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Shackles Pirate

The Dread Pirate Hurley's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 390 posts (2,685 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 Pathfinder Society character. 16 aliases.


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@DM Default
Okay, I'm pretty sure I understand now. The clarification about unleashing your powers was very helpful. Infinite Powers acts as wildcard access to an ability that would be useful in the situation at hand, at the cost of hastening me towards my doom. Likewise, Dark Visions acts as a free question at the same cost, etc. etc. for the others. They're abilities, but I can only use them when I get access to them by filling my doom chart. At the start, I have one available to me. And unlike most other abilities, using them isn't free because I must advance the doom track each time.

With that understanding, Infinite Powers seems like the best one to start with. It plays very nicely with the discharging.

@DM Default
Upon a closer reading of the Doomed playbook, I'm supposed to start with a doomsign already marked. I'm considering the Infinite Powers doomsign that allows me to pick an ability from any other playbook one time. My understanding is that Infinite Powers is a move I can use similar to Unleash Your Powers, but it specifically uses the other ability that I chose, which doesn't change. Is that correct?

@GM Cwethan
Thanks! I just realized I should check the Campaign Tab. It looks like my nemesis could mesh pretty well with the story about how the team came together.

My vote is innocent rat child, if that helps at all.

@GM Cwethan

I certainly wouldn't complain if that were the case. I think we've still got at least one contender on their way, though. And I agree with DM Default, the genderbend is an interesting direction to take! Even Jane Foster didn't have to deal with that, and it's definitely relatable for a postmodern superhero teen.

Thanks for the feedback!

Thoughts for development/revision:
I'll develop the Nemesis a bit more. I wanted the situation to be similar to what it might be like if Lex Luthor was Superman's dad. Mom may not be a supervillain in her own right, but being hunted by her company so that they can study Eli and his unexpected powers is just as bad as if she were a superpowered freak bent on his destruction.

I'm not sure if the Nemesis is usually a distant figure that doesn't often make an appearance on-screen, but I like the idea of Mom keeping tabs on Eli and possibly even contacting him occasionally via her lab computer at suitably dramatic moment, such as taunting him after a hard fight, or even congratulating him and his friends from time to time. While Eli definitely wants to stop her and make sure she never gets the chance to do... well, whatever it is she wants to do with him, he's also dealing with his abandonment issues and can't bring himself to completely cut ties with her. For her part, she might think that what's she's doing really is best for her son. The powers she tried to give him don't work, and the ones he has instead are killing him. There's valuable data to be collected, but there's hope for a cure for the problem as well, so that the next subject is healthier, functions properly, and behaves themself. Heck, there's potential for a great story in there about overcoming the Doom by getting captured and escaping sometime later as a Bull.

Doom-wise, the discharges are the main thing that's doing him in. As such, I imagine that they would be a somewhat common side-effect of rolling misses and such. Am I correct in thinking that they ought to be something he deals with once an issue at minimum, especially during an important fight? In the first draft, Eli's a bit insecure, but not really all that melodramatic. But he's clearly got emotional issues to deal with, and the psychology is an important part of the character. I like the idea of Eli using his powers in his downtime to cope with life, potentially even being addicted. After all, he can effortlessly change the cocktail of neurotransmitters flowing through his body to make himself feel better, even if sometimes it doesn't quite work right, and there's always an eventual come-down when his body tries to get back to a normal equilibrium. And that's not even touching what he can do by creating his own little world of psychic constructs on false memories to escape into. That should give Eli plenty to work with in terms of being melodramatic and inciting his own drama.

Alright, here's the first draft for Eli Heppner, a.k.a. Bioshock, using the Doomed playbook. I'm still getting a handle on the whole Nemesis thing, so while I've defined one, I'm definitely open to any suggestions for improvement. That seems like one of those things that shapes the whole story, and I feel more comfortable seeking input about stuff like that. I grabbed the template you posted on the original recruitment thread and filled it out, and that's followed by a briefish bit of exposition framed as Eli talking about himself to the school psychologist.

Bioshock statblock:

Hero Name: Bioshock
Real Name (if different): Elijah Heppner
Abilities: Superhuman strength and speed, Memory manipulation, psychic constructs
Look: Man, White, haunted eyes, unassuming clothing, no costume


Danger : +1
Freak : +1
Savior : +1
Superior : 0
Mundane : 0


Have Influence on:

Team Moves
Triumphant Celebration - When you share a triumphant celebration with someone, give them Influence over you and spend 1 Team from the pool to clear one box on your doom track.

Share a weakness - When you share a vulnerability or weakness with someone, give them Influence over you and ask if they honestly think there’s hope for you. If they say yes, mark potential or clear one box of your doom track. If they say no, mark a condition or mark your doom track.

Write down any current advancements.


When did you first learn of your doom?
About a year ago, after my first 'discharge'. It hurt in a way I'd never felt before, so I ran a biometric scan. That's when I found the first bits of cellular damage that weren't healing.

Where did you get your sanctuary?
Literally, I found my mom's secret lab in the basement.

Who is your nemesis?
My mother. She left Dad and me when I was ten. Nowadays, she's a big-shot working for [Insert Megacorp here] running their R&D department. Don't get me started on the freaky stuff she's doing for them.

Why do you oppose your nemesis?
I mean, isn't that what teenagers are supposed to do? Oppose their evil scientist parents? My therapist says I'm lashing out in response to feelings of abandonment, but I feel like that misses the point where she's an evil scientist with a whole megacorp's R&D branch worth of resources at her disposal.

Who, outside of the team, is crucial to defeating your nemesis?
Right now, it's just me and Dad. Most other people look at me like I'm crazy when I try to convince them that [Insert Megacorp here] seriously needs to be stopped. Besides, she hurt us both when she left. Dad doesn't talk about it, but I know he's hurting inside.

Why does the team matter to you?
These are the first people I've met since I discovered my powers that have really accepted me. And they don't even look at me like I'm crazy when I talk about how evil [Insert Megacorp here] is. At least, not most of the time.

We'll answer these questions in discussion.


