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deusvult's page

FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 1,474 posts (2,006 including aliases). 6 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 19 Pathfinder Society characters. 3 aliases.


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My PFS clerics:

Dhampir Cleric of Pharasma: Specialized Undead slayer with some very unique capabilities

Half-elf Cleric of Erastil: originally planned as Ranger multiclass; now the character is a stubborn proof of concept that you CAN do archery as a straight Cleric.

Kitsune multiclass Cleric of Calistria/Unchained Rogue: a Kistune that's NOT a sorcerer! Tons of fun, too.

Human Cleric of Urgathoa: Poses as "just a retired farmer trying his hand at adventuring". Channel smite with a scythe ftw!

I'm looking forward to starting an Asmodean Advocate.

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Umbral Reaver wrote:
Ah yes. White dragons die of hypothermia all the time.

Interesting critique of the interaction between evironmental rules and cold resistance.

I think however the white dragon's comfort/survival in arctic has less to do with its energy resistance and more to do with its asigned climate icon (snowflake=native environment is "cold").

Thanks to that designation, a creature lives/survives/thrives in the ice and snow even if it has no cold resistance at all.

Looking at it this way also gives more power to the GM rather than taking it away... the GM can use a coming storm as a ticking clock plot device to force even arctic critters like white dragons to seek shelter for a duration or by a deadline.

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Thomas Hutchins wrote:
So having 3 $10 is effectively the same as having 1 $10, right?

For the incentive program, the difference between 3 $10 expenditures and 1 $10 expenditure is that the former is only $20 away from the empowered boon whereas the latter table still needs to spend twice that for the empowered boon.

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TriOmegaZero wrote:
My deployments to the Middle East were training to survive in the Valley of the Sun.

I still thank the deployment gods that I never had to go directly from Alaska to the Middle East. I did have to go several months after coming down to the "lower 48", and they were all "you need cold weather gear. The desert is COLD in February!".

I was all "please tell me you're joking that you think those temperatures qualify as cold..."

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I lived for several years in the Alaskan interior. There's a VERY powerful ability to acclimate to local conditions. When -60 degree daytime temps are routine and -20F feels like too nice a day to waste indoors, you develop a whimsical view on the d20 environmental rules. At least on the cold end... under the high temperature rules 90+ certainly seemed lethal enough :D

(The last year I lived in Fairbanks, I remember being surprised at learning that an "unbearably hot" spring afternoon was actually 60 degrees...)

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ChaosTicket wrote:

That is still too much about general advice not related specifically to the Pathfinder Society Campaign.

To restate the dilemma, most scenarios used by the Pathfinder Society seem to be combat heavy. This may be a GM choice to pick them as I dont know every scenario.

In a player perspective I havent forced any other players to go to sleep while I do so. **scenario spoiler omitted** I have outright been told that if I run away from fights I will be banned from playing at the table of at least one GM. I dont know if that counts as a "Toxic group".

A recent scenario chosen is Thornkeep. I havent played it because its combat heavy. So is it possible to avoid all encounters through alternative means? If I have to make and use combat heavy characters like a Barbarian then its railroading both by the GM and by the scenario.

I am sure someone would say platitude like "no risk, no reward" or "you can just remake you character".

ChaosTicket, I've been sympathetic to your situation as it sounds like you've had some toxic GMs who may not have been playing true to the spirit of PFS. I daresay that it sounds like most of the people who bothered to reply to you have been sympathetic, too.

The post I've quoted above may just be shedding some light, particularly the bolded portion. Obviously, if a GM threatens to ban you from future play for not following the script then there's clearly something wrong with that GM, right?

I'm now not so sure that's actually what was going on. Were you saying that your character wants to take a sleep break, with or without thenredt of the party? Did you want to withdraw from a combat, with or without the rest of the party? If so, those are actually abusive play tactics on your part. PFS doesn't allow for special snowflakes.. you are expected to be a team player and if the team doesn't want to rest and regain spells or if the team wants to kill their way through this encounter, you have two choices. Go along with it, or try to change their minds. If you can't change their minds, going off to do your own plan just isn't logistically possible. PFS play doesn't give the GM time to have two spotlights... if your course of action requires the GM to devote attention just to you you're asking the GM to let everyone else sit and wait while you do you your thing. There's just not enough time to run your preferred course of action AND the table consensus' as well. For example, if you want to stop and rest but the other players don't, you don't get to hold everyone else up while you rest. The GM should just let everyone else press on while your character is left behind (and probably missing out on the rest of the adventure if they finish it within the next 8 in-game hours..)

If you've made a habit out of insisting on getting a private spotlight for your plans that don't align with what the rest of the table wants to do, then honestly I can see why you've been given the ultimatum of knocking it off.

