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spectrevk's page

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. Pathfinder Society Member. 449 posts (450 including aliases). 2 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 8 Pathfinder Society characters.


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Matrina Salicci is the half-elven bastard daughter of a minor Taldan noble. Abandoned by her mother shortly after birth, and a terrible embarrassment to her father's wife, Martina was raised with great privilege, but little parental care and affection. As a child, Martina hoped that training as a duelist would bring her the recognition she craved from her father, but it was to no avail. She did have a talent for swordplay, however, and she soon discovered that while she could not easily get the respect she craved from her peers, their fear of her prowess felt almost as good, and was much easier to obtain. She terrorized the students in her class, but as long as she observed a few ground rules and continued to be their star student, the instructors did nothing to stop her.

Martina's confidence soared, and it was with great pride that she strode into her graduation, fresh from a victory in her final exhibition match as a student. Looking around, she saw the hall buzzing with families, lovers, and friends of the other students...but no one for her. Even her best, it seemed, would not be enough to purchase her father's attention. And yet, Martina refused to resign herself to a life of obscurity. She is determined to some day, somehow, force her family to recognize her. She has left Taldor behind, chasing wild tales of monsters and giants in the Varisian hinterlands. She will not return home without a trophy that even her father will not be able to ignore.

Character Build:
Martina Tristram, Half-Elf Cavalier 1, Order of the Cockatrice

N Medium humanoid (Half-Elf)

Init +2; Senses Perception +3

Defense

AC 19, touch 12, flat-footed 17 (+5 armor, +2 Dex, +2 shield)

hp 12 (1d10+2)

Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +1

Offense

Speed 30 ft.

Melee
Longsword +5 (1d8+4 Slashing, 19-20)
Heavy Shield Bash +5 (1d4+4 Bludgeoning)
Ranged

Statistics

Str 18, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 13

Base Atk +1; CMB +6; CMD 16

Traits
Monster Hunter: +1 Attack/Damage rolls against aberrations and magical beasts
Bully: +1 Intimidate, Intimidate is always a class skill.

Feats
Skill Focus: Intimidate, Swap Places, Power Attack

Skills
Diplomacy +5, Handle Animal +5, Intimidate +8, Perception +3, Ride +6, Sense Motive +5

Languages Common, Elven

Special Qualities
Low-Light Vision: Half-elves can see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light.

Elf Blood: Half-elves count as both elves and humans for any effect related to race.

Elven Immunities: Half-elves are immune to magic sleep effects and get a +2 racial saving throw bonus against enchantment spells and effects.

Keen Senses: Half-elves receive a +2 racial bonus on Perception skill checks.

Combat Gear
Scale Mail, Heavy Wooden Shield, Longsword, Warhammer, Cold-Iron Dagger, 4 vials of Acid, Cavalier's Kit (animal feed (5 days), a backpack, a bedroll, a belt pouch, a bit and bridle, a flint and steel, an iron pot, a mess kit, a riding saddle, rope, saddlebags, soap, torches (10), trail rations (5 days), and a waterskin), 24gp.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
David knott 242 wrote:
spectrevk wrote:
Will this book have the stats for the Android race? I'd hoped they would be reprinted somewhere before Iron Gods is released.

I think People of the Stars (out next month) is supposed to cover four of the extraterrestrial races, including androids.

Ah, thanks.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Will this book have the stats for the Android race? I'd hoped they would be reprinted somewhere before Iron Gods is released.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Related question: do trait bonuses stack? For example, could you have the Bad Reputation faction trait (Sczarni) and the Bully trait?


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I've been thinking about this lately, but I'm not sure about going Ninja. I was actually thinking a caster would work best, since you wouldn't miss the feats as much as a non-Martial class. Perhaps something like an Oracle, since so many of the spell-likes you get are Arcane?

EDIT: Seems like you could easily do this as an Oracle 5/Mystic Theurge 10, since by 5th level you'll be able to cast a 2nd level arcane spell (Misdirection) via the Magical Tail feat.


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Tinkergoth wrote:
Subparhiggins wrote:
StarMartyr365 wrote:

I really didn't care much for the brawler until I read this. Now I can't wait to roll one up. I think I'm going to make a Varisian with a bunch of really crappy tattoos and a unfathomable accent who is legendary for his ability to get the stuffing kicked out of him and yet still end the match by landing a one punch knock out that breaks his opponent's skull.

SM

So Brad Pitt's Irish traveler character from Snatch?
Bonus points if he makes terribly one sided deals with people and sweetens them by giving the suckers a dog.

Ya like Goblin dags?


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Insain Dragoon wrote:
She just happens to have a psychological need to fight and possibly kill, no biggie! At least she has positive channels for her needs in Golarian.

A desire to improve oneself through conflict is, at worst, a Neutral trait, not an evil one. Her backstory contains no violence against innocents, and in fact all of her fights appear to be sanctioned matches, against opponents who agreed to the terms of the fight. She's not just "good" from a moral perspective, but an ethical one as well.