You’re doomed. Your powers may be killing you, or maybe you’re hunted ruthlessly, or maybe you embody an apocalypse. But one way or another, your future is grim. What brings your doom closer?

Overexerting yourself, facing danger alone

You have a place where you can rest, recover, and reflect upon your powers. Choose and underline three features of your sanctuary: a library of valuable tomes (mostly advanced science and medical textbooks), a powerful computer (mom's computer, with all of her research and active subscriptions to many exclusive research services, news wires, and deep web resources), healing equipment (a special biometric scanner that can perform diagnostics and assessments that a normal doctor wouldn't think or be able to perform)

Choose and underline two downsides of your sanctuary: draws dangerous attention (Mom can remotely monitor activity on her computer), location known to many (I maybe should have been more careful when I was telling everybody that I found a secret lab in my basement...)

The first appointment of many:
My mother? Isn't that the first question EVERY shrink asks? Look, Mom left years ago to pursue her career as an evil scientist with a megacorp. Rumor has it she's climbed pretty high up the ranks, and a lot of it had to do with me. See, I'm her pet project. I wasn't born with powers, I was engineered. Dad never wanted me to know, tried to hide it from me for years why Mom left. But I found her lab. An actual secret lab, in my own basement. It was loaded with crazy equipment and a big bookshelf packed with textbooks. It took me a few years before I was actually able to break into her computer, but that's where I found her papers - about me. I found her lab notes too. As hard as the papers were to read, it was the lab notebook that really messed me up. I don't remember how many times she referred to unborn me as 'the subject'. Barf city, right? Hah, I remember, back when I was like six years old, I kept asking my parents if I was adopted, every day for months. I was obsessed, I just couldn't believe they were my real parents. As I got older, I kinda brushed it off, you know? It's just a phase every little kid has for awhile. But maybe it wasn't a phase. Maybe little six year-old me knew something I didn't want to notice. Mom was always a bit cold. Clinical I guess you might say. Not exactly the apron-and-cookies type. More like the labcoat-and-special-homework type. It took me years to find out that other kids' parents weren't making them learn algebra in 4th grade. So maybe, deep down, I always knew there was something weird about my birth. But test tube science experiment baby wasn't really on my radar, know what I'm saying?

So I've got electric eel DNA. That's my big secret. Kinda freaky, right? But, it's not really that weird, compared to all the other stuff it could have been. I mean, this is Halcyon City we're talking about. So I generate bio-electricity. Problem is, the eel DNA didn't take as well as Mom wanted. Thanks, CRISPR. The organs are underdeveloped, so I can't produce any high voltage or anything. You know, sometimes I think that's why she left. Like I'm not good enough for her or something, you know? MAybe she's out there making more test tube babies so she can fix whatever went wrong with me. But that's so whack, 'cause there's nothing wrong with me! Does she even know about my powers? Nothing in her notes ever said anything about these microcurrents. Nothing about how I can surge my nervous system with that tiny bit of electricity that I can make. Nothing about how I can flood my body with adrenaline and lift up a car, or how I can dump an entire gland's worth of dopamine to help kill the pain when I finally come down and my muscles have partially separated from my skeleton. Nothing about how I can stimulate my nerves, and trick my brain into seeing her standing there, into hearing her voice telling me for once that she loves me, trick my skin into feeling what I only imagine a mother's hug is supposed to feel like. Man, that sounds pathetic, doesn't it?

But maybe she knew something after all. See, there's this machine in her lab that analyzes my body, spits out all kinds of stats and biometric data. That's how I discovered my powers in the first place. I first noticed some weird discrepancies in my body's electric resistance, and then I found some unexplained brain activity that couldn't be linked to anything. Turns out my powers had been running in the background for years, healing me a little bit faster and better when I scraped my knee, or when I sprained my wrist, or when I broke my collarbone. But it wasn't until I started getting into self-hypnosis that I found I could control those microcurrents. It was a weird phase, I'll admit. It was the summer I turned thirteen, I had finally gotten into my mom's computer and I was researching all kinds of weird stuff. I found some crazy website where people were talking about training their psychic powers. it was full of text files, amateur how-tos, and scientific articles from bogus journals. Rumor had it one of the mods was an actual superhero. I never did open my third eye or awaken any other psychic powers, and my kundalini is definitely still coiled around the base of my spine, but suck it Peter Betzen, I still got freakin' super powers out of it! But I digress, as they say. I started using my powers, testing their limits, experimenting with the applications. I mean, you would too, right? You find out you have super powers, what's the first thing you do? Take 'em out for a spin!

But every rose has its thorn, or at least that's how the song goes. Turns out, my powers are killing me. Slowly, like really slowly. I'm pretty sure I'm not gonna keel over tomorrow or next week or anything like that. But it's wearing my body out faster than normal. See, those electricity organs, my batteries I call 'em, have been getting a workout, and according to my latest scans, they might even be growing a little bit. But it's not an efficient process. I eat a ton - we're talking eight to ten thousand Calories a day minimum, and that's just a normal day. I know I'm a growing boy, but you can't tell me that's normal! The background microcurrents wer fine, but ever since I started using them actively, my cells have been oxidizing at a quicker pace. Basically, I'm getting old without getting old, you know? I'm still learning to manage my powers, and now that my batteries are getting more use, they sometimes get full for some reason and discharge all at once. I'm still trying to figure out why it happens and control it, because those discharges can be dangerous. Aside from making my body do stuff I don't want it to, they rapidly accelerate my cellular degeneration. On their own, the rate at which my powers damage my cells is mostly offset by the way the microcurrents stimulate my body's natural healing. It would probably catch up to me sometime in my early twenties when I hit adulthood, biologically speaking, but for now it isn't that big of an issue. But these discharges cause permanent damage, and so far I haven't found any way to heal it. Honestly, I'm scared I might end up with cancer or something if it keeps happening.

