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I recently had a lovely encounter prepared for a fight with a nemesis who'd been a thorn in my player's side for about 6 levels. I made the foolish assumption that the PC would follow standard adventurer protocol: kick down the door and roll initiative.
So what does she do instead? She convinces the kingdom's guards that there's an invading army. The council (on which the nemesis sits) was duly convened, and the PC taken straight to them as a material witness -- where she decides to destroy the nemesis' reputation instead of just attacking her.
That's right. She went for character assassination instead of an actual assassination.
And good advice -- I'll be sure to insert a session or two between sieges.
In our campaign, Xanesha escaped the party (barely). In fact, the party is currently working for Xanesha (unknowingly) in her cover personality as Lady Diana Baythorne, Chief Intelligencer of Magnimar. She used the PCs to destroy her rival Lucretia, and while they were away she has successfully assassinated Mayor Grobaras. So I think there'll probably be a session or two devoted to political intrigue over his death and succession, plus the party discovering that Lady Baythorne isn't what they thought she was. Mwa ha ha.
I failed to find the thread, so I've gone ahead and devised my own plan for having Barl Breakbones assault Fort Rannick, defended by the PCs. Here's a write-up. Any feedback would be appreciated.
Needless to say, there are lots of spoilers to follow.
1) In the adventure as written, Barl took over the tribe based purely on his possession os Sihedron medallion. This strikes me as a tad unrealistic, so instead Barl overawed them by animating the corpse of Gargadros as a zombie under his own control. The gentle repose effect of Gargadros' sihedron medallion meant the body was in sufficiently good shape for this, though Barl did need to cast Desecrate in order the be capable of animating such an enormous corpse (I have given him a custom magic item that casts Desecrate 1/day for that purpose, which is a nice item for any necromancer to have anyway).
Once Gargadros woke and was obviously under Barl's control, Grolki surrendered. Here are stats for Gargardros (he's a fast zombie rune giant).
Gargadros CR 9
Male fast rune giant zombie (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 288, 289, Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 2 130)
NE Gargantuan undead
Init +1; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +0
AC 29, touch 7, flat-footed 28 (+1 Dex, +22 natural, -4 size)
hp 143 (26d8+26)
Fort +8, Ref +9, Will +15
Immune undead traits
Speed 60 ft.
Melee slam +31 (3d6+24), 2 slams +31 (2d6+16)
Space 20 ft.; Reach 20 ft.
Str 43, Dex 13, Con —, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 10
Base Atk +19; CMB +39; CMD 50
Skills Acrobatics +1 (+13 to jump)
Languages Common, Giant, Terran
SQ quick strikes
Environment cold mountains
Organization solitary, pair, patrol (3-6), squad (7-12), or company (13-30 plus 2-4 fighters or rogues of 2nd-4th level, 1 oracle or sorcerer of 5th-8th level, 1 ranger or monk commander of 5th-6th level, 10-20 yetis, 1-4 cloud giants, 8-12 frost giants, 10-16 stone giants, 4-8 lamia matriarchs, and 1-2 adult blue dragons)
Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white vision only).
Quick Strikes (Ex) Whenever a fast zombie takes a full-attack action, it can make one additional slam attack at its highest base attack bonus.
Undead Traits Undead have many immunities and use Cha in place of a Con for all effects.
Technically Gargadros retains the spell-like abilities he had in life, but since he has no intelligence, I chose to eliminate them. I also removed his armor and weapons, on the grounds that they were no longer in good enough shape to provide him any benefit (and I want my fighter to have a prayer of hitting him). Consider describing him as wearing armor so ancient and crumbling as to provide no useful benefit.
2) Barl has not killed his second stone giant minion. He just cut out his tongue.
3) Barl sent a messenger to go talk to Jaagrath; but he came back to report that the castle's been taken by adventurers and Jaagrath's dead. Enraged, Barl musters his forces and sets out.
4) Myrianna is not dead. Lamatar's animal messenger never made it to her. Perhaps it was a small bird that became a tasty snack for a hawk halfway there. Anyway, she's alive, and wondering why she hasn't seen Lamatar lately. She finally decides to investigate, and leaves Whitewillow to seek out Lamatar at Fort Rannick.