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Blackvial wrote:
spectrevk wrote:

Re: her backstory - Fun, though the wayward Taldan noble is becoming something of a cliche at this point.

i doubt 2 characters total makes a cliche

There's also the wayward Taldan noble Osirionologist from Mummy's Mask, various wayward Taldan nobles from PFS scenarios (including a notorious pirate)...seems like all of Taldor's young people are bailing to go cause trouble elsewhere.


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Re: her armor - She's a gladiator, right? They tend to be portrayed wearing armor that strikes a balance between protection and showing off their muscles.

Re: her backstory - Fun, though the wayward Taldan noble is becoming something of a cliche at this point.

Re: character design - She looks like she stole Amiri's luggage. *shrug*


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Society games are limited in scope; a good society build should start to hit its stride no later than 3rd level, and remain reasonably powerful through 9th or so. With those parameters, yes, you can be perfectly viable using on the Core rulebook...though bear in mind that Society play requires/allows for 3 traits, only one of which can be a Society trait, and the Core rulebook contains no traits whatsoever, so you're going to have to reference an outside book at some point.

The bread and butter of every Wizard I've seen lies in the Core rulebook spells; the stuff in Ultimate Magic and other expansions is largely situational and/or utilitarian. Martials do fine as well using Core feats, though I suspect Monks will miss the Style feats from Ultimate Combat the most. I'm not a huge fan of any of the Sub-Domains for Clerics, so again you should be fine using the Core rulebook.


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I don't mind seeing Aasimars and Tieflings go, but would it be so bad to get the elemental-blooded races into PFS standard play?


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pluvia33 wrote:
spectrevk wrote:
You don't keep a shield on your belt-
I ask, why not? Who says so?

The physical description of a shield, for starters.


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Andrew Christian wrote:
spectrevk wrote:

The text seems to very clearly state that throwing the shield as a weapon is a free action; thus, you could theoretically toss the shield at someone, move into melee range, and attack with a melee weapon.

The silliness with the Blinkback belt has already been debunked. I don't see what the big deal is here. It's a nice opener for a flashy fighter type.

How has it been debunked. The blinkback belt takes no action.

You don't keep a shield on your belt, and a Returning shield wouldn't return to you until the next round.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The text seems to very clearly state that throwing the shield as a weapon is a free action; thus, you could theoretically toss the shield at someone, move into melee range, and attack with a melee weapon.

The silliness with the Blinkback belt has already been debunked. I don't see what the big deal is here. It's a nice opener for a flashy fighter type.


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planex wrote:
I play as my party's defender and I've found that if the GM ignores me and attacks my fellow party members, then I become mostly useless. I'm wondering if there's a feat or action I can take that will force the enemy to attack me. Any suggestions?

"Tanking" in Pathfinder doesn't work like "Tanking" in a traditional MMO. Instead, it works more like "Tanking" during teamfights in a MOBA such as DOTA2 or League of Legends. You can't just sit back and wait for stuff to attack you. You have to give them no other choice.

- Use your positioning, and that of your party, to force enemies to get through you before they can reach your party's squishier members.

- When possible, be the one to "initiate" contact with the enemy, so that you can control where and when the fight begins.

- Make tactical use of feats and combat manuevers to control the battlefield. Reach weapons, attacks of opportunities, feats like Stand Still, and Trip Attacks are all useful tools to protect your party and control where the enemy can go.


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Nezzmith wrote:
Magda Luckbender wrote:
Worth reading. I hope the creator does many more.

He's currently a bit busy with work and life, but with all this attention and interest, I'm sure he'll try and fill in the holes with more pictures!

(Oh god all those grammar errors, I'm so embarrassed.)

Do you know where I can find more of them? I tried checking /tg and couldn't find anything.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dead Phoenix wrote:
spectrevk wrote:
Alceste008 wrote:
Sarenrae is an interesting Goddess. Being on one hand the God willing to go to battle against Rovagug face to face, while the rest of the deities worked to bind him. On the other hand, Sarenrae seeks to redeem even those gods that have fallen into darkness. Neutral Good is a good fit for a deity that is willing to use different methodologies to achieve goodness.
True, but it's not a great fit for one of the only Good deities in Golarion that isn't actively against slavery (iirc, Abadar is the only other one that comes to mind).

Incase you missed it in the link Elyas post earlier...

James Jacobs wrote:

Sarenrae herself, and her church, does not tolerate slavery, but nor do they preach "Kill the slavers!" They would certainly look for non-violent ways to seek a slave's freedom—purchasing the slave and setting the slave free is probably the preferred method.

Now that said, there's a wide range of individual variations among the specific worshipers of Sarenrae—as with ANY religion. There are some worshipers of Sarenrae who would, perhaps, seek to simply comfort slaves if possible, espcially if they see the alternative (living on your own with no support structure in a dangerous city) is more painfula nd dangerous than slavery itself. There's ABSOLUTELY some worshipers of Sarenrae who crusade against slavery and slavers themselves and DO use violence against the slavers.

