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.
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?
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
Okay, here's a stab at Daranariel, Lorekeeper Oracle 15.
Daranariel CR 14
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.
. . 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)
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
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
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.
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.
Verdessa, a level 7 druid (at the time)
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
John M wrote:
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."
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.
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."
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Will there be "training rooms" or similar where players can try fighting one another without risk of alignment change, criminal flagging, etc?
It would certainly make sense for people who enjoy PvP but would rather not be criminals. It would also make sense for newbies who want to try a few pvp fights without the risk of losing their stuff, to improve their odds of surviving the real thing out in the wilderness.
You could implement it as a building type ("training hall" or "dojo" if you don't mind the anachronism). Fights within the dojo don't incur alignment shift, reputation damage, criminal flags, etc. Also, it should be impossible to loot the corpse of anyone who dies inside a dojo. And the dojo should function as a soul-binding point, so that when you die you can get right back.
Alternatively, you could do it as a contract type, "Training". Ned Newbie can make a contract to fight Linda Longtimer, at a specified place and time. The authorities are notified, so no criminal flags get raised. Ned has to put up a small fee, which is placed in escrow. The fight runs until one of them is killed; then the winner has to guard the husk of the loser. If anybody manages to loot the husk, the fee is forfeit and the winner suffers some reputation loss for having failed to protect it. If the loser gets to the husk and regains all their gear, then Linda gets the fee, and the winner gets some added reputation for winning the fight and protecting the loser's husk.
Edit: oh, and if Linda kills Ned in the above scenario, then loots his husk herself, then the contract is void. Ned gets his fee back from escrow, and Linda incurs a criminal flag, rep loss, and alignment shift as usual.
I think it'll get funded handily, and I've pledged already.
I AM hoping, however, that they'll add a pledge level that consists of print + pdf with no MMO. Call it "Old Skool" level. And a higher one that does print + pdf + minis with no MMO ("Old Skool Maven", or something).
I had a barbarian once with an INT of 3 who became insanely jealous of the wizard's familiar. He wound up taking a level or sorcerer to get his own "talking birdy", named Jabbers. As a level 1 familiar, Jabbers had a higher INT score than Mook did, and thereafter did most of the talking.
That was a fun duo. Pity they were only around for a single one-shot. Maybe I'll get a chance to dust 'em off someday. (Probably I'd rebuild to use Eldritch Heritage to get the familiar, though.)
I once threw a 20th level Expert NPC into a campaign just for kicks. He was a chef who had taken enormous risks travelling all over the entire planet to learn every kind of cuisine you can think of. He had "Throw Anything" and "Catch Off Guard" for his habit of using common kitchen utensils, pots, and pans when forced into combat, and "Run" so that that wouldn't happen often. Everything else was devoted to Skill Focus feats focused on skills relevant to cooking and cuisine.
In the very first session of Burnt Offerings, I significantly expanded the festival by adding a bunch of competitions and events. Each PC got to participate in one event:
- the half-orc barbarian took second place in a wrestling contest. Prize: 50 gp.
- the cleric with craft (woodcarving) tied for first in a carving competition. Prize: 25 gp and a set of mwk woodworking tools.
- the ranger took second place in an archery competition. Prize: 50 gp. Pity he didn't get first place, the prize for that was a masterwork bow.
- the warlock (from the lands of the linnorm kings) found an old Ulfen man there and played hnefatafl with him. Prize: an ivory drinking mug, beautifully carved with depictions of warriors in combat with linnorms.
- the rogue, rather than competing, served as a judge in the cooking contest between the three local taverns. Happily, he picked Ameiko Kaijitsu's entry. The town council gave him an honorarium of 50 gp for his time.
- the druid steadfastly refused to participate in any contests. So instead, I had Madame Mvashti approach her with the cryptic message "Thorny briars do not hinder those who love the land", and handed her the "Briars" card from a Harrow deck. During the Gogmurt encounter, this card popped out of her belt pouch and granted her immunity to entanglement for the duration of the encounter.
