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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.
When I'm a player, most of my characters think of the Society as an international journalism organization/detective agency (especially the Detective Bard). Most of them offer to write specific NPCs into their Chronicles, so that people in Absalom will get to read about them, or mention that you can head to a Pathfinder lodge and look up just about anything about anywhere.
When I'm the GM, most of the NPCs think of Pathfinders as a bunch of nosey vagrants, armed to the teeth and expecting to be able to
Fortunately, that LG Bard guy I mentioned is also good at Bluffing, so if anyone asks him suspiciously if he's a Pathfinder, he can just dodge the question by complaining about how nosey and violent Pathfinders are, and if he ever sees one it'll be too soon.
Since an outsider's "Body and soul forms one unit" (as described in the Bestiaries), and the fact that, in one book in Skull & Shackles (avoiding spoilers) you can come across the corpse of an outsider, it looks like this:
If an outsider dies on their home plane (or possibly another Outer Plane), they get re-absorbed into the place, sort of like the Abyssal equivalent of bio-degrading. You probably couldn't rightly call any new outsider that appears after that "the same one".
However, if they die on the Material Plane, they're dead and can't do that stuff I mentioned above. I think that other outsiders of the same type would want to recover corpses if they're able to, or at least get a hold of mortal souls to recover any losses (whether by sanctification or damnation).
If you want a succubus as a recurring antagonist, and also want her to flee back into the Abyss, you could always have her keep around some last-ditch means of using Dismissal on herself and forgo the saving throw. Of course, getting back would be tricky, though desperately lonely demonologists are sadly never in short supply.
Or a half-elf who takes Exotic Weapon Proficiency instead of Skill Focus!
Or a kensai magus of any race, picking that as their weapon of choice. If you want to trip and disarm with a two-handed weapon, a heavy flail's a good martial weapon choice; however, flails can't snag clothing and make people flat-footed. Do one, then the other, then let your ninja team-mate have all the rest of the fun!
Depending on their age or your ability to gloss over any gory bits, Before the Dawn, Part One: The Bloodcove Disguise is mostly about subtlety, where you have to infiltrate a Pathfinder-unfriendly city while securing allies. If the group is obvious enough, though, there's a Chronicle Sheet boon where they capture and harm you.
Or Shadow's Last Stand, Part Two: Web of Intrigue. You travel through the capital of Andoren, gathering evidence and promising witness protection, then get to present it all, Ace Attorney-style! All the fighting in the scenario is more of an afterthought, or securing a desperate, frightened witness.
...Though both of them are two-parters, the other halves of which are less about figuring things out and more violence-happy. They both have vastly different situations, though, and are both fun as well.
First off, it's great to hear that you, Rudy, re-examined your initial decision, listened to criticism, and came to a better decision with the help of passersby on the internet! It can be done!
Secondly, whether I'm in the Player or GM's seat, I always go over ruling decisions with everyone in order to hopefully defuse difficult issues. If a corner case comes up, I'll bring/ask for the confusing thing in question, and try to stay open to compromise unless someone's actually trying to get away with something they shouldn't.
My Oracle with the Lame curse has a wand charged with Longstrider, claiming it can help soothe his bad back. If the GM rules that getting around the drawback of an Oracle curse invalidates its benefits or outright disallows his entire Mystery, I proceed to roll UMD by placing the die down on a 1. Other GMs have said it's fine, and have let me keep pace with the rest of the group while carrying a beat-up ally, for example.
As for the Masterpiece itself, I did get worried on my first reading of it; then, on my second reading, it struck me as a sort of magically-empowered Dunning-Kruger Effect, whereby your wilful ignorance and lack of self-awareness makes you certain that you know more than people who know that a given subject's more complex than it sounds. While you couldn't really tell what kind of plant that is, how much that rug is worth, or which Empyrial Lord is the favourite of this group, you can make a wild guess with +4. If nobody corrects you, or even knows if your guess is wrong, your dance can remove the penalty for telling an unlikely lie; how would they know if you're wrong?
I would want to take this feat, but not for PFS:
Once, this Razmirite of mine failed a Spellcraft check to identify a ring, so I then Bluffed and declared it to be a Ring of Climbing. Another PC didn't believe him and took the ring from him to check it out herself. She made her check, and the GM then revealed that it was, in fact... a Ring of Climbing!
