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I'm creating this thread to prevent further derail of the havoker witch thread. Feel free to discuss positive and negative energy here, as well as the lack of a direct definition of what they are and how they work. It's also fine to FAQ this post if you'd like to see these definitions directly stated in a FAQ (things like "positive energy healing effects don't heal undead, even if the individual effect doesn't mention undead at all" which right now is inferable but not directly stated).
In any case, feel free to use this thread to ask questions!
The Sanitizer is a dashing and incredibly sizeable masked gentleman with an alternative body image. Every night, he flies through the streets, counseling people and providing psychological assistance and generally striking fear into the heart of those who traumatize others. But no one suspects that during the day, he is really mild-mannered…
The Sanitizer CN (CE in his social identity) Colossal aberration (chaotic, evil, Great Old One) vigilante (stalker) 10
Init +15; Senses darkvision 60 ft., true seeing; Perception +52
Aura unspeakable presence (300 ft., DC 40)
AC 49, touch 29, flat-footed 44 (+12 deflection, +5 Dex, +10 insight, +20 natural, –8 size)
hp 1002 (46d8+792); fast healing 30
Fort +32, Ref +36, Will +40
Defensive Abilities freedom of movement, immortality, insanity (DC 40), non-euclidean; DR 20/epic and lawful; Immune ability damage, ability drain, aging, cold, death effects, disease, energy drain, mind-affecting effects, paralysis, and petrification; Resist acid 30, electricity 30, fire 30, sonic 30; SR 41
Speed 60 ft., fly 200 ft. (average), swim 60 ft.
Melee 2 claws +43 (4d6+24/19–20 plus grab), 4 tentacles +43 (2d10+35/19–20 plus grab)
Space 40 ft.; Reach 40 ft.
Special Attacks cleaving claws, constrict (3d6+24), dreams of madness, hidden strike (5d6/5d4), mythic power (10/day, surge +1d12), powerful blows (tentacle), startling appearance, tentacles, trample (2d8+30, DC 52)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 30th; concentration +42)
Constant—freedom of movement, true seeing
At will—astral projection, control weatherM, dreamM, greater dispel magic, greater teleport, insanity (DC 29), nightmareM (DC 29), sendingM
3/day—antipathy (DC 30), demand (DC 30), quickened feeblemind, gate, weird (DC 31)
1/day—implosion (DC 31), summon (level 9, 2d4 star-spawn of The Sanitizer 100%), symbol of insanity (DC 30), wishM
Str 58, Dex 21, Con 45, Int 31, Wis 36, Cha 34
Base Atk +34; CMB +66 (+68 bull rush, +70 grapple or sunder); CMD 105 (107 vs. bull rush or sunder)
Feats Ability Focus (nightmare), Awesome Blow, Combat Reflexes, Craft Wondrous Item, Critical Focus, Flyby Attack, Greater Sunder, Greater Vital Strike, Hover, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Critical (claw), Improved Critical (tentacle), Improved Sunder, Improved Vital Strike, Persuasive, Power Attack, Quicken Spell-Like Ability (feeblemind), Skill Focus (Bluff), Skill Focus (Diplomacy), Skill Focus (Disguise), Skill Focus (Sense Motive), Staggering Critical, Vital Strike
Skills Bluff +61 (+65 in social identity), Diplomacy +65 (+69 in social identity), Disguise +61 (+81 to keep his identity secret), Fly +36, Intimidate +55, Knowledge (arcana) +49, Knowledge (dungeoneering, engineering, geography, history, nature, planes, religion) +46, Perception +52, Sense Motive +55 (+59 in social identity), Spellcraft +49, Swim +70, Use Magic Device +48
Languages Aklo, Celestial, Dark Folk, Flail Snail, Hon-La, Polyglot, Russian, Senzar, Sylvan, Triaxan, Vudrani; telepathy 300 ft.
SQ compression, dual nature, greater starflight, loyal aid (deep one guidance counselors), many guises, otherworldly insight, renown (greater), social grace (Bluff, Diplomacy, Sense Motive), vigilante specialization (stalker), vigilante talents (hide in plain sight, mighty ambush [DC 39], mockingbird, pull into the shadows, twisting fear)
Organization solitary (unique)
Cleaving Claws (Ex) A single attack from one of The Sanitizer's claws can target all creatures in a 10-foot square. Make one attack roll; any creature in the area whose AC is equal to or lower than the result takes damage from the claw.
Dreams of Madness (Su) When The Sanitizer uses his nightmare spell-like ability on a creature with one or more ranks in a Craft or Perform skill, he also afflicts the creature with maddening dreams. In addition to the effect of nightmare, the target must succeed at a DC 40 Will save or contract a random insanity (Pathfinder RPG GameMastery Guide 250). This is a mind-affecting effect. A creature that already has an insanity is immune to this ability. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Greater Starflight (Su) The Sanitizer can survive in the void of outer space, and flies through outer space at incredible speeds. Although the exact travel time will vary from one trip to the next, a trip within a solar system normally takes The Sanitizer 2d6 hours, and a trip beyond normally takes 2d6 days (or more, at the GM's discretion).
Immortality (Ex) If The Sanitizer is killed, his body immediately fades away into a noxious cloud of otherworldly vapor that fills an area out to his reach. This cloud blocks vision as obscuring mist, but can't be dispersed by any amount of wind. Any creature in this area must succeed at a DC 45 Fortitude save or be nauseated for as long as it remains in the cloud and for an additional 1d10 rounds after it leaves the area. The Sanitizer returns to life after 2d6 rounds, manifesting from the cloud and restored to life via true resurrection, but is staggered for 2d6 rounds (nothing can remove this staggered effect). If slain again while he is staggered from this effect, The Sanitizer reverts to vapor form again and his essence fades away after 2d6 rounds, returning to his tomb in R'lyeh until he is released again. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Non-Euclidean (Ex) The Sanitizer does not exist wholly in the physical world, and space and time strain against his presence. This grants The Sanitizer a deflection bonus to AC and a racial bonus on Reflex saves equal to his Charisma modifier (+12). His apparent and actual position are never quite the same, granting him a 50% miss chance against all attacks. True seeing can defeat this miss chance, but any creature that looks upon The Sanitizer while under the effects of true seeing must succeed at a DC 40 Will save or be afflicted by a random insanity (this is a mind-affecting effect). The save DC is Charisma-based.
Tentacles (Ex) The Sanitizer's tentacles are a primary attack.
Unspeakable Presence (Su) Failing a DC 40 Will save against The Sanitizer's unspeakable presence causes the victim to immediately die of fright. This is a death and fear effect. A creature immune to fear that fails its save against The Sanitizer's unspeakable presence is staggered for 1d6 rounds instead of killed. The save DC is Charisma-based.
In the idyllic River Kingdom of Summerrose, Princess Dawn has fallen into a slumber that no magic can break. Convoluted intrigue and fey mischief await as the king assembles a brave band of heroes to solve the mystery and save his daughter before it's too late.
Note: This adventure is roleplay heavy. The age rating is based on the fact that it is absolutely crucial that each player is able to play their own (potentially complex) character independently without ever needing another player for reference or to tell them what to do. If you can do that and are under 16, great! And even if you're over 16, if you can't (or you're signing up with a buddy who can't), please choose a different game.
Hi there Paizocon goers! Ask me anything about this game to help you make your lottery decisions. Later, I will ask the players who win this game in the lottery to join me here for some discussion.
To start: As the note says, you want to play this game if you enjoy fey and roleplaying. There may also be combat, potentially even a good amount of combat, depending on how your investigation goes, but if "there may be combat" is potentially not enough combat for you, this may not be the best choice you could make. Above all, please follow the note and don't sign up for this game with someone who needs you to run their character for them or read and explain their character to them. Other than that, welcome to Summerrose!
