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Tinalles's page

Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. 771 posts. 2 reviews. No lists. No wishlists.

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blackbloodtroll wrote:

Best bet?

Apple of Eternal Sleep, a cart, and some sneaky(and strong) people to haul it.

This is a good plan. But the Apple of Eternal Sleep should be for the paladin. Once the paladin is snoozing permanently, store him someplace safe and the horse can be delivered to the purchaser secure in the knowledge that the paladin won't be coming to punish the miscreant who dared touch his horse.

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Major_Blackhart wrote:
I thought Aroden as well.

No. Aroden raised the Starstone from the bottom of the sea, along with the surrounding land (now Absolom). He achieved divinity before that, apparently due to sheer force of awesomeness.

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Okay, here we go. Here are some pictures of the banner map:

This is 2 feet by 6 feet in dimension, and includes all four structures in the Graul homestead. I made a generic parchment background for them to sit on, and added labels.

- The material seems reasonably tough, while remaining flexible. It rolls up nicely.

- The edges did not have any protruding threads, one issue that the blog I initially found reported. They were smooth, and did not need to be sealed or anything.

- The surface has a little more grip than paper or wood. Dice roll on it just fine. The table it's pictured on is at work, and my Warhammer-40K-playing co-worker tried it too. He pronounced himself satisfied with its dice-rolling qualities.

- I tried markers on it. Wet erase markers go on smoothly and come off smoothly. Don't use dry erase on it, they do not come off cleanly and leave smudges.

- The image I uploaded had 100 dots per inch, and came out to the correct scale, as you can see from the alchemical golem mini in the close-up above.

- The print quality is rather grainy. This is most clearly visible in the close-up picture, above. I have emailed support to ask whether they have the ability to print at higher resolutions, for example 150 DPI or 300 DPI. I probably won't bother with images pulled from APs, since their resoluton starts so very low anyway. But Paizo flip-mat PDFs come at 150 DPI, and I'm fully capable of making my own 300 DPI maps. If they can produce a slightly nicer print quality by upping the resolution, that'd be nice. I'll report back on what they say on this point.

- The final cost for this 2x6 foot color map, including shipping, was $18.19 USD.

At that price I will probably be using them again, especially if I can get better prints by increasing the DPI on the image file.

EDIT: Support got back and had this to say:

We do print all banners at 100 DPI, so increasing the DPI of your file would not increase the print quality.

Too bad. That said, I can live with a little graininess in the print, considering how cheap and comparatively easy to store these are.

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The map arrived today! Unfortunately, I'm in the middle of preparing for a job interview, which will be out of state, so I'll be traveling till Tuesday. I promise to post a full write-up once I get back.

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Hobbun wrote:
BigDTBone wrote:
If they are like regular vinyl banners they will be very much thinner and more prone to wrinkle.


Well, we don't know yet. Once the one I ordered arrives I'll report on how durable it seems.

When I said it only needed to last "a few sessions", that's because it's unlikely to take more than 2-3 sessions for the party to clear the area and move on. After that, we probably won't need that map again this campaign. So I'll just roll it up and store it someplace cool and out of direct sunlight.

Hobbun wrote:
Although the one you are purchasing you said is 2'x6', correct? That is pretty long. Are you putting multiple maps (floors) on one 2x6 section?

Yes. That 2x6 area includes all three floors of the Graul homestead, plus barn. If it doesn't fit on my table, or I just decide I want separate maps, I can just cut it apart. I left about an inch of space between each area.

Laithoron wrote:
My main concern right now is that in their help section that they state the JPG, EPS, or PNG file should be 20MB or under, yet there is no mention of the DPI at which their banners are printed.

The 20MB limit is for files uploaded through their web interface. During the upload process it said to contact support if I had a larger file, or something in a more obscure file format, and they'd work out an alternate way of getting the image to them.

As for DPI, that would be nice to know. Since I was working with Paizo maps extracted from the PDF, I scaled the map images up to 100px = 1 inch, then used Photoshop to create an image that was 7200x2400 px (6' by 2' at 100 DPI). When I saved that as a PNG, it came in about 8 MB.

After uploading, it showed me a preview of the banner. The image appeared to stretch all the way to the edges of the area, so hopefully it will come out at 100 DPI with nicely sized squares. We'll see!

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Mysterious Stranger wrote:
Why should the bard get a free ride for dumping strength if the barbarian is not going to get the same thing for dump stat? Dump stats should have negative effects on the character who takes them.

The bard isn't getting a free ride. The low STR still has plenty of negative effects. Namely:

1) Crappy melee damage if the bard winds up mixing it up.
2) Poor Swim and Climb checks. Those can easily be fatal.
3) Poor generic STR checks. This bard will not be bursting free of restraints, bashing down doors, or any other high-strength activity.

By the same token, the Barbarian is getting benefits too. If he ever gets his oh-so-amazing STR drained down to, say, 1, he will still be capable of moving rather than being immobilized by the weight of his armor.

As for dumping stats harder, my PCs don't have the option. We roll stats. They get what they roll. Their options for dumping are therefore pretty limited.

Anyway, heavy optimization is simply not a problem with my players. Several of them lack the rules knowledge. Others are more interested in RP than mechanics. And the one guy who's interested in optimizing isn't very good at it.

Mysterious Stranger wrote:
If you don’t want to do the book keeping then you should limit all characters to their light encumbrance load. Tell them they cannot carry any more period.

How about I go have badwrongfun my way, and you can go have badwrongfun your way.

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Ah ha! got back to me. Here is what they had to say:

Banners on the Cheap Support wrote:

Happy Sunday! I hope you've had a great weekend. I heard back from our legal team who let me know that we will flag the order as a "do not reprint

or use for marketing purposes" and asked that I let you know that we are aware of situations like this and it is completely acceptable for you to
deliver us the file and have it printed under your limited license! Woohoo!

Yay! The rep went on to ask that I inform her when I put in the order to make sure it gets flagged. I'll give it a whirl and see how it goes.

