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Rakshaka's page

RPG Superstar 2013 Star Voter. 1,075 posts. 2 reviews. 1 list. No wishlists.


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Alright, here's some paintings that I've thrown in some of the vampires' loot piles to help foreshadow certain historical allies of the Whispering Tyrant, some of which are in the next module:

"This painting features a regal yet feral-looking vampire clad in full-plate and wielding a morning=star and a spiked shield seemingly made of human skulls. He stands triumphant atop some ancient battlement overlooking a lake framed by mountains. The vampire has his foot on the neck of another vampire, a clear depiction of Luvick Sievrage"

-Knowledge History (DC 25) or Knowledge Relgion (DC 32) identifies the triumphant vampire as a depiction of the vampire general Malyas, a staunch ally of the Whispering Tyrant. Worth 1,500 gp

Fall of Arazni:
"This massive, 10' wide painting depcits a great battle, a legion of mail-clad warriors pitted against a sea of undead horrors. Above this mass hovers two figures, a horror-stricken golden=armored angelic woman who is in the death-throes from an attack from the second figure, a skeletal, crowned human radiating power. His iron-mailed fist is driven through the heart of the angelic woman, her fallen sword clearly descending towards a lone warrior in the sea of battle that shines with holy light"

-Knowledge: History (DC 20) or Knowledge: Religion (DC 25) identifies the two forms above the battle as Arazni and her slayer, Tar Baphon. Her sword is falling towards a depiction of Iomedae. Worth 2,000 gp

Dragon Themed Paintings (3):

A Series of 3 paitnings done by one artist depicting Tar Baphon and dragons. The frames are all made of dragon's bones stitched together with silver thread.
-Painting 1: "This painting depicts a crowned, skeletal figure subjugating a trio of immense black dragons. Despite their massive sizes, the three bow in deference to the figure, whose crown seems to intentionally resemble one of the dragon's heads."

-Knowledge: History (DC 30) or Knowledge: Arcana (DC 35) reveals that the subject matter is a depiction of Tar Baphon on the Island of Terror, a place where he among other things subjugated a trio of black dragons, eventually binding one of them into what would be his crown.

-Painting 2: "This painting is a stylistic, ethereal depiction of the same skeletal figure swirling amidst a flowing vortex of shadows. A great portion of the swirling shadow resembles a great draconic form with red-eyes, a creature which by the depiction seems to have the skeletal figure at an impasse.

-Knowledge: History (DC 25) or Knowledge: Arcana (DC 33) identifies the swirling draconic creature as a depiction of Scrivanier VI, a legendary ancient Umbral dragon known to lair in the region of Virlych, an area that holds the Whispering Way's greatest places of power. The painting represents the mastery that the Whispering Tyrant was unable to demonstrate over his shadowy foe.

-Painting 3: "This painting shows the same humanoid, crowned skeletal figure riding an immense, skeletal dragon. The creature, whose bones are occasionally flecked with dull red scales, radiates some sort of fell-light from within its chest cavity, its eyes, and its mouth. It and the skeletal humanoid soar above a distant throng of marching masses."

-Knowledge: History (DC 25), Knowledge: Religion (DC 28) identifies the skeletal red dragon as one of the Whispering Tyrant's more powerful servants and mount, the Ravener Marrowgarth.

Each painting is worth 750 gp on its own, or 3,000 gp as a set.

Vampire Mythology Painting:
"This painting shows a rendition of the goddess Urgathoa standing above a crouched woman, blood from a cut on the pallid princesses wrist running into the woman's mouth. Beneath the woman, five children caper, each with strangely different features. One is handsome with fine features adorned with a fanged smile, the second is feral looking cursed with bulbous ears and stretched skin. The third possesses ivory-like skin and long fingernails while the fourth appears to be wrapped in scroll-papers. The fifth is the strangest of all, possessing no lower torso like her progenitor."

Knowledge: Religion (DC 25) Reveals that this is a somewhat heretical depiction of the genesis of vampires and their different breeds. The five breeds depicted are Moroi, Nosferatu, Vetala, Jiang-Shi, and Manananggal. The belief is somwwhat controversial among Moroi due to their elitist view of themselves and preferred disassociation with the other breeds.

-The Painting is worth 1,250 gp

St. Vesbias Painting:
"This paintings shows a brave young knight defiantly holding back a legion of undead while wielding a massive greatsword of orc-make. Despite the overwhelming odds assailing him, he looks unafraid as a number of wounded soldiers retreat behind him."

-Knowledge: History (DC 23) This painting is a depiction of St. Vesbias, a simple foot soldier during the Shining Crusade who took up the gigantic sword of an undead orc general and sacrificed his life so that his unit might escape. It is said that his remains were buried in a church dedicated to Pharasma, though few of the church know where this is.

-The painting is worth 700 gp due to deterioration of the paint in spots toward the top.

Besides what's in Restoration Park, some of this should help detail some of the history that is at play in the final module. Enjoy!

Yeah, between that whole article on Wishcraft and Wish-warps from the Legacy of Fire AP as well as constantly having something hostile to you granting you powers that it is always trying to pervert, I think an Efreeti is a terrible choice. I can think of few DMs who would allow someone 3 wishes a day for free.

Rakshaka wrote:

This might seem kind of dumb to others, but here goes. I think you can grapple a creature in gaseous form. Here's the spell text:

** spoiler omitted **

No where does it say that the creature is immune to grapple. In fact, it would be weird for a 3rd level spell to accomplish what a 4th level spell does (Freedom of Movement) plus other benefits.

I'm not saying it makes sense, (and I'm gonna feel dumb if I am wrong), but I think you can grapple gaseous creatures... Unless the simple inclusion of the word 'insubstantial' (which isn't defined anywhere else in the CRB.. its not incorporeal) means otherwise.

Never mind, I'm being foolish. Found a bunch of threads stating that you can't grapple a gaseous creature. Not sure I totally agree with this since I can think of fringe instances where that wouldn't make sense.

Big fan of Shining Children. There's a reason those crazy Thassilonian Runelords bound them, and it wasn't just for their use as a light sources (though some did. For a mere 16HD, you're getting some the best SLAs in the game.

