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Pathfinder Society Member. 882 posts (1,339 including aliases). No reviews. 1 list. No wishlists. 5 Pathfinder Society characters. 6 aliases.


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Hi folks.

I have a friend who is one of the organizers of Breakout 2016 (facebook page) which is being held in March. Though originally envisioned as a Board Game convention, they will have a large room dedicated to RPGs and they are hoping for PFS to participate. So he asked me to look around and see if I can find some contacts to facilitate this.

So does anyone know who the VC for Toronto is? I don't see it listed on the page. There are PFS events here but I'm not sure who is in charge.

Who do I contact from Paizo about convention support for PFS?

Any help would be appreciated.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

Reworked floor plans for Fort Rannick

From the illustration the fort looks like a plausible medieval structure. However, the floor plans don't do it justice, and in some ways seem downright nonsensical.

The biggest issue with the layout of the fort is the lack of supporting walls. The second floor of the fort is a round tower with a thick stone wall. But on the first floor, underneath these walls, there is... nothing. A few of the thin wooden walls of the first floor cross over the spots where the stone walls would lie. A back of envelope calculation I made for the mass of the walls of the round tower on the second level (with the smaller bell tower) came in at approximately 10,000 tons.

Even if the beams of the ceiling were capable of supporting this weight (and I do not believe they could), a couple of fireball spells would knock out enough walls that the whole thing should collapse.

The basic rule of castles, and of stone structures in general, is that the stone walls must reach down to the foundations of the building. Even with modern construction this is true. Something has to support the weight. Certain effects can be achieved with arches and other such structures, but these things will be obvious within the floor plans, and none are present in the published map of Fort Rannick.

The second issue is that the maps do not reflect the vertical height of the tower as shown in the illustration of the fort. For the illustration to be accurate, the tower should be 4 or 5 stories tall, not 2.

A third issue is that the facilities within the fort are not sufficient to house the members of the black arrows that are garrisoned there. Though there were supposedly 50 or so members of the order, the "barracks" shows only eight beds. Even if these are bunk beds that still only houses a fraction of what is necessary. Likewise the mess hall looks like it could host maybe 15-20 people at most.

I decided to re-do the layout of the fort in order to address these issues.

Some notes on the new layout:

Ground Floor

The ground level consists of the tower and a bailey surrounded by walls. The outer walls are solid at this level for structural integrity. Entrance is through the main gate to the south. Enemies in this area are exposed to archery fire from the towers and walls above. To access the keep they must pass through a tunnel going through the base of the bell tower. The tunnel is a suitable size for humans but ogres and other giants would find it cramped. A portcullis at either end of the tunnel bars entry and potentially traps enemies in the space between them. Once past the the second portcullis you are in the inner bailey and a stairway curls around the side of the wall of the keep up to the entrance.

Within the first floor are rooms B18, B21, B22, and B27, as described in the adventure. The pantry (B27) includes a trap door in the ceiling (not shown) that leads to the kitchen. There is also a wine cellar; the door to this was smashed open by the ogres and the cellar has been cleaned out. Spilt wine and broken glass litter the floor, and the stairway leads down to the prison below where Lucretia has taken up residence. Furthermore there is a cold storage room for keeping perishables; thanks to a permanent version of an endure elements spell the room is kept at only a couple degrees above freezing. However, like the pantry the room has been cleaned out.

This level is built on bedrock so the floors will be stone.

Second Floor

This floor includes the kitchen (B26) which has 3 ovens and a long narrow prep area. The trapdoor in the floor leads to the pantry below. The mess hall (B25) is large and able to seat 48 people at once. The ceiling is open to the third level; the stairway at the west end of the room leads up to a balcony overlooking most of the room. Note: put the encounter that was originally in the Tribunal (B31) here; this is the only room in the place that has a high enough ceiling to have that encounter.

"Quarters" indicates living space for the kitchen staff. This is a job for young new recruits and is also a "punishment" duty. The stairs in this room lead down to the ground floor. The adjacent guardroom has winches for raising and lowering the portcullises as well as a pair of murder holes in the floor to allow guards to attack enemies trapped in the passage below. The fireplace can be used to boil oil which can then be poured out on enemies in the passage below.

The outer wall is pierced by two arrow slits on either side of the gate (these appear in the illustration). Archers manning these slits climb down from the upper part of the wall by rope ladder.

For this level and above the floors will be wooden planks supported by rafters going from one stone wall to the other.

Third Floor

The main gate to the keep is on this level. After climbing the stairs, an ogre would have to make a tight squeeze to the left to get at the main doors; the angle is such that it would be impossible to bring a battering ram to bear against the gate. Even if the gate is breached, a second gate lies beyond it, and anyone in the passage could be fired on through arrowslits by guards in the armory. After that gate another similar short passage can be fired on from both sides, and doors on the sides can be opened to allow defenders to flank an ogre attacking the third pair of doors.

The main double doors open into the upper level of the mess hall; this is a balcony that overlooks the hall. A dining area for officers is to the east and the stairs to the west lead down to the main part of the mess. A walkway allows access to the arrowslit facing south, but the arrowslit to the southwest never faces and enemy and is only used to let light into the room.

B19 is an armory (as described in the adventure) and the eastern part of the armory is the round bell tower which has a door allowing access to the top of the outer wall, as well as stairs up to the fourth floor. The Guardroom across from the armory is a secondary room that is used as a stopover spot for rangers on their way out to go on patrol or on their way back, and would normally have some hot food and beverages available when the mess is not in use.

