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I'd also suggest that attempts to Gather Information (either on behalf of the PCs or against the PCs) have a chance of getting back to the target ("Yeah, there was some guys in here asking about you the other day..." "How long has that ice cream van been parked across the street?") You can build up some good paranoia that way.
If the PCs have relationships outside their group (lovers, family, friends) they can be targets of the bad guys and make for some interesting scenes.
Finally, the Spycraft 2.0 game has an interesting mechanic for handling things like infilitrations, chases, manhunts, seductions, etc. that can easily be ported over to a fantasy campaign.
I hope this question isn't as stupid as it sounds.
I am adding the 'Body Bludgeon' (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/core-classes/barbarian/rage-powers/paizo-- -rage-powers/body-bludgeon-ex) to my barbarian's (an awakened riding dog with permanent animal growth) rage powers but I'm confused by one sentence:
"If the pinned opponent is unable to resist being pinned for any reason, the barbarian can use that opponent as an improvised weapon without grappling or pinning the opponent". Under what circumstances is an opponent unable to resist a pin? Unconscious, paralyzed, or magically held?
The last condition is of the most interest to me because our sorcerer habitually casts hold on opponents. Do I even have to make a grapple check then a pin to pick a held opponent up and rag doll him?
Tippo Dakar wrote:
I'm not familiar with your campaign so who are these authorities? What exactly can they do? Usually the only authority is the god, and he's clearly cool with it. Doesn't that PROVE the paladin acted as the paladin should? That doesn't mean what he did was nice, but then it doesn't have to be.
It does appear impossible to make a joke around here.
As my character, the actions themselves were the problem and it wouldn't have mattered if it had been any other member of the party had proposed killing the prisoner.
As a player, it is not how I see a paladin acting for the reasons I outlined above. But I'm the player and not the GM, so I'll leave that be.
My character's reaction is to keep a wary eye on the paladin. He'd write a sternly-worded letter to the proper authorities, but he's a) a barbarian and illiterate and b) an awakened dog and can't hold a pencil.
I'll pee in his boots when he's not looking.
Being the CG barbarian mentioned in the OP as also objecting to the paladin's actions in this scene I'll throw in my side of the story.
Balto (the barbarian) objected to the killing of the prisoners both because of his "good" nature and because, chaotic as he is, there is even a line he won't cross - and killing helpless creatures who haven't shown any hostility to him or his own is that line.
I don't see that the ninja's attitude was out line for the same reason ("I may be a deadly ninja assassin, but even I have my limits!") I don't think anything about that contradicts his alignment.
I also had some metagame reasons for objecting. The first is, throughout this particular module, our party's tendency to attack first and ask questions later has been costing us dearly. The second is the whole situation was like a bad flashback to my 1st edition years where bloody literal-minded DMs would insist we had to play chaotic characters as acting randomly, druids had to balance out every good deed with an evil one, paladins were lawful stupid, etc.
We did argue the points, the three of us, in character. With the ninja and Balto pointing out that killing helpless individuals was the antithesis of 'good' and doing so without any due process or even evidence they'd committed 'evil' acts was the opposite of 'lawful'.
We did not prevail. The paladin reasoned that they (three morlocks and a drow) detected evil, they would perform evil acts if released, and it was therefore his duty to slay them (though he offered to do it in combat if we wanted to give them weapons; since it hardly could have been a fair fight, we didn't bite).
We backed down instead. I can't speak for the ninja, but Balto decided the consequences were on the head of the paladin and walked away.
In the end, the drow was spared because he bargained with the paladin - his life for information (so in fact, we, the party, finally have an inkling of what is going on in the module). The morlocks were killed out of hand without even being given the opportunity to save themselves with information.
Therein is my problem with the paladin's actions for in-game reason. The drow was no less evil for giving the information to us than he would have been if he hadn't. But the pragmatic reason of giving us information spared his life where simple mercy would not have moved the paladin otherwise. Nor did mercy move the paladin to extend the offer of life for information to the others. The quality that we might consider 'good' was wholly absent from the paladin's reasoning.
Now you might argue they detected evil - a quality that the paladin was sworn to destroy - mercy does not extend to the irredeemably wicked. By the same argument then, we should bring all the town's babies before Torag and slaughter those whose aura is tinged with evil.
