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Thank you for the support on that point, and I will take you at your word on the antagonist. I've seen exactly two of these kinds of movies: this and Pacific Rim.
Sadly, mine in an Age of Worms campaign. Four classes by ninth level, couldn't hit anything, bad AC. Great skills, very flavorful for RP. But he would have gotten other PCs killed.
It was the result of trying to make a PC fill a hole in the party, front liner, which this 3.5 ranger, scout, rogue, prestige class monstrosity couldn't do.
God, I was disappointed in this movie, although I could see how others who are really into this genre would be more forgiving than I was. The first half hour is great, with a compelling backstory and a subversion of girl in a refrigerator trope, but that only sets up the disappointment. They have a bland protagonist, whose child and mother both have ridiculous plot armor. The director seems to think that we should care fiercely about these two, so he cuts away from most of the monster fight scenes just when I was starting to get interested and entertained by it. Unfortunately, since Hollywood will never ever kill a kid in these kinds of movies, those scenes have no dramatic tension whatsoever.
The monster effects are quite good, with effective emotion for Godzilla, supplemented by female Mothra's comprehensible motivation and emotion at her loss.
You're running Kingmaker, I take it? Part of what the player may be reacting to is a lack of a narrative spine to guide him. Make sure some of these connect to the BBEGs in the AP. Otherwise, your flair for creative characterization will pay off when they know everyone whose lives are at stake in the apocalyptic scheme.
The way to get players to think through rules fairly: remind them that anything you do can and will be done by the npcs.
Granite weighs 165 lbs/cubic foot
So, each giant's new stone shoe weighs 775 pounds. A stone giant has 27 strength, so that's a heavy load for each foot because large creatures have double carrying capacity. "A character can lift as much as double his maximum load off the ground, but he or she can only stagger around with it. While overloaded in this way, the character loses any Dexterity bonus to AC and can move only 5 feet per round (as a full-round action)."
A character can generally push or drag along the ground as much as five times his maximum load.
Remember: giants throw rocks the size of their head for fun.
I would rule that the wizard could, after 11 rounds, impose an encumbrance penalty (denied dex bonus to AC, 5' move as a full round action).
So, not really an effective combat spell. But great for mafia spell casters who have prisoners who need to sleep with the fishes.
Well... continuing on the prestige class vein.
Your easiest bet is probably Cypher Mage, which you have the prereqs for, probably. No loss of caster level. Cool abilities to choose each level, such as Enhance Scroll, Extend Scroll, Focused Scroll, Swift Scrivener. I've had success with the focus on a library of scrolls in the past, and a few levels here might make you an even more flexible and effective caster. You can be versatile, which can partially make up for being three caster levels behind. Combined with the witch and cleric, you three could have every utility spell in the game at your disposal.
Seconding Eldritch Knight as a possible solution
Veiled illusionist makes you a better scout without giving up a caster level, but you'd need to take Spell Focus Illusion in place of Weapon Focus.
Arcane Savant, while losing a caster level, gets you automatic UMD checks and the ability to pick spells from any other spell list. See above, re: versatility
Evangelist, with its Aligned Class feature, would allow you to level up your spell casting (and every other class feature of Transmuter) with one lost level of casting, while getting a bunch of other abilities as well.
Horizon Walker has an array of nice abilities if you're willing to give up all spell casting.
If you go straight cleric or oracle, your party won't be particularly short on casting ability, with 40% of your party as casters and much of arcane and divine covered. Will you have access to every spell in the game? No. But you'll be fine. If you WANT to play mystic theurge, great, but you don't have to.
Actually, the rookie shortstop for the Boston Red Sox, Xander Bogaerts, speaks six languages, and he's about that age. Some people have a gift and a culture that nurtures it.
The healing hex was out of concern that ogres would class levels would... well, not let some people get to the healing wand stage.
The targeting of reflex and will is because of the ogre-focused campaign. I figure most ogre threats will make their fort saves. I wish there were more reflex targeting Witch spells. Am I missing some good ones?
Craft wand's been severely shifted in his campaign, I forgot to mention: 5 charges, works like a staff.
The ogres are in the sticks, far from enough to prevent being able to restock.
I recommend building a PC geared towards having a lot of choices rather than doing one thing really well. A broadly designed character to be a "Man for All Seasons" is going to be good at a lot of things, but have a hard time taking the spotlight away from other characters.
Alternatively, play a character optimized to make OTHER characters better.
