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The Scribbler

Will Black's page

95 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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ciretose wrote:

Just a fun little discussion of what would be the Ultimate 4 person party for the AP, considering both utility and fun. It is obviously subjective, so please post your own.

1. Human Wizard - (Transmutation School).

Why? This is a AP all about anchient wizards. It is full of spellbooks and rollplaying opportunities and at the end, this player could become the new runelord of Greed. Hence picking transmutation.

2. Human Bard (Archeologist Archtype)

Why? This fills a ton of party roles. You have your trapfinder, secondary caster and healer, party face...not to mention the bardic knowledges are going to very much come in handy. Not a power house, but a jack of all trades that will come very much in handy throughout the campaign.

3. Human Paladin -

Why? Many campaigns are hard for Paladins. This one isn't. The bad guys are bad. Immunity to fear and detecting evil will very much come in handy at many points in the campaign. He is your tank, your secondary face, your nova against the BBEG and yet another healer.

4. Human Druid -

Why? Because this is a heavy travel campaign over lots and lots of different terrain. Wild shape is great for scouting, and you will absolutely need scouting.

Thoughts, or post your own.

This +1

A couple extra points:

I'd say Gnome or Halfing Druid. It would make the fight with Gogmurt much more fun, especially for any rematches in the future when he inevitibly gets away.

For the Bard, don't forget about being able to take full advantage of the stuff in the Shimmerglens, like Mirianna's blessing and the ghost ship.

Wizard: Planning on using that Sihedron Medalion as your bonded object? wink wink

Latrecis wrote:

As I read the original post, while it seems the pc's want to redeem Nualia, it's not clear they know how to go about it - though the tactics they chose seems like good ones.

What you need to do is determine what the process is for her redemption (and possibilities/consequences for failure) and then give the players a chance to do it. Is it game mechanic driven - so many diplomacy checks of difficulty x,y and z? Does the cleric need to channel positive energy as part of that diplomacy check? Etc. Or is it role-playing driven? Do they need to convince her of three key ideas (examples: she's worth saving, Lamashtu is a barren path, they need her help) Or is it story-driven - if these three events happen, she changes heart: she witnesses the party's valor in saving the town from the giants, the pc's deliberately spare her when they could have killed her (perhaps already met) and someone outside the party offers her mercy (Ameiko?)

I like the way you think, sir. While your "story driven" option is definitely in line with what I'm going for, your the three key ideas for what to convince her of in your "role-playing driven" option are very much in line with what the party has been doing. Maybe do a combination of the two...

Like, next time they scry on her, they see her meeting with Teraktinus, planning the assault, and see that there's already some dissension among the ranks. After all, Mokmurian (and thus Teraktinus through him) is interested in the Old Light only because Karzoug is, but doesn't know that Karzoug's interest is only because he's seeking to punish the Scribbler for betraying him. Being a follower of Lamashtu, just like Alaznist was and the Scribbler as well, and having actually explored the ruins of the Catacombs as Wrath, maybe Nualia is strating to put together that Mokumurian and his Runelord master might not have goals that are aligned with hers? Sure, she wants to see Sandpoint burn, but is this really the best way, by allying with enemies of her cult just to see this end met, dooming other worshipers of her goddess in the process? Maybe drop some hints in here as well to inspire the players to think along the right lines to actually meeting the correct prerequisites to redeem her?

But I also really like both of these ideas:

Latrecis wrote:

Once you have that in hand you can design an encounter with her that gives the party a chance to succeed. While scrying on her, they discover she's returned to Sandpoint and is trying to rally the Mosswood goblins to attack. When the pc's spare the goblins and her while stopping the plot, she starts to rethink her life choices. Or she's skulking around town trying to find a way to the minor runewell (please take into account any steps the pc's may have taken to deal with it previously) and she gets trapped in a cave-in from which the party saves her.

After all, the PCs did take steps to empty this runewell. So many sinspawn....

Latrecis wrote:

By the way, you should also give some thought to what happens if she does get redeemed. Does she join the party? Does she join the Temple in Sandpoint? Maybe she goes to serve with the Black Arrows.

I've been putting a lot of thought into this, actually. I guess it all depends on how/when they finally convince her (if they do). I have a few vague ideas, but nothing really pinned down yet.

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Maybe I'm just crazy, but I prefer to reward my players for outside-the-box thinking, and for actually acting heroic. Like, they let Orik live, enlisted his help in fighting Nualia and Melfeshnekor, but then brought him to stand trial for the part he played in planning the goblin raid on Sandpoint. Orik was sentenced to live out the rest of his life in service as a Ranger at Fort Rannick. It really made my players light up when they found him again in the Fort Rannick dungeon, and they eagerly healed him up and enlisted him to help them again in retaking the fort.

I definitely like the broad strokes you've given RuyanVe; the idea of them encountering her and getting hints to that something about her is changing as opposed to the idea of passive-aggressively sabotaging my own game.

So I'm looking for a bit of help with some inspiration. Life has just been too busy for me lately to come up with ideas organically, so I'm seeking help to boost my inspiration in the right direction. Here's my issue:

I'm currently running ROTRL for my group who have just defeated Barl and finished the Hook Mountain Massacre. It's the beginning of Winter, and they've discovered that Teraktinus plans to attack Sandpoint at first thaw. With the increased travel time due to the winter conditions, it looks like the party will reach Sandpoint within days of the first day of spring. However, due to an out of game scheduling conflict, our next session is going to be pretty short, and I'm not confident we'll have enough time to complete the battle of Sandpoint in one next session. Instead of cutting the session in the middle of the battle, I'd rather add a little something extra between the Hook Mountain and Sandpoint for the PCs to deal with.

Here's where my ideas are going, let me know if you feel this can be improved, or if there is a more interesting sidequest they could deal with:

Nualia managed to escape the PCs at Thistletop. The PCs then encountered her again when they visited the Seven's Sawmill, where she escaped again. During this time, the Paladin and Druid are both convinced she can be saved, and turned from her dark path. Both players have talked to me about this out-of-game, and so I allowed them to get their hands on a strand of her hair, which they've used periodically to scry on her. This has allowed me to give them a good deal of the story ahead of time that they normally wouldn't have access to. Also, during both encounters, the Paladin and Druid have fought her non-lethally, tried to talk and reason with her, and even managed to succeed in a very high DC Diplomacy Role to improve her disposition (and thus flee the battle at the Sawmill).

I'd like for Nualia to play a pivotal role in the Battle of Sandpoint, perhaps having something to do with the secret passage from the glassworks, and if the PCs play their cards right, I may even have her switch sides and help with fighting Longtooth.

But, as I said earlier; I'd like to put a sidequest in front of them before they return to defend Sandpoint - something that would take a day or less to complete.

However, this seems to be where my inspiration has ceased. Should I have them encounter her one last time on their travel back to Sandpoint? What would she likely be doing? Who/what might likely be aiding her? Would she once again return to Thistletop to plan her second attack on Sandpoint? What do you think?

Found a resource for you! This guy does a great job explaining Hulk and Iron Man, for sure. I don't totally agree with Thor (as I don't feel that Clerics get the same punch as Bloodrager for punching and electrocuting things), but his reasoning is definitely solid:

For Captain America/Andoran, look into the Helpful Trait, the Bodyguard Feat, and a 2 level dip into Cavalier for the Bonus Teamwork Feat Duck and Cover, and the Order of the Dragon ability Aid Allies, before starting your class progression into Brawler. He can share that Teamwork feat to give all allies adjacent to them +2AC vs ranged attacks, and expend an Attack of Opportunity at any time to give them +4AC. If you decide you want to get 2 levels in the Steel Falcon prestige class at some point, you can use Bodyguard to give an ally +6AC. Helps to make Cap more "leaderly" and reflect his tactical ability in addition to just throwing a shield around.

For Iron Man, I'd highly recommend going as a Magus, and taking the Crafting Feats to make Golems and enhance them to become Armors for you. The build really starts to come into it's own around 8th level (when the Magus can cast with Medium Armor without penalty), and it just starts to become more and more fun to play from there. The Synthesist Summoner, sure, can have an "armor" from level 1, but you have no real ranged capabilities. You're just a guy in a suit punching it out with your enemies. It looks like Iron Man on paper, but it doesn't feel like Iron Man to play the same way that a Golem-Builder does.

For Hulk, look at the Master Chymist prestige class. I'd highly recommend the Magical Knack trait to begin with, starting as a Ragechemist Alchemist, then take a two-level dip into a Drunken Brute/Invulnerable Rager (yes, you can take both of those archetypes together). That will give you Rage on top of a super-potent Strength Mutagen, the ability to drink potions and extracts without provoking an AoO, and as a Master Chymist, you get some very hulk-themed abilities.

For Thor, look at the new Bloodrager class from the ACG, and the Elemental (Air) bloodline. They get the ability to infuse their weapon with electrical damage, shoot thunderbolts (Scorching Ray as an electrical spell), and a 60' Fly speed.

For Hawkeye, look no further than the Zen Archer monk. Black Widow is a Ninja - hands down.

For Quicksliver, you're probably best gong with a Monk, but taking just a quick dip into Barbarian for that extra burst of movement speed. You can even use his "Rage" as a way to simulate punching super-fast.

Scarlet Witch is probably best left to the interpretation of the player. I could see a strong argument for Witch, as well as for a Karmic Wildblooded Sorcerer.

graystone wrote:

As I pointed out earlier, size changes alters your base damage to a new base damage. A 1 step size increase makes a medium dagger into a large dagger dealing d6 base damage. Bashing does the same thing by increasing the base damage by 2 sizes to a new base damage.

I understand where you're coming from, and at my tables, I would rule in your favor, because I feel that this is how the rule is intended to work.

However, without an FAQ, we're left with interpretation based on the rules as they currently exist. The only reference I can find that specifies that increasing a weapon's "effective" size altering it's base damage is in the spell description for Strong Jaw. Even Gravity Bow and Lead Blades talk about increases the weapon's damage as if it were a size category larger - base damage is not mentioned. If you could link an FAQ or show where in the rules it states specify that magical augments to "effective" size of a weapon increase a weapon's base damage, it would help.

Close Combat Master specifies that the only affects "base" damage, you still use every other aspect of the weapon. Like, if your shield is made of Cold Iron or Adamantine, you'd still overcome applicable DR, but be using unarmed damage (a level -4) to do so.

Which brings up the question, how does Strong Jaw interact with Close Combat Mastery?

graystone wrote:
Ninjaruski wrote:
This works the same way as the shield. Feral Combat allows you to use your unarmed damage instead of your claw damage. Catfolk Exemplar and Improved Natural Attack alter your claw(weapon) base damage. None affect your unarmed damage and thus wouldn't translate into any extra damage to your shield.
I don't read FCT as swapping claw damage for unarmed damage as it states: "you can apply... effects that augment an unarmed strike" to the claws, which would imply that the monk/brawler's unarmed strike damage progression would also apply to the claws as well, which puts the claws into a nebulous place.
It's been ruled that the scaling damage from unarmed damage is an 'effects that augment an unarmed strike'. That in no way makes claws unarmed attacks. If it did, there would be no reason to tell you that "you can use the selected natural weapon with your flurry of blows class feature" as you can already use unarmed attacks with a flurry.

True, Close Combat Mastery in no way augments your unarmed damage. Your close weapon damage is augmented by your unarmed strike damage.


