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The robots are really hard to face without spells and preparation, and on this you will find a great deal of table variation. My party had salvaged the repair drone's net and used it to entangle the Collector Robot. Then the party's sorcerer shocking grasped it for a couple rounds and finished it with a lightning bolt scroll that I had added anticipating just this problem. They knew from previous experiences that the robots were vulnerable to lightning and resistant to physical damage.
So my PCs rescued Khonnir for the sick bay and retreated to Torch to recover and took a couple days before returning (they dealt with Sanvil and following his information, raided Garmen's warehouse, turned off the thing).
The next day when the PCs ventured again to the dungeon. They fought the gargoyle in that room, but not her or the collector and vented off the excess energy - the Torch was lit again. When they returned triumphantly, they discovered that the Foundry had been ransacked and Val had been taken - "you must deliver the transmitter at the Torch by midnight" was on a note.
During the night Meyanda had left the ship, taken over the scrapyard from the gnome and stashed some orc and ratfolk minions there. Then she gathered information about the happenings of the previous day and learned Garmen had been arrested by the PCs and his belongings apprehended. The PCs had ventured again into the caves. She drove the gnome's wagon to the Foundry, ransacked the place but didn't find the transmitter and kidnapped Val instead. They hid in the scrapyard during the day and climbed the hill in the night.
So the last fight was actually in this massive workshop complete with hanging chains, anvils, carts on rails, giant adamantine cauldrons and lots of scattered tools. In the center the massive, flared, Torch - simply ending your turn near it would deal you fire damage. The PCs faced Meyanda, the Collector robot and a smattering of orcs and ratfolks, but they had the help of Khonnir and Val (who almost got disintegrated by the torch but was saved).
The Townsfolk idea is also interesting (specially considering the many Leadership-like feats), but I'd suggest adding some development ideas to the NPCs. Things like: Keira is an herbalist and apothecary. She is also the wife to Hank the Lumberjack, and her husband's company is missing. Hank may be found and rescued (a DM may put him anywhere in the adventure), or maybe they find just the body and bring back his wedding ring. Keira might ask a cleric PC to perform a funeral, and pay by providing local herblore to the PCs (a +2 circumstance bonus on Knowledge (nature) and Survival checks to identify and procure plants in the local region). Later she might name her child after a PC, or even find solace in his/her arms.
Please pretty please make sure to include at least one extremely excited local boy/girl that idolizes the PCs and offers to accompany the as a hireling-sans-payment or apprentice. Make him/her try to emulate the PCs' habits (if the rogue is brooding, the apprentice knits a cowl off his/her extra shirts for extra broodening).
The Deadly Delves looks really promising. I think something along the lines of the latest modules - three short adventures that have tenuous connection (so that they may be ran separately or together) is preferable than a full-on adventure. I think you need a really interesting hook for these sidelines, but the overall structure should be short - a couple of encounters, some exploration/investigation/diplomacy and back to the track. The Witcher 3 has a lot of these really amazing, surprising sidequests that are mechanically simple but often leave you "whoah, THAT happened!".
I'm also really excited by the idea of this AP; ever since I first read the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting I kept the idea of a Nirmathas guerilla-style game and this promises to deliver exactly that.
Those all look really good, Dale, but I have one small suggestion about the bounty hunters:
Since solo encounters pretty much suck, I'd recommend making a small number of bounty hunting antagonist parties. Maybe one that's level 3, one level 7, 10, etc. Make them have compelling backstories that play off each other, and at least one member that might be redeemed/recruited after the battle (a down-on-his-luck mercenary that just took the wrong job, a person in a domineering relationship with another party member that is actually freed by the PCs, etc).
A couple suggestions: Low-level - A rival adventuring party (their patron gave them the false information that the PCs are bloodthirsty murderers and demon cultists), Mid-level - Highly trained bounty hunters working for the Lumber Consortium, High-level - A party of Red Mantis assassins (including warpriest, sohei monk, ranger and slayer).
So a couple months ago I had way too much time in my hands, so I did this.