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Large scale prophecies work much better in novels. In a campaign, you run two risks. First, if the plot strays too far from the prophecy, then it can easily become totally irrelevant to actual game events. Some prophecy. Second, and on the other end of the spectrum, if the GM can't let go of the prophecy, then the prophecy can easily become a railroad.

I therefore much prefer tying prophecies to specific encounters. If the PCs avoid the encounter somehow, you can forget the prophecy entirely with no harm to the overall plot.


Spoilers for Rise of the Runelords:
An early encounter in RotRL is the fight on Thistletop, where there's some nasty difficult terrain composed of briars. I could tell that was going to be a serious problem for my group. So, I the NPC Madame Niska Mvashti appear to a PC and hand her a card from a Harrow Deck, the Briar Patch, together with the following prophecy: "Thorny briars do not hinder those who love the land." When the encounter happened, the card vanished and that one PC got freedom to move through the terrain unhindered.

Spoilers for The Harrowing:
This one was more or less impromptu. There's an encounter where the party comes across a centaur apparently getting mauled by an air elemental. The elemental is drunk and trying to dance. One of the PCs cast Divination and asked for advice on navigating the desert, so I told him "The dancing wind means no harm to the horse man." Of course, when they encountered the centaur and elemental mere minutes later, they failed to figure it out despite the air elemental shouting "Dance, horse man, dance!" Ah, well.

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I've been doing the rescaling myself to save on costs. It's not all THAT difficult. Here's the procedure I use:

1) Put the PDF in a folder by itself.

2) Open the PDF in Nitro PDF Reader.

3) Click the "Extract Images" button in the Nitro toolbar. This will dump a copy of every image in the entire PDF into the folder the PDF is in. There will be a lot of them.

4) Go through and delete images I'm not interested in, e.g. page backgrounds etc.

5) Rename the map images to file names that make sense.

6) Open a map in, GIMP, Photoshop, or other suitable image editor.

7) In the event that something needs correcting -- like maybe there's a secret door symbol that got accidentally burned into the map or something -- correct it now using a Clone Stamp tool or similar. This is fortunately rare.

8) resize it according to Jonathan Roberts' post on rescaling maps for VTT use. I usually set the resized image at 100 DPI for printing purposes. Scaling it up further won't do anything but increase the file size without adding any detail.

8) Save the file.

9) Take it to the print shop and tell them it's ready to print as-is. Be sure to tell them that it needs to be printed at 100 DPI.

It's not THE most straightforward process, but it works. I tend to process all the maps from one book at a time. Then they're ready to go when I need to get them printed.

Also, be sure to check and see if there are higher-resolution fan maps available. Certainly for Rise of the Runelords there are a number of those in the Community Created Stuff thread. Tintagel's version of Foxglove Manor is spectacular, for example.

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They got back to say they'd forwarded my request to their legal people. I'll keep you posted.

Also, apparently their customer support is the "Customer Love Team". Judging by the number of exclamation points in the email, this team is composed entirely of hyper-enthusiastic teens. Friendly, but a little over-the-top.

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I'm not sure if this is the right forum for this. If not, would a mod please move it to the correct spot?

I've been having the local copy shop print maps from RotRL for my group for some time. It's been my understanding that Paizo's fine with printing stuff out for use with your group, since that is after all the point.

Last night, I found a site called Banners On The Cheap, which prints vinyl banners up to fairly large sizes. As promised, it's cheap. And they got a very good review from a gamer who tried printing some battlemaps.

I'm very interested in trying this service out, but -- because I am crazy -- I read their Terms of Service in full, and there's a problematic clause in section 4.1:

You do not lose ownership of the Content that you design on, or upload to, the Web Site. By uploading Designs to the Web Site or creating Designs with Banners on the Cheap's design tools, however, you grant the following licenses to Banners on the Cheap: the nonexclusive, worldwide, transferable, sublicensable right to copy, crop, reproduce, publicly display, sell, and distribute the Design in or on Products and in advertising, marketing, samples, and promotional materials for the purpose of promoting the Web Site and Products; and the right to make modifications to your Design as Banners on the Cheap, in its sole discretion, finds necessary to achieve the above listed purposes.

Emphasis added.

I'm pretty sure I don't have the right to grant them a license to use Paizo's maps in their advertising. Does this mean I cannot use this service with Paizo materials?

I hope my reading is wrong. It looks like a very promising service for cheap, durable, mark-able maps. I'll certainly try it with maps that I've made myself, but it would be very nice to have the ability to use Paizo's stuff too.

While I'm at it, hey Paizo, have you considered partnering with these people to produce flip-mats? Maybe you could hammer out a deal that would leave a price point low enough to make it economically feasible. I know I'd rather have a nice rollable vinyl map than a folding cardboard-ish one that always needs to be weighted down a the corners to lie flat.

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It's your campaign of course, but I might actually take that and riff on it. If they're expecting a hive queen -- give them one! Re-skin those demons as insectile horrors from the Great Beyond, acting on the orders of a terrible hive queen intent on turning the city/nation/planet into her personal domain. Then they can feel clever for having worked it out.

I just kind of like it when the players tell me what they want this way.

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Mapmaker Jonathan Roberts, who does the "Fantastic Maps" series for Rite Publishing, has a VERY handy post on rescaling maps for use in VTTs.

He gives directions for Photoshop and Gimp; I use them with, and it's very helpful.

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The catacombs of wrath are saturated with the psychic residue of ancient torture.

So rather than having them attacked by physical creatures, give them nightmares. Borrow the mechanic from Foxglove Manor -- if they fail a Will save, say, DC 14 or so, they take 1 point of Wisdom damage from horrific nightmares and wake up fatigued.

For extra credit, come up with a personalized dream for each one of them that ties into their backstory and stuff they've done so far, then distribute those to each player on a 3x5 card. For example:

"You dream of your hapless party member who got shoved in the furnaces of the glassworks above. His flesh turns to molten glass before your eyes. As his face liquifies, he turns his blind gaze to you and stretches his hand for your help. Then you wake up. You are fatigued. Make a Will save (DC 14). If you fail, take 1 point of Wisdom damage."