You awaken in a dark room, with three other people. You can't remember how you got here...you can't remember anything at all. It's up to you to find the truth, as the shadows creep ever closer...
Hi there Paizocon goers! Ask me anything about this game to help you make your lottery decisions. Later, I will ask the players who win this game in the lottery to join me here for some discussion.
To start: You may be confused by the conjunction of "Complexity: Hard" and "Experience Required: None." That's because the roleplaying and problem-solving in the game will be challenging, but you don't need to know anything about how to play Pathfinder at all (as you are amnesiac, you won't even have the statistics on your character sheet anyway).
Crowe's Backstory wrote:
From a young age, Crowe was trained to be a perfect groom...
...but then his powers went out of control, and he left his quah.
Crowe's Backstory wrote:
Slick with blood, confused, and full of no uncertain amount of shame, he stumbled through the night.
And he began to sing:
The moon glows bright on the Storval tonight
Don't let them in,
I am Crowe, I am Crowe
I am Crowe, I am Crowe
It's funny how some distance
It's time to see what I can do
I am Crowe, I am Crowe
My power's gusting through the air into the ground
I am Crowe, I am Crowe
I guess I'm a tshamek now anyway!
Crowe's Backstory wrote:
The dawn broke on Crowe’s new life—a life not burdened by tradition, a life that was numb to fear.
Hey everyone. This thread is locked for now to continue focus on the Top 32, but eventually, this will be the place where you should post your item if you'd like to see the judge critiques (if any) and receive critiques from others. To keep from filling up the subforum's display with threads, we'd prefer if non-judges who want to critique items also use this official thread.
This thread will unlock at 2pm PST.
EDIT: And it's open!
If you're planning to submit and you haven't yet, you owe it to yourself to just go ahead and submit. If everyone waits to the last minute, that could cause load on the server which lags you out or any other number of possible things that could happen. Don't let that be you! Submit your item as soon as possible!
~Your friendly Round 1 Judge
In the spirit of Sean's awesome advice in previous years, I will provide a much shorter list of advice for this year. Note that in some cases, this advice might not help you make it past the voting to the point where the judges get to see your item, but if you do make it past, it will help you win me over. I may add more tips over time later in the thread and will probably collect them in this post also if I do.
1) Do not submit a wondrous item: If you submit a wondrous item, you will be rejected. If you submit a weapon that is basically a wondrous item that starts with "This +1 longsword..." then you have submitted a wondrous item.
2) Use the templates: I'm not going to reject you automatically if you use the templates but don't get a perfect 100% Template Fu score, but if you don't even give us some of the information we ask for (for instance submitting body text alone with no price, requirements, etc) that is an extremely bad sign.
3) Watch your spelling and grammar: It makes you seem unprofessional if there are numerous spelling and grammar errors, and if you have, for instance, blatant misspellings that could be caught by a spellchecker, it makes it seem like you didn't take the time to ensure the quality of your submission. Misspelling a weird Golarion name that isn't in the spellchecker is more understandable.
4) Staves are the hard option this year: Staves might seem to be the easiest option on the surface, in that you can pick a few spells and call it a staff. However, in reality, making a Superstar staff is going to be harder than any of the other types. If you actually do so, and you make an item that is both Superstar and distinctly an item that fills the staff design space (as opposed to a rod, for instance) I will take notice. But that's if you both succeed and make it past the voters. Take this path at your own risk.
5) Consider who can use your item: Making an item incredibly expensive or limiting your item to a tiny niche (such as warpriests of Desna only, or something like that) is quite risky. On the one hand, it might seem like a higher price tag makes it easy to give a crazy and exciting power that seems more Superstar to you, but on the other hand, if you can do that with a lower price tag, you've made an item that is much more usable throughout a campaign, and you've demonstrated your own skill more so than with the enormously expensive item.
6) Beware of using odd rules from obscure books, and if you do so anyway, be sure to cite it: For instance, if you created a mortifying armor that started talking about its effects on rituals of mortification out of the blue, with detailed rules text that interacts with the nuances of the text in Chronicle of the Righteous, then you need to cite Chronicle of the Righteous there so that people have a chance of figuring out what your item does. Even then, someone voting on your item probably doesn't have the book, so they're likely to vote you down, since they won't be able to figure out what your item does.
7) Think like an author, not like a player or a GM: Designing something that sparks your own excitement is a great way to tap into a wellspring of awesome and come up with a Superstar item. But beware when you do this; if the reason the item excites you is how thrilled you are at the power the item would have were you to own such an item, you'll fall into this trap, as you're more likely to design the item for the wrong reasons and wind up with an item that is way too powerful or that falls into too much of a niche (see #5 above).
8) Even if you have enough wordcount for it, don't use your wordcount to explain your item, or try to convince the reader: For instance, if you include a note that says "Note: Even though helms are usually a wondrous item, my dwarven boulder helmet is still a weapon because that's actually a type of weapon, so don't vote it down for being a wondrous item, OK? Notice how the powers are all weapon related and how tightly the dwarf theme connects each one. It's a work of art, man." In that case, you're right. A dwarven boulder helmet indeed is a weapon. If you just made it and didn't try to explain, I wouldn't have downvoted you for submitting it or rejected it as a judge. But now I will.
9) Don't outthink yourself: Sometimes you have the item perfect and then you ruminate on it for too long and you outthink yourself and change something that actually makes it worse. It's one of the hardest things you'll ever have to do as a freelancer, but you need to be able to figure out the time when it's just ready to send, after which more time is going to hurt you. As people, we like to abstract the world in such a way that more time in means more effect out (it's why we love progress bars even though many progress bars are just guesses to give the illusion of progress), and figuring out when that isn't true is really hard. Glad that's you guys who have to figure it out this year and not me!
More possibly to come.
I am being haunted by the Pathfinder Combat Pad.
It all started when Linda added it to my cart several months ago just to see what the cost and S&H would be and then removed it.
It started re-appearing in my cart randomly over the weeks, maybe a dozen times in total. Spooky.
Eventually, I made an order to buy it (and hopefully end the ghost's unfinished business) a few weeks ago, but it looks like that didn't go through at all, no charge, no confirmation e-mail. I realized this when my pending subscription order didn't have it today. Weird.
So today, I bought it again. This time it went through, and while buying, the haunted pad told me it was going to be combined with my subscription order. However, then it didn't combine. Is there any way to exorcise this spirit and combine it with my subscription order, or have I become a Haunted Oracle?
Tyali, Desna's Swashbuckler Lyrakien Swashbuckler13/Master of Many Styles 1 (CR 15 technically, but she's a CR 2 with 14 class levels, so let's call her level 16 and use WBL for 16)
HP: 167 (currently 175 from false life scroll)
AC: 48 (+11 Dex, +5 Wis, +2 Size, +2 enh to natural, +2 deflection, +4 armor, +1 Dodge, +4 Fighting Defensively, +1 insight, +2 luck, +1 haste, +3 Nimble) or 58 vs one target of her choice
Saves: Fort +16, Ref +28, Will +18 (+10 more when using Charmed Life)
Traits: Fate's Favored, Duelist
Feats: Phantom Weapon Finesse and Improved Critical from Swash features, Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Weapon Focus (Starknife), Greater Weapon Focus (Straknife), Dodge, Improved Unarmed Strike, Crane Style, Crane Wing, Crane Riposte, Weapon Specialization, Osyluth Guile, Combat Reflexes, Signature Deed (Parry and Riposte), McFarland's Maneuver (New Dex to Damage Feat)
Gear: Cloak +5, Blinkback Belt, +5 Evil Outsider Bane Starknife, Ioun Stones of +2 Str, +2 Wis, +2 Con, Headband of +6 Cha, Boots of Speed, Cracked +1 to Attack Ioun Stone, Cracked Initiative Ioun Stone, Jingasa, Gloves of Dueling, +6 Dex Ioun Stones (ouch 72k!), Ring of Protection +2, Amulet of Natural Armor +2, Luckstone, Over 10k in Expendables
Tyali was once the familiar of the PC who has Rhiana as a cohort (this is actually true in our Kingmaker game). In this universe, she thought Rhiana was awesome and struck out on her own after training with Rhiana. She wandered for a long time until she heard a rumor about a cavernous cathedral to Lamashtu deep in the Abyss where Lamashtu stored away Curchanus's last expression of paternal love for his pupil Desna. Tyali decided to go get that item by entering into the Abyss, but she didn't realize that it would be through a long tunnel, all of which was covered in a forbiddance effect keyed to Chaotic Evil alignment.
