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Shackles Pirate

The Dread Pirate Hurley's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 206 posts (924 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 Pathfinder Society character. 8 aliases.


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Checking in. Should have an alias and a gameplay post tomorrow as well.

Finally finished, save for equipment. I decided to go Gunslinger instead of Ranger; the Ranger abilities were flavorful, but Gunslinger does everything I want to do better than Ranger could hope to. And with access to real revolvers, I couldn't resist the opportunity to play a guns akimbo Gunslinger the way everybody wants to without the weapon cord juggling routine cheese.

The site seems to be having problems with aliases at the moment, so I haven't been able to make one. I also don't have Hero Lab, so I'll have to do the statblock by hand.

I present to you Erasmus 'Raz' Ames - ex-Shieldmarshall, outlaw, adventure capitalist.

Name: Erasmus Ames
Wanted: Alive
Crimes: Conspiracy, Nighthawking, Disturbing the Peace
Reward: 5000
Notes: Suspect was last seen fleeing north into the Mana Wastes following the Urstradi River. Considered to be armed and dangerous.

Erasmus Ames was never bothered by the corruption in the Shieldmarshalls. He took his bribes the same as anybody else, looked the other way for the right people the same as anybody else, neglected unimportant details the same as anybody else. It was just an ugly word for the grease on the cogs that kept the Clockwork City running smoothly, and his polished badge and oiled six-guns didn't shine any less for it. After all, the hours were long, the Wastes were brutal, and justice doesn't come cheap in the City of Smog. Greasy palms and greasy guns are what kept the mutants at bay and everybody knew it, so it didn't bother 'ol Raz one bit. That is, until the day he found himself on the wrong side of it.

Maybe it was political, maybe it was personal, but Erasmus Ames didn't stick around long enough to find out. He high-tailed it out of the Grand Duchy out into the Spellscar just as fast as his horse could take him. The snipers on the wall didn't even waste their ammo trying to pick him off; everybody knew that a lone rider, ill-equipped and unprotected, was as good as dead out in the Wastes - if they were lucky. If not - well, the life of a mutant is never very long anyway.

At least, that's what they thought. For his part, that's what Raz thought too, until he stumbled across one of the ruins. The Wastes were littered with them, the last remains of thousand-year-old cities blasted off the face of the planet during Nex and Geb's pissing contest of magical holocaust. Teams of outriders came through every so often and cleared the mutants out of them ahead of trade caravans traveling through the desert. Raz was familiar with the ruins, having cleared some of them out himself (and finding some trinkets to line his pockets with beside). But off the main highways you were taking your chances. It was a lucky break for Mr. Ames; there was no better time for taking chances. He rode that luck all the way through the desert, escaping on the other side into Nex. He worked his way north, guarding caravans all the way through Nex and Katapesh. He took a liking to Katapesh; a man like him could find a lot of work and make a lot of coin. He took a liking to the pesh, too, and found many ways to spend a lot of coin. Too many ways and too much coin. Plagued by debt and pesh nightmares, he took a desperate job, signing on to guard some whackjob scholarly expedition following some phony map out to some secret forgotten ruin in Osirion.

Sometimes looks can be deceiving. That was only the first lesson Raz learned on that expedition. He also learned that 'guard' translates roughly as 'expendable trap fodder' in Osiriani, to always bring a mirror into the tomb with you, that his shiny badge makes a surprisingly good mirror, and to never take an artifact without leaving a sandbag in its place. But the most important lesson of all, the one rule to hold to above all others, is that, when it comes to mummies, shoot first and ask questions never. Aim for the head, always make sure to double-tap, and burn the remains for good measure.

It didn't take long to become disillusioned with the treasure-hunting scene in Osirion. The thing about 'scholarly expeditions' is that the most dangerous jobs always seem to pay the least. Mr. Ames was used to putting his life in danger for petty monetary compensation, but the only thing worse than mutants are mummies. One close call too many and he finally decided he was done with 'guard' work. He was ready to get out of Osirion, with the 'scholars' and the 'collectors' ruining things for solid, honest adventure capitalists like himself. But he'd need a partner if he was ever going to strike it rich. Foreign lands and foreign tombs call for good friends to have your back. There was only one man that Erasmus Ames knew he could trust, and he'd always given Raz a frosty welcome.

From the moment they met, Baqir Iskandar and Erasmus Ames were doomed to make history. It would be the history of desperate fools, bad ideas, and success that comes at too high a price. Geb was a bad idea, possibly the worst, and it had been his. They escaped with their lives, but they would live with the scars. There aren't many terrors worse than pesh nightmares, but forbidden knowledge is one helluva drug.