This might seem kind of dumb to others, but here goes. I think you can grapple a creature in gaseous form. Here's the spell text:

Gaseous Form:
The subject and all its gear become insubstantial, misty, and translucent. Its material armor (including natural armor) becomes worthless, though its size, Dexterity, deflection bonuses, and armor bonuses from force effects still apply. The subject gains DR 10/magic and becomes immune to poison, sneak attacks, and critical hits. It can't attack or cast spells with verbal, somatic, material, or focus components while in gaseous form. This does not rule out the use of certain spells that the subject may have prepared using the feats Silent Spell, Still Spell, and Eschew Materials. The subject also loses supernatural abilities while in gaseous form. If it has a touch spell ready to use, that spell is discharged harmlessly when the gaseous form spell takes effect.

A gaseous creature can't run, but it can fly at a speed of 10 feet and automatically succeeds on all Fly skill checks. It can pass through small holes or narrow openings, even mere cracks, with all it was wearing or holding in its hands, as long as the spell persists. The creature is subject to the effects of wind, and it can't enter water or other liquid. It also can't manipulate objects or activate items, even those carried along with its gaseous form. Continuously active items remain active, though in some cases their effects may be moot.

No where does it say that the creature is immune to grapple. In fact, it would be weird for a 3rd level spell to accomplish what a 4th level spell does (Freedom of Movement) plus other benefits.

I'm not saying it makes sense, (and I'm gonna feel dumb if I am wrong), but I think you can grapple gaseous creatures... Unless the simple inclusion of the word 'insubstantial' (which isn't defined anywhere else in the CRB.. its not incorporeal) means otherwise.

I really like the idea of his memories of events in the far past coming to the forefront under the Vetala's influence. Keep Calm and Carrion has really good suggestion for possible things to foreshadow. So, as far as good memories to implant, we have:
1)WT's Generals, all of whom deserve foreshadowing (I did something similar to this, using paintings found in a lair of Urgathoan, Whispering Way-allied vampires)
2)The history of Renchurch and its subsequent fall. (St. Vesbius)
3)The final moments of Oothi, her demise and survival at the hands of heroes. Perhaps he remembers himself as one of those.
4) The construction of the Witchgates, or perhaps the last memories of an unfortunate teleporter who ran afoul one of the guardians at that place. That might be a cool way to foreshadow the Banshee.

I like the 'memory-trigger' mechanic suggested as well, having things foreshadowed or half-remembered based on certain triggers. That way, it could almost be like an ancestor or even the PC themselves gaining foresight of what's to come. This should help create a decent impact with all of the things that happen and are fought in the last module.

As far as not-so-good memories, the Vetala would probably use these to facilitate the Barbarian as a proxy against any foes the Vetala might have. While this might be too evil, the target that immediately comes to my mind would be the Inquisitor for the church of Pharasma (name escapes me at the moment.) Clearly a hardliner against undead, the barbarian could be 'tricked' into seeing her as an enemy.
Another idea would the to habe the Vetala obsessed with gaining the memories of someone important, like Prince Galdana, Countess Caliphvaso, or Prince Orduard. With the countess, you already have involvement in the overall plotline (she owns the Abbey where the witches are), even if a bit of a red herring. In this way, the Vetala could offer a deal: get her the countess so she can figure out where the witches are. You'd have to omit the information at Radvir's that links the two while still steering them towards the abbey. This could work though...

On my painting: My notes aren't at work, so when I get home, I'll post up some of "Historical works of art' found in the vampire lairs that is helping me foreshadow the baddies in the next module.

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Thanks for replies all. This came about because I was designing a vampire lair. I wanted to use mirrors to have their gazes be reflect able, then realized that a lot of vampires would be cowering in their own lair. The consensus seems to be the inclusion of weakness enabling devices is based upon the level when the vampires are encountered.
On a side note, has anyone ever grappled a vampire then jumped into moving water with them? I can't see it coming up much, but that would be a pretty neat way to take one out.

Oh, believe me, between Stoneshape and some of the other Druid spells, I've crafted coffin scenarios that were as vexing as hunting down a Lich's phylactery. It's amazing how many one inch tunnels you can put into a 5' cubic square of stone.
Its not so much the action economy that gets me, more of the "Is this monster behaving like every legend and myth that's been told about" shtick. More often than not, its alway better to mist the vampire from damage than wasting the action on turning them away. I'm wishing I was wrong about that and am looking for examples to solidify my conflicted opinion.. 'Has PF made vamps no different than any other monster? Is the folklore (weaknesses) ignored in favor of the mathematical practicality of damage until death?

Off to bed, so I'll be back to respond in 7-10 hours.

Petty Alchemy wrote:

Well, if the vampire is appropriate encounter level, then the PCs also have super powers and can punch out Dracula.

Normal mortals that deal with vampires have to rely on their weaknesses.

It's difficult to keep up with the mist when it slips through cracks.

Unfortunately, the only stories I have are sunlight, else I like to mix up the vampire weaknesses so knowledge checks are relevant, else everyone knows what to stock up on.

I shouldn't have discluded sunlight as a way to destroy vamps, provided its done in a creative way. If so, please elaborate!

Alleran wrote:
The standard non-magical adventuring kit that all my characters carry (even at 20th level) includes a mirror and a couple of garlic cloves, plus a vial or three of holy water. Various other alchemical and adventuring items (smokesticks, tanglefoot bags, etc.) as well, naturally, but I definitely make sure to include some anti-vampire measures.

At 20th level, is this due to vampires in your campaign, player knowledge of how vampires mechanically work, or just old folklore (which is prevalent in media depictions of vampires)? Also, has anyone (after 20 levels), actually used said items to 'turn' (make them flee) vampires?

Which module? If its the second one, allow me to fuel your paranoia. Our popularity score with no dice or math tricks, ended at 666. No joke. One of the few times I've been freaked out running a role-playing game...
But if you have legitimate fear about any of the modules, voice them and I'll give my 2 coppers.

Gimme 24 hours for a response. I feel partially responsible for your dilemma since I statted out the memory thief in question.

...or do they just get full attacked, misted, and slain in their coffins? I am curious because I'm running a module with vampires (Ashes at Dawn), and so far, I've never seen garlic, holy water, or anything else used in any fight against vampires (after 10+ years of 3.5 and PF) Obviously, why would a PC waste an action on an uncertain result when they can just slash the poor vampire to death and track them to their coffin (which is easy for most PCs, just follow the 20' moving mist at a speed of 30')? Nonetheless, I am a huge fan of old mythology and folklore, and feel that sometimes, the vampire fight plays out like a fight against any other monster rather than embracing the stories about them. Anyone have anything or any stories where these weaknesses actually came into play? (Besides Sunlight.)

