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It really depends on the party. My players ROFLstomped Malfeshnekor.
Detect evil from the paladin and a scroll of glitterdust from the sorcerer revealed M before they entered.
One of the players took some serious damage, but create pit gave them a round or two to recover (M can levitate out of it). I had an evocation-optimized sorcerer spamming magic missiles, and an oracle spamming spiritual weapon, both or which get past the blink effect. A self-healing-optimized paladin stayed in front and tanked while the rogue scout ran around and took shots when he could.
It took about 4 or 5 rounds for M to go down. But my party was well suited for beating him.
Well, it's done now, but you could have had ghouls or ghasts come up out of the water. They are undead, and don't need to breathe. The Skinsaw man isn't that tough on his own; he needs allies for his fight to last any length of time.
And it is a type; the Skinsaw Man is definitely CE.
Did they end up torching Xanesha's letter when they torched his room?
@Peet: Reread the rules on Enlarge Person. You are using them incorrectly.
OK, I can concede this point... the only way stuff will remain enlarged is if he continues to wear it forever, and obviously that isn't practical.
Nevertheless, as I already pointed out, a large longsword costs 30 gp instead of 15 gp. Not exactly a financial crisis.
Also, being able to see your enemy coming means you can target that enemy sooner.
Umm... no. You can see a large creature and a medium creature just as far away. You can start shooting at either as soon as they are in range.
A smart commander would order his bowmen to IMMEDIATELY start firing at the large (and more easily hit) unit.
Maybe he would. Compared to a person with the same base stats and gear an enlarged character has -2 to his AC.
But at maximum range you are going to be at -18 to hit (the 10th range band, 1000 feet for longbows). So the medium archers and the enlarged archers will all only hit on 20's. The difference is the enlarged archers (assuming longbows) will do on average 64% more damage per hit. So your medium archers are not going to win that duel.
Meanwhile the enlarged guys are not going to be fighting alone. The fact that your commander has ignored the rest of the enemy force gives them something of a free pass. The commander of the enlarged unit could advance his enlarged guys far enough to draw everyone's fire and then pull them back when they start to get in trouble. Meanwhile, his medium archers have been raining their arrows in the rest of his enemy's ranks and his medium footsoldiers and cavalry have advanced without facing any missile fire. This scenario is still full of win for the commander of the enlarged troops.
There are so many ways to protect yourself from arrow fire that it is pretty ridiculous to say "that won't work because archers." A unit with tower shields can be effectively immune to arrow fire from at least one direction. If you are advancing slowly (i.e. 1 move action per round) you can take the total defense action. And then there are magical solutions like wind wall or hallucinatory terrain or even obscuring mist.
The potion gambit? You have the element of surprise and you have much greater numbers for the cost.
Sure, and then it's gone. You gained an advantage in a single engagement. Nothing wrong with that, and I'm not saying it's bad. But if you want the advantage of enlarged troops with any frequency then in the long run you are better off making the spell permanent on some guys.
Also, you don't loot people on the battlefield in the middle of a fight. This isn't Elder Scrolls: Skyrim.
I've never seen Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. But it was quite common for soldiers to loot downed troops during lulls in the battle. For most medieval troops loot was a major reason for them to fight.
the Lorax wrote:
I added Shayliss to the Die dog Die scene, to help set up the Shayliss/Aldren/PC Lust/Envy triangle.
This is a great idea! I wish I had thought of this as a way to introduce Shayliss. It would have made the later encounter much easier to introduce.
the Lorax wrote:
The rest of the party was actually kind of upset at this, as they are considering opening up a gambling den/casino (a plan which is going to be amusing to play out - Sandpoint is turning into a fantasy mafia movie setting)
This sounds like it has the possibility of setting up some interesting side plots involving Jubrayl Vhiski. By all means play up the Sczarni if that's what players want. You could also set up rumors of "gambling boats" operating on the lakes of the Varisian river systems, and if they were looking for advice on the issue they could find themselves in a written correspondence with one particular boat operator from book 3... :)
the Lorax wrote:
They are set to go on the Boar Hunt in the morning with Aldren.
