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Twigs's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 2,168 posts (5,672 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 8 Pathfinder Society characters. 28 aliases.

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Dark Archive

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An elk sways into the courtyard, it's hooves clattering heavily on the cobblestones. Still shedding it's winter coat, and exhausted from the rigors of the mating season and the harsh snows, the exhausted beast buries it's muzzle in the flowerbeds, noisily uprooting several of the plants as a gnome slips from his back. She picks an iris, turning the stem curiously in her hand, seemingly unaware of the spectacle she's making. As the elk digs up the beautiful garden and settles down into the cool, upturned earth, the gnome braids the flower into its antlers with a piece of twine. "Rest up, Mister Hopi." she says, cheerfully, hopping from one cobblestone to the next as she approaches the mass of adventurers, but something gives her pause.

Gaze fixed downward, she hops from foot to foot, pacing skittishly before bounding toward her kinswoman, Issi with an almost predatory fixation, paying no heed to the others. "Hullo! I was told I might find somebody who could escort Hopi and I to the Greenbelt. Whatcha talkin' about?"

Dark Archive

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I workshopped three different submissions before settling on one, so I'd like to apologise to everybody for the delay! I've opted to resubmit Kaya, from your Everflame recruitment, with a revised build. It's a little unorthodox, but I am trying to minimize overlap with Serolt while still getting to play a Wilderness-based character in paizo's premiere wilderness-based Adventure Path. I hesitated at first as I'm already playing a pregen druid in our PFS game, but I couldn't arrive at anything that had me quite as excited. I hope that's okay, and that you'll take her under consideration.

Kaya Hollysharp
Player - Twigs
Race - Gnome
Class - Spell-less Druid (8 Wisdom)
Leadership Roles - Councilor, Spymaster, Magister
Combat Roles - Mounted Combat, Debuffing/Disabling with Taunt (APG) & Invoke Primal Instinct (Gnomes of Golarion), Wild Shaper
Out of Combat Roles - Wilderness Lore, face-skills, scouting, Green Faith contacts and speaking with animals
Time Zone - Australian Eastern Standard Time (GMT +10)

Player's Introduction - I've been playing on the Paizo boards since October 2011 and fallen in love with the format and the community and post several times daily over several active games. I'll make no claims to being perfect, but I'm confident I can meet the posting requirements and am eager for a chance to sink my teeth into an AP that's captivated me for many years.

Post sample - It's a little dated, but here's an exerpt of the downtime roleplay from my Council of Thieves game three years ago, and the start of my PC's addiction to fruit pastries that would see him through crisis after crisis. The game has since ended, but this has stuck with me as one of my favourite PbP moments. I'm sure this game will be similarly player driven in these moments between scripted adventures so thought that this might be most applicable:

Addendum: It's my understanding that Serolt will progress as a Druid after dipping Ranger so I've forgone any summoning magic to avoid cluttering up combat. If you'd rather avoid having two pet-based characters I could forgo it for a suitable domain power.

Background (revised):
Born into a small enclave of Gnomes in the Stolen Lands, a sect of the Green Faith broken away from the political sniping and lavish parties of Thom, Kaya was raised among the twisted groves and fetid rivers of the Stolen Lands. Kaya can recount with a detatched glee the various deaths of her kinsfolk to rampaging owlbears, cruel fey and common brigands, but doesn't seem to see any danger in travelling alone. After all, she has the forest on her side.

However, once her mentors in their seclusion began to grow depressed and withdrawn, and then to physically wither away into nothingness under the lethal effects of the Bleaching, Kaya was driven away, only half understanding, as her kin were consumed by their curse, not wishing to burden the young druidess with her grief. Only half understanding, Kaya has found herself drawn to the leylines, where the barrier between the First World and this are thinnest. First to Brevoy, then to the Stolen Lands, on a search for understanding, a cure, and all the excitement and wonder of new lands.


Curious and good-natured, Kaya is somewhat more animal than human. Prefering the company of the creatures of the forest, the girl mimics their behaviour in human company.


A wild haired girl with a twitching, button nose. Caring little for her appearance, she is constantly adorned with stray branches and a thin layer of dirt, and accompanied by several woodland creatures.

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Pregen CG Halfling Bard/1 | Init +2, Perc +2 | AC 15/13/13 | HP 11/11 | Fort +3, Ref +5, Will +3; +2 vs fear | bardic performance 8 rounds/day (countersong, distraction, fascinate, inspire courage +1) | Spells Known | 1st (2/2) sleep (DC 15), charm person[ (DC 15)| 0 (at will) dancing lights, detect magic, ghost sound (DC 14), prestidigitation | short sword +3 (1d4–1/19–20) or sling +3 (1d3–1) | freedom fighter trait
Acrobatics +8 (+4 when jumping), Bluff +9, Climb +1, Diplomacy +8, Knowledge (arcana) +6, Knowledge (nobility) +6, Perception +2, Perform (comedy) +4, Perform (wind) +8, Sense Motive +4

Lem salutes the venture-captain before bounding up onto the taffrail to read over Aiden's shoulder. "Aspis Consortium. Slavers and worse. Oh, I'm going to have fun on this assignment." Lem says, perusing the notes with his ever-present grin. "Delroya's tip seems sound, and I'm liking the way you think, bounty hunter."

He sits, legs dangling several feet off the deck as he regards Rex thoughtfully. "Did you miss the part that we have to go trudging through a sewer? As much as that alchemist deserves a blade in the gut, I think that's a little above my pay grade..." he says, jokingly. The hard evidence is hard to pass up, but Lem's skillset and magic is all pretty well geared toward the second task. I'd vote for tasks #2 and #3 if we come down to that, but am not strongly inclined either way.

