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ruemere's page

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber. 1,020 posts. 13 reviews. 1 list. No wishlists.



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Unchaining Fighter should mean , IMHO:
- removing dependency on magic items, for example: ability to turn nonmagic weapons into temporarily magical ones (ditto for armors)
- ability to recover from nasty magic and nonmagic effects
- power to circumvent magic-only advantages (invisibility is 2nd level spell only, but it is just as effective against 20th level fighter)
- skill points
- support for dexterity and constitution based viable builds (for example, ability to base attack and damage bonuses on these statistics)
- support for gaining tactical advantage through use of intelligence and charisma based action rolls
- more defensive and offensive options... that are available at lower levels than critical mastery, and that stay relevant longer than combat maneuvers

Regards,
Ruemere


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Trove of Treasure Maps, i.e. short writeup of location + puzzle + guardians + legend. Fakes, baits welcome.

Cursed Lineages, a bunch of secret backgrounds to pin on player characters to invite them on journeys of dark discovery of skeletons in closets.

Flowers of Evil, objects of art with dark history and terrifying haunts.

Mysterious Societies, 10 secret groups or cults to upset balance of power in your campaign.

PR is Everything, short list of good deeds for your villains to win over local populace so that the job of the PCs became that much harder.

Regards,
Ruemere


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Here is to your speedy recovery, KT7FISH!
And to Nick's dad's, too.

Regards,
Ruemere

PS. Lost a good friend this Christmas - there should be some reality limiter for events like this.


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Into the shopping cart we go...

Regards,
Ruemere


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stringburka wrote:
More specifically, can one force PCGen to use Java6 if it is installed (while keeping the installation of Java7 for minecraft?)

Yes, and it's very easy. You just need to type a few things.

Note however that latest beta should run under Java7 just fine.

1. Go to the folder of your java6 installation, there find bin\javaw.exe. Copy the path, like this:
c:\Program Files\Java\jre6\bin\javaw.exe

2. Go to your pcGen installation folder. Find pcgen_low_mem.bat file there.
Make a copy of this file, for example:
pcgen_mine.bat

3. Edit the file. This is a plain text file, so just start your trusty Notepad and open the file. Inside the file change last line from:
java -Dswing.aatext=true -Xmx96m -jar pcgen.jar

to:
"c:\Program Files\Java\jre6\bin\javaw.exe" -Dswing.aatext=true -jar pcgen.jar

4. Save the file.

Note that I have changed file extension (just a cosmetic change), removed maximum memory limit (i.e. -Xmx96m switch). Also remember to add double quotes.

Regards,
Ruemere


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As a GM I would say something like this:
"Guys, what's your next action?"

From your story it is clear you have given him (and them) more than one chance. Also, it's quite likely these kobolds are holding innocents prisoner.

Mercy is precious commodity. Do not waste on those who don't cannot benefit from it. Paladin is a weapon - your job is to vanquish evil, not to split hair over a petty monster not willing to cooperate.

Regards,
Ruemere


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Icyshadow wrote:
alientude wrote:
baalbamoth wrote:
ok so Alien are we all supposed to just go "ZOMG YOUR SO TOTALLY RIGHT, I'LL NEVER PLAY ANY OTHER RPG AGAIN!!!" because to say anything remotely negitive about a game someone is enthusiastic about is pissing in his breakfast, or marks you as being a "hater"?
Why do you have to say anything at all? Why be negative? He's excited to have found something that reignites his enjoyment of RPGs. How is it a good idea to then immediately start talking about all the problems of that system? What's the purpose in immediately saying, "Well, you may be happy to have found Pathfinder, but let me tell you about all the problems I have with it." Are you actively trying to drive him away?

We're saving him from future troubles and disappointments.

Is that so wrong?

Life sucks. It always ends in death.

Pathfinder rocks. That's all there is to it.

Regards,
Ruemere


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Muser wrote:

Now that both FFXIII and FXIII-2 are out, what about the gunblades(Panem et circences, give the people what they want, etc) in that game?

Lightning, the main character of the first part routinely wields her weapon, which seems more like an oversized butterfly or flipknife than an actual sword, with one hand all the while crazily jumping around. Tends to also do backflips and shoot with it from mid-range as an attack sequence finisher as well, unlike Squall.

Give it a looksee

Disclaimer: haven't played FF games beyond 8th, so my knowledge is quite limited. Gonna give it a try based on the wiki you linked and some animation videos I saw on youtube.

Blazefire Sabre (Exotic weapon proficiency) feat: gain access to additional weapon features (see below).

Blazefire Sabre (exotic fusion of long-hafted axe and pistol, two weapon modes)
- sabre mode: 1d8, x2 (requires axe and martial weapon proficiences)
- gun mode: 1d8, x2, 2 bullets
- weapon mode change: move action
- [requires Exotic weapon proficiency] +4 to Acrobatics while moving through threatened area or enemy space
- [requires Exotic weapon proficiency] free action to change weapon modes, you may freely alternate between weapon modes between attacks
- [requires Exotic weapon proficiency] if using Spring Attack, you may apply Vital Strike chain feats to your attack

Regards,
Ruemere


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Cure spells go a long way toward making impossible happen.

Regards,
Ruemere


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Ravingdork wrote:

I guess this is as good a place as any to post this:

I can't seem to get NPC spellcasters to challenge the PCs. Between their recommended ability score arrays and low starting funds, I can't get the DCs of their spells to be anything better than a joke when compared to the PC's saves (which have better ability scores and gear to put into them). Even using things like potions to save money and increase the NPCs' spellcasting stats only goes so far. Even using clever tactics can be real tricky if you can't get any of the magic to stick.