For the record I had Aldern give the guys a few extra pieces of gear, including light horses for everyone, as the early parts of the adventure are kind of treasure-light.
You should finish book 2 soon after getting to level 7, going by the suggested progression.
@Peet, I say "try again" because your argument is ineffectual.
Honestly this is the way I feel about your objections. None of them have made much of an impact here.
First: you need to hire a wizard of sufficient power to cast that spell.
You need a 9th level wizard. Well within the means of any medium sized city.
The spell ain't cheap - you can afford 50 potions of Enlarge Person for the cost of one Permanent Enlarge.
A soldier who uses the tactic regularly will go through 50 potions in a few weeks. Permanency is... well, permanent. Besides that, potions on downed men can be captured by the enemy. Permanent spells cannot.
Second: one Large soldier isn't going to do much. Thus you need multiple guys - so say a unit of 10 Enlarged "Elite" soldiers...
I was thinking more along the lines of a hundred or so. Major armies usually take the field with tens of thousands of men.
And yes, the price for ten guys is indeed ten times as much as the price for one guy. It is still more cost effective in the long run per guy.
Third: Once a weapon or armor is removed from the Enlarged Person it shrinks. So you need Large-size weapons and armor (which is where this argument started from)....
Yes, this is the whole point. But large armor and weapons cost twice as much as normal. Personally I am happy to pay 30 gp for a longsword that does 2d6 damage instead of 1d8. Wouldn't you be?
The funny part is if you give the guy the medium gear you want him to have, and then enlarge him, then his gear gets permanently enlarged too. So you can pay a regular price for the first set of gear the guy goes through. The only thing you want to avoid is enlarging missile weapons, which specifically don't work this way, per the spell description.
As for people buying ogre hooks and such... well, I already refuted this argument earlier so I'm not sure why you brought it up again.
Would they buy medium sized versions of these weapons? Probably not, but it is a basic game concept that you can sell that kind of stuff. You can sell the gear you take from orcs and bugbears. You can sell the masterwork horsechopper you got off that goblin. Taking this attitude means you have to go through any adventures that involve creatures like this and re-write the gear and treasure found. If you want to do so for your campaign world, go ahead, but it goes against one of the basic assumptions of the game.
And frankly, the question of whether crude humanoid gear could be sold in a civilized area has nothing to do with whether a nation would equip units of troops with permanent enlarge person spells.
Fourth: These large-size soldiers will be seen coming.
You want them to be. This is half the point.
The elephants employed by the armies of the Carthaginians had only a small impact in the battles they fought compared to their cost. But their morale effect on their enemies was huge, and it is one of the things that Roman historians remember most about the Carthaginian armies.
A group of archers can target them before the large unit enters combat without any penalties.
I already refuted your point about the archers, but you brought it up again. So let's cover it in more detail.
1. There is no reason that large troops cannot have bows. And a large longbowman will do 64% more damage per arrow on average than a guy with a medium longbow.
2. If you are spending 2500 gp to make a guy large you are also going to spend money outfitting them well. It isn't too hard to get to or even over 20 AC with just mundane equipment. Remember also that tower shields can be used to create full cover; Roman legionnaires in tortoise formation were basically immune to archer fire. So it's reasonable to say that your archers won't score hits too often, unless they are also "elite" guys.
3. Remember that you aren't going to do the permanent enlarge procedure on just anyone. You're going to pick your hardened veterans; in game terms this means more levels. So your large guys are going to take considerably more damage to take down than your average guy.
4. You seem to think that the large troops will be operating alone. As a part of an army, of course they won't. And if the enemy commander is spending all these resources in trying to stop the "big guys" then the rest of the large force's army will have advanced unopposed and have a huge advantage.
5. Not all of the enemy force is going to consist of archers. A commander could just deploy his enlarged troops away from the area where enemy archers are concentrated.