So that's me. Bioshock. Part human, part eel, part human baggage train. Sometimes I wonder about the proportions, you know? I live at home with Dad, Mom's off somewhere probably managing some freaky government project to engineer killer bacteria that eats toxic waste and turns it into laser beams or something. Dad's in on my secret, natch. I tried to hide it for awhile, but it was pretty pointless. Besides, if I hadn't told him, it would have been a little tough to get him to enroll me here at Halcyon High, right? I'm sure I'm not the weirdest you've seen. Please tell me I'm not the weirdest you've seen. I'm just here to ace my classes, make some friends, and maybe somehow figure out this whole supoerhero thing. Is that too much to ask? But that's the bell. Thanks for the chat, doc. Write me a hall pass?

This sounds too fascinating to pass up on. It's always interesting to see what non-Pathfinder games are running on the boards.

I had some questions about how powers work; the playbooks give you guidelines as to how you select them, but I take it that it's more-or-less free-form beyond the bare-bones mechanics? So many hyphens! Looking through the gameplay thread should be illuminating. Do the Abilities come with extra rules that aren't included in the Playbooks you linked?

I'm interested in submitting something for the Doomed playbook, and I'd like to run the concept by you before doing a write-up. Conceptually, I'm going for powers based on bio-electricity and micro-currents. The idea is that the hero generates and controls small amounts of bio-electricity to stimulate his and others' nervous systems, sometimes to ridiculous extremes. If he needs to be strong, he can force his body to pump massive amounts of adrenaline and temporarily overcome his normal limitations (superhuman strength and speed). He can also alter his and others' consciousnesses by overriding their sensory systems and to create false sensations in any of the 5 major senses (psychic constructs, possibly memory alteration as well).

Some questions - I'm not entirely sure what vitality absorption is meant to be. Is it like sapping health or life force from other people? And is there any way to confer some powers on others temporarily, even if it's not something accessible until it's unlocked later? I'm not sure what the advancement that allows you to take a move from another playbook; are moves the same as abilities, or are they in a separate section of the rules?

Lucas Bot

Declaring a Pinhole Gambit as a swift action, using Disarming Shot as a standard action.

Lucas returns fire on the officer, aiming to take the crossbow right out of her hands.

Shortbow: 1d20 + 6 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 6 + 4 = 18 +4 bonus from Pinhole Gambit.
Arrow: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3 piercing
Thunderbolt Stance: 1d6 ⇒ 1 lightning

Disarm using Sleight of Hand: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (12) + 7 = 19

If the attack is successful, Atsadi regains one maneuver and the officer takes a -3 to AC until Lucas's next turn.

Atsadi Bot

Terrifying Blow: 1d20 + 5 + 1 ⇒ (14) + 5 + 1 = 20
Damage: 2d6 + 4 ⇒ (2, 5) + 4 = 11

Enemy must make a DC 14 Will save vs. Frightened for one round and 1d6 ⇒ 4 extra damage.

Atsadi Bot

Atsadi has a lot of complicated powers and I'm not sure what's available and what's not, so we're going to make a simple attack with the greatsword, shall we?

Attack: 1d20 + 5 + 1 ⇒ (7) + 5 + 1 = 13
Damage: 2d6 + 4 ⇒ (1, 6) + 4 = 11

I expect that Skyler would still respond to an email, as directed above.

Neat! Refreshing doesn't reset the quiz, though. Maybe add a button at the end to send you back to the beginning for re-takes?

Dot! I'm considering an Unchained Summoner with a Psychopomp eidolon. I like the idea of having the sentient spectre of inevitable demise haunting a small child, helping it in every way it can if only to hasten it toward an untimely end.

That's hilarious, yet terrifying.

I have some shopping left to do. I've got three brothers; one of them is easy to shop for, but I have no idea what to do for the other two. It's getting cold here too, but that's to be expected in Kansas.

Per the "miracle" that was discussed above,

I don't understand how it's not miraculous that she was able to recall the General's wife's dying words. Are we invoking quantum reverse-causality? From my understanding, that information arrived from nowhere in temporal paradox fashion. The only way the narrative has internal consistency is if time flows identically both forwards and backwards and causality is irrelevant, along with some very hard determinism.

I also totally missed the part where she made an on-screen decision to have the child. And I definitely don't understand why she made the choice to tell her husband about their child's disease in the way that she did when the implication was that it was that particular way of going about presenting said information that led the demise of their marriage.

This sounds like a fun exercise! Alright, I've got some questions.

How close are your fey to mythological fey? Do you have the Seelie/Unseelie Courts? It sounds like, if you did, it would be more of a Summer Court and a Winter Court situation.

You use the Knights of the Round Table as a comparison. How much do you want to lean into the Grail lore and the Camelot flavor for your story?

I've got a few ideas that could be elaborated on, but they depend a lot on the answers to the above questions. In any case, I'm intrigued by this set-up, insofar as it casts the fey in some way as an active force with their own agenda that has real implications for the world. So often fey simply are and they rarely seem to do anything besides help/hinder mortals for their own amusement. As such, it's certainly a viable choice to make the Winter Witch and the Winter Queen one and the same, whereas under the more strict mythological paradigm I wouldn't use the fey as main antagonists in this manner.

Concerning your third point, have you decided that freezing Olgrimm is actually sparing him, or are you open to other interpretations? Depending on your campaign's cosmology and/or the particular views and philosophies of the Winter Witch, it may actually be a "fate worse than death", or at least prolong death in an unpleasant fashion. To that end, the question of "Why?" could be simply that it amused her to do so, or to punish him for a personal offense. If you do like the idea of it being a (small) mercy, perhaps there's a possibility of a love story angle? Did the Winter Witch actually kill anybody during her reign of terror? If not, perhaps killing is something of a magical moral event horizon that she's not willing to cross. Or perhaps she was saving Olgrimm for later, either to be killed later or used for other plans or as part of an internal conflict she might be having with herself.

This "winter of her heart" bit is awesome, and I love how evocative it is of that certain kind of magic that permeates post-Celtic mythology (like the King Arthur myths of Britannia). If the Bane of Sorrow will end the winter of their queen's heart, deciding what the winter of her heart means will help us to form a more concrete idea of the Bane of Sorrow. If you like the Seelie/Unseelie (or Summer/Winter) Courts flavor for the fey, perhaps this is an opportunity to add an interesting twist to the classic paradigm. Maybe ending the "winter of her heart" will cause a transformation and the Winter Queen will become the Summer Queen. That would play well with the idea of the Winter Witch having some sort of internal conflict, as these two aspects of her identity struggle for primacy. Along those lines, perhaps ending the winter of her heart is a little more involved than merely retrieving the Bane of Sorrow, and Olgrimm might be a necessary part of whatever it is that has to happen to fulfill it.

