Too lazy, only read the first page and so will post according to original topic.
On the two regular groups I DM, relationships are an important part of the game. The RotRL group has one recently-married PC and two PCs in a relationship, while in the KM group everybody is married or in a stable relationship.
That said, I don't roleplay sex, but I do feel the need to say, in vague terms, how it was, since I believe that is another way to develop or expose an NPC's personality. Things like "he knows what he's doing and is dedicated to getting you there" or "the sex with her is a tantric marathon of pushing your limits that leaves you utterly exhausted but with a big smile on your face" (the latter involving a "friendly" succubus).
I have a gay player, and noticed he didn't involve himself romantically in any of the games I play or GM with him. It occurred to me that might be because I hadn't offered any homosexual options that he could pursue (and maybe he couldn't relate to a heterosexual relationship enough to devote so much attention towards it). The next bad-ass NPC the party encountered ended up developing a relationship to that PC and now the kingdom's High Priest is involved in a high-stakes closeted gay romance, facing the choice of revealing himself and accepting the consequences or living in secret. Much drama was added, and issues the player could relate to were brought up, and the game has been all the better for it.
You could suggest that one of the sorcerers play a Flame Oracle (perhaps with the Blackened curse). Spontaneous casting fire spells with Charisma fits the bill, and a little healing on the side wouldn't hurt. Convince your DM to let the Fire Affinity ability apply on the oracle's Mystery spells and effects.
If the other one plays an Elemental bloodline sorcerer instead of the Primal Fire one, he would have a LOT more versatility (he could take all the other element spells and convert them to fire when facing non-resistant enemies).
I had a similar problem in RotRL, but it was actually the other way around. The group's paladin used a greatsword two-handed and dealt A LOT of damage, enough to single-hit kill most things. But since he's the frontline tank and was getting knocked down a lot, he decided to go on a defensive line, using sword and board.
Even though his AC is kind of unbeatable (the group pooled a little gold to make both his shield and full plate +1), combats are a little more interesting and challenging.
tl;dr: Defense isn't that bad. A too strong offense kills more games than defense.
When I read a module or adventure path installment and find a tough fight (the obituaries threads are my good good friends), I try to provide foreshadowing to let them prepare for it, instead of removing the encounter.
So my party had an easier time on Thistletop despite me grouping up most encounters (since the PCs retreated and came back a couple days later, the dungeon denizens were better prepared). For example:
The Nualia fight included ALL the hounds. Even then no PC failed the saves (they had a paladin providing a +4 and all had good Will saves). The NPCs accompanying them failed, though (Shalelu and a goblin ally).
The goblin ally returned to the party weakened, saying he ran scared into a room with some moving shadows. After a good rest, the party entered, buffed with magic circle against evil and temporarily wielding the magic weapons they had found before (also, the cleric used magic weapon on the ranger's family elven curve blade). Between a paladin smiting evil, a ranger two-handed Power-Attacking and the cleric channeling for a couple rounds, the shadows didn't last 2 rounds. I wouldn't call it easy (they had to move around a lot so one person wouldn't get overwhelmed and had to use a LOT of restoration spells after) but nobody came close to actually dieing (I think the paladin got to 8 Strenght but he had an 18).
So it got really late and I didn't finish the team I started above and then I lost the thread. Continuing:
Thor was first regarded as a madman, ranting about how he "got expelled from Valhalla" and "cursed into a mortal, fragile form to learn humility from the humans" on town squares. During a goblin attack he took a blacksmith's hammer ("a pale imitation of my true weapon: the hammer of thunderbolts") and fought the menace wildly, impressing the realm's Avengers. His claims of lost godhood fell on deaf ears, his eccentric quirks ignored as long as he kept fighting like a possessed man. But then things started getting weird. He presented small, strange powers at first, charging his hammer with electricity and reading the winds. But as he found several magic items he claimed were his "royal regalia, sent from the Heavens as reward for his dedication", it was getting more and more difficult to ignore his boasts of divine blood. Human (or suli focused on electricity) barbarian (titan mauler) 20. He has all the Eldritch Bloodline (Stormborn) feats, granting him the ability to summon a massive 17d6 lightning bolt, add shock to his already powerful hammer of thunderbolts. He can also summon storms with his Stormlord's Helm and throw his massive weapon at enemies (via the belt of mighty hurling). He would benefit from a small touch of DM's fiat replacing the Stormborn's 15th level bloodline ability for the Elemental (air) one (namely flight at 60 ft. speed). At this level using the Suli's racial ability, quickened shock spell-like ability and elemental rage, he deals 3d6 extra electricity damage with any hammer attack (plus another 2d8 sonic and 2d10 electricity on a crit).
