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Goblin Squad Member. 993 posts. 2 reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Expecto Patronum! - cast the 3.5 era spell "Melf's Unicorn Arrow"


Merfolk monk. I'll compensate for my lack of legs by walking on my hands, and fish-slap people with my own tail.

Monk bonus speed and improved unarmed strike ftw!


8 Constitution? You, my friend, need to avoid getting hit.

You don't mention what level you are currently, but I'm guessing it's still early days -- level 1 or 2. Get Vanish ASAP, and Invisibility should be your first pick of spell when you hit level 3. When initiative gets rolled, round 1 you go invisible and then move someplace out of the way. In subsequent rounds you can focus on spells that contribute to combat.

Speaking of which, Tonyz' advice is pretty sound. As a conjurer, let your summoned beasties do the heavy combat. Summon Monster spells are your bread and butter. Just bear in mind that they're good for more than just combat; many of them have useful spell-like abilities, especially at higher levels.

Other conjuration spells that you may find useful and/or fun:

Level 1:
- Grease. Because wheeeeeee!
- Snowball. Decent damage, no SR, and potential for a minor debuff.
- Stone Shield. Immediate action "oh god stop shooting me"

Level 2:
- Create Pit. Drop enemies into a hole and deal with them later.
- Glitterdust. For those pesky invisible opponents.
- Web. Great for hindering opponents.

Level 3:
- Spiked Pit. See Create Pit, only more ouch.
- Ice Spears. Trip people and leave bulky spears of ice blocking the way.
- Stinking Cloud. Obscure vision and nauseate people.

Level 4:
- Acid Pit. Even ouchier.
- Black Tentacles. Damage and grappling.
- Dimension Door. Great for repositioning or dealing with obstacles.

Level 5:
- Hungry Pit. The ouchiest.
- Teleport. Who has time to walk?
- Wall of Stone. Great for segmenting enemies into smaller groups.

Level 6:
- Acid Fog. It burrrrns, precious!
- Wall of Iron. See Wall of Stone, only harder.

Level 7:
- Greater Teleport. Get rid of those pesky miss chances.
- Maddenning Oubliette. (Not evil at all, honest!)

Level 8:
- Maze. Send that monster to Confusionville.
- Wall of Lava. Walls are just good, okay?

Level 9:
- Gate. The ultimate in summoning.
- Tsunami. Because who doesn't like surfing?

The spell "Create Pit" and its successors (Hungry Pit, Acid Pit) are from your specialized school (conjuration), and very good at battlefield control. Just be careful not to put it too close to your fighter. You don't want them to fall down there.

But honestly, you really need to do something about that Constitution score. I don't like running a wizard with less than 14 CON, more if I can get it. After all, a dead wizard casts no spells.

(Note: with that Charisma score, you would be absolutely terrifying as a vampire. All it takes is a willingness to cast off the bonds of nature and turn yourself into an unholy abomination who feeds on the blood of the living.)


The normal and flawed variants of the orange prism ioun stone are clear, but the cracked version needed to have a good bit more thought put into its mechanics.

Oh well. Chalk it up to one of those things where you just have to ask your GM. And heaven help you if you want to use it in PFS.


The phrasing is a bit weird. "Wearer adds one cantrip ... to his spells prepared." It doesn't say that they're allowed to prepare the spell, but that it is prepared.

That suggests that if you equip this on a wizard who has already prepared spells for the day, they actually gain a spell slot with the cantrip in it. That's certainly how it was implemented in Hero Lab (which is, of course, non-canonical).

If it does actually grant a bonus spell slot, then I don't see why it wouldn't work on a rogue or a ranger. In which case the caster level becomes the issue. Does it use the wearer's caster level, even if that is zero? Does it use the wearer's caster level, with a minimum of one?

The actual game effects of letting people get more cantrips are fairly minor. But I can see how it would be useful.

Would my wizard pay 1,000 gp for the ability to cast Create Water? Sure! It's always fun to drench your enemies.

Would my ranger pay 1,000 gp for the ability to examine magical effects with Detect Magic? Sure! He's got Spellcraft as a class skill, but it's way less useful without actually being able to examine magical auras.

Would my rogue pay 1,000 gp for the ability to cast Mending? Sure! It's handy for busting open windows, robbing a joint, and then repairing the window on the way out to conceal the method of entry.

But in general, well, they're cantrips. They're useful, but not likely to be game-breaking even if you load up tons of them.


The cracked orange prism ioun stone gives you an extra cantrip. Specifically, it says:

Quote:
Cracked: Wearer adds one cantrip or orison (determined when the stone is created) to his list of spells known or spells prepared. Price: 1,000 gp.

1) How does this work with PCs who can't cast spells normally? For example, could a straight rogue equip this in order to gain Prestidigitation? If so, what is the effective caster level? One? Zero?

2) How does it work with PCs who have caster levels but cannot cast cantrips? For example, could a level 4 ranger equip one in order to gain Detect Magic?


Ah well, maybe next time. My own PCs will be getting to the Jorgenfist library in probably another 2-3 sessions, so I'll get to see how the events go then!


Cool, glad it went well. Did you use the events I put in? How'd they go?


Oh good. That's a relief.

In this case I actually did generate a treasure:

4 Large greatclubs (no particular value)
1 Large masterwork obsidian dagger (304gp, fragile, breaks on a nat 1)
6 polished agate worry beads (12 gp total)
1 pair of heavily used bone dice (six-siders, no particular value)
1 potion of bull's strength (300 gp)
1 bag full of jerky (DC 20 Survival or Kn (Nature) to identify it as badger, no particular value)
1 large-size waterskin full of vinegary wine (no particular value)
1 belt pouch full of powdery sand mixed with bits of gravel (no particular value)
1 wand of lightning bolt which has apparently been used as a toothpick. (7 charges remaining, CL 5, 1,575 gp)

That's way less than even a CR 8 encounter. And most of it is useless but flavorful.


This has undoubtedly been asked before, but I'm not finding it. My search-fu has failed me.

I'm running Rise of the Runelords, and I have been handing out the rewards explicitly listed in the adventure -- gear from named antagonists, rewards from grateful NPCs, and so on. But I have not been generating treasures for every nameless mook the party steamrolls.

For example, in one room in Fortress of the Stone Giants, there are four stone giants.[1] Technically, they're an encounter. Am I supposed to:

A) Generate a separate CR 8 treasure for each of the four giants;

B) Treat the four as a CR 12 encounter, and generate one treasure shared between them;

or C) Ignore them because they're mooks who got pasted in 2 and a half rounds?

I don't want to shortchange my PCs, but dang, I don't want to spend ages coming up with treasures for every Crog, Brick, and Derpy Stone Giant who walks on and gets diced.

[1] OMG spoilers, there are stone giants in the book named "Fortress of the Stone Giants"!


Mykull wrote:
Black Magga's heart was the key to the Runelords' deity (Lasona, Lashonna, I can't remember) and Sarenrae's fall is required to balance the scales.

It's Lissala. And that's pretty awesome.

My group ... did exactly zero damage to Black Magga. None of them had any cold iron weapons, and the one mage specialized in acid spells, and had three rogue levels (arcane trickster build), so his CL was waaaay too low to have enough dice to even think about overcoming her acid resistance.

The party druid decided to try Wild Empathy on her. Black Magga was insulted to be taken for a mere beast. So she turned a cold, reptilian eye on the druid, dominated her, and ordered her to lay waste to the works of man. The druid didn't get a second will save, since she's not too keen on civilization, and proceeded to find an axe and reenact "The Shining" on some poor peasant's hut.

Meanwhile the rest of the party focused on evacuating people from the church. They got everybody out through clever use of Floating Disk and some good swim checks.

I was kind, and didn't murder any of them with a monster that they had absolutely no way of opposing. Black Magga smacked a couple of them when they got in her way, but otherwise focused on demolishing buildings before sliding into the deeps of the lake.


Consider giving your player mythic tiers. I've been running a solo campaign for over three years now, and giving the PC mythic tiers helped a lot.

