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Investigation of a Thassilonian Ruin

I woke up again a couple hours before dawn. I laid there in silence watching Aurora sleep for about ten minutes, then got up and decided to see how things were going with the fort. I probably would have stayed longer, but it really wasn’t all that comfortable on a bedroll on the stone floor.

I went out onto the second floor landing and looked out over the walls at the forest. In the moonlight, I could see a chill mist rolling through the woods. I wasn’t alone on the landing. Two others were out there, standing watch. They looked rather chilled.

I built a small fire, carefully shielding it so that the light wouldn’t mess with my companions’ night vision, then brewed up a couple cups of tea for the two standing watch. They were grateful for the warmth and the caffeine seemed to have quick effect.

After they had sipped down their beverages, I pulled out my violin and asked if they would mind if I played. Neither objected, so I walked over towards the edge of the landing and began to play. Over the course of an hour or so, I played more than a dozen pieces from a set I call my “Starscapes” set. Each song is soft, soothing and hopeful, perfect for playing while others might be sleeping.

As I played, I became aware of a soft golden light glowing in the bell tower above. It wasn’t the flickering orange of a torch, nor the blue-white of magic light. No, it was golden and pure, like a crystal clear note turned into light rather than sound.

I smiled softly. I had seen light like that before while playing. The first time had been when my playing had attracted the attention of a passing lantern archon, a floating orb of light that acts as a scout for Heaven’s armies, among other things. The second was when a pair of lyriaken azatas, not unlike small holy fairies, joined my playing. One of my band’s performances even managed to draw in an angel with a glowing halo to watch us. We ended up doing a full set encore that evening for an audience of one.

In case you’re wondering. No, I didn’t hit on him. Since it was a him.

What’s important is that each of them projected the same kind of light, though I know that lantern archons can control the color of their light completely. I’ve heard that a summoner, one of Samantha’s friends by the name of Gribbletoo, had once used a bunch of lantern archons as stage lights for one of his magic shows.

Once I had finished playing, I decided to go up and say hello to the celestial being who had listened to me play. Imagine my surprise when I reached the tower and found no celestial, but instead Aurora. She had fallen asleep leaning against the wall. Her lips were curled in a small smile.

I reached over and brushed a bit of hair from her face and whispered. “Aurora, wake up. You missed the celestial.”

She frowned. “I missed what?”

“There was a celestial up here,” I said. “If you didn’t see it, you must have slept through it.”

She shook off her sleepiness. “Weird,” she said. “I woke up and you weren’t there, so I went looking. I came up here and heard you playing, so I decided to stay and listen for a while. I don’t know when I went to sleep, but I don’t remember seeing anything strange. I do remember feeling really happy, though.”

I nodded. “A lantern archon,” I said. “Or maybe a cassisian angel.” The latter is a small angel that takes the form of a winged helmet, in case you haven’t studied the upper planes like I have. I gently touched her shoulder and smiled. “No worries. I’m sure we’ll run into other celestials some time. You’ll see one eventually.” I didn’t want to bring up the winged woman from the previous day, but I was sure I’d see her again.

She nodded and we went back down to the landing, where I prepared her some tea and a small snack for her and the guards. While they ate, we all sat in silence and watched the glorious sunrise.

Not too long after the sun had risen, the others woke up and we sat down for a proper breakfast. Well, the others ate. I just had a cup of tea, a special blend a teahouse in Absalom makes for me. It’s not exactly Earl Grey, but it plays the part well enough.

We watched from the table we had moved out onto the landing as Orik moved around commanding his units. He was a damn sight different from when we had first met him. His people followed him as though he had been commanding them for years, though we knew it hadn’t been nearly that long. Aurora watched intently and I could see ideas forming in her mind.

Truth be told, I was getting jealous with how intently she was watching him. I almost began suspecting she had a thing for him, but I came to realize that it wasn’t him she was watching. It was the fluidity of his followers, the machine precision in which they followed his orders. So I wasn’t surprised when she spoke up.

“I’ve been thinking,” she said. “We’ve been facing greater and greater threats. Eventually, the way we’ve been doing things isn’t going to keep working.”

“What do you have in mind?” Geo asked.

“If we are going to keep working together, perhaps we need to begin training together. We each have strengths and we’ve done a fair job cobbling together ways to use what we know of each other to best function in battle, but I think we still have a lot to learn about and from each other so we can maximize our ability to use our strengths to overwhelm our foes.”

She had a point. We were working like a pickup jazz ensemble, randomly drawn from an audience. We were decent players, but we didn’t know each other, not well, anyway. So the music we’d put out had been decent, but if we were going to keep playing, it made perfect sense to work towards interweaving our abilities into a coherent quintet.

I wasn’t the only one who agreed. “It’s not a bad idea,” Geo said. “We did much the same back in the militia. And that was with people who had known each other all of our lives. With our group, we come from such different backgrounds that we can learn a lot from one another.”

I can’t say I was hopeful that we’d accomplish more than a basic increase in our ability to work together, but if we did, it would be a sight to behold. We had one big group of bunny-ears lawyers here. If we could turn ourselves into a cohesive team of bunny-ears lawyers, we might just be unstoppable. And perhaps, just perhaps, I had a few ideas of my own to contribute. With my help, maybe we could shift all the way from bunny-ears lawyers straight into crazy awesome.

I just need to figure out where to find a metallic purple traffic cone named Sheldon.

We talked for a few moments more before one of the fort’s soldiers interrupted us. “Milord,” he said, addressing me. “I apologize for interrupting, but you asked to be notified when the Pathfinder awoke.”

It was finally time to get ahead of Lucrecia and the forces of her master, this Mokmurian. I grinned. “Thanks, Tovar. I’ll be there momentarily.” He saluted me and returned to his duties. “So, shall we go either rob or destroy a mountain?” I asked the others.

“I’m not sure about destroying a mountain,” Geo answered. “But if this place is what Lucrecia was looking for, it certainly seems to be in our interest to get to it first.”

We found the Pathfinder where we had left him, resting on one of the giant cushions that had belonged to Lucrecia. Someone had brought him some bread and broth as an easy meal since he had been so injured, though his injuries looked to be mostly cured. I suspected that the cleric in Orik’s unit had already visited him.

He looked startled to see me. “The adopted scion of Voidstrife? What are you doing here?”

“There was this thing in Cheliax,” I lied. I feel no compulsion to be honest with Pathfinders. “So I decided to visit sunny Varisia for a bit. Got mixed up in some bad company and we decided to earn a little reward for taking back this fort from all those ridiculous ogres. You?”

He looked at my companions. His eyes widened almost imperceptibly when he noticed Paulie, but then he quickly turned to the next person. “Wait. That scar, that armor…you wouldn’t happen to be Aurora Calwen, would you?” he asked Aurora.

As usual, Aurora didn’t respond well to being recognized by a stranger. Even with her armor on, I could sense her muscles tensing. I gently tapped her arm to get her attention then shook my head slightly. She forced herself to relax. “Yes, this vision of loveliness is indeed Aurora Calwen,” I said. “The large man is named Lenn and the Manus Teuthida there is known as Geo.”

“Manus Teuthida?” Geo interrupted.

“Squid hand,” I replied.

“Ah,” he nodded sagely.

I turned back to the Pathfinder. “Finally, the cat man you seemed to recognize goes by Paulie. Now, if you would be so kind as to tell me how you know him we can get to the part where you introduce yourself.” My tone indicated that I would accept no lies or attempts to weasel out of answering.

His eyes went fully wide at my terse words. “I-I am Bartholomew of the Pathfinders. As for your friend, I do not recognize him, only the symbol he wears.”

Paulie’s ears perked up at that. “Go on,” I said.

“I saw it in a report. Eight of our investigators went missing after entering some kind of tomb. A second team was sent. All they found were their corpses, completely desiccated. They were standing around a sarcophagus. That symbol was carved into the lid of the sarcophagus.”