I took the River Kingdoms map, rotated slightly to match the angle of the Kingmaker maps, adjusted a 12-mile hex according to the map's scale and voilá. Sure it isn't perfect or exact, but ended up good enough for my purposes.
According to my count, Pitax ended up with 68 hexes (discounting the 4 unclaimed hexes of the Thousand Voices and Sarain, which IMC it lost to Mivon). I included 4 cities during the war events: Pitax itself, Mormouth, Littletown and Rushlight (which I figured was a smallish permanent town that boomed during the festival).
James Jacobs wrote:
3) Two way tie: I would revisit book 2 to address concerns of misogyny (at the very least make it clear that what elements ARE in there that are misogynistic are intentional and reflections of bad guys in the adventure the PCs need to defeat) and I would rebuild the sewer exploration portion of the 1st adventure to be a standard map exploration with actual set encounters instead of a needlessly complex "Build Your Own Sewer" rule section that sacrifices interesting encounters in favor of dungeon design theory crafting.
I'm DMing this very adventure and would like to avoid making the female player awkward so I have to ask: What are the misogynistic elements that should be downplayed or addressed?
edit: Edited for clarity
We're at the Fortress of Stone Giants, the players have just started exploring Jorgenfist.
Shalelu Andosana: Revealed as the mother of the half-elf ranger of the group, she accompanied the party until the end of Hook Mountain Massacre when she made peace with the leader of the Black Arrows. Returned to Sandpoint to reinforce its security in the wake of the giant attacks. (Left town years later due to the events of the Jade Regent AP)
In my game Shalelu was the mentor (also secret mother) of Cathryn, the group's female half-elf ranger. She and Bruthazmus were nemesis, having had a long grudge punctuated by violent instances of arrow-shooting and trap-setting. When she noticed the bugbear scouting nearer Sandpoint she sent her apprentice to the town and moved to settle their grudge once and for all but got captured due to the help from Nualia.
She was later rescued by the PCs, who stealthily invaded Thistletop during a black mass held by Nualia and provided a lot of intelligence on the villains. Due to Orik's strangely timid but gentle treatment of her, she pointed out he might be useful.
Orik Vancaskerkin: Since the PCs had invaded Thistletop stealthily before and liberated some prisoners, the dungeon went on high alert. Most of the upper denizens guarded the throne room with the goblin chieftain and that resulted in a huge fight. The party was increasingly impressed with Orik's skill in battle (his nigh-untouchable AC and respectable damage) and at the end of the battle all enemies were defeated but Orik was still standing behind his shield and the party offered him a chance to surrender. He told his story and promised to help the party with information but asked them to please not kill Lyrie (which is the only reason she's alive). Ended up fighting alongside the party when promised a full share of treasure and turned practically into a fourth PC (since we lost one player). Everyone keeps trying to turn him off Lyrie.
Lyrie: Survived Thistletop after Orik asked the party to spare her. Wrapped Orik around her finger, using his affection to convince him to pay for her arcane research and lavish lifestyle in Magnimar. She is probably due to receive some bad news and be left with a couple thousand gold pieces in debt if the PCs convince Orik to leave her.
Erylium: Long battle, ended when an [/i]enlarged person[/i]ed paladin smote evil to gain huge bonuses to grapple. Grappled with no hope of escaping and surrounded by an enraged party, Erylium died squashed.
Nualia: Sadly, was killed. Would love to work on a redemption arc for her, but the party was way too pissed off about the lives lost as her burnt offerings.
Kaven Windstrike: Only survived the revelation of his treachery due to PC insistence and pragmatism (the Black Arrows were severely understaffed). The other Black Arrows all survived too despite me changing the last part of the adventure from a dungeon delve to an attack on the fort which the PCs had to lead, prepare for and survive.
Black Magga: Actually almost killed by the party! Who knew a greatsword evil-smithing power-attacking paladin dealt so much damage? She actually had to run for her life.
So my players have just finished book 5 and got Briar which has organically changed from a bastard sword to an Aldori dueling sword (the weapon favored by the queen). At the very end of the session they let me know they'll be using the legend lore spell on it as soon as possible. As a last disclaimer, I mean to fast forward 10 years from the defeat of Irovetti to the beginning of the blooms so the rulers will actually be coming out of retirement to face this last threat for their kingdom.