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Pregen Dwarf Ranger/7 | Init +3 | Perc +12, darkvision, stonecunning | AC 19 T 13 FF 16 | HP 67/67 | F +11 R +10 W +8; +2 vs poison, spells, SLA's | +1 battlaxe +10/+5 (1d8+4/x3) or +2 heavy crossbow +12 (2d8+2/19-20) | killer trait | favored enemy giants +4, fey +2 | Ranger Spells Prepared: | 2nd | ironskin | 1st | gravity bow, gravity bow |
Handle Animal +9, Heal +12, Knowledge (geography) +10, Knowledge (nature) +10, Perception +12 (+14 unusual stonework), Stealth +13, Survival +12 (+15 to follow tracks)

Harsk turns around incredulously, almost blowing his cover as he bites back. "Next person to suggest talking to a giant is getting a quarrel in the foot! Save your spells, wizard, and save us your prattle!"

Just give Harsk these three or our grumpy dwarf might have an anuerism. :P

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Pregen CG Halfling Bard/1 | Init +2, Perc +2 | AC 15/13/13 | HP 11/11 | Fort +3, Ref +5, Will +3; +2 vs fear | bardic performance 8 rounds/day (countersong, distraction, fascinate, inspire courage +1) | Spells Known | 1st (2/2) sleep (DC 15), charm person[ (DC 15)| 0 (at will) dancing lights, detect magic, ghost sound (DC 14), prestidigitation | short sword +3 (1d4–1/19–20) or sling +3 (1d3–1) | freedom fighter trait
Acrobatics +8 (+4 when jumping), Bluff +9, Climb +1, Diplomacy +8, Knowledge (arcana) +6, Knowledge (nobility) +6, Perception +2, Perform (comedy) +4, Perform (wind) +8, Sense Motive +4

A brightly-clad halfling claps his hands together and surveys the room, grinning good-humoredly. He wears a strange medley of rough linens and fine silks and velvets, a handsome red coat over a porter's rags and a bright silk sash, adorned with trinkets and coins from all over Avistan. "Ah, fantastic! Is this everybody?" he says, pulling up a chair and hoisting himself into it.

He'll grab the decanter from Huckleberry and pour himself a glass, swirling it around and giving it a taste. "Tart, full bodied... Corentyn? Five silvers says I can guess the vintage." he boasts, putting on airs for a moment before grinning at the gunslinger. "Was swiping bottles of this from my master's cellars from my fourteenth birthday." Let's say bardic knowledge covers Sommeliering. Yeah. Why not? :P

The bard lounges in the chair, far too large for him, with relative ease, sipping his wine and extending a hand to shake. As an afterthought, he meets Aiden's eyes. "I wouldn't be so forthright about your past, if I were you. There are some in the Society that don't take kindly to the subjugation and degradation of their fellow men." he says, still smiling, with only the slightest edge to his voice. He winks. "Name's Lem. Orphan."

Take 10, Knowledge (local): 10 + 2 = 12

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I am crazy stoked for this new line of iconics! It hadn't even occured to me that an evil AP might entail evil characters with full staff-writeups. This blog series has had an enormous influence on my own PC-writing and are always exciting to read. Moreover, I haven't kept up with paizo's wealth of new classes and rules over the years (I've still yet to get around to playing 2010's Summoner) so I can get doubly excited for the first round of new iconics divorced from new rules content (which while usually stellar, usually takes a lot of getting around to).

Lazzero's name just rolls off of the tongue, and I really enjoy what a stone-cold bureaucrat he is, and the sheer contempt in that facial expression. I'm really hoping there's interest enough on the boards to see the new iconics in play. Excited to see more!

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Only recently discovered this thread and wanted to thank you for sharing all the minutiae of your designs with us here! The insights into your research and process have been fascinating, and have only cemented how much I dig the iconic character designs. (Currently playing a pregen Harsk in PFS and am having so much fun with him. Kudos for the teapot idea!)

A question or two about the recently revealed Lazzero. I really love the blend of cassock and armor that he has going, as well as how thoroughly ridiculous his headpiece looks, as well as his facial expression. It positively oozes with contempt.

I was wondering about the bladed weapon hanging from his waist. What is it, and what influenced it's design? Also curious about the crosses on his wristband and if the sigils on his buckler/stole have any real world influences. Cheers!

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Congratulations everybody! I'm planning on finding a home for Kaya in the PFS, so hopefully I'll have a chance to play with some of you in the future. I think this recruitment thread will be the model on which I build my own once I find the time to GM again. Everything was so incredibly polished.

Good luck with the game, folks!

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On one hand, I'd love to play a druid. I've actually never gotten the chance to in all of my years of 3.5/pathfinder. I'm fairly sure this adventure leans heavily towards dungeoneering/urban adventuring. On the other hand, I'm completely charmed by the description of the Druid mentor and would like to play one, so I'm going to do so regardless. I'd actually by sheer happenstance named my alias "Rilka", so I had to go back to the drawing board with names come the morning. I'm still not happy with my choice, but Miss Hollysharp is quickly taking shape. I still need to decide on an animal companion. I'd normally opt for the elk from kingmaker, but respecting your restrictions I may opt for a wolverine or badger, or something that I can ride. Will check in this evening with a finished build.

GM, how would you feel about starting play with a few trained animals? The harmless kind, such as elk, raccoons and squirrels, as Miss Hollysharps friends and helpers. I wouldn't be able to take them into a city or dungeon, but they'd make for great window dressing for my character. I can subtract the value of the animals from her starting wealth.

