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Tarquin

Peter Kies's page

FullStar Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford. 50 posts (66 including aliases). 1 review. No lists. No wishlists. 3 Pathfinder Society characters. 1 alias.


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Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

Looking at the differences between boots of elvenkind and boots of striding and springing, I'm wondering if there is an upgrade path between the two that would involve just paying the difference.

The effect of boots of Elvenkind is a +5 comp bonus on acrobatics checks "allowing wearer to move nimbly about in any surroundings". Would you rule that as +5 on all acro checks, or only moving through threatened squares and across narrow/uneven surfaces (not on falling or jump checks)?

Striding and Springing increases base land speed by 10', but also grants ability to jump with a +5 comp bonus on acrobatics checks.
Would you rule that the +5 only applies to jumping, and not other uses of acrobatics?

The basic question - are the uses of the two types of boots mutually exclusive (one for speed/jumping and one for other types of acrobatics), or is one simply a greater version of the other?

Boots of Striding and Springing are about twice the price of Boots of Elvenkind, and the increased speed enhancement might be viewed as an adder to the +5 acrobatics bonus.

But I think the intention may have been to have the effects be exclusive and only apply to different parts of the acrobatics skill. In 3.5 there were different skills for balance and jump, and elven boots didn't affect either of them (they affected move silently skill while an elven cloak affected hide skill - both now part of stealth).

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

Rock-Con is THE annual regional gaming convention for players in Rockford, IL and the surrounding area. This year we welcome you to celebrate Rock-Con’s 40th anniversary October 25th-27st 2013! The convention features historical and fantasy miniature gaming, collectible miniatures, role playing, collectible card and board gaming events covering the entire spectrum of adventure gaming.

The Rockford Pathfinder Society is making its 2nd appearance at Rock-Con this year. We plan to have activities all weekend long, for all age groups and player experience levels. From the Pathfinder Beginner Box demos to the introductory scenarios released this year to Pathfinder Society Organized play scenarios and sanctioned modules, we'll have many ways for you to get involved in the exciting world of the Pathfinder RPG.

Friday night we are running the Year of the Shadow Lodge special.
Saturday we will have up to 8 tables of PFS in each of 3 slots, and Beginner Box demos all day.
Sunday (8 hours) we will offer a selection of modules for PC levels 1-8.
And all weekend we will be running levels of the Thornkeep dungeon.

You can check out Rock Con online here.

Also, the PFS schedule for pre-registration is on warhorn.

And finally, here is the PFS event #.

Come join us for some fun!

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

I think I know the answer, but can I get a quick clarification on the applicable dates: "between August 16, 2012 and August 15, 2013" - is this inclusive of 8/16/12 (first day of GenCon 2012) but exclusive of 8/15/13 (first day of GenCon 2013)?

I'm presuming that's the case, with the actual limits being something like 12:00 am on the listed dates (or possibly the starting time of the first PFS slot at GenCon).

If I'm interpreting it right, one of my PCs barely failed to qualify. He earned 2 PP at GenCon on Thursday, but that won't count against the Year of the Risen Rune. On the flip side, he got an early start against any similar boon that might come out for the Year of the Demon.

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

I created a game day event for our local group, for a day where I unfortunately was unable to attend. I gave the GM a tracking sheet prior to the event, including the event number. The plan was for him to give me the sheet so I could enter it - but there is a time crunch and we may not meet to exchange the information at the previously planned time.

Can the GM view that event number and report his own session under it, or do I have to do the online reporting if I want it to appear under than event number?

If not, I'm sure I could get the info via phone or email, but I'd like an answer to this anyway. I don't know what the event options (online screens) look like for anyone other than myself.

Another option would be for him to create his own event and enter it there - but that doesn't give me an immediate check to make sure the reporting was done.

If I start the reporting and assign him as GM, would that affect his ability to report the remaining results of that session?

Qadira

If the resources in in the PFS core assumption change, it would be nice if Paizo provided an "upgrade" price (discount) to those who already purchased the core materials. But that would probably be impossible to track unless the items were bought at Paizo's online store - e.g. PFS Core "maintenance" subscription.

It sounds like this book is going to combine some of the better material from Seekers and the Field Guide and probably some new things as well. I certainly hope so. I am still building my PFS library and would like to have the good stuff all together versus buying separate older books.

It seems that the value of the books really varies depending upon whether you are new to PFS or a veteran who has already purchased older material. The campaign absolutely needs a resource like this and needs to keep if fresh, and the new material is always worth something - I would not expect it all to be rolled into the PFS Guide to Organized Play for free. But requiring folks to pay full price when much of the material exists in something players and GMs already paid for is not likely to be met with a high level of satisfaction.

Still, folks should keep in mind that Paizo's done a good job of making sure we get continued use out of our CRBs. I bought a 3rd printing version, and to update that to 6th printing was a free (and small) errata download. The same goes for Bestiary updates (but not new Bestiaries with new types of monsters). The annual "dues" to maintain CA materials for PFS (if the "PFS Primer" or equivalent is updated every year or two) really don't amount to much, compared to the price you pay for scenarios, modules, APs, other PFS setting material, accessories and additional resources. If you buy this new resource, please write a review at that point and let others know what you think about the price/value ratio. I don't think the inclusion of older material is a problem as long as the price takes that into account.

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

Robert A Matthews wrote:

The idea was that you gain prestige for completing missions for your faction and in return they returned the favors through prestige points. You gain the xp for the main mission and prestige awards for the faction missions. I was a little disappointed by the faction missions in this one however. I don't think your players will have much trouble at all getting full prestige.

** spoiler omitted **

There are a few missions where, if the PCs don't have the requisite skill (or they don't act at the right time), they're going to be SOL. I guess that's not so different from other scenarios.

I also had to improvise for a 3.5 game mechanic that is done completely different in PFS.

Spoiler:
There is no "turn undead" with a chance to fail, so I assigned CRs (and thereby hit points) to the haunts as follows:

tier 1-2: CR 2, 4 HP, effect silent image spell, duration concentration (or 4 rounds if not being manipulated by the sorcerer)
tier 4-5: CR 4, 8 HP, effect major image spell, duration concentration plus 3 rounds (or 8 rounds if not being manipulated by the sorcerer)

Basically there is a chance that the 1st channel energy doesn't neutralize the haunt, and at higher tier the higher CR is reflected by the addition of sound/temperature/smell effects and extended duration.

