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Ebon Acolyti

Urath DM's page

951 posts. Alias of Mark Greene.


1 to 50 of 951 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next > last >>

The kickstarter project JPSTOD was referring to was the FIRST try.. it was canceled when it looked like it was going to fail. There now appears to be a second try going on. I hope this one turns out better.

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The most complete resource is in the Second Darkness AP. One of the support articles is a 16-page piece on "Drow of Golarion". The AP itself is about the history and origin of the Drow in Golarion.

At the time of Second Darkess' publication, the existence of the Drow on Golarion was limited to rumors and unsubstantiated theories... think of it like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster in the real world.

The "Drow of Golarion" article is in book 3 of the Adventure Path, "The Armageddon Echo". Book 4 details the Drow city of Zirnakaynin, and living there with the Drow is a central theme.

Paizo has also used some mechanical pieces from the 3.0 book "Plot & Poison: A Sourcebook on the Drow" from Green Ronin (later revised for 3.5 as "Advanced Race Codex: Drow"), but they have used no cultural/ social material from it that I recognized.

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As has been mentioned before, the criteria for the first two has been: 1) 3.5 rules and 2) sold out of print stock (completely, or almost completely... at least sufficiently for Paizo to feel like they aren't wasting their efforts re-visiting the AP).

Criterion 1 means only Second Darkness and Legacy of Fire are on the "short list".

Criterion 2 means neither of those qualify. At that point, Kingmaker becomes the most favorable candidate.

Unless something changes, then, there are no APs that meet the two main criteria. There is no commitment from Paizo to even do anothery, anyway, so it is possible the lack of a "perfect" candidate could delay or prevent another hardcover compilation.

In terms of needing help (aside from being written for 3.5), the main candidates are likely:

  • Second Darkness: Because it has created a more negative impression of Elves in Golarion, and for other errors (though I have to wonder if the bad impression is more due to the readers' past experiences with elves in other settings).
  • Serpent's Skull: Because production issues led to problems even getting the adventures done, and the result was unsatisfactory.
  • Wrath of the Righteous: Because the Mythic rules were being developed at the same time, and discrepancies produced unintended effects that soured some people on Mythic altogether.

As for some of the other common requests:

  • Kingmaker: Sold out is a good sign, and the popularity of requests leave it a solid candidate... but the rules changes affecting it are pretty much all on the PRD. Substituting the updated Kingdom and Mass Combat rules is pretty easy, so this actually is among the lowest priorities, in terms of "needing help" anyway.
  • Council of Thieves: May be in need of some tweaking to the rules, but suffers from being unpopular.

Based on a quick analysis of message-board posts here on the Paizo forums, weighted to represent the time since announcement of each AP, the winners and losers (in terms of activity) are:

TOP 5 ACTIVITY (listed from most to least active):

  • Rise of the Runelords*
  • Kingmaker
  • Wrath of the Righteous
  • Iron Gods
  • Carrion Crown

BOTTOM 5 ACTIVITY (listed from least active to most):

  • Second Darkness
  • Legacy of Fire
  • Council of Thieves
  • Shattered Star
  • Mummy's Mask

*Rise of the Runelords gained a "bump" from the Anniversary Edition, so its numbers may be over-stated in comparison to the others for that reason. Curse of the Crimson Throne, which has just released a similar compilation, placed "dead center" (10th out of 20) for activity-weighted-by-time in that analysis.

Methodology and Raw Data:
For those who care about the method and data..

Using the total posts and thread counts for each AP (listed in their headers here on the forums), and the estimated number of months since they were announced (because Ironfang Invasion would ascend to the top with a number of threads in 0 months if I used release dates...), I calculated the raw "posts per month" and "threads per month". Posts per thread would not be all that helpful, especially considering that there had been some contentious threads (esp. re: Wrath of the Righteous).

The Data, as of Sept 9:

  • Rise of the Runelords: 52,154 posts in 3,791 threads over 114 months
  • Curse of the Crimson Throne: 16,064 posts in 1,247 threads over 108 months
  • Second Darkness: 6,297 posts in 428 threads over 104 months
  • Legacy of Fire: 6,035 posts in 486 threads over 98 months
  • Council of Thieves: 6,424 posts in 529 threads over 92 months
  • Kingmaker: 34,424 posts in 2,260 threads over 86 months
  • Serpent's Skull: 7,751 posts in 480 threads over 80 months
  • Carrion Crown: 15,513 posts in 1,072 threads over 74 months
  • Jade Regent: 8,178 posts in 584 threads over 68 months
  • Skull & Shackles: 11, 035 posts in 849 threads over 62 months
  • Shattered Star: 3,969 posts in 264 threads over 56 months
  • Reign of Winter: 7,469 posts in 376 threads over 50 months
  • Wrath of the Righteous: 14,312 posts in 591 threads over 44 months
  • Mummy's Mask: 3,236 posts in 179 threads over 38 months
  • Iron Gods: 7,601 posts in 353 threads over 32 months
  • Giantslayer: 2,303 posts in 109 threads over 26 months
  • Hell's Rebels: 3,359 posts in 173 threads over 20 months
  • Hell's Vengeance: 2,080 posts in 85 threads over 14 months
  • Strange Aeons: 1,322 posts in 46 threads over 8 months
  • Irongang Invasion: 231 posts in 8 threads over 2 months

Firelock wrote:
Urath DM wrote:

"Necro-ing" a thread this old is somewhat frowned upon, even if not forbidden. And one reason for that might be that...

The posts earlier in this thread refer to stats from D&D 3.5 for the Aboleth and the Large Shark... which are somewhat different from those of the Pathfinder versions you are referring to.

