|Paizo Pathfinder® Paizo Games|
|About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ|
General Tsao wrote:
To Tsao, all he can sense is hate -- fear reigns for now, but if these creatures are defined by anything more than malice for him and his allies - he certainly cannot tell.
Work on your craft. This is a railroad. What if I don't take the notebook but merely read it where it is? What if I leave the medallion behind? Why would I be arrested for trespassing if there is nothing indicating such on the ladder? What if I can talk my way out of being arrested, because just arresting people for using a ladder is kind of silly? What if I manage to escape and not be taken to jail? What if I don't want to ask the sheriff about the rain?
See all that stuff above -- those are decisions that are up to THE PLAYER, NOT the GM. You should read up on the forums about "Railroading" -- that is, having a story in mind and not letting the players deviate from that story (no matter how hard they try) -- because players don't like that. They are not puppets to be pulled around in a GMs world -- they are players that should be free to make their own decisions within that world. I suggest you come up with angles to this story that do not require unavoidably being thrown in jail, when the sheriff could just as easily seek the players help -- perhaps first in finding the body/amulet and then dealing with the rain.
But more than anything -- the best thing you can do for your story is to give players more agency. Let THEM decide to climb the ladder (or not) or give them a chance to escape or be caught on the merit of their ideas & rolls.
Waiting on Itzal's move before I process the next turn, At this point if he throws a bomb he can hit 4-5 skeletons safely, or Jaldon & a Bodyguard safely if the bomb does not roll closer to the goblin riders. (if it does Jaldon and as many as four bodyguards will be hit, but there could be harm to allies in the blast.
Since Tsao has been in the interchange for about half-way through his intimidate, he can make a Sense Motive check for free to determine more about what he can/cannot get the morlock's to do (beyond already getting them to halt their aggression.)
Unless otherwise instructed I will have the cave fishers continue to pull/rope the nearest skeletons until they are in claw range, where they will attack.
Submit new orders for the next round! Tsao is still this will be considered turn 4/10 for Tsao's intimidate -- so keep that in mind (especially considering 4 morlocks are going to gun for him when this time elapses)
Casualties for this round were two dogs on the goblin side, no casualties on Jaldon's side, with few injuries elsewise.
The Abrasax wrote:
You could rule that as an intimidate check. The text isn't very intimidating, but that's the closest thing I can think of right off.
I could, but intimidating an undead creature is equally a stretch I believe, in this regard. Jaldon is not going to be intimidated. He won't blink. He lost his life searching for you guys, and will not hesitate now -- when he is closer perhaps then he's ever been.
Some battle-music if you are so inclined while you read:
The sand flew, and raked in waves as the Goblin riders completed their wide circle and first snarling wheeled into the side of the Skeleton bodyguards. Upon crashing in, one goblin began to laugh -- which quickly caught fire among them.
One of the goblin dogs, springing forward with it's rider poked it's head fully into a gaping hole in one of the skeleton's pitted breastplates, snapping ribs just as it snapped it's jaws. (12/17)
One of the front-line skeletons clattered forward out of the blackened pit Itzal had almost buried him in, and rushed the goblin bowman next to Abrasax/Mustadook. Mustadook was screaming something, but the skeleton was too fast and the goblin couldn't react. Instinctively it parried with it's shortbow as a rusty scimitar came slashing towards it. Abrasax was imploring him to run!
Itzal attempted to use telepathy to distract Jaldon, but found little effect with this. Instead, Jaldon cocked his head sideways and thought back to whomever crudely attempted to scry him:
The blackened and bomb-ventilated skeletal bodyguard regains it's footing and cleaves the skull of the goblin dog that successfully injured it's cohort, it's rider spilling to the ground with the blood of it's mount.
Abrasax runs laterally to the battle, imploring his ally to follow him. running 30 feet to the side he finds himself 5 feet into the swift water of the river, but the rocks at this end of the cavern that turn the river into the cistern-tunnel give him a means to further distance himself. It is difficult terrain however, and he does not get as far as perhaps he would like.