So, I'm playing a witch in a one-shot mini-campaign based on taking back a fort from Nicholas Logue's ogres. I'd love advice for what to do with this character when they reach 8th level, especially with hex and spell selection. Campaign specific details: 15 point buy, free rank in profession, ride is a class skill and I get a free rank in it, every race gets +1 HP and +1 skill point as class bonus, level 8-9 is probably highest this will go.
The party: all 7th level
Thank you in advance for your feedback, and please feel free to back seat drive any choices I've already made to educate me on building for this class. Retraining is not an option, though. The half-elf thing is obviously sub-optimal, but I chose it for RP purposes and because the DM hates elves, making for a better story. Things probably won't end well for this character anyway.
Class: Wand-Bonded Witch 7
Traits: Milita Veteran, Fangwood Diplomat (renamed, +1 diplomacy and is class skill)
STR 10 +0 DEX 12 +1 CON 12 +1
AC: 18 Touch: 12 Flat-footed: 17
Saves: Fort +5, Reflex +5, Will +8
HP: 41 (6+6d6+7 con +7 class) (false life: 1d10+7 temp hp for 7 hours)
Feats: 4 +1 racial bonus feat
Other magic items:
Would these plans be wise?
Uhh... no. They're way beyond the party's power level and most of this doesn't pass the common sense test.
As a union organizer in real life, I can also tell you that raising a group of people to do collective action is not an easy thing. It's especially difficult when you don't know people well, when they have something to lose, when it requires a great deal of risk, and when it goes against their entire world view. And, at third level, I doubt your party knows the society well enough to pick out the community opinion leaders, who are not always the people with the biggest titles, let alone convince them to take on a revolution. Add in fighting supernatural opponents likely immune to your pitchforks and you're going to get a situation where your best result is people saying yes and then staying home on the day of action "because something came up."
As GM I would have required relatively high skill checks for this plan to even get off the ground. Failure would mean that people now regard your party as crackpots.
As for the graffiti thing... when was the last time graffiti persuaded you to do something? When was the last time that graffiti convinced you to change a deeply held belief? Or a billboard? And, even if you feel it's the magical medieval equivalent of spreading info on the internet, I can tell you that hacktivism works best when it requires a lot of people to do very, very little. Political messaging, in general, does its best work convincing the already convinced to go vote; it's much, much harder to convince the undecideds with sloganeering and pamphlets, which this might also be the magical medieval equivalent of.
I'd propose that players rotate in a "color commentator" role. Basically, after the stats are announced, that player's job is to describe what just happened in colorful narrative terms. At my tables, as a player and as a DM, I get so busy that I forget to do this consistently. Having a new player each round take care of it is a good way to activate the off-screen space, so to speak, in a way that promotes a more memorable game.
Sometimes you really have to strain to push material out and sometimes it just gushes out in a flood...
I'd be inclined to support creative applications of spells, so yes, that or holy water as an effect. By RAW, the fact that it is an ooze would probably mean it is a no, lest it set a precedent.
I'm actually quite entertained by this thought experiment, I don't see why you have to get personal. I like DnD as a creative endeavor. To each his own evidently.
Bad collaborative storytelling is usually either-or options. Good collaborative storytelling allows there to be multiple creative ways to deal with the problem.
I take it that murdering the child, then casting resurrection later is not an option? Because that would be, what, wrong?
I take it that there are no casters with illusions that could cover for stealing the child?
I take it that the entire party is not using fly spells?
I take it that one person can't be flying, rescue the boy, while the rest of the party dimension doors to the other room and beats the crap out of your protagonist?
I take it that the party face can't negotiate with the unseen BBEG?
I take it that nobody has disintegrate for the door?
I take it nobody can polymorph the child into a flying creature?
Time stop? Anybody?
And, if they don't have these resources, is it really plausible that the party will survive a trip to Hell?
If you go through with this scenario, I want you to be very forgiving of creative solutions like these and other ones and let the players escape your no-win scenario...
Try this encounter I ran, it was pretty successful:
The party comes upon a crowd that has gathered outside a fire making its way through six buildings: three on one street and the three that abut those building's rear sides on a parallel street. The people in the crowd have varied reactions to the fire. Some gawk at the fire. Others from nearby buildings race to save their own possessions. Others linger near these piles of goods, eyeing them for something to snatch. Still others, from the burning buildings, shout and frantically comb the crowd looking for loved ones. No authorities are in sight, likely due to the riots. If the fire's going to be prevented from spreading, it'll be up to the party.
