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...Or is Blake referring to a certain Don Bluth film? Though that'd work better for an Air or Shadow sorcerer.
Anyway, I chose to interpret the bit about "Nebulous Faiths" as "They think ecclesiastical religion is stupid", which led to some threatening from our Calistrian Bar-Clerian. Now I want to try a syrinx druid or shaman.
I'd like to swap anecdotes with anyone who's tried playing as a syrinx. Since they haven't had much background information explained as of yet, is there anything you added to them?
Here's mine. I put her in the Emerald Spire (I figured all the low ceilings would limit potential natural-flight-at-low-levels issues, for one thing).
Kaia Reroor, LE Syrinx Arcanist:
The GM let me add in that Syrinx civilization pre-dated Earthfall, that they had briefly interacted with some serpentfolk who'd burrowed up under one of their mountains in ages past, and that they, and the aboleth, had declared each other arrogant idiots who'd stolen their ideas of bioengineering their own servitor race.
Also, due to their society being artsy, philosophical, and racist, I presumed they'd had limited contact with Flightless races - so she presumed them all to be violent, gullible, sex-crazed, god-fearing halfwits who believed that everything belonged to that individual. I summarized her to the GM as, "She's the racist owl lady who wants to interview the racist burrowing bug in order to show up her pen pal, the racist psychic fish." Hence, LE.
Kaia had undergone treatments to allow her to speak Flightless tongues better, which ended up giving her more flexibility regarding spells. She started off trying to disguise herself as human, fearing what the others would do to her when they found out, but as it turned out, all they ended up doing was blaming her for everything that went wrong. ("Shoot the bird!" became our group's unofficial motto)
I hoped, during character creation, that a team of Good people would help her deal with her cultural bigotry and facilitate a shift to LN, but instead, the rest of the group was all "Chaotic Neutral" and terrified her. She started out without any damaging spells, but eventually got several, which saddened her. Also, she was the target of multiple acts of humiliating comeuppance, since half of the non-Hellknight-related conflict in the module were her fault.
In the end, she got her interview, met a friend who she liked for preferring flight to the ground she'd crawled up out of, and took her back home so she could plan to liberate all the strix she'd found out where they went.
I have a few. I'll put the context first, if you want to read it before the thing it explains.
Context, Good Human Witch:
The thief we were trying to bargain with had just said he preferred to call it "Ensuring People Get What They Know How To Use". My witch was trying to be polite.
"Of course! You can do anything you want if you call it something different."
Context 2: Later On In The Scenario:
Approaching the same thief again, with intent to arrest him. He said to us, "So, no honour among thieves, is there?"
"Well, I'm calling it Ad-Hoc Re-Justicing, you lackwit!"
Context,Dwarf Knight w/House Rule:
My cavalier who got a bear instead of a horse explained his difficulty in training with humans, and his vow to never ride on an animal
"They said a knight must learn to ride a horse. So I told them to find the biggest, strongest horse they could, and Konos would fight them. Since then, Konos & I have learned to change our tactics. I'm still never getting on the back of anyone."
Later on, a young black dragon demanded to be carried around in exchange for safe passage. This just re-affirmed my dwarf's decision.
Context, Evil Elf Witch in 3P AP:
My evil witch had been captured by the Inquisition of the church of Mitra, and had just been sprung by her thoroughly unsympathetic associates.
"My time there had reminded me of something. I hate you, I hate myself, but most of all, I hate Mitrianity! So let's go ruin it some more!"
One of the scariest moments in Pathfinder might be that time between book 5 and 6 in the Adventure Path - You've found out the scope of the villain's plot, and it's going to reach fruition soon! If you spend a month crafting stuff, it may be too late, so you have to rush off for the final battle, knowing what's at stake if you wipe.
One of the scariest places in Pathfinder would be the Darklands - Derro abduct your friends, only to return them after having been drugged and mutilated; Drow, which any elf will tell you don't actually exist, enslaving surface dwellers for fun and demonic sacrifice; neothelids, who can smell where you teleport; aboleth and shoggoths at the bottom of the ocean; and if you don't have darkvision, you'll never even see the worst of what they'll do to you.
