Oh, yeah, Endurance. That forgotten feat. Usually when I see Endurance in an NPCs stat block I skip completely over it without even registering that they have it, as it's nothing but a pre-req 95% of the time. Good call. Still don't know if things would have turned out differently, but the fight wouldn't have been so easy, that's for sure.
The largest fall-out over the encounter has been all the complaints the players gave me the next week over the missing loot all the Aspis Mercenaries had. They complain about treasure all the time, and they wanted those +1 Longswords or whatever it was that the Legionnaires use. In fact, it's been a month since the encounter, and they're still mentioning that as a sore spot. I don't see why any of the Aspis mercenaries would have left their combat gear when they packed up and got out of the city the next day, though.
The party and their new alliance of Pathfinders, Sargavans, and Pirates have commandeered this camp area for their own, and spent a week of game time converting it to a more permanent camp.
I've seen a lot of people mention haggling using Diplomacy checks to lower the price of purchased items. I don't know if I've seen anything official on the subject, like the effects of a merchant with a more favorable attitude. Just being helpful doesn't mean the merchant hands items for free to the PCs, but PCs geared toward having a decent Diplomacy will get to a point where they auto-succeed on Diplomacy checks.
-Should Diplomacy be able to affect the sale prices that merchants offer?
For enterprising characters, could they pay to rent a storefront and hire an expert to sell their items for them, thereby being able to sell closer to 100% of their value? Are there guidelines for something like that yet, or am I just going to have to wait until Ultimate Campaign finally comes out?
I ask these questions because in any campaign that goes on for a while, characters will have the money and diplomacy to make a lot of magic item purchases, and depending on how hard the diplomacy DC should be, they might be saving hundreds or even thousands of gold pieces on every transaction.
Well, I'm going to eat my words from several weeks ago. Adventure sucks. The party spent last week clearing about 1/3 of Savith's Tomb which I've written up, but took a break this week to try a vault out and give me time to flesh out the last bit of my custom dungeon. The first vault they tried was the one with the terkow in it. They made it in and were ambushed by the spectres. I only used three, but they still killed the party fighter while the rest of the group retreated. The PCs basically said screw this, and went to another vault.
They chose to clear out the Verdant Vault. The thorny lions did a lot of damage. As they're written, it seems as if they do damage every time you attack them, so our two weapon fighting monk decided not to do anything but take a total defense, and the two spellcasters went through a lot of resources taking out what should have been an easy fight.
The problem is basically affects that have no saves. Energy Drain and the thorns. My party already thinks poorly of me for killing off Julliver via a Phantasmal Killer.
Looking through my old TSR books, and came across the Staff of the Serpent, which really works well for the Serpent's Skull AP, and would like to insert this magic item into the campaign in the hands of one of the antagonists.
+1 Quarterstaff that as a swift action x/day the head animates and all attacks also inflict poison (deathblade or wyvern, probably). How would you price something like that?
This story is too epic to just post in the Vaults of Madness thread, and it comes with the question of whether I handled it correctly, which isn't that important since my party seemed to really enjoy the way it played out.
So, the party, consisting of:
Strel, the gnome sorcerer now suffering from schizophrenia.
Manius, a human bard / dragon disciple with a string of bad luck with cohorts and the current leader of the Pathfinders, suffering from an extreme phobia of shaving, which will manifest itself if someone appears clean shaven in front of him. Julliver, as a Pathfinder, has attached herself to him as his latest cohort, in the hopes that this will stop their deaths.
Bishop, a very tactical and defensive human fighter.
Ellisar, an elven druid and cousin to Osond of the Rainbow Serpent Tribe (which are all elves in my game).
The lead-up to this...
The party retreats back to the Artisan District for the night and to plan their counter-attack. They encounter Julliver, since healed of her paranoia, having herself escaped from the Pathfinder camp and then an ambush from 8 serpentfolk seekers (a random encounter) through the use of a Potion of Invisibility. She gives more details on the attack, as well as declares that Manius is the new de facto leader of the Pathfinders, being the next ranking member after Glaur. Not that Julliver cares too much, as she hardly considers herself a Pathfinder anymore, but Manius declares that after this expedition, he's not sure how the rest of the society will view him either, which impresses Julliver, and she vows to follow Manius at least until Eando is rescued.
The Tribe of the Rainbow Serpent ups it's guards at the urging of the party, who is now convinced that the Aspis Consortium is on a rampage, and manages to drive away the Serpentfolk Seekers searching for Julliver, slaying one and showing the body to the party the next morning. The party is now concerned with this fact, and I think not certain if this serpentfolk is with the ones on the island with the rakshasa, or not, but either way have declared their first priority as freeing the captive Pathfinders in the new Aspis Consortium camp.
Ellisar scouts the camp in the form of a raven, even going as far as to mount atop Dargan Etter's staked head and peck at it to further the ruse. He gets an idea of the layout of the camp, and it's defenses. Upon reporting this information back to the party, they decide the best course of action is to slay Ivo Haigan in the hopes that the rest of the Aspis forces will disband without the presence of a strong leader. They toy around with the idea of hiring the Red Mantis to do it, but decide it's too dangerous to trust them. They know that they can't approach the camp without being seen, and the only person who can get close enough is Ellisar, the druid. So the party hikes and sets up camp near the new Aspis base of operations, in preparation for a night time raid.
Another interesting strategy they mentioned was napalming the camp with alchemist's fire. They have over three dozen flasks of the stuff from the keches as well as vials they've accumulated over time. They were thinking Ellisar could drop it down on the tents and buildings and sow confusion among the ranks, but they finally discarded that idea as being too risky, as they might start executing prisoners, and several NPCs that the party was fond of were captured, including Athyra, N'kechi, Havilard, and Jask.