5) Myrianna has never visited Fort Rannick before, and in the course of avoiding Turtleback Ferry, she takes a wrong turn and gets lost. Emerging at the north end of the Kreegwood, she catches sight of Barl's forces -- a rune giant zombie can be seen from quite far away. It's easier to get her bearings once clear of the Kreegwood, by looking at the mountains, so she turns and rushes to Fort Rannick to warn Lamatar that an army of ogres and giants is heading for the fort with an enormous creature of some kind.
6) Myrianna throws caution to the wind and runs headlong into Fort Rannick calling for Lamatar. Instead she finds the PCs. A lot depends on how the PCs and Myrianna react to one another; you could run this as a hostile encounter in which Myrianna reacts badly to the news of Lamatar's death and lashes out in her grief. But it's more likely that they'll react with sympathy, and she'll deliver her warning to them instead, and potentially stay to assist. In my own game I've added two levels of druid to her. Here's a stat block for her:
Myrianna CR 10
Male advanced nymph druid 2 (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary, 217)
NG Medium fey
Init +11; Senses low-light vision; Perception +18
Aura blinding beauty (DC 23)
AC 29, touch 27, flat-footed 21 (+9 deflection, +7 Dex, +1 dodge, +2 natural)
hp 99 (10 HD; 8d6+2d8+62)
Fort +20, Ref +22, Will +23
DR 10/cold iron
Speed 30 ft., swim 20 ft.
Melee mwk dagger +13 (1d4+2/19-20)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 8th; concentration +17)
. . 1/day—dimension door
Domain Spell-Like Abilities (CL 8th; concentration +17)
. . 8/day—icicle (1d6+1 cold)
Druid Spells Prepared (CL 9th; concentration +14)
. . 5th—cure critical wounds, ice storm[D], wall of thorns
. . 4th—control water[D], flame strike (DC 19), reincarnate, spike stones (DC 19)
. . 3rd—call lightning (DC 18), dominate animal (DC 18), stone shape, summon nature's ally III, water breathing[D]
. . 2nd—chill metal (DC 17), flame blade, flaming sphere (DC 17), fog cloud[D], gust of wind (DC 17), wood shape (DC 17)
. . 1st—charm animal (DC 16), cure light wounds, entangle (DC 16), faerie fire, obscuring mist[D], produce flame, speak with animals
. . 0 (at will)—detect magic, flare (DC 15), light, mending
. . D Domain spell; Domain Water domain
Str 14, Dex 25, Con 22, Int 20, Wis 21, Cha 29
Base Atk +5; CMB +12; CMD 34
Feats Agile Maneuvers, Combat Casting, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +13, Diplomacy +20, Escape Artist +19, Handle Animal +20, Heal +16, Knowledge (local) +12, Knowledge (nature) +20, Perception +18, Perform (dance) +14, Sense Motive +16, Spellcraft +18, Stealth +20, Survival +7, Swim +21, Use Magic Device +20
Languages Aquan, Common, Druidic, Elven, Gnome, Sylvan, Varisian
SQ inspiration, nature bond (Water domain), nature sense, stunning glance, unearthly grace, wild empathy +25, woodland stride
Other Gear mwk dagger
Environment temperate forest
Treasure standard (dagger, other treasure)
Agile Maneuvers Use DEX instead of STR for CMB
Blinding Beauty (DC 23) (Su) Blind humanoids in 30 ft if they look at the nymph (Fort neg). Can suppress as a free action.
Combat Casting +4 to Concentration checks to cast while on the defensive.
Damage Reduction (10/cold iron) You have Damage Reduction against all except Cold Iron attacks.
Druid Domain (Water) Granted Powers: You can manipulate water and mist and ice, conjure creatures of water, and resist cold.
Icicle 1d6+1 cold (8/day) (Sp) As a standard action, ranged touch attack deals cold dam to foe in 30 ft.
Inspiration (Su) Chosen creature gains +4 to Will saves and Craft/Perform checks while carries a mark of favor.
Low-Light Vision See twice as far as a human in low light, distinguishing color and detail.
Stunning Glance (DC 23) (Su) As a standard action can stun one creature in 30 ft for 2d4 rds (Fort neg).
Swimming (20 feet) You have a Swim speed.
