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White Dragon

Xexyz's page

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber. 816 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Suppose I have a sorcerer that takes IEH for a 2nd time with their level 19 feat, selecting New Arcana. The sorcerer already took GEH at level 17, so now EH feats go off the sorcerer's full level instead of level -2. Does this mean that I'd be able to select 3 9th level spells to add to my known spell list?

New Arcana wrote:
At 9th level, you can add any one spell from the sorcerer/wizard spell list to your list of spells known. This spell must be of a level that you are capable of casting. You can also add one additional spell at 13th level and 17th level.

As far as I can tell, since the only restriction is that the character must take spells of a level they're capable of casting, it would be legal to select 3 9th level spells if you could cast 9th level spells when you gained the ability. Anything pointing or suggesting this is incorrect?

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mardaddy wrote:

I had decided to do a side-track while the PC's were on their way to XXXX, so devised an ankheg infestation and tunnel network for them to tackle as the nights "excitement."

DM: "You come alongside a waddle fence, out about 200ft is a small grouping of buildings, some look like barns, the fields between the fence and the buildings have a half dozen holes in them, about 10-20ft in diameter, and the whole place seems deserted."

PC leader: "Hmm, looks dangerous. We give it a wide berth and go on our way."

DM: "Umm... are you sure?"

PC: "Yea."

Ah yes, that moment when the PCs stop acting like adventurers in a fantasy roleplaying game and instead choose to act like rational individuals.

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Drackhyo wrote:
Weapon focus(ray) is a thing without any doubt, I'm not too sure about weapon focus(melee touch attack) but if your DM rules it's good, you could have something here. Plus, the image of a demon-sorceror waving flamy-magic hands around to impress people is rather awesome.

Oooo, I forgot about rays being a valid choice for weapon focus! It's absolutely thematic for this character to disintegrate someone and then on the next round use that display of power to intimidate (with a +6 bonus!) everyone around her.

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@Drackhyo, alchemicgenius - unfortunately, dazzling display and it's line of feats don't fit the character concept, not to mention having to spend a feat in weapon focus just to be able to take it. Thanks for the suggestions, though.

Blistering Invective might be promising, though I don't like the fact that it only has a 30 ft. radius...

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@Thaliak - That's awesome; definitely taking that trait

@Chess Pwn - As good as that is I just can't bear to give up a spellcasting level for it. /sadface

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This is a thread for sharing stories of when the PCs took an unorthodox approach and solved a problem/encounter in a way you as the GM didn't anticipate.

I had one happen pretty recently. The PCs were on a mission to find and acquire an artifact crown on behalf of the true (so he claims) ruler - the crown will legitimize his claim to the throne. After lots of searching, researching, and dungeon-delving, the PCs finally tracked down the lich who was in current possession of it.

I designed the lich's lair to be a deathtrap, with rooms deliberately constructed to take advantage of spell effects and defensive outcroppings from which the lich would safely cast spells at the party. Since it was going to be a single enemy vs. a party of six, the design of the lair was intended to make it a truly challenging encounter.

When the PCs entered, everything went as planned in the beginning - the lich got off a few spells that really hurt the PCs due to the architecture of his lair, and the PCs retreated after several rounds. That's when the PCs threw a curveball at me. I anticipated them coming up with a strategy (since they had gotten a general sense of the lich's capabilities and construction of his lair) and go back to confront the lich when they were ready. Instead, they teleported back to their employer and told one of her associates where the crown was - an associate the PCs knew to be a least an 18th level wizard - with the implication of, "hey we found your crown, could we get some help getting it from that lich?"

Since their employers had emphasized to the PC how important the recovery of this crown was, I couldn't in good faith manufacture an excuse for the wizard not to help. Given that time was a factor, the only reasonable solution was for the wizard to simply accompany them to confront the lich. With an 18+ level wizard along with the six of them, the 2nd encounter was a predictable cakewalk.

Really, I should've anticipated the PCs might do something like that. Going forward I've had to think harder about my plot and potential encounters if I want to introduce high-level characters as potential allies.

So what stories of PC ingenuity do the rest of you have to share?

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I have a sorcerer (who may or may not see the light of day, depending on what happens in game) who has the pit-touched bloodline. The arcana gives +1-9 to intimidate checks for 1 round after you cast a spell. I was looking to see if there were any feats that would allow a demoralize action to eventually get the victim to frightened (which would be very thematic for the character) but wasn't able to find anything.

Is my google-fu just weak? Are there any feats that a caster could use to capitalize on a high intimidate?

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Malwing wrote:
So basically players will treat everything like a Chekhov's gun or nothing like a Chekhov's gun.

I find this is only true with inexperienced players or players who are not yet familiar with the GM's style. Since I've been gaming with my group for over a decade, they're pretty good at eventually figuring out what's important and what's not.

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Grey Alchemist wrote:

The problem with Chekhov's Gun is when the GM is not familiar with the trope.

I had a GM who had spider-tanks converted to farm equipment in a post great war Germany. Our mission was to break into a facility, and on the way there he gave us the opportunity to steal a tank. So we did, and by doing so got a TPK in the process. He said it was our fault for taking the tank, the counter-point is don't offer up something that would end the story. I explained Chekhov's gun to him and he realized that if you offer something to the players as flavor odds are they will try to use it.