Build (Unfinished):

Female gnome druid/1
Init: +2, Senses: Perception +3, low-light-vision

AC: 15; Touch 13, Flat-footed 13 (+2 armor, +2 dex, +1 size) ; +4 dodge vs giants
HP: 11 (1d8+3)
Fort: +5, Ref: +2, Will: +3; +2 vs illusions

Speed: 20ft
Melee: club +3 (1d4+3) I
Ranged: sling +3 (1d3+2)
Special Attacks:
Gnome Spell-Like Abilities (CL 1st; concentration +3)
1/day—dancing lights, ghost sound (DC 13), prestidigitation, speak with animals
Druid Spells Prepared: (CL 1, Concentration +2)
1st - entangle (DC 12), goodberry
Orisons - guidance, know direction, mending

STR: 14 DEX: 14 CON: 16 INT: 8 WIS: 13 CHA: 11
BAB: +0 CMB: +1 CMD: 13
Skills: Climb +6, Handle Animal +4, Knowledge (nature) +5, Perception +3, Profession (gardener) +3, Stealth +6, Survival +3; Racial Modifiers Perception +2, Profession (gardener) +2
Feats: _
SQ: nature bond (animal companion), nature sense*, wild empathy +3
Combat Gear goodberries (5), Other Gear

Kimble Hollysharp was was always prone to wandering. Long before she came of age, the young gnome wandered from the roadside inn where her family were lodging, roving deep into the Fangwood, unaware of the dangers to a barely grown gnome. It hasn't occurred to the girl to look for them again.

If her wanderings have had any destination, it's been unbeknownst to her. Sheer dumb luck, her small and easily concealed frame, and her ability to befriend large and dangerous predators kept her safe from most of the dangers of the Wood, and the kindly intervention of a band of Nirmathi Rangers saw her steered back toward civilisation.

Passing through the glades near Kassen, she encountered Olmira Treesong, and her small entourage of woodland critters. The curious gnome tailed her to her home, only to find herself invited in for tea. The eccentric druidess took the young gnome under her wing. Despite the womans tendancy to mother her, she feels for the first time in her life content to stay. Kim has learnt much of the forest lore through the esoteric tasks her tutor sets for her, and a little of the ways of civilisation, as the people of Kassen have come to regard the wild squirrel-girl (after several polite inquiries to the bewildered townsfolk about the squirrel word for "good afternoon") with a mix of wry amusement and trepidation. Indeed, while regarded as more than passing strange by the village folk, she has made numerous friends among the forest.

Curious and good-natured, Kimble is somewhat more animal than human. Prefering the company of the creatures of the forest, the girl mimics their behaviour in human company.

A wild haired girl with a twitching, button nose. Caring little for her appearance, she is constantly adorned with stray branches and a thin layer of dirt, and accompanied by several woodland creatures.

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Dot! An active game with a bit of meat to it (i.e. not a PFS scenario) and a forseable end in sight is too good a thing to pass up. As I said in your last thread, I'm a pbp vet and would happily cede out for a new player.

Dotting for now, want to answer a polished recruitment post with a polished application.

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Just making note because I don't think this is too widely known... You can fit a great many details in the header by using the Gender, Race, and Class tabs seperately. Each has it's own character limit and you can fit a great many details in the header.

Here is one of my PCs. Note that I can squeeze all of my spell slots and my 8+Int skills into the header by using all three fields.

I'm a big fan of squeezing my spell list into my headers on full casters and using strikethrough tags to keep them visible to everybody. It can get to be something of a tight squeeze once you get a few levels under your belt, but it can be really handy on the fly.

Thanks for the guide! I'm sure it'll help a lot of players.

Scarab Sages

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Male Init +5 Per +9 | AC 15/11/14 | HP 65/65 | F +8/R + 4/ W +7| CMB +6 CMD 17 | Fist (8/8 | Shape (8/8) | Selective Spell (3/3) | Spells: 1st | magic missile (2), mage armour, enlarge (2), prot. evil, feather fall | 2nd glitterdust (DC 18) , bull's strength (2), create pit (DC 18), stinking cloud (DC 18) | 3rd | heroism (2), haste, lightning bolt (DC 19) (2) | 4th | SM IV (2), Beast Shape II (2)

Plans A and B didn't turn out so hot, to be sure. But I feel good about plan C: grapple the scary spellcaster until we can land a dispel.

Remind me next time that See Invisibility is no good without the Dispel Magic one-two-punch. I should have cast it on Lamare! Lesson learned, I suppose.

Scarab Sages

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Male Init +5 Per +9 | AC 15/11/14 | HP 65/65 | F +8/R + 4/ W +7| CMB +6 CMD 17 | Fist (8/8 | Shape (8/8) | Selective Spell (3/3) | Spells: 1st | magic missile (2), mage armour, enlarge (2), prot. evil, feather fall | 2nd glitterdust (DC 18) , bull's strength (2), create pit (DC 18), stinking cloud (DC 18) | 3rd | heroism (2), haste, lightning bolt (DC 19) (2) | 4th | SM IV (2), Beast Shape II (2)

I'm casting SM IV via a scroll, not SM III. Thanks for double checking on the cast-time, I was struggling to find a ruling via mobile. :)

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Not much to add, having not played on the new patch yet, but from a design perspective I love this game to bits. Easily one of the coolest looking games I've played in years.

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The topic of smelting underground is an interesting one. Flint weapons make sense, with the whole issue of smoke inhalation, but that would depend on the size of the cave system.

The chimney didn't come into vogue until the late 17th century, and humans have historically lived in smoke-filled (if not heavy-smoke filled) dwellings. Think caves, longhouses and the like. I don't think a kiln is necessarily out of the question if they were smart about it or delegated it to a certain part of the cave.

For the curious, this documentary showcases tudor-era lead miners, who harvest the ore with little more than hammers and chisels, build a makeshift kiln, refine and sand-cast the ore using nothing more technologically advanced than a set of bellows. They do however do most of the process outdoors, so it doesnt shed any light on ventilation, just on the level of technology involved. Nobody's expecting them to have a modern blast furnace, just some way to regulate the temperature.

There's the question of fuel. Dried dung makes the most sense to me. Although without charcoal I don't know that there would be enough carbon in the process to produce steel.

Anybody who knows anything about the subject want to weigh in?

