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Ebon Acolyti

Urath DM's page

927 posts. Alias of Mark Greene.


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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, et.al 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.


CBDunkerson wrote:
Note: Arcane Anthology introduced spellbooks for spontaneous and/or non-arcane casters... so technically any caster can have a spellbook.

Not really. The section "Prayer Book and Meditation Book Rituals" talks about how other classes can benefit from the Preparation Rituals that were described for Spellbooks in Ultimate Magic. It doesn't in any way alter how the classes prepare spells or recover spell slots.

Re: Ecclesitheurge: This might not be the best example to use, because the archetype's ability is one of several changes made to the Cleric class.. including the loss of all Armor and Shield proficiencies. The specific ability also has some alterations limiting what enchantments can be added to the holy symbol.

Opinion: In the end, the response may be exactly what Drahliana Moonrunner originally responded with: you have no spells that it affects. This may be for reasons of balance, to not make the Arcane Bloodline a "too good" choice for non-Sorcerers (although many take the same Feat for the Familiar, so this may already be a moot point).


Glewistee wrote:

the Strategy Guide is actually really good for stepping someone through character creation and understanding basic rules.

In addition, p. 13 of the Core Rulebook has the "Example of Play" that also serves as a good introduction to "what happens at the table".

The main issue is, as Wraithstrike noted, that style varies from group to group.


Rysky wrote:
"Do Divine Casters gain anything from Arcane Bond?"

An arcane bond could be a familiar, which would be pretty clear-cut on how it works.

An arcane bonded item can be enchanted by the owner "as if the he had the required item creation feats", and if he meets the level requirements. The selected item could be a weapon, ring, staff, wand, or amulet (unlike the limitation on the Ecclesitheurge's holy symbol).

So, obviously there are some gains from the Arcane Bond.

The question in this case is limited to "how does the arcane bond item's ability to cast 1 spell per day from your spellbook or known spells work when the character is a divine caster with no spellbook or spells known but access to all spells from the class spell list?"


You could also look at Peals of Power (for Arcane casters).

The balancing factor to keep in mind is that divine casters is now much more broad in terms of classes than it was in 2nd Edition, and some of them have access to "any spell on the class list"... which is not true of the Arcane or Psychic casters. That's probably why (or a big part of why) there is no such item for Divine casters.

In that sense, it should certainly cost more than the 50,000 for the Ring of Psychic Mastery as mentioned by Rub-Eta.


If you look at the table for XP awards, 5-character parties get the same XP as 4-character parties because the table doesn't actually divide it out.. 4- and 5- character parties share one column.


You're asking a rules question about 3rd party rules in a forum for general discussion of Paizo topics. Since some people only read the forums they are particularly interested in, you have a better chance of getting your questions answered if you ask in the "Advice and Rules Quesion" forum.

I would not be surprised if the moderators move this thread there at some point.


valawala wrote:


Urath DM wrote:


If your group is mostly focused on the next monster to kill, and not interested in role-playing the character's interactions with the townsfolk, I would recommend Wayfinder #7, a free fan magazine here. Issue #7 has fan-created content to add to the early Varisia-based APs, especially Rise of the Runelords. You can find some useful material in there, such as the Vault of Greed mini-adventure, which can substitute for one or more of the "Local Heroes" chapter events.

Thanks, I'll definitely check it out when I'm not on my phone. I think my group would be better described as "always looking for the next objective". They'll grumble if they have to talk to some guy just to get to know him, but not if I tell them they're trying to get some specific main-plot-related info out of him. We're used to having important NPCs be introduced in the same session in which they're important, and then forgotten about immediately.

I've only ever played with this group so I didn't know if people play any other way. So, this chapter confused me a little with how things happen while the PCS are walking around town - I never gave them a mission that involves wandering around town! I guess the sheriff instructing them to do so could work for that, though they'll probably think they're actually secretly looking for clues of some kind hidden all over the city.

Paizo APs often have elements of foreshadowing in early books that become far more important later. While some GMs do run each part as they come out, I think the best advice for any GM is to read the whole thing before you start and make notes for yourself on the parts that hint early and become important later.. especially for how you plan to convey to your particular group of players which ones are important.

Aldern Foxglove and Ven Vinder are minor characters in part 1, but they can be more important in part 2... Titus Scarnetti is just a name dropped in part 1, but he can be more important in part 4. Several NPCs can become important "red herrings" in part 2. The main point of the extensive write-up of Sandpoint is for your players to get to know the people and to regard them as "friends and neighbors", not just "the NPC at the blacksmith"... in part so that they can motivated by something other than "how much do we get paid".

