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spectrevk's page

FullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 1,090 posts (1,307 including aliases). 3 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 14 Pathfinder Society characters. 1 alias.

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Neal Litherland wrote:

So, this one might be preaching to the choir, but it seems like everywhere I go people are always asking, "How come you play Pathfinder? Why aren't you playing 5th ed?" The other game title changes, but the question stays the same. So this week I thought I would put down my reasons. The blog post is fairly long, but so far it's received some positive support. So I thought I'd share it here, and see if folks agree with my reasons.

Why Pathfinder is My Game of Choice.

Are there reasons I don't mention, or things that you prefer instead?

I'd say the quality of module writing (and editing) is much higher at Paizo than at WotC. Or really, any other company I've bought pre-written adventures from. Try running Curse of Strahd after running an Adventure Path; it's a harsh comedown from the logical book structure and masterful pacing that you find in, say, The Mummy's Mask.

I happen to enjoy both systems, but while I may give 5e a nod for some well-made modernizations to the system, Pathfinder is a superior product for an invested gamer, IMO. Regular publishing schedule, comprehensive supplements, and a setting that feels a bit more influenced by modern fantasy writers, while Faerun still feels a bit stodgy and old-fashioned to me.

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thejeff wrote:
spectrevk wrote:

That really depends on how Devil blood is valued in your world. If it's common enough that it's worth less than 1GP, then I'd assume it's a fairly Evil world you're in, so yes, relatively speaking, you might still be a good person.

If, as one might expect, extracting blood from an Evil Outsider is rather expensive (more than 1GP), then Eschew Materials is irrelevant. False Focus could work, but then you're at the mercy of your deity regarding invoking a Devil's healing gifts instead of their's.

You might expect it, but you'd be house ruling it, since no specific cost is given.

That's a fair point. If we assume that Devil Blood has no earthly value, and thus a Sorcerer can cast it blood/unholy water-free, then the question of how one might roleplay this pull towards Evil is still pretty straightforward.

Sorcerers gain their magic intuitively; it's in their blood. Knowledge of an Evil spell is a stain, a temptation to draw on Evil powers to do good. Jack Bauer might have had the best intentions for torturing all of those people, but at the end of the day he's still not a nice guy. He's the guy who gets his hands dirty, and so is the "good" person who relies on Infernal healing.

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Ventnor wrote:
spectrevk wrote:
Ventnor wrote:

Here's a thought experiment.

Let's say we have a character whose only evil acts have been casting Infernal Healing to save lives. This is the only evil spell that they know. This character has never hurt anyone, and is in fact a pacifist. They've never cheated, lied, stolen, or done any other evil act. Committing these acts just feels wrong to them. But they are now objectively evil because the only way for them to save friends on the verge of death was to use Infernal Healing.

How is their evilness expressed in the game?

Where is this saint getting all of his Devil blood to annoint people with? What is he giving the Devil who provides it in return for his supply?
From the local apothecary that sells Spell Component Pouches. You know, the same merchant who sells butter, bat poop, and every other spell component without a listed cost.

You can't have it both ways. Either we're evaluating the situation based on rational RP considerations, or we're taking game mechanics as the laws of the universe. If it's the latter, then the spell is Evil because the book says it's Evil. If it's the former, then no, you can't buy blood from a g~#%#+n Devil at the corner store guilt-free. Somewhere in the chain of providing you with the wand (which needed the blood to be made) or the blood itself, evil occurred.

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Ventnor wrote:

Here's a thought experiment.

Let's say we have a character whose only evil acts have been casting Infernal Healing to save lives. This is the only evil spell that they know. This character has never hurt anyone, and is in fact a pacifist. They've never cheated, lied, stolen, or done any other evil act. Committing these acts just feels wrong to them. But they are now objectively evil because the only way for them to save friends on the verge of death was to use Infernal Healing.

How is their evilness expressed in the game?

Where is this saint getting all of his Devil blood to annoint people with? What is he giving the Devil who provides it in return for his supply?

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Fromper wrote:

Looking at the complaint fest of the Worst Pathfinder Feats thread got me thinking: what's the supposedly weakest feat you've ever taken? Or other character option?

I'm talking about the stuff that makes the other players at the table roll their eyes and assume you don't know what you're doing. Maybe they're right, or maybe you're just a mad genius. What's your weakest/weirdest PC option that you've actually taken for a PC?