Mere moments later, four more skeletons reach where Abrasax was standing, and begin slashing wildly at the goblin bowman. the goblin dives and weaves, but one of the skeletons slashes him below the waist. (3/6)
Two more goblin riders and their dogs crash into the bodyguards, but to no avail. The plate-mail of their opponents proves a difficult boundary for them...
Jaldon's bodyguards however were more sure of their prospects of hacking the goblins and their dogs into unrecognizable piles of offal -- and committed to doing so. Two of them skewer a dog stone dead, and a third grievously wounds another. (1/9)
The goblin archer, beset by skeletons with no other instructions but the run away, attempts to do so... dodging a gauntlet of weapons from his pursuers, he barely escapes with his life (1/6) and takes his place with Abrasax on the rocks. "Keek die last!" he chuckles, now outside the whirl of battle.
a mere moment later, silky strands descend on his skeletal pursuers -- the cave fishers, Preet and mate, cast their lines on the foe. One is snagged, and immediately pulled out of formation and into the river.
Jaldon and Gorfeen clash again, but Gorfeen is ready this time -- Jaldon's weapon crashes against Gorfeen's shield, and Gorfeen retaliates wildly at the urging of Unit 254, but neither are any closer to supremacy.
In the distance, the bellowing decrees of Tsao could be heard in the cistern... the bloodshed would continue.
I can retcon retroactively if I am wrong -- but I only see bluff used in the rules to allow somebody to slip away undetected. I don't see bluff skill used to distract individuals to impede success in combat. Please let me know where I can look to stand corrected, otherwise this action will come to little effect. I would also argue "mental nuisance" as a "mind-affecting effect" to which Undead are immune. Nice try though. :D
Abrasax: I thought you had mentioned a while back that you preferred OOC chatter in discussion, for immersion. Sorry if this is misattribution.
Itzal: I thought I started in the post, 10 regular Skeletons were blown up, and half on and a bodyguard were hurt. 2 in front rank, 4 in 2nd and 3rd, and two hits in the back row. There are 5 regular skeletons left, and 5 armored bodyguard skeletons, and jaldon.
Meanwhile, Tsao continued to bellow and intimidate the Morlocks, with those that were less receptive protesting and attempting to exhort their cowed comrades to fight. Individually they dared not strike 'The Master of the Cathexis' -- and as the moments passed, the moment never seemed right -- none dared go first, and glances about found no consensus. The Morlock leader instead performed their counter posturing, but they feared Tsao more than their commander...
"ATTACK!!!" Jaldon Bellowed -- what remained of the skeleton regiment raised it's weapons and began to rush forward at Mustadook and the one archer that stood next to him. The bodyguards turned their attention to the dog-riders, and Gorfeen and Jaldon remained locked in combat. The battle would be joined!
Wow. Brutal play, Itzal... lets see where this goes.
The next round looks like it will be a bucket of dice, so everyone throw initiative, and declare what they'd like to do for the next TWO rounds. (if it's just attacking that way we can move twice as fast, if not, I can process other actions accordingly. If you're unsure and would rather go one round at a time to see how things are going, that's fine -- but for those resigned to swing until everything stops moving you have that option and it may speed things up.
If Preet has a dice roll/attack for this round, I can still process it before moving to the next, otherwise I will color the narrative with an impressive mating/aggression display. :D
Things are about to get messy -- and Jaldon's forces are not yet at half strength...
The fuse grenade sailed almost majestically into the middle of the skeleton regiment, banking perfectly off of the side of one of the skeleton's heads to land precisely in it's center. The offended skeleton craned it's neck to look down at the sizzling ordinance, with the next moment (wherein it winked out of existence) it's skull was instantly propelled with great force against the ceiling almost 100 feet above, shattering into coin-sized fragments. Looking down from this vantage point, were one able, the observer could see that the skeleton regulars that were likewise in the blast radius (10 in all) had likewise fared no better. Their bones were sailing, blackened with fire -- in every conceivable direction. The goblin riders reel as their mounts screech at their proximity to the explosion, and one is thrown from his dog, quickly springing up to regain control of it. The center of the front rank of the regiment and almost all of the middle and back is obliterated, with Jaldon and one of his bodyguards at the edge of the effective blast-radius as well.
