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Forvian takes a drink and coughs. "We'll be in touch in a few days. Count on it. We owe these Devil-dealers some payback, and Forvian Crowe always pays his debts."
Crowe and the other mercenaries make haste as they are able and file out of the building.
With bloodied weapons and armor, you take the back way into the Wasp's Nest, and send word to Laria of your return. As soon as she is able to step away from the cafe, she comes downstairs with a pot of coffee and a basket of pastries to celebrate your victory.
"Don't go tellin' me too much, but are you all whole? Did you manage to get to Forvian in time?" she asks, concern creeping into her voice.
Having decided against burning down the Salt Works, the matter of what to do with the rescued mercenaries is still present. The men look weak and are clearly in need of rest and likely some medical attention; they'll be of no use in a fight in their current condition, and likely would not be able to travel any further than the city limits.
Forvian Crowe speaks up, his voice still dry and raspy, though growing a bit stronger.
"I know we must look like hell, but don't worry too much about us. I've got a safehouse we can lie low at for now while we rest. But...if me and some of the boys were inclined to return the favor to you, how might we go about finding you?"
The healthiest man in the bunch looks to be in his late 20's; his features are clearly Chelaxian, and he has a bushy moustache that has grown is growing into a rough, scraggly beard.
"I'm glad to say that we won't have to find out." he replies to Corian with a weak smile. "My name is Forvian Crowe, and you have my gratitude. I will tell everyone I know of what you've done for us."
Elsewhere, a brief exploration of the area reveals a back door that leads to a work yard enclosed by a gated fence, and a small building.
Valleria notices a small lockbox in the front office area, before she reaches the door. It is easily opened using one of the keys on Kossrani's keychain, and contains 67gp and 423sp.
Moving into the back area, you find yourselves in a storage area littered with barrels of salt. There are two doors immediately to your right; the first is uncomfortably warm to the touch, while the second is not. Following the directions of the surviving mercenary, you open the second door to find six men shackled in a room that looks like it was originally someone's office. All six appear dehydrated, and the room itself is dry and quite warm, presumably due to whatever is in the room next door.
"What kind of idiot would die for a pile of salt and a closet full of sellswords? You can have your honor, lordling. We'll see how much comfort it gives when it's *you* on the ground holding your guts in place." he says, wincing as he slowly rises to his feet and edges towards the door.
"Risking your neck for a few gold pieces is foolish enough; doing it for some god or king or whatever you're here for is lunacy. Good luck, you maniacs..." he says, dragging himself towards the door, leaving a trail of blood behind him.
The man points to the double doors at the back of the room.
"Through those doors, second door on the right. There might still be a couple of guys in the back barracks sleeping, or on their way back here for the next shift. It's just a job; tell them Kossrani is dead and there shouldn't be any need for more bloodshed."
23: Ignati cuts down the man protecting Kossrani's flank with a dignified swish of his rapier.
21: Voreni remains unsteady on his feet, carefully watching for any sudden attacks.
16: Wilhelm's attack on Kossrani does not succeed, but with so many incoming attacks, surely the dwarf cannot defend against them all...
13: Valleria slips behind Kossrani's defenses and slams her shield into his face, sending a spray of blood into the air. He staggers back, leaving himself open for the finishing blow, and Valleria delivers, thrusting her short sword into his neck and sending him to the ground in a bloodied heap.
10: Morrigan thoroughly intimidates the dying dwarf.
09: Corian groans, but manages to bind his wounds temporarily.
The man who surrendered to Valleria remains seated on the ground, leaning against a table and holding his wounds. "You...you said you'd spare me. Please, can I go?" he asks.
Combat has ended, unless someone wants to attack the white square, who surrendered a few rounds ago.
I played a Halfling Rogue in a Pathfinder Core game. I took Weapon Finesse, and fought with a Mythril dagger. Surprisingly that rogue survived, and was reasonably successful.
I've been re-reading the Occult Adventures book, revisiting classes that I'd overlooked for one reason or another previously. I noticed that Mesmerists get a choice of two different damage prevention/mitigation tricks, and I'm trying to decide which one is better.
