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Tinalles's page

Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. 774 posts. 2 reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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So, the player in my solo campaign owes a favor to Calistria.

I'd love to hear suggestions.

Some info which may be relevant:

- The player is female;
- The PC is female (level 9 elf druid, 2 mythic tiers)
- The player got Calistria to promise that the favor would not be harmful to her friends or allies.
- The campaign has occasionally dipped into R-rated territory, but is more usually PG-13.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

How about a lawful evil archaeologist bard who owes you a debt of honor that can never be repaid? That way you can go to sleep confident in the knowledge that you're cohort desperately wants to kill you but can never do it, nor allow it to come to pass, without forsaking all honor.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Seconding LazarX's advice. The GM has to tailor the encounters to fit your character -- so whatever you pick will work.

It may still be swing-y though. It's rough not having any backup.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Seth Gipson wrote:
... I really wish people would stop using a Druid as their first character. :P

Oh, my god, yes please! I don't GM in PFS, but the last two newbies to join my home game insisted on playing druids.

Please, please, newbies of the world, pick a fighter or a rogue or a ranger or ANYTHING other than a druid for your first PC. They're just horribly complex to run. I know, they've got great flavor and strong abilities, but if you're having trouble remembering which die is for attack and which is for damage, Wild Shape and natural attacks are going to make your brain explode.

And no, it's nothing like WoW! *cries a little inside*

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Liking Detect Magic's suggestion of a souped-up curse of lycanthropy. However, I'd suggest that the werewolf has to spend a mythic power point if he wants a bitten adversary to be a natural werewolf.

EDIT: oh, and a mythic werewolf should KNOW when he's infected somebody successfully.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'll put this in big letters, because a few people missed it, I think.

[bigger][bigger]We're using the 3.5 rules, and the 3.5 RotRL.[/bigger][/bigger]

The prevalence of multi-classing is in large part due to the rule set.

Although I personally would prefer using PF rules, there are a couple of players who are married to 3.5, and it was a choice of using 3.5 or finding an entirely new group. I live in a fairly small town (approx 50K people, and that's the largest city in a 75-mile radius). There are not THAT many players available. Plus they're my friends. So 3.5 it is.

Fruian Thistlefoot wrote:
Kinda mean to throw them into one of the tougher APs

Since we're on 3.5, the choices of AP were limited to those printed pre-PF. I listed them, and they wanted this one because it was the first published.

To work on the mechanics, I'm going to

1) Offer a rebuild to Micah. See if we can rebuild him as a melee type, a complete respec.

2) Arrange for Azaelyn to find a good cache of consumables, and possibly some magic items to stretch out her magical abilities (Pearls of Power, spell storing items, etc).

3) See if I can get Merisiel's player to actually show up.

4) I'm going to try to get Jubrayl's player to read a 3.5 cleric optimization handbook and see if there are any quick fixes. His stats are good, he just needs some more in-depth knowledge on how to USE it.

5) I'm going to try even harder to dissuade the new player from doing a Druid/Rogue as her first PC. Oh god, I have visions of an entire binder full of character sheets and a player so overwhelmed with options that she can't pick anything.

6) Lastly, I think I may have been shortchanging them on treasure. I'm going to arrange a big payday soon so they can get some better gear.

In terms of in-character trust building, I don't really have any good ideas. Trustfall is as good as anything, I guess.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The problem is in-game, and a mixture of PC personality, tactics, and mechanics.

In character, none of the PCs trust one another. I'm not sure WHY they don't trust one another. The players get along fine socially in real life. The PCs have saved one another multiple times in combat. But they tend not to divulge story information to one another, whether that's backstory or campaign info.

Tactically, they're ill coordinated. They don't know one another's abilities, and tend not to communicate about tactics. Essentially, each PC is acting as a lone warrior, rather than cooperating.

Mechanically, the group as a whole is pretty lackluster. We're still using 3.5 rules. They recently fought Xanesha. I know Xanesha has a reputation for being a meat-grinder, especially the original 3.5 version, and so I nerfed her a LOT. Took away 8 AC. Decided all her attacks would be for non-lethal damage at the standard -4 penalty. Had her do willfully stupid things like letting people flank her for round after round. After all that, it still required direct divine intervention by Sarenrae to avoid a TPK.