Unit 254 braced himself for impact, but the ordinance was placed so beautifully he found himself JUST outside the effective range of what he could only perceive as a bombardment rather than a single munition. The nearest plate-mailed skeleton to him burst into flames, and it's blackened skeleton seemed to regard itself as numerous bones of it's cohort, now shrapnel -- shot through it's armor, and bounced violently within it. Sand rained for several moments after the blast, but when the debris settled the bodyguard yet stood, precariously.
Jaldon was not unscathed, but had avoided the brunt of the blast by interposing the blast between himself and his bodyguards. Bits of sand and bone shot into his ectoplasmic body and became suspended in it, and flecks of his armor were burning. He glanced back at the smoking crater which was the bulk of his force, and groaned in equal parts hate and frustration.
In common, he shouted his defiance:
"I have sought the Cathexis for 5 years a man and for decades since a monster. I have been slain more times then I care to remember. I am not done with you yet, win or lose today. When I am done -- It will be obvious! For you will all be as dead as I am! Even if you defeat me, my agents will keep that THING from you, and when I rise again, I shall BREAK IT -- with pleasure!"
Don't worry Itzal -- We've all been in flux. You did exactly the right thing and if the situation wasn't so high-tension/complex I would have happily DMPC'ed the interaction.
Producing most of those items is the move action that complements the standard action. I shaved off where practical (you can pour oil on more than one item) But it does seem rigging an explosive is something more intricate than just lighting and throwing it. There is one goblin archer and Abrasax in the mix as well, however -- so perhaps:
Goblin archer: Produces rope, ties it to grappling arrow.
Next turn: You can fire the arrow, with whatever bonuses you've got -- I'll give a +2 to the shot for Abrasax's engineering advice (already provided)and he or the goblin could potentially further "Aid Other" if it could be justified in the narrative. there will however be a -2 penalty for the cumbersome nature of the burdened arrow...
I should probably check the gameplay section before musing this stuff, in case y'all have already moved past it. :D
Unit 254 wrote:
You could, theoretically Aid Other, and it's a cool idea to do so! -- if you justified it in the narrative. For example, are you whispering to him how best to strike? are you popping out and startling/unnerving his opponents? Also keep in mind that doing so might make you more of a target -- especially considering Jaldon seems to realize the threat you represent...
Well, Itzal gave permission for somebody to declare his actions -- he has been good by this forum in letting us know he's been swamped. If somebody will declare for him I'll process -- or we can wait.
I am entering a phase of holiday transit but will check again when I arrive at my destination. New York awaits.
If more than one person were involved in the process it could be less than 5 rounds, as one person could tie the arrow, One person could bag the bombs and attach them, and one person could apply the oil (1 round, three actions) but then the arrow would need to be fired (successfully) and then the rope lit, which is still three rounds.
Many many ways to skin a cat... but I'm just showing you the doors. You as players can pick which ones to go through. :D
Also... one might wonder if y'all are just overthinking it... why cause a cave-in when the skellies are packed so tight, and have relatively few hitpoints?
Still waiting on dice throws from Preet and rather than DMPC, another party member should decide exactly what Itzal is doing. (or we can just wait for him to return...)
If anyone has ideas for getting the bomb to the ceiling with common items the goblins might have taken with them when they broke camp (gear from common equipment tables worth less that 5gp are likely to be among your assets: things like Rope, a grappling arrow, a common bag, oil, the goblin shortbows... If you could contrive a way to get the bombs up to the ceiling in a bag soaked with oil by way of a rope (also soaked with oil) then lighting the oily rope
With Itzal's Int/Wis being high enough, I can give him a potential solution. The goblins had numerous common assets (basic Equipment) when they broke camp. Among them are a couple of grappling arrows, rope, oil, and cloth bags. A grappling arrow can have a rope (soaked in oil) tied to it without significantly impacting it's flight, with an additional payload of an oil-soaked bag containing a SINGLE bomb. Firing this arrow into the RIGHT crack and lighting the rope would train a flame to the ceiling where the bomb was and possibly engineer the demolition.