Hoping for some advice.

Don't do this directly. This is a game of rock, paper and scissors now, and the party usually can provide all three, while a lone spellcaster is just this: alone.

Specific advice for a spellcaster:
1. Multiple saves per round are your friend. For example, a band of summoned Dretches can use multiple Stinking Clouds. Add Solid Fog to this, and you have 2 rounds of pure unmitigated panic among PCs. All for the price of a single medium level summon (Summon Monster V should be good enough) and a single support spell.

2. Always reduce visibility first. If they can pinpoint your location, or worse, if they can pinpoint you with ranged attacks, you're a goner. Invisibility is the most often countered spell in game, so take care to research alternatives:
- illusions of terrain features
- illusionary doubles or illusionary spell effects
- fog spells, with Solid Fog being the staple of battlefield control

3. Multiple saves, part two. Toxic fumes, poisoned weapons and caltrops. Target Strength ability to paralyze the casters. A group of friendly shadows (or controlled shadows) will do the trick nicely. A large group of kobolds with strength sapping darts will do good, too.

4. Invest in +Stealth items. Make Stealth your primary skill. Use darkness spells a lot.

5. Fireball sniping. Fireball is a long range spell. Cleric's worst save is Reflex. Bonus points if you can get several fireballs to go simultaneously. If you kill, or at least scare their healer, they will flee, too.

Regards,
Ruemere


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A toast to the looming horde of sarcophagi, urns, pyramids and plain old graves awaiting influx of player characters,

To Chuck, Greg and Bill, for rising a torch for Ye Olde Necromancers,

To everyone who became a member of elite club of Frog God Games supporters,

I salute you!

Regards,
Ruemere


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41. You tend to discuss your violent machiavellan schemes in a middle of a crowded bus.

42. You tend to discuss magic and demon summoning and bloody sacrifices in a middle of a crowded bus.

43. You tend to brag about your imaginary conquests of fairer sex... in public places.

Ah, the memories of bygone age. Nowadays even fundamentalist geriatric commandos would not break a sweat if I tried any of the above.

Regards,
Ruemere


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This cover would look better if included a Prothean.

Regards,
Ruemere


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Chuck Wright wrote:

I would like to start out by saying that I love variety in gaming. My gaming group and I always jumped around systems and were eager to learn new ones.

That said, the two things that jumped out at me as very positive.

1) They want to listen to the fans and do an open beta.

Statement of intentions does not equal proof of transaction. Color me slightly pessimistic especially since their open beta is not referring to actual open design approach (i.e. an unfinished version of the product is publicly available for testing), merely to "something" being open for testing.

The last time we've heard something similar from WotC, the "open beta" was actually a class preview for 4E (Barbarian or Assassin, sorry, don't remember right now) less than 3-4 months before release of the product. It was just a cover preview, not an actual beta.

Besides, they lack people and experience with regard to open beta design. Again, intentions do not equal deeds.

Quote:
I've heard grumblings along the lines of Paizo having done it before WotC. All that tells me is that there are people among the "powers that be" at WotC/Hasbro who are willing to learn from their mistakes and change their game-plan accordingly. It's simply smart business to recognize a winning strategy by your competitor and adopt it.

Agreed on this. Besides, open test is a good way to find one's own ability to handle complex customer support tasks - crowdsourcing testing is only as good as vendor's ability to process feedback.

Quote:
2) They want make the game modular. According to the ENWorld article, the next rule set will have a basic system with more rule systems that can be stacked on to that basic system. I have seen this done with a few other gaming systems and it is one of my favorite approaches. My hope would be that the basic system will allow for genre-specific rule modularity.

So they want to create a GURPS Pathfinder with core framework based on 4E bones. At least that how I see their goals - they want to build upon 4E experience, but they want to have several levels of complexity (with set in stone miniature wargame system at the lowest level [Chainmail level], expanded for RPG customization around medium level [D&D RPG Basic], and then introduce design principles for metadesign of highest order of system complexity [D&D Advanced and Meta]).

I do not really see this happening properly. They do not seem to have large enough task force - unless they want to reuse existing 4E rules and adapt them to new design principles.

Let me guess what happens a year from now:

We're going to have specific classes (let's call them builds) - simple enough to be used in war game, general classes (customizable fighters, rogues, clerics and wizards and similar) - easily deployable in RPG, and then we're going to have "classless" classes styled after general roles (striker, defender, etc). The modularity of the system will be about content you will be able to add to your roles to create general classes. For "space opera" RPG, one can easily imagine this: space + defender + magic = Jedi, and with a mix of some fantasy data: fantasy + defender + dwarf + commoner + experienced = dwarf miner wargame miniature.

There will be a basic fantasy book for players (let's call it Player's Handbook), a basic general book for GMs (Dungeon Master's Guide) and lots of plug-in books for those who want to play in a specific setting.

There will be specific setting books with plug-in content for reimagined settings (this time we'll get Planescape, Greyhawk and Ravenloft, as opposed to Dark Sun, Forgotten Realms and Eberron) with assigned complexity level, for example, Armies of Abyss (Planescape Wargame) or Kargatane Player's Guide (Ravenloft RPG book for players) or Secrets of Circle of Eight (for GMs wanting to add their own campaign set in Greyhawk).

Oh, and there will be free and paid DLC for those who want to get more.
Miniatures for wargame fans (and RPG afficionados) and so on.