Given that the Enlarged men aren't any faster and cannot ride mounts...
Ummm, no. Enlarged men cannot ride horses. There are plenty of huge creatures that make suitable mounts.
Besides, with the DEX penalty that comes with enlarge person, these guys probably don't mind being flat-footed and can run (just as anytone else) for 4x their regular move in one round at the cost of being flat-footed.
You also would see pikemen going up against these Large Soldiers because you need reach to effectively fight large soldiers to avoid AoO.
So what? It's a reasonable strategy. But there's no reason a large guy can't use reach weapons, and if they do their reach will exceed the pikemens'. If I was designing an enlarged unit from scratch I might go with the Phalanx Fighter archetype. Meanwhile the enemy commander has to be careful to make sure his pikemen are deployed to be the ones facing the large troops, meaning they may be out of position to face enemy cavalry.
You are forced to feed them more, spend more money to equip them,
yeah, but these differences are small compared to the original investment of the permanency. And it is worth spending extra dough on your elite troops. They are worth it. Meanwhile it is still less in the long run that your potion costs.
and a lucky wizard with Dispel Magic could negate the Permanency.
Sure. On one guy. But he will still be enlarged until the enlarge person duration expires, so likely he is enlarged for 7 or 8 more rounds. And then your wizard gets pounded on by the remaining large guys. Remember, dispelling the permanency doesn't dispel the enlarge; they are still two separate spells. It only gets the duration clock ticking again for the spell that had been permanent.
But in the meantime you have a regular-sized soldier in oversized armor and weapons because you needed to equip them with large-size weapons.
As an aside, since dispelling the permanency wouldn't get rid of the enlarge person right away, and dispelling the enlarge person would only suppress it temporarily, a better bet would be to use reduce person, which wouldn't require a caster level check and would suppress the enlarge for it's duration. Mass reduce person would be better as it gets multiple guys at once.
So. Increased costs, further increased costs,
Again, we covered this already. You are already going to spend more money on your elite troops. The question is how do you spend the money. Meanwhile the cost in the long run is less than feeding your troops potion after potion.
And here's a kicker: how many potion brewers do you have? A 9th level wizard can make one or two (if he has a high enough INT) soldiers permanently enlarged in one day. How many potions of enlarge person can he make in the same time period? One.
If you are constantly feeding potions to your troops you are going to need a large industry at home to support this, and you have to arrange to get these supplies to the field where the army is. So guess what? your potion system involves a lot of overhead on top of just what is required to pay for the potions themselves.
Fixed that for you.Enlarge person is one of the best 1st level buffs available for a martial, and is still worth casting at high level. Yes, there are ways to try to counter it, but the fact that your enemy is forced to switch tactics to do so is one of the reasons that it is worth doing. You are dictating his tactics to him.
The concept of successfully integrating a group of large humans into your culture on a long term basis is something that could occupy another entire thread. If you as a ruler introduced the idea as an "experiment" than you would have to work out these things - this would make an interesting part of a Kingmaker campaign. But in the long run I see no reason that a country with a tradition of having an elite "giant's legion" composed of permanently enlarged troops wouldn't have worked out the kinks long ago.
Especially as you can for the cost of 10 Permanently Enlarged people instead have 500 potions of Enlarge Person, and have them all quaff just before the fight...
I have refuted this idea over and over and you don't seem to be paying attention.
Having your force of 500 guys all quaff potions of enlarge person[i] will help you win a single engagement within a battle. It might turn the tide of the battle; it might not. But what you need to compare it to is the same group of guys, quaffing potion over and over again. If there is a war going on they have gone through their entire supply of potions in a few weeks. The war could last for years.
When it comes to magical effects, cost-wise a permanent solution is always better than consumable items in the long run.
(Or you can hire a wizard with Mass Enlarge Person.)