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Ashiel wrote:
Meanwhile, evil deities have reasons why you'd worship them. For example, there are two sister goddesses that reside over the oceans, one good, one evil, but the two are often worshiped as a pair and each paid respects for different reasons. The evil goddess is commonly revered out of respect for her authority and tributes and respects are paid so that she will pardon your trespass or turn storms and the like away from you. However the two goddesses have a rivalry, and the good one often challenges the wrath of her sister for sport (the good deity is also the goddess of surfing and loves riling her sister up so she can get some serious waves going). Coastal cultures generally adore both of the deities for different life lessons that they teach.

Sounds brilliant!

On the topic of homebrew deities, my first tabletop experience and enduring on-and-off homegame has spun off into a spectacular homebrew of it's own, and each god is written with a positive and a negative aspect (and we've just as often found ourself opposed to the so-called "good" churches as we are the wicked ones). My personal favourite of these deities is Auslfare, the ever changeable goddess of love and war, and patroness of humanity. Both for the frankly magnificent pun on the hands of my GM (who I really can't give enough credit when it comes to worldbuilding) and for the idea of a deity of passion in all it's forms, patriots, jilted lovers, and beserkers alike.

Ashiel wrote:
That sounds funny actually. I'd love to hear more about that. :P

At risk of hijacking your thread for a spell... sure!

First, some context. For my sadly short lived Wrath of the Righteous game I set myself the challenge of making the most unassuming, mundane characters into a mythic one. I settled upon Harrol, the halfling cleric of Iomedae. I wanted to be as out of place at the Worldwound as I could possibly, a meek, unassuming Irish-Catholic altar boy was what I arrived at.

It ended up being an interesting contrast. Iomedae calls on her followers to emulate her in word and deed, yet Harrol was possibly the furthest thing from a knight I could've conjured. It wasn't long before I realised I was playing my Irish-Catholic grandmother if she were three feet high and armed with a sling. Fighting off monsters with little more than magic stone (a spell I was absolutely determined to see in play at the time, even if I had to bloody well cast it myself) I was far from a symbol of knightly virtue, and it made my relationship with the party paladin particularly compelling. His faith was his armour. The chirpy greenhorn got by among amongst grim-faced paladins and riftwardens simply by believing with all of his little heart.

I wanted to really play up the spiritual side of this PC. I was simultaneously playing an elven cleric of Desna and delighting at how different the two characters were, even though they were built almost identically. Their choice of race and deity defined so much about them. I also really enjoyed having such a tiny worldview. Harrol learned his letters when a preacher left behind his holy text at his families homestead. Unlike my Desnan pilgrim, or indeed most clerics, Harrol just plain knew nothing beyond the contents of his dog-eared holy text.

Harrol lugged his copy of the Acts of Iomedae everywhere (which are really heavily detailed on the wiki, actually having the CONTENTS of a holy text was entirely new to me, and altogether pretty great). I had him recite it when he cast spells, channeled energy, or just at moments of sufficient gravity, a nice break from his usual chirpiness and ridiculously transcribed accent. I'd either invent this wholesale, quote made-up saints or sections of the wiki, or more commonly just fiddle with a bible passage to make it appropriate. (Or leave it well enough alone. Most were perfectly applicable as is. Ephesians 6:10-15, anybody? Or Taldorans 6:10-15, if you prefer.) PbP is pretty enabling like that if you want to inject a little bit of research. Real sea-shanties, proper grammatical elvish, germanic folklore, I've had it all. I once applied for a game where the GM had us pen a poetic edda, kennings and all. It's really such a great medium.

Ephesians 6:10-15:
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[a] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.

The Church of Iomedae has been depicted in art as having a heavy catholic influence, and massive cathedrals like the Sancta Iomedaea only enhancing this comparison. So I injected my Iomedaean faith with as much of real-world Catholicism as I could. I'd never read scripture for it's own sake before (despite ten years of Catholic schooling, go figure) and was actually really enjoying injecting that extra bit of authenticity into my character.

Then out of the blue I recieve a PM.

The PM in Question:
Attention Brethren

You will be surprise to hear from me. I am Rev.James Allen from London UK.I have an important issue to discuss with you.

Since paizo is a public site,I will appreciate you to reply me to my private email address for more details:

I wait to hear from you.
God bless you.
Your Good Friend
Rev.James Allen

How he'd stumbled upon this little corner of the internet I don't know. I'd never considered a PbP game as anything other than a private affair between five or so geeks. Maybe I'd have been a bit more sensitive with my subject matter otherwise, but this exchange seemed more than a little ridiculous. I won't share any more, but essentially I told him he was welcome to continue to PM me or report any offending posts, but he made a few more attempts to get my email and stopped responding. I rather wish I'd followed it up now, it surely would have been an interesting conversation if nothing else.

"ATTENTION BRETHREN" might still be my favourite preface to a letter before or since. Edit: Golly, that ran long. I will reiterate that you asked for this, and you've likely read this far, so no take-backsies. :P

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As a side note, haven't kobolds been talked about to death? Somebody nominate a new mook to talk about already. :P

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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
That creature having Reach is perhaps even more powerful, because the only safe ways to engage them are with successful Acrobatics checks for melee (otherwise they get attacked, potentially hit, and therefore killed without any sort of reprisal)

This is the most spectacular leap of logic I've ever seen. We're still talking about kobolds, right? 9 Strength, CR 1/4 kobolds? "Hit and therefore killed"? At +1 to hit for 2.5 average damage I'd hardly think so. Maybe if the kobolds use the brace function and a PC is foolish enough to charge in, but even then the kobolds have such a dismal hit chance that it's almost a non-factor.