Putting it on 3x5 cards like this helps a lot, because it's personal to each player, and they can talk about it in character. It's a good role-playing opportunity, as well as a reminder that sleeping in a dungeon is generally not something to do voluntarily.

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I handle gods gently, and only with permission.

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Create Water deals with the problem of drinking water; Endure Elements handles the temperature. There are, however, other natural hazards that aren't automatically negated.

1) Quicksand. Not the wet kind -- under some circumstances, deep areas of very fine sand can work like a fluid. Hence, quicksand.

2) Sun blindness. If PCs don't protect their eyes in some way, the light reflecting off the sand (or snow, in tundra deserts) can cause them to become dazzled or blinded, depending on length of exposure.

3) Sandstorms. There are rules for these in the Environment chapter, but if that's too tame for you, you can always punch them up to do lethal damage if the party doesn't shield themselves somehow. Also, a big sandstorm can completely rearrange the landscape, potentially getting the party lost.

And then you can add always add supernatural desert hazards to supplement the natural ones. Such as:

A) Dryness Incarnate. In some areas of the desert, "dry" has passed beyond "absence of water" to "antithesis of water". In these areas, Create Water fails, and unsealed water-skins rapidly evaporate (treat waterskins as effectively containing half their usual volume). Just 1d2 hours after entering the area the PCs start suffering from dehydration (fort save every hour to avoid 1d6 points of non-lethal damage, DC 10+the number of checks). Depending on the size of the area, it may be impossible to pass through such a zone.

B) Whispers in the Wind. In the deepest parts of the deserts, the angry spirits of travelers who failed their journeys fill the air. They whisper hatred in the ears of the living. PCs must make a DC 18 will save each night or wake up fatigued; during combat, DC 14 will saves each round or suffer the effects of Confusion for one round.

C) Fire Sands. Some areas of the desert become superheated, causing painful burns to unprotected creatures passing over them. PCs attempting to walk over such areas must make a DC 15 Reflex save or take 1d6 points of fire damage. This is of course a smaller-scale hazard, which might make a good addition to a combat.

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I just made a map of the roof of the the Shadow Clock Tower for the Xanesha fight. It turned out rather nicely, I think. Here it is:

Shadow Clock Roof

Shadow Clock Roof, no grid

And I did fuller write-ups of the map both here at Paizo and at the Dundjinni forums (where I often post stuff despite the fact that I don't use Dundjinni).

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Hiya! My group called the last session immediately before reaching the top of the Shadow Clock in Magnimar, so the Xanesha fight is going to be the very first thing we do on Sunday.

Since it's the boss fight, I decided to make a custom map just of the Shadow Clock roof. Here it is:

Shadow Clock Roof

Shadow Clock Roof, no grid

The scale is 100 pixels to the square. If you're printing it out, set your printer to 100 DPI to get the scale right (it' won't fit on 8.5x11 paper, though -- the map is 16x16 inches.

Although the campaign specifies that parts of the roof are intact, I didn't try to show that. I wanted the battle area clear of visual obstructions. GMs should perhaps mark where the remaining roof segments are using a marker or something so players can see where they've got cover and/or railings.

And as if this wasn't geeky enough to start with -- the positions of the buildings in the streets below exactly mirror the arrangement of buildings in the map of the Shadow District from page 39 of Magnimar, City of Monuments.

I made it in Photoshop, using a bunch of textures from, and some objects from the dundjinni forums. The conical roof was the hardest; that had to be made from scratch.

Hope someone finds this useful. I'll link to this from the Community Resources thread in a minute.

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1) Get some green slime.

2) Put it in a glass jar.

3) Perform surgery on a cow, placing the jar inside its stomach (gently).

4) Use a healing spell of some sort to prevent any scars from forming on the cow. A Negate Aroma spell on the jar (and its contents) might not go amiss either. Hire these done if you don't have Use Magic Device.

5) Present the cow to the dragon. Maybe it's a housewarming gift, or a please-eat-this-cow-instead-of-me offering. Better yet, have a minion present the cow while you stay safely at home. Preferably a minion who doesn't know about the green slime, and therefore can't give it away. Those with more devious minds might come up with ways to ensure the dragon gets the cow without actively appearing to present the cow to it.

The key is getting a glass jar strong enough to withstand being in a cow's stomach, but weak enough that it will shatter when the dragon eats the cow. The cow's flesh should give the green slime enough to eat that the dragon will have long enough to swallow it even if the jar breaks during chewing.

Once it's inside the stomach, the dragon can no longer bring its breath weapon to bear. The green slime will consume it from the inside out, burning through its Constitution in just a few rounds. Sadly the dragonhide is not likely to be usable afterwards.

If presenting the Trojan Cow yourself, I recommend having Ethereal Jaunt prepped so you can take a nice safe stroll in another dimension while the dragon is thrashing in agony. Also, a teleport spell would be a good thing to have prepped in case something goes badly wrong. Oh, and a few fireballs for cleaning up the slime afterwards.

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1) A good rep. Have people occasionally recognize them as the charitable souls who helped dear old Aunt Nelly make her pilgrimage to Holy Site X, and thank them profusely. Everybody likes getting thanked.

2) Freeloaders. Have somebody approach the party with a heart-rending tale of woe, begging for assistance in the form of cold, hard cash. If the party goes along, be sure to have the con artist thank them profusely (see #1!) and then vanish. If you intend this as a plot hook, make sure that the con artist promises some kind of publicly viewable outcome, so that the party will eventually KNOW that they've been duped. That could lead them to track down the miscreant, a nice little side quest.

3) The name of any PC who has participated in this charitable giving should NOT appear on any of the lists of greedy people scheduled for assassination.

4) Averta could show her pleasure at the PCs actions. Deities don't usually get involved directly in the affairs of mortals in Golarion, but there are a number of minor ways she could make her approval known, such as:

- If they sleep in Foxglove Manor, Averta (or one of her favored minions) might appear in their nightmares as an ally, granting a +2 bonus on the Will save to avoid WIS damage.

- If they become lost on the way to Turtleback Ferry (or anywhere, really), a sudden gust of wind on a still afternoon might cause autumn leaves to arrange themselves in an arrow pointing the correct direction.