Now, as for Qadira? It's important to keep two things in mind about Sarenrae's faith being the most widespread faith in Qadira:

1) It's not in charge. The government of Qadira is richer and more powerful than the church of Sarenrae in Qadira, and as a result, the government is the one that gets to say if slaves are legal or not. The church has to either go along with that or rebel, and in Qadira's case, the church has opted to go along with it.

2) The church of Sarenrae in Qadira is NOT the most faithful of all of Sarenrae's churches. In fact, it's one of

...

Ah, thanks. I did miss that earlier, and it answers my initial question.


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Alceste008 wrote:
Sarenrae is an interesting Goddess. Being on one hand the God willing to go to battle against Rovagug face to face, while the rest of the deities worked to bind him. On the other hand, Sarenrae seeks to redeem even those gods that have fallen into darkness. Neutral Good is a good fit for a deity that is willing to use different methodologies to achieve goodness.

True, but it's not a great fit for one of the only Good deities in Golarion that isn't actively against slavery (iirc, Abadar is the only other one that comes to mind).


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dead Phoenix wrote:

She is not warm and fuzzy. She personally kicked Rovagug butt into a prison(asmodous helped a little) and she destroyed a city of her own followers because they went to far(they were also driven crazy by rovagug fart gas or something). She is very forgiving, but she is not afraid to put the hurt on when you go to far, and simply put, they have not gone far enough yet. This is quite possible a mistake on her part, but as I mentioned above, it wouldn't be her first one.

Honestly it sounds like you are talking about Shelyn or something and you think she should be acting like Iomedae.

No, I'm talking about the way Sarenrae is described in Inner Sea Gods, versus the descriptions of persistent warmongering by Qadira, the center of her worship. It's not like Taldor or Osirion did anything to Sarenrae's worshippers prior to the opening of hostilities.


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Forgiving minor infractions is one thing. Waging large-scale war in the name of a goddess who is supposedly warm and fuzzy is something else entirely.


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Nargemn wrote:

James Jacobs has stated this was a mistake and miscommunication between early Golarion worldbuilders. With Inner Sea Gods, they hoped to fix some of the issues with the division in the Sarenrae faith. She is supposed to be the absolute kindest of the good gods, but new sourcebooks won't wholly fix this (though even in Inner Sea Combat, I believe, her ban from Taldor seems to either be retconned or recently fixed, as what is described as her largest cathedral is sitting there). Hopefully we might someday see an AP devoted to this issue, or even a module (Which James Jacobs has hinted at).

Also, she's neutral good :)

Ah, that does explain a lot. I'm still a bit confused as to how the kindest of the good gods, and a Neutral Good former angel, has the center of her worship in one of the largest slave states in Golarion (one assumes that Qadira has about as many slaves as Cheliax, if not more). Even if we assume that followers don't hew to the exact dictates of their deity in all matters, we're talking about a society-wide institution that is directly opposed to the definition of "Good" as far as the Alignment rules go. I mean, if we're giving Sarenrae a pass for her followers practicing slavery, why not Asmodeus?

Come to think of it, that'd be a great slogan for Chelaxian evangelists: "Why not Asmodeus?"


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LazarX wrote:
spectrevk wrote:

Sarenrae is always described as being almost infinitely kind and compassionate, with no negative qualities whatsoever. She's Lawful Good. Unlike, say, Asmodeus, she's quite active in the lives of mortals. And yet, the primary centers of her worship are all slave states, and she has never officially rebuked the Cult of the Dawnflower for the military invasion of Osirion, the oppression of the Osiriani people, or their persistent militaristic bloodlust.

It's as if the people writing the descriptions for books like Inner Sea Gods and the people writing adventures have completely different visions of the character. What gives?

Sarenrae isn't all loving and kindness. To those who ARE unredeemable she shows quite a different aspect. Like the rest of the Gods she leaves many decisions about redemption to her mortal proxies. the Dawnflowers ARE following her ideals, it's where they draw the line on redemption vs wrath that they differ from the rest of her following.

While the worshippers of a god do follow the god's ideals, there's a good possibility that it's not strictly a one-way street, that the gods are to at least some extent, what their followers make them.

Dawnflowers invaded Osirion (or rather, convinced Qadira to do so) without any real reason beyond spreading their faith by force. Weren't they also behind the push on Taldor? And in what way are the slaves in Katapesh, Qadira, and elsewhere "beyond redemption"? Why aren't slavers worthy of her ire?

It makes no sense for a Lawful Good deity to support slavery, particularly the kind of slavery that exists in Golarion.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I guess my question is: what are Sarenrite Clerics actually like? Are they the happy go lucky, forgiving hippies described in Inner Sea Gods, or the harsh, legalistic, militant evangelists implied by, say, the Inner Sea World Guide? As a GM and a player, a bit of guidance would be nice.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Sarenrae is always described as being almost infinitely kind and compassionate, with no negative qualities whatsoever. She's Lawful Good. Unlike, say, Asmodeus, she's quite active in the lives of mortals. And yet, the primary centers of her worship are all slave states, and she has never officially rebuked the Cult of the Dawnflower for the military invasion of Osirion, the oppression of the Osiriani people, or their persistent militaristic bloodlust.