If our kobolds are ranked four spaces wide (any deeper and they forgo attacks of opportunity due to soft cover), they'll each get a single attack of opportunity against whoever approaches (in this case, likely a heavily armored fighter with upwards of 17AC (i.e., they only hit on a 16 or higher, a 1 in 4 chance to hit. Against our foolhardy charging fighter, those odds are improved somewhat, they can now hit on a 14 or higher. Not great odds.). The rest of the party are free to move in and cut them to ribbons at their leisure, as the kobolds have spent their attack of opportunity for the round (that is, if they haven't already been incapacitated by a sleep, burning hands, acid flask, ranged attack or anything else that takes advantage of their dismal saves and 5 hit points. Finally once our fighters are within their reach they're forced to withdraw and forgo their attacks for the round.

This is the only context I can see these longspear toting kobolds being deadly. Leading the PC's deeper into the complex where they'll be beset with other hazards. They're still hopelessly ineffective in melee even with the better equipment. They're there to serve as an annoyance and distraction. They don't become instagibbing death machines the second you give them reach. Weapon Finesse and Precise Strike are fair suggestions for giving kobold warriors a bit more bite, but it doesn't make them any less disposable. I say they're still representative of the CR.

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Great thread so far! Open question to Ashiel and any friendly lurkers:

Have you had any experience with low power D&D 3.5 play?

I'm toying with the idea of running the Forge of Fury and associate modules or busting out Red Hand of Doom for PbP play. This choice of system is entirely self-indulgent on my part. I've gotten several opportunities to play around with the Pathfinder system, but my 3.5 games when I first joined the hobby were before I had anything close to the system mastery I had now, and suffered through several levels as a single-classed gnome swashbuckler being peppered with friendly fire from our wizard who was practically soloing every encounter. So less too-lazy to convert and more ill-fated-nostalgia-trip.

Would I be punishing my players too much if I started them on the elite array and encouraged them toward simpler class progressions? (i.e., encouraging spellcasters to remain single-classed, trying to avoid that ubiquitous barbarian dip, etc.) What point buy would you reccomend if I wanted to pit my PC's against NPCs of around that power level?

Bonus question: If you were to dust off 3.5, what houserules would you run it with?
I'm currently thinking of granting cross-class skill ranks on a one-for-one basis to band-aid the horrible punishment that the 3.5 skill system inflicts, restricting access to non-core spell lists/manuevers (the latter only through the Martial Study feat, which I may have to tune up a little) and granting access to important alternate class levels such as the dungeoncrusher fighter and penetrating strike rogue. I'm uncertain what to do about dead-levels (short of playing Pathfinder) and have enough morbid curiosity to leave polymorph and wildshape as they are (with the caveat of restricting players to a few thematically appropriate transformations). My only experience with psionics is frustration at some rather excellent feats for martials being published in the XPH and not elsewhere, and thus off limits or just unknown a lot of the time. (Namely Stand-Still and Greater Manyshot).

</wall of text>

As a side note, I'm always delighted when I see Avatar being talked about. Zaheer from LoK was one of the most sinister and compelling villains I've seen in a long time and it was fantastic to have an

airbender antagonist.

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"-ah-tchoo!- ... I say, did I hear my name?"

Congrats to everybody who made the cut, and to all the fierce competition. You're sure to have a spectacular game!

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Just wanted to point out that Shackleton is perfectly capable of finding traps and disabling all but the non-magic kind. His Perception score (despite appearances) is going to be maxed as we progress.

I suppose it's about time to cast my votes, so here they are.

Martial: I really enjoyed Harbek's in-character post, and am rather simple in my tastes. A Dwarf who likes gold just appeals to my sensibilities. Also I feel like he's the best thematic fit for the path, which disqualified Varya in my eyes. Serpent's Skull seemed less tireless battle against evil and more puply jungle adventure. (And while St. John is a good fit I feel like he and Shackleton wouldn't jibe well. Not that that wouldn't make for some interesting roleplay in itself, but I digress...)

Arcane: I'm rather torn between Okhasa and Alain for his really freaking cool manuever-focused build. But I'm going to cast my vote for the former.

Divine: This was easily the most difficult category for me. But Dragolan has my vote for similar reasons as Lhinneth. He looks like he'll be very comic and very fun, and the idea of trying to usher the corpulent Chelaxian into one of Shackleton's morning jogs is just too good to pass up on. Lhinneth was an easy second choice, although I'm surprised at the number of low-strength, combat manuever and support characters in the running. I thought Shackleton was really breaking the mould.

Skill: I had never seen the Archivist bard before. It looks incredibly interesting. Mikhael has my vote for skill based, although I'm a bit leery of that low strength score I'm guessing he'd make up for it with spellcasting. I also once played a wizard named "Ruben" in a one off. Began a long running joke of wizard characters named after various lunch-meats.

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Male Halfling Cleric /4 | Init +4 Per +4 | AC 19/15/15 | HP 18/35 | F +6/R + 5/ W +7 | CMB +3 CMD 17 | magic stone point-blank +11 (1d6+3; 20ft) | Channel 2d6 (1/5), Touch of Glory [+6] (5/5), Adaptable Luck (1/3) ||| Spells Remaining: 2nd - bulls strength, silence, bless weapon | 1st - bless, liberating command, shield of faith (x2 D) | create water, light, stabilize | SLA - protection from evil (1/1)l |

"It's a..." Harrol stops himself and turns a bright shade of crimson. "It's, ah, no word for a lady's ears, now..."

I'd only heard it used in the context of "fool" or "jerkbag" but turns out it has another, more uh... southerly definition. Also an awesome use of Open/Close there.

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M Human Commoner/1, Expert/1

The strikethrough? Or this symbol? |

On my keyboard it's shift+backslash, as for the strikethrough, the code is like the bolded font, but with an [ s ].

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My long-time gaming group began in such a way, and our GM just couldnt fathom how we were constantly being slaughtered. We actually managed to reach the WBL just off of the treasure salvaged from dead party members. Eventually we realized the root of the problem... but it took us a good long while.