But getting back to the original point of this post. I think the key is in the wording of the abilities:

Close Weapon Mastery wrote:

When wielding a close weapon, she uses the unarmed strike damage of a brawler 4 levels lower instead of the base damage for that weapon...
This ability does not affect any other aspect of the of the weapon.
Bashing wrote:

A bashing shield deals damage as if it were a weapon of two size categories larger

Close Combat Mastery specifically does state that it trades one base damage for another. Bashing does not increase base weapon damage, simply that the "weapon" deals damage is if it were larger. Unfortunately, by RAW, that would mean the two abilities stack.

However, a clever GM could make the argument that Close Combat Mastery specifically states that it does not change any aspects of the weapon, but Bashing is an enchantment for [b]armor[/]...

Ninjaruski wrote:

Assuming you play a catfolk shield champion and take the Cat's Claws racial trait (1d4 claws as natural attack), then Catfolk Exemplar "sharp claws" (1d6 claws as natural attack), then Feral Combat Training (use natural attacks as part of flurry, apply unarmed strike enhancements to natural weapons), would the enhanced damage from your claws apply to the shield?

No, because Close Weapon Mastery specifically says, "unarmed strike damage of a brawler 4 levels lower or the base damage for that weapon" and a catlfolk's claws are natural attacks.

The wording on this ability and how it interacts with Bashing is a bit foggy and is definitely something FAQ worthy. But let's keep the rules in the book in mind before we start getting angry here.

Rushley son of Halum wrote:

The AC dodge bonus is serious too. It specifically brings up shields as stopping the bonus.

According to the ACG, here's the description:


At 4th level, when a brawler wears light or no armor, she gains a +1 dodge bonus to AC and CMD. This bonus increases by 1 at 9th, 13th and 18th levels

Emphasis mine. It specifically calls out wearing armor. A shield isn't worn, it's wielded.

Rushley son of Halum wrote:

Thing is, brawlers aren't normally proficient in shields so why mention them at all?

They actually are:


A brawler is proficient with all simple weapons plus the handaxe, short sword, and all weapons in the close fighter weapon group.

Again, emphasis mine. Close weapons are defined as: bayonet, brass knuckles, dan bong, emei piercer, fighting fan, gauntlet, heavy shield, iron brush, light shield, madu, mere club, punching dagger, sap, scizore, spiked armor, spiked gauntlet, spiked shield, tekko-kagi, tonfa, unarmed strike, wooden stake, and wushu dart

Good read! Also liked your Catwoman writeup!

Hmmm... wonder with the new Brawler Shield Champion Archetype and Bloodrager how long until we're talking about Captain America and Thor as respectable builds.

An argument could be made that the Dark Silver Shield is Light Shield, just as much as the argument could be made that it is a Heavy Shield. In that case, the Thunder and Fang feat is probably the best way to go for you.

Ultimate Equipment wrote:
A traditional klar counts as a light wooden shield with armor spikes. A metal klar counts as a light steel shield with armor spikes.

By the mechanics, you'd just have a Light Metal Shield with spikes - it doesn't have to be a skull with a spike, you can just apply whatever flavor you want. The only real difference between a Light and Heavy shield is 1 AC, which is negligible. You don't even need to worry about attacking with the shield if you feel particularly feat-starved - or you can take a small dip into Fighter for some quick feats.

The above points are especially true if you go the way of being a Paladin, which I'd agree, fits Vinalnd more. Neither he nor Astraea are evil, in fact they both went to the Valley of Defilement in order to try toi cleanse it. But, with a light, as opposed to heavy shield, you can actually cast Paladin spells in combat - Free Action your Earthbreaker into your shield hand, cast the spell, then Free Action it back to your main hand. The Deflection bonus to AC from smiting should more than make up for the 1 AC you're missing from not going heavy shield. Here's just a quick example of how you could build out his feats:

Progress 2 levels in Paladin, 2 into Fighter, then back to Paladin for the rest of your career:
1) Weapon Focus Earthbreaker
1 - human bonus) Power Attack
3) Weapon Focus Klar
3 - fighter bonus) Two Weapon Fighting
4 - fighter bonus) Thunder and Fang

From there, decide if you want to focus on fighting Shield and Earthbreaker, or go a different path. If you decide Oath of Vengeance, Extra Lay on Hands will be a great choice, Greater Mercy is also a great feat if you want to be more tanky and make up for the dip into Fighter. Or if you wanted to focus more on protecting Astraea, you could start with the Helpful trait, pick up Combat Reflexes and Bodyguard, and enchant your armor with Benevolent, possibly pick up Saving Shield or Covering Defense as well - there's really A LOT of options from this point.

Shield and Earthbreaker:
5) Improved Shield Bash
7) Shield Slam
9) Shield Focus or Furious Focus
11) Shield Master

Protecting Astraea:
5) Combat Reflexes
7) Bodyguard
9&11) Stand Still, Lunge, Covering Defense - your choice.

Thanks guys! A lot of these are really good. I'll bounce them by him and see what he thinks. Thanks so much!

Hey everyone, I'm currently in talks with my players for what kind of characters they want to play in an upcoming campaign. One of them has decided on playing a Lawful Good Magus, but is torn between which race he'd like to play. He really likes the idea the mechanics behind a Tiefling Magus, but he's currently stumped on a backstory and personality for the character - and he won't play a character unless the character is an actual character, and has a compelling backstory. I totally respect that kind of choice, but I'm stumped as well and can't seem to think of a good backstory for a Lawful Good Teifling Magus either, so if anyone has any ideas, please feel free to post them.

If it's any help, the campaign will likely be either Curse of the Crimson Throne or Shattered Star.

Hey, so I recently created a new character for my game table, and decided to try something different. Seeing as the group already had a switch-hitting ranger and she has damage pretty-well covered, I decided to see if I could make a defensive-based character work in a group. Paladins, with their high saves and the ability to heal themselves as a swift action seemed like the best route to go to accomplish this.

Now, I know that going a defensive-route for characters is sub-optimal in anything that's d20-based, and that just killing enemies, or using spells to render them useless is really the more effective way to go; but I've been gaming for a very long time and really would like to try something different and new, just to see if I can have fun with it. I was quite surprised when I found a combination that actually worked by working-around the innate disadvantage that defensive building comes with.

The idea is that if you're too tough of a target, and enemies can't take you down easily, they'll simply focus on your allies and leave you for last. So, if you could find a way that trying to get to or to take down your allies is more of a headache than simply dealing with you, that would do pretty well to eliminate this disadvantage right?

Enter the Bodyguard Feat. You can use an AoO to use an Aid Another Action on an ally that is the subject of an attack. But Aiding is only a +2 bonus, which is kind of inconsequential. Unless you're a halfling and you took the Helpful trait, which increases your Aid Another bonus from +2 to +4 - suddenly Bodyguard actually becomes a useful and viable option! We began play at level 3, so I was able to actually begin by using this combination (since Bodyguard requires Combat Reflexes). So far, it's proven quite effective in getting enemies to leave my allies alone. They're instead stuck dealing with me, which due to my small size, and that I'm carrying a shield, my AC high enough that most of them aren't able to hit me reliably.

However, from this point I'm not so sure where to go, and so I ask for your advice. There's a lot of options, but nothing is really standing out. Stand Still seems like a no-brainer for this setup, as does Lunge. Covering Defense seems like a nice Teamwork feat that will give my allies more AC against ranged attacks just for standing next to me, but other feats like Saving Shield, Missile Shield and Covering Defense, just don't seem all that worth it. The main goal isn't so much to make my character an invincible defensive powerhouse, but to make him a hard target while simultaneously making it so that trying to deal with his allies is so annoying or obnoxious or difficult, that you are left with few options aside from dealing with him first.

Are there any other feats (or paladin spells) that you know of that make it difficult to deal with your allies, without outright forcing them to attack you (a la Antagonize)? What other feats (or paladin spells or magic items) help improve your own defensive abilities? Would an Order of the Shield Cavalier have made a better choice for this setup? What do you think?

PS: I feel I should reiterate that I know that creating a melee character not specced for damage is sub-optimal. I know that playing defensively is not the most effective way to play. I've been gaming for a very long time, and am really just looking for something that's new and different, but that isn't a total waste of space at the table. I'm perfectly fine with the other players in my party getting the spotlight in that regard.

Thanks for the help, I'll mention outflank. But I'm not going to be be to convince him to go Sorcerer instead of Magus. Though it may be more powerful down the line, the group is starting at 1st level, and does not have a martial-type character. I just think that a sorcerer, rogue and bard will struggle very heavily at the early levels, while a magus, rogue and bard is much more well-rounded.

We've both read through Osterik's guide, but since he's using a Magus Archtype that isn't core, the information doesn't really help this build, specifically.

So, a player at my table is looking to play a Dragon Disciple in an upcoming game, and I've okayed the Cabalist Magus Archetype for him to do so. In case you're unfamiliar with the archetype, Here is a link. His plan is to get to 7th level and choose Crossblooded Dragonic/Elemental Bloodline, then go immediately into Dragon Disciple at 8. The campaign is set to go from 1st to 17th level, and will use standard Wealth by Level. So, he's got an idea of where to go, but needs help filling in the last few feats, Magus Arcana and such.

Feat/Arcana Choices:

1, feat) Combat Casting
1, human bonus) Iron Will
3, feat) Power Attack
3, arcana) Arcane Accuracy
5, feat) ??
5, magus bonus) Arcane Strike
6, arcana) ??
7, feat) Intensify Spell
9, feat) ??
11, feat) Extra Arcana (Spell Blending)
13, feat) Critical Focus
15, feat) yet to be determined critical feat
17) Extra Arcana (Spell Blending)

Now, a couple of things to keep in mind here:
A) He wants to go Strength-based and use medium armor to better synergize with the Dragon Disciple bonuses to Strength and Natural Armor. So no advice recommending Dervish Dance, please.
B) The group only consists of 3 players, so he is trying to fill the role of both a martial character and arcane caster, hence the Spell Blendings at higher level. If you have ideas for good Wizard Spells to take at these levels, by all means suggest them.
C) His weapon will be a scimitar, but the party's rogue is dual-wielding kukris (martial weapon proficiency gained from the Swashbuckler Archetype) and she has the Butterfly Sting feat specifically to help him with crit-fishing. Both of them are open to the idea of Teamwork Feats.

Thanks in advance for your advice!

Day 6 - Shipwrecked on Bonewrack Isle Part 1: I've got a few minutes to get the next chapter to you guys, hopefully by next week I'll have Bonewrack Isle finished up and written. In the meantime, here's what happened next

As Sandara finished healing Hespar, a side trail caught Deadeye's attention. Letting his curiosity get the better of him, he split off from the group to investigate, claiming, "I'll be right back, don't go anywhere."

At the end of the trail he found a small encampment that had been abandoned for quite some time, likely over year. The foodstuffs had long spoiled, but there were still some things of value, most notably three unlabeled potions and some flasks of alchemist's fire. With these in hand, he returned to the group and convinced them to give him a moment to identify the potions. Luckily, all three were healing potions.

The group pressed on further into the island, following the trail they had been on before Hespar's folly with the botflies. It wasn't long before loud buzzing could be heard. Out of the brush flew a number of stirges, followed by a swarm of mosquitoes. As Hespar and Sorin dealt with the stirges, Feona, Deadeye and Sandara lobbed alchemist's fire at the mosquitoes. Much better prepared for this battle, the fight was over quickly and relatively easily.

It wasn't much longer before the jungle trail opened to a clearing containing a much larger encampment than Deadeye had found. This one too was long-since abandoned, but old decaying bodies laid strewn about. Hespar stepped in, his spear t the ready while Feona and Deadeye nocked arrows, ready to cover him. He approached the closest body, his shield held protetively, and stabbed the body with his spear. Nothing happened. Hespar then moved on to the next body to do the same. As he did, Sandara and Sorin began arguing, apparently renewing a discussion they'd had previously on the ship.