Note the small gallery opposite the stairs in the inner bailey. If the inner bailey was penetrated, archers could use the gallery to shoot at enemies trying to ascend the staircase. The round towers on the outer wall have trapdoors in the ceiling that allow access to the roof (not shown).

Fourth Floor

Access to this floor is via stairs in the bell tower (B34), which continue up to the fifth floor. The barracks (B24) has 14 triple bunk beds, enough to house 42 people. The infirmary is as described in the adventure.

The chapel (B29) is as described in the module, except that I added an extra altar. The north section is dedicated to Erastil, while the western section is dedicated to Iomedae (my party had an Iomedaean paladin so I wanted to give him something to get mad about). When the Iomedaean section is in use, the Erastil section is closed off with a curtain, and vice versa. The pews can be arranged to face in either direction. The small trap doors in the floors are murder holes that can be used to attack intruders in the entrance hallway below.

The tops of the outer towers light could have had light ballistae but they would have been destroyed by the ogres by the time the players arrive.

Fifth Floor

This floor houses the commander and any important guests the order might have; officers of the order might use the other bedrooms when they are not required for visitors. Encounters are as listed in the adventure. The tower stairs lead up to the bell tower above and the roof of the keep.

Kalindlara wrote:

I would raise it for certain types, possibly depending on geography.

So the average Ulfen wouldn't know devils' common weakness, but a Chelaxian would... and for fey, vice versa. By contrast, pretty much nobody would have common knowledge of qlippoth weaknesses.

This is a GM call, but is actually in the fine print of the Knowledge skill rules:

PRD wrote:
In general, the DC of such a check equals 10 + the monster's CR. For common monsters, such as goblins, the DC of this check equals 5 + the monster's CR. For particularly rare monsters, such as the tarrasque, the DC of this check equals 15 + the monster's CR, or more.

Obviously it is up the the GM as to when to apply these modifiers, but I don't think you should be stingy.

Even though Lycanthropes and Fae don't actually exist, it was common folklore long before mass media existed that they were vulnerable to silver and cold iron respectively (though cold iron had a different meaning). Thus it is reasonable to assume that ordinary folk will have some recipes for protecting themselves from the monsters that populate the area.

I hadn't known about the hurtful feat... interesting. I'm not sure about it with this character but I have an intimidating Inquisitor who might find it useful.

Quicken spell was something I had considered and it's a very good point about betting the trait that reduces the effective level for metamagic.

BadBird wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:
Yeah, that works too. I still think the TWF is a trap on an Oracle.
Well, it's one of those things that's worse almost all the time but can work out well if planned for. A Wood Bond Oracle has the natural advantage of a significant damage bonus from Fate's Favored + Divine Favor/Power and a free boost to attack from Wood Bond, so if they're willing to deliberately focus their build around doing TWF well they can come out with a decent return on their investment.

You seem to understand what I am seeing here. That and the use of spells and revelations also allows me to put money in other areas.

The build doesn't have to be super-powerful, it just has to work. Part of what I want to do is have something interesting. The spellcaster angle means you can have a variety of other tricks up your sleeve.

After comparing the FCBs I think I am coming out in favor of the wood armor one. It's a +2 for the majority of levels and a +4 for some levels. That and no max dex bonus means a potentially very high AC which is nice.

I do have an Aasimar character grandfathered in PFS and he is still level 1 so he could be "converted" to this character, but I'm not sure I want to do that. The aasimar is an angelkin bloodrager with the celestial bloodline and I like him so far.

You can get +8 to armor between mage armor and shield. Natural armor (starting at L3) will augment those. Protection from evil could give you another +2 if you get a third spell.

Buy a haramaki for +1 armor when not using mage armor.

If you want to go the burning hands route, you may want spell focus: evocation and varisian tattoo as your level 1 feats. Take a trait that boosts the caster level of it by one more and you will do 3d4+3 with burning hands at 1st level (+1 if you use saltpeter). Of course, you get to max damage at L3.

Crossblooded hurts a lot but being able to convert other spells to fire is nice. If you go that route you want to choose spells that are NOT fire spells. Ear-Piercing Scream, Acid Arrow, Lightning Bolt, etc.

But that makes you into a kind of blaster, which probably is not what you want.

Building a gish build, you will need to dump some scores if you want to be good at others. INT and WIS are both arguably dumpable, at least a little. You only need to keep your CHA ahead of the level of spells you want to cast, so a 14 at ist level is fine for a gish.

For 20-point buy I might do this:
STR 18 (16+2)
DEX 12
CON 14
INT 07
WIS 12
CHA 14

Use a Longspear or morningstar 2-handed for 1d8+6 damage.

I know a lot of people don't like an int 07 character, but sometimes it can be liberating if you get into it. As a human you will still get 2 skills per level.

Mind you, you should have a look at the Bloodrager class. This might also give you what you are looking for.

Hey, guys. I appreciate the feedback. Lots of things to go over.

On Using Shillelagh with magic weapons

Imbicatus wrote:
CWheezy wrote:
Since shillelagh can only be cast on nonmagical weapons, I found a hard time making it work.
Actually, that's not entirely true.
CWheezy wrote:
Cool, that works! 31,000 gold though, you have to wait until like, 11 to get it. What do you do until then?

This is obviously an issue. In a home game I would argue that the oaken staff allows a precedent for custom magic weapons that can be a legit target for shillelagh. Of course, the oaken staff cannot be used for TWF, so you have to use it as a two-handed weapon (or take the quarterstaff master feat). But I'd prefer a PFS-legal character.

Of course, nothing prevents you from casting shillelagh first and then casting GMW after, though when shillelagh runs out you have to get rid of the GMW or you can't cast shillelagh again until it runs out. So this gets expensive if you are not having very short adventuring days.