Oh well. Looks like I have seen it somewhere before.

Regards,
Ruemere


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Russ Taylor wrote:
Having read a reasonable amount of fiction from around the period Lovecraft was writing, he comes off as pretty racist by the fiction standards of the day. It doesn't show up in all his stories, but when it does show up, it can be pretty appalling. Like the one about all the degenerate races living in the neighborhood, where it fell so far it got swallowed up. Holy cow.

Can we please skip the beating the dead horse part? In two or three generations our descendants will be laughing their asses off pointing our deficiencies, flaws and prejudices. They will mock our lack of foresight with regard to finances, global climate warming and falling prey to overabundance of cheap stuff mass produced in a countries where democracy and human rights are violated on daily basis.

So. Please. Let. Lovecraft. Lie. Peacefully.
And enjoy products of his imagination without that "holier than thou" attitude.

Thank you.

Regards,
Ruemere


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Louis Agresta wrote:

My understanding is that he did return money, but inconsistently. Some received theirs back upon request, some did not. I have no way to know which group is larger (got money back - did not get money back).

Also, it was products, plural.[...]

Louis, your quiet persistence is awe-inspiring.

Regards,
Ruemere


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This.
And this:

To Paizo, for being the gracious host, accomplished publisher, for classy act and for being so approachable.

To Third Party Publishers, for experimenting with the genre, for sharing the love and for making the games even richer.

To Dark Mistress and EndZeitGeist for being iconic reviewers. You guys need to be statted and get iconic pictures.

To You, Readers, Players and GMs, for participating and having fun and posting. And quarreling, arguing and bringing your insights.

A toast in your honor and to your continued presence!

Regards,
Ruemere


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1. Get character creation software you feel comfortable with. PcGen for me, HeroLab otherwise. You'll need Core Rulebook, Bestiary and Advanced Player's Guide.

2. Be prepared to re-stat most of the characters in the book. It's doable, and thanks to APG, you can do a lot of things already. For most nameless NPCs, Paizo have taken good care of you already, as with Game Mastery Guide out many basic characters are already covered.
If you don't want to buy the whole of Game Mastery Guide, just look at NPC Gallery.

3. Monte Cook's proposes a change in distribution in magic items (and Ptolus by consequence). As a rule of thumb, all items with charges cost only half as normal, NPC wealth is halved until 6th level.
The result is that at low levels game feels like a low-magic, but at legendary levels, the speed is back to normal. That also means that there is no overabundance of +1 or +2 items, as most of mid-to-high level characters will go straight for +3 equivalents.

Regards,
Ruemere

PS. With similar approach*, I've run Banewarrens (set in Mithril, in Scarred Lands), and the game was a blast. The PCs coveted masterwork items, oils and potions, and sometimes scrolls, ruled the game. And since the game has been running for 8 years now straight, I must be doing something right.

* Scarred Lands is even more conservative. Item prices (market ones) are tripled. Items of value beyond 10.000 can be only bartered for. You can only purchase or trade in items when you're on a good standing with a guild (no shops) or other power center capable of manufacturing or acting as a bank.

Of course, I have had to compensate somewhat for lack of items (mostly by boosting up character stats and using a little lower CR creatures than default), but any item beyond 10 grand was a major cause for celebration.

Of late, I have been bumping their wealth up (14th CR critters do not forgive lower wealth), but several players noticed that and asked me privately to slow down, as they enjoy this relative poverty. It slows down advancement, and many encounters are much riskier than intended, but at the same time, fighting a monster with unhittable AC and impenetrable spell resistance (Book of Monster Templates, Restless One with some additional immunities thrown in) was a great experience in use of terrain features, tag-in tag-out moments, and creative thinking).


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This is your game. You can do anything with it... This is my advice:

Turn him into full-blown antipaladin, complete with all powers, yet let him keep his alignment.

In other words, you get a Chaotic/Neutral/Lawful Good person, with an Aura of Evil wrapped around him like a boa constrictor. Let him try to deal with being perceived as evil, with children and animals shying away from him, his powers clearly sponsored by a mysterious dark patron.

The new powers won't do him much good - smite good and touch of corruption should be nigh useless, and he may, rightfully so, fear using his replacement abilities.

Then watch him... if he starts using his abilities carelessly, seal his fall. If he uses them only against evil, tries to act LG, let them slowly fade over time and, possibly, replace them with paladin counters.

A word of warning, though. Antipaladins are weaker than paladins by virtue of their abilities being limited to offensive. Additionally, all creatures capable of perceiving his aura may take steps to harm him. You may want to be generous with rewards for actions taken to rid of this curse.

Regards,
Ruemere

PS. No LG god should be a jerk to visit this upon their believer - this should be a genuine ploy to tempt an innocent person... (yes, I read Book of Job, and despite it being a parable, I still find it starkly sadistic and malevolent).


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0) Do not assume that term "Epic Fantasy" means the same to everyone.

Cases in question:
- Urth of New Sun
- Dark Tower

Pathfinder specific examples:
- Numeria
- Mana Wastes

Regards,
Ruemere


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Frog God Games believe in no-holds-barred game. In other words, their balance is often based around notion of surviving by skin of one's teeth.

Based on my humble experience, as a GM you should either bring a lot of handkerchiefs for your players OR...

... make sure they loot Wand of Restoration early in a game,
... as above, but with a scroll of resurrection, and:
... several potions of Neutralize Poison,
... a Wand of Cure Light Wounds.

This is pretty expected if you played Necromancer Games products, though.

