Weird question: male gamers role-playing female characters...how do you handle speaking "in character?"
I'm not an actor, I'm an author. I can get into the heads of my characters fairly well. In fact, I spend much of my time doing menial tasks brainstorming scenarios and playing around with a character's reaction so I've got a better idea of how they'll react in a similar situation when it comes up in game.
As a poor actor, I have trouble playing in first person. I react to this by playing most of my characters in the third person. This allows me to play female characters, perhaps not as well as playing male characters, but well enough.
It also doesn't hurt that I've been called "my girliest friend" by a number of women, so when I'm playing a girly-girl, I can usually just rely on "what would I do?" for those characters.
As stated, you need a few languages (six or seven), and you need a good Knowledge (planes) to use the summon spells well.
That's the theory, but with this GM, will even that be enough to make proper use of one's summons? Or will it always be an exercise in frustration as the GM runs them with sub-par tactics?
Anyway, to help out our party I cast Summon V for a Bralani Azathi (I think that was the name). This time he refused to let me control the creature and refused to let me command it to do specific actions (like casting Blur on our fighter or moving into a good position to use Lightning Bolt on multiple creatures). So I'm kinda giving up on the whole Summon line as it is. I'll keep it in the back of my mind as a last resort if we can escape a bad situation, rest up and really use Summons to resolve the situation. But as it is it seems Im better off with more direct spells.
That's a pity. Would it work to suggest getting control back of your summons if you have max ranks in the associated knowledge skill, especially when they have truespeech and are more than intelligent enough to act on your directives?
Why not just have the spell have a material component cost equal to the value of the metal generated by the spell and get rid of that last line in the spell? Did someone already suggest that?
Alternatively, you could also make an Alchemical Power Component that can be added to the casting to purify the wall and make it a useable source of iron. You can then make the cost of the component rather high and thus make it so that it works when plot demands an area overcome an iron shortage without allowing too many shenanigans by players.
Honestly, for me personally it's the other way around. I think the character should have some kind of knowledge to be able to even summon that creature. How does my desert-faring druid summons a shark if he's never heard of one? How does my wizard with no ranks in Knowledge (the planes) even knows a creature called a dretch even exists? By the Knowledge rules he doesn't even know that that creature exists, much less its detailed statistics.
1. "Oh, goddess of nature, please send unto me a deadly creature at home in the water to aid me!" I've always assumed that all divine casters without the proper knowledges ask for something fitting a basic criteria and the result is the creature the player chose.
2. While I understand what you're getting at, knowing of the existence of a Dretch seems like it would be a sub 10 knowledge roll, even if you need a bit higher knowledge to understand more about it to know that it would be useful in that particular encounter. It'd be more problematic to command the dretch to cast Stinking Cloud than to simply know that it exists.
I am wondering what kind of outs I can give these guys that will be relatively believable?
Not having read the AP, I can't be certain, but my GM tells me that Orik is basically tailor made to give the PCs an out in such a situation. Finding a way to bribe him or convince him to turn on his masters would be a fairly logical way to get out.
The hard part will be letting the PCs know that he might be their escape ticket.
But more than that, she has a habit of taking characters who stay more in the background - after discussing it, I'd like her to try something that will put her up into the action more - I'm afraid the Summoner won't do that, as the Eidolon will be the one fighting. Maybe that's a technicality, but so be it....
A mounted combat summoner would be mixing it up in melee just as much as most others. Also, it can be fun to roleplay the Eidolon as the main character with the summoner acting in all respects as his cohort.
Neither of these address your concern with stepping on the other player's toes, though.
Normally, scaling the adventure is what I would do. But, due to time constraints, I'm trying to keep the amount of tinkering w/ the adventure path to a minimum - this is also why I decided to use an adventure path in the 1st place. My biggest concern is an accidental TPK because nobody in the group can hit the enemy/take a hit worth a darn - this seems like a bigger risk with everyone being 1/2 - 3/4 BAB characters. Hence, the reason for my post...
Another option for scaling that takes little to no effort is to add in some character and combat optimal loot above WBL and beyond what is presented normally in the AP.
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Well, whatever you're doing, add three desserts.
With the x4, sure, you may be more likely to end a foe with a single strike, but since they're so infrequent, you're just as likely to have it happen on a useless mook that you overkill as you are to dramatically bring down a big foe. With the more common lower crits, you're at least a bit more likely to get a good hit on the big guy over several attacks.
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Anyone who can't come up with at least three desserts they're thankful for before resorting to "turkey" is doing Thanksgiving wrong, IMO.
Brofessor X wrote:
I am worried though on how to execute the main classes in conjunction with the werewolves, since it seems Lycanthropy pairs with the physical classes more than it would with the magical classes.
I don't know if this is something that fits your conception or not, so I apologize if it's not useful. It might be worthwhile to consider using the ARG's race builder section to create your own "Werewolf" race rather than using a template. If you use the Flexible or Human Heritage Ability Score Modifier Qualities, then they could fit the race to any character class they want.
It might even mesh well with the idea above to use multiple types of were-creatures, giving them all the same base chassis, but allowing them to choose between one of however many specific alternate forms(or heck, tie it to Monstrous Physique and allow them to choose whatever the heck they want).
Anyway, that's probably how I'd do it if I were starting a campaign with the setup you discussed. I'm not sure if it'll be any help, but there it is.
If I were them, I'd consider using the ship's catapults to launch grappling hooks and then climb from that side during a foggy period. Has a reasonable chance at both being stealthy and making some use of the pirate ship.
They can also have the crew on the boat prepared with a signal to begin bombardment to draw goblin attention while the PCs are doing something, such as making their escape if things go awry.
It seems to be RAI that the caster of Contingency supplies the other spell as well, though it's not explicitly stated. Scrolls + UMD seems to be a valid bypass, if an expensive one (minimum level scroll of Heal is 1650gp). Given that this was supposed to be an exercise in 'free' Wish/Simulacrum making, it would put the brakes on the scheme.
Paladin cohort(or even just knowing a guy in town that fits) with Craft Wand has been my go to for cheapening Blood Money. Even if it rolled minimums each time, the wand of Lesser Resto is still cheaper than a scroll of heal unless you're talking above 110 Str score.
A fairly uneventful session, if I'm being honest.
The next morning, you woke up and had a breakfast of hard tack offered by Siegfried and sat down with several of the other castaways to discuss a game plan for the day. The fiendish halfling Paco continued sleeping, which wasn’t unexpected. Siegfried, the ever-bubbly Evinye and the sailor Jazier decided to first deal with the other members of the camp who still seemed in a daze over the crashing ship.
As a group, you managed to befriend Sasha, getting her to open up and offer some survival pointers. When you asked her if she had seen anything unusual, she said that she had spotted some Dimorphodons flying around the island. Doing your best to hide your ignorance, you managed to get her to point out one. Turns out she was talking about those flying lizard things.
“It’d be awesome if I could catch a baby dimorphodon,” she told you. You let her know that you would be scouting the island, so if you found one, you’d try to catch it for her. She thanked you and asked if there was anything she could do to help out. Jazier asked her to see to catching some more food for the others.
Evinye and Jazier went to talk to Gelik, that horrid little gnome. You’re not sure what they talked about, but he seemed to be in better spirits afterward. Meanwhile, you sat down with Aerys and convinced her to tell you more about the island. She told you that the region was known for its heat and storms, so you were extra glad for bringing your umbrella.
Aerys also mentioned rumors that the island was home to a tribe of cannibals. That was just great. Still, they might have supplies you could take. Just don’t eat the meat. Unless you’re really hungry. You convinced her to work with Ishirou to find ways to secure the campsite, either traps or some other method of self-preservation. You also suggested that the two of them consider brainstorming ways to get off the island while they worked.
You woke Paco and then the six of you – Jazier, Siegfried, Paco, Evinye, you and Belkross – set out of a scouting mission. Movement was slow and the air was hot, but thanks to your umbrella, things weren’t too bad.
After a bit, you headed to high ground to get your bearings. In some rocks on the top of a hill, you spotted some kind of large and likely venomous snake. You, Siegfried and Paco shot at it, with the halfling scoring a headshot and killing it before it could react. You gathered the meat and skin for use later.
Taking your bearings, you spotted what looked to be the remains of a ship on a far-away beach and what looked like a nesting area for some of those flying lizards between you and there, so you all decided to begin making your way towards the nest first.