Wild Empathy +25 (Ex) Improve the attitude of an animal, as if using Diplomacy.
Woodland Stride (Ex) Move through undergrowth at normal speed.
I intend to have her assist in the fight, primarily using spells like Spike Stones and Wall of Thorns, plus perhaps some summoned creatures.
7) Myrianna's warning should give the PCs about half a day to make preparations. Adjust to taste.
8) Barl's forces consist of: himself, Gargadros, 2 stock stone giants, 5 ogre fighters (at 5th level), 5 ogre barbarians (4th level), 10 stock ogres. I intend to play up the zombie rune giant. "Some massive creature approaches. You can't see it yet, but you can hear it, feel it through your feet like the beating of some horrid heart: doom .... doom ... DOOM. Finally it pushes through the trees opposite Fort Rannick: a giant unlike any other you've seen before."
The assault will take place in several stages.
A) Barl offers them swift death if they surrender and come out of the fort. Trash talk and threats back and forth. Barl makes a point of bragging that his forces have already taken this fort once, and that their former commander is now his undead puppet, at which Myrianna shrieks in outrage and grief.
B) Barl points at the southern gatehouse and says "Gargadros: destroy that gate, and kill any who oppose you." Gargadros proceeds to demolish the gatehouse, using his bare dead hands to tear the walls apart; if attacked he changes his focus to the defenders, but he lacks any intelligence and merely attacks mindlessly until destroyed. During the fight the ogres should chant encouragement: "Gargadros! Gargadros! Gargadros!" At his fall, they howl and shriek in dismay.
C) Earlier, Barl ordered his 2 stone giants to flank the mountain. The party should not have seen them yet. Their instructions are to hurl large rocks down on the defenders as soon as Gargadros gets into the keep; if Gargadros is destroyed, they start chucking rocks then. If the party asks a Black Arrow ally how they dealt with this kind of thing, they'll say that the eagles (now dead) ran off any hostile creatures attempting to reach the summit.
D) Barl waits until the defenders are distracted by the stone giant rock throwers, then orders all of his ogres in at once. Barl uses his spells to support the ogres. The ogres with levels fight to the death; but the stock ogres lose morale and flee if 6 or more of leveled ogres die. The 10 stock ogres I've added mostly for dramatic effect and intend not to roll out -- they can fight in the background with surviving Black Arrows. They can either be encountered later in Hook Mountain, or else they can disperse and flee into the forests and mountains.
E) Finally, when all else has failed, Barl enters the fray himself.
9) Lamatar is not there, but Barl's bragging should have revealed his fate. He and the three hags were left behind at the clanhold. After the dust has settled, Myrianna will beg the party to go and destroy him, and return his body so that she can reincarnate him. At this point, taking on the clanhold will take very little effort -- it contains the three hags, Lamatar, and perhaps a few stock ogres.
I hope this is not too much. My party is not heavily optimized. It's going to be a hugely complex fight to run.
This thread mentions another thread about altering Book 3 such that Barl Breakbones assaults the PCs at Fort Rannick rather than waiting for them to come to Hooktongue Mountain.
I'd like to read that thread, because I'm considering something similar for my group. But I can't find it. It's not linked in the post that references it, my google-fu has failed me, and I quail at the prospect of manually sorting through thousands of threads.
Anyone know where to look?
So, suppose a witch casts a quickened Ill Omen (CL 10) on a character with Mythic Iron Will, followed by a Dominate Person.
The Ill Omen spell requires the target to roll twice and take the lower result on his next 3 saves. Meanwhile, Mythic Iron Will allows him to roll twice and take the higher result on all Will saves.
So ... how should this be resolved?
A) Roll twice for the Ill Omen, make a note of the worst, then roll a third time for Mythic Iron Will and take the better of the two?
B) Roll twice for the Mythic Iron Will, make a note of the better, then roll a third time for Ill Omen and take the worse of the two?
C) Declare that Ill Omen and the Mythic Iron Will negate each other's effects, then roll once and take it?
This is very likely to come up in my game on Saturday.
Ah, I like Mackenzie's suggestion -- Arazni is using Ranalc to flush out Nex. That sounds reasonable, if indirect. I like it. Particularly since as an undead creature, Arazni has a loooong time ahead of her -- indirect is fine, since she has time to try lots of approaches.
