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Cap. Darling wrote:
Is there a reason for all this passive-aggression?
I mean, you're wrong, but this isn't the place for a history debate so it doesn't really matter. You're snippy little insults suggest this is personal for some obtuse reason.
Why are you pooping on the thread?
The Genie wrote:
Be fair, that is a highly subjective call. I mean I'm on board, but other people aren't wrong for not doing it.
But the real issue is always BadWrongFun. Good-aligned drow characters were Emo Sparklepires back when Anne Rice was at the height of her popularity, it's been 15-20 years since then but the hate and prejudice against dark-skinned elves remains. And it's not like the special snowflake gamers and good drow characters stopped existing nor did they stop having a correlation.
Personally, I'm rolling a Drow noble, keeping in the back doing support, I don't know if ANY of the other players have figured out what I am (sank a lotta points into a good disguise check) and we all seem to be having fun. For the record, my character is a Drow Noble, raised from infancy by an eccentric Bronze dragon, and I'm an archer (light crossbow) cleric. It's pretty much as BadWrongFun as you ever could get.
Cap. Darling wrote:
Actually I was thinking the Imperium in Warhammer 40k, but used Stalingrad as a more accessible metaphor. Bullet-sponges in front with crap weapons, real soldiers behind pushing the peasants forward and protecting/using the heavy weapons (machine gun emplacements, artillery) and the heavy weapons themselves being the most expensive and protected item on the field.
I thought adept had it on their list, if not then expert with UMD. It would just be mending except that doesn't heal constructs. Custom magic items or a construct with fast healing would be best but most of those are harder to find or proper golems, and you want the flexibility of design that animated objects provide. A heavy Caisson for carrying the cannon or a burrowing Mole Machine that spits troops out where you want them to go or a bulldozer with a big shield in front providing total cover.
It's useful for different reasons: to whit, you can use a longsword and use weapon finesse.
Presumably it was not DESIGNED with dual-wielding in mind. Actually I suspect the primary goal was letting some dude with spiky blonde hair wield a
Light hammer is pretty small. Still does 3x crit.
But I'm only guessing. I would have tried to beg, borrow, or steal a heavy pick with Shrink Item on it, (or just used a lot of poison) and the same nonsense excuse, but really even a rock works with coup de grace with sneak attack.
Less convincing is the planned escape. Kings and those who would be king don't *like* assassins, even if they use them. If you could kill one queen you could kill two, and they'd rather not lose their head to you. Even if they decided to use you, first would be the beatings, torture, (and depending on the adult content/realism rating, rape) in the dungeon followed by magical mind-control or similar lock-downs (Mark of Justice is a popular one) and the most logical conclusion the captain would have is still, "prove your power and justice by bringing out and executing the assassin." Even if he does it AFTER using you. And escaping is hard when your gear's been stolen and you've been beaten so badly you have ability damage.
Honestly, I'm surprised you weren't just killed outright by the guards themselves. My first thought as a dumb guard who might get executed for failing in his duty is, "I better prove my worth by killing this mofo, presenting his/her head to the captain, and begging for my life."
The Genie wrote:
Hmm i was told in anothrr thread that elves who turn evil become drow as in transform. Just fluff him as a elf who went evil and then is on his path to redemption and hopefully a way back to normal elfdom. The bonuses could be handwaved as your elven bloodline is particularly powerful and gained the sla via transformation.
Yeah, I'm not sure how Canon that actually is, but even if it is, redemption is fun.
The issue is balance, and it's still quite doable if you've got the play-style for it. The key is to play a character who doesn't matter even if they ARE way more powerful than the rest of the gang. Support roles, really sub-optimal class builds (like bog-standard monk, rogue, or healer cleric). As long as you are in a role that avoids the spotlight anyway, you won't be annoying everyone else by hogging the spotlight.
But the question is; can you be that player?
Seriously? That's your post? "Lemme threaten you with a weapon, that proves the weapon is perfect."
Fine, chuckles, let's work backwards. Vampire strength bonus of +6 along with a variety of "I'm tougher" defensive qualities suggest a tougher body. Common vampire tropes include punching through wooden doors with their bare hands, "steely grips" that can't be broken by really strong dudes, impossible speed that would break normal people, and shrugging off impact trauma that should shatter a human skeleton and burst human skin. Yeah, I think it's a safe call that vampires are supposed to be tougher than a human. Otherwise they'd tear themselves apart.
Double-fist a wooden stake through a human ribcage into the heart in one shot? Maybe. You'll do damage, probably deadly damage, you might even succeed if you're really lucky and if it's a thin, sharp, hardened stake. You're a lot more likely to jam up on the breastbone or wedge between the ribs, poke holes in arteries, and watch a normal person bleed to death. And that's with two hands, time to line up your shot, and an unobstructed line of attack from whatever angle you want while the target's lying down and not moving. One-shot with one hand is "double-20" crit range unlikely. Try field-dressing a much-more-delicate deer carcass and tell me you could crack through those ribs and into the heart with one shot with a wooden, carved-on-the-go stake.
There is a reason that most traditional, pre-Buffy vampire fighting involved a hammer to get the stake in.
But let's take this further, Buffy did it, Batman did it (and failed, comic book physics are not consistent), and Dusk 'till Dawn actually tried to rationalize it with the vampires having really soft tissue (despite not falling apart from inhuman exertions), it is a fantasy trope. You got no argument from me there. My point was just because one fantasy has it does not mean all fantasies are going to have it, or is compelled to have it. Realism certainly won't back you up.
And called shots don't exist because when they did you ended up with a lot of perma-crippled PCs unable to get high enough in level to get a regeneration spell for their missing arms, eyes, and whatnot. Make of that what you will.
But Bookrat is correct, I'm mostly asking for feelings behind wanting to play low magic. I understand why I would want to play low magic and how I would go about it, and I know why I would do that in Pathfinder rather than play a different system, (full disclosure; I don't really. I keep other systems around specifically to play low magic, because I like 'magic as technology' Pathfinder and find it hard to play something like say Game of Thrones with Pathfinder. Well outside of Playing E6 or the Beginner Box rules.) but I wanted to know how other people felt since it's a common thing that pops up.
