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FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStar Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht 1,163 posts (2,183 including aliases). 86 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 23 Organized Play characters. 8 aliases.


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Barbarian wants to become more civilised, ironically grows more monstrous instead.

This was my PFS experiment that went remarkably well. I started with a level of Barbarian, then went into Alchemist. I originally only wanted to dip, but Alchemist became sweeter and sweeter. Eventually it became an Alchemist with a Barbarian dip, rather than the other way around. Anyway, the backstory I made was that she wants to join civilisation and distances herself from her Barbarian roots by picking up levels of Alchemist. Then I gave her extra arms and a second head, and started using Monstrous Physique. I like the irony at work.

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I'd like to see a Samurai-type character that isn't just a differently flavoured Cavalier. Maybe make him Wisdom-based, as I envision them as battle-hardened warriors giving sage advice. A killing machine that fights with a combination of instinct and technique. A combination of Monk and Slayer or something. Mister Miyagi meets Agent 47.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

Maybe "Mary Sue" is a bit of a misnomer, but Torch does always seem to pop up and gets the biggest slice of the pie whenever he's around. I can imagine how some people want to put him in his place.

But yeah, I agree with Mike, Osprey needs more time in the limelight.

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Well, first of all, what's your gut feeling? It's your campaign, so do whatever you think feels right.

If you want to get really nitpicky, Smite sticks until it is dead. If it falls unconscious and is reborn, it's obviously not dead. If it actually dies, I might need to see the exact example to understand the context. Could you put the exact boss (and book) in a spoiler tag? That way I can take a look myself. If you're a stickler for the rules, I'd say you have to Smite again. But, keeping in the spirit of the game, the threat is obviously not vanquished, so the Smite would linger. I once GMed a game where a creature popped out of the boss, chestburster-style. That's obviously a different creature, and would be able to be Smite'd again (if the boss was controlled by it, that might be a different question), for example.

What's your real motive for asking this? Are you worried about the Paladin running out of Smites, or are you afraid that re-Smiting will deal extra damage? As a GM, you're not supposed to be "against" the players. You can challenge them, but it's not your job to kill them (unless you have certain rules in place). You're supposed to facilitate the players, not throw obstacles at them. In the first example, running out of Smites will cause a bad feeling for the player. In the second example, not allowing him to Smite again (if it's an evil outsider, dragon, or undead) takes away part of his damage output. Either way, you're causing a feel-bad for the player. Sometimes that's okay, but you're supposed to provide entertainment. I'd say don't make a decision yet and see which of the two becomes relevant. If you want to be a hardass GM, take the least favourable result. If you want to provide a cool story, the most favourable result.

I said I wanted to join, but as you can see, I haven't posted yet in the gameplay thread. I'm afraid I just don't have the mental space for it right now, sorry. I'll officially drop out now. I'm the fifth player, so you should be able to play without me.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

Neriathale wrote:
Kwinten Koëter wrote:
Oh, and while we're on the subject of important NPCs: it's been mentioned earlier, but I want some conclusion on Drandle Dreng. Some scenarios paint him as a weird goofball, some as a kind grandfather figure, and some as a senile old man. And then School of Spirits happened. I want to know the real Dreng.

But if PFS 2 is a continuation of PFS 1, won't he still be there, personality intact to kick a new generation of Pathfinders out of bed at 3am and send them off to the museum?

[If I ever get round to running a scenario where he's the brief my go-to image is Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Homes disguised as a layabout. Because in my head canon Dreng is a high level investigator.]*

* yeah, I know that's not what his stats say. But if I were ever creating the character in a home game...

There's a difference between deleting/altering some of PF1's history and expanding upon it. People saying "I want to blow up the Blakros Museum" miss the point. As much as you hate the place, it's still a good source of lore and adventure. On the other hand, I could see an evolution of most of the NPCs happening. There's been 10 years of stories happening, the writeup for all Venture-Captains should be different. I can see some Captains being replaced or killed off, but keeping Dreng exactly the same as he is now is just a waste of potential.

(For what it's worth, I've always suspected Dreng of faking his age, even before School of Spirits. He seems like the trickster kinda guy.)

Also, I just remembered. Amenopheus has a weird history with the Society. He's up to something, and I want to know what. He appears as a semi-antagonist in Echoes of the Everwar without explanation, and there's one or two more times I forgot where he's being shady.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

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Oh, and while we're on the subject of important NPCs: it's been mentioned earlier, but I want some conclusion on Drandle Dreng. Some scenarios paint him as a weird goofball, some as a kind grandfather figure, and some as a senile old man. And then School of Spirits happened. I want to know the real Dreng.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

Arutema wrote:
Kurald Galain wrote:
Anyway, any good writer should know that a character that the audience loves to hate so much, you do not kill off.
... until the grand finale, which is fast approaching.

There is no "finale." Pathfinder Society 1.0 will end, maybe with a cool climax to commemorate, but don't expect to fundamentally change Pathfinder as we know it (unless of course it's planned by developers). As far as I understand, what's happened so far is canon in Pathfinder, and will continue to have taken place in 2.0. There might be some reimaginings or retcons, but don't expect to wipe several places off the map that'll still exist in 2.0.

kyrt-ryder wrote:

Can you tell us more about this 'Monk/Id Rager/Druid' build you encountered?

Because it certainly does not sound overpowered to me.

Granted at low levels it might be powerful, but I am struggling to envision it being overpowered.