That's a good suggestion, though Arazni's incredibly smart (INT 39), and had centuries to get her ducks in a row.
I still may take it if nothing better comes up. Smart people make mistakes too.
So, in my homebrew game, Arazni has just attempted to hire the PCs to kill Count Ranalc.
Unfortunately, this offer was based on a misreading of the canon -- I somehow got it into my head that Nex and Count Ranalc were in fact the same person. I reasoned that Arazni is tired of being de facto ruler, and wants the full title -- which she can only get by destroying Geb. But Geb's a ghost, and will continually reform until the thing tying him to the mortal plane (namely his hatred of Nex) has been dealt with.
Meanwhile, Count Ranalc has been the primary antagonist at the root of the party's troubles for the last two years, so the party has a reason to be interested in the offer. The party is also currently undead (vampires, due to an unfortunate random encounter), so the fact that the offer is coming from a lich isn't a major problem. Arazni even has reason to believe they can credibly take on a demi-god, considering they killed Jezelda recently.
It all worked so beautifully in my head. Arazni hires the party to get rid of Ranalc. I stat him up as a demi-god (like an empyreal lord or demon lord -- something potentially killable, unlike a full deity). They take him on, presumably with direct aid from Arazni herself (possibly even Geb). Epic fight, and when the dust settles the party's path to completing their own goal (fixing the gates of Sevenarches) is made substantially easier without active opposition from Ranalc.
... except it turns out that Nex and Ranalc are not the same person after all, which totally undermines Arazni's reasons for hiring the party to do it.
At this point, the party has no idea why Arazni wants Ranalc dead. All they know is that's what she wants, and she'll be willing to discuss the details if they're interested. So if I can come up with another plausible reason why Arazni wants Ranalc's head, the idea could still work.
Suggestions? I mean, I could just declare that Nex and Ranalc really are the same person, but that throws all kinds of other related canon stuff out of whack, and I'd rather not do that.
The description from Bestiary 2 says:
Breath Weapon (Su) Although it deals negative energy damage, an umbral dragon's breath weapon does not heal undead creatures.
The ecology entry from PF #11, Skeletons of Scarwall, says that undead creatures often seek umbral dragons as mounts, because:
The wyrms’ ability to heal the dead with their breath and elicit fear from difficult-to-control undead minions—like mohrgs, spectres, and vampires—make them potent allies to would-be generals among the legions of the damned.
So ... which is it? I don't like it when the crunch and the fluff disagree with each other.
I went back and forth on the stat boost thing, but decided it added a good sense of "hey this is an epic spell now" to it. Feel free to disregard.
And I stuck the "subject to GM approval" in to account for GMs who don't want the players to have access to every race. EDIT: and it occurs to me that if the limitation is "you can't change your type", and my type is outsider (native) because I'm, say, a sylph, then I could reincarnate as a Janni (still a native outsider) and get a fly speed with perfect maneuverability, plus bunch of spell like abilities. So I think limiting it to 0-hd races make sense.
In my own campaign, it looks like this is primarily going to be used as a rite of passage -- the PC has just taken the Divine Source ability and started granting spells to followers, and the player wanted to reincarnate each new worshipper as a kind of initiation. Yeah, that'll get expensive, but the flavor is awesome.
Here's a mythic reincarnate I came up with for use in a campaign I'm GM'ing. Add the following to the end of the spell:
It was vampires that got me on this, actually. Quite aside from monsters with templates, what do you do about NPCs with templates?
Vampires are neither super-common nor unusually rare, so the Knowledge DC would start at 10.
A level 5 human fighter with the vampire has a CR of 6 -- 4 from class levels, and +2 from the vampire template. So when encountering him, the party has to make a DC 16 Kn (Religion) check to recall one useful piece of information about vampires, such as that you really need Protection from Evil because they can dominate people.
But if the vampire was a level 10 fighter, he'd have a CR of 11 -- 9 from levels, 2 from vampire, and getting the exact same piece of information would require a DC 21 Kn (Religion) check.
It's weird that the difficulty of knowing the properties of a template varies depending on what kind of creature it's attached to.