Particularly with action economy, because they give you lots of swift and immediate action abilities, plus the ability to spend a mythic power point for an extra standard action once per turn.


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Here's a redo of the Jorgenfist library using the Ultimate Intrigue research subystem:

The Therassic Library


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William Sinclair wrote:

Karzoug's army is on the march, and the party decided that crafting was more important than finding out what the army was all about.

...

So far....
1. Ravenmoor has been destroyed
2. Wolf's Ear has been destroyed
3. Lord-Mayor Grobaras has been deposed, and Mayor Deverin has taken his place.
4. The party has finally started to form an army to defend against the army
5. They found handout 6-1 and have moved on to the dwarven mining camp.

Good times....

Good lord. What were they crafting that was so all-fired important that they thought ignoring an army of cloud, storm, and rune giants was the way to go?

If Karzoug is not already free, he should be by the time your players get to him. Having a hard time seeing how the party is not going to wind up as stylish new gold statues in his palace.


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The following is a reworking of the Library of Thassilon area from the Fortress of the Stone Giants, using the Research system from Ultimate Intrigue. It contains spoilers. If you are a player rather than a GM, do not read further.

Rather than write one monolithic research stat block for the library, I have chosen to write several smaller stat blocks, one for each research topic spelled out in FotSG and SotS. Each research topic has its own knowledge point total and thresholds, but shares the basic stats of the library. Each includes an event that triggers when the PCs reach the threshold just before it.

As written, the adventure does not award XP for completing these knowledge checks. If you do award XP for the research, I recommend waiting until all three topics have been fully researched.

If the party successfully befriended it, the Clockwork Librarian may supply Aid Another checks to the primary researcher at +4 rather than the usual +2 bonus because of its intimate familiarity with the collection. This uses one of the two secondary researchers allowed by the Research rules.

You could easily expand the list to add more research tasks connected to ancient Thassilon, such as the River Avah, rune giants, Leng, runeforged weapons, Alara'hai, sin magic, the other six Runelords, etc. But since those are less relevant to the adventure, it is probably better to treat them as single knowledge checks.

Therassic Library:

Therassic Library (CR 11)
Complexity 31 (average)
Languages Thassilonian
Research Check Knowledge (arcana) or Knowledge (history); Knowledge Bonus +5

Karzoug:
kp 25

kp 20
Xin-Shalast is a legendary lost city, rumored to be hidden somewhere in the Kodar Mountains. Stories hold that Xin-Shalast had gold streets and gemstone buildings, and sat under the gaze of a mountain that could see.

kp 15
Xin-Shalast was the capital city of an empire called Shalast, one of seven that composed the ancient empire of Thassilon. Legend holds that Xin-Shalast lay at the headwaters of the sacred River Avah—which Varisian folklore says leads to an earthly paradise sacred to Desna. Unfortunately, no record of where this river may have once flowed exists today, and most scholars believe the river itself to have been destroyed during Earthfall.

kp 10
In the final centuries before Earthfall ended Thassilon, Xin-Shalast was ruled by Runelord Karzoug, one of the lords of the Thassilonian Empire. The primary architects of the immense city were tribes of giants, themselves ruled by powerful beings known as rune giants.

kp 5
The Spires of Xin-Shalast stand upon the mythical mountain of Mhar Massif. This mountain of legendary proportions pierces the skies above the Kodars, and is said to be the highest peak in the entire range of stupendously inhospitable mountains.

kp 0
Mhar Massif is said to serve as a bridge to strange realms beyond Golarion—notably, to the nightmare dimension of Leng. The connections with the nightmare realm of Leng were said to have infused the region around the peak of Mhar Massif with dangerous eldritch and otherworldly energies.

Event The tome that reveals this final piece of information bears an ancient spell trap left by the jealous former owner.

Dream Dalliance Trap CR 6
XP 2,400
Type magic; Perception DC 30; Disable Device DC 30
Trigger proximity (alarm); Reset automatic; Bypass password ("elucidarian")

Effect spell effect (dream dalliance, DC 17 Will save negates); single target (the reader)

Since the reader does not need to sleep while in the Therassic Library, they will not notice the effects of a failed save until after leaving the library. The clockwork librarian has read this book, but is unaware of this trap because it is immune to mind-affecting effects and does not sleep.

Xin-Shalast:
kp 25

kp 20
Karzoug was the Runelord of Greed. While he was, himself, an Azlanti human, he was a powerful man indeed—said to be the most gifted manipulator of Transmutation magic in all of Thassilon, and to have lived for hundreds of years. He ruled a region called Shalast, part of the ancient empire of Thassilon, over 10,000 years ago.

kp 15
Karzoug’s armies were composed primarily of giants who followed his every command—the giants were ruled by towering monsters known as rune giants, who were themselves runelord pawns. Karzoug counted other powerful creatures as his allies as well, such as blue dragons, eerie denizens from the nightmare realm of Leng, blooddrinking outsiders known as scarlet walkers, and immense lamia harridans who towered over most giants.

kp 10
Karzoug focused his magic on the school of transmutation, magic associated in Thassilonian times with the virtue of wealth. Under his reign, though, this virtue of rule became more associated with the sin of greed. Among the runelords, his mastery of greed magic was uncontested, yet in the schools of illusion and enchantment (related to the sins of pride and lust), his skills had atrophied greatly. Many believed that weapons infused with illusion and enchantment magic, known as “dominant weapons,” would be particularly potent against Karzoug, yet no record of someone attacking the runelord with such a weapon exists within the library.

Event The Clockwork Librarian has been tremendously excited and pleased to have researchers in the library once more. In its eagerness to assist, it loses track of the key used to wind it up. The construct is stricken with terror at the thought of winding down just when its services are finally needed again, and begs the PCs to assist in locating the precious key. The key was knocked off its peg and accidentally kicked under a chair. Locating it requires a DC 28 perception check, and costs the PCs a full day of research time. If they can use divination magic (such as locate object), no research time is lost. If it is not found, the clockwork librarian winds down one day after alerting them to the key's loss, and reactivating it requires a DC 25 Knowledge (engineering) check.

kp 5
Karzoug warred with his neighbors, but none more so than Alaznist, the Runelord of Wrath and ruler of Bakrakhan. Between their nations, along a ridge known as the Rasp, Karzoug built immense sentinel statues to watch over Bakrakhan, while Alaznist built towers called Hellfire Flumes to prevent Karzoug’s armies from invading. Citizens of both nations worried that the war between Karzoug and Alaznist would soon escalate to the point where they could bring about the end of the world.

kp 0
As Karzoug and Alaznist’s war intensified, and as wars between other runelords threatened more than just their armies, the runelords devised methods in which they could escape the world and enter a state of suspended animation, so they could ride out cataclysms. In theory, their surviving minions would then waken them to reclaim their empires once the cataclysms had ended.

Runeforge:
kp 40

kp 30
Runeforge was created as a place where agents of the seven runelords could gather to study magic.

kp 20
The runelords wove wards around Runeforge that barred entrance into the complex to any runelord or his direct agents, in order to keep the research within free from sabotage at the hands of an enemy.

kp 10
Runeforge’s magical enhancements sustained those within without the need to eat, drink, or even sleep.

Event The book that reveals this is a lengthy treatise on engineering magical protections into large structures, and notes that having a sympathetic focus makes the process easier, but that once complete, the focus is no longer needed. If the primary researcher succeeds on a DC 28 Knowledge (arcana) check and a DC 30 Perception check, they can locate the sympathetic focus that was used in the library's temporal warding: a clear spindle ioun stone, embedded in the stones at the bottom of the library shaft. Freeing it requires a strength check: 15+ succeeds; 11-15 succeeds, but the stone is flawed in the process; lower has no effect. Removing the ioun stone has no ill effect on the library's temporal warding.

kp 0
The final project the runelords set Runeforge on was the development of ways the runelords could escape the imminent fall of their empire. Each faction developed a unique answer for its runelord, based upon the underlying principles of that faction’s magical traditions.

Adjust the research DC according to taste. I have assumed it should be average. Easy = 26, average = 31, difficult = 36.