Action economy cost however may be high: 1 standard action to tie arrow+rope, 1 standard action to attach bag w/bomb in it, 1 standard action to pour oil over the whole thing, 1 standard action to shoot it into crevice (hopefully making that shot!), +1 standard action to set the rope on fire.
That's FIVE rounds, under ideal circumstances unless Itzal's labor was divided among additional persons...
(I will also not get into the habit of giving y'all solutions I myself might accept... but with Itzal's stat block, and Itzal's player being so harried as to possibly preclude devoting the bandwidth, I don't suppose I mind this time....) We must often give a story's heroes more credit for finding solutions than we'd give ourselves... Their stats are better than ours often enough, after all...
To any party members: Itzal has given permission for the action of planting the bomb to be done on his behalf, but the means of delivery seems flawed. He intended to deliver 1-3 bombs via a mage hand spell, but the ceiling of the cave is approx. 90 ft off the ground. The max range of the mage hand spell is 30 feet (for his CR), and the highest he could hypothetically get off the ground without climbing is 10 feet. Given a model occupies a five foot area and can threaten an adjacent space -- this puts his maximum mage hand range towards the ceiling only 50 feet.
In a bit I will process another combat round, after which if a means to deliver can be contrived -- the demolition attempt can be made with Itzal + Abrasax's aid. It would have been a simple matter for Tsao to deliver the bomb, but it would seem your only flier at the moment is grandstanding. :D
Preet Fisher is getting in on the combat, and that will very likely bring the aggressive female partner cave fisher into the fracas as well.
Please throw dice for your attack, and indicate if you are scuttling directly up to the skeletons to fight, or you might consider taking another look at the cave fisher profile, as you might want to use their fishing line attacks, or what have you. Glad you have a bit of bandwidth to get stuck in! ;D
that would be a significant issue, normally. I'll look up the rules for mage hand and fuse grenades and try to carry out the demolition in the most ideal manner possible, but as Abrasax's host has fired arrows and orchestrated an assault this round, the demoing will take place next round, earliest.
BIG EDIT: Lighting a grenade is a FAIT ACCOMPLI when your host is a goblin. Goblins love fire, and no self-respecting goblin would walk away from home without the means to set things on fire. Flints are a minimum for this purpose, and goblins would carry some of the nicest flints, in comparison to all the rest of the garbage they haul around.
Three goblin riders turn around in the cramped tunnel between the riverway and the cistern and bound out into the open... feinting right then dashing to the riverside, they easily circle the skeleton regiment and arrive at the rear to support Gorfeen. keeping them wide of the regiment precludes their attacking this round, but all arrive safely to support him as was intended.
The missile ruse however, had a less inspiring effect. An arrow falling without effect into the mob, another arrow or two falling short at their feet -- Abrasax wonders if the skeletons even noticed there were archers in the cave ahead at all. They slowly began to wheel around at the far more compelling goblin leader and his cavalry support...
Also note I am aware that intimidate checks RAW only relate to one target -- Considering the particular relationship of these creatures to the cathexus, and "The rule of cool", I think both Tsao and I are on the same page...
...Also the flavor of the campaign should lend itself to grandstanding, monologuing, frightening the masses and other kind of super-villain behavior. (just in case anybody is checking my mechanics) -- though I welcome advice or 2 cents if you think I'm off map. However, see also "Fast and loose."
That is all.
The Abrasax wrote:
You can partake in an aid other +2, with an additional +2 circ. for the planter if they use two bombs because you can instruct them where to place them to complement each other. Getting them to "stick" or detonate at sufficient range/timing to the cracks, and how the heck to get them up there remain concerns.
Abrasax: A new Engineering roll is not needed as you threw a 17 before to identify structural weakness.