To compare costs, a scroll of [i]mass enlarge person will cost 700 gp and enlarge 7 guys, and will also require someone to be handy who can read the scroll. So for a temporary cost potions are a better deal, though the mass version will last 7 minutes instead of 1.
In any event, you wouldn't be having adventurers selling crude ogre weapons...
Again with this. The same logic applies to crude goblin weapons or crude orc weapons. The size of the weapons has nothing to do with this issue, nor does it have any bearing on whether a nation would employ permanently enlarged troops.
Considering a Druid cannot wear Studded leather? Then yes, magical Hide or Leather armor is a good investment.
Druids are a special case. They are pretty rare, especially in the kinds of markets where this sort of stuff gets sold, and they are fairly likely to be able to make their own stuff. And if you are saying that +1 hide armor is a valid choice because druids, well there will be ogre and troll druids too.
But it's actually not a bad idea for there to be some sort of "druidic trading post" that you could incorporate into your campaign world, where that type of people drop in to trade with the outside world.
Heck, rogues would likely use magical leather armor as only a rules-savvy player
You pretty much blow it right here as we are talking about NPCs. And an NPC rogue (or any class for that matter) should know the pros and cons of the various types of armor that he is trained to use.
even then, a high-dexterity character might be better off with the magic leather over magic studded leather due to maximum dexterity concerns.
The net AC in this case will be the same. But a rogue with a 22+ DEX can probably do a lot better than +1 leather.
Next, you have the limited time that a potion would provide. Why is that a bad thing?
I already explained why, but let me elaborate.
Firstly, we are not talking about adventurers. Adventurers are extraordinary people who are few and far between. What we are talking about are soldiers.
Land battles involving armies of soldiers armed with melee weapons tend to last for hours - or sometimes even days. The "three or four round fight" is something that is common in adventures but has little to do with the experience of most soldiers. In context a typical "battle" should include dozens of the kinds of "fights" you are talking about.
Secondly, one of the main advantages of having large troops around is that seeing them is likely to make potential enemies reconsider fighting. But if you want your large troops to be seen by large numbers of people they need to be enlarged for long periods of time.
It would be fairly easy to optimize a character around the idea of being large all the time. And the price is good.
If you could "civilize" ogres then it would be more effective to just hire them instead. But they (Paizo and WotC) seem to go out of their way to avoid having any good or lawful giants, except for some really powerful high level ones. I'd like there to be situations like this or this but the only way to get that kind of thing in a Paizo campaign world is by enlarging people.
The bottom line is that the fact that it is possible in the game to make a humanoid permanently large means there should be some places where this would is encountered. And it seems that large capital cities are probably your best bet.
Because any fight that lasts a minute is going to be one where the large enemy is hit by multiple opponents with missile fire and melee attacks because he's the most visible target and considered the greatest threat.
We are not talking about one guy. We are talking about a hundred of them, an actual military unit full of them. And if you can afford to spend 2,500 on enlarge then you can also afford to spend money on good armor. So they are not going to be easy to pick off by common soldiers.
And you know what? AC is only -1 for large creatures, while firing into melee against someone with cover is still -8. Your squadron of enlarged fighters isn't in that much danger, and they can dish out damage that much faster. At range their composite bows will likely be doing 2d6+4 damage (feats notwithstanding) compared to the 1d8+3 of the equivalent enemies.
For the record if people in Magnimar can afford a bunch of Angelic Guardians at 22,000 gp a pop they can certainly afford a unit of enlarged fighters.
So. Do you have 50 men who are Enlarged for 1 minute? Or do you have one man who is Permanently Enlarged...
It would be quite reasonable to give enlarge person potions to your throwaway Warrior 2's. You aren't going to permanently enlarge someone like that; you don't expect that many of them to survive. But a group of elite Fighter 6's (or cavaliers, or barbarians, or whatever)? Yeah, there would be definite advantages to it.
The place where your logic seems to keep falling apart is that you are applying the experience of player characters in an adventure and assuming that NPCs experience things the same way. They don't. That's why they are NPCs.