If you can't get the rest of the players to go along with your ideas, for PFS you have a few options.
1) try harder to convince them. If you're convinced your idea is better than the proposed course of action, then maybe you can sway them.
2) if you just can't convince them, there comes a time you need to recognize it. And adapt. So your preference isn't adopted you can let it go or just say "fine, my PC just can't accept this course of action and here's why." If you're mature and you have a legit case (you're playing a paladin and the party is just insisting on burning down an orphanage) you leave the adventure early, you get your chronicle, and you leave your character's integrity intact.
3) always be aware that in PFS there is always only one spotlight, and it will always be shared by all the characters. You never get to usurp GM attention by launching a course of action divergent from the party consensus course of action. If you want to run away from a fight, by all means do so. If you extricate your pc from danger, you'll sit and twiddle your thumbs while the rest of the table completes the combat. What won't happen is the GM giving you screen time to do whatever your private plan is while everyone else is still fighting. Once the fight is over, you can clean up the TPK that you saw coming and cleverly avoided for yourself. If the party won the fight without your PC, you then deal with the repurcussions of having left them mid-combat.... again what you won't get is a portion of GM attention to handle some other scheme while the party is still in combat. And while you certainly have the right to bail on other players and leave them high and dry in a fight, noone is going to like that and again if this is a recurring thing for you, I can see (and support) an ultimatum that you stop it or become unwelcome be issued.

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I like the hard to kill boon even more from the GM side of the screen than the player's. Knowing it'll take an extra 10 or even 5 damage to kill an unlucky pc raises the threshhold on entering the realm of having to weigh the potential appropriateness of softballing him.

If a player has his PC take stupid risks b/c of the expanded pool of negative HPs before death.... well the way I see it the players can (and will) police themselves. With 5 or 10 extra rounds of bleeding out before death, players have that much extra time to let a fool bleed before worrying about compromising their own action economy to bail out the fool. Acting a fool because you're harder to kill is a problem that organically solves itself ;)

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There is some formulaic regularity to PFS scenarios, but it's inevitable as they all have to meet an identical time block.

There are 6 or 7 encounters per scenario, in some mix of combat, puzzle/trap, and social roleplay encounters. There's always a mix of the three... although some are indeed weighted more on one category. It's true that there are more combat-heavy scenarios than social encounter-heavy scenarios... but still even the combat heavy scenarios always have at least one or two non-combat encounters.

OTOH you actually can complete some scenarios without any combat at all. And some of those are intentionally that way...

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So, having started this mess, here's what my evolved position has become with respect to using scrolls via UMD skill.

According to the skill description, there are only three contexts in which UMD is used with scrolls.

one: as an alternative option other than Read Magic or Spellcraft to decipher the scroll.

two: the main use; the use where you actually use the skill to unleash the spell out of the scroll. Doesn't matter what class you are and doesn't matter what level you are. The skill lets you just make it Go at the given CL for the scroll. This isn't casting a spell; it's making a skill check.

three: the tricky one as it's introducing "if-then" logic into the whole affair. IF the UMD-er doesn't have the appropriate casting stat, THEN an additional UMD check is necessary to emulate the stat. I synthesize that if this additional UMD check is relevant, you make the two checks but the timing between them is considered irrelevant and so should be considered simultaneous in-game.

Now here's where I'm taking the good discussion upthread in mind and this is how I'm now answering my own OP.

Even in the event that the "emulate a stat" UMD check is not necessary due to the UMD-ers stat already being high enough, for PFS purposes the stat still MUST be explicitly chosen by the player/character. This choice in turn allows the GM to reasonably determine whether the scroll is being cast as an arcane or divine scroll, and then in turn answer whether ASF is relevant.

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The monstrous mount feat introduces a unique "fly at half speed whilst being mounted" rule. It's not present on other flying mount contexts, although mounts DO technically need to track encumbrance like everyone else and so when you add the weight of a rider and the rider's gear you will often end up slowing down a mount anyway, especially a non-quadrupedal one. (it's perhaps worth going down into the weeds as to whether a griffon's FLYING encumbrance tracks differently than its ground encumbrance... 4 legs on the ground but only 2 limbs used for flying....)

Honestly, unless your game is PFS (and if your GM is allowing Leadership, it isn't) there's little reason to spend valuable feats on Monstrous Mount. Leadership is probably the better route, but I suppose you could do both and get the griffon w/o using up cohort HD against your Leadership track.

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Brown mold encrusted mummies is one of my favorite encounters I've seen designed for PFS. Not mentioning the title so as to not spoil it, but that one had an even better chocolate + peanut butter monster combo near the entrance...

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You've pretty well got the RAW covered in the OP. How you choose to sythesize it is frankly up to you.