Alternately you could cast dispel magic on a magic weapon and then cast shillelagh in the period when the weapon's magic is suppressed. Debatable if that would be allowed.

The extra D6 of damage granted by shillelagh is worth a +1 or even maybe a +2 since it multiplies on a crit. Once you get to the point where everyone needs a +3 or +4 weapon you might be in trouble. But PFS tops out at 13th level.


On other weapons

Dave Justus wrote:
If you are that worried about having longbow proficiency, why not just stick with the longbow and be an archer, since that is a superior combat style anyway.
BadBird wrote:
The Weighted Spear is a great simple double weapon for Wood Bond, and Greater Magic Weapon cast on a Weighted Spear makes Shillelagh pretty much obsolete.

I didn't know about the weighted spear, thanks for bringing it up. However, remember you are casting greater magic weapon twice to enchant a double weapon. At 8th level when you get access to GMW, shillelagh is still arguably better as you use only one 1st level slot instead of two 4th level ones, and the net effect is that the shillelagh has a relative -1 to hit but +2.5 more average damage. At 12th level the math changes a bit as you get +3 from GMW, but this is near the end of a PFS character's life.

Suggesting different weapons is drifting a bit off-topic though as the point of this exercise is to see about making a wood bond/shillelagh build work.


On different favored class bonuses

CWheezy wrote:
Also, while the ac scales faster, the to hit bonus is more valuable IMO.


I'm not sure I agree, but am willing to consider it.
Assuming you are going from 1st to 13th level:

Wood Bond: you get 5 levels where you get no bonus and 8 levels where you get +1.

Wood Armor: you get 5 levels where you get no bonus, 6 levels where you get +2, and 2 levels where you get +4. You also get DR 5/slashing four levels early.

Seems to me that optimizing for AC might work better. Anyone else with an opinion on that?


On race choices

Cap. Darling wrote:
I would take a Half elf since they Can use both human and elf FCB.(unless PFS house rules that).

Nope, PFS allows you to take either FCB. Though we don't care about the human one; we are specifically looking for the elf one.

Cap. Darling wrote:

A. I Think the floating +2 without a-2 on con is Way better


Interestingly this only changes my stat block by giving me a net +1 to CON as I can no longer dump INT. That's not nothing; a 13 CON can be bumped to 14 at 4th level, which is worth considering. But it's not a huge change.

Cap. Darling wrote:
and there are also paragon surge for extra flexibility if you like that.

It's a decent spell, though it's not the super amazing one that it was before the FAQ. A free feat could be worthwhile for a TWF character.

As a Half-elf you normally gain:

* No CON penalty
* Skill Focus
* Multitalented

But compared to elf you lose:

* INT bonus
* Elven Magic
* Proficiency with bows, rapiers, and longswords

Overall I don't like to lose elven magic, and it's a shame to lose longbow when wood bond also works with that, but half-elf looks like a valid choice. Skill focus could be used for perception, which I want this character to be good at.

There are no good options to trade multitalented out with except Drow Magic, which is tempting, though you lose Skill Focus that way, and it disallows Dual Minded, which is also good.

Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
Half elf has an alternate racial trait that can be used to gain proficiency in Longbow. Might it be worth it to dip 2 levels of ranger to get TWF without having to pay the Dex cost? (Would get longbow proficiency too, for that matter.)

I'm not thrilled about giving up skill focus/drow magic/dual minded for a secondary weapon. I could probably live without longbow if necessary, but it's a nice backup.

Really hate to dip for a full caster, but 1 level of fighter would get you this too.

BadBird wrote:
For a strength-based TWF build that isn't a Ranger, Dual Talent human is a godsend - 14/16+, 15/17, 14, 10, 8, 14 takes care of a TWF battle-Oracle's needs with only a minor sacrifice of strength.

For the record, I am really not keen about dumping WIS. You will note my initial array had a WIS of 12. Your build would have a 1st level perception of +3 instead of +7, and Will saves are pretty important.

But human takes away the elven FCB that was the reason for picking elf in the first place.


On trait choices

Alex Mack wrote:

Proficinecy with Longbow can be aquired via a trait. Either Heirloom Weapon or that old faction trait the name of which I have forgotten.

If you're worried about wood and Gorum. Just play a primal kinda guy. Gorum is pretty big in them primal societies ye know.

OK, well Fate's Favored is basically a given. For someone who can cast divine favor it's a no-brainer.

For the second trait, I had planned on taking Seeker to make perception a class skill.

Shield Trained is great for a shield bashing build, and as long as you use a wooden shield wood bond will apply. So this is not a bad choice, though it would be weird working in the Gorum-worshipping aspect.

Heirloom Weapon allows proficiency with a longbow, and that is a nice side benefit.

Tough call to choose from these three. Possibly the extra traits feat? Or is that a waste? It delays TWF until L3 which isn't that bad.


On general strategy

Cap. Darling wrote:
C. If you always have several rounds for buffing...

Well, it depends on the buff. A 1 round per level buff basically needs to be cast during combat, but minute per level buffs last a while and potentially more than one encounter. Unless you are surprised you can usually do a number of these before going somewhere dangerous.

Cap. Darling wrote:
And i belive your primary self buff should be divine Favor at level 1 -7(with Fates favored like every one of cause)

Agree with you there. Part of the idea though is that divine favor and shillelagh stack.

About using the FCB bonus for the revelations: Here's how it stacks up as compared to just having the base revelation:

Wood Bond:

1st +0
2nd +0
3rd +0
4th +1
5th +0
6th +0
7th +1
8th +1
9th +1
10th +1
11th +1
12th +1
13th +1
14th +2

Putting FCB into wood bond seems like a bad idea to me; it costs you all those extra hp and for most levels only gives +1 compared to not using the FCB.