You can see I rather like the Ultimate's Thor instead of the regular one.
Hawkeye was only a simple man trying to do good. He traveled far and wide with his varisian artist troupe, honing his performance archery skills until he found a cruel lord who abused both his subjects and the troupe. Inspired by the tales of the realm's Avengers, he donned a circus costume and fought the tyrant in a small guerilla-style conflict. The Iron Man came to defend the lord and succeeded, making Hawkeye run away. The archer, horrified that the realm's heroes would defend a tyrant, fought the Iron Man many times since then, trying to expose the realm's corruption for all to see. One person saw this: the realm's Master Spy, also known as Black Widow. Originally sent to kill Hawkeye in his sleep, she got carried away on his views, finding proof of the lords' corruption. In a famous battle on the Redwood forest, Hawkeye, the Black Widow and the Iron Man fought a battle with constantly-switching sides, until the latter conceded and heard the archer's points. The subsequent attack on the noble manor is forever engraved in the Realm's history, just as Clint Barton's place in the Avengers. Mechanically, I think I'll disappoint you: Human fighter (archer) 20 (come on, it has an ability with his name!). His Trick Shot ability allows him to make maneuvers (disarm, feint, sunder, bull rush, grapple or trip) using a bow (while his feats allow him to do it with minimum penalties - Agile Maneuvers, Improved Precise Shot) without even factoring his many, many specialty magical arrows (which he makes himself with his Master Craftsman feat). Examples: sleep/merciful arrows deal nonlethal damage, dispelling ones to wreak spellcasters, limning reveal invisibles, etc. He really should have at least one out of every possible ranged weapon enchantment in his efficient quiver.
The story was an effort to keep true to Hawkeye's origin as a villain in the comics who later repented and joined the Avengers.
I'd really recommend building Avengers-like characters on your setting, focusing on the essence of the characters instead of one single power or another.
Captain America would be the High Knight of the kingdom, leading the adventurers into quests that further the realm's goals. Human cavalier (granting serious leadership abilities) or fighter (tactician) using said shield feats.
The Black Widow is the Kingdom's Master Spy, a former enemy converted at one of the realm's most diligent agents. She infiltrates enemies' ranks to gather information while waiting on grander quests. Female human monk 3/ninja 17 (between Monastic Legacy and the Unarmed Combat Mastery ninja talent she can fight unarmed and her many many tricks and feats support disarms, grapples and trips).
The Iron Man was the son of a mighty wizard who marveled at the intricacies of the fundamental laws of reality. Studying the plane of Axis and its myriad of Inevitables, he discovered how to channel those mechanical energies into his body, creating a suit of mechanical-magical armor. Human summoner (synthesist) 20 (aside from spells and UMD'd wands of scorching ray, his Greater Eldritch Bloodline (air elemental) gives him flight, electrical blasts from his hands and a 15d6 big bomb).
The Hulk started out as a shy alchemical student buried in his work until his formulas gave him all the power he secretly craved. Then he started to lose his temper and develop a second personality and wreaked havoc on the capital city until the Avengers caught him. Now, suffering from a geas spell, he tries to atone for his sins and recover the love of his wife by fighting threats to the kingdom. Human alchemist (ragechemist, vivisectionist) 9/barbarian 1/master chymist 10 whose routine in combat is to drink an extract of giant form transforming into a Large green troll (complete with regeneration, rend and ridiculous Strenght, natural armor and Constitution).
My girlfriend plays with me on a regular basis but only very rarely DMs. Although she has been playing the game for quite some time, she feels she doesn't know the rules that well (even though to be honest she knows them better than a couple folks at the group). That, coupled with her general shyness, makes her insecure to GM.
We do have a campaign we run on my player's Kingmaker kingdom with low-level adventurers. The GM always rotates, so if I GM a story, she GMs the next, then the other player and so on. So she HAS to GM a bit. But it's not something I see her taking a liking to.
Name of PCs: Flame
Name of PCs: Alec Sarti
It just occurred to me that I hadn't divulged this information or asked your feelings about it, DM Zyren, and I'm sorry for it.
I own the hardback Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition and have read some (maybe most) of the campaign in preparation to DMing. I DM the campaign for one of my groups, and we are at the very end of book 2. Are you comfortable with that at all? I try to separate player-character knowledge and generally err on the side of ignorance, but I'd understand perfectly if you would prefer someone with no knowledge at all.