Some people love to play out bargaining with the shopkeeper for every purchase... and that same thing can be torture for someone else in the group. In the same way, some players will want to prepare a list of things beforehand and reduce their visit to town to "we sell all the loot, buy these things, and go back out"... which can also be torture for others.

You know your group better than anyone here (unless they're also in your group), so you need to think about how to work with what they like and don't like. Rise of the Runelords, especially the first couple of parts, really is tailored a bit more for people who play out interactions, though.

As for loot.. sometimes you just can't win. My players felt poor, but they also failed to appraise some things they found, and decided that because goblin-made goods were worthless in previous games, any goblin-made masterwork weapon was still worthless... so they gave them away, or just left them behind, instead of selling them.


Well, Shayliss Vinder isn't taking the entire party into the basement of Ven Vinder's store... she's hitting on only one of them. So if they're expecting to do everything together at all times, that's not going to work.

There's no reason any of these incidents have to start in the Rusty Dragon, other than the dispute between Lonjiku and Ameiko. The PCs can choose to just watch that play out, but they can get involved if they wish.

Hemlock has asked the PCs to be visible around town to reassure the citizens, so the other incidents can begin any time while the PCs are walking around town. Even if Bethana Corwin approaches them at the Rusty Dragon, it can be while they are in their rooms, perhaps she gets them out of bed early in the morning after a long night of drinking?

The challenge for you is to find ways to present these incidents that will motivate your players to do more than just hack and kill. The NPCs in Sandpoint are fleshed out so that you have some tools to do that.. and they include "boons" for the PCs who get to know them (such as discounts at stores).

If your group is mostly focused on the next monster to kill, and not interested in role-playing the character's interactions with the townsfolk, I would recommend Wayfinder #7, a free fan magazine here. Issue #7 has fan-created content to add to the early Varisia-based APs, especially Rise of the Runelords. You can find some useful material in there, such as the Vault of Greed mini-adventure, which can substitute for one or more of the "Local Heroes" chapter events.


Lavender Fey wrote:

I have a player, half elf female, who is pursuing a romantic relationship with a fully elven NPC. Culturally speaking, how unlikely is this? Are there any societal squeaks I should consider?

Would the elven partner simply be putting himself on the path to becoming forlorn?

I'm trying to gauge how to have the NPC respond to this. Her diplomacy rolls are out of this world, so she's making a good advance. I'm simply trying consider the male character's societal pressure or personal anxieties on the matter.

Also- what is the elven opinion of marriage? Just in general... Not necessarily with the half elf character. Do they find the idea of prolonged commitment silly?

This is probably far too late now.. but, what the hey...

If you're looking for a mechanical structure, the Jade Regent AP used relationships between PCs and NPCs as part of the story, and the Players' Guide for that AP has the rules in it. These were later expanded to cover more types of relationships, and included in Ultimate Campaign.

"Forlorn" really isn't something you become after you're an adult.. it is how that character grew up... isolated from other elves and among the shorter-lived races.

As far as how the elf would view the advances of a half-elf, part of that depends on the world you're running in. The rules provide the mechanics, but the setting provides flavor such as how races view each other.

That being said, if you're running in Golarion, the Player Companion "Bastards of Golarion" is probably the most helpful to your situation, as it is mostly about Half-Elves and Half-Orcs, and talks about how the elves of Kyonin view half-elves among other things.


Canadian Bakka wrote:

I see it is mentioned that there are Downtime rules for establishing a Black Market, but what about for the Kingdom-Building rules?

For example, one of my players is the Spymaster in the Kingmaker AP I run, and he wants to establish a black market (and Thieves' Guild) in order to have relative control over those fields of business in the sense that he can either change/influence the primary focus of the black market (to prevent any one criminal from building too big a hold over any given type of illegal goods) and use his own Thieves' Guild to keep out the competition from other thieves guild that came from other nations (such as Brevoy, Pitax, etc.).

So rather than getting bogged down in every aspect of the criminal world, can the Downtime rules introduce here be easily adapted to the Kingdom-Building rules for more streamlined and simpler mechanics?

Thanks for any feedback about the Downtime rules introduced in this product and its compatibility with the Kingdom-Building rules from Ultimate Campaign.

Cheers!

CB out.

Generally, the Downtime and Kingdom rules represent different scales of operations. Downtime is personal, small-region scaled, while the Kingdom rules are more abstracts and cover multiple instances. There is some overlap, but the two are not intended to be used together; the PCs are either operating personally (and use the Downtime rules to build their organizations within a settlement/nation run by NPCs) or they are operating as government officials (and use the Kingdom rules to set policies governing multiple regions and settlements).


