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Thanks much for the votes of confidence!
I'm ridiculously excited to be crashing onto the adventure path scene with this, and in such august company!
James Martin wrote:
To echo Liz--hey, it worked for me! :D
I ran Rise of the Runelords with gestalt characters, and I'm deep into Shattered Star with gestalt characters as well.
I let my PCs play gestalt characters for two reasons: Primarily, it's to ensure that they have stamina to go longer in each adventuring day without a rest. I like that they can power through most dungeons with very few (or even zero) rests, without having to continually retreat in order to recover daily uses of rages/spells/channels, etc. Secondarily, it lets people play with combinations that wouldn't multi-class well, so we see fresh new things at the table. Sure, there are some power-munchkins that will play a fighter/monk for all the great feats, but I've currently got a witch/ranger (does witchy things but is a good hand in melee when necessary), a fighter/alchemist (a sword-and-board fighter with mutagens and more flexibility), and an oracle/bard that serves as a stellar party-buffer and knowledge guy.
My reasons don't include to fill gaps in the party (in both campaigns, I've had six players) or to jack up the power level (it's easy to just keep the PCs one or even two levels behind the suggested adventure level and it keeps the challenge appropriate for them).
Reposting cartmanbeck's scenario in order to add my analysis:
The Devil Hunt
The citizens of Sandpoint have been disappearing at an alarming rate, and the mayor thinks that the Sandpoint Devil is behind the disappearances. She has asked you to hunt down the devil and destroy it if at all possible. Several townsfolk have offered to help, and some of them even have valuable clues as to the best places to ambush the devil. Take out the Sandpoint Devil before it kills again!
Setup: Remove Ilosari Gandethus from the Allies deck. If that card is in one of the players’ decks, simply ignore the sentence about rolling to randomly summon the Sandpoint Devil.
Villain: The Sandpoint Devil
During the Scenario:
When you encounter an Ally card, instead of attempting to acquire it, you may attempt a Charisma/Diplomacy 8 check. If you succeed, place that Ally card in the pile of Henchmen next to the scenario card, and add a random blessing from the box to the top of the Blessings deck.
When you encounter the Sandpoint Devil, if either of your combat checks to defeat it do not have the Magic trait, the Sandpoint Devil is undefeated.
Ignore the first power listed on the Sandpoint Devil card (instead treat it as any other villain).
Award: Each character chooses a type of boon. That character gains one random card of that type from the box. In addition, each character may choose to banish any one card from their deck when rebuilding it at the end of this scenario.
The Pillbug's Revenge scenario is intended for characters who have completed The Poisoned Pill (and may have completed all of the Perils of the Lost Coast and even some or all of Burnt Offerings). Plentiful poison damage makes this scenario challenging.
Freshly escaped from prison, the notorious poison-merchant Aliver "Pillbug" Podiker has vowed revenge upon Sandpoint! Pillbug Podiker has equipped a cadre of ne'er-do-wells with powerful poisons. Furthermore, he has tainted potions all over town with his vile toxins. Someone must bring Pillbug Podiker to justice--again!
Villain: Pillbug Podiker
During This Scenario: If you encounter a boon with the Alchemical and Liquid traits, you take 1 point of poison damage. (You then encounter the boon normally.)
All damage dealt by Bandit henchmen is poison damage that may not be reduced.
Reward: Each character gains a random ally from the box.
Comments are welcome! Also, my previous fan scenario is here.
The Cult of the Moon Sisters scenario is intended for characters who have completed Perils of the Lost Coast, and perhaps even Burnt Offerings. The presence of two villains—each of whom becomes very powerful when the moon is right—makes this scenario challenging. It only requires cards from Sets B and C (but it doesn’t matter if Set 1 cards are already included, too).
Two powerful werewolves—twin sisters steeped in astronomical lore—have arrived in the Sandpoint region in advance of certain eldritch cosmological conjunctions. These two demagogues are attended by a coterie of cultists and monsters, whose powers fluctuate as the moon waxes and wanes. These two sisters and their vile cult must be stopped!
Setup: Remove the two Werewolf cards and all the Cultist cards from the monsters and set them aside; the two Werewolves are the villains of this scenario and the Cultists are the henchmen (and can be used to close locations, just like any henchmen). If you need more henchmen than this, use any card you can remember is intended to represent a Cultist (like unused Loot cards).
Villain: Werewolves (2)
During This Scenario:You must defeat both villains to defeat this scenario. When you corner and defeat the first werewolf, set it aside. You win when you corner and defeat the second werewolf.
