worth 1 RP. It is not area effect in any real sense of the word (except against swarms) and the damage it does should be less than the damage you are doing with your normal attacks.
The reality is the basic breath weapon in the race builder is a joke. Decent for 1st level characters but within a few levels it becomes a novelty and is useless for actual combat. The ability should have scaled by level.
Well, if you just throw one object of max weight then that's not an issue. But what I was thinking of was making grapple checks using telekinesis.
For weapons, I probably would want more than a handgun. A handgun is fine for close range combat with other humans, but you might end up in the wild facing a bear and that won't do it.
I'm not much of a shot, so a shotgun would probably be sensible. But a rifle would also be good (for range). A good modern Bowie knife probably counts as a masterwork dagger. Hopefully by the time I ran out of ammo I'd have enough combat experience to make do with what was available.
Kevlar body armor.
I would bring medical gear because even if I knew about fantasy clerics I wouldn't assume that one would be readily available wherever I "landed."
For transportation: a bicycle! Seriously, in this environment they can be awesome. If in rough terrain, you can walk the bike, and still load a lot of gear on it. This is how the Japanese were able to surprise the British garrison in Singapore in WWII. Make sure you bring some tools and several patch kits. Mountain bike style, obviously, with side baskets. If the cash doesn't matter then you can get a really light one of you are willing to spend the dough.
But as far as Warlocks in D&D/PF goes...
In 1e I used the word as a convenient term to refer to a fighter-magic-user. This has no particular basis in historical usage, but it worked for our group as "warlock" was definitely associated with magic, but the fact that the word begins with "war" evokes the image of a fighting wizard.
For the record, "wizard" has also historically been used as a male version of "witch," though witch does not necessarily imply females. A third of the "witches" executed at Salem were men.
The Hebrew word that gets translated as "witch" in the Old Testament actually basically means "someone who poisons wells." This was obviously very serious in a desert environment. It didn't necessarily mean a practitioner of magic. However, the manufacture of poisons kind of falls under alchemy, which was close enough to magic for most folks.
Sources of Scott's usage ...
I have to speak up because as someone of Scots ancestry this is really setting my teeth on edge.
A Scott is a person whose name is Scott. "Scott's" means something that belongs to a person named Scott, as in "That is Scott's car."
A Scot is a person of the Scottish nationality. The plural is "Scots" but the term Scots can also be used in place of "Scottish." Scots is also the name of the dialect of English that was once spoken in the lowland and Borders regions of Scotland up until the 19th century or so. Robbie Burns' poetry is written in Scots.
I suspect your use of "Scott's" when you mean "Scots" may be an a artifact of an autocorrect feature.
I think this has been a good discussion.
I like the rogue idea and want it to work. For limited values of "work", it can.
Whatever is done to "Fix" the rogue, I want them to maintain their sneak attack damage bonus as it is. I like the idea of the rogue as a swingy spike-damage kinda guy. When I saw the slayer, I went "meh." I know he is a lot more consistent and with higher BAB and studied target his attacks actually hit. But I want that big pile of D6's.
A lot of things specifically hurt the rogue, either deliberately or not.
In my mind uncanny dodge should never have been included in the game (except possibly for rogues). It's really a legacy from the 1e barbarian class, which was the most broken class in that edition and in that edition it compensated for this by punishing the rest of the party.
The trait system exists mainly to grant class skills to classes that don't normally get them. This drastically reduces the need for rogues or rogue dips. I like traits, but they reduce the value of a class who has skills as one of only two primary features.
My personal houserule archetypes are:
Specialist: Choose two skills. You gain a bonus to those skills equal to 1/2 your rogue level (minimum +1). This ability replaces Trapfinding.
Note: you can use that to simulate trapfinding if you want, though instead of granting a situational bonus it is just a flat bonus, which makes things simpler.
Renaissance Rogue: At 3rd level, a renaissance rogue gains a broad training that enhances his overall training, increasing the class bonus for any rogue class skills by +1. These bonuses rise to +2 when the renaissance rogue reaches 6th level, to +3 when she reaches 9th level, to +4 when she reaches 12th level, to +5 at 15th, and to +6 at 18th level. This ability replaces Trap Sense.
Keen Striker: At 3rd level, a keen striker gains a better understanding of the position of vulnerable locations on the bodies of her enemies. Whenever a keen striker makes an attack that is eligible for sneak attack damage, her chance to hit increases by +1. These bonuses rise to +2 when the keen striker reaches 6th level, to +3 when she reaches 9th level, to +4 when she reaches 12th level, to +5 at 15th, and to +6 at 18th level. This ability replaces Trap Sense.