What's keeping you with the caravan? If you're running a sandbox style game perhaps it's time to strike out for new employment. Rather than a strike, declare both in and out of game that you're sick of going hungry and want to strike out for a bigger prize. Gather info on any dragon hoards, forgotten tombs, pirate troves, exotic monsters, genie lamps... I suggest you break out of the caravaneering business and into ADVENTURING.

Sovereign Court

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Half-Elf Fighter/2 Paladin of Shelyn/1 | Init +8 | low-light vision, Perception +1 | AC 22/12/20 | HP 25/27 | F +6 R +2 W +3; +2 vs charm and compulsion | CMB +7, CMD 19 | Loyal Oath (Su) [1/1]

Alaric frowns and closes his fist around the coins. "Don't think you're understanding the situation."

Bluff: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 2 = 22
"Do you know who that there is on deck? He's one of those big-wig Kalistocrats. Interfering with their agents abroad. Now, I don't think the Kalistocracy would be too happy about that. Might spark yourselves an in-ter-national incident, you might. Don't much think your bosses would be too happy with that, no sir."

He plants a foot on the gangplank and flashes the coin again. "One each, and you just skip along home now."

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Oops! Thanks, Sara. :)

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This article is a thing of wonder.

I keep checking back in to praise it and end up and getting lost in the wealth of fantastic posts you've made over the last year or two. I'd definitely support you if you were to write such a product, I wouldn't be able to resist. I've been playing a fighter that uses a great deal of improvised maneuvers and the charge-through feat to be an extremely disruptive force on the battlefield. I hope to put your insights to good use in living up to his name as a "bull-rushing train of justice and smack downs."

A quick question regarding weapon-based manuevers. Would they also apply the small size bonus to attack rolls? Would the -1 CMB penalty be cancelled out? I know that there's a lot more problems with a small-sized maneuver build than that -1CMB, but I'm curious if they cancel each other out.

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Male Gnome Rogue/Sorcerer
Init +3 Per +5 | AC 16/14/14 | HP 25/25 | F +4/R + 5/ W +0| +2 vs illusion | CMB +0 CMD 13 | spells | 1st (4/4) | Spell Failure: 10%

"Musn't say 'witches' aloud in this land. Bad luck it is, bad luck and ill fortune." Bastagar spits, hobbling alongside Caerb. He covers his mouth in fright as he notices that he has done that very thing, knocking his staff on a nearby trunk three times before clambering onto Hilde's shoulder. From atop his perch, he gives Caerb a knowing look. "... and we thinks the winter-queens eats their sons. Cook them in a pot and gobble them up." the gnome says, a little too cheerily.

He turns to Nadya. "Musn't worry. Sled-dog-woman has daughter. Won't be cooked up in a pot. Bastagar too has... rescued a child before. Musn't worry."

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M Human Commoner/1, Expert/1

I have the opposite problem when GMing. Normally trivial encounters turn into desperate slogs when my monsters roll like gods and my players are constantly missing.

I once had a barbarian spend three rounds trying to take down three 4hp skeletons. His minimum damage would be able to kill all three in a single round if he hit, thanks to cleave and cleaving finish, but instead he ended up getting shredded by the combined 1d4+2 of their unerring +2 claw attacks. He just couldn't roll above a 3, and they never got below 15.

It just gets horrendously demoralizing for the players when the mooks become a big problem, not to mention slowing the combat down when they should be breezing through to more important objectives.

Same game, a level 3 cavalier was soloed into unconsciousness by a CR 2 draugr for the same reasons.

Huh, just realize Twigs left his account logged on at my house.

In that case...

Wizards rule, faeries drool.

~ The Halfhand Bastagar Swiftthicket

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Male Gnome Rogue/Sorcerer
Init +3 Per +5 | AC 16/14/14 | HP 25/25 | F +4/R + 5/ W +0| +2 vs illusion | CMB +0 CMD 13 | spells | 1st (4/4) | Spell Failure: 10%

"Some faerie-luck to take along, keep fortune fair and spirit strong..."

Hope it all goes well. I've been lucky enough to stay out of hospital since I was a young feller, but I wish you as much icecream and jelly and video games as they gave to me in the childrens ward. When you're hale and hearty again I want to hear about your GISHWHES experience.

No objections here to a slow day of posting. It's 12pm on a Sunday and so far I've done nothing but check into all of my games. Conceivably this is a sign I need to cut back, but bah! Bah, I say!

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My advice is not to tie yourself down to one NPC. Mix it up a bit!

  • In the great tombs of the mummy-lords, have a sphynx guardian join forces with the PCs.
  • Have the baron entrust the PCs with a few mounted hirelings as they try to rout the forces of the bandit-king.
  • Have a big, angry neutral monster (such as a Purple Worm) attack both the PCs and their enemies as it burrows through the dungeon complex. Let the PCs use it to their advantage or otherwise.
  • Have the wizard discover a cache of earth elemental gems

    A few more points to make:

  • First, regarding monsters with PC class levels, I'm really not a fan. They're messy and tend to disenfranchise the players a bit when NPCs get cooler options than they do (in this case, getting to be a freakin' sphinx). I'd stick with warrior levels or additional HD or just using the monster as written if that's a little overcomplicated. There are online tools for advancing monsters, so perhaps you could search for one of them)

  • Second, what a party 'needs' is really flexible. I'd hold off and see how they fare for a game or two before introducing an NPC to fill that gap. Let the game be about the players for a while, and suggest ways they can fill the gap with say, summon monster spells and AoO magic. If the party are wounded and low on juice, allowing them to befriend, charm or enlist the aid of a meatshield might be all they need to keep going, but your players mightn't like it if they're fighting behind an ally every encounter and begin to feel like "the help

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    M Human Commoner/1, Expert/1

    Turns out the uni-bar is having a GISHWHES themed start of session party (with food and decoration to help people pad out their lists). Why am I only finding out about this now?