Hespar, Deadeye and Feona just ignored them, waiting for one of the bodies to suddenly spring to life the way the last ones they found had. However, their investigation was interrupted by the sound of steel being pulled from sheathes. Turning around, both Sorin and Sandara had pulled their cutlasses, but not at each other. A ghoul had snuck up behind each of them, and was lunging for them, clawed hands outstretched.

Though both were prepared for the ghoul ahead of them, neither one was ready for the one behind them and were both caught off guard once they were grabbed. Both screamed, but their screams were cut short as the ghoul's venom paralyzed each of them. Feona and Deadeye wheeled around, firing arrows into the fray, and catching the attention of the ghouls.

It was clear now that both ghouls were at one time female and were dressed, although raggedly, to be quite revealing in their dresses. Were these some kind of whores from a previous shipwreck? What was going on on this island?

Hespar dug his feet in, ready to charge when suddenly the earth began to shake. He was able to keep his footing, but only barely. The ghouls were closing in on his archers, and he needed to protect them, but that's when things got worse. Out of the ground just behind him, an Ankheg appeared, burrowing up and letting loose a chitinous roar. Sandara and Sorin lay motionless on the ground, Feona and Deadeye were loosing arrows, but the ghouls were still coming, and now a giant bug creature was looking to make Hespar into a snack.

Here's my scenario. A fighter and monk both possess Paired Opportunists, but only the monk has Vicious Stomp. When the monk knocks an opponent down(let's assume by tripping), that opponent provokes an attack of opportunity. However, the attack must be an unarmed strike, which the monk is perfectly okay with. But what about the Fighter Standing next to him that also threatens the opponent? Paired Opportunists states that:

Paired Opportunists wrote:
... Enemies that provoke attacks of opportunity from your ally also provoke attacks of opportunity from you so long as you threaten them (even if the situation or an ability would normally deny you the attack of opportunity)

So does the fighter then just get an normal, unrestricted AoO, since the situation would normally deny him the ability to perform it with a weapon, and Paired Opportunists specifically overcomes that? Or for some other reason would the fighter only be able to use an unarmed strike for his AoO?

Thanks for the advice. That's pretty much how I figured everything worked. At least this way, I have something I can point my player to for answers. Thank you.

I've had a player come up with some really strange ideas lately, and has been asking alot of questions about the Eldritch Heritge Feat and how it interacts with alternative ways to gain bloodlines. The feat says this:

Ultimate Magic wrote:

Eldritch Heritage

You are descended from a long line of sorcerers, and some portion of their power flows in your veins.
Prerequisites: Cha 13, Skill Focus with the class skill of bloodline selected for this feat (see below), character level 3rd.
Benefit: Select one sorcerer bloodline. You must have Skill focus in the class skill that bloodline grants to a sorcerer at 1st level (for example, Heal for the celestial bloodline). This bloodline cannot be a bloodline you already have. You gain the first-level bloodline power for the selected bloodline. For purposes of using that power, treat your sorcerer level as equal to your character level – 2, even if you have levels in sorcerer. You do not gain any of the other bloodline abilities.

So here's the questions began. Note the sentence I bolded. I understand that if you are a sorcerer and already possess a bloodline, that you can't take this feat to get abilities faster. I've got that.

But how does this feat interact with the Dragon Disciple prestige class's Blood of Dragons ability? Like, say for instance that I began as a Bard and chose Skill Focus (Perception) as my first level feat and Eldritch Heritage (Dragonic) at level 3. Then, after reaching 6th level took levels in the Dragon Disciple Prestige class? Would this mean that to determine the potency of my claws, that I add my levels in Dragon Disciple to my total character level -2? Does it make the Eldritch Heritage feat void, since I now possess the same bloodline as the feat is giving me? Or should I make a common sense house rule and simply go with my levels of Dragon Disciple plus my levels of non-Dragon Disciple -2? Or is there a better answer that I'm just not seeing?

Now here's where it gets a bit more confusing. Let's assume I'm playing the Cabalist Magus and I took the Eldritch Heritage (Draconic) feat at 3rd level. What happens at 7th level when I gain the Boodline Power ability? Am I eligible to take the Draconic Bloodline then, or not? Do I have two separate sets of abilities - like having claws twice, one from the feat and a second from the class ability? Because I didn't already have the bloodline when I took Eldritch Heritage, I came upon the abilities of a bloodline later, not an actual bloodline itself.

While I'm on the subject, how does the Cabalist Magus of 7th level or higher that chose the Bloodline Power (Draconic) interact with the Dragon Disciple Prestige Class's Blood of Dragons ability? Do I add my levels of Magus and Dragon Disciple together to determine the effectiveness of my powers? Or do I simply have two sets of the same powers (as I mentioned above)?

But what if I combine all my above questions? What if I began as a Cabalist Magus, then at 3rd level took the Eldritch Heritage (Draconic) feat, then waited until 7th level to pick up the Bloodline Power (Draconic) class ability, then just dove right into the Dragon Disciple class at level 8? What happens then? Is this even possible? Does that mean I could have three sets of draconic abilities? Or that I combine my Magus + Dragon Disciple + CL -2 to determine my bloodine abilities? Or is it some other combination?

As you can see, it's alot of gray and murky areas to have machinegunned at me by a player. Any help would be appreciated.

Hawktitan wrote:
I don't think you could +1 both and have them both count. I'm pretty sure that it would be like saying I'm wearing a chain shirt under my full plate. If I'm wrong someone will correct me. A +1 Haramaki by itself sounds fine though for a 2 AC.

It's a gray area, something you'll want to ask your GM about, but it likely falls under the rules for piecemeal armor:

Ultimate Combat wrote:
If a character is wearing pieces of separately created or enchanted armor, the armor only takes the benefits provided by the masterwork quality and the magic of the most protective piece — typically the torso armor piece.

Pendagast wrote:

a Gold DD/Pally could be interesting... haven't seen one before.

It's too bad they dont have a spontaneous casting version the magus,

a Pally/magus/DD using class features to augment claws would be really cool/unique (until it became another build everyone just had to have......*coughcough*dervishdancer*cough*

What about the Cabalist Magus?

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This is almost exactly what happened to me in my last game. Unfortunately, what I did to solve it may not be the advice you're looking for. Thing is, I'd tried the "talk to the problem players out of game, be an adult," but my bd players just weren't having any of it. I had a group of seven ( six + GM ). I left that group, took the three good players with me, found a stone pile of people clamoring for a good gaming group, and began GMing again. It wasn't too difficult. If you have a local hobby shop, you can always start going there to buy your game supplies, start conversations with the employees and other patrons, find out who's got games going on and who's the good GMs - you may even find a Society game where you can get in on or sit-in on, and pre-interview players.

This worked okay, as I found good and bad players. I found some great players but their style's didn't mesh well with others, but I did finally find a group of people I can settle on that re good players and don't fight or argue, and drama doesn't happen.

But yeah, your Player B, I hate that person. Every game I seem to have one of them, and they've always the worst players - not understanding the rules, making up rules to suit the needs, flipping the table over for taking 3 damage, getting up in the face of and talking down to kings. It's unfortunately made me very suspicious when a player wants to be the "quiet badass." It's become a red flag that says, "I don't know how to RP, I just want to rave about how much cooler my character is thn yours." The worst was I had player B that played a magus in a campaign that lasted 2 years and made it to 17th level. In all that time, he never figured out the difference between a Standard Action Attack and a Full-Round Attack, never grasped that if you didn't take levels in rogue, you don't get extra damage on a sneak attack, or that if you cast a Spell you could not also attack that round (I'm not talking about Spell Combat, I'm talking about things like casting lightning bolt, moving right next to the enemy and then getting angry he can't get all his attacks too). I have no time or patience for Player B, and as soon as his colors show, he's out of my game.

So, a player mentioned to me recently he's debating about playing an alchemist. What he knows thus far is that he wants to focus on fighting from a range, so a beastmorph/vivisectionist kind of thing is out. What do you guys think is more effective? A Grenedier bomb thrower, focusing on extra bombs and extra discoveries; or a vivisectionist that throws knives or darts or javelins or shurikens and builds for the Snap Shot feat chain?

I have a number of people on a waiting list to get involved in my campaigns, maybe I can get you in contact with them? Also, take a look at Pandemonium Games in Garden City. It's not far from you and I believe they run Society Games there.

Yeah, alot happened on the island. I'll be dividing it up into 3 posts. Check back for the next two after the holiday!

Day 6 - Shipwrecked on Bonewrack Isle Part 1: Still the same session as before, so we don't have Celeste, and have my sister playing Sandara. This place was a horrific challenge for the whole party, and we relly could have used Celeste's debuffing and crowd control, and her swarms... OH GODS THE SWARMS! Don't get me wrong, the challenge in this area was heart-pounding nonstop fun, but there were times that we were left scratching our heads going, "wait, what? How are we supposed to to...?" or "What the? WHY? HOW?" Anyways, without further ado, Bonewrack Isle!

Hespar was the first to volunteer to lead the expedition onto the island. Rosie was missing and he'd found himself grown quite fond of the halfling. He was followed quickly by Sorin, Deadeye and Feona. Realizing this was a perfect opportunity to get his enemies out of his hair (and hopefully get them killed by grindylows in the process) Plugg agreed to send them. It'd be at least 3 days before the Man's Promise would be in good enough repair, more than enough time for them to get themselves killed. Sandara stowed away in the lifeboat before it was lowered. Scourge wouldn't have let her go, but Celeste and Rosie needed her help. Besmara be damned if she were to just stand by and wait.

Hespar rowed them to a sandy shore, and they set out to explore the island. It wasn't far past the treeline the group discovered a small ruined native fishing village, strewn with dead bodies. Hespar kept his shield raised, and Deadeye and Feona their bows knocked as Sorin and Sandara began to investigate.

Suddenly, with a groan, one of the corpses stood to its feet. Sorin and Sandara's blades appeared as the rest of the bodies stirred to life. The party was surrounded and began to fight for their lives. Feona and Deadeye's arrows were nearly useless, leaving most of the fight to fall to Hespar and Sorin. One of them swung at Sandara, missing her flesh, but knocking her holy symbol from her hand. Hespar moved to intercept as Sorin flipped into a flanking position.

The fight continued to go, and for each corpse they defeated, another appeared from the jungle growth. Things were looking bleak as the last of the walking dead closed on the rescue party. Just then, Sandara pulled down her shirt, just enough to reveal a strange birthmark on her shoulder blade. With a shout, the birthmark glowed, and a wave of positive energy shot out in all directions. The corpses all fell to the wave.

Being that we were all playing with 2 traits on our PCs, our GM decided that he'd let my sister add two trait to Sandara, just to not feel left out. Birthmark was one of the traits she chose.

"Whoa!" Sorin shouted. But everyone felt the same. Sandara was most definitely more than just a simple priest of the Pirate Queen.

The group hudled and decided that while Deadeye, Feona and Sandara searched this village for clues, or a trail to follow to find their friends, Hespar and Sorin scouted ahead. Into the jungle the two hacked, eventually coming upon a small hut. Crying could be heard from inside.

This could be a survivor from the grindylow attack, or perhaps a native who survived the undead plague. Cautiously, Sorin opened the door, his cutlass still at the ready. In the corner of the small hut was a girl with long hair, her back turned. She wore a decaying silk dress, and looked to have bloches covering what skin could be seen. "Excuse me, miss are you--"

He was cut off as she turned around, her dacaying face home to sunken eyes, sharpened teeth and a lashing tongue. She lunged for him, extending a hand armed with deadly nails.