After what seemed like forever trudging through the jungle, you finally reached the nest. Inside, you found a single hatchling. A little work and one of your companions turned your heavy winter shirt into a makeshift pouch. Taking a piece of the snake meat, you carefully coaxed the little monster into the pouch. It was elected that you carry the pouch, since the beast seemed fond of you.
Paco suggested destroying the nest to remove any trace of your scent. Jazier zapped it with some lightning, trying to make it look natural in case the dumb beasts proved to be a little less stupid than suspected.
Upon reaching the ship, you found that it was well rotted, likely having been there for years. On the side, you could barely make out the name. It had once been called “The Tattooed Lady”. Belkross called out that he could see several skeletons inside. Taking no chances, you sent Belkross inside first, having him smash each skeleton as he went. You waited outside with Paco and Siegfried.
After a while, the others returned with small sack of gold that they had found within a chest inside. Sadly, there had been nothing else of use. So you began stripping wood from the ship for use in the campfire. Thanks to having to care for that stupid lizard, you were exempted from the hard labor stripping the boat, so it wasn’t all bad.
You spotted more flying lizards in the sky and decided to go see if they had another nest nearby. You hoped to gather some eggs, or maybe kill a few larger ones for some meat.
As you continued your trek, it began to rain. Once again, you found yourself well protected by the umbrella. Eventually, you reached your goal and found several larger, probably adolescent, dimorphodons. They attacked, but were no match for your heavily armed fighters. Evinye in particular managed to puncture one’s skull so thoroughly that the creature couldn’t even react in shock.
With plenty of meat and some leather for making water skins, you set out back for camp. It was early evening and the rain was finally letting up when you arrived. Ishirou and Aerys had made some improvements around camp and seemed to be getting along.
Sasha had just left to check her traps and didn’t return for another half hour after you did. When she returned, Paco tried to give her the corpse of one of the adolescent lizards. She seemed horrified, but Gelik seemed amused. You calmed her down and presented her with the live hatchling and she was thrilled. She immediately began treating it as one might treat a baby, complete with insipid baby talk.
After a bit, when the little beast was sleeping, she thanked all of you and opened up about her past. Turns out her fancy tattoo was because her mother had been a member of some sort of assassin’s guild, the Red Mantis or something like that. She offered to teach you all some basic techniques she had learned watching her mother, which you agreed to gladly.
That’s how you ended up spending your evening trying to kill moths by sitting perfectly still with a pointed stick, waiting for one to land and become vulnerable to your readied strike. After several attempts, you got pretty good at it. Of course, some of the others managed to pick up on it faster than you. You made a mental note to make them suffer for making you look bad once you got off the island.
After a relatively hearty dinner of coconut and lizard meat, you retired to your tent. At one point in the night, you woke up and listened in on the conversation around the fire. Paco was telling someone about a strange dream he had. He had been back on the ship and everyone was sick. All in all, it was a pretty boring thing to listen to. The last thing you recall him mentioning was something about spoons.
You had no way of knowing just what kind of trouble the island would eventually send your way. Stupid island.
P.H. Dungeon wrote:
One thing I found confusing was that in the adventure they suggest that the Thassilonian language is kind of a lost one, but then they give a trait that lets you be fluent in the language.
Someone mentioned Stargate above, and that's where we got our inspiration on how knowledge of the language works. Daniel Jackson could read the hieroglyphics, but once he started encountering the spoken language, he had a bit of an adjustment period since no one had spoken the language in a long time.
We translated it into a major bonus to linguistics checks to figure out what someone was saying in it, and automatically being able to read the language.
I have a character who wants to build a Brewthal. Combination Brothel and Brewery. Because he has a Dream! A dream of a place where people can buy cheap booze from scantily-clad women and then pay extra to have sex with them! (And then he got the idea of killing monsters and cooking up their parts to have as meals. Stole that from some webcomic...)
Perhaps I should suggest that to my roommate for his barbarian, because that sounds like it would be an awesome retirement goal for him.
Unfortunately, back on track isn't the best description. I got sick the following weekend and my GM got invited by his brother and step-dad to go on some kind of men's retreat. So there went two more weeks. I talked with him about it and he was fine with me working on an interlude/prologue, so that's what I've been doing this week after getting input on the characters from the others.
Prologue/Interlude: Now there are two of them?!
I was just about ready to set out when Aurora returned from downstairs. She was laughing. “You have to come and see…” she trailed off, staring at me.
“What?” I asked, concerned. I did a quick check and confirmed that I was indeed wearing pants. Not that I minded if she saw me in my underwear, I just didn’t want to make her uncomfortable.
“What’s that?” she asked, pointing at my left arm.
I looked at where she was pointing. “Oh, right. I haven’t shown you the project I’ve been working on.” Wrapped around my wrist and looped on part of the cord around my thumb was a rosary I’d made. The beads were mostly white pearls for “Ave”, but there were black pearls as well for “Pater”. I’m not planning to go into anything about the significance of anything, just trying to give an accurate description so you can picture it. It’s constructed with a mithral chain and mithral crucifix.
Yes, I shaped that myself. I can do more than armor and weapons. In fact, if I ever return home, I could probably make a decent living as an artisan jewelry maker. Assuming the whole “shaping the fabric of reality to my whims” thing didn’t pan out as a viable career option.
I explained to Aurora what it was and she seemed pretty interested. I don’t think I’ve talked about it before, so now might be an opportune time to talk about her faith. She was raised in the faith of Abadar, god of civilization, by her father and the family servants, but it’s not like she reveres him alone. In fact, she pays reverence to almost every major deity on the “Good” axis as well as a few on the “Lawful” one. Yeah, I know, alignments being a tangible thing is absurd. But when you have this many gods, it helps to be able to classify them, and they like to be able to classify us.
I was impressed that she noticed the subtle difference in one of the Ave beads. “That’s your regeneration pearl, isn’t it?”
I nodded. “I intend to enchant every one of these beads into a Pearl of Power eventually. That’s why I’m wearing it on my wrist. It’ll be easy to get to if I need it. Under my shirt might be harder to reach.” Yes, I’m aware that means that I intend to make fifty nine pearls of power. Yes, I’m also aware that ‘Pearl of Power’ is kind of a silly name. Tell that to my Wondrous Items instructor back at the academy. Yeah, don’t get me started on that name either. That's the kind of name that would be fine for a game, but since this is reality, it really just sounds silly.
“Do you think your god will object to using an article of faith as a magical aid?”
I shrugged. “I don’t think there’s anything in the Bible about it.” Yeah, flimsy ground, but let’s be honest here, I’ve never been much of a model Catholic. “You know, we have a few days ahead of us on the trip to Turtleback Ferry. If you want, I don’t mind explaining to you everything I can about my religion. I mean, I’ve already bored you with a complete detailing of the plot of Babylon Five, and if you’re coming to Earth with me, a basic understanding of Christianity might serve you better than that.”
She nodded, looking grateful, probably more because that would be better than the awkward silence we had dealt with all morning after resolving our fight. Suddenly, she seemed to remember something. “Oh, yeah, the innkeeper wants you to come downstairs and deal with Lenn.” She laughed again.
I sighed. “Do I even want to know?”
“Just come downstairs. Trust me, it’s worth it.”
One day, I will have children. I do not believe that these children will ever give me as much trouble as Lenn. I had prepared a number of apologies in case Lenn managed to offend someone at the party. I was even ready if it had come to blows. I was not ready for what actually happened, though.
Upon seeing me, the innkeeper rushed into the kitchen, urging me to follow. Inside, I found Lenn and half a dozen young noblewomen. Had they been doing what I might expect in that situation, I would have shouted “Way to go stud!” and walked back out, offering to pay the innkeeper for cleaning and having breakfast for the other guests catered while the kitchen was out of commission. But that’s not what was happening.
Instead, there were six young women, in all their party finery, working in the kitchen. I would have killed for a camera and access to the Benny Hillifier app. One of the women was even churning butter. She was wearing a velvet dress and jewelry more valuable than most small homes. And what’s weird is that she and all the others seemed to be enjoying themselves. These are the type of sheltered girls who have never had to lift a finger in their lives. I suspect that they were enjoying the novelty of it all. Hell, it might even become a fad among the young aristocratic women of Magnimar to learn how to cook and clean at this rate.
Lenn saw me gawking and grinned. “Sausage!” he shouted.
“Sausage!” the women shouted back in unison as they continued working.
“Mead!” I countered weakly, my brain having checked out at the sight. One of the women, who had been stewing something at the time, grabbed me a stoppered flagon from the cupboard. I grabbed a couple clean looking tankards from the counter and walked out.