D&D 3.5 Large Shark: 38 hp; AC 15; Bite +7 (1d8+4)
D&D 3.5 Aboleth: 76 hp; AC 16; 4 tentacles +12 (1d6+8 plus slime)

Pathfinder Shark: 22hp; AC 14; Bite +5 (1d8+4)
Pathfinder Aboleth: 84 hp; AC 20; 4 tentacles +10 (1d6+5 plus slime)

Large Sharks were much more of a threat to the Aboleth in 3.5 than they are in Pathfinder. Generally, summoned creatures are expected to be more of a nuisance or distraction than a true threat to the enemy, but in the case of the D&D Aboleth vs a D&D Large Shark, that's not so much the case.

I may never understand why some people hate thread necro so much. As long as you know what you're talking about what's the problem? I freely admit at least some of the time I don't know what I'm talking about, but that's neither here nor there. :) Thanks for taking the time to reply though Urath, you seem like a cool person.

It may take the Aboleth more recovery time in 3.5, but exactly the same thing would happen.

Even by 3.5 the Aboleth only needs to roll a 3 or better to hit the shark, and does an average of 44 damage each round (average, not maximum), killing one shark per round, which makes the maximum possible damage the sharks can do to the Aboleth (barring any critical hit for both the sharks and the Aboleth) before all 3 are dead a mere 72 damage (this is maximum, not average), meaning the Aboleth's survival is almost guaranteed.

Still, the situation was "1d3 large sharks"... not a specific number. Odds are it would be 2, but could equally well be 1 or 3. If it is 1, the Aboleth could, indeed, take it out in one round.. probably. When talking about averages, the thing to remember is that any specific roll doesn't have to obey them. You can roll high and get a critical hit, or low and miss. There's a 5% base chance of either, on each attack.. and it is possible to roll four 1s or four 20s.

If there was more than 1 shark, then while the Aboleth is working on one, the other(s) is/are working on the Aboleth.

The GM may have reasoned in that case that, if the PCs are going to move on, spending several rounds off-screen to play out the battle might not be the best use of time. That's just a guess, of course, but describing it as the Aboleth fleeing for its life is less of a stretch under 3.5 than under Pathfinder.

I will call shortly.

There is no apparent way to make the change on the "My Payment Methods" page. There are three buttons:

"Add Payment Method" and "Change" in a box in the upper right corner, and "Select Another Payment Method" under the listed method on the left. There are no other visible controls.

The "Change" button does not appear to do anything; it may be re-directing back to the same page, because there is some visible activity as the page refreshes... but nothing that would let me make a change.

So, if I need to update only the expiration date, it appears I need to create an entirely new Payment Method for that. Is that the case?

None that I recall.

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bitter lily wrote:

My question is about who wrote "Acadamae Graduate (Local)" to begin with? It's apparently from a "content" book, Curse of the Crimson Throne Player’s Guide. I've seen at least one post (but don't, of course, helpfully remember where!!!) from a dev who basically said he doesn't comment on stuff that isn't from rules books because he's not involved in writing it. Which I took to mean that if it doesn't show up on the PRD, it's not as reliable as the stuff that does. And yes, if anyone can actually link to such a statement, I'll be deeply appreciative.

The point is, it now seems a lot more reasonable to re-write a "you may choose to" into "Acadamae Graduate (Local)" than into "Shield Slam," which does show up on the PRD. Although even there, why spoil the player's day with a ruling that they're too vicious to control the force of their shield bash?


You may be thinking of something James Jacobs has said, which amounts to "don't ask me for official rules answers because that's not my department". The world-neutral team that works on the Core Rulebook, Ultimate [whatever], and [whatever] Adventures books is a separate team from the Golarion-specific group that works on Adventure Paths, Player Companions, and Campaign Setting books.

In the past, people asked James Jacobs for his opinion on various rules bits, and his answer was sometimes different depending on when you asked him.... or different from the "official" answer that may have come later or in another thread.

If the original version of Academae Graduate was from the Curse of the Crimson Throne Player Guide, then it has two potential issues: 1) it was written for 3.5 and not Pathfinder, and 2) the campaign traits at some points were intended to be stronger than "normal" traits because the players were "strongly encouraged" to take such a trait as one of their 2 when playing in those campaigns (and, by implication, they may not be appropriate for general play campaign when NOT playing the matching Adventure Path... YMMV on that).

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Steve Geddes wrote:
My brain is struggling to put that image together. A a cape, with a pistol, on a horse...

It's the teeth.. they're opposable.

Righty_ wrote:

There is not enough material on the subject of kyonin.

For those who don't know, there is an 8-page write-up of Kyonin in Pathfinder #17, A Memory of Darkness, book 5 of the Second Darkness AP. As it is all flavor, it is usable with the Pathfinder rules even though it was written in the 3.x era.

Likewise, the half-elf settlement of Erages, in Kyonin, gets a 2-page write-up in the Player Companion "Bastards of Golarion".

Older threads may give the impression that Book 2 is "least liked" because of

later, the final boss Xanesha the TPK machine, pre-Anniversary Edition update

but I am not aware of any particular dislike for the Misgivings.

I received an email notice on Monday that 8-04 and 8-05 were preparing to process on Wednesday (today).

Latrecis wrote:

I might be misreading the post but the level of carnage from the haunts seems high and the cause is not clear. A lot of poor save rolls? The previous GM had haunts affect too many pc's at once? Or otherwise strengthened them? After a paladin, the next best class for dealing with haunts is a cleric (which the group seems to have) - did the cleric player understand how they work? Some positive channeling can do wonders - though the pc's might miss out on information if the haunt is taken out before it "goes off." The GM has some responsibility to...

That's my take as well, and why I mentioned that not all of the haunts usually affect all the PCs. More information would help there.