Note: you would need to choose one or the other out of these two.
Actually, you don't necessarily need a race that grants a CHA bonus. You probably want to avoid a race that has a CHA penalty, but you really only need a CHA of 14 or so.
So a race that grants +STR is good. Another physical stat would be awesome, but I don't see any Paizo race that gives a STR bonus and either a DEX or CON bonus. But a race like human, half-orc, or half-elf is still good.
Male Lashunta gets +2 STR and WIS and -2 INT. That's not bad.
I have a bit of an issue with how this encounter is written.
If the AP was written with the if the demon was actually trying to communicate with the player characters, but with the Nalfeshnee just "popping in" in front of the players with weapon drawn then there is a serious problem with the AP.
In a warzone, if one soldier wants to communicate peacefully with a member of the enemy forces, he is aware that they will normally shoot first and ask questions later. So he waves a white flag, raises his hands, shouts out that he is unarmed, and so forth. Even then he is still taking a risk. He's going to do everything possible to communicate to the enemy that he is not a threat, before they start taking shots at him, in fact, generally before they can even see him.
The Abyss IS a warzone. Even the demons are not friends with one another.
A Nalfeshnee has an INT of 23 and a WIS of 22; these values represent superhuman intelligence and wisdom. It should understand these principles and be doing whatever it takes to communicate this notion before the players have the chance to attack. Having a sword drawn is not a good way to do this.
If the adventure is written that the Nalfeshnee teleported in with the intent of talking to the players, it should have known better than to do so right in front of the players with sword drawn. In my mind that act represents an INT/WIS of about 7, not 22-23. The Nalfeshnee is doing something really stupid when it should be hyper-intelligent.
The Nalfeshnee could just have easily teleported nearby, then summoned a vrock to deliver a scrap of parchment with a written message on it. Even if the party kills the vrock they will still get the message. The message would include some kind of signal the party could make if they were willing to talk. Then the Nalfeshnee could come out with "hands up" if the players gave the signal.
Some players would STILL kill the Nalfeshnee at this stage but then it's on them.
This is exactly the kind of thing you ought to change as a GM.
Um... wow. OK.
Were you planning on not wearing anything?
The best class to play a naked greatsword-wielding chick would be barbarian, not paladin. Also that looks like a large greatsword. There are ways to get a barbarian wielding a large greatsword - not sure if there are any for paladins.
Not sure if that matches what Solange can do in the game.
BTW I agree with Azoriel that Angel-kin Aasimar is a much better race for you. Though I would certainly understand a GM's decision to bar access to that. If you are starting at 12th level though the Aasimar racial abilities are not that big a deal.
Hm, I guess you are right about ultimate mercy; never seen it done at that low a level before.
The trick with the low CON is the possibility of getting one-shotted by a crit, especially if you are taking other hits before that. At level 12 this build will have about 83 HP. Getting CON to 16 and putting FCB into hp brings it up to 119. A big jump. Since you are not planning to use a shield you will get hit fairly often, and you can only lay on hands during your action.
In the example I gave above you could just as easily switch around the starting CHA and STR. You can even go:
STR 17 (w/+2 racial)
By level 12 you put one +1 into STR, CON, and CHA each. This gets your CHA to 19 to get Ultimate Mercy and then brings STR and CON up to even numbers.
I don't really like dropping WIS so low - even with your CHA bonus it's still an important save. You will be immune to fear and charm at this level, but it's a bad save to fail. You could also do DEX 10 WIS 10 and the points would be the same.
I believe ultimate mercy requires 11th level. Maybe you can shuffle things around.
Not sure if I would bother with the energy resistances for your favoured class bonus. You need to be hit with energy 3 times in one encounter for it to be as good as extra hp. I'd just take the hp. Especially since your CON is so low.
BTW if you are going with INT 8 you might as well dump it to 7 as mechanically it will be no different (you will get the same number of skill ranks) though your INT skills (like knowledges) will be at -1.
I don't know the Solange reference so I'm not sure what you are aiming for specifically.
EDIT: It looks like this is for a 20-point build.
I would be inclined to lower your starting CHA or STR to 16. That would allow this:
STR 18 (w/+2 race)
Since this looks like a 12th level character you also get three level up bonuses - one could be applied to CON and the other two to CHA or STR. You need to get CHA to 19 by level 11 when you take Ultimate Mercy but you can use a CHA boosting item to get there.