In order to make Madame Mvashti sufficiently mysterious, I re-statted her as a high-level sorc/cleric/mystic theurge so she can do things like go invisible, appear suddenly, teleport away, and so on.
Also, Madame Mvashti was originally an Arodenite. She was a child seer of Aroden; he died when she was 8, and she's spent the rest of her life tending to the fulfillment of prophecies she made as a girl. Prophecy doesn't work as reliably as it once did, but even today she can see murkily into the future -- enough to know that it is not her path to defend Sandpoint from its aggressors, but to shepherd those who do. I figure she'll show up once per book and give one of the PCs a cryptic message and a Harrow card that will provide a helpful bonus in some future encounter.
I'm just waiting for someone to manage to ask her who she is so I can say "The last prophet of a dead god, child." ^_^
It looks like Vic answered that in the thread Cpt_kirstov linked. Shipping them flat doesn't save on shipping, and they'd likely get damaged in the process.
Sigh. I'll just have to keep looking for thematically appropriate cereal boxes for my APs:
Carrion Crown - Count Chocula
Skull and Shackles - Cap'n Crunch
Jade Regent - a Cheerios box because I have so far failed to acquire any Japanese cereal boxes.
Shattered Star - I'm leaning towards Lucky Charms.
I asked a similar question about Create Water, namely whether you could create gallons of water in mid-air in order to make it rain and/or put out a fire or similar.
James Jacob replied, and said:
James Jacobs wrote:
This is one case where the spell overrides the more general rules from the school description. Create Water can make it rain.
I'm inclined to think that the same reasoning applies. The spell states:
Dimension Door on the PRD wrote:
You instantly transfer yourself from your current location to any other spot within range. You always arrive at exactly the spot desired—whether by simply visualizing the area or by stating direction.
It says I can go to any spot I desire, and I always arrive exactly there. It doesn't say it has to be someplace safe to arrive at. In fact, it goes on later in the spell to talk about what happens if I arrive inside a solid object. "Arrival in a solid object" is clearly forbidden by the Conjuration school rules, but clearly allowed for by the spell itself. I'm entitled to try and D-Door straight through a mountain if I so choose, even if I know in advance that it won't work and I'll hurt myself trying.
So if I want to D-Door myself 680 feet straight up, cast Feather Fall and shout "WHEEEEEEEEE!", I can, because the specific spell trumps the general rule.
So the Dimension Dervish would therefore be entitled to try attacking an aerial critter. I'd probably apply a penalty on the attack roll for trying to attack while falling though.
In addition to the question about custom tokens, are there any plans to support custom maps?
It's not too hard to make a decent map using free pre-fab resources from places like the dundjinni.com forums and rpgmapshare.com. If I make such a thing, can I upload it for my players to use?
I'm not trying to discourage anyone. As I said, I think an MT would make quite a good support caster. If you're mostly casting buffs, utility spells, and healing, save DCs are irrelevant. And that extra support could easily mean the difference between survival and TPK in a long drawn-out fight, or when you're forced to handle several complicated encounters in a row without rest.
I kind of hesitate to mention this, 'cause it's a little cheesy, but ... the Eclectic Training and Esoteric Training Guild rules in Inner Sea Magic (p. 22) appear to offer a way to get a Mystic Theurge with full casting in one class, and near-full casting in the other.
Eclectic Training is a Fame reward (at 5 Fame) that boosts your caster level by +1 in one class. And it specifies that this bonus includes "the number of spells you know and can cast per day". When you get Esoteric Training at 35 Fame, the bonus increases to +3, and you get to add a second class at +1 for the same benefits.
So a Wiz 3/Cleric 3/MT 3 with 35 fame in a guild could cast as a 9th-level wizard and a 7th-level cleric. Or the other way around, depending on which class you pick for the bonus first. Add Magical Knack for the class that gets the lower bonus and your effective CL would be equal to your HD in both classes (though spells known and per day would still be 2 levels behind in the slower class).