"Praise be the Living God!"
My kobold PC is a sorceress, claiming that a sovereign dragon taught her tribe advanced mathematics and incubation techniques ages ago. She's got standard kobold stats, but she's yellow, getting the Gold dragon bloodline because of avoiding making her things sound-based. She's a great party face and is also the stealthiest, which is helped along by the loud barbarian with Con as his highest stat. She isn't going to make close combat attacks or carry things anyway, so the stat penalties aren't much of an issue.
Giving them swarming does sound like a good idea, especially if there are ratfolk around with friendly terms.
Reading the counter-arguments of, "They're supposed to be weak!" makes me want to envision a setting where kobolds have a better lot in life, the go-fers and diplomats of the subterranean races, thereby justifying a healthier, safer lifestyle and better stat modifiers.
Of course, depending on GM and back story, a PC can get a "kobold exemplar" with a suitably-explained bump from the ARG. I didn't take that route, but I might entertain it if a player asks about it. Part of their appeal is, after all, a self-assured species scrabbling to survive for a collective shot at the big time.
I bought Kobolds of Golarion with the intent of making up a kobold PC, and ended up in an all-kobold group! Unfortunately, the lack of high strength made things difficult, then everyone else died, but things are much more effective with just one in a mostly-medium group. I hope to get Leadership at level 7.
Though I do want kobolds to get a -2 +2 +2 stat modifier like most other playable races, they can work without it. That's why they tend to rely on traps and magic, though finesse rogues and urban barbarians could work well. Agile Maneuver Masters can help set things up for the others, but mostly, it comes down to being really careful or cowardly. Stealth, bluff and diplomacy would be more helpful than outright fighting, though kobold rangers, druids and cavaliers can direct animals who are more dangerous in a fight than they are.
Not to mention Summoners.
Varisian Wanderer wrote:
I never thought of that. There are also aberrations and similar that can implant parasitic larvae into people, for another way to do it. Or Alter Self beforehand.
I just got the mental image of a Lamashtu-oriented antipaladin look proudly upon her Fiendish Companion's latest act of carnage: "That's my girl!"
Also, heading into the realm of Mature Subject Matter...
Warning! Mentions of rape and bigotry:
Lamashtu may have some overlap with Nocticula, except instead of rape to exert force on another, it's to conceive offspring now, disregarding who's involved. As well, another GM suggested to me that Lamashtu could very well be the only divine entity with homophobic doctrine:
"What!? Women shtupping women? They can't give birth that way! You! Correct them!"
It's a good thing that Paizo hasn't included any of that, because not only would it be found hurtful by survivors of sexual assault and homophobia (which leaves deep mental wounds), but also that it might be seen to glamorize that stuff.
I've also heard her get called, "The Queen of the Demon Furries" once. If I ever have to homebrew an antagonistic foil for that particular player, I know to go right for a Lamashtu-worshipping gnoll vivisectionist.
It may or may not be, officially, but that could be so that GMs don't feel stuck to one interpretation.
The way I read it, I thought Sivanah saw Razmir as the world's greatest joke. He doesn't seem focused on achieving full-on mythicality, mainly due to the issues of consolidating and expanding his power base, whereas constructing the faith to not be about him personally, Xanderghul didn't have to worry or deal with all the issues that Razmir does. As the aforementioned added bonuses, his rivals get to tacitly allow his worship without catching on and teaming up against him. That's definitely a source of pride.
I have made tactical use of the Pit spells, mostly at higher levels in order to separate dangerous things that can't climb or fly well.
There was one that made the GM fume until he realized that it was as hilarious as the players found it:
he ruled that, despite being Huge size, the ooze could fall into the pit and fill it almost to the brim; it was able to climb out on its turn, but that took long enough for the cleric to Air Walk overtop of it and drop a handful of Fire Seeds on it.
The most annoying thing about the Pit spells that I've found is when they get cast in tight spaces, preventing hand-to-hand combat right after my character had invoked a special thing upon her weapon that would end if she dropped it or put it away.