- She might give occasional hints. For example, take the assault of the stone giants on Sandpoint at the beginning of book 4. Pick a PC who has been especially charitable and hand him/her a notecard bearing something along the lines of "You dream of Averta. She is looking out over a darkened landscape -- the lands around Sandpoint. Looking down you see large forms moving through the dark. She turns to you and says: 'They're coming. They're coming SOON. You must rise and fight!"' Essentially, you're handing them the advantages spelled out if one of the PCs happens to be up at dawn and spots them.

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I have a request.

The description in Gods and Magic describes Desna as "clad in billowing gowns", but depicts her as naked save for some strategically placed swirls of mist.

So if you're commissioning new art for this, could Desna please have some clothes?

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On my first reading, I assumed that Arcanists were supposed to select a sorcerer bloodline and a wizard arcane school. Then I got to the end of the Blood Focus section and found myself wondering how they get access to their arcane school power.

On a second reading it's actually just one of the types of magic. The context of selecting a Sorcerer class feature probably led me into thinking they also get a Wizard class feature.

In the final revision, consider just listing the schools of magic, e.g. "an arcanist must select a sorcerer bloodline and one of the schools of magic: abjuration, conjuration, divination, enchantment, evocation, illusion, necromancy, or transmutation." A bit more wordy, but less prone to misinterpretation.

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Hmm. Expending a use of Blood Focus to get the temporary use of a bloodline power is going to run into all kinds of weirdness.

Just to name one -- suppose I pick Arcane as my bloodline. If I expend one use of Blood Focus at level one, does that mean a familiar appears out of thin air, acts for one round, then vanishes?

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Awesome familiar stories? Here's one.

In a homebrew 3.5 adventure, I played Alexei Voinovich, a human wizard. My familiar was a basic cat, affectionately named Mishka. One day, the following happened right after I roasted a bunch of mooks with a fireball:

GM: The cleric casts ...

Me: OO! Spellcraft to identify the spell. 34!

GM: It's "Slay Living". He walks over. 18 vs your touch AC?

Me: ... a 4 doesn't save, does it?

*combat continues till it's my turn*

GM: All right, Alexei. Oh, right, you're dead. Next!

Me: Wait! Mishka yowls in grief and rage, and charges the cleric.

GM: She what?

Me: You heard me. Let's see ... does a 20 hit?

GM: Yeah. Damage?

Me: One!

GM: He slumps to the ground with Mishka's fangs in his throat.

Everybody: Woo hoo!

And that's how Mishka earned her title of Mighty Huntress.

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Four - is a good basic number of players.

Five - is even better; if one player can't make it, you can still play.

Six - works okay.

Any more than that and things tend to get bogged down during combat.

So ... it's your game, but in your shoes I'd help her roll up a character and let her join.

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Okay, here's a stab at Daranariel, Lorekeeper Oracle 15.

Daranariel CR 14
XP 38400
Female Old Elf Oracle (Ancient Lorekeeper) 15
N Medium humanoid (elf)
Init -2; Senses low-light vision; Perception +19
AC 15, touch 15, flat-footed 10 (+5 Dex)
hp 56 (15d8-15)
Fort +6, Ref +10, Will +11; +2 vs. enchantments
Immune magic sleep; Resist elven immunities
Weakness oracle's curses (haunted)
Speed 30 ft.
Spell-Like Abilities
. . 1/day—automatic writing
Oracle (Ancient Lorekeeper) Spells Known (CL 15th; concentration +20):
7th (4/day)—mass cure serious wounds, legend lore, reverse gravity, greater scrying (DC 24), resurrection
6th (6/day)—mass cure moderate wounds, greater glyph of warding (DC 21), contact other plane, find the path, truespeak
5th (7/day)—mass cure light wounds, cleanse, scrying (DC 22), arcane eye, telekinesis, ancestral memory, mark of justice
4th (7/day)—discern lies (DC 21), cure critical wounds, tongues, divination, clairaudience/clairvoyance, gilded whispers (DC 21)
3rd (7/day)—blood biography (DC 20), locate object, cure serious wounds, speak with dead (DC 18), detect thoughts (DC 20), glyph of warding (DC 18)
2nd (7/day)—identify, cure moderate wounds, silence (DC 17), zone of truth (DC 17), augury, minor image (DC 17), levitate, communal protection from evil, share language (DC 19)
1st (8/day)—disrupt undead, shield of faith, detect good, detect evil, sanctuary (DC 16), cure light wounds, know the enemy
0 (at will)—spark (DC 15), resistance, mage hand, detect magic, mending, create water, detect poison, read magic, ghost sound (DC 15), guidance, light
Str 7, Dex 7, Con 9, Int 26, Wis 14, Cha 20
Base Atk +11; CMB +9; CMD 17
Feats Breadth of Experience, Diviner's Delving, Great Fortitude, Greater Spell Focus (divination), Run, Scholar, Spell Focus (divination), Spell Penetration
Skills Acrobatics +3 (+7 to jump with a running start), Diplomacy +18, Knowledge (arcana) +32, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +20, Knowledge (engineering) +10, Knowledge (geography) +25, Knowledge (history) +28, Knowledge (local) +23, Knowledge (nature) +20, Knowledge (nobility) +20, Knowledge (planes) +32, Knowledge (religion) +28, Linguistics +15, Perception +19, Ride +3, Sense Motive +20, Spellcraft +21 (+23 to determine the properties of a magic item), Swim +3; Racial Modifiers +2 Perception
Languages Abyssal, Aklo, Aquan, Auran, Celestial, Common, Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Halfling, Infernal, Orvian, Osiriani, Ancient, Shadowtongue, Sphinx, Sylvan, Thassilonian
SQ elven lore, elven magic, mysteries (lore)
Other Gear Headband of mental prowess (Int & Cha +2) (Sense M, 35000 GP)
Special Abilities
Automatic Writing (Commune) (1/day) (Su) Use Commune as a spell-like ability.
Diviner's Delving Divination spells gain +2 vs. Spell Resistance, and information gained over multiple rounds comes 1 rd faster.
Elven Immunities +2 save bonus vs Enchantments.
Elven Immunities - Sleep You are immune to magic sleep effects.
Elven Lore +7 Add half oracle level to Knowledge checks about elves.
Elven Magic +2 to spellcraft checks to determine the properties of a magic item.
Greater Spell Focus (Divination) +1 to the Save DC of spells from one school.
Haunted Retrieving stored gear is a Standard action or worse, dropped items land 10' away.
Low-Light Vision See twice as far as a human in low light, distinguishing color and detail.
Run Run 5x your speed in light/medium armor or 4x speed in heavy armor and keep Dex when running.
Scholar (Knowledge [arcana], Knowledge [planes]) +2 bonus on two Knowledge skills
Spell Focus (Divination) Spells from one school of magic have +1 to their save DC.
Spontaneous Symbology (Ex) Spontaneously cast Symbol spells.
Think on It (1/day) (Ex) Reattempt a failed Knowledge check at +10