I like to apply the K.I.S.S. principle whenever I can, and the KISS rule of thumb I advocate for adjudicating Charm is to view the Charmee as viewing the Charmer as his bestest of best friends. Is the charmee turning on his boss for the benefit of the charmer within the bounds of a Diplomacy check or is it something outside the bounds of reason? You can't legislate that... you have to gut call it depending on the context. Good news though, if you're the GM, whatever call you make... You're right!

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I've long thought that Paizo would eventually have to begin having GM stars reset (probably coinciding with new seasons).

If you make this boon available every season, I'll have been proven wrong. And I'll be happy about it.

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I kind of rue a lack of a knowlege/etiquette skill in pathfinder. Yeah yesh knowlege/nobility covers it, but really that's not a culturally inclusive way of looking at it. And I mean in an in-universe way. High society among different human cultures takes forms other than nobility, and that's before branching out into non-human social organization...

That being said I could get behind merging diplomacy and intimidation... they're the same skill really just with different amounts of hostility ;)

I also wish perception hadn't been merged. Now we get players thinking they can search every detail of a room with a single move action...

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Plus, as an added bonus by technically ruling it a "bribe", you have leeway with your price depending on how the roleplay went. Were the PCs devout members of the congragation? Maybe just good at faking it? Maybe they got caught faking it and the price went up!

Plus you can use "discounts" on the bribe as a condition of doing a service for the church.... which is a tool you can use to point players back on track if they've bungled their "find the clue" stage of the scenario....

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Yeah math fail there. I meant to equate the 3rd die of channel with 3rd level spells which come at 5th level. Derp.

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The nature of PFS is such that a GM isn't allowed to just decree one's own price for things that don't have a listed price in the rules or scenario in question, and since chanelling isn't technically a spellcasting service it can fall into such a crack where a home GM could just house rule a standard pricing scheme but a PFS GM cannot do the same thing.

However, I feel that you and I may be kindred spirits about how free a GM's hands really should be, even in PFS. So here's an alternate way of looking at it that is ALSO completely compliant with PFS rules:

Treat buying a channel as a bribe for bookkeeping purposes. You can freely dock gold on a chronicle to account for bribes given to NPCs and such that were struck during the course of roleplay. Just wring giving a price for a channel under this authority. I'd consider a ballpark price of pricing it as a spell (3d6 channel as a 5th level spell by a 5th/6th level cleric, so 250-300g)

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CampinCarl9127 wrote:
nogoodscallywag wrote:
Really wish Charm Person could be hammered out better for combat situations for clarification purposes rather then simply saying "let GM decide."

Well that's just too bad, because "let the GM decide" is the right answer. There is no RAW black or white on this issue, it's up to interpretation. Rightly so.

So ask your GM.

This should have been the end of the thread. The only way you can comprehensively cover jamming a square peg like a social tool into a round hole of a combat role is to quit being a RPG.

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1) Cavalier. There's nothing quite like a cavalry charge and I loves my knight on a destrier in my fantasy games. Kind of occupies a theoretical overlap in a venn diagram of the Fighter, Bard, and Paladin classes without having to multiclass! The class gets enough skill points to invest a few into UMD, so you can adventure with a horse thanks to scrolls of spider climb, carry companion, etc until you can afford your hosteling armor ;) Unfortunately, the class does involve itself with the mounted combat rules which suffer from significant table variation if the opinions voiced on these forums are representative of actual players out there...

2) Cleric. Cavaliers have a decent degree of flexibility in types of builds, but Clerics are the kings of being different from others of their same class. You can play 10 different Clerics and never feel like you're playing the same character twice... and best of all people always love hearing you're bringing one to the table! (Not even Cavaliers get that benefit..)

3) Sorcerer. Lots of love for the class upthread, I'll just add that I love how diverse Sorcerers can be. Almost as much so as Clerics!

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In cases like that can often be helpful to consider whether you'd have the same answer if the situations were reversed.

Would a player accept hidden monsters throwing an attack being the trigger rather than the monsters' surprise round action?

Generally, I feel the intent is that any hostile action cannot take place prior to the surprise round. Because hostile acts are govenred by th combat rules, and so how can hostile acts take place before hostile acts may take place?

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Calm Emotions explicity works on the Barbarian Rage ability, so I'd consider that very strong support for Rage being necessarily emotional.

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Post season-4 context question with respect to secondary success conditions:

Is it even possible for Zeeva to suffer any damage after the first combat encounter? The haunt is specifically called out as ignoring her and she's not sucked into the ethereal plane for the BBEG fight. The Pathfinders are told to bend over backwards to protect her and the 2ndary success condition reflects this... but is it really even plausible to fail this given the only time she even CAN take damage the opposition doesn't have damaging aoe attacks with which to catch her in splashes and their motivation would preclude such indiscrimimate mayhem regardless.