Please actually refute something I say before saying "try again."
Just cleared out the Seven's Sawmill just after dark. Ironbriar was expecting everyone and had an ambush set up, but the party trampled all over them.
After interrogating Ironbriar (and dispelling Xanesha's charm monster) they got Ironbriar to write a letter to Xanesha and request that she meet him. It was dark so they couldn't see where the raven went.
Xanesha already knew that the players had taken on the sawmill (they weren't exactly quiet about it) so she sent the scarecrow after them. Scarecrow got into the sawmill while the players were mostly sleeping (I assumed as a former resident the scarecrow knew his way around), and the Scarecrow's stealth was enough to get pretty close the rogue who was on guard.
So after the surprise round the rogue fell back, yelling, and the paladin got up and engaged, though she was not wearing her armor. She had AC11. She took a hit for 15 from an attack of opportunity, but decided not to use a lay on hands as she still had 55 HP and due to favored class bonuses and feats she heals herself 4d6+11 points per lay on hands.
The Scarecrow swings, power attacks... and crits. For 96 points of damage.
But wait! There's still a chance! She has the spell Heroes' defiance to lay on hands as an immediate action when she goes down. She does so, and heals 21 points. That's good... but that puts her at -20, still well beyond her CON of 14.
Had she done her lay on hands when she had the chance she would have been unconscious, but alive. :(
However, the party can afford a raise dead at this stage.
If there were elite guards with a permanent Enlarge Person (which is foolish really, you give them potions of Enlarge Person for use when needed - otherwise you need giant-sized housing for them and greater amounts of food to feed them)
A potion of enlarge person only lasts one minute. This is a really poor long-term strategy.
For the price of 50 potions you can have enlarge person made permanent. In the long term this is a very good deal. Major battles can last hours and the last thing you need is your troops spending one tenth of their actions pulling out and drinking potions. I would only say this is a good idea if they have some way of drinking options as a swift action, and even then you are going to spend a lot more cash in the long run.
A big part of the value of large troops is that they are seen. The morale effect on the average guy knowing he is going up against giants is significant (hence the +4 bonus to intimidate), which means you want guys to be large for more than just the moment they are in contact with the enemy.
The cost of food and lodgings for a large human would be about 8 times that of a medium human. Significantly more, but still quite manageable considering how much we saved on not constantly buying potions.
then you'd see properly-made large-size weapons for them. They'd not want magical ogre hide armor or magical ogre hooks because those are crude weapons ...
This is true for lots of treasure that is found in the game. Not just that which is found on larger creatures.
Why would medium +1 hide armor be sellable? Unless you are selling to druids a masterwork breastplate is both far superior and also cheaper. Yet you find a lot of items in published material that the player characters would never touch with a 10-foot pole. Once I saw a DEX 12 minor villain who was equipped with +1 padded armor. I mean, really? A big part of why these are in there is to simply exist as treasure.
Another example, I am running Rise of the Runelords right now and we recently finished the Seven's Sawmill.
Everyone in the place had a masterwork war razor. Shortswords or rapiers or even daggers would be pretty much better all around, and when you try to sell war razors it seems like only the cult of Norgorber would be interested in buying.
Items like that are included in adventures to mitigate power levels of enemies and still provide treasure.
If you are legitimately objecting to inefficiently thought-out gear then you need to be going through most of your adventures and re-think people's gear. Does that guy really need the extra max dex bonus that +1 leather armor gets him over masterwork studded leather which costs only 175 gp instead of 1160 gp?
It's a valid gripe, but it flies in the face of one of the main systems in the game. So you can invoke this problem but doing so adds a lot of work, and I'm not sure it's worth it.
Ian Bell wrote:
1) They have to know how haunts can be stopped in the first place - my party couldn't figure it out and failed the Religion check I gave them to do it, so that was that for them.
My party had done the chopper's isle mini-adventure from Wayfinder #7 and had encountered haunts before. I figured it made good foreshadowing.