I'm not 100% on the exact statistics, but it basically boils down to the following:

Starting as Druid so he can be a large Earth Elemental pretty much all the time.
Then going Monk for Flurry of Blows, Wisdom to AC, and a whole lot more.
A few levels of Id Rager (maybe just one) to have his damage dice go up, and of course, all the bonuses Rage gives.

Again, I'm not sure about the build, he obviously has a lot of magic items that boost him, but he has four or five attacks that each deal 60 static damage (including Power Attack), before damage dice are rolled. He has great saves and AC through Monk levels, Evasion, spells to buff himself, and so on. As a GM, he was frustrating to play for, because he had no weak point. Everything just died around him. This might just as much be a fault of the equipment as it is of multiclassing, but you see where I'm going with this. And this was for Society, where you go to level 11.

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Dasrak wrote:
Quentin Coldwater wrote:
Except that you can still boost those first-level powers. There are a lot of feats or items that grant extra rage rounds or boosts to certain powers. Dipping one level of Barbarian and the Extra Rage class feature allows you to rage for 10+ rounds a day, enough for 2 or 3 combats. Yeah, Rage doesn't turn into Greater Rage, but that +4 is already a lot. Swashbuckler dips get free Weapon Finesse, skips some prerequisites, gets some Panache and deeds, and so on. There's a lot of reasons why one level of something else can really boost your effectiveness, especially if you're not a caster-type.
Yes, multiclassing can be good, and you can pick options that complement or enhance your multiclassing decisions. Again, why is this a bad thing? You're still making sacrifices to gain these benefits, and the result characters are comparable to single-class builds. Sometimes better, sometimes worse, depends on exactly which builds we're comparing.

And this one:

kyrt-ryder wrote:
Quentin Coldwater wrote:
Dasrak wrote:
Why is dipping a bad thing? Your new level 1 ability never improves, and your main class abilities are slowed by a level.
Except that you can still boost those first-level powers. There are a lot of feats or items that grant extra rage rounds or boosts to certain powers. Dipping one level of Barbarian and the Extra Rage class feature allows you to rage for 10+ rounds a day, enough for 2 or 3 combats. Yeah, Rage doesn't turn into Greater Rage, but that +4 is already a lot. Swashbuckler dips get free Weapon Finesse, skips some prerequisites, gets some Panache and deeds, and so on. There's a lot of reasons why one level of something else can really boost your effectiveness, especially if you're not a caster-type.
Remind us why you care?

Why should I care? Well, I mostly care because I play a lot of PFS, where I've seen some absolute bonkers builds, where people squeeze every last bonus into their character. I've seen one guy roflstomp several scenarios, basically soloing every encounter, with us merely as backup. Monk/Id Rager/Druid is a crazy powerful build. I might just be whining, but I've heard several people complain they feel useless next to these people. This is also partly an OOC problem, not an IC problem, as the player wants to dominate everything and show off, but it's indicative of the problem. If people want, they can break the game beyond what the system meant for the player to do. Multiclassing for more abilities is good, as long as the overall power level doesn't exceed its intended maximum. But it does, and for Society play, that can be a problem.

I agree though that for non-Society play, this is less of an issue, where you as a GM can have more control over the power level of your players.

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Dasrak wrote:
Why is dipping a bad thing? Your new level 1 ability never improves, and your main class abilities are slowed by a level.

Except that you can still boost those first-level powers. There are a lot of feats or items that grant extra rage rounds or boosts to certain powers. Dipping one level of Barbarian and the Extra Rage class feature allows you to rage for 10+ rounds a day, enough for 2 or 3 combats. Yeah, Rage doesn't turn into Greater Rage, but that +4 is already a lot. Swashbuckler dips get free Weapon Finesse, skips some prerequisites, gets some Panache and deeds, and so on. There's a lot of reasons why one level of something else can really boost your effectiveness, especially if you're not a caster-type.

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I honestly think some kind of variant multiclassing-like implementation could work, but I see Planpanther already beat me to the punch. But still, to to illustrate my point:
I'm not sure if pure VMC will be the best way to go (I'm guessing it'll lead to too powerful characters), but something like it could be helpful. I'm doing a quick sketch here, not very well thought out, but suppose the following. I'm a Cleric and I want to dip in Barbarian for a Strength boost. Say I want to dip into that at level 5, since I got an item or a story-related reason to dip. First level would grant me a minor "iconic" power, such as Rage, but not named as such, so the "Extra class feature" feats won't cheese it (or make it a rule that you can't get "extra class feature" feats if it isn't your primary class). In this instance, maybe a +2 STR/CON for 3 rounds per day. In addition, I get Barbarian progression in BAB, saves, HP, and so on. Two levels later, I unlock the "real" class feature, with all the features working as true class features. That means you can still basically act as that class if you want, but it's harder to cheese. Then, if you're fully committed, you unlock the "true" potential. That means dedicated people can multiclass and still profit up-front without being stupidly powerful, and min-maxers can't profit from it without really investing in it.

I just gave one example with one class feature, but I'm sure more class features can be implemented just as elegantly.