Skull and Shackles seems to be the most popular for evil parties. Of course there's 'Way of the Wicked' as well.
Beyond these obvious choices, there are some APs that work better than others. Kingmaker and Council of Thieves lend themselves well to this play-style; Kingmaker is open enough that a DM could rewrite it with minor effort while Council is easily portable as long as you change a few motivations. I believe both of these APs have groups that are running evil parties in their respective sub-forums.

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Might as well dot the whole thread, so full of awesomeness is it; great player input, good DM creations and outstanding writer feedback have turned this from the module I was most dreaded running in the AP into one of my favorites. Not to do a 'let's pat each other on the back', but I love the amount of ideas that have sprang up here.

Okay, what if Player B is merrily playing away when the entire floor of the room vanishes, dumping him and said piano into a 1000' pit? Player B has featherfall prepared. Does he grip the piano as it plummets for a round (or beyond)? Is he prevented from casting Featherfall since the piano would plummet at a much faster rate than him? IS he not allowed to do anything but play the falling piano until it hits?
(I'm gonna say RAW, he has to stay with the piano... which seems ludicrous. Even dominate (which is more explicit control) gives you a save to snap out of a suicidal situation.)

Age of Worms: The champions Belt-
Up to that point, I had mainly bought random Dungeon magazines or inherited copies from others. When this module was recommended for its gladiatorial combat, I couldn't help reading into it and becoming enthralled with the over-arching plot of the AP, resulting in me getting every part of the AP and then running it twice. Since then, we're trying to finish Kingmaker (I play), and Carrion Crown (I DM).

Some ones I've liked:

Yeah, the whole of Misgivings. Best haunted house in an adventure ever. Hands down.

Council of Thieves:
In the Asmodean Knot, there's a Bearded devil imprisoned that is completely insane and has an intelligent glaive. The combat itself was awesome due to the resistances and powers of the devil versus the fifth level party. What made it great was being able to play up the devil's personality as well as the Glaive's, it really made it memorable beyond 'just another Devil in a Devil-AP encounter'.

Tower of the Dancing Lady. Don't know if its for 5th level (I played), but we hit it then. The variety of combatants, the use of environment and traps, and the flavor of the place itself made it one of the more memorable fights in the AP.

Carrion Crown:
Vorstag and Grine's is often cited as one of the best fights in the AP. What makes it so good is again a variety of unique opponents, an awesome environment that directly affects the encounter, and the background elements (mongrelfolk, fumes, closet full of stolen skins). While 3D fights are sometimes tough to do on a 2d map, those elements also made the fight quite memorable.

Legacy of Fire:
Gartok and crew get another nod here, though my PCs were 6th level when they fought him. My fight played out like ThreeEyedSloth's, chaining one fight into the next.

Age of Worms:
Spawn of Kyuss in Blackwall keep. There's enough foreshadowing that its easy to play up the horror factor and the Spawn had such a threat level due to the worms and how quickly they could kill. Plus as a first encounter with them, there's enough unknown about the Spawn that they are terrifying. Nothing's worse than failing the knowledge check to figure out how to stop what's going to kill you in a matter of rounds. For this reason, I feel that the spawn's horror factor has yet to be duplicated in any other CR 5 monster so far.

Edit: I repeated the word Memroable about 5 times, my grammatical sensibilities couldn't take it.

Mythic Wight Lord:

Mythc Wight Lord CR 11/MR 4
LE Medium Undead (mythic)
Init +9; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception+16
___________________________________________________________________________ ___________
AC 29, touch 20, flat 28 (+10 armor, +1 dex, +8 natural)
hp 237 (11d8+197)
Fort +19, Ref +18, Will +19 ;
Defensive Abilitieschannel resistance +4; DR 10/ epic and good or epic and cold iron; Immune undead traits; SR 22
Weaknesses resurrection vulnerability
___________________________________________________________________________ ___________
Speed 30 ft. (40 ft. without armor)
Melee +1 Greatsword +22/+17 (2d6+16 19/20 plus energy drain)
(Power Attack)+1 Greatsword +19/+14 (2d6+25 19/20 plus energy drain)
or slam +18 (1d6+13 plus energy drain)
Special Attacks create spawn, energy drain (1 level, DC 21), mythic power (4/day, surge +1d8)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 11; concentration +17)
Constant- desecrate
At will- deathwatch, dispel magic, see invisibility
3/day - air walk, enervation, haste
1/day - harm, shadow walk
Str 28, Dex 13, Con --, Int 13, Wis 15, Cha 22
Base Attack +8; CMB +18; CMD 28

Feats Combat Reflexes, Improved Initiative (m), Lightning Reflexes, Power Attack, Vital Strike, Weapon Focus (greatsword) (m)

Skills Climb +17, Intimidate +20, Perception +16, Sense Motive +16, Stealth +9,

Languages Common, Varisian
SQ Defensive Juggernaut, Martial Supremacy
Treasure NPC Gear (+1 fullplate, +1 greatsword, other treasure)
Create Spawn (Su] Any humanoid creature that is slain by a mythic wight lord becomes a wight itself in only 1d4 rounds. Although spawn so created are less powerful than mythic wight lords, they are more powerful than wights, and are treated as wights with the advanced simple template. Creatures with 5 or more HD slain by a mythic wight lord rise as a mythic wight instead (Mythic Monsters: Undead). Spawn are under command of the wight lord that created them and remain enslaved until its death, at which point they become free-willed spawn.
Defensive Juggernaut (Ex) A mythic wight lord has been saturated with fell necromantic energies beyond the kin of mere mortals. This energy infuse its armor, providing great defensive fortitude against the most destructive attacks. A mythic wight lord gains medium fortification (50% chance to avoid critical hits) and Spell Resistance equal to its CR+11 (22 for a typical mythic wight lord)
Energy Drain (Su) A mythic wight lord inflicts a negative level each time it hits a foe with a slam attack. Like cairn wights, a mythic wight lord can channel this negative energy through any weapon it wields, inflicting a negative level with each successful hit with the weapon.
Martial Supremacy (Su) A mythic wigh lord gains a profane bonus on all saving throws equal to its strength modifier. Additionally, a mythic wight lord gains bonus hit points equal to its strength times its hit die. (+99 hit points for a typical mythic wight lord).

Resurrection Vulnerability While a mythic wight lord is vulnerable to resurrection magic, it isn't quite as vulnerable as a typical wight. A raise dead or similar spell cast on a wight lord staggers it for 1dg+1 rounds if it fails a Will save, but does not destroy it. Using the spell in this way does not require a material component.