All of which is contingent on the GM agreeing to allow the guild rules in your game, and it'd probably need a good bit of backstory establishing a suitable guild identity and Fame checks. I'd probably allow it in my game, but the Fame checks would be difficult (especially at lower levels) and the guild would probably require you to complete occasional side-quests.
Frankly, though, it might be easier to just ask to play a gestalt character and be done with it. :-Þ
My take is that Druid would get the movement mode -up to- base form's speed, but not above it?
Correct. The spell does not entitle you to move faster than a natural example of the beast you've become. The movement has to be listed in both the spell and the animal's stat block, and you get the slower speed of the two.
Am I right in assuming shapeshifter gets the standard array of natural attacks of the form he attains? I.e. Would a Druid using Wild Shape (Beast Shape II) to turn into a Lion, in addition to gaining Pounce, gain Bite (1D8) and 2 Claws (1D4) ?
Yes. When becoming a lion, you do in fact grow teeth and claws, and therefore have the attacks.
Check out the guide to wild shape that I wrote.
I think Evil Lincoln has hit the nail on the head about the tension and release thing.
The worst fight I ever had was this (Kingmaker spoilers):
The fight with the Quickling in the ruined elven tower during Book 2. The GM felt it wasn't challenging enough, so he "spiced it up" by giving the quickling a ring that let hime cast Vanish, usable an unlimited number of times per day. Oh, and did I mention that it was *quickened* Vanish? So the quicklings attack sequence went something like: swift action Vanish, Spring Attack to run in and hit someone, then run away.
When our Wizard hit him with Glitterdust, he ran away and stayed out in the forest till the spell wore off, then returned and resumed the same procedure. We didn't have any other anti-invisibility measures. Readying actions to attack him when he popped into visibility did nothing, because he was too clever about choosing his approaches to avoid triggering the actions.
We finally got him based solely on the luck of the dice -- he failed a Will save against a Sleep spell and we coup-de-graced him before his natural invisibility could kick in.
In short, we just couldn't DO anything against our opponent. In-game, the fight went to 43 rounds. Out of game, that combat alone took ELEVEN HOURS spread across two full sessions. We left the first session intensely frustrated, and by the end of the second session (8 solid hours) we were so tired and vexed that there was no sense of accomplishment at all. The general feeling was not so much "Hooray, we got 'im!" as "Thank god that's over."
By contrast the same GM ran a random encounter with a pelluda last session that was a tough fight. We lost our wizard to CON damage, and half the party's horses. But the combat ended by the end of the session, and we all felt great for having stuck it out and won. Even the dead wizard was pleased, since he'll be raised at the next major town.
Obviously you can't plan for everything. But for a stalemate, like the dragon fight, perhaps a valid approach would be for the dragon to get frustrated and leave the party, roaring out something along the lines of "NEXT TIME!" And then let them find a small cache of treasure -- not the dragon's main hoard, but just a small backup hoard, so that they get a reward for having fended off the dragon even if they know he's not out of the picture yet.
I am happy to report that my worst GM wasn't that bad. He had started in 1st ed way back when. The first game I ever played he GM'ed, and it was a 1st ed adventure converted to 3.5 rules.
Anyway, by the time I got to know him, he was never quite satisfied by any group or adventure. Nothing could ever measure up to the glorious adventures of his memory. He was forever yearning after some ill-defined feeling of shared experience that he'll probably never find again.
It's sad -- no one can save him from his crippling nostalgia.
I seriously thought about the $100 level, because the price per mini for that is amazingly low. But ... I don't paint. I don't WANT to paint. In fact, I absolutely REFUSE to paint. I already spend too much time on game prep as it is.
So I pledged at the $15 level to get a batch of generic goblins, kobolds, and rats. Nobody cares whether your rats are painted or not. Maybe they're albino anyway.