Or go with the Starfinder route and massively decrease the amount of bonuses you can collect. Getting to stack Morale with Enhancement, Luck, and so on only invites people to seek them all out. Get two or three total types of bonuses and multiple ways to get to them. That way, they overlap easier and people have to make a choice. It might lead to bad gameplay when you keep finding items that don't stack, but you can work around that, I think. Or give bonuses "slots," where you can only carry X amounts of bonuses at a time (either scalable with level, or a static amount). That prevents self-buffing monstrosities from existing, and buffing one direction means you neglect other aspects.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

Hooray! One question: What happens with spells you get that you normally aren't supposed to get? As far as I know, Mudball is a Goblin-only spell, but the Geomancer Occultist gets it on his spell list (p. 66). Does he instead not get that spell? Does he get a replacement? Or is this a weird enough exception that allows you to have it? I believe I've seen things like this in domains and the like, but I'm not 100%, I just know of this example.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

After-action report from me as well:

Party composition was four level 3 people, one level 2. They decided to play high tier.
Players didn't seem to mind Jamila tagging along. They had played the Tyranny of Winds trilogy (though not with this character), though they bore no ill will to her. Apparently some people did, so I'm mentioning it.
Players didn't really seem to care about the gambling. One joined in because of his gambling background, but none of the items were eventually used.
One of the players actually had Speak with Animals and started a conversation with the giant frogs. They had a fun interaction, then Wild Empathy'd them away (we had a Gunslinger/Druid multiclass who was Charisma-based, so that helped).
They were weirdly indifferent about Azure at first. Their gimmick was intriguing (the colours), but the party didn't even catch on to their nonbinariness (though I didn't really play it up, either).
The fight with Daisag was pretty interesting. Daisag hit pretty hard, but the Druid cast Entangle, so she had to flee the tree. Eventually she got killed and she'd rejuvenate elsewhere.
The Basidirond wasn't a challenge either, the Druid (again) had a feat that allowed him to also handle plants. The Basidirond left without issue, though I had some fun pretending I was a plant.
They interacted with the bindle bags for a bit and generally had a good time. Then, the Wild Hunt came. I didn't really manage to portray their bickering all that much, but one player (the Druid, again) piped up that he wanted to do teambuilding exercises to help become a team again. Excellent, that's exactly what the scenario asked for. So, they do some roleplaying, the Wild Hunt buggers off, and they all leave.
I'm rushing through the rest, as we're almost out of time. We started late, and though we skipped some combats, there was lots of roleplay and slacking off, so we filled the time nicely. The report with Ashasar was rushed through, and I handed out chronicle sheets. Overall, everyone had a lot of fun, and though some expected Overflow Archives-levels of weirdness (they'd recently played it, so it's fresh in their minds), this was weird on a whole different level.

The items (I allowed rerolls when doubles came up):
A food-obsessed character offered a chocolate cake, which suddenly grew red fur (he dislikes purple). I ruled that the fur also tastes like chocolate, so he has an infinite source of chocolate hair.
A Rogue offered his thieves tools, which started laughing and cooing. The image of a Rogue silently picking a lock while his tools are actively making noise pleased the table.
An Oracle offered a spatula (weird in-joke), that started turning counterclockwise. He thought it was lame, so I rerolled into the mood-colour shifting one.
The Gunslinger/Druid threw in his gun at my request (he has a single level of Gunslinger more for fun than for actual practical use, so he rarely uses it anyway), which also started laughing.
A Cavalier threw in the badge belonging to her order, and it grew eyes. She also threw in a frisbee for her wolf companion, and it started releasing bubbles when thrown.

In the end, I totally forgot to use the weather-changing effect, but those combats were skipped anyway. I did tell them the weather was actively changing, but I would've completely forgotten it had they gone into a fight.
Overall, a very fun few hours. I was impressed with the tiny touches of detail, like the Assassin Vine standing up straight to pretend to be a tree, or the frogs actually interacting with each other. I liked that. Thanks for writing this, Scott!

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

Regarding that spoiler: That would be cool. Have some form of carryover from FE to SE, even if it's in a minor way.

I'm pretty confident they won't allow a noncanon deity into PFS2, but having a previous character mentioned or referenced somehow would be cool.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

Yes. The fact that they stop making new scenarios doesn't mean the old ones become unavailable all of a sudden. Ideally I'd jump straight into 2.0, but as mentioned above, the pace of release probably means I'll fall back on OG Pathfinder pretty soon. It'll be confusing to mix game systems, but I'll manage.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

Is Koth'Vaul actually featured in The Traitor's Lodge? He's never explicitly referenced in that scenario (it just mentions "a glabrezu," while in other scenarios he's always mentioned by name), and while it's a fun theory, I'd like to be sore of that before speculating further. He does feature in Assault on Absalom, though.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

Season 0: Black Waters is amazing if your GM can play up the atmosphere. King Xeros of Old Azlant isn't that amazing overall, but it's great out of sheer weirdness. Our Lady of Silver is probably my favourite scenario ever. So much happens in such a small scenario. I had to stop my players from roleplaying because I had a scenario to finish.

Season 1:No Plunder, No Pay gets high marks for me. It isn't a must-play, but it's really fun if you play along.

Season 2: Below the Silver Tarn is a fantastic horror scenario. It manages to get the mood just right. Forbidden Furnace of Forgotten Koor is also fantastic in theme. Someone's been watching Aladdin a lot before writing that scenario.

Season 3: Temple of Empyreal Enlightenment. I have no words to describe it. It's just a masterpiece. Haunting of Hinojai and Ghenett Manor Gauntlet are great, and the opening act of The Golden Serpent is just fantastic.