It doesn't mean a lot because the effect is not damaging, but the possible persistence of extra targets beyond the first channel attempt may add some confusion about who the PCs should attack - just as they would if the cleric failed a turning attempt against HD 3.

The ghouls (and ghasts) could definitely be tough if the PCs find themselves outnumbered and unable to even the odds prior to all of those attacks. I'm still trying to decide if I should go 3.5 here or PFS. Although the same CR, the PFS ghouls are tougher (better attack rolls, claw damage, fort save, paralysis DC). Similar for the ghasts, although I think PFS CR is 2 instead of 3 (lower HD & HP), which would mean I couldn't use those and maintain the listed CR.

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

I'm running Black Waters in a couple of weeks, and I have a question about the prestige awards.

The Guide to PFSOP says that scenarios with 2 faction missions allow one PP for each faction mission successfully completed. This scenario does have two faction missions for each faction.

Does that mean that the primary mission is unimportant for purposes of prestige? (I suppose there is some chance to fail to complete that)

Perhaps the thanks of VC Drandle Drenge is reward enough, even if it doesn't equate to faction prestige.

This is the first one I've run with dual faction missions, and I just want to make sure I have it straight so I can emphasize it to my players. It looks like it will be a little bit harder for everyone to earn full prestige on this one.

Qadira

I'm organizing some PFS events for a fall convention.

The schedule on Sunday is short, only 8 hours, and a bit tight for trying to fit in two scenarios back to back.

I was thinking about the following module choices to cover a variety of PC levels. Are any of these likely to get us in time trouble if we only have 8 hours? I could require that GMs come with maps pre-drawn if that will significantly reduce the time or help keep it within the limit.

(1-2) The Godsmouth Heresy
(2-4) Feast of Ravenmoor
(3-5) Fangwood Keep
(4-6) Carrion Hill
(5-7) From Shore to Sea

Any advice or run time experience would be appreciated.

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

Michael Brock wrote:
Everything has to be completed by Aug. 14. After that, the "switch will be flipped" and LL or SL can not be reported.

Thanks for clarifying. Looks like I'll be planning at least one more session.

I love the boon and the scenario, plenty of encouragement to work in more PFS play.

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

The one thing that I'm not sure was clearly answered was how a GM could apply credit to one of their Lantern Lodge PCs currently level 1 or 2. It appears that you must change factions before playing after the deadline passes, but you can't do it with the triumph boon benefit unless you make it to level 3 before the deadline.

Considering that the scenario just came out, holding the chronicle doesn't appear that it will do you much good if your local group doesn't play often enough to gain you a level or two in the next 10 weeks. If you only play one scenario each month, you might not get there in time. The time frame will be even shorter for Shadow Lodgers when Rivalry's End is released.

Unless you can hold the chronicle past August 14th and apply it at some future time before next playing that character. Is it enough to GM a session before the deadline, or must you be able to apply it by then? I have heard some say that having it in hand (from a dated session) is enough.

The answer will determine how hard I'll need to scramble to schedule in another session or two beyond what we've already planned.

At this point I'm presuming that everything must be done by the deadline - that you can't come back in September or October with a bunch of GM chronicles all giving credit to the Lantern Lodge character and corresponding credit to the defunct faction. But that leads to another question - must the reporting for Lantern Lodge all be done by the deadline, or will there be any grace period for sessions that occurred just prior to the deadline? Will someone "flip the switch" so that Lantern Lodge no longer appears as a reporting option on Aug 14?

Qadira

In addition to the 4 BB bash demos already available, I see that 5 new scenarios have been added to the GenCon lineup for this year - with the idea of advancing BB PCs to level 3.

I'm thinking of adding a kids' track at a convention in October. Does anyone know if the new scenarios will be made available after GenCon, and when? I haven't seen anything yet that says when these would be available for either free download (hopefully) or purchase.

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

I was thinking about running one of the specials at a convention this fall. I looked at the reviews on several of them, and I didn't find enough information to really help me decide.

I'm expecting that we might get between 4 and 8 tables playing at once, depending upon where we drop this in the schedule. Does anyone have a list of the minimum and best number of tables each special requires?

I haven't played any of these yet, but am considering taking part as a player in this year's special at GenCon, to get a feel for this type of event. So I don't know what sort of boons or chronicles each provides.

With Shadow Lodge going away, does Year of the Shadow Lodge still make any sense to run? My local group is playing a lot of the older scenarios, but I don't want to offer something so outdated that it is partially or completely obsolete.

I also did not see a special for seasons zero or one. Am I correct to presume that there weren't any, and the only ones I'll have to select from this fall are seasons 2, 3, 4 & 5?

At the moment, I'd lean towards season 5 (hoping the process has been refined, and considering some of the mixed reviews on the previous ones). Any tips or advice for making one of these work well at a smaller convention?

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

Tony Lindman wrote:
Per Additional Resources, the animals in AA are available for purchase, but that does not mean that the list of legal mounts for Paladins or Cavaliers is extended.

Yes, I'm seeing the same after further review. While many animal choices appear available as animal companions, the PFSOP FAQ limits mounts to what's listed on a specific pages of the CRB (paladins) or APG (cavaliers). Of course, those pages have words about "more exotic" and "other animals" being allowed per GM discretion. I suspect the PFSOP rules are currently excluding those vaguely defined options, for consistency.

This limitation really diminishes the value of alternate race boons if you wanted to select a paladin or cavalier, and medium characters are restricted to only horses and camels as mounts.

I need to make up a new PC for a low tier game next month, and I was really interested in the Nagaji paladin idea. Perhaps these odd racial types aren't common enough to push for a revision, but different sorts of mounts for them would give the game a better flavor. (A Nagaji PC should have a reptilian mount). I'm not sure if I'll go this route now, but maybe there is a boon out there that I could pick up before reaching level 5, which would allow a different mount. If not, I could always go with the bonded item option.