On their way to their temporary camp close to the Aspis Consortium, they stumbled upon poor Pezzock, who escaped the initial slaughter by being stealthy (I've rolled Pezzock up to stay even with the party so he can jump in and be useful at times), and with the additional firepower, were able to defeat a random encounter of four camulatzes (an encounter I was afraid might be too much for the party, but again, glitterdust and a massive trip CMB from the bard, and the alternating full defense toting fighter, with close to a 40 AC, and power attack, saved the day). Long, run-on sentence. My 9th grade English teacher is rolling in her grave. Or at least I hope she's dead, as I never liked her, but that was only fifteen years ago.
So Ellisar buffed himself like crazy. Stoneskin, Barkskin, Magic Fang, etc. He morphed into a large sized earth elemental. He cautiously burrowed his way into the Aspis camp, a difficult task since he doesn't have tremorsense and therefore had to rise from the earth every ten yards or so to check where he was going. He passed his stealth checks to slip past the guards. He burrowed up into the room Ivo was sleeping in. I figured Ivo didn't have his armor on at night, but he did roll a 31 on his Perception check, so before Ellisar could coup de grace him, Ivo's eyes popped open. A massive earth elemental was staring him in the face. Baleful Polymorph instead. Ivo passed his save, rolled to his feet, and grabbed his falchion, calling for his guards and alerting the two gorrillons in the other room. Stone Shape the door closed. Ivo slashes at the druid, but can't connect. The druid has no problem hitting because of the lack of armor. Several rounds back and forth, while Aspis mercenaries make their way to the building's entrance, not realizing they can't get into the bedroom. Druid crits and Ivo is hurting. Ivo rolls out the window and rolls a 19 on the d20 for his Stealth check. I figure he'll slip away and the party will have to go about this the old fashioned way. Ellisar literally walks through the stone wall, rolls a 19 on the d20 for his Perception check. Oh, yeah, druid. Elf. Perception is class skill. Wisdom primary ability score. He gets a 37 on his Perception check. Spots Ivo trying to slink around a corner and disappear into darkness. Can't let that happen. Wall of Thorns. Now Ivo is trapped. Ivo, area too small to drink his potion of invisibility, decides to go out fighting, screams an obscenity, and lunges at the druid. Still can't connect with all the buffs. Druid smashes his head into a pulp (kinda literally, considering). Rest of the Aspis Consortium is hacking at the Wall of Thorns trying to reach their leader. Ellisar, as a large sized Earth Elemental, dismisses the Wall of Thorns, holding aloft Ivo in one large, rocky hand, and thunders at the mass of mercenaries, "Get the *bleep* out of my city!"
Well, at this time, the mercenaries weren't really expecting something like this. Several of them lowered their crossbows. A few started whispering amongst themselves in wonder. And several fired their weapons. Only one connected. It did 11 points of damage. Oh, yeah... Stoneskin. Ellisar casually flicks away the bolt, laughs, and tells them that their puny pointed sticks have no effect on a being of pure NATURE, and then calls down a Flame Strike on three of the mercenaries, including the one that fired the bolt. He failed his save, and it was close to 50 points of damage. They flee or surrender at 14 or less HPs, which he had, so he screams and flees in terror, which breaks the morale of many of the other mercenaries. Ellisar, who has the Weather domain, then launches a few lightning bolts down at a few of them, plus any others that try to approach him. Within a few rounds, no mercenary had the courage to face the creature that single handedly, and without any real harm to himself, defeated their terrifying new leader. A creature that managed to sneak into camp undetected despite there being only one real approach. It didn't make sense for the camp to even attempt to kill Ellisar.
So Ellisar marched the captured Pathfinders straight out of camp unimpeded, launching spells at anyone who ventured too close. Outside the walls, he threw up a Wind Wall, which stopped the mercenaries who had the courage to fire at their mass of fleeing prisoners from doing any damage. This fact also demoralized whatever Aspis Consortium members were left.
Obviously not the way the module intended the encounter to go down, but my party spent the better part of our weekly five hour session planning their assault, and everyone at the table was laughing and cheering at the end of the session, so I guess it was a rousing success. And for the poor druid, who normally doesn't do much other than scout and buff the rest of the party, it was a fantastic moment to shine.
I do want to know how other GMs would have handled the situation, though, and whether anyone thinks that I perhaps miscalculated something, or made some sort of glaring error with either the role play or the rules.
Name: Rynir Hynir (randomly generated name, and I rolled on two separate lists)
Rynir had been annoying the group all night. He was refusing to come close to them, certain that the fighter was leading them all into a death trap. Yes, Rynir was the only character to fail his exposure to the spores. He had to be convinced to heal the part, often times refusing to come close to the fighter until the fighter had his weapon sheathed.
After making it through the first vault, the party comes to the portal room. Everyone enters and stays away from the walls. Everyone except the fighter, who is exhausted and hurt and just wants to lean up against something. Like that wall that looks like... itself. Trigger trap. My poor party is still not quite level 10, having jumped into the module early, and everyone either just barely makes the save, or has enough HPs to weather the 18d6 storm. Everyone but the low Con Oracle, who is two levels too low, and only has 40 total HPs. The second cohort death, which is pretty good considering that at this point in most campaigns I would have killed the entire party by now.
Just started this adventure tonight.
PCs entered the first vault. The kechs and the sabosans were just walking bags of exp. They killed the giant slug before it managed to move. By the time they reached the Stone Golem, they were still pretty fresh on spells and only the NPC cohort Oracle of the Bard was paranoid. But they were certain that the Stone Golem was a Stone Golem, so even when they opened the door they were ready for the thing to attack them.
Quick comment on golems in general. Glitterdust is the bane of any golem. It doesn't target SR so it's not immune to the blindness, and with a very, very low Will save, it's unlikely that they'll pass for a few rounds. The Bard only had a DC 15 Will save, and the stone golem only had a +4 Will, but it spent the entire combat blinded. And that's for a bard with only a mediocre Cha. A conjurer with Spell Focus (Conjuration) by this point might have a DC 19 or DC 20 save for Glitterdust, which would be really tough for a Stone Golem to pass. Meh. Top things off, it doesn't have any bonus to Perception. I'm glad that my party didn't try to argue with me about it swinging blind at them.