Mine would have to be my PC in Pathfinder Society whose first feat was Skill Focus: Perform (Comedy). Sounds pretty pointless, right? But he's a gnome prankster bard who uses it for Versatile Performance, so not only does he use it for social skills, but it's actually a combat feat for him. It gives him a +3 to demoralize enemies, which was his "go to" move at low levels, before he had enough spells and performance rounds per day to have better stuff to do most of the time.

How about the rest of you?

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.

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So...decades of him foiling their plans, injuring/killing/imprisoning their operatives and leaders, and nearly wiping them out has all been a ruse for...what, exactly? This is the dumbest plot twist I can imagine.

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There is also a Fighter archetype in the APG called the Phalanx Soldier that you might be interested in.

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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.

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I've been trying to download the Player's Guide for Hell's Vengeance (a free PDF, btw) for over an hour, with no success, because the system insists on trying to "personalize" the PDF to discourage piracy of a product that, for all intents and purposes, can't be pirated because it's a free download.

This is very, very disappointing.

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Siedras wrote:
Why are people acting like we will never be able to download the books we got in the bundle?

I'm actually not concerned about the bundle books. I'm a long-time subscriber, and I've been waiting for the Hell's Vengeance Player's Guide for weeks. They released the PDF for the first adventure before the Player's Guide was available, making it difficult/impossible to properly run the AP, then said it would be released on the 24th...then the 25th....then the evening of the 25th. Now it's "available", but I can't download it, because it's trying to personalize the PDF.

There really isn't any need to personalize the Player's Guides, because they're free. There's no reason for any DRM on those PDFs.

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Let's pass the time in a more entertaining way: what kind of character concepts are you hoping to try out?

I was thinking of a purely mercenary Rahadoumi, probably a fighter or rogue of some sort, whose in it for self-advancement but is leery of becoming truly bound to Asmodeus or any otherworldly powers.

A wizard with a similar attitude (devils serve ME, not the other way around) could also be interesting.

I'm hoping there's some kind of campaign trait for being Chelaxian nobility, as well, as the idea of a 3rd/4th son (or eldest daughter) heading out to the Chelaxian hinterlands to make a name and place for himself is pretty appealing.

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I guess it's true: a watched Player's Guide download never arrives :P

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thejeff wrote:
spectrevk wrote:
I don't like that the scene was in the game in the first place, but you don't get to pick and choose when to be anti-censorship, IMO. Leave it in with a disclaimer about "cultural differences", or allow the option to remove it, but when a third party starts deciding what we are and are not allowed to see, we all lose :(

It's hardly "third party" or really censorship at all. It's the company that's translating the game for the US market. They've got the rights to change it as they please. They're not being forced to do so by anything other than their good taste and sense of what the market wants.

And seriously Japan? WTF? How is that even close to okay as anything but some evil mind control option?

First: the company who is localizing the game for the U.S. is definitely a "third party" between the developer and the consumer.

Second: The presence of government pressure has never been a prerequisite of censorship. Most censorship is self-inflicted, motivated by fear of reprisal based on previous incidents. That's how censors work: by punishing high-visibility targets, they cow everyone else into simply doing their work for them.

Now in this case, are we losing anything of value? Not really. It's a single scene that a player could well never encounter during a playthrough, and I totally agree that the scene itself is in very poor taste, and does not appear to add anything to the narrative. But that's not the point. If we only stand for free expression when it's something that doesn't offend us, then we aren't really standing for anything at all.

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I don't like that the scene was in the game in the first place, but you don't get to pick and choose when to be anti-censorship, IMO. Leave it in with a disclaimer about "cultural differences", or allow the option to remove it, but when a third party starts deciding what we are and are not allowed to see, we all lose :(

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Daggers doing only 1d4 is probably the first example that comes to mind. Someone holding a knife to your throat is hardly something to worry about; even if they get a coup de grace, you're likely to survive as a moderately tough character.

Meanwhile, in real life, having your throat slit is a serious problem, no matter how big you are...

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I seriously don't understand this obsession with non-Evil undead. Golarion isn't a modern gothic setting; it's high-fantasy, where "good" undead seem woefully out of place. If you want them in your game, that's fine; just houserule it. But it seems like every few days we get another thread complaining about the lack of canonical non-evil undead in a setting that has made it abundantly clear, several times, that creating undead, or pursuing undeath on purpose, is clearly an Evil action.