Oh but there are so MANY reasons, and it's never just one reason for anyone...
Off the top of my head, the reasons provided by people doing it, and the reasons they don't mention but still manage to convey:
-Swords are cool. Here's a simple exercise: watch Revenge of the Sith (I know, fast-forward the stupid talky bits) and the two concurrent fight scenes between Yoda/Palpatine and Kenobi/Skywalker. One is a sword fight, one is a mage fight. Chances are you think the sword fight is more fun to watch. Statistics and audience polls show most folks think the sword fight is more fun to watch. To do "magic = technolgy" compare exciting infantry charges (which lose) to holding well-defended trenches and calling in artillery/air strikes. To bring it back around, in a fight between casters, archers, and warriors it is the warrior that gets most of the bonuses and obsessive assistance from nulling the magic level.
-Players are terrible people. They eat your food, kill your monsters, ruin your dungeons, unravel your plots, and don't act grateful enough when you give them treasure. They need to be punished by not giving them as much treasure, because that will teach them a lesson. I mean that's the idea, in practice they tend to just get frustrated and annoyed. We players are stupid creatures, we cannot learn your lesson of appreciation.
-Magic needs to be magical. If you make a +1 sword really hard to get that will make it totally appreciated and awesome. It will be as game-changing as That One Ring because there ain't no magic anywhere but there. In theory making a +1 sword rare will make it super-awesome and more appreciated. In practice a player look at the +1 longsword and look at how they get +5 from having a really good (yet still normal) strength and toss it in favor of a non-magical greatsword (still does more net damage).
-Magic is feared and distrusted! In theory anybody with "the craft" or "foul, magical tools" will be mistrusted, ostracized, and mob-violenced out of the picture. Therefore it is nowhere to be found because anyone who finds it destroys it in a rage. In practice (actual history) anybody with any tricks or the appearance of power attracted cult-like followings and the "burning times" where witches were burned or hung inevitably targeted people who DIDN'T have power. The harmless and helpless were specifically murdered BECAUSE they didn't have power to protect themselves and groups like the Mennonites or people who declared new technology/technique "taboo" always lost to the people who didn't. Rome fell because the barbarians figured out how to steal Roman tech, not because Rock actually beats Laser. This doesn't stop it from being a common trope, of course, see Song of Ice and Fire where magic is a game-changer that wins battles and wars but nobody respects or trusts it because...reasons. Bur even in aSoIaF some magic (dragons, gods, magic face-dancing assassins) is largely accepted and trusted, the only question is which batch of magic people put stock in and which batch of magic they refuse and hate/dismiss. They always have something they believe in (like Jesus) that is supposed to be more powerful.
-Limiting options limits a party's ability to RUIN your carefully-crafted narrative (sorry, cheap shot) by doing things that are too stupid or too smart because they have access to lots of power. See a thread a while back where a dumb dwarf decided to get rid of a magic soul-trapping mirror and in doing so released 2 ancient evil dragons. THAT'S a plot-derailer right there, and heaven help you if evil PCs get ahold of a dragon corpse to zombify.
-I can't get anyone to not play Pathfinder! I honestly haven't run across anything even related to this problem, but all the people complaining loudly about how Pathfinder is "too popular" imply this. This seems more likely to come from players than GMs, since finding a GM is generally the deciding factor in whether a game runs or not. At least in my experience.
-I want more attention! Sometimes the casters annoyingly steal the spotlight by ending fights, solving puzzles, and doing amazing things with their amazing powers leaving the melee martials bored, alone, and overshadowed. Sometimes they just get equal screen time but the martials just can't stand any time where they aren't in front. This is linked heavily with "swords are cool." Statistically the best combat style has casters doing buffs, but when the caster has a laundry-list of buffs and the martial has "kill stuff hard" or "kill stuff hard" you have a lot of time to think and get bored with your job, even though you still get bragging rights to most of the party kills and tend to be seen as party leader because you walk in the front and decide whether things progress or stop.
-A high power party is hard to challenge! I mean, CRs go up, but a well-oiled combat machine of a party can mincemeat a LOT of different kinds of monsters, and as the line between "tough fight" and "TPK" gets thinner and thinner and spells you don't have a lot of experience with (because you don't do high-level games much) start coming into play and wrecking things it gets harder to craft an adventure. Alternatively, adventures are JUST as high-mortality at 1st level as 15th because a d20 roll can be cruel and hateful (example; had a party fight the same Kasatha Juju zombie twice, first time was minor damage, second time was nearly a wipe even though the party was in better shape the second time) and you just don't notice because the barely-introduced characters and their unknown backstories are less traumatic to lose.
That's all I can think of right now.
Honestly, you can probably make more money and power just crafting an ever-expanding demiplane that operates like a cross between Sigil and New York City. Well-built magical airships with Gates on 'em and a giant paradise city (fully locked down from unintended dimensional travel) linking them will provide massive trade income, especially if you have gates to other planes, like a link to the City of Brass (major trade hub) or the plane of shadow. Income would be insane as you single-handedly replaced most shipping trade, everything would move at double speed, you could feed a massive population of experts who obeyed you or (with appropriate high-level magic) worshipped you as their very literal creator...it would work quite well, and if you still wanted your Infernal Fiefdom it would make an excellent power base to work from.
But anyway, whatever you do you will have a city, and that city will need protection. So here are my thoughts on the matter.
-See what un/hallow mixed up with Dimensional Anchor does. If it blocks things coming in (the rules are not particularly clear) then you just do a yearly process of locking down all your important areas from dimensional assaults. If you can get away with it, try to research spells that will let you permanently seal off areas (if possible, your whole realm) from teleportation except for specific "entry zones" which your minions can drop a giant well-carved stone block in.