Curious; how exactly did using the tank lead to a TPK? If the GM deliberately lead the PCs to believe that using the tank was the 'correct' way to approach the task then yes, I'd say the GM made an error. Or conversely, if the GM was punishing you for being inventive and not approaching the task the way he envisioned, that's also bad on him. On the other hand, if the GM was just using the tanks as scenery and the TPK was a logical consequence of the group's actions, well them's the breaks.

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thejeff wrote:
Xexyz wrote:
I try to avoid Chekhov's Guns as much as I can. Players lose immersion in the game if they feel like they're dealing with videogame conventions because every room in the dungeon is nondescript except the one containing the plot coupon.

I'm amused by Chekhov's Gun being described as a "videogame convention". You do know it dates to the 19th century, right? Long before videogames (or RPGs, for that matter).

I mean, I do get what you're saying and the relationship, but still...

Of course, I know exactly where Chekhov's Gun comes from. It's just that, when applied to an interactive medium such as Pathfinder, it can come across as something more akin to mechanics you typically find in videogames. For example, take the fact that in many videogames, you can't interact with anything that doesn't have some relevance to gameplay or the plot.

When it comes to mediums like tabletop RPGs, I tend to think of Chekhov's Gun more in terms of a continuum. Having extraneous detail can go a long way to breathe life into a game or world - which is important to me since I run homebrew.

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I try to avoid Chekhov's Guns as much as I can. Players lose immersion in the game if they feel like they're dealing with videogame conventions because every room in the dungeon is nondescript except the one containing the plot coupon.

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I hate the stupidity of CE as much as everyone else here, but I also try to implement as few houserules as possible so my players don't need a cheat sheet just to play in my games. So my solution was to change the 13 Int requirement to a 13 Dex requirement, and also apply that change to all feats further up the chain. Seems to be working fine so far.

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Just want to emphasize that he's a neutral god of magic, not a true neutral one - he doesn't care about the balance of good/evil or law/chaos.

So from reading these responses there seems to be a consensus that just because the god doesn't condone unrestricted use of magic doesn't mean he's lawful. That makes me feel better.

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Scavion wrote:
Perhaps Charivar himself doesn't care much for how people use Magic as long as it's being used and developed. Perhaps it's just his followers who decided some magic isn't best left unchecked. So while the God may be neutral, his most ardent followers might be Lawful Neutral in how they perceive his worship.
Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

Ultimate Magic has a section on Spellblights, which can be caused by certain spells (Frex, eldritch fever)

A God of magic would have good reason to shut down magic that screws with people's ability to use magic.

I forgot about spellblights. So perhaps what I'll do is say that the Guardians in general are principally responsible for cleaning up spellblights when they happen, but the lawful neutral guardians then confront spellcasters who cause spellblights and stop them.

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I'm running a homebrew world and two of the PCs are followers of Charivar, the god of magic and secrets, who is neutral. There are three primary orders within the church, one of which is the Guardians of the Way. As I described in the write-up for the faith, the Guardians of the Way consist of priests who seek out those practicing dangerous or forbidden magic and put a stop to it.

So the question is, what constitutes 'dangerous or forbidden magic'? Since Charivar is a neutral deity, and a deity of magic to boot, I'm having trouble coming up with ideas of what kinds of magic would be considered threatening to the church without the deity and/or faith venturing too close to lawful alignment territory or away from the idea that a deity of magic encourages the advancement of magical knowledge.

For example, one of my ideas was that wordcasting would be considered forbidden, and one of the duties that the Guardians would perform would be to hunt down wordcasters and eliminate them. Could that be something that's practiced within the context of neutrality, or is that too indicative of lawfulness?

To put it in a more general terms, is the idea of "right magic" and "wrong magic" within the context of a faith/deity's philosophy compatible with neutrality?

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Now that my group has completed deck 6, we're now using the Filthy Lucre (we still have 3 people in the group who need to finish deck 5). The discard a blessing to auto-acquire a boon is really nice; now we don't have to worry about Alahazra finding Valeros' weapons or Valeros finding Alahazra's spells. But another big factor with using the Filthy Lucre means we don't have to encounter it, which is a huge relief.

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@Coriat - The defenders' armies are currently participating in the invasion of Reece, the country bordering to the southwest. The aggressor army is coming from the far northern part of the country. The capital is 450 miles directly south from where the aggressor army is camped, while the defending armies are spread out in the invaded country and thus between 325 - 535 miles from the capital. The defenders do have a better road to travel on, but the aggressors have an adequate road as well as long as it doesn't rain.

The defender armies are basically divided into three factions:

The armies of the southern duchies are the most interested in the invasion as their leaders see the invasion as an opportunity to expand their holdings. Their forces are mostly concentrated near the regions closest to the border of their country, and number approximately 17,500.

The armies of the eastern duchies number approximately 15,000 and are mostly interested in plundering Reece, so they're farther into Reece.

The armies of the central duchies number approximately 10,000 and are also participating in plunder, and are in the same areas of the eastern armies.

The armies of the northern duchies number approximately 7,500 and are near the border. These armies are actually under the command of the conspiring nobles and will be withdrawn to support the aggressors' existing army.