Raz is good for two things: fodder and killing weird things real good. He has a special hatred for mummies and Mana Waste mutants. He has a good mix of Knowledge skills and investigative capability with Sense Motive and Survival, but he's not here to be the super sleuth.

Update: I'll be throwing in with a Ranger with the Trophy Hunter and Skirmisher archetypes for a little more gun expertise and to get rid of divine spellcasting. Changing the tech level does interesting things to the game mechanically, especially when it comes to picking feats.

Next post should include the crunch and hopefully backstory if Baqir and I can get it sorted out enough for both of us to submit that today.

Thematically, I'm channeling characters like Rick O'Connell and Jack Burton into a pulp action cowboy who shuns magic and whose only real expertise lies in knowing how to kill weird things real good. Like I told Baqir, I think this game could benefit from a mundane character to give the Holmes-lympics competitors something to play off of, like a rough-and-tumble cowboy Watson. Or maybe a little Karrin Murphy/Agent Scully if the DM prefers.

Just posting to announce official interest. I'll be working up some sort of gunslinger-type character from Alkenstar to pair with Baqir. More to come.

You're going for a Victorian feel and the year isn't set. How much freedom do we have with the setting elements, especially with some of the organizations? If, for example, somebody wanted to play a member of the Knights of Ozem? Are they intact as a well-known order of holy knights, or would they be a shadow of their former glory, a forgotten cabal of once-legendary heroes that now fight in obscurity? The same question could be extended to how the churches are perceived by the rest of the campaign setting as well. Do the common folk know much about the existence of monsters?

EDIT: A careful re-reading would at least suggest that most people are in the dark, but I'm still curious about the organizations. If we have some flexibility, I'd be more than happy to try to come up with something to satisfy the flavor. Golarion is full of organizations that could fit the bill, especially if we're going for a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen feel with horror themes.

Night action, eh? Can I try a Diplomacy check to get Peppery to help with keeping Sh'torek alive?

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (5) + 9 = 14

"I have a spell or two that may allow him to escape, but we would simply be trading our lives for his. There may be something of use in Ms. Longfarthing's laboratory."

Here's the link to the Community group of sub-forums. When you're on the main Messageboards page it's very close to the bottom, so it's easy to miss. The subforum you're probably most interested in is Recruitment, which is where the ads and applications for PbP games are posted.

EDIT: Gah! Ninja'd by a Gninja! How fitting. Btw, I've always wondered, what does the 'G' stand for?

No worries. My posting has been spotty lately, too. Finals coming up and I was just sick as well. It's nothing worth getting burnt out over.

I'm not going to have time to put together a full submission, so I'll need to withdraw. Good luck everybody!

There's also the Wizard. The Conjuration school has a sub-school specialization for this: the Infernal Binder. I'm playing one fluffed as a graduate of the Acadamae, known for its devil binders, and it's a lot of fun. You get the versatility of a full wizard but a bit of extra summoning power. Good feat choices are Improved Initiative, Spell Focus: Conjuration, Augment Summoning and Skill Focus: Diplomacy/Bluff/Sense Motive. The True Name arcane discovery for wizards fits extremely well. For Prestige Classes, Paizo has Diabolist and Blackfire Adept.

Inquisitor of Calistria anyone? The Savored Sting is not amused by the hubris of these so-called 'leather goddesses'.

Bonus points, the inquisitor could be an elf from Castrovel, helping the aliens fight the enemy from his own world.

I've got a concept for a Saerenrae-worshipping druid, but I'm not sure If I'd be able to get crunch up by tomorrow.

Cloudy with a chance of imps, I'd say.

Florian, thanks for the catch. I always forget that EWP requires a BAB of 1. That's annoying, but I guess I can just use a longsword for now.

This is still a work-in-progress, and I'll eventually have an alias set up, too. I'm just posting this to save my spot.

Valkus Lebeda, Taldan bard and rondelero practitioner.

I agree, the twists do add a little wrinkle that should ripple out in very interesting ways. It should give more weight to the political aspect of the campaign that so often goes ignored. I'm looking forward to see how this turns out.

EDIT: And the Swordlords have already begun to pour in. Competition is going to get fierce.

Legacy of Fire.

I'm interested in most of the APs, but Legacy of Fire holds a special place in my heart, though I've never managed to get terribly far.

Also, there's usually one or two games looking for a replacement GM after having been abandoned. I'm in a Skull & Shackles game that's in that boat. If you'd consider picking that up, we'd be very grateful. If not, that's understandable. Link is here:

Looking for a possible DM for Skull & Shackles

I've submitted Ambrose Jeggare, LN wizard, Infernal Binder specialization.

I wonder how Citadel Gheradesca compares with Gallowspire...