-Follower slaves are cheap, they're also weak, back them up with big heavy constructs and siege weapons. An animated object may have a crap ranged attack, but it's pretty good at being a mobile platform for a minion-fired catapult or (dare I say it?) grapeshot cannon. Remember, you're evil, so you'll be using Russian Army at Stalingrad tactics. Commoners in front, warriors on/around the construct, adept in the back with a wand of Make Whole.
-Undead are cheap. There are SO many corpses out there, big scary useful monster corpses with weird special abilities so many lovely contracts you can hash out with high-level evil NPCs that want to go to hell on their own terms. Sponsor a program where you take high-level NPCs on tours through hell, showing just how bad it is and point out that no matter how big and scary they are in this world, they come out a pallid grey nothing of a petitioner. If they sign on with you, when they get killed you'll bring 'em back as Bodaks or Vampires or whatnot and to ensure their loyalty you can stack a bunch of Marks of Justice on them. This also lets you have and (mostly) control chaotic evil types who can wield your anarchic weapons against other devils. Technically they still end up a petitioner when their undead body gets destroyed, but you are evil, that isn't your problem nor are you obligated to tell them.
-Make the place nice. If your little slice of hell is like Shendilavri, it will be easier to attract tourists, make deals, and have your minions want to protect it from the torturous hells outside your domain. Besides, what's the point of power if you can't wallow in it at least a little bit?
-You're mortal, use that to the fullest. Devils have limitations by virtue of being devils, you lose out on their awesome outsider abilities but you also don't have those limits. Cut deals with demons, make use of holy weapons, have weapons and traps that use holy water, trick paladins and angels into helping you, travel to the prime and any other dimension you want with impunity.
-Always be making money. Be it farming Netherwort, selling stolen souls, or sneaking low-ranking devils onto the prime so they can do some corrupting/evil of their own design there's business opportunities.
That's all I got.
Torger Miltenberger wrote:
Asking for a wooden stake to work against a vampire the way it's portrayed in countless works of fiction is not that.
I understand that, but once again, the efficacy of a wooden stake through a human ribcage (let alone one reinforced by undeath) is dubious, and Pathfinder is under no obligation to set the rules that particular way. Most portrayals of Dracula still required a hammer to pound the stake in, up to you (and any perfectly reasonable house rules) which brand of vampire you roll with.
Dragon Disciple? Dimension Door. Unless I'm mistaken you're going into "fighter-type with magic" and dimension door helps you get to enemies who keep trying to get away from your terrifying claws.
It fits in as BadWrongFun. It is one of the most infamously That Guy'd and Weeaboo'd races this side of a LARP, and everybody hates Driz'zt.
But you probably don't care about that.
It's also pretty crazy over-powered. The stat block isn't super-duper for paladin but it gets a bonus to charisma (good) and it's negative to con can be MORE than made up for by sucking points off of the dex and int you won't be using (adds up to "really good"). The spell-like abilities are really good for 1st level survival, and while they aren't all super-useful, you get so darn many of them. Lastly, Spell Resistance is super-hard to get, but they get it starting out and it's pretty much the best you can hope for as a PC.
But if you say the only races worth playing are Strix and Human, you probably don't care about *that* either.
They're powerful, they're easy to min-max, and while they are "hated and feared by all" and their skin color proves they are fundamentally
Also, unless you take the variant "surface infiltrator" the light blindness is rather hard to get around.
Timeworn can't be removed without the skill to craft a new one/refurbish the old (necessary craft feat).
I mean, LOGICALLY Make Whole should work, Masterwork Transformation should work, heavy application of mending should work, but it doesn't because Game Balance and Plot Demands.
And it works both ways, +9k year old tech should be dust just from entropy and age, the parts should atomically bonded and disassembled, that's just physics. It's only the magic of the plot that keeps those things working, so it's the magic of the plot that keeps you from making them shiny and new with spellery.
I, for one, ain't complainin'.
Didn't see that, kept looking at the spell description...huh.
Anyway, shatter is still pretty good if you get creative. The barbarian's axe may be magic, but his belt buckle probably isn't, see how well he fights when his pants fall down around his ankles. Same goes for sections of terrain, the ceiling, or the (non-magical) altar of evil the cleric was going to sacrifice a target on.
Stone call is another good one. Seems terrible because of the low damage, but the rough terrain part means your archer/ranged dudes get an extra round of barrage before the monster closes to melee. Sometimes 2.
Ask if retraining is an option.
If it is, go melee Oracle for 2 levels, then when you can get Leadership get yourself a little linebacker cohort and retrain your spells and feats to be healy-mchealsalot. If it isn't, be a crappy melee oracle until 7th level by using as few feats/ability points as possible for melee fighting.
And if there aren't too many fights per day, you can always summon monster your blockers.
Well THEN you just use a magic item of some sort, like holy water or fire or magic digging tools or something.
A Batman-expy's appropriately-dramatic battle would be fighting the vampire off 3 or 4 times, figuring out where the coffin-vault was, and then baiting the vampire into chasing him outside of the 9-mile radius. Alternatively, he would have a "magical" gadget-based solution like a vat of holy water, an alchemical/magical sun-making device, a magical digging solution, or an air-tight trap he could spring on the vapor-form vamp.
At some point "I don't like magic" is like "I am Amish and don't like science." It is how the world works.
Edit: Few more ideas for the coffin-vault.
-Coat the thing in mud. It's air-tight, and when you hit it with fire it will bake into a hard, non-porous shell rather quickly.
Now, none of these options are "easy", but that's part and parcel of not having the appropriate solution on hand. The CR of any encounter is going to go up if the party doesn't have certain tools (like holy water) because that's just how the game works. Not having a pilot in a spy game where your party needs to fly somewhere is part of the game.
Oh there's another option; hire a mercenary caster.
People keep breeding. The planet will overfill.
Terry Pratchett had a whole novel about a world where death wasn't operating, it wasn't pretty.
Lotta scifi out there where clinical immortality has been invented and the societal implications, Altered Carbon is the only one that springs to mind at the moment.
As for how? Mass production demands something outside the rules, like killing the god of death or hijacking Charon's boat.
Air Bubble: Oh it's like Water Breathing except WORTH IT and at first level.