The allies of the invaded country, Reece, have joined the battle and are currently engaged with the armies on the front, which are mostly the eastern and central armies, preventing them from getting back to the capital quickly.

Given this situation, I realize I was in error when I said it was a race to the capital in my original post. Realistically there's no way for the defenders to get the bulk of their forces up to defend the capital before the aggressors, regardless of whether or not the aggressors teleport their army.

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Coriat wrote:
So, OP, what questions do you have or what helpful things could we offer right now, besides just talking about ancient armies?

Everyone's given me enough ideas for spells the wizard could cast, so I think I'm good there. However after reading some of the comments I think I may have to rethink the idea of teleporting the army. Knowing that they could probably leave the baggage train a few days behind makes teleporting the army itself technically feasible, based on some math I did (Celina can cast 5 Teleportation circles per day). If I do decide to have the army teleport, I just need to figure out the opportune timing.

I have to figure out when the defending armies are going to start marching back toward the capital, which defending armies are going to go, the order in which they go, and how long it's going to take for them to get there.

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@Coriat - Thanks for the examples from Roman campaigns; I had been doing some research online to help me figure out some particulars (How far can an army march in one day? How large would the army's baggage train be?) and the answers I found were based on Roman armies, so that's what I went with.

@Kolokotroni - I agree with you that the wizard is essentially a weapon of war. However the circumstances in which the president wages war are different than what's going on here. The president is an elected official of limited duration operating within the context of a republic, making decisions on whether or not to initiate conflicts with foreign aggressors. In this situation, we have essentially a civil rebellion against the current ruler. In the case of the commander of the rebellion's army, she's going to be rewarded with a duchy for her service.

It's a totally different political landscape.

@Trimalchio - Regardless of whether or not the wizard could single-handedly destroy all of the defenders armies (and I'm personally of the opinion that it's very doable), it's not going to happen because it's a bad idea. To make a modern comparison, it's not going to happen for the same reason (among others) that the US, despite having nuclear weapons, has never used nuclear weapons in any of the conflicts in which it's participated since WW2, even though none of those countries had nukes themselves. Other nations would take a very dim view of such things, making foreign affairs just that much more difficult for the US, and furthermore by using nukes of it's own volition - without being threatened - would serve as a possible justification for other entities to use nukes against the US.

Shifting back to fantasy worlds, it would mean that even though the enemy armies couldn't fight back, other powerful entities (other high-level spellcasters, powerful monsters such as dragons, etc.) would notice what happened and possibly decide that the wizard must be eliminated because she's obviously a danger on a potentially world-wide scale.

Also, to clear up another thing since I haven't said it explicitly, this is not a theoretical wizard whose appearance in my game is still up in the air. She's an actual NPC (her name is Celina) the PCs have interacted with, to the extent that they know she's at least an 18th level wizard (she's teleported the whole party before, and there are six PCs). So changing things from that end isn't doable at this point.

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Snowblind wrote:
Spook205 wrote:

He's tough, but not entirely insurmountable if more then say 2,000 soldiers encounter him at one time.

A wizard can neutralise an area half a kilometer wide with a standard action (Limited Wish->Control winds with wind blowing troops towards centre). They can do this from a quarter of a kilometer away. This is wide enough of an area to deal with several thousand troops.

They can then fly near the centre (from above) and drop a wall of fire, turning this mass no-save-just-lose into a no-save-just-die.

They can do this while invisible, with DR10/evil(Greater angelic aspect) and with an AC high enough to ensure that they can only be hit on a 20. They can also do this while being immune to most forms of magical detection (Mind blank) and incorporeal (e.g. Undead anatomy IV).

The army combat rules have problems.

They really shouldn't be used for things like this.

I just wanna say that it's so wrong that you can combine those two spells...

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@DM_Blake - You're right it is a double-edged sword, or to be more precise walking a very thin line. One thing to clear up is that the wizard isn't the one who be will assuming leadership. She's simply a very close ally of the aggressor army's commander. The commander, however, does intend to be one of the new leaders as she will receive the largest duchy in the kingdom if the aggressors are successful and place their prince on the throne. Once the conflict is over the wizard will return to pursuing more wizardly avenues of interest and hasn't committed to taking an official position in the new regime.

As to the reaction of good-aligned organizations, I disagree. Casualties as a result of an honest and honorable battle are one thing - even if magic is used. Sending the wizard off to slaughter the enemy while they camp and before they even realize what's happening is something else entirely.

That said, once the aggressors size control of the capital, they intend to do exactly what you suggest: offer terms of surrender to the defenders. If the defenders decline and instead march to the capital to oust the aggressors, when the aggressors march out to meet them that's when the wizard gets her restraints loosened and can put on a show of force.

@Kolokotroni - Sure, the wizard can reduce her exposure by keeping a low profile after the conflict is won, but that's only viable if she doesn't do all the work. Otherwise the new rulers are going to have a hard time gaining the respect of the remaining nobility since it would appear as if they simply rode the coattails of the wizard and have little competency of their own. It cannot appear as though the wizard is the sole reason for the aggressors' victory, even if that reduces the odds for victory in the first place.

(Also, from a more practical, meta-standpoint, if the wizard does all the work, that doesn't leave any room for the PCs to participate meaningfully in the conflict.)