Season 4: In Wrath's Shadow is amazingly twisted, in a good way. Golemworks Incident has the best villain ever. Period.

Season 5: The Traitor's Lodge is pure nightmare fuel for people with a vivid imagination.

Season 6: I hate to say it, but Overflow Archives was pretty great. It's so incredibly weird.

Season 7: School of Spirits is an amazing followup of Black Waters. Blakros Connection has some issues, I must admit, but it does storytelling so, so right. Thralls of the Shattered God is an example of a very well-designed dungeon. The author knew what players are capable of, and isn't afraid to pull punches. Sun Orchid Scheme is a great showcase of the heist mechanic, and is done really well.

Season 8: Portent's Peril isn't amazing by all means, but I've never seen a scenario that just clicks together so smoothly. It isn't difficult to run, doesn't have weird rules, but it just simply works.

Season 9: Cost of Enlightenment can be hit or miss, but if you're into it, you're going to dig it.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

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Thanks so much to everyone, especially those who came from abroad. It was great to finally meet one of the "crazy Minnesotans."

I posted this in the GM thread, and Scott pointed me here because he didn't know the answer to it. It's about the betting, and the outcome thereof.

If the players pay 50 gold (250 in high tier), they get rewards for it. I assume the rewards are only usable for this scenario only, but since they spend quite a bit of money on it (50 or 250 is quite a bit in that tier, IMHO), do they get to keep it? It breaks the usual rule of "what you find in the scenario evaporates at the end," but since they more or less "bought" it (with discount), it seems reasonable. On the other hand, they lose out on money if they don't bet, so the reward sort of pays for itself.
I'm personally inclined to go with the idea that if you don't use it, you lose it. but I'm just posting this to be sure, as I might get asked this question at my table and I'd like an official ruling to fall back on.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

I'd like to see a big scenario with the Deckland family. They've been teased a few times, and they're directly involved in the plot only in one scenario (1-55). Even though they might just be an in-joke among writers, I'd like to see that recurring theme being paid off somehow.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

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This happened last week: A guy is playing a Hoaxer Bard, which is specialised in offering useless/harmful objects to enemies as a form of action denial. One of his favourite items to give is the Hoodwink Cowl, an item that leaves the wearer blinded and deafened. The idea is that donning and doffing the item (both move actions) provokes, so allies usually get free hits in.

Well, combat isn't going so well versus a souped up Gargoyle. Hoaxer gives him the Cowl, is blinded. GM has had multiple experiences with this Bard and has enough. Instead of removing the cowl, she decides to grapple the Bard. Gargoyle grapples, and I say, "huh, that's pretty smart. Now that he's deaf, he's immune to the Bard's hoaxes." Bard player's face falls, and we all appreciate how messed up this situation is.

Someone else decides to grapple the Gargoyle, so he has to decide whether to maintain his grapple, or release the Bard and counter-grapple the other person. Instead, next turn he maintains the grapple and decides to fly off (GM checked, the carrying capacity should work. On the other hand, I'm not sure if he can fly off while being grappled, but we went with it, because rule of cool). All three of these are pretty heavily injured by now, by the way. The other guy decides to pin the Gargoyle in mid-air, and they all fall 40 feet towards the ground. Gargoyle spluts to his death, other two barely survive. We all start laughing about how cool this whole mess was and continue the story. Even though the rest of the adventure wasn't great, that was definitely a highlight I'll remember for a long time.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

Scott Sharplin wrote:
Kwinten Koëter wrote:
How does the betting work?
Kwinten Koëter wrote:
...are the rewards supposed to be used in this scenario only, or are they permanent, and can be used in later adventures?
All the items which the PCs can obtain through betting appear on the chronicle sheet, so they can be reused.

That wasn't really what I meant. What I meant to say was: people who bet lose 50 or 250 gold. Are the rewards they get supposed to be permanent (meaning they're considered "bought" and can be reported as such on an inventory tracking sheet), or do people need to re-buy them after the scenario, meaning it's essentially 50/250 gp down the drain (they lose money either way if no one participates, so they sort of get compensated, but still)?

Ah, one more question: does the Wild Hunt know that they're guarding their own bag? I'm sure the PCs will figure it out somehow, but how should they react to it? Weary understanding about the situation, and explain how to retrieve it? Surprise and joy to find it, but frustration when they can't retrieve their cooperation? I'm inclined to go with the former, it seems like a fun thing to do, but any suggestions are welcome.

Also, follow-up question: the Wild Hunt "ran afoul" of the Lantern King, and he gave them contradicting memories of the event. I haven't really given it some thought yet because I need to prep other stuff, but any idea what those memories could be? Since the Lantern King is the Eldest of mischief and transformation, maybe something like they (accidentally) spoiled a joke or told the victim it was the Lantern King, they pranked the Lantern King back and he took it badly, or they did something transformation-related I can't really think of right now.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

I'm not sure which feat or ability you have in mind, but I can think of several things:
Low-level: Burning Hands is still popular, and in earlier seasons, Color Spray.
Mid-level: Fireball is a classic, Black Tentacles, Lightning Bolt, Wall of Fire.
High level: Flame Strike, Cone of Cold.

These are all the classics I can think of I've faced over the past few years. I don't think they show up all that often (25%-33% of the time), but when they do, it hurts. I'd say if you have room in your build to prevent/lessen these kinds of effects, go for it. Especially at higher level these things can get out of hand fast. Oracles with Flame Strike are pretty popular among enemies. Getting 4 of those (the spell, not the enemy) in a single encounter hurts.