Any spell that needs multiple castings. One game I'm in has the party in the City of Brass, every single party member including sidekicks needs a daily dose of Endure Elements. That's a lotta 1st level spells.
That's just level 1.
I'm going to assume you have access to the necessary money, if you don't you'll just have to wait until you do.
First, the Bag of Holding full of water works, so go with it. Have the bag mounted in a cut-down Masterwork Backpack frame and have the Octopus treat you like a mount and attacks from the bag.
Now, you'll want it to be good at grappling, so have use the monster advancement rules in the Bestiary to get it up to medium size (or use a Large-sized Giant Octopus if the DM allows it). You may or may not get 10 foot reach with medium (you get no reach with small, 20 foot reach with Large, *quizzical shrug*) but try for it.
You'll probably have to decide if it's freshwater or salt water, but that's campaign specific.
In keeping with your idea, you have a big billowing cloak and smell of mildew (you have to cycle the water fairly regularly) and when combat starts you dramatically throw off you cloak, the tentacles come out, and
You might need an enchantment on your cloak with an illusion spell to get the full effect.
Now, stat-wise, you're making things up, basically ALL of this requires DM approval (especially fighting from inside a bag of holding) but an animal companion that usually sits on your shoulders is fairly self-explanatory. It fights from higher ground (your back), it attacks normally, and it doesn't go anywhere. The back and backpack may have to be specially enchanted to remain attached when you wild shape into a giant frog or something, and whenever there's water around you try to make the fight happen there.
Step one: go to the [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Figurehead_(object)]Figurehead of the animated object, if the ship does not have one, make one, you may have to use Craft Construct to make the modification or some such.
Step B: If the ship has the Lifespark template, tell it hello, ask how it is doing, and engage in some polite conversation.
Step 3: Using diplomacy or commands, place a Helm of Teleportation on the Figurehead's head. You may have to enlarge the helmet.
Step fourth: As it uses its helmet to teleport itself, you teleport yourself and the crew (if necessary, up to DM) to the same place it is going.
Step Five (optional): Miss the target destination, end up in a "similar location", get eaten by Kraken.
Magda Luckbender wrote:
A high level spellcaster can summon a critter that burrows through stone. 100 feet is 5 combat rounds for your average burrower doing a mosey (usually have a base speed of 20). Just grab the coffing and pull it back up, assuming it doesn't leave a tunnel behind it (tunneling was largely ignored in Pathfinder, presumably the designers felt there were too many ways to exploit it).
Can't dig through metal, of course, but it is an option, and there are options for dealing with a steel cage (or a forcecage) around a coffin. Not to mention just sealing up the holes and trapping the bugger. Also, enough holy water or a diverted river can flow through the same pores the air gets through. Really, a properly-prepared vampire is more of an arms race than an unbreachable barrier. GM makes a move, PCs can make a counter-move, up to incredibly complicated and involved levels.
Finally, perhaps most importantly, a TRULY prepared vampire will have access to teleportation/plane shift, and use it before he hits 0 hit points. This is a rule that applies to ANY NPC villain of an appropriately high-enough level, be they human, vampire, or One-eyed one-horned flying purple people eater. It's honestly a LOT more important than a lonely vampire's stupid gas ability. Hell, you could try (DM would have to make up rules and decide if it could work) just "netting" the Gaseous Form blob in a waterproof (air-tight) tarp and bagging it with a balloon and some fast-acting glue.
But maybe you want a non-magic solution because the DM stuck you in a no-magic campaign
Torger Miltenberger wrote:
I get that, but it feels like it should be possible, not easy by any stretch, just possible.
It has its ups and downs, a certain artist explained the dubious efficacy of wooden stakes against vampires better than I ever could. I mean, I get that it's a common fantasy trope (example: Buffy) and fun, but it only shows up with pretty crap vampires which don't show up in Pathfinder as a stylistic choice. I could see a house rule where it can work on Vampire Spawn (minions by default anyway) and require a critical hit or a called shot or a special (blessed?) stake or some such.
There was an interesting adventure I found in the community-crafted adventures of Neverwinter Nights (yeah, it was a while ago) I recall. It was single player, which might be a problem to modify for a full party.
Put simply, save points existed, but they were these spectral, otherworldly anemone-things that would feel weird and wrong to touch and when you died, getting out of the "limbo" place involved going through a little underworld dungeon thing and getting plot hooks that were both bizarre and contradictory. It soon became clear that your character was stuck between factions of life and death, and the people/forces bringing you back were the ones making such a mess of the world. There was a lot of room for a complex plot of twists and betrayals and corruption but then the adventure pack ended and I never saw the sequel.
Another option is to add Ravenloft Dark Powers checks every time they die. For story reasoning have the idea be that each time they come back, someone else (randomly-selected innocent) dies as their life is drained away. They have the option of not coming back, but that means being dead, and coming back stains their body and soul. If that's too dark they could have to "charge" their respawning by killing other things, sometimes evil things, but the act would still be evil enough to have karmic repercussions.
As you can see, the group lacks two things: Healing and enough melee guys to protect the archers/caster...I'd like to avoid another battle cleric or a melee Oracle.
"Hey, I'd like to play a wizard, but I don't want to use magic."
Sorry, I know it's more nuanced than that but it's the first thing I thought of. If you want reliable status-effect removal you gotta be a full caster or have some really impressive Spell-like abilities that remove Mummy Rot and Curses. If you want to do melee, you need somebody who wears heavy armor or has some impressive armor-like abilities (monk, for example).
Wands aren't that expensive, but it really depends on how much treasure the DM drops on you. APs tend to be pretty tight-fisted in my experience and if you don't have any side-quests to make lootz (or a side business) you'll feel the cost.
And I suppose Bad Touches are only a problem if the DM uses them a lot. Maybe you can get away with Oradin and just doing Hit Point repair.
If you can finagle using the Advanced Race Guide, the Scarred Witch Doctor archetype for the Witch class uses Constitution for his or her casting stat (therefore, lots of HP), has healing magic, and has all kinds of debuff and crowd control hexes that work well. Probably not though.