I do agree with what you said about shock and awe, and the aggressors intend to utilize the wizard's capability for that if/when the time is appropriate.

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Sigurd wrote:
Xexyz wrote:
Just out of curiosity, is there a specific reason your character is worried about someone wanting to steal his Precious? Is it just a general, "if I die I don't want evil to get their hands on it" or does your character have reason to believe thieves may specifically target your weapon for taking?
The character's whole focus is outthinking and preparing opposition to undead. He expects intelligent undead to play dirty.

The Called property is a +1 cost and allows you to teleport your weapon to your hand as long at it's within 100 ft. Dunno if that's enough distance, but it's something.

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Just out of curiosity, is there a specific reason your character is worried about someone wanting to steal his Precious? Is it just a general, "if I die I don't want evil to get their hands on it" or does your character have reason to believe thieves may specifically target your weapon for taking?

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I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
This is exactly what the secret chest spell is for, assuming someone in your party can cast it for you.

I would never use that spell for anything important, ever. Does anyone actually like that spell?

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DM_Blake wrote:

I still don't see how "Use walls of fire to give favorable battlefield conditions" (implying that my soldiers defeat the enemy soldiers in a battle) is any better than "Use meteor shower to slaughter the enemy without a battle".

In both cases you're using magic that results in dead enemy soldiers.

I'm not creating a false binary. Actually, I think YOU did: In your OP you said "The goal of the aggressor is to win the war with as few casualties as possible on both sides. So directly attacking the enemy armies with stuff like Metor Swarm, Tsunami, and other similar spells is off the table unless it's absolutely necessary" and you also said "Using wall spells (mostly Wall of Fire) to create favorable battle conditions".

Since "favorable battle conditions" means conditions by which your soldiers can kill their soldiers, these two quotes contradict each other.

Do you want to kill enemy soldiers or not? Make up your mind.

I'm suggesting that if you're OK with dead enemy soldiers, then it doesn't matter if they died in your fire or died by your soldiers' swords - they're still dead. However, in the second case, probably some of your own soldiers died making them dead so the favorable battlefield actually seems LESS desirable than simply nuking the enemy armies. Me, I'd prefer zero allied casualties as the most desirable outcome.

So if killing enemy soldiers is acceptable to you, then why the arbitrary restrictions of "I'll use magic to let my guys kill their guys but I won't use magic to kill their guys"?

But if killing enemy soldiers is NOT acceptable to you, then it seems that no amount of favorable battlefield conditions would make you happy, except maybe harmless conditions that completely and absolutely prevent the enemy soldiers from engaging you or your ally soldiers (and that's not really favorable battlefield conditions as much as absolute battle prevention).

If this is the goal, then I gave some generic hints in my previous post.

The war has to be won in the correct fashion in order to create the desired political climate once the war is over. Can the wizard simply slaughter the enemy armies before they even have a chance to engage with the aggressor army? Sure. But the aftermath creates a more difficult situation for the aggressors once the war is over. The perception will be that the wizard won the war, not the aggressors, which paints a big target on the wizard's back and diminishes the perception of the aggressor.

Furthermore, there are important factions not directly involved in the conflict whose allegiance must be won. The good aligned faith organizations for starters. Minimizing - which, again, is different than eliminating - casualties and limiting collateral damage shows them that the aggressors simply aren't the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss.

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Gregory Connolly wrote:
How is the opposition feeding 50,000 people? That right there can end the war in a week. Steal their food and they stop being an army and start being 50,000 desperate looters, which you can then save by giving the food back to anyone who surrenders. Who are they going to follow the unpopular guy who almost starved them to death or the guy with the food?

Interesting. But that's a lot of food spread out over a lot of locations; without simply destroying the food stores how would you go about stealing them in an efficient manner?

Also, the opposition is supplementing their own supplies by plundering the country they're currently invading.

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Spook205 wrote:

I still can't think of who decided to dedicate a force to a suicide charge when out numbered 5-1. The aggressor sound as if their position is horrible.

The idea of launching a surgical strike is reasonable, but stage 2 and 3 of the plan are where I see the wheels falling off.

Unless the kingdom's already at war (and it might be what with a standing army of 50,000 men), there's still liable to be a sizable garrison force in the capital proper (old warfare ethos was captured capital = you win. Its one of the reasons the british got cheesed at the americans in the war for 1812).

So the heroes come in, kidnap the king (which they'd need to do in a dramatic fashion or else the remaining old power structure will put on their 'things as ordinary' faces,) and then the aggressor force marches its butts across the entire kingdom to get there before presumably the other army sections trickle back in.

If the local rulership gets straight up decapitated and the Aggressor army marches in, the likely response from the people is going to be to run for vantages less likely to be under trebuchet fire in 24-48 hours (since apparently the defending force is pretty dang fast).

There's also the issue that the other military forces aren't (I presume) comprised of orcs, goblins and the worst scoundrels in the country. They aren't going to want to burn their own capital down, and the people in the capital aren't going to want to fend off their own people, so your wizard might find himself dealing with people inside the walls doing mundane stuff to screw the defenders. One fishwife leaving a door open or dropping a ladder in the right place can make all the boiling oil in the world meaningless.