Regards,
Ruemere


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deinol wrote:
So if you really want to help, provide feedback when the next playtest comes around.

Sometimes I do. Sometimes I do it after the fact, like I do it now, when I can see the full picture.

Learning from experience is a staple of progress.

Regards,
Ruemere


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deinol wrote:
ruemere wrote:

You're living in the era of Internet, aren't you?

Bugzilla, launchpad, technet, heck, even forum would do, provided you created a closed part, where people need to use their NDA personas.

As my esteemed predecessor said: you just look at the content flagged by QAcers, and read their comments. Hundreds of eyes make for better spot, er, perception check.

Regards,
Ruemere

How does any of that reduce the feeback cycle to zero time?

The first step is to factor this into project management. I assure you that there is methodology for this. Plural. Methodologies.

The second step is to find out if you can split tasks into parallel jobs.

The third and final one is tomake sure that you make use of feedback as it comes in, but don't let it stray you from the course. Risk management is what you want to apply here.

The bad news is that project management is not a panaceum for everything. Actually, it can be quite harmful for work atmosphere.

That's why I suggested patronage project formula to handle this. I would imagine that patrons of MiB, TMZ, Cartigan and your caliber could do wonders.

Regards,
Ruemere


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James Jacobs wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
A Man In Black wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
And how do you determine who is qualified to give this sort of playtesting evaluation?
Presumably, the same way you determine who is qualified to write the book in the first place.

So, by starting them on small writing projects, then graduating them to larger ones once they've proven they have the necessary skills to manage a large project on time and do it well? Clearly I have time to train an entire team of playtesters in addition to everything else I do....

Alternatively, we could go through the same rigorous type of interview, resume solicitation/examination, and writing sample/edit test process we used to find and hire our latest developer.

Note that that process took us about half a year to complete...

James,

The developers are creative guys. At high level of complexity of the game you're looking at compromise between time allocated to creating drafts and refining it into final product.
In some cases refining can be split into many, simple and parallel tasks.

This is when you may be considering volunteered NDA people.

I realize that this is a touchy subject. After all we are dangerously close to be telling professionals how they should be doing their job.

My defense is that I am more than familiar with project management, and that my eigth sense tingles alerting me to possible areas of improvement.

An UC example. Have you noticed emergence of spells which circumvent Combat Maneuvers? Or spells which double values of specific bonuses? Or no save spells?

While by themselves these spells are merely rule-0 subjects, placing them in a book marketed as martial character reply to Ultimate Magic, impressed me as a paradigm shift of significant kind.

The bottom line would be something like:
The most common of crowdsourcing solution in rpg world are patronage projects. I am extremely pleased with quality of Open Design products.
Maybe it would be an interesting experiment to test waters with one and very limited number of patrons (to keep noise to signal ratio as low as possible).

I'm bowing out of this discussion at this point. While I may comment later, I wouldn't want to offend anyone's feelings by being forceful.

Regards,
Ruemere


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I'll refrain from commenting directly as others have voiced my concerns. Instead I would like to propose certain systematic approach to four important, nay, cardinal aspects of using stealth.

ACTIVATING STEALTH
The way I see it, this should be a free action. Tying it to specific conditions creates hermetic subsystems riddled with exceptions.

DEACTIVATING STEALTH
Either an immediate action, or state change caused by certain circumstances. Copy n'paste from losing invisible condition.

HANDLING MULTIPLE CHECKS
The way I do it currently: the stealthy character keeps his last check. He maintains his last check as long as he keeps doing the same action, or takes an action which is sufficiently unobtrusive not to warrant another check.

HANDLING GROUPS
Again, this is the way I do it now:

Stealthy group uses check of the creature with lowest check result. If circumstances allow, more skilled characters may use Aid Another action to allow less skilled characters to take ten or take twenty.

A group of creatures who use Perception passively, like guards or a patrol, take ten, use best score, with Aid Another from the rest of the group limited to +4.

A group of creatures using Perception actively, like guards searching for escaping criminal, take ten or take twenty (depends on time they want to spend searching), use best score, with Aid Another from the rest of the group, limited to +10.

Regards,
Ruemere


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Gorbacz wrote:

You see, folks? Some time ago, I used to be nice. Friendly. Non-sarcastic. Had a blue dragon avatar and all. But sometimes, threads like this happened. I've tried to be friendly and got burned in return.

One of such threads pushed me over the edge. All it takes is one bad thread to reduce the sanest man alive to a loud-mouthed bag of devouring. They were hard lessons, but I shall never forget them. After all... They made me what I am today.**

** - bonus points to the person which spots which two famous comic books did I quote (or rather, one quoted and one paraphrased).

1602?

Regards,
Ruemere


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Name Violation wrote:
ShadowcatX wrote:

I found a website that already has information from Ultimate Combat (a fair bit of the archetypes) and I don't know what to do about it. Should it be reported to the people in power, and if so how?

I don't want to publish the web address here, as that would only get them more traffic.

for your sake, i hope you never go to prison

Dude. You're wrong. In many ways. And on several levels.

Like, for example, Paizo is not going to sick Wild Hunt after whoever made the mistake. Or, that being silent is the right thing to do.

Ruemere


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Well played. I'd use Savage Worlds or EABA (with larger than life characters).

My interpretation of characters is a bit different:

Comedian's a brute. Slow, powerful and tough. And nasty.

Roscharch is presence/stealth commando. He relies on his ability to terrify opponents, uses stealth, gadgets and improvised weapons to great effect. He has also extremely forceful personality. In times of need he can draw on hysterical strength to perform feats of extreme brutality. Suffers from paranoia. Obsessive.