Anywho, they make it to the portal room, and the Bard and Sorcerer do a really good job at not approaching the walls. The Fighter, however, takes his mini and places it right next to the trapped wall and specifically says he leans against it. Ha ha ha. I tell them to roll Reflex saves while my Archaeologist Bard with Trapfinding complains about how he can never find anything if I roll the dice. It's true, but I rolled a 3 on a d20. Just a string of bad luck. I do warn them about how dangerous the trap is that they set off, and allow the Sorcerer to make a spellcraft check to identify what's about to happen so he can justify using a quick Hero Point to cast Resist Energy on himself. Two other players use Hero Points to boost their saves, and everyone comes through it, minus the paranoid cohort who only has 40 HP and failed his save. Sad loss, but it was a 25,000 exp loss.
So far this adventure is going a lot smoother than the last one, though I haven't sprung the Sargavan braineaters or whatever yet. They're going to encounter that as they try to get back to camp.
How is something not more awesome if it's a gorilla? A 600 lb gorilla is way more intimidating than a 300 lb man. Especially if it's decked out in half-plate and is wielding a falchion.
And charau-ka make a lot more sense if you consider the backstory with Angazhan, which is the demon lord of savagery and brute strength and happens to look like a massive ape creature. Demon apes exist in African mythology, and as Pathfinder pulls heavily from myths and legends, this is just another example. The Mwangi Expanse is meant to be an inhospitable and alien environment. The charau-ka represent a peoples savage and dangerous, and are far more effective in this regard than orcs, goblins, kobolds, or ogres, which would be too familiar in a land that supposed to be shrouded in mystery.
A lot of things in Pathfinder are silly. But if you've not got a problem with the tengu, plant people, snake people, and a bloody chupacabra, I am confused why monkey-men are so silly, since monkeys aren't weird, and unlike bird men and snake men, they look pretty much like monkeys, except intelligent.
Have you seen Rise of the Planet of the Apes? Serious business.
Nothing I've thrown at my party so far as gotten them to like this adventure path. I'm really trying to tie in backstories and make the NPCs memorable and fun to interact with, but the players just aren't feeling it. I had one player today tell me he wouldn't really care if we stopped meeting because he was becoming bored of the adventure path, and even suggested I handwave all the plot stuff and let the players level up and just pick up the adventure path in the 5th module.
The issues they're having deal with character motivation and the lack of any plot. They see how things are tied together, but don't understand where the adventure path is going. They were frustrated with Smuggler's Shiv due to lack of resources. They were frustrated with Racing to Ruin for that same reason, plus the fact the entire module felt as if it were a connected series of random encounters. And right now they're frustrated with Saventh-Yhi because they don't feel as if they're working toward anything.
And are they? They were thinking the Discovery Points did something, but the first group to get to 120 gets...? 9600 exp and bragging rights? The party is allied with the Pathfinder Society and the Sargavan Government, the Red Mantis could care less about bragging rights, the Pirates are about to be wiped off the map by a sixth faction I've introduced (Hell Knights), and the Aspis Consortium becomes a non-factor almost immediately entering the 4th module. So the party wins by default. And their final reward is a pretty paltry 9600 exp, which they'll earn and split four ways probably around the time they hit level 12. It's meaningless!
I hate to continue posting in here with nothing positive to say, but I feel as if Paizo cheated me out of my promised adventure path. This module had so much potential, and I feel it's largely wasted. How about a few pages of random maps we could use in some of the encounter areas? How about instead of an article on Juju, we get an article on ancient Azlanti culture, along with a list of 100 cool discoveries the PCs can make while exploring Saventh-Yhi, instead of expecting the GM to pull imaginative and interesting tidbits out of thin air? The last AP I ran was Rise of the Runelords, where I did half as much work behind the screen during the week, and the party had twice as much fun.
Luckily my party reached the Julliver encounter this week, and are progressing into the 4th module, a bit ahead of schedule, but I'm going to award some bonus exp to make up for it. They fought and stomped Sozothala this week, partly due to party tactics, and partly because I probably drew an encounter area map that was really unfavorable to the enemies. A Wall of Fire incinerated half the undead, and the fighter could 1-hit KO the rest while doing minimum damage, and with a Haste spell, he cleared the room in two rounds. Due to a selection of spells with a range of close and a central dome that was 150 feet in diameter, Sozothala managed to launch a lightning bolt, two magic missiles, and a nat 1 on a single attack with Vampiric Touch before he was obliterated due to concentrated fire of return lightning bolts, flame strikes, and a hasted, flying fighter. But, the party had fun, and thought the session went very well.
In fact, due to Julliver's big reveal of information, plus all the hints I've been dropping of Ilmurea (which the party thought was another plane, a creature, and an item all at different times), I think the party feels as if they've got some direction. One of my players told me that he was excited for next week, which was the first time that's happened since the party arrived in Saventh-Yhi some 8 or 9 sessions ago. I'm pumped that they're pumped, so I'm hoping the second half of this adventure path, with all it's awesome dungeon crawls and slightly less sandbox-y feel, keeps my group interested a bit longer.
I understand your problem, as played as written the module will largely come across as a series of random encounters. But there's little to be done, as the adventure is a journey from Point A to Point B. You could give the PCs more choice in how much control they have over the course they plot. You could modify the adventure slightly to have the PCs waging a battle of attrition against their rival faction, sabotaging their supplies and attempting to impede their progress. Or you could largely ignore the journey and up the number of encounters in Tazion to make up for the lack of experience the party missed out on.
Once you reach the 3rd and 4th modules, the party will have more freedom to make choices as they explore Saventh-Yhi. The 5th module gives similar options, kinda, but with a capstone dungeon crawl. And the 6th module has plenty of opportunity for the party to proceed as they will, with, of course, another capstone dungeon crawl.