One other option is to go Life Oracle, suck it up for 2 levels of not having a blocker, and then get yourself a cohort to do the job. Defense-focused fighter/barbarian going for Stalwart Defender is pretty tough.
Torger Miltenberger wrote:
"If reduced to 0 hit points in combat, a vampire assumes gaseous form (see below) and attempts to escape. It must reach its coffin home within 2 hours or be utterly destroyed. (It can normally travel up to 9 miles in 2 hours.) Additional damage dealt to a vampire forced into gaseous form has no effect. Once at rest, the vampire is helpless. It regains 1 hit point after 1 hour, then is no longer helpless and resumes healing at the rate of 5 hit points per round."
Beat him down in his home office, kill him far away from his coffin, or just follow the gas cloud (base speed of 20) back to whatever coffin he's using. It also means your average vamp can't travel without severe preparations or "working without a net" because their escape hatch isn't effective.
Yeah, you stake 'em while they're trying to regen in their coffin.
As for yanking the stake back out later...there is an interesting rules contradiction.
Vampires have fast healing, and somewhere in the bowels of monster rules is the explanation that fast healing does not re-grow or (unless otherwise stated) re-attach severed limbs. Since the vampire critter description says you can (nay, must) chop its head off you can just carry the head with you (no heavier than your greataxe) and if exposing the head to sunlight doesn't dust it and kill the beast, getting de-staked with out a head leaves it in a rather poor situation.
Just imagine a vampire head, stuck in your pack, fruitlessly waggling its jaw and trying so scream curses at you while you look for the nearest church to get some holy water.
Basically, the DM is going to have to make up a new rule, and maybe it results in the vampire going mistform again and re-merging but maybe it kills the vampire outright.
A half-dragon (red), half-fiendish, Element-infused (air), lycanthropic Kobold Expert who plays the straight-man.
His story below.
Born into a normal human family, John was raised as a mild-mannered fellow and became an accountant. An unfortunate accident involving Krunch (Frenzied Berserker) and a flaming weapon resulted in his office, himself, and all the William wizard's investment records going up in smoke. William tried speak with dead and divination but the truth was only John the Accountant knew where all Wizard William's money really was, so he contracted Dan the Drunken Druid to reincarnate John so John could get his affairs back in order. Dan spilled mead on the altar stone and slurred the incantation badly enough that instead of being reincarnated in a fresh and magically-created body his soul was pulled into the prime and attached to the nearest sapient newborn which was a long way away because Dan operates in the middle of nowhere.
At this time, Malysgoroth the Red was watching with baited breath as the egg she had been incubating for the last year hatched, and out came her firstborn spawn, a half-breed child sired by her deadbeat baby-daddy Biff the Fiendish Kobold Bard. Biff had seduced her with his silver tongue and penchant for creatively entertaining evil, but had left her when she revealed she was knocked up. She loved her bastard child and raised him to lead her tribe of kobold slaves as his foggy human memories and personality reemerged and melded with his new body and conjoined soul.
Jh'on (his new name for his new personhood) did not become their leader, but he did become their accountant, and with his skill at investment and accounting he made Malygoroth the Red and the Redscale Tribe of kobolds the richest business conglomerate on the continent. He was just about to engage in the arduous task of tracking down his deadbeat dad when things took another turn.
At this point, Wizard William had written off his lost riches, unable to find the accountant or his soul (since it was different now) and was seeking new moneys. A rising monster empire of business, trade, and monstering was rising to the south, and it was ruled by a mighty Red Dragon with a large hoard of riches and a large horde of minions. So William took his band of high-level adventurers, including Krunch and Dan, and struck out to "get some phat lootz."
Their initial successes in murder were soon met with assassination attempts, and worse still they found little treasure to be had as most of Red Inc.'s money was reinvested into the business. "Where are the stacks of gold and piles of gems?!" William would cry. So William's group decided to use divination on their enemy and found the most valuable treasure in Malys' empire was not money or magic, but a single person who would be easy to take hostage.
The assault was easy enough, and soon Krunch had Jh'on by the throat once more, and Jh'on's attempt at biting the hand that gripped him had merely damaged the angry killer's ring. Malys was stymied because they had her dearly-loved son. She relented, but payment would take weeks to draw from her accounts and from selling off minor businesses, so William ordered Krunch to stash their "valuable pawn somewhere "safe. Krunch, being an idiot, left Jh'on with his tribe, where he was promptly infected with lycanthropy.
At the final exchange, Jh'on was handed over to Malysgoroth and a giant sack of platinum and gems was handed to William, and everything was just about okay when the Trap the Soul spell that William had carved onto Jh'on's torso activated. Final revenge for making "the untouchable trio" wait for their payday. They cackled and high-fived before Dan cast a spell that would banish the "abomination" from this realm. Spilling wine on the components (again), the spell went awry and instead of banishing Jh'on to hell it sent him to the elemental plane of air, and the energies that moved him also converted him, infusing him with the essence of what seemed to be his new home for eternity. Jh'on was left alone and broken by the people who had destroyed his life twice.
Memory is a funny thing, especially when you're an air-infused, half-demon, half-dragon, half-kobold werewolf with a soul forged of a kobold and a dead human stapled together. It was at this low point that Jh'on fully remembered John, and remembered where the backup records of William's lost accounts were; right here on the plane of air. He struck out for this flying fortress of accounting majesty, and after many adventures found the ledger of all William's hidden bolt-holes and hideaways. It was time for a roarding rampage of adventurous revenge, and he had a roadmap.
William Dymock-Johnson wrote:
Even if it couldn't, super-powerful plot-relevant NPCs are allowed to bend or break the rules from time to time.
And if a player really really wants to do something similar, there is always the Warlock Option where you have a "patron" but you are either stealing from or enslaving them and wielding their power. This also means they hate you and want revenge, which makes for all KINDS of fun chaos.
Also, look up the Athar from planescape. Good faction, fun times.