I opted not to assign serious time pressure to the research tasks presented here, because although knowing these things are useful, they are not crucial to advancing in the adventure path. Also, since the PCs will just have finished a long dungeon crawl, they may need some down time between 4 and 5 anyway to rest up, shop for gear, pursue romantic interests, and so on. If you want to assign time pressure to the Runeforge research task, I recommend giving them no more than a week.


Vigilante is a new class in the upcoming book Ultimate Intrigue, which is built around having two identities. Think Bruce Wayne/Batman, Don Domingo/Zorro, Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon -- any of those types of characters that have a normal identity and a secret identity. I don't think that's quite what you're going for.

So ... monk and bard, huh? Wow. Those are pretty dissimilar from one another.

I assume that since they share a single body, they also share ability scores, but have different feats/skills. What are your ability scores?


Wacky.

Questions:

1) Are your two PCs two people sharing one body, or two distinct people who get swapped in and out of place?

2) How did this come about, and are they trying to change this state of affairs?

3) Are they capable of communicating? The swap sounds disorienting. If a swap happens mid-combat, will the new PC have any idea what's going on?

4) What happens if one of them dies?


Thanks! ^_^ I'm pretty pleased with the scenario. I hope it helps out the OP.


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The following is long. I've split it up into chunks and spoilered it.

General thoughts on the OP's predicament:
I think the basic problem you're struggling with is that you don't want the story to end prematurely. If you kill off the PCs, it does -- as long as you're committed to following the AP as written.

Things already sound like they're pretty much off the rails. But that's okay; it shows that your players have been acting in interesting, dynamic ways. Your group -- players and GM alike -- are reshaping the written story to make it their own.

I advise against a deus-ex-machina solution. "Doing a reset" like this cheapens the choices of the PCs. Besides, you don't need that yet. One of the PCs lived, and that means that one PC has the opportunity to flee, rally support, and keep the story alive.

If one of the PCs explicitly prays for divine aid, consider providing it. Perhaps a helpful archon/azata/etc pops up at a key moment, or a mortally wounded PC gains DR 5/epic and the ability to act while in negatives just long enough to turn the tide (after which they should fall unconscious again). Divine aid should be rare, focused, short duration, and aimed to maximize dramatic effect.

What I would do about the captured PCs:
Nualia's goal is to free Malfeshnekor, thereby fully purging her celestial "taint", and releasing a powerful servant of Lamashtu into the world again.

The adventure is not clear about exactly what she needs to do in order to accomplish his release. He's restrained by a Binding spell at CL 20; generally, it takes either an anti-magic field (Sor/Wiz level 6, min CL 13), or a Mage's Disjunction (Sor/Wiz level 9, min CL 17) to take one of those down. As a level 4 cleric with two levels of fighter, Nualia simply doesn't have the magical oomph (or monetary resources) to deal with that directly herself.

I suggest, therefore, that she's using an occult ritual whose purpose is not to dispel or remove the binding, but to change its target. Thus:

=====================
Twisting the Bars
School abjuration; Level 6
Casting Time 6 hours
Components V, S, M (a tiny gold cage worth 100 gp per HD of target), SC (min 4, max 20)
Skill Checks Knowledge (planes or religion) DC 25, 3 successes
Range touch
Target one creature previously targeted by a binding (hedged prison) spell
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw none; SR no
Backlash The primary caster takes 1d6 points of damage per HD of the target creature and is exhausted. The damage may be split amongst secondary casters.
Failure The caster takes 1 permanent negative level.

Effect
This ritual frees the target of a binding (hedged prison) spell by substituting a new creature for the original target. The new creature must have at least as many hit dice as the original target; or, if such a creature is not available, the primary caster may designate a group of creatures whose combined hit dice equal or exceed those of the original target.

Upon successful completion of the ritual, the original target of the binding (hedged prison) spell is freed, and the new creature takes its place in the prison.
=====================

Nualia has learned this ritual, and trained a cadre of 20 secondary casters (mostly goblins) to assist in it. All she has needed are suitable prisoners. She was reluctant to use goblins, because it would have taken quite a few of them to come up with an equivalent to Malfeshnekor's 10 hit dice, and that might have disrupted her somewhat tenuous alliance with the tribes.

The captive PCs are exactly what she needs, and she wastes no time in putting her plan into motion. The very next day after capturing the PCs, she conducts the ritual, and it's a success! With the following results:

- Nualia gains the fiendish template;
- Malfeshnekor is free for the raid on Sandpoint;
- Your former PCs are now trapped in Malfeshnekor's prison.

Since Nualia is a devoted follower of Lamashtu, she is cruel. She would very likely mutilate them in painful, humiliating ways. Then, having used them to free her ally, she would abandon them alive in the deeps of Thistletop with plenty of water and no food, trusting that as they slowly starve to death, they will descend into insanity and cannibalism. She sees this as a fitting offering to the Mother of Madness.

Of course, this also means that they are alive, and can be rescued. It may be somewhat tricky for the PCs to do so, but they could always use the same ritual that Nualia did (it's not inherently evil; arrange for them to find notes on how to do it in her room in Thistletop). Perhaps Nualia and some of her minions could wind up in Malfeshnekor's binding. I leave the moral quandaries of leaving Nualia bound in Malfeshnekor's prison to you. She does have to eat, after all, so just leaving her there is a slow death sentence. Some of the good-aligned deities might balk at that, particularly Desna; others might be okay with it provided Nualia (and any others) are mercifully executed after the ritual is complete. Some of the more lawful ones would prefer a formal trial and sentencing first.

Alternatively, the PCs could buy a scroll of Anti-Magic Field in Magnimar. Cast it from the scroll, the bound PCs walk out of the prison; when the AMF wears off, the Binding spell snaps back into place, and they are still the targets. But because they are now outside the bounds, its effect is that they are incapable of ever entering that room again.

It's somewhat pricey for a low-level party at 1,650 gp, but if the alternative is being stuck in Thistletop for the rest of their lives, it's well worth it.

What I would do about the raid:
Let the players whose PCs were captured roll up new PCs who -- by a great stroke of fortune! -- happen to be passing through Sandpoint when your second raid hits.

Give them -- say -- 3 days to prepare. On Day 1, Nualia is busy casting Twist the Bars. On Day 2, she and her minions are recovering from the ritual, and possibly doing terrible things to the captured PCs for giggles. On Day 3, Nualia, Malfeshnekor, and Ripnugget have to martial their disorderly goblins into a horde and travel to Sandpoint. They attack on Day 4, before dawn and under cover of dark so that the goblins can benefit from Darkvision while their human targets are blinded. Perhaps it's a full moon so your normal-sighted PCs are not totally screwed, and anyone with low-light vision can function normally.

Attackers

In terms of tactics, goblins are sneaky. It should not be a charge-in-head-first-yodeling-war-cries type raid. I would divide them into three groups:

Group 1: A general raiding party of goblins, led by Bruthazmus. These would sneak in first, under cover of darkness, through the dump, and aim to create as much chaos as possible as fast as possible. Set buildings on fire, hurl thunderstones through windows to flush civilians into the streets, kill people messily and painfully to sow terror. However, they are primarily a distraction.

Group 2: A group of goblin commandos led Chief Ripnugget. They enter over the wall behind the cathedral (Stickfoot can just climb over it, allowing Ripnugget to haul ropes over for the others.) Their goal is to kill known town leaders. In order, their targets are Father Zantus, Sheriff Hemlock, and Mayor Deverin. Zantus is first because he has magic, especially group healing, and because he is old he is a weaker target. Hemlock next because he leads the soldiers. Mayor Deverin last, because killing her would essentially throw the town into political chaos even if the goblins are forced to retreat, making the town a weaker target for future attacks. If they get an opportunity, they'll try to free Orik and order him to assist them with the slaughter, or kill him if he won't cooperate.