Party Composition:
And the party consists of:

- Azaelyn, Rogue 4/Wizard 3. Shooting for AT. Lots better at traps and locks than anything else, but those come up a lot less than combat, and she's lousy at fighting. Uses hand crossbows. Rarely hits. Low hit points -- easy to take out in one round if a melee type monster can get at her. Only has a handful of level 1 and 2 spells per day. This player is the most experienced and rules-savvy of the lot. RP is not bad, but not inspired.

- Micah, Ranger 5/Fighter 2. Dual wields (scimitar/dagger); shooting for the 3.5 class Dervish Dancer. Micah really wants his owl animal companion to be an awesome combat buddy, and it's just not happening. Can dish out respectable damage, but suffers from low CON and low AC, and goes down fairly easily. Player is extremely good at character development and role-play, but has difficulty keeping track of the rules. Second most experienced player.

- Jubrayl, cleric 7. Blessed with good stats thanks to great rolls during character generation. Specced mostly for healing. Uneven rules knowledge. He's fine with most combat stuff, but was recently surprised when I informed him that he can prep ANY of the cleric spells of a level he can cast. Apparently he thought for the last 7 levels that he was limited to spells from his domains. And I never noticed. *headdesk* This is the third most experienced player. Rarely engages in RP, in the sense of in-character speech or action.

- Merisiel, ranger 7. Archer. Mechanically sound, but suffers from a lack of player. That is, the player only joined 5 sessions ago, and out of those 5 has only attended 2. Player has no experience with role playing games beyond those 2 sessions.

- Unnamed, druid 4/rogue 3. This is a newly recruited player who has never played tabletop before, and insists on playing a druid/rogue "because that's what I always wind up playing in WoW". Uses daggers and whips; no ranged weapon; 30 hit points at level 7; small viper companion with 13 hp. I have a 1-on-1 tutorial session scheduled for tomorrow to work on this player in which I am hoping beyond hope to persuade her to try something less mechanically complex for her very first PC, because holy cow, that PC has a ton of moving parts which will be very hard for a newbie to manage.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My group has recently lost two players (moved due to job), and gained two new ones. Both the new ones are also new to role playing.

Two of the more experienced players have expressed concern that the party is not working as a cohesive unit, and have asked for some kind of team building exercise. We're playing RotRL, about to start book 3.

I'm not sure what to do. Suggestions?

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

An Armored Kilt and a Haramaki both give you an armor bonus to AC. That is, the type of bonus is "armor". Since the two share the same bonus type, they don't stack.

You can still wear both if you want, but you'll only get +1 out of it, not +2.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I recommend a spellbook. Also a material components pouch.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I subscribed for the very first set, Heroes and Monsters, then cut the sub and just bought a brick for RotRL.

Since then I've been cherry-picking by buying singles, mostly through Troll and Toad and Miniatures Market. I find that I tend to drop about $140 to $160 on singles with each new release.

A subscription is what, roughly twice that? So, I have the option of getting a subscription and a ton of minis I don't actually want -- or I could spend about half the subscription price, and get exactly what I want.

It's not a hard choice.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'd keep the focus on combat maneuvers, and leave normal attack bonuses out of it altogether. Like this:


Combat Expertise (Alternate)
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 by making them easier to land. More combat maneuvers is likely to lead to more dynamic combats, which are just generally more interesting than toe-to-toe slugfests.

2) This improves both offense and defense, but only in the realm of combat maneuvers. A PC who takes it is neither more nor less vulnerable to normal attacks.

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.

I've posted this before in the thread Rewriting Combat Expertise, which is worth reading since that's what you're doing. Some good ideas and discussion in there.

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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.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Part of the problem is that I don't know Jan well enough to figure out how many of the choices involved in the character creation were hers. If she really wants to play a druid/rogue, I'm fine with that. It's her PC. She should have agency in it. If that means playing a difficult PC her first time out, so be it.

