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Having cleared out the Caves under Jorgenfist area, my PCs teleported back to Magnimar for a little R&R. It's been about a week of in-game time, so their handiwork has certainly been discovered. Any suggestions on how Mokmurian should react?
Conna has been evacuated, and the two frost giants from top-side are dead. Other than that, they haven't touched the library level, or the surface level.
The Magic Tactics Toolbox introduced the spell Roaming Pit.
School conjuration (creation); Level cleric 6, druid 6, psychic 6, sorcerer/wizard 5, summoner 5
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (powered diamond dust worth 10 gp)
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Effect mobile 10-ft.-by-10-ft. hole, 10 ft. deep/2 levels
Duration 1 round/level
Saving Throw Reflex negates; Spell Resistance no
This spell functions as create pit, except the pit is capable of movement. As a move action, you can direct the pit to move up to 20 feet, though it must always remain on a horizontal surface large enough to accommodate its area. If the pit’s movement causes it to share a space with a creature on the same horizontal surface, that creature must succeed at a Reflex saving throw or fall into the pit. Any creature that avoids falling into the pit when it reaches its new destination moves to the nearest safe space. Creatures that fall into the pit move with it if it is relocated.
I have ALL kinds of questions about this.
1) Roaming Pit specifies "it must always remain on a horizontal surface large enough to accommodate its area." Create Pit specifies that "the edges of the pit are sloped, and any creature ending its turn on a square adjacent to the pit must make a Reflex saving throw with a +2 bonus to avoid falling into it."
Does the area refer to the 10x10 pit itself, or does it include the adjacent squares? Can I move the pit all the way up to a wall, or does it stop five feet from the wall to accommodate the sloped area?
2) If I move the pit under an inanimate object, obviously the object would fall into the pit with no save. But does the object have to be flush with the horizontal surface? For example, if I conjure the pit on a forest floor, can I move it beneath a boulder whose bottom 2 inches are under the surface of the ground?
3) How solid does a vertical surface need to be in order to halt its motion? Would a paper wall in a traditional Japanese house stop the motion of the wall? Assuming I find a door as wide as the pit, can I slide the pit under the door, or does it count as a vertical surface?
4) If a vertical surface is narrower than the width of the pit, does it block the motion? For example, a pillar with a 2 foot diameter is much narrower than the pit. Does the pit halt on encountering it, or can I slide it under the pillar, causing it to fall upon my hapless enemies like a pestle in a mortar?
5) The spell says: "As a move action, you can direct the pit to move up to 20 feet, though it must always remain on a horizontal surface large enough to accommodate its area." Is that movement instantaneous or does it take time? Can I sweep the pit under a line of opponents, or does it instantly open up underneath a specific spot in the line?
The spell looks really, really useful. Maybe even overpowered for level 5. But the mechanical details are a bit unclear in places.
What kind of clues/checks can I give my players to realize that a statue in an art auction is actually a petrified person?
The full details:
One of my PCs is a guy named Micah, whose backstory involved being found in a basket in the wilds of Nirmathas. He's always wondered why his parents abandoned him -- he's got a great, big emo "nobody loves me" thing going on because of it.
I've decided that the reason his parents abandoned him is because they were being hunted by a medusa. He was asleep in a basket; the medusa was coming; they hid him under a bush and led her away, whereupon they both got petrified.
For her part, the medusa's whole gig is that she sells her petrified victims as fine art, in order to support her taste for decadent living. She may show up as an antagonist later.
Clues I've thought of so far:
1) A perception check to recognize the pattern on her tunic as matching one on the blanket Micah was wrapped in, which only he would know, so only he could make the check.
2) Some kind of skill check (Perform? Profession something?) to realize the statue is too perfect to have been carved.
They need some way to figure out that A) the statue is actually a person, and B) she's my PC's mother. I'm just hoping for some more ideas for clues I could add, because letting it all rest on a single Perception check by one PC seems awfully chancy. His perception is not that great.
In a campaign I'm GM'ing, I needed an NPC with expertise in aiudara and teleportation. For story reasons, she had to be a witch, and high-level (18). So here's a rough draft of an archetype for a teleportation-focused witch. Any feedback or suggestions are welcome.