The other thing to remember, beyond what PneumaPilot2 mentioned, is that most of the haunts only target 1 PC out of the group, based on his/her "sin". Others, and unallocated specific ones, target anyone.

A small group (less than 4 PCs) may be triggering too many haunts per character, but that can be reined in.

Kalindlara wrote:

I strongly suspect that the Lantern Bearers' depiction in this AP is one of the things Mr. Jacobs would fix, given the chance. Among other things, their depiction in the (slightly) more recent Faction Guide takes particular pains to discuss how firmly good-aligned they are. Their actions in the AP (and their description as "mercenaries") don't really gel with any of their material published since then.

While a hardcover update is unlikely for the foreseeable future, hopefully we'll get something at some point that clears some of these issues up.

Mostly agreed... the issue I was trying to get to is that PC members of the Lantern Bearers will have some conflicts to deal with as the AP goes on. At the time, there was no Faction or Prestige Class for PCs to be members of, and the GMs who expected/required the PCs members generally did so in order to get around other issues in the AP.

Second Darkness aftermath:
As part of the aftermath, the PCs can choose whether to oppose the Winter Council and side with the Queen, as one way to continue. A PC Lantern Bearer could be the leader who breaks with the Winter Council and reforms the organization more along the lines of what is in the Faction Guide, as one option.

The "problem" with a Lantern Bearer PC is that there are revelations about who they work for later in the AP, and the PC may not like what that entails.

Also, once the contacts with the higher-level Lantern Bearers become common, the PC might expect to be told more than the AP plans for.

Plus, there WILL ba a problem with Book 5.

SD Book 5:
A squad of Shin'Rakorath (Lantern Bearers) are sent to capture or kill the PCs in order to silence them before they share what they know. Does the PC side with the assassins? Does the PC kill fellow Lantern Bearers? How does s/he feel about the organization once it becomes clear that the Lantern Bearers are an arm of the Winter Council?

So, while Lantern Bearer (both the Faction and the Prestige Class) feel like they should be a perfect fit for this AP, they actually can cause some problems.

For this reason, some GMs in the past have required that ALL PCs be Elves and Lantern Bearers.. so that encounter can be avoided by the Winter Council "trusting their own" to keep quiet.

I don't like that solution myself, as it feels really forced and contrived.

For what it's worth, two of the older (3.5 era) city sourcebooks.. The Guide to Absalom and the Guide to Korvosa (if I recall correctly) included both rental and purchase prices for homes and businesses in those cities.

Those have likely been superseded by the somewhat different view of the economy as Pathfinder's campaign setting has evolved.

Jester David wrote:
Urath DM wrote:
shintsurugi wrote:

If I preorder the hardcover, will I automatically get a PDF as well? Or will I need to buy both seperately?

EDIT: I am not an AP subscriber.

AP subscribers get the free PDF as a perk for being subscribers. Everyone else has to but it separately.

I do like that subscribers just get it free. A nice perk.

That said.... I'd love a print + PDF bundle option. Something that brings the PDF down in price to a reasonable cost.
Like Paizo does for lots of other products on this website.

$32 for just the PDF? Sure. Sometimes you just want the e-copy to read. Paizo needs to pay off those production costs.
But when you're getting the print copy *and* the digital (so you can search for an NPC or have magic item stats up while also looking at the monster).... $32 + regular price is hella expensive.
It doesn't need to be free, but a $5 or $10 increase for a bundle would be nice.

Unless I am mistaken, the Book+PDF bundles are all Third-Party Products... it is the decision of those publishers to offer Print+PDF bundles, and Paizo is only making available what the Publishers have indicated they wish to sell.

Paizo's own decisions along this line are influenced (again, unless I am mistaken) by a desire to maintain good relations with brick-and-mortar stores as well.

shintsurugi wrote:

If I preorder the hardcover, will I automatically get a PDF as well? Or will I need to buy both seperately?

EDIT: I am not an AP subscriber.

AP subscribers get the free PDF as a perk for being subscribers. Everyone else has to but it separately.

The advice to visit the forums is the best advice you can get.

Just be aware that the older posts refer to the original version of the AP, and some elements were changed for the hardcover Anniversary Edition. So mentions of a certain TPK-machine encounter in the second volume are no longer as relevant, for example.

The "Community Resources" thread is full of player-created add-ons and such.

As for the setting, if you can afford the Inner Sea Primer, that's a player-friendly condensed version of the (much larger) Inner Sea World Guide. The Pathfinder Wiki is usually helpful, but if you're strapped for the setting books, it can be a real help.

However, while it is nice to have all of the support books, they're not truly necessary other than to provide in-world options for your players. In that case, it may be good to keep them focused on the AP rather than delving into the details of the world setting. The Pathfinder Wiki should be enough to get you past any questions that come up.

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There's a whole thread discussing the merits of each AP as the next candidate for a hardcover. It began well before Curse of the Crimson Throne was announced, for which reason you will see CotCT is popular and seems the most likely candidate in the earlier posts. Later posts, after announcement of the CotCT updated version, begin re-assessing... and lead to the possibility of "maybe none", as Kalindlara mentioned.

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There is also a write-up of Chopper's Isle as an adventure site in Wayfinder #7 (free fanzine available here). After that, one of my players wanted to buy the island and build on it.

Wayfinder #7 also has other expansion articles for the area.

Freeport is Green Ronin, yes.
Sounds like the race is not properly sourced in HeroLab.

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A lot of long-time players get hung up on "Memorizing" spells.. and "forgetting" them once cast; the wording from (original) D&D, AD&D, and AD&D 2nd Edition.

As of 3rd Edition, "Spell Preparation" became the term, and references to Roger Zelaznys' Amber were used to illustrate the process.