Well, that was unexpected. Also, if Paulie turned out to be Cat-Dracula, I was going to be pissed. “Okay, so tell us about the ruins you’re currently investigating. We think that some bad people might be looking for them and we want to get there first.”

He shook his head. “You have time, unless they’ve already located the password.”

“Password?” Geo asked.

“There are instructions to speak the password to open the vault,” he said.

Password or no, we were getting in. “How good was the wizard you brought with you?” I asked.

“We didn’t have a wizard,” he replied.

“Okay, your sorcerer. Did he or she have and magic nullification spells?”

“We, um, didn’t have a sorcerer.”

I pinched the bridge of my nose. “Okay, what did you have for arcane magic?”

“We had a bard.”

“A BARD?! Do you people pick your parties out of a hat? Does your leadership just send whomever isn’t currently too drunk to stand? HOW THE HELL DO YOU GO ON AN EXPEDITION TO A RUIN MADE BY AN ANCIENT CIVILIZATION RULED BY WIZARDS AND ONLY BRING A BARD?!”

The man looked terrified. “I-uh-we…”

“Choose your words carefully. I will break your legs if you try to defend that choice,” I said. He just sat, dumbfounded. “And is this ‘bard’ still at the ruins?”

He shook his head. “I don’t know. We were attacked by wild animals and got separated. I didn’t want to run into the creatures alone, so I came here for help.”

I sighed. At least that was a sensible decision. “Grab your things. We leave for the ruins in half an hour. And if you aren’t healthy enough to travel, I will smack you with the healing wand repeatedly until you are.”

As I turned to leave, Aurora put her hand on my shoulder. “Kyle…”

I shook my head in disgust. “A. BARD,” I spat, then walked past her, mumbling about the stupidity of it all to no one in particular.

The journey to the vault took a few hours. On the way, we encountered a small pack of dire wolves. One of them had a Pathfinder identification tag stuck in its teeth, much to Bart’s sorrow. Yes, I’m calling him Bart. And yes, because it rhymes with fart.

We found the bard, or at least, what was left of him, at the entrance to the ruins. Bart collected his ID tag and Lenn helped dig him a quick grave. Meanwhile I began studying the puzzle before us. I immediately saw the solution, but waited until they were done saying prayers for the dead before calling Bart over.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t even find their notes,” he said. “So, unfortunately I don’t have the list of words we’ve already tried.”

“That’s fine,” I said, exasperated. “I’ve already solved it.”

“That quickly?” Paulie asked.

I nodded. “It’s an old and very simple puzzle.” I gave Bart a look. “Do you read Thassilonian?”

He actually looked indignant. “Of course. Regardless of what you seem to think, we weren’t completely unprepared for this task.”

“Then go on, read the inscription over the door to my companions and explain to us all your interpretation of the words.”

He rolled up his sleeves and approached the door. “’Beyond this portal lies a repository of prophecy. By order of Krune, none may enter without permission upon pain of death. If he has granted you permission, then speak, friend, and enter.’”

“Explain to my companions what that means,” I prompted.

“Krune is the name of one of the Runelords, rulers of ancient Thassilon, though I’m not sure what virtue he represented.”

“Well deserved rest,” Paulie supplied, without prompting. I looked at him and he did not seem to know how he knew that either.

“Anyway,” Bart continued. “He obviously intended this place to be secure, so he shielded it with a password of some kind. Only those allowed entry would know the code.”

“That could be,” I agreed. “But you assume that he isn’t lazy. That’s something you need to understand about human nature. We’ll go to great lengths to expend as little effort as possible. In this case, it’s not a secure password but the threat of penalty that keeps out the unwanted.”

“Then what’s the password?” he asked, confused.

“The ‘password’ is right on the door.” Yes, I did in fact make finger quotes. I don’t care that he wouldn’t understand them.

“There’s no password there.”

“Look again. It says, ‘Speak FRIEND and enter’.”

“How does that help us?”

I face palmed. “Bart, what’s the Thassilonian word for friend?”

“Midreh,” he said. Immediately, the door began to open.

“The prosecution rests, your honor,” I said to no one. Of course, I knew that there was no way that was the only security, but now we had a way in. We could take the rest as it came.

And it came at us with a vengeance. In the first room, a trio of statues attacked us. They were taller than a Lenn – giants, really. There’s not a whole lot to say about the fight itself, it was pretty textbook. Lenn smashed one, hitting it so hard that its head flew off and knocked another from its feet. Aurora jumped on the downed one and actually stabbed it to “death” with her blade with the help of Paulie’s barrage of arrows. Geo and I finished the last one with a combination of magic and brutal tentacle action. What I’m saying is that it looked like something out of a bad hentai, but not the part where the alien demons attack the schoolgirls. No the part right before that where they’re terrorizing the convenience store because they wanted some ramen or something.

There is one odd thing that happened. At the beginning of the fight, one of the statues that awoke was standing right next to Paulie. There was an excellent chance for a surprise attack on our healer-slash-archer. But it walked right past him like he wasn’t there. Well, no, that’s wrong. It had to step around him, so it obviously knew he was there. It just didn’t care for some reason. I filed that information away for later.

There were a number of offshoot rooms from the main foyer. Most of them were uninteresting, containing little more than thousand year old artifacts that we could sell to the highest bidder. Bart wasn’t happy about that.

“They belong in a museum.”

“So do you,” I replied. “But you don’t see me attempting to curate you. You’re not my type, of course.” Heh. I’m so clever.

“What does that even mean?”

I just rolled my eyes. Look, understand that I completely agree that many of these artifacts belonged in a proper museum, once confirmed to not be doomsday weapons. But what he meant was that they needed to go into the Society’s personal collection. And I’m just not letting that happen without making them pay through the nose. I know it’s petty to hold a grudge because they wouldn’t let me read their books, but it’s kind of a big deal to me.

One room stood out, however. It was a large room that we entered after passing through a massive arch. Inside, there was a large heptagonal mirror on the floor surrounded by seven mithral statues each inscribed with a symbol. The symbols on them looked familiar. It took me only a moment to realize that they were the symbols I’d seen at Brodert Quink’s place. I think these were meant to represent the Runelords.

But if that was the case, why not the symbols for the seven deadly sins?

An orange sign appeared on the floor in front of me. “Beware of holding with both hands.” I looked around to see if anyone else noticed it. No one else appeared be able to see it, so it was another message only for me. I think it was telling me to cut out the mental masturbation.

Fine. Be that way, whoever you are.

We walked around the room and saw very little of real significance aside from some ancient Thassilonian writing on the wall. “And lo, shall a time come to pass when one of the great leaders shall face those who would stand against them. Beware the Man Who is Many, whose journey is both the longest and the shortest. Beware the Heavenly Avenger, the sword of the righteous. Beware the Giantslayer, who was once another man. Beware the Desperate Man, who searches for someone he once lost. And beware the Star Traveler, former companion of the *text unreadable* and wielder of a great and terrible new magic.” There was more, but the text appeared to have been purposefully damaged and unreadable.

We continued looking around the room for several minutes before Paulie walked across the mirror to get a closer look at one of the statues. He wasn’t the first to do so. In fact, pretty much everyone but me had already walked across it. But as soon as he reached the middle, the mirror began to glow with a pale blue light.

Paulie leapt from the mirror immediately, landing in a three point stance. Immediately I recognized his “Batman” mode. “Everyone, back away from the mirror,” I said. “Make your way toward the entrance.” I put myself between the group and the mirror, ready to dispel any magical effects that came our way.

As we neared the archway, the light began to pulse, faster and faster. “RUN!” Bart shouted.

I felt a metal clad hand grab me by the coat and looked behind me as the group dashed to the arch. Just before we reached it, I noticed that there were glowing runes all around the arch. “WAIT!” I tried to shout, but it was too late. We passed through the arch and suddenly I found myself standing alone in a white room.