Throughout the Elven Dominion, Lorekeeper Daranariel commands two things: respect, and fear. The respect rises from her vast knowledge of virtually every topic. The fear derives from the unsettling certainty she evokes in her visitors that she sees things -- knows things -- that perhaps no one should. Her habit of speaking in an even monotone while staring just past the shoulder of whomever she addresses gives the distinct impression that she is speaking to, or at least aware of, entities no one else can see. But despite her spooky mannerisms, elves throughout the dominion know that if you desperately need an answer to a question, Lorekeeper Daranariel is your best bet.

She is also a woman driven to answer one question of her own: what is the true purpose of the maze? From the time her powers blossomed as a young elf, she has been obsessed with a theory that the vast maze enclosing the Elven Dominion is not a protection, but instead a vast rune which some unknowable entity is inscribing on the surface of the world. Its routine shifts of space and form merely indicate that it is not done. Now approaching the winter of her life, she lives in fear that she will not discover its true purpose before it is ... finished.

That's about the best I could do considering how little I know about the world. If the maze around the elven lands is something they built themselves, well, her backstory won't work without adding a paranoid conviction that the elves who built and maintain it are mere unknowing puppets of ... whomever.

The character started with the standard Elite array.

10 STR - 3 age = 7
8 DEX + 2 racial - 3 age = 7
14 CON - 2 racial - 3 age = 9
13 INT + 2 racial + 2 age + 5 mental acuity + 2 enhance + 2 level = 26
12 WIS + 2 age = 14
15 CHA + 2 age + 1 level + 2 enhance = 20

At levels 8-15 I used the elven favored class bonus to add 1/2 level to her Mental Acuity revelation, meaning it's functioning as if she were considerably higher level as an oracle. The other favored class bonuses went to skill points.

First and foremost, she's an Oracle. If she doesn't flat-out know the answer, she can probably find out via her assorted divinatory abilities. She may also be able to help with some healing, though there are almost certainly better healers out there.

EDIT: Argh, Hero Lab omitted most of her revelations. Those are:

Spontaneous Symbology: can cast "symbol" spells as if they were on her spells known list.

Sidestep Secret: CHA governs AC and Reflex saves instead of DEX.

Mental Acuity: May cast "cure" spells as a swift action by spending 2 slots, plus some inherent INT bonuses

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I'm really glad I don't play with this group.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Two notes:

1) In the Mythic Spell Lists, it shows Animate Dead as a second-level Ranger spell. Since Rangers don't get that spell at all, normally, this is probably a glitch.

2) I have a tablet. Specifically, this one. It's Android-based, it has sufficient resolution (1280x800) that the PRD uses the full-size version rather than mobile. The PRD prevents me from pinch-zooming; the display port renders at the size it renders, and nothing I can do will change that.

As a result, it is freakishly difficult to tap the link I want. About 80% of the time I'll accidentally hit the link above or below the one I was aiming for. For example, I often wind up on the Open Game License page when I was trying to get to the Spell List Index. When this happens three or four times in a row, it makes me want to hurl my tablet across the room.

This is cross-browser; I've tried it in the default Android browser, which I believe is Webkit based, in Opera Mobile (currently version 16.0.1212.65583), and in Firefox Mobile (25.0).

I'm a web developer myself, and I investigated the code. I believe this behavior is caused by "minimum-scale=1, maximum-scale=1" in the META viewport tag, which forcibly prevents users from scaling the content, as discussed here.

Please, please consider changing that to "initial-scale=1" instead. The links in the PRD are crammed in cheek by jowl in a fairly small font size, and my fingers are not that small!

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I would like to see something that picks up and develops the lore of one of the deities who are dead, missing, or obscure.

Not Aroden. He's plenty well developed. I'm thinking:

- Curchanus (dead). Any last tattered remnants of his legacy lingering in some forgotten corner of the world?

- Count Ranalc (missing). What HAS he been up to these last few millennia?

- Lissala (obscure, maybe dead). Is she truly gone? Hanging on in some diminished form? Morphed into a different deity? If she is really gone, maybe she left some nasty surprises somewhere?

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1) Environmental hazards such as inhaled spores causing assorted mind-affecting effects (hallucinations, sleep, intense emotions, etc). If you go heavy on these, be sure to provide some kind of defense the party can use, even if it's as simple as wet cloths tied around their face to filter out spores.

2) Plant creatures. Xtabay would fit right in, for example, which you could reflavor to a fungal variety.

3) Oozes. Some alchemical ooze swarms would fit nicely into this kind of dungeon ecology. They might grow out of long-untended alchemical experiments left by the wizard.

4) In terms of flavor, it might be interesting to skip the "disgusting rot" thing. Instead, imagine a wild explosion of life. Fungi in every shape, color, and size, forming a vibrant ecosystem -- not a corruption of nature, but a competing form of nature which is compellingly beautiful in its own right but nonetheless inimical to life from the outside world.

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This is my favorite improvised session, or really, an encounter. Not so much for crazy hijinks during the session itself, as for the massive, massive effect it had on the whole campaign.