Psychosomatic Surge wrote:
Psychic magic soothes the subject, alleviating her wounds temporarily. The mesmerist can trigger this trick when the subject takes damage. The subject gains a number of temporary hit points equal to 1d8 + 1/2 the mesmerist's level. If the damage from the triggering attack would have reduced the subject to 0 hit points or fewer, this trick grants an additional 1d8 temporary hit points. These temporary hit points last for 1 hour or until discharged.
So, what I like about Psychosomatic Surge is that it's triggered by any damage, regardless of the source, and it's a "heal" that can be triggered from considerable distance. It's effective as a buff on melee, and also works as an insurance policy for soft targets (including the Mesmerist). The downside is that the wording implies that it applies the healing *after* the damage has been done, so it isn't really preventing damage, and technically it isn't healing it either. It's just a band-aid until you can find a real healer. You could get hit once, trigger the healing, and then never use those temp hit points if you aren't damaged again in the next hour.
Shadow Splinter wrote:
The mesmerist protects the subject against an attack and redirects the harm to someone else. The mesmerist can trigger this trick when the subject takes damage from an attack. The damage the subject takes is reduced by an amount equal to 3 + the mesmerist's Charisma modifier (to a maximum of the total amount of damage the attack deals). Another creature within range of the original attack, other than the attacker, is affected by a shadow illusion that makes it appear as if the attacker is attacking that creature instead of the attacker's actual target. This second creature takes an amount of damage equal to the amount by which the attack's damage was reduced. This shadow doesn't require a roll to hit and ignores cover and concealment, but the target can attempt a Will save to disbelieve the effect. If it succeeds at this save, it neither takes the damage nor believes the attacker targeted it. This trick can't be triggered if there's no eligible second creature within range to take the redirected damage. This is an illusion (shadow) effect.
Shadow Splinter prevents damage and redirects it to another target in a manner that could possibly create infighting among the enemy. That's great! However:
1. It's only triggered by attacks, so indirect damage (traps, etc.) won't trigger it.
2. There is a will saving throw, so it could potentially not work (though the damage prevention happens regardless)
3. There has to be a secondary target in order to trigger the effect, and they must be in range of the original attack.
4. The damage prevention scales with Charisma, rather than character level, so progression will be slow.
Overall, Shadow Splinter appears to be tactically superior when it's applicable, but Psychosomatic Surge seems like it would apply in more situations. Which would you prefer?
For reasons I no longer recall, at some point I skipped from -13 to -20 with my PFS character numbers. Well, a week ago I created a new character for a PFS game and tried to use -14 as the character number for it. It looks like it went through okay and the game was recorded, but now I can't create a character for it in my profile on the site, as the system auto-numbers all new characters after 20.
What should I do?
23: Ignati slips into position and attempts to skewer Kossrani's partner, but the man sidesteps his thrust.
21: Voreni continues to defend himself.
16: Wilhelm slides into flanking position behind Kossrani, but the dwarf's shield deflects his spear.
13: Valleria's shield clashes against Kossrani's, throwing him off balance enough for her short sword to slide behind his defenses and cut him for 3 points of damage.
10: Morrigan unleashes the cold terror of the shadows upon Kossrani. The dwarf grits his teeth and stands his ground, but he is clearly shaken.
09: Corian falls to the ground, bleeding heavily from his wounds.
08: Kossrani steps over Corian's fallen body and swings wildly at Valleria
05: The thug backing up Kossrani swings at Valleria, then falls back to avoid her counter-attack (5 foot step)
Orfamay Quest wrote:
The bulk, but not the entirety, and the people from Manpower have the ability to decline work they find too arduous. If you horsewhip someone from Manpower for spilling your coffee, you're in legal trouble. I know we're all joking around here, but comparing temp work to slavery diminishes the suffering of people who are actually enslaved.
Well, you don't really "hire" a slave, you buy them from someone else, so there isn't really any level at which you're getting the slave's permission for any of this. Everything you're making them do, you're forcing them to do.