Group 3: The big one. This is composed of Nualia, Malfeshnekor, Gogmurt, and two goblin commandos. They are concealed in the woods outside the north gate, under cover of an Invisibility Sphere provided by Malfeshnekor. When Group 1 starts, they spend a few rounds buffing: Malfeshnekor casts Mass Bull's Strength and Mass Enlarge on everyone (he can't enlarge himself, not being a humanoid). Nualia does her normal buffs as per her stat block, but skips Bull's Strength since Malfeshnekor is doing that. She has Silence in that slot instead to deal with enemy casters. Gogmurt has finally gotten some rest, freeing up a second level spell slot for Barkskin. He buffs himself with Barkskin, Flame Blade, and has 2xFaerie Fire prepped instead of Charm Animal and Speak with Animals.

After buffing, Malfeshnekor uses Dimension Door to put them right inside the gates. Their first goal is to kill any defenders on the wall and open the gates, to secure an easy route of retreat if it should be needed. After that, they intend to meet up with the others -- first Group 2, then Group 1 -- in order to provide direction for the remainder of the raid. Their primary goal is to destroy Sandpoint by killing as many of its people as possible. However, Nualia is a servant of Xanesha, and knows that her mistress has plans for greedy souls. If they get an opportunity, they'll take some live prisoners to be marked with the Sihedron and sacrificed for the greed in their souls.

Defenders

Preparations

Allow the PCs to make knowledge or intelligence checks to identify likely avenues of approach (the junkyard because goblins like junk, the wall in the cathedral because they evidently came that way once before, perhaps the unguarded bridges by the mill). Then give them time to come up with defenses. Alarms, whether magical or mundane; traps; sentries at key spots; requisitioning better equipment for the guards; arming commoners with clubs or daggers, and maybe crossbows for a few. Sandpoint is large -- they may need horses or some other method of getting from one spot to another fast.

Creativity is good. When my PCs defended Sandpoint against the stone giants, the party bard asked if she could play the bells in the cathedral to Inspire Courage across the whole town, and I said yes because that was cool. The result was a pretty embarrassing death for Longtooth.

Defenders

I do not think that a TPK at this stage is very likely. There are lots of goblins, and Nualia and Malfeshnekor are extremely dangerous. However, since the fight is happening in Sandpoint, there are lots of people available to help. It's a lot harder to wipe out a whole town than it is to crush a party of four or five adventurers unsupported in the midst of a hostile dungeon.

Ameiko: can use Inspire Courage and provide minor healing.

Shalelu: can provide ranged support.

Father Zantus: can provide healing if the party saves him from Ripnugget. Give him the Selective Channeling feat so he can heal everyone in an area but exclude Nualia and company. He likely has some lower level acolytes (adepts and level 1 clerics) who can also assist in this way.

Belor Hemlock: can provide a fair number of guards, and is a pretty respectable combatant himself. Have him coordinate closely with the PCs during the preparations stage.

Orik: I'm not entirely clear on how well your party is getting along with Orik. If he is cooperative, they could use him as a source of information about likely tactics by Nualia et al. But honestly, at this point they probably know everything he has to tell them on that score. The more interesting potential arises if he has decided that he needs to undo his former errors -- or at least save his skin from prosecution -- he might be enlisted as a defender. But if he learns that the party killed Lyrie, I suspect that would likely drive him fully into the arms of evil. There is much potential for dramatic switching of sides here.

Last, but definitely not least, there are the players. This is a prime opportunity for your players to try out some new PCs. Perhaps some of them will prefer to keep the new PCs after the dust has settled. Or perhaps they will prefer to resume playing their original PCs (in which case, the ones they use for this raid could reasonably become "backup characters" in case somebody dies further down the line).

Either way, they get to keep playing, and the story goes on.


Thanks! ^_^

As mentioned, this was originally for a solo session -- it was tackled by just one player, with the assistance of Brodert Quink. The PC is an arcane trickster, so the area was designed to give the player an opportunity to do rogueish things -- sneaking around, dealing with traps, coming up with clever ways to defeat opponents he couldn't tackle in combat. That sort of thing. The opportunities for tricks-n-traps characters to shine are a bit slim in RotRL.

He stole the key for the two clockwork golems and waited for them to wind down a few days later, and lured the caryatid columns into the pit trap just outside command, after which they weren't a threat any more. He was greatly pleased, and is tinkering on one of the clockwork soldiers in his spare time to see if he can repurpose it as a combat buddy.


I would just like to point out that although outsiders are immune to many things -- disease is not one of them.


Razcar wrote:
This is, in my view, a problem with Rise of the Runelords. While the first parts of the AP are rife with great opportunities for roleplay and character development, the last half are mostly long dungeon crawls in far away locations, with little connection to the first chapters.

Agreed! Even more broadly, I think this is a symptom of difficulties with Paizo's approach to writing adventure paths. It's extremely difficult to maintain tone and internal consistency when you have six different authors writing each chapter.

I think they buckled down and got some stronger editorial controls in place for later APs, but particularly in the earlier ones it's very obvious when authors have diverging interests.

I like your retake on Sins. I'll have to do a bunch more thinking and see if I want to replace it or do something like what you did. Thanks!


Latrecis wrote:
I'd chime in with the others - a group of pc's would not necessarily need to leave Runeforge to rest and recover.

The bigger issue is that they spend an entire book cut off from the rest of the world.

I have one player in particular whose PC has an incredibly well-developed persona with rich, complicated ties to multiple NPCs -- romantic partners, rivals, friends, children, the whole nine yards. That player derives her enjoyment of the game primarily from developing all those relationships.

We can't meet terribly often. Generally about once a month. It'll probably take a year to get through Book 5. If all the established NPCs are unavailable because the party's stuck in Runeforge, then my player is basically not going to have any fun. For a year.

I don't think I can let that happen. The whole point of the game is to have fun, right?

Latrecis wrote:
I'm a little confused at the OP's pc's: they appear to only be 10th level. That's dangerously low for this phase of Book 5. The progression in the AP assumes the pc's are 14th level before entering Runeforge.

They're not in Runeforge yet. We're about half-way through Book 4, and on track to hit level 13 before starting Book 5.

I'm just trying to plan ahead. If I go ahead and substantially rewrite the book, that's going to take a lot of time, and I need to start long before they actually get there.

Latrecis wrote:
One last nit: teleport would not be useful for the OP's pc's even if they had it - Runeforge is its own demi-plane and while teleport would work within it, the spell cannot be used to travel to/from Runeforge.

Yes.

It's ordinarily assumed that PCs gain access to certain key abilities at specific levels. For example, once they hit five, adventure authors have to start planning for flying PCs. Once they hit 9, start planning for long distance teleportation. And so on.

I mentioned teleport primarily as an illustration of how my party is behind the curve in that regard, not because it would be useful for getting in or out of Runeforge.


I'm thinking of either substantially rewriting Sins or else dropping it entirely.

Reasons for doing this:
In reading over Sins of the Saviors, it sounds as though the adventure expects that the PCs will periodically be able to leave Runeforge via Plane Shift, rest, recuperate, go shopping, and then Plane Shift back.

Due to multiclassing, my PCs are far behind the usual expectations regarding access to spells. The party lacks a cleric, and the only arcane casters are a Bard 10 and a Rogue 3/Wiz 3/AT 4. They won't have Teleport until level 12. Plane Shift won't become available until 16. This poses some major difficulties:

1) Once they go into Runeforge, they'll be stuck there with no escape until they manage to carve their way through the Halls of Wrath, simply because there's no one in the party who will be capable of casting Plane Shift. They could use a bunch of scrolls, but 7th level wizard scrolls are not cheap.

2) If one of them dies, there's no way to introduce a new PC unless that PC has some way to get to Runeforge or is one of the NPCs who's already there.

3) Meanwhile, there's no opportunity to develop story lines connected to Magnimar or Sandpoint. I've got quite a few of those going on, and the players won't be happy to be cut off from them for so long. (If past performance is any indication, it will take about a real-time year to play through the book.)

Plus Sins is a giant dungeon crawl immediately following on the heels of a large dungeon crawl (Fortress of the Stone Giants). I like dungeon crawls okay, but variety is also nice.