There is a racial spell that turns Drow into regular elves (temporarily) for infiltration purposes. I think it's called "ancestral regression" or summat. Also, the elves were born on Golarion, and their "holiday" on planet Not-Venus during the cataclysm was an escape, not a return.
As for Drow going good...eh. Because everybody played a Driz'zt clone (even if we never did) once the mere SUGGESTION of playing a Good Drow is unacceptably BadWrongFun which deserves scorn and horsewhippings.
I'm less inclined to buy the "born good" story, but I likewise have difficulty with equating skin color to being morally compromised
The OTHER thing about good vs. evil is in the STORIES you can always corrupt good but you can never "anti-corrupt" evil. Good magician uses demonic power source? Evil magic happens. Evil magician uses angelic power source? Evil magic happens. It's an interesting principle of fantasy fiction, sin can stain a good thing bad, but virtue cannot stain a bad thing good.
Anyways, whatever plot item you're going with, turning a dark elf into a surface elf is possible, you can turn a manticore into a shrew. But if you want to talk evolution, it is more likely that a tribe of dark elves that was "forcibly evolved" in a "good" direction would be something else entirely; something new. Perhaps the gray elves of the Mordant spire, or perhaps they would grow wings and learn to fly like the Avariel.
But you'd have to make it up, because from the perspective of designers RPG settings rarely, if ever, need more good guy races. They need endless hordes of evil monsters for hobo players to murder.
Well to be honest, that's more a question of chaotic stupid. And really, I don't think I see that all THAT often, you just don't realize the higher-thinking villains are chaotic because you're focusing on the Evil.
Smaug, with his love of death and destruction.
The Vampire Lord that hunts peasants for sport.
The Jorogumo queen who also plays Grizzlyboom tennis as a hobby.
Your question runs into the standard alignment problem of the difference between by-the-numbers symbolic alignment and real complexities of human emotion and behavior. A man who foments a civil war, destroys every major power structure and brings chaos across the land can be ENTIRELY lawful if every step was meticulously plotted, planned, and prepared as a way of "clearing away obstacles" to his own rise to power. The Rakdos Clan of demon-worshipping chaos magicians who rebel against all authority not only help establish peace (by being a common enemy) but are incredibly predictable in their crimes. They are a great aid to law and order by opposing it very badly.
Hell, the Joker is completely batpoo crazy and his "adventures in crime" are one long list of predictable murders and obvious plots that end in stupid captures.
But anybody who isn't ridiculously regimented can be called chaotic. From the easily-bored Red Dragon with a taste for watching civil wars to the Fleshcrafting Necromantic Artist. The key is that they do what they want, and they don't really bother with rules.
And consider, you say "chatoic evil without the crazy" but your first thought is The Joker, who is undeniably as crazy as they come. His insanity is in his love of chaos and evil and bloodshed, even though he can plot and plan and think.
If the bad guy "wins," you have an entire new campaign plot available to you, when the party is freed decades or even centuries later.
That was OP's point, s/he wants suggestions for the Post-apocalyptic world and the new campaign to "right that which was made wrong so long ago!"
Apocalypses come in multiple flavors, I like my "dehydrated world", where the life and essence of the realm is drained and everything is shadowy, cold, miserable, and infested with undead and shadow-creatures.
But there are others.
Off the top of my head...the amazing magical utopia (MU) actually ripped up a big section of a continent, resulting in a supervolcano eruption which destroyed nearby locations and then did the ash cloud->ice age thing globally. Earthquakes and volcanos are still common as the planet geologically stabilizes itself over time and all kinds of geological terrors and monsters roam the earth.
MU's creation turned the world into something like the Outlands, with giant rips in the dimensional fabric (which makes different towns/nations/zones based on the plane they're now linked to) and a section and spellblight (null magic zone) as you get closer to the place where MU basically sucked the magic out of the world when it was created. You've got demon towns and angel-touched towns, you've got a few tentacular terror towns and a few order domains, magic gets weaker and weaker as you try to get close to MU (which makes it that much harder to assault) and the whole mess is filled with barbarians and monsters.
MU just polluted the world, everything is toxic and poisonous and radioactive. Heavy use of giant vermin, the mutant templates, and aberrations.
MU's creation included death, like, SUPER death, like 90% of the world died in fire and ice. Their deaths released incredible amounts of life energy into the leylines of the world, which created dimensional rifts through which everything from dragons to Splugorth poured and...okay, maybe not.
MU turned the world into Not-Quite-Athas and it's time for fun and games in the sea of silt.
That's all I got for now.
At whatever lol is the loudest, or which ever one first makes you rotfl.
Magic objects shed light as a torch 30% of the time by virtue of being magic according to a generally-ignored section of the magic item chapter, so as soon as level 2 if you really want, level 4 maximum.
If it's supposed to cast a light spell at will the rules say it should add 1k to whatever the price is currently, but I wouldn't bother because seriously, who cares? It's a 0th level spell.
I don't know what Augmented means.
Risky. Xanatos Gambits may have a long history but hell if it isn't rough on us players who don't like losing, ESPECIALLY if it comes across as "the bad guy won because you were dumb."
First, we have to build the post-apocalyptic world.
Over the past 150 years, BBEG's magical utopia has been a shining beacon of exclusivity and disgusting opulence surrounded by the drained and dying remnants of a once-lush and wonderful world. The City on The Hill (named BBEGria, BBEGropolis, or BBEG) is slightly out of phase with the rest of the world, so even if people manage to slip/punch through its force walls they cannot interact with anyone in the city, nor vice-versa.
It also has your standard bloodsports of magically summoning people from the outside and using them for gladiators, hunted prey, torture porn, and/or Grizzlyboom Tennis. The citizenry of the magical utopia are either cheerfully corrupt aristocrats, abused and magically-modified slaves who are magically never sad (except when the med wear off, then HORROR) and have a fairly high mortality rate. BBEG is or isn't still alive, but his works remain and higher-ups of some sort are still directing city policy.