Skills: A gatekeeper witch does not gain Knowledge (Nature) as a class skill. This modifies the witch's class skills.
Patron: a gatekeeper replaces some of her patron spells, as follows: 2nd—starsight; 18th—interplanetary teleport. Gatekeepers typically have the Stars patron. This modifies patron.
Arcane Reservoir (Su): at level 1, a gatekeeper witch gains an Arcane Reservoir, as the arcanist class feature, treating her witch level as her arcanist level. She does not gain the consume spells class feature. This replaces the witch hex gained at level 1.
Dimensional Slide (Su): at level 2, a gatekeeper witch gains the Dimensional Slide arcane exploit, treating her witch level as her arcanist level. This replaces the witch hex gained at level 2.
Teleportation Expert (Ex): At level 8, any time a gatekeeper witch observes a teleportation effect she may make a Spellcraft check (DC 15 + the caster level of the effect) to determine the effect's destination, expressed as a direction and distance from the point of origin. This ability works on both spells that she observes being cast, and on teleportation items or artifacts that she examines. This replaces the hex gained at level 8.
Swift Teleportation (Su): at level 10, a gatekeeper witch may spend 1 point from her arcane pool to cast any spell of the teleportation subschool that she has prepared as an immediate action. If she spends an additional 2 points, the spell is not expended, and may be cast again. This replaces the major hex gained at level 10.
Gatemaker (Su): At level 18, a gatekeeper witch may cast Teleportation Circle twice per day as a spell-like ability. When she casts Teleportation Circle in this way, she may choose to expend 3 points (per casting) from her arcane reservoir to make the circle permanent, as per Permanency. She does not need to pay the costs normally associated with creating a permanent teleportation circle. She may set conditions on who may pass through one of her gates: by alignment, subtype, a list of authorized individuals, a password, or any other criteria she chooses. This replaces the grand hex gained at 18th level.
Gatemaker Savant (Su): At 20th level, a gatekeeper witch no longer needs to pay points from her arcane reservoir to use Dimensional Slide. She does not need to pay points from her arcane pool to activate Swift Teleportation, and the cost to retain the spell decreases to 1 point. Finally, when she uses her Gatemaker ability, she may choose to spend an additional 3 points from her arcane pool (per casting) to make the circle function as though it used Interplanetary Teleport or Plane Shift, allowing her to create gates to distant worlds or other planes of existence. This replaces the grand hex gained at 20th level.
The cracked orange prism ioun stone gives you an extra cantrip. Specifically, it says:
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?
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. 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.
 OMG spoilers, there are stone giants in the book named "Fortress of the Stone Giants"!
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 (CR 11)
Complexity 31 (average)
Research Check Knowledge (arcana) or Knowledge (history); Knowledge Bonus +5
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
Suppose we have an 8th level kitsune sorcerer with the following DC modifiers for Enchantment with the mind-affecting and compulsion descriptors:
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.
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?
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 !@#$%^&."
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.
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:
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.
I've just rolled up an oread archer, but I'm having trouble finding suitable minis. Any suggestions? It doesn't necessarily need to have a bow, but I'd like something that looks kind of stony.
If I make a Warlock 8/Eldritch Knight 2, does the warlock gain an effective increase in caster level and spells per day from the prestige class? Or does the talent-based mechanic for spell increases preclude him from gaining that benefit of the prestige class?
On the evening of July 3rd, I ran "The Night March of Kalkamedes" -- PFS scenario 4-19 -- for a party of 5 vigilantes. All PCs were level 5, 20 point buy. Since they weren't created for PFS, I did not enforce any PFS-specific rules, and just picked vaguely appropriate faction missions for them after they introduced their characters.
The cast, with linked character sheets:
Frank, playing Galannon, stalker vigilante (page 1, page 2)
Notes on the character sheets:
1) Frank didn't actually have Hide in Plain Sight -- I pointed out to him before the session that you need to be level 8 to pick that. He substituted the talent that gets you a Rogue talent, picking Fast Stealth. Also, he was clearly using a form-fillable PDF. I am uncertain why he printed it out and sent me scans of the pages (in two different file formats) rather than just emailing the PDF. There must be some kind of reason.