Since the book is essentially seven small dungeon crawls, one thought I had was that I could take each wing of Runeforge and place it on the Material Plane, and run them as separate areas. That would change a lot, but let me re-use at least some of the material.

Some rough ideas:
- The Scribbler's rhyme would become clues to the need to forge powerful weapons/gear to take on Karzoug, with hints as to what they need and where to go to get it. The PCs main task would still be forging the appropriate weapons to deal with Karzoug, but I might add some way to get some juiced-up staves or something for the PCs who mostly use spells instead of weapons.

- I would need to invent something for the Abjurant Halls.

- The Ravenous Crypts could be run more or less as written, maybe placed in Belkzen not far from Xin-Gastash. Azaven has just woken up and is looking for ways to oppose Karzoug and revive Zutha.

- The Vaults of Greed could be put inside a monument somewhere in Varisia. Maybe under Riddleport? Ordikon would need new backstory.

- The Iron Cages of Lust I would probably throw out entirely, replacing it with something in Korvosa. Maybe one of those supremely-talented enchanters from the Acadamae stumbled into some relic of Sorshen's and is trying to find out what happened to her.

- The Shimmering Veils I might keep as a demiplane, but build in an exit of its own (maybe leaping through a mirror that reflects the real world instead of the Veils). Vraxeris is easy - he died aaaaaaages ago, and his simulacra are still faithfully following their last order to keep him from being disturbed. As written.

- The Festering Maze I would turn into an actual swamp, possibly on the western edge of Nirmathas -- I think Haruka extended that far over. Jordimandus would really LIKE to go bring Krune back, but it's just SO much effort, and anyway he's got this demonic heart thing tying him down, and wouldn't the PCs prefer just to take a nap? Some of the other encounters would need to be rewritten.

- The Halls of Wrath is harder, because it assumes a population of living wizards serving Alaznist. Also, Bakrakhan is mostly on the bottom of the ocean these days, which poses certain difficulties for land-dwelling wrath wizards. Not sure what to do about this one.

- I would put Arkhryst at the very end as the guardian of the Runeforge pool itself (now a stand-alone area without surrounding dungeons). The Karzoug statue could be run as written. I got the mini for him, and by all the gods, I am GOING to plonk that down on the table and watch them squirm!

One problem I see with this is that the PCs would need some reason to go to each of these places, rather than to just the 3 they need in order to create domineering weapons. That bears thinking on.

Has anyone else done anything similar, either splitting up or entirely replacing Sins of the Saviors? What did you do? How did it go?


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In between Book 3 and Book 4, I did solo sessions for each of my players. One of them, an Arcane Trickster, wanted to investigate the Old Light more. So I declared a small earthquake had opened up a passage deep under the ruins, leading to this:

The Old Light (Hell Flume) -- 3.1 MB, 100 pixels to the 5-foot square, prints fine at 100 DPI.

The Old Light (Hell Flume) GM reference -- much smaller

Here's a description of the areas:
General features: ceilings are 10 feet high in the corridors, rising to 15 feet in the rooms. The walls are made of magically-hardened masonry, per CRB.

T1 and T2: are pit traps (use plain, camouflaged or camouflaged and spiked as suits your player level). The trigger for these traps is magical. The hell flume's personnel carried tokens that identified them as authorized to pass in safety. Some of these can be found in a chest in B. Reset is manual; the pit needs to be closed again by one of the guardians (see G1 and G2).

G1 and G2: golems, faithfully patrolling the perimeter for intruders even after all this time. I used Clockwork Soldiers. Patrols proceed clockwise at a steady, even pace. It takes a golem 1 round to traverse 1 quarter of the circle, and their perception scores are poor. Sneaky players (and ones who don't charge blindly in) can easily wait for one to pass and then walk in behind it.

B: Barracks. Little remains. The few soldiers on duty here who survived the cataclysm of Earthfall stripped it of useful loot and departed millennia ago. As mentioned, pass tokens for the traps can be found in one of the chests.

M: Mess hall. Nobody cleaned up the dishes; they're still here, buried in drifts of ancient, dry dust.

K: Kitchen. The fire was not put out before the human complement fled, and something got knocked over into it. The resulting fire destroyed most of the kitchen. There's little left here but ash. Fortunately it did not spread to the rest of the complex.

L: Library/meeting room. (This could probably use a table.) The statue depicts Lissala. Most of the books are technical manuals pertaining to day-to-day operation of the Hell Flume, plus religious literature for Lissala, and a bit of light reading for the soldiers. All texts in ancient Thassilonian. One of the books is a roster of the personnel assigned to this station at the time of Earthfall. There were ten soldiers assigned (not including Xaliasa) at the time of Earthfall:

Mieli Tenris, lieutenant, 2nd in command (F)
Oskarin Valnia, 2nd lieutenant (M)
Maki Mustanen, chief arcanist (M)
Severi Belis, assistant arcanist (F)
Kal Benro, 2nd assistant arcanist (M)
Chelun Garvi, private (M)
Vialis Traven, private (M)
Ruusu Kivi, private (F)
Mirja Malkoinu, private (F)
Antti Beren, cook (F)

Every member of the Hell Flume's personnel at the time of Earthfall were human. Although I have given genders here, this information is not listed in the the roster.

C: The command center. The pool of water at the upper right is a minor artifact containing an incorporeal construct called an Adjutant (Str -, dex 13, con -, int 16, wis 10, cha 13, HD 15, Sense Motive +15, Perception +15, Lore (Hell Flumes) +15, construct traits, incorporeal subtype, constant True Seeing). It radiates an overwhelming aura of transmutation and illusion magic. When a creature approaches the dais, it flares to life, projecting an image of itself above the water. In my case, I settled on a female human in a trim military uniform with a neutral expression, but feel free to customize the Adjutant's appearance and personality. Its purpose is to assist the commander of the Hell Flume in operating the structure.

The Adjutant is intelligent, but still at base a construct, and it was slightly damaged shortly after Earthfall. Its conception of time is out of skew; every night around 2 AM, its perception of time skips, and it reverts back to the state it was in at the time it was damaged. As far as it is concerned, only a few hours have passed since the crew fled. When approached, the Adjutant demands identification. The PCs can attempt to fool the adjutant into believing that they are authorized personnel. Doing so requires possession of one of the trap-pass tokens from B, and giving a name known to the Adjutant (retrievable from the roster in L), followed by a Bluff check opposed by the Adjutant's Sense Motive. The Adjutant is aware of the race and gender of its crew; if the PC does not match, the bluff automatically fails. Disguise Self and similar magics are a dead giveaway that something is wrong: the Adjutant can see through such illusions via its True Seeing. Mundane disguises can work, as usual. In addition, the only language that the Adjutant knows is Thassilonian. It will not, however, notice a Tongues spell should the PCs happen to use one.

If a PC persuades the Adjutant that they are Mieli Tenris or Oskarin Valnia, the Adjutant will give a status report on the facility, and ask questions about the current state of affairs. If they can further persuade the Adjutant that those higher up the chain of command are dead, then command devolves to the PC, and the Adjutant treats that PC as their new commander. Becoming the commander gives the PC full control of what's left of the facility, via the Adjutant. Further, they can designate "new personnel" authorized to work in the facility (whom the golems will not attack). The adjutant can communicate telepathically with the golems in the facility to relay orders and new authorizations.

If a PC impersonates Severi Belis or Kal Benro, they can get detailed technical readouts on the entire works of the Hell Flume, but the Adjutant will not discuss other matters with them. The arcanists were not authorized to designate guests, and were not in the chain of command.

If a PC impersonates any of the privates or the cook, the Adjutant will demand information from the PC regarding the whereabouts of the rest of the personnel, and order them to go fetch Commander Xaliasa, Lieutenant Mieli, or Lieutenant Oskarin at once, as the structure has sustained severe damage. They won't get much more than that -- the Adjutant outranks privates.