The innkeeper followed me, pleading that I do something.
“I am doing something,” I countered. “I’m not getting in their way. They look to be having fun and I don’t think you want them complaining to their parents. Trust me. Just go with it and have some carriages ready to take them home when they get tired. Right now, I need a drink. You are welcome to join me if you’re brave enough to go grab another tankard.” It was looking like we weren’t going to be traveling today. Eventually Lenn would get tired and decide to sleep. We weren’t going to be traveling with a cranky Lenn.
Aurora joined me as I sat down. We enjoyed the mead and some of the varied foods coming out of the kitchen. The other patrons seemed to be enjoying breakfast as well. Eventually, though, it was just the two of us in the dining room.
“We might as well use this time to further prepare for our journey,” Aurora said to me after hearing my reasoning on why we couldn’t leave today. “We can pick up further provisions and some more horses today and be ready to set out first thing tomorrow.”
I nodded in agreement and took a swig of mead. Suddenly, I heard a sound from above and then Paulie was hanging upside down over the table. I nearly choked on my mead. He ignored that and set a folded piece of paper in front of me. “Tell me,” he said, his voice sounding like he’d been gargling gravel, “What do you know about this symbol?”
I took a few moments to regain my composure. Paulie remained where he was, hanging upside down from the ceiling. He had thrown a grappling hook into the rafters from up on the second floor and had bungeed down, more or less. Between that and the voice, I would have sworn he was trying to be Batman if I hadn’t known that would have been a completely insane conclusion.
I picked up the piece of paper and unfolded it. I quickly recognized what was written as one of the symbols in the notes we had taken from the necromancer hiding underneath the sanatorium. “This is the Rune of Sloth,” I said. “Is there a reason you’re bringing it up now?”
“I don’t know why, but I keep seeing this symbol in fragments of memories. I don’t recall much of my past. My first full memory was waking up in a room with a bunch of dead people around me. This symbol is all I know from before, but I’m not sure how it’s significant.”
I let out a low whistle. “This can’t be a coincidence,” I said. Aurora looked like she agreed with me. “At some point when it doesn’t seem like we’re on a time crunch, we should go look into the place you woke up. Maybe we can find some clues. The fact that your only memory is the Rune of Sloth and the fact that the Rune of Greed has been showing up suggests that there’s something going on here that we need to look into. But first we’ll need to deal with Turtleback Ferry and Fort Rannick.”
Paulie looked satisfied. At least, I think he did. He was upside down, after all. He began climbing back up the rope, still upside down, until he felt he was high enough. Then he swung over to the railing, retracted his grappling hook and disappeared into the area where his room was located.
I gave Aurora a look that said, “What the heck just happened here?” and finished the last of the mead. It was turning into another one of those days. Then Geo came downstairs. He looked like he wanted to talk about something.
“No,” I said, holding up a finger. “Not with the way my day has been going. I can’t take whatever it is you want to talk about right now. The way things have gone today, you’re going to confide in me that a tentacle is growing out of your ass and I’m just going to scream. No. Aurora and I are going to go out and get some provisions for our trip. You make sure Lenn doesn’t do anything objectionable while we’re gone. If I’m feeling better tonight, then you and I can talk all about it.”
Geo nodded. “Tonight then. It can wait.”
“Good.” I began walking away, then stopped as a thought occurred. “You don’t actually have a tentacle growing out of your ass, right?”
“I have not been experimenting with animals yet.”
“Okay, good.” Wait. What? I almost stopped to ask him how that response even remotely made sense, but thought better of it.
As Aurora and I walked out of the building, she stopped me. “You sure that it’s okay not to listen to him now? What if it’s important?”
“It’s fine,” I said. “If it were urgent, Geo would have said something. Probably.”
For the next several hours, we went to several shops, buying things that we might need. I got a few scrolls, we picked up another healing wand and then purchased more horses. For me, we bought a light tan mare with a blonde mane that I named Applejack, because of course I did. Here’s hoping she fares better than Rarity did.
On our way back to the inn, we ran into someone we weren’t expecting to see. At one of the stalls, we spotted a familiar blonde elf talking with one of the merchants. “Shalelu, is that you?” Aurora called out.
Shalelu Andosana, Sandpoint’s resident goblin hunter, turned to look at us. “Thank the gods,” she said upon seeing us. “I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to find you before you left town.”
“We had to attend a party,” Aurora said, giving me a look. “So that bought you time to catch up.”
I decided to head that conversation off before both women were berating me about the necessity of the party. “You didn’t ask Ameiko what inn we would be staying at? I left the information with her in case anyone in town needed to get ahold of us.”
“The Vinder girls were ransacking the inn looking for information on you. She had to destroy the note you left with your contact information.”
“What.” Why on earth would Katrine and Shayliss be…oh. “I think I have a throbbing pain behind my eye. Let’s return to the inn. Geo will be happy to see you,” I told Shalelu, not wanting to continue on our current subject.
She actually seemed kind of nervous about seeing him. Or, perhaps, as Pinkie Pie would say, she was nervouscited. As long as it didn’t lead to anyone from another world stealing her crown or something. I dunno, I’m mostly rambling.
As we walked back to the inn, we asked her why she had been looking for us. Turns out she had heard that we were going to check on Turtleback Ferry and Fort Rannick and wanted to go with us. Aurora and I could see no reason to deny her request, so we agreed without asking the others, sure that they too would be glad for the extra firepower.
Once we returned, Geo informed us that Lenn had gone to bed and all the noblewomen had gone home. He and Shalelu went for a walk in the garden outside the inn while Aurora and I tended to stabling our new horses. Starbrite seemed happy to meet Applejack.
As we brushed down and fed the horses, Aurora and I chatted. “So, is it always like this?” she asked.
“Paulie, Lenn and Geo all coming to you like that.”
Oh, that. “Yeah. I wish I could say I’ve gotten used to it. I’m surprised you had never noticed before.”
“I guess I just hadn’t been paying attention.” We worked in silence for a while. She seemed to be deep in thought. “It reminds me of how you helped me through my drinking problem. I was pretty awful back then, wasn’t I?”
It certainly hadn’t been easy. I had really thought that our first conversation had been the end of it. One intervention in the form of discussion and she would kick the habit. All it had really done was switch her over to better smelling booze. The depression continued for about five weeks as she clawed her way up into the light. Some days were better than others.
I hate to say it, but I think the turning point had been the pugwampis. No, I really don’t want to talk about that. I seriously hate pugwampis.
“Moderately so. Though it wasn’t all bad. You weren’t nearly as modest back then.” She looked horrified. “I’m kidding. I didn’t see anything.”
She blushed a bit. “Jerk.” If I had been watching us as anime characters, I would have either D’awwed or Squeed, she was so adorable. After a few moments, she looked me in the eyes and drew closer. “Kyle, I…”
She never completed the sentence, as that’s when we heard Shalelu scream.
We rushed out to the garden and saw Shalelu and Lenn standing there. She was glaring at him and had her back to the wall. He was standing there looking dumbfounded.
“What’s going on here?” I asked. “Where is Geo?”
Shalelu answered. “Geo and I were talking. He read me his poem, which was sweet. Then he leaned in to kiss my cheek. When I opened my eyes, this man was there. I don’t know what kind of sick game Geo is playing, but I am not amused.”
That didn’t sound like Geo at all. Then again, how long had I really known him? Maybe tricking women like this was exactly the kind of thing he got off on. I couldn’t figure out the words to diffuse the situation. Turns out I didn’t have to, because that’s when a window opened on the second floor.
“Trying to sleep!” Lenn called down to us from his room upstairs.
I looked up at Lenn upstairs, then again at Lenn down in the garden with us and it dawned on me. That’s what Geo had wanted to talk about. Of course. Now there were two of them, all because of Geo’s crazy implantation experiment. He had somehow turned himself into Lenn.
So this was what madness felt like. I could do nothing other than throw my head back and laugh.
Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted him. Up on the roof, Paulie was just standing there, trying to look menacing with his cloak billowing in the breeze.
Story Archer wrote:
How big was your party (you mention only two casters) and did they rest at any time once they arrived at Thistletop?
There were five characters. A wizard, an oracle, an alchemist(vivisection), a barbarian and a cavalier(horse got left back in town). 3 humans, a tiefling and an aasimar(Scion of Humanity, doesn't know what she is yet), if it makes a difference.
As far as resting goes, we had a couple minor rests, but nothing major. Long enough to prepare spells in unprepared slots, tend to a wounded horse and whatnot.