2) Connor's initial plan was to hide his full plate and a scythe in his Tattoo Chamber, popping them out and using Serren's Swift Girding to put them on when he needed them. Sadly, neither one meets the "fits in one hand" requirement. So he wound up hauling his full plate in a backpack, and switching to a trident for his weapon.
3) Andrew seems to have gone over-budget on his gear, but I don't think it mattered. The keen property on his axe might as well not have been there, considering he never rolled a crit threat during the evening.
We recorded audio of the full session. The session ran just over 4 hours. For convenience, I have split it into separate chunks of audio for each encounter in the scenario, plus one for cleanup after the privateers ("The Ballad of Laurie and Howard"), and one for post-session discussion of mechanics.
There was a television running successive episodes of Star Trek the Next Generation in the background, so there is some more or less constant background noise, but for the most part it doesn't get in the way.
In listening to the session after the fact, with more leisure to check rules, it seems I was running the Acrobatics check for Up Close and Personal incorrectly. We were using a DC of 10+opponent's CMB to go through its space, when rules actually specify CMD+5 as the DC, which would generally be higher. Galannon was rolling pretty well on his Acrobatics, but even so, he likely would have failed to pass through the opponent's square on at least a couple of occasions.
Up Close and Personal was very powerful as long as he had cover to use for Stealth; it will probably be at its peak at level 8 when a Stalker can take Hide in Plain Sight, allowing a pretty reliable way to get Hidden Strike. After that point, it will slowly diminish in power because it only allows a single attack; its damage output will be lower than a full-attacking fighter type. I do wonder how it will interact with feats like the Sap Master chain.
In retrospect, I also wonder if I interpreted the "aware of your presence" clause correctly or not. Gallanon always cover available to re-stealth. But the other bandits were well aware that their comrades were getting cut down by something fast and dark. Should that have meant that they were "aware of his presence" even if they didn't know quite where he was? The extra conditions for determining whether the vigilante gets his Hidden Strike, compared to standard sneak attack, seem a great deal more open to interpretation. I am unsure how I feel about the matter.
We double-checked after the session, and Connor's belief that the Warlock specialization does not gain extra spell slots for a high INT was incorrect. Even so, I am in agreeance with him that the Warlock and Zealot seem distinctly underwhelming compared to the Avenger and Stalker.
I hope this is useful. The class seems like an interesting idea, but the dual identity is difficult to integrate with existing published material.
On Friday I'll be running The Night March of Kalkamedes (PFS scenario 4-19) as a vigilante playtest, for a group of three vigilantes. I'm starting them at level 5 with 20 point buy, limited to Paizo-published products, and excluding the uncommon races from the ARG. They players are all fairly experienced; two of them are long-term GMs.
The adventure gives instructions for increasing or decreasing the difficulty based on "sub-tier". I've never played in PFS, so I don't know what a "sub-tier" is. Which level of difficulty should I be having them play at considering the above?
EDIT: Never mind, I found the answer to the above question.
I just had a session that was, in a word, disastrous.
The Long Sad Story:
I'm running a Runelords campaign, and the Big Bad of Book 2 survived. I invented an alter ego for her, Diana Baythorne, and the party spent the whole of Book 3 as her sock puppets, taking out her rivals in her boss's organization.
After Book 3, there was a long stretch of downtime, both in-game (6 months) and in real life (2 months). To fill that time, I ran solo sessions for each PC, in which they all got different hints and plot hooks leading them to suspect that Lady Baythorne was not really their friend. For her part, Lady Baythorne decided their usefulness was over and arranged an ambush to eliminate them.
Today's session was meant to be the big revelation of Lady Baythorne's true identity and agenda. She would personally lead them into an ambush and betray them, revealing her identity in the process. I'd been eagerly anticipating it as the culmination of a real-life year's worth of plotting and planning. It was set for 1:30 on Sunday.