Anzyr wrote:
Honestly, while I don't hate the alignment system, I do think it sometimes leads to very silly things. I am perfectly ok with some spells making you a complete monster just by using them. But I've always dislike the "negative energy equal evil" that 3.5 and by extension PF have going for it, since negative energy is just another aspect of the 3.5/PF cosmos, that is opposed to positive energy. Presumably the cosmos needs both to function, so why is using negative energy to make some bodies without souls in it move around "Evil". Creepy? Sure.

We have multiple conflicting canonical stories of creation, so it hasn't been specified exactly how all that works. However, the general treatment seems to be that negative energy equals evil because positive energy equals good. It's a moral dichotomy made real. I agree with your assessment that the cosmos (which, in PF, includes separate planes of existence like Heaven, Hell, the elemental planes, the Abyss, and the Planes of Positive and Negative Energy) needs both to exist, it needs them in the exact same way it needs good and evil. But that raises the question about equivalent energies for law and chaos, and the whole system gets pretty wonky.

Ilja wrote:
Honestly, while by RAW casting undead-creating spells is an evil action, it doesnt state HOW evil. For some, its evil assaying something mean to a farmer. For others, its nearly irredeemably evil, similar to murdering an angel child. So in some games yes, in some games no.

The RAW impose the [evil] descriptor, which informs, if not specifies, the degree of evil. Fireball, a spell that is nothing but pure destruction, is not inherently evil, as it lacks that mechanical descriptor. Evil spells are anathema to good creatures. If anything, the campaign would be defined more by the degree of evil in saying mean things to a farmer than in casting an evil spell.

Anzyr wrote:
Look casting Animate Dead makes you as evil as casting Protection from Evil makes you good. So I feel it sort of does a disservice to the magic system to pretend that casting evil spells is really an issue (also it shows how silly the alignment system can be). Really being able to switch your alignment on the fly by casting lots of spells with [X] descriptor seems like it could be really convenient in some situations.

Emphasis mine.

Yeah, Protection From Evil's got the [good] descriptor. In that case, the soul-taintingly evil argument falls flat, and I abandon it as far as canon and mechanics are concerned. Now it's just my own unsupported preference.

Zhayne wrote:
The Dread Pirate Hurley wrote:
Do you want the [evil] descriptor removed from the spells entirely?
Frankly, yes.

Good. That's about the only way I can see reconciling the issue, so it seems like a valid houserule. At least we don't disagree that, as written, those spells are soul-tainting and thus probably shouldn't be ignored.

Mikaze wrote:

Evil necromancer uses vile magic to force dead souls into service.

Good necromancer uses gentler magics to help dead souls walk the earth to do what needs doing.

That depends on the mechanics of the spell (not game mechanics, narrative mechanics). I've always gotten the impression that the undead in Golarion aren't souls forced back into bodies, but rather are created from negative energy given some form of sentience. As such, there isn't a "nicer" way of creating them. That does, however, open the question about what happens when positive energy is used in such a manner. It seems like there's also some moral baggage pertaining to the whole "animated earthly remains" part, but that's purely conjecture. I would be open to having alternative means to achieve similar ends for Team Good, but I don't see the necromancy spells and corpses as being the way to go about it.

Also, there are spells that can return dead generals to life without having to go the reanimation route. There's always raise dead and resurrection, which explicitly bring a person back to life, rather than merely animating their remains with dark energies.

Quirel wrote:

If we go by "Actions determine alignment", I'd have to say that using an evil spell to do good averages out to neutral.

Remember reading a play-by-post where a guy rolled a sorcerer that specialized in necromancy, raised bodies from a nearby battlefield, and then directed his minions to rebuild the defenses around a village.
At the end of the campaign, he had the undead build a cemetery and inter themselves, the only time in the history of mass graves where people were killed before they dug their own graves.

Your example about the Play-by-Post, while interesting, seems to ignore the part where raising dead is soul-taintingly evil. I agree that casting evil spells shouldn't be automatic damnation for everybody involved, but I feel that most people do evil spells a disservice by trivializing them, making them less evil than they should be.

Raising a skeleton isn't on the order of assassinating a fully grown Hitler to end the war. It's on the order of killing his mother before he's born, removing the appropriate organs and cremating them for good measure. And then hunting down his father to make sure he never procreates, finishing off any progeny he may have already sired. You averted a war and saved millions of lives, but you did some pretty dark things to do it, and even if you can justify it to yourself, you'll probably never sleep quite as well at night.