Is it an "evil" act, in the sense that casting a spell with the EVIL descriptor is? No, but it's an immoral act, and a freedom-loving god like Cayden Cailean would likely punish you for it. Likewise, no good-aligned faction in the Inner Sea would look kindly on you. You'd be tolerated in neutral places like Taldor and Katapesh, though.
23: Ignati's rapier finds its mark and pierces the throat of his opponent. The man gurgles and staggers back, falling into the salt drying pit.
21: Voreni takes a defensive posture, bravely holding his ground despite his wounds.
16: Wilhelm swiftly dispatches the man who attacked Morrigan
13: Valleria strikes her opponent with her shield hard enough to break his neck, killing him.
10: Morrigan slides a knife into the ribs of another man attacking Corian
09: Corian moves behind Valleria and draws a potion of some sort.
08: Kossrani sidesteps and pursues Corian, swinging his heavy mace overhead with maddening glee. "We'll see who stands taller in Hell, priest!"
05: The last remaining mercenary, seeing Kossrani facing off against three attackers, moves in to back up his boss.
I'm whipping up an Occult-flavored character for some PFS play, and I can't shake the impulse to try out a Mindblade Magus. Easy weapon switches sound too good to pass up. Something dex-based would be tempting, but I decided to try strength-based for this build:
Half-Orc Magus (Mindblade) 1
Alternate Half-Orc trait: City Raised (proficient in whips/longswords, +2 knowledge: Local)
AC: 16 (20 with shield)
SPELLS (at first level)
Monkey Fish is a good utility spell to have for PFS situations, as a climb speed/swim speed in one spell can make easy work of many non-combat encounters.
I suppose if I was going to go full-dex for this build, I'd swap the DEX/STR scores, go Human, and adjust the feats as follows:
1: Weapon Finesse
Slashing Grace is incompatible with TWF, so I'd just cough up the money for Agile enchantments instead. Any suggestions? Does either build seem more sensible than the other, or am I on the totally wrong track here?
The injured man, still holding his wounds and leaned up against a stack of boxes, protests his innocence. "It wasn't me! It was..." his eyes go wide as Valleria's shield slams into the face of her would-be attacker, breaking his neck and killing him instantly.
"...well, it *was* him." he says with a gulp.
The thug battling Wilhelm sneers at the man. "You stinking coward! I'll gut you myself you worthless--"
Wilhelm's spear cuts the rest of his threat short, skewering the man through the chest.
Meanwhile, Morrigan slips a knife into the man who attacked Corian, drawing Kossrani's attention.
"Just you wait your turn, girl. I'll be with you soon enough."
23: Ignati attacks, dealing 4 points of damage to the man in front of him.
21: Voreni skewers Kossrani between the plates of his armor, dealing 4 points of damage. Feeling his own wounds beginning to take hold, Voreni then unleashes the electrical charge of his shield spell, shocking himself in the process and sending tendrils of eletrical energy all around.
16: Wilhelm's spear slides under the thug's guard, just barely missing the man's flank. The thug smiles and readies his counter-attack.
13: Valleria moves in on Kossrani and swings her shield in a wide arc, catching the dwarf off-guard and dealing 6 points of damage.
10: Morrigan blasts her attacker with a chilling ray of magic, turning his flesh brittle withered momentarily, and dealing 3 points of damage.
09: Corian follows up on Valleria's attack with his own mace swing, but Kossrani raises his shield and bats away his swing.
08: Kossrani turns his attention from the weakened Voreni back to his original foe, and strikes to cleave Corian's head from his shoulders.
05: Seeing that his expected adversary was drawn elsewhere, the wary thug pursues Valleria and moves in to flank her with Kossrani. Without even sparing a glance, she raises her shield against his strike and catches it.
Another thug, having avoided Wilhelm's spear, now moves into range for a counter-attack. Sadly, he is not equal to the task.