Wood Armor:

1st +0
2nd +0
3rd +0
4th +0
5th +2
6th +2
7th +0
8th +2
9th +2, DR 5/slashing
10th +4, DR 5/slashing
11th +2, DR 5/slashing
12th +2, DR 5/slashing
13th +4
14th +4

This seems to be better in my view than putting the FCB into wood bond. It takes longer to kick in but scales faster.

Cap. Darling wrote:
I would take a Half elf since they Can use both human and elf FCB.(unless PFS house rules that). And take a reach weapon like a long spear....

There are a couple of problems with half-elf with longspear.

A. Elf gains proficiency with longbow, while half-elf doesn't, and having a decent ranged option is very useful.

B. The main focus for half-elves is multiclassing and skill focus, neither of which does this build much good. Elven magic though is very good for a full caster.

C. The other thing is that your big combat buff from early to mid-levels will be shillelagh which won't work with a longspear.

Wood armor could be taken at 3rd level if you weren't going to use your favoured class bonus on it.

CWheezy wrote:
You can't take extra revelation until you have a revelation, unless you are going to retrain

Oracles get their first revelation at 1st level. So you can take the extra revelation feat at any level.

sunbeam wrote:
1) If you are basically wood, does wood bond affect your natural attacks? Does it affect the natural attacks of something that arguably isn't wood like an assassin vine?

Interesting question, but probably not, based on the wording of the revelation: "bonus on attack rolls when wielding a weapon made of..."

I wasn't really thinking too much about being a treant though.

sunbeam wrote:
2) Can you cast Magic Vestment on the Wood Armor from the revelation? I tend to think yes, but some people argue no.

Well, my argument would be that wood armor is pretty clearly a physical suit of armor. I can see why there would be debate on the mage armor issue, but this is not the same thing.

sunbeam wrote:
3) Let's say you become a treant, or any of the other plant forms. I'd think most people say you lose the wood armor, or any weapon you are wielding....

They would definitely be the wrong size if you became a treant. I am not worried about the shapeshift so much as the synergy between wood bond and shillelagh.

sunbeam wrote:
4) Weapon. ...add if you have the weapon revelation you could summon another...

Probably what I would do if I were going that route.

sunbeam wrote:
5) I guess Treants can cast spells.

They can speak and gesture, so I don't see why not.

sunbeam wrote:
I will say though that I think two-weapon fighting is a trap option for this guy. You just don't get enough feats without a good bit of dipping.

Why this is a thought experiment. Trying to see if it is viable.

Alex Mack wrote:

It works, but is restricted to worshippers of Gorum. A wood shaman worshipping our Lord in Iron would be a little weird. It's a great trait for sword and board types though.

OK, here's the concept.

PFS-legal, preferably (though this is a thought experiment so I don't mind hearing about non-PFS variants). Thus, 20-point buy.

Oracle with the Wood mystery.

Select a race that allows this favored class bonus for oracles: "Add +1/2 to the oracle's level for the purpose of determining the effects of one revelation." So elf, aasimar, ifrit. If Aasimar, probably Azata blooded (we want a DEX bonus and the +Cha is also nice), or possibly Garuda-Blooded.

I'm starting with elf for simplicity's sake. This grants proficiency in Longbow which is a nice bonus and works with Wood Bond.

Use the favored class bonus towards either the Wood Bond mystery or the Wood Armor mystery.

Wood Oracles get Shillelagh at 2nd level as a bonus spell. Use this spell to enhance a quarterstaff - it is one of the few weapon buffs that enhances both ends of a weapon - as long as it is a quarterstaff. TWF becomes pretty decent at this level. However Shillelagh only works on non-magical weapons so after a certain point it becomes less useful.

If using your favored class bonus on Wood Bond your bonus to hit with wooden weapons would be:

1st level: +1
4th level: +2
7th level: +3
10th level: +4
14th level: +5

This is not a huge improvement over the regular ability, but as a non Full BAB class the Oracle can use all the help it can get. Also if you are an elf you get proficiency with longbows too.

If using your favored class bonus on Wood Armor your armor bonus from the wooden armor would be:

1st level: +4
5th level: +6
8th level: +8
9th level: add DR 5/slashing
10th level: +10
13th level: +12

This only gets impressive when combined with magic vestment, so you probably wouldn't use this until 6th level or later. But having no armor check penalty is nice. Between barkskin and shield of faith I'm not sure how necessary this would be.

You could also go with sword & board if you have the feats... though I'm not sure you do. An oracle is proficient with a shield as armor, but not as a weapon. Maybe an opalescent white pyramid?

Problems with the build:

1. Even though you are using TWF you still have STR to damage and to-hit. A quarterstaff or a club are both one-handed instead of light weapons.

2. You rely on a lot of buffs to function, which can cut into action economy.

3. A very MAD build.

4. Many of the spells that would thematically work with this mystery are druid spells and are not on your list.



As elf: STR 14, DEX 16, CON 12, INT 10 WIS 12 CHA 14

Traits: Seeker, Fate's Favored

1. Extra Revelation (Wood Armor)
Mystery: Wood Bond
3. Two-Weapon Fighting
5. Divine Protection
7. ?
9. Quicken Spell
11. Improved two-weapon Fighting

Spells (not counting orisons):
1: Shield of Faith, Divine Favor, (cure light wounds)
2: (shillelagh)
3: Bless
4: Bull's Strength, (cure moderate wounds, barkskin)
5: Summon Monster 1, Cat's Grace
6: Magic Vestment, (cure serious wounds, minor creation)
7: Dispel Magic, silence, protection from evil
8: Blessing of fervor, (cure critical wounds, thorn body)
9: Forceful strike, prayer, burst of radiance
10: Righteous might, (mass cure light wounds, tree stride)
11: Breath of life, freedom of movement, ?