Therefore, my friends, I submit to you that Torag is not the god you think he is. He is neither lawful nor good if his dictates oblige the paladin to slay the defenseless who have done no discernible harm.
"[Mercy] blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
As a general suggestion, you might read through a few adventure paths since they usually involve some kind of world beating plot that heroes must thwart. You just have to switch out the situation and make your heroes the facilitators of the scheme and their opponents the 'good guys'. In short, give them some all-powerful McGuffin to strive for - an artifact to assemble or ritual to complete. Along the way they'll leave clues or otherwise attract the attention of 'heroes' who will try to stop them.
As a specific suggestion, I played a character once that went over to evil and, as a high level character gained control of a secret mithril mine which he used to destabilize the economies of the neighboring territories and finance terrorist attacks against dwarves (he was a dwarf himself and trying to drive is brethren to his cause of dwarven supremacy). He also tried luring the various heroes, who might oppose him, into suicidal adventures so he could confront them piecemeal instead of as a group.
So in my case the McGuffin was the mithril mine. By the time he got to carrying out his plots he had graduated to NPC in the campaign (I still got to make his plans) but his function was to give the new characters something to do.
It's just a running gag. Lobolusk isn't serious.
I'm playing the awakened barbarian dog (with permanent enlarge animal by the way). His name is Balto, or, as Balto would say (in a bad Russian accent), "Balto the Wonder Dog. Just like say on tag on collar. You see, one next to rabies vaccination."
He snarled and snapped and generally threatened to bite the balls off the flying whatever it is but it is hard to intimidate someone who knows you can't reach them.
The situation isn't as hopeless a Lobolusk seems to think. We've a flying earth elemental around and, if Balto can intimidate the cowardly sorcerer into being useful, he'll dimension door up there and grapple FCG (flying coward guy); presumably an 800 lbs dog can drag him down to the ground.
Nor are we as stupid as it might seem. Oh, sure we might have killed off most of our potential allies (the gods as my witness, I was sure those cocoons were giant fire spiders), and maybe murdering the Moorlock queen in her sleep when she trusted us was a mistake. And fireballing those Moorlock refugees? Do you know how easy it is to mistake a stonethrowing crowd as underdark jihadists?
But we've had our moments along the way. We've dropped sharks on enemies. Our sorceress brought down a dinosaur with just magic missiles. The halfling made the centaur cry, on repeated occasions. And the alchemist, oh the alchemist, - all you have to do is sneak up behind our gamemaster and whisper "ranged touch attack" and you'll see a grown man reduced to tears of rage and frustration.
I haven't had this much fun since the Godplate campaign, back in, let me see, '79 it was. We had to carve our own dice back then out of mastodon bones. And if you looked in the mirror and said "Gygax" three times, he'd appear and change whatever module you were playing into "Temple of Elemental Evil".
Your cleric can try to rally cowering villagers to help defend the village. The fighter can direct the defense (do they have warning the bandits are coming? They could fortify the village.)
Maybe the bandits are after a specific treasure hidden in the village. It is locked away and the only person with the key and knowledge of the traps guarding it is not around, so the thief has to get to it before the bandits reach it.
I'm the player in Lobolusk's game who started this all and here's what I did:
I'm playing Balto,an awakened riding dog (natural armor 11). He's got Animal Growth cast on him ("The creature's existing natural armor bonus increases by 2") and made permanent. The size decreases AC by -1 so now I've got natural armor 12, mais non?
On top of this I've added an amulet of natural armor +3 and bracers of armor +8. I've also figured in the decreased DEX bonus.
Sorry about the silence. It has been a long depressing few days - people I've worked with for over a decade are being laid off at work. I'm still employed but probably because I do such an obscure job there aren't too many around who can do it.
I'm sorry to say I'll have to take up the offer for someone else to take over this game. I can't keep my mind on it. Belethor and Maya both have offered to take over, so I'll hand it over to either of you.
Sheriff Hemlock walks among you as you mount your horses. "The blessings of the gods go with you."
And your party departs. The two watchmen take the lead. Roque brings up the rear. You pass through the gates which are wide open. Farmers are coming in with wagonloads of early vegetables to sell in the market. Everyone nods and greets you politely.