One of the scariest things in Pathfinder is the fact that it can always get worse. Your trusted informant could be setting you up, having cast Glibness before every meeting; you could get charmed, dominated, possessed, or rise as undead, sired by another. An imp, of Tiny size and CR 2, is making subtle threats toward your butler? As a 3rd-level Expert or Commoner, he is helpless against it. If you think you're safe, in a reinforced place, where nobody can scry or teleport in, try not to remember that Golarion itself is the key to the prison of Rovagug, an entity so determined to chew up the entire Material Plane that nearly the entire rest of the pantheon had to team up against it. It is said that some gods died in the battle, whose names went unknown because there were no living mortals around at the time.
...and if that isn't dread-inducing enough, the Pathfinder setting also includes Azathoth, which isn't even aware of the chaos its presence causes, and Nyarlathotep, which is, and likes it.
Of course, many forces of evil, from the defunct Runelords all the way up to Charon and the others, want dread to make mortals feel helpless, so that they'll die more easily or agree to be eaten. Since this is a fantasy game, nobody should ever lose hope! All it'll take is a group of three-to-six quick learners of surprising talent, and your local calamity is averted. This can potentially happen all over the world, not to mention any other place in dire need of heroics. With the dozens, hundreds, or more of helpful NPCs supporting their success, dread shouldn't make you give up - it should make you fight back!
I had an idea for this the other week, but this sort of thing is better suited to the paranormal investigators of an urban fantasy setting to Pathfinder. Still, here's what I came up with:
The pastel-coloured, animal-looking construct is in a different pose than when you last saw it. Out of the corner of your eye, in the reflection of a cracked window behind it, you can see another one THAT'S RIGHT BEHIND YOU ROLL INITIATIVE!!
Haunted Animatronic CR 4
N Medium Construct (Robot)
Init +0; Senses Darkvision 60',low-light vision; Perception +3
During Combat It will play its alert sound, causing other Animatronics to converge on its location. It attempts to drop one target at a time, then will drag motionless bodies to a pre-programmed Employees Only room. It never attacks children, even ones who try to damage it; anyone it sees attempting to strike a child or moving around during closing time will be labelled an intruder.
Morale A Haunted Animatronic will fight until destroyed. Its batteries are kept charged by the pervasive negative energy in and around it, and there may be negative-energy-spewing haunts nearby that are capable of repairing it. While it will pursue fleeing intruders, it will never chase them outside the boundaries of its establishment. At sunrise, it will stop whatever it may be doing and return to where it's supposed to be during opening time.
Originally a robot constructed to entertain and protect children, combinations of programming glitches and horrible incidents have made them terrifying and violent, especially at night.
While most animatronics are little more than robotic statues with articulated heads and integrated speakers, these were built with knees, and can even right themselves if they fall. Due to the sorts of events which give rise to haunts or undead, they have become violently over-protective of their homes. While nothing dangerous should happen under normal circumstances, normal circumstances had long since ended when Haunted Animatronics stalk the halls. Worse, their establishments may have other haunts; worse still, the Animatronics themselves may be blamed for the circumstances behind their own hauntings. While all the supernatural bad feelings could be put to rest by, for example, bringing the serial killer behind them to justice and holding a memorial for the victims, merely destroying the Haunted Animatronics themselves will almost certainly not have the same effect.
When at rest, it becomes near-impossible to tell which are Haunted Animatronics and which are not, and anyone who dies by them may unintentionally add to their number. Fortunately, they never attack children nor each other. Having no supernatural way to sense them, they can be fooled by Childlike halflings, stealth or distractions, or even mundane disguises. Except when they aren't, so don't rest easy!
Urban legends exaggerate already scary stories, and tell of a unique, evil Haunted Animatronic, or advanced ones with bite attacks. Such tragic creations may have alternate or additional Spell-Like Abilities, such as Dimension Door or Nightmare.
Basically, I put the Robot subtype on a Soulbound Doll, made it Medium, advanced it to 5 HD, fiddled with its ability scores, and made it more a result of hauntings than a bound soul. At CR 4, just one of these things could take down a single, 1st-level guy in one round, but some well-equipped people of 3rd level could take down four or five of them if they did it one at a time.
Of course, the way most RPGs go, these are probably best used to show that spooky stuff is going on in your sleepy little 20th-century town, and it's up to you to stop it; or that a colony spaceship crashed in your fantasy setting, there were no survivors, it interacted with magic in saddening ways, and now even its nursery school is deadly.