If a PC attempts to impersonate Thassilonian personnel and fails, the Adjutant says: "Intruder detected. Human complement unavailable. Initiating secondary defense protocols." At which point, both of the two statues in the room come to life and attack (I used Caryatid Columns for this). As for the Adjutant itself, it does not have any offensive capability, but it can cast Force Cage around itself at will, and does so at the start of combat.

Of course, if the PCs return the next day, the Adjutant will have reset and forgotten their attempts to lie to it, allowing them to try again. If they manage to persuade it the they're the commander, it might be possible to repair its time sense, but doing so would require a series of difficult skill checks (UMD, Disable Device, Kn [Arcana]).

I: The central chamber is the Ignis Core, a major artifact. It contains an enormous, partially incorporeal ruby that channels energy from the elemental plane of Fire, hovering mid-air on a jet of white-hot flame. If a PC manages to enter, they take 1d4 points of fire damage per round unless they have suitable protective magics in place (such as Resist Energy). A DC 20 Knowledge (Planes) check allows them to realize that the ruby is the focus for a direct connection to the elemental plane of Fire. A DC 10 Knowledge (Arcana) check is enough to realize that messing with it is a Bad Idea. I leave to the GM the exact effects of removing or even misaligning the ruby; however, the resulting explosion should result in a crater large enough to wipe out at least a quarter of Sandpoint. Possibly more.

The Ignis Core itself is heavily warded against teleportation; the only way in or out is through the doors. Both of the two stone doors into this chamber are sealed with Arcane Lock spells, and guarded by Rune Guardians of the wrath school. The rune guardians stay nestled in niches on the face of the door until a creature approaches within 10 feet, at which point they pop out of their sockets and use their Burning Hands special ability, followed by making loud alarm noises to attract the other golems in the facility.

There is a ladder on the east wall leading up to the upper level; there's an Arcane Locked trapdoor at the top. Getting up there the PCs would discover a partially collapsed room full of broken arcane machinery, with no other exit. This is not mapped.

X: these are Commander Xaliasa's quarters. The PCs can discover his private journals from before Earthfall here. He does not speak directly of his treachery against Alaznist at first, but as he slowly grew less and less sane, the ramblings in these journals reveal his role as a double-agent for Alaznist and Karzoug, and finally that he had begun seeking something or someplace called "Runeforge".

Status Report on the Hell Flume:

The facility consisted of several levels. This is the base level, and the only one routinely accessed by most crew. The upper levels consisted of:

level 1: ignis core (status: operational)
level 2: two phase intensifier array (status: partially operational)
level 3: expansion coils (status: destroyed)
level 4: targeting mirror (status: destroyed)

When fully operational, the Hell Flume produced (essentially) a 20d6 fireball, disregarding the usual cap on the number of dice. Energy would be drawn from the Plane of Fire through the Ignis Core, fed through the intensifier array (Maximize, Empower), then optionally the expansion coils (Expanded, Enlarged), and finally directed towards its target with the targeting mirror (itself a minor artifact). The result was a blast of 180 damage at any area within a mile of the structure, targeting as precisely as a single 5-foot square, or as broadly as a 60-foot radius, depending on how the shot was configured. It could be fired once every 1d4 rounds.

My PCs asked if they could use this during the giant assault on Sandpoint at the beginning of Book 4. I told them No, because the upper half of the facility is totally destroyed, and recreating it would take years or decades of dedicated arcane research and crafting.


If you can meet regularly, the time is not too bad. Example: a friend of mine ran Books 1-4 of Hell's Rebels starting August of 2015, the month it came out, and finished last week. (He doesn't plan to do the last 2 books.)

If you can't meet regularly, be prepared for a multi-year commitment. I've been playing Kingmaker for ... uh, five and a half years? We've finished Book 3, but haven't quite made it to Book 4 yet.

No, I'm not kidding.

Why it's taking so !@#$!@ long, for those who care:
The first 4.5 years of that were going through books 1-3 with a GM who didn't really have enough time to GM. We managed to meet maybe once every six weeks, on average, for about 4 hours. Then the GM's life took a turn for the busier, and he simply couldn't pretend that he had time to do it any more. So the campaign broke up.

One of the other players in that group wanted closure, so he started the whole thing over from Book 1 with a new group. This group can meet once every other week, or sometimes even more often (especially in summer). I joined that one, and it took just over a year to get to where we are now.

Meanwhile, I've been running a Rise of the Runelords game since June of 2012. I have plenty of time for GM'ing, but the players all have very busy schedules, and we can only manage to meet about once a month. We're just a bit over halfway through Book 4, so call it a book per year.

So ... meet regularly, and you'll be fine. Meet sporadically, and you'd be better off picking a one-book module instead of a six-book adventure path. Or just doing it homebrew style.


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On Adding Crypt of the Everflame

It's doable, but you'll wind up making a lot of work for yourself.

Discussion:
You could add Crypt of the Everflame to the Swallowtail Festival easily enough. The festival begins when the lantern is brought back. The crypt holds one of the founders of Sandpoint instead of Kassen. The Razmiri cultists who woke the dead are actually servants of Karzoug (perhaps Nualia and company) gathering resources for his plots.

To combat the problem of moving out of town immediately, I'd insist that your players all be natives of Sandpoint, rather than random strangers passing by. Collecting the Everflame is a local ritual. The town would have no reason to involve random passersby in this aspect of their celebration. If somebody REALLY doesn't want to be from Sandpoint originally, then they should at least be a resident -- maybe their parents moved there a few years ago, and they've lived in town long enough to become part of the community.

If you run it as written, everyone will hit level 2 in the crypt, before the swallowtail festival even begins. With a party of six players, starting at 1 level higher than usual, you'll probably have to adjust the difficulty of the all the encounters in every book of the adventure path as you go along, especially if your players are experienced. That's a ton of work. I wouldn't do it. But if you want to, go ahead.

Back on the original topic of the thread, some more things I've changed in my RotRL campaign:

Dragon color swap: copper instead of red

I made the 2 young red dragons in Fortress of the Stone Giants copper instead, and gave the PCs a reason to rescue rather than kill them.

The full details:
In Fortress of the Stone Giants, there are two young red dragons (Suleminga and Encontredor) charmed into working for the two lamia clerics with names but no backstory. They're a speed bump.

I switched their color: they're not red, they're copper. Then, on the way to the Fortress, the PCs encountered a souped-up Krampus with some redcap minions, intent on punishing a misbehaving child. They dutifully intervened, and the "child" turned out to be a five-year-old wyrmling copper dragon named Vernalia. She had snuck out of her mother's lair despite being forbidden to do so, and gotten lost. Mokmurian found her, and aided her in getting home.

But later, Mokmurian returned with a bunch of his minions. He petrified Vernalia's mother with a Flesh to Stone spell, then charmed and abducted her two brothers. Vernalia hid; the Krampus was out to punish her for disobedience (going outside without permission), betrayal (showing Mokmurian the way to their home), and cowardice (hiding while her family were attacked). After the PCs rescued her from Krampus, Vernalia gave them a small hidden stash of her mother's hoard (the rest was stolen) and begged them to save her two brothers.

The lamias are now diligently stoking the greed in Suleminga and Encontredor's souls, and pushing them into increasingly evil acts until they tarnish enough to sacrifice. Vernalia has accompanied the party (and stayed out of combat, because dragon or not, she's five!)

The dragon color swap subplot will probably get resolved next session. Depending on how things turn out, the party may find themselves with Vernalia's mother (a mature adult copper dragon) as an ally in the fight against Arkrhyst in book 5. If you use this, adjust as appropriate to your party; mine is distinctly underpowered and in need of aid.

Introducing Viorian Dekanti in Book 4

I introduced Viorian Dekanti is an allied NPC in Book 4. When she re-appears in Book 6, the party will have history with her, and reasons to try things other than killing her.

Discussion and updated backstory for Viorian:
Viorian Dekanti, in Book 6, is a pointless walk-on. As written, the players have no idea who she is or where she came from. They have no reason to do anything other than kill her.