I guess I'm asking "what, is that too easy? Or is that a story manipulation meant to keep the players from taking her with on their adventures?" It seems kind of an oversight, as she's supposed to want to be all adventurer-y and naiively put herself in situations requiring professional supervision. The GM, if playing her "correctly", will be forcing the players to decide how to handle her desire to go join the PCs on whatever their plan is (the scenario presumes going and talking to the Shoanti shaman). The players don't know there's no combat encounter there, but they should expect the possibility of one in bringing a Chelish noblewoman out into a community of separatist Shoanti.

I would suppose that if this situation arises in play, I'd have Zeeva belatedly realize what a terrible idea it was for her to go out there just to preclude some sort of extra social/potentally-combat encounter that's not written into the script. Plus she gets to be back "off-stage" somewhere doinf her witchy divination that serves as insurance against the PCs botching the social encounter with the Shoanti.

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Paladins' Lay On Hands ability was never typed as Good or Positive Energy in the CRB, either. Up until they FAQ'd it that is.

Given that precedent, the Rules Lawyer in me says the RAI here is probably the same.

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You and I clearly disagree about whether causing a torch to light is the same thing as causing any flammable object at all to ignite, especially objects that haven't been deliberately primed to easily ignite.

To summarize my point: why pick the "you can't do that" route when the rules aren't giving you that as the only interpretation.

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Whatever semantic merits there may be in the argument that prestidigitation may not (or CAN not, depending on your view) light torches, I can't help but see insisting on such a position during actual game play as pointlessly being a jerk about the rules.

What is a GM actually accomplishing by telling a player her wizard can't cantrip her torch alight and has to dig out flint and steel like everyone else? That is a useful/productive use of the finite amount of time allotted for a scenario?

I don't buy "rules are the rules and you enforce the little ones and the big ones..." What is directly, objectively the case here is it's ambiguous and therefore up to GM discretion. You as the GM can choose to allow fun or say why fun isn't allowed. THAT is what this issue boils down to.

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Michael Hallet wrote:
Use a Scroll: Normally, to cast a spell from a scroll, you must have the scroll's spell on your class spell list. Use Magic Device allows you to use a scroll as if you had a particular spell on your class spell list.

So you are not emulating another class at all.

For example, a rogue actives a scroll with UMD. According to the skill, succeeding on this check allows you to use the scroll as if it were on the rogue's spell list. Since the rogue doesn't normally have a spell list, they now have a list of 1 spell, the spell on the scroll they are trying to activate. But is it arcane or divine? Neither. Rogue is not an arcane class nor is it a divine class.

The problem with that view, in my opinion, is it's leaving the question of whether arcane spell failure should apply to "rogue spells" unaddressed.

Outside of PFS it's not an issue since a scroll of summon monster isn't just a spell of summon monster... it's explicitly a cleric spell scroll or a wizard spell scroll or a bard spell scroll or an oracle spell scroll or etc... and so the "does ASF apply or not" question never arises except in PFS.

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Shelly Hudson wrote:

Looking at the scroll section and UMD section of the core rulebook:

A fighter trying to use a scroll can take up to three checks.

Decipher the scroll: requiring read magic, Spellcraft (20+ spell level, takes a full round action) or UMD (25+spell level requiring one minute of concentration).

If you do not have the requisite ability score
Emulate an ability score: (Intelligence for wizard, Wisdom for divine or Charisma for sorcerer or bard spells) you effective ability score (appropriate to the class you’re emulating when you try to cast the spell from the scroll) is you UMD check result minus 15.

Activate the Scroll: 20+ caster level of the scroll

I think the consensus is that the best/easiest thing to do is on the 2nd UMD check (where one emulates the requisite ability score) the player is also declaring which class his character is emulating.

For characters that don't need to emulate a score, instead of skipping that stage entirely the player still declares what class is being emulated where the UMD check is unnecessary.

It's unnecessary in regular PF, but because PFS alters scrolls so that they're not arcane/divine and not explicitly any class spell, this approach can address everything that comes with ambiguous scrolls.

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GMs in my community routinely disallow aiding other on knowledge checks, myself included. I do potentially allow aiding one another on pre-mission legwork knowledge checks though, presuming the PCs have access to a library or such (and the time to sort through said library together... time is sometimes a precluding factor on research being conducted whether individually or cooperatively....)

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Ember Flameheart wrote:

If "B" is true...

Down that path lies only a rules discussion about the core rules rather than a discussion about a PFS rules issue.

I think everyone (myself included, in case that hasn't been clear) is in agreement that for the purposes of PFS a scroll-cast spell should be treated as a spell cast by a member of the class the character is using or replicating via UMD to use the scroll in all ways, including but not limited to ASF.