Ian Bell wrote:
2) The character with the positive energy needs to make their Perception check in order to even have a chance to get it before it goes off.
Three of my party of 5 have good perception rolls and one of them is the party channeler (an oracle of life). The sorcerer and paladin do not have high perception but do have positive energy attacks.
Ian Bell wrote:
3) Even if they make the Perception check, they have to beat the haunt's initiative.
Fifty-fifty chance with no DEX bonus. Typically the majority of characters will win initiative against the haunt.
Ian Bell wrote:
4) They have to be close enough to the haunt to affect it - remember that haunt effects happen in a *surprise round* so you can't move and lay hands on it - you'll have to be adjacent already or burn a channel.
The rooms are pretty small and often that haunt inhabits the entire room. Even if it doesn't a 5' step is usually enough to get you there. And if not, I see no reason you couldn't charge and attack with a lay on hands.
On the other hand, if you detect the haunt but can't affect it, you just leave the room.
Ian Bell wrote:
5) They still have to hit, if laying hands, and they have to roll high enough on their damage, neither of which are automatic; a 4th/5th level paladin, which is the expected level when entering the manor, has lay on hands damage of 2d6, and there are only a couple haunts in the manor where average damage on 2d6 would take it down.
Hitting is a touch attack so it's going to hit most of the time that someone rolls.
My party's elven paladin uses her favoured class bonus to boost her channel so she did 2d6+2 damage. The one time she was able to act before the haunt went off she used this successfully. The party Sorcerer could also cast disrupt undead for an extra 1d6 if necessary.
The point though is that the non-persistent haunts have a single effect that can be beaten by a successful save. So even after all these ways that the haunt can be beaten before it goes off, it can still be beaten by a roll. If you have a paladin in the party that roll is going to be fairly easy if people stay close to the paladin (which they will once they figure things out).
Ian Bell wrote:
I'm not going to go part by part, but you are really, really underestimating the potential impact of those haunts.
When I ran this part, I found I overestimated the effect of the haunts.
Only the persistent ones are really dangerous, and those are rare. The others only take effect once and then it's over. Between the perception checks to spot them in advance and the saves the party has a good chance to deal with them.
If you have a paladin in the party you will find that they ROFLstomp this section and will be bored by the time you are done.
Another factor is the number of players. If you have more than four players then the number of haunts that affect all characters will be reduced. I would recommend taking one category of haunts and dividing it between two players, so that the number of haunts that potentially affect all players is the same.
Also you should have a game plan for if the haunted character doesn't enter the room; once my party figured out how haunts worked, only certain people (who were resistant or had high perception) would bother entering rooms. I allowed the haunts to affect a character that was in LOS from the open doorway, if the haunt was keyed to that character.
If they are in Magnimar and aren't totally sick of goblins yet you could do the Rise of the Goblin Guild (a PFS scenario that is set in Magnimar).
There's also the Chopper's Isle side quest from Wayfinder #7, though that doesn't have much treasure in it and might be a little weak for a 4th level party.
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
That's weird. A morningstar was exactly what I was envisioning.
A morningstar is a pretty good backup weapon for a character with an edged weapon, since does both blunt and piercing. They are also cheap; a cold iron one is only 16 gp. If you also want a silver one a silver light mace is your budget option at 25 gp.
Do what you can to hint to them that maybe they should ask around for some advice. My party stocked up on cold iron arrows. Plus, they figured there were some useful spells: glitterdust, see invisibility, and gust of wind. Some of those were scrolls, but gust of wind is level 1, IIRC.
Gust of wind sadly is level 2.
Faerie fire is actually the best spell for low-level characters to reveal an invisible creature, since it is level 1. The problem is only druids get it on their list. I'm not sure if it's RAW but you could allow players to buy an oil of it that could be used as a splash weapon for the same cost as a L1 potion. Or if someone in the party has a half decent UMD let them find a partially charged wand of it.