If the players try to get a bucket brigade going, they'll need to direct the crowd, which requires them to get the crowd's attention and then succeed at a Diplomacy DC 15 check or an Intimidate DC 20 check. PCs can aid in this action by finding or supplying suitable implements for a bucket brigade (Search DC 15) and finding the nearest public well for the PC who's directing the crowd, as the crowd offers conflicting answers (Knowledge: Local DC 15 or Survival DC 15). Success contains the fire to these 6 buildings. Alternatively, the PCs can risk the fire spreading by using the bucket brigade to aid PCs attempting to rescue trapped people in the buildings. (This tactic will make smoke and fire effect checks occur half as frequently.)
The characters can hear sounds of movement and cries of distress from the burning buildings with a successful Listen check, DC 5. There's a -2 circumstance penalty due to the crackling of the fire and the sounds of the crowd on the street. Remember that there's a -1 penalty per 10 feet of distance. For every 5 points by which the PC succeeds, give him one more piece of information, in order: Building 1 has sounds of movement; it's coming from the first floor in Building 1; Building 2B (building behind the center building facing the PCs) has very faint, high-pitched cries for help; there are two sources of sound in Building 2B. Multiple "low successes" do not reveal information about Building 2B.
To get closer to the buildings requires pushing through the crowd. Each square counts as difficult terrain, unless the PC (or the lead PC of a group moving together) bulls through the crowd with a Strength check, DC 15.
[If they enter the building, the game mechanics for smoke, heat, collapsing ceilings and floors, explosions and backdrafts can be found in DMG2, page 48-9. A brief summary follows.)
Heat: While there may be isolated fires for dramatic tension, these effects occur on floors largely on fire. Roll 1d6 lethal fire damage per minute. The PCs must make a Fort 15 save every 5 minutes or take 1d4 nonlethal and fatigued due to heat stroke. Endure elements eliminates the need for the latter check.
Smoke: While there may be smoke present for general atmosphere, smoke effects appear only on the top floor, or the top two floors if the players delay or go into three buildings or more. On smoke floors, have the PC roll Fort 15 1/round, with each successive check getting 1 harder, e.g. DC 16 on round 2. Failure means a round spend coughing and choking. Two consecutive failures cause 1d6 nonlethal damage. These floors present a 20 percent miss chance and a -4 to Search. I recommend the house rule that PCs that spend a round breathing fresh air reset the Fort save back to 15.
Holding Breath: A PC can hold their breath for 2x their Constitution score in rounds. After that, they must make a Fort save each round: Fort 10 for round 1, Fort 11 for round 2, etc.
Search: No taking 10 or 20! To search for a conscious person requires a Search 15 and five rounds. (A Listen 15 reduces the time spent by 1 round, plus 1 round per 5 points that the check succeeds by. A Knowledge: Architecture 20 check for knowing residential building layouts does the same.) An unconscious person requires a DC 20 to find. Don't forget the Smoke penalties! Only 1-2 searches should be required per floor, as the PCs quickly scan each room they have access to. Feel free to "advance" fire and smoke effects to new floors if the PCs take a long time in the DM's opinion.
An alley connects all six buildings.
Building 1: This building is to the left of the PCs on the street they're on.
The first floor has no fire or smoke effects. A successful search uncovers a family behind a closed, but not locked, door. The father is frantically pushing aside furniture and attempting to pry up the floorboards to get at the family's life savings. The mother and her three children watch anxiously. A Diplomacy 20 will get the man to leave, while aiding his actions will consume 1 minute of time but earn his gratitude. As the PCs get the family out, they say that they think they heard someone upstairs still. A failed Intimidate check convinces the man that the PC is a looter.
The second floor has fire effects. A successful search check brings the PCs to a kitchen in a hastily exited apartment. A Spot 15 alerts the PC to the presence of a large tin jug of cooking oil near a fire and allows them to act in a surprise round before the explosion. Explosion causes 3d6 fire and 2d6 shrapnel. (Feel free to scale the fire damage down based on your party's resources.)
The third floor has both fire and smoke effects. There is no one up hear, but the alley carries the sounds of nearby buildings very clearly. Listen 10 identifies that it's Building 2B that actually has people crying for help in it. Listen 20 reveals that their source is both the second and third floors.
Building 2: This building is in front of the PCs on the street they are on. Three Search DC 15 checks will uncover a TOTAL of one randomly rolled first level treasure (DMG 52) sprinkled throughout the three floors. Only the roof is on fire.
Building 3: This building is to the right of the PCs on the street they are on. It has been shoddily maintained over the years, and the fire has further eroded its structural integrity.