I'd be honestly more inclined to have the wizard (or a cleric) use some communication or teleportation spells to try to get the PCs to convince some of the commanders of the various other army sections to join them.

The civil war looks a lot more palatable to the average guy when its more of a 50-50 as opposed to 90-10 split.

Ehh, there are other factors at play which make it not so bleak as you're putting it. I just have to work out a few minor details in order to make sure it all holds together. (Well, as together as things can be until the PCs do what PCs do -_^ )

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DM_Blake wrote:

You are at odds with yourself.

You don't want to nuke the enemy soldiers due to some kind-hearted but misplaced ideal of reducing casualties. Fine. I'll grant you that. But then you want to create favorable battle conditions so that your soldiers can kill the enemy soldiers. I'm pretty sure that this will create casualties. Probably on both sides.

This is what the USA did wrong in the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War. They did not commit, and the end result was that the USA lost those wars and a lot of American lives were lost for no reason.

Political grandstanding aside, anybody who thinks it's possible to fight and especially to win a war without casualties doesn't understand war and shouldn't be fighting one in the first place.

So you need to decide - is it or is it not acceptable to spill enemy blood?

If the answer is "It is not" then you better forget all about favorable battle conditions and start looking at political solutions. Leave your army behind and get to the capital as quickly as possible, then use your magic to "convince" the existing political leaders to abdicate in your favor. Dominate them if needed, or bribe them, or simply make them disappear (for now - bring them back later when you're coup has prevailed and there is nothing they can do about it).

Then bribe the population - improve their quality of life so much that they love you and don't want the former government to regain power. Pay particular attention to the families and relatives of any defender soldiers who might still be marching to the capital to defend it from you - win the families and have them influence the enemy soldiers for you.

Win the people, win the nation.

All without spilling a drop of blood.

On the other hand, if "favorable battle conditions" are acceptable to you, then you're clearly willing to let your soldiers spill enemy blood on the battle field, so why not just do the job yourself and nuke them by the thousands to save your own soldiers from inevitable loss and attrition?

You're creating a false dilemma by presenting a binary of 'zero casualties' vs. 'total war'. There's a middle ground which is the goal.

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deusvult wrote:

The wizard is not so much screwed as experiencing the downside that should come with the advantages of having a staff (or other hand-held item) as a bonded item.

The wizard could instead have taken a ring or amulet, but those are choices that have different drawbacks.

If the choice of staff has no drawbacks, it's not a fairly balanced choice.

Curious, what drawbacks would there be to taking a ring or amulet as a bonded item?

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In my games the lower level monsters still exist, but unless the players feel like playing the combat out, we just assume they win and continue on.

The other way is to make the combat about more than just killing all the enemies. Consider a group of 10th level characters defending a village against a goblin raid. Even a group of goblins is no match for a 10th level character, but if groups of goblins split up and attack multiple locations at once, the PCs have meaningful choices to make as to how they're going to defend the village. It may be a foregone conclusion that the PCs will drive away the raiders, but depending on how the PCs acted there may be more or less damage to the village as a result.

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PRD wrote:
Objects that are the subject of an arcane bond must fall into one of the following categories: amulet, ring, staff, wand, or weapon. These objects are always masterwork quality. Weapons acquired at 1st level are not made of any special material. If the object is an amulet or ring, it must be worn to have effect, while staves, wands, and weapons must be held in one hand. If a wizard attempts to cast a spell without his bonded object worn or in hand, he must make a concentration check or lose the spell. The DC for this check is equal to 20 + the spell's level. If the object is a ring or amulet, it occupies the ring or neck slot accordingly.
PRD wrote:
Somatic (S): A somatic component is a measured and precise movement of the hand. You must have at least one hand free to provide a somatic component.

So if one hand is required to hold your staff, and your other hand is required to cast your spell, are you just screwed unless you cast a still spell or come up with a third hand?

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ElterAgo wrote:

TCG, need to read a bit more of the later posts.

He doesn't actually want to kill much of the army. He wants them to switch to his side once he is in power.

In fairness, I did state in my first post that they're trying to limit casualties. I'd edit it to include the stuff I mentioned in later posts if I could, but alas...

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ElterAgo wrote:
Ok, for the future, you will probably get more helpful responses if you give these kinds of conditions and concerns at the beginning of the discussion.

This conversation's gotten a little more involved than I anticipated, lol. (Though I suppose I really shouldn't be surprised; I've been here long enough.) I was trying to be succinct with my first post so that I didn't bore people with a giant wall of text laying out all of the nitty-gritty details of the situation.

ElterAgo wrote:
If he doesn't want to let high level characters know there is a high level wizard around, he is basically stuck using low-mid level spells. Most anything high level and the opposition will be able to tell what it came from. Namely a very high level caster. But he can use lots of low level spells with really high save DC's. That can't easily be distinguished from a bunch of medium level casters.

Not exactly. The aggressors aren't necessarily trying to hide the fact they have a high-level spellcaster; What they (not to mention the wizard herself) don't want is for the wizard to be easily identifiable - especially during the early stages of the conflict - and thus become a target for elimination. So stuff like Weather Control - the effects of which don't manifest until long after the wizard has teleported away - is great, while confronting the army directly is not. Only if things go bad for the aggressor will they have the wizard start directly engaging the enemy armies.