And considering I pledged for the new edition of the Advanced Bestiary and have Hero Lab, templates are probably going to be popping up a lot more in my game. When I throw a swarmblooded teratocephalic gigantean house cat at my PCs, I want them to have a chance to figure out what the heck it is.
According to the Knowledge skill description, the DC to identify a monster's abilities and weaknesses is 10 + the monster's CR. That's fine for stock monsters. But what do you do about templates?
Is it really supposed be harder to figure out what a template does when applied to a level 10 fighter compared to the exact same template on a level 5 fighter?
I'd like a map showing modern day Golarion with the outlines of the old Thassilonian provinces overlaid on it. I'm pretty sure I've seen one somewhere, but I can't remember where. Can anyone point me in the right direction, please?
Katarina -- I wasn't asking about PC reactions; just about player reactions. Some people can find distressing events in role play disturbing. I once had a player cry for about an hour simply because a character fell off a cliff and died. It wasn't even that player's character.
Though it doesn't sound like anyone in your group is quite that sensitive, it's just a good idea when something like this comes up to check whether it spoiled anyone's fun. You need to determine what boundaries your group of players -- not PCs, players -- is comfortable with. That will vary from group to group.
In fact it's generally just a good idea to check and see how players are feeling about the campaign on a regular basis. I try and chat with mine after every session. The more feedback you can get from them, the better you can adjust the campaign to suit their preferences.
Check in with the other players. If any of them were disturbed or grossed out enough that the game stopped being fun for them, that's not okay. This one player's "fun" shouldn't be allowed to ruin everyone else's, and it easily could.
If they were, then you'll need to talk with the player about acceptable behavior -- something along the lines of "keep it PG-13". Or whatever level your group IS comfortable with.
If it turns out that everybody thinks it was a high old time, uh, well, consider whether you're okay with playing NPCs who get horrendously mutilated, because it's bound to happen again.
The advice above is generally good. I have two things to add:
1) If your players are comfortable with rules, consider giving them mythic tiers. A judicious application of the mythic rules can make a PC considerably tougher.
It may also help with action economy. The mythic rules offer a variety of ways to get extra actions. Non-casting characters may benefit particularly, because many mythic abilities can be done as a swift action -- something not usually available to martials and tricksy types.
The mythic ruleset does have the downside of complicating the game, though.
2) Consider recruitment. That is, perhaps the bad guys are more interested in recruiting the heroes than killing them, which may lead them to pull some punches. Lucrecia in book 3 would be a prime point for this, considering it was written into the adventure in the first place. However, at that point you'd be A) running an evil campaign where the PCs assist Karzoug in rising to power (or supplant him), and B) you'd be well and truly off the rails.
Think of it as a learning experience for them. They get to learn exactly why it's a bad idea to split the party.
And I actually rather like the fact that they're all getting bits of the story separately. It means they have to compare notes (preferably in character!) in order to figure out what's going on.
And yes, VTTs can be very nice. I've never tried Fantasy Grounds, but I've been a player in a Roll20 game, and GM'ed for a couple of years using MapTool.
My players are about to reach Black Magga, so I thought I'd make a map for the encounter. Here it is:
Scale is 100 pixels to the inch; dimensions are 40 inches by 50 inches.
The terrain corresponds in both shape and scale to the map of Turtleback Ferry in the RotRL Anniversary Edition appendix. The church isn't the same shape, though -- I could have made one, but time was an issue. I also added some high points because I plan on running the flood a bit deeper than written.
It's not the best, but I only had 2 hours to give it. Made with textures from cgtextures, buildings and tree from the Dundjinni forums, and Photoshop witchery.
Note: this is the second time I've done this post. The forums ate the first attempt. >.<;
The rules can never, ever cover every possibility. Adjudicating creative approaches like this is part and parcel of GM'ing. Get used to it.
I think you handled the Erylium scenario exactly right. It's generally best to let players try things; but if the situation warrants it, or even if you just want to complicate their lives, you are totally free to impose reasonable extras, such as the reflex save to avoid the zombie pit. The party dealt with it, and now they'll have a new story to tell.
As for the second scenario, the solution itself was clever. The morality of it is debatable, and I'm sure lots of people will debate it. Ultimately it's up to you as GM to decide whether using a goblin as bunyip bait is an act evil enough to cause your Paladin alignment trouble.