Entering the tunnel immediately dealt her 6d6 damage, with a DC 30 Will save for half. She managed to take half, and she healed herself to full with a CLW wand. However, her biggest fear came from the other half of forbiddance--she now couldn't use dimensional magic such as plane shift to escape.
She finally made it into the final cathedral and saw the crystallized love on a pedestal, but before her stood a terrifying foe indeed, the mighty Balor Lord (from Demons Revisited) Karaznak, a being of madness, lesser spawn of Lamashtu himself, and covered in hideous malformed growths, unlike other balors. In fact, he has all the abilities of the Balor Lord from Demons Revisited but also has four secondary tentacles with Grab that Constrict for 1d6 Wisdom Drain, just for Lamashtu style points.
Despite Tyali's +41 to Stealth, Karaznak has +44 and barely notices her as she emerges from the end of the tunnel 30 feet from his position in front of the pedestal (-3 to Perception), so there is no surprise round.
Karaznak is somewhat shocked that a tiny little butterfly girl just did 407 damage in one round, particularly since this would have killed an ordinary balor instantly. He was considering leading off with implosion and disarming her weapon with telekinesis (the latter of which auto-fails because level 11 swashbucklers are crazy people) since she was at range and that's what his tactics says, but instead he is going to use the brutal trick in the tactics: quickened telekinesis to pull her in and then full attack. Tyali makes her Will save against DC 24 without using Charmed Life, but that's no fun, right? So I'll say she failed just to see what happens; note that this is basically GM fiat for the balor lord. He decides to fling her to be right next to him and full attack, entering a rage. He makes four vorpal unholy longsword attacks, three whip attacks, and four secondary tentacles. His first longsword attack is a natural 14 for a 54, which misses Tyali's AC. His others only hit on a 20, so they all miss. His first whip attack is a natural 13, which misses Tyali's AC. His others only hit on a 20, so they all miss. One of his 4 tentacles does hit on a Natural 19, and she fails to Parry. She could deflect it with Crane Wing, but she wants to save that for a Natural 20, so she uses Dodging Panache for +10 AC to make it miss and moves five feet away from him. It turns out she never used the Crane Wing. Oh well! He bleeds for 11.
On her turn, she takes a 5 foot step back, out of reach (except the whip, which doesn't threaten) and annihilates him. No crits, but still he is so negative that there is nothing left of him, particularly since he actually goes on unconscious after the second hit and dies from rage ending. I'll be nice to him and say his rage was still up for the explosion, so that's a DC 37 Reflex save or take 100 damage. She uses Charmed Life for a +10 and now has +38. She didn't roll a 1 and thus took no damage.
After her flawless victory against the Balor Lord Karaznak, Tyali recovered Curchanus's last memory of love for his pupil and continued on her way out, praying that Lamashtu had not taken notice and sent an opponent that would be a fairer match against a mid-to-high-level Swashbuckler than a Balor Lord.
We just finished a run of First Steps part 1. The other two characters were a Mad Dog Barbarian and iconic Lem. We nearly TPKed due to bad luck, but the new classes did pretty well, other than Alistair (the Investigator)'s relative lack of utility in combat.
First we needed to get a box from an imp. Since he had a trait that said he used logical arguments for diplomacy, Alistair used his infernal logic to talk down the imp, pointing out that it would be better for its own goals to give us the box.
Then, we needed to do simple puzzles for Osirion, which we did.
Then we investigated an old woman to see if her orphanage was worthy of charity. Alistair the investigator used his Knowledge: Local (and inspiration) to know lots of stuff and then came in for a sting operation pretending to be a sketchy guy with business deals for the old woman. Since the other Pathfinders spooked her, she agreed to give Alistair her illicit black market medicines in case there was a search. She also agreed to make the orphanage an alcohol-smuggling checkpoint in exchange for rare liquors.
Last, we searched for a box from the Sczarni and fought three rats. The Mad Dog Barbarian and her moose dropped all of them, though Alistair staggered one with a claw and his flank was needed to drop it. We took no damage from this fight. Then Alistair used Acrobatics to reach the crate and lowered onto the boat with the Shaman and Lem.
On the way back, we were ambushed by the usual ambush. Alistair managed to raise his AC to 21 and took control of the narrows, and Ledford missed on his charge. Larkin rolled a natural 16 to tumble through Alistair's square (he needed the 16 to succeed) and then two consecutive 18s to confirm a critical sneak attack, dropping Alistair to -1 and retaking control of the narrows. The shaman enlarged the mad dog (who was a gnome so was now medium). The mad dog rolled 3, 3, and 5 over three rounds, and Deandre's channels nearly killed unconscious Alistair while Ledford took out the mad dog. The shaman had a battle shaman combo that made him heal for 11 every time without rolling, so he woke up the mad dog, who dropped Ledford from the ground. Then the shaman healed Alistair from -10 (he used inspiration to keep this from being -12 and dead) to 1 hit point. Deandre channeled for 3, and Alistair saved to be at 0, but the mad dog was dropped to -2. Then Lem's sleep took out all but Halli. Halli came back with color spray but failed to cast defensively. Alistair swiped and missed twice. Halli woke up Deandre, but Alistair and the shaman managed to drop her due to a nat 20 AoO crit from Alistair that he spent inspiration to confirm. Then on his own turn Alistair dropped Halli with two claws.
Notably, after the game, an inspired 5 star reroll on Craft Alchemy garnered a 37 Day Job that was nearly a 40 for the Investigator, which was a huge gain in gold.
Drew Parrymore Swashbuckler 13/MR2 (effective character level 14)
Mythic Abilities Chosen: Absorb Blow, Retributive Reach, Ever-Ready, Mythic Combat Reflexes, +2 Dex
Traits: Fencer, Indomitable Will
Feats: Combat Reflexes, Signature Deed Opportune Parry, Extra Panache, Weapon Focus (scimitar), Greater Weapon Focus (scimitar), Dervish Dance, Improved Unarmed Strike, Dodge, Crane Style, Crane Wing, Crane Riposte
Saves: Fort + 11, Ref +21, Will + 11
AC While Fighting Defensively And Using Boots of Speed: 32 (10 + 8 Dex + 5 Armor + 3 Nimble + 4 Fighting Defensively +1 Dodge + 1 Haste)
CMD While Fighting DefensivelyAnd Using Boots of Speed: 35 (10 + 13 Base + 8 Dex -2 Str + 4 Fighting Defensively +1 Dodge + 1 Haste)
Attacks With +5 Mythic Bane Scimitar While Fighting Defensively And Using Boots of Speed: +33/+33/+28/+23 for 1d6+31+2d6
AoOs While Fighting Defensively And Using Boots of Speed: +36 (+32 vs Large)
Gear (DRASTICALLY under WBL): +5 mythic-bane scimitar, +1 mithral chain shirt, +6 Dex belt, +4 Cha headband, +5 cloak of resistance
Drew was feasting at her favorite drinking hall, Heorot, covered in both magical grease and alchemical grease. Just then, a horrible monster broke through the wall and began ripping the arms off everyone. It was Grendel!