My thoughts on the wand are like my thoughts on carrying staples such as powder bombs(to expose invisible creatures) and rations. They're just wise investments, especially when your healer isn't necessarily going to heal.
One of the mitigating factors for difficulty in the dungeon is the goblins themselves, at least for some of the fights. I think the goblins killed each other almost as much as we killed them. Between grease causing the goblins to get mad at each other(after sliding into one another) and illusions(or the goblin language speaking PC) confusing the hell out of them(not hard to do), almost every goblin fight was comical. At the very least, it meant we had more resources to devote to things downstairs.
I'm not sure how much of it was luck and how much was careful paranoia, but it wasn't until Nualia, the shadows, the crab(which was only dangerous because we were weakened by the shadows) and Malfeshnekor that we had any real trouble. Thankfully, we went for Malfie before the shadows and crab, otherwise he likely would have killed us. Hell, one party member survived only on a single HP. Also, the GM hadn't looked up the spells on his list and thus didn't realize that Charm Monster could be used on us, so that helped(at least it balanced out the fact that he didn't realize that blink also penalized the foe).
Another part of what may have been the difference in how difficult the dungeon was might be that we had a nearly fully charged wand of CLW going in, so almost all fights started at full HP.
In fairness, we did have a 20pt buy, but only two casters(three if you count the alchemist who forgot to prepare any extracts).
and you will be very slowed by it.
Because the "counts as breastplate" section doesn't say it affects your speed (presumably because the construct is partially animate and able to help you move), it does not affect your speed.
That doesn't seem to be the case, even for non-mithral.
Personally, I'd be more likely to use a combo of Still Spell metamagic rods, wands and staves to bypass the spell failure chance over Arcane Armor training as a pure caster. As an EK, I'd probably go the AAT route. There's also that Hellknight caster whose name I can't remember who I'd also go the AAT route with.
You also loose access to all it's abilities (so no spellcasting for you unless you come out). The armor is basically a HP sink, unfortunately. If you look up for a few FAQs they had on the subject, they designers where VERY sure they didnt want to create a synthesist summoner 2.0.
I'm not so sure that's necessarily true. The FAQ I could find doesn't say anything about losing its abilities, nor does the wording for construct armor state that it loses its abilities, only that it takes no independent action.
It seems to me like it keeps its special attacks/abilities(though you do not benefit from its special defenses), but you have to spend your actions to activate them. It also seems like you would have access to all of its attacks, natural or weapon, but at your likely inferior(assuming a caster) BAB/Stat/Proficiency.
Since the comparison has already been mentioned: Ultimately, it's different from Synthesist in that you don't benefit from defenses or increases to your stats from it, but similar in that you probably get greater benefit from it by just letting it run around on its own protecting you with its own action economy.
After a bit of a hiatus due to player illness followed by real world crap, we're back in business. Obviously, the holidays will screw with things, but hopefully we'll have at least two more entries before the end of the year, both RotRL and SSk.
Chapter Conclusion: A clock tower, a party and some existentialist rambling.
Do me a favor. Think about a time when you were young and you wished that something from your imagination, a movie or perhaps a video game was real. What was it? Did you wish that you were secretly a prince or princess? Maybe you thought it would be awesome to be a real Pokémon trainer. Or perhaps you wished you could go to a magical land where magic and dragons and other wondrous things were real.
You could just picture it. You’d be the hero. People would shower you with praise. You might even end up with your own kingdom. If you were a twelve year old me, you might have imagined that you would be drowning in women throwing themselves at you, begging you to ravish them after saving their hometown from the hideous monsters or other horrors plaguing the land. The king would give you gold and you’d marry his lovely daughter, becoming the next king of the land. And you’d live happily ever after.
Have you ever noticed that you never really thought too hard about the “hideous monsters or other horrors” part of that situation? I mean, what makes you all that qualified to take on the troubles of a world you’d never seriously thought could exist? Was it because you had once made a potato gun? Was that how you’d slay the dragon?
Or perhaps you thought you could handle it because dragons don’t exist, so you just had to dispel the fears of the locals by proving to them that they were wrong to be afraid in the first place? Maybe you thought your modern knowledge of substances would allow you to point out just how stupid they were being for using lead based makeup, thus ending a plague causing death and disfigurement to noble ladies, thus earning the accolades of all?
Sadly, that’s not the way the world works. Let’s suppose, for a moment, that you did find yourself in a mysterious land of magic. Wait, forget that. Let’s suppose you found yourself in Australia. You’re suddenly face to face with a funnel web spider on your arm, a poisonous snake on the ground in front of you and a giant electric blue earthworm wriggling out of the ground for some reason. The water behind you is filled with crocs.
Now, be honest. Do you think you’d suddenly find yourself filled with the intestinal fortitude to face the threats and then pose for the cover of a heavy metal album afterward? Or do you think instead you’d promptly crap yourself and, assuming you survive through some miracle, require therapy for the rest of your life?
At this point in my life, I would give anything to be in that hypothetical situation in Australia. I mean, at least the six months in the ICU would be air conditioned. And I could drink the water without boiling it first. I’m getting tired of drinking all my water warm.
At least there’s a solution for that. Before my week of decoding began, I purchased a magical ring that allows me to live without food or water. I can eat if I want, but I don’t need to. No more hot water or under seasoned food for me. Still, I think I’d knife an old lady for a root beer float.
An added benefit to the ring is that the constant nourishment at the cellular level has rendered me a fair bit more energetic. I no longer need to sleep more than two or three hours a day to feel fully rested. Which is nice, since it means less time to dream.
In case you’ve been following along, I had one of these before, but had to sell it a while back. Now, it was nice to have one again.
It’s hard not to compare my situation to similar ones in media I’ve seen. After all, as common of a fantasy as this is, it’s not surprising that it comes up quite a bit. Some of them even deal with the darker implications of your world changing in such a dramatic way rather well.
But unlike those anime and video games, I am bound by this world’s rules. I’m not the chosen one, I don’t have powers that defy the laws of the world, nor did I show up here in a tank that suddenly has the mind of a kitten, though I guess disrobing elves would be a task I’m uniquely suited to. To paraphrase Illidan Stormrage, I was not prepared.
What I do have is some basic knowledge of engineering beyond what this world normally has, skill as a student, a reasonably powerful mind and a fair bit of luck. Everything else, I’ve had to acquire while here. Thank God my luck and natural talents put me in a perfect position to go to wizarding school.
We had evidence that this woman, Xanesha, is some kind of spellcaster. As a wizard, that meant that I could do my best to prepare the spells I would need to deal with a magic user.
Well prepared wizards are some of the best counters to other magic users. I had studied under a wizard who had made his living hunting those who misused the magical arts, so I was in a good position to know what I would need to deal with another spellcaster. Yes, I took “Defense Against the Dark Arts”. I knew that if someone at the school was a villain, it would be the DAtDA teacher, so I wanted to keep an eye on him.
Now I just had to decide what kind of caster we were facing. I guess now is as good a time as any to describe the differences between casters. There really are only two types of casters of note. The first is the prepared caster. Wizards like me are prepared casters.
What does this mean, exactly? Well, wizards are taught to create partitions in our minds to hold the energies of the magic spells we’ll wield. A more practiced or more intelligent wizard can create more partitions and the same amount of energy in a smaller space. Spells are categorized by the amount of energy one needs to cast them, with nine levels of spells castable by mortals. The partitions for each higher level are larger than the ones for the spells of the levels below them.
When I say that I’m preparing a spell, what I’m doing is drawing in the energy needed to cast it and placing it into a partition in my mind. Once the energy in a partition is spent, it’s burnt out until I’ve slept it off or recharged it with certain magic items.
Clerics use a similar method for their spells, though instead of partitions, they get pre-approved for minor magical miracles by their gods that they can start casting later. No money down.
The other kind of magic user is the spontaneous caster, such as a sorcerer. They don’t carry around spellbooks like wizards, nor do they prepare their spells into partitions in their minds. Instead, they simply have the ability to cast a few spells. The hell if they know how they can do it. They just can. Instead of partitions in their minds, they , for lack of a better term, cast from a mana pool. They just have a refillable pool of energy they can call upon to cast the spells that they have access to. The upside is that they can cast more spells of a given power level than a wizard. The downside is that they tend to be limited on what types of spells they can use. Often the spells they get fit a theme that meshes with the source of their power.
When a wizard learns that he’s facing a hostile spellcaster, he can prepare spells to remove magical effects, spells to ward against mind control or enemy summons, or even spells to interfere with the foe’s very ability to cast spells, if they’ve taken the time to learn them. A sorcerer, on the other hand, may end up having to hope that their fireballs will do the trick.