This is a feat from Blood of the Night, and it's confusing. Here's the full text:
Blood of the Night p. 17 (page unnumbered) wrote:
Questions questions, so many questions.
1) Suppose a standard vampire who already has gaseous form takes this feat. Must she make a choice between Glitterdust and Mind Fog once, when the feat is taken, or each time she assumes gaseous form?
The "Special" line about taking the feat multiple times would suggest that you choose one when you take the feat, but then it goes on to talk about choosing a swarm type. That's clearly a copy-paste error from the "Improved Swarm Form" feat on the same page, but since it doesn't actually say you have to pick one manifestation when you take the feat, it's totally ambiguous.
2) Suppose we have a face-off between Vina Vampire and Perry Paladin. They are standing directly adjacent to one another, thus:
As a standard action, Vina goes gaseous. She has Improved Gaseous Form, and has chosen Mind Fog. The feat says that the Glitterdust/Mind Fog effects "apply only to creatures that enter your space while you are in gaseous form." Does this mean:
2A) That Perry has to voluntarily step into Vina's square? Or,
3) Assuming the answer to 2B is "yes, she can step into his square to force the save", how often can she force that save? The options are:
- every time she enters his square
If it's EVERY time she enters his square, she has 20 feet of movement, and can therefore force Perry to make 2 saves against Mind Fog in the same round that she became gaseous with a simple move action (in, save, out, in, save, out). If she can manage a double-move or a run using the same trick, that's a whole lot more saves.
Anyway, sooner or later, Perry is going to fail that Will save, and incur a -10 penalty on Will saves for AT LEAST 2 rounds -- plenty of time for Vina to curdle his brains with Dominate Person, and order him to murder his colleagues.
4) This is actually unrelated to the feat specifically, but can a creature in gaseous form fly into an opponent's lungs and just sit in there, thereby triggering the suffocation rules? Because that would be positively evil.
If I am the fey queen, and an insolent mortal sorceress angers me by being insulting or threatening, I will call on the Eldest to lay a curse on her tongue. Until she appeases me, no one will ever believe her words. If she tells the truth, people will assume she's lying. If she lies, they'll believe her words are true. And regardless, they will believe these things even with solid evidence staring them in the face.
I won't tell her about this. She'll know I did something, but I won't tell her what. She'll just have to figure it out.
Her party members will be exempt from this curse (unless you want to go to the trouble of enlisting the other players). So will I, because it wouldn't do for her to be unable to offer apologies. If she does apologize, perhaps I'll petition the Eldest to undo the curse. Or I may demand some service of her in exchange. Who can say? It may depend on what I had for breakfast that morning.
Updated for 28 July draft! Sorry for the delay, the first couple of days of the week have been super busy.
Tavernhold moved from F to C
I actually updated it yesterday about an hour before the real update came out and thought "Gee, not much changed this week." Then the real update came out and I got to do it all again ... :-/
The Deaders moved from T to R
I think Quadrivium merged with somebody, but as I've said before, I don't follow the diplomacy closely. Please post any corrections or errors you spot.
I'm very late this week! Apologies -- I've been dealing with both a family crisis and transitioning between web hosts.
The Guardians moved from R to D
Pity about the Librarians of Doom. I seriously considered throwing my lot in with them, and I've been rooting for them. But I couldn't get in touch with them to ask questions, they didn't have a web site, and I couldn't tell if they had any kind of plan for keeping a settlement.
I don't see anything in the undead entry about immunity to polymorph effects.
Are you thinking of the immunity to any effect requiring a Fort save unless it works on objects? Because that only renders undead immune to effects that allow a Fortitude save, and there are plenty of personal-range polymorph spells that don't. Example: Alter Self allows no save. Nor does Beast Shape.
However, I'll accept Ipslore's answer and the general consensus: vampires can't dodge the running water weakness via polymorph spells because they don't change the creature's base type. Thanks.
The vampire template says:
Each round of immersion in running water inflicts damage on a vampire equal to one-third of its maximum hit points—a vampire reduced to 0 hit points in this manner is destroyed.
And later it says:
If the base creature has a swim speed, the vampire is not unduly harmed by running water.