It's a good ol' Wormwood reunion! Good to see you again, Aku.

I won't promise that I'll submit anything; I understand your wariness about people stretching themselves too thin over multiple PbP games. But if I start putting ink to paper and magic happens, I won't stand in its way ;)

Saethori wrote:
The Dread Pirate Hurley wrote:
There's no such thing as being bound by "what the character feels", because you control that.

I honestly wonder what that feels like, to be completely detached and in control of a character.

As a writer and GM, I have created over a hundred characters, each with a distinct personality. I don't have that level of control over a single one of them. Each one has their own goals and aspirations, and while I can guide them to certain things, I honestly couldn't force any one of them to do something "out of character".

So I really do wonder how it feels.

I can sympathize with creating characters that are vivid enough that they "have a mind of their own". However, if they only ever have one way of seeing the world, if there's only one course of action that could ever make sense to them in a given situation, that's a lack of depth. It's a very pretty, but very flat, picture.

Consider that you yourself are a living, breathing human being. Are you only ever capable of seeing one perspective? When confronted with difficult circumstances, do you ever feel conflicted? Have you ever been in a situation where you were enough in control of yourself that you could make a conscious decision about how to feel about and react to that situation? Maybe something happens that makes you feel both happy for a friend but sad for yourself? And you could choose how to respond to that conflict?

People rarely have just a single overriding feeling governing their behavior. So why should our characters?

EDIT: To add something more for the OP, there are other ways to play a vengeful sort without actually exacting vengeance. Perhaps you like the idea of a petty Calistrian witch. If she's so petty, she probably holds a lot of grudges. Maybe it gets to the point where there's so many that she can't even keep track of them all, and some of them simply fall through the cracks. You might be able to remember that you were mad at somebody, but maybe you forgot why. And once you realize that you've forgotten why, it's a little harder to rationalize the vengeance. And if you can't rationalize the vengeance to yourself, it's practically blasphemy to exact it in the name of Calistria. Vengeance has to have a purpose, otherwise it's just random acts of meanness. There's probably a god for that, but Calistria's not your gal.

This is one of the most well-developed re-recruitment posts I've ever seen! I've got some questions for you.

How much leeway do we have with fluff here? This is clearly not Golarion, and it looks as though Golarion religions are not in play. If I were so inclined, is an ancestor-worshipping elven oracle feasible?

Also, is the ring supposed to be mysterious to us, or are you looking for the applicants to create some backstory for the ring we have possession of?

I'm looking through the info on your campaign tab. Should this prospective PC be a member of the Consortium of Light, or can they choose to be from a different group such as the Perfect Circle?

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If you, as a player, don't think that PvP would be a fun way of handling the situation, then find a different outlet for your character. There's no such thing as being bound by "what the character feels", because you control that.

We don't have much info on the specific situations in question here, so we don't know if your character was asking for help and the rest of the party explicitly denied that help or if it was more that they had other stuff going on at the time or what. CN might be selfish, but they might also be a self-sufficient type. Your character survived - might that actually prove that she didn't need their help anyway? Why does your character interpret the party's actions as a personal slight against her?

Furthermore, is this really something big enough to even be worthy of Calistrian vengeance? Calistria is vengeful, but that's different from being petty. In fact, petty vengeance might be condemned for cheapening acts of meaningful vengeance. Do you castrate your lover for glancing twice at another attractive person as you walk down the street? No, you wait until you have proof that they're two-timing on you. Then you ensure that they contract venereal disease and spread it to their partner, and arrange for their tryst to be exposed in the most humiliating and publicly devastating way imaginable. Ideally, both of their lives (or at least their reputations) are destroyed, and neither of them is going to be getting very much action on account of public knowledge that their no-no zone is a no-no zone.

Calistrian justice should be saved for those who really, really deserve it, because that is a sting to be savored.

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[Raúl Juliá voice]For you, the day Bison beat you with a crowbar was the most important day of your life. But for me... it was Tuesday Friday.[/Raúl Juliá voice]

Atsadi Tonga wrote:
So what you're telling us is that we don't want to lose initiative, and should put Jeggare in front to take max damage first so the rest of us can run?

I have no idea where you're getting that idea. Maybe there was an unfortunate lost-in-translation moment ;)

Also, remember that idea I had for a Dahak dragon cultist? There's a counterpart to that concept that doesn't have to be CE by default. There's a copper dragon ghost in Rahadoum that has an ongoing feud with the cult of Dahak. He occasionally dispatches mortal agents, which would require one to travel to the Shackles to battle the cult. Rahadoumi copper dragon sorcerer pirate anyone?

It might be helpful to explain the daytime/nighttime action system and how all that works. If you feel like throwing it into the Campaign Discussion tab, here's an example that you could copy.


In that case, are pistols going to be more common, or is there a reason that Lucas has experience with and access to firearms?

@DMRaven I've got no problems with undead. I'm not sure how the Conjuration line helps though, as that seems to lend itself to summoning a single monster rather than large groups of them.

@Felix Ambrose has decent Dex. I was thinking of just giving him a crossbow (once he finds one) and calling it good. Archery is a great combat style, but it requires a lot of investment to really shine. I'll be doing what I can with spell selection to help mitigate ranged threats. If it's really that big of an issue, I can swap out Swashbuckler for Fighter and switch-hit with the excessive feats.