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Personally, I'm very happy with the canon that undead are always evil. Other people are entitled to their opinion, but I have yet to see one that really makes a whole lot of sense, at least where the flavor is concerned. Often, it seems that little consideration is given to what actually happens when you cast one of these spells. Casting evil spells isn't some walk in the park, and it isn't without consequences. To illustrate:

You invoke and channel the forces of darkness, the very stuff that evil is made of, using your body as a conduit for malevolent energies. Once the fell words have fallen from your lips like a poisonous curse, you cast it out and into the worldly remains of Farmer Jenkins, put solemnly to rest twelve years past. The creature, this undead abomination fueled by a tortuous hatred of life, now inhabits the rotting skeleton of Farmer Jenkins, called into this world to do your bidding. It digs its way up through the dirt, pale bone clothed in mouldering tatters. The ritual complete, you point your finger toward the lumbering army of orcs and issue your command. "Defend the village." Knowing that what you have done, you have done for the good of others, you still cannot help but feel an inky stain begin to spread across your soul, even as you turn to the next grave, taking a breath to steel yourself before you cast the spell again.

Now, that's all fluff, and fluff conforms to the will of the group. If you want to change it, that's your prerogative. But think about what you're changing. Do you want the [evil] descriptor removed from the spells entirely? Or are you merely advocating that we shouldn't think about the narrative consequences of your character's actions, because you're trying to uphold the integrity of the narra... oh wait.

Alignment has only very sketchy rules to support it, even with the inclusion of Ultimate Campaign. It's not a mechanical construct, it's narrative. As such, there aren't really a whole lot of mechanical implications attached to things like evil acts, unless you're a paladin, and even then, the mechanical consequences are arbitrated by the GM's personal sense of narrative rather than specific rules. If that weren't the case, we wouldn't have a new topic on fallen paladins every week. Alignment is a narrative concept, and must be dealt with in terms of the narrative. So let's not ignore or trivialize the narrative when dealing with these issues.

She could have taken the throne before the prince died.

Claxon, Malwing and The Crusader are generally correct, while Anzyr does a good job demonstrating the capabilities of such a character. The basic idea of the God Wizard is that, rather than directly intervene in combat, they control combat by empowering friendly combatants (buffs), depowering enemy combatants (debuff), creating more friendly combatants (summoning spells) and creating effects that change the literal and figurative shape of the battlefield (battlefield control) to harass the enemy, separate and divide great numbers of enemies, forcing them into terrain that is disadvantageous (either because they'll be in the effect of a spell or because they'll have to avoid the effect of a spell), etc. Such a wizard is like unto a god, for they defeat enemies not by directly harming them but instead by creating or altering the conditions for defeat, such that they've all but won to begin with. This playstyle usually eschews both SoD spells and blast spells, though exceptions exist in each case.

As another correction, the Schrodinger's Wizard isn't a caster that has a spell for every situation; that would the Batman Wizard. The Schrodinger's Wizard is a cheater that abuses a DM's lack of attention and just casts whatever spells they want. The name is a wordplay on quantum mechanics, specifically the Schrodinger Equation and the superposition of states, which is the concept that a system (in this case, the spellbook) exists in a state composed of two or more basic position-states (in this case, prepared spell lists). When a superposition is observed (in quantum mechanics, this would be achieved by taking a measurement of the system; in Pathfinder, this would be achieved by asking the wizard what spells he has prepared), the superposition itself collapses and acts as if it exists as one of the basic position-states that composed the original superposition.

The Schrodinger's Wizard appears to be a Batman wizard because he always, conveniently (suspiciously so, even) has the ability to cast the correct the spell needed to fix any problem. This is because the character's player is cheating and lying about what spells they actually have prepared.

EDIT: Ninja'd by Cyrad. Also a good description.

You play a very high-level game, Klokk. I believe the usual progression is:

Book 1 - Levels 1-3
Book 2 - 4-6
Book 3 - 7-8
Book 4 - 9-10
Book 5 - 11-12
Book 6 - 13-16

There's some variation within that progression, of course, but the APs (with the exception of Wrath of the Righteous, which explicitly goes to level 20, mythic tier 10) usually cap off at about level 16 without some serious DM rewrites. Wardens of the Reborn Forge would cleanly replace book 6, as far as levels are concerned. However, it's very unlikely that the Wardens module will actually fit in well enough with the AP's plot to do so.

Rimethorn, there's been relatively little information about the Mummy's Mask AP revealed, but I doubt that it will play out very much like 'The Mummy', in the sense that the setting elements are very unlikely to resemble British-occupied Egypt in the early 20th century. It's likely to be very pulp, but not very industrial. Like every other AP, however, it will probably be very high-magic, rather than low-fantasy pulp. Wizards will not be out-of-place.