If I tell him to "wait here", and then the room he's waiting in catches on fire, does he just sit and burn if he fails his new Will Save, or would he leave the room and wait immediately outside the danger area until he can return to the area the room used to be?
If the person is in a position of leadership, can I have him relay orders to his men by detailing what I'd like his men to do and ordering him to make sure they do it to the best of his abilities?
Ice Titan, you take a very harsh interpretation of the spell. I can see where you're coming from, but it's what I'm afraid my DM is going to see as well.
I think I'm going to charm my dominated person so at the very least it'll be helpful as it obeys my every command, and maybe won't slit the throats of the NPCs with us if I forget to tell him not to slit people's throats on this particular night.
My party hasn't met or seen the Radiant Muse yet. One of my PCs took Leadership and picked up a Wind Oracle, though. I told that PC that his cohort's patron has been whispering for him to find the Radiant Muse, which was his reason for joining the Pathfinders and joining this expedition into Saventh-Yhi. I was thinking it would be kinda cool if the cohort's patron was another "Muse" from back in the day who really wants to make contact with the Radiant Muse and bring her around to aiding the party, but for reasons I haven't thought of yet, can't directly contact her.
I also dropped the name Radiant Muse during the party's fight with the Half-Fiend Dire Ape demon thing, but no one caught the reference, so I guess my PC's cohort hasn't made much of an impression on the PC. The cohort didn't catch the reference due to speaking in tongues and not understanding anything during combat. Since the baddie escaped during this combat, I was thinking it would be really cool if he made a reappearance after the party met the Radiant Muse to demonstrate just how powerful of an ally she is, but I'm afraid that might take the spotlight away from the PCs.
My party has four PCs:
Ellisar is an elf raised by two former slaves in the Shackles. He's returned to the Mwangi Expanse seeking the tribe his parents are from. He wants to leave to search further into the jungle, nothing besides loyalty to the party is keeping him around. I'm going to change the Tribe of the Radiant Muse to elves instead of humans, and say that they're the tribe he's looking for, under a new name. That'll tie him to Saventh-Yhi.
Strel is a gnome seeking evidence of his grandfather's exploits in the Mwangi Expanse. His grandfather discovered an artifact that teleported him to space briefly, which is where Strel has gained his sorcerer bloodline (Starsoul, I think). I've already revealed to him the real movers and shakers behind the artifact, which is a small army of daemons ready to invade from Aucturn the Stranger. I was going to tie the urdefhans from Book 5 into that plot line, though I haven't fully worked out the details yet. I hope I can keep Strel around until then, but it's all up to the party to convince the low WIS gnome not to teleport into outerspace.
And the last member is invested in the expedition as he's a replacement character and is a member of the Pathfinders. I'm actually going to kill off Amivor Glaur at the beginning of Book 4 and allow this character to become the new leader of the Pathfinder expedition as he didn't come with another backstory to tie into the campaign.
Huh, I never thought about it that way. So a dominated creature doesn't necessarily think highly of me like a charm. But I can force it to auto-fail saves, so I could dominate it, then charm it? Can I then demand that it act normally?
It should be fairly obvious that it won't immediately try to murder me, as that defeats the purpose of the spell, but it doesn't actually say that the creature will be friendly to my friends and allies. If I give the creature a command to fetch a pail of water, and he bumps into an obvious ally of mine, would it attempt to strike out at him or her as long as it can do so without slowing it's quest for water? How specific do you have to be with your commands?
Another example, if I tell my dominated creature to prevent anyone from entering a building, would he try to step in and stop creatures from burning the building down? If I tell him I'm going to take a nap and to make sure no one disturbs me, and some kids start playing loudly in the street, would he murder them so they won't disturb me? Or does the intent of my words weigh more heavily than just the words themselves?
Would the creature willingly give up it's magical items to us? I've already identified that the creature in question is using a +2 composite [+3 Str] shock longbow. Would he trade this possession to the fighter for a more generic longbow? What if it was a heirloom item?
Can you use Bluff checks to convince a creature to do something against it's nature so that it wouldn't be allowed additional saving throws? Like, could you bluff your dominated creature into thinking his brother is scheming against him, or that his wife has been killed and replaced by a doppelganger? Would you get a bonus to your bluff checks?
I'm trying to gauge how other groups use this spell, specifically from the PCs PoV. I'm playing an Enchanter and I don't want to overstep my bounds.
1. Should he hand me the stats of the creature I've dominated so I can control it in combat?
2. Is the creature more or less mindless while dominated, or does he retain his personality?
3. Will I have to command him not to run away or try to escape if I leave him alone?
4. Over what distance can I exert commands? How complicated can those commands be?
5. Will he get a new save every time I tell him to do something, as anything he does to aid me is sorta going against his nature, as he was trying to kill me a few moments before?
6. Can I order him to fail saves against something like Mind Fog?
7. If I order him to go off somewhere on his own, can I then get a sensory idea of the location to better pinpoint a Teleport spell?
8. How many creatures can you have Dominated at one time?
9. If you have more than one creature dominated, can you give a blanket command to all of them as a single move action?
10. Is dominating a creature an evil act? Can you justify the use of the spell in the name of a greater good? What if you Dominate someone that is trying to kill you? What if they're mindless?
11. Does the dominated creature remember it's time dominated, or is that period a blank?
12. Can you Dominate a creature that you've already dominated while the first Dominate Person spell is still in effect, to reset the duration? What happens if he passes a save against a 2nd Dominate Person? Can you Dominate a creature that someone else already has dominated?
13. Over the duration of the spell, can I attempt to build up a rapport with the creature, showing him that we (the party) don't have hostile intentions to him, so he's less likely to go berserk on us when the spell duration expires? Do dominated creatures ever suffer from Stockholm Syndrome?