Constant dungeon crawling is something that makes Diablo difficult to port over to tabletop gaming. I'm trying to skew closer to Diablo II with a lot of overland areas, so I'm doing a lot with hexcrawling. I've also started to use hexes in place of a fully-mapped dungeon. Each hex has to include some kind of interesting feature, whether it be an encounter, a set of treasure caches, a tactically useful dungeon feature, a shrine, or a quest-related event. I find that it works a lot better to emulate the feel. Plus, if I make the tables, I can even generate the dungeon procedurally. [OOC]WHY AM I ONLY JUST NOW THINKING OF THIS?!?!?[OOC]

I've copy-pasted Ambrose's statblock from Notepad++ into a Google Doc. I don't have a "blank" template, I just copy-paste and edit the content. Hopefully that will be acceptable.

@DMRaven I built Ambrose with the assumption that we're using background skills. He'll also have to acquire a crossbow at some point.

Over the last year, it's been mostly PbP, and mostly PF, for me. There was an attempt at getting the gang back together for a sequel to TLV, but the GM disappeared and it fell apart. Though we did get a Sixth Ranger out of it.

As for IRL gaming, a friend of mine tried his hand at creating his own system, so we played a bit with that, and now I'm GMing a Diablo game using PF.

I've never played Savage Worlds, but Deadlands always sounded cool. I do have a passing familiarity with Dungeon World, though. There was a Legend of Zelda game set during Link's 7 Year Itch Sleep that used it here on the boards. It sadly collapsed before getting very far.

I don't think I spent enough time with it to form a concrete opinion, but I will say that the character generation didn't appeal to me. It felt like the free-for-all that 3.5 turned into with an overdose of classes, combined with a lack of cohesive editing oversight (I think most of the class packages were created by the community? But it seemed like that's how the game was supposed to work?). I typically like rules-light systems, but I'm not sure that works when the emphasis is on dungeon crawling.

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Aside from the examples already mentioned, Rovagug provoked a war between the gods that resulted in many deaths on both sides. The names of the dead gods are long forgotten, but we know that Rovagug was opposed by Abadar, Apsu, Asmodeus, Calistria, Dahak, Desna, Dou-Bral (later became Zon-Kuthon), Erastil, Gozreh, Pharasma, Sarenrae, and Torag. And they maybe couldn't defeat Rovagug even then, as Rovagug was imprisoned rather than killed outright. It is strongly hinted that Golarion is his prison, and Asmodeus has the only key.

Lore on the gods of Golarion is strewn throughout the product lines that cover Golarion. If it's not part of the Core line, there's a good chance it's got deity-related lore. Some of the main sources besides the Inner Sea World Guide and Inner Sea Gods are the Book of the Damned line of books and the Adventure Paths. While the deity articles presented as backmatter in the AP issues were reprinted and expanded in Inner Sea Gods, the info about Rovagug that I posted above originally comes from the inside covers of the Legacy of Fire AP.

The PathfinderWiki is a searchable lore wiki, with helpful citations that can help you find Paizo products that contain the material you're looking for.

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I'm dropping by to voice my support for pepperoni and pineapple as the best combination. It's the only thing in this thread that I care about, or am likely to care about. Pineapple is srs bzns.

On pizza, it has to be canned pineapple, though.

In that case, we should discuss firearms. The default assumption in Golarion is Emerging tech level around Alkenstar and very rare everywhere else. I've always liked that, but what do the rest of you think?

Does anybody see any obvious deficiencies with the party spread of our proposed builds thus far? The only thing I can think of is that we might need to consider ranged attack options, but that seems like it will be less of a problem in S&S than in most other APs.

Alright, Spell Focus (Conjuration) has been replaced with Acadamae Graduate.

Also, I'm throwing renegade Dahak cultist (dragon-blooded sorcerer) on my wishlist of NPC crew members to recruit (also known as back-up characters).

Polynesian is a fun vibe to play with :) Have you seen Maori war dances? The New Zealand All-Blacks soccer/football team does one before their games. And they said Perform (dance) would never work for Inspire Courage.

IIRC, Razor Coast has a fair amount of Polynesian-sourced material that could be useful for expansion. For that matter, Fire As She Bears is a straight-up better system for handling naval combat than the ones Paizo provided for S&S.

@Felix Since you're looking at dragon flavor, there's a dragon cult in the Shackles that worships Dahak, an evil dragon deity. I wish I had remembered that earlier.

EDIT: @GM Rednal I've found a feat called Acadamae Graduate that would fit Ambrose nicely. It's from the CotCT Player's Guide, which means it's from D&D 3.5. Is it okay to take that?

EDIT 2: @DMRaven There's also a novel, Skinwalkers, that might be worth checking out.

From what Raven's planning, it sounds like we may have a party member that can give you a tail, at least for a little while :D

Quick question, why does Lucas only resist cold and not fire and electricity as well?

I always liked to imagine the Thrashing Dragon maneuvers to be something like capoeira. A Bonawut capoeirista is one of my many back-up concepts.

I think there are probably feats that let you do lethal damage with unarmed strikes.

EDIT: Improved Unarmed Strike allows you to do lethal or non-lethal damage at your pleasure.

To be fair, everything above the asterisk break was already written, and I only had to expand the second portion from a (much) shorter version from previous iterations of the background.

He's still only my second favorite PC, though. We'll see if he can knock Rolando out of the top spot. I daresay party interaction is an important factor in that ;)

@Felix I might swap Dwarven out for Varisian. I don't think I had actually done anything with the Varisian language like you did for Orcish. My instinct would be to substitute Romani, but I haven't been able to find much in the way of translation materials for Romani. Romani is actually more of an Indian language, while Romanian is a Romance language; they're pretty different. Still, Romanian should be a fine source for Varisian. I've got some ideas about extpanding it, depending on how in-depth you want to go with it.

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Alright, here's the background portion. Statblock to follow. Right now I'm favoring wizard/swashbuckler with the Inspired Blade and Noble Fencer archetypes.