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    M Human Commoner/1, Expert/1

    I don't know, I think I agree with Shifty here. And Bastagar's been carrying cold iron since the start of the game, as well. I'd rather explore the conflict of carrying around a cursed blade that terrifies him, if only because the winter fey terrify him more.

    In my opinion theres an important divide between what a paladin DISAPPROVES of and what a paladin WILL NOT TOLERATE. They're supposed to be tireless opponents of evil, not tireless opponents of the party not doing things their way. Not trying to talk you out of the ritual here (I can roll with it), just the way that you're talking about your code in the discussion thread. But I tend to have a gut-reaction to alignment related bickering. I'll reiterate what I said upthread and say that we should do it in-character. I was considering coming upstairs after the basement incident covered in blood, and could totally envision the paladin spitting on a rag and rubbing his face clean before sending him to bed without supper. I decided I was probably pushing my luck though. :P

    Really though, I dig the maternal/master-servant dynamic we seem to be edging towards. On my part I'm totally cool with sharing the tent, and with being a minion at that. It's a great way to play out Bastagar's twisted morality, and just how pathetic and cowardly he is at times. He can also play squire to Hilde when she gets her full-plate, strapping her into her armour and fawning over like the worlds creepiest miniature manservant.

    Also pretty sure my trickster could eat a certain orc for breakfast. Provided the Halfhand lends me that crossbow of his that never rolls under 15... In fact I'll just let the Halfhand cast colour spray on my behalf and take all of the credit.

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    M Human Commoner/1, Expert/1
    Annalísa Finnrsdóttir wrote:
    @Twigs - he didn't literally mean crotch.

    Nonetheless it made me feel a little less hesitant to coup de grace the bloke. If we're going to start back we may as well start swinging, eh? (I'm hoping this turns out more Benny Hill and not an elk incident of our very own. :P)

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    Male Gnome Rogue/Sorcerer
    Init +3 Per +5 | AC 16/14/14 | HP 25/25 | F +4/R + 5/ W +0| +2 vs illusion | CMB +0 CMD 13 | spells | 1st (4/4) | Spell Failure: 10%

    Black House:
    You've had your turn. Be nice. :P

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    In my game, Shayliss succeeded in her hide check, but my PC rolled a 3.

    "Son, what are you doing naked in my basement?"

    "Uh... Waiitiiiing... for you?"

    Needless to say, we all in stitches.

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    Magnificent bull-rushing train of justice and smack-downs | Init +1 Per +2 | AC 25/12/23 or AC 21/12/19| HP 45/45 | F +6/R + 2/ W +3| +3 bravery, +1 trait bonus vs. devils CMB +8 CMD 19 | Conditions: None
    pick one-handed power attack w/shield +8 (1d6+9) | pick two-handed power attack +10 (1d6+13/x4) | pick one handed w/shield +10 (1d6+5/x4) or two handed +12 (1d6+7/x4) | bardiche +10 (1d10+13/19-20; reach, brace) |

    Unable to distract himself from the debauchery any longer, Lucon stares in transfixed horror. He pulls his fellow Torchbearers aside, his bright-red cheeks turning deathly pale and a grave, sober expression taking over his face... "My wife must never hear of this." he says with the utmost severity, closing the door behind him and crossing his arms.

    He shifts uncomfortably on his feet.

    "Come on. The sooner we're out of here the better. Let us try the attic first." Lucon says, making his way up the stairs and taking a conversational tone. "Though god only knows how many floors this place has. I used to be a joiner, back before the money left Westcrown. Worked on villas, manors and the like, but none of them half as big as this place. How many rooms do you expect this place has...?"

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    mplindustries wrote:
    I don't want my players writing any backstory out. I'm a very picky critic--every background I've ever read has been awful. I want them, instead, to have a conversation with me--in person, e-mail, whatever--about their background, and then I can work it in, make sure it works, and I don't have to read stilted prose, just ideas that will enhance the game.

    Ha! Yeah, I know what you mean. Personally a backstory that makes me cringe is far worse than none at all. (And I've been given ones so bad that I want to frame them).

    Personally I go very bare bones on backstory, a I like to go in knowing what sort of archetype I want to play and how my character should turn out.

    Avatar-1 wrote:
    I want to play the story, not read a story.

    I'd rather have somebody with an open ended, ambiguous backstory that I can pepper with old acquaintances and nuggets of wisdom as the game progresses. Given my current trend of playing the demihuman races, I just use this as a framework.

    My bitter jaded elf is ashamed for deserting the Lantern Bearers. My grubby greedy dwarf wants to pay a lavish dowry to buy his bride. My mad, bleached gnome thinks he can buy back his youth with stolen trinkets. All of these characters have lived for a century, but I'm deliberately vague on their pasts, because it doesnt matter. They've lived a long time, travelled, have lots of old acquaintances and probably a fair bit of wisdom to share. But I'd rather leave it ambiguous and come up with that in-game, so I like to stick with what's important.

    As for human PCs, you're not nearly a long lived. You've probably had time to learn the tools of your trade and depending on your level had some success at it. My human knight is on a quest to prove himself after a lesser noble is caught letting him win a tourney match and shatters his confidence.

    There's a lot left unsaid in these back-stories, but they're filled with potential to expand apon. When I DO write a back-story around the two or three page mark, I tend to just fill it with stories my PC might share with the others rather than dead parents, prophesies and compelling revenge plots. Valeros, Alain, Merisiel... so many of the iconics have little in the way of backstory. Only enough to say "this is who I am". I think the "meet the iconics" post are as good an example as any for writing up a PC, and they're more or less the framework I use.

    tl;dr Less is more
    Don't fret too much about it
    Write as much as you can have fun with

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    I blame Cosmo for the week I spent playing MOBAs, printing Runelords maps, fine tuning my notes and taking a boxing class instead of dealing with this weekends impending deadlines.

    And also for the exorbitant amount I spent without a second thought on shipping for a set of the shiny new pawn sets.