Friday night at 9 PM, one player ("Alice") texted me to ask if a guest ("Jenny") could come, and would it be okay if she brought a level 10 lich? I said no liches, but I'd previously indicated that guests were okay, so I allowed Jenny to attend. I asked Alice and Jenny to come over Saturday to work out a character. They said 7 PM would be fine.
That left me struggling to figure out how to integrate another character in my carefully laid plans. I knew absolutely nothing about Jenny. Heck, I didn't even know her NAME at that point. All I knew was suddenly I had to figure out some sane reason for another PC to show up and work them into my carefully laid plans. I kept going in circles based on my lack of information. The best thing I could think of was to give her control of one of the NPCs. But I didn't want to give her Diana Baythorne. I wanted to do that myself.
On Saturday, when they still hadn't showed up at 9 PM, I texted to find out where on earth they were, and they indicated that they hadn't left a social gathering at a city 75 miles away yet, and wouldn't be there before 10:30 at the earliest. I spoke with Jenny on the phone, found out she had a reasonable amount of experience playing arcane casters, and asked if she'd be okay with betraying the party. She was downright enthusiastic.
So I modified the mission. Instead of Lady Baythorne leading them into the ambush, this new PC would do so on Lady Baythorne's behalf. Baythorne's betrayal -- but not her true identity -- would be revealed by orders found on the body of Jenny's PC.
I stayed up till 4 AM working up Jenny's PC, prepping materials to brief her on the character's capabilities and what she'd need to do. I made it a necromancer with lots of debuffs but not a lot of damaging spells. The one really big damaging spell I put in was Death Throes, a spell dealing large amounts of force damage on death. In retrospect, that was a stupid thing to do, but it was really really late and I wasn't thinking clearly.
Today, the session happened. The betrayal went down. There was a reasonably dynamic fight. But it turns out that one of the other players -- "Bob" -- strongly dislikes PvP. And his PC died as a result of the Death Throes spell. The PC was saved by a timely Breath of Life spell, actually. But Bob's fun was well and truly ruined even so. He really felt awful.
Worse, Bob had really liked Diana Baythorne as an NPC. He couldn't understand why she would turn on them like that. He felt so bad, I tried to explain that I'd been trying to figure out some way to integrate an unexpected player at the last moment, and finally let slip that Baythorne was the Big Bad from book 2.
The instant I told him, I regretted it. That was the revelation I'd been looking forward to myself, and Bob was the player who cared most about it. I robbed myself of that, and I robbed him of learning it in play.
Bob's fun -- ruined.
My fun -- ruined.
All of the work and plotting and planning I put into that sub-plot for an entire year -- ruined.
I've been a giant ball of heartsick frustration for the last 8 hours over how horribly this turned out. I've been wandering my apartment second-guessing myself, alternately punching walls and crying. I've been mad at Alice for not giving me enough warning to think things through properly. I've been mad at myself for not thinking faster, and for letting the big reveal slip because I was trying to comfort Bob.
The worst part is, right AFTER the session I came up with the perfect way to handle Jenny: one of the players has a cohort. I could have let Jenny run the cohort. There wouldn't have been any PvP to bother Bob. I could have proceeded with my original plan unaltered. I wouldn't have had to stay up till 4 in the morning building a character and modifying plans. Everything would have worked out so, so much better.
So. Lessons learned:
1) If you want to invite a guest to my table, you have to give me at least a full week's notice so that I can have time to adjust things. If you miss the deadline, your guest can observe or run somebody's cohort, but they don't get a PC.
2) It's vital to find out if any of your players dislike PvP before it becomes an issue.
I'm hope someone else can learn from my mistakes.
What kind of action is needed for a creature with the Change Shape ability to revert to its natural form? Standard? Move? Swift? Free?
Undercover lamia NPCs with plans to turn on the party in mid-combat want to know!
I don't understand how to use ghosts as a monster. They've got that rejuvenation ability which renders them basically undestroyable without dealing with the situation that's holding them back, so canny parties who do their research never bother fighting the ghost: they just find out what it wants, then go deal with that situation.
It can easily take a couple of hours to stat up an NPC, including applying the ghost template. If all the ghost's going to do is serve as a plot hook, spending all that time working up stats for it feels like a waste. I could just as easily have scribbled down some estimates of social skills and a save DC for its frightful moan and left it at that.