A deep voice spoke. “Hello, Neo. Welcome to the world of the real.”

I wasn’t amused. “Okay, why am I suddenly in the Matrix loading room talking to Morpheus?”

The bald black man in the long coat and shades shrugged. “Don’t ask me. You’re the one having a psychotic episode.”

Of course I was. Which meant this wasn’t Morpheus. It was more communication from the part of me that I had suppressed, the part of me that was actually enjoying this whole thing. “Hello, Fleur.”

The figure before me pulled off his glasses and rolled his eyes. “Aww, you’re no fun!” a sweet, feminine voice whined. “I didn’t even get to offer you the choice between the blue and red pills.” Morpheus shuddered and morphed into a beautiful woman.

“What happened to your hair?” I asked. “Wasn’t your hair the same color as mine?”

“I just think our female form looks better as a blonde. Don’t you?” She twirled, spinning her mid-thigh length skirt and ending in a pose that gave a lovely view down the front of her criminally low-cut blouse. I nodded appreciatively.

Look, yes, I’m attracted to my female self. And yes, I’m okay with that. Look, it’s not like we’re talking about that old “would you ever” question about sleeping with your time-travelling self. In my opinion, the time traveler is still a separate person with different life experiences despite sharing much of a common background. But Fleur isn’t separate. I call her “she” all the time, but only because it would be confusing saying “I” for both parts of a conversation.

I know it’s confusing. All I’m saying is that you can’t make me feel ashamed for basically looking in a mirror and saying “Yeah, I’d do me.”

“So, what the hell is going on?” I asked.

“We seem to be in some kind of pocket reality or something. I’m not entirely sure why.”

“Maybe it’s a vision of some kind?”

“That would explain the chair.”

The chair? What chair? Before I could ask, she stepped aside, revealing a very strange chair indeed. It was six legged and each leg was a pony. Yes, those ponies. One of the unicorn legs was broken and each of the others showed various degrees of damage. “I wouldn’t sit on it,” I told her.

“Are you calling me fat?”

“Look, we both know we’re eating way more than our body needs. So, yes, a little.” She faked a pout and we both laughed. It’s okay, you don’t have to fake a laugh. It’s magic ring humor. It’s fine if it goes over your head, though it really should go on your finger. “Look, there’s a remote control.”

“OOH! I WANNA DO IT!” she squealed in delight. “Huh. There are only four buttons, just as many buttons as lights. Also, each has a drawing of one of our friends.”

“I wonder what that means.”

She looked at the chair and then the remote. “It can only mean one thing.”

“What’s that?” I almost immediately regretted asking because she began singing.

A true, true friend helps a friend in need
A friend will be there to help them see
A true, true friend helps a friend in need
To see the light that shines from a true, true friend

“What.” She winked and tossed me the remote.

Geo needs your help
He's trying hard, doing what he can
Would you try, just give it a chance
You might find that you'll start to understand

I pushed the button on the remote for Geo and instantly found myselves on a massive plain. Corpses of stone giants littered the ground as far as the eye could see. On top of the largest mound stood two Lenns. One was the axe wielder we knew, but the other wore Geo’s clothes. This had to be a vision of Geo’s transformation like before. The two men were laughing like giddy schoolchildren. Schoolchildren standing on a pile of corpses covered in gore.

I attempted to talk to them, but they didn’t seem to see me. So we were doing the Ghost of Christmas Past thing. Cool story, bro. “Next one?” I asked Fleur.

Lenn needs your help
He's trying hard, doing what he can
Would you try, just give it a chance
You might find that you'll start to understand

I tapped the button and we found ourself in a room in a strange ruin. Lenn was walking around looking for something, looking completely lost. He almost didn’t notice the gnome, who dodged quickly to avoid being stepped on.

The gnome also seemed confused. “This isn’t the right place. This isn’t the right place at all.”

“You have something on your face!” Lenn bellowed matter-of-factly.

“Oh heavens me,” the gnome said. He pulled out a piece of paper and wiped his face. “I was eating pancakes. Must have gotten lost in thought.” He handed the crumpled sheet of paper to Lenn. “Here. You may need this later.”

Lenn licked the impromptu napkin. “Mmm. Boysenberry. That would go good with sausage!”

I tried to get a look at the paper, but Lenn didn’t notice me here either.

The gnome watched my attempts. “You’re taller than I expected,” he said, looking right at me. He then looked at Fleur. “You’d make an excellent lovely assistant, my dear. But no time for auditions. I must continue on. I’m searching for the fabled underground lingonberry springs of the place called IKEA.” Then he was gone.

“I don’t want to be a lovely assistant!” Lenn said. He still didn’t seem to notice us.

“Didn’t we jokingly tell Samantha that IKEA gets its syrup from a mythical underground spring?” Fleur asked me. We had. I nodded. “You don’t think that was…”

“Nah, it couldn’t be. It was just part of this weird hallucination we’re having.”

“Right. That has to be it.”

“On to the next?”

Paulie needs your help
He's trying hard, doing what he can
Would you try, just give it a chance
You might find that you'll start to understand

We arrived in a place not unlike the ruins we had been exploring all day. Only this time, there was no signs of the wear of aging. Paulie, maybe a year younger, was unconscious and strapped to a table. A lazy looking man was regarding him from a nearby chair with a servant of some kind standing next to him. “There’s no doubt about it. My magic is never wrong. He is one of those from the prophecy. But I can find no trace of the others.” He was speaking in Thassilonian.

“Lord Krune, is it possible that one of the other Runelords is shielding their location from you?” Ah, so the man was the Runelord of Sloth. Of course he was.

The man laughed. “It is a concern, though I do not believe I am the target of the prophecy. Alaznist or Xanderghul seem more likely targets. Still, it doesn’t hurt to be cautious. Take him to the eastern vault. Have them place him in a slumber chamber until we have located the others and found a way to be certain who they’ll oppose.”

“Yes, my lord.” The servant rang a bell and two large men entered the room. At the servant’s direction they began to carry the limp form of the cat man away.

“Wait,” Krune called out. He held up a medallion with the symbol Paulie wore. “Place this on him. There are facilities we may need to take him to later and I want the guardians to know that he is there on my orders.”

“Of course, my Lord.”

Krune continued studying a book on a stand before him. I looked over his shoulder and realized he was reading the prophecy. This version was much longer and much of it was in pictographs, which I didn’t quite recognize. I think one of them looked like a white dragon of some kind, but I could be wrong. But I could definitely make out the ending that had been missing from the text in the ruins, though the part about the companion of the Star Traveler still had a smudge on it.

“These five are dangerous and may very well prove capable of slaying a Runelord, but their chances of survival while doing so are only as great as the chances of two men creating life without a woman.”

So, they were going to die stopping a Runelord. And Paulie was one of them. And there were five of them. And Star Traveler sounded an awful lot like me.

“Well, crap,” Fleur said just what I was thinking.

“I know, right?”

“Let’s worry about it later, okay?” she said. “There’s still one more button on that remote.”

“Yeah, okay.”

Aurora is in trouble
We need to get there by her side
We can try to do what we can now
For together we can be her guide

We found ourself in a golden citadel. I looked out a massive nearby window and gasped. “It looks like the moon!” The stars were incredibly vivid, just like when I’d been traveling through space.

Fleur immediately tried to do a moon jump and fell flat on her backside. “Aww! They have normal gravity here!” She pouted and I pulled her to her feet. “Do you hear that?” she asked.

I decided not to comment on the silliness of asking yourself if you heard something and just nodded. The sounds of an angelic choir had begun to fill the air. Not knowing what else to do, we followed the sound until we came to a large door. Standing at the door, looking unsure as to whether she should enter, was Aurora. I gently put my hand on her shoulder. She didn’t seem to notice, but gathered the courage to open the door and step on through.