I want to post this in the Advice sub-forum, but I guess it makes more sense to post it here. I am looking for feedback on how other PCs have used this spell, so any advice you can give would be appreciated.
So, just got back from my weekly session, and things went well. I still fumbled over some things behind the screen due to trying to juggle so much, but some of the quick fixes that I've been using have turned out to be incredibly effective, and the players don't have much complaint with that. They left feeling as if they really got things done.
Egzimora, who escaped last session after the fighter critted her massively, came back to exact her revenge. She Charmed Pezzock and led him off into the jungle and it was days before anyone realized he was missing. The Druid, being a complete bad-a, managed to track Pezzock to where Egzimora was holed up experimenting on him. The party killed the hag, rescued the tengu, and everyone was happy.
But Pezzock was there for days, and I think it'd be kinda cool if I could work that into his character. I've got him statted up as he occasionally accompanies the party and participates in combat. I was thinking of adding a template to him, something like the Plant-Infused Template, but not nearly as powerful. Any ideas?
I had a sit down with one of my players recently, and we've both decided that this is the weakest adventure we've ever played in / run. And our group has done Shackled City, Savage Tide, Rise of the Runelords, Curse of the Crimson Throne, Legacy of Fire, Jade Regent, and Kingmaker.
Some of the shortcuts in the writing are frustrating. For example, they tell you to take advantage of the dungeon tiles. I bought them, and even the ziggurat one, doubled in scale, doesn't work as a representation of the ziggurats in the city. How hard would it have been to just put some maps in the book? Maybe take out that section on Juju worship that doesn't even come up and instead give us an article on Azlanti culture, exploring ruins, and some common building floorplans.
And I know this is partly my fault for not pushing it harder, but my group doesn't feel invested in the adventure path. They've figured out (it wasn't hard) that the serpentfolk and somehow involved, and the campaign will likely end with a confrontation with a weakened Ydersius, but we're halfway through the third module and they don't really understand why their characters are sticking around in the city. Several of them have other motives elsewhere with their backstories (reasons why they were traveling to Sargava in the first adventure), and freelancing for the Pathfinders doesn't interest them.
They're tired of random encounters, as they've already had two full adventures where they happen non-stop, but for as large as the city is, there isn't a lot of scripted encounters in the various districts. My group is traveling from building to building using a laminated copy of the poster map, and most of the time I have to either tell them how much time they've just wasted, or try to invent details about a culture that we've got precious little information about. Why not have a brief encounter list for each district? Just a list that a GM could expand on himself to describe the various things the PCs might stumble upon while walking through a district that should have hundreds of inhabitants but is strangely quiet.
Also, why isn't there some guidelines on what the other factions are doing? Just guidelines or recommendations to give us something to work with. I've been trying to work with them behind the scenes, but I've completely forgotten about the Free Captains.
I wouldn't complain if not for the complaints of my players. This adventure just isn't panning out as envisioned, and I'm trying to convince them to stick with it because I'm hoping that the last two adventures in Ilmurea, being more traditional dungeon crawls, will end the campaign on a high note.
And I know the players think I don't spend any time preparing for the game due to all the gaps in the adventure. I incorrectly drew a ziggurat last session so that the scale didn't make any bloody sense, and I had to redraw it, the entire affair wasting ten minutes of play time. Also, I fumbled a bit with Igzimora's fake backstory, as that was also not provided and I didn't think of some of the questions that the PCs would ask. It's frustrating and I want to strangle that player as I feel like I spend a good 5-6 hours a week prepping for the next adventure, but the adventure path doesn't do the DMs a lot of favors.
Not so. I played in 3.0. I remember Haste when it was legitimately broken. Now I accept Haste. It's not abused to heavily in my current group, despite I think two spontaneous casters having it.
This isn't a complaint. The character in question is a solidly built fighter with a high AC, but the player isn't pulling weird feats, equipment, or magic items to achieve the AC, so it's not like a cheese thing. I'm sure other groups have similar characters.
My situation is thus:
This, to me, is a worrisome trend. Most encounters I can come up with involve creatures that need a Nat 20 to hit the fighter. If I use creatures with a higher attack bonus, they'll have trouble missing even the reasonably ACed other party members. So in pure melee / physical encounters, the fighter is actually burdened by his group, as he'd be better tanking all the attacks and the group would be wasting less resources. The options seem limited:
I realize I can do dickish things like Sunder his gear constantly, but I already rolled up a foil for the fighter, his nemesis, who focuses on Sunder. Grappling is out as the Druid always keeps a Freedom of Movement prepped. Spellcasting doesn't seem to work because of how easy it is to silence a caster (It's hard to stay away from a hasted, silenced fighter and a trip focused, whip-wielding bard). And it's not that I want to kill anyone, or disallow them to play their character concepts, but I want to be able to challenge the entire party.
I personally hate both Instant Enemy and Pearls of Power. I hate Instant Enemy because every Ranger uses it. It's a silly reason, but anytime you talk about rangers, you talk about a spell that's not even in the Core RB, combined with expensive Pearls of Power. It's never even been used in one of my campaigns, but I still hate hearing about it as much as I hate seeing Egzimora avatars. I don't even think it's broken (unless a character can somehow afford more than one Pearl of Power), I just don't like it. I hate it as much as I hate every caster in any campaign I'm a part of having Glitterdust and casting it more than twice a combat.
But I'll second the Guide ranger. My most iconic character is a Guide / Skirmisher for the flavor of Two-Weapon Fighting but not having either a bond or spells. I feel he has a lot of options in combat, and can lay the hurt down on a single opponent when he wants to.
As the DM in question, I want to rule on this as well.
That last bit, missing with your own attacks, rules against jjaamm's reasoning of timing your blink to move through walls. If you could time it, there'd be no miss chance.
There are a slew of bonus effects with half damage and falling.