On the topic of paladin's mount INT, CRB says that the mount is unusually intelligent (INT at least 6). I think this overrides the standard INT scores listed under animal companions, but perhaps some animals allowed as companions would be deemed incapable of the higher INT required for this sort of mount. The advancement table shows that a normal animal companion (INT 1 or 2) would at best have one more point of INT when called by a 5th level character (INT 2 or 3).

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

And the "riding gecko" is a giant version of the giant gecko - which makes it a large animal. This may be the best fit for a Paladin named Obi Wan and a gecko named Boga.

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

The only other one I found with companion stats was the snapping turtle. Better AC, but not as fast as some of the dinos.

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

Rycaut wrote:

I'm curious if there is a comprehensive, PFS legal set of guidelines for what animals are available for which races as mounts or animal companions?

Specifically for not just races that are small (which get access to medium not large mounts) but also for races that might have some reasons for using animals outside of the usual lists.

Goblins with Goblin Dogs (for those lucky enough to have a boon to play one) is one case I'm aware of. The specific case I'm curious about is races like the Nagaji.

i.e. for my Nagaji Paladin would there be an options for a reptilian mount instead of a horse or camel? In a home game I would definitely work with a player to find a suitable option as the flavor of a reptilian creature (with a racial bonus to Handle Animals vs Reptiles) riding a horse or camel seems off but for PFS play I think those would be his only options.

I was thinking of a Nagaji Paladin build for PFS also. Did you learn any more about this? Most of the reptiles on the Druid companion list start out as size small (not a great choice of mount) but at effective level of 5, all but the Velociraptor are medium or large. I presume the intelligence stat for the mount just increases from the base as it must be "at least 6". I'm not sure it makes much sense to saddle a snake, so from the current list a crocodile might be the best fit.

But some sort of lizard might be better. Monitor lizards and other dinosaurs have companion details, although the lizard won't be large enough until the paladin is 7th level. I don't think the Pteranodon would have the strength to fly with a rider until you could get a large one. T-Rex companion looks like it could be a fun choice, especially at higher levels with higher STR and powerful bite.

Qadira

Quite aware of what the books do/don't say on the topic. Wraithstrike was kind enough to find the developer post that clarified the same question that came up in May of 2011 (I wasn't the first to request clarification on this, and JJ's response answers it directly in a way that doesn't appear in any of the rule books).

Most of the next 38 posts didn't add anything new, and just made it harder to find what I asked for when I returned to the forum a couple hours later. If someone was insulted that I didn't find many of those posts helpful, don't be. PFS board posts didn't thoroughly address the question, and neither did the rule books.

Those who have responded made it clear that you are fine with the rule as is, though many used more emotional language. Regarding questions about what rules should be (not what they are) I had not previously seen such an overwhelmingly negative response. I've mostly been on the PFS boards following topics that get debated and sometimes overturned. The previous post I was following just had a rules change 2 weeks ago.

Cheapy, thanks for alerting that GM stars and such don't show up outside the PFS forum. I suppose I should have guessed that, though I am used to seeing a lot of posts there with no user info also.

Although you can always animate a dead horse if you want it to have a little more fight, I am done checking this thread for responses. I have what I need for the time being, so no need to pile on more for my benefit.

Qadira

wraithstrike wrote:

James Jacobs again..

sneak attack when there is a flank

Thanks, this is what I was looking for (for part 1 of the question). A JJ post I'd take for granted as the official rule as of the date of the post.

For some reason, the link didn't open the first time I clicked it, and a sea of less helpful messages distracted me in the interim. I must have been searching the PFS board or somewhere else to miss this thread the first time through.

A few of the posters perhaps should read the "most important rule" for the messageboards below. I just want to do right by my players, and folks should be happy that there are GMs who care enough to search for official rulings when they find something that they feel is unclear or unfair or against the intent of the rules, from their perspective.

I still don't like the rule here, but I'll use it for OP until such time as it ever may change. IMO this overrates the advantages of flanking, but as I said, I'm of the school where you only got extra damage of this sort from a surprise backstab. It's a whole new world out there with today's players and rules for actions that depend so heavily on relative positions on the grid. Obviously there are some folks that have been playing this way for a "long time" in their perspective - perhaps almost 2 years if they were reading James' posts that far back. For me, a long time ago in RPG play experience would be 2-3 decades ago. I've only been checking Paizo message boards for about 6 months. Most of my experience on how things should work comes from earlier sources, and the current rules don't always agree.

Thanks also to anyone else who tried to respond in a helpful manner.

Qadira

Am I reading the posts right that I have over 50 responses and none of them yet by GM with any stars, an official of Paizo, or a venture officer?

I appreciate the comments (except the dead horse rant), but I'd like to know what's official so that I can judge by the rules for future OP events. In the game in question, it didn't matter anyway because the 2nd attack missed, but I want to have a definite answer for my player who will doubtless use two weapons again with an ally trying to help him flank.

The comments about D&D 3.0/3.5 don't answer the questions about PFRPG, which has some distinct differences and gets new things ruled via post and FAQ and new additional resources that become legal for OP. When I speak of the "spirit of the rule", I am coming from an ancient perspective and am talking about how the current PRFRP flanking sneak attack was designed to be similar (or different) in flavor from 1st ed D&D which I've played since the 1970s.

My question is 2 parts: "what is the rule" and "what should it be"? An answer that I am picking on rogues is pointless. Some of my best friends are rogues and I don't think any less of them because they can't stand in the front line and dish out the same damage as fighter-types. When did that ever become a requirement of that class? PFRPG already gives rogues and arcane types more hit points than D&D did, and I never really saw that as a necessity for a good fantasy RPG. In fact, I've had rogues help the party accomplish missions several times using skill checks and other actions that helped the party avoid some combats entirely. You can be a valuable character in the party in lots of ways besides melee if you understand the group objective, your role in the party, and how your skills and abilitiies can best be used.