With a girly shriek, Sorin leapt backwards, narrowly dodging the woman's swing. He dove backwards, tripping over himself. Hespar, not missing a beat stepped over the dark elf and planted his feet, shield held firm before him. The woman lunged again, but Hespar intercepted her, backhanding her across the face with his shield.

Knocked off balance by the blow, her body was left completely exposed for the Hesperean's sword to impale her stomach. A look of confusion covered her twisted face as the Hesperean lifted a mighty leg. Kicking her, he removed his sword from her gut, black ichorous blood spilling and sending her sprawling motionless to the ground. He flicked the blood from the blade and replaced it at his waist. Turning, he offered a hand to Sorin.

Deadeye heard the scream from his perch on top one of the village's huts. He, Feonna and Sandara ran to see what was happening. They arrived at the hut just in time to see Sorin dusting himself off. "Are you alright? We heard a scream," Feona questioned.

Sorin looked embarassed, blushing about as much as a dark elf really can, "Yeah.. it was-"

"The woman. She appears to be undead. She never saw the attack coming." Hespar interjected. Sorin looked to him, the two shared a subtle shrug.

Feona bent down to examine the corpse, quickly leaping back, "That... that's a ghoul. It's... you didn't get it's blood on you, did you?" She looked over to Hespar, his right arm covered in the ghoul's blood. Quickly, she ran to him, wiping off his arm.

"What's the matter?" Hespar questioned.

Relieved to see Hespar's arm unwounded, she breathed a sigh of relief. "Their blood, if you get it in you, you'll become a ghoul as well." All shared a quiet shudder, realizing the danger they were all in.

SLAP, Deadeye slapped a mosquito on the back of his neck. Suddenly his eyes grew wide as everyone looked to him. "Gods and heroes..." he muttered under his breath. The situation was suddenly much more dire. If the mosquitoes had fed on the ghouls, they could transmit the disease to anyone, ANYONE on the island.

As if we weren't already in enough danger.

The group regathered their courage and pressed on, following a small path deeper onto the island. The day was cloudy, and the thick canopy let little light through to the jungle floor. Hespar led the group, shield in one hand, a torch in the other. After a turn, the path suddenly widened to a very small clearing, containing a rotting head on a stick in the center.

"Clearly a warning from the superstitious natives," Hespar spoke up, approaching it. Without warning, he set his torch to the head, sending panick flooding to the rest of the group - for as soon as the flames took, a swarm of botflies flowed out of the head en masse.

"Hespar you fool!" Deadeye shouted, muffled by the swarm of thousanrds of swarming flies. Feona, Sorin and Sandara swatted helpelessly, fleeing back down the path from which they came. Hespar, swarmed by botflies, fumbled with his belt as he widely swung his torch, dropping the pot of alchemist's fire Grok had given him to the ground.

In an explosion of fire, chaos erupted. The brave warrior had no real way to fight the insects and so did his best to retreat as he uselessly swung his torch. Just then, a gout of flame burst forth from Deadeye' outstretched palms.

Though badly burned from the spell, Hespar was alive, and the swarm was dead. Fuming, Deadeye stomped up to the Hesperean, kicking him in the knee and driving him down to a kneel. "Don't you ever, EVER do anything like that again! You could've gotten us all killed!"

Hespar was too weak to protest and so simply nodded. It was Sorin who offered him a hand back to his feet this time.

Sorin then turned to Deadeye, "I didn't know you could use magic."

Deadeye just scoffed. "Keh, I'm supposed to tell you guys all my tricks? I don't think so."

Thanks everyone for the words of encouragement. I've had so much fun playing this game, I'm glad you all are enjoying reading about it. I should have our adventure on the island up either later on today or tomorrow.

Hey guys, I'm getting ready to run a session this weekend, and my party is likely going to end up having to deal with some mounted opponents. Now, the party's wizard loves to lead off with a Slow spell in nearly every combat that seems like it's going to be difficult. So, I know it's going to come up, but how do you guys run how the two interact? Do you use the rider's save for both rider and mount? Or does the rider and mount roll separately? This just seems to get foggy about when a rider wants to perform a full attack action but the mount is slowed, or how does a mount react if the rider is slowed? etc.

A situation hasn't come up yet, but I know my players and I want to make sure I have a clean answer before it does.

Day 4 & 5 on the Man's Promise: Day 2 and 3 on the Man's Promise were very uneventful. Just your standard, "My ship, my rules, here take some beatings from the cat" kinda stuff. Hespar was able to stay out of trouble due to his position of constantly being in the bilge. The only "plot" related thing that happened was a conversation between Sorin, Deadeye and Ambrose where it was realized that Plugg had no intention of meeting up with Harrigan in Port Peril, and was instead heading to Rickety Squibs to have the ship squibbed. Deadeye also pointed out that with their current heading, Plugg was going to take the ship right into that storm that nearly killed himself, Celeste, Rosie and Hespar.

The morning of Day 4, the sun was obscured by clouds and rain was already pouring, "I tolja, we're heading straight into that storm! We need to change course now!" Deadeye yelled at Plugg.

"Ye watch yer tongue, boy. You think yer a better navigator than me?" Plugg responded.

"Yes!" Deadeye exclaimed plainly.

"Why you little--" Plug began to pull his cat from his belt, but was interrupted by a falling mast between him and the half-elf. Both leapt back, startled.

Sorin waved from above, "Sorry about that, boss. Ropes are kinda slippery from the rain!" he shouted from behind a large grin. "Looks like it's getting worse, I think we're going to need some more hands up here!"

Plugg glowered. "All hands on deck!" He shouted.

The crew rushed onto the deck and immediately started getting to work on before the storm hit too hard. Taking a precaution to avoid a repeat of last time, Hespar secured Rosie to the center mast with a length of rope.

Luckily, the storm wasn't as bad as it had been previously, but it continued on into the night, and the crew had to take up shifts.

However, the next day the storm began to get worse. It was hard to tell exactly what time it was, as the sky was black as midnight, but the rain kept coming. The winds and the thunder knocked two of the newly shanghaied crew overboard, and everyone was fighting jut to stay alive. Then, suddenly Deadeye saw what was going on.

A grindylow had ahold of Celeste and was pulling her overboard. He called to Hespar, who responded by dropping from the rigging to the ship's deck. Another grindylow appeared, this one getting ahold of Rosie. Hespar chased after, but it was too quick and pulled her overboard. Hespar turned to see another approaching and moved to engage it, but suddenly found himself surrounded. Drawing his sword, he prepared for the worst. Just then, Sorin landed on one of the grindylows, stabbing it into the deck with his cutlass. A second grindylow was killed the same way by Feona and her rapier; a third by an arrow. Looking up, Deadeye could be seen hanging upside down from the rigging aiming his next shot.

With the battle against them, the grindylows retreated back into the ocean. Just then, the boat heaved and a heavy cracking noise was heard. The crew all stumbled in their positions, many falling from the rigging. "We've run aground!" Was shouted by one of the crew, but he was backhanded by Plugg.

"We haven't run aground, get back to yer post!" He shouted as the ship rumbled again.

The mainsail crashed to the deck, bringing a few sailors with it. The ship continued to rock throughout the night as the storm raged on

The following morning, the storm had passed, leaving a clear blue sky. Luckily the ship had indeed run aground, otherwise the Man's Promise would likely have sunk that night. The Man's Promise now lay, beaten and broken, on the shore of a uncharted tropical island.

The Man's Promise, Day 1: Okay, so we're given a day to celebrate the taking of the Man's Promise and decide who's going to crew it. During this day, I had Celeste identify the spear that the captain was using. Upon discovering this was a magical boarding pike, I immediately replaced my current spear with it.

Deadeye managed to avoid death through a really good roll, and we painted an eyepatch on his mini. Guess he's kinda earned the name "Deadeye," right? Anyways, the GM let him replace one of his existing traits with one that I believe is in the Skull & Shackles Player's Guide where he can have a missing eye or leg or hand and not suffer the penalty associated with it. So now, we have a one-eyed half-elven archer. Good times!

Also, for this session, Celeste couldn't make it, so you'll notice her character kind of taking a back seat for the next few days. However, my sister was around, and wanted to play, so the GM handed her Sandara to play around with for the day.

The morning after the celebration, Harrigan calls all the crew to the deck of the Man's Promise. There, he announces that he'll be handing the command of this new ship over to his first mate, Mister Plugg, and be assigning a skeleton crew to man it. The two ships will depart in the afternoon toward Port Peril. But who will crew the vessel?

Plugg immediately chose Scourge to be his acting first mate, and a number of other bootlickers to act as officers as well. He also made sure to choose Sandara so his buddy Scourge could get a second shot at her out of Harrigan's sight and Feona for his own amusement. Harrigan also suggested bringing along Celeste, Rosie and Crimson; and (having found a new cook on the Man's Promise) gave Ambrose over to Plugg as well. A smug grimace covered Plugg's face when he named that he also wanted to bring Hespar, Deadeye and Sorin with him.

At first Harrigan protested, but Plugg was able to convince him that he wanted the Hesperean and his clique with him in case they were discovered by Cerulean authorities and needed to fight. Begrudgingly, Harrigan accepted Plugg's reasoning and let the three of them crew the vessel as well.

It was a heartfelt goodbye as Grok hugged Hespar. "You take care, ya hear?" She said, as she handed him a flask of alchemist's fire. "Take this, it's a gift. You make sure and use it if Plugg and Scourge get out of line."

Hespar nodded, taking the flask with him. "May Gorum watch over you, and may we meet again, either here or in the Elysium fields," he responded.

And with that, the planks were raised and the Wormwood disappeared onto the horizon. It wasn't ten seconds after the Wormwood was out of sight that Plugg called up to the ship's pilot, "Alright, turn about, we're heading south." A series of murmurs spread throughout the crew, but it was quickly silenced with the crack of Scourge's whip. "Yer on my ship now, which means my rules. There are no more rum rations, there is no more downtime. Ye work till dinner, then work some more, then sleep. We've got a skeleton crew, and we need to keep this ship floating. Anyone violating curfew or not working their fair share will deal with the cat, not the whip." The crowd began to murmur again, but were silenced again by the crack of Scourge's whip. "Any talk of mutiny or nay-saying will be met with immediate keelhauling. I won't be as forgiving as Harrigan. Now git to work!"

Everyone began rushing to their posts, but Plugg stopped Hespar on his way to the kitchen. "You won't be acting as cook's mate anymore. We need you in the bilge." Hespar stared into the man's eyes for a moment, an unredable expression on his face. Without a word, he changed course and headed toward the bilge. A sigh of relief could be heard from Plugg as he did.

That night, everyone was exhausted and covered bruises from rope bashings. As the group licked their wounds, music could be heard from upstairs. While Hespar, Deadeye, Sorin and the others lay exhausted below deck, Plugg's "night watch" stayed on deck celebrating. And so, the talk of mutiny begins...

Day 13 & 14: As I understand it, the Adventure Path has the party quickly on the tail of a Rahadoumi merchant vessel: The Man's Promise. However, please keep in mind that we are playing this AP adapted for a homebrew world where there isn't a nation similar to Rahadoum. So, weeks prior to playing, the GM and I talked it out (since I'm GM in about 80 or so percent of the games we run, and virtually wrote the entire world on my own) to find a nation with a strong sea presence that could work as the owners of this ship. Unfortunately, our world is not nearly as expansive as Golarion, and we don't have as any seafaring nations. So, we had to make due.