Zyren Zemerys wrote:
What have you DMed?
Rise of the Runelords, the earlier chapters (the Skinsaw Murders specifically). The ranger's asskicker firepelt animal companion got one-shotted by a crit from a certain Scarecrow (the ranger ran away to survive) and the paladin has been abducted and swapped with a faceless stalker. Fun times!
I expect they'll go to the Shadow Tower next session and have a second round with the Scarecrow. Let's see!
Tired as hell. Summer here means it's either hot, humid or raining (most times two of them, right now the three). Add that to the fact I'm trying to get more exercise and a diet and you have one sad sweaty fat guy.
edit: That might be more of a mental image than you guys asked for. Sorry for that.
How do you feel about firearms? Specifically, I mean to make a cavalier (looking to buff and have leadership abilities), and the Musketeer archetype is the only way to not have a mount (the firearm would only be a "use once in a fight" kind of deal). Alternatively, what do you think about the Inspiring Commander 3rd party archetype?
Glad I could help. Didn't come to my mind to level her up and have her raising undead goblins - that would have been really cool. Specially considering the cleric of Sarenrae with an itchy channel energy trigger.
Consider that the undead will probably not be so simple to defeat - most characters will have to waste at least one attack (or more) on them (a skeleton has 4 HP, but a zombie 12). I suggest using skeletons since your party doesn't seem big on destroyed AOE. They act quickly (high initiative), make a few attacks and get killed by attacks of opportunity. Also, 3 yeth hounds seems too much. Leave one of them as a guard in the bridge or the stairs down. The PCs fight it, learn about its powers/weaknesses, and at the first bay Nualia knows they're here and has time to prepare (casting buff spells, positioning her minions).
That said, it's my personal preference to have one big fight instead of three smaller ones. Specially if it's a dramatic moment such as this one.
Honestly, I feel that the encounter as stated is very very hard on N. Her stat block mentions escape attempts, but in the cramped quarters where she is located that's simply impossible.
I moved her from there to the temple. Since it has two entrances, it at least has a credible escape route (even though she didn't get to use it). Also, that meant I could use the cover of the Faiths of Corruption book as visual reference. "So you open the door and you see this" provoked some chills from the PCs, and they got to have a traditional banter with her before rolling initiative.
Your party is somewhat big, that along with zombies will make for really cramped quarters indeed. I highly recommend using the temple. Put one undead minion on the prison corridor; if she's hurt too much, she can retreat moving past its square (which the PCs can't do) and heal. The PCs will have to probably need to mow down the undead before pursuing.
Leave the undead sitting down as if watching a Sunday mass for added creepiness. When initiative is rolled she yells "Kill them all" and they rise. Seriously, saying it feels awesome.
Some information about the party would help us providing information - you want to have a memorable encounter, not a TPK.
My party had a paladin and a cleric (with protection from evil/magic circle) so the yeth hounds baying were a nonissue (only managed to scare the NPCs the party had recruited along the way). If you party doesn't have anything similar, it can easily mean a TPK.
The players IMC did something similar - they fought the goblins outside, sneaked inside, rescuing Shalelu (that had been captured by Bruthazmus) and retreated to rest. When they returned Thistletop was on high alert - There were hidden goblin sentries who warned Ripnugget when the PCs started crossing the bridge, giving him time to prepare.
They ended up fighting Ripnugget, his mount, 3 commandos, 1 warchanter, 4 regular goblins, Orik and one yeth hound. It was a really difficult fight, but they managed to turn Orik and enlist him in defeating Nualia (they even promised him an equal share of the treasure!).
The second fight was Nualia, 2 yeth hounds and an invisible Lyrie in the temple. Also really hard but ultimately satisfying (specially when she and the party's paladin KOed one another simultaneously).
That said, I second the undead idea. Specially if your party has a cleric (he'll feel awesome burning through the weak undead with his channels). You could also determine that the extra time allowed her to finally free the barghest. The fact that both Nualia and the barghest are evil outsiders makes the yeth hounds' baying pretty scary.
During the Sandpoint raid (and subsequent fights) you could run an 1-on-1 battle between the witch and one lost goblin to keep things interesting (you could roll all initiatives and go round-by-round alternating between her combat and the others) and drive home the point that the goblins pose a threat to the entire area.
Took me a while to remember the subtle differences between editions, so this sheet took me waaay longer than it should.