Wow.. those do look nice.

You may want to look over Ultimate Campaign.. the rules for Kingdoms and Cities from Kingmaker were updated and made part of the core there.

People have had a hard time finding the print copies of Kingmaker, so I would not be surprised if your FLGS doesn't have any copies. The PDFs are available here on Paizo's site, but really only one volume has those rules and the graphics for them... and those are all in Ultimate Campaign with more added.

The graphic elements were really all about the cities, except for a handful of markers for the hex maps.

And that's what would really be useful.. more markers for more features that can be *added to* a hex map; not so much hexes themselves. A hex-grid overlay on a standard map will do for many. Adding farms, watch towers, and similar markers may be a bigger market.


UnArcaneElection wrote:
Urath DM wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:

^Wait, so what DOES go wrong if the PCs fail in Hell's Vengeance?

The world becomes a better place? Darn it! And puppy-kicking is outlawed! Chelaxian "Retirement Villas for Villains" goes bankrupt and many retired villains become homeless, fleeing the persecution of righteous do-gooders who want to ... gasp... hold them accountable for their actions!

** spoiler omitted **

Considering how bad Cheliax is now, it is going to take more than that to make me think of this as a bad thing.

It is all a matter of perspective. From the viewpoint of House Thrune and its supporters, that's a horrible thing indeed. From the perspective of others? Perhaps not so much.

Hell's Vengeance:
Also, the PCs lose their souls to Asmodeus for failing to deliver on their Infernal Contracts.


CorvusMask wrote:

Okay, I decided to do googling because I was bothered by apparently same dragon dying thrice somehow

I found mention of dragon who died twice, but that had son that appeared in Second Darkness? So is Jade Regent's Shalelu backstory a continuity error since it says "she was able to help kill the same green dragon responsible for her mother’s death" which is untrue if she helped kill the dragon's spawn?

If I recall correctly, the dragon "died twice" because it had been Raised or Resurrected at some point.

Second Darkness:
Yes, the son of that dragon plays a part in Second Darkness as a significant foe.


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

The 3.5 APs are the prime candidates. Legacy of Fire is fighting hard for "least liked AP" (as far as I can tell), with Second Darkness winning and Serpent's Skull coming in third.

That Legacy of Fire is somewhat more sold-out than Second Darkness, but not completely, so that puts LoF ahead of SD as a candidate, since being 3.5 puts them both ahead of Kingmaker.

Kingmaker may be sold out, but the changes to the Kingdom rules are external to the AP.. they're available on the PRD for anyone who wants to use them in preference to the versions in the AP itself, so re-writing the AP to use them is not necessary. Otherwise, the AP is already Pathfinder, which makes it less of a priority to collect and update.

Legacy of Fire may not be as disliked as Second Darkness, but it does seem to be a close second. That implies that it may need as much revision, or almost as much, as Second Darkness. That it is closer to being sold out gives it a bit of an edge over Second Darkness.

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.


Yup.. you're right.

I was looking at the Second Darkness Player Companion recently, and the organized system of categorized traits was "new" there. But the ones in CotCT are indeed called traits.


Hmm.. as I recall, there were "Background Feats" in Curse.. traits were new to Second Darkness.

There *are* new traits for Curse (as well as the other APs that begin in Varisia) in the Varisia: Birthplace of Legends player companion.


Kalindlara wrote:
Urath DM wrote:
Thomas Seitz wrote:

Dragon,

Nah. I'm just referencing the fact that there's a new thrope template coming...and it would be a nice way to do The Mummy. :)

Entothrope sounds like you transform into a single insectoid form, like Lycanthrope transforms into a single animal.

On the other hand, I *know* I've seen a variant ability or template for Mummies that does exactly what you want (allows them to assume the form a swarm of scarab beetles) but I can't recall exactly what and where, now.

There was one - the swarm-shifter - in 3.5's Libris Mortis.

There's also a vampire simple template in Classic Horrors Revisited that could just as easily be applied to a mummy.

Since I can't find anything else in my collection, Swarm-shifter might well be what I was thinking of.


CorvusMask wrote:

Would theoretical Second Darkness hardcover be basically a new ap at least half of it?

Well anyway, still hoping for that because second darkness kinda makes a loose trilogy with other two earlier aps. In the "three in row that all have loose references to each other" way

It would certainly be a more significant revision than Rise of the Runelords or Curse of the Crimson Throne.

Rise of the Runelords needed some minor tweaks to foes, and got some additional content, but was primarily a task of combining the volumes and editing them with updates to rules. Curse of the Crimson Throne, like RotRL, has few known issues that need correction, so it is likely to be very similar in terms of what changed.. we will see what it looks like when it is released.