The spellbook contains the instructions for preparing the spell.

When you prepare a spell, you leave it unfinished.. ready for the last words or gestures to trigger it. You can prepare multiples of the same spell if you have the capacity. You do not "memorize" or "forget".. you "prepare" and "expend".

A scroll, unlike a spellbook, contains the energies of the completed spell (including the used up material components) in the magical writing. Casting from the scroll releases the spell, "expending" it.

Now, wish me luck trying to find where I read that before. :)

In addition to what Latrecis has said, I would offer...

I disagree that it is better if the PCs are natives to Sandpoint. The original writing is from the standpoint of newcomers to town, so it is easier to use the provided material as it explains things for a newcomer.

I don't think it is bad to have the PCs be Sandpoint natives; it just means that some of the material won't make sense as-written if they are, and needs to be presented differently... not as something they discover, but as something they already know (a handout listing the NPC names and businesses can help with this).

What I think is MOST difficult, though, is a party of mixed natives and non-natives... because then you have the added burden of remembering which PCs should already know who Kendra Deverin is and what she is like, and which ones should not.

The "Varisia: Birthplace of Legends" player companion has campaign traits for the PCs (duplicating the ones in the Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition Players Guide), and it is recommended that each PC should have one of those traits.. which are designed to help them have a link to Sandpoint. At least one of them makes the PC a native of Sandpoint, while the others are for strangers to town. Using these can help the players feel like their characters have more of a connection to the town.

Also, remember that various shops will offer discounts or other perks to the PCs that visit them. Rewarding the PCs for taking the time to get to know the NPCs (even only a little) will help them seem more real.

Finally, using the Downtime rules from Ultimate Campaign can allow the PCs to build homes and businesses in Sandpoint, which should help them to feel like they need to protect the town. It would also allow them to interact with the NPCs more, role-playing the working to earn capital involved.

Also, as Latrecis mentioned, role-playing out interactions with the NPCs is not for everyone. The worst case is when the group is split... four players, two of whom love to play out interactions while the other two absolutely hate it. In that case, maybe the meet-and-greet with the NPCs should be done by those who like it between sessions, over email or chat.

A mount would make the commando tougher to deal with, and is a separate creature that could keep fighting after the commando got off or was killed, for example.

First, what edition are you looking at? The original uses D&D 3.5 rules, while the Anniversary Edition has been updated to Pathfinder rules. Everything I said previously applies to the Pathfinder version, but would be different with the original version.

If the early encounter is titled "Die, Dog, Die! (EL 3)", then that is the original edition.

If the early encounter is titled "Die, Dog, Die!" with no parentheses, it is the Anniversary edition.

It would probably help us understand what you are comparing if you cited page numbers for us to look at with you.

Paizo's design philosophy for encounters is spelled out in the Core Rulebook (Chapter 12, p.397), and for humanoid creatures with class levels (Chapter 14, Creating NPCs).

As Craglansun mentioned, the encounter's CR is listed in its title. That specifies a "pool" of XP to be used for that encounter; a CR 2 encounter has a "pool" of up to 600 XP. Not every encounter will use up all of the pool, and some may be a little over.

Goblin Warriors are CR 1/3. and they are built using the notes in the Goblin entry in the Bestiary .. specifically, their racial bonuses to skills, and such.

Other Goblins in the AP are built the same way... by applying the "Creating NPCs" rules (because Goblins do not have racial Hit Dice, only class levels).

The basic CR for such a creature is Level - 1; if the creature has NPC classes instead of PC classes (as a Goblin Warrior 1 does), an additional -1 factor is applied. The negative factors do not reduce 1 to 0, but rather begin the fractional listings. So a Goblin Warrior 1 is CR 1 reduced 2 "steps" (or CR 1 -> 1/2 -> 1/3).

The Thistleop Rangers have PC classes.. they are only reduced 1 step, not two, from 1 to 1/2.

Fractional CRs indicate it takes "that many" creatures to equal a CR 1 (so 3 Goblin Warriors or 2 Goblin Rangers are a CR 1)

To figure out the CR of the entire encounter, add the XP values of the creatures in it together, and compare the total to the table in Chapter 12 to find the closest "Total XP". That's the CR of the encounter.

All of this is already done in the AP. 3.5 used the term "Encounter Level" (EL) to differentiate the combined CR of the creatures in the encounter. However, 3.5 CR was less exact than Pathfinder, and the method for determining the CR of encounters with multiple creatures was different, so the version of the AP (original 3.5 or the Anniversary edition that is Pathfinder) can make the reading a little harder.

The short answer is that there is little formally written up to show how trials are resolved all over Golarion. As mentioned, the region will influence the outcome greatly. Cheliax would likely have complex legal processes with the mentioned "sleazy lawyers" all over; Korvosa, as an admirer of Cheliax, would likely try to have the same. Magnimar (and, by extension, Sandpoint), founded by people who rejected Korvosa's leanings toward Cheliax and its Diabolism, would likely insist on keeping things simpler (as mentioned up thread).

So... Ultimate Intrigue adds "Social Combat" and "Verbal Duels" to the repertoire of the game. One use specifically mentioned for "Verbal Duels" is pleading court cases.

The Downtime rules in Ultimate Campaign include Capital resources (gold, Goods, Influence, Labor, and Magic), which can be spent to add modifiers to rolls (such as rolls in pleading court cases). PCs may balk at using Influence or Gold to alter the course of the trial, but they may want to use them to block external forces trying to do that.

Crime & Punishment is a decent book. I found it a little too "modern" in its approaches for my tastes (not too surprising since Keith Baker also was the creator of Eberron, which I also found to be more modern-style than I like), but if you're looking to replicate police- or trial- procedural shows like Law & Order or CSI, it can help.