EDIT: Also, breath attacks occur at all Challenge Ratings, and traps tend to deal area damage as well.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

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I second the Onyx Alliance.
An adventure where Nigel really redeems himself. I like the guy, and he's been reduced to a running gag by now. Let him give vital plot information, actually help out, or give him a dramatic arc that really redeems him in the Society's eyes.
As a real blast from the past, I'd like to see Caradoc Alazario (No Plunder, No Pay) make a glorious return. I always envisioned him as a mad Jack Sparrow-type character and I had fun RPing him. Also, as an extension, Jirandiel Waverider. There's still a boon on that sheet, and her finally getting her revenge would be fun.
Janira, from Confirmation fame, should make a return somehow.

Also, I made this thread a while ago, a peek in there might help.

This is a module. It might take a while before he's available to play again. Might be three to four, maybe five months before we're finished. I'd say keep the race boons for IRL play, so you get to enjoy him a bit more regularly.

I'll join in with a melee-ish Druid, without animal companion. I wanted to build around what the party needed, but since that's slow going, I'll just try out one of my builds.
He'll also be called Malachai, just because I like the name and I don't feel like making another alias, but don't get that one confused with my Summoner. :P

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

I'm running this in two weeks, I have two questions:

- How does the betting work? Falbin bets that the Briar Henge druids are behind it, Jamila thinks it's a planar rift (which is the truth). There are three clues to either side, and Jamila will win if it's a tie. Later on, the scenario says Jamila might miss her potion of Haste during a combat. How does that work, especially since it's likely Jamila will be right? I assume that will happen either through people failing her checks, or actively not telling her if the PCs know the results.
Also, are the rewards supposed to be used in this scenario only, or are they permanent, and can be used in later adventures? 250 gp is quite a lot in high tier, it's a shame if they lost that potion. Then again, it's a steal against market value, but still.

- The weather effects on page 14. Is that supposed to happen during all combats in the First World? That could be pretty severe, especially since only the PCs suffer from it. I hope it's taken into account during CR calculation.

Also, on page 18/19, the checks to influence the Wild Hunt seem disconnected from their results. At least, at first glance. It seems weird to me that a party that wants to smooth-talk with Diplomacy are still forced to fight them, albeit with an advantage. Maybe it'll go differently once I actually play it, but it seems to me people will be confused by the difference between their intentions and the results.

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I agree with what's said above, Alchemists don't make for good buffers. They have great spells, but they're limited to you for a reason: they don't have the spells per day to keep everyone topped off. If you want to buff others, go for Cleric or Bard, who can target multiple people at once, or have class-specific buff abilities.

Also, Scott Wilhelm: please don't do that in PFS. Yeah, it's fun to incapacitate your enemies, but if you rely on the same tactic, you remove all challenge from the combats, as well as frustrate your GM.

Do remember that as a module, we're expected to make long days. Not that many rage rounds yet at level 2. Spell Warriors are cool, though.

For the others, my build I mentioned above is a pretty basic Summoner build. Summoner himself isn't that amazing in combat, but has an Inevitable Eidolon doing the heavy lifting for him.

I'm also trying out a Druid with the Desert domain. Will be fairly melee-centric, but doesn't have stellar AC.

And if necessary, I can always stat up a Cleric. They're my go-to class when I'm not sure what to build. I can go support, melee, whatever.

I have already played (and GMed) this several times, so I'm trying to not be too metagamey and build something that'll be good for this adventure.

Dot. I also have not an idea what to build (I'll have to bring a fresh level 1). I could re-build Malachai and Justin again (my Summoner and his warden), as I've deleted them, but they're easy to rebuild. As a fresh level 1, I'm afraid I'll have to lean on others for resources, if you don't mind.

My favourite remains the Oracle. Some races (Halfling, Gnome, Tengu) get to add +1/2 to their curse's level. I've combined it with the Wrecker curse to get access to the level 15 ability at level 10. Any creature that strikes me with a manufactured weapon has the chance to make it go up in dust. Is it practical? Probably not. Is it fun? Definitely. By then you're probably fighting epic demons and such, but if you find a lone humanoid, chances are they have only one good weapon on them.

Dwarf Bards can get medium armour proficiency, which is nice. Race/class combo isn't ideal, and there are Bards archetypes that get medium armour, but if those aren't available, that could be fun.

Both of these don't really redefine their class, but they do open up new options.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

Someone GMed Gallows of Madness for my group, consisting of three Halfling Skalds (all with stacking rage songs), a Half-Orc Slayer, a Summoner (Human?) with demon eidolon, and a Ratfolk Investigator (the manager). We were called the "Beat-alls" and we made a mess of the module. It was great.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

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A friend has a cool story about nearly TPK-ing in Shades of Ice 1 with a party full of CHA 5 Dwarves. I can't do it justice, I should poke him to add his story.

Anyway, I just GMed a scenario where you're forced to drink poison to eject you from the Ethereal Plane to the Matereal Plane (don't think it's a spoiler, it's literally in the mission briefing). It's basically a plot item to keep things rolling. As I finished the mission briefing, a guy playing a Gnome piped up: "Excuse me, you said we had to drink poison?" "Yes?" "I'm a Druid, I have poison immunity." "... Well, here's a scroll of Plane Shift, then."