Inside the room, over a hundred voices erupted in cheers. The applause was thunderous. Aurora jumped, though perhaps not as high as I had. As the cheering continued, I examined the crowd. There were celestial beings of all types, from the tiniest Lyriaken Azata to a majestic Solar Angel. From the temptation-prone Peri to a good dozen disciplined Archons.

As the applause died down, Aurora managed to regain her composure. “Wh-what is this?”

A matronly yet incredibly beautiful angel smiled warmly as she walked over and enveloped Aurora in a hug. “We just wanted you to know how proud of you we are,” she said.

“Me? Why?”

“You’ve fought so very hard, child. You’ve saved so many. And we can tell that your greatest deeds lie before you, not behind.”

“I’m not strong enough,” Aurora said, burying her face in the angel’s shirt. “I’m no good at all.”

“You’re wrong about that,” a draconal Agathion said. “You’re stronger than you think and much better than you know. And I doubt we’re the only ones who have noticed.”

“I don’t know about that,” she said, looking away.

Without thinking, I walked over and leaned in close. “I’ve noticed,” I whispered in her ear. She suddenly blushed and looked around, but she still couldn’t see me.

“Slap her ass,” Fleur whispered in my ear.

“The hell is wrong with you?” I asked myself.

“Come on! She wants you to do it even more than you want to do it. And if you won’t do it now, then as soon as we get back you take her out behind the ruins and take care of it.”

“We’re leaving,” I said. “I apparently can’t take me anywhere.”

“Fine,” Fleur said, pouting. “Push the fifth button.”

“There’s no fifth button… huh.” Suddenly, there was a fifth button. I’m certain it hadn’t been there earlier.

The townspeople need you
They've been sad for a while
They march around, face a-frown
And never seem to smile
And if you feel like helpin'
We'd appreciate a lot
If you'd get up there and spread some cheer
From here to Canterlot

I suddenly found myself back in the farmlands near Sandpoint. I was next to a pair of farmers on horseback. Actually, the horses didn’t look like farm stock. They were much finer. “Holy crap. It’s Rarity!” I said to Fleur. Even she seemed a bit choked up at seeing our old horse.

The woman riding Rarity was talking to her companion. “It sure was generous of those folks to loan us their horses, eh, Horran? And that magic they used on us must have cost a fortune. I’m just glad we’re on our way to Sandpoint to get this malady right cured. Don’t you think so too, Horran? Horran?”

Lettie Guffman barely managed to turn when the ghoul that used to be Horran leapt from Shadowmist’s back and knocked her from Rarity. His taloned left foot dug into Rarity’s neck, killing her instantly.

Shadowmist, true to Aurora’s command, rushed to protect Lettie, but it was too late. Horran had snapped her neck. The horse barely managed to escape his own demise and had to flee. There was no one left to save. I couldn’t blame him.

At this point, I was unsurprised to notice a winged woman standing in the tall wheat nearby, still as a statue. “Hey, Fleur, you see that?”

“I know, right? We should have had them stay with us. We may have been able to save Lettie and Rarity.”

I gave her a flat look. “No. The woman in the field.”

She turned and looked. “What woman?”

I turned back. The winged woman was gone. Of course she was. And somehow, my other half hadn’t seen her. Well, crap. Maybe I was going crazy. I decided to let it drop and looked at the remote. “So, any other visions, spirit?”

“I do have this great vision I’ve cooked up that involves Aurora, a public bathhouse made of marble and a bottle of Herbal Essence, but I think we’re starting to get sent back, so I guess we just finish the song. Sing with me?”

Damn. I kinda wanted to see that. I mean, it was just a harmless fantasy wrapped in a psychotic episode. No harm there, right? Oh well. “Sure,” I said. Then we began to sing.

A true, true friend helps a friend in need
A friend will be there to help them see
A true, true friend helps a friend in need
To see the light that shines from a true, true friend.

It took my eyes several moments to adjust to the dimmer room when I returned. “Kyle, are you okay?” Aurora asked. Her face was inches from mine.

“I’m not sure,” I said. “Perhaps you should perform mouth-to-mouth to make sure I’m breathing.” I could feel Fleur grinning as I said it.

“He’s fine,” Aurora said, sounding a bit relieved.

“What happened?” I asked.

“We went through the archway and you all just disappeared,” Bart said.

“You didn’t?” Geo asked, intrigued.

The Pathfinder shook his head. “I’m not sure why. Maybe because I was the first through?”

It was possible. Maybe he’d made it through in time. But does that mean the visions were real? Eff it. I don’t care. “Alright. Geo, get your saw. We’re taking some of that mithral.”

“Is that safe?” Aurora asked.

“Probably not,” I said. But I’m pissed off at these damn Runelords. We’re taking their s!!@.”

As we entered the room again, I glanced at the mirror. The reflection had changed. No longer were the statues reflected as generic statues, but each now showed a specific Runelord. I recognized Krune and Alaznist, but I took in the different faces in case I needed them later. It was difficult. One of the statues – likely the Runelord of Lust – was a voluptuous woman in the hottest outfit I’d seen in a long time.

And then the statues got off their pedestals and tried to kill us. The fight was brutal. Mithral is much stronger than stone. But Lenn is stronger than Mithral. Exploding Mithral, however, is stronger than Lenn. Yeah, I said “exploding mithral”.

Someone had coated the statues in a chemical that reacts with air. The magic of the statues had prevent it from contacting air, but once we destroyed them, they would explode. “Throw oil at them!” I shouted, remembering something from Burn Notice. “Preferably not lantern oil,” I added.

In the end, Paulie had a fair amount of work to heal our wounds and we only managed to save one of the heads. The rest of the mithral was a loss. Even then, I had work ahead of me to remove the explodey outer layer.

“Let’s go,” Lenn said. “I want pancakes!”

I froze. “What.”

“Taste this,” he said, handing me something from his pocket. It was a sheet of paper covered in syrup stains. There was some kind of alchemical formula on it, so I passed it over to Geo.

“Where did you get this?”

“From the gnome.”

“What gnome?” Paulie asked in his gravelly bat-voice.

I held up my hand, asking for silence. “Geo?”

He continued looking at the formula for a moment. “It appears to be for some kind of alchemical pancake batter. It reacts with the air to instantly create a perfectly cooked and deliciously warm pancake.”

I couldn’t take it. I sat down and began to laugh. “Kyle? What’s wrong?” Aurora asked as she put a hand on my shoulder.

“It’s a pancake recipe! Of course it’s a pancake recipe! It really was him!” My laughter echoed through the ruins as it took control of me.

Everyone exchanged concerned glances. “Care to share the joke with the rest of us?” Geo asked.

“Lenn met Gozreh’s champion! You were killing giants, just like you wanted! Aurora met a bunch of angels! And you,” I said, pointing at Paulie. “I’m not even sure what to make of what you saw. But it was a damn sight better than mine! I got to watch a farmer and a horse get killed by a ghoul! AHAHAHAHA!”

They all looked shocked that I had also seen what they had seen. No one knew what to make of it, so they gave me time to calm down before we started making our way out of the cavernous ruins.

As we neared the entrance, we found ourselves standing against dozens more living statues. I heard Fleur curse. “Man, screw this day.” The statues raised their weapons and prepared to charge. Suddenly, I had a moment of clarity.

“Paulie, get between the rest of us and the statues.”

Despite my earlier breakdown, he immediately did what I said. My voice must have sounded very certain. Or maybe he’s crazier than I am. With him in the way, the statues hesitated. “What do I do now?”

“Repeat what I say precisely and with authority.” He did as I asked. The statues lowered their weapons and returned to their places.

“Well, that certainly worked,” Geo said, impressed. “What did you say?”

Bart answered for me. “‘These people are with me. Stand down immediately.’”