In the end, the answer will be what the designers and editors want the role of the rogue to be in this game system. If the current player base is demanding rogues that are more capable of delivering damage in melee, then I suppose the answer will be that multiple attacks in one round all qualify as sneak attacks, (even if the opponent becomes aware of that risk) as long as you have an ally on the opposite side. I don't have to like the answer (or use it in my home games) but I think what appears to be the common thinking on the advantage of flanking is worth challenging here.

I'll leave the group with an example that is a little more extreme. In the game in question, the rogue was significantly higher level than the other party members. It was only a few levels here, but it could have been more. Could a 1st level fighter hireling with one attack really distract a BBEG such that the rogue on the other side could repeatedly strike him with sneak attacks? Wouldn't the guy just turn around and defend himself from the real threat?

I'm not going to bore anyone with hit probabilities and damage averages, but there are also cases (weapon finesse, lower ACs, lower levels) where the rogue's chance to hit really isn't that much different from the fighter's. The question isn't about whether each class can do comparable damage - it's more about whether you can be repeatedly sneaky in one round just because there is someone standing across from you. Most of you are saying that's the rule, and if that is the case, the more significant question is "should it be the rule"?

Qadira

Thanks for the quick replies, but I am still requesting an official response. I've seen these answers before, and they do not satisfy.

Bill, in particular, the "anytime" argument would apply only to flat-footed opponents, not flanking after combat starts. The rules for "flanking" say you only get it when making a "melee attack", not a "full attack", and although that may sound like an odd distinction, it appears to be more in line with the initial spirit of sneak attacks (pre-PFRPG). You can't keep surpising an opponent all round.

I want to hear what the official PFRPG stance is on this, and if possible, why. The barrage attacks make sense. What I've seen in posts on multiple attack modes in close combat does not.

Qadira

The players are getting near the end of the battle and they have established flanking positions around an unfortunate opponent in the prior round. A character with sneak attack class ability and two weapon fighting indicates that he can make both attacks and do sneak attack damage twice if he succeeds.

I've seen several posts indicating that many players and (possibly fewer) GMs interpret the rules that way, but I haven't found an "official" ruling on this. It "feels" wrong to allow it, but I'd like to know what the official PFRPG position is on this question. It pertains to something that actually came up in a PFS game I GM'd. While I personally have a couple of PCs who can sneak attack, I am still not in favor of stacking precision-based damage in one round.

This is a special case of the full attack action (a PC could get multiple attacks from two-weapon fighting, high BAB or other reasons). Although the PC is entitled to a full attack in this case, I don't feel that he could score precision-based damage more than once.

Missile attacks (c.f. Manyshot, Double Crossbow) seem to indicate that precision damage can only be applied once using these full-attack actions. Similar text about precision damage does not appear in Cleave, presumably because that multiple attack feat would more likely be used by fighter types and not sneaky types. There are comments in Vital Strike and Critical Hits which indicate you don't get precision damage more than once when extra dice are rolled in those cases.

There is a feat in UC called Sneaking Precision, which suggests to the contrary (that you can successfully sneak attack more than once per turn), but I don't see how this could come into play in PFS, as the prerequisites (BAB +9 and another feat requiring BAB +9) would not be met by a character with sneak attack and level 11 or under.

Technically, the rules for flanking say you can do it "when making a melee attack", which is not the same as "when making a full attack". Per the actions table, a full attack is not the same as a series of melee attacks (the first is a full-round action while each melee attack is a standard action). The distinction is important if you think about the timing and the fact that PFRPG is a "facingless" game:

Remember that a round is only 6 seconds long. Not a lot of time to land multiple precise attacks. The flanking ally (unless he has many attacks also) will only distract the opponent for part of that period, especially if the opponent starts taking a lot of damage from another direction. If the multiple attacks occur at different times, only one should get precision damage for this reason (most likely the first).

Once the sneak attacker has drawn attention to himself, the defender could pay more attention to him for the next few seconds in that round. I think the spirit of the rule was for flanking to provide a momentary distraction to allow one precise hit (per sneaky attacker), not to make an opponent totally unable to defend from multiple sneak attacks from two directions. The +2 to hit bonus for flanking matches the average used the average used in D&D 1st ed., where facings came into play: opponent in front had no bonus, back-stabbing thief had +4. Worst case you could choose which flanker to turn your back on.

But what if you have a two weapon fighting style? Can both blows land simultaneously and do sneak damage? I'd say no. Firstly, that precise spot that appears in a quick moment can only be occupied by one weapon at a time. You can't drive two swords or rapiers through one weak spot in the armor and into a small vital organ (heart, brain, etc.). And even with ambidexterity, unless the PC has two heads he can't see well enough to target two different vital spots simultaneously as precise attacks. The off-hand attack (by definition of off-hand) would receive secondary focus and should only do normal damage. For it to do more damage should only be by random chance (normal critical hit chances).

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

Michael Brock wrote:
After reading Jiggy's reasonings, and speaking with John (our awesome new developer), I have removed Magical Knack as a banned trait in the campaign. Additional Resources will be updated tomorrow, and it will be a legal option to take. And no, you may not retrain your character unless you fall under the retraining rules or get a boon at Gen Con.

I applaud this ruling, and as I don't have a lot of PFS XP I didn't even suspect (until a discussion today) that this trait from the APG would ever have been banned. It makes some multiclass options more workable, IMO.

Unknowingly, I built my 2nd PC using this trait, and he has advanced mostly via GM credit. I only played him one scenario at 2nd level, a few weeks prior to your reversal of the ban here on 2/27. I didn't even want to play him that day, but another player said he wouldn't play if I played my 4th level character and thereby forced the party to play high subtier (so I capitulated so everyone could play). The GM did not alert me to any build issue, and the trait didn't really have any effect in that session (ranges were short and the few spells I had were instantaneous with damage that didn't depend upon CL).

If we had caught that the build wasn't legal back in January and "fixed" him prior to that session, my understanding is that he could not now be retrained to have the trait because he was played once at 2nd level. But we didn't catch it then, so what do I do? Can I just leave him as is? Or may I give back the XP and credit from that session to keep the character legal? Although I've only played him in two scenarios, he currently has 7 XP (which I don't want to completely abandon) and the build doesn't make sense to me without this trait.