It's as if the people writing the descriptions for books like Inner Sea Gods and the people writing adventures have completely different visions of the character. What gives?


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I found this on Reddit the other day, but it's starting to make the rounds elsewhere: http://imgur.com/gallery/6yxLL

Haven't we all been in this party at some point? I usually hate the inflexible Paladin, but it looks like they really managed to make it work for them.


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Hardest part of being a GM: getting that damn screen to remain spread out.


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It's funny, I was recently trying to find some good Cavalier builds, since I think the class is a bit under-appreciated (and slightly too reliant on mounts to function in dungeon-centric games). With that in mind, I came up with the following:

Half-Elf Cavalier 1 (Order of the Cockatrice)

STR 16
DEX 14
CON 12
INT 13
WIS 10
CHA 14

AC 19 Touch 12 Flat 17

HP 11

Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +0

Traits: Bully, Eyes and Ears of the City

Feats: Combat Expertise, Swap Places

Skills: Bluff +6, Diplomacy +6, Intimidate +10, Perception +7, Ride +6, Sense Motive +4

Equipment: Scale Mail, Longsword, Heavy Wooden Shield, Backpack, Hemp Rope, Grappling Hook, Bedroll, 10 Torches, 4 days Trail Rations, Shortbow, 20 Arrows, Warhammer, 28gp, 8sp

This is what the build looks like at level 1. Fairly basic. So what's with that big Intimidate score? Well, at 2nd level you can start using Braggart to drop an AOE debuff on enemies from the front line, which also provides you with a +2 morale bonus to attack rolls...a +2 that you can easily launder into an AC bonus using Combat Expertise, making this a fairly effective tanking build, IMO. Swap Places allows you to play rescuer to teammates who get out of position.

Things to do differently? Well, if you switched to Half-Orc and sacrificed Combat Expertise for Skill Focus, you could pump Intimidate up to +13 by the time you hit 2nd level. I like the idea of an arrogant, loudmouth half-elf who taunts her enemies. I was more tempted to replace Eyes and Ears of the City with Fortified Drinker (I like Cayden Cailean more than Abadar, personally), which would drastically lower the Perception check, but provide you with a much-needed boost to Will Saves vs mind-altering effects.

Any good suggestions for making this build better?


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James Jacobs wrote:
spectrevk wrote:

How do you deal with class balance criticisms? Are there any plans to make changes to classes that are commonly derided as weaker or stronger than the "norm"?

For example, people commonly complain about Monks and Rogues not doing enough damage, but these classes seem to be designed with a wide spread of abilities (generalists, I suppose?). Do you think classes like these, which might be sacrificing raw combat prowess for utility are less valued because of how the game is being played now as opposed to previously? Does this inform scenario/AP design at all? The classes that tend to be considered the strongest are specialists like the Summoner and Ninja; do you think this is due to an inflation in the perceived value of combat, or are these criticisms valid?

I feel that class balance criticisims are inherently flawed, because the classes are not meant to compete against each other and to do the same thing or to play the same way. I kinda feel like the whole "damage per round" arguments and class balance issues come out of the MMO tradition, frankly, which are designed with a VERY different philosophy and need than are RPGs. In those games, balancing healing vs. damage per round vs. tanking is something the game designers built into the game from the start, but taking that same type of "balance" theorycraft into pen and paper games is inappropriate.

I've played rogues before, and not only have they held their own in the party (which consisted of the classic fighter/arcane spellcaster/divine spellcaster/rogue combo for the most part), but they were fun to play the whole time. I really love how you have to play tactically with a rogue. If you play a rogue as a fighter, of COURSE you'll be disappointed. Likewise, if you play a wizard as a cleric or a monk as a paladin or a druid as a ninja. Each class does its own thing.

I think we're on the same page here, though I do sometimes wonder about the Ninja/Rogue comparisons, since the classes are so close.

Do you think that people are playing the game in a more "MMO-like" way that is creating negative perceptions of less "DPS" oriented classes? Are the Advanced Classes an adaptation for that playstyle, leaving the core classes for more "old school" game groups, then?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

How do you deal with class balance criticisms? Are there any plans to make changes to classes that are commonly derided as weaker or stronger than the "norm"?

For example, people commonly complain about Monks and Rogues not doing enough damage, but these classes seem to be designed with a wide spread of abilities (generalists, I suppose?). Do you think classes like these, which might be sacrificing raw combat prowess for utility are less valued because of how the game is being played now as opposed to previously? Does this inform scenario/AP design at all? The classes that tend to be considered the strongest are specialists like the Summoner and Ninja; do you think this is due to an inflation in the perceived value of combat, or are these criticisms valid?


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What's your response to people who say Ninjas are better than Rogues at stabbing things to death?


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MrSin wrote:
spectrevk wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
MrSin wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
And to the OP: They really don't seem to be balancing new content based on the Fighter and Rogue's level of capability, just take a look at the Ninja...
Better yet, look at the arcanist, or oracle, or summoner, or magus, or alchemist, or...
True...but the Ninja really is "Rogue, only better." making the point more obvious.
No trapfinding. Ninjas are better for combat-oriented games, but worse for dungeon crawls.