What other approaches should I try?
I've been working on a PC, and I'm so pleased with the outcome I thought I'd share some notes on it. It's not a min-max build, nor especially ground-breaking, but it should be fun to play.
20 pt buy
Primary class: Wizard, Admixture school, opposition Necromancy/Enchantment
Levels 1-5, Wizard, focusing on evocation stuff. The Admixtures school ability lets you swap out energy types to deal with energy resistances.
Level 6: Sleepless Detective from Paths of Prestige.
Level 7: Back to wizard
Levels 8-17: Arcane Trickster
Levels 18-20: Wizard
Totals: Wizard 9/Sleepless Detective 1/AT 10
For the early part of your career, you're just a wizard, and you play it like a wizard.
In the mid-levels things get interesting. The single level of Sleepless Detective lets you add your INT to Perception and Sense Motive. It also lets you add INT to Diplomacy for Gather Information purposes; the Student of Philosophy lets you add INT to Diplomacy when making a request, so you get INT on most Diplomacy checks. It also gets you a juiced-up version of Detect Magic as an at-will SLA, which frees up a cantrip slot for other things.
You're playing catch-up with sneak attack progression in the mid-levels:
6 - +1d6 from Sleepless Detective
So by level 11, you're 1d6 behind a full rogue, and 1 caster level behind a full wizard. Over time, you get full sneak attack progression (+10d6 at level 20). In addition, between Alertness, Skill Focus, and traits, you've got solid social skills.
It's feat poor, which is a drawback. But I think the tradeoffs are acceptable.
I've got a PC using this build at level 6 which I will start playing tonight, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how it works out in play.
I'd really like to see sets of minis built around the Summon Monster and Summon Nature's Ally lists. Say, one set per spell level -- so you'd have the Summon Monster I set, then in the next installment Summon Monster II, etc. They could either be builders series, or small box sets.
That would be handy for both GMs and for anyone who plays a PC that summons things.
Are the fringes of the Eye of Abendego at all navigable? I'm just trying to figure out the best overland route from Magnimar to Yamasa by mundane transport.
So far, it looks like the sanest option is to take ship from Magnimar to Azir in Rahadoum, then travel overland through the pass at Haldun.
Would be at all viable to sail from Magnimar, put in at Ilizmagorti for fresh water and supplies, then skirt the edges of the Eye of Abendego?
Hi! I wrote post #58 in the thread Magical Sleep or Natural Sleep. A large number of posts in the thread got zapped for derailing the original question, an action which I approve because they were.
Mine, however, was a substantive answer to the original poster's question. It did make one minor reference to the derailing posts, consisting of the phrase "as amply demonstrated by Username-was-here." The post was initially left intact, but later removed. When I noticed the others had been removed and mine left, I wanted to remove that clause because it no longer made sense. But by that time I was no longer able to edit the post.
So, would you please consider restoring that post, minus the offending clause? It even got a favorite, which is always nice.
Oh, and I would prefer to have made this appeal by PM, but as far as I can tell there's no "Send private message" link on Chris Lambertzs' profile page. Is that by design, or a bug?
Scenario: you work for a thieve's guild. Your guildmaster is soon to meet with the representative of a powerful client for the first time. He is suspicious of the client's offer, and wants a hidden spellcaster to use Detect Thoughts to learn as much as possible during the negotiations.
Unfortunately, the client's representative is equipped with a Ring of Mind Shielding. The guildmaster learned this in advance, and has managed to create a fake ring that looks exactly like the rep's ring.
Your job is to swap the two rings. The rep is currently traveling overland towards the city, and will arrive in about 3 days, then spend about 1 day in the city before the meeting. He's a cleric, and tends to keep the ring on unless he has a good reason to remove it.
How would you go about it?
I'm designing a one-shot in which a soloist PC (Bard 10, with fighter 8 cohort) will fight a Rakshasa. Before getting to him, the PC will encounter three helper NPCs who will test her worthiness to undertake the task and give her useful stuff if she passes.