Outside the gates one of the watchmen turns back in his saddle, "I'm Dominik and this one," he indicates his partner, "is Ferike." Ferike murmurs a greeting then turns her attention back to the road.
"And Watch Sergeant Roque, I believe you've met before." Roque makes a sound that might have been a snort of derision or it might have been a sneeze.
"We'll be taking you to the ford at Cougar Creek, that's as far as our authority extends. It should be about an hour or two depending on who or what we encounter along the way."
And so you ride on. The rain eases up but it doesn't look like the sun will make it through the clouds. After a while you hear singing. It turns out that Roque is a fine singer.
I'll need perception rolls from everyone and a sense of where you are in the riding order, assuming you are riding two abreast.
Date: 22 Desnus, 4712 (Toilday) Dawn (Glorian Calendar)
Those who spent the night at the Rusty Dragon were shown to simple, cozy rooms by Ameiko. They were awoken well before sunrise by a serving girl and informed breakfast was waiting for them. The table was set generously with eggs, a variety of meats, freshly baked bread, and pots of strong tea. Outside the fine weather of the previous day had given way to rain and mist.
Ameiko herself arrived halfway through the meal and encouraged all to eat heartily. When everyone had eaten their fill, she announced it was time to go. She lead the party through the streets which were already stirring with people making their way to work.
The way to the Council House (building 11) took them through Dyer's Square. Old Ben was there brewing up hot drinks for the longshoremen who were shifting goods back and forth between the docks and the warehouses. He gave the party a friendly wave. Aye, it looks like Ameiko and the sheriff got their hooks into that lot.
At the Council House the sheriff waited with the horses. With him were three watchmen. Two were equipped to ride patrol. They were armed with longspears and swords. The third bore a crossbow and sword. His saddlebags bulged with supplies. Sergeant Roque of the Watch did little to disguise his unhappiness about his new duties as the guide to the party.
Talberon Toil wrote:
Yes, that's the area.
Sheriff Hemlock concluded, "If there aren't anymore questions, I'll bid you good day and see you tomorrow morning at the Council House at dawn. It is early yet, so those of you new to Sandpoint I invite you to get to know our town and people. Please," he glances between Gozer and Tamilius, "stay out of trouble."
If you have anymore questions, ask them now. Otherwise you can post how your characters spend the evening. They can explore the town, ask for information from locals, shop, or just go to bed early. Later tonight I'll shift the scene to dawn at the Council House.
Knowledge Local -> 6; Ouch! Trapper doesn't pay a lot of attention to local politics, does he? All he knows is there is a body called the Sandpoint Mercantile League and they function something like an advisory council to the mayor and sheriff.
Sense Motive -> 9; You know the sheriff for an honest man and he appears to be no different now. As far as you can tell, he's letting you know all that he knows with nothing held back.
Hemlock was the first to take his seat after Gozer. That seemed to a clear signal to the others that the confrontation was over. Ameiko looked over to the bartender and nodded, then took a seat herself. The bartender went back to his work. Around the room the inn's patrons resumed their conversations. This wasn't the first time angry words have been exchanged in here and everyone seems to take it in stride.
Talberon Toil wrote:
"where do you propose we start? I mean, do you have any lead on the current Goblin problems? You know; Who, What, Why, or How?"
The sheriff reached into his coat and drew out a map which he unfolded on the table. link
He points to the mountains south of Sandpoint. "Here is where the goblins dwell. Winters are as hard on them as it is on us, and we usually expect some raiding in the spring. Sheep-stealing mostly. But never more than a mile or two from the mountains. They don't want to be caught in the open, usually."
"But now we're hearing of sightings as far south and east as here." He points to a spot on the eastern bank of Cougar Creek and below the last of the quartet of villages in the area. "They've never crossed the creek before."
"We, the town I mean, patrol the road along here." He traces the route on the map between Sandpoint and Cougar Creek. "We're used to seeing goblin signs, and sometimes we even catch one or two. But lately we're seeing signs of larger groups and, more troubling, we haven't been seeing the goblins themselves. They're getting better at staying away from us."
He straightened up. "My gut feeling, and Ameiko agrees, is that we are being scouted. I've no doubt my militia can hold the town walls against any attack they can mount but I fear there's a more cunning plan at work."