Wall of text:
Ambrose straightened his shirt, making small adjustments as he walked through the halls of the Jeggare estate. He had been summoned to his father's study moments before, and judging by the servant's manner, it had to be something important. Ambrose had been anticipating this for some time now, years, really. It was finally time for the meeting. There came a time in every young heir's life when his father, a shrewd and wealthy master of mercantilism, would send for his son and draw up the contract that would begin the transfer of power from father to son. Naturally, there would be a transitional period during which the son would work under the father, learning the ins and outs of the family business. And, of course, sometimes those periods could last for many years until the father finally retired gracefully in old age. But there was no doubt in Ambrose's mind that, once he stepped through the wide oak double doors of his father's study, it would only be a matter of time before it was his study. Approaching the doors, he paused to admire the brass handles. They were a matching set, an imp and a pseudodragon locked in an eternal struggle that reached a ceasefire only when the doors were open and resumed once they were closed again. Ambrose tugged on his white gloves, running his fingers over the red pentagrams emblazoned on the back, and knocked.

"Come in, come in," came the voice from the other side of the door. Obeying, Ambrose threw the doors open, interrupting the battle for his own personal glory. Confidently, he strode into the study where his father sat at his grand desk, head bent down over an important-looking document. Behind him, the window's rich velvet curtains were drawn back, offering a spectacular view of Korvosa beyond. Ambrose could barely keep from grinning as his father, Lord Aloysius Jeggare, looked up at him, dropping his quill back into the inkwell on his desk.


"Father." Ambrose did his best to imitate his father's stoic bearing and somber tone of voice, but he lost the battle as his father wordlessly handed him the document.

Ambrose's grin fades as suddenly as it appeared as he reads the document, an expression of confusion replacing it. "I don't understand."

"Those are your orders." Lord Jeggare laced his fingers together, folding his hands on the desk in front of him. No hint of mirth tugged at the corners of his mouth to betray a joke.

"You cannot be serious," Ambrose protested, though he could see for himself that his father was very serious indeed. The document he held in his hand was no laughing matter. Instead of the ownership contract he had been expecting, his father had handed Ambrose orders assigning him to a junior officer's post aboard one of his merchant galleys, the Imp's Purse. "You are pressganging me?!"
Lord Jeggare pinched the bridge of his nose between thumb and forefinger, wincing and sighing. Suddenly, he appeared very weary. He looked at his son, not unkindly, but pushed well past his limits.

"Ambrose, I understand that things have been... difficult for you as of late. I have tried to be patient with you, shown you leniency more times than can be counted. But I cannot allow it to continue. After what happened in Egorian, after you disgraced our family! Starting brawls, Ambrose?"

"It was not a brawl, father, it was a duel. A duel I won!"

"You cheated."

"I hardly think overpowering your opponent with both martial and arcane superiority can be considered cheating. And Narcissa's father still refuses me her hand, even after I trounced her ponce of a-"

"Enough!" Lord Jeggare was not a man who often raised his voice, much less against his own son, but he had had his fill of his son's complete and total lack of self-discipline. A certain amount of carousing and misbehavior was to be expected from a young man of Ambrose's age and station, tacitly encouraged even, but this latest embarrassment had been too much.

It was a shock when young Ambrose, a bright (and, importantly, human) boy of twelve when he left for the Acadamae, returned a decade later as a devil-summoning, devil-worshipping tiefling! They had tried to be understanding of their new misanthrope of a son, welcomed him back into the family as if nothing had changed. Lord Jeggare had ignored his son's diabolism, raised no objection when he had begun building a summoning circle in his bedchamber, even allowed him to attend Asmodean services instead of joining the rest of the family at the Abadaran temple. It was only to be expected, really. While he had hoped his son would study divination or transmutation, the Acadamae had a certain reputation for turning out top-shelf conjurers and devil binders. Ambrose had even graduated near the top of his class!

In hindsight, Lord Jeggare had to admit that they should have delayed Ambrose's induction into Chelaxian society, but he never would have predicted the reactions Ambrose provoked from the assembled nobles. His appearance was striking, but he looked mostly human, if you ignored the vestigial horns, the barbed tail, and the red-on-black eyes that smoked up the room when Ambrose became angry (which seemed to happen rather a lot). It had been terribly rude of Lord Leroung to withdraw his daughter from the arranged marriage between Ambrose and Narcissa. That contract had been signed years before Ambrose had left for the Acadamae, a strong match for both families! But dueling over the slight? And cheating? Ambrose had dealt a nasty blow to the family's reputation. He simply wasn't ready to inherit the family business, and some years at sea would teach him the discipline he sorely lacked. One day, Lord Jeggare assured himself, Ambrose would thank his father for this.

But today, Ambrose would have none of it. His eyes swept over the words that had so suddenly altered the course of his life, but he did not see them. Thin tendrils of smoke began to leak from the corners of his eyes and he turned on his heel, stalking out of the room without another word.

* * * * *

The Imp's Purse was scheduled to leave within the week. During the interim, Ambrose considered vanishing in the night, but discarded the flight of fancy as ridiculous. Instead, he was determined to keep a stiff upper lip. It would only be a matter of days after setting sail that his father would realize his error and recall his son back to Korvosa, and Ambrose's position would be the stronger for it. A week at sea might even do some good. After being confined to the estate after the incident in Egorian, a cruise on the open sea would be a refreshing change of pace. He was appointed to apprentice as ship's mage, his Acadamae schooling warranting a junior officer's position, and so his duties would not be too strenuous, and the Imp's Purse had just come off rotation with the Korvosan navy, so it was sure to be easy sailing in a purely commercial fashion. And so it was with smug optimism that Ambrose accepted his father's parting gift, a rich red uniform coat with black trim, perfectly tailored and customized with a waterproof pocket for a spellbook. Bidding his parents goodbye and fully expecting to be back in a week's time, he stepped foot in the carriage to board ship. Little did he know that it would be a week of years and more before he would see home again.

Life at sea was remarkably different from what Ambrose had pictured. Rather than the easy days of studying his books in a cabin under the tutelage of the ship's mage, he found his duties were far more laborious. Rather than studying magic, any study time Ambrose had was wasted learning about navigation. His day was filled with endless measurements of the sun, coordinate calculations, and reading the log for ship speed. Much to his chagrin, he was also required to learn about the ship and sailing, as if one day he would actually take the Lieutenant's Examination and assume command of a mast. The other officers were unsympathetic with his situation, giving him none of the respect and deference that was his due as their social better. The crew's treatment of him was even worse. The superstitious, unlettered mariners considered him bad luck, and he suffered umbrageous abuse from them. The evenings were closer to bearable; after supper when the sun had finally set, he had license to stargaze. Of course, even that was accompanied with the expectation that he would learn the constellations and positions, but Ambrose found it a reprieve nonetheless.