Concept and backstory:
Arkhen Valeran is an impulsive Valenar elf, fresh from the boat of Aerenal and seeking to make a name for himself. From a young age he has been appointed as a favored scion of a particular elven ancestor, a great hero of the elven revolution known as Greenshade. The glory of receiving the attention of such an important spirit made the boy overly proud and confident in his abilities, and he met every test head-on. He emerged from the rigorous physical training of the Tairnadal as a strong, supple fighter, connected to his guiding spirit in ways few understood – he was known to appear possessed on a couple occasions, fighting with a strength and endurance unmatched by any elf. His skill and confidence were only matched by his arrogance. And so Arkhen was sent to Khorvaire, to wage war on the puny half-races for a couple decades until he had the experience to face the elves’ traditional enemies in the exotic land of Xen’drik.
At the last minute he changed directions. Following his ancestor’s nudges, the elf decided that testing the boundaries of the weaklings wasn’t as dignified a task as chasing out the ancient enemies of the elven race. Defying direct orders from his warband leader, he stowed away a ship headed for Stormreach, eager to hunt down giants and drow in order to make himself worthy of Greenshade’s attention.
The whispers he hears in his meditations have other objectives, though. Greenshade was a silent hunter who stalked the woods, covered head to toe in mud to move past drow sentries and slay them without raising an alarm. He was as stalker and a killer. Arkhen is a gloryhugging, bloodthirsty fool. The spirit nudges the elf to its past hunting grounds, hoping to teach the boy some patience, discipline and humility. If he is to be successful, or if the arrogant boy will die a painful death at the hands of giants only the ancestors can truly know.
Arkhen would be a Valenar elf Barbarian going into the Revenant Blade prestige class from the Player’s Guide to Eberron book. His barbarian rage would actually represent a closer connection to his ancestor during battle, to the point where their two spirits touch and fight like a possessed warrior. Along the way to the prestige class he would likely learn a little about stealth (Hide and Move Silently skills from a ranger multiclass) and hopefully a lot about patience and humility. I look forward to see his development in both personality and mechanics.
With your authorization, Arkhen would use two small alternative rules: the wood elf race described on the bottom of this page to represent the Valenar elf as opposed to Aerenal and Khorvaire elves. The second is the whirling frenzy alternative to the common barbarian rage, to represent his increased combat prowess by receiving the spirits of his ancestors. If you do not allow the first rule (wood elf race) I would have to reassign his ability scores, but if you do not allow the second there is no big loss for the character.
Without further ado, here goes Arkhen’s sheet:
Arkhen Valeran, Blade of the Ancestors
CG Medium humanoid (elf)
Init +3; Perception +
AC 17, touch 13, flat-footed 14 (+4 armor, +3 Dex)
Fort +3, Refl +3, Will +0
Speed 40 ft.
Melee Valenar double scimitar +5 (1d6+6, 18-20)
Ranged throwing axe +4 (1d6+4, 20 ft. increment)
Special Attacks rage (1/day)
Str 19, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 08
Base Atk +1
Skills (16 skill points) Climb +4 (+2 on armor), Handle Animal +2 (3 ranks), Intimidate +3 (4 ranks), Jump +8 (+6 on armor), Listen +6 (4 ranks), Ride +4 (+2 on armor, 1 rank), Survival +4 (4 ranks), Swim +4 (+0 on armor)
Languages Common, Elven
Combat Gear ; Other Gear chain shirt (100 gp), Valenar double scimitar (125 gp), throwing axe (2, 16 gp), backpack (2 gp), 7 gp.
I meant to retreat from this discussion completely but I thought I could provide at least a different perspective on this.
The s~+# that happens up there creates a ripple effect. You guys are a very big and trendsetter country, with a very powerful media. For some reason I know better of your holidays than I know of mine. If a dude gets a couple weapons and shoots out an unprotected school on the USA, sick f!$&s elsewhere are sure to follow (specially on countries with less police protection). This has been one such case.More are sure to follow, sadly.
So I will refrain from making comments about the whole situation at the US since I'm way over my head on this subject. I do not know how much of this ever get on the international media (since I pretty much avoided any media during that time) but we had a case like this on Brazil.
On april 7 2011, a lone young man came back to the school where he studied armed with 2 revolvers (one a .32-caliber Rossi snub-nosed the other a .38-caliber Rossi 971), a speedloader and a lot of years of bullying (caused by girls) on his mind. He identified himself as an ex-student, well-dressed, hoping to provide a workshop for the school. He entered a classroom of 14 year old and proceeded to shoot the students, aiming for the girls. He went from classroom to classroom, until the police arrived on the spot, cornered and shot him. He then, wound on the stomach, shot himself.