“How did you know that would work?” Aurora asked.

I shrugged. “I didn’t. I suspected it might since none of the other statues today have tried attacking Paulie. And then there was his vision. I suspect he’s been given permission to be here. I must admit that this opens more questions than it answers.” I sighed. “I’ll tell you all everything when I have it figured out. But for now, let’s get back to the fort. I have a headache.”

When we returned to the fort, we found that every member of the Black Arrows was ill. “What’s going on here?” Aurora demanded of Orik.

“I told them not to eat those fish we found in the barrel. They didn’t listen.”

“Poison?!” Geo asked, alarmed.

I prepared a spell and checked some of the remaining fish. “No. It’s just gone bad. They’ll probably be ill for a day or so as long as we give them plenty of rest and fluids. Also, feed them each a bit of charcoal. It should help.”

“Charcoal?” Orik asked.

“Yeah, it should trap the bacteria and help them get rid of it.”

“The what?”

I sighed again. I wanted to be somewhere where even a twelve year old would understand the basics of how infections work. “The sickness.”

He motioned for one of his men to get on it. “Oh, and this came for you while you were gone. Not sure how the messenger found us.”

He handed me a small package bearing the Voidstrife seal. I opened the package. Inside was a pair of scrolls and a note. “What does it say?” Aurora asked.

“My adopted brother says that it’s very important to return to Absalom as soon as possible,” I said. “Want to go check out my old stomping grounds?”

“Is now really the best time?”

I shrugged. “Paulie, you’re probably going to be stuck tending the ill for the next day or so, right?” He nodded. “Geo, you’re going to want to take care of Shalelu, right?” He also nodded. “And Lenn, you’re going to make pancakes, right?”

“YES!” he agreed enthusiastically.

“So yeah, we’ve got a day or so of downtime. How about it?”

She thought for a moment. “Sure. But will it be that quick?”

I grinned. “Teleportation scrolls. He said it shouldn’t take more than half of a day or so.”

Bart peeked his head in the room. “Did I hear you say you were teleporting to Absalom? Can I come with you?”

“Sure,” I said. I didn’t add that I was leaving him in Absalom whether he wanted or not.

“I’ll go get my stuff.”

“Take your time. We’re going first thing in the morning. I’m sure it’ll hold til then and I’d rather not start dealing with it until I’ve rested. So, for now, I’m going to go play a few songs and get some sleep.” I turned to Orik. “Do me a favor and figure out the best configuration of two hundred pounds of rations to keep the fort well fed until we can get a proper resupply. I’ll pick up some supplies while I’m in Absalom.”

“Pancakes!” Lenn yelled.

Pancakes indeed. With lingonberry syrup and a side of meatballs. “Remind me next time we’re near a proper kitchen and I’ll show you an old favorite dish of mine, sausage dipped in pancake batter and deep fried.”

I bid them goodnight and headed off for bed. Just before falling asleep, I detected the soft scent of lilacs and drifted off into one of the most peaceful sleeps I’d had in ages, completely lacking in dreams.

I can't describe just how happy I am to be back to writing this. Next two entries will be from a side story(meaning minimal Lenn, Geo or Paulie involvment) that I already have written. I just need to go through and edit it since it was originally intended to be put out at the end of Hook Mountain, but now that I know more about what's coming up, the campaign GM and I have decided it fits better here.

I hate to bump this with no content update, but I ran across something that made me think of the campaign and had to share.

Looks like Kyle and Aurora made it home after all.

I'm considering talking to my friends and seeing if I can get together with them individually to work on completing the story without the crunch because it's making me really sad not to have finished this one. I can usually find a few hours a week with each of them, just not both at the same time.

I misclicked and accidentally closed the window on my first reply. If this one is incomplete because I run out of time, will finish later.

Turin the Mad wrote:
We gotsta know!

The short of it is that while the campaign isn't dead, it's on indefinite hiatus. My friends' work got taken over by new owners and their schedules have been messed all to hell because of it.

One of them is on a random schedule that now leaves him waking up around the same time I go to bed. I'd gladly stay up late once a week to play, but there's never any guarantee that he'll have a day off the same day I do, which means it isn't as feasible as I'd like.

The other has dropped all pretense of regulating his sleep schedule and now gets a seemingly random 5-14 hours of sleep each day. I had been keeping that in check by waking him for games on the weekend and scheduling lunch preparation for all three of us such that he stayed up until his normal bed time, but it hasn't been happening.

They've talked about finding new jobs due to the odd schedules and hour cuts they've had, but it hasn't happened yet because they'd rather b~%@+ and watch Youtube streamers than actually go put in applications. That said, I'm optimistic that it will happen, hopefully in the next few months. As such, I've been working on side stories to intersperse in between actual session stories, so when we get back going, I should have a steady stream of stuff to post.

I've also been working on custom technological(we'll be adding in the Tech guide sometime after the game resumes...even have a side story to introduce it) and magi-tech items inspired by Kyle as something to do while waiting. Some custom spells too. Not all of them will make it into the campaign. Many will end up being saved for use in future campaigns that build off this one(the Formian ranged weapons, for instance). And I still need to fine tune them for balance. That said, if you're interested, I could make a thread in the House Rules forum about those.

Also, if anyone's been playing some Heroes of the Storm, that's more or less what I've been doing with my time if you want to game sometime. I even got bored and worked out Kyle as a HotS character as a thought exercise. Highlights: One of his Heroic Abilities allows him to rebuild or fortify defensive towers and walls. He attacks extremely quickly using his magi-tech gauss SMG, but has a fairly high miss chance on his auto-attacks.

Anyway, that's more or less where we are for the time being. I'll try to keep you more up to date if something changes. Thanks for your patience and interest thus far.

Thurmin wrote:
KBrewer wrote:

Time for a new guide, this one for the Blockbuster Wizard:

Oh, I'm trying out instead of Google Docs - I'm running into issues with them destroying the quality of images embedded in PDFs. Please let me know how good/bad the document quality is for you. If it's suitable, I may start storing my guides in Dropbox instead of Google.

I'm not able to view the file, has it been moved?

Yeah, the dropbox got inundated. Someone copied it over to another site. I think it was linked a couple pages back.


ZanThrax wrote:
Here's a link. I copied it into my SkyDrive; that'll let people access it until KBrewer can rehost.

synjon wrote:

Magical Lineage on Shocking Grasp sounds interesting. At 1st level, you can make the range close instead of touch for free - still better than the 15' of Burning Hands, plus you're doing a d6 instead of a d4 damage. The drawbacks I saw was 1) you're still only affecting a single creature (but with more damage); 2) close range is still close enough to end up in combat. It won't be until 3rd level that you can go to medium range and 3) now you can't put Lineage on Fireball.

One other thing I'm confused about is damage caps. RAW, most of these spells have damage caps (5d6 for Shocking Grasp, for example) - yet, I see in the various guides people talking about damage levels well above the cap. Obviously, I'm missing a rule here that allows damage above the cap. Does it relate to bonuses to caster level or is it from metamagic (or both)?

Thanks again.

Intensify Spell metamagic gives you an extra five levels above the cap that your caster levels can increase the bonuses. When you also consider that people will often add in empower dice when talking about spell damages on the forums, it can make the number of dice look huge.

Also, I had another thought. Assuming I'm understanding correctly and you're GMing: If you're allowing retraining, you might consider allowing him to take something like Combat Casting at level 1 and retrain it at level 7 or so. Traits aren't technically allowed in the retraining rules, but as long as it isn't PFS, I don't see any real reason to disallow it as long as you let everyone else know that it's an option.

synjon wrote:

I wonder how it affects the build if you forego the Burning Hands spell, & just use Magic Missile/Ray of Frost for the 1st few levels, (until Fireball becomes available, at least). This way, you reduce the need for Combat Casting, as you can remain out of combat more since MM has much better range. Also, the Intense Spells ability will help at least some with the damage output for those 1st few levels, given that MM is an evocation spell. Spell Focus & Spell Specialization can wait until 3rd/5th levels, respectively then - Toughness would probably be the most likely feat choice for 1st level in that case.