There are also lots of non-magical ways to pinpoint invisible creatures.
Ian Bell wrote:
If you haven't run the Xanesha fight yet, note that the quarters up there can be a little cramped considering her large base and the fact that she uses a reach weapon, especially if you have a larger group and/or a lot of animal companions, summons, etc.; I would consider making any additional monsters you add to that fight able to fly as a consequence.
Good point, Ian. I will probably give Ulmothax a high acrobatics.
On the map in the AE edition, the map of the top level shows some of the roof angling up towards the statue of the angel. Are you supposed to be able to occupy square that show roof tiles?
Cast enlarge person on the paladin. For bonus points give him a reach weapon.
As far as dealing with the troll, there is a simple way of dealing with a downed troll, if two players can coordinate. In the same round:
Player A stabs troll with a torch, dealing 1 point of fire damage.
Player B makes CDG on said troll.
If they have a paladin with divine bond he can make his weapon flaming.
As for the raise dead, though, I do very much like Grimbold's idea.
Thanks, Skeld! I've also been trying to think of a way to work Kaer Maga into the campaign so this will kill two birds with one stone.
I also do have a trapfinding rogue in the party so more traps are just fine.
Basically I am looking for a published module for somewhere around level 7 - 10 where the players are sent to find a powerful magic item. I want this to end up being
Spoiler:which they get for a person who turns out to be
Chellan, the Sword of Greed
Spoiler:, who they run into again at the end of the adventure.
So the actual item in the adventure can be subbed out for that. Bonus points if the module is set in Varisia and connected to Thassilon somehow.
And here I was thinking I was going to have to stat this guy up! :) Thanks, CWheezy.
Let's call him Ulmothax and he's the leader of the group of faceless stalkers working for Xanesha.
Because he's the leader of the stalkers, I don't want to penalize his CHA (in fact, maybe it should be higher than the other stalkers), I'm going to go with +4, +2, +2, +2, +0, +0 instead of the normal +4, +4, +2, +2, 0, -2.
Shouldn't Flurry attacks be only -1 to hit relative to his normal attacks? I'll give him the Feral Combat Training feat instead of dodge so he can slam at the same time as flurrying.
For items I'm giving him:
That adds up to 3500 gp which is pretty close to the 3450 that is recommended, and he's going to be drinking some of the potions.
Ulmothax CR 5
Faceless stalker monk 3 (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 2 122)
LE Medium aberration (shapechanger)
Init +8; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +10
AC 25, touch 17, flat-footed 21 (+4 Dex, +4 natural, +3 Wis, +4 armor)
hp 68 (8d8+32)
Fort +9, Ref +9, Will +11; +4 vs. gaze, odor-based, sonic
Defensive Abilities evasion; DR 5/piercing or slashing
Speed 40 ft.
Melee unarmed strike +11 (1d6+6)
or slam +12 (1d6+9 plus grab)
or unarmed strike flurry of blows +10/+10 (1d6+6) plus slam +6 (1d6+3 plus grab)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks Blood Drain (1 con), flurry of blows, sneak attack +2d6, stunning fist (4/day, DC 17)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 5th; concentration +7)
Str 22, Dex 19, Con 18, Int 13, Wis 17, Cha 18
Base Atk +5; CMB +12 (+19 grapple); CMD 25 (28 vs. grapple)
Feats Combat Reflexes, Deceitful, Feral Combat Training, Improved Grapple, Improved Initiative, Improved Unarmed Strike, Stunning Fist, Weapon Focus (slam)
Skills Acrobatics +4 (+8 to jump), Bluff +14, Disguise +18, Escape Artist +23, Perception +10, Sleight of Hand +9, Stealth +14; Racial Modifiers +4 Disguise, +8 Escape Artist
Languages Aquan, Common
SQ change shape, faceless, fast movement, maneuver training
Treasure: NPC gear (armbands of the brawler, boots of the cat, cloak of resistance +1, 2 potions of cure moderate wounds, 2 potions of mage armor, 3 potions of vanish (CL2))
Blood Drain (1 con) (Ex) Drain blood to inflict Con dam to foe grappled at end of your turn.