The whole session was unplanned, because an area coming up wasn't quite ready to go when we started. This particular fight was a random encounter the player rolled on a chart. I should add that it's a solo campaign, so when the player announced she wanted to eat dinner, that gave me time to prep the random encounter almost as thoroughly as if I'd planned it in advance.

The cast:

Verdessa, a level 7 druid (at the time)
Ardulia, her witch 5 cohort
Elena, female human natural werewolf rogue 2/ranger 2
Nevin, male human natural werewolf fighter 4
Perry, male halfling afflicted werewolf wizard 5

The encounter took place on a dark forest path as the PC, Verdessa, and her cohort Ardulia made their way home from a convivial evening drinking with the locals. Ahead of them they spied three figures: a man supporting a woman, evidently injured, and a male halfling hovering anxiously to one side.

On seeing our heroines, the injured woman called out to them, pleading for help. The player was instantly suspicious -- but she rolled low on her Sense Motive, while Elena, the "injured" woman, rolled high on her Bluff.

Our heroines moved in closer to see what aid they could render. Once they got close, we rolled initiative and the werewolves sprang their trap in a surprise round. Perry hit them with Slow, and the other two took turns trying to bite -- their goal that night, was not to kill and feed, but to recruit. They were in it to form a new pack.

It was a tough fight all around. Elena almost died due to inadvisedly trying to bite a fire elemental, and Perry got hit with a Bestow Curse that made 50% of his actions fail, permanently. But by the time the wolves broke and ran, Verdessa and Ardulia had both been infected with lycanthropy.

Afterwards I gave them a Knowledge (Arcana) check to know about the curse of lycanthropy and the options available for curing it. I figured they'd need a 15 (same DC as the curse itself). Verdessa lacked Kn (Arcana), but Ardulia had a +13. All she needed was a 2 or better.

So what does she roll? A natural one. Of course.

We've now spent like 5 sessions dealing with the aftermath of that one random encounter. Elena and Nevin have evolved into recurring NPCs with a definite agenda and the means to pursue it. Verdessa and Ardulia have both become aware of their condition. They were both seriously tempted to embrace the beast within and turn the whole campaign to the dark side -- Verdessa has reluctantly rejected the curse, while Ardulia has embraced it, so there's major role playing going back and forth there. All this while simultaneously dealing with all the other ongoing stuff.

So much drama! This whole werewolf thing has offered some of the best role play experiences I've had. And all because of a random encounter on a night when I wasn't prepped for the next phase of the planned adventure. It's thrown the entire campaign for a loop, and it's been great.

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I'm in a Kingmaker campaign, and my PC's sister is a crafting wizard. Although she's made a few items for the party (at standard rates, of course), the bulk of her stock in trade consists of nifty little things based on cantrips.

- Candy that cleans your teeth.

- Hair dye that changes colors every few seconds and lasts a day or two.

- Spinning tops that change color as they rotate.

- Dolls that cry, laugh, and burble according to how you treat them.

- Little boxes that chill or heat food.

The really big seller, though, was magic pots and pans that clean themselves on command. 10 gp each, sold separately. Saves tons of scrubbing.

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I think you're approaching this backwards. You're asking, how much for the PCs to hire Elena? When it should be, how much for Elena to hire the PCs?

Have her offer the PCs long-term jobs as her agents. She supplies them with a base of operations, food, clothing, and magical buffs. They undertake missions in support of her long-term goals. She takes 20% off the top of their treasure, they split the rest for their own pay.

Then she can give them missions as she becomes aware of opportunities in the region (due to the network of informants she's building anyway).

And there you go.

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I'm on the "no speech" side, primarily because that's how the GM's I've played with have ruled.

But if we get an answer specifying that it CAN, I'll be pleased.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

All right. Breaking the downtime system.

Suppose I am a level 7 half-elf sorcerer. I have the Sage bloodline (wildblooded archetype), so my casting is based on INT. I also have the following:

- 18 INT
- max ranks in Knowlege (arcana)
- Skill Focus in Knowledge (arcana)
- Craft Wondrous Item

My Kn(arcana) skill modifier is thus 7 + 4 INT + 3 trained + 3 feat = 17.

Assume that I am in the City State of Intrigue from the Game Mastery Guide. Its Lore modifier adds a +5 to Knowledge checks to do research in the city's libraries.

I decide to earn some points of Magic capital, and hire myself out as an expert in the Arcane Arts to a local socialite who needs to find a cure to an unfortunate curse involving a persistent itch. The Downtime rules specify I can take 10 on checks to earn capital. If I take 10 a Knowledge (arcana) skill check while researching in the city's libraries, my check comes to 17 + take 10 + 5 lore = 32.

On the first day I earn 3 points of magic (and duly pay 150 gp). The second day I do the same thing, but I discover a remedy early in the afternoon, so I opt to only earn 2 points of magic (costing another 100 gp). I now have 5 points of Magic, which cost me 50 gp each (250 gp in all).

The downtime rules specify (p. 79):

Although you can’t sell capital, you can use it for its listed Purchased Cost as payment toward any applicable downtime activity that requires you to spend gp. For example, if you are brewing a potion, you can spend 1 point of Magic toward the cost of the materials needed to make the potion as if that point were equal to 100 gp.

So on day 3, I decide to craft a Page of Spell Knowledge for a first-level spell. Market price is 1,000 gp, crafting cost is 500 gp. Lo and behold, I have 5 points of Magic capital. I pay the crafting costs with that. The Spellcraft DC of the crafting is trivially easy; I can take 10 and auto-succeed. It takes one day for each 1,000 gp of the market price. Amazingly enough, that corresponds exactly.

So at the end of Day 3, I have a Page of Spell Knowledge for a 1st level spell. It cost me only 250 gp and three days effort to produce.

I can sell that for 500 gp. Selling things isn't even a formal downtime action, so I can sell it the same day.

Amazingly enough, that's enough gold to earn the Magic points to make TWO first level Pages of Spell Knowledge.

I trust the trajectory is clear.