Things to think about when prepping:
1) If you can take the time to draw the map out before the session begins, DO. It saves time in-game.
2) If any of your villains are going to be summoning critters, e.g. with Summon Nature's Ally or Summon Monster or whatever, take a moment to decide what KIND of critter in advance, pull up the critter's stat block, and have a suitable mini on hand (if you play with minis). That will speed up combat because you don't have to go searching through books for stat blocks.
3) Consider making your initiative order public. Put it out there for the whole group to see. Then make a point of telling your players "When the person in front of you is taking their turn, you should plan what you're going to do, maybe even roll dice and do math in advance." The turns move more quickly when people have done their thinking before their turn arrives. Of course, sometimes plans change in response to events, but a lot of the time you can anticipate.
4) Consider rolling initiative at the beginning of the session. When you come to the first combat, go immediately into initiative order using that roll. This heightens the effect, because there's no delay between spotting a monster and starting combat. Then, roll a fresh initiative at the END of combat.
5) Tablets are awesome. You can hold them up and show pretty pictures of NPCs and monsters to people. If you're using an Adventure Path, you can use Nitro PDF viewer to pull all those images out of the adventure's PDF in one fell swoop with the handy "Extract Images" button. It even preserves the opacity at the edges of the images correctly, which is nice. Anyway, put 'em on your tablet and pull up the one you want when you need it. Having that picture will save a thousand words, and the expressions on your players' faces when they SEE a monster they've never encountered for the first time is well worth the time it takes to get the images out and organize them.
In my last Runelords session, my players failed their Knowledge checks to identify a Sinspawn. None of them had encountered one before, so there was no player knowledge for metagaming. But based on the picture I held up on my tablet, they jumped immediately to the conclusion that it was undead. Many hilariously wrong-headed but totally in-character tactical flubs ensued.
Got a new guide:
A handy how-to guide for using wild shape or other polymorph abilities/spells. Not an optimization guide exactly -- more focused on helping people work through all the changes that need to be applied when they're changing shape.
Basically core only -- it refers to a couple of spells from other sources by name, but the discussion is focused on the core mechanics of changing shape.
One of my players is running her first druid, and had never dealt with wildshape before. She found the rules for what exactly she gets and loses when she changes shape fairly complex, and asked me if I knew of any guides on how to do it. I didn't, and couldn't find one, so I wrote it. I give you:
What it is: an attempt to get all the rules for this in ONE place, and in the order you need to apply them, to simplify the process of making a character sheet for a shape-changed version of a PC (or other creature).
What it is NOT: an optimization guide. There is no discussion of what forms offer the most damage per second, highest number of attacks, or whatever else. I figure it's up to the player to work out what shapes they like.
I hope you all find this useful. If you find any typos, errors, missing things, or have any suggestions, please let me know in this thread and I'll update the guide.
"Sweet Desna, what is that thing?" -- Telvin Merison, dwarven ranger, immediately after failing a Knowledge check to recognize a Chuul, which proceeded to paralyze him, drag him into a river, and eat him.
"A 4 doesn't save against Slay Living, does it?" -- Alexei Voinovich, human wizard. Moments later his cat familiar Mishka, maddened with grief, charged the cleric who did it. She hit, dealt exactly 1 point of damage ... and took him down. ^_^
- Your weight (for purposes of damage rolls, your STR modifier is +0 regardless of your actual Strength score; you count as Tiny for purposes of determining when you are checked or blown away by wind; and are permanently under the effect of Feather Fall).