Dragonlance's original publication was for AD&D and AD&D 2nd Edition, and used the Battlesystem rules, including cardboard counters specific to the Dragonlance armies (Draconians, etc.)

  • Pathfinder has Mass Combat rules in the Ultimate Campaign book. They do not specifically allow you to "zoom in" though. Legendary Games has published Ultimate Battle and Ultimate War to supplement the rules in Ultimate Campaign.

  • A third party (Cubicle Seven?) published "Warpath", a set of mass-combat rules for Pathfinder. I do not remember ever getting an updated version with corrected math, as the original had some errors.

  • D&D 3.5 had "Heroes of Battle", which presented Mass Combat off-screen... the PCs acted on missions/tasks with the mass combat in the background, and earned "Victory Points" by accomplishing their commando- or squad- scale actions.

  • Malhavoc Press (Monte Cook's imprint) published "Cry Havoc", a sourcebook for mass combat, for 3.x also. These rules were also included, if I recall correctly, in Green Ronin's "Game Masters' Handbook".

  • Fields of Blood was another 3.5 sourcebook for mass combat and war, also pretty abstract and I don't think PCs did anything specifically on the battlefield.

  • Birthright (AD&D 2nd Edition) had a mass combat system that was totally abstract. PCs could be considered part of a unit, but I don't recall them being significantly involved.

  • Stronghold, from Mongoose Press, was another 3.x book that handled Mass Combat and domain rule. In my analysis, the math failed when the settlements got larger.

  • Empire was another 3.x supplement that tackled mass combat and domain rulership. It suffered from editing, because it could have been two supplements but content was cut to make them fit into one, and parts felt incomplete.

The Open Game License allows people other than the original publisher to use content declared as "Open" (or not declared as "Product Identity"), provided that the publisher publishes the product under that license.

Contents of the System Reference Document (SRD), Modern System Reference Document (MSRD), and Pathfinder Reference Document (PRD) are available for anyone to use. Since other publishers could not refer to the D&D books or game directly by name (depending on which license was involved), the SRD provided a way for the other publishers to make a reference to the written rules.

Contents published as "Product Identity" are not "open" and cannot be re-used. For D&D 3.x, that was most of the books other than the Players' Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, Monster Manual, and Unearthed Arcana... nobody other than Wizards of the Coast can use the contents of MM2, MM3, MM4, MM5, etc.

Whatever modern supplements there are beyond what is in the MSRD would need to be checked for "Product Identity". I would expect that NONE of the contents of those books are "open". If that is accurate, while Paizo may do their own take on a given sub-genre of Modern, they would likely take pains to make it different from the ones already published ... both in order to avoid any legal hassles from touching content that is not "open", and from a desire to respect the generosity that made ANY content open and available.

Gulthor wrote:
Urath DM wrote:
...Shalelu Andosana appears in both Rise of the Runelords and Second Darkness...
She's also in Jade Regent, though in our game's canon, she took on a much, much larger role in the events of RotR, so when I start our Jade Regent game here in the next couple months, I'm replacing her with a different NPC (well, actually, I'm sliding Sandru over to her role and subbing in another NPC as caravan master.)

I left Jade Regent out of my comments because that's a somewhat likely scenario... especially since using the Relationship rules from Jade Regent (later in Ultimate Campaign), Shalelu could easily become a "significant other" for someone throughout Rise of the Runelords .. which could be a complicating factor for Second Darkness, if they're run in sequence or in parallel. The fact that she could also be killed in RotRL and not be available for SD or JR is also an issue.

Jade Regent includes notes, though, on substituting characters who are no longer available in your version of Golarion. The need to do that illustrates why it is easier on everyone if the APs take place far enough apart in time and geography to limit "cross-over".. that's space that some would say is better used for more adventure content.

stormcrow27 wrote:

Third party Pathfinder to 3.0 or the older WOTC stuff are good influences to modify Second Darkness with. The Eldereth Veluythera from FR was a group of elven speciests (sp?) who support culling or killing off humanity as well as any who challenge/threaten the elven peoples, drow including. Using them as an addition to the White Council and adding more intrigue makes Second Darkness even more fun.

For more traditional adventures, I would recommend Rise of the Drow, for that piece, or converting over the oldie but goodie 2002 WOTC 3.0 module for FR whose name escapes me in which you fight lots of drow who worship Kiaransalee. As for the racist side, that will always be there whenever drow are done with brown skin. Technically the color is supposed to be ebony black from old editions (FF in particular), with shades of purple or albinos that are pure bone white (ala the above module), and there are also the really angry gray drow barbarians from Green Ronin's super duper awesome Plot and Poison 3.0 piece called drey, and the aquatic drow.

Eh.. White Council was Lord of the Rings. Winter Council is what you mean. :)

Changes to the AP would need to preserve the key points...

Second Darkness key elements:

  • Setting Lore: the Drow exist and that secret is revealed in this AP
  • Setting Lore: "regular" elves can become Drow
  • a converted Drow is planning to smash a meteor or asteroid into the world to get rid of the unconverted elves
  • Setting Lore: the elves have a shadow government that is dedicated to enforcing "the one true way to be elves" on the population
  • the elves need help in both preventing the Drow plot AND in breaking the grip of the shadow government

At the same time, it needs to correct a number of issues...

Second Darkness issues:

  • Riddleport is a little too significant, and the PCs can become too tied to it as a result, given that it is largely irrelevant after Shadow in the Sky.
  • Elves come across as more unlikable than they should be
  • Drow become too easy to identify with and like more than "regular" elves
  • The Elves of the Mordant Spire have become quite different since Second Darkness was published.
  • Setting Lore: The Lantern Bearers/Shin'Rakorath's role is controversial for some - Generally Good-aligned advocates/ agents of Drow genocide.