I wanted to create a martial threat on par with the old Swords of Kyuss and Kyuss Knights from Age of Worms since I have a veteran from that campaign. Hopefully this kind of delivers to that level of immediate threat without being too powerful (like Gallowdead would be at this point for my PCs) I used this as an agent of the Whispering Way, touched by the Mythic power that is responsible for the Bloodbrew Elixer.

So, I introduced Mythic during the final fight of Wake of the Watcher and it really made it over-the-top-awesome. Since then I've tried to use mythic monsters sparingly since I figured they're sort of the exception rather than the rule on Golarion, at least as far as what's written so far. I've noticed that certain powers are really awesome and have potential to be problematic. I'm already looking pretty closely at Mythic Haste and Fleet Warrior, but the amount of limitation I've placed on Mythic point recovery has made this somewhat manageable, though if my PCs hold back enough, they can have the few they need to ensure victory in a key fight. While I like this idea, I don't like my named bad guys getting pasted in a few rounds, so what follows are some of my Mythic additions to the game that I have used and will use. My PCs have one mythic tier and will probably cap at two (I've heard tier 3 is where it gets problematic) for reference. I've heavily been monitoring the Wrath of the Righteous threads for fore-warning on perils and pitfalls of having Mythic, especially in a Horror game. I highly recommend Legendary Games Mythic Monsters: Undead, there's a number of insert-able ones from that in that have significant threat presence What's below is meant to be survivable if nothing else. Besides the two beneath I plan to add more as our group progresses such as Radvir, the Witches, Konas, and what comes forth in Shadows at Gallowspire.

Mythic Vampire Spawn:
Mythic Vampire Spawn CR 5/MR 2
Advanced Mythic vampire spawn
LE Medium Undead
Init +3 Senses bloodsight 60 ft, darkvision 60 ft.; Perception+10
___________________________________________________________________________ ___________
AC 23, touch 15, flat 18 (+3 dex, +2 dodge, +8 natural)
hp 50 (4d8+36); fast healing 2
Fort +5, Ref +4, Will
Defensive Abilitieschannel resistance +2; DR 5/ epic and silver; Immune undead traits; Resist cold 10, electricity 10
Weaknesses blood intoxicated, vampire weaknesses
___________________________________________________________________________ ___________
Speed 60 ft.
Melee Slam +8 (1d4+6 plus energy drain)
Special Attacks blood drain,
dominate (DC 16), energy drain (1 levels DC 16), mythic power ( 2/day, surge +1d6)

Str 18, Dex 16, Con --, Int 15, Wis 17, Cha 19
Base Attack +3; CMB +6; CMD 19

Feats Dodge (m), Weapon Focus (Slam)

Skills Acrobatics +7, Disguise +11, Intimidate +11, Perception +10, Sense Motive +10, Stealth +18

Languages Common, Necril, Varisian
SQcelerity, gaseous form,shadowless, spider climb
Bloodsight A mythic vampire spawn can literally see the blood flowing in other creatures, and has blindsight to a range of 60 feet against any creature with blood in its body (including other fresh-fed vampires).
Celeiry A mythic vampire spawn is infused with incredible speed provided it maintains the source of its power. As long as a mythic vampire spawn has a mythic point remaining, it may use Mythic Dodge once per turn as an immediate action without spending a Mythic point, gaining a +10 dodge bonus against one attack. Additionally, it gains a +30 bonus to its land speed.
Intoxicated These mythic vampire spawn have only temporary power due to the addicting drug known as Bloodbrew Elixer. While under the effects of this drug, these advanced vampire spawn gain all the powers resulting from gaining two Mythic Tiers, though this power is fleeting. After 1 hour of use, the effects of the Bloodbrew elixer wears off, reverting them to Advanced vampire spawn with the sickened condition. A Remove Disease spell or effect made against caster level 12 immediately ends the effects of the elixer, reverting the spawn as noted in addition to staggering the spawn for 1d4 rounds.

While not for Liches, there is precedence for this an AP.

Carrion Crown:
The Splatter Man is an Old Human Ghost, with the mental stats adjusted accordingly. I want to say there's another one out there as well.


Spires of Xin Shalast:

Ther dimension of dreams touches on all worlds, and so it would easy to have any number of effects achieve a link between Earth and Golarion. For example, the destruction or re-purposing of the Leng device, a magical backlash within the occluding field after Karzoug's demise, the erosion of reality through continuous use of Wish spells, or any number of other effects. If you want to run a more detailed journey in Leng, Shattered Star #5 has a gazetteer.

I am curious how the fight against the Wardens is gonna go down. The module seems to indicate that facing all at once is a TPK situation, but as your entire campaign has pointed out, the bad-guys have no contingencies for the sheer power of Mythic damage capabilites. Nonetheless, the action economy on the enemies' part should at least make it an interesting fight.

Anti-magic field on any big critter will give this group fits. No buffs, no contingencies, no bonuses from all their wealth. Dragons work best for this, as anything with grab/snatch and flight can get a PC, fly 200 feet away, and rend them to pieces, repeating the process over and over. If you had to, I would change Ghlorafaux's (spelling?) spell-list to include this, then watch their jaws drop when they try to charge in.

Agree about killing the bard first. Not because its the fashionable thing to do (it is), but the buffs to saves are a big deal. People always underestimate the bard until you realize that they make the party 5+ levels higher in terms of saves, to hit, and damage.

Beat Malthiel yesterday on T6 with my seasonal demon hunter (solo). I've got a pretty good build going where I'm piling everything on my Sentries (got the quiver that gives you 2 extra sentries and +39% damage to them from items). Between that, a full set of Natalya's (minus the crossbow) and most of the Marauder set, I can simply outlast most enemies with the turrets and the resetting cooldown trick from the Natalya's set. Pretty excited, as I've never beat Malthiel on anything higher than t3.
Now onto making that Hellfire Amulet finally and getting up there in rifts (23 is the highest I've gotten). One thing I'm really hating about the uber-rifts is that its very random as to how successful you're goin to be at it; if you get stuck with a level (like the caves) that has a lot of space between groups of specials or few specials at all, you can easily lose time for no fault of your own.
Aanyone know how you're supposed to beat the entire game in an hour (that seasonal achievement)?

Glad to help!

Yeah, also excited about an AP that uses dragons as a plot device (with the dragon orb). Last time I saw anything featuring multiple dragons at the same time was Age of Worms (Kings of the Rift), and that module remains one of the best I've ever ran.
On a half-orc related note, if I was going to do an all half-orc party, it would be for this AP.