Sometimes, though, the best insurance one might have against an enemy spellcaster is simply buying the right potions and magic scrolls. That’s why I asked Geo to make a few potions for me and spent some time buying some scrolls. You never know what will come in handy. Better over-prepared than dead.
On that vein, we did the same due diligence one does when buying a house. We scoped out the neighborhood, asked about any rumors regarding the tower and anything we thought we could get away with asking without risking letting on our plans to any spies the foe may have had in the area. We learned some interesting and troubling things.
1. The tower was in a horrid state of disrepair. Locals often had standing bets on when it would just collapse. Because of course it was. Just once I want to go into an enemy’s newly constructed lair complete with good lighting, air conditioning and a fresh shag carpet.
Once we were satisfied, we set out for an early morning assault. The sightings had all been nocturnal, so we thought it best to strike while our foes would normally be sleeping. Before heading inside, I handed out all the potions that Geo had crafted for me and gave Paulie the scrolls I’d obtained for him.
Speaking of Paulie, he had another one of his personality shifts. Now he’s back to talking like a surfer. One of these days, I really need to sit down and see if I can figure out what the heck is going on with him. That’s eight, or maybe it was nine, personalities I’ve spotted. Between him, Geo’s crazy experimentations and Aurora’s selective resistance to magic, my life is certainly not wanting for interesting things to study.
We quietly made our way inside the tower, after having Geo work his magic on the lock. The inside was dusty, which was expected. I spotted footprints in the dust. Aurora stopped us and, using code, warned us that something was hiding in an office across the room.
She shouldn’t have bothered to be secretive. We were travelling with Lenn, or as I’m starting to think of him, “The Anti-Stealth”. At a volume that can only be described as an outdoor voice, Lenn bellowed, “Oh! I see him! There he is!” pointing at the figure in the office.
I’m beginning to wonder if slapping my own forehead is going to leave a permanent mark, eventually. We’re going to have to find a way to pass messages that doesn’t involve telling Lenn. I think maybe we’ll just start talking in English.
The creature was some kind of golem made of the semi-preserved flesh of numerous people. On his belt he had what at first appeared to be numerous pumpkins, but on closer inspection we realized they were the bloated heads of its victims, dyed orange by whatever he had used to preserve them.
The fight, like so many others, was quick and dirty. Aurora and Lenn both took mighty blows, which Paulie patched up after with a little wand magic. Then we were left to climb the stairs.
I mentioned earlier that the locals expected the building to collapse any day now. These people obviously had never seen the stairs. If the rest of the building was in as poor condition as the stairs, it was a wonder it hadn’t collapsed years ago. I think it would be counted as a public service if we were to set some charges at the base of the tower and bring it down when no one was nearby, even if it did take out a few other buildings with it.
We tied ourselves off to each other in hopes that if the stairs collapsed we’d be able to catch whomever fell. Obviously, the drawback was that if three people fell at once and the two people remaining weren’t Lenn and Aurora, we’d all fall, but it was a calculated risk. Besides, in theory my boots would protect me if we fell, and I could pay to revive the others.
At several points, we found gaps where stairs were missing and we had to find a way across. As I considered a magical solution, Lenn grabbed a pair of daggers and began climbing across Kratos style, stabbing into the limestone wall as if it were an icy glacier. I’ll admit, I was impressed.
The tower began narrowing as we climbed, as did the stairs. We were so focused on our climb that we almost didn’t notice the sound of fraying rope. The shadow of the falling bell was more obvious. We managed to dodge it.
The second bell, however, hit Geo square on. The stairs beneath him collapsed, but thankfully our ropes held him. He was fascinated by the fact that it didn’t hurt nearly as much as he expected. I was a little creeped out by the look on his face.
At the top, we fought a battle against a number of Faceless Stalkers while walking on rafters. Lenn took another couple massive hits, but we emerged victorious.
We went through a trap door and emerged outside the panel. There were a number of planks along the outside wall made into makeshift stairs. Yeah, if I hadn’t been dizzy before, that definitely did it.
The planks led up to a rookery filled with messenger birds. That was a good sign we were in the right place. On the other hand, the bird crap everywhere was a bit slippery. At least it wasn’t on the planks outside, because that’s all I needed with my day.
On the far side of the rookery, we found a boarded up door. We set about pulling out the nails and soon found ourselves in gearworks of the clock tower. The gears had rusted after years of neglect. There was another hole in the wall that led to more planks. We were close to the top, so we fed Geo more slack on the rope and sent him out ahead of us to look ahead.
He returned a few moments later, saying that he had found a room at the top with a grimy statue and some kind of creature within. Based on his description, I was fairly certain it was a Shadow Demon, a malevolent incorporeal creature not completely unlike what we had encountered in the tomb under Thistletop, but – to use a vernacular familiar to people back home – turned up to eleven.
Thinking that this demon might be the Xanesha we expected to fight, we removed the ropes and drank our potions for protection against evil mind control and I cast a few spells to protect myself from her attacks. Finally, I cast a spell to allow me to see magical auras. I had prepared to dispel two things today, and I figured it would be best to be informed about what I wanted to hit. Then we headed on up.
Lenn was the first one in. I heard him shout, “It’s not even real!” yet still heard the sound of his axe strike something. Geo drank an extract and faded into invisibility and he and Aurora both headed in. Aurora, unsure of what Lenn was shouting about, waited by the entrance to protect me and Paulie as we made our ways in.
Once inside, I immediately realized what Lenn meant. My magic detecting sight also warned me of other dangers. I didn’t have time to code a message and I couldn’t just say it in English, because Geo and Paulie needed to know as well. “The demon is an illusion. Keep up your guards. There’s something in here hidden by magical invisibility. Give me a moment to locate it and I’ll dispel it.” I surrounded myself with mirror images in case she decided to attack me while I located her.
Aurora put herself between me and the rest of the room, blade at the ready and everyone else braced themselves for an attack from any direction. On the plus side, me working on a way to remove her invisibility forced Xanesha to attack now rather than hold back and wait for the most opportune moment. With Aurora in a defensive stance protecting me and Paulie, she had no other visible targets, so she struck at Lenn.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really prepared for her to be a Lamia. She rocked the hell out of that snake tail on her lower half. It was a good look for her. The mask she wore also added to the look. And with that massive spear, she was fairly terrifying.
Xanesha was also surrounded in mirror images. “If you close your eyes and attack, the images won’t fool your ears!” I advised everyone. They proceeded to ignore me. At least I tried.
Geo popped out and struck Xanesha from the side while Lenn and Aurora held her focus. I conjured a trio of Lantern Archons and Paulie summoned a bow of force to aid his attacks. The archons bolstered our allies and I ordered them to act on their own initiatives. I figured they’d know when to shield our friends and when it would be better to attack. Then I rushed around and dispelled Xanesha’s mirror images.
Just like sticking your finger in the proverbial crocodile’s bunghole, that really pissed her off. She activated the magic of the mask she was wearing while glaring in my direction. In that instant, my magical sight allowed me to know exactly what was about to happen. Too bad it was too late to prevent it.
Let me tell you something right now. Getting turned into stone is not a pleasant experience. It hurts like hell.
But at least it only lasted a minute. The mask’s magic was temporary. When I returned to flesh, which also is not a pleasant experience, Xanesha was down. Based on the look of the massive blow to her stomach, I would have to guess that Lenn was the one who landed the final blow.
Treasure was scattered everywhere. Seems that after Xanesha had fallen, Aurora had dug through the chests Xanesha had piled in one corner frantically looking for a potion that could cure me. I didn’t really have the heart to tell her that the magic necessary to cure that particular condition is too powerful to make into a potion.
As I came to, Aurora rushed over to me. “Are you okay? Please tell me you’re okay.” She grabbed my shoulders and stared at my face, trying to be certain I was alright. I will say this for her, the woman takes her bodyguard oath seriously.
I groaned. My head was pounding. Still, it was too good an opportunity to pass up. “From now on, call me Stone. Rock Stone.” I always wanted to be an eighties era action hero.
The others laughed and Aurora just shook her head. Still, she seemed satisfied that everything was okay. We made a more thorough investigation of the treasure. It was quite a haul. Numerous coins and a few magic items in the chest and a few magic items on Xanesha’s body.
Geo took the Sihedron Medallion from a chest and I kept Xanesha’s snakeskin tunic. I washed it first, of course. It fit like Under Armor, if I had to compare it to something. It clung to my torso just as tightly as it had to hers.