Question is: How much information should the spell give them? Any suggestions on how to convey that information as a "legend" instead of "this happened, followed by this"? Maybe frame it into a sort of a children's story or fairy tale (which it incidentally is)?
Does she literally start the game as an inquisitor without class features?
The GM narrated a small prologue before the protest at Aria park and I believe she indeed lost her spells but regained them by joining with the faith of Milani (Shelyn references in her backstory were actually Milani ones, which I didn't know).
Well, on my 3.5 game, the cleric slowly turned from a buffer fighting cleric to a pure caster around level 10. It wasn't a once-in-a-lifetime experience, just the slow realization that while fights need to be won and damage needs to be dealt, there are people focused on doing that and there are many other problems that can be solved by a single spell - which you have it and the others don't.
Hold person has been used as a very simple save or lose at low levels. Blade barrier saved a paralyzed barbarian from cannibalism at the hands of a PC-classed ghoul. The banishing effect of Holy Word, while commonly overlooked, can be really powerful against outsiders - a couple hours ago in our Wrath of the Righteous game, a holy word single-handedly took care of half-dozen mythical salamanders before they even acted - a CR 16 encounter.
Swashbuckler levels are considered fighter levels for the purpose of meeting combat feat prerequisites.
It means that Weapon Specialization, Greater Weapon Focus and Greater Weapon Specialization are on the table and specially Penetrating Strike.
But either Power Attack or Piranha Strike is necessary, though. I myself Precise Strike very often or intentionally provoke attacks of opportunity to Parry/Riposte (generally to also eat away at opponents' opportunity attacks to allow the cleric or wizard to cast his spell/retreat safely).
Variant Multiclassing is also good for that - my Wrath of the Righteous swashbuckler is VMC into Paladin, using Smite Evil for the big fights (always evil, frequently evil outsider). Cavalier would also work.
It's been a while since I've not seen a full caster without Craft Wondrous Item. In one game, the witch makes wands, potions and rings while the cleric makes wondrous and weapons/armor. In other, both the Wizard and Oracle make wondrous items.
One thing I see almost every session is the crafter upgrading one piece of gear - raising the fighter's ring of protection +1 to +2 (or cloak, belt, armor, etc). The crafter's downtime days are heavily disputed between the other group members - we generally tip as well.
Answering the OP, I've seen mostly those "necessary" items being crafted and upgraded, like the "big six". For some reason the wizards in my groups never use their Scribe Scroll properly (last session the wizard had to use a limited wish to replicate a true strike spell to manage hitting an important touch spell).
Skald - The most metal class of all time, bar none. I rebuilt a villain in Kingmaker as this class and the fight was infinitely more interesting. I enjoy this class even if they don't have too much variety in builds.
Glad to see I was not the only one. Mine had the party crying OP during the two sessions they took to kill him (I made that dungeon a running fight through multiple rooms).
Wow, the announcement for Ironfang Invasion blew my mind! Ever since I read the campaign setting for the first time I envisioned a long guerrilla campaign between Nirmathas and Molthune and you guys sure are delivering it! The fact you are developing it is just the cherry on top!
Can you say anything about the AP? Even broad strokes? Are the PCs from Nirmathas, Molthune or anywhere else?
After DMing a very long Kingmaker campaign, I learned to appreciate excel sheets to handle most of the heavy load involved in Kingdom Building. So when I got to the Rebellion part of Hell's Rebels I thought I would help out my DM and hash out a functioning automated sheet to cut down on his work. A few sleepless nights of banging my head on the keyboard in frustration resulted on this and, seeing as I used a LOT of material produced by awesome people at these forums, I'd love to share it with you:
If there are any problems/miscalculations/bugs, please let me know (by posting on this thread or direct messaging me). A few notes about the sheet:
We're only two sessions into the campaign but I really like our line-up (even if we could use another player):
Magnus Corvus Augustus, human brawler (shield champion): Former paladin of Aroden gone to fight in the Everwar, he was trapped in a stasis field in a Thassilonic ruin around Fort Korvosa. Finally freed after 300 hundred years only to find his god dead and his nation corrupted. Found his hometown Kintargo as one of the last places in Cheliax not doomed by diabolism and works to keep it that way. Seeing as he's bound to and simultaneously abhorred by the idea of fighting his "fellow Chelish countrymen", he's vowed to never lift a blade to take a Chelish life. The shield, adorned with the winged eye of Aroden, he kept, using it as a symbol of protection for his fellows and lofty ideals of the greater good for mankind.