This is how things look without gear, but assuming all relevant buffs are up:

1st level with buffs: equipped with morningstar and light wooden shield and scale mail
AC: 10 + 5 armor + 3 DEX + 1 shield + 2 shield of faith = 21
To hit (melee): +0 BAB + 1 wood bond + 2 STR + 2 divine favor = +5
Damage: 1d8+4
HP: 9
Saves: F:+2, R:+3, W:+3

3rd level: equipped with quarterstaff and breastplate
AC: 10 + 6 armor + 3 DEX + 2 shield of faith = 21
To hit (melee TWF): +2 BAB + 1 wood bond + 2 STR + 2 divine favor + 1 shillelagh -2 TWF = +6 (or +7 with bless)
Damage: 2d6+5, 2d6+4
HP: 21
Saves: F:+3, R:+4, W:+4

5th level: equipped with quarterstaff and breastplate
AC: 10 + 6 armor + 3 DEX + 2 shield of faith + 3 barkskin = 24
To hit (melee TWF): +3 BAB + 2 wood bond + 4 STR + 2 divine favor + 1 shillelagh -2 TWF = +10 (or +11 with bless)
Damage: 2d6+7, 2d6+5
HP: 33
Saves: F:+5, R:+6, W:+7

7th level: equipped with quarterstaff and wood armor +1
AC: 10 + 7 armor + 5 DEX + 3 shield of faith + 4 barkskin = 29
To hit (melee TWF): +5 BAB + 2 wood bond + 4 STR + 3 divine favor + 1 shillelagh -2 TWF = +13 (or +14 with bless)
Damage: 2d6+8, 2d6+6
HP: 45
Saves: F:+6, R:+7, W:+8

9th level: equipped with quarterstaff and wood armor +2
AC: 10 + 8 armor + 5 DEX + 3 shield of faith + 5 barkskin = 31
To hit (melee TWF): +6 BAB + 3 wood bond + 4 STR + 4 divine favor + 1 shillelagh -2 TWF = +15 (or +16 with bless)
Damage: 2d6+9, 2d6+9, 2d6+9, 2d6+7, 2d6+7
HP: 45
Saves: F:+7, R:+8, W:+9

OK, how does this build stack up?
What gear should this character be getting?
Any other thoughts?

Or maybe this:

Note: the linked page is safe but much of the site is NSFW.

Rangers can actually be one of the best classes for ROTRL.

However, with that he is probably going for an archer, which is fine, but you need a decent tank of some kind, to keep monsters back from .

Since you only have 3 players perhaps you can arrange for a 4th player to be an NPC. A reach cleric might be good for keeping enemies at a distance from your party. Possibly a warpriest. Maybe a dwarf with a longhammer.

For the record, a goblin is so good for a rogue class that it is almost broken. And for any build that doesn't require STR it should work. They are even more awesome for the Unchained Rogue because of the free DEX-to-damage.

So even if your build concept is suboptimal you should still do pretty good.

It would make sense for there to be a separate modifier or an exception for creatures that are bred to be beasts of burden, which would make sense. A pony is medium and has STR 13, but a real-life pony can carry more than a lion can, even though a lion is STR 21 and Large. They use their strength in different ways.

Actually, STR 13 really doesn't make sense for a pony. A "realistic" stat block would put that figure much higher.

A pony is just a small horse. But small is a relative term; they tend to be short-coupled and have shorter legs, but are not half the length and height of a typical horse, as is implied in the size rules for the game. Officially a horse of 14.2 hands high or less is a pony; if it is 14.3 hands it is a horse. There are many breeds which taxonomists disagree whether they are horses or ponies. If they are to be considered medium creatures then they must be understood to be at the upper limit of possible size for a medium creature. The problem is solved if we apply the modifier for a large creature instead.

I've been doing some research and have found that ponies are typically considered to be sturdier and heartier than horses, which explains why they were kept despite their small size. They are also stronger proportionally (i.e. relative to their body weight) than horses, and a pony can be expected to be able to pull a load equal to about 4.5 times its weight.

The ponies of the Pony Express would carry a load of 165 lbs. (75 kg). Not all the mounts used by the Pony Express were ponies, though many were, and they were more common on the mountainous portions of the route. And they had to be able to run.

The United States Pony Clubs inc. is an organization that promotes sports involving ponies. The mounted games require the rider to weigh-in before a game, and these are the limits:

12.2 hands high and under: 117 lbs
13.2 hands high and under: 150 lbs
14.2 hands high and under: 190 lbs

So clearly a limit of 150 lbs is fairly reasonable. Some ponies ought in fact be able to carry more, but these are mentioned in the description as "variant" ponies (like heavy horses).

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Under the rules I have found three different answers for this and I wondered if anyone has an "official" answer.

In the bestiary entry for Ponies, it says that:

PRD wrote:
A light load for a pony is up to 100 pounds, a medium load is 101–200 pounds, and a heavy load is 201–300 pounds. A pony can drag 1,500 pounds.

Note that a Pony's listed Strength is 13.