Such a silly moment. Typically something that should've been spotted in editing, but wasn't. :P

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

As the GM for this character (SPOILERS for Abducted in Aether!):

Apparatus of the Mantis:
Apparatus of the Mantis: You have recovered a unique apparatus of the crab in the shape of a giant
mantis shrimp. You can purchase this unique apparatus of the mantis for 60,000 gp rather than its
normal cost. Instead of claws, it has two slam attacks that gain a +2 circumstance bonus on attack rolls
underwater but otherwise behave as an apparatus of the crab’s pincer attacks. You can enchant this pair
of slam attacks as it they were a single masterwork weapon, and you can enchant the apparatus’s body
as though it were a suit of masterwork full plate; this does not increase the device’s hardness. For the
purpose of using Fame to qualify for enhancements, treat both the slams and body as though their base
cost were each 10,000 gp.

Apparatus of the Crab.

Large animated object.

I'd personally rule it as it retaining its original stats, as it seems strange if it suddenly loses three-quarters of its HP and the like. But since you're driving it, I would say something happens to its attack modifier, but I have no idea what, exactly. Your BAB, its Strength/size modifier? Personally, I'd avoid looking at the Animated Object listing entirely, because that's a generic animated object this thing obviously deviates from. But I have no knowledge about this subject, so I'm not a reliable source (my interpretation of its HP and hardness doesn't seem to match OP's), so correct me if I'm wrong.

As a total aside, is the only real way of moving and attacking through rolling the d10, even outside of combat? That seems... unpractical.

Anyway, it's maybe a cheesy build, but since it's a fifth-level spell, I'll happily encourage these shenanigans. It's either going to take a boatload of scrolls, or a boatload of levels before this becomes viable, in addition to the 60.000 GP it already takes to buy this. I want to support these kinds of nonsense.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

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Yes, it costs time, money, and effort to GM. But there are also non-tangible rewards for it. I like to GM because I like storytelling and entertaining people. I get to spend a few hours with friends and people I like. Online play (whether PbP or through videochat) is a very different beast, I find. There's less direct interaction, and I miss the physicality of it. Maybe that's part of why you're burnt out about it, I don't know. And yeah, I always thank my table for joining me, and they usually thank me in return. Not everyone might, but I usually feel it's implied, anyway.

If you're feeling burnt out, just stop for a while. You shouldn't force yourself, and if you stop GMing, maybe your players will start to poke you again for more games. Then you know you're appreciated, because without you, they can't play.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

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I remember GMing a module where two NPCs were getting into a fistfight, and their description was to honestly try to kill each other. One knocks the other into negative HP, then wants to coup de grace him with a rapier. The players intervened and disarmed him. I go over their statblocks one more time to see if he can do anything, and I find... a backup dagger. He whips it out, my players freak out and knock him unconscious as well. I've never seen players more frightened as that exact moment. They're still mad at me for having a backup dagger, and one of them still likes to tell that story when we're talking about backup weapons.

But yeah, certain manoevers become very dangerous/lethal when used against the baddies. It's a double-edged sword, of course, but I've seen fights that were supposed to be epic duels reduced to a silly slapfight, simply because the enemy was knocked prone while surrounded by bloodthirsty PCs.

In the same vein, I GMed an adventure last week where enemies did an AoE effect when they died (and the players knew). One of them was knocked prone and on 3 HP left, with 3 PCs around him. I said, "the <redacted> suddenly gets a wicked grin on his face, and attempts to stand up. Do you want to take an attack of opportunity?" One of them tried a Wisdom check, failed, and did the attack. That was a fun moment.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

-1: Trident. Never used beyond level 3, but hey.
-2: Lance
-3: Rapier
-5: Earth Breaker, before Sap Master was errata'd. I just wanted to throw a crapload of d6.
-6: Wildshapes (Treecaller)
-7: Falchion
-8: Heavy flail
-19: Longsword and shield
-11: Greatsword
-12: Lucerne hammer
-13: Longbow
-14: Elven branched spear
-15: Longbow
-16: Nothing. Had a dagger for backup, but never made a melee attack in his life.
-17: Scrolls. Yep, I made a Scrollmaster Wizard. Have yet to do anything with it, though.
-18: Greatsword (specifically, a Headsman's Blade)
-19: Morningstar plus Channel Smite (greatsword would've been better, but I wanted a shield in my other hand)
-20: Nothing.
-21: Nothing.
-22: Greatclub (Belkzen War Drummer Skald)

Succor is a good one. I personally have an Oracle of Battle geared towards buffing. Weirdly enough he doesn't do damage on his own, but he greases the wheels for other people. I'll go down my list of choices:
Battlefield Clarity isn't a must-have immediately, but nice to pick up eventually. Blindness/Deafness is a thing, and shaking off an effect like paralyzed or stunned is immensely helpful.
Combat Healer is great. Fantastic for burst-healing when needed, or do a healing spell and a different spell if other things are necessary.
Resiliency is nice at higher levels. Being able to stay conscious can be helpful (or not, when there are still more enemies around you), so you can heal yourself.
Surprising Charge is fantastic if you need to get to other people. My character is only level 4 in PFS, but he's already saved two people with that. Move outside of your turn so you get closer to whoever is in need of aid, or simply move away from an advancing enemy.
War Sight is simply good. Rolling twice for initiative means you increase your chances of acting earlier in combat and using buffs when necessary.
And the extra spells. Enlarge Person is always good, regardless of level. If you don't have something to do, use it on your frontliner. Fog Cloud isn't something I'd choose on my own, but getting it for free is pretty nice. Good for blocking line of sight. Wall of Fire is always a nice emergency button.