To Ambrose's initial dismay, the days aboard ship turned to weeks, and eventually into months. Once he realized that his father was not, in fact, going to send word to return home, Ambrose applied himself more fully to the study of the ship, if only to end the worst of the crew's abuses and in time he metamorphosed into a truly able seaman. After a full year, the Purse was up again for a military rotation, and Ambrose was drilled in naval combat and schooled in strategy alongside the other officers. There was rarely any serious naval action along the Varisian coast; Taldor's days of conquest were long behind it and Cheliax certainly had no intention of attacking its own colonial city-states. There was the occasional spat with pirates from Riddleport, but they lacked organization or conviction and were repelled easily enough. Ambrose took and passed the Lieutenant's Examination, hoping that a successful promotion would convince his father that he was ready to come home, but he was to have no such luck. When Imp's Purse once again began commercial operation, Ambrose took it upon himself to learn the family business from the other end. After all, once he was in control of the business, he might find personal knowledge of the trade routes and relationships in other port cities to be quite valuable. When the Purse received her orders to make a run down to Sargava, Ambrose found himself excited for the journey. In his time aboard ship they had made countless trips around the Varisian Gulf to Magnimar and back and a few voyages down to the Inner Sea, bouncing back and forth between northern Garund and southern Avistan. But traveling to Sargava would take Ambrose across the equator for the first time, and unlike their usual runs, Ambrose had orders to assist the captain in selling off the cargo and replenishing along the route as they made their way back. After more than two years at sea, Ambrose dared to hope that he might finally be nearing his voyage's end.

Traveling south to Eleder was a dangerous voyage. The Inner Sea had its own dangers, of course. There were raiders from the Linnorm Kingdoms up north, pirates from Katapesh to the south, and there were a number of treacherous passes along both coasts that could be challenging to navigate. But the run down to Eleder was a gauntlet of maritime hazards. Plenty of ports down that way were open to trade, but few were friendly. Between Ilizmagorti at the northern end (rumored to be under the sway of the infamous Red Mantis Assassins), to Bloodcove in the south (openly controlled by the prickly and aggressive Aspis Consortium), there lies the Shackles, an archipelago swarming with pirates that prey on merchant vessels without opposition. And even getting to the Shackles was an undertaking. On account of the Azlanti ruins and the infestation of horrible sea monsters, a ship had to make its way around the edges of the Eye of Abendego, a permanent hurricane that had turned the coastline of the whole region into drowned swamps for dozens of miles inland. But the difficulty of the run was the primary factor in its lucrativeness. Goods from Eleder, imported from the jungles of the Garund's interior, sold for outrageous prices in the Inner Sea. From exotic fruits, spices, and woods to luxury commodities and even curios, the expected return on investment from a run down south could measure many times the journey's cost, even after the dangers were considered. It would be an excellent opportunity for Ambrose to prove his value to his father and earn his place at the table.

It was also an excellent opportunity for the pirates that marked them on their way through the Eye. The ship appeared seemingly from nowhere, as if emerging from the waves below, or perhaps even a product of the storm itself. Caught in the fury of the storm, the Imp's Purse stood not a chance. Ambrose was in the rigging, drawing sail as the pirates closed. Fire belched from the enemy's ship as volley of explosions sounded. Moments later the ship shuddered as if hit by lightning, wood splinters filling the air. His mast began to fall and Ambrose was cast into the sea as another round pounded the hull. The sea, whipped into whitecaps by the storm, began to carry Ambrose away from the scene as he clung to a piece of the wreckage for dear life. Ambrose could barely make out the ship's name as he floated away - the Filthy Lucre.

For days, he drifted in the ocean aboard his makeshift raft. Miraculously preserved through the storm and battle, it seemed he was cursed only to die a slower death on the open water. Without food, he could only subsist on the small amount of freshwater he could create by magically freezing the ocean water. Unwilling to surrender to Pharasma just yet, he called out for help in prayer. At first he prayed to Asmodeus, and for many days received no answer. Then he entreated Gozreh to carry him to shore, again receiving no answer. In desperation, he called out to any power that would answer. Nearing the brink of death from exhaustion, he spotted land on the horizon, and Ambrose knew that something out there had heard him.

Welcome to my life. I don't have Hero Lab. I've got the template copied into Notepad++ and I manually adjust for every character I make.

Also, I totally know what you mean about names. Imagine my chagrin when I met the Wormwood's cook for the first time... Grimold was pretty easy, given that he came with a name already given XD

That makes two of us with Besmara's Blessing. It seems the Pirate Queen has taken an auspicious interest in our party to be shipwrecking us into meeting.

Redblade8 wrote:
All I know of Riddleport is what I can see in the wiki, if anyone's got anything to offer on how to refine the concept, I'm all ears!

I'll take a look through my collection to see what I can find on Riddleport. There should be some info in one of the earlier issues of Second Darkness.

Based on what I'm reading just from the Wiki, it looks like the whole power structure is corrupt. The city is openly ruled by a criminal council. I'm not sure the place has gendarmes.


Second Darkness Player's Guide wrote:
Since the city’s founding, Riddleport has been ruled by a series of pirate lords, buccaneers, and other unsavory sailors in a bloody cycle of betrayal and violent coups. Overlord Cromarcky has maintained his rule over Riddleport for three decades by entrenching himself in a wholly new manner. Rather than rely on the loyalty of pirate crews and fellow captains, Overlord Cromarcky opened the coffers of his deceased predecessor and hired mercenaries and enforcers from land-bound groups with no connection to piracy. Calling this new breed of enforcers the Riddleport Gendarmes (“gentlemen-at-arms”), he created a military force loyal to his coin.

Never mind, it totally does. But they're basically a mercenary army.

Redblade8 wrote:
Like, if he was the son of a Calistrian prostitute...? (One of the ideas I'm working on right now.)