But I'm worried that she got overwhelmed with choices and just accepted whatever Tom suggested. The PC sounds weirdly like his current character: a female elf Rogue 4/Wizard 3 going for Arcane Trickster, with a low CON score and a weird weapon that deals little damage (hand crossbow).

Jan has agreed to do a 1-on-1 session in which I will simply give her some self-contained challenges designed to let her try her character's abilities. I'm hoping that with a little more time to talk with her I'll get a better sense for what she wants in her PC. Also hopefully an actual scenario will give her more insight into how a character works in-game.

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Bring along something to deal with invisibility. Perhaps some small flasks filled with paint, or similar. Even if he uses Prestidigitation to clean it off, that's a round's action wasted.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My group is in the process of recruiting a new player. Two of the existing players -- lets call them Kelda and Tom -- suggested a candidate (whom we'll call Jan). Jan has no previous experience with role-playing. I agreed to meet with her to discuss the game, answer any questions she might have, and perhaps start building a character.

The day of the meeting, Kelda introduced me, and casually remarked that Tom had helped Jan make a character, and that it was all done, but Tom still had the character sheet.

I was floored. No one asked me about this, or even let me know that it was happening until after the fact.

As planned, I had lunch with Jan and talked about the game with her. It became clear that Tom had done the following:

1) Not told her ANYTHING about the setting or campaign (Golarion, RotRL).

2) Built her a complicated multi-class PC (Druid 4/Rogue 3). I'm fine with Jan playing that if that's what she wants, though I generally try to steer new players away from magic-users for their first PC because they're complicated to run. Also, because I was not there, I worry that Tom may have railroaded her into the class choice. She seemed unclear on why she had levels of rogue, for example.

3) Used a stat generation method which was NOT the same as anyone else in the campaign (4d6, re-roll 1s and 2s, drop lowest) which resulted in massively higher ability scores than any other PC.

4) Given her three fairly weak feats: Animal Affinity, Stealthy, and Exotic Weapon Proficiency (whip). We're on 3.5 rules, so the PC only has 3 feats at level 7.

5) Assigned her one and only low ability score -- a 12 -- to Constitution. Since the PC is an elf, that dropped to 10, leaving a very small pool of hit points.

6) Concocted an intro story that involves the PC stealing from one of the other PCs.

The end result is a PC is a mess. In story terms, she is poorly integrated with the world. In mechanical terms, she's grossly over-powered on every ability except Constitution, making her a glass cannon. The PC uses an unusual weapon with weird sub-rules of its own, and has two different sets of class abilities to deal with, including prepared casting. In short, the character is going to be very difficult for a new player to run. That will slow down the game for everyone else while she's figuring stuff out -- at least until the PC gets herself killed, which is a distinct possibility given how few hit points she has and the range of a whip.

I am seriously annoyed with Tom over this. As the GM, I need to be involved when a new player is being introduced to the game. I know what's coming up, and can suggest character options that will both mesh smoothly with the setting and work well with the upcoming adversaries. Hopefully I can also help the new player build a PC which fits their idea of what the PC should be like and also give them an opportunity to learn the rules in a smooth progression rather than a giant dump of mismatched bits.

I plan to talk to Tom about it. Diplomatically. After I finish steaming out my ears. Any advice on how to address the issue?

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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.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My group recently took a break from a long-running Kingmaker campaign. I ran "The Harrowing" so that our regular GM could get to play as a PC for a change.

I sent along a DMPC -- my regular character's cohort, a cleric with the merciful healer archetype. She's fantastic at healing, and very little use at anything else. She worked very nicely and never overshadowed the other characters.

Uh, right up until the very final confrontation, that is. It's hard not to overshadow the party when every single one of them gets dominated by the bad guys. I worked that out in a way that let the party escape, but it cost the DMPC her life.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I ... think I am not going to listen to those samples. The NPCs in RotRL have personalities, histories, and voices unique to my group. I don't think I really want to hear somebody else's idea of what they sound like.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hey, check out this Kickstarter:

Board Games: Now Blind Accessible

They're making braille sleeves for card games.