Outside? It's dark. Like REALLY dark, like the sun is the moon and the moon can't be seen. The world of death is mostly barren and large sections of it have been replaced with crystal as the planet was basically shriveled and shrunk down as all its essence was sucked out by the magic. Energy is the basis of life, and most of it is gone from the system. Dehydrated planet, just add water. The usual host of negative energy/shadow creatures, blighted folk barely scraping by with their mushroom farms, and a "king in exile" patriarch of some sort, the one who found the PCs and woke them up, sending them on their quest.
I don't like time-travel so I would avoid it, but I realize that plenty of people do. For Time-Travel it is fairly simple, McGuffin fetch-quest, planar jumps, free a Solar who was imprismed by demons, give her her the magic abacus with which she can calculate probabilities and mathemagics of spacetime, time jump, villain kill, ensorcelate their past selves to do all the things with the time jumping and the mcguffin-fetching, job's done.
Not my style. Personally, I'd go with the ol' reversed polarity gambit. The city sucked the life-force out of the world (actually froze a lot of people, places, and things in a crystalline "seed" like structure) and the world needs that essence and energy back. Similar fetch-quest, but the end of the run involves punching a hole into the magical utopia, fighting through soldier-slaves, tearing apart magical security, and rampaging through a few blood orgies before fighting BBEG (or his successors) and reversing the polarity so that Magical Utopia devours itself and rejuvenates the world.
Another option is repentance, where BBEG's totally sweet plan had Unforeseen Consequences™ and he's been praying for death ever since, maybe even going so far as to be the one who freed them/set them on their quest.
Murphy McManus wrote:
Does it only change your clothing? I.E. can it make a Half dragon or a drow look human?
Yes for Drow, probably for half-dragon.
Strict RAW; you take a -2 for disguising yourself as a different race (so a net +8) and you disguise yourself with your disguise skill. However "You cannot change your creature type (although you can appear as another subtype)" means that a dark elf (humanoid) can look like a regular elf (also humanoid) but a Half-dragon (dragon) cannot look like an elf (humanoid). Also you are limited by height changes (1 foot in either direction) but that's not that big of a deal, be a dwarf with gigantism.
The disguise skill itself is slightly problematic since it was only written from the perspective of assuming you would disguise yourself as someone specific, and the closest you get to a bonus for just disguising yourself as "generic person who is not me" is applying a penalty to the opposed perception check of anyone trying to spot you. But it's still workable.
DMs can assign greater or lesser penalties/bonuses based on how much needs to be changed with a disguise, and can (probably will) house rule that a human-shaped half-dragon should be able to fake a humanoid disguise with the spell.
I basically think of it as the rumply-forehead disguises that star trek characters could fabricate or a hologram generator that does the same sort of thing, poking it or punching it or getting real close and staring at it for a while will give you a chance of going, "wait, this isn't right".
And to repeat an old joke "I disguise myself as myself. With my low charisma and terrible disguise skill, no one will believe that I'm really me!"
It was less funny when an NPC actually did that, along with lots of body-doubles who had much better disguises. Chaos factions, go figure.
Don't contribute to thread necromancy, don't contribute to thread necromancy, don't contribute to thread necromancyHAY GUIZE I GOT AN OPINION!
No need for me to repeat the freewheeling arguments about game balance (I think it's a fine workaround, maybe you don't, argument's been had). But here's my take on a role-play-not-roll-play level. Any illusion is an illusion, it is a trick that fools the senses of the mark.
Be you a stage magician of no arcane talent or the most powerful wizard on earth, your illusions and tricks are misdirection, misconception, and manipulation. When you create the illusion of an orc warrior but forget to make its reflection in a nearby puddle, people will see through it. If you render yourself invisible on the visible spectrum but fail to silence your clacking footsteps you will be discovered. If you cover yourself with an illusory wall but fail to suppress the magical aura of your illusion it can be detected.
There was a recent story I read where a demonic poison was disguised with illusion, and only the wizard's failure to also disguise the reflection of the poison saved the intended victim from a messy and corrupted death. I thought that was a good plot device, YMMV.
It is not unreasonable to say that at some level suppressing the aura should simply be part of the spell, but it is also not unreasonable to say that maybe such a spell is less effective than its regular counterparts of the same level, maybe "null-magic invisibility" is a 3rd level spell instead of a 2nd level one.
RAW, Alter self just turns you into a dude. Not "subtly changes you from a dragon into a dragon shaped like a dude." So most interpretations say you end up with the stats of a dude. I.e. no natural armor bonus. This doesn't make a difference from Change Shape, which "works like polymorph" just like polymorph works like alter self.
I don't have any Pathfinder statted-up versions of Shape-shifted dragon NPCs, so I can't find book examples of dragons sneaking around in humanoid form.
Now, everything else...My own "DM's call" is anything with hands and a voice can cast just as well as anything else with hands and a voice, no question, and if the original form was more limited (E.g. some no-faced critter that casts its spells silently) it would still be able to cast in its new form too.
Spell Resistance is an (ex) ability, so they lose it. Probably shouldn't, since I've known plenty of dragons who did the darmatic villain reveal AFTER laughing off a spell that bounced off their SR.
While I can't back it up (don't have NPC statblocks) I am pretty sure there is a lot of internal inconsistency, with some NPCs having all kinds of abilities cross over and other NPCs getting nothing. Really, the game designer mantra seems to be that shapeshifting for combat should just not be any good, or only good for NPCs who don't have to follow the rules PCs have to follow.
Personally I find this frustrating since transmutation is (was) thematically all about creativity and the spells are built around limiting and stifling creative freedom. Alter self, for example, used to have a lot more creative freedom, now you have to have a very specific humanoid form you can copy, it really shouldn't even be called "Alter self" but rather "Humanoid Body I". I mean it's a pretty big change for a dragon to go human.
But them's the breaks.
It helps to remember that dragons are people too.
So you're evil, more than that you are a *little* insane from 300 years of altered consciousness semi-existence inside of a magical prison, you just murdered the hell out of your cellmate just because, and you're hungry. But there's more: you are also a dragon, a royal creature of wealth and taste and an aerial predator that enjoys the quick dive-bombing kill and the messy feast afterward.