Zataria, tiefling ex-Asmodean inquisitor: Taken from squalor by a Asmodean priest, raised to believe her existence was cursed and service to the Dark Prince was her only path available. She infiltrated the cult of Shelyn to destroy them from the inside but found unconditional love and acceptance. Withholding information from the Inquisition she allowed the shelynites to survive, but lost her divine powers in the process. After the Night of Ashes and an enormous guilt-trip at seeing the Thrashing Badger burned to the ground, she found a single red rose in the ruins. With burning purpose in her eyes and the divine backing of Shelyn, she started herself on the path of redemption. Knows she got red on her ledger and seeks to fight against her previous superiors in order to clean it.
Adonatius Tanessen, human bard (arcane duelist): Blacksmith, bon vivant, public orator and free spirit, Adonatius was a public nuissance to his family before Barzillai, and when he vocally questioned their wisdom in allying with the dictator, they publicly shunned him to distance themselves. Wants to see a free Kintargo and reunite with his friend, the bard Shensen.
Egeria, middle-aged human witch: A member of a big family of humble means, Egeria cared for her elders, their children and her chicken coop. Battling bouts of depression due to the many losses of her life (and the declining political and economic status of the city), she was contemplating suicide while observing the black herons fish in the river. One of them sat by her side, and convinced her that a better future was possible and it would provide her with the means to bring it to life. Shen-shen, the black heron, then proceeded to teach her spells of healing and subduing those who would threaten her family. Egeria today fights to make the city a better place for the lower strata of the society, providing a valuable point of view from the streets.
James Jacobs wrote:
Thanks JJ. I myself have returned to the horror genre following your many indications here on the boards and so that's a double thank you.
Hey James, Cloverfield Lane just premiered in my town and I'm thinking about taking my girlfriend to see it. I've been slowly introducing her to horror movies in general (we loved The Witch) but she strongly dislikes depictions of violence against women. The trailer implies an abusive relationship between the characters, so my question to you is: Without spoiling the story, does the movie contain trigger scenes, themes of sexual violence and such? Would you recommend it for a somewhat newcomer to the horror genre?
Wrath of the Righteous spoiler:
Given her free choice of any class/career to follow within the Crusade, which one would a redeemed Arueshalae choose?
Our group is very small (only 3 PCs) so she's a major character. She's been helping us mostly by scouting and providing privileged information about demons/the Abyss; we don't use her as a spy per se since we don't want to subject her to potentially traumatic experiences. Due to the terrible dangers we face, the group pooled a lot of resources to provide her with protective magic items and bring her closer to our power level.
The GM is fine with us running Arueshalae as a fourth PC, and offered us the possibility of rebuilding/retraining her. I've been tasked with doing just that, but I'd rather provide an organic evolution of her concept than just an optimal mechanical choice.
So far I've been leaning towards Ranger (which includes themes of exploration/travel, slight divine magic and demon favored enemies but I'm open to ideas.
One small suggestion on the Spellfire feat/ability: The reaction Absorb Spell is way too good. In itself it could very well be a feat (targeted by a spell, counter as a reaction?); as an incidental means of recharging is just way too much. It also encourages Spellfire users to spend all charges as quick as possible and walk around with 0 charges, thus becoming almost immune to spells.
Make it like 3e: You need to Ready an action to absorb spells as they're cast. It pretty much sucks (you have to be lucky enough that the enemy casts a single-target spell focused on you), but, honestly, the spell-absorption isn't the main draw here.
Compare it to Defensive Duelist and you'll quickly see it never scaling back.