It's a bit of a shame most of these are only once a day, but Abundant Revelations is a good feat and I don't really know what other feats to pick anyway.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

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One more thing popped into my head while I was prepping a scenario for next week: more useful boons. Or hell, maybe just plain weird boons. Not necessarily more powerful, but things that make you glad you've played a scenario and got an optional objective. Earlier seasons barely had any meaningful boons (Delirium's Tangle is an exception), and up to season 3 there are only a few very insignificant boons (+2 on Diplomacy versus a very specific subset of people). There's a joke that's made every so often that someone gets a +2 versus Ulfen if it's Tuesday, has a funny hat on, standing on one leg, and we're in Rahadoum. And sometimes it really does feel like that. So many minor insignificant boons devalue boons in general. Rather than saying, "yay, I got a meaningful upgrade," it becomes a chore. One more thing to add to your list of conditional modifiers.

The last few seasons boons have really increased in power, but I don't necessarily want power creep. Just something that you can show off to other people, or makes you glad you've played that scenario. Adventure paths and modules often have better boons, as well as end-tier content (the seeker arcs, Unleashing the Untouchable, and so on), but I'd like to see that pushed more to other scenarios. The scenario I'm prepping right now has a very cool unpractical but unique magic item that's still way overpriced for what it does. If we get such items, I'd like to see them decreased in price so it's affordable, and people can actually build around.

I really like the boons that open up options for other characters, by the way. So many times you get a chronicle sheet and say, "wow, this would've been perfect for a different character. I wish I'd brought him instead." And I'm not saying there aren't useful boons at all, there certainly are a few cool boons. I just wish they'd spread the love more, so to say. But on the other hand, I understand that the incidental powerful boon is way more fun to receive than a constant stream of mediocre boons, so I understand the way it is right now.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

I just read about various object hardnesses in D&D 5, and apparently paper has 1 HP and 1 hardness. A character with dumped Strength can fail in trying to tear up a sheet of paper.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

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There are a few scenarios where displaying your Wayfinder skips a few steps in the identification process, but I've also seen a few scenarios where people react negatively to it. But yeah, if Wayfinders are that important to a Pathfinder's identity, I'd like to see more done with it than just a badge of office.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

Ohh, I just came up with something. A small sidebar for a reverse four-player mode. Not necessarily a "hard mode," but if you know that the players will trounce an encounter, options to make it more interesting.
Obviously, this needs to be done with the players' agreement, not simply giving GMs free rein about how difficult the scenario should be. I just returned from a scenario with pretty underwhelming combats, and most of us were all a bit disappointed. One or two more mooks would've changed the action economy drastically, or upping some save DCs, for example. I've played season 0 and 1 scenarios where people could've played up and be only slightly more challenged (but then again, season 0/1 woes).

Again, I want to stress this is optional, not something GMs should apply without the players knowing. PFS is intended as an accessible game, but everyone knows people like min-maxing, and thereby removing all of the challenge from the scenario. A way of addressing that would be nice, I think. Either make it work retroactively, so older scenarios without it are immediately affected (the only downside is that it's hard to curate/moderate, as some encounters/scenarios are more difficult than others), or add it as a sidebar to every encounter going forward. Things like adding an extra mook or two, higher spell DCs, or a static increase in damage. Advanced templates are also possible, but more swingy, I feel.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

Most melee-focused builds go for crit fishing, so that's an obvious thing to do. Grab the weapon that has the best crit range to damage dice ratio and go to town. That's usually a fauchard or a falcata. And for Dex-classes the options are usually pretty limited, so a rapier is the obvious choice. Of all the hate min-maxing gets, weapon choice is one I easily get. It's one of the easiest and cheapest ways to up your damage potential. Why settle for mediocrity, unless you're intentionally trying to hold back?

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

I once GMed an adventure where you have to travel on a boat, and one player had his own boat. He was pretty annoyed that they had to follow the story of stealing another boat, and I had to convince him it was a good idea to not use his own boat there.

No Plunder, no Pay:
There is a scripted bit where the boat takes a lot of damage, and has a chance of being destroyed. I didn't want to take the risk of possibly destroying the vanity he spent a lot of PP/GP on.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

Thurston Hillman wrote:
Related Note: It's really hard to present all the scenario background information in a way that PCs can access and yet still provide all the information that a GM needs to know. I admit, I get really upset when I read two full paragraphs of beautiful background on an NPC and then see "The NPC immediately attacks and fight to the death." as the follow-up.

Yesterday I GMed The Golemworks Incident, and there's a sidebar with <redacted>'s history. A friend wrote diary entries and put them in the scenario, rather than give them the abridged version. They got a peek into the mind of the villain, and they really liked that. I think the scenario would've been even better if it had included actual handouts, rather than summarised them. I guess I'll post them in the GM forums (don't have an account on GM Prep). But yeah, back on track: more believable villains. Golemworks is such a stand-out because so far, it's the only one where the villain is introduced early and believably, rather than pop up in the end out of nowhere. To Seal the Shadow had some of it, but that didn't have the finesse Golemworks had.