Any thoughts on this idea? And any input on my earlier question regarding Magical Lineage?


Having Magical Lineage(or the other one that does more or less the same thing, Wayang something or other) is rather huge for a blaster. I'd definitely not skip it. That said, if he has a spare feat sometime between levels 1 and 7(to use empower in 4th level spell slots), then he won't really be using it until then anyway, so picking up Extra Traits should be fine. I'm not sure how likely he'll be to have a spare feat by then, though.

Magic Missile/Ray of Frost won't make for a very effective multi-mob slayer, but it should be alright otherwise.

Scythia wrote:

Worst backstory?

"I'm the (identically statted) son/brother of my last character."

Even worse when they go from being Bob to Bob Jr., or Rob. A player in a LARP I was in pulled this three or four times. Each time just going right back to what he had been doing, assuming he knew all the same people (including being angry at whoever caused the last character to die, if it was foul play), and so on. I can only assume that the Camarilla must have decided to embrace an entire family's males en masse.

Maybe he was roleplaying Rogue Legacy. I'd just be glad he didn't roll Coprolalia.

Ross Byers wrote:
leo1925 wrote:
Majuba wrote:
Also, the 'hundreds-meter spaceship' might not have been built planet-side.
Probably yes, but what does this has to do with the power requirements?
A spaceship needs a lot less power to move around in space than it does to take off from a planet's surface. Therefore, the generator of a huge spaceship might still have a relatively modest power output if it was built in space and never intended to land.

And that's before you consider that it might be getting its primary power by using a smaller generator to create some kind of technobabble phenomena that it then uses to power its primary processes.

Like compressing a bunch of dark matter into a black hole and using that as the main power source. Or something like that.

Bandw2 wrote:
Alleran wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:
still no weapon you create will have charges it is simply incapable of doing so.
There is nothing in the rules that says this. Please don't make unfounded assertions.
there is even less to suggest the weapon CAN be made with charges. Normal is a relative term, and I think a weapon does normal damage as an unpowered variant of it's weapon.

Based on what I linked above, unless you can use the spell to make a Sun Blade(insert whatever magic weapon you want here), I think you're out of luck entirely.

Poldaran wrote:
Alleran wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:
a technological weapon only does normal damage of it's type when on, thus the shadow weapon would have to be turned on, same if you used shadow weapon to create a frost weapon, you then have to spend a standard action to turn frost on.
Correct. You cast the spell, you get the weapon. You activate it, it works per normal. If it did not then it would be violating the text of the spell, because the copy has to be capable of doing the damage of a normal weapon of its type when summoned. The copy is not timeworn unless you're creating it that way, so those rules don't apply.

Depending on how you interpret this part of the Tech Guide, it could be moot. You might not be able to do it at all.

technology from the future (or even the present-day real world) in a fantasy setting should be handled in a manner similar to magic items elsewhere in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

If not, then I would have to ask how it also plays with Fabricate, since it seems if one works, the other should as well, in theory.

And that might be for the best, since using Shadow Weapon to get a monowhip, for instance, you're effectively getting the option of a 70,000g weapon for free for minutes at a time for the cost of a standard action and a 1st level spell slot.

More or less what I figured.

James Jacobs wrote:
Poldaran wrote:
Because it came up in another thread, here's a question for ya. How do technological items interact with spells like Shadow Weapon and Fabricate?
They should interact as if they were magic items, since they're balanced and priced as if they were magic items.

That's more or less what I thought. Thanks.

You know, it took me three mentions of 20 page backstories to realize that you all were saying that they were too long. I kept thinking "Yeah, that's kinda short." :P

Sadly(for purposes of sharing entertainment), so far I haven't seen any truly horrible roleplaying yet. I've had experiences where the guys I play with(when RL doesn't somehow preclude our ability to game) do things that make absolutely no sense from a meta perspective but end up being entertaining roleplay. Like the time a guy threw a Runestone of Power at a giant floating eyeball because he couldn't identify it but was told by a mothman sent by the party's patron that it would be helpful in the upcoming encounter.

Because it came up in another thread, here's a question for ya. How do technological items interact with spells like Shadow Weapon and Fabricate?

chaoseffect wrote:
What is the most ridiculous name you can think of for a mercenary company?

Another thought occurs. You could seek a name in a commercial campaign. I once ran a WoW guild with some friends that we called "Messin' With Sasquatch". So maybe a mercenary company called "Hangry Moments", "The Men Your Man Should Smell Like" or "The Most Interesting Men in the World".

chaoseffect wrote:
What is the most ridiculous name you can think of for a mercenary company?

We used the Gamemaster's guide's random generation table to name a mercenary company. Our first attempt yielded "Potent Rainbow Lions".

Alleran wrote:

Debauchery Tea Party?

(Note: I cribbed it from something else. Internet cookie if you know what.)

I'd have gone with DDD, since the in-universe history of the name is great.

Alleran wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:
a technological weapon only does normal damage of it's type when on, thus the shadow weapon would have to be turned on, same if you used shadow weapon to create a frost weapon, you then have to spend a standard action to turn frost on.
Correct. You cast the spell, you get the weapon. You activate it, it works per normal. If it did not then it would be violating the text of the spell, because the copy has to be capable of doing the damage of a normal weapon of its type when summoned. The copy is not timeworn unless you're creating it that way, so those rules don't apply.

Depending on how you interpret this part of the Tech Guide, it could be moot. You might not be able to do it at all.

technology from the future (or even the present-day real world) in a fantasy setting should be handled in a manner similar to magic items elsewhere in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

If not, then I would have to ask how it also plays with Fabricate, since it seems if one works, the other should as well, in theory.

And that might be for the best, since using Shadow Weapon to get a monowhip, for instance, you're effectively getting the option of a 70,000g weapon for free for minutes at a time for the cost of a standard action and a 1st level spell slot.

James Jacobs wrote:
I don't honestly know how much real-world power is needed to power a nuclear resonator or a vortex gun. :-)

A lot, if I had to guess. :P

chaoseffect wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Helcack wrote:
It's great and honestly I enjoy it so much more than the boring magic weapons that Paizo puts in a lot of it's books. Just don't tell the munchkin's about shadow weapon spell as now it can summon Monoblade's and Monowhip's
Hahaha, that's a funny thought. :P
As a munchkin I find this to be very relevant to my interests. Thank you for that.

Not to rain on your parade, but wouldn't they be non-powered ones and thus relatively useless?

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I was doing a little wiki walking tonight that made me think about this thread and the sub-discussion about heredity and sorcerers.

Sorcerers are very common on the island of Hermea,[3] where pervasive social engineering by the gold dragon Mengkare nurtures the development of arcane abilities.

I don't have the books referenced, but following the links to Hermea, Mengkare and the Glorious Endeavor, it sounds like there is at least a way to nurture the growth of sorcerous talent to some degree through a breeding program(!). I'm still processing what I read, so I can't say just how much bearing it has on the discussion here, but it sounded interesting.

Chris Kenney wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:

Continual Flame is at will ability of Torch Archons. it costs NOTHING to do massive amounts of Continual Flames. You could light a city in a day or two by Calling up an Archon or two and having them drop CF's where instructed for a nominal fee.


In addition to the above, you also can't actually do this - Summoned creatures can't use spell-likes with an expensive material component (or, more likely, won't.) Continual Flame requires 50 gp of ruby dust.

That's why he said "Called", not "summoned". He's proposing using one of the longer lasting binding spells that actually bring the creature to you.

richard develyn wrote:
Certainly two humans (say) who do not have any of a particular bloodline in their genes cannot produce a sorcerer of that bloodline.