    And for soggy chicken caesar salads.

    And perhaps the most unforgivable of all...

    Brandon Verkennes wrote:
    ...the existence of Chihuahuas.

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    Magnificent bull-rushing train of justice and smack-downs | Init +1 Per +2 | AC 25/12/23 or AC 21/12/19| HP 45/45 | F +6/R + 2/ W +3| +3 bravery, +1 trait bonus vs. devils CMB +8 CMD 19 | Conditions: None
    pick one-handed power attack w/shield +8 (1d6+9) | pick two-handed power attack +10 (1d6+13/x4) | pick one handed w/shield +10 (1d6+5/x4) or two handed +12 (1d6+7/x4) | bardiche +10 (1d10+13/19-20; reach, brace) |

    Lucon hands Caladius the rope, but sags under the tiefling's iron stare and lumbers up the rope first.

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    M Human Commoner/1, Expert/1

    That photo made every evoker I've ever played feel inadequate.

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    M Human Commoner/1, Expert/1

    All of my campaigns have slowed to a crawl at the moment. It's as if the universe wont let me procrastinate on this growing pile of essays. I'm sure Mark is enjoying himself.

    That or we lost him in a freak drop bear attack.

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    M Human Commoner/1, Expert/1

    Oh my god, I got the lady smurf. I think that dampens my threat somewhat. Really, postmonster? Why do you loathe me so?

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    Male Gnome Rogue/Sorcerer
    Init +3 Per +5 | AC 16/14/14 | HP 25/25 | F +4/R + 5/ W +0| +2 vs illusion | CMB +0 CMD 13 | spells | 1st (4/4) | Spell Failure: 10%

    "Bastagar suggests green-man watches who he calls "smurf" if he values his eyes."

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    Male Gnome Rogue/Sorcerer
    Init +3 Per +5 | AC 16/14/14 | HP 25/25 | F +4/R + 5/ W +0| +2 vs illusion | CMB +0 CMD 13 | spells | 1st (4/4) | Spell Failure: 10%

    Will Save: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (7) + 0 = 7

    Bastagar shields his eyes, waving his pan about menacingly. "Ha! Trick like that wouldn't fell a cat! To fell Bastagar will take more than-..." he begins, before lurching forward and collapsing in a heap in the snow.

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    Magnificent bull-rushing train of justice and smack-downs | Init +1 Per +2 | AC 25/12/23 or AC 21/12/19| HP 45/45 | F +6/R + 2/ W +3| +3 bravery, +1 trait bonus vs. devils CMB +8 CMD 19 | Conditions: None
    pick one-handed power attack w/shield +8 (1d6+9) | pick two-handed power attack +10 (1d6+13/x4) | pick one handed w/shield +10 (1d6+5/x4) or two handed +12 (1d6+7/x4) | bardiche +10 (1d10+13/19-20; reach, brace) |

    Hodor? Hodor.

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    brreitz wrote:

    Phase spiders. Super-deadly poison, ability to phase in, attack, and phase out in a single round. I've had players very upset at me for using these in a swamp, where their mobility was limited.

    It was great.

    These guys are TERRIFYING. They single handedly stopped me from getting any further than the cloakwood in Baldur's Gate.

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    insaneogeddon wrote:
    Power Attack is worthless.


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    Great topic, Mikaze!

    My fighter PC for my current Council of Thieves game (run on these very boards by the fantastic GmMug) began the game with a light hammer, a pouch of nails (as caltrops), masterwork tools and a leather apron. I wanted to take him from a slow progression from simple craftsman to hero. At the moment he's donning a nice shiny breastplate and a plundered tower shield with the Cheliax coat of arms, so he's come a long way in two levels. In fact I don't know where to go with it next, appearance wise. Our own version of the Children of Westcrown are known as the "Torchbearers", so maybe some kind of continual flame for my armour or something equally showy.

    My current longest running campaign, a homebrew one that's been running for the whole five years I've been playing, has been a sporadic one, and we've played numerous characters over numerous adventurers as we cut from place to place, from PC to PC. Our characters have gone through some serious arcs in this time, and given that myself and my GM are both avid artists with something of a competitive streak, we tend to develop a characters "look" between us.

    One of my characters, actually another PCs graduated ghoul cohort, is currently accompanying another, this time ex-player's, retired PC as her bodyguard. The ghoul is a bitter honor bound samurai, but is currently deep in the desert on a hunt for the exiled emperor of the eastern kingdoms and the Imperial Seal. He's wrapped in thick shawls and wrappings that hide his features, has a camel as his cavalier mount and wields a dead man's falchion, but I plan on decking him out in full samurai armour, (my ultimate combat copy tells me it's called o-yoroi), a white stallion and a huge banner bearing his lady's sigil once he makes his triumphant homecoming and we try to quell civil war in the east.


    3.5 Loyalist wrote:
    Good scars can represent so much of a character's experiences.

    Another of my characters, a bandit with an almost Rincewindian bad-luck streak, has a scar that can probably top anyone in this thread. His belly is split open and his guts spilling out. As you can guess, he died somewhat horrifically. We continued his story with several unforgiving sessions set in the Abyss, as he was hunted by Mephistopholes (he may have accidentally sold his soul at one point in his backstory.) The fate of the damned is to forever bear the wounds of their earthly life, and an unlucky encounter with a redcap ensured my bandit was now a gutless coward in more sense than one.

    The surviving PCs from the start of the campaign have been through much the same treatment. One, Nikola Tesla (a lightning mage, who'd've thunk it?) is gradually becoming more and more an elemental as he becomes the conduit for the storm that will bring on the apocalypse. He's gone from a beleaguered student and storm chaser to an elemental force of destruction (with an unfortunate tendancy for destructing the party's front line).

    It makes me realise how much we have unresolved. I need to start bugging my GM twofold to keep the game rolling! Get on it, Lex.

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