FYI, my concept for the character is primarily a Wayang sorcerer (undead bloodline and necromancy focus) with a couple levels dip (at least) in ninja for some Ki powers, skills and sneak attacks that improve his ability to deliver shadow touch attacks and weird creepy effects. His spells are currently weak compared to a single class 3rd level caster, but when he gains spells with CL-dependant damage, magical knack would even things up a bit and make the mix worthwhile.

Lastly, It doesn't seem fair to have to burn an upcoming feat to get the trait back. For most starting traits, you have an entire level to make use of the trait before you have to settle on a PC build. In this case, there is no effect until you have levels in 2 different classes. Maybe PCs should be allowed to retrain for this trait prior to playing at level 3 instead of level 2. Of course, if I do GM a couple more times before playing this PC again, I'll have earned another feat and I could take Additional Traits instead of something else I had planned.

Qadira

Ooooh... an intergalactic outlaw mime.

That could make it more exciting.

Maybe he lost his voice due to a curse, and retaliates with mimicry.

Which only makes people want to curse him more.

Qadira

I was trying to think up a unique character concept for a new PC and my brain took a leap a couple steps left of unique and came up with a bard that is somehow limited by a vow of silence.

I thought I might do something to get around this using metamagic, but I see that the silent spell feat is not availabe for bards. I was sort of going for a bard who didn't talk or sing, but played many types of music and maybe even made music through some strange magic that converted his somatic gestures into sound.

Does anybody have any ideas for a character build that could actually do something like this? Maybe some sort of monk/bard mix with some magic that helps him to partially get around this limitation?

Is there a way to have a vow of silence that doesn't totally ruin a bard? Perhaps some spells or items or feats I haven't considered, which might make this workable? It certainly would be unusual, and the limitation could at least generate some humor if it isn't totally crippling.

Qadira

There are several cases where the "single creature" swarm concept really won't work well, and it makes more sense to just consider the swarm to be many individual creatures:

  • for wind and environmental effects (wind is mentioned in the rules)
  • against AoE spells and effects (reasons listed above), and
  • when moving through very small spaces
For the last item, rules indicate that the swarm can move through any space large enough for its component creatures - but should it be able to move its whole body through a choke point at the listed speed? Certainly not. Let's say the PCs fall into a pit where there is a hole (better yet, a pipe) coming through the wall, with a diameter just large enough to allow one army ant through at a time. Can all 10,000 ants (each about 1/2" long) get through that pipe in one round to get at the PCs? That would be like a line of ants 5,000 inches long passing through the nozzle in under 6 seconds - 69 ft per second or 47 mph. If that's hard to envision, imagine the pipe is 30' long. Ant #1 is right near the entrance, climbs in and crawls to the other end. Ant #2 was right next to him, moves into his space and crawls up behind him. Ant #3 was on the other side, no further from the PCs than #2, but when he gets near the end of his movement, the last few steps are blocked and he has to stop. In the first round of movement, the best you can do is fill that 30' pipe with 720 ants. On subsequent rounds, that many can spill out the other end each round as others file in behind them. It takes about a minute and a half for them all to get across - nearly 15 combat rounds. On the other end, our perceptive PCs may notice the first few arriving and attempt to stopper the pipe (with gum, wax, a wooden stake, etc.), and the AoE of their makeshift plug then holds off the bulk of the swarm. The little ant in front is not going to get much help from the ones behind him, and won't have the strength to move the plug. If it is something soft and his attack can overcome its hardness, eventually he alone could break it up enough to loosen it and push it out. Let's say our PCs have nothing at hand and one of them uses a finger to plug the hole, while the other tries to stomp on the first few that made it through. Can the one ant in the end of the pipe do swarm damage? No, he is just one fine creature and would have to make an attack roll - which if successful could only do 1 hp of nonlethal damage (STR 1). What about the ones who made it through? Are they enough to constitute a full-strength swarm and do a full 3d6 of damage? At what number do you say there are too few and reduce the damage? At what point does a stomping boot become an effective unarmed attack or area effect? What if the pipe was 6" shorter and only a dozen ants got through before the PCs could act? Perhaps some far-fetched cases, but they illustrate that the spatial distribution of the swarm could be pertinent to what actions the PCs can take and what damage or effect those actions could have. If only a portion of the swarm can be affected (or affect the PCs), you have to either consider percentages for attacks and damage, or resolve things for the individual members independently.

Qadira

Different interpretations arise from two main problems with the rules as written:

  • swarms that appear to be entirely contained within the splash AoE take too little damage
  • swarms that appear to be almost completely outside the splash AoE take too much damage
Swarms should move into a PC's square to attack early in combat, so in most cases the swarm will be contained in a relatively small space (on a creature or crawling in a thin layer on the ground). Here the target size and gravity should help PCs catch much of the swarm in the splash, and there is no reason why the swarm should take less than the primary splash damage. Due to most of its mass being exposed in a thin layer, I'm saying that a 50% bonus to that damage isn't really enough in some cases (resulting hp are less than the % of the swarm covered). A swarm covering 4 flat squares is spread out over 100 square feet, and one covering a small or medium creature is confined to a 10-20 square foot surface area in a single square. You could coat a large fraction (25%) of the crawling swarm with burning oil, and (with a well placed burst) almost all of the attacking swarm. The other case only applies to flying swarms that have not yet attacked. They form such a dispersed target that they offer no sufficient centralized mass to break a flask against. If you must therefore break it against the floor in the center of its 4 squares, the splash is simply not going to fill a significant percentage of the volume occupied by the swarm. It's around 1% of the total volume, or 4% of the volume in the 10' high column over one 5x5 square.

Qadira

Scray wrote:

I really think you're over-thinking this. Swarms are easier to deal with, because the rules are already abstract. The individual bodies in the swarm don't take damage, so you don't need to calculate the mass of the individuals or a percentage of the swarm that's hit. The swarm HPs are a simplification so you don't need to do all that. AoE effects get a 50% bonus.

The simple question is, does the primary damage from an alchemist bomb count as AoE?

I've always seen this ruled 'yes', but the rules seem to support either conclusion.