You want, nay NEED 3 things before any other concerns matter: A good meal, the status of your fiefdom, and bloody-minded murder to re-establish your sense of dominance. You already took care of the murder and one good "BOO!" at the adventurers will establish your dominance.
Adventurers aren't actually that tasty, because there isn't enough meat on 'em and because they tend to go down pointy. Eating them is like eating cactus fruit, too much effort for too little payoff at the moment. What you want, if you even LIKE long pork, is an adorable defenseless village. Demand information from the adventurers, in fact use the magic crown you turned into a horn-decoration 423 year ago to rip the information from an adventurer's head. You're evil, you're big, and your treasure-type is appropriate for that kind of stuff.
Give them some brand of Sophie's choice where they get to pick WHICH defenseless village you wreak havoc and destruction upon, but make it snappy 'cuz you're freakin' hungry. Revel in their pain and suffering and if they don't pick one, pick both for them while making sure they know it's "all their fault for taking too long." You're evil, psychological torture is fun. And after all, the PCs deserve some special attention as thanks (evil, messed up thanks) for freeing you. Lay it on thick, too.
Now, where did you used to live? If it's nearby there is at least a 25% chance you ignore their choice and go to the one closest to your old lair because it is on the way. Bonus points if you call it your royal right because they are legally your subjects (nevermind any upstarts who think they own the lands, you're an ancient Red Dragon. Whether you eat people, their livestock, or both (just kidding, it'll be both) you give them a chance to surrender themselves before laying waste and enjoying a slaughter-fest. Not much else to say about it, it will be happening off camera unless you decide to bring one of the adventurers along (the bard if there is one) to serve as your "herald" and deliver the bad news.
With dinner, dominance, and entertainment out of the way, it is time for the bad news. 300 years is a long time, so you head to your old homestead expecting it to be plundered. DM fiat decides if your lair is untouched, looted, double-looted, and/or infested. Maybe your consort ("of old" or "to be") is there, maybe a mindless beast or an easily-enslaved tribe or even the descendants of your old minions. Whatever the case you reclaim your home, retrieve whatever hidden treasures remain in the walls (like your crystal scrying ball and the contract you have with a certain efreeti) and begin to rebuild, because you aren't just a monster anymore, you are a villain. And you want your big fat hoard to wallow in.
Meanwhile, party-side, the half-elf bard (or whoever) stumbles back to the PCs, a haunted look in his eyes as he tells them of the death and destruction, how poketown (or whatever the village was) is nothing but ash and the cries of lamenting widows. The screams of children as the monster devoured them ring in his/her ears.
Nice job breaking it, hero.
But we still aren't done. CR 17 is kind of a big deal. Dead Mr. Green was ancient, too powerful to just kill (why he was in the mirror), and lawful. That kind of fellow makes plans. The first thing he does when his clone-self is decanted by the Formians he contracted "death insurance" with is prioritize his hierarchy of vengeance. The enemy that stuck him in that mirror is a target, but so is Mr. Red for murdering him. Mr. Green is going to want revenge, and the PCs are a charmingly stupid band of potential cat's paws in such matters.
And now you have a campaign, or if you already HAD a campaign, you have 2 new great big NPC players and their little shadow-war stomping around the game board like a drunk ogre in a high-society waltz. The fun is just getting started.
Awright, Legacy of Fire straight-up HAS a protean blade called the Moldspeaker. It's a bit slow compared to other weapons our martials have, but that may or may not be because almost all treasure we find is magic axes of one sort or another.
Baseline: Your mark is probably rolling WBL, she's probably a melee-martial (paladin, battle cleric) and according to PFS you aren't supposed to plant more than 50% of your wealth into any one item. You're leveling up AND mythic-ing, but since mythic tier is meant to be a lateral movement* rather than a straight increase in points its growth should likewise be "special" and unrelated to character level or regular enchantments.
Finally, you are making a homebrew and a custom job for a character, so you wanna put a little "character" into it. Especially the mythic stuff, because a quick skim of mythic magic items shows they're all frelling boring.
level 1, you can't afford a magic weapon.
Level 2, you can afford a MW weapon, so when she does the thing that gets her to level 2 the rusty, dented, notched exterior of her blade flakes off and reveals a really nice MW sword underneath.
Level 3 you can't quite afford a +1, but maybe when you smite evil or channel energy (holy girl) it retains a +1 bonus for 10 minutes. That will last any fight length.
Level 4 it just hits +1 and acts as a holy symbol for praying and such.
Level 5...it's 2300 hours and I get tired.
Sorry I seem to have run out of steam. But my recommendation is that for straight enchantments try to keep the weapon price around 33-50% of Character Wealth By Level, and don't be afraid to add interesting enchantments/abilities that aren't necessarily weapon related. Maybe at level 9 the sword develops the ability to convert to positive energy and just do 1d8+(half paladin level) in healing/undead hurting. Sure it's non-standard, but it's basically the effect of having a 750 gold wand of cure light wounds, except it's a sword and only she can use it. Maybe she serves Sarenrae and it casts light that beats any and all darkness spells. Not a HUGE deal in the grand scheme of things but darn nice when Grimlock witches are throwing deeper darkness around. Maybe it auto-magically maintains enough threat that she can use her fiddling small-change paladin healing without provoking AoOs. Maybe she's a Paladin of Apsu and it gives her the power to speak to anything that has scales.
Also, paladins get "divine bond" which can be a weapon instead of a horse, think long and hard on whether or not that will tie in. (Or she takes cleric and it doesn't matter).
Finally, any blade worth knowing is a blade worth having arguments with. You don't want to overdo talking/personality weapons, but a tool that's granted by the god(dess) and grows in divine power as the PC grows in divine power is a cheap and easy conduit for divine guidance.
*let us table the debate of how well it does so for now
Unnamed stacks with unnamed, if memory serves (hardly EVER comes up) and circumstantial stack at DM's discretion.
Literally the only episode of GI Joe I ever watched.
It was a thing of rhapsodic and beautiful 80s-ness.