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Clear central concept is a good start, but I'd like to add versatility. Be good at different things, both in and out of combat. Inquisitors are good skillmonkeys while also being a dangerous force in combat. Fighters and Barbarians hit really hard in combat, but that's pretty much all they do. A main thing and a niche are great, but over-reliance on those things means you're losing ground on other things. It's a team-based game, where you're supposed to have each other's backs, but sometimes, the Rogue gets captured or the Barbarian is passed out somewhere and you need to respectively sneak/talk your way into somewhere or apply brute force in combat. A Slayer can do both, for instance.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

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Okay, beforehand: I have strong emotions and thoughts about narrative. What I say might be completely false, and if that's the case, please tell me so.

I remembered something I think could be improved, and it's mentioned earlier in the thread (by Lau): storytelling.
First of all, the metaplot seems like it's trying to serve two masters. On the one hand it wants to connect scenarios together, which is fine for hardcore players, but on the other hand, some scenarios lean so much on each other that people not in the know need a crash course into Pathfinder (or the Society's) history to understand what's going on. My main complaint is how all of season 7 seems to be set up for the All for Immortality arc, rather than AfI neatly fitting into the metaplot. When I finished playing it, a lot of random story threads suddenly fell into place. It's fun to see everything come together, but "locking" it away in such a special trilogy feels like a waste, because not everyone will experience it. I recently GMed a scenario that had multiple references to it, and all I could say was, "this is a reference to something you'll most likely not play in a very long while, and I can't explain it or I'll spoil it." I have a suggestion: put the twist/reveal/conclusion to a scenario in multiple parts, preferably different tiers, though not actually labeled as a Part X of Y. Just standalone adventures. I love the book Nightfall by Isaac Asimov, because it does something I've never seen anywhere else: it gives characters incomplete information. Three individual groups piece together part of the puzzle to reveal the big twist. I'd like something similar to happen in PFS. Now it's three-quarters of a season muddling about with the plot, and one or two scenarios actually dealing with the conclusion (see Unleashing the Untouchable, for example). I'd like to see see several tiers working together, possibly revealing a vital part (but not the whole part) of the plot and striking their own blow, rather than locking the plot in one big climax (similar to how the Siege of the Diamond City special had tiers performing different tasks). That's difficult, I can imagine, and maybe I'm just talking out of my ass here, but I'd like to at least see it tried.

As a second point, I dislike direct followups because they presume knowledge you might not have. Seeing returning faces is fun, but you can't guarantee everyone will have the same reaction or knowledge. There are a few spiritual sequels with fun callbacks, that don't rely on heavy interconnection to tell their story (the "Among the" and "of the Fiend" series, and the Gloomspires, for example), where a single location or NPC is the thing that connects them, but I feel like more and more scenarios start to lean on the metaplot too much. The aforementioned All for Immortality series gives context to a whole season, and the whole Concordance of the Elements plot is only in a very few scenarios, one of which is a hard to play special scenario (or a multitable special, in general). Playing them out of order (because you're signed up for other tables, or because the GM doesn't know they're connected and runs others first) can really impact your enjoyment. And on the other hand, like Lau said, I've had great fun with season 0 and 1 scenarios, because they don't feel as constrained, narratively speaking. I really disliked a scenario I otherwise should have liked, Call of the Copper Gate. It had a nice callback, but instead annoyed me to no end that it was blatantly teasing the possible sequels, all the while giving us no satisfying conclusion about what those orbs actually are. The metaplot shouldn't determine the direction or form the adventures should take. There are enough scenarios in a season that don't deal with it, but still, I'd rather put individual enjoyment before serving the greater good.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

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Bruno Breakbone wrote:
Bruno, a handsome and beautiful Tetori, suggest there be more things to grapple—preferably solo bosses in small rooms. Thank you.

This, so much this. I've had so many adventures where the fight was already over within one turn because of action economy. One guy three levels higher can throw some serious magic around, but he's still only one guy. One simple trip/disarm/grapple/whatever can put him out of commission and end up as an anticlimactic fight.

It's hard to implement with people possibly playing down or up, but I'd rather have one main guy at CR 6 and two CR 5 flunkies than one CR 8 guy. Hell, maybe even deviate from the expected CR system. Recent seasons have already stepped it up from earlier seasons, where 3 Goblins was a CR 1 encounter, but it always ended up as a cakewalk for my group. Lowering CR of each individual monster to increase the amount of monsters is terrible IMHO, because their power level decreases drastically. The numbers just don't add up. I run everything as written in PFS, but in my home game I've started to throw enemies at my party more by feel than by logic (I threw multiple CR 7 enemies against a party of level 6, and they did absolutely fine. Although I must admit my party was above the expected power curve). Again, this is hard to do in an environment where you can't control the level at which your players will encounter the enemies, but the CR system shouldn't be the be-all and end-all for encounter design.

I had more ideas, but they're gone for now.

I'm a big fan of this one. I detest the official Pathfinder sheet with a fiery passion, and this one has all the important bits next to each other. The "feats and features" box is a bit unwieldy, but I just paste a text box right over it. It calculates things from your base stats and you only really have to calculate your to-hit and damage modifiers (it calculates your base melee and ranged attacks, so Weapon Focus and TWF aren't calculated). But the most important part for me is how all the different bonuses to saves and AC are spelled out, rather than the "misc" on the official sheet.

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