Now, that said, there's definitely a place for the gunslinger within the Mummy's Mask AP; Alkenstar hires out gunslingers as mercenaries, and they're probably not terribly uncommon throughout Garund. Aside from that, the setting itself is set up to be a thematic kitchen sink; it's totally okay for your typical adventuring party to wander into Steampunk Kingdom. If you're uncomfortable with that kind of transition, you can also play up the wild magic/magic-dead element of the Mana Wastes, which adds another wrinkle to playing typical adventurers and might add that touch of low-fantasy you seem to be craving.

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The Wormwood Mutiny micromanages the timeline throughout the adventure, but as soon as Book 2 starts, the nature of the game changes completely. All of a sudden, the players are thrust into a potential sandbox. Even with a train conductor of a GM, the transition from day-to-day play is problematic.

My biggest concern is what to do concerning the pacing of the game? Do you play out some of the shipboard scenes between destinations? Do you skip right to the destination? I'm worried that the game will quickly become Adam Sandler's Click: The Musical RPG, with months passing by in seconds. But the other end of the spectrum is to continue to play out every single day, which was bad enough for the first twenty-one. In your game, what, exactly, happens after the captain says "Set sail for Port Peril/Quent/Tortuga!"?

On the topic of footwear, the pic that Halae's avatar is taken from comes from Blood of Fiends, in the Social traits chapter if I'm not mistaken. She's wearing some kind of boot or high-heeled shoe made for hooves. It doesn't look bad.

I'm playing a Korvosan devilblooded tiefling in S&S. I opted for human eyes with black sclera and red irises (any Gambit fans?), vestigial horns and prehensile tail. He spews smoke from his sinuses when angry; that's been a lot of fun, and a very memorable quirk.

I don't mind being treated differently; the only time when NPC treatment was a problem was when it was inconsistent. At the beginning of the game, there were no social repercussions at all. About ten days into the voyage, however, the racism came out of nowhere. It was a bit jarring having Sandara Quinn (whom I had saved from being raped previously) accuse me of being a traitor without grounds. I would have rather been treated with hostility from the start than to have to suffer the whiplash, immersion-breaking change.

I enjoy tieflings. They're one of the most inherently varied races (each with some sort of explicit theme that tends to be great roleplay fodder), and canon in-world attitudes about them are just as varied. Frankly, I like them way more than aasimars; maybe I just have a much more finely-grained understanding of evil than of good, but I would find it much easier to create ten distinct tiefling characters than ten distinct aasimar characters.

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There are a lot of good ideas being thrown around here.

While it may not be exactly a swashbuckler, I've played an Aldori Swordlord build with Crane Style that was a lot of fun and fulfilled most of the dueling criteria. A lot of people complain about the low DPS, but I didn't mind too much, and the constant disarming worked great, even on groups. Of course, once I got disarmed, things changed very quickly...

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the possibility of utilizing the grit mechanic. Using grit to grant extra actions or temporary bonuses/invulnerability to certain things like AoOs, rough terrain and the like seem like a great way to do things. Especially when combined with the rogue/ninja tricks, you could have a swashbuckler built from a list of grit-fueled combat tricks.

Yes yes yes yes yes!

Early on, it seemed to me that a lot of the pirates actually went north of the Eye of Abendego to raid, only to retreat back into the Shackles to evade capture.

Contrary to the many gunslingers and machinesmiths, I'm interested in playing as either a paladin or inquisitor of Abadar. Especially now that magic works again, or at least it might, it seems like's it time for servant of order to try and tame the Wild, Wild Wastes.

EDIT: And now I've got Bad Company stuck in my head. Rogues and fighters and bards... the gunslinger seems almost boring in comparison!

The fluff text of Golarion has many contradictory origin myths. This is done on purpose. However, Asmodeus is, indeed, a god, as he has his own entry in most of the books on evil gods and has his own deity article in Pathfinder #29, Mother of Flies. The mechanical writing has never portrayed him as anything other than a god. Razmir, on the other hand...

That said, characters in Golarion aren't necessarily aware of the coosmology of the universe they live in. Asmodeus being a devil masquerading as a god could be a fun in-game conspiracy theory. But in-game characters also don't know about mythic levels...

I'm interested! Legacy of Fire is my favorite AP, but I've never gotten a chance to play (on either side of the screen), outside of some very short-lived or slow-moving PbP games. I can get Skype, but I don't have a webcam. Is it a chat-based or audio-visual game?

I have a wizard PC generated specifically for this AP. LG, friendly, with a naughty monkey familiar. He comes pre-packaged with a piece of prose fiction I wrote in place of a conventional backstory. PC is Alem abd-al-Hassan, and you can find him as an alias under my profile.