Dr Manhattan is an addict, drunk on hyper-reality and possibilities, lacking in social graces, with his gifts slowly eroding his humanity. He is less than human and extremely focused, to the point of being a bit dumb. Often spaces out distracted by phenomena beyond anyone else's perception.

Night Owl is a more mundane version of Dr Manhattan, with skills in applied science. His strength is a product of his dedication to ideals of perfection. Though, being less driven than most of the characters, he's fallen a bit behind.

Silk Spectre is a martial artist and adrenaline junkie. Highly skilled and quick, prone to bouts of aggression.

Ozymandias is the opposite to Dr Manhattan. Totally focused on reality, he is capable of manipulating it to great effect, both in micro (personal ability to control and overpower opponents) and macro scale (the world). Extreme levels of awareness coupled with agility and ability to use opponent's maneuvers against them.

Regards,
Ruemere


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This is probably a troll, but I'd still nominate it as a post of the year.

Or post of the month.

Regards,
Ruemere


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The solution is simple. Don't show the book to your players. As beginners, they don't need to know the rules. Additionally, Paizo's Beginner's Box is going to be more newbie friendly.

Otherwise, I would prefer you talking to your family first. Trying to hide anything, or being overly protective, is likely to result in more damage in the long run.

Three, Seoni is not someone you can hug in real life (bar, possibly meeting Jenny Poussin in person). And in game she would fry you hindquarters for trying to tell her how to dress (or, alternatively, pat you on your back, and use polymorph and leash).

Obligatory disclaimer:
Taking pen or marker to book or otherwise censoring the content is an abhorrent concept to me.

Regards,
Ruemere


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Agreed. My proposal:

(total spoilers below)

Spoiler:
Replace all unique monster room encounters with variant Mi-Go and their creations:

- unstable, braindead, mindlessly destructive villagers (or fostered) who break down (or explode) into gelatinous puddles of green goo upon death.

- leave Dimensional Shamblers in the final part intact. There are few spookier things than buzzing sound of monsters teleporting in and immediately attacking. Remove all Shamblers prior to tunnels.

- delete misguided underwater sorcerer. Replace it with a nasty swarm of flesheating fish (half-eaten criminal makes for a great foreshadowing element, the players will have to deal with the creatures to get to tunnels anyway, plus, the sorcerer can actually damage players' means of escape)

- the Color ooze is a great concept. Sadly, it does not fit here. This is not a Zoo. Replace fostered folk with exploding fostered folk.

- the Undiomedan house: replace all encounters with members of the order, have the bloodshed become result of infected fighting spawning cankers (the Order guys visited the house, went to sleep, got infected, and now it's a battle of attrition between those who succumbed and those who still resist infection).

- keep the final showdown.

- [OPTIONAL] replace all villagers in final part with exploding while the players are down there. And then let the players realize that this is a plague about to spread... and the only solution is to burn the whole town to the ground. Explanation could be difficult, but some biological weapon by Mi-Go, used to clean populations, should suffice.

There you go. No survivors at the end. All evidence wiped. Nobody is going to believe players that these things happened. Another little town which disappeared.

Regards,
Ruemere


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Paizo guys know the value of being able to work face to face, visiting lunch cafeteria together and bouncing random ideas during random talk.

Regards,
Ruemere


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This is a full rewrite of Shadowdancer prestige class.
It is modelled somewhat after Jason's proposal and made compatible with Pathfinder BETA. Expect a lot of changes, however.

DESIGNER NOTES
or why bother with rewrite

Shadowdancer concept is one of the most climactic concepts among prestige classes. It also reminds me somewhat of one of favorite novel characters, Jack of Shadows, a cunning rogue with affinity to shadow, a cynic whose good intentions made fate of the whole world turn to worse (or apocalyptic change at least). He's also a wizard, scientist and he has a castle of shadows hidden in his shadow.

Therefore, when one of my players approached me several years ago asking to play one, I agreed immediately and resolved to make this class worth playing.

Fast forward 3-4 years.

We have a playtested solution, though, since the player trusts me, not all the changes to his class are readily apparent (truth to be told, some of the changes were introduced as results of narrative, and then, when the story ran out, were withdrawn for balance purposes). That said, it must be stressed, that this is the first time I decided to gather together my notes and come up with a complete solution.

About the changes to the class itself.

Well, the class abilities suck. They look cool on paper but any vanilla rogue can overtake this class in terms of scouting, skill use or damage dealing. Mobility afforded by shadowjumping is easily trumped by item with Dimension Door function and the shadow is the most menacing threat to shadowdancer himself. All undead are very vulnerable to certain spells and effects, and since a Shadow needs to get close and personal, any boss monster or area effect user can kill it quickly. Moreover, this Shadow is easily noticeable, so it is going to stand out like a hitchkier's thumb everywhere.

The best class ability, Hide in Plain Sight, violates cardinal rule of RPG - how are you supposed to believe that someone can hide because there is a shadow nearby? It's not actually turning invisible, it's hiding. So how does it work?

Summing it up. The class needed some boosting, some clarifications and some purpose to fulfil. Hopefully, we have managed to provide all of this (adjusting for changes of Pathfinder BETA and Pahtfinder BETA Prestige Classes). See below.

PS. Feel free to use it, abuse it, change it provided you keep some information on its authors as per OGL :P

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SHADOWDANCER
Hit Die: d8.