Trapfinding is easy to get(spells/trait/dip), boring to use(roll to take damage and heal or walk through), bad design(niche), and there are other ways to get around traps(mount spell...).

Ninja has this nifty thing where he can turn invisible to get his sneak attacks better. Its... supernatural though.

I tend to think that using Campaign traits outside of the campaign is bad form, but perhaps that's just me. If you're dipping to get Trapfinding, you're still making use of the class, and most magic solutions to traps assume a level of preparation that can't always be relied upon. The trait was necessary because no AP should *require* a single class in order to succeed.

IMO, a simple fix for the Rogue's trapfinding would be to give them the free Perception roll to notice traps within 10 feet as part of the base ability, rather than making it a Rogue Trick. I'd replace that Trick with one that lets you trade out the sneak attack for some kind of debuff attack that doesn't require flanking or surprise. It fits in better with the Rogue's role as melee support.

That said, you can still make a perfectly serviceable, survivable character with the Rogue as it currently exists (ditto Fighter). People tend to exaggerate how "bad" they are.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
MrSin wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
And to the OP: They really don't seem to be balancing new content based on the Fighter and Rogue's level of capability, just take a look at the Ninja...
Better yet, look at the arcanist, or oracle, or summoner, or magus, or alchemist, or...
True...but the Ninja really is "Rogue, only better." making the point more obvious.

No trapfinding. Ninjas are better for combat-oriented games, but worse for dungeon crawls.


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GM Tribute wrote:

I have a party of four just starting

Dwarf zen archer with trapfinding trait
Magus replacing barbarian who dropped
Alchemist (mindchemist)
Cleric with the ability to shoot fire as touch attack.

first encounter proved troublesome.

I have added a Knowledge Local DC10 check to let the party know they can take treasure to the market and get additional healing resources as it appears they may need them and still get back in time to finish the crypt in a day. Thoughts about this......

By "first encounter", do you mean the hallway trap, or the first combat encounter? And in that case, did they find the wooden dolls first, or the giant solifugids?

The dolls are mostly harmless, but tougher than they look due to their hardness. The solifugids are troublesome because they strike from surprise and can potentially do a lot of damage to first level characters. Looking at that party construction, I'm guessing we're not looking at many high ACs, and the Magus probably has the highest hit die.


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So...my players actually looted the cursed mirror from the first dungeon, along with one of the warrior dolls. Any amusing/evil ideas for this? They already made their Fort saves to avoid being branded as thieves.


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Their next session should go more smoothly. They'll have a real Rogue with them (he couldn't make it to the first session) and I'm sure some of them will have adjusted their tactics. This is Ozymandias' first time as an Oracle, and he seemed to want to be ranged, which is certainly possible for Oracles, but not ideal for an oracle who plans to use their black blood as a weapon.

I'm confident they'll survive this tomb, which should put them around 2nd level. I've noticed that things get deadliest at certain level intervals: 1st, because you have no HP and can't hit anything; 5th, because the NPCs start having more iterative attacks than you; and (I think) 9th because that's around the time you start running into save or die challenges.


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Previously, I've written about a Dragon's Demand group that I was running, which met with an unfortunate demise. Two of the players are quite new, the rest are somewhat seasoned and ought to know better ;)

Well, after that misadventure, the group took me up on an offer to leave their failure behind and travel to distant Osirion. After much discussion, they decided to call their group Hogan's Golden Scorpions. As before, I will be shortening/changing the names to protect the innocent/guilty.

Hogan's Golden Scorpions wrote:



  • Hogan, a half-orc alchemist and distant relative of a Pharoah. The only person in the party who can read Ancient Osiriani.
  • Orlando, an elven ranger with a surprising interest in religious lore.
  • Fatima, a keleshite cleric of Sarenrae who, despite being a native of Osirion, disdains all religions that are not the worship of Sarenrae.
  • Ozymandias, an Osiriani black-blood oracle who insists that he is not a healer (because really, he isn't)
  • Sekhmet, a charismatic half-orc paladin of Abadar.

Sekhmet is being played by my mother, who sort of has an idea of what a half-orc is, but didn't like any of the half-orc female minis, so she more or less looks human. I explained that she could actually just BE a human, but for some reason being of mixed blood (and having darkvision) was super important to her. Ozymandias and Fatima are being played by college buddies of mine, while Orlando is being played by Fatima's wife (not that it matters, but Fatima's player is a guy). Hogan is a good buddy of mine.

Upon arriving in Wati, the group elects Hogan as their representative (for obvious reasons) and he collects their token. No real preparations are made the day prior to delving, which lead to some funny looks later on when it briefly appeared that Hogan was the only person who had brought rope. Learning from their previous misadventure, the players decided to pick up some holy water before heading into the tomb.

