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.
So, I'm running a high-level temple delve in Osirion. I'm using Entombed by the Pharaohs and Pact Stone Pyramid, leveling them up for a party about 15th level.
What I'm looking for, though, is for ways to make the SETTING memorable. Does anyone have any advice for making the land, its people, and its history come alive for players?
The following are homebrew epic feats for a special campaign that I would love advice on. There's one player, playing a soon-to-be epic level bard. So, I don't need to care about whether these feats are balanced with other PCs. My only care is that they help the player taking them take on epic level challenges as a bard with two cohorts (a fighter and a sorcerer who are three and four levels behind her, respectively, and built as vanilla as possible for smoother game play).
The goal is for the PC to shine at epic level. The bard is the star and is not run as a supporting character the way bards usually are in campaigns with more players.
Oh, and I use 3.5 bardic music rules.
How are these feats for helping to thrive against epic level challenges? Thank you in advance for your help.
Epic Extra Music: Gain 8 more uses of Bardic Music per day.
Yodel: Your bardic music affects allies within 1d10 miles.
Ear Worm: By spending 5 daily uses of bardic music and singing for 3 minutes, you can program your bardic music effect to go off for your listeners at a time of your choosing (as an immediate action) for the duration of an encounter, as defined fairly by your DM. Effect ends if unused by the time you re-memorize spells.
Duet: By spending 3 daily uses of bardic music, you can, as a standard action, initiate two different types of bardic music simultaneously (e.g. Inspire Courage and Inspire Greatness). This can be accompanied by an obviously illusory effect (e.g. harmonizing with a ghostly double of yourself) with no combat application.
Big Band: By spending 4 daily uses of bardic music, you can, as a standard action, initiate three different types of bardic music simultaneously (e.g. Inspire Courage, Inspire Competence, and Inspire Greatness). This can be accompanied by an obviously illusory effect (e.g. harmonizing with a ghostly band) with no combat application. Requires Duet Epic Feat.
Choir: By spending 5 daily uses of bardic music, you can, as a standard action, initiate all types of your bardic music simultaneously. This can be accompanied by an obviously illusory effect (e.g. harmonizing with a ghostly choir) with no combat application. Requires Duet and Band epic level feats.
Grace: While wearing no armor and not using a shield, add one point of Charisma bonus to AC per epic level, with a maximum of your current Charisma bonus.
Love is a Battlefield: At the cost of an extra 2 daily uses of your bardic music, grant allies DR 5/- while bardic music affects them.
Arcane Cantata: Each bardic music daily use you expend as a free action for this purpose gives +1 the DC on your spells cast. Maximum bonus = +1 per five bard levels.
Advance!: As a swift action, you can order your allies to take a single move action on your turn. You decide how they move. Costs 1 daily use of bardic music per ally.
Rally: As an immediate action, you can spend one hero point to have an ally re-roll a d20 roll they just attempted.
Seize the moment: As a swift action, you can order ONE ally to make a single melee or ranged attack on your turn. You decide their target. Costs 2 daily uses of bardic music.
Undying Loyalty: As an immediate action, your words can stave off death. You or an ally do not gain the dead condition until the end of your next turn. (So, you could be healed when you are below -10 HP or get one last strike in before death.) Costs 5 daily uses of bard music.
Lyrics of Creation: Your Inspire Courage bonus doubles, but you take 3d4 nonlethal damage from the effort of mastering the music of the spheres.
Arcane Strike: Channel your arcane power into your blades. For every five caster levels, gain +1 to hit and damage. Activate as a swift action.
Harmonic Resonance: Allies within 30' get +1d6 sonic damage on their attacks when you are using bardic music.
Greater Harmonic Resonance: Allies within 30' get an additional +1d6 sonic damage on their attacks per two additional uses of bardic music ability you expend when using bardic music and Harmonic Resonance.
Epic Magic Ally: You and allied casters within 30' gain +4 to overcome spell resistance.
Epic Feint Partner: Whenever you or an ally successfully feint, all who threaten that target gain an attack of opportunity and the target loses their dexterity bonus to AC until the end of your next round.
Lookout: If you can act in a surprise round, all your allies can. Also, you can take actions normally, rather than take either a move or standard action.
Seize the moment: When you confirm a critical threat, your ally gains an attack of opportunity.
New Music: Choose one of the following
* Soothing Performance (Su): Use bardic performance to create an effect equivalent to a mass heal, at a cost of 2 uses of bardic performance per ally affected. Using this ability requires 3 minutes of continuous performance, and the targets must be able to see and hear the bard throughout the performance. Soothing performance affects all targets that remain within 30 feet throughout the performance. Soothing performance relies on audible and visual components.
* Frightening Tune (Sp): Use bardic performance to cause fear in his enemies. To be affected, an enemy must be able to hear the bard perform and be within 30 feet. Each enemy within range receives a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 the bard's level + the bard'sCha modifier) to negate the effect. If the save succeeds, the creature is immune to this ability for 24 hours. If the save fails, the target becomesfrightened and must either cower or flee, receiving a new save each round. Frightening tune relies on audible components.