Requirements
To qualify to become a shadowdancer, a character must fulfill ll following criteria.
Skills: Stealth 5 ranks, Perform (dance) 2 ranks, Knowledge (Planes) 2
Special: Must have visited plane of Shadow at least once or must have researched the subject of plane of Shadow.

Note: There are not feats which pertain to class concept, therefore feat requirement was skipped in favor of Knowledge (Planes) as it was deemed that affinity with Plane of Shadow was required. As the skill ranks work now, this class is acquirable at 6th level.

Class Skills
The shadowdancer's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Acrobatics (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Stealth (Dex), Use Magic Device (Cha).
Skill Points at Each Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Note: Added Linguistics (for Decipher Scripts), Sense Motive (for improved ability to negotiate with outsiders), Use Magic Device (to allow the class to benefit from devices reserved for more empowered classes).

Class Features

Lvl . BAB . Fort . Ref . Will
(unchanged)

Level .1 ........... Shadow Companion I, Hide in plain sight
Level .2 ........... Evasion or Improved Evasion, Darkvision 60',
..... .. ........... Uncanny Dodge or Improved Uncanny Dodge
Level .3 ........... Shadow Companion II, Shadow illusion
Level .4 ........... Shadow jump 20', Shadow Twin I
Level .5 ........... Shadow Companion III, Defensive Roll
Level .6 ........... Shadow jump 40', Shadow Twin II
Level .7 ........... Shadow Companion IV, Slippery mind
Level .8 ........... Shadow jump 80', Shadow Twin III
Level .9 ........... Shadow Companion V, Shadow Step
Level 10 ........... Shadow jump 160', Shadow Twin IV, Shadow Ascension

All of the following are features of the shadowdancer prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Shadowdancers do not gain new proficiences.

Note: And why should they? Unless someone sacrifices arcane caster levels, they are unlikely to need any.

Shadow Companion I (Su): At 1st level, a shadowdancer can summon shadow companion, an undead shade with its own personality and unique outlook. Usually, Shadow Companions look like beings they were before they were turned into shades, however their memories of past lives are fragmented at best. Unlike a normal shadow, shadow companion possesses a number of unique features:
- its alignment matches that of shadowdancer,
- it cannot create spawn,
- it also cannot be turned, rebuked or controlled by third party,
- it can communicate with shadowdancer using shadowdancer's preferred language,
- if slain, it will reform within 2d4 days. Until it reforms, shadowdancer has one negative energy level,
- it may, as a move action, travel between plane of Shadow and shadowdancer's plane using shadowdancer's own shadow,
- it may hide in shadowdancer's shadow, and, when hidden in shadowdancer's shadow, it may become invisible as a free action,
- unless otherwise specified, no ability (including special attacks gained during growth) of Shadow Companion affects shadowdancer.

Note: Shadow Companion is intended to become a useful tool - it replaces lockpicks, weak area damage spells. It can also provide a great roleplaying opportunity. In my games it is Elena, a little girl with a shadow of a dead kitten. She is a little timid, loves playing around and when she gets mad, people get bad feeling straight out of horror movies.

Shadow Companion II, III, IV, V (Su): At 3rd level, and every two levels thereafter, Shadow Companion grows gaining +4d12 hitpoints, +2 attack bonus, +4+Intelligence bonus skill points (the bonuses already include ability increases from improved hit dice).
At Shadow Companion III, increase Strength drain from 1d6 to 1d8. At Shadow Companion V, increase Strength drain from 1d8 to 2d6.
Also, each time it grows, it gains one of the following abilities (Save DC: 10 + 1/2 Shadow Companion's HD + Shadow Companion's Charisma Modifier):

- Corrupting Gaze (Su): Range: 30 feet. Gaze attack. Fortitude save or take 2d10 points of damage.

- Corrupting Touch (Su): Deal 1d6+Charisma bonus damage with successful Incorporeal Touch attack. This is in addition to Strength drain.

- Frightful Moan (Su): Range 30 feet. Sonic Mind-affecting Fear attack. Will save or become panicked for 2d4 rounds. Successful save renders targets immune for 24 hours.

- Horrifc Appearance (Su): Range 60 feet. Gaze Mind-affecting attack. Fortitude save or take 1d4 damage to Strength, Dexterity and Constitution. Successful save renders targets immune for 24 hours.

- Malevolence (Su): Must enter the same space as Medium-sized or smaller target (subject to attack of opportunity). Incorporeal Touch attack. Will save to resist. Successful save renders target immune for 24 hours.
Failed save results in subject being possessed as per Magic Jar spell for. The Malevolence lasts until target is slain, 1 hour per Shadow Companion's hitdie passes, Shadow Companion leaves target body voluntarily or Shadow Companion is driven off by use of ability which targets possessed creatures or Undead (Shadow Companion loses immunity to control, turning or rebuking upon successfully possessing target).

- Animate Object (Su): Must enter the same space as Medium-sized or smaller object (subject to attack of opportunity). Creates animated object of appropriate size, with Shadow Companion Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma, hitpoints, feats and skills. Lasts until object is destroyed, Shadow Companion leaves target object voluntarily or Shadow Companion is driven off by use of ability which targets possessed creatures or Undead (Shadow Companion loses immunity to control, turning or rebuking upon successfully possessing target).

- Telekinesis (Su): As Telekinesis spell. Usable once per minute. Caster level equal to Shadow Companion's hitdice.

- Darkness (Su): As Darkness spell. Caster level equal to Shadow Companion's hitdice.