Another AP could address the issues ... but would not help to salvage the important setting lore that is in the original AP and make up some of the key points.

James Jacobs has said he would like to "fix" Second Darkness, and has some ideas on how to approach it, but the business justification needs to be there for that to happen. A separate AP to correct the issues is probably more justifiable in a business sense. The setting lore could be scattered over multiple other APs if necessary.

Yes.. using that word changes your avatar for that post into a random image of .. one of them. :)

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Pacing is also an issue.

While it is important to keep dramatic tension going, and to give the PCs a sense of urgency, it is also important to let them have sufficient downtime for activities like crafting or research. Also, PCs are famously good at NOT doing what was expected during the design of an adventure, which can lead to all sorts of additional encounters and events. So, no two GMs are going to have exactly the same "pace" in running an AP.

Aggressive groups might finish in 6 months "in-world", though that could take years to play out in the real world. More cautious/ deliberate groups might take multiple years "in-world" for one AP. Also, the nature of the AP may prolong it... Kingmaker uses Kingdom Turns, which are a month long. It will take years, and could take decades, "in-world" to play out... and so the end events of Kingmaker will not be seen in the world during other APs.

This is also partially why the Varisian APs are a little different... most others are scattered over the world so that they can have less impact on each other; the first APs (by necessity, as the world was being created) CAN impact each other (Curse of the Crimsom Throne has a direct tie to the events of The Skinsaw Murders in Rise of the Runelords, Shalelu Andosana appears in both Rise of the Runelords and Second Darkness, and there is a Vancaskerkin in each of the first three APs... the background of Orik in RotRL is part of the background for his father in SD). Even so, the overlap is limited in order to allow GMs the freedom to run them as they see fit.

In the end, to return to the original question, "where the heroes go" and "what happens to them after the AP" are beyond the scope of the AP, which ends when its story is completed (in success or failure). The answer is "whatever the players and GM decide."

Something else that Jiggy's suggestion may help with, and which may have been a factor (to whatever degree) in the incident that spawned the other thread (sheesh.. roundabout way to get there without naming names)...

A text message from a moderator is going to be politely worded, as befits a professional communication from a company. But text can't convey nuance well, as we have all seen. So a message worded "Please stop doing that" may be interpreted as a mild REQUEST rather than a stern ADMONISHMENT. Providing color-coded or "Infraction Points" indicators on the account may help make clear that the moderator(s) consider the message seriously.

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If such a "Moderated Posts" tab as Jiggy suggests were to be implemented, I think being able to identify actual "moderated posts" and "replies to moderated posts" would help people understand better which posts got caught up in the problem, and which were problematic themselves.

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As an aside, books like "Inner Sea Magic", "Inner Sea Combat", and "Inner Sea Intrigue" list the "movers and shakers" in their respective themes (about 20-30 of them) with capsule race/class/level bits. Many of the major NPCs from the APs are presented there as they would be when the AP begins, as well as other figures from the lore of Golarion (some noted as "Deceased", where appropriate).

patternscribe wrote:

I've searched through the posts here, and have done a bit of searching online, but I still need help understanding one of the Bard Archetype: Hoaxer class skills.

At 5th level you gain Curse Crafter (Ex) which replaces Lore Master. If you look up the rules for crafting cursed items found elsewhere in the product you find "Intentionally crafting cursed items requires the same item creation feats and skill checks as does crafting a normal item of that type, but in addition to such requirements, intentionally cursed items require bestow curse or major curse as a spell prerequisites." (emphasis mine)

As a bard, you never gain direct access to *either* of those spells. So my question becomes, does this ability grant the hoaxer the ability to fulfill that requirement innately as part of its design (can cast the spell as if learned, but only in conjunction with crafting an item) mediated by the hoaxer bard level (determining which version of the spell could be used)? Or does it mean that unless you find someway of acquiring those spells, you will never be able to do more than craft the faux magic items(an awesome ability but as the sole recourse not outstanding).

Thank you for your time and assistance with this ^_^

The general rule is that if something doesn't say it grants an ability, it doesn't grant that ability.

In the case of spell pre-requisites, Bards can try Use Magic Device (a skill they can be pretty good with) on scrolls or wands to provide the spell, or collaborate with a spellcaster who does have access to the needed spells (as mentioned in general for crafting normal items).

Yup.. as Buri Reborn pointed out, the setting material assumes that NONE of the APs have specifically happened yet (although there are some APs that assume others, they are the exceptions).

Each of the APs has notes on "Continuing the Adventure" in the final volume, which discusses where the GM can take things for further adventures if desired... but the published materials do not assume any of this.

When it becomes time to advance the campaign setting significantly, James Jacobs (the Creative Director) has indicated he has a list of which APs have occurred and their results.

At one point, there was a loose assumption that each AP volume occurred in a corresponding time frame to its publication.. so RotRL began in August 4707, CotCT began in February 4508, Second Darkness in August 4708, etc.

How long they took to play out varies from group to group. Using that timeframe, it is entirely possible that Rise of the Runelords, Curse of the Crimson Throne, and Second Darkness could all be concurrent to some degree... but in the end, it is up to the GM to decide the timing in his/her version of Golarion. It is worth noting that Kingmaker presumes much more time passing.. as Kingdom turns are a month each, it will span years of in-world time.

"Necro-ing" a thread this old is somewhat frowned upon, even if not forbidden. And one reason for that might be that...

The posts earlier in this thread refer to stats from D&D 3.5 for the Aboleth and the Large Shark... which are somewhat different from those of the Pathfinder versions you are referring to.