"If they can disrupt the farming and shut down our overland trade route to the south, we'll be in for a hard winter. Food will have to be brought in by ship and we can't afford to keep that up for long. If it goes on for a second year, then I fear people will leave our town which in turn will leave us vulnerable to attack. It is only because we've a willing and trained militia at the ready that merchants and citizens view us as a safe place to do business and raise families."
"I want you to go south, search along Cougar Creek, and try to bring me back a goblin for questioning. Or any clue you can discover as to what is going on. If the goblins are coming out of their mountains, why? Are the being driven out or lead out?"
"In the morning we have a road patrol leaving. If you accept our offer they can take you south to the creek. I can offer you one of my watchman as a guide from there. He knows the area and it would do well for him to be out of town for a few weeks lest I have to arrest his wife for his murder."
Regarding using Social Skills against other PCs
Normally I don't have players roll to convince their party members to act in a certain way unless there is a reason that in character a PC wouldn't agree to do something.
An example of this would be just the other week in my Saturday night game. Our party had just come off an encounter with ghosts that left two members dead, two afflicted with paranoia, and one dominated by an evil sword (you might say we had a Call of Cthulhu ending to a Pathfinder game).
So, being one of those who lost a character, I came into the game with a new character whose task was to get all the survivors back together again. I had to convince the paranoid characters to come with us and get cured, and the dominated character to fight the sword's influence. Their players were willing to do all this, but to keep in character they had to be suspicious of us. It took a number of Diplomacy and Bluff checks (opposed by their Sense Motive rolls) before we got the whole thing straightened out.
The point is this: normally your character can discuss things with the other characters with no need for Diplomacy, etc. But if you think there is a compelling role-playing reason that your character needs to be convinced of a course of action then we can do a skill check or opposed roll.
And just to be clear how I'm seeing these skills work:
If Maya says, "Gozer, there's no need for a fight. It will only cause trouble with the Watch." She's being sincere, so if Varrian decides that Gozer isn't going to accept that at face value, Maya can make a check against some arbitrary DC I come up with to convince him of her sincerity and calm him down a bit.
In the current incident Gozer is being confronted by three people ready to defend Tamilius, and he's also got Tamilius trying to laugh off the incident.
Varrian can decide this is enough for Gozer, he can end his rage and return to his seat. If he thinks it would take an act of will for Gozer to do so, we'll have some rolling of dice. If he thinks, "No way! Gozer smash!", then we have a fight on our hands.
What happens next depends on Gozer.
Finally, Gozer got a surprise punch in. I went to initiative because some quick actions were going to happen and I wanted to keep it straight.
Tamilius Zantamia wrote:
Tamilius looks in much pain for a second and then just begins to laugh. "Well, I can already see that this is going to be a lot of fun. How about I buy you an ale?"
Sheriff Hemlock was on his feet quickly and standing next to Tamilius. His hand hovered over his sword hilt but didn't touch it and he fixed Gozer with a determined stare, "Your companion here is willing to let this pass. Now please sit and let us have peace here."
Ameiko said nothing but stepped in next to the sheriff, her eyes fixed on Gozer.
Maya Harlech wrote:
"You wouldn't hit a woman would you?"
Three people now stood between Gozer and the object of his ire. Their meaning was clear. They weren't going to let the barbarian hit Tamilius again.
Gozer is up, but please see my post (coming in a minute or two) in the discussion thread before declaring an action.
Your perception check lets you see that the bartender is holding a signal whistle, much like the one Bartleby used earlier.
Sheriff Helock gestures at the items on the table. "Pieter Jaggare seems to have eluded us for the moment. Though we will search for him in the town, I think he made his escape with the Demeter and her crew. I haven't the resources or authority to pursue him."
"Furthermore, I have more immediate concerns," he leaned forward and lowered his voice to a more confidential tone, "For the past few weeks we've heard more reports of goblins coming out of the mountains further afield than before. We know of one farm that has fought off a raid and we've been asked to investigate others that their neighbors have lost contact with."
"Some of you may know that five years ago we fought off a goblin raid. In no small part we owed our survival of that incident to a small band such as yourselves. Since then we've built up our militia and watch. I have 30 watchmen working for me and at a moment's notice can put two hundred militia on the city walls. We take the threat of goblins seriously here."