In either case the alchemist bomb normally has a splash radius, so even if the primary damage is not allowed to hit the swarm you'd still have a much smaller damage getting the 50% bonus.

I am certainly over-thinking this. Firstly because I take some sick pleasure in 3D math and physics, and secondly because the written rules have potential interpretations that could offer hugely unfair advantages to swarms, particularly the ones with higher hit points. Take a bunch of individually weak creatures and then make them resistant to the normal amount of damage that an AoE spell or effect can deliver to everything in its AoE by pooling their hp. Hit an army ant swarm with a 10d6 fireball - done. Indirectly splash it with 4 dozen flasks of alchemist's fire - still coming? Ridiculous. On the flip side, say one flask of alchemist's fire thrown into a 10x10x10 cloud of flying ants will do the same damage as a flask thrown at those same ants gathered on 10x10 area of ground or crawling on that mound that used to be your halfling thief? Unimaginable. Last time I checked, this was a pencil and paper game, and AoE didn't need to be constrained to a number of 5x5 squares with unlimited height. Sometimes gross simplifications make the game go faster, and sometimes they just don't make any sense - which is especially painful if it gets a PC killed. In those cases I'd rather take the time to think things through and question the rules. I'm not a fan of the swarm rules as written. Swarms seem to have some advantages due to variable shape, and the ability to shield their members from AoE damage that would otherwise kill all the members within a certain AoE. If they can take on different shapes, it stands to reason that AoE spells or effects would intersect with and affect those shapes differently. Put that spider swarm on a wall or on a cylindrical column or even on the ceiling. Does that splash weapon still have the same "area" of effect and damage? At some point you have to say that the simple text of one rule wasn't intended to cover a certain situation, and judge by your understanding of a collection of rules and any "real world" knowledge that helps you fill in the gaps. I appreciate you trying to simplify this for me, but I don't really want it simple. I would like it to be what's (IMO) a bit more realistic - and defeatable by parties that don't have 10d6 fireball spells at their disposal.

Qadira

In the end, alchemist's fire used against a crawling swarm ought to have the same effect in one action as pouring a pint of oil over a 5' square and igniting it: anything with less than 1 hp in that area burns, destroying a full quarter of the swarm's hp. The advantage of being able to do this at range with one action comes at the price of a small chance to miss the target square. For a flying swarm, the damage should be much less, as the flames will not be high and the heat from them will dissipate quickly with height as it mixes with cooler air. For a swarm that is covering a creature, the damage should be greater, and more than just 1d6+50% to the collective for 2 rounds. A splash hit on the swarm's victim will cover most of the swarm with burning oil, and when the victim catches fire and the swarm has no way to put out the flames, most of the individuals that didn't burn in the first round should catch fire and burn in the second. I'd say 50% of the swarm has no cover and burns in the first round, and in the second round the other 50% burns unless the swarm makes a reflex save from the spreading flames (and if it makes that save, it still loses another 25% and is left with only 1/4 of its original hp).

Qadira

Other key causes of confusion relate to the variable density of swarms and cover for targeting, line of sight and line of effect when swarm creatures and others share a single square:

  • for crawling swarms, creatures block horizontal lines of sight within a square (and might provide cover from horizontal bursts, unless you rule that the mass is too small and would just be blown back)
  • for flying swarms, the mass of creatures along any splash weapon trajectory appears to be too small to break the container or even deflect or slow it much
  • for swarms covering a creature, the much larger creature blocks line of sight and lines of effect to parts of the swarm
  • if you can't target the swarm (creature) with a splash, but you can't target the grid intersection in the center because that means you must target the creature above it, does the swarm really block line of sight or targeting of that intersection?
  • if splash damage is more than the hp of any individual creature in the area of effect, shouldn't that fraction of the swarm just be considered dead, without carrying over damage to creatures outside that area in the first or second round (even if the affected area covers only part of a square)?

Qadira

I spent a fair amount of time this week comtemplating Ben's question, with several posts to a local Facebook group site. The part of the rules here that seems to cause the most confusion is that swarms can take several very different shapes and spells and effects that affect an area also come in a variety of shapes, but in all cases you are just supposed to add 50% to damage. The 3 key swarm shapes are:

  • crawling swarm spread over a 10x10 area
  • flying swarm spread over a 10x10x10 volume
  • attacking swarm crawling all over a target creature
When the affecting attack is a splash weapon, the amount of the swarm exposed to the effect would be, respectively:
  • about 25% (roughly circular splash area, removing 1/4 of the swarms hp)
  • negligible (roughly a parabolic toroid, 7.5" tall at its peak)
  • about 100% (covering the surface of a burning target creature, if hit)
For the rules to be easier to interpret, the damage or damage multiplier should take into account the current shape of the swarm and the percentage of that intersected by the shape of the effect (be it burst, emanation or spread and be it line, fan, wall, circle, square, cone, cylinder, sphere or cube). A swarm is only condensed into a creature shape when it is covering a creature; otherwise you need to affect a large area or volume to do significant damage in one attack. One- and two-dimensional effects should be of limited use against two- and three-dimensional swarms, respectively. More detail on my review of this can be found here.

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

So worst case, if one PC is conscious and the rest are unconscious but stable, you just advance the clock and they all are essentially healed up to full?

Apparently it takes only one conscious body to tend to the others during recovery and negate any chance of them slipping further negative.

The recovery rules say "tended by a healer", but there is no DC listed to facilitate the normal healing rate, and heal skill can be used untrained.

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

In my last session, the party did not have a healer, and at the end of the scenario, two players were unconscious but stable at -3 and -9 HP.

I know we need to clear conditions like diseases and curses and poison or carry them into the next scenario, but what about unconscious condition, subsequent disabled condition, and HP loss in general?

Do PCs need to use or buy potions (or spellcasting) of Cure Light Wounds or similar healing magic?

At what point do we say everything that needs to be cleared has been cleared, and the PC will heal up fine in time for their next adventure? Do they need to be merely stable, conscious, at positive HP, or fully healed?

If they need to clear the disabled condition, that could take several days via natural healing, depending upon how far down they were. Do you just ignore time for this and for consciousness rolls and presume the time passes and all the damage clears before you leave the table?