We decided on the nation of Cerulea, which in Golarion terms could be described as very similar to Andoran. The closest description I can offer is of a cross between Andoran and Rennesaince/Age of Exploration France, Italy or England. So they have a strong naval presence, and their governmental power is in the hands of several "let them eat cake" noble houses despite being democratic. They have a love of fine art, invented the rapier and founded the first fencing schools. They favor grace and panache over direct shows of strength. They look down upon, and are looked down upon by, more brutal or barbaric nations like Hespar. Our Bard, Feona was born in this country, so she was slightly hesitant to engage at first.

The thirteenth day, everyone was working their hardest to catch up to the ship in the distance. It was the afternoon when Deadeye was able to clearly identify it as a Cerulean merchant vessel: The Man's Promise. It was a 3-masted sailing ship, significantly larger than the Wormwood. The size difference would prove favorable as the Wormwood continued to gain on it throughout the day and night, until finally it would move into boarding position the following morning.

As the sun peaked over the horizon he next morning, it would mark 14 days since the four heroes were shanghaied into the crew of the Wormwood, and it looked as if they would finally get to do some pirating. Riaris shouted orders at the crew. Hespar, Sorin and Celeste would be in charge of securing the stern castle, while Feona and Dedeye were to stay on the Wormwood and fire arrows into the fray. As the Worwood approached, crossbow bolts and arrows flew, while Hespar slung javelins into the front line of the enemy boarding party. Finally, the Wormwood was in position. The boarding party all stood at the edge of the ship, ready for the planks to lower and to have their chance to fight. Some where more eager than others. "They say that Ceruleans bleed gold and spit diamonds. Let us put their reputation to the test!" Hespar shouted as the neared position. Rosie and Sorin laughed while Feona glowered.

Finally the Wormwood was in position. Sorin, Crimson and others swung across ropes as the planks were lowered. The crew of the wormwood surged onto the Man's Promise, swords flashing and blood spraying. The battle was harsh, neither side appearing to be a clear victor. Hespar plunged ahead, deep into the enemy lines, establishing himself as the greatest threat to those on the ground.

Seeing her crew falling to arrows from the Wormwood's crow's nest, the captain of the Man's Promise was the first to change the tide of the battle. Training her corssbow on the half-elven archer killing her crew, she fired at him. She rolled a critical hit, confirming. The GM rolled a 9 for damage and drew a card from the critical hit deck. He drew eye shot. Deadeye takes triple damage and loses his eye. Her aim is true, right into Deadeye's orbital socket, knocking him to the floor. He's alone in the crow's nest, bleeding.

Seeing Deadeye go down, and Hespar surrounded by enemies, Celeste decided to quit playing around with her hexes and more mischievous spells. Preparing herself, she vomited up a swarm of spiders, directing it over to the Man's Promise. Through careful application of her will, she commanded the spiders to crawl over the enemies surrounding the Hesperean, while keeping him safe from their crawling, biting grasp. The crew of the Man's Promise begin to lose morale as they fend off the swarm of spiders, as the Hesperean takes down man after man, and Harrigan cuts a man clean in half.

As Hespar fought off last of the men guarding the captain, Sorin made a break for her, his cutlass flashing. But she proved to be to be too skilled an opponent for Sorin, beating him back with both her short swords until one of her them clanged against the bronze of a Hesperean shield. "Behind me!" Hespar shouted as he bashed the captain with his shield. "I'll keep her busy."

"Don't worry, I got this," the dark elf returned, leaping up and planting a foot on the Hesperean's shoulder. "She's mine!" Soaring into the air, Sorin gracefully glided clear over the ship's captain, aiming to land behind her - pinning her between himself and the Hesperean.

But she was too quick, nimbly slicing over her head with one sword while parrying Hespar's blade with the other. A rain of blood fell, along with Sorin's limp body. A loud thud was heard as he landed, followed immediately by an explosion of alchemist's fire somewhere else on the ship.

Hespar stepped in to avenge his fallen comrade, fending off her blades with his own sword and shield. The two battled on, both seeming equals, none could be sure who would finally fall. Then suddenly and arrow zipped through the air, hitting the captain in her calf. Hespar looked to the side to see who had fired it. Feona was already reloading her bow and he could finally hear the words of her battle chant. The tide of the battle turning, Hespar beat back the captain as Feona's arrows pelted her from a distance. Finally, an opening revealed itself as Hespar knocked both of her swords out of the way with a single swipe of his shield. Following with an outward slash of his blade, her stomach opened, spilling her insides on the deck of the ship.

The chaos quickly died as the Hesperean stood over the body of the ship's defeated captain. The remaining sailors surrendered, and Harrigan inherited the Man's Promise.

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While we game, we have background music going. Various songs from various sources (like soundtracks, epic music albums, etc.), and they are divided into playlists with similarly-theme songs to set moods like, Mysterious, Battle, Comedic Moment, Adventure, etc. When the cries of "Release the Hesperean" broke out, this track began playing.

It's called Protectors of the Earth by Two Steps from Hell and has been unanimously decided that it's Hespar's theme song. It was quite an epic moment.

Day 12 Sorry about the long reprieve on this one guys, things got crazy busy around here and I just didn't have time to game to continue this journal. But, things are slowing down as the holidays approach, so I have some more stories for you, I hope you enjoy!

By the time day 12 came around, our GM had realized that there wasn't much left to do, so instead of giving us more days of non-plot related events, he decided to step up the timetable even more.

The morning of Day 12, everyone reported to their typical duties, but on the way to the kitchens, Scourge stopped Hespar. "I have a special job, just for ye, today. That damned sea elf has failed at keeping the bilge clean enough that I need someone to pick up the slack for her failures. Go down to the bilge immediately." As Hespar began to head that way, Scourge stopped him, "No weapons. They'll just get in yer way. Drop them at yer bunk on yer way down."

So, an unarmed and unarmored Hespar headed to the bilge, and was met by two other pirates down there, one a man the other a woman, both of them with cutlasses at their hip. Something didn't seem right, but Hespar went about doing the job anyways.

"Quit yer slackin'! We'll be here all day at this rate!" One of them piped up after an hour of work.

"Actually, I believe it is you falling behind. I've done the work of the two of you," Hespar replied.

The pirate threw down what he'd been holding in a huff, "Ye know, I'm sick of yer smug face." and he drew his boot knife. The other pirate did the same. "How about I cut that beard right off ye?" Hespar looked from side to side knowing he was in for a fight.

The first pirate stabbed at Hespar, but the large warrior was able to sidestep it easily and retorted by disarming the pirate, then kicking him down. He then turned to the female pirate, flipping the knife in his hand. "Are you sure you know how to use that thing, lass?"

She hesitated for a moment, and the first pirate used this chance to leap at Hespar's back, grabbing hold of him. Hespar broke the man's grip, reversing his arm using him as a shield, holding the knife to his throat. He then looked to the female pirate, "Now lass, we don't need this to get bloody."

"Oh yes we do," she said smugly, drawing her cutlass and throwing it into the pirate's chest. Hespar was stunned for a moment as the man in his arms fell limp. He looked back up to the female pirate just in time to see her clamoring up the ladder, "Help! Somebody help! He killed Vick!"

Hespar quickly dove for the ladder, ascending it as quickly as he could, chasing the girl. At the top of the ladder however, he found himself surrounded by Scourge, Maheem and Narwhal; weapons drawn. It had been a setup.

Hespar was sent to the sweatbox to give Harrigan time to investigate. Though Scourge swore up and down that Hespar had killed the man, Harrigan was hesitant to make a quick decision. The Hesperean had made quite a name for himself, and to execute him immediately would be a mistake. But he had to keep order on his ship, so death seemed inevitable.

Sorin and Feona did what they could, spreading rumors that Scourge knew that Harrigan had been eyeing the Hesperean, and possibly even grooming him to take over Scourge's job; and that Scourge's jealousy led him to framing him for murder to save his own seat of power in the ship's hierarchy. Though many were convinced, many others were not.

However, just a few minutes before mealtime, Deadeye caught sight of something on the horizon. "Ship ahoy! he shouted, seeing the mast of a vessel on the horizon. The shout echoed throughout the ship, and a stewing Harrigan emerged from his cabin. He placed his spyglass over his good eye and looked out over the horizon. With a huff, he replaced it on his belt. He then began barking orders, "Raise the mainsail! Rudder to starboard!" He looked over to Plug, "Mister Plugg, we're going to have a fight on our hands... Release the Hesperan."

Plugg, awestruck and stunned repeated the order. A wave of shouts and roars came out across the ship as the order was repeated, "Release the Hesperean! Release the Hesperean! Release the Hesperean!"

A more sour expression could not have covered a man's face as when he opened the sweatbox door. Hespar slowly stood, walking with deliberation toward the door. As he emerged, the crew roared with excitement as hats and bandannas flew into the air.

"You see that, Plugg?" Harrigan said. "You see what he has become to them?" Plugg just looked awestruck, no response on his lips. "He is a symbol. If I kill him while we have battle on the horizon, we'll have to fight just to keep our own crew fighting. But he is a warrior, a beacon to them. Just having him on the field will encourage them to fight."

"But sir--" Plugg spoke, but was interrupted.

"And if he dies in the battle, he dies a hero. The crew will still be loyal to us," a large toothy smile covering his face. "This is the kind of things you'll need to think about when you're a Free Captain." Plugg suddenly understood, a grimace covering his face.

Day 11: So, had some fun the night of Day 10, but the lack of sleep has left Hespar exhausted. His normally unparalleled physical stats are all in the crapper today, which just happened to be one of the worst days that could happen... Or so one would think. Luckily, my dice were on my side today.

Scourge smells terrible, and even Mr Plugg doesn't want to stand downwind of him. Scourge vows lashings with the cat for whoever left that bucket of chum on deck, but no one comes forward. He looks a smiling Hespar right in the eyes, having to crane his neck to look up at him. "If I even so much as get a whiff that this was your doing, Besmara help me, you will never stop being keelhauled!"

That's when Riaris Krine steps forward, pushing Scourge back, "Back off Scourge, I need these @%#$^@'s in tact. We have boarding practice today!" What followed was a fountain of profanity so copious, that none of us where totally sure what our instructions were.

All the new recruits were gathered into longboats and given instructions on how to properly board. Sorin, Feona and Celeste were having the hardest time understanding Riaris through all the profanity, and Hespar kept nodding off while standing. Deadeye, probably partially due to his time spent growing up in a whorehouse, understood perfectly. Boarding actions began and everyone threw their grapples to the Wormwood.

Hespar, Sorin and Deadeye all secured theirs, Feona and Celeste had to try again. Hespar grabs onto his rope and begins climbing hand over hand. Sorin and Deadeye try to do the same, but lose grip and fall into the water. Feona and Celeste get their grapples secured just in time for Sorin and Deadeye to climb back into the longboat. Hespar just keeps climbing. Deadeye and Celeste both fall into the water, but Sorin and Feona find their grip and start climbing. Hespar has reached the point that the crew of the Wormwood start throwing chum buckets and other such things at him. He just keeps climbing. Sorin and Feona both are knocked from the rope by Chum buckets while Deadeye and Celeste struggle to climb the ropes. Hespar just keeps on trucking.

Hespar completes the boarding action flawlessly, and long before any other recruits. Grok gives him a high-five and gets the crew to chant a "HA-OOH! HA-OOH! HA-OOH!" Sorin and Feona finally make it to the Wormwood, both unhappy about being covered in chum in the process, but Celeste, Deadeye and Conchobar never make it. They will be punished during bloody hour.