Drew bellowed a challenge and took a defensive stance, and Grendel leapt to that challenge. Grendel rushed forward and Power Attacked. Grendel got a 35, and Drew negated the attack with Crane Wing and Riposted with a Natural 2, hitting for 42.
Drew initiated a full attack. Two hits (including on a natural 3) and then two crits. Her damage was 39, 43, 61, and 62. So Grendel had taken 247 so far.
On Grendel's turn, he regenerated and entered a rage. He made a full attack without Power Attack. She parried his 37 with an easy Opportune Parry and Riposted for a crit for 58 damage. Then she parried his 43 with a 44 on Opportune Parry, so Grendel spent a surge to push his attack to a 50. She negated that with Crane Wing instead and Riposted for another crit, this time for 68. Grendel was still up due to Ferocity (at -5). His bite was true, (47) and the parry went wide, so Drew was hit for 24 damage. Drew then knocked Grendel unconscious. On her turn, she coup de graced him with an unarmed strike.
Drew healed up to full. She was ready to sleep this off, but she found a cryptic kenning written by the local bard about some kind of "mother". Expecting to fight, Grendel's mother, she told everyone in the hall to muster into the center of the room. But she wasn't expecting what was about to happen. One of the women, a victim of Grendel from a previous night, screamed as four infant grendels (Grendels with the Young Template) ripped her open from the inside and surrounded the stunned and horrified Drew.
Drew started to attack the little grendels. Four quick dervish thrusts weakened one baby grendel badly (180 damage, one crit and three hits).
The injured creature's blood fury triggered, and it attacked along with its brethren. The grendels were ferocious, but Drew managed to parry most of their attacks. Of 12 attacks, she only failed to parry 2 naturally, but the grendels each used Mythic Surges to attempt to turn a parry into a hit. Two of the four of them managed to do so, but Drew used her own Mythic Surge to increase the parry and re-negate the claw. So she would have been hit by two claws and one bite, but she uses Crane Wing on one of the claws. Fortunately, she parried the grab on the claw that hit. The two hits dealt 62 damage to Drew. Drew made one Crane Riposte and 9 Ripostes (she could have made 10 but he was down to 1 panache after the 9th due to only getting 3 crits).
On her own turn, Drew made four more attacks, including two crits, and she dropped another Grendel. This put her panache back up to 4.
The last two grendels made six attacks. Opportune Parry was enough to stop four of them, but then the grendels used Mythic Surge and one of them pulled ahead of the parry by too much for Drew to try to take it back. Drew used Mythic Surge on a different attack that barely beat the parry, however, and managed to parry it. She used Crane Wing and Riposte on the last attack that naturally hit, leaving the only attack that hit as a bite that used Brutal Surge. Drew took 14 more damage. She made one Crane Riposte and four panache Ripostes, with only one crit. This actually left Drew with only 1 panache. The first grendel drew close to regenerating up to consciousness
Drew made 4 attacks, including one crit, but this time she missed with her last attack. She dropped a third grendel, rising to 3 panache
Drew attacked that prone grendel once, putting it into negatives (which gained another panache) but activating Ferocity, then she punched the unconscious grendels three times to stop regeneration, which killed the grendel she has knocked out with the crit riposte.
The staggered grendel used mythic surge on a grapple, but since it didn't have Improved Grapple, she stabbed it with her scimitar and knocked it out from the AoO. Ending her Boots of Speed, her first punch killed that Grendel that had just woken up, and her remaining two punches stopped regeneration for the other two.
Drew then got another turn. She stabbed one of the unconscious grendels, then punched it to kill it. Then she punched the last one to stop regeneration.
On her last turn, Drew stabbed the final grendel and punched it, killing it.
Drew was forevermore hailed as the hero of Heorot and received free mead for life!
I realize I forgot to mention, but she easily made her Will saves vs fear that she only would have failed on a 1.
Grace, Musetouched Aasimar Oath of Vengeance Paladin of Arshea 4 / Swashbuckler 12
Grace's Basics (Full Build Details Later):
Weapon: +5 Holy Agile Phase-Locking Rapier +32/+27/+22/+17 1d6+26 damage+2d6 holy
Smiting +41/+36/+31/+26 1d6+30 damage+2d6 holy
Fire Giant form gives -2 to hit for all attacks and changes damage to d8 but subtracts 1
AC 37 (10 + 9 armor + 7 Dex + 5 enhancement to natural + 1 insight + 1 luck, +3 Nimble, +1 Dodge) +4 fighting defensively, +9 more against one target when fighting defensively, +9 when smiting
Fire Giant form gives 4 natural armor but loses 2 from size and Dex for a net gain of 2.
Saves Fort +25, Ref +30, Will +23 Immune to Fear
Fire Giant form decreases Ref to +29 and increases Fort to +27
Feats: Dodge, Improved Unarmed Strike, Celestial Obediance (Arshea), Crane Style, Crane Wing, Crane Riposte, Osyluth Guile, Signature Deed (Opportune Parry), Weapon Focus (Rapier), Greater Weapon Focus (Rapier), Combat Reflexes, Weapon Finesse (B), Improved Critical (B)
Grace was searching through Hell for a fallen friend. Before she went there, she used scrolls of polymorph any object (to become a Fire Giant and gain the benefits of giant form 1 to protect from fire), mind blank, overland flight, and false life. Due to previous battles, Grace had used up one smite and was at 8 out of 9 Panache, and her false life was all gone.
Liebdaga was a former infernal duke demoted to a pit fiend due to past failures. He had already used his wish for the year and his summon ability for the day when he noticed Grace and decided to teach her a lesson. Using his super stealth, he sneaked up into blasphemy range and used it on the surprise round. Of course he had up unholy aura and magic circle against good as prebuffs. He thought she was immune to fire as a fire giant, so he avoided using his Quickened Spell-Like Ability to fireball, but she would have saved anyway. Now it's not clear to me whether the save at a -4 due to being extraplanar on Liebdaga's home plane is the same roll (but with the penalty) or a separate one, so I did both with the intent to give Grace the worst of both worlds. She made both saves, and the halved strength loss was 3.
Winning initative, she decided to smite and attack Liebdaga defensively, declaring him as her Osyluth Guile target, hitting BARELY on a natural 4 for a below-average 37 damage. She made the save to negate the Str damage from the aura and is immune to fear.
Liebdaga was amused by how happy Grace seemed to be about such a pathetic hit that nearly missed him, so he decided to teach her a lesson with a full attack. Thanks to Giant Form she only had 7 AoOs per round, but she still declared a parry on every attack anyway because it costs 0 panache. Her AC was 61 anyway. First Liebdaga claw was 47, and 49 parried and riposted. Second claw was 42 and 58 parried and riposted. First wing is a nat 1 and she parried and riposted. All the ripostes hit, but only the last one was a crit, so she spent 3 panache and regained 1, putting her at 6. Her hits did 38, 37, and 55, so 130 from ripostes, 167 total for the fight.
Not so funny any more, huh Liebdaga? Grace didn't roll any Natural 1s to fail the save against unholy, and he didn't roll any natural 20s to hit her (if he did, she still had Crane Wing so it would have missed anyway). Grace then activated her boots of speed to make five attacks. Rolling nat 20, 7, 18, 13, and 5, she only missed on the last attack against AC 42. Both crits confirmed. Grace's two non-crits did 40 and 39 while the crits did 54 and 59. That's 192 more, which dropped Liebdaga. Grace rolled a natural 1 on her Fort save for the last hit and took 3 more Str damage from unholy aura.