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Alright, here’s some other ones I’m using as backdrop for my Carrion Crown game that could easily be transposed into theatrical Westcrown:

Island of the Beast: Writen by the Taldan phisopher Janser, this is a tale of two shipwrecked clergymen of Asmodeus and Sarenrae who are marooned on a seemingly deserted island. As the two come to grips with their differences in faith, they are silently stalked by a nameless beast, one that the two have no chance of defeating by themselves. Widely considered an allegory of the imprisonment of Rovagug, the play is somewhat popular in Cheliax.
Act 1 consists of the two priests defining their own reasons why they are marooned on an island. By the end of the first act, the two finally meet, ending with them both believing that the other is responsible for their ship-wrecking.
Act 2 consists of the two priests forming defenses against themselves, doing so as the nameless beast makes itself known. It begins stalking them and testing their defenses. Each believes the other is responsible until a moment when the Asmodean moves to confront his counterpart. He witnesses the beast attacking the Sarenrae priest and saves his life.
Act 3 consists of the two hunting the beast, realizing that it is their bonds of mortality that have not only brought them to the beast’s attention but also bolstered the connection between the two. The look past their differences, hunt down the beast in its lair, and make a boat out of its carcass, escaping the island.

The Invisible Curtain: Story of a ruthless noble scion who aspires to kill his parents and take their estate. When he moves to murder them in their sleep, their bodies are covered in bright blue butterflies that move to interfere with him. Despite the clear symbolic warning, he kills them nonetheless, shoves their bodies to the side, and then sleeps in their bloody bed. This consists of the first act. He then experiences a separate dream in each of the next four acts, ending each act with him seemingly waking up. In each of these, he experiences terror, humility, regret, and finally remorse. In the final, sixth act, he escapes from dreaming forever by dying.
The play is widely considered a philosophical thought experiment debating the nature of reality, what is known, what is dream, and the similarity between death and a dream. The play was believed to have been penned by a nameless Desnan priest in the darkness following Earthfall.

Cabin of Echoes: An adapted work of the author Ailson Kindler, this play takes place in a cabin inherited by a family. A series of hauntings takes place, revealing tragedies that took place when the cabin was first built. The new inhabitants of the cabin have their own issues; the husband served in the first Taldan crusade and had a dalliance with an elven maiden while his wife was at home, while she had a similar situation with a local ranger who she sought out for protection. The two keep this secret from each other until the spirits of the cabin, a pair of star-crossed lovers, possess them and begin re-enacting their own suicidal downfall. The biggest controversy are the fate of her children; in the novel, they disappear, never to reappear, while in the play the two return from the woods at the last moment to remind their parents how much they love them, snapping them out of the spell. The play is condemned by the original work’s author, citing embellishment over what she considers to be a semi-factual account of the paranormal.

The Knight Errant A story of a clumsy, Taldan knight who is humiliated and ousted by his own squire. He is exiled to the woods where he encounters a spirit of the forest, a white stag. Through watching it, the knight is able to learn grace and balance, eventually mastering the bow. When he nearly sacrifices his life in defense of the stag (being hunted by his own squire), he is gifted with flawless grace. Through this, he is able to retake his home. He forgives his squire for his wrongdoings and even takes him back under his wing.
While the author is unknown, its origin of Andoran places its writing sometime within the last century.

Hope some of that helps, or at least inspires you to improve on what I’ve got there.

Golem Manuals have always been a realized disappoint. At first you're like, "Wow, a book that has everything I need to make my own automaton of doom!!" Then you realize, "Oh I still need the body... which means I have to make it.. which (usually) means I don't have the skills or time to use this book."
I'd love to have a character just once pick one of these up and use it, but 4/4 times that these things have come up in games that I've ran, they are sold without a second thought.

...and then I realized that some of the APs that I am running are blurring together as far as memory. The other plays I speak of are backdrops for my Caliphas portion of Carrion Crown. I'll try to post them once I'm home and have access to those notes. I know that there's four of them (one is an adapted version of an Ailson Kindler tale).

Alex Smith 908 wrote:
I think the locks of superior nature are primarily out there for rogue niche protection. It's also completely understandable for high end lots to have magical components to them in sort of low key practical ways. Does the adventurer care about the spells that let a lock know what it's key is supposed to look like, probably not, but a locksmith sure does and a high skill check represents knowing how to follow this magic lock security. Admittedly this is all sort of retconning to explain game terms, but it's the best I could come up with.

Yeah, I agree. I think my problem is it breaks my 'world-view' on the setting... that magic can solve or accomplish anything. The superior lock smacks that logic over the head.

I may have to recant my statement about the Chime of Opening; upon looking at Mythic Knock, it appears that superior locks bypass all magic in the game completely. Who knew an item with anti-magical properties could only be 150gp?
Maybe I'm looking at it through a rose-colored lens, but I remember the Chime being an 'open anything' device...

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Alright, the short of it:
The Ruby of Maledov is set during Taldor's Third Army of Exploration. It revolves around the exploits of a Taldan genreal named Maledov and his victorious conquest over a cell of devil-worshipers and their source of power, only to subcomb to that very power he at first so easily defeats.

ACT 1-3:
Act 1 details the genreals victory over the cell, his restoration of the rioghtful baron of the county, and his subsequent taking of the cultist's source of power, an invaluable ruby of great size. He is warned that the treasures of hell are cursed, yet believes that if the cultist were so weak and easily defeated, the ruby is no danger to him. The Act ends with him returning home, ruby intact.
Act 2 details the truth of the ruby, that it contains the soul of a horrible fiend that tries to corrupt any that possess it. Still deluded with pride over his easy victory, the general becomes careless with the thing until it is finally handled by his daughter. This frees the fiend, who engages in a horrible game of temptation, destruction, and ruin as it jumps from his daughter to his wife. The act ends with him preparing to bargain his soul to save his family.
Act 3 is the climax of the play, where Maledov has a vision of a way out, the destruction of the ruby. As he attempts to destroy it he is intercepted by his wife and child who are alternatively possessed by the fiend. The fiend promises all manner of temptations from immortality for his daughter, unimaginable wealth (in the form of more possessed gems), and all the knowledge in the multiverse. Here the endings differ, and due to the play's oldness, no one is sure which ending the author intended, especially with the knowledge-policing that is so pervasive in Cheliax.