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I saw that but wanted (double) clarification as to whether we're considering goblins, gnolls, intelligent undead, etc as people. I'm not sure "yes" is the intuitive assumption.

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Define "people".

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Lau Bannenberg wrote:

I... really have trouble trying to make out what you mean here. Is it A or B?

A) Arcane Spell Failure only affects arcane spellcasting.
B) Arcane Spell Failure affects anyone who doesn't have an explicit exemption.

I was saying "yes, it's got to be one of those two." I happen to lean towards B, but either A or B has to be true, and that distinction potentially impacts scrolls in PFS since they are neither arcane nor divine.

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I'll be the devil's advocate:

Does it actually matter if the creature ability interacts with adamantine differently than do objects? There already are cases where the same rule treats creatures and objects differently.

For example, objects take half damage from ranged weapons. But the exact same object, subject to the Animate Objects spell and resultingly turned into a creature, no longer suffers half damage from ranged attacks...

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Re: Lau and Pirate Rob (Pedantry alert for everyone else)

This sentence seems to have confused you both:
"No arcane scrolls either, but spell failure doesn't apply only to arcane spells... divine spells are excepted from spell failure."

What I was saying there is that there's two ways to look at what is affected by ASF... either it affects only arcane spells OR it affects everything excepting those that are exempted (I.E. divine spells). And that I reject the former rationale (first) and embrace the latter (second). So, basically, I was saying the opposite of what you thought I was.

The whole point was being made in relation to scrolls... one way of synthesizing what the rule I quoted in the OP is saying is that spells cast from scrolls constitute a third possible category of spellcasting that is neither arcane nor divine... and if so as a 3rd category ASF should probably apply rather than not apply.

While I still see that as "a" legitimate reading of the rules, I happen to concur with the opinions upthread about RAI instead meaning scroll spells are cast as their innate type rather than a third untyped type. In the case of PFS, I agree with the idea that the best, least rules-disruptive way to handle it for UMDers is that they pick what class they're pretending to be when they UMD it and therefore that answers whether a scroll at that moment is treated as divine or arcane.

I'd add that I feel that should be a good way to do it for ALL purposes of dichotomizing arcane/divine nature.. not just ASF. Does the target get a bonus to will saves vs Divine spells? Well, this method would also neatly answer whether a UMD'd scroll on that target is divine or not.

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Lau Bannenberg wrote:
deusvult wrote:

Well, I thought that was the RAI too. Thanks for sharing your opinion. PFSOP muddles that though by removing the divine/acrane distinction on scrolls. So in PFSOP, there technically are no divine scrolls. No arcane scrolls either, but spell failure doesn't apply only to arcane spells... divine spells are excepted from spell failure.
What makes you think any non-arcane spells are affected by spell failure?

What makes you think I do?

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The spell detects the presence of an aura (which a cleric of an evil deity has), and not the actual alignment.

Smite evil works if the actual alignment is evil.

Per the way Detect Evil works, non-evil characters can explicitly give back a false positive. And thanks to various magic tricks, someone that is evil (and possesses an evil aura) can return a false negative. That's even before low HD comes into play....

Since the 1HD goblin doesn't register on Detect Evil but Smite Evil still works on it, who's still going to insist a non-evil character is subject to Smite Evil in PSFOP?

Edit: rhetorical question.. I fell for the thread necro

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brock, no the other one... wrote:
deusvult wrote:
CRB page 490, Chapter 15: Scrolls, subsection Activation, sub-subsection Activate the Spell, last sentence: wrote:

Using a scroll is like casting a spell for the purposes of arcane spell failure chance.
Now I presume that using divine scrolls is like casting divine spells and so no arcane spell failure is possible. However in PFS I don't get to presume so I'm looking for clarification as to whether that's a correct assumption, or if the sentence is saying that ALL spell casting off of scrolls incurs spell failure chances.

You don't need to presume. This is talking about arcane spell failure, which does not apply to divine spells i.e.

Using a divine scroll is like casting a divine spell for the purposes of arcane spell failure chance (none).

Well, I thought that was the RAI too. Thanks for sharing your opinion. PFSOP muddles that though by removing the divine/acrane distinction on scrolls. So in PFSOP, there technically are no divine scrolls. No arcane scrolls either, but spell failure doesn't apply only to arcane spells... divine spells are excepted from spell failure.

Seems like what "should" be divine scrolls should be exempt from spell failure, but PFSOP makes it easier said than done to be clear on what "should" be a divine scroll.

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Also upon further reflection about the Fighter using UMD to cast the scroll, you can't say the stat he uses/emulates says whether it's arcane/divine. He could use/emulate Charisma and still have a claim to it being a divine spell rather than arcane spell by virtue of the Oracle class being a thing.