It's the three helpers I'm having trouble with. They were chosen by drawing from a Harrow deck, and they are:
1) The Paladin
I need a challenge and a reward for each of these three.
For the Paladin, I don't have a good challenge. If she passes, the reward is Protection from Evil 1/day as a spell-like ability, to deal with the Rakshasa's mind-affecting spells.
For the Brass Dwarf, I don't have a good challenge. If she passes, the reward is the Holy weapon property on her rapier or shortbow (not both) to deal with the Rakshasa's DR.
For the Rabbit Prince, no idea for a challenge OR a reward. I've run The Harrowing before, so I'm familiar with how he was presented there, but I'm not sure that fits. Maybe I should take the card metaphorically, and have the helper be just a younger member of a noble house or something? Totally at sea on that one.
Setting is Varisia, and the Rakshasa is guarding a Runewell of Lust under Korvosa. Session is scheduled for Saturday morning.
Suppose I make a PC using the variant multiclassing -- say, a witch with the bard features -- and then enter the Evangelist prestige class. When the PC hits Evangelist level 2, I have to choose "a class she belonged to before adding the prestige class to be her aligned class".
Do I have to make a choice between witch and bard (primary and secondary), or do I get both?
The Antimagic Field does not have a "Target" line; it has an "Area" line:
Question: does the "you" in the Area line allow a wizard to designate his familiar as the point of origin for the emanation?
Because that would be super-useful. Cast Antimagic Field on your familiar and have it go hang out with the fighter.
As a result of some rather complicated events in my homebrew Golarion campaign, Cernunnos has changed alignments from CG to CN. In brief, he was wounded, and the cure became adulterated with pure chaos by a protean.
I'm just trying to figure out how this should change him. He's currently the patron of the PC, having granted her some mythic tiers. I've played him as impetuous and rash, but committed to the greater good, and willing to sacrifice himself in a good cause. Now he's busily re-evaluating his outlook on life, and I don't even know if he can be an empyreal lord now that he's not good-aligned any more.
This thread mentions another thread about altering Book 3 such that Barl Breakbones assaults the PCs at Fort Rannick rather than waiting for them to come to Hooktongue Mountain.
I'd like to read that thread, because I'm considering something similar for my group. But I can't find it. It's not linked in the post that references it, my google-fu has failed me, and I quail at the prospect of manually sorting through thousands of threads.
Anyone know where to look?
So, suppose a witch casts a quickened Ill Omen (CL 10) on a character with Mythic Iron Will, followed by a Dominate Person.
The Ill Omen spell requires the target to roll twice and take the lower result on his next 3 saves. Meanwhile, Mythic Iron Will allows him to roll twice and take the higher result on all Will saves.
So ... how should this be resolved?
A) Roll twice for the Ill Omen, make a note of the worst, then roll a third time for Mythic Iron Will and take the better of the two?
B) Roll twice for the Mythic Iron Will, make a note of the better, then roll a third time for Ill Omen and take the worse of the two?
C) Declare that Ill Omen and the Mythic Iron Will negate each other's effects, then roll once and take it?
This is very likely to come up in my game on Saturday.
So, in my homebrew game, Arazni has just attempted to hire the PCs to kill Count Ranalc.
Unfortunately, this offer was based on a misreading of the canon -- I somehow got it into my head that Nex and Count Ranalc were in fact the same person. I reasoned that Arazni is tired of being de facto ruler, and wants the full title -- which she can only get by destroying Geb. But Geb's a ghost, and will continually reform until the thing tying him to the mortal plane (namely his hatred of Nex) has been dealt with.
Meanwhile, Count Ranalc has been the primary antagonist at the root of the party's troubles for the last two years, so the party has a reason to be interested in the offer. The party is also currently undead (vampires, due to an unfortunate random encounter), so the fact that the offer is coming from a lich isn't a major problem. Arazni even has reason to believe they can credibly take on a demi-god, considering they killed Jezelda recently.
It all worked so beautifully in my head. Arazni hires the party to get rid of Ranalc. I stat him up as a demi-god (like an empyreal lord or demon lord -- something potentially killable, unlike a full deity). They take him on, presumably with direct aid from Arazni herself (possibly even Geb). Epic fight, and when the dust settles the party's path to completing their own goal (fixing the gates of Sevenarches) is made substantially easier without active opposition from Ranalc.