Seems like there should be some penalty for ending a scenario in this condition (in serious need of healing or attended recovery). One suggestion was a penalty to day job rolls, -1 per day in the disabled condition, but of course that would only penalize PCs who have day jobs.

But having to buy potions or spells seems too severe, considering that healing costs are generally ignored between sessions for PCs that have positive hit points and are not in the disabled condition. Such characters will heal up in a few days to a week, depending upon their HD type, but characters in the disabled condition will take a little longer (possibly over twice as long, at first level with near-death damage and no CON bonus).

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

Mergy wrote:
If you just want them to hit, having them as +1 gives you no benefit. A masterwork blowgun and mundane darts would get you the same effect.

Except with regard to DR/magic. Bypassing this may often be of greater benefit than the +1 damage associated with the magical enchantment. If the darts don't do any damage, special add-ons like poison and precision damage may not apply.

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

I found the Guide to PFS OP section while some of you were responding.
A discouraging rule for low level characters.

I'm not sure why anyone would want to carry around 50 darts. I don't think I've been in a scenario yet where someone has made 20 ranged attacks - usually it's less than 10 (a couple per act avoiding melee).

I suppose 50 works well as a number you can enchant with one spell if you're trying to make full use of a craft skill, but PFS PCs can't craft and the minimum lot would be a pointless restriction on low level PCs who can't afford such an expense.

The magical lot size ought to match the mundane lot size. That would be the quantity a typical PC would need to buy to equip or re-equip. Would a PC carry several quivers or arrows or crossbow bolts? Never saw any real or fictional character that did.
Maybe a spare once.

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

Michael Brock wrote:
Jiggy wrote:

Wanted to bump this to see if there's any news on if/when this might be implemented.

If it's something that's going to go through, is there any chance it could be implemented via FAQ/blog instead of waiting for the next version of the Guide?

Campaign wide changes are reserved for the Guide. The FAQ is reserved for when we want to clarify rulings and the like. Allowing this fits into the campaign wide change.

The current guide says any exceptions will be found in the FAQ, but so far I can find no FAQ on this. Correct to presume that this means there are currently no exceptions?

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

Perhaps I need to be more specific about the discrepancy:

Spoiler:

tier 1-2 max gold 453 equals the gold from all succesful combats
tier 4-5 max gold 1267 likewise for tier 4-5 combats
In Act 3, PCs must open at least 3 of 5 chests for Grandmaster Torch.
Grandmaster Torch tips each player 50 gp if they get 4 open
He tips them each 100 gp if they get all 5 open

It isn't a bonus if the PCs can't use the money for anything useful or if it disappears at the end of the scenario. I suppose you could buy one-shot items (potions) and burn them up during the adventure, but gp awards don't typically work that way (and if the bonus was something else like a potion it would normally show up on the chronicle).

I think the gp for this was just missed because it was a puzzle award and not a combat. If the PCs do well, they should be rewarded. The GP rewards for this scenario appear to be on the low side anyway - although the challenges are season zero CR.

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

Mystic Lemur wrote:
The most you can award players is the Max Gold for the tier they play listed on the chronicle sheet. The GM gets the Max Gold for the tier his character falls into.

If the chronicle sheet amount is the true maximum here, then the text of this scenario needs correcting; it doesn't make sense to have gp awards listed which add up to more than the max gold on the chronicle. It appears to be an error from season zero; I can't think of any way PCs can make use of a gp award that doesn't fit into the gp total on the chronicle.

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

I'm looking at the max gold on the chronicle, and it doesn't seem to include a potential "tip" the PCs can earn for stellar performance in Act 3.

If they earn this, am I supposed to add that amount as a bonus to each chronicle sheet? I don't see any other way to incorporate this in the player awards.

On a related note, if this changes the Max Gold award from what's listed on the chronicle, do I as the GM get the higher gp award?

Qadira

Thanks, that makes sense. The wording in the poison use section should really be clarified to say something like this. I looked at the related clerical spells and even Neutralize Poison does not remove the temporary ability damage. A Heal spell does, but it won't remove a permanent ability drain. For that Restoration is required. Making the save leaves the opponent far from "cured", IMO.

Qadira

My ninja character is about to begin using some poisons, and I have a question about what happens when an opponent misses a save and then later is "cured" by making a subsequent save. Does that second save mean he is no longer taking damage (and must heal things like ability damage via the normal means - time or spells) - or are the effects totally removed, abilities back up to full, etc.? I had thought the former was correct, but the wording in the poison section of the PRD is "cured". The wording in the ability damage section says "unless otherwise noted, ability damage heals 1 point/day". Does "cured" in the poison section qualify as "otherwise noted"?

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

Rene Duquesnoy wrote:
Fame earned is for the glory of your faction, which is needed across PFS. However, prestige spent is about individual PCs, and will most likely never be tracked.

Well, it can't hurt to ask. It surely won't happen if nobody does. To be honest, I hadn't thought about using prestige unless my first PC suffered some unfortunate mishap. But now that I have a second that is getting most of his awards via GM chronicles, I think it would be fun to give him some vanities. If he's gaining most of his progression when I run things I've played through with the other, his odds of needing things like Raise Dead should be somewhat reduced. Now that I've said that, the odds are probably out the window.

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

Paizo has to decide what they want to make open content, and how they want to make money. Just seems odd that something like how to spend prestige (which you can earn in every OP session, not just every level) is not completely detailed in the Guide to PFSOP or an attached table.

Maybe we can hope for it to be included in an upcoming revision. My understanding was that the PP system was devised specifically for OP, and if the core assumption is that we have access to these rules, why not make them more accessible? The bulk of what players need is included in the PRD and the guide to PFSOP, so why not open up the rest of the commonly needed resource material? I have seen lots of people borrow the CRB, and even play or GM without it. The searchable PDF or online OC rules are quicker to access, and for a tangible product, I prefer the GM screen for rules that need to be accessed frequently. Nothing disrupts a game like having to flip through a book because someone doesn't recall how something works.