After some fumbling to figure out who all had bought rope and a grappling hook, the group made use of the piton that had already been driven into the entrance hole and climbed down, though I had to give Orlando a bit of a pass as he failed his first climb check horribly and I didn't want to start the game with the range taking 6d6 falling damage. Despite their careful concerns about traps, they walked straight into the first one, as approaching the door to inspect it for traps caused them to walk over the pressure plate on the floor in front of the door. From this point on, they checked every place for traps, though I wouldn't allow them to search a room for traps without being inside of the room, for obvious reasons. I did, however, reason that anyone could inspect the 10-foot square in front of them, provided they had sufficient light.

The trapped chest cut the Cleric, but no saving throws were failed during the entire first session, funnily enough. They were, however, unable to open the chest at all. Their first combat against the tiny wooden soldiers was a little funny as well, as the Cleric's firebolt had Hogan worried about setting fire to the room, and the rest of the team soon learned that these dolls were unusually resilient. Hogan, the group's alchemist, also decided to grapple the last remaining doll so that the group could subdue it and bring it back to Wati for sale and/or study. Looting things that are not really loot was the theme for this session, and it only got worse when...

The mirror. At first, it was just creepy when they entered the room and saw the mirror there. Some people looked only briefly. One person intentionally looked at it long enough to have to roll the save, but they made it so no mark appeared. Everyone was creeped out by the stern looking people in the reflection, and one person recognized what the mirror was likely used for (discouraging tomb robbers), but then Hogan threw a sheet over the mirror and added it to their loot pile at the bottom of the entrance shaft.

Yes, they looted the cursed mirror. Yes, Hogan made his Fort save and wasn't marked.

Funnily enough, this was followed by Hogan nearly being bitten to death by giant Solifugids (who chomped the hell out of anyone they could reach, and were likewise rather difficult to kill). The Paladin (my mom) was initially nervous about going into melee, reasoning that it would be better to deal damage from a distance, so that the creatures couldn't hit her back. This is an awesome idea, but not for a Paladin wielding a shield and a warhammer. I'm planning to discuss the possibilities of a ranged paladin with her, but she adapted to melee quite well, and tanked for the party like a champ, likely saving Hogan's life in the process. After their near-death-by-camel-spider experience, they decided to leave, and were actually considering sleeping in the tomb (WTF?!) before I pointed out that they could easily haul the injured Hogan up using the rope, along with their treasure, and simply return the next day. Thus ended session one.


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I really, really hate Wil Wheaton. And watching other people play board games is incredibly boring. So no, I won't be giving them any money.


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My plan for the next game is that I bought her a small, cheap journal and we're writing up her character (in large print) there.


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Ascalaphus wrote:

I think it's important that new players don't get told not to play casters because that would be too difficult. So I'm glad that the sorcerer exists; it's definitely an easier first PC than a wizard.

I think druids can be good starting characters IF you take the time to handhold the player through CharGen, explaining what everything does. They're a decently powerful class, with complexity increasing every level instead of everything at once.

I tried this, and talked to her about the Druid's abilities, and it was still something of an issue. I think that for someone who is just learning the basic combat system and such, having to also learn about the optimal selection of spells for a given scenario and how to use them is asking a bit much.

Kolokotroni wrote:
Well its not a begginer adventure. Experienced gamers know how early incorporial enemies can turn up, you should have offered a bit more guidance in that area for new player.

Half the party at that point was experienced; it was just carelessness that led to them getting surprised like that. They came through it reasonably well, but the group's seams were starting to show. The Bard would often spend combat doing nothing besides maintaining Inspire Courage, and I could tell she was getting bored because her build was limited. She generally just took Carl's advice, and the results were eventually fatal.

Quote:
Use the spellcards at theGM.org. Seriously, everyone should use these. You also can use the character sheet from the begginer box (blank one is available for download) which has a much easier to read and more pleasing font, with some basic guidance on the sheet.

Thanks for the tip! I'm definitely going to be using these in the future.

Quote:
I've had alot of success with new players and sorcerors, also with clerics. I actually find bards can be good as long as the person is happy with a support role. Buffing is really easy on new players, and if you guide them with spell selection, it can work well. If they try to be a fighter type, that ofcourse gets difficult, and was likely made worse by your groups lack of a front liner for a while.

I'd rather have a new player up front and active...having played a Cleric before when I was the "new" member of a group after being away from the game for a while, it's nice to be useful, but you get way too much backseat-gaming from other party members who want healing, and it gets rather dull being in the pure support role.


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Prior to his (and everyone else's) untimely death, I used to joke with Mike and Carl that Bob was actually the protagonist of the story, and the rest of them were just supporting cast.

That wolf had better climb checks and combat survivability than most of the party.


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Lincoln Hills wrote:

Point 1: Agreed.

Point 2: Agreed.

Point 3: Most folks eventually design their own. Of course, large print and open spaces make the character sheet more of a... character pamphlet.

Point 4: Force effects are a work-around, but you can't count on every group having shield and magic missile. I honestly feel the EL for incorporeal stat-draining creatures should increase more steeply than other ELs.