Now Liebdaga could have done some other stuff. He could have launched a power word stun, but he decided correctly that a giant would have too many hit points. He could have tried mass hold monster or trap the soul, but given Grace made the blasphemy save he figured that was a bad idea (he was right, she needed a 4 to save). If he realized she wasn't immune to fire, he could have used quickened fireball for a tiny chance that she rolled a nat 1 or meteor swarm for the same. He actually probably would have hit for small bludgeoning with the meteor swarm even. Her weapon was phase-locking so he couldn't have greater teleported, and flying away wouldn't help even if he withdrew, since she could haste and outrun him. Honestly I don't think he had a round where he would have realized he should be running anyway, so I think the phase-locking weapon didn't help her. His best move would have been to targeted greater dispel the right buffs, but even then he didn't have a sure chance to do so, the mind blank meant that even if he scouted ahead he couldn't see that being a giant was a magic aura so he might not have known to remove it (though he could have targeted her flight if he was hoping to kite her), and she brought more scrolls just in case. Still, without prior knowledge of Grace's exact power, the blasphemy opening and the full attack were very reasonable moves for the GM to do at the time.
Rhiana Flynn the Swashbuckler:
AC 33 (touch 29, flat-footed 33) AC 37 Fighting Defensively
Saves Fort +10, Ref +20, Will +13; +2 vs fear
+2 Agile Rapier +24/+19/+14 1d6+23 or Combat Expertise +21/+16/+11 1d6+23
Feats: Weapon Finesse (B), Improved Unarmed Strike (B), Improved Critical (B), Combat Expertise, Extra Panache, Dodge, Crane Style, Crane Wing, Crane Riposte (B), Snake Style, Snake Fang (B), Weapon Focus (rapier), Combat Reflexes, Signature Deed (Bleeding Wound)
Items: +2 Agile Rapier, Dusty Rose Prism Ioun Stone, Ring of Protection +1, Agile Amulet of Mighty Fists, Belt of Dex +6, Headband of Wisdom +4, +3 Cloak of Resistance, Expendables
So in Kingmaker just before the playtest, cohort and royal bodyguard with nerves of steel Rhiana Flynn (an Aldori Swordlord10/Master of Many Styles2) decided to take a somewhat-arrogant risk and enter a combat against unknown monsters that was run by a rakshasa, wherein she won if she survived 20 rounds, but beating the monsters was worth extra style points. If she lost, she lost all her equipment. She decided to go in there and fight the monsters, and came up against two Adult Black Dragons, which are CR 11 each and pretty nasty for their CR. She proceeded to hand them their tails. I decided to alter Rhiana slightly to Swashbuckler11/MoMS1 and present her the same challenge. Of course, in so doing I wound up having to remove five feats from Rhiana (she's down three feats overall, but I also took Extra Panache and Signature Deed)! I decided to completely eliminate her offensive feats as a baseline, as you can see above. I even took Combat Expertise. I believe that she is slightly under-WBL as well.
The dragons had prebuffed mage armor. They both breathed acid, but she had a 90% chance to make the save, her Swashbuckler Evasion came through, and she took no damage. They flew such that she had to charge if she wanted to attack and they could both full attack her if she did.
The dragons grinned a wicked grin, stepped into a flank against her, and started to attack. Because of 11th Swashbuckler, this version of Rhiana had Improved Uncanny Dodge (which nicely cancelled original Rhiana's Steel Net ability). The dragons knew that Rhiana was a Mivonese Swordlord and would be tough to hit, so they didn't Power Attack. They landed an above average claw hit and an above average wing hit for 19 total damage. However, Rhiana bit back. making one Crane Riposte rapier hit on the more injured dragon, four Snake Fangs on that dragon, and remaining three Snake Fangs until she ran out of AoOs from her lower enlarged Dex on the uninjured one. Despite having an accuracy boost over the other Rhiana on the Snake Fangs (they apply Swashbuckler Training but not the Weapon Training Rhiana had chosen), most of the AoOs missed AC 32 (in Kingmaker, she had a prebuffed heroism that I didn't give her here that would have made two of the misses into hits). The good news is that the high rolls were pretty high, so the sword critted and even one of the unarmed strikes threatened a crit (but failed to confirm). This led to a total of one sword crit and one unarmed hit versus the injured dragon for 43 and 19 (the 19 would have been 24 but didn't penetrate DR) and two unarmed hits versus the other for 17 and 20(she gave it Str bleed and 7 bleed for 1 panache and 0 panache). They both took 7 bleed damage and the less injured one also lost 1 Str.
Universe 1: The dragon full attacked and rolled EXTREMELY well on the Bite/Claw/Claw (rolled 16, nat 20, and 15, though the last missed, but it confirmed the crit). It was even savvier than you might expect, and just didn't bother on the secondary attacks because they were too risky with too low of payoff. So she used up her riposte on the bite and thus took the crit for 27 damage (ouch!). Crane Riposte hit for 24 and the one Snake Fang missed. She spent a point to give the poor guy some Con bleed, and he wound up bleeding again for Str, Con, and 7 damage.
So we ran First Steps 1 today with those three classes and a level 1 Kyra who did nothing. I'll give you the summary first before the long post
Summary: Level 1 is a terrible level to playtest most of the new classes because stat selection and dice rolls are way more important than class abilities at this point. However, it happened that my Slayer annihilated everything and we trivially beat even the notoriously dangerous final encounter with a flawless victory.
Tiffany the Slayer--A slender blonde with a giant greatsword and unusual strength for her size due to being "The Slayer" (18 Strength)
Carm the Skald--An ulfen man with a longsword and shield who was actually the weakest of the three in strength (16 Strength)
Susan the Infernal Bloodrager--A giant red male infernal-blooded half-orc (18 Strength)
Kyra the Iconic Cleric--One of the many many sisters in the famed Order of the Kyra, she literally didn't do anything the entire scenario except for declare an old lady drunk, which Susan actually figured out anyway with a lucky roll.
First we needed to get a crate from a warehouse. It was locked, and we didn't have Disable Device. Carm refused to break someone's property down on principle, so we got on a boat to check the loading door. There, we discovered a hole in the bottom, and using a grappling hook, a rope, and an old fishing net, we managed to catch the box below. The angry squeaking of rats echoed from above as we rowed back.
Then we needed to go to an orphanage and verify the character of the recipient of some medicine. Susan kept asking every person "ARE YOU A CHARACTER?" A Natural 20 from Tiffany with the old lady as her favored target determined that she was hiding something, but Susan got everyone kicked out by yelling and pounding his axe. Tiffany sneaked in while Auntie Baltwin was sheltering the children from Susan and calling the guards. Unable to determine what was damning evidence, she looted everything in the secret cabinets and brought them back to Ollysta Zadrian. This was enough to prove embezzling.
Next, we went to the Osirian embassy and solved some simple puzzles. No one turned blue due to a successful Will save.
Fourth, we went to Zarta Dralneen's townhouse to fetch a puzzle-box. An imp had it. Susan intimidated the imp into giving it back, since it was two size categories smaller.
Then we were ambushed in an alley. Tiffany went first and dropped Ledford the halfling with average rolls (2d6+9=16, which takes him to -1 since he hadn't gotten to rage yet due to being flat-footed). Then Halli put up obscuring mist. Larkin stealthed. Carm did his battle song. Susan moved to threaten Deandre. Deandre threw up a copycat. Kyra was surprised.