Because of all the things it does in addition to the Displacement effect, being able to pass through basically any dungeon wall without needing a roll seems a bit too powerful. Very few walls are five feet thick, and therefore in most situations, it just allows free passage through things. Due to not being able to time the blinks, I would think you'd have the same shunted chance every time you tried to pass through anything more than a few inches thick.
Is it a standard action to activate? Does it require a standard action every round to maintain, or can you maintain it with a swift action or something? I can never figure out the relation between SU abilities and actions.
I've been playing it so it's a standard action to use, and you have to use it every round to maintain it, but it's such a lackluster use of actions every round for it's limited range, so I'm literally only doing it when I don't want to waste spells or feel like I can't be productive with the spells I have left and don't want to waste wand charges.
The loot in the adventure is pretty potent. My party had such an easy time with the boggard oracle / thrall that it was vulgar, and then they found a weapon worth 38,000 GP. Next session they stumbled upon that Rod of Well-Deserved Rest, which is worth 62,000 GP. If they sold both, the share per member is 12,500 GP. They've not really complained about loot since entering Saventh-Yhi.
As for the random encounters, I think a giant murder parrot is incredibly creepy, so I can't wait until those pop up in the city. I've mentioned hearing T-Rexes occasionally nearby, or seeing massive brachiosaurs walking on the outskirts of the city. They've been attacked by bat swarms and monkey swarms (hilarious use of gust of wind). Exploring the residential district they've been stalked by vegepygmies that they can't drive off. They've been watched from the banks of the island by degenerate serpentfolk, which is causing them to avoid the government district. Some of the more dangerous random encounters have involved dire animals, like a pair of dire tigers that tried to slip into and out of camp with a PC in their jaws.
Looking ahead I've got an encounter with a stone golem I'm looking forward to springing on the party.
As far as loot goes, I've added a lot of expendable stuff to the empty buildings on the maps, the potency of which is determined by a Perception check after several hours of searching. We're talking high level scrolls and potions that the party might not think to buy but would think would be handy to hold onto. It encourages the party to spend some time looking through the buildings, and thus slows down how quickly the explore the city. The party seems to be clearing an entire district per week, which I think is a bit fast, so I'm coming up with things to slow them down, mainly politics with the other factions.
In Racing to Ruin I tried to make the random encounters stick out more as well, so they'd seem less random. The party would stumble on the remains of other caravans, for example, that a group of ankhegs are busy scavenging from. I combined the easier lizardfolk encounter with a random encounter with a giant dragonfly to challenge the party and add a new dynamic to an otherwise cakewalk. The party was stalking through the high grass by hyenas for hours before they finally attacked. When stopping for lunch one randomly determined party member sits down ontop of an army ant swarm (unless he can make the appropriate survival check to recognize the signs of it).
Group still hated Racing to Ruin. It's a fairly poor adventure. Nothing can be done, though. All adventures that mostly consist of traveling from point A to point B are poor adventures.
I look forward to working closely with you all. I'll have to discuss our options and how we move forward with the rest of the Council. As a mercenary company, we want to work closely with many organizations, but we don't want to tie ourselves too closely to any one. I'm sure there's nothing wrong with opening the doors to diplomacy, though. Thank you all for your welcome.
I don't see how our goals compete in any way, and hope that our small guild will have favorable discourse with your much larger organization in the future.
If you want a brief description for your Recruitment list, I think:
"Carrion Corps: Mercenary Services / Fort Building and Financing"
Looking forward to checking out your website.
Name: The Carrion Corps
Goals: Our number one priority is having a good time in a casual setting. Duh. So our primary goal is ensuring that all guild members are having fun. It's a game.
Specialization: Fort construction and financing. We'll build you a fort out in an uncharted hex, come to an agreement with the financing of said fort, and then pass ownership of the fort to your guild or organization. We also offer other, miscellaneous mercenary services, such as custom item crafting and bounty collection, but our main agenda is hex exploration and fort construction.
Structure: Right now we're a guild of six Kickstarter backers. We'll likely do a lot of things as a small group, working together. As our membership grows, however, we'd like to start multiple cells, or flocks, with each one working independently toward the overall goals of the Corps. Our only requirement is that the flocks work with each other, and never compete for contracts, or work for different sides in an exchange (at least not simultaneously).
Membership: As a mercenary company, we accept members of any alignment, class, or race, as long as they work toward the overall goals of the organization. This means we'll probably be at odds with NE or CE characters, or any character that draws negative publicity on our guild. As our organization grows, new members will likely be assigned to new flocks based on a need assessment.
What's with the morbid name?
Base of Operations: Our members need to understand that we're not going to have a base of operations. We'll travel where the wind and opportunity takes us, living in one community or working out of one fort or another, until our services are needed in another location. Eventually, if we have a persistent client, we might permanently settle in a specific village or kingdom, but until then, like the carrion flocks, we'll roost where we end up at the end of the day.
I started in on video games with the Atari, with classics like Pac-Man and Crystal Castles. I got an NES and enjoyed classics like the first Legend of Zelda game. Upgraded to Sega Genesis where I discovered my love for RPGs with Shining Force. Got into computer gaming in the mid-90's with the TSR published Stronghold game. Around the same time I started getting into board games. First was Key to the Kingdom, and then for Christmas one year my father bought me both Hero Quest and Dragon Strike, which I played until the pieces broke. Seeing how much I enjoyed these, he bought me the TSR AD&D box set that came with the audio CD. I can't remember what it's called, but I can recreate the first adventure from memory, that's how much I enjoyed it.
After that early foray into DnD, I started buying whatever DnD products I could find at the local hobby store, which was a Hobby Town USA, so there wasn't much selection. I ended up buying an amalgam of different things, from a Birthright adventure written by Wolfgang Bauer, to a Greyhawk supplement, to some crazy campaign setting that was entirely set in a single city, though I can't remember the name. I started playing DnD computer games, as well, like the first Baldur's Gate games, including the console versions, and the Ruins of Myth Drannor game.