Unless you're exposed to a particular catalyst while pregnant(or the baby is later). Or the baby is destined for greatness. Or one of the many things that cause sorcerers to pop.

I think it's like Aasimar. Having it makes it possible, but there's absolutely no guarantee, even if both parents are Aasimar.

Zark wrote:
We disagree on some stuff and that is cool. I think we should drop this.

We are derailing things a bit, perhaps. Aight for now, though I reserve the option of discussing this particular topic further in other threads if it's brought up there at a later time.

Zark wrote:

I meant using the abilities on their own. Counterspelling may not seem to be terribly OP, but regardless of Dispel Checks this ability is very powerful, especially when the PC faces a Boss with this ability (boss being higher levels than the PC’s) or when the PC’s fighting creatures that cast spells that can easily be Counterspelled. This ability can easily kill a blaster that mostly relies on adding meta magic to low level spells such as fireballs.

As for Quick Study, we seem to agree. I just want to point out that I’m in no way saying it is too good to use in battle. It is actually rather awkward to use in battle, the problem is more that it can be use before and after the battle. The balancing factor of the class is its limitation. Removing the limitation is to remove the balance. Pearls of power are cheap and add Quick Study and you have a full arcane caster that is far better than the Sorcerer. As pointed out by Deadmanwalking, the wizard is still probably just as good as the Arcanist (or even more powerful).

Ultimately, a boss with the ability will be ridiculously powerful even if you put a limit on the number of times per day. Bosses are generally by default the highest example of the 15 minute adventuring day. Even with a limit of 1+Cha/day, that's still 3-5 spells a higher CL boss will be able to semi-reliably shut down. On the other hand, they're giving up the ability to Quicken spells against you. Balancing for use by a nova-ready boss seems silly to me.

As for blasters, I hadn't considered a possible interpretation that it would be the level of the unadjusted spell that determines the level of the spell needed to be expended as part of the action. If so, then that might screw over blasters a good bit. But I'm going with the interpretation that it's dependent on the spell slot used to cast the spell. If that's incorrect, then that's something that needs to be addressed. If not, you're still expending a valuable resource(spells) to only have a chance at countering something. It does incentivize the heck out of boosting your caster stat if you're building a counter-spell focused arcanist.

Are pearls of power usable by the Arcanist? I thought that they'd be forced to use the Runestone of Power instead by the way their spells work. Not much better, but twice the cost, so at least there's that. That said, if they put an X+Cha/day limit on Quick Study, I don't think it would significantly weaken the class. Realistically, how often will you need it more than 2-3 times a day anyway?

Aside from that, if it doesn't represent power creep over the wizard, I can't really call a full arcane casting class power creep.

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LazarX wrote:

The only opportunity you'd likely be able to get that as a deadite would be when you're up for Pharasma's Judgement.

Which means at that point, no matter what happens, you're not coming back to tell the tale.

The epicness of the tale is in defying impossible odds. You don't get remembered forever for going quietly into the night, you get it by running like hell and getting lucky enough on a res to escape in the nick of time.

Or you hope it amused Cayden enough that he tosses you a resurrection in the nick of time and makes you into his new champion or something.

Zark wrote:

I specifically thinking about the Counterspell and Quick Study Arcanist exploit. Both need a nerf.

At limit to how many times per day Quick Study can Counterspell can be used would be a simple fix.

Actually, I think a lot of the Arcanist exploit should come with a limit of uses per day. Just like the Oracle.

Doesn't the action on Quick Study prevent it from being used with the Counterspell Exploit(or did you just mean using it on its own)? Also, successfully countering still requires a Dispel Check, does it not?

Counterspelling doesn't seem too terribly OP, especially since you're using up your limited number of spell slots on a less than sure thing. As for quick study, it might be a bit powerful if you can find a way to get the points to use it often, so I'll give you that one.

I'm not sure if this is meant to be a compendium where we all discuss our house rules or if it's supposed to be about the specific rules a particular table has come up with, but here's my addition. If it was meant to be the latter, please accept my apologies.

raverbane wrote:
Overall, I really enjoy the Technology Guide and I think it will add a lot to our games. There are a few things that I don't see eye to book spine with and making a few house rules.

In ours, the tech is being adapted by an Earthling who has only read about it. Along the way, a few adaptations are being made, including the addition of power displays. We're also considering bio-locks to prevent enemies from stealing our weapons to use against us.

The first is Aetheric Batteries. These are built into the device and recharge once per day as long as you aren't in a null-magic zone. Still debating price, but leaning towards 10x the cost of a regular battery. This is to adjust for the fact that we don't really have access to generators.

The second is a spell accessible only to one character at the moment which allows the creation of temporary extra-dimensional technological crafting lab. It also allows for faster crafting of all magic or technological items since the GM for the campaign wants to allow crafting to be viable without adding in too much extra downtime in game.

The third is a whole new class of construct: Magitech constructs. Based on a hybrid of clockwork and robotic constructs, they're highly modular, allowing the implantation of numerous technological gadgets. This was purely for making an Iron Man suit, more or less.

Some of these might show up as artifacts when we run Iron Gods. The GM for that hasn't decided.

Out of curiosity, has anyone worked out a system for creating and pricing AI? We're leaning towards using Leadership as the way to get one, but constructing one has also been discussed, though we haven't come up with a pricing scheme we're happy with.

Zark wrote:
Arcanist –I like the concept and it fills a much needed niche, a more flexible spontaious caster, but my gut feeling fells that is overpowered.

While the exploits seem stronger than Bloodlines and bonus feats/generic school powers to me, I'm not sure I'd call it overpowered, at least not compared to the sorcerer or wizard.

The lower number of spells per day(unless you go school specialist) really feels like it could hurt a fair bit.

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Conumbra wrote:
So, a friend proposed an interesting wrinkle to this problem. Why hasn't someone (a government, an extremely wealthy individual, etc.) contracted out a caster (or cast the magic themselves, assuming said wealthy person is an arcane caster) to create permanent teleportation circles to link various parts of the world in exceedingly rapid trade? Surely they'd make their money back long term.

Convenience vs. Security, I'd imagine. If there's no physical way to block it(like Stargate SG1's iris), there'd be nothing to do to prevent a hostile army from porting over en masse short of a garrison large enough to neutralize each wave before the whole area is overrun.

Edit: That said, you could mitigate the threat by having the terminus be outside of a city, preferably far away enough to allow a smaller garrison to put out an alert and give the city time to respond. You'd still end up with a hostile army in the middle of your nation, but at least it wouldn't be too bad. Other options include having a central outgoing terminus in a trade hub that has teleportation circles that output inside the same nation's borders, but near the edge, since they're one way devices. It wouldn't be quite as convenient, but it would address the security issue.

In a modern setting, the sheer volume of freight would make it impractical to use since you'd have to transport to the circle, load into smaller conveyance(a cart of some kind, probably) and then load back into a larger freight vehicle. In that case, circles would be relegated to personnel transport(and the occasional overnight type package). You'd need something on the level of an elf gate that you could drive whole trucks through.

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Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
Poldaran wrote:
Splode wrote:


Gods don't have to like everyone.
So what you're saying is that slapping Pharasma's backside as you get resurrected may be a bad idea even if it's totally in character?
Totally worth it

"Let me tell you about how I got my first mythic tier..." :P

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Splode wrote:


Gods don't have to like everyone.

So what you're saying is that slapping Pharasma's backside as you get resurrected may be a bad idea even if it's totally in character?

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deusvult wrote:
Kill off enough of Golarion's peasantry and serfs, and the labor will have to be made up by SOMETHING. Magical technologies would be a ready answer for every day applications once there are no longer enough slaves/peasants/serfs to go around to empty all the chamber pots, harvest all the grain, etc.

That would make for a great arc villain for a larger campaign.

Latrecis wrote:

"No, you are not torturing that goblin for information."