Point 5: I'd say the cavalier has the edge over the paladin for "learning to play," and rangers start getting complicated fairly quickly. I'd agree that the fighter, rogue and even sorcerer have the edge when it comes to quick-to-learn. (Fighter/rogue is a fun way to show how multiclassing works and is still not overwhelming: and some would say it's more effective than either class by itself.)

Incorporeal Undead have been a problem in regular games that I've run as well, so I'm inclined to agree with you. I think an EL boost would be in order, and if it's not already official that they take full damage from positive energy, they certainly should.

Rangers ramp up in complexity, and in ways that I think are helpful in teaching the system. The player gets rewarded to remembering to think about what *type* of creature they're fighting ("hey! Undead are my favored enemy!") and what kind of locale they are in. I hadn't thought about Cavaliers though; that's a good idea.


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Whoops, put this in the wrong forum. Flagging; this should be in Pathfinder RPG General Discussion, not Paizo Publishing General


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Well, that depends. I think new players can work in skill-heavy classes like Rogue as well, provided that's a role they're comfortable with. "Wendy" was a little less attentive, and had a slight language barrier, so the whole social side of being a Bard wasn't working that well for her, and in combat trying to be an effective Bard requires a fairly advanced level of game knowledge.

And for what it's worth, I think a sword 'n board build that makes use of Shield Slam would be a nice combo of simple and "fun" (tripping foes, controlling enemy movement).


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Speaking of aids that would be helpful to players with vision problems...some Spell Cards would be incredibly helpful.


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Sometime last year, I decided to try out an experiment: I would run a Pathfinder game for my mother. How this came about is a bit of a long story...suffice it to say that she had been tagging along to some of my games previously and expressed some curiosity about what was going on.

The game started out with two college friends of mine (let's call them Tom and Carl), and Carl's wife (let's call her Wendy) joining my mom (we'll call her Jen) playing through The Dragon's Demand. I wanted the new players to get into the sense of freedom you get with tabletop gaming, so I didn't make any real class suggestions based on their aptitude; instead, we just asked what kind of characters they wanted. So we ended up with:

Tom, the Musketeer Gunslinger
Carl, the Witch
Wendy, the Bard
Jen, the Druid
Bob, Jen's animal companion (a wolf)

Spoiler:

Almost immediately, Tom bailed on us, so for the early parts of the adventure they were a party of 3, with no frontline (aside from Bob) and no one capable of finding or disabling traps. As you might recall, Hunclay's house is full of traps, as is the Kobold lair. Jen was loathe to put Bob in danger, despite him having better stats than most of the party at the early levels. They managed to survive, disabling Hunclay's traps via the time-honored tradition of having Carl's Witch walk into them face-first. Jen and Wendy seemed happy to meet up every week, but were also rather distracted, and would often miss important game information. Jen, in particular, would then complain loudly when this led her into trouble, or quibble about the rules when they weren't going her way. If you've never been rules-lawyered by your own mother, I highly recommend it; there's no experience like it.

Around this time they realized that Hunclay's mansion was probably not the first place they should go, so instead they pursued the Kobold lair, where they were doing just fine until the entire party fell into a pit trap. Well, the entire party except for Bob, who managed to make his reflex save. At this point a new player, also experienced, joined the party.

This was Mike, the Ranger/Barbarian.

Mike kindly fished them out of the pit and acted as their tank for the duration of the game. He would often tease Jen about her wolf, jokingly encouraging her to send him into danger.

With Mike around, I found that I didn't need to prompt them as often with tactical advice, which was nice. If you're wondering why I was doing this in the first place rather than just watching them die repeatedly...I don't think that's an effective way to encourage new players. They should, at the very least, understand *why* they're failing in combat. By trying to teach Jen how to effectively make decisions about healing, I hoped to get her more engaged in the game. Wendy, being a Bard, was still having trouble though, as her chosen spell list was often ineffective in battle, and much of her Bard's class abilities were only useful outside of combat.

Wendy was actually the source of most of their successful Knowledge checks (thanks to Bardic Knowledge and that trait that lets you take 10 once per day), but due to a mild language barrier she wasn't very engaged with the plot of the game and was mostly rolling at Carl's prompting.

Jen's ignorance of genre conventions made for some great roleplaying though, as her elven Druid turned out to be quite the mercenary, suggesting that the group squeeze the baroness for more money, keep more of the loot from Hunclay's estate, and even trying to press-gang the villagers they rescued from the Kobold cave (who were in pretty bad shape) into helping the group clear out the rest of the Kobolds. Her lack of attention to details also led to some funny moments, such as when she insisted on going to Tula's tomb as soon as she heard that there was treasure there, then reacted with shock when they were inside and she realized that they were inside of a tomb (and being attacked by undead).

Tula's Tomb was the group's first real combat test, as the Wraith gave them a lot of trouble. Few of them had offensive spells, and only Mike had an attack bonus high enough to make good use of their magical weapons. Why Carl and Mike, who knew better, went into a tomb without Holy Water is a question I still ask myself.