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I've played a fair number of one-on-ones. You can tell a completely different kind of story this way, with a playstyle to match.

Assuming you don't want to depart too terribly much from the usual playstyle, there are a number of options. You can allow the player to control multiple characters, PCs and NPCs alike. A single character can potentially deal a good amount of damage, but they can be overwhelmed very easily. Use lots of low-powered mooks. You can also use a variant HP system that allows a character to recover some amount of HP more quickly.

A good thing to remember is that, when you only have one player, party balance doesn't mean squat. You don't have to worry about making a character too weak or too strong, and the GM can tailor encounters much more easily, as you should easily be able to predict what options the player has available.

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ericthetolle wrote:

First of all, food logistics aren't a problem; just create a couple command-word activated Create Food and Water items, and you can feed an army... at least until a ninja steals them.

The real problem with a Golarian World War is that it will continue exactly until some high-level wizard pokes her head out of her private demi-plane and shouts "Oi you kids! Stop with the racket!" and some high-level cleric shoots back "Make me!", and then it's all about the spellcasters.

War in a D&D world isn't going to resemble a 16th century war at all, being more like a combination of W.W.II and modern terrorist operations. Even a mid- level wizard can wreck an army witha few midnight scry/ teleport/cloudkill attacks, and high-level spellcasters can destroy cities.

With armies being just fodder for the local necromancer, war would consist of a series of lightning-quick raids against important infrastructure; visible effects would involve cities and fleets being destroyed, while the real action would be the game of teleport tag where each side tries to catch the other side's high-level spellcasters off guard. The nation that runs out of spellcasters first loses.

But hey, you want a real world war? How about this? A necromancer decides to wraith bomb a major city. A couple months later, the shattered remnants of the inner sea armies are fighting a desperate rear-guard action to allow the last few refugee ships to embark overseas. Of course that's more of a "World War W" scenario.

You're assuming an overabundance of high-level casters. This isn't Faerun; Golarion is not overrun by mages or clerics. The prominent casters tend to be rulers of some sort (the Ruby Prince is a high-level cleric, Geb and Nex were wizard god-kings, Tar Baphon is probably mythic, Winter Witches in Irrisen, etc.). Even assuming the existence of some high-level casters, there are very few that actually have the power to oppose an entire nation, much less a power bloc, on their own.

You're also ignoring the very probable possibility that the casters could be opposed by others aligned with the armies, and thus the casters do nothing but negate each other, either via counterspelling or an epic magic duel that ultimately doesn't affect the rest of the battle going on. In this sense, casters are more like warplanes and bombers rather than nuclear weapons.

Also, why are these mysterious casters neutral or impartial in the first place? Being individually powerful doesn't automatically make you an uninvolved third party. In fact, given my above point about caster rulers, I'd argue that it's the opposite.

At least he actually plays the character, going so far as to mimic speech patterns. We had a guy that only ever played Link from The Legend of Zelda. We even statted up some of the items like the Hookshot for him, but we couldn't get him to do anything even remotely RP-related.

Given that spontaneous casters still require verbal and somatic components (though they do eschew materials), I would imagine that young spontaneous casters haven't figured out exactly what to do to cast yet. "It's Levi-o-sa, not Levio-sa!"

I was hoping for a Midkemia homebrew. But who knows? Feist's just about done. You could be next!

Nem-Z wrote:
I prefer spontanious because it requires less bookeeping, encourages more thematic choices in spells that say something about the caster as a person, and also specifically because the delayed spell growth rates extends the game's 'sweet spot' by another level or two.

I disagree with the bolded portion here. I feel that wizards, while lacking the baked-in theme of a bloodline, are actually more flavorful. Their greater number of spells in no way reduces their ability to be thematic, and there are plenty of different spellcasters in fiction who seem more like wizards than sorcerers.

Wizards as prepared casters make magic feel deeper, more mysterious, more... arcane. I appreciate the flavor that accompanies them, the erudite academia. Now, a sorcerer is in no way precluded from being a wizened sage locked away in a dusty library; it just doesn't serve their flavor terribly well.

To those who have stated what they're looking for with Mythic, thanks. It wasn't my intention to challenge, merely looking for explanation; rarely are the specifics ever discussed. Now I know (but please, feel free to keep talking about it). Knowing what you want with epic, I now understand that that's just not the type of playstyle that I would enjoy.

Lord Morham - There are too many interesting characters for me to be able to dedicate years to one of them. Multiple in different games, sure. But one character for a decade is just... Then again, my group can't play the same game for more than 3 months.

I'm actually kind of sad to hear about

Wrath of the Righteous:

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GeraintElberion wrote:

This thread has depressed me. I thought Lantern Bearers were heroic, elven, James-Bond-types.