Round 1, Tiffany dropped Halli with a low roll (2d6+10=14). Larkin rolled a 3 and missed Carm. Carm hit Deandre's image. Susan flamed up and flat-out killed Deandre (1d12+12+1d6=23). Kyra moved up.
Round 2, Tiffany five-foot-stepped, declared Favored Target on Larkin and dropped Larkin with a slightly below average roll (2d6+11=17).
So what did we learn? As I said above, we basically learned that level 1 wasn't a great chance to test the classes.
One thing we discovered is that Bloodrager seems a strict improvement over Barbarian other than the 2 hit points from the hit die at level 1, albeit a very small advantage (gains all Barbarian abilities and the blood power).
Also, the Slayer was extremely effective. She declared every NPC we ever met as a favored target, giving her a +1 on many skill checks. She decimated her foes. And she stealthed to complete the stealth mission. This really isn't saying too much about the class though.
The player of the Skald liked his character a lot and is really looking forward to level 3 when he actually starts giving interesting abilities to the other characters. He mentioned that playtesting the Skald and Hunter, we will hardly see any of the actual new class abilities until level 3 (since Hunter is basically just a druid until then and Skald doesn't get the Rage powers). In that vein, I agree, and I think PFS playtests of those classes will not be as useful in differentiating the classes from core choices until higher level, unfortunately. It's probably unlikely that any but the most avid players will actually level up their PFS characters high enough by the end of the playtest period to give feedback about the unique abilities.
I'll let you know if we play these guys again!
Kolokotroni and I have been running a quick combat-focused PbP with Falchion Fred level 10, Swashbuckler Sally level 10, and Back-up Bob, a level 9 Cleric. Due to small party size, the party is very slightly weaker in effective level than a four person party of level 9 characters (if Bob was also 10, it would be equal, I believe). One of the conceits of the playtest is that Sally and Fred share their d20 rolls for all things. This lets us really target out the differences that aren't from the dice alone.
So far, we've had two fights. First was against two dire bears. Fred wound up going first and thus getting only one attack while Sally got a full, but it's easy to swap the two of them if we want, and that shows that Sally staggered her bear with a crit and a hit while Fred would have had the bear at 7 health if he had been in her position. The bears did not use Grab, which would have advantaged Sally since she has a one-handed weapon.
Otherwise, they were both awesome and annihilated this roughly-on-CR encounter. Bob healed them up.
The next fight was 6 Highwaymen (CR 6) and 1 Halfling leader (CR 8), which is very nearly CR 12 but not quite. Since the party was very nearly the strength of a level 9 party of 4 but not quite, this is roughly a APL+3 challenging encounter. This time Sally and Fred made their attacks in tandem due to both needing to charge in. Sally picked up a noticable edge on the first round because they didn't crit but she did double Precise Strike damage anyway, but the damage was unneeded to kill the guy they both attacked. On the second round, they hit then crit, so her extra damage was also irrelevant in the overkill. On round 3, Fred crit but did not drop the halfling leader in one hit, but if it had been Sally, she would have done so, so Fred had to attack again for wasteful overkill, whereas Sally would have gotten two attacks. So that's the second time her extra damage was just enough to make a difference to whether the enemy was defeated. Both Sally and Fred got beaten to about half health during the fight. If they had focus-fired, they still wouldn't have dropped either of them, since Bob did a pointless morningstar attack that could have been a Delay->Cure if one of them was low. Sally's one lower AC caused her to take one extra hit due a fluke bad roll for an enemy (needed a 3 to hit Fred or a 2 to hit Sally, rolled a 2). Sally's 2 extra CMD never mattered so far.
So takeaway points--Both Falchion Fred and Swashbuckler Sally are awesome characters who more than pull their own weight. They both do plenty of damage. But Sally does more. Than the Fighter. And her advantage grows even larger on rounds when they don't both crit (to be fair, Fred has an edge on rounds where they crit twice, but rounds with no crits are way more common). Sally doesn't even use any of her Panache tricks except a steady Precise Strike whenever she has more than 1 Panache (so far she is always at full, often overflowing in the bandit fight)
It used to be the balance there was that Sally's Precise Strike didn't hit certain types of enemies. But I agree with the Design Team that it wasn't a good way to balance, and I'm glad they removed that. What we need now is a minor debuff. I've discussed a few possibilities in the discussion thread, although anything that eliminates the divergence based on whether Dervish Dance is allowed (for clarification, we did not use Dervish Dance in our playtest) will be a plus (for instance Temeryn's proposal to buff Precise Strike a bit and make it replace Str bonus to damage).
So to start out, it's important to note that probably a huge percentage of swashbucklers with GMs who allow it will be dervish dancing or using an agile weapon, but as Cheapy said in his ninja post to the blog announcing the playtest, I'm not going to assume that. Neither will I assume Crane Style. I'm just going to assume a goofy Strength-based swashbuckler that always takes the same stats as the fighter. If you use Agile or Dervish Dance, your swashbuckler will keep exactly the same offense as Sally Swashbuckler below while having better of lots of other stuff from Dex.
So let's take a look at Sally Swash and Fighter Fred. Fighter Fred read on the forums that falchion crit range is eventually king and that two-handing is the strongest style, so that's where he's at. Sally Swash is going to take the exact same items as Fred and the exact same stats, but just be a swashbuckler. Oh, and she's so certain that her class has numbers better than Fred (eventually) that she will never spend any panache. She just needs Precise Strike and Swashbuckler Weapon Training.
Alright, so right out the gate, Fred is in the lead because Sally doesn't have Precise Strike yet. They always have identical to-hit:
Level 1--Assuming 18 Strength, Fred is ahead in damage by 2 points from 1.5x Strength and 1 point from Power Attack, plus 1.5 points of average damage from a falchion over a rapier. So Fred is up by 4.5.
Analysis in the next post.
Marquise Cordelia Livia Cassandra Elysia Perseis's Guide to Influencing Varisia's Fledgling Aristocracy
My fellows in arms,
It has come to my attention through the usual channels that we are not meeting with as much success as I would like in our goals for Varisia. It would pain me to see our glorious faction weakened or disbanded, so here I strive to put to ink all of the information I have gathered in the year thus far inasmuch as it will assist towards that goal. Know that if you find yourself in possession of one of the first printings of this guide, then I hold you in the highest regard for both your influence and your discretion, and I trust that you will make copies and send them to all those of whom you are aware who are worthy of such regard.
My humble thanks,
While Korvosa is larger, older, and more aristocratic, Magnimar is the seat of our lodge in Varisia, and it is the most likely place where you will have a chance to influence its nobles, such as they are.
Lord Mayor Haldmeer Grobaras is a selfish and arrogant man of enormous girth. His mandates are rare and sometimes disastrous, and he often ignores those of the Council of Ushers in favor of his own. It seems like stroking Grobaras's already over-inflated ego should make a greater nobility an easy sell for him. If you actually want to get something pro-Taldor done, though, policy-wise, it might be smart to befriend Valanni Krinst, the mayor's assistant, as well.
The Council of Ushers has 117 members, many of whom I have mentioned below. Lady Verrine Caiteil is the executive moderator, which means that influencing her is a big step towards a pro-Taldor hearing before the council. Before you can actually meet with any of the council members, though, you will have to make it past Jacildria Quildarmo, the megalomaniacal Seneschal of Dates. Just be as obsequious as possible and you'll be fine--I'm sure she'll be thrilled to have a true noble kissing up to her.
The Varisian Council's leader is Remeria Callinova, but I'm not sure she's a good candidate for influence. If you want to try, her most recent pet project is finding the Shoanti a place within the city's hierarchy. This will doubtlessly put her at odds with the Scarnettis.