In the carrying capacity rules in the "Additional Rules" section of the Core Rulebook, it shows that for a humanoid creature the carrying capacity for a 13 Strength is 50 lbs./51–100 lbs./101–150 lbs. But since it also says below that:

PRD wrote:
Quadrupeds can carry heavier loads than bipeds can. Multiply the values corresponding to the creature's Strength score from Table: Carrying Capacity by the appropriate modifier, as follows: ... Medium ×1-1/2...

So if we multiply the STR 13 values by 1.5 the result is a light load for a pony is up to 75 pounds, a medium load is 76-150 pounds, and a heavy load is 151-225 pounds.

But wait...

A little further on in the chapter is the overland movement section.

In "Table: Mounts and Vehicles" we see an entry for Ponies. It only shows two movement rates, one for normal movement, and one for reduced movement (which will reflect a medium or heavy load). In that entry is shows the range for a medium and heavy load to be 151-450 lbs., meaning that light would be 150 lbs or less.

So which is right?
A: Bestiary rules (100 lbs, 101-200 lbs, 201-300 lbs.)
B: Carrying Capacity rules (75 lbs, 76-150 lbs, 151-225 lbs.)
C: Overland Movement rules (150 lbs, 151-300 lbs, 301-450 lbs.)

Historically, real Earth Ponies can carry an adult human and still run, though it is unlikely the same pony could carry armor and still do so. So I am inclined to go for the last value, but I am not sure.

Sandpoint Devil as a mount? Tricky.

Using Leadership to get a monstrous mount is a possibility, but a cohort like that would be pretty high level. Maybe 15th? The alignment mismatch is a bit wild though.

I'd be more inclined to custom design a Pharasmic mount if he was willing to spend the leadership feat to get it.

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Suggested errata for wording of Rogue Talent "Ninja Trick"

Note this is from the Rogue archetype page, not the Ninja class. Rogues can choose Ninja Trick instead of a Rogue Talent.

PRD wrote:
Ninja Trick (Ex): A rogue with this talent can choose a trick from the ninja trick list. The rogue can choose but cannot use talents that require ki points, unless she has a ki pool. A rogue can pick this talent more than once. The ninja cannot choose a ninja trick with the same name as a rogue talent.

(Emphasis mine.)

I suspect that "ninja" (in bold, above) should actually read "rogue" since, A: we are talking about rogues in this section, not ninjas, and B: if ninjas were prevented from taking a trick with the same name as a rogue talent, they could never get access to things like Combat Trick, and C: you wouldn't want to have to look for rules about ninjas in the Rogue section of the book.


Basically I think that PbP can work well if the players socialize a bit; talk about their lives and stuff other than gaming. But I think this would work better if it were to be placed in a separate thread, so that the discussion thread is kept for game-related things.

Would this be possible? And do other people think this is a good idea?

GM's typically want certain information at their fingertips, primarily stuff that the GM will roll or roll against. So probably: AC, CMD, Saves, Initiative, Perception/Sense Motive, possibly social skills too.

I also like to put something that shows what character resources I have used in a spoiler tag. I typically run out of space so I have to use multiple entries.

I use a format like this:

Male Lava Gnome Sorcerer 1 | AC: 14, TAC: 13, FAC: 12, CMD: 9 | HP 7/7 | Fort +1, Ref +2, Will +4 | Init +5 | Perception +2, Sense Motive +2, Darkvision 60'

Spell Slots available: 1st: 1/5 Claws: 6/8 rounds left SLAs: Dancing Lights, Prestidigitation, Flare, Produce Flame

The thing about cold iron is that if you melt it down it is no longer cold iron - it becomes normal iron.

Cold Iron:

PRD wrote:
is forged at a lower temperature to preserve its delicate properties.

Heating it to melting point will obviously negate it's "cold" property.

It is never laid out whether the weapons are plated with cold iron or simply made out of cold iron. However, given that cold iron is supposed to originate in the darklands, I imagine there wouldn't be a *lot* of cargo moving from the darklands to the surface, so I's be cool with saying they are plated. Maybe just the edge is cold iron but the rest of the blade is steel.

Also remember that a hafted weapon like a mace is part wood.

Also remember that if there is a group of people then they will be easier to spot than a single person. Look at the amount of frontage the group has and imagine that as a single creature. Then apply the size modifier of the creature to the check.

It's not really a good example, as moonlight varies widely. The light from a thin crescent moon will do very little.

But if you have ever been out in the countryside under the light of a full moon you will recall that the light of a full moon is more than enough to see by. I would probably call that "normal light" if I was grading it, with "bright light" being direct sunlight.

In my home games, I allow melee sneak attacks in dim light, for thematic reasons, but I am well aware this is a house rule and not RAW.

However, thanks to the FAQ/errata around the stealth skill, I suspect that there was some confusion around the difference between concealment and total concealment among the guys who wrote those rules. But now that there are game mechanics to get around it we are stuck with it as it is.

It can be possible that a character may be forced to share a space with another creature, and I'm wondering how to handle that.

For example, a character falls into a pit that is already full with creatures at the bottom. Could be a 5x5 pit with a medium creature, 10x10 pit with 4 medium creatures, whatever. This exact thing has come up a couple of times in my game.

So what happens? Any suggestions?

Thanks for the feedback, Richard.

I'm likely going for the Seven Swords of Sin, though I may up-gun it a bit as the party will likely be 9th level when they get there. I've already planted the hook to draw them there.

I was a bit disappointed with the module as it seems like a random delve with very little in the way of theme to hold it together, and there is almost no interaction with Kaer Maga.

So I'm going to pick and choose the encounters I like out of it, and will likely only keep about a third of them - I don't want to level the party ahead of where they should be. I will also probably turn the gang of human thieves at the beginning into troll thieves. Maybe make the wizard at the end a Bloatmage.