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Summon monster is very much on the Cleric spell list... Bard, too. But Bards do arcane.

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CRB page 490, Chapter 15: Scrolls, subsection Activation, sub-subsection Activate the Spell, last sentence: wrote:

Using a scroll is like casting a spell for the purposes of arcane spell failure chance.

Now I presume that using divine scrolls is like casting divine spells and so no arcane spell failure is possible. However in PFS I don't get to presume so I'm looking for clarification as to whether that's a correct assumption, or if the sentence is saying that ALL spell casting off of scrolls incurs spell failure chances.

Furthermore, for PFS we have an added wrinkle in the special rules regarding Potions, Scrolls, and Wands section in the PFSGOP (beginning on page 20 of the current/season 8 version).

We do away with the distinction between divine and arcane spells, and we also do away with the distinction between classes for the purposes of the same spell being on multiple class lists.

So, if a Cleric wants to cast Summon Monster (fill in the variable) off of a scroll, does he or does he not incur arcane spell failure chances?
(I'm guessing No, since the scroll can be assumed to be a divine cleric scroll in his hands whilst the same scroll would then be an arcane wizard scroll in a wizard's hands..)

More complex, what about an armored fighter using UMD on that same scroll? Spell failure check or no?

Edit: Perhaps the answer lies in which stat the Fighter has (or successfully duplicates via UMD) for casting the scroll?

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I've only played it and haven't read the scenario, but I liked that the final encounter was a puzzle that was only superficially a fight. Given the huge bonuses the BBEG had coupled with the special debuffs the golem was inflicting, it was pretty immediately obvious to our party we're here to solve a puzzle. In fact we were so convinced of it we didn't even bother trying to hurt the BBEG.. we hadn't identified the properties of the fountain but we solved the puzzle anyway by taking turns tying up all the grapple tails and passing/throwing the macguffins to one another rather than trying to beat an unbeatable escape DC.

Granted, we were a full table rather than 4 so I don't have any comment on whether or not the 4 player adjustment needs looking at.

Still, I wouldn't mind if some missions simply ended in failure. Some PFSers presume they'll get 2 PA and some aren't put off if they occasionally only get 1 PA. I don't mind if we simply can't handle a BBEG and actually end up with no PA once in a while. It's never happened in my personal experience thus far on either side of the screen... but I was excited because this time felt like there was a real risk of actually failing to achieve the basic mission.

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Gypsy doesn't necessarily refer to the Roma. There's ample room for considering the word a slur (akin to Tramp or Bum or maybe even Hobo) and that is fair enough reason to avoid its use to describe the Varisians, but saying it's a racist slur is a step beyond objectively fair critique.

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How would I stop a "a huge sized lycanthrope fighter with 30 AC, a magus at 20 AC, and a gunslinger at 25 AC, at level 1"?

Social encounters.


and traps.

Anything that can't be solved by shooting, thwacking, or thumping it, really.

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Birthright vs Kingmaker, part II

Birthright is generally more about being the Nth regent of an existing realm that's potentially a thousand years old rather than carving a new one from scratch. However, there are parts of the continent that are sparsely inhabited/developed and if the game is set in those kinds of places, then kingdom building can become a bigger focus of the game.

Mythic and Ultimate Campaign

Birthright already has a complete rules set on running a realm. While one could use Mythic and UC to recreate a Birthright style campaign, I don't see any reason to reinvent the wheel.

That being said, like any good GM I consider myself open to shamelessly stealing from good sources. I'd consider those to be potentially on the table at this point in the interest check.


As Dragonofashandflame mentioned, "full" arcane magic is only possible by elf blood or the divine energy of a bloodline. Since I plan for everyone to be the latter (even if noone is the former) Cerilia's unique arcane magic rules should be a non-issue. Realm Magic is going to be much more relevant to the campaign anyway than the "run of the mill" arcane/divine magic common to D&D games.

I don't plan on adapting the setting-specific Magician class; any NPC arcane types will just have levels in Adept, only level-dipped in Wizard/Sorcerer, or simply be blooded scions without a domain of their own. (and thus potentially able to go snatching at unclaimed resources..)

The only arcane magic consideration that's leaping immediately to mind is that Summoners are not thematically appropriate to the setting. Speaking of:


Dragonsofashandflame also identified a potential issue that's particularly applicible to Pathfinder: what classes will be allowed. Birthright was created before multiclassing was what it is now, and the 3rd edition fan conversion didn't properly address it to my satisfaction. What classes can apply divine power to what sorts of domain actions is a big deal in Birthright, and as is there's little disincentive to level dip in all the classes you need to do everything. I'll be coming up with something.