In my experience, the class as-is is not overpowered (in our Wrath of the Righteous campaign it is severely underpowered due to demons and their pesky resistances/immunities/SR) even with Spellstrike.
At mid-high levels they are probably balanced with the rest of the classes due to facing many hurdles to perform their shtick. On the rounds they do manage to crit their shocking grasp they are head-to-head with the pouncing barbarians (provided they don't face energy resistance or fail a concentration or SR check).
You no longer have the image of a warmage casting enveloping his weapon in magic before striking and you lose cool combat spells such as Bladed Dash.
Not that I'm defending Rhedyn's suggested fix (I think it would perform underwhelmingly, since so much of the Magus' efficiency depends on those crits) but that guy would still be "enveloping his weapon in magic" by using the Arcana Pool, Greater Magic Weapon spell and many many others.
Conceptually, the thing that would change is that Spellstrike-less Magus would have to make *gasp* choices on which spell to cast each round. I missed my last attack, should I buff myself more? Maybe an energy resistance spell to protect against the dragon's breath? Or should I capitalize on its fire vulnerability with a scorching ray?
Wolfgang Rolf wrote:
That free attack that seems to be bothering a number of posters can only be done for as long as the magus has spells.
I do not care about the extra attack. I care that that ability pigeonholes an entire class into one true build with little variation (Strength vs Dexterity).
I care that that build needs so many resources (traits, feats, spells, arcana) to function at its basic level that it leaves almost no space for customization.
I care that the concept of a "functional spellcasting warrior" has become reduced to "that guy using a scimitar to deliver shocking grasp criticals".
That's bad design.
First, I love the concept of the sword-and-spell warrior. For me, a spellsword would mingle spell-use with swordplay, buffing while attacking or throwing fire rays. Conceptually, my problem with the Magus is a single ability: Spellstrike.
It is so damn good that it shoehorns an entire class into the cookie-cutter mold of high-damage touch-attack spells fishing for scimitar crits. It forces the whole class to focus on one specific (and boring) kind of spell. If magi didn't have Spellstrike, they would be buffing themselves mid-combat, throwing around a few blasting spells or dispel magic to debuff enemies. We would have buffer magi, blasting magi, debuff magi. Note those are all somewhat possible but are such inferior choices than the regular magus that they are generally ignored. It introduces those awful damage spikes (1d6/level spells were never supposed to crit on a 15) that most people negatively associate with the Magus.
The second part comes from my experience playing alongside one mid-level magus (on Rise of the Runelords) and playing with a high-level one (on Wrath of the Righteous). They tend to be one-trick ponies inside and outside of combat. Their skills are limited (they perform the "arcana" side of skills well enough but that's it), they have very few utility spells. They are too limited to fulfill a wizard's role in a group and too redundant if the party has an actual wizard (their skills simply overlap too much and the wizard will have a better bonus/more skill points/better knowledges).
They depend on too many rolls to function normally in combat. In order to achieve that "big burst", the magus has to:
Most high-level enemies have a lot of incidental resistances, spell resistance and even random immunities. Most demons have damage reducation, SR, electricity and cold immunity and other resistances valued 5 or 10.
A single bad roll can throw your entire turn out and you're left with the rest of your attacks with a low bonus and mediocre damage. When the magus works well, it does it too well for some. The rest of the time it is mediocre.
James Jacobs wrote:
Strange Aeons is the AP after Hell's Venegeance; it's a Lovecraftian-flavored Adventure Path that starts with your PCs being amnesiacs imprisoned in an insane asylum, and follows their investigation into what caused this situation and their growing fight against an eldritch ancient evil.
Is there any chance that the campaign traits are going to be different mental disorders, like "Schizophrenic" or "Pyromaniac"?
I love gish-types, but they always seem to underwhelm compared to either full casters or full martials. It took me like 7 levels to notice my Finesse arcane duelist bard simply didn't compare to the archer ranger or the sword-and-board cavalier in terms of damage. I always thought "Well, when I get to use all my buffs I'll get there." The time finally came and he came short.
At least after that I had found my niche - buffing and supporting the party while dealing medium amounts of damage.