I got to know Paizo through my subscriptions to Dungeon and Dragon magazines, which I acquired after many months of buying the magazines off the shelf. I don't think Paizo published them when I started buying them, but maybe I'm wrong. I also started ordering and collecting Forgotten Realms paperback novels, like RA Salvatore and the series on the Harpers, as well as a few hard backs written by Ed Greenwood.
My first real gaming group that stayed together more than a few fragmented sessions featured the Shackled City Adventure Path, first played through Dungeon magazine, and then through the purchased hardback copy of the campaign. We have since played Savage Tide, Rise of the Runelords, Jade Regent, Serpent's Skull, Carrion Crown, Curse of the Crimson Throne, a little bit of Kingmaker, and a little bit of Legacy of Fire. And a few sessions into Second Darkness.
As far as MMO experience, my first real MMO that I committed to was DDO, which I played until the gameplay stopped resembling my favorite PnP RPG. Apparently my rogue I rolled up at release with a 12 Con and a higher Int than Dex for roleplaying didn't cut it in the end game, and people started getting rude about it. Which is a shame, as I really liked DDO. I tried WoW, but hate it. I played a bit of EVE, but find it boring. I messed around a little with LotR Online, but never really got into the game. I played the original Star Wars MMO before they reworked it and ruined it, and then thought I'd love the new Old Republic MMO, but it's just a WoW clone, so I almost immediately stopped playing. I am currently playing Guild Wars 2, as I liked not having to pay after I bought the game, since I'll go three months without playing, then have a single week of frenzy play as I remember how much I like it before I burn myself out again.
As far as PnP games go, if anyone cares, I prefer Pathfinder to any other system as I think it best embodies the DnD I grew up with and am repeatedly impressed with the quality of the books and material that Paizo puts out. My group did play for about a year in 4th edition, and we did have a good time, but once we tried Pathfinder, even the guys who said they'd not play anything except DnD, were begging to switch completely over to Pathfinder. I still call Pathfinder DnD, though, and would have trouble thinking of it anything except DnD. I don't know if that's offensive to Paizo or not. I tell my wife on Sunday's that I'm leaving to go to my DnD group, I tell others that I play DnD still, I have a DnD budget every month I set myself, etc.
So, in another thread, it was explained to me that you can, indeed use a gaze attack against a creature without eyes, as long as that creature is not specifically stated to not be immune to it.
My next, follow-up, questions:
Can creatures without eyes, avert their eyes?
I have trouble believing that something like a tendriculos or shambling mound would be subjected to petrification due to a basilisk's gaze attack.
Can creatures without eyes avert them? Can a creature without eyes attempt to put on a blindfold? Where would a Xtabay place a blindfold? What about a viper vine?
Egzimora has travelled around the valley a bit so knew about the ghost at the entrance to the city. So when the party arrived, she was very successfully in passing herself off as another member of the ill-fated Alithorpe Expedition that the group had already learned of (from the ghost's journal). She said she was a sorcerer from that group and had stumbled on the mansion and was now cursed/bound here. My normally paranoid party bent over backwards to try and help her, all to no avail.
My party never found the ghost or the journal. I laid out the map of Saventh-Yhi before them as they entered the valley, and let them immediately start looking around, and they never looked over in that direction. That does give her a plausible cover story, though. They do know about the missing Pathfinder expedition from times of yore.
All I can recommend is stay flexible with the maps and try to have some fun. SS does get better with a bit more structure (and maps!) in books 4-6.
I am very much looking forward to the later adventures. I love dungeon crawls, and there looks to be some amazing ones coming up.
One other idea I'd recommed borrowing form the boards is not having a clear distinction between module 3 and module 4. If you allow the party to locate one or two of the crypts from module 4 before the end of module 3 you avoid a jarring transition.
I need to start doing that. I don't have the 4th module yet as we're only three sessions into the 3rd. I should pick that up, though, and start letting them stumble across things.
I am implementing the other expeditions, though. Next session they're going to get a request for aid from the Sargavans, who have riled up the military district and set in motion a few things that I still don't know how to handle.
How did you guys handle Egzimora?
The party has successfully routed the Residential District. The druid is high enough level to cast Control Plants, and he won initiative when the party reached the top of the ziggurat. Basically Kliboolya and his "bodyguards" are charmed by the druid, who led them off into the wilderness for a conference, and the party led a contingent of Pathfinder agents onto the ziggurat where they Acid Splashed the Russet Mold out of existence. Now they've stumbled on Egzimora's manor house, and it's pretty obvious that she's not entirely what she seems. I tried to use the written information about how she's bound to the manor house and can't leave for any long period of time, but the party are asking her questions like "Where'd you come from?", "How long have you been here?", and "How are you bound to the manor?". I've played it off that she's been here so long that she can't remember, and everything is fuzzy, and I realize that all of these things are lies she's telling, but it doesn't give much else. I didn't give her "fake" backstory much thought before the session.
Also, why does this adventure have so much left out? Too much is left up to the DM. It's starting to get frustrating trying to pull together different maps for encounters, and keeping track of so many things going on behind the scenes. If it weren't for stealing some of the content other DMs have used and posted on this site, I'd be completely over my head with this specific adventure.
I was thinking along those same lines. But is there a precedent for that among undead that spawn new undead? In every other case I can think of, the body becomes the undead. I mean, things like ghosts and spectres might work differently, but they're not created from other ghosts and spectres, are they?
Nice. I'm glad there is something there that supports underwater spell effects in the Core. I ruled on underwater targeting of spells differently as well, since I think it'd be harder to target a burst spell precisely on a creature 40 feet underwater when you're on the surface looking down.
I otherwise played it as the people in the thread recommended it.
I am a fantastic manager of resources. I'm quick at math, and know how to roll multiple d20's at a time. I'm also going to concentrate on easily captured thralls without lots of crazy combat mechanics, and I won't bother with taking more than I need with me on my adventures. One or two, at most, with the rest doing thrall work, like guarding the dungeon entrance, watching the horses, cooking delicious thrall food for the party, or digging holes and then filling them back in again. I want to play my concept, but I don't want to bog down the table and game and make the other players and DM upset with me.