This will give you +2 (aid other) and if the person planting uses 2 bombs there is an additional circ. bonus +2 as you can explain how to arrange them to complement each other -- but there is nothing (from the recent roll) to protect allies below from blowback, if any should occur. If the roll for the explosion is high enough it could cause more than a controlled rockfall.
General Tsao wrote:
This action will be processed in 1 minute (game time) from your initial intimidate check. I'll be keeping track... (keep in mind the possession would be a subsequent full-round action)
A strand in the fabric of the moment's tension SNAPPED, and Gorfeen bared all his teeth, loudly clashed his longsword on his shield, and bounced up onto a boulder to give him purchase to lunge forward and strike at Jaldon... before doing so, he ordered his dog to throw itself upon his bodyguards, hoping it would buy him at a round at least alone with his target. Unit 254 sailed through the wind upward onto the rock and was given a full view of Gorfeen's initial surprise sword swing as he rode down into combat curled about Gorfeen's ear.
"Bones and hate, Skellie-fing? I made of bones and hate too! Only difference is I also made of Goblin. So I'm more! I'm better!"
Init Order: Gorfeen, Jaldon, Dog, BGx5 (rest of regiment still marching unawares)
Gorfeen's first attack sent him sailing to the grown in front of Jaldon. His sword swung overhead, it hit squarely on the shoulder of his breastplate and bounced unceremoniously off. Before even fully reaching the ground, Gorfeen bared row upon row of pointy teeth and attempted to bite Jaldon where Unit 254 could only guess from his vantage point was his codpiece. This attack likewise however was unsuccessful.
Jaldon's reposte' was swift and brutal. almost as if the goblin's downward swing was a counterweight, Jaldons mace was free from his belt and swung upward, dealing a telling blow (6 points, 25/31) to his arm.
Gorfeen's dog lunged for one of the Skeleton bodyguards greaves, but came to no effect.
Perhaps to be expected, the rusted and broken scimitars of Gorfeen's guard took the dog out of the fight almost immediately. Two blows brought it onto it's side hissing, with a third downward strike throwing an arc of blood over three of the skeleton's pitted breastplates. Gorfeen seemed not to notice. He clattered his shield again with his longsword, and prepared to strike again...
In this particular mechanic, another person chiming in would be a disturbance. If you and others were there at the start of the action, you could have given him a +2 "Aid other" bonus for one or more people that could have helped. Since it takes a whole turn (1 minute) to intimidate in this manner, going in now would basically break the action. (I'm sure I don't have to tell you that breaking intimidate acts that aren't going well routinely could be considered evil meta-gaming -- but if somebody was TOTALLY bombing, just like somebody can get pulled off stage, you could potentially interrupt there.
Collusion with "Aid other" should be decided BEFORE a die is thrown, to prevent people from stacking aid only when it is needed. (I make no accusations of this whatsoever, just saying how we should handle it henceforward.)
Also, It would probably be more important that you be involved/present for the demolition roll, as your Previous knowledge check may give a substantial bonus. (you can discover a weak point in the ceiling, but unless you are directing how it is exploited it will not matter to the person setting the explosives)
It would take 1 bomb (and a means to be sure it could remain on the ceiling) for the demolition roll to take place to begin with, with additional bombs improving the roll substantially. Your engineering advise, 1 or more bombs, and a means to place them could be quite diabolical. Then again, there is also always the term "Hoist on one's own Petard"... :D
Tsao's display is great and terrible. Dashing through the sheet of water separating the river from the cistern, he blows in on a cold wind, his icy form splashing a full half of the morlocks with frozen sleet from the force of his entry. Bellowing with a voice of madness and eyes of pure dominance, teeth bared and spitting rage -- he asserts his power on the Morlocks, demanding they prostrate themselves before his display of might.
Indeed, the Morlocks are shocked and horrified at his entry. This was no furtive entrance upon which to pounce upon. This was stated authority, without fear. Tsao looked into each of their eyes -- and he saw in each and every one of them a boundless hatred, but behind that hatred... no shortage of fear. As he continued his ministrations of Intimidation, he worked to harrow their very beings into submission.