Luckily, Ambrose was sober enough to make dinner not unbearable. Harrigan declared a special occasion, so everyone was treated to a hearty dinner of roast pig. A very exciting bloody hour commences as Conchobar, Deadeye and Celeste are all whipped for their poor performance during boarding practice, and Fipps is pulled from the Sweatbox and brought before the captain.

Harrigan finishes chewing his pork leg as he looks over Fipps with his one good eye, his face unreadable. He turns his back to Fipps to address the crew, "I told all of ye when ye came aboard my ship that there were rules ye needed to follow. One of those rules was not to steal from meself, or any of me crew." He turned back to Fipps, "Fipps Chumlett, you stole from Narwhal. The punishment is slow keelhauling."

The crowd erupts into cheers, as Fipps pleads, "I didn't steal nothin'! I don't know how it got there! Honest!"

"Enough of yer lip! Master Scourge, if you please."

Scourge ties a blubbering Fipps and kicks him overboard. The crowd chants and hollers as Sorin, Deadeye and Hespar share a knowing glance. After what seems like forever, Fipps is finally pulled back on board. His lifeless corpse resembles nothing more than a beached whale that has been ripped apart by scavengers. Hespar, Sorin and Deadeye feel no sense of accomplishment from their actions. Although they have one less enemy on the ship, the ruthlessness of their captain and his crew sends a real chill down their spines. If they are going to survive, they are going to have to find closer allies and work together.

Night of Day 10: This post is going to be a little short, but it was a nice little bit of RP that really was quite fun. Plus, the events this night made the next few days even more enjoyable.

Still antsy from his fight with Deadeye, and from seeing Fipps taken to the sweatbox, Hespar decides to take a stroll to the upper deck that night. He tries to sneak by, but is caught by the guard on duty. "Hold it right there, Hesperean," they guard shouts. Hespar freezes, looking back over his shoulder. The pirate approaches, "That was a great fight against that half elf. I really gotta hand it to ya."

Hespar, a bit relieved has a small conversation with the pirate, and relates some gruesome war stories to him. After bribing him with some rum, Hespar convinces the pirate to take the night off, that he'll take over night watch. The pirate happily obliges and heads below deck.... Now for some clandestine activities!

Hespar creeps over to the sweatbox, and using a chisel he borrowed from Grok, carves the words, "THIS IS HESPAR!" Into the side. Proud of himself, and bolstered in confidence, Hespar decides that the night is still young and more shenanigans can be done. He approaches the quarters where Scourge sleeps, rope in hand and a wide grin across his face. He ties a rope across the deck, only a few inches from the floor. He then precariously places a bucket of chum a few feet away, then returns to the other side of the deck to wait and nap.

As the sun begins to crack on the horizon, Hespar blinks awake. He didn't get much sleep at all and is exhausted. But then he hears it, a door cracks open followed by a "Whaa-aaa--AAHHH!!!" SPLOOSH! "uh.. oh gods, who would put that there?" Hespar does his best to stifle a laugh. Scourge fell for the tripline and landed, face first in the bucket of chum. Revenge is mine!

Ha! Thanks. We hadn't had a session since the last post, but we just gamed all day yesterday, and got a lot done; we're almost finished with Book 1 now. Give me a day or two to collect my thoughts and post. These next few days are going to be great!

alexanderb wrote:

the way I read it, Iaijutsu Strike isn't as cool as I wish it were. because prior to level 10, it is a full-round action. so I need to challenge, then move... then... wait until the next round... and then do the strike. that sounds like a bit of a waste, compared to challenging, moving, drawing as free action and hitting straight away.

Or you can Challenge, and ready your action to perform an Iaijutsu Strike for when the enemy closes to melee. If you ply your cards right, and properly read your enemies, this can become a very viable tactic at lower levels.

Day 10: Day 9 was mostly uneventful. Sandara as required to get as much of the crew back to health as possible. Luckily, Celeste was able to help (secretly) as well, helping Deadeye recover. Hespar was pulled from the kitchens and sweatbox to help out while the crew was shorthanded and even Harrigan pitched in, helping with rigging. Luckily, I was able to get some good rolls, and make up for Sorin's bad rolls, doing the equivalent of 3 jobs that day, and impressing Harrigan enough for him to overrule Scourge, keeping Hespar out of the sweatbox, and awarding him back his spear from Grok.

The afternoon of Day 10, the Wormwood comes across some shallows. Shallows Harrigan recognizes. He looks to Plugg, "I want crab for dinner tonight. Go grab Hespar, that aquatic elf and the rest of that clique. They're going ashore and fetching us dinner." And so, Plugg retrives Hespar, Celeste, Sorin, Deadeye and Rosie. But before they leave, Feona (who has up to this point hidden her association with Hespar) volunteers to go in Rosie's place.

Hespar rows the dingy out to shore, and Celeste immediately dives into the water. Being totally at home, she immediately gets to work rounding up crabs. That's when Deadeye sees a Reefclaw approaching. Hespar dives into the water, and Sorin tosses him his spear. He'd brought it along just in case of sharks or other predetors, and good thing, too. As he winds up, Sorin yells to him, "Watch out for it's death frenzy!"

"It's what?" The reefclaw charges Hespar, who braces his spear, ready for impact. ( declare power attack and two-handed. natural 20. Confirmed crit. Over 30 damage total. Enough to drop Reefclaw not only below 0, but to dead.) "Hmm... I see..." Hespar then hands the Reefclaw up to Sorin, "These things taste amazing. We're bringing it back with us."

Just then, Feonna is pulled overboard. Deadeye sees the Reefclaw responsible too late. He and Celeste close in to save Feonna. Just then, another Reefclaw charges at Hespar. Luckily, Sorin spots it in time to warn Hespar, who braces his spear against its charge as well. ( Second verse, same as the first. Crit again, reefclaw doesn't frenzy because it's just dead.)

Meanwhile, Deadeye has been grappled by the other reefclaw, and Feona and Celeste have both been injured. In a panic, Kraken (Celeste's octopus familiar) releases a jet of ink to try and protect them.

At this point, combat is going horribly bad for Deadeye and the girls. Some really brutal rolls from the GM and some pretty unlucky rolls on their part has left that half of the party in a bad way. At this point, Celeste calls over to me, "Hespar, get over here and help us!" To which my response is, "Hold on, lady! I can only kill one reefclaw per round! There's 3 of you over there, give me a sec!" A laugh is had by all, but before I can get there, they do manage to put the reefclaw down.

The group returns to the ship with a few crabs, but when Harrigan sees the reefclaws instead, he grins widely. Feona and Hespar are both given back the reminder of their equipment, and everyone enjoys a good reefclaw dinner, thanks to Hespar and a sober Ambrose's cooking.

That evening, Hespar is bragging loudly, and a brooding Deadeye has had enough. "Don't you have a puppy to go kick or something, Hespar?"

Hespar stops laughing and turns to Deadeye. "You're right!" And kicks him in the chest, sending him sprawling to the ground.

A furious Deadeye grimaces, malice in his eyes. He flips over and attempts to trip Hespar, but his puny elf-like legs simply thud against Hespar's thewy thighs. Hespar then picks up Deadeye by his leg and lifts him over his head, throwing him into a hammock. All hell breaks loose. The crew, itching to see Hespar fight again, form a circle and start hooting and hollering. Conchobr begins taking bets, Rosie roots loudly and profanely for Hespar, and Scourge watches, just letting the scene play out. The malnourished half elf fights for his life against the mountain of a man, who just continues to toy with him. Every attempt to trip, or grapple or outmaneuver Hespar is met with meaty arms and legs, as Hespar manhandles poor Deadeye, making sure not to actually hurt him. As the show goes on, Hespar struts and showboats to the audience, but Sorin has a plan.

During the action, Sorin slips through the crowd and picks his way into Narwhal's footlocker. Searching through it, he finds a small silver ring with dwarven writing engraved on it. "Bingo!" he thinks to himself, as he heads to Fipp's footlocker and picks the lock to it, placing the small silver ring inside - and not a moment too soon.

Just then, Hespar chokes out Deadeye, his lithe body going limp in his massive, thewy arms. The crew goes wild and even manages to scream out a "HA-OOH! HA-OOH! HA-OOH!" Money and jobs exchange hands, and Scourge finally orders everyone to bed. It isn't long before Narwhal screams out, "Who took me ring?"

Sorin stifles a chuckle as Narwhal goes crazy and starts accusing. He gets in Crimson's face, "You took it, didn't ye? I know it was you, Crimson." Hespar, looking to protect his friend steps in, but the argument is interrupted by Fipps, fingering the ring confusedly. Sorin takes the opportunity to pipe up, "Hey, isn't that Narwhal's ring?" Everyone stops arguing and turns, catching Fipps red-handed. Scourge has no choice but to take the doughy man to the sweatbox to await his sentence.

Day 8: At the beginning of Day 7, I ask my GM how many Fort saves I needed to make. His response was "None. Absolutely none. You're done making fort saves in the sweatbox. You're just going to pass them all anyways." The group got a good chuckle. Meanwhile, Scoure and company went about spreading the rumor that being affiliated with Hespar was bad for your health. Luckily, some good diplomacy rolls from Feona and Sorin meant most of the crew didn't believe Scourge, and in fact are stating to lose respect for him. So, we pick up on Day 8, the storm.

The increasingly bad weather led to an all-out squall, as the sweatbox opens. Despite the fact that the day before Scourge said that Hespar is to stay in the box indefinitely, he's forced to let him out, since all hands are needed on deck. All our would-be heroes are working in the rigging, keeping the Wormwood in tact.

Suddenly, the ship hits a large wave, knocking around many of the crew. Celeste and Deadare fall from the rigging and land hard on the deck, kthe fall knocking them unconscious, while Rosie is knocked overboard. Seeing what's happening, Hespar takes a rope, tying it around his waist. He looks to Sorin, handing him the end of the rope.

"We're not losing her today!" He shouts as he dives from the rigging down into the water.

Getting to Rosie isn't the hard part, it's getting her back to the ship. She's panicking, flailing, and Hespar has to use all his might to keep her afloat. At the same time, Sorin is having difficulty reeling Hespar and Rosie back in, so Crimson jumps in to help him heave. With a bit of work, and alot of luck the two manage to pull the Hesperean and the, now unconscious halfling, up and onto the deck.

The storm passes to light rain in the night, but most of the crew is injured or out of commission. Sandara's healing can only go so far, but at least no one is dead.

When the sun rises on Day 9, Deadeye's leg is broken, Celeste is still unconscious, Feona is injured but can work, leaving Hespar and Sorin to most of the day's work.

Day 6: Hespar spent Day 5 in the sweatbox, and managed to succeed on all but one of the required fort saves... again. Deadeye brooded, Celeste found Owlbear under the deck and gave him some food and water making herself a friend in the process. Sorin spread some rumors about Hespar being an invincible killing machine. Due to his association with Hespar, Sorin finds that talking with Crimson Cogswell has become easier, and Cogswell openly admits that he'd love to share stories with the Hesparean. Feona, doing everything she can to separate herself from Hespar, and trying to make friends, finally gave into Conchobhar's demands and went on a date with him. So, by the end of Day 5, we'd managed to make friends with all the major NPCs, except Grok, and Crimson. This is the point where our DM decided the initial "21 days at sea" needed to be altered slightly. He started by moving the Day 5 event to Day 6. You'll see why..."