Second Darkness has some more fundamental issues, like the poor reaction to the surface elves and the greater sympathy for the drow. In addition, when moving from Book 2 to Book 3, there's a note that the XP comes up short, and the GM should fill in encounters in that span to personalize the campaign and bring the PCs up to where they should be.

A revision would likely need to fill that XP gap, which is new content even before *adding* new content (because the GM was expected to add new content there previously). It would at least need to examine how to present the surface elves differently, and the drow less sympathetically.

Given that the poor sales of Second Darkness make such a compilation/ revision an unlikely project, I wonder if a patronage/ partnership deal would work? Paizo collaborated with Open Design (now Kobold Press) on "From Shore to Sea" previously.. I wonder if a similar collaboration project could be the answer for a revision of Second Darkness?


lemeres wrote:
Urath DM wrote:
the only thing not mentioned is that you can't create a standard item, use it for a while, then "add the Masterwork component" later.

...well, except for the cleric spell that does exactly that. But that is a spell and as such it is a separate issue from crafting.

Plus it costs a bit more since you have to pay full masterwork price (rather than crafting price), and maybe you have to pay the local cleric to cast the spell (it is a level 1 spell- pretty much any barebones church should at least be able to provide that much of a spell caster that you could then pay).

I wasn't getting into magical modifications after the fact. :)

The spell also requires you to pay the Weapon Masterwork cost for all items, even armor (which masterwork cost is only 1/2 that of weapons, 150 gp) and tools (which is 1/3 the cost of weapons, 100 gp).

It is an interesting spell, but not really part of the Crafting process, as it happens afterward.


Qaianna wrote:
zainale wrote:
where is this Pathfinder Unchained you speak of?
Many gaming and book stores, as well as Amazon and other online retailers. Or buy a PDF from Paizo. It's one of the big hardcover books, and has a few other items like reworked barbarian, rogue, monk, and summoner classes.

To elaborate, Pathfinder Unchained is, as Qaianna mentioned, one of the rulebooks in the Pathfinder RPG line. It is a collection of variant rules that you can pick and choose which ones to use. Among them are modified skill rules (including alternate Crafting and Profession). There's a LOT of options in the book, not all of which can be used at the same time (some skill options, for example, are the opposite of each other and cannot be used together).


UnArcaneElection wrote:

^Wait, so what DOES go wrong if the PCs fail in Hell's Vengeance?

The world becomes a better place? Darn it! And puppy-kicking is outlawed! Chelaxian "Retirement Villas for Villains" goes bankrupt and many retired villains become homeless, fleeing the persecution of righteous do-gooders who want to ... gasp... hold them accountable for their actions!

Hell's Vengeance spoiler:
Cheliax descends into civil war again with House Thrune fighting hard just to survive against the forces of the Glorious Reclamation.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Thomas Seitz wrote:

Dragon,

Nah. I'm just referencing the fact that there's a new thrope template coming...and it would be a nice way to do The Mummy. :)

Entothrope sounds like you transform into a single insectoid form, like Lycanthrope transforms into a single animal.

On the other hand, I *know* I've seen a variant ability or template for Mummies that does exactly what you want (allows them to assume the form a swarm of scarab beetles) but I can't recall exactly what and where, now.


Landon Winkler wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
I could swear Hell's Vengeance assumes a successful Council of Thieves, which I guess means Hell's Rebels does too, even though it doesn't matter for that AP.

Yeah, Hell Comes to Westcrown assumes post-Council Westcrown, which kind of surprised me.

Cheers!
Landon

Right.. and the entry on Xin-Shalast in Lost Cities of Golarion presumes that Rise of the Runelords ended successfully.

Interestingly, I believe James Jacobs has said that he has planned out how the APs affect the future of Golarion for the eventual "jump" in time to a new period for the world... which ones ended well, and which ones ended badly for the official canon.


Calling it a "component" is what confuses some people.

The process is pretty much as Queen Moragan described; the only thing not mentioned is that you can't create a standard item, use it for a while, then "add the Masterwork component" later. You must decide at the start whether you are making a standard item, or a Masterwork one.

If you choose to make a standard item, you follow the rules for that, and you are done when the standard item is completed (or fails).

If you choose to make a Masterwork item, you follow the rules for making a standard item. If that is successful, you immediately begin the process for the "Masterwork Component".. which is really just additional Craft checks (at a higher DC) to finish what you started.

Note: Pathfinder Unchained has a set of alternate rules for Crafting, including Masterwork items.

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