If the top card of the Blessings discard pile is a Blessing of the Gods, the difficulty to defeat any bane is increased by 2.
Reward: Each character chooses a random blessing from the box.
Andrew Torgerud wrote:
Author should have just left it off and said "Plot Device - no one sees this coming"
But then people would have been saying, "We should've gotten a check for this--even at a high DC, you should've given us a check!" And I agree with that sentiment, so there is a check that's possible, but intentionally quite difficult. (As Torch has been masquerading his intentions from the Decemvirate for years, it's reasonable that he's very, very good at bluffing.)
The polarpillar caterbear looks even more frightening when next to the svathurim picture, because it looks like the svathurim is trying to get away from it!
Because "tiers" of classes aren't a formal part of the game, and actual "tiering" is highly subjective for many classes. Because the classes are intended to be balanced against each other for typical adventuring (whether you agree or not), we're not likely to get a formal adjustment of the APL based on tiers.
Our general comment during part 1 was "Pay up, and remember that the Aspis are a bunch of jerks who show up and take your stuff. You probably shouldn't do business with us ever again. If I had the Aspis knocking down my door, I might even lead a revolt!"
I really played this up with one group: all the NPCs kept seeing the PCs' actions in the best possible light and promising to spread the good name of the Aspis Consortium all over the city. E.g., the rescued husband at the Fishbowl: "You guys are the Aspis Consortium? Huh, never heard of them before, but you guys saved me and my daughters from certain death, so I'll tell everyone I know how great the Aspis Consortium is. Thanks, Aspis Consortium, you're real heroes!!" Delightfully frustrating for them.
Kyle Baird wrote:
PFS specifically isn't for everyone. If you want to jump to the "end" of a Pathfiner's career without going through all the trials and tribulations, go play something else.
Some might consider this sentiment to be elitist and exclusionary. It sounds a little bit like that to me, and I generally agree with you.
NEWS FLASH TO GAMERS: What we do IS BORING.
When my 11-year-old brother asked to join our D&D game, I let him, with the following disclosure:
"D&D is a totally awesome game about doing math and waiting your turn."
Brain in a Jar wrote:
So what exactly is the loophole because i'm not seeing it?
Use the fortune hex. It lasts until round 2. In round 2, cackle twice, extending the fortune hex until round 4. In round 3, cackle twice, extending the fortune hex until round 6....
...in round 1000, cackle twice, extending the fortune hex until the end of round 2000.
Then, stop cackling and go adventuring. Your companion has 1000 more rounds of fortune, and you don't have to do anything further to maintain it.
Although the PCs had better kill it with those attacks, or the victim gets a first-class ticket to Hell.
Unless some really knowledgeable PC shouts, like a tent-revival preacher, "This poor prostrate SINNAH! A protection from evuhl will SAY-VUH his immortal SOUL-AH!"
You don't hear tent-revival preacher voices in your heads? Hmm. Maybe it's just me.
Jim Groves wrote:
Damn you Thirsty, you're always just one step ahead!! I need to set a trap for you!
No, no, no! Not a trap, a haunt. That's what all of us writers are using these days! :)
More seriously, I'm familiarizing myself with the ebon acolytus. It wasn't the creature in my turnover, but I think I like it: you've got three rounds (the initial grab, the prostration check, and then the sacrifice round) to either beat the thing to death or escape the grapple (or make a sufficient Knowledge check about the sacrifice to at least make your companion more recoverable). That seems to put the combat on a tense timer, which is good for combat encounters from time to time.
I'm interested to watch how the suicide compulsion haunt in this scenario contributes to the general discussion about haunts and how to improve them.
As the author, I want to clarify a few points raised in this thread:
* As Mark mentioned, I pulled this haunt from the second AP volume, as it seemed particularly appopriate for this adventure. I've never heard of the third-party haunt resource mentioned upthread, but I'll check it out.
* The haunt compels only a single suicide attempt; it doesn't ever require more than one attempt (and that one attempt can be foiled by another PC, who is attacked in response).
* The halfling wasn't killed by the haunt specifically. It was his suicide, combined with Sifkesh's pervasive influence, that created the haunt.
* If you are concerned about player sensitivity regarding a suicide compulsion haunt (or any other component of any other scenario), I encourage you to tailor it as appropriate for your table. If I were to run this for a friend of mine, whose father committed suicide a few years ago, I would drop the haunt but be sure to include the optional dretch encounter. That's more about being a sensitive person than being a perfect GM.