Okay, so my alchemist failed his fort save and got permanently blinded late last session. We're 3rd level, so we can't cure this condition for two whole levels.
Fortunately, my DM is allowing me to use my hero points next session, which is where you come in. I can use a hero point to get a reroll on the Fort save, where I will succeed on a 15 or better. I have two hero points, so I can try that twice (I hope!). Or I can use both my hero points and get one shot to succeed at 7 or better. Which is the statistically better choice?
If it doesn't work, I'd be pleased as punch to throw incendiary bombs while blinded, especially as I'm playing a goblin. Still, as a team player, I should try my best to make this save, for the good of the party.
Okay, so the PC has destroyed the drug manufacturing plant of a highly addictive drug that had taken over three districts of a pirate city. (The drug's effect was the hallucination that you were a god controlling a demiplane for a while. So you were a DM!) There's some dealers and some of the drug left; there are many addicts. No more of the drug can be made. The PC is working a cure.
So, what crises should erupt in this pirate town while her cohort works up a cure?
The PC is a 16th level bard, if that helps.
What scenes would you put in a last stand? What choices should the PCs be faced with?
Okay, so my players are in the final combat of Red Hand of Doom. The hobgoblin army's inside the gates, but the PCs have done well holding interior lines, taking out a dragon, killing a top sniper, and killing some giants.
The scene is that they've holed up in a huge temple. There's a couple of dozen soldiers in the temple with them, some wounded, a healing corps mostly out of spells, and some reserves from an aristocrat's personal crew. They have a unit of cavalry that they're keeping in reserve and a few PCs are with them. The leadership of the opposing army has come to crush them personally, and has brought a significant force with him: giants, ogres, hobgoblins, and dragonspawn.
Now, I want the players to keep their limited resources in reserve for the final battle with the leadership, but I want them to have to make choices as players. They have to be leaders directing others, mostly.
I know from long experience that ship vs. ship combat didn't work so well in 3.5e. It took forever to sink a ship with siege weapons, with hardness and complicated rules for ship sections. (That fairly accurately simulated the reality of ship battles prior to gunpowder, both in tedious length and in difficulty sinking a ship before gunpowder turned ships into powder kegs.) Spells were more effective, albeit still a complexity nightmare, and were always more effective against the crew than the ship, given the penalties of energy's effects on objects and the squishiness of the average sailor.
In short, naval combats dragged games to a halt. Did Skull and Shackles create a good mini-game for ship vs. ship combat or is it still something better to hand wave?
I suggested playing a goblin in his upcoming campaign and he suggested a paladin. Now, with penalties to strength and to charisma and major penalties to stealth by armor check penalty, I'm at a bit of a loss when it comes to how to build something effective.
Also? The campaign's not likely to last past level 10, so the sooner this character becomes effective, the better. Core + APG only.
Would it be unbalancing to fold the social uses of bluff and intimidate into diplomacy, but leaving the combat applications alone?
Social interactions: diplomacy (lying, intimidating, persuading) and sense motive
Would this make diplomacy too good? Charisma even worse? Things better for fighters?
There's a series of surveys on the values expressed by Joss Whedon's works over at Watcher Junior. We've done Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Avengers, The Cabin in the Woods, and Angel. We're doing Firefly right now. I thought some people might find it interesting
The results on Angel will be up later today. If you want to do a survey on that though, here's the link
Do you have to use all of a archetype in your class progression, or can you do a few levels of it, then go back the original flavor? And, if you go back to the original class, how do class abilities that you subbed in advance? Maybe it would be clearer with an example, like the Divine Hunter archetype of the Paladin class?
Okay, now that Elan's gotten your attention, I've got a rules question for you. What DC and modifiers do you set for the following perception check.
A team of goblin rogues successfully sneaks up on the party's night watchman, taking him down in the surprise round with hurled knives. What DC perception check do the other PCs sleeping 10-30 feet away in their tents have to make to hear his death? Does this count as "combat"? Would it not count as combat if the team of goblin rogues melee sneak attacked him?
If I have this right, the DC to track someone through a swamp/marsh is DC 5, DC 10 if they're trying to hide their tracks.
Does this make sense? I thought that due to the water in swamps that it was very difficult to track someone there. But it seems like it's the easiest place to track someone? In those fugitive movies, they always seem to go hide in a swamp or use it to throw people off their trail.
I must be getting this wrong: but how? Is it my assumption about the difficulty of tracking in this location? Did I get the rules wrong?
I saw an interesting article today analyzing Buffy as a general in seasons seven (TV) and eight (comics). There's a lot of good theory on what makes a good general, using The Mask of Command.
Even though it's on an old series, I thought it would be a good idea to post it here, since DMs and players think about how command and heroism fit all the time. It's here: “We Just Declared War”: Buffy as General.