To rectify that situation, I have introduced her as an allied level 10 NPC who is accompanying them through the Fortress of the Stone Giants. She has a pre-paid contract on a Raise Dead/Restoration at a suitable temple in Magnimar, and she has told the party that, so barring a TPK she has an excellent chance of surviving the adventure.

Meanwhile, she is forming connections with the party now. Maybe they'll be friends, maybe rivals. Maybe one of them will strike up a romance. Regardless, she'll go off-screen again in Book 5, and then when she shows up in Book 6, she'll be a real person to them, someone worth trying to save, not just a speed bump on the way to Karzoug.

Her original backstory is totally unsuitable. I decided that she grew up in Kassen, in Nirmathas, and that her early adventuring career consisted of the events described in Crypt of the Everflame, Masks of the Living God, and the City of Golden Death. I may throw in other modules if the players keep asking for more backstory. That gives her AMPLE history.

She needs to be greedy, so as to be susceptible to Chellan. I've played up that she's a mercenary, and that she really likes getting paid. She grew up destitute, and resented by her siblings because she was adopted and a drain on family resources. Her personal goal is outdo Kassen, the founder of her hometown. He raised enough loot by adventuring to found a town. She wants more: she's shooting for 200,000 gp to bankroll a small kingdom (that's the equivalent of 50 BP under the Ultimate Campaign kingdom building rules). Nobody can say she's a useless drain on resources once she's ruling her own kingdom.

As for her reason for accompanying the party, she's working for the Magnimarian government. Due to OTHER plot modifications, the Magnimarian military don't trust the party fully, and sent their own hired merc along to make sure they could get the straight story from someone working for THEM.


Liz Courts wrote:
"Keep animal companions the same unless a rules selection requires it to be overridden." :D

Awww. Nuts. I just came up with a lovely bit of backstory using a familiar's death as the catalyst for a turn to evil.

Well, back to the drawing board I guess.


Oh good. That means I'm not crazy, Hero Lab really is doing it wrong, and I can file a bug with the developers. Thanks!


Is the DC of a spell gained from a Page of Spell Knowledge based on the the casting modifier of the owner or that of the creator?

Example:

Suppose we have an 8th level kitsune sorcerer with the following DC modifiers for Enchantment with the mind-affecting and compulsion descriptors:

10 base
+1 Spell Focus
+1 Greater Spell Focus
+2 fey bloodline
+2 kitsune favored class bonus
+5 Charisma modifier
= 21 base (plus spell level)

If he learns Confusion normally, its DC would be 25.

If he then acquires a Page of Spell Knowledge containing Crushing Despair, is its DC:

A) 25, the same as Confusion;

or B) 22, using the creator's minimum required modifier of +2 rather than his own +5?

Right now I'm leaning towards A, confusion. If it's B, I may feel some crushing despair.


Well, there was that one extremely sensitive player who spent hours crying after the party barbarian fell off a cliff and drowned (unconscious due to nonlethal falling damage into water).

It wasn't even that player's character.


It's coming down to the wire, and they haven't made their goal yet, so now's the time to step up!

If you're a JourneyQuest fan and want to see a new season, you've got 32 hours left to pledge.


Shadow Grasp only works on spells that have an area of effect. Arcane Mark does not have an "Area" line in its spell description; it affects a touched creature or object.

Therefore Arcane Mark is not compatible with Shadow Grasp, and the situation with multiple arcane marks emanating entangling darkness in one square should never arise.

But it sounds as though a GM has already allowed this to occur. In that case, well, the question boils down to:

"Do I want my players to have to roll 4 times and take the worst roll, or do I want my players to roll once against a harder DC?"

I would go with once versus a higher DC. Say, +1 DC for each spell in the square, with a maximum of +5 because arcane marks must fit within 1 square foot.

Making multiple rolls and taking the worse would make this tactic overpowered. Also, all those saves would take additional time; I'd rather make one and move on with the turn.


First up, I apologize for not including the feat's source in my initial post. I knew it was from Dungeon Denizens Revisited, and should have said so, and probably posted the feat text.

Second, I had no idea that's a 3.5 feat! It came up in Hero Lab, and I had the Pathfinder rules loaded, so I assumed it was PF material already. Good to know. I may have to go through my list of PF sources and disable the ones published pre-CRB, since I'd rather not mix 3.5 and PF if I can avoid it.

Chokehold looks like a good option, and considerably less lethal.

Thanks!


The feat Suffocating Strangulation forces grappled opponents to make a CON check "at the end of their turn each round" to avoid suffocating.

Suppose a creature with this feat successfully grapples an unaware opponent during the surprise round. Does the grappled opponent have to make a CON check during the surprise round on their ordinary initiative, even though cannot take any actions? Or does the first CON check come at the end of the grappled opponent's first normal turn?


HellFire442 wrote:
I am looking forward to bringing her back some in book 3. Does anyone have recommendations for her? Anything you did that your players loved/ hated?

This is a more general observation about NPCs and group dynamics.

When you have a full group of players sitting around a table playing, what often happens is that one player becomes the spokesperson for the party. That's fine, but it also results in very uneven opportunities for role play with NPCs. One person is doing the interacting, and develops relationships with the NPCs. The others don't, or to a much lesser degree.

To counteract that, I like using solo sessions. When you come to a period of down time, run a short solo adventure for each character, so that everyone gets an opportunity to do things and interact with NPCs on their own, rather than fading into a group. I've found these some of the most rewarding of my GM'ing experience, for lots of reasons:

1) They deepen the PCs' backgrounds by giving each PC history and experiences that the others in the group don't share. This is particularly helpful for players who struggle with backstory.

2) They allow for more and deeper interactions with NPCs. Conversations can go on for any length of time without leaving other players impatient and sidelined, because there are no other players.

3) The adventure can be tailored to just one PC. You can build the challenges around the PC's skill set, and introduce connections to the PC's backstory more easily.

I tend to put little or no combat in solo sessions. It would suck to have a PC die off on their own. I did have one quite good solo session where the PC actually got captured, but an NPC he was with escaped. The next group session became a rescue mission, and the player played the NPC, which gave the player an opportunity to try a different class for a session, and the other party members an opportunity to get to know that NPC.

If you can't work in the time for in-person solo sessions, conduct them via email or similar. This works out well for people who are okay at writing, because you're basically just writing bits of story back and forth at each other with occasional skill checks or saves.

Doing this takes a fair bit of time. But it really pays off in terms of character development and connection with the world.


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I'm curious -- what became of Shalelu Andosana in your campaigns? She has had many fates, I'm sure.

In my campaign, Shalelu proved a bit too insightful. The party leader, Micah, was about as shallow as a puddle, and wrapped up in his own emo-outcast self-image. Shalelu pointed out that everbody else saw him as a hero for his repeated acts of selfless courage, and suggested that the outcast loner schtick was all in his head, and continued mainly because he himself wouldn't let anyone get close.

Micah was disturbed by this assessment of his character. It struck too close to home. Therefore, he started telling everyone that Shalelu was creepy, and he didn't know if you could really trust her. The other party members picked up on his distrust, and in short order she became a pariah, tolerated only because she hadn't actively done anything to harm the party.

No one wept especially when she got crushed by a lucky critical hit with a boulder thrown by a stone giant in the very last fight of Book 3. Her final words were: "Tell ... Micah ... he really is ... a hero. And also ... an !@#$%^&."


Get her a Ring of Invisibility. Round 1, she goes invisible and takes cover someplace.

In subsequent rounds she can contribute to combat primarily by aiding the visible party members:

1) Her Scar hex will let her give Fortune and Healing to party members at range, without breaking invisibility.

2) Her Cartomancer archetype allows her to deliver touch spells with a thrown card. Consult your GM on this one, but I would allow her to deliver buffs and healing to the party this way without breaking invisibility, since the card itself deals no damage and neither does the spell.

3) She can summon things -- the summon monster spells are on her list. Similarly, she can lay down battlefield control spells like Black Tentacles without breaking invisibility.

Honestly, just staying invisible takes care of a LOT of the threats she's likely to encounter, barring the occasional enemy with See Invisibility or True Seeing. And this way she gets to contribute usefully to combat, and not feel like a liability the party's having to defend all the time.