With 2 (ilegally-obtained) revolvers and a couple of speedloaders he managed to kill 10 girls and 2 boys between 12 and 14 years of age, shooting over one hundred bullets.
This particular dude had been bullied by girls and got over-impressed with the 9/11 tragedy on the US. He somewhat identified himself with the terrorists and their mindset and purportedly converted to Islam (although I believe he had no idea what that meant and was using it all as a crutch). He shot girls in the head, and boys at their arms and legs. He left a video declaring his intentions (even to the point of declaring his suicide):
"The struggle for which many brothers died in the past, and for which I will die, is not solely because of what is known as bullying. Our fight is against cruel people, cowards, who take advantage of the kindness, the weakness of people unable to defend themselves."
To be sure, I'm not saying the paladin breaks the game. Having experienced one of those for the first time in Pathfinder, I'm finding them extremely powerful in those fields comparing to the rest of the party. I do not claim to know the future, but I only see that disparity growing as the group levels. Even against non-evil enemies, he's still a guy with high AC and saves chucking a +1 keen greatsword (2d6+14) at an enemy and healing himself 3d6 damage per round.
Well, I didn't care much for the paladin in my latest games, until one player decided to play one. The group is level 4 by now, and the paladin is easily the most powerful character in the party (who consists of him, a two-handed ranger, dervish cleric and wizard). That trend will only continue when he gets Divine Bond next level (adding keen to a weapon on level 5 is a big deal).
The thing is, he's not really optimized. He has Power Attack and the Greater Mercy feat, which lets him heal himself 3d6 damage each round. He deals more damage than any party member, has way better saves, and can heal himself as a swift action for 3d6 5 times per day. The AP I'm DMing (RotR) has plenty of evil people (and some evil outsiders/undead) so the Smite is extremely relevant (and it now lasts for an entire encounter!).
I'm not going into the "caster X martial" discussion, but I can easily say that, in the fields of AC, attack bonus, damage, saves, and suvivability, the paladin comes out ahead of the curve. Sure, a barbarian may deal more damage in a rage, but he does not have the crazy saves and auto-heal of the paladin, and rage mechanics actually make him extremely risky (I've had at least one barbarian dying when the rage wore off, and many others near death in the middle of combat).
Erm, not meaning to necro the previous subject, but I figured this would be a good place to ask:
Do any of you guys know of a good, annotated version of the American Constitution? I need to study it in fine detail for my American History class and I'd rather have a look at the original. If it happens to have commentary on the reason for the articles and ramifications of it, the better.
It does feature an awful lot of running. It's also funny as hell.
@Tirion: While it does have combat (and blades slipping into goblins/orcs) there's no blood for some reason. It really feels like a D&D movie (Player: I hit the orc and deal 10 damage. DM: It's dead, you won!). Also, Elrond showing off his Loremaster skills is pure awesome.
I've been taught (by a Brazillian professor teaching USA History, so take it with a grain of salt) that since the US didn't have a regular army at the start of the revolution, militia actions were invaluable. The people were armed and since they gained their freedom that way, they pushed for keeping that right (although I've always thought that did that preparing for a hypothetical takeover by the other american federations).
I'm feeling kindda shy about this, so I'll follow your lead.
I'm Rune, 27, college student (majoring in history), engaged. I'm from Brazil, actually, though mainly because of years of reading and videogames, I can read and write a fairly good English. I'm the main DM on the groups I play, and I play pbps to get that player experience I crave so much. I also collected Marvel comic books when growing up and recently begun anew due to my fiancée's sudden interest (The Avengers movie, man!). We also watch a couple shows together (Battlestar Galactica, Dexter, Game of Thrones and recently the dreadful Arrow).
I started on RPGs with White Wolf's Vampire the Masquerade which was a really big hit here in Brazil for some reason. From then I played AD&D 1st edition with a friend on high school. When 3rd edition hit the shelves I knew I tried my hand at GMing and haven't stopped since (my fondest memories were playing with some books translated into Portuguese and some in their original English). I began a Forgotten Realms campaigns which still goes on (extremely slowly, since the group now has jobs/families to care for).
I like the exotic options in their places (like a Skull and Shackles campaign, for instance). I like Runelords precisely because it starts in a small town with residents trying to protect it, and on the process turning into Big Damn Heroes. I've always meant to play a down-to-earth hunter or farmer with a house and family in town, who goes adventuring but always dreaming of returning home to his family.