On an unrelated note, as we stripped her of the mask and shirt, I understood why Ironbriar had called her “Lovely Xanesha”. I almost felt bad for having to kill her. Then I remembered how she had turned me to stone and kicked her corpse a few times out of irritation.
In the corner of the room, Geo discovered something else interesting. It was a note addressed to Xanesha. In it, a woman who called her “Sister” talked about plans for a place called Turtleback Ferry and another plan to take Fort Rannick. She called Xanesha’s methods of carving the sihedron into fallen victims at the moment of death “barbaric” and gloated about having found a” more elegant way”.
She also mentioned two other things. The first was a reference to the murders being a plan to free their Lord. I’m not sure who they were referring to, but it made a certain kind of sense. I was sure they were planning to open a vault powered by greed, but it made sense that it was someone inside rather than just treasure. I have no idea who, but I suspect that it was likely some enemy of the former Runelord of Greed. Whomever it was that they wanted to free, the fact that he was working with lamias was bad news.
The second thing mentioned was that the soul of Lord Mayor of Magnimar would be an amazing prize. It meant that he was in danger. We had to alert him to the possibility as quickly as we could.
That was easier than I expected. Turns out that killing a well-known judge and proving his involvement with a murder conspiracy had gotten the Lord Mayor’s attention. Pulling Xanesha’s head from a sack and handing it to the guard at the gates of his estate - known as Defiant’s Garden, in case you’re wondering - just sped up the process that much more.
We told the Lord Mayor, a man by the name of Haldmeer Grobaras, everything we knew about the murder plot. He fainted when we told him that he had been a target. His assistant, Valanni Krinst, just rolled his eyes and asked us to help set the Lord Mayor in a chair.
When he came to, Lord Grobaras told us that he was going to throw a party in our honor in two days, to thank us for our services to the city. Aurora and Geo both seemed about to object, but I cut them off. They had never dealt with nobles before. Not like this, anyway. It would require a deft hand.
You see, Lord Mayor Grobaras has a bit of a reputation in town. He’s known to not only be self-serving, but also quick to react to insult. Declining his invitation might be seen as an insult. However, we also had to do something about Xanesha’s sister’s plot. Optimally, we would go ourselves, but that might not be an option. Not immediately, at least.
“Lord Mayor,” I said, “We are extremely grateful and humbled by your generous offer, but we fear that both Fort Rannick and Turtleback Ferry are in danger. We would be failing to do our best to serve the city if we did not do something to aid them.”
“That is true,” Valanni Krinst agreed.
“Nonsense!” Lord Grobaras said. “I feel that the people of the city need this more, in order to know that the murderers have been thoroughly routed and that the city is once again safe.” He was like a child looking for an excuse to throw a party.
I had played this game before. As long as he got what he wanted, we could still do something to protect the fort and village. “Of course, Lord Mayor. I can certainly see that the citizens need this. However, perhaps you could send a small force of soldiers, or maybe even mercenaries, to check on the trouble? They only need check in on things while we attend the party, then once that’s over, we can rush that way to better protect your people? That way we could enjoy ourselves fully, knowing that the people are safe.” Yeah, he really didn’t care much about his people, but he did want to thank us, so it was worth a shot.
“A splendid idea!” the Lord Mayor agreed. “Valanni, see to it.”
After we left, Aurora glared at me. “We can’t afford to wait.”
Geo agreed with her. “We have the initiative. We can save more people by acting now.”
I shook my head. “There’s no helping it. If the Lord Mayor takes offense at us declining his party, we might have him interfering with our investigation at every turn. It’s either lose a turn or move one step forward and two steps back. In the long run, this is the right call, as painful as it is.” They took a moment to consider what I said and reluctantly agreed. “Good, now that we’ve got that settled, we need to see to getting ready for the party.”
“What do we need to do? Is it not simply enough to bathe and wear clean clothing?” Geo asked.
I tried hard not to laugh. “The Lord Mayor will be throwing a high society party. While I have clothing fit for this, I don’t think any of the rest of you have anything fitting. At the very least, I’ve never seen any of you wear anything you could get away with at one of these kinds of parties. When we get back to the inn, ask the innkeeper to recommend a good tailor. Also a barber. Think of your clothing and appearance as your armor. This is simply a battle on terrain you may be unfamiliar with. We don’t need to win. We just need to survive the engagement long enough to safely withdraw.”
“That’s a lot to take in. Anything else?” Geo looked a bit overwhelmed.
“Yes. Have you ever been to any dances?”
“Lenn and I attended the harvest and winter solstice dances every year since I was fifteen.”
I looked at Paulie. He thought for a moment. “I think I have. Unless I haven’t, brah.” Not much I could do about him. I’d just have to hope he had a dance virtuoso personality in that messed up head of his.
I looked over to Aurora. She shook her head. “That’s one more thing you and I will need to take care of in the next couple days. Alright, everyone, let’s get to work.”
We reached the inn a few minutes later. When we reached our suite, Aurora looked at me accusingly. “Don’t think that you’re going to make me spend the next couple days going dress shopping.”
I laughed. “Dress shopping, no. Jewelry shopping, very much yes. And you’re going to get your hair professionally styled. Perhaps even a bit of light makeup. But we don’t need to buy you a dress, as I already have a magical solution for that.”
“You’re actually going to make me wear a dress? But I’ll feel silly, all frumped up like that.”
“Of course you will. Lenn, Geo and Paulie are all going to feel silly once the tailor gets them fitted for what they’ll have to wear for the party. Hell, I’ve gone to a number of these things and I still feel silly. But it’s what we have to do. Now, we can argue about it, or you can trust me. It’s up to you, but one way’s easier and less headache inducing.” She looked defeated and just nodded. “Alrighty then. Now we need to find a good hairstylist and retain his or her services before the other noblewomen learn of the party.”
Once we had spoken to the hairstylist and paid a retainer twice as large as he usually charged, we spent the rest of the afternoon on dance lessons. Aurora stepped on my feet often at first, but by supper time, she had improved greatly. I won’t say that I didn’t enjoy spending that much time dancing with her.
The next day was devoted to more dancing lessons and jewelry shopping. I bought her several gold necklaces, rings and bracelets. More than enough to keep her from looking out of place. By the end of the day, she was dancing as though she had been doing it her whole life. She even seemed to be enjoying herself.
On the day of the party, we visited the hairstylist. He recommended a popular style and Aurora agreed to it. I didn’t tell her at the time, but the style she wore looked similar to a traditional Irish wedding braid, if a bit fancier. The stylist also wove a purple ribbon into her hair, which would match the purple dress I had in mind for her.
Shoe shopping proved amusing. Aurora categorically hated pretty much everything we looked at, but after I showed her that it wasn’t too bad by putting on a pair of high heeled shoes and sprinting across the street –I once ran a 5k in high heels to raise money for charity – she settled on a reasonable pair of flats.
The innkeeper’s daughter helped Aurora with her makeup and corset, then I had her put on the pair of magical sleeves I had originally made as a gift for Shayliss. Within seconds, it turned her simple clothes into a pimped-out royal purple dress that would be the envy of any of the girls at the party. I didn’t know what all the features were called, but I had looked at dresses – and the women in them – long enough to know it looked damn good. It was somewhere between conservative and risqué and flattered all of Aurora’s features.
Aurora looked at me shyly. “How – How do I look?”
I made a show of looking her up and down. “Words. There are no words to describe how beautiful you look tonight. They should have sent a poet. As we enter the ball tonight, men’s hearts will stop beating within their chests as they catch sight of you and women will cry themselves to sleep knowing that though they try for a hundred years, they shall never match your beauty.”
She seemed at once flattered and suspicious that I was making fun of her. “So, should you change as well?”
“A simple thing, really.” I stood before the mirror and slipped on my cuffs. In seconds, I was wearing a flattering white suit and longcoat trimmed with black fur and accented with gold. With a flick, I turned my magical hat into a white top hat to match. “So, what do you think?” I asked Aurora. When she didn’t answer immediately, I looked at her in the mirror and caught her staring at me, her mouth ever so slightly open. I like to think she was seconds away from drooling over me, but she was probably just gawking at my strange outfit. Not surprising really. Fashion is nothing if not strange.
She met my reflected gaze and turned away, blushing. “You look fine,” she said shyly. I’d never seen this side of her. It was lovely.
I held out my arm. “Well then, my dear, shall we collect our companions? Our carriage awaits.”