I guess I'll have to drop the genocide stuff from my Golarion and go with 'protectors'.

You thought James Bond was a good guy?

Louis Lyons wrote:
EWHM wrote:


An alignment system that describes pretty much every human being alive today as EVIL isn't very useful. Saying genocide is inherently ineffably evil is a heuristic that works for our world today, because we don't have any societies that present the kind of threat, even if contained, that the drow do. Hell, in some worlds, they even plotted, sometimes even successfully, to blot out the Sun itself. I tend to view good-evil, law-chaos as more of a pair of axes that people occupy percentile positions on. A set of axes that has 99% of humans being evil or EVIL when humans are the pivotal race in consideration just isn't worth much.

First, how does the D&D/Pathfinder Alignment System describe pretty much every human being alive today as evil? Does every human being alive today seriously promote the idea of genocide or engage in carrying it out in some way against a particular ethnic group of fellow human beings?

Second, I stated that a good character could reasonably argue that genocide is a non-evil act depending on the circumstances. Again, I would raise the example of the PCs taking out an subterranean city of Mindflayers, down to the last tadpole. While I cannot say that the elimination of an entire people is "good," I might not be able to describe the act as "evil" in every case. Because at least in the example of Mindflayers, they cannot survive without killing other sentient beings. Their entire life-cycle as a species depends on devouring the brains of other intelligent creatures without any exception. It really is a reasonable case of "it was either us or them."

However, the above example is an extreme case. For me, it is always a case by case basis. Unless the Drow are unremittingly evil straight out of the womb, and would remain evil even when raised among good elves or other people, I cannot say that their extermination as an entire people is justified.

When the race is defined, from the start, as being Always Evil, this is exactly what you're dealing with.

Furthermore, the anti-genocide argument swings as far in either direction. You, personally, are making the argument that, while not necessarily "good", the extermination of mind flayers is at least not "evil", because they destroy sentient life. But, if one values sentient life, the mindflayers are as much victims as the rest of us. It's not really their fault that the destruction to sentient life is an inherent requirement in their existence.

Basically, you have a mutual exclusion going on. If one is going to place the value of life above everything else, then genocide is unjustified. One could envision a mutual agreement under which the mind flayers are allowed to live with the rest of society. Sure, somebody has to die for a mindflayer to live. That sucks. But at least you're not committing genocide.

What's that? The mind flayers aren't satisfied and they want to take over completely? Sucks for you, because they're still sentient life and they have just as much right to exist as you do. So you either kill or be killed. That doesn't make it right. The fact of the matter is, unless you accept that these creatures are somehow fundamentally evil, there's no way to morally justify killing them. Without the alignment system, nobody's good. We might be neutral, bet we sure aren't good. The only way to be good, in this case, is to lay down and die while a creature that is not good kills you and takes over your body. By rejecting the fundamental alignment system that was created as an intrinsic part of the fictional universe, you eliminate the possibility completely.

Quit trying to justify a moral compromise. Accept that it is a compromise, and move on. You can't have your high road and walk it, too.

What are epic players really looking for? I understand that they want more levels after 20. That's fine, but presumably its because they want published support for material at that power level. What, functionally, are they looking for? What changes between level 20 and level 21? At level 20, spellcasters have access to wish and miracle. They can already turn a fireball into a nuke. Do they want to be able to steamroll entire continents with a single spell? Things seem like they change even less for fighters between 20 and 21.

Is it the challenges? Do they want to be able to take on bigger and stronger opponents? Defeat the gods themselves, perhaps? As James Jacobs has stated, the BBEG that you get to kill in Wrath of the Righteous is

Deskari, a CR 35 demon lord, functionally equivalent to a god of evil.
If you can fight that and win, you can do most anything you really want. That's what you can do with Mythic. Maybe they want to be able to take on all the gods at the same time? If the game's power level were calibrated such that the gods were CR 20, would it eliminate the desire for epic rules?

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voska66 wrote:
Lincoln Hills wrote:
Oddly, some time before the mythic rules were introduced, I recall having the notion that "if the level system breaks down after a certain point" - I believe I was thinking of about 13th level, but whatever - "perhaps characters should start improving in some other way than gaining levels." For me, it was pretty out-of-the-box thinking; it's not nearly as surprising that Paizo came up with the notion too, since they pay a large number of people to think. ;)

The level system doesn't break down. What it does is change. The game take a lot more planning by the GM. The GM need to plan the adventure with the powers of the characters in mind. There is no need for mystery that can be solved with couple spells for example. The adversaries in high game need to a clever as the players in covering their tracks and challenging the PC. You simply can not play the game for the last 10 levels as you played it for the first 10. If you try to force game play to be the same through all 20 level of course the game will break down at the high levels.