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B. A. Robards-Debardot wrote:

What about propaganda? Specifically judiciously placed adamantine signs with permanent widened symbols of sleep on them in bright colors. That should keep most of the populace (those with less than 11 HD) asleep or in their homes (or likely piled up just outside the door). You could prep them ahead of time, with some catchy slogans.

Use your desired infiltration technique from one of the many proposed by the creative commenters. Put them up in the middle of the night. Either blanket the town or just use them to create a perimeter around your target building (the castle should be undermanned with the war going on). I recommend at about 10-15ft above the ground.

Hmm, interesting. I don't know about this idea exactly, but it made me remember that not all Symbol spells have HD limits. I think Symbol of Weakness would be great to use against the opposing army, the only question is how many soldiers it could realistically affect. Definitely merits further consideration...

Talos the Talon! wrote:

Wouldn't the city and maybe the armies of 50k have access to some powerful high level types to really throw a monkey wrench into the plan?

They may not have a 20th level type, but could they confront the arch mage with 4-6 15th level types? High priest here, master swordsman general there, high court advisor wizard types? Even throw in a few dozen types of various levels at or below 10th, and I would think this becomes much more difficult to simply have your wizard take down in one afternoon.

I know that's not the exercise here, but numbers might support a few choice high level types to challenge the wizards efforts.

Which is why the wizard needs to act with some subtlety. The defenders don't know that the other size has a 20th level wizard, so if she's too blatant about throwing magic around she just paints a target on her back. By acting in a more subtle, indirect fashion, potential defender spellcasters will be drawn out into the open trying to counteract the wizard's efforts. Once they've exposed themselves, they can be targeted for neutralization.

Which is also why any assassination attempts will be very carefully considered. If the defenders have a high-level cleric the aggressors don't know about, killing high-value targets is useless if they're just going to get raised.

The reality of the situation though is that the defenders don't have any high (16+) level characters on their side. They have many 10-14th level characters in their ranks, but the majority of those are martial types such as fighters and cavaliers. I figure their highest level casters are in the 10-12 range, and they probably only have a dozen or so of those. The aggressor army also has its own mid-level & low-level casters, so it's a wash.

Normally the defenders would have more higher-level characters, but the country has just recently emerged from a 32 year long civil war, so all of the high-level characters were either killed or otherwise not participating in the conflict.

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ElterAgo wrote:
This is fairly close to impossible. There are very few circumstances where a conqueror can rely on the loyalty of the armies of the person he defeated.

The aggressors have a few things going for them on this front. For starters, the current king - who is only the current king because he killed all of the other remaining claimants to the throne as the culmination of a 3+ decade long civil war - is very unpopular. In the seven years of his reign he re-instituted the outlawed custom of hereditary debt-slavery, then decided to rebuild the kingdom's treasury by instituting a bunch of new, oppressive taxes (the proceeds of which have a poor rate of actually making it to the treasury due to the rampant corruption of the aristocracy/bureaucracy). As that's failed to generate sufficient income, the king then decided to start an unpopular war by invading a wealthy neighboring country to plunder it. (That's why the defending armies are on the other side of the country - most of them are actually currently participating in the invasion.)

The principals behind the aggressor army are a group of nobles who claim - and now, due to the actions of the PCs, have a macguffin to help support their claim - to have in their ranks the true, rightful heir to the throne. So certainly they don't see themselves as conquerors; they're true patriots who are liberating the country from an illegitimate despot.

ElterAgo wrote:
A civil war and a coup are really not at all the same thing.

You're right. It would be more accurate to say that the aggressors are hoping for a successful coup in order to avoid [another] civil war.

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Performance Feats are a must.

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Whoa, a lot of responses.

1. There are two reasons the aggressor wants to minimize casualties. First, the aggressor intends to rule the country afterward - and in the process make the defender's armies their own. Since the war is effectively a civil war (a coup d'état technically) if the aggressor decimates the defender's armies too much it leaves the country vulnerable to being invaded. Secondly, the aggressors are positioning themselves as the liberators who are disposing the current tyrant usurper king, so if they're going to claim the moral high ground they can't just slaughter all of the opposition.

2. It's not that assassination is off the table, it's that the aggressors have another operative to handle that sort of business if/when it's necessary.

3. It's important that the wizard operate with some subtlety. If the wizard is too blatant in her actions, then the defenders' focus shifts from "how to we deal with this aggressor army" to "how to we deal with this wizard" The commander of the aggressor army wants the defenders' focus to be on her army, not on her wizard ally. From the wizard's perspective, she'd also like to avoid becoming the prime target.

4. In regard to the capital, the plan is to send an advance force to seize control; the aggressor absolutely does not want to be forced to lay siege to it in order to capture it. The plan is for the assault to take place in three stages: Stage 1 is for an elite strike team (likely the PCs) to infiltrate into the palace and capture the king. With the king out the way, stage 2 will be to have an advance force eliminate the remaining ruling structure and in the process take control of the city. Stage 3 occurs once the main army arrives and it able to march through the city with the majority of any opposition neutralized and then prepare for an engagement with the defending army outside of the city. The level of organization the defending armies display will guide how the aggressor responds.