Hide in plain sight (Su): Whenever you are standing in shadow (partial shadow and total darkness are fine, too), you may use Stealth skill even if observed - you simply turn invisible. Once hidden, you may continue moving even if it means crossing someone's line of sight or leaving shadow. You may not use your own shadow for the purpose.

Note: a significant nerfing of an ability done for roleplaying purposes.

Evasion or Improved Evasion (Ex): A shadowdancers gains Evasion, or, if the charactger already has it, gains Improved Evasion instead.
Evasion: If you're exposed to any effect, which allows to attempt a Reflex saving throw for half damage, she takes no damage upon successful throw.
Improved Evasion: As Evasion, however, even if the saving throw is failed, she still takes only half damage.

Note: combined Evasion and Improved Evasion together (note: there is no way to gain Improved Evasion if the character haven't gained it a lower level). Removed restriction with regard to armor type (heavier armor = better protection, and, actually, well made armors do not restrict movement).

Darkvision 60' (Ex): A shadowdancer gains Darkvision up to the range of 60'.

Note: Specified darkvision distance. Changed ability from Supernatural to Extraordinary to allow to benefit from this in areas of anti magic.

Uncanny Dodge or Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): A shadowdancers gains Uncanny Dodge, or, if the charactger already has it, gains Improved Uncanny Dodge instead.
Uncanny Dodge: A character retains Dexterity bonus to AC if flatfooted or attacked by invisible opponent.
Improved Uncanny Dodge: Character's opponents are denied flanking bonus (and any abilities which require flanking) unless at least one of them is four levels higher than the character. However, even in that case, only the opponents who are four level higher than the character, can benefit from flanking and use abilities which require flanking.

Note: Cleaned Uncanny Dodge. After all, Rogues are not the only characters which require flanking for sneak attacking.

Shadow Illusion (Sp): A shadowdancer can create visual illusions. This ability's effect is identical to that of the arcane spell silent image and may be employed once per day.

Shadow Jump (Su): A shadowdancer gains the ability to travel between shadows as if by means of a dimension door spell. The limitation is that the magical transport must begin and end in an area with at least some shadow. A shadowdancer can jump up to a total of 20 feet each day in this way; this may be a single jump of 20 feet or two jumps of 10 feet each. Every two levels higher than 4th, the distance a shadowdancer can jump each day doubles (40 feet at 6th, 80 feet at 8th, and 160 feet at 10th). This amount can be split among many jumps, but each one, no matter how small, counts as a 10-foot increment.

Shadow Twin I (Su): As a swift action and once per day for the duration of one minute per shadowdancer level, a shadowdancer may order her shadow to detach and become a shadow twin. The shadow twin is a three dimensional colorless replica of a shadowdancer. It shares senses with a shadowdancer, may act independently (treat is a a separate creature controlled telephatically by a shadowdancer of the same creature type as shadowdancer) but must remain within 60' from its master or disappear.
Shadow Twin uses all statistics and abilities of its master (with the exception of Shadow Twin, Shadow Companion and Shadow Ascension), however it has only half of master hitpoints and its attack bonus, skills, CMB and saves are subject to -6 penalty.
Shadow Twin uses shadowy replicas of all the items used by shadowdancer, however it cannot use any special abilities of those items beyond straight ability bonuses.
Should the Shadow Twin be destroyed, a shadowdancer gains a negative level and loses her shadow for 24 hours.
Shadow Twin may be dismissed as a Swift action (it disappears and shadowdancer's own shadow reappears).

Shadow Twin II, III and IV (Su):
Shadow Twin II: Attack bonus, skills, CMB and saves are subject to -4 penalty. Gain additional use of Shadow Twin per day.
Shadow Twin III: Attack bonus, skills, CMB and saves are subject to -2 penalty. Gain additional use of Shadow Twin per day.
Shadow Twin IV: Attack bonus, skills, CMB and saves are not subject to penalty. Gain additional use of Shadow Twin per day.
Also, pick one new ability each time new Shadow Twin is gained:

- Shadow Castling (Su): Usable once per Shadow Twin use. As an immediate action, switch places with Shadow Twin.

- Shadow Tentacled Horror (Su): Shadow Twin erupts into mass of shadowy tentacles throwing itself at a target. Usable once per Shadow Twin use. Shadow Twin loses ability to perform any other activities than grappling or moving at Speed 5' (it still threatens area as normal, however it when using AoO it only grapples), but it gains Improved Grapple feat (+2 to grapple checks, do not provoke attacks of opportunity when performing grapple combat maneuver), further +8 competence CMB for the purpose of grappling and attempts to grapple. Each round afterwards Shadow Twin attempts to grapple again and, if successful, damage target.

- Shadow Devouring Horror (Su): Shadow Twin changes in a gaping maw one size larger than Shadow Twin. Then it proceeds to swallow whole any target of smaller size. Shadow Twin loses ability to perform any other activities than attempting to swallow or moving at Speed 5' (it still threatens area as normal, however it when using AoO it only attempts to swallow), but it gains Improved Grapple feat (+2 to swallow checks, do not provoke attacks of opportunity when performing swallow combat maneuver), further +8 competence CMB for the purpose of swallowing and attempts to swallow. Each round afterwards Shadow Twin attempts to swallow again. Swallowed darkness are enveloped in darkness, are considered grappled (but not pinned) and cannot use any Supernatural or Spell like abilities until they break free or Shadow Twin disappears. To break free, Shadow Twin must be damaged either from inside or from outside to the point of disappearing (0 hp).