... except it turns out that Nex and Ranalc are not the same person after all, which totally undermines Arazni's reasons for hiring the party to do it.
At this point, the party has no idea why Arazni wants Ranalc dead. All they know is that's what she wants, and she'll be willing to discuss the details if they're interested. So if I can come up with another plausible reason why Arazni wants Ranalc's head, the idea could still work.
Suggestions? I mean, I could just declare that Nex and Ranalc really are the same person, but that throws all kinds of other related canon stuff out of whack, and I'd rather not do that.
The description from Bestiary 2 says:
Breath Weapon (Su) Although it deals negative energy damage, an umbral dragon's breath weapon does not heal undead creatures.
The ecology entry from PF #11, Skeletons of Scarwall, says that undead creatures often seek umbral dragons as mounts, because:
The wyrms’ ability to heal the dead with their breath and elicit fear from difficult-to-control undead minions—like mohrgs, spectres, and vampires—make them potent allies to would-be generals among the legions of the damned.
So ... which is it? I don't like it when the crunch and the fluff disagree with each other.
Here's a mythic reincarnate I came up with for use in a campaign I'm GM'ing. Add the following to the end of the spell:
According to the Knowledge skill description, the DC to identify a monster's abilities and weaknesses is 10 + the monster's CR. That's fine for stock monsters. But what do you do about templates?
Is it really supposed be harder to figure out what a template does when applied to a level 10 fighter compared to the exact same template on a level 5 fighter?
I'd like a map showing modern day Golarion with the outlines of the old Thassilonian provinces overlaid on it. I'm pretty sure I've seen one somewhere, but I can't remember where. Can anyone point me in the right direction, please?
This is a feat from Blood of the Night, and it's confusing. Here's the full text:
Blood of the Night p. 17 (page unnumbered) wrote:
Questions questions, so many questions.
1) Suppose a standard vampire who already has gaseous form takes this feat. Must she make a choice between Glitterdust and Mind Fog once, when the feat is taken, or each time she assumes gaseous form?
The "Special" line about taking the feat multiple times would suggest that you choose one when you take the feat, but then it goes on to talk about choosing a swarm type. That's clearly a copy-paste error from the "Improved Swarm Form" feat on the same page, but since it doesn't actually say you have to pick one manifestation when you take the feat, it's totally ambiguous.
2) Suppose we have a face-off between Vina Vampire and Perry Paladin. They are standing directly adjacent to one another, thus:
As a standard action, Vina goes gaseous. She has Improved Gaseous Form, and has chosen Mind Fog. The feat says that the Glitterdust/Mind Fog effects "apply only to creatures that enter your space while you are in gaseous form." Does this mean:
2A) That Perry has to voluntarily step into Vina's square? Or,
3) Assuming the answer to 2B is "yes, she can step into his square to force the save", how often can she force that save? The options are:
- every time she enters his square
If it's EVERY time she enters his square, she has 20 feet of movement, and can therefore force Perry to make 2 saves against Mind Fog in the same round that she became gaseous with a simple move action (in, save, out, in, save, out). If she can manage a double-move or a run using the same trick, that's a whole lot more saves.
Anyway, sooner or later, Perry is going to fail that Will save, and incur a -10 penalty on Will saves for AT LEAST 2 rounds -- plenty of time for Vina to curdle his brains with Dominate Person, and order him to murder his colleagues.
4) This is actually unrelated to the feat specifically, but can a creature in gaseous form fly into an opponent's lungs and just sit in there, thereby triggering the suffocation rules? Because that would be positively evil.
The vampire template says:
Each round of immersion in running water inflicts damage on a vampire equal to one-third of its maximum hit points—a vampire reduced to 0 hit points in this manner is destroyed.
And later it says:
If the base creature has a swim speed, the vampire is not unduly harmed by running water.
If a vampire gains a swim speed via a polymorph effect, does that remove the damage penalty for immersion in running water?
Or is that based strictly on the creature as it was at the time of death?