Aurora tentatively reached out and softly took my arm as I had shown her. “Carriage?”
“I hired one. We can’t very well walk to a fancy ball now, can we?”
In the carriage, I realized that Geo’s tentacles would be a problem. It took some convincing, but before we arrived, he had his arm in a sling. We agreed that if anyone asked, he had broken his arm while fighting Xanesha.
The banquet was just like the ones you see in a bunch of movies. The Lord Mayor sat in the center, and we sat on one side of him as his guests of honor. My companions decided that I should sit closest to him and we put Lenn furthest away. I was surprised to note that Lenn was actually fairly competently following proper etiquette. I mean, he used the wrong fork for the salad course, but that was acceptable considering this was the same man who had once licked Lonjiku Kaijutsu.
On the other side of the Lord Mayor was some famous cleric. I forget his name. But he was on a crusade to destroy evil artifacts and offered us full value if we came across any. I neglected to tell him about all those stalker’s masks we sold on the black market, but we made a deal for the mask and spear Xanesha was wielding.
At the end of the fourth course, the Lord Mayor called for a toast to us and informed everyone that he was awarding us six thousand gold apiece for our services to the city. Not a bad haul.
After the feasting came the dancing. I took Aurora out for the first dance, a waltz. If I didn’t know better, I would have said that she was enjoying herself. While dancing, we discussed what would be expected the rest of the evening.
“We’ll be expected to mingle a fair bit,” I told her. “You don’t have to dance every dance, but try to join in for every third dance. It’s expected that the Lord Mayor may ask for a dance, and that is probably the only one it’s best not to decline. The rest are at your discretion, but be diplomatic about any that you decline.”
“And what should I do when not dancing?”
“There are several high ranking military officials here. I’d bet talking shop with them might be comfortable grounds for you. If you can make a few friends, then it might be helpful to us later. I’ll do my best as well, though I have to keep an eye on the other three. I’ll be watching you as well, so if you need help, catch my gaze and brush your hand through your hair as though you’re pulling a loose lock back behind your ear. If you see something with the others that needs to be addressed and I haven’t noticed it yet, please come get me.”
She nodded. “Anything else I should know?”
“Yeah, watch out for the women here. I’ve spotted at least four women giving you seething looks so far. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them tries to embarrass you. And if any of the men you agree to dance with try putting their hands somewhere you don’t want them to, or otherwise make you uncomfortable, just step on their feet, hard, while dancing. Apologize profusely afterward, of course, but if they try again, do it again. They’ll eventually get the hint.”
After the dance, we parted, though I was reluctant to do so and began mingling. I danced with women of varying age and availability, since it wasn’t so much about having fun as it was about making connections. Inviting an old widow to dance might not be as fun as asking her granddaughter, but it might mean that we had one more influential friend that we wouldn’t otherwise.
That isn’t to say I didn’t dance with many beautiful young women. I had no less than four requests to run off somewhere a bit more private before the night was over. Well, seven if you count the fact that I also danced with Amanda Kaddren as well as my two lovely young friends from the Stone of the Seers, but I don’t count the invitations that were a given.
I kept an eye on the others as well. Lenn was surprisingly good at dancing, even picking up the fancier dances quickly. He was surrounded by beautiful women begging for another dance before the night was out. I hadn’t seen that coming. I just had to hope he didn’t manage to insult any of them.
Paulie’s actions were about par for the course. At some point, his personality flipped again. He got on the stage where the band was performing and began rocking out, for lack of a better description. It might have been the fact that I was on my third glass of wine, but I used my magic to alter my voice and shouted for him to stage dive. I really wasn’t expecting him to do so, but when he did, anyone could have seen the fact that he landed on his face coming. Of course none of the nobles caught him. This wasn’t a Slayer concert. He spent much of the rest of the night seated next to a wall.
I had to deal with a bit of a situation with Geo. Several very attractive young women were upset that he was refusing to dance. I pulled him aside and asked him what the hell was going on. His reply? “I don’t know how to dance.”
I felt like my eyes would pop out of my head. “What? You told me that you had been going to several dances a year!”
“Yes. I worked with the sheriff to make sure none of the drunks got out of hand.”
That dent in my forehead is coming along nicely now. “Okay. We can salvage this. One moment.” I called over the young women who had been upset with him. “Ladies, I apologize for my oaf of a friend here. It seems that in all his years, he never managed to learn to dance. He would be most appreciative if you would be so kind as to take some time to teach him. Please be gentle with him, as he’s a bit shy.”
As I walked away, I looked back at Geo, who was being dragged onto the dance floor by several very insistent giggling young women. The look on his face begged me to come back and save him. I just kept walking. It would be good for him.
Geo wasn’t the only one having trouble. Aurora found herself surrounded by a number of lecherous nobles, all leering at her. She caught my gaze and brushed a lock of hair behind her ears. I’ve seen this woman beat a bear to death with nothing but her gauntleted hands and stare down a pack of wolves that had come at the scent of blood. But now she was being stalked by a different kind of predator, one that saw her as excellent prey. We couldn’t have that, now could we?
I pushed my way through the crowd and made my way to her. “Ah, there you are, Aurora. I apologize for absenting myself from your company for so long. I do believe that I promised you a dance and here I have been away from your presence for too long. I feel like a flower deprived of the presence of the radiant sun. Please forgive me?”
She didn’t seem to know what to say. “Well, uh, just don’t do it again.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it,” I said, extending my arm. “Sorry gentlemen, but I needs must steal away the radiant sun. Please do not think too poorly of me.”
Aurora and I walked out onto the dance floor as the next song began to play. This one was a slower song, meant as a bit of a reprieve for those who had danced through much of the night’s faster numbers. “Thank you,” she said, smiling gratefully. Her genuine smile made my heart skip a beat as our eyes met. I just nodded, unsure I could speak without stammering.
I felt like the hero in one of those romantic comedies. I could talk the clothes off any woman until I felt something more for her than lust, at which point I turned into a blithering idiot.
After the dance, I invited Aurora to join me on the balcony for a bit of fresh air. We stood in the cool night’s air staring off at the city for some time before either of us spoke. “It wasn’t all bad,” she said. “But it still feels like a waste of time.”
“It was necessary. Besides, sometimes it’s good to unwind a bit.”
“Every moment we waste may mean that another person dies.”
I sighed. “And you don’t think I know that?”
She looked at me, sadness in her eyes. “It’s not that. It’s just… I worry that maybe you don’t care. That this is all just a game to you. That maybe it’s more important that you get to spend time with your hands all over these empty headed trollops.”
That felt like a punch in the gut. I took a moment to breathe, suddenly very sober. I was suddenly incredibly angry. I’m not proud of what I said next, but I have to admit that it would make a great scene if they make a movie about my life. “Horran Guffman, Lettie Guffman,” I began. I continued naming everyone who had died, both in Sandpoint and in Magnimar, in some way related to the plot we were investigating. I even named people whose names I had only gathered by looking at the public records of the murders in Magnimar after we had already solved Ironbriar’s role in the matter. The whole thing took at least a couple minutes. “…Nualia Tobyn,” I finished. “These are the names of people who have died. I have no idea how many of them we could have saved had we been faster, stronger, smarter or just luckier. These are the names of the people who haunt my dreams every single night. These are the names of the people who are part of the reason I wake up and have to stifle a scream of terror lest I wake you.
“So don’t go telling me that I don’t care. Don’t you dare. No one, not even you, has that right.” I was so angry that my words couldn’t help but show it. Everything I said was justified. Everything I said was righteous. I still regret saying it. Just because what you say is righteous doesn’t always mean you shouldn’t have just kept your mouth shut.
The look on Aurora’s face showed the pain my words had caused her. I would have given anything to take it all back. “I…need to go,” she said. “I’ll see you back at the inn. Have fun with your trollops.”
She ran off before I could stop her, and I was left on the balcony alone.
I went to find Geo. He was chatting with some nobleman talking about medical practice. If I had to guess, the man was a doctor of some kind. I pulled him aside. “I have to go. I did something stupid. Keep an eye on Lenn and Paulie for me.”
“Of course,” he said. “Don’t worry about us.”
On my way out, I thanked the Lord Mayor for a lovely party and told him that I had drunk perhaps a bit too much and needed to go sleep it off. He nodded knowingly and offered me use of his carriage. I agreed, since I could see that Aurora had already taken ours.
Back at the inn, I found Aurora’s door locked. I knocked softly. “Can we please talk about this?” I asked. “I’m sorry.”