The head of the Justice Council is Lord Justice Bayl Argentine. You probably don't need to influence the Justice Council, but they might be useful allies, as Magnimar has few laws, so much is determined by the creative interpretations of the justices.
The oldest noble family is the Indros family, who descended from Alcaydian Indros, the paladin of Aroden who founded Magnimar and its first Lord Mayor. Currently, their influence has waned and their role is mostly ceremonial, which seems like an easy inroad for an enterprising agent to exploit.
The Kaddren family, another of the oldest families in Magnimar, is focused on the study of magic, and many of its members have studied abroad, though never in Korvosa. They are strongly allied with the Golemworks, so any accomplishments in the Golemworks are sure to impress them. I recommend approaching them if you are knowledgable in arcane matters. For instance, I was able to impress the matriarch, Zimandi Kaddren, and arrange a marriage for one of her daughters. Be sure to name drop how impressive you think Antholus Kaddren was (and make sure you know why--he died breaking the enchantments on the chardas that forced them to serve Riddleport, thus turning them back on their mistress in anger at being controlled).
The Vanderale family is the third of the old elite families that descend from Magnimar's founders. Mivonis Vanderale controls the Merchants' Guild and owns plenty of ships. If you're handy in mercantile endeavors or know your way around a ship, try influencing the Vanderales. They're pretty proud of their family's founder, Nyssalee Vanderale, who beat a Korvosan prince in a duel for Magnimar's independence, so that's one useful talking point. Another is the two Vanderale twins, Cailyn and Romre, whose wizardry defeated all those shriezyx--the spider monsters that poured out of the Irespan a little under a century ago.
The Nirodin family is headed by Cheiskaia Nirodin, a patroness of the arts with a likely-spurious reputation for ties to Korvosa.
The Mindurian family rose to the aristocracy from the most elite of the city's masons. The current matriarch, Filuvia Mindurian, loves gossip, so it should be easy to slip in some seemingly-idle gossip that predisposes her towards Taldor.
The Valdemar family seems to be in the wane from former success in logging, fishing, and shipping, losing ground to the Scarnettis in many of these areas. The family has been having a hard time, and it's patriarch Ethram is dying. Perhaps some clerical assistance would be useful in convincing him that his interests lie with Taldor, but you'll have to go to nearby Sandpoint to find him or else deal with his son Kaleb instead.
The Versade family are known for having the best parties in the city, and Savasha Versade seems amenable to discussion about how to keep it that way, rather than lose the reputation. Bards and other experts in performance could easily make inroads with her.
The Derexhi family made their fortune through mercenary work, founded by Alcaydian Indros's bodyguard Aiten. so this is one of the best places in Magnimar for our martial agents to gain some influence. Their patriarch Randred is a member of the Justice Council. Luma Derexhi, an illegitimate young urban druid, seems malcontent with the way she is treated by her peers and might be an easy contact to use to ingratiate yourself with the family.
The Deverin family are a bit quaint and laid-back, but they have shown an excellent attitude towards helping those less fortunate than themselves. Their patriarch, Hobart, is fighting a recurring fever, so healing magics might be one way to earn his favor.
The Shivarlu family is a minor Ordellian house whose current head, Lady Annsa, is the most influential of Ordellia's nobles, having served six consecutive terms in the House of Ushers. She is also a producer, director, and playwright, so those thespians amidst our ranks might do well to influence her.
Despite her title of "Princess of Sails", Sabriyya Kalmeralm is more of a benign gang lord. Still, she seems fair enough from my interactions with her, so if you're not one of those people who can't stomach the fact that she is Keleshite, she could be a useful ally.
If you can make it into the Osprey Club, take the opportunity--only the highest of Magnimar's elite are usually allowed entry, and the proprietress, Kayasi Zivatchi, surely knows secrets from all of them. This could be an excellent place to catch the nobles off guard, while they are relaxing.
Trosker ep Styrk--fidelity and strength in ancient Taldane (though I'm sure all of you knew that already). The fact that Korvosa even has a city motto in ancient Taldane should already be a good indication to you that we will be able to get some good traction in this city, Varisia's largest and the former colonial capital.
House Arabasti has been the premier house in Korvosa since beating the Porphyria's for the monarchy. However, Eodred II, the last in the line, died childless, so there might not be much of a House Arabasti to influence. Perhaps lesser cousins.
House Arkona is the only family to still live in Old Korvosa. They have grown wealthy through trade with Vudra and their whole estate has a Vudrani theme, so if you speak Vudrani, you can probably impress them. The Arkonas have strong ties to Korvosa's underworld and vices, but supposedly the new lord Glorio is a champion of the people, demolishing his own establishments to make room for tenements.
House Bromathan is a minor noble house that gained its standing when its patriarch sacrificed his own life to save Waydon Endrin from Shoanti assassins. Many of the family serve in the Sable Marines and the Korvosan guard, but the current head of the house, Lord Valdur Bromathan IV, is actually a lesser priest of Sarenrae, so if you're one of those Taldans who can't stand the Dawnflower or are strongly in favor of Prince Stavian's ban, I wouldn't recommend a conversation with him. Perhaps you could talk to his other family members instead, who have always been upset with him for becoming a priest and not a warrior.
House Endrin is small but influential, as it has a history of exemplary soldiers and sable marines dating back to Waydon Endrin, the ranking surviving marine to withstand the Shoanti siege before the colony was founded and the first commander of the colony's defenses. The Endrins have a tendency for heroics and often die in battle. Warriors and accomplished adventurers among our number stand a good chance of influencing them.
House Jeggare is famous for its philanthropy and generous loans to other nobles. According to the priests of Abadar, the Jeggare family may own up to one quarter of all private assets. When talking to the Jeggare family, you could mention famous Pathfinder Varian Jeggare as an inroad.
House Ornelos controls the Acadamae and has many royal advisors and members who control the city's other powerful institutions. Wizardly specialists are probably the best choice to influence House Ornelos.
Magistrate of Commerce Garrick Tann is the master of all taxes in Korvosa. He works to destroy any attempts to clandestinely form guilds as well. Those with a pecuniary interest could talk to him, but be warned that most Korvosans hate his office due to the fact that he collects taxes.
Magistrate of Expenditures Syl Gar spends the tax money on various projects throughout the city. Perhaps you could impress him with knowledge of engineering and the like.
Magistrate of Regulation Lolia Perenne works to prevent cheating among the many merchants of Korvosa. Send clergy of Abadar, paladins, or any with impeccable morals to impress her.
Bonus Section. A little bit about Kaer Maga
Kaer Maga seems like a bizarre choice for influence, but it is by far the oldest city in Varisia. I wouldn't even bother with this section, but I happened to come into contact with some factions in the city, so I might as well give you some small guidance if you find yourself there. I'm not sure if any of these groups would make good nobles, but they seemed among the most influential of the ones I encountered:
The Ardoc family are construct crafters who have a large amount of influence in the Balconies of Bis. They value arcane spellcasting but are unfortunately rather patriarchal and somewhat sexist. Still, I did them a favor, so maybe they will look on you favorably.
The Troll Augurs might seem by their name to be an absurd choice for influence, but they are actually rather urbane and savvy--it seems that part of the reason for their excellent prophecies is that they have an extensive information network that could be of great use to you, as it was for me.
The Dusk Wardens guide travelers up to the city, and they seem to respect competent adventurers.
The Commerce League, headed by Dakar, is a powerful organization that has helped the Society once, though Dakar seems like he might be difficult to influence.
The Arcanists' Circle is a powerful political group in the city, full of talented mages.