D&D 3.5 Large Shark: 38 hp; AC 15; Bite +7 (1d8+4)
D&D 3.5 Aboleth: 76 hp; AC 16; 4 tentacles +12 (1d6+8 plus slime)

Pathfinder Shark: 22hp; AC 14; Bite +5 (1d8+4)
Pathfinder Aboleth: 84 hp; AC 20; 4 tentacles +10 (1d6+5 plus slime)

Large Sharks were much more of a threat to the Aboleth in 3.5 than they are in Pathfinder. Generally, summoned creatures are expected to be more of a nuisance or distraction than a true threat to the enemy, but in the case of the D&D Aboleth vs a D&D Large Shark, that's not so much the case.

Dang it.. I had mentioned retraining when I started writing the post, but took it out with something else that was just going to confuse the point.

Anyway, the issue is that, as noted, even-numbered level requirements for Feats are not common. While retraining is an option, I would be somewhat surprised to find that enough players are eager to change their feats so early in their character's career (4th level) for it to make sense to design the Feat requirement with that expectation.

As two of the four feats in question require proficiency with all Martial Weapons, it seems likely to me that there was some intent to make it available to Fighters at 4th level.. but the Feats are not classified as "Combat" and so do not qualify as Figther bonus feats. That's part of the question raised.

"Groom" and "Light Bearer" were originally the "Torchbearer" feat in Dungeoneer's Handbook.. which had a requirement of 5th level. The same book added Archetypes for Grooms (Rangers) and Blazing Torchbearer for Alchemists. The feats in Ultimate Intrigue combine the basic "Torchearer" feat with one ability from these archetypes to make the new feat.

"Page" and "Weapon Bearer" were originally the "Squire" feat in Knights of the Inner Sea... which had a requirement of 4th level. Again, the new feats combine the basic "like early Leadership" part of the original feat with abilities from Archetypes presented with it... the "Herald Squire" for Cavaliers and the "Weapon Bearer Squire" for Fighters.

For completeness .. "Recruits" was originally in "Cohorts and Companions", and is pretty much exactly the same (Cha 13 and 5th level as requirements).

So the question is.. was it intended that they all be 5th level and the one 4th level was used as a source in error, is the 4th level just an unusual-but-intentional requirement, or should the two geared for martial characters have been marked as "Combat" and the other two left at 5th level?

For those interested, the books I mentioned have less Golarion-specific content than some other Player Companions, and are well worth the reading. There are also other archetype options that did not get included in Ultimate Intrigue, which are well-suited for Cohorts to feel like "aides" or "assistants".

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Urath DM wrote:
Eventually, Kyonin should get a Campaign Setting book of its own. --snip --

In the same vein, Riddleport is the only one of the four major cities in Varisia not to have its own supplement. It, too, languishes "trapped" in the Second Darkness AP.

Such a supplement would be g a good place to

  • detail the black market of Lubbertown (which is mentioned in Black Markets, but gets no detail)
  • add detail to the smuggling to Thassilonian artifacts (as part of the above)
  • re-work the Rotgut Ripper as a Vigilante
  • add performance combat (Ultimate Combat) in Zincher's Arena
  • put the Influence rules from Ultimate Intrigue to work with the competing factions
  • see the Order of Cyphers done up as a "school" (in the sense of the Faction-lite versions in Inner Sea Magic, Inner Sea Combat, Inner Sea Intrigue, and Occult Mysteries)

Tangent101 wrote:
And yet you will have players insisting that they should be allowed to.

Certainly. No matter where you go, or what kind of thing you're talking about, there are people who don't want to hear why their "perfect idea" isn't a good fit for circumstances (or even a good idea). Sometimes, people only want to hear "ok" and refuse to hear anything else.

Tangent101 wrote:

I suspect part of the thing with Second Darkness also lies with the strange attraction that players seem to have on "redeemed" evil creatures.-- snip --

GMs allow this because often you can't pick and choose players. So if you want to have three or four players in your group? You let that "special snowflake" player run his non-evil evil race character.

I'm old enough and have had enough campaigns die prematurely to care anymore. So I just say "no."

Actually, the introduction in Shadow in the Sky recommends against allwowing a PC Drow in the campaign, making the points that 1) at this time, that the Drow exist is (mostly) unknown on the surface and 2) the Drow are intended to be the villains in this as they were in the classic adventures that introduced them.. so it is counter-productive and spoils the effect if you have a Drow PC.

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The Feats listed under Variant Leadership in Ultimate Intrigue are culled from some of the Player Companion releases.

Of the 6 Feats listed, 5 of them allow early recruitment of Cohorts with limitations.

However, of these Feats, four of them (Groom, Light Bearer, Page, and Weapon Bearer) list "Character Level 4" as a Requirement. Since no characters receive Feats at level 4, this raised questions when they were originally presented in the Player Companion volumes.

Are these Feats really supposed to be 5th level (as Recruits is), or should some or all of them be marked as "Combat" Feats (which would then be available to Fighters as Bonus Feat choices as 4th level)?

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Eventually, Kyonin should get a Campaign Setting book of its own. The black eyes that Second Darkness has give the Elves of Golarion can be somewhat addressed with that. It is unfortunate that the only sourcebook to-date on Kyonin is a support article "trapped" in the unpopular AP.

The "Elves of Golarion" Player Companion was light on mechanics, and heavier on flavor, as Paizo was transitioning from 3.5 at the time and did not want to create rules errors. In doing so, there are some 3.5 things that were perpetuated (Elves don't sleep, they just meditate) which should be corrected in a flavor-based supplement.

Things that could be addressed:

  • Better, more diverse art for Elves in Kyonin.. especially depicting Ekujae and Snowcaster visitors.