Love the Jaws reference!

Anyway, today my group went in to infiltrate Fort Rannick.

Hook Mountain Massacre:
They decided to sneak in under the waterfall into the caves. They were warned about the shocker lizards by the Black Arrows, but their whole plan seemed to revolve around getting Jakardos to cast speak with animals and getting the lizards to let them past.

Speak with animals is a personal spell so Jakardos can only cast it on himself. And Jakardos has no ranks in handle animal, diplomacy, bluff, or intimidate. He has his wild empathy of +7 and his Charisma bonus of -1.

Since the lizards have their nests here I rule that the lizards are unfriendly. The lizards only have a charisma of 6 so he needs an 18. He rolls a natural 2, for a total of 9 (including guidance cast by the oracle).

So now the players are in a fight with the lizards. This would have been pretty straightforward if the party decided to attack normally; the lizards are not that tough. But instead they decide they don't want to hurt the shocker lizards.

The rogue and the barbarian manage to run in past the cluster of 5 lizards near the entrance, but the paladin gets tied up in melee. Then the sorcerer decides to use create pit as a way of dealing with the lizards without harming them. Three of the lizards drop into the pit and another gets bull rushed in by the barbarian. But the problem is that now the pit has split the party. There is no way across other than to jump or use magic, and the Paladin and Oracle both have negative acrobatics scores thanks to armor. The paladin is fighting one lizard in melee, but his rolls have turned horrible and he is stymied by a single CR2 creature.

Multiple actions are spent in the middle of combat trying to get various people across the pit. The sorcerer casts levitate on the oracle, then when the barbarian has a readied action to catch him the sorcerer jumps across, only to fail the reflex save to fall into the pit (I gave him a big bonus to his save but he still fell in. He takes a collective blast from the lizards in the pit before levitating himself out. Meanwhile the Oracle has used levitate to go hand over hand past the pit; he now goes back to get the paladin, who jumps on his back mid-move and they head back again.

Of course as individual members of the party penetrate further they reveal more lizards (there are 12 in all), while some of the Black Arrows are still trying to get across the pit. The rogue managed to knock two of them out using nonlethal damage, but the barbarian stumbles on a large group in the northwest part of the lair. He backs off, joining the rogue down the hall. The rogue and the sorcerer end up racing to the secret door, planning to get everyone inside before the lizards can regroup. They throw open the secret door, and behind it is... Lucrecia. With the party all scattered all over the lizard lair, unbuffed, and having burned a bunch of spells dealing with the lizards.

At this point, there is only one or two rounds left on create pit. I decide that Vale Temros, who has just made it across the pit and is now in the path of the remaining lizards, happens to have a smokestick in his pocket and he drops it at his feet, driving back the lizards, because I am getting a little tired of the keystone cops thing. They will have enough problems in a minute. We broke for the day and will do the Lucrecia fight next session.

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The thing about RotRL is that it is a traditional style adventure that assumes a band of good (mostly) heroes who will will rise to the occasion when the town is in need.

If you want to run a RotRL campaign you should explain this to your players before they create their characters. If your players want to play cold-blooded killers or hard-boiled mercenaries then maybe this is the wrong AP for them. There are others that might suit the game better.

Mind you, you can always convert treasure that is found in dungeons into a reward given by the Sandpoint Town Council. You can do things like converting Orik's +1 banded mail into half-plate. His AC remains the same but the value of his goods goes down noticeably.

I actually don't mind this as a driver for the game as it means that players are less likely to be murderhobos if the main source of treasure is an "employer."

ryric wrote:

Pretty much any d6/level damage spell isn't very good anymore unless you augment it with metamagic or class features. Hp have scaled way up since the days of 1e but the direct damage spells have remained the same or even gotten weaker.

Fireball and lightning bolt were different beasts when there was no cap on the number of dice. A 10th level magic-user averaged 25 hp, and did the same 10d6 we know and love. An 18th level magic-user averaged 34.5 hp, and did 18d6(average 63). That guy had a good chance of dying even if he made the save(cause 0 hp = dead in 1e). Heck the maximum possible hp for Mr. archmage in 1e was 73, if he had a 16+ Con and rolled max on every die(11d4+22con+7). There were deities with less than 100 hp.

Direct damage spells used to be serious business and fight winners all by themselves.

I am running an old-school B/X game and the party wizard concentrates on damaging spells. He tends to be the spike damage guy; if there is a big enemy or something the party is having a hard time hitting he throws something in there. He can't do consistent damage since he doesn't have nearly enough slots to cast every combat round. But when he goes for it things go down.

But even then fireball and lightning bolt only do 1d6/level, and the average monster has 1d8/HD. So if he is facing an enemy with the same HD as the party's level, a fireball won't one-shot him even if he fails the save. But it's awesome if you are facing creatures with less HD than the wizard. In a 5th level adventure there is still a good chance of running into a pack of 2 HD lizard-men.

Of course, if you were playing AD&D the wizard could not cast fireball indoors without hitting himself and the party. Gary really didn't do the math when he wrote that (or maybe it was intentional). An AD&D fireball would fill 33 10'x10'x10' cubes if there wasn't room for its spherical shape.

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Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
wall of fire suffers from the same problem as blade barrier: it's a pain to lay down and keep track of on a battle mat... if only someone could come up with an easy extendable/retractable curtain-like template (instead of the typical player response to drop something on the mat and knock most minis on their asses...)

May I suggest Litko tokens? I find them very useful for my games. They have a wall of fire one.

Aratrok wrote:
Okay. What is your in-world justification for why players are for some reason considerably worse at crafting than some first or third level adept, no matter how powerful they become? That makes no sense. It's going to jar immersion hard.