- Your hair (character loses all hair of any kind, including eyebrows, and cannot regrow it)
- Your grace (-4 penalty on DEX based skill checks and ranged attacks)
- Your ancestry (character is reincarnated, as the spell; if they roll the same race they started as, roll again)
- Seven misty mornings (the next seven mornings that have mist, the character remains asleep until the mist dissipates, and cannot be woken)
Things for sale:
- A clear mind (immunity to mind-affecting effects)
- An enemy's hatred (specific enemy affected by Calm Emotions when within 30 feet of you; when that enemy is within 30 feet, you gain the benefits of a Rage spell)
- Sharp eyes (Alertness as a bonus feat)
- Silken dreams (once per week as a spell-like ability, you can attempt to trap a target creature in dreams; Will negates, DC = 10 + 1/2 your character level + CHA mod. On failure, the target's dreams turn into a maze made of richly embroidered silk and brocade tapestries depicting scenes from their own life. The creature does not wake up, but does not age, and is also protected from all harm by a cocoon of enchanted silk cloth. You can have only one such creature trapped at any one time; attempting to trap another releases the previous target. The target can also be freed with Break Enchantment, Limited Wish, Wish, or Miracle. You cannot release a trapped creature without trying to capture another. Creatures that do not sleep and those immune to magical sleep effects cannot be targeted with this ability.)
It occurs to me that many of the things that count as prices could also be available for sale. For example, I listed "Your skill with [weapon group]" as a price in an earlier post, the price being that you lose proficiency with all weapons in that group. That could easily be turned into something for sale: you could buy proficiency with a weapon group, at the cost of one of the other prices listed. And so on.
- The dawn of your next birthday (surprise, you're a vampire!)
- Hope (permanently under the effect of crushing despair)
- 48 breaths (8 rounds of holding your breath, collected the next time you're in danger underwater)
- Your old age (you perish immediately on reaching "old" category)
- Your youth (immediately advance to middle age)
- Your birth (your parents, relatives, and friends immediately lose all memory of you)
- Your vitality (you cannot heal naturally, and magical healing is only 1/2 effective)
- Your death (you can never die. When in negative hit points, you are disabled as normal. Once you reach venerable status, old age stat modifications accrue at an exponential rate. See: Tithonus)
- Your skill with [weapon group] (lose proficiency with all weapons of the specified weapon group, and can never regain it in any way)
- Your voice (character is mute)
- Your music (character can never use perform skill; receives no benefit from musical bardic performances, though dance would still work)
- The love of children (character will be automatically feared and hated by every immature creature he or she ever encounters, including his or her own offspring)
- 2 minutes of soft breeze (environment around character becomes airless at inconvenient time)
- That which lies over the horizon (character is permanently under the effects of Dimensional Anchor; on death, he or she becomes a ghost; if the ghost is destroyed, character's soul is irrevocably lost, and never comes to Pharasma's Boneyard for judgement).
- An egg (the next time the character encounters the nest of a rare creature, e.g. a dragon, linnorm, pegasus, or other egg-laying creature, he or she comes under the effect of a Geas to steal one of the eggs and hurl it into the nearest lake, where it will be caught by an arm mysteriously rising from the waters and drawn down into the depths.)
- Thrice the value of your true love's sighs (the next three people the character comes to love will die.)
Familiars get a lot more useful at level 5, when they can talk to you. At that point, they can make perception checks just like you do, and if they see something, they can tell you about it. E.g., "Boss! Somebody sneaking up on you from behind!"
They can use any skill that you have ranks in, and that they are physically capable of using. Example: a cat cannot use the "Fly" skill, even if you have ranks. But, your cat has a brain, and a decent INT score by mid levels, so they can use any Knowledge skill you've got. I had a wizard once whose cat familiar (Mishka) repeatedly saved the party's bacon by knowing something that nobody else did. It was great fun too:
Me: Mishka rolls a ... wow, 29 on that Knowledge (Arcana) check.
GM: HA! She says: "meow meow meow meow meow meow, meow"
Me: Oh really!
Me: You don't say!
GM: Meow meow meow.
Me: Hey guys, listen to this!
GM: (explains whatever)
Fair enough. And yeah, I don't think "greed" played any role in the pricing here. If anything, I'm inclined to attribute it more to Paizo and WizKids feeling out this niche market for the first time. Chalk it up to a learning experience.
And yes, back to 40-ish size sets, please!