Change Shape (medium humanoid, alter self) (Su) You can change your form.
Combat Reflexes (5 AoO/round) Can make extra attacks of opportunity/rd, and even when flat-footed.
Damage Reduction (5/piercing or slashing) You have Damage Reduction against all except Piercing or Slashing attacks.
Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white vision only).
Evasion (Ex) If you succeed at a Reflex save for half damage, you take none instead.
Faceless (Su) In its natural form, a faceless stalker has no discernible facial features. It gains a +4 bonus on saving throws made to resist attacks or effects that target the senses. This includes gaze attacks, odor-based attacks, sonic attacks and similar attac
Fast Movement (+10 ft.) The Monk adds 10 or more feet to his base speed.
Flurry of Blows +1/+1 (Ex) As full-rd action, higher BAB and combo unarmed/monk wep as if two-weapon fighting.
Grab: Slam (Medium) (Ex) You can start a grapple as a free action if you hit with the designated weapon.
Improved Grapple You don't provoke attacks of opportunity when grappling a foe.
Improved Unarmed Strike Unarmed strikes don't cause attacks of opportunity, and can be lethal.
Maneuver Training (Ex) CMB = other BABs + Monk level
Sneak Attack +2d6 +2d6 damage if you flank your target or your target is flat-footed.
Stunning Fist (4/day, DC 17) You can stun an opponent with an unarmed attack.
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
You could allow them to get ahold of a cold iron weapon, or a scroll of glitterdust. Or you could encourage them to come across Father Zantus, who could give some useful tips.
When my players went through this, a member of the party already had a cold iron morning star as a backup (and really, why wouldn't you? They are cheap as borscht). But the trick is figuring out to use it. The party had the journal in their hands but did not bother doing any research about what a Quasit was, even though I actually prompted them on it.
Ironically the best prepared character was the one that started as a GMPC since we started the campaign with only three players. He was a half-orc plain fighter, but he was the one with the cold iron morning star and he also had the keen scent feat. He had used some of his treasure to buy scrolls of enlarge person which he had given to the party sorcerer.
The funny part is that when a player actually took the character over I allowed him to swap some things around, and he foolishly got rid of scent in favour of a sword-and-board thing that really wasn't necessary at 2nd level.
After running the scene at the Runewell I have to admit that the Erylium encounter is kind of annoying.
On the one hand she is almost impossible to catch or hurt - invisibility at will, a really high stealth score, DR 5, energy resistances, and fast healing. AC 19, which is pretty hard for most characters of this level to hit.
On the other hand, she has almost no ability to seriously hurt the party. Her dagger does 1-2 points of damage. A full round of attacks from her does 0-7 damage.
The only spells she has that actually hurt party members are her summons, but she doesn't have enough of them to really matter. The only way I could think of as a GM to really threaten the players was to have her use slumber hex on a character engaged with one of her minions, and have the minion then make a CDG on the sleeping character.
Normally a CDG is something GMs should avoid most of the time.
So I was wondering if anyone ever replaced Erylium with a different creature? One with less defense but more offense?
Like an Erylium with 3 barbarian levels instead of witch levels?
Even rogue levels would work as she could do a sneak attack every other round using invisibility on the other round. Or a full round of attacks while flanking with the sinspawn.
Ms. Pleiades wrote:
If you boost the stalker's stats, I'd say only boost wisdom to 16 so that he's getting +3 AC.
Yeah, I was thinking this myself.
I would likely also give him a bunch of potions, such as:
Maybe multiples of each so there is treasure for the party to find for this guy.
Any other potion suggestions?
Can a faceless stalker disguise itself as a statue or other inanimate object?
Oooo - when the players come up he could be disguised as a prisoner chained to the wall. The chains could be part of his "clothes" that are part of the shapeshift.
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.