Also, I haven't play-tested these yet, so I'm not sure if I should remove the DR or the Fear Aura.
It isn't a portable system, but if you're okay with your construct returning for regular recharging, your magitech reactor can be a Permanent Gust of Wind with a windmill on the end.
Just because nobody has pointed it out, buffing Will saves vs fear does nothing vs the shaken effect from an intimidate check, because intimidate doesn't allow a save.
Really? How did I assume that "save bonus vs. fear" equates to an increased Intimidate DC? It isn't in the Fear section of the Core Rulebook glossary on the PRD, it isn't in Fighter's Bravery, or any other class abilities I've seen.
Maybe I just heard about that as a house rule once and didn't know it was a house rule.
True, as it's apparently happened with hobgoblins and bugbears before. Plus, their hatred of pack animals and reliance on raiding and stealing means that they're culturally bad at commerce - rather than building and crafting, they'd rather steal things and figure out how to make those things suit themselves (like dogslicers and horsechoppers). This also means they won't grasp the concept of trading, seeing wagons and such as targets first and foremost.
I was thinking more about their fear of writing implying a cultural disregard of precision, but I'm probably out of line with that presumption. I mean, goblin alchemists can get repeatably good at what they do - the Free RPG Day modules are proof of that.
Also, I'm biased toward kobolds. They tend to put their intellects towards scheming, defensive-designs-as-cultural-artwork, and finding tougher allies to protect them from their former tougher allies.
Oh, right! Why'd I forget about that, especially with the iconic Bard & Mesmerist's relationship?
Do Remove Fear, Unbreakable Heart, or Surmount Affliction come in psychic form? Those can deal with fear as well.
Though, again, I do find it hilarious to imagine someone just insulting a psychic without realizing that they've unintentionally prevented their foe from bringing their most dangerous stuff to bear. Of course, things might get messy after the psychic gets over it...
Though really, the worst part about psyhcic magic, to me, is that it's secret, it's rare, and it's new. If the group hands all the arcane scrolls and wands to the psychic, saying, "You're a wizard, right?" there's going to have to be a lot of UMD checks.
Well, Swoosh's point was that you don't even need a specific spell to interfere with psychic magic; you just need to use a skill to hurt a psychic caster's feelings to do it.
Plus, there's also the drawback of thought components increasing concentration DCs unless you use up a move action first.
In either case, a paladin buddy nearby to take hits, protect from AoOs, use mercies, and sending out an Aura of Courage? Yes please!
Well, culturally, they carry on everything they've learned by oral tradition. Individual goblins may have good memories, plenty of patience, or sneaky social skills, but culturally, their fear of writing and love of raiding is what's both holding them back and justifying their CE tendencies.
Really, it seems like goblins tend to strive toward what's fun, mostly stealing from the longshanks and setting their writing on fire. Goblin alchemists are proud of finding all sorts of new ways to set things on fire (even themselves, safely, if they get that goblin alchemist prestige class that gives them Fire Body 1 as an extract), goblin bards and teachers try to remember stuff they've learned to tell others about it in a fun way, and leaders have to figure out how to settle disputes and make sure their tribe stays strong.
Of course, since PCs tend to be oddballs, picking an aspiration can help with any time you want to play as a goblin.
You intimidate the Mesmerist as a standard action. The Mesmerist uses the Touch Treatment on oneself as a swift action, which removes the shakened condition, and still has other actions left.
As was previously mentioned, there are ways to protect oneself against fear, and some psychic spellcasters use Wisdom for their spells, which will make the Intimidate DC higher.
Also, if the same person repeatedly tries to Intimidate the same target, the DC increases by 5 until an hour after you stop trying.
Oh, plus, other than psychic spells that can still be cast even if you've had your feelings hurt, Occultists, Spiritualists, Mesmerists, possibly Kineticests and some Mediums can still suck it up for the round they've been shaken for and try to hit you with their 3/4 BAB.
Though I do like the idea of an opponent making fun of my Mesmerist with, "Psychic magic seems pretty terrible. I mean, why even bother?" and then he slaps himself across the face with, "Get ahold of yourself!" and magically makes his opponent feel inadequate about themeselves.
Just a point that was brought up earlier:
Right, so that would mean I'd only give the Stare that lowers Will saves to people I wouldn't want to fight. I should bick Boldness that centers around lowering stuff like Initiative, Sense Motive or Perception; if a fight does break out, then I'd switch to Staring at a friend to help them protect me.