Scorched with lightning, a thug snarls at Voreni, but looking at the poor man barely standing, he wises up and moves in to flank Corian with Kossrani. His mace smashes into Corian with a loud, sickening crack, dealing 7 points of damage to the priest.
Lastly, the other scorched thug circles around Ignati to avoid being flanked, and presses his own attack. The bloody, scorching wounds he has received from Ignati and Voreni seem to only fuel the hatred of his strike. He drives his mace into Ignati's arm for 5 points of damage.
The week has been pretty crazy over here too. Family emergency; everyone's okay for now, but it's a bit stressful.
I've had my eye on Hell's Vengeance for a while, and I've been wanting to try out an AP with 15 point buy. No promises, but if I can get things settled on my end, I'll throw my hat into the ring :)
Would something like this possibly work? Level 1 Sylph Mindblade
AC: 15 (17 vs nonmagical ranged), w/Shield 19/21
Alternate Racial Traits:
Focusing on spells that are either ranged control spells or self-buffs. I've seen suggestions elsewhere to use Artful Dodge to qualify for DEX-based feats, but I don't think dumping DEX on a character who can only wear light armor and doesn't play well with shields is a great idea.
The Mindblade Magus Archetype from Occult Adventures casts Psychic spells, and has an ability that replaces the Magus' Improved Spell Combat ability. This, combined with the quirk of Psychic spells that raises Concentration check DCs by +10, seems to imply that Mindblades have a much more diffiuclt time succeeding at Spell Combat than a regular Magus would.
Is this intentional? Are there any ways to mitigate this, besides the obvious (Combat Casting feat, pumping INT)? Unless I'm missing something, it doesn't seem like the Mindblade gains much in exchange for this disability, since spontaneously making their weapons magical is an ability that Maguses have as well.
The Mesmerist's page in the Occult Adventures section has a misaligned "Mesmerist Spells Known" table, that makes it look as if the Mesmerist, at first level, knows 4 1st level spells, 2 2nd level spells (which he can't cast), and no entry whatsoever for 0-level knacks.
Neinty Nein wrote:
The River Kingdoms are a pretty rough and tumble place; kingdoms rapidly come and go, and kings/nobles tend to be the sort of men who can keep what they hold by force. With your character's dad being a military man, I imagine there being some tension between a strong, martial man and his bookish, studious son who relies on a muscular half-orc to protect him.
Perhaps the boy's mother was a stronger influence on him during his childhood? With his father away from home defending their king's lands from the aggressions of their neighbors, it would follow that the mother would traditionally run the house and see to the child's education. She would see herself as a civilizing influence on the militaristic culture of the area, and likely imported art, furniture, and even tutors from a more posh location, such as Absalom or Taldor. She also seems likely to be the person who hired the bodyguard, and gave the young man his snobbishness.
She has always been concerned for his safety, and was unwilling to let him go off to study magic, for fear that he might be attacked on the road by their rivals and held for ransom. Instead, she hired a foreign tutor to see to his magic studies. Probably someone she would see as exotic...an Osiriani magical scholar, or an expatriate from Minkai. This would also explain where your high-INT Wizard learned those extra starting languages. The tutor is likely a positive father-figure for the boy.
So why would this son of privilege leave his ivory tower, where everything he wants is brought to him?
Because of his father. His father, a self-made man, who earned everything that your character has ever had with the sweat of his brow and the blood of his enemies. His father, who seldom hides his disdain for his son's foppishness. His father, who thinks that skill with steel is what defines a man, more than any eldritch power that can be gleaned from dusty tomes and foreign teachers.
You adventure to prove, as much to yourself as to him, that you can survive beyond the walls of his protection. That you can build, with your own wits, a life even greater than what he has made with mere strength of arms. You will go out into the world and make a name for yourself, until even your father must admit that you are a worthy...no, superior, son.
EDIT: I see that I am too late. Nice work on your own backstory, hope this was at least an entertaining read.
Round 2 Summary
23: Ignati's attack misses, as the thug nimbly weaves to the side.
21: Voreni drinks his potion of Shockshield (AC is now 17) and readies himself for any incoming attacks.