-Ending 1: Through the power of love for his wife and child, Maledov is able to break through the devil's hold over his loved ones and smash the ruby, ending victorious. This ending is banned in Cheliax.
-Ending 2: In his pride and greed, Maledov wishes for unlimited knowledge, thinking he can find a way out of his situation. The devil reveals it used the cultists and then abandoned them so one as strong as Maledov would take the ruby. With his new knowledge, Maledov realizes he is damned. This ends with him walking through a portal into hell, still full of the pride that brought him there. This version is the most popular in Cheliax and additions where Maledov rules in hell have been written in.
-Ending 3: Maledov makes a wish to have never have picked up the ruby. The scene cuts away, showing Maledov picking up the ruby again. This is widely believed to be the original ending but its bleak statement about the inherent greed of humanity make it vastly unpopular.

There you go, hope that helps! Couldn't find my other notes unfortunately. (I had something in mind for

Thesing the Vampire. In my game, he kidnapped a couple people then forced them to sit in the audience with vampires while he performed a play in an abandoned theater.

Gimme 24 hours or so, I'm at work so don't have access to my notes. I think I actually had details for other plays besides that, which I'll try and find. Glad this is still helping people, and glad you've found it of use. It always surprises me how long it actually takes to right reviews (I've been doing the same thing with Carrion Crown, but per module instead of the whole AP.), but the fact that people are reading them and making even greater improvements than my own makes this whole community-thing awesome and makes the time spent well worth it.

Name: Vach'ya Fullmoon
Race Half-Orc
Classes/levels: Ranger 1/Inquisitor 11 (Erastil)
Adventure: Blood for Blood
Location:Outside the gates of Fort Drelev
Catalyst Rushed preparation and multiple evocation spells

The Gory details:
While technically brought back with two hero points and a Breath of Life spell, my DM is within his rights to count this as a death.
Vach'ya and the rest of the high council received word that a boggard army bolstered with two Hezrou, a high cleric of Gogunta (spelling?), and a powerful naga were attacking our newly liberated fortress. While we had an army stationed there, we heard that they were getting annihilated by the Hezrou and we needed to act fast. Without buffing ourselves, we immediately teleported to the front gates and waded into the battle. Vach'ya, recognizing the threat of the Hezrou and their powerful spell-like abilities engaged them, keeping them occupied with his high armor class while the spellcasters did everything they could against them. While his buffs from judgement and bane helped a lot with this, it didn't help against the repeated invocations spammed by the naga and the Cleric. Once the hezrou and barbarians had been dealt with, the rest of the armies battled while Vach'ya charged at the cleric and naga. They opened up with two Cone of cold spells just as he closed the distance, freezing his blood to ice. He was saved (with the use of two hero points so his cohort could act out turn) by his brother and a Breath of Life spell.

Is there a regional map on the inside cover like some of the other releases showing where everyone is located?
If so, are any of these in or around Ustalav? (Asking because I'm running Carrion Crown, and love incorporating historical juiciness that accompanies such horrors). I might have to get this one if so...

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Kingmaker and Legacy of Fire probably have the fewest.

Bombs unfortunately are Standard actions, not attack actions. Therefore, no vital strike. While it does say that bombs can be effected by feats that affect weapons (Weapon Focus, PB shot, etc.), it follows nearly the same wording as casting a spell. Just because you attack with a spell or bomb doesn't make it an attack action, which is what vital strike needs.

I find Chime of Opening to now be pretty worthless. It requires a CL check to open most locks (at CL 11), meaning that this awesome, 3,000 gp magic item is foiled by a 150gp superior lock. I mean, it's magic and should be able to override mundane items, but DC 40 will never be reached. Its sort of a reflection of how worthless the spell Knock has become.

Dude, way to make a vampire that actually behaves and fights like a vampire out of mythology! I'm totally stealing these guys for the basement portion. My biggest problem with vampires is that I have never (over the course of at least 6 modules) successfully drank someone's blood in combat (at least not in 3.5); the mechanics have always made it too difficult. This solves that. You're awesome!

Glad they were useful for you! I'm glad I didn't give them Bane arrows, that probably would have been overkill. That's getting me excited for my own PC's raid on the shop, especially with that giant balcony giving a perfect vantage point for all sorts of ranged attacks..

A good stat block, one I may end up using. I already used Florian's stats in a different vampire battle, and found that he definitely needed to be able to affect his undead allies to be effective.

I just noticed that there is a significant disparity in the treasure output of the module's vampires versus the bestiary ones (29K). I thought that your vampire might be a little under-treasured, but compared to the ones in the module, he's spot on.

Well, if you look at the treasure output that the sample vampire in the Bestiary has, their gear is actually right on par gp-wise. I believe the vampire there has a Headband of Charisma +4 (16,000), a Cloak of Resistance +2(4,000), and a ring of protection +2 (9,000). The vampires above actually have less than 29,000 a piece, which is what your PCs would be getting three times with the Bestiary vampires.

Alright, here's three more I'm using as sub ins so my world isn't flooded with identical sorcerers, fighters, and charmed guards.For the first one, I realized I needed something to interact with customers during daylight hours, especially one with the ability to make suspicious customers forget what they've seen while also not feeding off the main food source that the vampires consume. Since Ludvick's traditional minded court probably has a suspicious attitude of foreigners, exotic vampires would probably find a place with the leader of the traitors rather than Ludvick.


Vetala Shopkeeper
Male and Female human vetala ninja 8
LE Medium Undead (augmented humanoid, human)
Init +10; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception+23
___________________________________________________________________________ ___________
AC 25, touch 16, flat 19 (+6 dex, +4 natural, +5 shield)
hp 84 (8d8+48); fast healing 5
Fort +10, Ref +14, Will +6
Defensive Abilitieschannel resistance +4, improved uncanny dodge; DR 10/ magic and good; Immune undead traits; Resist electricity 10, fire 10
Weaknesses vetala weaknesses
___________________________________________________________________________ ___________
Speed 30 ft.
Melee 2 claws +10 (1d6+4 plus paralysis)
Ranged +1 shuriken +14/+9 (1d2+5)
or +1 shuriken +12/+12/+7 (1d2+5)
Special Attacks drain prana, malevolence (DC 18), paralysis (1d4+1 rds, DC 20), possess corpse, sneak attack +4d6
Str 18, Dex 22, Con --, Int 14, Wis 15, Cha 22
Base Attack +6; CMB +10; CMD 26