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Blakmane wrote:
Care to give some actual rebuttal?

I edited my flippant response, check out my previous post.

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Blakmane wrote:

Utter wash. Greater teleport:

"You may also bring one additional willing Medium or smaller creature (carrying gear or objects up to its maximum load) or its equivalent per three caster levels. A Large creature counts as two Medium creatures, a Huge creature counts as four Medium creatures, and so forth.

Teleport circle handily gets rid of any size and number worries.

You can't take wagons, but donkeys loaded up with supplies works just fine. Who cares anyway? You're already in the city walls and have all the supplies you can't carry right there available for you.

You could also just either planar bind or even just summon some gigantic creatures (celestial rocs are obtainable en masse) and then send them through the circle with the supplies.

This debate is a moot point. Teleportation circle easily transfers all the soldiers to the capital, although you may need to prepare a few of them to get adequate flow.

I don't think you quite grasp the scale we're dealing with here. I've been doing some research, and according to what I've found the column for a Roman army of approximately 5000 soldiers could be up to 15 miles long. The army I'm dealing with is twice as big. I did some math and getting the soldiers teleported could be done in a day, but the baggage train is another matter all together. That doesn't even take into account the logistics in finding a suitable destination (inside the city? lol) and the advance planning required to make sure the arriving army remained organized on arrival.

If I needed to get the army to the other side of the world, teleportation circles might merit further consideration. But the army just needs to get 450 miles, which when coupled with Lord's Banners of Swiftness is about 15 days march.

Anyway, I'm not so much concerned about getting the aggressor army to the capital faster so much as how the wizard can mess with the defending armies.

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lemeres wrote:
With demiplane, you could put a large amount of supplies that that are secure. That can help reduce your need for a supply train, which means you can travel light and fast.

That's a possibility. I'll have to think about the logistics of it, but I think something like that is doable.

Edit: Actually, now I'm not so sure. The condition for adding the portal feature to a demiplane is that the portal's location must be "very familiar to you", and with the army on the move I don't think that would work.

Another thing I probably should've mentioned is that strategies which involve long-term involvement of the wizard in question will probably not be employed; the army's commander doesn't want to become dependent on the wizard for her army's success.

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lemeres wrote:

Calling/use gate to get disruptive outsiders to act as guerrillas that delay the enemy troops.

Symbol of strife- get that into the middle of an enemy formation, and they will fight among themselves. This means 20 rounds enenmies attacking eachother, and the symbol lasts for over 3 hours. This can be used as a trap that blocks off enemy movement (since they can't bring a large number of troops into the area).

Cursed earth to cause any who die in the area to rise as zombies in 24 hours. Even if they destroy the bodies to prevent this, that is still time they are not preparing proper defenses.

Salvage- destroy their ships, and then make them your own later on.

Clone- get back up commanders for your armies. Helps maintain the chain of command, which helps keep up momentum.

Sympathy/Antipathy on particular areas (like castle gates) that distracts them.

Stone to flesh- turn the castle wall into something that is much easier to dig through.

Move earth- dig trenches and make hills. Destroy trenches and hills. Fill in moats. This spell is pretty much designed with your scenario in mind (too slow to trap or bury, and explicitly says it is for this stuff)

Anyway- I think thinking small is cooler. Having an instant solution just takes the fun out of it. Rather than instantly capturing the king, I want a chess game where my opponent can just decide that I can't move through a 9 square square because a giant pillar of fire showed up. That my bishop now moves like a rook because of mind alteration. That there is now a tunnel to the back that I have to defend against. That his knights are flying for the next 3 turns and can't be captured (but can't capture themselves).

All that, and a lot of the move egregious instant 'I win' scenarios might have counters with magic (there are a bunch of anti teleporting spells, for instance). Overall, just assume rule of cool, and try to get tricky people.

Ooo, forgot about Move Earth. That could be a handy spell.

I should probably have mentioned that most of this stuff would happen off-screen. It's somewhat of a thought-exercise as this war is something that will be occurring in the background of the campaign and the PCs will mostly just be getting accounts of what's happening as they're unlikely to participate in any large-scale battles directly.

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Blakmane wrote:

You are thinking much too small for a 20th level wizard.

Timeless demiplane + simulacrum + blood money.

Gate or planar binding plus geas (or just standard negotiation).

Scry, Teleport to throne room, peristent dominate or wish geas.

Teleportation circle to bring the entire army to the capital on day 1.

Teleportation Circle won't work. It could get the soldiers there, but not the baggage train.

Blood Money doesn't exist in my game, but a demiplane isn't completely out of the question. How could it be used?

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Hark wrote:

Race to the Capital? At just 10,000 Soldiers the wizard can probably use Gate to just march the army directly into the Capital before the Defenders even realize that there is an Aggressor Army.

From there various Enchantment spells should ensure that leaders of the Defender nation all surrender peacefully.

If it somehow came to battle, I've sure a few well placed Fear inducing spells should be enough to quickly break defender moral before any serious bloodshed can happen.

Unfortunately even multiple Gate spells don't last long enough to march an entire army through. Gotta remember that the 10,000 soldiers doesn't count the baggage train accompanying them. You'd also need two Gate spells to complete the transport.