If a vampire gains a swim speed via a polymorph effect, does that remove the damage penalty for immersion in running water?
Or is that based strictly on the creature as it was at the time of death?
For reference, the passage Rikkan is quoting comes from the Special Spell Effects section of the Magic chapter.
It's an interesting interpretation. Rikkan, assuming your interpretation is correct, how do you explain Surprise Spells, the capstone ability of the Arcane Trickster prestige class?
If your interpretation is correct, then Surprise Spells is a simple restatement of how the rules work, and confers no additional benefit. Yet, if that were the case, why would the devs have taken the time to write the description as if it were conveying some new ability to the PC?
1) The red dragon got to this area first, took control of the local tribe, and turned them into his personal slaves.
2) The silvers came along later, and decided to free the tribe, because they object to that kind of thing as LG creatures. But they lacked the power to simply kill or drive off the red. So, they used their Polymorph ability to infiltrate the tribe and foment a rebellion, with the idea that if the humans helped them, together they could all dispose of the red.
3) Unfortunately, their efforts only divided the tribe into two factions. Some remained loyal to the red, while others joined the silvers. This is the origin of the two tribes. They were originally one tribe; but now they have a civil war going.
4) The red actually stands a fair chance of defeating the two silvers in a straight-up fight. BUT, he's vastly enjoying this delicious little war. He savors the spectacle of siblings killing each other, the agony of the wounded, the general mayhem. So he has not gone out of his way to force a confrontation with the silvers. He has attended the battles primarily to keep the silvers from killing off his loyalists, as he'd much rather the humans killed one another for his enjoyment. He's doing all he can to prolong this conflict.
5) The leaders of the loyalist tribe realize the red doesn't care whether they live or die. They are loyal to the red; he is their tribal totem, the reason they are a feared power in the region. They want to keep him because they fear that without him, they might get wiped out by neighboring tribes who are not currently involved in the conflict. But at the same time, they realize that the civil war will kill them just as surely.
6) Therefore, the leaders of the loyalists have taken steps to disable the silvers. Specifically, they prayed to some dark deity or other and asked for the silvers to be cursed with a condition similar to lycanthropy: forced into an animal form and turned vicious, so that the silvers would destroy their own forces. A bitter irony that a SILVER dragon would fall to such a fate, no?
7) And their prayers were answered! But due to the whimsy of the deity, or perhaps due to the intervention of some good-aligned deity, the curse only affected ONE of the silvers. ONE of them transformed into a ravenous beast and set about devouring the rebel tribe. The OTHER silver managed to capture and contain her partner, but not before he savaged several important leaders of the rebel tribe, including their warchief.
8) Ever since, the remaining silver has been using illusion magic to make it appear as though there are still two effective silvers. (You'll have to customize her spells-known list a little for this). The rebel tribe has been severely weakened by the loss of their warchief. They lack the military leadership they had before. Also, because the silver has to concentrate to maintain her illusions, she cannot engage in battle as she once did. She has been swooping low over the opposing forces, to try and cow them with her frightful presence, but if she lets the illusion go in order to engage in combat, their weakness will be revealed and the rebels will be destroyed.
Enter the PCs. They have several sub-goals:
1) Find a cure for the cursed silver. This might involve petitioning an appropriate deity, tracking down cure reagents, or it could be as simple as a Remove Curse spell (that the remaining silver does not have).
2) Provide military leadership to the tribe, to help them win their battles. I envision combat encounters centered on destroying key resources of the loyalist tribe, social encounters to try and recruit disaffected loyalists as double agents to sabotage the loyalist tribe's defenses, and so on.
3) Face the red dragon directly in combat, with the aid of the silvers and a backdrop of loyalist and rebel tribespeople in pitched battle all around. This should be the crowning encounter of the adventure. Give the red dragon class levels if necessary to make him a serious threat. If possible, arrange for one or both of the silvers to die valiantly in the course of the combat, with dramatic fanfare of their noble sacrifice.
4) Lastly, force any remaining loyalists to surrender and reconcile with the rebels. Or alternately, wipe them out if they insist on following their cruel master to the grave.
End result: the end to the conflict, and a severely weakened tribe who really needs an alliance to secure their borders against hostile neighbors -- such as, for example, becoming a vassal state (or a province) of the PC's kingdom.