Also, his False Healing will have to come in the form of inspirational slogans:
"Just a scratch; only a flesh wound. You've had worse!"
"Don't you go dying on me!"
"Never give up! Trust your instincts!"
How are you planning on making it happen? Will it work like everyone possessing each other, where they use their own mental stats, base attack bonuses, spell slots and so on, or are you just going to tell all the players to exchange character sheets?
Either way, if characters with different gender identities change hands, be careful (and respectful).
I had similar issues, so this is the way I rationalize it:
You put your hands on opposite sides of the subject's head, send a gentle psychic pulse from one hand to the other, make your skill check, and determine that the subject is a female human paladin who isn't as experienced as you are.
She then asks you for her money back.
While yes, phrenology doesn't work and has even been used to rationalize racist rhetoric, Pathfinder has a history of using magic to force pseudo-science to work (as well as avoiding bigoted stances). So I figure it's less about learning about someone by measuring their head as much as empathizing basic information about someone by touching their head. Like magical neurology instead.
Fanatical Stare replaces Painful Stare, but not Hypnotic Stare. Does this mean he can only have either Hypnotic Stare active (with accompanying Boldness) against a foe, or Fanatical Stare active on a team-mate, but not both at once?
Since the standard Mesmerist's Painful Stare works as a part of Hypnotic Stare on the same target, it lower's the target's Will save and makes them take more damage; having Fanatical Stare active on a team-mate would do mostly the same thing, though the Fanatic buddy could get the attack/damage bonus on other targets. On the other hand, it sounds like they'd be mutually exclusive effects, seeing as you can Stare at only one person at a time. Then, it'd be a choice of, "Do I put my Boldness against that guy to slow him down, or inspire my friend to hit him harder?"
Also, I want to defy the expectation of Evil-aligned Mesmerists, by making a LG Cult Master from Alvis (in southern Andoran) who isn't starting a cult. Instead, he's a magical psychotherapist, giving self-confidence and focus to people who need it.
*tugs suspenders* "Now, I'm no big-city enchanter with a fancy spellbook or a fairy dragon, but I've learned that positive encouragement can do more for one's sanity than a whole cellar full of potions and scrolls."
Word casting, from Ultimate Magic, would be fun and effective, though confusing.
Or, possibly, give one an amulet that it swallowed and can use that way.
I really want to play both APs, like with the same group (maybe different GMs) on different days of the week. Then, it'll end with the characters of both groups squaring off against each other. The only problem with that would be that it'd involve lots of players talking to themselves.
81. Intense Transformation: The caster enters a bout of violent anger, refusing to cast spells or activate magic items, but doesn't gain increases to physical stats nor Base Attack Bonus.
82. Literal Burning Hands: The caster's hands catch fire, causing 1d4*2 levels fire damage (max 5d4) per round unless the caster succeeds at a Reflex save.
Ooh! Mantis' Prey reminded me of my time in that one as well!
We're told that this leather is actually tanned hide from the Tarrasque itself! While the other PCs get worried that it might grow into a new Tarrasque or something, all my witch's Knowledge check gets out of the GM is, "You read somewhere that the Tarrasque is fireproof".
So she cries out, "I have an idea!", takes the leather in one hand, and runs up the stairs with her Burning Hands wand in the other.
She returns a little later, empty-handed, sadly shaking her head.
She tried to save face, but the cost ended up having to come out of her Chronicle sheet.
As punishment for all of your crimes against the realm, I sentence you to death and community service.
(A cheaper, easier, if evil, source of perpetual motion than a permanent Gust of Wind)
You could just "dismiss" your old familiar and re-establish the Arcane Bond with something else, but what then? You could hold on to your former familiar who loses all the benefits of being a magical test animal, or leave it with any surviving family members a PC might have.
The biggest issue will be finding an opportunity to bring in a demon-worshipping drow.
I had an evil witch who is disgusted at the way she sees human men talk about elven women. She has a custom Bestow Curse the GM has approved in case men try to make crude advances at her:
She curses them with impotence, to be lifted upon True Love's Kiss. Either the offensive people learn to live in a mutually stable relationship, or, more likely, it'll never happen and they'll see it as the most terrifying curse imaginable.