  • Clearer depiction of the political in-fighting within the Elves as a people. Now that we have so many new rules for Intrigue, Kyonin seems like the perfect place to put them to work. That the Winter Council gets a mention in Inner Sea Intrigue (but little more than that) makes that seem like a good fit.

  • Better depiction of the common folk of Kyonin as NOT being the arrogant jerks portrayed in the AP
    Second Darkness:
    because the AP really only had time to show the nefarious plots of the shadow government, and the more benevolent Queen as she tried to manipulate the PCs into solving her problem for her

Of course, this would make more sense supporting another AP.. like, say, one targeting the plots of Treerazer in Tanglebriar. It won't "redeem" Second Darkness, but it might help to fix some of the issues, and could be used by GMs (new and old) to have a better handle on running Part 5 of Second Darkness.

Of course, it would also be nice if the "Drow of Golarion" article from the AP was also expanded into a Campaign Setting supplement.. though it might wind up merged with the expanded Kyonin supplement, I suppose.

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James Jacobs wrote:
Zaister wrote:
It seems the Divine Fighting Technique feat in this book is slightly different from the one from Weapon Master's Handbook. I wonder if this intentional, and which version should actually be used?
It's intentional. They are similar things, but not identical things. Use the version attached to the book from which you took the technique.

That's.... really REALLY bad for people trying to program this for tools like HeroLab (or any VTT that maintains your character for you, etc.).

If they are intended to be "similar but not identical", then they should have different names, not the same name. Precedent says that a new version of a Feat of the same name replaces the prior version.

Computers are really REALLY bad with "this means A sometimes, and B other times". And so are (we) programmers. :)

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I've toyed with Fantasy Grounds, D20Pro, and Roll20. I'm also looking at Battlegrounds RPG edition.

I looked a bit at MapTools and found the Java dependencies and addiitional bits of people's house rules baked into some the Pathfinder stuff to be not what I wanted. It may be different since then.

The issue with most is that the GM has more "visibility" than a player would. They're all geared toward managing visibility for both types of participants, so that's something to watch out for.

Battlegrounds has a comparison chart of VTT features on their site, comparing MapTools, Battleground, D20Pro, and Fantasy Grounds.

Roll20 is probably the least difficult to set up. Create an account, create a Game, pick the rule set, and invite players (who also need accounts). The GM can switch to a player-view after setting things up, so as long as you can hide the display while making changes the players should not see, that should work. Roll20 supports vision and lighting, but I think that's only if someone in the group has a paid subscription for the extra features.

d20Pro is not hard to set up, and is being updated fairly frequently with materials from their big Kickstarter a couple of years ago. A successor program from that Kickstarter is still in development.

I think Fantasy Grounds is more pre-disposed toward distributed play, as it doesn't really have ways to hide material from the GM's view at all. All controls on player viewing are based on it being remote.

D20Pro is similar, but they also talk on their site about ways to use it for face-to-face gaming as well as remote.

For lightweight use, Roll20 is my recommendation at this time.

If the term in the text matches the ability name ("baleful shriek" vs. "angry cry"), then that pretty much means the ability.

That said, you're the GM.. the given tactics are a guideline for how the writer/developer felt the creature would act. It is not a straitjacket that forces you to do so, unless you let it. If you feel that your group would be better served by something else, then that is what you should do.

It is worth keeping in mind, though, the nature of the creature. In this case, it is a revenge-obsessed undead that will batter through anything or anyone else to reach its object of hatred. It is not something that is likely to be reasoned with, or that you can use Diplomacy with (other than "we're not with him").

Also, all they have to do is to get out of her way in order to avoid her wrath. My players, in this situation, stubbornly insisted on fighting her, even standing in the narrow hallway so that she had no choice but to batter through them... and they were beaten into unconsciousness one by one. She did not coup-de-grace any of them, though she could have, because once unconscious, they were no longer impeding her from reaching her objective. They survived because one climbed out a window, then back in after she had moved on.

Sometimes, players need a reminder that not everything is there for them to kill it, and of when discretion is the better part of valor.

Gark the Goblin wrote:
Urath DM wrote:

It is worth remembering that there may not even BE another such compilation; Paizo has often said so.

-- snip --
Since neither SD nor LoF is actually sold out, though, that could just mean that there are no candidates that meet the criteria for an Anniversary Edition at all.

Okay, I did a little bit of digging to see why I had that perception. Basically, just grabbed post counts from the first 65 most-posted-in threads in the PBP forum. And you're right - the two Second Darkness campaigns I looked at had a total post count lower than every older AP except Savage Tide. Serpent's Skull is right above SD, with two threads and about four thousand more posts.

Interestingly, Legacy of Fire has four threads (in those top 65), and by total posts is ranked only 4th after (in descending order) Council of Thieves, Curse of the Crimson Throne, and Rise of the Runelords.

So, I was thinking of amount played, not amount purchased, and even then it's amount played in PBP, not in other formats. The numbers purchased make the...

When I made my statement, I had done a similar analysis, though I used the Adventure Path Forums as the source of the counts, not the Play-by-Post. Total posts divided by number of months since announcement gives a basic (though very very raw) measure of post-per-month activity, and accounts for the 'blips" of activity when people get excited about an AP that won't start for 6 months.

Based on that, the top 3 were Rise of the Runelords, Curse of the Crimson Throne, and Kingmaker.. the bottom 3 were Second Darkness, Legacy of Fire, and Council of Thieves.

Paizo is in a better position to make more detailed analysis.. like "days between new threads" and "frequency of new posts to old threads"... which I think would be fairly indicative of interest in the AP.

Of course, message board activity is only ONE factor, so even deep analysis is hardly definitive.

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