16: Wilhelm misses with his initial thrust, then moves back to protect Morrigan, his eyes scanning the area for potential targets.
13: Valleria steps between two more of the thugs, knocking one off his feet with a swipe of her shield that leaves him a bloodied heap on the floor, then stabs another in the side with her shortsword. He winces in pain and doubles over, laying his weapon on the ground to surrender (he's the white square on the map).
10: Morrigan casts shield on herself from a scroll.
09: Corian's mace, empowered by his goddess, strikes a solid blow against Kossrani, who glares at him menacingly. In response to Corian's instructions to the rest of the group, Kossrani replies "You do realize that I can hear you, right?"
08: Kossrani side-steps behind Voreni and attacks with his mace, flanking with one of the thugs. Sadly, it does not avail him, as Voreni easily dodges the attack.
05: One of the thugs moves in on Wilhelm, but immediately takes a spear through the chest and falls to the ground. Behind him, two others seem taken aback by how suddenly he dropped, and begin circling around, skirting at the edge of his spear's range. One moves toward the surrendering man, shouting at him to pick up his weapon and readying an attack (bright red square), while the other moves in on Morrigan, successfully hitting her for 8 points of damage:
The thug flanking with Kossrani also attacks Voreni. Thanks to the distraction caused by Kossrani, he slams his mace into Voreni's back for 8 points of damage.
Another moves up to confront Corian in defense of Kossrani, but cannot pierce the cleric's strong defenses.
IMO, the problem isn't that healing the party is boring, it's that Clerics, as a class, don't really develop much over time. In a game that is as much about building your character as playing it, Clerics get no bonus feats, make all of their class decisions (all two of them) at first level, and despite being designed with melee in mind, have a horribly limited list of weapon proficiencies (Simple, and maybe one more, assuming you didn't pick a god who favors a simple weapon...which many of them do).
Two different Oracles of Flame might play completely differently, with one breathing fire all over the place and the other one imbuing his weapon with flame and zooming around the battlefield with extra move speed.
Every Witch is potentially different, based on what hexes they choose, what patron spells they get, etc.
Of all of the classes capable of healing, only the Cleric is trapped in the same build from level 1 until retirement. Their only respite are the 1 per 3 levels character feats that everyone else gets. It's an outdated class design that really should have been addressed in Pathfinder Unchained, IMO.
Round 1 Summary
23: Ignati draws his rapier and drinks an extract
21: Voreni draws his rapier and an extract
16: Wilhelm begins to Inspire Courage in his allies.
13: Valleria draws her weapon and begins to study the movements of her adversary.
10: Morrigan casts Color Spray, but it appears that her intended targets may not have been looking very closely, or perhaps simply got lucky.
09: Corian draws his heavy mace and strikes at Kossrani, his blow ringing against the dwarf's heavy armor harmlessly.
08: Kossrani steps forward and swings heavily at Corian, but instead only damages the wall behind him.
05: Thugs begin to pour in from the back room in response to the noise; three enter the primary room, while their companions begin to do battle.
One moves in to attack the now-visible Morrigan, but she deftly moves aside.
Another tries to take the initiative against Valleria, but she patiently sidesteps and prepares to counterattack!
A third tries to brain Voreni with his mace, but is expertly parried by the agile Chelaxian.
A fourth swings true, slipping behind Ignati's alchemical shield and striking him in the chest for 5 points of damage.
Perception: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 3 = 22
"I've already shown you the facilities and the product. What's this really all abo--" Kossrani pauses for a moment and turns, just in time to see the rear door swing open all by itself. The dwarf seems to almost turn red with rage.
"Bloody hell it's a trick! On 'em lads, and get that invisible one!"
Kossrani Initiative: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (7) + 1 = 8
Wilhelm, closely examining the salt workers, notes that while they look wretched and visibly uncomfortable, they are not wearing chains, bear no brands or other slave markings, and look like they are eating adequately. Working in a salt pit is hot, dry, uncomfortable work that only the desperately poor would take on, but these folks do not appear to be slaves or prisoners.