I see a bunch of familiar names on the list of supporting companies, but Paizo isn't there. Hey Paizo, take a look at this! Maybe they'll add the Pathfinder card game to their to-do list.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

You could always use the Mass Combat rules. But there's a lot less emphasis on individual heroes then.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ckorik wrote:
are you going to chop it up into 3 pieces for easier play or keep it as one piece?

I think I'm going to keep it in one piece. It fits okay on my table as-is.

Skeld wrote:
I'm curious, in what do you expect getting a flipmat printed through this vendor to be superior to the physical product that you can already buy?

I chose to print a flip mat because I was curious how they'd do with an image that started at a higher resolution and got shrunk, rather than one that started low res and got blown up. A flip-mat answered that description (the PDF images for those are 150 DPI).

That said, I expect two benefits to printing it this way:

1) I expect the vinyl to lie flat. In my experience, the folded cardstock Paizo has to be weighted down at all four corners. If you disturb one of the weights, that corner pops up, sending minis sliding hither and yon. On the reverse side the corners push down, making a slope in the middle of the map. They're just a hassle to deal with.

2) This will let me get physical copies of flip-mats that are no longer available in print. The dungeon map for Crypt of the Everflame is a prime candidate, for example.

I don't expect to do many flip-mats. I don't use them very much.

HangarFlying wrote:
do you know if the image can be printed all the way to the edge? (Thinking of bigger maps that might be printed over multiple banners).

No idea. Why don't you ask their support? They've been pretty friendly.

HangarFlying wrote:
What was the general process that you used to extract, size, and place the maps into a file?

Documented here.

HangarFlying wrote:
Make sure you get us a bunch of in-game pics.

Sure. I have no idea when that will happen, though. We were supposed to have a session yesterday, but one-by-one every single player backed out. One got called to work an extra shift. One had to move to a new apartment. One got food poisoning, and the last stayed home to do nurse duty for her.

Given people's schedules it may be mid-to-late April before my Runelords group gets a chance to game again. Sigh.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Whoops, thanks for the catch, Tri -- I forgot the Paizo forums don't auto-link URLs. And my edit link was still live, so I've corrected them in the original post too.

EDIT: And, just 'cause, I just put in a job to have them print Side 1 of the Deep Forest flip mat.

If I ever wind up GM'ing Crypt of the Everflame again, I guarantee you I'll be printing that sucker out rather than drawing it.

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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.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oo, this looks perfect for a climactic encounter in the desert continent of Rathfell (a region in my homebrew). Looking forward to the PDF.

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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.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A 14 in STR is much better.

I'm a little dubious about the 16 INT and 11 CON. Is that for character concept reasons? Because skill points are nice to have, but hit points keep you alive. A dead monk rolls no skill checks.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The following are monk special weapons: brass knuckles, cestus, quarterstaff, knuckle axe, kama, nunchaku, sai, siangham, shuriken. Their entries on the weapons table have the "monk" special property.

So treating the dogslicer as a short sword gets you proficiency with the weapon. But it won't let you do a flurry of blows with them (unless your GM handwaves that too). If you want to wield two of them, you'll need Two-Weapon Fighting.

If you take Weapon Finesse you'll have a very high attack bonus with your dogslicers. Without it, your attack bonus will be lousy.

Neither Weapon Finesse nor Two-Weapon Fighting is on the monk bonus feat list, so right at the start you'll have to choose: do you want to hit more often, or do you want have more attacks?

With TWF at level 1, you would get 2 attacks at -1 (0 BAB, 0 STR bonus, 1 masterwork, -2 TWF). If you hit with both attacks, you'll deal 2d4 damage (2-8, average 5 damage).

With Weapon Finesse, you would have one attack at +7 (0 BAB, 6 DEX bonus, 1 masterwork). It would still deal only 1d4 damage (1-4, average 2.5). But you would at least hit fairly often.

Let's say you make it to level 8, picking up a pair of +1 dogslicers, Improved Two Weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus (dogslicer), and belt of STR +2. Your attack sequence would look like this:

6 DEX bonus
1 magic
1 weapon focus
-2 TWF


You'll probably be landing hits fairly often. But at 1d4+1 each, it won't matter a whole lot. If you hit with all four attacks, you'll be doing 4d4+4 damage (8-20, average 14). Of course, anything with DR 5/cold iron will totally ignore you.