He pauses. Ameiko brings him an ale and, without waiting for an invitation, joins you at the table.
"We, that is me, the mayor, and the Mercantile League, want to hire you," he looks round at you all, "to investigate what is happening. The normal goblin bounty will apply and I can offer you 10 gold a week and 150 gold each as a prize when the job is done."
Ameiko joins in, "You can make the Rusty Dragon your home while you are in the service of the town, both room and board."
Gozer "Bone Splitter" wrote:
I do Gozer says looking up from the table. Yeah it was the captain and the merchant who walked up to the doors and were let in by the guard. They all entered after that.
Sheriff Hemlock nodded and continued. "The merchant was staying at The White Deer for the past week and he rented the warehouse at the same time. He gave his name as Pieter Jaggare. I've yet to find any who has had more than perfunctory conversation with him. He has not been seen since entering the warehouse this morning. Unless you can tell me something different, no one saw him leave the warehouse."
Sorry sheriff I was a little too engrosed with the new company I was meeting. Do you have any idea where the ship was headed or why this even[t] happened?
"The ship left in a hurry. The dockworkers I've talked to said that the crew made sail suddenly, none of the usual preparations. The day before they'd offloaded spices and un-dyed linens which were sold to Sandpoint Mercantile League."
"This," he placed the bundle in the middle of the table, "is what we have found in his quarters."
He unrolled the bundle. Inside were some fine clothes, a sheathed dagger, two vials of a blue liquid, and coin bag.
"There were no papers, nothing to note his intentions or purpose. The mayor agrees with me, what you see here is yours. Your reward for this morning's service."
"And, I am to ask you, if you may be of service to Sandpoint once more?"
After you've all eaten and drunk your fill, the sheriff comes in with a large cloth bundle in his arms. He looks at the remains of the meal on your table with dismay as he realizes how large the bill will probably be.
"Maya, gentlemen. Thank you for waiting for me. And the town thanks you for your service this afternoon though I'm afraid to say that the author of today's incident has escaped on the Demeter, which sailed not minutes after you slew the ogre."
"Do any of you recall a merchant who entered the warehouse with the ship's captain?"
Belethor Grimwood wrote:
"Thankyou for the ale it whets the appetite quite well. If you don't mind me asking did a crew from a ship called the Demeter come in recently, perhaps boasting of their marvellous exploits? I'm sure someone as talented as you would have heard all sorts."
The waitress grins. She's heard it all before. But Belethor is polite that counts for a lot with her.
"Oh, aye they was in. Actin' like they ain't seen a woman in months, all grabby hands and sayin' rude things in their Chelish like I wouldn't understand. Got a little to fresh when they offered me gold for a tumble. That's when the mistress throws 'em out on their ear."
Maya Harlech wrote:
While she drinks her ale. Maya gets up and heads over to the check out any postings that might regard any potential mercenary type work.
Maya notes that the goblin bounty has doubled from one gold to two.
'Sword Wanted, Must Travel' is a standing offer for caravan guards going north.
'Missing daughter, Hana Hartlová, - Reward Offered - Last seen in company of a wandering performer by the name of Ósk Eiríksdóttir - bring back safe, 400 gold and a horse.'
'Dwarves wanted by Sandpoint Council. Hard work, danger, large reward. Apply in person at city hall. Mining experience a plus. Orphans preferred.'
These noted, Maya turns her attention to Ameiko.
Maya Harlech wrote:
"Did you perchance having any dealings with the [Demeter's] crew?"
"Some of that lot were in last night, just off the boat and ready for some action. They had the wrong idea about this place it seems. We showed them the door and pointed the way to the Fatman's Feedbag. Goin' by their accents, I'd say they were Chelish but didn't learn anything more."
Maya Harlech wrote:
"Do you know [Shalalu] or know how I'd go about finding her?"
"Shalelu? You've just missed her. She came through two days ago, to collect her goblin bounty and pick up her supplies. And had her word with the sheriff and mayor like she always does. I got some of it out of her. The goblins are coming out further from the mountains than they usually do, and the farmers are all say their having their troubles with 'em. The mayor doubled the bounty, so somethin' has got her spooked."