The most common error I hear about in this adventure, that I regret not making pointing out more explicitly, seems to have happened at Justin's table:
Justin Riddler wrote:
When Dakang did his first mass inflict light there wasn't a made save at the table, and the damage was high enough to knock-out 3/6ths of the party.
Mass inflict light wounds is at a caster level of 3rd. This means Dakang can only choose 3 targets for it. One of these targets can be himself, because the effect heals him. So this ability doesn't affect everyone in the room, but at most three PCs (and sometimes only two).
I think this was plenty clear from the spell description, but it's not common to see higher-level spells at ultra-low caster level, so I probably should have clarified this.
I can give you my input as the author here. I didn't ever intend to "punish" RPers by having them penalized in the adventure. The scenario doesn't penalize you for being selfish...
...it penalizes you for not wising up that something is very, very wrong in the temple. Engaging yourself in the lives of the people in the temple makes you dupes like they are, which makes it harder to fight Dakang directly. The more you live their lives, the harder it is for you to fight back--which is intentional.
I belive challenging fights and RP can both exist in the same adventure. Moreover, I think they should. (Whether the fights here ended up as "too challenging" is another issue that I've seen debated.)
In the beginning I loved Paizo for their commitment and loyalty. I would have followed them anywhere. Somewhere along the line they lost that loyalty and fired two of the best three employees they've ever had. That just doesn't sit well with me, so I don't allow myself to support them much.
For the record, I don't believe Josh or Hyrum were fired. I believe they quit.
I don't think I can make you love Paizo for pointing this out, but maybe you'll hate them less?
Now, I have heard of players getting folks to buy them a spare longbow or a few vials of alchemist fire, only to be handed back at the end of the adventure. Isn't always a bad idea to carry around something handy to share.
True. I've ended up buying an item that makes another irrelevant; if I don't need the old item, I'll offer it for another PC's use for the session. Actual example, I decided on a cloak of elvenkind, but I'd previously bought a cloak of resistance +1; as I haven't yet needed the 500 gp from selling the cloak +1, I offer its use to anyone at the table that doesn't have a cloak yet.
Funny story about the instant fortress.
I have a friend of mine who loves the "meta-meta-game." That is, messing with the GM's head.
In an earlier organized play campaign, he would ask the GM before the session started whether the GM was familiar with Daern's Instant Fortress. My friend would open up the DMG and show the GM the description.
In combat, my friend would take an action to throw a metal cube in the midst of his enemies. The enemies would then, almost invariably, flee from the metal cube, expecting it to sprout into a Daern's Instant Fortress and crush them in the next round, when my friend's PC spoke the command word. But with the enemies out of the area, my friend would look frustrated and not speak any command word at all. After the battle he'd sigh and pick up his metal cube again.
The trick: it wasn't a Daern's Instant Fortress. It was just an ordinary metal cube. But GMs would fall for it over and over, imputing his "knowledge" to the enemies.
Get all the townspeople in a circle. Some people are werewolves, but no one in the village knows who they are. Some people are werewolf hunters, but they want to keep their identities hidden so the werewolves don't know to kill them off right away.
Take turns, with everyone keeping their heads down except the werewolves, who identify which townsperson they are going to kill...
...no, wait, that's a party game. Sorry, I got totally sidetracked...
If I have to sit at a table with a player who will quit the game if someone plays a particular class, I'll quit the game.
I know several people that have said that if I don't quit the game when I sit a table with someone who will quit the game if someone plays a particular class, they'll quit the game.
I say to those people: I promise I'll quit the game if you quit the game because I don't quit the game because someone quit the game because of a particular class.
And so on.
I strongly discourage anyone from playing a cavalier or other mounted character in PFS, although I admit that small sized characters on medium sized mounts have less trouble.
The default PFS scenario is "go into this place and get this thing." What follows is a mini-dungeon crawl for the next 3.5 hours (although the "dungeon" might be a manor house, or a ship, or a marketplace, or even a pair of smaller locations). These mini-dungeons often involve stairs or ladders to access, as they are intentionally remote and exotic, rather than ADA compliant. In short, they are not designed for any users other than humanoid-shaped ones, so many of these adventures involve leaving one of your class features--and several of your more powerful feats--at home.
I recommend you just avoid cavaliers in PFS play. The fact that the mounts you can choose are very limited is just another reason to further avoid this class in PFS play.