Mythic rules will just lower that bar. This change in adventure planning will need to occur sooner. Personally I prefer the high level play. It's a challenge to GM and the player have to keep on their toes. Only issue I have with it time.

By your own admission, the system doesn't function the same way as it used to past a certain point. However, nothing in the rules or in the marketing indicate that that's the way it's supposed to work. The assumption is that it should still continue to work. If it doesn't work at high levels the same way it did at low levels, it breaks down. Just because you can still use it for something doesn't mean it isn't broken.

Mathematically, it most certainly does break down. The dice-based system is essentially a weighted random-number generator that we hang a narrative on. Mechanically, with chance increments of 5% per result, there comes a point where you have weighted the random number generator so much that it stops functioning as such. A level 20 fighter has a BAB of 20. His base value holds as much weight as the maximum value that can be possibly generated. Combined with the fact that monsters at higher CRs have ACs that don't scale the same way, the random number generator stops functioning except for a 5% chance of failure/success when you otherwise would have succeeded/failed. That's a broken system.

Maybe your character is just whimsical like that? Maybe she feels that she should stay but doesn't quite know why? It's easy to forget that characters are people too, and they don't always have to make perfect sense. Maybe there's a palpable sense that your work here is not finished. What was she doing before she met up with the party? Is there any overriding need to keep wandering in the woods? Maybe she feels beholden to the area; after all, there was a unicorn hanging out there, and that should count for something. Perhaps she could take on the region as her territory, appointing herself its druidic protector.

magnuskn, my wording was ambiguous, and for that I apologize. I mean that you feel that Salvatore is a bad writer, not because he didn't provide an explanation, but that the explanation provided did not satisfy you personally. Which is a valid opinion. I think it's best that we just drop this whole lazy vs. not lazy discussion; it's run its course and is sufficiently far from the original discussion to no longer be relevant.

LazarX, I was under the impression that Spike was actually a minor character who proved to be exceedingly popular and was thus an ascended bit part and ensemble darkhorse.

On the dinosaurs note, that's not terribly difficult. Earthfall didn't kill everything. It was (relatively) contained. Tian Xia wasn't affected by it. Dinosaurs are found in the most northern reaches of the planet, as far north as the Crown of the World and in the Tusk Mountains in the Realm of the Mammoth Lords. It's likely that they simply didn't feel the effects as much or at all that far away.

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Icyshadow wrote:
The bolded part is exactly why I support the removal of the Always Evil thing when it comes to humanoids.

Interesting. The bolded part is exactly why I support the inclusion of the Always Evil thing in some cases, like goblins and drow.

It seems we disagree on what it means to be inherently evil. So now I'm curious: what does it mean to be unable to choose? Functionally, what does that look like? I favor an interpretation of Always Evil drow in that each of them can choose, and they consistently choose evil. What's an example of something that doesn't have the ability to choose, and is evil because of it? How can we tell that they lack such cognitive faculties?

Mikaze, it seems we're just simply going to have to disagree. You want drow to just be elves with black skin and white hair, while I want drow to be fundamentally different and more than just chocolate elves. I'm glad we've at least gotten to the root of the issue and identified it. I'm sorry that you've had such poor experiences and that games with those elements often veer into territory you don't feel comfortable with. I haven't had those experiences.

magnuskn, the reason I accuse the writers of BtVS of being lazy is because they broke their own rules without intention to do so, without consideration for how it would affect their narrative. They simply weren't paying attention. They didn't write Spike the way they did because they were trying to prove a point about good vs. evil. Initially, it wasn't given any consideration. They didn't even seem to be intentionally writing him as not-evil. Maybe the character ran away with the story; that happens, and I can see a case being made for Spike. The story they wrote may have been more interesting for you as a result, but that's more a case of happy accidents and good things coming out of bad. You yourself have expressed your belief that Salvatore is a bad writer for failing to deliver a satisfactory explanation for Drizz't being different. I would posit that this is similar to the writers of BtVS, the difference being that the Buffy writers, instead of delivering an unsatisfactory explanation, instead tried to reconcile the character of Spike with the pre-written mythology. It's bad writing in both cases that caused the problem.

Matthew, I agree that societal pressure is a very powerful force. However, it seems that there's a functional disconnect between these concepts of existential good and evil where mortals are concerned. The societal argument leads to the question of what 'good' and 'evil' really are, which goes back to the ethical philosophy. That's largely a problem with fantasy settings that allow for and reinforce such concepts as existential moral alignment. RPGs aren't really good for moral philosophy, especially as ambiguous as they often are. They're simply playing with a different set of rules, so to speak.

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