Of the ten morlocks assembled, 6 bowed their heads, laid prostrate on the ground, and entered a front-leaning rest that suggested a thorough supplication. They had looked into the eyes of everything they feared and hoped to destroy, and they found themselves wanting. They blinked. The remaining four who were not as intimidated by this display could not believe their eyes. As Tsao conducted his ministrations the two largest (the ones wearing Kapenia) attempted to bark back at their companions -- to rally, but they knew even as they resisted the wiles themselves that it was a losing battle. Those that would not shrink back would have to be enough... This... CREATURE... would have to be slain.
Much surfaces in the dialogue that suggests to Tsao that these morlocks do not worship the cathexis, but such tattoos are persistent reminders or their blood-enemy, of which he was the embodiment of:
A morlock leader barks:
When all was said and done, four morlocks remained hostile, with the larger part of them remaining prostrate to the overwhelming will of the General. Those four that held the line were COMMITTED to slaughtering him, what the rest did depended on Tsao...
(Unless interrupted, this is the sum total of the intimidate action that takes 1 minute to complete -- after this minute is over, Tsao can take additional actions/proclaimations -- but will also have to deal with initiative sequence and the hostilities of the morlocks he failed to intimidate.)
in 1-3 rounds the main body of the skeleton regiment will be under the sweet spot -- it will likely be 2-3 rounds before Jaldon is (and he is almost certain to be preoccupied with Gorfeen before then, as he is ABOUT to attack.) Hope that helps. If successfully conducted the collapse will occupy an area relative to the power over DC of the Task, so it's possible that a sizable cave in (with sufficient explosives) could have QUITE a footprint. High enough, and you might even get MUCH more than you bargained for. Be warned. :D
The die has been cast! Processing!
Keep in mind that it takes a full minute (10 turns) to do an intimidate check to adjust the stance of enemies -- but only 1 turn to attempt to "Shake" a group of foes. From Tsao's post it seems pretty explicitly stated that he is attempting to force non-hostile behavior... so we'll see where that takes him... but since Gorfeen is ABOUT to strike, keep in mind that Tsao will be preoccupied with his intimidate for several turns unless interrupted (potentially longer than the entire battle with the skeletons.) Posting rolls and results soon!
Like a true sandbox game, what happens may have a great deal to do with the circumstances of a TPK. If the unthinkable happened, we might discuss our options, but it is theoretically possible that the story could continue in one fashion or another. Let's not jinx things however... A stratospheric Intimidate roll or somehow contriving that cave-in might preclude such discussions. XD
Question to the forum: (as it's my first Pathfinder PbP I'm trusting other perceptions over my own) --
In your experience at how many players does a PbP like this one begin to sag under it's own weight? Do you think the party, or game, would be enhanced by additional players? I was just pondering the idea. 5 players sounds like a lot, and indeed that's my ideal top at the table, but I'm wondering if the pacing of PbP allows for more?
If you have an opinion, share it with me but no pressure. This weekend has been very fertile for me creatively. If the game continues to thrive, expect many new potential enemies, and even some allies -- in the days to come... that is IF the party is not crushed into paste in the next few turns! <3
Moving forward Re: Knowledge checks on monsters --
Just to be sure your skills are working for you in a way you'd like, when you use a knowledge roll on a creature, qualifying it with the kind of information you'd most like to obtain may not give you everything you want, but it may skew results to more of what you'd like.
Ie, If you are asking what you generally know about morlocks, you'll get a greater deal of general information. However, if you ask about the physical capabilities of morlocks, you'd get a more detailed picture of certain aspects of their monster profile rather than their history/nature/backstory.
With the Morlocks as an example, you can see that knowing either type of information is potentially valuable, as understanding the bigger picture about creatures (and what motivates them) can be as valuable as knowing how to kill them.
Just saying. (and doing it exactly how it's been done is no problem either, I'd just hate to think somebody is desperate to glean what kind of DR a creature has and instead gets a bunch of information on what otherwise makes a creature tick.) :D