- Shadow Double (Su): Shadow Twin changes its appearance as per Alter Self spell, with duration equal to Shadow Twin duration. It also gains colors and may mimick any target creature as per Disguise skill check made by Shadow Twin master.

- Shadow Lifespan Extension (Su): Each use of Shadow Twin lasts 10 minutes per shadowdancer class level rather than 1 minute per level.

- Shadow Cloak (Su): Shadow Twin may become a shadowy cloak protecting its target. Usable once per Shadow Twin use. A shadowdancer or individual chosen by shadowdancer gains a number of temporary hitpoints equal to those Shadow Twin. However, the Shadow Twin may not revert to its standard form until the end of its duration or until it is dismissed or slain.

- Shadow Distance Extension (Su): Shadow Twin may leave vicinity of its master up to one mile away per shadowdancer class level.

- Shadow Escape (Su): If the shadowdancer dies with Shadow Twin active, she may transfer her soul into Shadow Twin. Shadow Twin duration is extended up to one day per shadowdancer class level. Shadow Twin retains replicas of shadowdancer equipment, however she the replicas disappear if they lose contact with Shadow Twin. If shadowdancer's original body is raised or resurrected, a shadowdancer may return to its original body. If the duration passes, a shadowdancer dies.
Shadowdancer who escaped into Shadow Twin may move further than original distance limit from its dead body, however it is not advisable as she cannot reunite her soul with her body (if the body is raised or resurrected) until she is back within original distance limit.

Note: Shadow Twin is not an original concept, but allows to make up for loss of combat ability, while also improving character options by adding yet another support ability to class effectiveness.

Defensive Roll (Ex): Once per day, when a shadowdancer would be reduced to 0 hit points or less by damage in combat (from a weapon or other blow, not a spell or special ability), she can attempt to roll with the damage. She makes a Reflex saving throw (DC = damage dealt) and, if successful, takes only half damage from the blow. She must be aware of the attack and able to react to it in order to execute her defensive roll. If she is in a situation that would deny her any Dexterity bonus to AC, she can't attempt a defensive roll.

Slippery Mind (Ex): If a shadowdancer is affected by an enchantment and fails her saving throw, 1 round later she can attempt her saving throw again. She only gets this one extra chance to succeed at her saving throw. If it fails as well, the spell's effects occur normally.

Shadow Step (Su): Once per level per day, as a Move action, a shadowdancer may leave material plane and enter corresponding place in Shadow plane, or exit Shadow plane and enter corresponding place in a coterminous material plane. Whenever performing this action, there is a 50% chance to miss desired place and appear displaced in random direction by 1d10 * 10' (or less if there is no unoccupied space).
Upon use of Shadow Step, a shadowdancer may sacrifice remaining uses of Shadow Twins to bring one willing creature she is in contact with per sacrificed use of Shadow Twin.

Note: This is direct and relevant ability to keep the class on par (somewhat) with Plane Shift and Teleport.

Shadow Ascension (Ex): Upon use of Shadow Step to enter Shadow plane, a shadowdancer may choose to appear in a Deep Shadow safe area. It may appear as a castle, cavern or a hut, however all locations inside except the one of main chamber, appear to be unstable and changing. The main chamber sports a comfortable resting accomodations, ample food and water to feed an army and other furniture as desired by shadowdancer. The safe area lasts for up to one day per shadodancer class level, but it can be dismissed earlier. Upon dismissal or if shadowdancer leaves safe area, any creatures within safe area are safely deposited back in material plane close to the place they entered Shadow plane displaced in random direction by 1d10 *10' (or less if there is no unoccupied space).
Any items left behind upon safe area disappearance will be found again stored in main chamber. However, if the shadowdancer dies, they will be scattered randomly somewhere in Shadow plane.
While in safe area, shadowdancer and accompanying creatures may not be found unless divinations employed by creature of higher level than shadowdancer character level total +4.

Note: Shadow Ascension is meant to add to character flavor. While it affects combat abilities only indirectly, it should allow for necessary breather at higher levels and storage of accumulated wealth.

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Regards,
Ruemere


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Zombieneighbours wrote:

[...]'Two men are using identical desk top computers.

One man sits down and uses the computer as he finds it; he beleives it works.
While the other unplugs the computer and trys to operate it; he beleives that it is broken.'

If you push a game system to the point where it breaks, by playing at its extremes in all cases, you are not finding a fault in the system, you are making a fault in the system. If you build every wizard as a Intelligence 20 at creation optermised to perfection machine of destruction, instead of a character built with hobbies(represented by skill allocation and feat us), naturalistic unspiked attribute, ofcause the game will break down.

Your analogy is a little lacking. Chief breaking points:

1. Most users use system defaults have fewer problems but are far less able to deal with challenges and quite often their productivity is mediocre.

2. Users who do research on how things work have fewer problems with adapting to problematic aspects of work environment. Their productivity is equal or superior to typical users.

3. The user who intentionally pushes system toward breaking point is jeopardizing workflow and, consequently, is likely to be punished by superiors.

Meanwhile, under d20:
1. Players who play by defaults, die more often.

2. If you research the system, your character gets to live longer and better, however the system is likely to suffer.

3. And so by becoming more proficient with d20 ruleset, you also get closer to breaking it down.

Or, in other words:
You cannot roleplay when you're dead.

So, while everyone is free to play their own game, it is the people who find potential problems, who are important for advancing the game.
Those who are content with current state of affairs are somewhat less keen on helping developers :)

Therefore arguing that things are fine as they are now, is counterproductive and quite possibly destructive to Pathfinder initiative.

Regards,
Ruemere


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