The end came soon therafter, when the group entered the Monastery. They recognized the arrow slits and decided not to use the front entrance, instead choosing to hop the fence (easy as pie when you have a flying Witch and some rope) and explore the grounds. They were immediately spotted by the Alchemist in the bell tower, and noticing an indoor courtyard with a bucket of berries, they smashed the window and went inside to claim them. The Dragon's press-ganged Druid shows up and gives them all of the exposition they need, and they begin exploring the monastery, knowing that their enemies are aware of their presence.

Well, as they make their way through the hallways, they check out the Assembly hall, and while they find nothing, Mike decides to listen at the stairwell. Well, a giant-ass Man/Bat aberration is going to make some noise on the floor above you, so naturally he hears and decides to investigate. The rest of the group, who hadn't been paying attention, decide to follow, and the combat that followed was painful for everyone involved.

Everyone beat the creature in initiative except for Mike, who was right in front of the damn thing. Starting with Carl, they all decide to run past Mike (through the creature's threatened area) so that they won't be bunched up in the stairway. Carl goes down immediately from an AoO, but encourages Jen and Wendy to follow suit, reasoning that he set off the creature's only AoO.

As you may know, the creature in question has Combat Reflexes and a Dex of 18. While he didn't one-shot Wendy and Jen, they certainly got hurt, and Mike went down to a full-attack before he ever got a chance to do damage. Jen and Wendy managed to partially revive Carl, who got off two Maximized Lightning Bolts, with Bob the wolf bravely sacrificing himself to protect Carl. Carl died not too long after that, as did Wendy, who was actually critted. Jen came close to killing the creature with damage over time (using a Flaming Sphere) but in the end she died as well.

So what did I learn?
1. Bard and Druid are pretty terrible classes for new players. They have hybrid roles and a lot of possibilities, and if you don't have a firm grasp of the rules you won't be able to make effective use out of them. Ditto for most spellcasting classes, though I suspect that Sorcerer/Oracle might be an exception.

2. While running for experienced players may have trained you out of "railroading" players, you may want to reconsider doing so when the alternative is watching a poorly-optimized 5th level party take on a CR 8. Having said that, I am confident that experienced players would have reduced that CR 8 to a fine paste within 3-4 rounds.

3. Pathfinder needs large-print character sheets. The inability to read her own character sheet made the game much more troublesome for Jen, and contributed to a lack of engagement as she was constantly having to rely on other players to read her spell list and update her sheet.

4. The difficulty curve of the Dragon's Demand takes a serious turn around 4th-5th level. DR is one thing, but Incorporeal Undead vs a party with no Ghost Touch is rough times. Poor Mike needed a ton of restoration after the tombs.

5. You may think that you're doing new players a favor by not trying to influence their build decisions, but this game has a learning curve, and it's better for them to play something that you know will be fun for them, rather than something that they think will sound cool. Fighters/Rangers/Paladins are all fun, they hit often, and are very survivable.

In the end, the group decided that they'd rather try new characters in a new campaign (The Mummy's Mask) than make new characters and push through Dragon's Demand. That's no knock on the module; I honestly think it's a great intro to the game, and one of the best adventures I've seen from Paizo.


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Lune wrote:

A poster in another thread stated the following:

Quote:
Armor Class is useless to players and animal companions. Armor class is the worst Mitigation in game.

He apparently believes that AC is useless. While it is entirely within the realm of possibility that I am woefully misinformed I don't believe that is true. However, as I try to stay open minded to other ideas I would prefer to allow myself to be convinced.

So what of it? Do you believe that AC is as useless as this person thought? If so why? If not, why not?

Mechanically, AC is the *best* form of mitigation, that's why it's so hard to get. It's been said repeatedly in this thread, but at higher levels being hit by the first attack is more or less guaranteed (unless your primary investment was in AC); at that point, AC is protecting you from iterative attacks.

Relying solely on HP to protect you is foolish, especially if you're dealing with homebrew villains. By 10th level, a well-built Gunslinger can deliver hundreds of HP damage per round; setting that aside, even the official monsters will tear you apart with iterative attacks/rends/etc. you won't have the HP to withstand that for long.

DR sounds like a better solution, but decent DR is even harder to stack up than AC, and it's easily bypassed using magic. Proper survival in Pathfinder involves intelligent balancing of your defenses and adapting to the situation.


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This sounds great, my group never got this far in Jade Regent when we played, so I'd love to see how things turn out. I don't have my books with me at work, but when I get home I'd love to submit an Erutaki Oracle of Winter (or Waves...probably Waves).


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I'm definitely interested in this; with their only Oracle about to go Paladin, wouldn't a full-time healer (or another part-time healer) be desirable as well though? I was thinking of perhaps a Nature Oracle or some kind of Inquisitor. Failing that, I'd love to try out a Mwangi Wizard (aren't they kind of famous? I need to do some research) if they're set on an arcane caster.


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Man, my poor witch doesn't stand a chance! ;)

So many great submissions in this thread.


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So you're looking for Melee AND skill-based, or Melee OR Skill-based? Are they short on heavies (Fighter/Paladin/Cavalier), or do they just need melee damage with some utility (Barbarian/Rogue/etc.)?

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