You know all those level 1 utility spells which wizards don't prep unless they know they'll need them, and that sorcerers never pick because it uses up a valuable spell known slot? 3 days each. I had to earn the initial costs adventuring, but after that the endeavor is self-supporting. In short order I will have a grimoire of those that I don't need to prep and can cast at any time.

I also have a way to make gold by crafting stuff. I earn Magic, then spend it on crafting costs. It costs me only 25% of the market price to make a wondrous item. Even if I sell it at the standard 50% of market price, I've made a 100% profit.

Pretty soon I'll just make a business to generate magic capital for me. That doesn't take a skill check on my part. It works when I'm not there. I can go out adventuring and come home to a nice stash of Magic to spend on crafting stuff I want at a 75% discount off market price, or to sell for ready cash. If I feel like paying a manager a few gold per day, there's no chance I'll lose control of the business.

If I play it right, I can be a sorcerer who is not only rich as Midas, but who also knows ALL the spells.

EDIT: Oh, and this also avoids the problem of market saturation. Even with just Craft Wondrous Item, there is such a huge variety of stuff I can make that it'll be pretty hard to glut the market on any one thing.

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John M wrote:

From the pathfinder Reference Document :

Check: When disarming a trap or other device, the Disable Device check is made secretly, so that you don't necessarily know whether you've succeeded.

I think that's for traps, where the consequences for failing to disarm it may involve nasty slashing blades covered in poison, fireballs, and trapdoors opening onto pits full of undead. All at once.

But if it's just a lock, the PC will find out whether or not it worked as soon as they turn the knob. Or remove the lock if it's a padlock style thing. If it didn't work, then: "Oh darn, I'll just try again."

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In the Settlments section of the GMG, the table "Settlement Statistics" contains a column labeled "Base Limit". That's a typo -- in the printed copy it's "Base Value", which makes sense because there is no "Base Limit" discussed anywhere else in the chapter.

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Hmm. Perhaps set a thief to catch an assassin?

The Brothers of the Seven have been assassinating greedy people. That means they've been targeting some of THE most successful merchants and nobles. That upsets the local economy, which means less predictable (and therefore more dangerous) operations for the more usual run of crooks.

So, perhaps the criminal element has been investigating these murders independently of the guard. Specifically, Sabriyya Kalmeralm (see: Magnimar, City of Monuments campaign setting, p. 20). The Princess of the Market would not take kindly to having her "subjects" killed off in droves by some wacko cult. It makes for poor profit margins.

So have Sabriyya tip off the PCs anonymously. Say, with a nice note indicating that Ironbriar is their enemy, and there's damning evidence of his wickedness at the Mill of the Seven, signed "Your Friend".

Once the PCs are done carving up cultists at the mill, Sabriyya's agents waltz in after them and leave some written evidence clearing the PCs. Perhaps some correspondence between Ironbriar and the faceless stalkers, plus some instructions to the cultists who made the assassination attempt at the inn, all making it clear that the PCs were not responsible for any of that. All neatly forged (if necessary).

Once the PCs are clear and free, Sabriyya's job is done. Her profits can get back to normal, and the PCs can get on with saving the world. And since Sabriyya is not one to waste an opportunity, she sends a followup note saying something like "Good job at the mill. You owe me a favor. If I decide to collect, I'll let you know. -- Your Friend."

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There's a gaming session at the annual American Library Association conference. I know Paizo will have some people there, though I don't know who all. I'll be attending. Any forum people?

EDIT: Here's a link to the session description:

Looks all Lovecraftian. I shall be disappointed if I emerge sane.

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terraleon wrote:

*waves* Ave, Sodale!

Ut quid enim. ;)

Going to Gencon? Want a demo?

Vae, non ad Genconum iero, quae tesserae ad itineram carae sunt. Sed gratias tibi ago.

(That Latin may not be 100% correct, it's been a few years since I had to do it on a regular basis.)

ShadowcatX wrote:
On a side note, is ars magica compatible with pathfinder? I did not know that.

No, they use totally different mechanics. I was just bringing it up because Words of Power is kinda-sorta similar to the Ars Magica system, in that spells are built by combining phrases to form spells. For example, in Words of Power you might cast "selected lesser cure" to heal a minor wound. In Ars Magica, a minor wound might be healed by something like a low-to-mid-level "creo corpus" spell, and may involve a chance of failure (calculated with d10-based "botch dice") if the caster is under stress at the time.

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At the bottom of this rabbit hole is the magic system from Ars Magica. I've read the core rulebook twice and I still can't quite wrap my head around just how the magic system works. It's really, really flexible.

Maybe if I ever manage to find someone to PLAY it with. But Ars Magica groups seem pretty thin on the ground.

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I just bought this, mostly as an upvote for an improved Words of Power system.

I really like the idea of Words of Power. But ... the rule set is complex, making it hard for players to learn, and hard for GMs to adjudicate. Complexity itself is not necessarily bad (I mean, just the CORE rule book for this game runs to hundreds of pages!). It's the fact that it's adding complexity ON TOP of the existing complexity.

There are also a few weirdnesses in there where it doesn't feel like the rules were fully polished. The nerfing of longer-duration effects any time they get combined with a shorter duration effect has been called out already. I also have my eye on the combo "boost selected force bolt", which I wrote up a while ago. By my reading, that basically allows you to create a kind of uber magic missile dealing 5d4 points of force damage per missile AND getting +1 missile per caster level.

Some people in that thread construed "up to one target per caster level" from the Boost description to mean "you can't target any one creature more than once". I acknowledge that as a plausible interpretation of the rules even though it doesn't really make sense to me that a caster with 8 targets and 9 missiles would just not do anything with the remaining one. Certainly the traditional magic missile allows multiple targets.

But I digress! The problem there is that it's not clear, and the very flexibility of the system lends itself to weird corner cases where things are unclear. And I haven't even started thinking about interactions between word spells and vancian spells, which are bound to come up if you're playing at a table with casters from both systems.

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I direct your attention to the Pathfinder Wiki entry List of Works, which gives dozens of titles. Most have descriptions, and a few important ones have their own wiki articles (linked from the list of works page).