Hespar awakens to the sweatbox being opened, and arrives late to duties because of the lax of his captors. "I'll deal with ye, personally during bloody hour, Hesparean," Plugg told him. And so, Hespar left to go about his daily duties. Heading to his bunk before going to the kitchen, he sees his breastplate laying on his hammock with a note from Sandara.

"Your armor, as promised, my friend." Today is looking up! Just like two days ago... Best be on guard. And so, Hespar heads to the cooks' quarters to find (big surprise) a drunken Ambrose.

That night, during bloody hour, Plugg approaches Hespar. "I'll tell you what, Hespar," he says as he drops a bag of coins at Hespar's feet. "I'll bet 100 gold that ye can't beat my man."

Hespar's eyes narrow, looking right into Pluggs, "I accept your challenge."

Plugg nods and has his cronies go get Owlbear from below deck, as Hespar unstraps his shield from his back, handing it over to Sorin. When Owlbear appears, and Celeste see who it is, she stops Hespar, grabbing his arm. "Don't hurt him, he's kind." She says, "He doesn't know any better."

Hespar nods, noticing the remains from when Owlbear was tarred and feathered. More anger in his belly brews toward Plugg and Scourge. The two men stand face to face. Owlbear is big, but Hespar is bigger. Bets are placed, and the whole crew goes wild. They've been waiting to see Hespar in action, and now is that chance.

Owlbear immediately grabs a barrel from on deck, throwing it at Hespar, who quickly rolls to the side and out of the way. That's when Owlbear closes in, but Hespar is quick for his size and throws a punch in retaliation. The two slug it out for a bit until Owlbear realizes that he's losing. He backs away from the Hesperean, but Plugg tosses a huge club his way. Owlbear picks up the club and screams a battlecry, charging Hespar.

"SHIELD!" Hespar screams, extending a hand toward Sorin. Sorin throws the shield like an oversized discus, right to the Hespareans' hand. In a blur of movement, Hespar straps the shield to his left arm, raising it over his head and curling under it - and not a moment to soon! Owlbear's club impacts the shield, driving Hespar down to his knees. A gasp goes out over the crew as Owlbear continues to pound away at Hespar, who turtles up behind his shield, repositioning himself. Finally, he sees his opening. As owlbear brings down the massive club again, Hespar ducks down and into Owlbear, using the big man's own momentum against him, and flipping him up and over. Owlbear is flipped over the Hesparean, and off the rail of the deck, plummeting overboard.

"NO!" Celeste screams.

Owlbear manages to grab hold of the ship's rail, hanging. He dropped his club, but now hangs from the side of the ship, helplessly. "Help! Help, please!" he screams.

Then, a hand grabs his forearm. Hespar had dropped his shield, and offers a second hand to Owlbear. With both hands firmly gripped around Owlbear's wrist, he heaves the man up on deck. The crew cheers as Scourge and Plugg fume.

"Fine! Take yer loot." Plugg exclaims as he storms off.

Dinner is terrible again, but the crew is more hesitant to cross Hespar due partially to his fight against Owlbear, partially to Sorin's rumor-mongering, and partially to his apparent insusceptibility to the sweatbox. At dinner, Hespar sits down next to Grok, asking her about her interesting scar. She is immediately put off, telling Hespar to mind his own business.

"I ask, because I find it quite impressive. A cut like that is sure to kill a man, but yet, somehow you survived. Fascinating."

Grok begins to warm up, confused by the Hesparean's interest. "Well, you know how humans are with half-orcs."

"Indeed I do. They are little more than slaves where I come from. But, many of them prove their worth and undergo the agoge, just as I did. Through their training, they learn how to become the perfect soldiers, and tend to be some of our most feared troops. I have the utmost respect for your kind. For your brutality, and your grit. To survive a wound such that you have, Gorum must be watching over you."

Aaaaaand Grok is now friendly with the PCs.

Grok and Hespar laugh and joke and drink that night, joined by Crimson. The three share tales of battle and days gone by. Scourge, Plugg and the other bootlickers don't seem to be around, scheming elsewhere on the ship. Hespar takes this opportunity to raise a tankard of grog to the crew. "The hull of this ship is a home that we've built. Myself, and each soul on this crew. A home we've built with our own blood, sweat and tears. That makes each and every one of us family, and what I did for Owlbear today, I'd gladly do for each and every one of you."

"Three cheers for the Hesperean!" Sorin roars out. The crew follows his lead.

"And this gold; it is not just mine, but all of ours. And with it, tomorrow, Rosie, I buy back your fiddle!"

"Well @#$@ yeah!" She exclaims, and lets out a hearty "HA-OOH," the Hesparean warcry. The rest of the crew joins in "HA-OOH, HA-OOH, HA---"

The door to quarters is kicked open. Scourge, and all his cronies with him. "That's it! To the sweatbox with ye!"

The room goes silent, waiting for Hespar's response.

"Fine. I shall return to my quarters." He says standing up. "But I'm bringing my pillow with me."

No one argues. The crew simply watches as Scourge and his men escort Hespar back into the sweatbox.

Our GM has been using Norwegian Pirate and Dark Harbor, both by Two Steps from Hell for Harrigan.

Andrea1 wrote:
Excellent journal

Thanks! It's been the most fun I've had with a character is a really long time!

Macharius wrote:
Out of curiosity, what are Hespar's stats?

The GM holds onto all our sheets, so I don't remember off the top of my head, but I know I have a +3 bonus from all three physical stats.

Day 4: Day 3, Hespar spent the entire day in the sweatbox. During this time, I got some pretty amazing consecutive rolls, managing to succeed on all 8 fortitude saves, not taking a single point of subdual damage. When they let me out of the box, after dinner, an unhindered Hesperean walked out of the cage. Rumors begin circulating about him, and he becomes quite a polarizing subject on the ship. Meanwhile, the rest of the party spent their days getting to know the crew, and Feona managed to make quite a bit of progress. So, I'm picking up on Day 4, where my lucky rolls finally ran out.

Hespar wakes early, sprinting to Ambrose's quarters, in the hopes that he can make it there before the old cook begins drinking. He wasn't so lucky. Ambrose is still awake from the night before, swinging in his hammock, drinking and singing out of tune. With a sigh, Hespar lifts the drunken man and to carry him up to the kitchen.

"Wait!" Ambrose tells him, "look under my bed. I got a present for you." There, lying under the hammock is Hespar's family shield. Welling up with pride, he takes it and slings it onto his back.

"Today is going to be a good day," he thought to himself, as he carried the drunken cook up to the kitchen.

He couldn't have been more wrong. Plugg kicks in the door to the kitchen, screaming, "Rats in the bilge! Go take care of them." Hespar heads to the bilge, meeting up with Deadeye, Sorin, Feona and Celeste along the way.

In the bilge, rats are abound. Hespar immediately jumps in, and smshes the first rat he sees with his shield, Sorin and the octopus following closely behind. Feona and Deadeye stay above, raining arrows down, while the witch readies a dart and decides if she wants to use magic or not. This is where my luck run out. I get surrounded, and get hit by all three rats. The next 3 attacks I roll (over the course of multiple turns) miss, and my 4th attack is a natural 1. I roll to confirm, it is a miss. I have to draw a card from the critical fumble deck. "You have scored a critical threat on yourself, roll to confirm." I do. I rang my own bell with my newly reclaimed shield, dropping myself to -9 hp. Roll to stabilize. I fail.

Luckily for me, the bard and witch were on it, leaping into the bilge and hitting my with some very well rolled Cure Light Wounds, bringing me back to consciousness. We manage to beat the rats, but barely. Scourge decides he's going to inspect the bilge to make sure of our handiwork.

Now, just for a moment, I'm going to explain what happened around the table at this point. I ask the GM "Wait, so he's going down there alone?"
"Well, he's got three guys with him."
"Right, right. Okay. But, they're just going down there alone, right? All four of them?"
"Uh... yeah? Why?"
"So, just them. Not us, right?"
I look over to Deadeye, I look back to the GM, I look back to Deadeye, then to Feona, then back to Deadeye, then back to the GM, then back to Feona. It's almost like we had an entire telepathic conversation. I look back to the GM and this happens.

Feona casts grease on the ladder leading down into the bilge. Deadeye slams the trap door shut. Hespar grab the biggest, heaviest box in the cargo hold and slides it over the trap door. With a dusting off of his hands, the five of our heroes head up, out of the cargo hold, and return to their ship duties. Hespar stops at the first crew member he can find and tells him, "Scourge has business to do in the cargo hold. He's ordered me to tell you that he's not to be disturbed."

However, on the way to the kitchen, Hespar sees a part of the rigging falling. Quickly diving in, he grabs the ropes, burning his hands but stopping the falling mast. Beneath it is a poor Rosie Cusswell, shocked and awed. Hespar pulls the rope, sending the mast back up to where it belongs. But he's treated to pats on the back, congratulations, as well as a "Well @#$@# me! You're a pretty swell guy, Hespar!" from Rosie.

We then actually go about the rest of our day as normal. That is, until bloody hour. No one has seen or heard from Scourge. Harrigan sends groups go go find him. Maheem finds him... in the bilge, underneath a heavy box. The group is whipped until unconscious, then Sandra is told to bring them back, which she does. They are all whipped again, and Hespar is sent to the sweatbox. A heavy punishment, but so totally worth it.

Day Two: The next few days, I learned alot about who the character was, but also how I wanted him to play out in combat. I learned that at these low levels, performing combat maneuvers was really effective for controlling combat, despite the AoOs provoked from not having the improved feats for them. Having a good AC and alot of hp, meant that I didn't get hit alot, and that I could just eat the damage I was being dealt, should an AoO connect. I really was just hoping to get by for the rest of the time on this ship, but opportunities for mayhem just kept presenting themselves. I guess I kinda thought that ending up on a pirate ship was alot like ending up in prison. You gotta beat the crap out of someone the first chance you get to show the other inmates you aren't a pushover. Well... the crew of the Wormwood knows Hespar isn't a pushover.

Upon awaking on day two, Fipps had rallied a three other pirates, and uses his huge gut to block the door out of the crew quarters. He's going to show Hespar and friends why you don't mess with his sleep time. As the four close in on the group, the witch hangs toward the back of the room, while Feona gracefully leaps past and through the pirates, to make it to duties on time. Deadeye, without his bow is pretty useless in this fight and proceeds to start getting pummeled in the face by one of the swabs. Sorin begins moving to position himself to get ready to flank when the pirates move in. Fipps and his other two buddies close in on Hespar. All three attacks miss. Hespar retaliates with a called shot: double-meaty fists to the top of Fipps skull (two-handed unarmed strike with Power Attack). Nat 20, confirmed critical hit, draw from the crit deck.

Fipps takes Int and Wis damage, is staggered, sickened and confused for the next three rounds. Effectively, he's now a crumpled mess of pain and misery on the floor. Just as one of the pirates (who has moved into flanking position) lifts his leg to kick Hespar, an octopus flies through the air, attaching itself to his face. We'd learn later that this is the Witch's familiar. Hespar takes this opportunity to save Deadeye from his beating with a running, flying spear the pirate's midsection, knocking her to the ground. The rest of the fight continues as Hespar continues to trip one pirate, then punch the other, then kick the one getting up. Wash, rinse, repeat. The last pirate, seeing what's going on, decides to flee , but runs right past Hespar, getting tripped in the process. Finally, with three downed pirates, Hespar approaches the groggy Fipps, who is still meandering about on the floor. He kneels down next to the bulbous man, and looks right into his confused eyes. "Next time, I won't be so merciful." And socks him in the face.