Yeah, that would do it alright. Are you thinking Shorafa Pamodae, or somebody a little lower on the Riddleport totem-pole?

Redblade8 wrote:
No kidding? I never really took a deep look at SoP, but it sounds like it could be another route to a concept I've eyed up a few times, the draconic-powered character (another route to it besides dragon disciple, that is).

I've had a similar concept for a character who was, once, a dragon, but was cursed into a different form with greatly diminished powers.

Raven, what are you taking your degree in?

EDIT: We never discussed character building rules. Are we doing the standard 20 point buy with max HP at level 1 and two traits? I like the background skills system.

I hate it when that happens :P How's grad school going?

Skinwalkers are a race from Blood of the Moon. In Golarion they're commonly from Arcadia, the continent out west across the ocean on the other side of the Azlanti ruins. There hasn't been much published about Arcadia, but it's probably something of an Americas analogue to the Inner Sea's European/Mediterranean/African analogue. Arcadians also have something of a raider reputation.

It's occurred to me that, as this is effectively an invite-only game, I haven't submitted any of the materials that I would typically include. There's some stuff in the profile, but I imagine some of it might not be up to date. I'll post some background snippets soon that might smooth out some of the wrinkles from shoehorning a Korvosan aristocrat into the Shackles.

Two Besmarans and an Asmodean walk into a bar...

Redblade8 wrote:
Also, but hot damn it's good to see you again. :-)

Agreed! It's good to have you back, Raven :D

Oooh you could be a Linnorm Kings raider come down from the north! Or an Arcadian skinwalker!

With two "mehs" and a "yes", I think gestalt is the way to go. I'm tempted to look through the PoW classes for an alternative to Swashbuckler for Ambrose. Damn if those aren't some fun martials to play! Hmm... this could be my chance to make that Varisian card-throwing staff magus I've been wanting to try since the Harrow Handbook came out.

I solemnly swear that I am up to no good the party will not get any bigger than the three of us.

Ambrose was initially going to go Eldritch Knight. If you're willing to allow gestalt, I'm willing to take it, but I'll take it or leave it depending on Felix and Raven's preferences.

Reuleaux wrote:
I work in education and like to disbelieve smart/stupid as a psychological construct, instead believing in work/not work invested in the past.

SO. MUCH. THIS. There are definitely people that have an easier or harder time understanding certain kinds of ideas, but that has more to do with how something is taught then a failure to learn well.

@Felix I'll take your word for it, but I don't recall having heard that one before.

@GM Rednal DMRaven has responded. He's not interested in taking a solo game, but he'd love to slide into this one if you're willing to run for a trio. I'm totally willing to step down from gestalt to a single class in order to facilitate this, as we'll be that much closer to a normal party.

@Felix Gotcha, that's what I figured.

@GM Rednal I can roll with it either way. That said, it may be a bit early to decide on that; Felix is still figuring out who his character is and neither has seen the light of play yet. It won't even affect anything until the very end of book 1, and there's a whole lot of RP between here and there to help that decision along. I'm interested to see how the dynamic between our characters works out this time.

Alternatively, I could scrap Ambrose and go with Jolly Roger, the bird-brained tengu bard :P

Oh snap, does my profile currently say LN? Either Ambrose is going to start as LE and stay that way, or he'll start out LN and descend to LE over the course of the campaign. I definitely intend to sacrifice my thrush familiar for an imp at level 7, and play up brutal cut-throat efficiency as personality traits that he'll grow into.

Ambrose was originally built to be a captain, but he can pull first mate or quartermaster if the captain he serves under is good for the crew. He's supposed to be a navigator and ship's mage as well. Forceful insistence would only be necessary if 1) there were other candidates and 2) they were unfit for the job. In the last go around (a F2F game with friends) the other candidate was a dim half-orc with no sense of self-preservation or regard for the safety of the crew, so forceful insistence was necessary :P

Daanith is an explorer, eh? I'm getting an Aubrey/Maturin vibe here. Also, I'm not sure what you mean by "heritage NOS". Not specified as in the racial default? That's technically what Ambrose is. He merely assumes it's infernal.

Background: Ambrose is an heir to (part of) the Korvosan Jeggare merchant empire. due to bad behavior, his father temporarily disinherited him and pressed him into service aboard one of the family's vessels as a merchant marine officer to work out his attitude problems.

Present day: Two years later he gets shipwrecked in a battle with a certain cannon-laden pirate ship and winds up in Port Peril, where he gets pressganged again.

Near future: Initial forays into piracy will be solely for survival. He'll need some time to figure out how to get back home, all while avoiding

revenge. Having been one of the ringleaders of
the mutiny
he feels responsible for the rest of the crew that got dragged into the mess with him and can't bring himself to abandon them while he flees back to the safety of Korvosa.

Long term: Piracy gives Ambrose the opportunity to have his own merchant empire without needing to stoop to accepting only what his father will give him. Using his position, he might also be able to reduce losses to the Jeggare fleet as they travel through the Shackles to Sargava. As an added bonus he gets to be a thorn in Cheliax's side (he freakin' hates Cheliax). By now, he'll have discovered who it was that blew his ship to smithereens and started him on this whole business in the first place, and has every intention of returning the favor. Also, depending on how much you play up deity influences, he owes Besmara big time for saving his life.

TL;DR: Spoiled rich kid shipwrecked and pressganged into Pirate Odyssey, fueled by daddy issues, the chains of commanding, sympathy for the devil, and revenge.

EDIT: Felix, another tiefling could be cool. Ultimately I'd say he'd be "complicated indifferent". He'd be a lot more friendly to a tiefling than an aasimar, at least. Ambrose was born human and transformed via puberty while he was a student at the Acadamae. On some level he still considers himself human and rejects the notion that he "belongs" with the tiefling underclass. So while he'd sense a kindred spirit who has likely suffered the same or worse treatment from society for being a tiefling, the presence of another tiefling would also force him to wrestle with underlying insecurities about his identity, especially if that tiefling was not an aristocrat like Ambrose. Matters would be further complicated if the other tiefling was not devilish.

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