I thought about mind control, but I've played role-playing games long enough to know that using it for things like that never works out in the long run. On the other hand, using enchantment spells to alter the course of a battle (by making commanders make bad tactical decisions) is a possibility...

I've looked at various fear-type spells, but most I've seen don't have a large enough area of effect to make a significant impact, in my opinion. Furthermore the ones I looked at are centered on the caster, and the aggressors are uncomfortable with putting the wizard right in the middle of the battlefield like that.

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Here's the setup: There are two forces, an aggressor and a defender. The aggressor has a single army of around 10,000 soldiers and is marching on the capital of the defender's country. The defender has a total force strength of about 50,000 spread out among several armies on the opposite side of the country. It's a race to the capital! Despite being outnumbered, the aggressor has an ace in the hole: The aggressor army has a 20th level wizard. So without having to consider acting as a counter to any arcane spellcasters on the defender's side, what kind of tricks can the Wizard pull to aid her forces? Couple of caveats, though:

1. The goal of the aggressor is to win the war with as few casualties as possible on both sides. So directly attacking the enemy armies with stuff like Metor Swarm, Tsunami, and other similar spells is off the table unless it's absolutely necessary.

2. No assassinations. If necessary, the aggressor has this avenue covered through other means.

That in mind, here's what I've come up with so far:

-Using Control Weather to delay defending armies from reaching the capital before the aggressor, or using it to manipulate battlefield conditions to the benefit of the aggressor.

-Using wall spells (mostly Wall of Fire) to create favorable battle conditions.

What else can a wizard do to stack the deck in her side's favor, both during and outside of the battle?

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What's everyone's go-to ship? For our group it's the Kraken. For starters, it's one of the two ships with an automatic 2 damage prevention, which when coupled with Jirelle and the Breastplate of the Deep means we pretty much never fear our ship getting wrecked.

We also think that it's power is among the most useful. Being able to add a d12 to a strength check has helped many times when someone found a monster and lacked a weapon. In addition, it's been useful several times when someone like Jirelle or Alahazra would find the the falcata that either Kyra or Valeros wanted.

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Packer fans.

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Haven't read through the whole thread so I don't know if someone already houseruled the same thing, but here's mine:

The stat prerequisite for Combat Expertise and all feats that have Combat Expertise as a prerequisite is changed to Dex 13 instead of Int 13.

Justification: Not only does this make several feat lines more accessible to martial characters without stat-dumping, it makes more sense logically to me. Things like being better at tripping or disarming aren't intellectually more complex than regular fighting, but should require a certain amount of agility in order to efficiently perform.

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GreyWolfLord wrote:
rainzax wrote:

what if Death Attack was 3 rounds at 1st, dropping to 2 rounds at 3rd, and dropping to 1 round at 5th?

(homebrew solution)

My main gripe, the SAVE DC is still going to stink. There needs to be something to boost that for Assassins, or their main dynamic simply isn't that good.

Could always just houserule to make the victim save as if they were coup de graced...

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Have a Sorc7/DD4 vampire in my game. PCs unfortunately didn't pursue his storyline, so they never encountered him.

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Rynjin wrote:

But you know what smart PCs DON'T do?

Appraise everyone they come across like they're picking out the choice cuts on a slab of beef. Which is essentially what the Assassin is doing.

"There...there's the tender bits..."

People, even normal people have more instincts than you think. People can feel a stare boring into them from behind in many cases, someone doing it to their face? Is at least going to warrant a "What's that guy's deal? He's creepy." and trying to keep their distance from them unless they have pressing business. And then, the guy would still be wary at this point since you've been staring at him.

SOmeone staring at you is one of the HUGE subconscious warning signs that it's someone you don't want to associate with. It's disturbing in a very visceral way.

PRD wrote:

Death Attack (Ex): If an assassin studies his victim for 3 rounds and then makes a sneak attack with a melee weapon that successfully deals damage, the sneak attack has the additional effect of possibly either paralyzing or killing the target (assassin's choice). Studying the victim is a standard action. The death attack fails if the target detects the assassin or recognizes the assassin as an enemy (although the attack might still be a sneak attack if the target is denied his Dexterity bonus to his Armor Class or is flanked). If the victim of such a death attack fails a Fortitude save (DC 10 + the assassin's class level + the assassin's Int modifier) against the kill effect, she dies. If the saving throw fails against the paralysis effect, the victim is rendered helpless and unable to act for 1d6 rounds plus 1 round per level of the assassin. If the victim's saving throw succeeds, the attack is just a normal sneak attack. Once the assassin has completed the 3 rounds of study, he must make the death attack within the next 3 rounds.

If a death attack is attempted and fails (the victim makes her save) or if the assassin does not launch the attack within 3 rounds of completing the study, 3 new rounds of study are required before he can attempt another death attack.

Please tell me where in this description "Study" = "Appraise everyone they come across like they're picking out the choice cuts on a slab of beef."

Again, if "Study" implied something so intense as to require a skill check in order to use, it would say so in the power's description. Lacking that, your extrapolations are just that: GM fiats. Which is fine; I'm a GM and make all sorts of judgement calls. Just don't imply that it's necessary to succeed at skill checks as universal prerequisite to using the power when it's not written that way.

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