Feats Alertness(b), Blind-fight(b), (b),Deceitful(b), Improved Initiative (b), Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Quickdraw, Skill Focus: Disguise(b), Throw Anything, Weapon Focus: Shuriken

Skills Acrobatics +24, Bluff +19, Craft: Clothing +10, Diplomacy +10, Disable Device +6, Disguise +30, Escape Artist +9 Heal +12, Intimidate +10, Knowledge: Local +6, Knowledge: Nobility +6, Linguistics +6, Perception +23, Profession (Tailor) +10, Sleight of Hand +16, Stealth +24, Use Magic Device +17

Languages Common, Draconic, Elven, Varisian
SQ ki pool (9 points; extra attack on full attack, +20 speed, or+4 stealth for 1 rd, swift), ninja trick (deadly range (3), flurry of stars), no trace +2 (+2 disguise and stealth), poison use
Combat Gearwand of greater invisibility (4 charges),wand of shield(10 charges)wand of inflict critical wounds (2 charges) Other Gear belt of incredible dexterity +2, cloak of resistance +2,+1 glammered mithral chain shirt, headband of vast intelligence +2, +1 shuriken (50) fine clothing worth 200 gp,60 gp

Drain Prana (su): Must establish or maintain a pin, deals 1d4 charisma damage, affects victim as if by modify memory as if vetala had concentrated for five minutes, and vetala gains perfect knowledge of any memory it eliminates.
Malevolence (Su): Full round action, works on helpless creatures only, functions as magic jar, lasts a number of rounds equal to charisma modifier (+6). Vetala's body is helpless during this time.
Possess Corpse (Su:) Full round, functions as malevolence, except animates corpse as a skeleton or a zombie.

This one's an alternative for the numerous sword and board fighters that guard the lower areas. Mainly, its the same idea with different stats, weapons, and feats.

Vampire Archer:

Vampire Archer
Male and Female human vampire fighter 8
LE Medium Undead (augmented humanoid)
Init +8; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception+23
___________________________________________________________________________ ___________
AC 29, touch 17, flat 22 (+6 armor, +6 dex, +1 dodge, +6 natural)
hp 84 (8d8+48); fast healing 5
Fort +13, Ref +13, Will +6 ; +2 vs. fear
Defensive Abilitiesbravery +2, channel resistance +4; DR 10/ magic and silver; Immune undead traits; Resist cold 10, electricity 10
Weaknesses vampire weaknesses
___________________________________________________________________________ ___________
Speed 30 ft.
Melee Slam +13 (1d4+5 plus energy drain)
Ranged +1 mighty composite longbow +17/+12 (1d8+9 19/20 x3)
or +1 mighty composite longbow +14/+9 (1d815 19/20 x3)
Special Attacks blood drain, children of the night, create spawn,
dominate (DC 18), energy drain (2 levels, DC 18), weapon training (bows +1)
Str 20, Dex 24, Con --, Int 12, Wis 15, Cha 20
Base Attack +8; CMB +13; CMD 31

Feats Alertness(b), Combat Reflexes(b), Deadly Aim, Dodge(b), Improved Critical: ongbow, Improved Initiative (b), Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes (b), Mobility, Point Blank Master, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Toughness(b), Vital Strike, Weapon Focus: Longbow, Weapon Specialization: Longbow

Skills Acrobatics +15, Bluff +14, Climb +9, Knowledge: Architecture and Engineering +5, Perception +23, Sense Moive +11, Stealth +15, Survival +10,

Languages Common, Varisian
SQ armor training 2, change shape (dire bat or wolf, beast shape II),gaseous form, shadowless, spider climb
Combat Gear potion of blur, potion of haste, potion of inflict serious wounds Other Gear belt of incredible dexterity 4, cloak of resistance +2,+1 mighty composite longbow (+5), +2 mithral chain shirt, +2,, 50 arrows, 20 silver arrows, 100 gp

Finally, for the number of charmed guards, I figured I'd use another adventuring party. I'm going to use the NPC Codex and use the following stats to accompany the fighter that's presented as the charmed guard: Island Defender (Elf Druid 7), Trickster Mage (Gnome Sorcerer 8), and Orc Slayer (Elf Ranger 8). Since there's 6 in the module, I'm going to double the fighter. The 6th will be an elven Magus. The idea is that they are waiting in the high end guest quarters on the second floor while their magic items are worked on. They've all been dominated and are being used as bloodbanks and hired muscle.

8th level Magus:

Elven Spellblade
Female elven magusi 8
LN Medium Humanoid (elf)
Init +4; Senses low-light vision.; Perception +7
___________________________________________________________________________ ___________
AC 24, touch 13, flat 21 (+7 armor, +3 dex, +4 shieldl)
hp 52 (8d8+16)
Fort +9, Ref +7, Will +8
Immune sleep
___________________________________________________________________________ ___________
Speed 20 ft.
Melee [i+1 ]ongsword[/i] +12/+7 (1d8+5 19/20 x2)
Ranged mwk light crossbow +11 1d8 19/20)
Magus spells known (CL 8)
3rd- dispel magic, haste, vampiric touch
2nd- cat's grace, frigid touch, glitterdust (DC 16), mirror image, scorching ray
1st- corrosive touch, shield, true strike, unseen servant,vanish
0- acid splash, arcane mark, detect magic, light, read magc
Str 10, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 18, Wis 8, Cha 12
Base Attack +6; CMB +6; CMD 20

Feats Combat Expertise, Skill Focus: Use Magic Device, Slashing Grace. Weapon Finesse. Weapon Focus: Longsword,

Skills Knowledge: Arcana +13, Knowledge: Dungeoneering +12, Knowledge: Planes +13, Perception +7, Ride +9, Spellcraft +15, Use Magic Device +15
Languages Celestial,Common, Draconic,Dwarven,Elven,Varisian
SQarcane pool (8 points), improved spell combat, knowledge pool magus arcana (arcane accuracy, wand wielder), spell combat, spell recall, spellstrike
Combat Gearwand of cure moderate wounds (10 charges), wand of see invisibility (6 charges) wand of lightning bolt (5 charges), wand of obscuring mist (40 charges) Other Gear +1 breastplate, cloak of resistance +1, +1 longsword, mwk crossbow, 20 bolts, 50 gp

Hope these stat blocks help to diversify oher people's experience with this part of the module!