I've got a party of casters happy to Glitterbomb an entire square mile every combat session (I mean to say that they all happily cast Glitterdust until everything is blinded). They've used this tactic a lot, and I don't mind it, as Glitterdust isn't that powerful of a spell, but there are times when I'm not sure it makes sense.
Can you blind shadows? Can you blind skeletons? Can you use Glitterdust to affect creatures underwater? Can you use Glitterdust on incorporeal creatures?
Back in the days of 3.5, there was a Prestige Class in the Complete Arcane called the Mindbender, which essentially could create thralls to serve him. I became fascinated with playing a Warlock Mindbender, but before I got a chance, 4th edition was released, and my hopes were dashed forever. Enter Pathfinder. Sure, no warlocks, but there's a wizard school of enchantment that has the same basic synergy....
So, I'm playing a wizard in a Jade Regent campaign, specializes in Enchantment magic with Necromancy and Evocation being opposed schools. So far so good. About to hit level 9, and with it Dominate Person.
How do I go about creating my own army of thralls to serve me, so I don't actually have to do anything but direct them in combat, and how do I do this in such a way so the DM doesn't kill off my character in frustration?
Honestly, this is my character's calling. I've been building up to this moment since I rolled him up. And I haven't made it a secret. The second session we attacked a goblin village, and I took a goblin hostage and charmed him. That goblin now serves as my cohort via the Leadership feat. Useful little lady, she is.
I think I covered all my bases. I've got Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus in Enchantment, and a 23 Int, so the DCs are high. I've got 4 ranks in Linguistics, and speak Goblin, Infernal, and Giant, with plans on learning Draconic, Aklo, and Abyssal upon leveling again, if I can find some source to learn Aklo from, so communication isn't an issue. And I've got maxed out ranks in both Bluff and Dimplomacy (with a +2 Cha mod and a +3 from Enchantment school), so I can roleplay away any hesitation my thralls might have (mainly those created from Charm Monster, where they're less of a thrall, and more of a friend coerced into serving me).
I'm considering picking up Mind Fog. Even if it won't be useful in some situations, when I've got a thrall via either Dominate Person or Charm Monster, I'll have him sit in a Mind Fog and purposefully fail his save (using my +17 Bluff check) so it'll be easier to re-up these Days/Level duration spells. I've got a bonded ring that I'm saving up to enchant as a ring of Invisibility so I can stay close to my thralls without drawing attacks from my enemies.
Any other tips or tricks I should be aware of? Has anyone seen a good build for characters like this, or seen someone else pull off a character similar? Synergy that I haven't thought of?
Do you have any experience with table top roleplaying games? DnD, maybe?
If you just want lore, I'd start with the Inner Sea World Guide. The PDF is only $10, and it's actually a really fun read. It explains all the mythology of Golarion, where PFO takes place.
As others have mentioned, there are other great region specific resources. Guide to the River Kingdoms is probably your best bet, and the Kingmaker player's guide also has a lot of detail in it, mixed with some information about one of the pen and paper adventure paths.
If you want to get your feet wet in the tabletop game, try out the Beginner's Box. It has everything you need to start playing and test out the system (which won't be used for the online game, but the flavor of the system should still be in the game). There are tons of great resources out there to find local groups, but the best bet is to gather a group of 3-5 friends and just teach yourselves. If that won't work, look for local Pathfinder Society games, as they're fun, quick, and they're typically great for people new to the system.
The party hasn't been anywhere but the Mercantile District. Things are gonna get a bit crazier now that they're starting to branch out to other districts. The Sargavans have riled up the Military district, and that might spill over to affect the PCs expedition.
Also, there's an aboleth that's a bit upset with the party right now.
They fought the bat before the keches. It was a tougher fight, and might have led to a player death if the party wasn't really coordinated. The bat scooped up the gnome sorcerer and would have easily killed him, but the druid managed to get over and cast Freedom of Movement.
And the shadows actually killed a cohort, and was close to being a TPK. I shouldn't complain about the encounters being too easy, as several of them are difficult. I guess I'm just frustrated because the party had two fights against the keches that were absolutely boring for me, and hard to keep track of kech HPs, and then they wtf-stomped the boggard oracle on the island in the government district. Two silence spells, two lightning bolts, and a charging fighter ended that one quick.
I should remember the rain and mist, as a reduced visibility would benefit the monsters and make the fights harder. Thanks for reminding me.
It isn't a matter of greed to project your project requirements and set funding goals to meet that requirement. If it would take a million then you ask for a million.
From what I'm seeing, the only thing they're wanting to do is raise money to develop the game faster... somehow. If money develops the game faster by being able to hire additional programmers or developers, then $500,000 would work toward that goal the same a $1,000,000. In fact, they specifically said much faster and much larger, which seems to imply that they can do it faster and larger with less money, or much faster and larger with more money. It's their timeline to set. They could have set a different timeline with a less stringent money requirement.
Maybe greedy was the wrong word to use. Ambitious? They got a bit too ambitious due to the previous success, and set their goals too high, obviously. I wish they had set lower goals, and then set some stretch goals, as I'd rather have a completed Kickstarter with less money, than an incomplete Kickstarter with no money.
My group raised the $500 for a Crowdforger Guild pledge, and I paid an additional $35 just because I had it. Now I'm hoping that, because I selected the Emerald Spire PDF, I can still get my cool Goblin Squad badge for the $35 pledge, as I didn't choose that reward because my guild had already pledged $500, so I've got my early ticket into the game.
Course, I guess that all hinges on the Kickstarter being funded, which isn't looking likely, unless Vin Diesel steps in and saves the day. Or Tim Duncan. Or Jon Favreau. Or any other celebrity gamer that has the money to make some online gaming dreams come true.... quicker.