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This wasn't a PC death, but it was so epic I'm going to put it here anyway.

Name of NPC: Longtooth
Class/Level: Male juvenile red dragon
Adventure: Fortress of the Stone Giants
Catalyst: Glitterdust

The details:

Spoiler:
My PCs had acquired some hippogriff mounts during an interlude between books 3 and 4, and had also managed to uncover some intelligence alerting them to the upcoming assault on Sandpoint. They rushed to Sandpoint and set up defenses. Among these, the party bard asked if she could use Inspire Courage on the whole town by playing the bells in the cathedral tower. I thought that was awesome, so I said yes.

When Longtooth made his appearance, he naturally noticed the bells clanging, and decided to deviate from his scripted plan of attack and assault the cathedral bell tower first. He flew towards it, flaming and roasting the bard pretty well; he ended his turn in mid-air with the bell tower at the edge of his breath weapon's reach.

The bard baled out of the far side of the tower using Feather Fall -- and then the party's arcane trickster vaulted onto her hippogriff, used its motion to get into range of the dragon from behind it, and cast: Glitterdust.

"Okay, fine," I thought. "So we'll have a shiny red dragon."

Then he rolled a nat 1 on his Will save to avoid blindness.

Blinded, confused, Longtooth kept flying in the same direction he had been, and crashed straight through the bell tower. It crumbled around him with a clangor of falling bells. On the far side he failed a Fly check to remain aloft, fell, and plowed a furrow in the cathedral grounds. The 6d6 of falling damage didn't kill him; nor did the extra 1d6 for debris raining down on him. He even survived two hits from the bard's holy flaming shortbow (Batman!).

When the arcane trickster flew her hippogriff in and hit him with an acid arrow, he would have been fine too -- if he'd been able to see. But he was still blind, flat-footed, and the sneak attack dice did for him.

So in the end, really, it was Glitterdust that killed him. The bard and the arcane trickster high-fived each other and later had leather hot-pants made out of his skin.


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Quote:
disclaimer: rules-wise, this might not be kosher)

You're right, technically that shouldn't have worked -- prismatic wall has no effect on its own caster.

But! This is a classic villainous end -- defeated by a clever trick that turned his own power against him. Seems to me that's a textbook case of the Rule of Cool, which trumps the normal rules out of sheer awesome.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
With Shaping Focus all other levels count as levels in Druid for the purposes of Wildshaping into bigger, badder things.

Incorrect; Shaping Focus gives you a +4 to your effective druid level. With 4 Druid/4 X, you'll be at par compared to a straight druid, but any more non-druid levels and you'll start slipping behind.

OP, if you go the multi-classed druid route, consider Ranger levels and Shapeshifting Hunter, which allows druid and ranger levels to stack for purposes of both Favored Enemy bonuses and Wild Shape (uses-per-day only, not access to forms).

It's a pretty powerful feat -- 4 levels of druid, a one-level dip of Ranger, and the rest Druid gets you almost full wild shape/spellcasting, plus full favored enemy bonuses (which can be absolutely deadly if you pick enemy types that come up frequently in your campaign).


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I dislike it when people don't start thinking about what they want to do until it's their turn. Use the other player's turns to plot out your own turn. Conditions may change, but you should have at least some idea what you want to do.


18. During renovation, you discover a secret room you missed initially. Party gains minor treasure and some story info!

19. It turns out the reason the place was full of monsters is that living there slowly turns you into a monster ...


Sometimes players decide to renovate a dungeon and use it as their base of operations. Let's make a big list of problems they may face AFTER the monsters are gone.

Let's put in some good things as well as calamities and annoyances.

1. Heavy rain reveals a leaky ceiling, spoiling some supplies in the process.


Familiars are great for unobtrusive scouting. Who's going to look twice at a random sparrow flying around? That holds true regardless of the master's class.

Although the OP was asking about uses of familiars for non-casters, I'd also like to point out that classes with healing spells can deliver them at range using a familiar as the designated "toucher", which can be quite handy. I had a cleric cohort once with a familiar for that exact reason.


My Rise of the Runelords PCs have expressed an interest in exploring Minderhal's Anvil. Am I correct in thinking that Forge of the Giant God probably has a map/encounter I could adapt for that?

Just checking before I plunk down $16 for the PDF. I'm hoping there's something that could be adapted into basically one encounter -- adding the entire book would be too much in an already long campaign.


The Robe of Arcane Heritage lets you treat your sorcerer level as 4 higher for purposes of your bloodline abilities. Is there a feat that does that, the way that Shaping Focus does for druid wildshape abilities?


My party has managed to offend a silver dragon, but not to the point where it decided to attack us. As part of an attempt to make amends, my character is creating a magical painting depicting famous good-aligned dragons in moments of great heroism. Each day it slowly shows a whole scene developing and changing, and then switches to the next picture the following day. It can also be shifted to a specific painting on command. The full descriptions of the painting as follows:

Spoiler:
The first painting depicts the brass dragon Sarithil, aiding in the contstruction of a vast reservoir near the desert city of Manaket. As the day goes on, the water level in the reservoir slowly rises, and luxurious, verdant plantgrowth spreads across the desert.

The second painting shows the venerable bronze dragon known as He Fa Chu (not his draconic name), presiding at the Monastery of Shung Li in the distant land of Dtang Ma. Over the course of the day, it shows him mediating disputes between the local kami and kitsune; training generations of monks; and assembling a staggeringly impressive library.

The third painting shows Merithyl, the copper dragon renowned for her tireless opposition to slavery, in battle against a ship of slavers over a broad, calm ocean. Over the course of the day, the slavers fight fiercely against her. She is grievously wounded, and in the end chooses nobly to sacrifice herself to destroy the ship at the cost of her own life.

The fourth shows Gunnarex, the sage golden dragon, who composed the Draconic Apsu, an epic poem recording the origins of the true draconic races. The painting shows him reciting the history of the draconic kinds, each in kind, over the course of a day.

The fifth and final painting depicts the heroic silver dragon Terendelev in the defense of the city of Kenabres. Behind her stands a Wardstone at the edge of the city. Over the course of the day, all of her allies fall, and the corpses of slain demons pile up about the base of the hill, until finally Terendelev stands alone, bloodied, but unwavering in her determination to fend off the attackers. At the last, Terendelev fights the Balor Lord Korramzedeh in single combat. The fight is brutal; neither one holds back, and both take grievous wounds. But in the end, Terendelev defeats the demon, almost slaying him, but definitively breaking the assault and sending the balor fleeing for its life. Unable to pursue him, Terendelev nonetheless stands battered but triumphant before the walls of her protectorate.

I've taken Craft Wondrous Item just so I can make this thing, and now I'm trying to figure out how much it should cost. I haven't found any very good analogous items. Suggestions? I'm guessing it should be at least 2,000 gp market price, possibly much more.


How many ranks in Handle Animal do you need to get 30,000 cats to go in the same direction at once? :-Þ

...

More seriously, the Handle Animal skill specifies that it's a move action to get an animal to perform a trick it's trained in, like "attack". And you only get 2 move actions per turn at most, barring weird spells. So in terms of action economy, it's better to get a pair of more dangerous critters than a giant mass of them that have to all act together in order to accomplish anything.


Potion brewers need a union! They don't make any profit at all on their potions, not even so much as a copper.

The rules say: "The costs for materials and ingredients are subsumed in the cost for brewing the potion: 25 gp × the level of the spell × the level of the caster." And there is a table laying out the numbers.

Elsewhere, the rules say: "The price of a potion is equal to the level of the spell × the creator's caster level × 50 gp." And again there is a table laying out the numbers.

All well and good! Except the numbers are identical in both tables.

The table for prices says it's 50 gp to buy a finished potion of Cure Light Wounds. Caster level 1 x Spell level 1 x 50 = 50. Correct!

The table for costs says it's 50 gp to buy the ingredients for the same potion. Caster Level 1 x Spell Level 1 x 25 = ... 50 gp? Bzzt.

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