The first floor is filled with rubble. A climb 10 will be necessary to climb the rubble to the second floor.
The second floor has fire effects. In the stairwell between the second and third floors is a passed out drunk.
The third floor has fire and smoke effects. A Search of the third floor reveals a trapdoor in the ceiling hidden by the smoke. It is a pull-down stair to an attic. A Spot 25 notices smoke being sucked through the cracks in the trapdoor up into the attic, while a Search 20 notices that the trapdoor feels hot. If the PCs open the trapdoor, a 30' radius fireball goes off due to the backdraft in the attic (5d6 fire, Reflex DC 15 to halve the damage.)
Building 1B: This building is behind the building to the left of the PCs, facing a parallel street to the one they are on. Only the top floor has fire and smoke effects. Three Search DC 15 checks will uncover a TOTAL of one randomly rolled first level treasure (DMG 52) sprinkled throughout the three floors. The PCs automatically find a cat trapped on the second floor. A Handle Animal DC 15 check will be necessary to calm the animal.
Building 2B: This building is behind the building in front of the PCs, facing a parallel street to the one they are on. This building is where the fire started and the flames are most widespread and intense here.
The first floor has fire effects active. There is nothing to find here.
The second floor has fire effects. A Listen 15 check will locate the source of the feeble cries for help as being from behind a locked door. A Strength 15 check will bust down the relatively frail door in the round of the success or an Open Locks 15 will open the shoddy lock, but that action takes 1 minute. In this apartment is an old man, an invalid, who tells the PCs that his granddaughter may have been trapped while playing upstairs.
The third floor has fire and smoke effects. A successful search finds a room with a bed in the windowless far corner of the room. A Spot 15 will detect the little girl under the bed from across the room, although a PC who gets down on their knees gets a +5 bonus to this check. In between the door to the room and the bed is a 7' wide hold in the floor of much of the room, traversed by a single flaming support beam. Getting to the bed requires a Jump or a Balance 15. The girl, in shock, will require coaxing to get her to come out.
Building 3B: This building is behind the building to the right of the PCs, facing a parallel street to the one they are on. One Search DC 15 check will discover an un-armored Rogue 2 looter who's acquired a randomly rolled first level treasure (DMG 52) in addition to his standard gear, sans armor. Only the roof is on fire.
Try a goblin alchemist with a trait that gives you stealth as a class skill. Stealth bonuses: +4 size, +4 race, +4 skill (1 rank and +3 for class bonus) +4 dex (the +4 bonus to dex means it's easy to start with a 18). At first level, you'll be rocking a +16 for stealth BEFORE you start adding mutagens and reduce person extracts to the mix.
And flavor? Oh my god... If you need to play nice with the others, try a "raised by humans" back story.
Taason the Black wrote:
Yep. My goblin alchemist gets his AC up to 28 by second level with ordinary leather armor. It requires going nova on extracts and mutagen, but after that I still have drow poison for my crossbow, tons of potions to help myself and others (enlarge person plus earth breaker for party fighter = awesome), bombs, and a 20+ stealth bonus. I am never out of things to do: tank, direct damage, scout, sticky bombs and tanglefoot bags for battlefield control, knowledge guy, crafting...
Alchemists are perfect one PC campaign material, as well as awesome for traditional parties.
Since you are all friends, I suggest stalling. Get "sick" and cancel game to let everyone take a breath and settle down. If he is still spoiling for a fight in two weeks, stop the game at PvP, say this isn't worth damaging friendships, and say you are no longer having fun. Bring a collaborative board game like lord of the rings or pandemic to get everyone on the same side.
To ?!?, with this kind of drama.
Look thru the special materials and see if there is something that your players could craft into an appropriate item. This shouldn't be just a spell. Ther should be a contribution from everyone involved and something they have a hand in thinking up.
I can't tell you how many times players have done my brainstorming for me.
I am about to have my campaign enter a riddle battle of PCs vs. a Sphinx. I am looking for advice. First, what are good riddles you've used? What are good resources for riddles? Second, does this kind of encounter need game mechanics, or is it just straight RP? Third, how well or poorly have riddle-based encounters worked in your games?
How do you bring settings alive when your PCs are not going to be there long due to the urgency of the plot and don't have time to explore the new cities and their customs?
I generally don't do campaigns with lots of travel; I tend to prefer PCs be embedded in a few communities they know well. But now, I find myself in a portion of the campaign where the player is high level and going to be globe-trotting for a while. So I would love tips on how to efficiently make a setting come alive when your PC is unlikely to be in the country for more than a day.