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One of my favorite 3.5-to-Pathfinder changes was the modification of Dodge to remove the "declare dodge versus one opponent" mechanic in favor of making it a flat +1 dodge bonus. Doing that simplified combat. You no longer have to track one AC for one opponent, and a different AC for all other opponnents, nor do you have to take the time to figure out which opponent you're dodging this round.

So I dislike the "choose as a free action at the beginning of your turn" mechanic in the latest revision, purely because it complicates the process of managing my turn.

Making the feat give bonuses to attack and damage is okay, but seems like a lukewarm mechanical realization of the stated goal of making "combat expertise" live up to its name.

So how about something like this?


Combat Expertise
Prereq: INT 13
Benefit: You gain a +1 insight bonus to your CMB and CMD. When your base attack bonus reaches +4, and every +4 thereafter, this bonus increases by +1, up to a maximum bonus equal to your intelligence bonus.


That accomplishes several things:

1) It encourages combat maneuvers. An intelligent fighter knows that there is more to fighting than just "I walk up to the Big Bad and stand there full attacking until he's dead." The course of a difficult fight can be turned by a well-timed disarm, trip, bull rush, or other maneuver. More combat maneuvers is likely to lead to more dynamic combats, which are just generally more interesting than toe-to-toe slugfests.

2) It simultaneously addresses offense (CMB) and defense (CMD) without requiring a choice between the two at the beginning of a round, but also not granting a flat bonus to AC or all attacks. An intelligent fighter knows that combat is as much a head game as anything else -- all about anticipating the enemy's moves (CMD) while concealing your own intent until it's too late (CMB).

3) It ties Combat Expertise thematically and mechanically to the "Improved Combat Maneuver X" feats, which makes it a logical part of that feat chain rather than a feat tax.

4) It (partially) addresses the mechanical difficulty of using combat maneuvers against higher CR creatures who have ridiculously high CMDs due to their vastly increased STR/DEX.

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I played in a 3.5 Eberron game where the DM evidently introduced a Deck at level 1. (I came in at level 3). I personally avoided it like the plague, but it went okay. In fact, at the end that deck saved the party. At the very end of the adventure, we had rescued this lady from a sacrificial altar, and she agreed to show the party how to get to the Big Bad. She was unarmored and (as far as we could tell) just a local commoner. I was worried about her surviving: I cast Mage Armor on her as we went into the final dungeon.

So naturally when we get to the sanctum of the Big Bad, the helpless sacrificial victim turns out to be a polymorphed ancient blue dragon whose AC I had just boosted by four.

The party ranged from level 8 to a single level 12, with the average about 9. We stood no chance. The dragon's breath weapon took out two of us in the surprise round, including me.

So then the bard who had the deck says "whelp, I might as well pull a card". And it comes up: three wishes. Specifically, three *unlimited* wishes. So she wished for the dragon to turn into a hundred small inanimate gold statues of itself, which it did, and then she wished the two dead PCs back to life. I think she saved the third wish.

So that deck saved the day, because I'm pretty sure the GM would cheerfully have killed the lot of us otherwise.

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Bigtuna did an X-to-Y stat guide a while ago. Check that.

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39. Beyond the Feasthall: a Guide to Manners for Uncultured Barbarians. This book is rather valuable, though not so much for its condescending and insipid advice. A tribe of Kellid barbarians has posted a bounty on all copies, while a book collector from Magnimar is desperately trying to acquire the few remaining copies as a rarity. Bidding wars: an adventuring party's best friend.

40. Seventh Dagger, Seventh Veil. A treatise on the nature of reality by a philosophically inclined arcane trickster and worshiper of Sivanah.

41. Tension, Torsion, and Traps. A lucid and well-illustrated discussion of common trap triggers. A PC who takes 1d6 minutes to consult this tome receives a +2 insight bonus on his next Disable Device or Craft (Traps) roll.

42. An Encomium on the Majestic Rulers of Imperial Cheliax. This genealogy was a rather transparent attempt to flatter a family of Chelaxian nobles by tracing their ancestry to Aroden. Unfortunately, the family it was aimed at held rule only for a year or so during the turbulent wars before House Thrune gained ascendancy. The author seems to have hand-written a retraction and plea for forgiveness into this copy in his own blood.

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Honestly, I think a lot of PC deaths are due to ill-advised tactical decisions by the players.

Example: I'm GM'ing Rise of the Runelords at the moment, and our sole PC death so far resulted from the player deciding to bull rush a goblin off the edge of Thistletop. I allowed him a DC 13 reflex save to avoid falling over himself, which he failed, and the rest is history.

Another example: in the Kingmaker campaign I'm playing in, our wizard (Wandering Moon) flew up to the top of a mountain with a large, nasty roc on it, intent on hooking a grappling hook for the rest of the party to climb up. He neglected to go invisible, was instantly spotted by the roc (who was home), and died in 2 rounds. If he'd thought to go invisible, he'd probably still be with us. We renamed the place Moon's End Peak in his honor.

Of course, making sound tactical decisions depends heavily on how experienced the player is. A party of newbies is likely to have a much rougher time of it than a group of old hands.

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I'm a librarian. I love reading. And I've been a subscriber since Carrion Crown.

But I've never actually read any of the fiction in my APs. Why would I?

For world information, the articles detailing areas/deities/etc are more concise.

For flavor ... well, I've read an awful lot of fantasy novels. Definitely hundreds, probably over a thousand. Between that and the two master's degrees in medieval literature, I've got flavor covered.

More maps would be awesome, but they would probably be expensive to produce.

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The full-time archer in our game has now lost three bows to Sunder, Warp Wood, and an unfortunate incident involving some green slime.

If this is at all likely to be a concern for you, I recommend two things:

1) Make your bow of greenwood, a special material from Ultimate Equipment. For a mere 150 gp over the price of a regular masterwork bow, your bow will be fire-resistant and able to heal itself if it gets broken. You're going to blowing a TON of gold on enchants for your bow; greenwood seems like a good insurance policy.

2) If that's not an option for some reason, carry a backup bow. A regular masterwork composite longbow with an appropriate STR rating is a comparatively cheap backup.

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