On a related topic, has anyone heard if online session tracking will eventually keep track of prestige expenditure, not just total fame? That would be the next place I'd expect to see this (chronicle sheets show it today), and if it does go to OC after that, into some of the character generation and advancement tools like Hero Lab and others.

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

Chris Mortika wrote:
Peter Kies wrote:
... The award for getting closest to a TPK at Rock-Con goes to Chris Mortika, who filled in his name on the subsequent tracking sheet as Chris "the killer" Mortika. I probably would have chosen a nickname like "Mortality", but in any event, Kyle has some real competition out there. Regarding killing players instead of PCs, there are a few that I haven't heard back from yet...
To be fair, it was Kyle who wrote my name and "nickname" on that tracking sheet. I always feel bad when I watch characters die at my table, and I would hate to have people think I take it frivolously.

I should have known Kyle had something to do with the nickname. And I thought I was the one instigating more banter on the topic. In Chris's defense, it was clear he took all his GM duties very seriously and was trying to judge the situation fairly. But that doesn't mean that he won't get a bit of "deadly GM" reputation out of this. These guys both made Rock-Con a fun event, and we are lucky to have them both "in the area", or at least close enough to drive in and game with us on occasion. Perhaps after I invest a little more into my characters, I'll get to play at one of their tables and report with more first-hand experience on who really does strike the most fear into their players.

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

Care Baird wrote:

Don't fear, those 4 tables who survived were all 1st level. I try to make it a point not to kill n00bs. I prefer to let them get invested in their characters before crushing their hopes and dreams.

Chris, on the other hand, timed it perfectly. He waited for those characters to get to 3rd and 4th level. A perfect blend of "investment" and "can't afford a raise dead." Well done Mortakiller.

(chuckles evilly)

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

Matthew Starch wrote:
Cheapy wrote:
....Baird is from Milwaukee?
we won him in a very strange deal with... well, let's just call it an outsider...

I had the pleasure of meeting Kyle last weekend at Rock-Con, and I think all of this Baird monster talk is overrated. Four of the five tables he ran survived and got away with the full prestige award. I think he killed a pre-gen in the tier 7-11 game, but c'mon, isn't that what they are for? The award for getting closet to a TPK at Rock-Con goes to Chris Mortika, who filled in his name on the subsequent tracking sheet as Chris "the killer" Mortika. I probably would have chosen a nickname like "Mortality", but in any event, Kyle has some real competition out there. Regarding killing players instead of PCs, there are a few that I haven't heard back from yet...

To address the original thread topic - there are a lot of great folks in the area who can help you get things started. Many of them have already chimed in, so be sure to follow up on their offers to help.

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

Paizo has done a good job of making lots of content freely available online, to help new players get started on the game. That's one of the things I liked that caused me to switch from that other game which kept changing their rules edition and trying to make people buy and replace more books. I did have a chance to peruse the Field Guide recently, enough to see that there were things in there that should probably be accessible to every player - especially when you start earning prestige in your first session and have enough to purchase some of the vanities therein.

I think there is an obvious miss in not having some of this online. I appreciate the quick responses clarifying that it is not there at this time. This suggests that if I want my player to have the secret knowledge, to know how he can use prestige in any ways other than those shown in the tables in the guide to PFSOP, I need to go find a book or a PDF. I'm not totally cheap, but where things are available for free, that's the price I prefer to pay. I was a bit surprised to see all the community discussions regarding spending prestige, but to not find a complete list of rules for it online. That suggests that most people talking about it have either already bought the Field Guide or have used or memorized the parts they are talking about. It is becoming common knowledge for many of you, just not for us newbies.

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

For my first two characters, I've done fairly well using the PRD and the Guide to PFSOP for character generation and advancement. But neither seems to have a comprehensive list of all the ways can spend prestige to improve your character or make it more interesting.

Anybody know of anyplace where a list or table of these is posted online? Or will I have to bite the bullet and go get a copy of the Field Guide in order to understand all the ways that prestige is intended to be used in PFSOP? And is that the only source other than the Guide to PFSOP - or is there any other approved list of ways you can spend prestige?

Qadira

I'm organizing an event and it was suggested that I include at least one module. I picked Master of the Fallen Fortress, but I'm not sure how much time we'll really need for it in the schedule. The default suggestion for modules is that they are equivalent to 2-3 scenarios in length, but this is a Free RPG Day 16-page module, which are listed as "more like a scenario" in length. I have no more than 5 hours per slot (that includes break/transit/setup/marshalling) and this one looks like it has a lot of encounters. For those who have run it or played it before, how long did it take?

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

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Thanks for the plug, Rene!

Rock-Con is only 8 weeks away now, and we have GMs signed up for most of the slots we have planned. We can always use a few more and there is plenty of room at the ISC.

With this being the first year we are running Pathfinder at Rock-Con, it's anybody's guess how large our contingent will be. Players and GMs are encouraged to sign up early on our Warhorn site, so we'll know if we need to reserve additional tables.

If you can make it to the Rockford area October 19-21, we'd love to see you there!

Qadira * Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Rockford

I recently played in a game where we had no spellcaster in the party. There was a paladin and a couple of rogues, but the only spell effects were through abilities, UMD or potions - no large selection of arcane or divine spells. So I thought, maybe I should pick up a wand with detect magic on it at least - it's use is not opposed so CL1 should be effective enough.

But in every scenario I've played thus far, I haven't seen that this spell is really necessary. In PFS play, if you complete all of the encounters and defeat all the bad guys, in my experience you get all the magic items at the end on your chronicle. I've yet to see any of those items used during the scenario, nor have I seen items hidden to the point where you must have detect magic to obtain them in the end. Is this a spell that just doesn't fit with the organized play model?

Has anyone (without spoiling) really seen it used to good effect? As with the item creation feats, it seems like detect magic and identify spells just don't fit in a system where the rewards appear to be fixed "all or nothing" - you either complete the scenario or you die.

On a related note - has anyone seen a high mortality rate in PFS play? Seems like GMs pull punches a bit unless they know the players and everyone agrees the GM should not hold back, but make them earn it. Perhaps I was just a more cruel GM, but the system seems to favor having everyone survive the adventure and obtain every bit of treasure.


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