By a staggering coincidence, a CL 8th Magic Missile does 4d4+4 damage, which bypasses DR and works against incorporeal creatures. So at that point, you will have spent 4 feats (TWF, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus, Improved TWF) and lots of cash on magic gear in order to be almost as good as a first-level spell.

Dumping STR is a bad idea.

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I've been in a Kingmaker campaign since 2010 -- we're approaching the end of Book 3. We'd probably be well into Book 4 if we hadn't run The Harrowing as a side quest so that the regular GM could actually play for once.

I've been GM'ing a 3.5-edition Rise of the Runelords for a different group since May 2012. We've just finished Book 2.

These things take forever when you can only meet once every 4-6 weeks for maybe 3 hours.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

After 3 days, wolfsbane is your only real option short of divine intervention.

Players forced to resort to wolfsbane would be well advised to tie ensure that they are manacled or otherwise restrained during the full moon after taking the poison. If they transform, well, no harm done, and they can try again next month.

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Okay, so to get the most mileage out of it, my druid player needs to do something like this:

Round 1
Charge; full attack with a +2 bonus; bite/claw/claw/grab attempt

Round 2
Assuming grab successful, full attack is bite/claw/claw/claw/claw. If not, it's bite/claw/claw/grab attempt, only without the +2 bonus.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My player's druid wild-shaped into a large tiger for the first time last session, and we became more or less instantly confused by pounce and rake. How exactly do these two abilities work together?

Does it give you:

1) 5 attacks on a charge (bite/claw/claw/claw/claw)?

or 2) 3 attacks on a charge (bite/claw/claw), with the two rakes taking the place of the regular claw attacks?

... or something else? Is there something else that needs to happen to qualify for rake attacks, or does it just happen automatically?

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'll try out dice rolling and mini stability. There's a guy in my office who had the same question -- he's a Warhammer 40K person, currently entertaining fantasies of full-table-size terrain maps with deployment areas already marked out.

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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.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Probably. If so, I won't mind -- a Chessex mat needs to be usable over and over. A printed area-specific map only needs to be usable for a few sessions.

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Since it's an opinion thread anyway, here goes!

Encumbrance rules -- I never enforce these. Why? Because they're mindless bookkeeping. And mindless bookkeeping is Not Fun.(TM)

I mean, which would you rather do:

1) Move on with the story, or

2) Stop playing for 20 minutes while we look up the weights of every piece of loot from the first encounter and argue over who's carrying what?

As for Perception checks on everything -- be patient and let them do what they want to. They don't know what they're up against, and they're just using the mechanics of the game to try and find out. If it gets wearing suggest another avenue they might try, or just straight up tell them they've learned everything they can with Perception.

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A Moonbeast recently took up residence in the dreams of my soloist PC's cohort. The PC, a druid, found a way to enter her cohort's dreams to confront the beast and destroy it.

And then she stayed in the cohort's dreams long enough to cast Hallow.


I have some ideas on things that might happen as a result, but I'm interested in hearing from other GMs. What effects do you think Hallow would have on someone's mind?

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Using the Paizo ones. I forgot about bwatford's re-dos, though I've seen them.

As for the material, I think it's probably similar. I have a small Chessex mat -- I'll compare the two once the printed banner arrives and see how they stack up.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Okay, so I just put in an order. I got the 4 maps of the Graul homestead -- attic, main floor, basement, and barn -- out of the PDF, blew them up to 100 DPI scale, and lined them up on a single 2x6 foot image. I also added a fake parchment background and labeled each floor.

After saving it as a PNG, I went to and put in the order. It worked very smoothly -- the image uploaded and displayed a preview, and everything looked good. They charged me $18.19 for the banner, plus $7.82 for standard shipping (10-12 days, it says).

After all that, it gave me an order number, and I sent an email to the support people asking them to flag the image as not-for-advertising.

So we'll see! I'll report back in once it arrives. I have high hopes.

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It sounds like they can do this as long as you clearly indicate that it should be flagged as not-okay-for-reuse-in-ads.