A muffled voice called from in her room. “Go away.” It almost sounded like she had been crying. I sat down next to her door and brooded for some time. I’m not sure how long. At some point I fell asleep. When I awoke, I found that someone had put a blanket on me.
The next morning, Aurora came out of her room. I immediately tried to apologize again. She just shook her head. “We both said things we regret. Let’s just put it behind us?”
I considered it for a moment and nodded. “Friends?”
“Friends,” she agreed. We hugged and that was that.
We had more important things to worry about. I’ve often compared my predicament to animes that have similar trapped in another world premises. I’ve often considered this a contest between us and some unknown force. Maybe I was treating it as a game, perhaps, but one with extremely serious stakes. There's nothing that says I can't take a game seriously. Anyone who knows me knows better.
So perhaps it is fitting that the lyrics to the opening of one of my favorite animes comes to mind as I’m writing this. No Pain, No Game’s line, in particular: “The game has only just begun.” Indeed. And it’s time to begin the next hand. The people of Turtleback Ferry are counting on us, even if they don’t know it yet.
So we're saying paladins should ride off on the women and prune the hedges of many small villages?
And what do the horses have to say about it?
The NPC wrote:
As the title says: How did you get rid of Tsuto Kaijutsu?
We found Ameiko right before finding Tsuto. She had been brutally beaten by Tsuto's goblins, so we were already a bit out for blood. Then he used Stunning Fist on the barbarian, which was followed by failing to overrun the cavalier. That meant that when the barbarian got out of the stun, Tsuto was still there.
The barbarian wasn't happy with Tsuto. Tsuto didn't survive the axe to the face. Or maybe it was the second one that killed him. I'm pretty sure he was dead the third and fourth times the barbarian struck him, though.
On top of this can they have any affiliation with Evil other than killing them? can they team up with them or make peace with them in anyway?
When they face a greater evil or otherwise believe that they can redeem the evil ally, I believe many gods will allow working together with someone who is evil.
The Crusader wrote:
It's called the "god" wizard because he's never really directly involved. He stands back and summons and empowers his minions while weakening and inhibiting his enemies. He almost never does a single hp of actual damage, but still is the master of the battle.
It requires a light touch. Like a pickpocket or a safe cracker. Or a guy who burns down a bar for the insurance money if he makes it look like an electrical thing.
If you do everything right, no one will even be sure that you've done anything at all. Yet they absolutely would have died horribly without your aid, because you were always the one who controlled how the battle went. Let your party live in their ignorance and dance to your merry tune, like the puppets they are, ever confident in their own self deluded amazingness.
*The rest of this post just trails off into maniacal laughter.*
I think if you compare the relative costs of things that exist for the characters in game to similar items IRL, I think it comes to around $900,000 for said 9,000 gold tower. It's pretty reasonable, I would think.
I could be a little off(due to rounding and such), but I think there was a whole thread on it.
I saw a thread about an all flying party a mere minute after posting this. The issue is not flying itself, but rather permanent flight for two feats. I have no issue if the party earns flight through magical means, be it spells or items. Just thought to make that clearer for you.
Personally, I don't see a real problem with it. Since a broom of flying costs 17k and overland flight is available at level 9, both seem to put the power level of flight at around level 9, which is the level of the feat.
If given the option to make a magic item that gave me two feats at level 9 for 17k, I probably would for most characters. Which I know ignores the fact that the feats give other bonuses as well, so even if we called it 25k for the two feat item, I'd still probably do it.
In the last campaign I ran, everyone had some form of flight by level 10. Since it was a custom campaign, I was able to adjust for it easily enough. Even with this being an AP, shouldn't be too hard to throw in some folks with ranged attacks here and there if you want to keep the rogue from doing nothing but attacking from the sky. I think the problem arises when the entire party is constantly flying. One or two of their number doing it just sound like juicy targets for an archer.
I vaguely remember reading once that once of the planets in the Golarion system had a space faring(as in spaceships) race. I'd love to see some more on them, personally.
Here is a little astronomy lesson! There is only one Solar System, ours! It's name comes from our star's name, Sol (also known as Sun). The generic term is star system! The more you know the better :)
While that's one way to look at it, dictionary definitions disagree.
Dire Elf wrote:
But playing is how you get the pretty dresses.
I've been told that I spend far too much time thinking about the clothing worn by my fantasy characters(I've gotten into three different MMOs just so I could play around with the nifty outfits the characters can get). I've always wished I had the artistic talent to draw up every character I play in what I wish them to be wearing.
For example, my Earthling wizard has worn the following around Golarion:
-A masquerade costume in black trimmed with gold that wouldn't look out of place in that one scene in Labyrinth.
-Pimped out(buckle-pocalypse) thigh high boots with a short skirt, stockings and a sailor suit top(there was this thing with a belt of gender change)
-Little red riding hood costume(see justification above)
-Starswirl the Bearded style robe and wizard hat(same pattern, but cut for a human - He wore it to wizarding classes)
He also has several more mundane utility outfits in his pack. In fact, I rarely have a character who starts with fewer than three outfits. I've even been known to take less than optimal gear choices just to have enough starting cash for a character to have all the clothes I think they should.
Mostly though, I'm just posting to dot this because several links in here have some great options for new desktop wallpaper.
The Numerator wrote:
However, I want to come up w/ a way for the PCs to earn the resoration of their status... but they are of the opinion that they are the wronged party here and shouldn't have to pay restitution in any way, that the truth should be enough.
Maybe, instead of restitution, after proving their innocence, Venn, at his wit's end, could beseech the heroes for a solution to reigning in his daughter. If they help out, they earn a friendship with him and a reward to boot(maybe a discount?).
Coldly turning their backs on him might instead mean that while their names have been cleared, he still can't do business with them.
And, of course, it's a good chance to have one of them accidentally agree to marry her, which opens up the possibility of future hilarity.
The misconception might be related to not being able to pass a knowledge check over 10 untrained even if you take 10 and have a positive bonus?
Just remind them this isn't CSI and they don't have the type of modern tools of today and they'll stop trying to get blood samples and all that. Zone of Truth comes in handy though...
Not necessarily. With a wizard, carrying around a few blood samples is rarely a bad thing.
We came really close to dusting for fingerprints at the sawmill, but decided it would be too tedious without a computer to run the comparisons.
Yeah, but the wizard with a +7 int mod(either +4 headband or Fox's Cunning), +5 crafter's fortune, +3 class skill, +4 Amazing Tools of Manufacture(that he probably made himself) could do it at level 8 with either Heart of the fields or skill focus. With both, it could even be at a lower level(or skip the Amazing Tools).
So, if you want a +1 Sword made at CL 20 (Good saves for it!) you need a DC 40 sword...one freaking gorgeous high quality work of art sword, which can be reliably made only by someone with a +30 to their Crafting skill...a legendary smith.
And that'll still probably be a wizard(or other Int based class).
The Quite-big-but-not-BIG Bad wrote:
Always kinda annoyed me that casters who wouldn't know which end of a sword to stick in the bad guy are the ones who made all the legendary weapons. Should be an actual smith who does that.
Making a sword is the easy part. The hard part is knowing where and when and how to craft all the magical "doodads" that make it more than a pointy hunk of steel.
The Quite-big-but-not-BIG Bad wrote:
I was wondering if you had any tips on keeping crafting times viable at higher levels without resorting to munchkinny ways (I'm looking at you Leadership).
You might talk to the GM about whether you could find a Cooperative Crafting NPC or three in town. You'll likely have to pay them a premium such that your crafted items will end up costing you 3/4ths or full price instead of half, but it might be worth it to double or triple craft speeds.
As for munchkinny suggestions: My GM is allowing me to create an army of Chims(statting them as gnome alchemists with craft feats) to help me craft once I get the simulacrum spell. He's also allowing me to make my very own vocaloid mostly because it amuses him.
I guess you could make it non-munchkinnny by just making a single craft helper simulacrum.
Immortal Greed wrote:
Ah, I see the disconnect. I was assuming what was meant was "inspirational out-of-universe" whereas he's considered "inspirational in-universe".
Wizard: Nothing says ego like phenomenal cosmic power.
Until you get to Wish, it's really only semi-phenomenal, nearly cosmic power.
But I did not argue because I am used to getting my pc concepts shot down or needlessly nerfed. Seem I, as a player, have some drawback that forces GMs to always nerf my guys.
I'm not sure about your other characters, but that one really doesn't sound like it needs a nerf. Unless you were planning on giving him some ranks in Perform: Dance to do an endzone celebration after spiking your enemy's decapitated head. Then maybe.