In the Inner Sea World Guide, there's a feat called Secret Signs. In addition to a couple of other small benefits, it lets you cast a spell with only somatic components with one hand behind your back (at least, that's how I see it).
When you use it that way, you get to make Sleight of Hand, opposed by Perception from anyone looking at you at the time; if they succeed, they can then make Spellcraft to figure out what you're casting. If your Sleight of Hand beats their Perception, then they can't make Spellcraft.
A few spells (Forced Quiet, Mislead, and a couple others) have only S components by themselves, but Silent Spell can let you do that with any of them!
I know a person who really wants to bring in an antipaladin.
This thread made me imagine her having said antipaladin having to hide the spiky armour and infiltrate a small town; as he befriends its populace, he finds himself unwilling to kill any of them. When the time comes to put his evil plan into effect, he balks.
His prayers abruptly go unanswered. Searching aimlessly for something to give himself purpose again, he finds himself at the town's temple of Erastil.
His repentance is wholehearted; his re-training, rapid. By the next session, the GM has let him trade in all his levels.
He has risen.
Though I don't think that's what she'd want her guy to do.
We're in the Emerald Spire. Our group has so far:
1) hid bees in the privy
2) poisoned the hellknights
3) gotten everyone else in the fort high at the same time
4) freed slaves while enslaving a hellknight named Thaddeus
5) freed child slaves, only to teach them how to be child assassins.
6) offered to take some thieves with us, only to murder them later because they had apparently planned to betray other thieves.
They didn't tell my character (LE Syrinx arcanist who's become appalled at the violent gullible sex-crazed Flightless people) what they were planning on doing with the thieves, but they did talk about when they were going to murder Thaddeus. (I kept saying, "at least wait until his servitude has ended!")
So we dodge one of those statues that punches people, and I turn a corner. I hear a gunshot, then another, then turn back to see both thieves on the ground with bullet wounds in their heads.
Dwarf Gun Tank: "I roll Bluff on her: The statue shot them!" *Double-taps thief*
I'd say that this is one of the things that's intentionally left vague so that the individual players and GMs can decide it for themselves. Sort of like how every sorcerer has their own personal take on Magic Missiles.
She could be blessed by Gorum or Kurgess; she could be mastering ki without fully realizing it; "Spell Slots" could be a theoretical function of the soul, which your Brawler is unknowingly using. Not for formal spells, but for a constant extraordinary effect.
Or you could just have someone who believes if she practices enough, she can wrestle a fire elemental and win. In such a magical setting, it's perfectly possible!
There's also a magic item, Helm of Comprehend Languages and Read Magic that lets its wearer do those things at-will. It isn't Detect Magic, but it'll help with any scrolls, spellbooks, or magically-altered writing you may find. It costs 5,200 GP, though, so it wouldn't be something to get at low levels.
I seem to have made up a few evil characters lately. I always try to figure out why they're evil, what they want, and how they'll maintain relationships.
In the Emerald Spire, I'm a LE syrinx arcanist; the rest of her research team having been killed, she was forced to ally with nearby Flightless because they were so much better at violence.
Nobody cared when her human disguise eventually failed, so long as she can keep casting buff spells on them. The rest of the group is "CN" and falling, playing practical jokes on Hellknights as practice for their plan to murder all of them in the fort. They mainly seem interested in the Spire for salvage, but I keep pressing them further on.
She's evil because she's snooty and racist, having written of the Flightless as "violent, gullible, sex-crazed, god-fearing bullies". She agrees with the group that enslaving one's own species is morally backward, but bought an enslaved human at an auction to prevent other humans from doing it. She is currently the only one who refuses to make him Head Trap Detector.
The Gunslinger loves filling her head and notebook with nonsense, the cleric has given up all theological debate, and the investigator stole one of her feathers while she'd been downed. We have very good group cohesion, but we've joked that, sooner or later, we're all going to convert to Rovagug. (She's staunchly a-religious, though, which winded up causing an avoidable genocide, and her temporary death that she refuses to acknowledge, just because she wanted to prove to a small population that their religion was wrong)
I just know a player who really wants, one day, to play as a paladin who abruptly turns anti-paladin without infuriating the other players.
Also, she says the ioun wyrd looks like a Pokemon, inspiring a conjuror out of her; not counting her half-Orc sea witch who dispenses beneficial hexes via kisses from her giant isopod, Brunnhilde.