I knew that the way it's presented, my PCs would have walked in with Freedom of Movement and Death Ward and simply separated and destroyed the two of them. Also, my PCs have a single Mythic Tier, so upping the ante was absolutely necessary. Besides that, I love having vampires using dominated minions to fight for them, especially other adventuring parties. While speed-bumps, it created the moral quandary of whether or not to kill those who made the mistake of encountering a vampire. The coolest moment was the opposing party's cleric using Shield Other on Merrick and then fleeing into the maze, giving her extra oomph when she when she finally got chased down (she moved around a lot in the fight).
In my game, she was using her undead state and druidic powers to grow a form of fruit that produces blood, a sort of symbiosis between plant and animal that she is trying to perfect with the aim of supplying her hunger. It also allowed me to have half the greenhouse overgrown so sunlight wouldn't be a factor.

Her motivation is a caretaker of the way into the vampire's lairs, a lair that in her eyes might be sought out by hunters due to the recent slayings. Furthermore, her lair's proximity to the park where the slayings are taking place has made her not only fearful for her own safety but also the safety of those beneath her. In short, she has become paranoid, and seeing a group of armed adventurers (probably bearing Raven's Head) means that they are there to kill, no matter their words. This is what triggers the fight. The aftermath is up to the players, which should greatly affect their interaction with Ludvick.

I plan on using that build where they encounter the traitor. There are more than a few Vampire Sorcerers lurking in that area, so that will give me some variety to those fights. Stay tuned, because I'm gonna have a couple other sub-ins up in the next couple days (A Vetala Ninja Shopkeeper and a Vampire Fighter Archer).

As far as numbers go, I'm assuming about 150 for the whole city. You have to figure that if Caliphas is the vampire capital of Ustalav (and probably contender for having the most per-capita in the world.), there's probably a percentage of about 1 vampire per ever 100 humans. Since the city sitting at around 15K people, I could see the 150 mark easily being met. I like the number on a whole since its large enough for the pettiness of politics to come to the forefront while still being small enough that everyone knows who the movers and shakers in the community are.

Our Druid fight went pretty awesome, but I gave her a few reinforcements besides what's written. I gave here a party of 5 7th level adventurers she had charmed into defending her grove, as well as a version of the Topiary Guardians from the Bestiary in the back of the module (I also greatly changed the environment, with half the greenhouse composed of fauna and large trees while the second half was a topiary maze that she could move in and out of with impunity. The Topiary Guardians (advanced, fire-resistant, giant template) could tree stride around the hedges as well, delivering fire seed attacks among other things. Made for a really good fight.
Oh, she can't dominate people in Bat form, as per the rule on polymorphing. Spells via Natural spell are totally legal though.

Here's an alternate for the numerous vampires taken straight from the Bestiary that fill the module. I like variety in my enemies, so here's one I plan on using for the "Traitor Revealed" portion of the module. These guys are built with a Heroic NPC point array, with '*' indicating a spell or ability used that alters their statistics.

Vampire Alchemist:

Vampire Alchemists
Male and Female human vampire alchemist 8
LE Medium Undead (augmented humanoid)
Init +8; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception+22
___________________________________________________________________________ ___________
AC 32, touch 20, flat 22 (+9 dex, +1 dodge, +8 natural, +4 shield)
hp 82 (8d8+40+8); fast healing 5
Fort +12, Ref +19, Will +7 ; +2 vs. poison
Defensive Abilitieschannel resistance +4; DR 10/ magic and silver; Immune undead traits; Resist cold 10, electricity 10
Weaknesses vampire weaknesses
___________________________________________________________________________ ___________
Speed 30 ft.
Melee Slam +8 (1d4+2 plus energy drain)
Ranged Bomb 14/day +16/+11 (4d6+8 fire) or (4d6+8 cold and stagger [Fort DC 18]) or (4d4+8 force and fall prone [Reflex DC 18])
Special Attacks blood drain, children of the night, create spawn,
dominate (DC 18), energy drain (2 levels, DC 18)
Alchemist Extracts Prepared (CL 8th)
3rd- arcane sight, non-detection, thorn body-
2nd- alter self, eagle's splendor*,invisibility, resist energy, see invisibility
1st- illusion of clear, longshot, shield*, targeted Bomb admixture* (2),
true strike

Str 14, Dex 28, Con --, Int 19, Wis 12, Cha 18
Base Attack +6; CMB +8; CMD 22
Feats Alertness(b), Brew Potion(b), Combat Reflexes(b), Dodge(b), Extra Bombs, Improved Initiative (b), Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes (b), Mobility, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Toughness(b), Throw Anything(b)
Skills Acrobatics +18, Bluff +13, Craft: Alchemy +20, Heal +12, Knowledge: Arcana +13, Knowledge: Nature +13, Perception +22, Sleight of Hand +20, Spellcraft +15, Stealth +18, Survival +9, Use Magic Device +15
Languages Aklo, Ancient Osirion, Common, Necril, Varisian
SQ alchemy (alchemy crafting +8, identify potions), change shape (dire bat or wolf, beast shape II), discoveries (dispelling bomb, fast bombs, force bomb, frost bomb),gaseous form, mutagen* (+4/-2, +2 natural, 80 minutes), poison use, shadowless, spider climb, swift alchemy
Combat Gearpotion of bull's strength, potion of greater magic fang (CL 10) potion of haste, potion of fly, potion of inflict serious wounds Other Gear belt of incredible dexterity, cloak of resistance +2, handy haversack, headband of vast intelligence +2, 220 gp

I thought all Blanch's were for just 1 successful strike, then the effect dissipates.. unlike Silversheen, which lasts for a bit.

Depends how you feel about Circle of Death.

Spoilery bits:

Auren Vrood can't legally cast his highest spell levels due to the progression of Agent of the Grave PrC with regards to spell-casting advancement. By the rules, he shouldn't have any of his 6th level spells but does. The biggest thing is Circle of Death, which has caused more party wipes than anything else in the campaign. I ran it with his extra spells (actually gave him another level to make it legal) for a couple reasons. 1) I wanted my players to experience the same thing that everyone else is facing through the path. 2)I have really good players, very tactical savvy with the ability to anticipate perils they might face. A couple Death Wards and Harrow Cards helped my PCs survive, but it helped heighten the dramatic tension of the encounter. There have also been DMs who have foreshadowed this attack at Ravengro (I did) by describing the area where the professor died as a ring devoid of all life, a perfect circle where no grass grows.

The problem with the rule is that it usually only comes into play at high level, where even a Wizard can easily make a DC 15 fortitude save. I hate "don't roll a 1 mechanics', and this exemplifies that the most. Never have used it, its one of those rules I conveniently forget.

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