Hespar then collects the unconscious bodies, and drags them up onto the deck. Plug isn't very happy about us all being late, but is yay verily impressed, and stunned by the Hesperean's strength. His only verbal response, though is "We'll deal with ye all during bloody hour." In the meantime, Fipps and posse are thrown in the sweatbox for punishment.

During duties, Hespar meets a sober Ambrose in the kitchen. Harrigan wants to celebrate today, so Ambrose has Hespar capture and slaughter a pig for dinner. (Some of the best untrained rolls I've ever gotten)Ambrose is horrified at the ease with which the Hesperean is able to slaughter the swine. Hespar gets to learn much more about the man, and actually discovers a newfound love of cooking.

That night, during bloody hour, punishments are being doled out to the entire party (except the bard) for being late. Fipps and gang are released from the sweatbox to receive their punishment, but when it comes to punishing Sorin, Celeste and Deadeye, Hespar steps forward. "No, no, they don't deserve punishment. It was me Fipps and his men were after, it's my fault they were late. I'll take their punishment instead."

Scourge's eyebrow raises, a hint of joy in his voice, "Oh really? And how many lashings do you think ye deserve?"

Hespar, being terrible at counting and math, quickly adds up the number of lashes total in his head. "Ten. I say that for my lateness, as well as theirs, that I deserve ten lashes."

"Great! 10 lashes to each of them. You get to watch, Hesperean." And he has two men grab Sorin and hold him down. As Scourge draws back the whip, Hespar immediately jumps forward, surrounding the tiny elf's body with his own, taking the whip in his place. "THAT'S IT! TO THE SWEATBOX WITH YE!!!" And four bootlickers, the dwarf from yesterday included, grab Hespar and drag him kicking off to the sweatbox. Hepsar's hate for Scourge grows more this day.

What follows next is some of the best RPing I've ever seen IN MY LIFE. Deadeye is up for whipping next, and the tenacious bastard of a half-elf is tough, angsty and not afraid of anything. "You wanna whip me, huh? It's nothing worse than growing up the bastard son of a whore can't take. I'll take anything you-" CRRRAAACKKK "Yee.... oh you call that a whip? Me mommy whipped me harder than that when I refused to-" CCRRAAAAACKKK "Oh, yup, that's a whip. That's definitely a whi-" CRRRAAACKKK "Oh, oh gods, okay, that's-" CCRRRAAACK" YEOW!! Ow, oh oh.... whew... whe-"... and he just began to degrade from there, eventually getting caught completely offguard by one of the whips, and breaking down into tears. Even the GM was stunned, none of us could say anything, we were just laughing so hard, and he continued to actually RP out getting whipped all ten times.

Celeste is up next, and this is too much for Feona to bear. She doesn't want to see the poor elven girl get whipped, so in the mayhem and chanting, she is able to disguise her casting, and greases Scourge's whip, which flies out of his hand and halfway across the deck. The ship erupts into laughter. Scourge, humiliated, stomps off.

That night, the door to the sweatbox opens. Sandra was impressed by the Hesperean's bravery during bloody hour and sees how much Plug and Scourge are growing to dislike him. She sees that he could be a good ally right now, something she needs desperately. She brings him some dinner she was able to sneak out, and heals his wounds. She also offers to do what she can to get his armor and shield back. With a nod, she takes her leave, and Hespar remains in the sweatbox overnight.

Day One: (Has some incredibly good rolls this day on anything that was strength related, and on my fortitude saves. However, I rolled TERRIBLY on any diplomacy checks, and on my profession checks. I blame the dice for laying the foundation in this session and being the prime catalyst in developing the reputation I would eventually have)

Urian wakes up in a cage in the bilge after being drugged and shanghaied. His incredible fortitude causing his body to fight off the poison and wake up before the other PCs. Realizing what happened, he decides to attempt to bend the bars and find out who's in charge. Nat 20 rolled to attempt to bend the bars, beating the DC required. The sound of bending steel wakes the other PCs and draws the attention of Master Scourge, above.

Scourge comes down to bring the PCs to meet the captain, is horrified to find the PCs have escaped the cage, whips them all and leads them out of the bilge. On deck, Harrigan gives his speech, and Plugg begins divying up jobs. "First one up that rigging gets the job of rigger." Urian doesn't move, instead crosses his arms and demands negotiation for pay. This is when Urian is first called Hespar in the campaign, a nickname that sticks so well, that not even the other PCs know his real name. "Well Hespar, you wanna be like that do ye? Well then I got the perfect job for you. Cook's mate."

"Cooking? That's women's work. I am a Hesperean, a soldier, a killer. And I don't do work without pay."

Plug then orders two men to grab Hespar by the arms and punches him in the gut. "To the sweatbox with him. Let him stew for a few hours, then take him to Ambrose."

Hespar spends 5 hours while the other PCs scramble to do their jobs. Finally, Scourge and two of his men come to the sweatbox to let Hespar out. I passed all but one of the Fort Saves, so I'm still conscious. "It seems to be a bit chilly in here. I could use a fur robe, or perhaps a hot tea." Scourge can't help but hide the small glint of surprise and what might possibly be fear in his eyes, but he whips the Hesperean nonetheless and orders him to the kitchen.

In the Kitchen, Hespar meets Ambrose, drunk and falling over. While learning how to cook, learns that he owes Harrigan, and that he can't ever leave the ship. A strange friendship begins to grow as the Hesperean feels pity for this man.

Dinner that night was a terrible Thyme and Pepper Soup that tasted like dead fish. The crew is not happy with Hespar, who has ruined dinner. During bloody hour, Harrigan begins by having Scourge whip Celeste (our group's aquatic elf witch) for failing in her duties for the day. Hespar's hatred of Scourge begins to grow and burn in his belly like a smoldering fire. Rum rations are dolled out and the crew heads below deck for the evening. Hespar, deciding he needs to make a name for himself, finds an angry-looking dwarf, and challenges him to a game of arm wrestling.

"On this ship, we play REAL armwrestling." And he spreads caltrops across the table. Hespar locks arms with the dwawf, and the two begin the struggle. But the Hesperean is much stronger than the dwarf anticipated, and begins slowly pushing the dwarf's hand closer and closer to the caltrops.

"This match is over, you have fought bravely. There's no need to continue. Do you yield?" He asks, hovering the dwarf's hand dangerously close to the caltrops.

The dwarf's face contorts in anger. "I'll never yield." He redoubles his efforts, and manages to push the Hesperean's arm back slightly. But with a sigh, the Hesperean pushes forward again, slamming the dwarf's hand to the table. He screams in pain and the Hesperean releases him, "You'll pay for this. Mark me works, you'll pay."

Hespar then spends the remainder of the evening trying to figure out how to get his equipment back, most notably, his shield. But the crew is too angry and too intimidated to point him toward the quatermaster. That night, he's approached by Deadeye (our group's half-elf archer) and an Sorin (our group's elf swashbuckler) and the three become fast friends. Their discussions that night lead to angering Fipps, who just wants to go to sleep, and goes so far as the threaten the three, who laugh it off. The three then return to their laughing and joking about their experiences for the day while Fipps stews.

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So, I've begun playing Skull and Shackles with a new gaming group. My roommate picked up the adventure path and we've picked up a brand new group of players to run this adventure path. Though he's altering it slightly to take place in a homebrew world that we've been playing in for the past 17 years, the AP will remain unchanged, except for the names of some places.

Since I'm already running two games myself, and spend alot of time working on them, I just didn't feel comfortable making up a character that was too complex. Though I usually GM, when I play I tend to be characters with complex backstories and lots of inner-workings, and I play more complicated classes like wizard, clerics, or a paladin (if the GM isn't a jerk). But, this time, I just didn't feel like I was going to have the time in my life to let enough creative juice flow to be able to do something like that. So, I decided to play a very simple fighter. I'm going to play a Spartan.

In this homebrew world is a country by the name of Hespar, which is a fantasictal version of ancient Sparta, post battle of Thermopylae. We did our research when creating this country years ago, and it's pretty accurate to how ancient Sparta worked, including a caste system, a bone pit of dead babies, young boys undergoing the agoge, women having most of the responsibilities in a household, etc. Anyways, The character concept was simple. A Hespearean mercenary by the name of Urian Pentifax, who had been tasked with protecting a merchant vessel on its way past the Shackles, when the ship is attacked by pirates and he's shanghaied. Litterally, the simplest backstory I've ever written.

We were given a 20 point buy, so his physical stats are amazing, but his mental stats (including charisma) are all in the crapper. I wanted to mix it up and play the BSF. I wanted a simple character that didn't take too much thought. I got far more than I bargained for...

These are the stories of the Spartan in Skull and Shackles. What follows are his daily accounts of what happened to him over the course of this campaign. If you haven't played Skull and Shackles, read no further. This story will be chalk-full of spoilers.

Our Party:
Hepsar: Human Fighter (generic), TWF/Shield build
Sorin: Drow Rogue(swashbuckler)/Gunslinger(Buccaneer)/Monk (Master of many styles), skill/dodge AC build
Celeste: Aquatic Elf Witch, control build
Feona: Human Bard (Seasinger), archer build
Deadeye: Half-Elf Fighter (Archer)/Sorcerer (Sage Bloodline)/Acrane Archer, snap shot build

Edgar Lamoureux wrote:
The problem you'll likely have with that is that it's a swift action to form the Athame itself, and another swift action to change the weapon type. Personally, as a DM, I would allow both as a swift action, as you have to give up both a spell and an Arcane pool point, but that's not how it works RAW.

I'd definitely consider that, I'll check with him and see what he thinks.

blackbloodtroll wrote:
A Hexcrafter Magus can take the Prehensile hair hex to hold his shield during spell combat.

In theory, couldn't the prehensile hair be used as the "free hand" required to cast spells?

blackbloodtroll wrote:
You know, a bard may be a better fit.

Actually, I'm debating just suggesting he go fighter(or ranger)/wizard(or witch)/eldritch knight.

blackbloodtroll wrote:
Why not play a cleric or inquisitor with the Magic Domain, and the take the birthmark trait? It's the flavor that counts, right?

IT is, but the cleric and inquisitor just don't get the spells he wants. He's actually looking for flashy, offensive spells, which are lacking in both those lists.

Edgar Lamoureux wrote:
Kyoni wrote:

Maybe I have another way:

The Spellblade ACF:

Force Athame (Sp): At 2nd level, a spellblade magus can sacrifice a prepared magus spell of 1st level or higher as a swift action to create a dagger of force in his off hand. The athame lasts for 1 minute or until dismissed, has an enhancement bonus on attack and damage rolls equal to the level of the spell sacrificed (maximum +5), and is considered a weapon the spellblade is holding for purposes of his arcane pool feature (using the pool to add abilities to a held weapon applies to the magus's physical weapon and to the athame for no additional cost). The athame acts as a dagger, but the hand holding it is still considered free for the purpose of casting spells and delivering touch attacks. The magus can use the athame as if he were fighting with two weapons, or can use that hand to cast spells as part of the spell combat class ability (but not both in the same round). Attacks with the athame are force attacks and deal force damage. This ability replaces the spellstrike class feature.

So he would wield any shield in one hand and wield his force dagger in his other hand...

Of course a dagger is small and doesn't do much damage, but at least it could work?

To take that further, you may be interested in the Eldritch Athame 3rd party Magus Arcana. That way, you can make it a Longsword, Rhoka, Scimitar, or whatever else you may want to use within the limits of the arcana.

I'll talk to him about this and see what he thinks. Mechanically it sounds like it works great, but I'm wondering if the "force weapon" might not fit his concept. Even if he doesn't, I like that idea and will likely use it as an NPC in the future.

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