What do you think of Buffy as a general? Good work? Flawed? Is she acting like a PC?
Using Kingmaker's mass combat system, I want feedback on the likely result of this mass combat, between Lamashtu's mass breeding program for mutant goblins and the citizens of Sandpoint, led by the 15th level PC and her two 11th level cohorts.
Note: the strategy choice produces a straight plus to OM or DV; there's no bonus to damage.
Dior Schaefer CR 7
Bec Schaefer CR 3
Anya’drea Schaefer CR 3
Sandpoint Militia CR 1
Sandpoint Irregulars 1 CR 2
Sandpoint Very Irregulars 1 CR 2
Sandpoint Very Irregulars 2 CR 2
Advanced Sandpoint Devil’s Mate
I'm curious about what feats a rogue should build towards for the 10+ level part of the game. I find that if you don't plan ahead with feats, you end up in serious trouble at about the time that the casters are altering the basic rules of reality. So, since I'm contemplating building a goblin rogue for my next character, what should I be planning to get?
(Incidentally, I'm utterly fine with the role playing side of things, so I don't need advice there. My general take is that skills are the mechanics for RP, feats are for making sure that you don't have a three hour session of combat ineptitude. Besides with a goblin in a G/N aligned party, there shouldn't be problems finding things to RP.)
Thanks for any advice you can give me!
So, last night, I made an error in ruling on Hero Points. I had coups de gras a PC whose player wasn't there to control him, and thus was controlled by another player. The guest player, having failed the save, used a hero point to cheat death. (This was the first use of hero points in the campaign.) In the moment, I forgot that he needed two hero points to do that. Ultimately, I'm glad I made that ruling, because I wanted to send a message about the lethality of the campaign, not kill a PC while his player was in Vegas.
Now, how do I fix the system? Do I:
A) Just say it was a mistake at the next session and that from here on out you need two hero points to cheat death?
B) Keep consistent: it always requires one Hero Point from now on to cheat death?
C) Start scaling the number of points it takes to come back from each iterative death? (That is, 1 point for the first death, 2 for the second, 3 for the third, etc.)
D) Keep consistent but remove a magic items that was going to give the party one "Get out of death free" card?
E) You tell me.
Thanks for any advice you can give me, o denizens of Paizo!
How much gp to buy a...
In the pfsrd, an elephant costs 1000 gp for its CR 7. Combat training on a heavy horse is +50% to the heavy horse cost. So, by my rough calculations, a rhino ought to cost 4/7 of an elephant, a dire wolf 3/7 of one, making it...
Rhino: 571.4 gp
Should there be a kicker to the cost for an exotic animal? I assume so, but that also might be included in the elephant's cost.
I'm looking for a guide to the Elsir Vale and Brindol to hand out to my players during character construction. I'm not keen on retyping everything, however, to avoid the spoilers. I was wondering if there was an official product that did this OR a DM who posted their version of this on the internets. My google-fu is, evidently, week.
As the title asks, I'm wondering if Pathfinder has saved high level play from itself. We're considering switching over a 12th level campaign to this rule set from 3.5, so I need your help deciding.
In my experience, high level play devolves to finding and exploiting the low save of your opponent. While that's exciting in rock-paper-scissors sort of way, I'm wondering if YOU feel that HIGH level play is better now and WHY.
FOR ME, my major concern is that Paizo ramped up the power level a bit for the lower levels, so I'm concerned that the high levels are just going to be 3e squared, rather than something that solves some of the previously known problems.
What do you think? Should we switch?
How many hexes can an army "see"? Just adjacent to it? Two hexes away? Does it vary by terrain?
How fast can one army communicate what it can see to another army? In Kingmaker 5, there's several chances for the PCs or the NPCs to get several armies to converge on one spot... if they can act in conjunction.
What do people think the effect would be of giving characters with ranks in Knowledge: nobility or a few relevant Profession skills more knowledge of the kingdom-building rules? I'm thinking that the PCs start out with little knowledge of how to do this, as it models their lack of training and experience for kingdom-management.
Anyone do this already?
I've got a brass draconic bloodline sorcerer 11 that I'm building to play in a core-only module. I'm having trouble with the feats, though. There don't seem to be many for this class.
I'm not happy with what I've taken, which are:
Combat Casting (human bonus feat)
Got any suggestions? Anything helps.
If it helps, these are my spells:
LEVEL 1 –Charm Person, Grease, Mage Armor, Magic Missile, Protection vs. Alignment, Shield.
LEVEL 2 – False Life, Glitterdust, Invisibility, Resist Energy, Scorching Ray, Web.
LEVEL 3 – Dispel Magic, Fireball, Fly, Haste, Major Image.
LEVEL 4 – Black Tentacles, Dimension Door, Enervation, Fear.
LEVEL 5 – Spell Resistance, Summon Monster V, Wall of Force.