Pathfinder poses a particular challenge: that's a system that is all about providing options and lots of them. But Cerilia isn't the cosmopolitan "we have everything!" setting that Golarion is; lots of things in Pathfinder will have to be banned for a Birthright game. I'm not sure if it'd be shorter to make an "allowed" list or a "banned" list.

Cerilia basically has the following cultures:
England/France (Anuire)
Celts/Scandinavians (Rjurik)
Dutch/Germans (Brechtur)
Moors/Arabia (Khinasi)
Turkics/Rus (Vos)

If some "thing" isn't appropriate to that culture, it shouldn't be there. By the setting rules, Anuireans can't be Druids and and Rjuriks can't be Paladins, for example. I'm not sure if I want to keep that sort of 2nd edition mindset or not. What do you think?

At any rate, I like Gunslingers and Oriental stuff but those are all utterly foreign to the setting. There won't be any of that, sorry :(

Classes, continued:

In a birthright campaign, much of the game balance that goes into the classes designed for conventional adventuring is thrown out of whack. Skills and social abilities are far more valuable than normal, as thunderbeard noted in a similar campaign. Another consideration is that in a Birthright campaign your domain is pretty much a surrogate character.. the ins and outs of the thing you rule is often more important than your character sheet. The divine bloodright linking your character to the realm pretty much does make the realm an extension of your character.. often the more important part when the regent isn't adventuring.

Sovereign Court

Birthright vs Kingmaker:

I'll admit I've never looked into Kingmaker. I suppose I always assumed it was Paizo's ripoff/homage to Birthright.. At any rate I can't speak in an informed manner as to what the difference would be.

I intend to run a sandbox.. you do what you want to do. I do anticipate leaning more towards the intrigue/diplomacy angle of things as players do so rarely decide to go adventuring together in a birthright campaign.. so any adventures that do occur are going to have to be short and sweet.. especially so for the PbP format.

Existing domains vs created ones:

Undecided. For my own sake just handing out the pregen domains is easiest, however I am toying around with an Anuirean campaign set about a generation after the canonical presentaion.. one where Anuire has re-gelled into two or three powerful archduchies vying for final domination and the Iron Throne, and the players are all vassals in the same one.

Either way, I plan on the domain process being handled on my end. Possibly to include assigning bloodline strength values as well, rather than letting the dice muck things up. ;)

Regents vs "Small Folk"

I plan on everyone being a regent.. in a game of Archbishops and Kings, those PCs simply have too much power relative the adventuring cleric or fighter. Their power is to vote with their feet and GTFO to a nicer place.. which isn't a great option for party dynamics.

Races allowed
That's a potential issue. Birthright is a much more human-dominated setting than most D&D worlds. The typical Pathfinder racial freakshow isn't appropriate here. I'm not sure exactly how I'd handle it, but I do certainly want most if not all characters human. (and I'm reserving elves as campaign antagonists, if we do Anuire ;)

PC creation & Bloodlines
I don't plan on anyone playing an extant NPC, but I am leaning towards extant domains (potentially modified somewhat for party balance, especially if I do the altered Anuire setting I'm contemplating). If you end up the regent of the Barony of Roesone, for example, your PC is not Marlae Roesone but her heir that you create. She's dead or retired now; such specifics will be determined during character generation.

Rolling is part of the fun, but having bloodlines (or attribute scores) of varying relative strength among the players is not fun. At least not in my opinion. I plan on allowing rolling for derivation and specific powers, but I plan on assigning actual bloodine strength scores.

Level of teamwork?
I plan on leaving that completely up to the players... encouraging them to work together however by the occasional menace that threatens everyone.

Sovereign Court

Are you a fan of the political shenanigans involved in claiming the Iron Throne?

Are you intrigued by a setting where dragons are historical fact but now presumed to be extinct?

Would you love to be part of a game where you lead a powerful family against its rivals?

I'm not talking about anything by GRRM... this isn't A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones.. but the old AD&D setting: Birthright!

In Birthright you play the heads of powerful factions: Kingdoms, Churches, Thieves' Guilds, etc. It's a game much less about the usual concerns involving adventurers but moreso about, well, a game of thrones :)

I've run two Birthright campaigns in the past; I think that PbP would actually be a brilliant format to revisit the game for a third go.

If you're interested in participating in a PbP Birthright game here, let me know your thoughts about:

What edition you prefer.. it's written for 2nd/AD&D and WOTC never supported it once they took over, but it's got fairly significant fan support. An entire 3rd edition conversion has been fan-written, and that can in turn be used to adapt the game for Pathfinder. And there's always 5th edition D&D as well, which I keep hearing great things about.