They are just as good at it, or better. How good you are at it depends on your spellcraft skill.

A third-level adept will likely have no more that a +7 or +8 in spellcraft, or +10 or +11 assuming the skill focus feat. So items that have a DC of 22 or more to make are probably out of his league. And a lot of items will fall under that category. Major items are going to require high level casters to make, whether they are PCs or NPCs.

How much it costs an NPC to make a magic item need never actually come up in the game. But a Magic Crafting Laboratory would (and should) be an expensive operation to maintain. If players are able to buy everything they need and craft stuff in their room at the inn with no overhead at all, that jars immersion.

Yes, the feats wouldn't be worth it - which is why they would no longer be necessary under this rule.

As a result, anyone who can cast spells can also craft items if they want under this rule. However, items that can be bought will cost the same, so party members are only going to craft things they have a hard time finding. This means less downtime overall since they won't feel the need to craft everything they use.

Aratrok wrote:
It means anyone selling magic items isn't actually making a profit off of what they're selling. Which... doesn't make a lot of sense.

No, it means players aren't making a profit off what they are selling.

If a player went to the trouble of setting up a shop and buying magical reagents in bulk then conceivably he could also make a profit, but he has basically turned himself into an NPC at this point.

I am currently running a RotRL home game, and in that game one character (an Oracle) is shouldering the weight of doing ALL the item crafting. He is crafting items for the whole party, so party wealth is much higher, not just for him but for everybody. However, this also means that compared to the rest of the party he is short 3 feats thanks to Brew Potion, Craft Wondrous Item, and Craft Arms and Armor. Whenever the party has time for crafting, dollar signs seem to appear in everyone's eyes. Items which could be bought are deliberately avoided in favor of items that can be crafted.

So I wanted to come up with a system where casters could still use their downtime to make items but it wouldn't penalize "generous" players, nor would it disrupt the balance of game economy.

So here is my suggestion:

1. Item crafting feats are not allowed.
2. Any character with a caster level can craft magic items as long as his caster level is high enough to qualify for the feat that would normally allow that item to be crafted. Non casters may take the Master Craftsman feat to qualify.
3. The cost to craft an item is the same as the price to buy the item from a merchant - crafting does not generate any discount.

The results of these rules would be that the party could still craft items, but has no incentive to do so when a merchant is offering the item for sale; the purpose of item crafting is to allow characters more choice of what items they want rather than to save characters money.

Thoughts? Do you see this as creating any problems I might not have foreseen?

I assume there is software out there that can help.

I am trying out hexographer but am curious if any other programs are good.

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Spatula wrote:

Probably a simple way to account for seasons is to modify farm effects by season. Here's a quick idea:

Winter: x0; no farm effects
Spring: x1; normal farm effects
Summer: x1; normal farm effects
Fall: x2; double farm effects

or maybe:
Summer: x1.5; enhanced farm effects
Fall: x1.5; enhanced farm effects

It adds up to the same overall reduction of consumption over the year, but makes granaries especially important in winter time. As things currently stand, granaries are mostly useful only if there's a sudden Consumption surge that isn't offset by immediate farm construction.

I did something like this when I was testing out a homebrew variant for my own game.

I did it this way:
Winter: no revenue from farms or fisheries
Spring: normal
Summer: normal
Autumn: +1 BP per farm

Overall it was pretty balanced but it turned out that Granaries become immensely important. To keep it from being necessary to build a half-dozen granaries per district, I upped the storage amount to 10 BP per granary.

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?

Tangent101 wrote:
@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.

Tangent101 wrote:
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.

Tangent101 wrote:
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.

Tangent101 wrote:
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.

Tangent101 wrote:
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.


Yeah, that's a good thread.

I plan on watching a few movies before I run that part. Heh heh...

CWheezy wrote:

Calculated total loot in book 2: 67933 gp

16983.25 per pc

54522gp total per pc is you find and sell everything.

I think you should end book 2 at level 8? The level progression is kind of weird in anniversary edition compared to other aps I think

You should finish book 2 soon after getting to level 7, going by the suggested progression.

Tangent101 wrote:
@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.

Tangent101 wrote:
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.

Tangent101 wrote:
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.

Tangent101 wrote:
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.

Tangent101 wrote:
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.

Tangent101 wrote:
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.

Tangent101 wrote:
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.

Tangent101 wrote:
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.

Tangent101 wrote:
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.

Tangent101 wrote:
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.

Tangent101 wrote:
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.

Tangent101 wrote:
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.

See above.

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.

Tangent101 wrote:
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.

Tangent101 wrote:
reduced increased effectiveness in the field,

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.

Tangent101 wrote:
morale issues...

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.

Tangent101 wrote:
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.

Tangent101 wrote:
(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.

Tangent101 wrote:
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.

I was thinking of giving one of them a Demon Mother's Mask.

Seriously, have you read this? If they had one then you could give the dogs the Fiendish template. Some of the Grauls themselves might have the fiendish template if Mammy used it once or twice.

What do you think?

Tangent101 wrote:
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.

Tangent101 wrote:
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.

Tangent101 wrote:
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.

Tangent101 wrote:
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.

Tangent101 wrote:
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.

Tangent101 wrote:
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.

Tangent101 wrote:
Try again.

Please actually refute something I say before saying "try again."

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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.

Tangent101 wrote:
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.

Tangent101 wrote:
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).

I can certainly envision a city like Magnimar having an elite class of guards/mercenaries who have had an enlarge person made permanent on them. Guys like that will be in the market for large gear.

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.

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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.

Phntm888 wrote:
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?

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