Morrigan, please make a stealth roll, including the invisibility bonus, but with a -5 penalty to "quietly" open the door and slip through to the back room.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (16) + 3 = 19
Kossrani frowns, and is clearly beginning to lose his patience. "The pit is heated by coal furnaces; didn't you see the chimneys outside? Anyway, demand has been heavy lately, so we don't have that large of a stockpile. Not much to see back there. The last overseer of this place was too soft on the workers; I'll have that problem sorted very soon. I'm your only local source for salt in this area, and if you import you'll be paying Barzilai's import tariffs. If you'd rather toss your money into Thrune's coffers than buy local, that's no concern of mine. Now are you buying, or what?"
Meanwhile, Morrigan manages to successfully duck behind a broken-down wagon in the front office and cast Invisibility.
Kossrani gives a small, quiet sigh of annoyance, then motions for you to follow him as he leads you over to the large, circular salt drying pit. As you stand with him on the small dock that extends over the pit, you can feel a dry heat radiating from below that seems to suck the moisture from your skin.
"This is the salt pit. We dump the wet salt in here, and as it dries we have workers turning the salt to ensure that it dries evenly. When it's done, they back it into these buckets and send it up, and we pack it into sacks." He gestures to the men working below in the pits. They are a miserable-looking lot, their faces contorted with a mixture of fatigue and what appears to be genuine pain.
Moving back into the main office, he opens one of the double doors at the back of the room and gestures inside, but doesn't go in.
"This is our storage room, where we store the salt while it awaits delivery. My boys deliver on a weekly basis, and that's included in the price of your salt. That's really all there is to it." he says, allowing the door to swing closed.
"Now, what is it you need? Table salt? Rock salt?"
Sense Motive Again: 1d20 ⇒ 4
"Wait here, I'll go tell Kossrani you're here." he says, briskly walking into the back office. A few minutes later, a muscular dwarf dressed in armor emblazoned with the star of Asmodeus emerges from the back office area. His hair is a fiery red, and his beard reaches down nearly to his waist. He looks over the group with the dispassionate stare of a practiced killer.
"Mister Vashnarstill, I presume. I hear you're in the market for some salt."
Lou looks at Corian with a sneer. "Naw, I'd say he's about average for one of you lot. I just ain't fond of him, that's all."
"Lou isn't fond of much of anyone except barmaids, and that's only if they're bringing him a pint." adds the younger man.
Inside the building, you see a large round drying chamber to the right, and an open area with a few scattered tables and a broken wagon. Men are playing cards at one of the tables, but pause to look up at you when you step inside. One of the men, a tall, broad-shouldered Tiefling with broken horns, addresses you.
"What's your business here?"
The worker doesn't exactly look up, but he nods and jerks his head towards the entrance. He appears to be in his 40s with a stout, heavy build, barrel chest, and thick fingers. A greasy black moustache covers most of his mouth.
"You'll be wantin' to speak with Kossrani, he's in charge now, 'ol Scaletti weren't payin' his taxes and the Thrunes came for him a few weeks ago. Dumb sod tried to fight off the Dottari, gut himself split right down the middle. Now Kossrani runs this place." he says, huffing while he and his partners lug another load of wet salt down the road. He pauses for a moment to rest.
"You can't miss him, he's a dwarf, red hair and beard, Asmodean. Kind of an a$#+$~#, really."
"Don't let him hear you say that, Lou" says one of the other men, a younger, lanky man with scruffy whiskers.
"If that bloody dwarf don't like what I got to say he can lug this salt up here by his damn self!" says the first man, and he turns to spit, as if to emphasize his point before picking up the load again.
Arriving at the Salt Works by day, you find an aging, salt-stained building just outside the "Salt Gate" in Old Kintargo. As it is still daytime, workers are present, transporting wet salt from the brine springs to the South into the salt works for processing. If the workers notice your group (and your weapons), they appear to be keeping it to themselves, averting their eyes from your gaze and keeping a respectful distance.