"No, you are not lying to the merchant about what you did to his daughter. At least I am not lying for you."
"No, you are not animating the dead bugbear to help us fight <blank>"
And so on.

That's why you never ask the paladin for permission. Forgiveness is easier to get.

chaoseffect wrote:
I don't really see how it's any more viable then roaming around killing s*#& for their money as per most adventurers. And those guys end up richer than Bill Gates in the long run, as per the rules.

I don't know if I'd say it's that far. They seem like they'd be more along the lines of a Powerball winner at 20th if we're comparing their ability to buy bread at retail price.

And while you might have to murderhobo quite a few villains to get there, at least you wouldn't be selling your own children.

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On a semi-related note, the redesigned PRD looks rather nice. Now I can work on stuff at work without having to drag my Tech guide with me.

Since you're hinting at all sorts of things for the AP, I'm curious if there are plans to have the gravity and radiation based rocket launchers hinted at in the weapon's description make an appearance.

James Jacobs wrote:
Poldaran wrote:

Yay! It's here. I'm saddened that power armor is an artifact, but at the same time, the ASF was too high for me to use it for my plan anyway. I'll have to talk to my GM about using the section about making tech versions of magical items to reskin my previously planned clockwork construct armor into "power armor".

Aside from that, loving much of the stuff in here.

It's basically an artifact because the total gp cost went over 200,000 gp. Same reason we made the autodoc an artifact.

I figured it was probably something like that. It's not like I could get the ASF down enough to make it viable for a wizard anyway without just investing in an ungodly number of still spell rods.

James Jacobs wrote:
Rocket launchers should have the touch ability.

And the rocket launcher goes back on the table. Just when I thought I'd made a decision.

Askren wrote:
Now here's the important part: I really need to make sure that no matter what, the PCs don't decide to hunt him down between Book 1 and Book 2. We all know that them checking his house in Magnimar or his family manor before they should is the easiest way to bring the entire narrative crashing in on itself, so if they do head that way, I'll need to rope them back in with the murders.

You'll want to make him seem a bit off right now, but not dangerous. Not yet. Definitely a bit creepy. But if you play it off as him just being a bit strange since his wife died, you'll make it sound like you're setting him up to do something crazy to try to bring his dead wife back.

Alternatively, set him up as an obvious red herring. Aldern was too forward, maybe even a bit grabby or something. She kicked him out. A few days later, she noticed that someone was following her and whatnot, but never got a look at who it was. At the same time, from a different source, mention that Tsuto(or his body) has escaped(gone missing). Make it sound ominous, but don't give them anything more than that.

If done right, they should dismiss Aldern for now, figuring he's just a red herring. They should spend the between books 1/2 looking for Tsuto, who is conveniently hard to find. And later, when the letters start appearing, let each of them contain a single symbol from the Minkaian script. Symbols for words like "Love", "Eternity", "Family" and such.

Then, when the time is right, they find Tsuto's body. With another note attached. "Now, no one will stand between us, my love." or something like that. And the Minkaian symbol on that one? Regardless of what it means, someone remembers..."Wait. Didn't Aldern Foxglove have that symbol tattooed on his arm?"

Drakol wrote:
- Personally, there are a few deeds that do not work with Slow Firing (Dead Shot for example), however the Techslinger gives the ability to use Deeds with Heavy Weapons. Did they really think about this at all?

Some deeds will work with slow firing weapons and others won't, I'd imagine. Also, I could have sworn that at least one heavy weapon wasn't slow firing.

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Troodos wrote:
Guess I'll have to house rule it in, whats the point of getting to be a cyborg if you can't be General Grievous?

You could just start out with a Kasatha to get the required number of limbs.

James Jacobs wrote:
Once you have the laser pistol, you can make it a +1 laser pistol using Master Craftsman.
James Jacobs wrote:

An inferno pistol can't deal "weapon damage." It deals fire damage, and any additions to that from Deadly Aim or sneak attack or whatever is the same type of damage as the type generated by the weapon.

So in this case it's all fire damage.

Is the possibility of a +1 Flaming Laser negated by the fact that it's not technically a projectile weapon(ditto for the other elemental enchants and the other technological beam type weapons)? Because if not, I could actually see sometimes using the elemental enchants now.

Yay! It's here. I'm saddened that power armor is an artifact, but at the same time, the ASF was too high for me to use it for my plan anyway. I'll have to talk to my GM about using the section about making tech versions of magical items to reskin my previously planned clockwork construct armor into "power armor".

Aside from that, loving much of the stuff in here.

Steven "Troll" O'Neal wrote:
jimibones83 wrote:
Poldaran wrote:
I just want to know why UPS is holding my package in a small town in Arizona for this long.
I noticed the same thing a few times recently and then I'd just get my package all of a sudden. It seems like Paizo is shipping them UPS but then UPS hands it off to another carrier at some point if it will save them cost. I'm not positive, it just seems kinda like that's whats going on.
UPS sometimes uses the USPS for some deliveries when it's cheaper.

I don't have a problem with that. I just wish they'd post when the handoff was made in a timely fashion and give me the new tracking number.

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StarMartyr365 wrote:

I may have to do questionable things to get this and the ACG now because waiting until payday next week is out of the question. I put a bunch of campaign development on hold until this came out so I could follow Piazo's lead and not reinvent the wheel.


There's always plasma donation. And it would be a fun kind of coincidence to buy a book with rules for donating plasma with extreme prejudice by donating plasma at a clinic.

I just want to know why UPS is holding my package in a small town in Arizona for this long.

Tequila Sunrise wrote:
Wow, didn't know that raise dead could be used on a sci-fi thread!

Sure you did. It's just not a spell. It's any number of technobabbly solutions. I can think of two just from Star Trek movies.

LazarX wrote:
It's been more or less stated in board discussion about the AP, because that's also the classic period of Lovecraft's Mythos, which is real popular among the folks at Paizo.

I guess I can see that, though I've always felt that Lovecraftian horror works best when set during the time of the reader. The contrast of the familiar with the unknowable grants it a surreal quality that I think works particularly well.

Doomed Hero wrote:
Yes that's cannon. Reign of Winter pretty much confirms it.

Yeah, that's what I was talking about, but the way they get there doesn't necessarily preclude time travel also being part of it. In the interest of not further derailing the adventure's journal, I'll just leave it at that.

I'm looking forward to seeing where this goes and what other characters are later introduced. I'm also curious as to current character plans(prestige classes, character focii and such), but I'll wait to see how those are brought about in the narrative.

LazarX wrote:
I'd have given you major points if your character had come from 1918 Earth which where Earth is currently synched with Golarion as far as it's timeline goes.

Has that actually been confirmed? I was under the assumption that it was open to interpretation, considering the magic used to travel between the two

in that one AP
is from a tradition that makes it more or less not really bound to normal things like the natural flow of time(existing outside normality being a bit of a theme I seem to recall).

Also, I read the prologue title in Kirito's voice. ^_^

Edit: For the record, I really hate how spoilers don't just nest in the text.

Analise Rodhire wrote:

This is my solemn tribute to Kyle.

Playing her for Iron Gods.

And, yes, just dotting the thread.

If you start a journal for your Iron Gods campaign, please link to it.

Axial wrote:
Poldaran wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Implanted weapons ... one-handed firearms.

I know what I must do. It is time for me to convince the party barbarian. My technology based character could do no less.

The problem is that Guts has a cannon in his arm, not a pistol. Maybe that's the closest you can get to being him, though.

That, and playing as a Titan Mauler. :)

I have a GM that is a Berserk fanatic. And the barbarian IS, in fact, a Titan Mauler. I'm sure I could convince him to let it fly. At least a little.

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James Jacobs wrote:
Implanted weapons ... one-handed firearms.

I know what I must do. It is time for me to convince the party barbarian. My technology based character could do no less.

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