The woman gathers everyone's orders and heads toward the kitchen. On the way she's intercepted by a watchman who whispers something to her. She looks over at your group and nods.
When she returns, it is with a feast. One platter is heaped with roasted mutton and vegetables, another with hunks of bread. The bartender brings drinks around. A bowl of butter and a bowl of salt are set on the table as well.
"The sheriff sends his regards and tells me the meal is on him, so eat up! You must have done something good to get this out of him. He sends word that he'll be here within the hour and he has something important to speak to you about."
The woman comes over.
"Trapper, you've come to pay your tab then?" She smiles as she says this. "And Maya, at least Trapper's keeping good company. Please come in, all of you. What can I bring you?"
for Trapper and Maya:
You both are familiar with Ameiko Kaijitsu. A sometime adventurer herself, she owns the Rusty Dragon. She's pointed Maya toward some lucrative adventures and lets Trapper run up a tab ("I know you're good for it.")
Lena Relani wrote:
"The Campfire Bead sounds like that might be your area of expertise, Daisy"
"Oh, it's a right treat, that one. Just toss it on the ground, say the right word and, Bob's your uncle, you gots a fire. No messin' with flint and tinder an' wet wood." Daisy was pleased she'd been asked a question she could answer.
"And them," she indicated the muleback cords, "Puts 'em on the big guy there and he'll be carryin' the cart horse if you let 'im."
She frowned as she looked over the remaining items. "Don't know about the rest. P'raps the magiky guy can tell us. I seen one what waved his fingers and says his uggy-buggy and could tells what were magic in a pile o' junk we'd taken from a troll."
She'd have gone on, but Ahrask loomed over her, hand outstretched. She took the offered hand; that is to say, she place her hand in his where it barely covered three of his fingers. He shook her hand with the same grave politeness he'd shown the others.
"Aye, now there's an odd one," Daisy murmured to Lena, "Him bein' a... you know... but carries himelf like a gentry better than any folk I knows."
"But tell me, what's this 'inquisiting' that you do? I ain't heard o' that before."
The Rusty Dragon is a short walk from the square. The street is filled with people, humans mostly but a scattering of elves and dwarves. There is much animated conversation going on and, from what you can overhear, all of it concerns the fight in the square.
"...then the wizard took down the troll with some kind of blue ray..."
"...he was a big guy, probably half ogre himself..."
"...it were Trapper again. I don't know why they don't just make him sheriff..."
Some of notice you and point you out to the others and there are shouts of "Hurrah!" and "Good work!".
By the time you reach the Rusty Dragon, a gaggle of children is following you. They're shooed away at the door by a man sweeping the steps who nods and holds the door open for you, "Welcome to the Rusty Dragon."
The Rusty Dragon is a two story building. The ground floor room you enter is the bar. On one side as you enter is a notice board posted with bills that read, "Sword Wanted, Must Travel", "Goblin Bounty - 2 gp", and the like.
Inside a man is busy clearing tables around a few late lunchers / early drinkers. A bartender and an attractive young woman are counting out reciepts and the smell of roasting lamb drifts in from the kitchen.
Ben contemplated the remains of his days business. The longshoremen had made off with his stock of drink and his pots had all been spilled in the scramble to flee the ogre.
Eh, there've been worse days.
Talberon Toil wrote:
(To Old Ben) "What know you of this Armin Gyenis, his ship the Demeter, and why House Jeggare would have it sail thus far North?"
The question caught him off-guard and he almost responded with a rude gesture, but then saw it was the man who'd come to his aid earlier.
"Couldn't tell you about, what's the name? Ar-meen Jen-ish? The Demeter, ya had some fellers here last night says the was with her. Chelish by their speech. The House Jeggare, now there's a tale. Once, back when I was still sailin'. That was before I got this game leg. Did I ever tell you how's I came to get a game leg? Course not. You're new in town. Well I was 27 years a sailor. My dad 'prenticed me when I was just a wee shaver on account of - oh but I'm ramblin' again, ain't I? The House Jaggare? Their ships stick to inner sea, no profit in runnin' one all the way this far north. Leastways, one as small as the Demeter over there..." Ben gestures seaward where a ship has just cleared the harbor on its way to open ocean. "No sir, that one's built for coastal sailing and a small load. Wouldn't come up here unless it was somethin' real valuable."