I haven't put in an order yet, but I'm going to soon, probably this evening. I want to print out the interior portions of the Graul farmstead, since my party is coming up on that soon.

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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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I've gotten that notice a couple of times, but I've always been able to clear it by just closing Nitro and re-opening the file.

If that doesn't work, it could be that they changed the behavior in more recent versions -- I haven't updated mine in a while. I'm on You could always try an older version. A quick Google search shows several sites for older versions of the software. Here's one.

Alternatively, just open it in Adobe Reader and select the map by clicking on it, then copy and paste into your graphics editor. This works most of the time. The reason I prefer Nitro is that 1) it gets the occasional map that's a background image rather than a selectable foreground image, 2) it grabs everything all at once, and 3) it preserves the partially transparent pixels at the edges of NPC pictures, which no other reader I've found does.

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Fair enough.

EDIT: And Gwen, it's a matter of what type of image you're compressing. JPEG compression is good for things with lots of soft, blurry edges. Photographs, naturalistic scenery. PNG is good for things with relatively large areas of solid color. I'll upload the PNG version in a minute so you can compare.


And here they are:

Forest Pond with grid as a JPG at 66% compression: about 912 KB.

Forest Pond with grid as a PNG (24-bit): about 4 MB.

Both images were generated from the same PSD file using Photoshop's Save for Web interface.

An 8-bit PNG would have reduced the file size by decreasing the number of colors in the image to a palette of 256 colors. I didn't save that one, but it still came out larger than the JPG: 1.35 MB compared to 912 KB.

Lossy compression algorithms have their place. It's worth playing around with the compression options to see what gives you the best balance between image quality and file size.

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I'm inclined to think JPG is fine for images extracted from Paizo PDFs, for these reasons:

1) They're JPG-formatted inside the PDF. That information loss has already occurred. Changing it back to PNG or TIFF won't get that data back.

2) Maps scaled up from 21.4px per inch to 100px per inch are going to be fairly blurry anyway, just due to resizing. The JPG compression won't be even remotely noticeable unless you crank the compression up to ridiculous levels.

If you're designing a map from scratch, a lossless format is the way to go for print.

JPG for use in virtual table tops, though, because a PNG is going to take way longer to download. For example, this map is about 912 KB in size as a JPG at 66% compression. The identical map saved as a PNG from the original PSD file is 4 MB -- just over four times as large for very similar visual quality.

I wish the Banners on the Cheap people would get back to me.

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Yeah. GIMP is a good program. The UI drives me nuts, though.

Of course, the last time I seriously tried it was 10 years ago on a rather obscure variant of Linux. It might be better now.

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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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For the most part, the room numbers are not burned into the map -- they're on a separate layer of the PDF. So when Nitro PDF pulls the image out, the room numbers get left behind.

That seems to have been standard practice for Paizo from pretty early on. I'm using the 3.5-era RotRL PDFs, and haven't had trouble with them. I've run some later ones with more trouble -- in The Harrowing, the location called "The Manmolds" had a bunch of secret door symbols burned into the map that had to be edited out (that's been reported now). But as a rule, they're pretty clean.

I've been mapping for the last two years for a homebrew campaign I'm running. It takes place online, via MapTool, which creates an insatiable need for maps. I use a wide variety of software:

1) Photoshop. I shelled out the $600 for this, and I use it for most serious map-making/editing. Note that it's crazy expensive and has a pretty steep learning curve. Photoshop makes impossible things easy, and easy things impossible.

2) Free and WAAAAAY simpler to pick up than Photoshop. More limited, but still reasonably capable. I still find myself using it on a regular basis for simpler adjustments.

3) Inkscape. This is not something I do a whole lot of mapping in -- it's a vector graphics program. Instead, I often use it for creating basic curvy shapes and things. Then export as regular bitmap images so I can paste them into Photoshop and use them as masks or similar.

Stuff to be aware of if you use

1) It's free, but for Windows only.

2) Their site has an annoying percentage of fake "download" links that are actually dumb ads, so be careful what you click.

3) There are a bunch of free plugins for it. The Grid/Checkerboard maker plugin is particularly helpful for when you need to add a grid to a map.

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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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