Fellow skeptics of Andoran,
I call for your vigilance, as Andoran seems to have infiltrated the courier service and is now appending to the end of all faction missives sent to our personal address an exhortation to listen to that pompous windbag Colson Maldris and represent Andoran in the coming days. I can confirm that this happened to me, as well as two of my associates in the Grand Lodge and the Lantern Lodge. We must stay every vigilant for such brazen Andoren trickery, however foolish and obvious it may be!
Reposting this here so discussion can be moved out of GM threads--
I've gotten to the bottom of it in an old thread. Basically, daylight has a special clause, so let's look at it without daylight for a moment:
Any darkness spell requires a higher level light spell to both beat it and continue to shine light. So to shine through a darkness, you need a 3rd spell level or heightened higher light spell (such as clerical continual flame) while shining through deeper darkness requires a 4th spell level or heightened higher light spell (requires heighten in other words).
Daylight has a special escape clause that says that areas of overlapping daylight and deeper darkness return to prevailing condition, which means that technically heightening daylight is useless (continual flame is a better bet).
So here's the Venn Diagram:
Prevailing Bright Light--Darkness puts you to normal light unless there is a 3rd level or higher light spell present, in which case bright light. Deeper Darkness puts you to dim light unless there is a daylight or any 4th level or higher light spell present, in which case bright light.
Prevailing Normal Light--Darkness puts you to dim light unless there is a 3rd level or higher light spell present, in which case normal light or whatever the light spell gives, whichever is better. Deeper Darkness puts you to darkness unless there is a daylight, in which case it goes back to normal light, or any 4th level or higher light spell present, in which case it goes to normal light or the light spell, whichever is better.
Prevailing Dim Light--Darkness puts you to darkness unless there is a 3rd level or higher light spell present, in which case dim light or whatever the light spell gives, whichever is better. Deeper Darkness puts you to supernatural darkness unless there is a daylight, in which case it goes back to dim light, or any 4th level or higher light spell present, in which case it goes to dim light or the light spell, whichever is better.
Prevailing Darkness--Darkness doesn't change the light level, but it does prevent nonmagical light sources from helping unless there is a 3rd level or higher light spell present, in which case whatever the light spell gives. Deeper Darkness puts you to supernatural darkness unless there is a daylight, in which case it goes back to regular darkness, or any 4th level or higher light spell present, in which case it goes to the light spell.
Other fun facts--light spells and darkness spells can be used to counterspell or dispel others of the same or lower level if you can target the object that is the target of the other spell (usually by touching it).
As far as I've searched, maneuverability for flying creatures is mentioned in two contexts. In the Fly skill, it specifically calls out that maneuverability only gives you a bonus or penalty if you have a natural fly speed:
Fly skill wrote:
Creatures with a fly speed treat the Fly skill as a class skill. A creature with a natural fly speed receives a bonus (or penalty) on Fly skill checks depending on its maneuverability:
Whereas in the section under movement, the word natural isn't included, but it calls out that you should reference the Fly skill for more specific details:
Until recently, this seemed to be an open and shut case to me of specific trumps general, wherein the limitation of application of modifiers from maneuverability to natural fly speeds was intended to make fly checks more difficult for spellcasters and subjects of flight magic that generally grants bonuses. I'm all for requiring more investment from PCs to be a master of flying, so I don't mind ignoring the bonus. But then Shattered Star introduced a Lesser Wings of Flying that gives you a poor maneuverability, and I'm not as OK with ignoring what seems to be one of the intended restrictions on the item (it's also slower than the regular wings). So does maneuverability actually do anything if you aren't a natural flyer? It used to be hugely influential in 3.5, so are items like the Lesser Wings of Flying artifacts of our collective memory of those times?
What do you think?
With a rules forum thread and talking to some other friends who have a good list of dev clarifications, I am as near certain as possible that this is something not covered anywhere in the rules, the FAQ, or past clarifications.
A player's PFS concept hinges on whether natural weapons count as light or one-handed weapons. Literally the only place this is defined is in the "Special" clause of Weapon Finesse, which states that they are considered as light weapons. There are two schools of thought on this matter, and both have valid points--
1) The Special clause of Weapon Finesse only applies to the Weapon Finesse feat, and furthermore the fact that they felt the need to assert this fact at all in the Special clause indicates that the writers do not believe that natural weapons are ordinarily light weapons, so they inserted the clause to make specific trump general. It's most likely that natural weapons are neither light, nor one-handed, nor two-handed, but instead their own classification.
2) Since it doesn't say anything about it anywhere else in the rules, the Weapon Finesse feat's Special clause creates a universal rule that natural weapons are always considered light weapons.
There's also a third, which I subscribe to more-or-less.
3) The Special clause doesn't say anything one way or the other, and we need a clarification in order to know which way to go. Without a strong enough reason to disallow it, if I was blindsided by a character using this fact, I would allow it, but I know many GMs would do otherwise and rightfully so.
The player agrees that both readings are reasonable, and he has plenty of time to change his build (and he doesn't mind) if it is ruled against him. He's just worried about playing up to level 7 and then having the idea (Duelist class using bite attacks "so I can parry with my face" as he puts it) work inconsistently.
A PFS player in our lodge is wondering whether there is any official documentation as to whether a natural attack is a light or one-handed weapon. He would like to use his character's bite attack with the Duelist class. It's clearly a finessable piercing weapon, but the exact wording in the class description calls for the weapon to be light or one-handed. Has anyone seen any reference to the handedness of natural attacks (other than counting as light for Weapon Finesse purposes)? In a home-game, any GM would probably allow this, but in PFS we need to play by the Rules as Written without a dev clarification (or Mark or Mike). There's plenty of time to find out the answer, since the character is only level 2 at this point.
A player asked me this question--if you're a snake, ooze, earthworm, or any other type of creature with no arms or hands (maybe even a human who lost both arms and hasn't received a regenerate), can you still get claws with lesser beast totem. By strict rules as written, it looks like you can, so since this is for PFS, if no one here on the rules forum can find anything, I'll bring it over there.
So this has been coming up a few times for a variety of reasons. Just who can you hire for spellcasting services in PFS, given access to a large enough city. My guess is that it's likely to be restricted in the same way as scrolls. wands, and potions--if you can hire the spell from a wizard, druid, or cleric, then you must, using the lowest level available, just like with wands, potions, and scrolls.
The only thing I know for sure is that there's a messageboard clarification that you cannot find a witch of a specific patron to cast you a spell from their patron list (which I assume would generalize to domains and bloodlines as well). There's a bunch of reasons why this matters a reasonable bit.
Price--If you can pay a paladin to cast a lesser restoration for you, you can get yourself restored for 1/6 the price of a cleric (something that was so undesired in wands and scrolls back in the day that the whole wand and scroll system for PFS was patched to prevent it, so I can't believe the same isn't true for spellcasting services). There are numerous other instances of money-savers here, particularly with summoners.
Spell Level--In situations where higher spell level is an advantage (light and darkness spells are a good example), if spellcasting services are unrestricted, you can pay a bit more to get the spell at the highest possible spell level by finding the caster that gets the spell late entry.
Spells of 7th level or higher are never available--If you can get spells from a summoner (or a bard, but they have fewer good spells), then you can bypass this restriction, since all their spells are actually level 6 or lower.
Arcane/Divine--Sometimes it matters if a spell is arcane or divine. For example, if you can hire spellcasting services from a summoner, in addition to the monetary savings you can get on certain early-entry spells, you can also get an arcane barkskin, allowing a sorcerer or bard to learn barkskin with a ring of spell knowledge.
Now, I can't find anything other than my logic that spellcasting services would not break the trend established with scrolls, potions, and wands to directly support my guess, and I don't want to introduce table variation if lots of other GMs are allowing this, so I'd like to find a definitive answer.