What part of Cerilia you'd like the game to be set: Both campaigns I've run were set in southern Anuire.. It'd be neat to see different parts of Cerilia that don't quite resemble Westeros so much, but then again I don't mind going for the trifecta, either.

Sovereign Court

Sepherum wrote:
pachristian wrote:

City State of the Invincible Overlord.

The first, and still great. Necromancer Games published a D&D 3.5 version of it (now at frogged

Yeah Bro I ran an epic adventure in 2nd ed City State years ago-it was the best campaign we ever did; lasted like 3 real-life years.

I too have fond memories of the City State...

particularly because the GM put casinos in the Goblin Reservation. Many good times, there!

Sovereign Court

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Jiggy wrote:
So what are you really trying to say here?

You actually got what I was saying. I can only assume your difficulty is in assuming I didn't mean what I said when I said:

Deusvult wrote:
I was saying that I agree that for the most part it's shoddy GMing to fail to separate OOC and IC knowledge.

Once you accept that I agree that most of the time GMs should seperate OOC and IC knowledge, it shouldn't be that hard to wrap your head around my saying that there are additionally (and less common) instances where the GM's using OOC knowledge ICly may be actually appropriate.

To restate and clarify:

One example is a game where roleplaying takes a back seat to tactical wargaming. If the players don't separate OOC and IC knowledge, then it may be acceptable if the GM doesn't either.

Another is the phenomenon that optimized/munchkin PCs are more capable than those that are not.. and resultingly have punching strength above their APL. Maybe the group doesn't like the GM fudging dice. Maybe the group wants to run a published adventure without changing the encounters. Having the GM make optimized/munchkin tactical decisions is one tool that still remains if the group wants all that but to still be challenged.

I mentioned earlier the possibility of using OOC knowledge ICly for a human GM approximating a superhuman intellect.

There are potentially infinite fringe cases where it could be situationally reasonable. But, generally, yes MOST of the time it's poor form.

edit: I think this line might have given you trouble:
"When players game the system they are literally asking to be challenged to the utmost."

That doesn't mean players gaming the system deserve to be punished. It actually means what I said. I wasn't disparaging taking "roleplaying" out of the roleplaying game; it's well acknowledged that's how some people like to play. When they do, they're playing something akin to Warhammer: Not quite perfect knowledge of every capability of the opponent, but certainly a game where you don't deliberately make suboptimal tactical choices for roleplaying reasons. If one side is playing to win and the other side is "roleplaying", it's a fairly foregone conclusion what's going to happen. Yes, even in a tactical wargame version of a RPG the players are generally presumed to win, but if they have fun being challenged despite having made optimized/munchkin PCs then the GM should also dial up some "playing to win", even if he doesn't intend to actually defeat the PCs.

Sovereign Court

Jiggy wrote:
deusvult wrote:
...I generally agree with the sentiments above about "bad GMing" when the monsters/NPCs use the GM's OOC knowledge ICly....
If not for the first sentence of your second paragraph, I seriously would have thought you had gotten your browser tabs mixed up and replied to the wrong thread, because replying to "GM is dodging class features via metagaming" with a list of a bunch of unrelated things you don't like is just totally coming out of nowhere. What was the connection there?

I was saying that I agree that for the most part it's shoddy GMing to fail to seperate OOC and IC knowledge. However, there are certainly times it's appropriate to, as the OP put it, "ignore the immunities".

If the PCs are optimized/munchkins, it may not be inappropriate for the GM to use optimized/munchkin tactics. Some people like games where players try their hardest to see how badly they can "break" the game. If the group's idea of fun is to beat encounters as quickly as possible and with as little risk as possible, then they shouldn't mind the GM using that same mindset to challenge the players at their own game. When players game the system they are literally asking to be challenged to the utmost.

Having the monsters act on OOC knowledge is just another option for challenging over-the-top PCs if dice fudging or throwing encounters far beyond APL aren't the group's idea of fun.

I think it's actually a swell idea in another case: when the monster has superhuman or godlike smarts. As the GM I'm only a human. How do I do justice to determining the life or death decisions for something smarter than I will ever be? Sometimes a great way to approximate superhuman intuition/mentalism/deduction/smarts is using OOC knowledge ICly.

Sovereign Court

Val'bryn2 wrote:
Expecting the GM to not ignore what you're trying to build your character into is not expecting them to use kid gloves. If I wanted to play a pyromancer character, took nothing but fire spells and abilities to enhance using said fire spells, I would be pissed if the GM started throwing nothing but fire immune creatures. Sometimes, it would be appropriate and I would have to find a new way to deal with them, but when suddenly they are all immune, to where there's not a white dragon, troll, or even a basic goblin left in the world, it's a problem

As I said, with most groups, I'd agree with you. However with some groups, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

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