Updated for the 7/7 draft.
Agents of Erastil moved from AC to A
Sorry for the slow update this week, I had other things on my mind.
I painted up my copies of Baron Blackshield and Murgmo yesterday. They turned out nicely. Here are some pics:
I think Baron Blackshield is the better paint job, but the photo came out a bit blurry, especially from the shoulders up. It's painted according to the character art in the Thornkeep book.
I didn't realize there was character art for Murgmo till after I was done -- I never read past chapter 2 of the Thornkeep book, in hopes of someday playing through those dungeons. So he got painted as a fairly standard goblin.
Okay. I've altered the coloration of the overlay for the three Kickstarter settlements.
I gave all three the same basic color, using Golgotha's hex as a base since it's a big one and they're all big. Then, I changed the color's hue to bright neon green to make them visually distinct from all the other settlements.
@Nihimon: I didn't understand there was some kind of color-coding going on with those. I just picked colors that were different than those of adjacent settlements. I'll take another look at it later.
The topic can be handled well, but it's extremely hard, and probably better avoided.
The only time this has come up in a game I GM'ed was actually a misunderstanding. A charismatic bandit chief who was attempting to rob the soloist PC told her that he would happily take all her worldly goods, but her virtue was safe. The player mis-heard that as a rape threat. In retaliation, after thoroughly defeating the chief and his henchmen, the PC raped him.
It was unquestionably the single most intense role-play experience I've ever had. And decidedly ironic, since that NPC had been designed explicitly with the core concept that he used his 100% intolerance for rape as justification for his repeated theft and murder.
The player and I both enjoyed that session immensely. It proved a defining moment in the campaign, and shifted the entire thing to a much darker note than I'd planned.
But I don't think I'd like to try and engineer a repeat performance, and I don't think I'm going to be using that kind of NPC concept again. Even though it worked out well that one time, it's just too risky.
Updated for the 6/29 draft!
Terra Australis Incognito moved from J to A
As usual, please post any corrections here.
Okay, I've added an additional overlay for the territories of the three first-gen settlements.
And I've updated the alignment for the Agents of Erastil.
Updated for the results of the latest draft! Sorry for the delay, I just couldn't get time to work on this yesterday.
vVv Gaming moved from AA to A
I'm not fully up to date on the diplomacy, but I've tried to note things that were name changes rather than new organizations.
In addition to the above, the addition of the the Game of Towers mechanic made the colored hexes that Goblinworks includes on their map actually useful for seeing the expanse of territories directly around each settlement. So I've added that in. It can be toggled with the "Hide Territories" checkbox in the controls at the top, and can be hidden independently of the settlement icons.
As usual, please report any errors, bugs, or clarifications.
Bestiary 4 says "Cernunnos’s holy symbol is the head of a stag, ram
Question: do we need somebody online to hold a tower even if it is not assaulted during the PvP window?
That is, if the PvP window opens for a tower controlled by a company, and there's nobody there the whole time -- crickets chirp, deer graze peacefully in the distance -- does the tower revert to an "uncontrolled" state?
He's been playing since the '90s, so the Beginner Box probably doesn't fit this particular ticket. I rather doubt he'll ever play PFS, but stranger things have happened.
I'm already GM'ing two other games -- one Rise of the Runelords, and one homebrew set in Sevenarches. The prep work takes tons of time. Particularly the homebrew one, for which I have to make lots of maps. Another multi-session or long-term campaign is not what I need.
So the chief attraction of PFS scenarios is ease of preparation. A self-contained adventure designed to be played in 4 hours that comes with decent pre-made maps I can just throw in the VTT? YES, please.
@Deirdre -- yes, I've got that, and seriously looked at it. The quality seems a bit variable, but I may well use one of those if the PFS thing is really not practical.
I'd like to GM some short adventures for my brother, remotely via virtual tabletop. I don't want to run a whole campaign for him, just a few one-offs. PFS scenarios seem perfect for it, but I've never played any of them since I don't do PFS.
Which ones would be reasonably easy to modify for a solo PC? I'd especially like ones that include all or most of the maps they'd need, since I can get the PDF and export that image for use in MapTool.