Many indoor encounters happen in five-to-ten-foot-wide hallways, doorways and passages, so a pit under the enemy frontliner means we can't get to the enemy archer and spell-caster, but they can still aim at us without worrying about getting threatened.
Just so long as everyone's judicious in its use, it shouldn't be too bothersome. For extra confusing fun, however, cast it on the deck of a ship or the inside of a wagon!
He could want people to know it was him. He may or may not have left obscure hints that got lost over time, depending on how you GM it: he had declared himself its chief priest without any of his spell slots being devoted to the divine, and after all, what else would the seminal practitioner of Pride worship but himself?
I had previously accused the faith of Lisalla of being a constructed religion, because it struck me as a way for the Runelords to think of sin as a self-serving philosophy while enforcing it as doctrine. The way I GM it, Lisalla was a mythical lillend that Xin contacted for help in working out his virtues, then to be the focus of a faith for them. That way, you didn't have to be a philosopher to accept them.
Then his apprentices managed to trick or coerce her until she was the way they wanted her to be. After that, it was only a matter of time before Xanderghul thought, "I can do it all myself!"
As for those graveknights who claim to have been paladins of the Peacock Spirit, they don't or never had to avoid lying. Or they could have been duped in life.
I found out about Ihys when I wanted to make up a rabbi; he's an enlightened philosopher who venerates the memory of Ihys.
The way he tells it, a representative from every plane got to make manifest on the nexus between them to write a rule for it; Asmodeus invented time, making things happen after each other, while Ihys invented probability, so that the most likely thing wouldn't always have to happen ("You can see it every day, with every risky decision you Pathfinders make that works."); then Asmodeus invited Ihys to a remote bit of the Dark Tapestry to invent betrayal and show it to the being that called themselves brothers before they had to leave.
Where Ihys' corpse was left, parasites festered in it, as he says, resulting in the being known as Azathoth.
"To this day, why people would make deals with the thing that invented betrayal is beyond me."
With everything that claims to be first, either they weren't aware of each other, time didn't really happen until Asmodeus had it standardized, or there was historical revisionism from all sides.
Oh. I thought to myself, "if he worships himself all the time, what could be better than getting people to do it, other than getting people to do it without realizing the truth of it?"
But even with all the time and money, it'd be too much trouble to retrain from Illusionist 20 to Illusionist 7/Mystic Theurge 10/Cleric of Himself 3.
This may not be what anyone would have had in mind, but it might make sense.
I also don't know if this is better-suited to the RotRL or ShSt board, which is why I put it in General Discussion.
Xanderghul being mythical, if he took the mythical ability where people can pray to you and get divine spells out of it, and if the Peacock Spirit was merely a title, then Xanderghul could have set up a literal cult of personality.
As the one and only Runelord of Pride, it sounds like a thing he'd want to do. Not only did the faith vanish along with him, but the connection was also lost over time (unless he never made the connection explicit).
From what I've read and experienced, APs seem to favour group cohesion over build optimization as means of survival; if you plan things out, know when not to fight, have everyone's bases covered, and are careful, the biggest cause of sudden death would either be lucky crits, rolling a 1 on climbing or something, and jumping to wrong conclusions.
I have had characters make it through the entire AP (one never died at all, mainly due to being cautious and unobtrusive with the Toughness feat), with character deaths coming from one of them rushing ahead, spreading around when it would have been more sensible to focus one one opponent at a time, or just provoking something dangerous into aiming for them first.
If your people keep dying, I'd suggest all the players and the GM get together and figure out what's going wrong: is the GM trying to take down PCs, is the GM ratcheting up the numbers due to thinking the AP, as written, will be too easy and inadvertently making it too hard, or are the players all ignoring each other?
Spending however long you need to with the characters discussing strategy won't progress the plot, but it could help their overall survivability.
I once rolled a random encounter and ended up with an Inctilus or two. I basically described two people in a rowboat out at sea, both of whom had big mollusc shells on their heads. Nobody knew anything about them, so they decided to keep sailing and ask about them later on. I worked them in by telling them that there's a kind of symbiotic mollusc that just sits on people's heads and tries to be inconspicuous, but everyone notices them. A couple of people in the bar the were in had them, but nobody wanted any for themselves.
It involved changing them into not being dangerous at all, but that also meant they sailed right by two stranded people.