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My recommendations:

1. Do away with the idea that magic can do *everything*. "Knock", in its current form, shouldn't really be a spell. Magic spells for magic locks, technical know-how for mechanical locks. This would also go a long way in-Universe to explain why mechanical locks are still in use, and create more interesting challenges as vaults and dungeons use layered magical/mechanical defenses.

2. "Unchain" (har har) melee characters from having to stand still to get all of their iterative attacks. A high level fighter should be able to clear a room with the greatest of ease, not stand in the doorway and have to wait for people to crowd him.

3. Martial classes should have more utility abilities. A big part of the problem is that pure martials often have nothing to do outside of combat, and in-combat struggle to keep up with Wizards, who get the best of both worlds. I would bump Fighters and Paladins up to 4 skill points per level, and perhaps give fighters some kind of 3/day bonus die (1d4? 1d6?) to skill rolls based on a chosen physical attribute (STR/DEX/CON). This should make them feel a bit more action hero-y.

4. Extend cast times for...just about everything, really. Alternatively, implement spell activation rolls. One of the annoying things about *playing* a caster is that magic isn't terribly interactive for the player. You point at someone, and *they* make all the rolls to see if your spell works. Again, Pathfinder Unchained has some interesting mechanics for making this happen.

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RaizielDragon wrote:
I'm interested in remaking a party-favorite character from 4E: A Halfling Fighter. The problem is 4E had a way to draw aggro in the mark mechanic, but Pathfinder does not, as far as I know.

Aggro is a bad mechanic in tabletop play. "Tanking" in a tabletop game should not resemble MMO tanking; rather, if you must make a videogame analogy, it should resemble MOBA Tanking: positioning, control of enemy movement, bottlenecking, and high defenses are the key.

For a Fighter, this means using tactics like repositioning, the Stand Still feat, the Bodyguard feat, etc. As a Halfling, you'll have the benefit in AC, but a disadvantage in CMD, meaning that you'll be easier for large enemies to grapple, bull rush, etc.

Aggro is acceptable in MMOs because much of the group content is completed by pick-up groups (PUGs) without voice chat, so proper coordination is both difficult and unlikely. The battlefields are typically very large with a lot of open space, so positioning is generally irrelevant beyond "don't stand in fire". In that type of game, Aggro is needed because no other form of control is available to a front-line fighter.

In a tabletop game, we're generally fighting in closer quarters, difficult terrain is frequently present, and turn-based combat makes coordination easier. In fact, without requiring precise coordination, turn-based combat would be far too easy, which is why aggro is a bad mechanic that has no place in tabletop RPGs.

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Cayden Cailean. All he asks of me is that I not be a dick, and hang out in bars now and then.

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Cayden Cailean is pretty much the ideal PC Cleric deity. He's generally in favor of "good" stuff, has no real structure to his church, and all of his temples are pubs. He makes a good fallback religion for players who aren't that interested in roleplaying a religious character, but still want their character's soul to go somewhere (or they want to play a cleric).

Desna is all about travel and exploration; Cayden is the god of "hold my beer and watch this". They fill two thematically different spots in the "Chaotic Good" spectrum.

As for Norgorber...well, he's kind of a weird god. The stuff about his cults hunting people down just for poking into secret stuff, or their own internal backstabbing against one another makes them seem weirdly dysfunctional, but it puts them in a good place as antagonists; once the party starts getting close to unraveling a mystery, you've got a built-in secondary antagonist from these cultists who want whatever secret it is to die with the PCs.

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The five men look down at their falley prey, then back into the hard, determined stares of Ignati, Valleria, and Wilhelm. Their hands tighten around the hafts of their maces while they consider their numbers against your's, and ponder the red stains on your armor and the cold, unflinching steel facing them.

The first man, the one who spoke, starts to dive forward towards Ignati, but a strong hand on his shoulder pulls him back. An middle-aged man with a salt-and-pepper moustache shakes his head at the younger man silently. The five do not stow their weapons, but lower their heads and gather up the bodies of their fallen comrades and exit the alley (assuming they are allowed to do so)

As you might have guessed, this was written up as a combat, but 3 intimidate checks of 20 or better? You'd best believe they're standing down.

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As you burst into the alleyway, you see five people dressed identically to the other Chelish Citizens' Group thugs you saw earlier. They are circled around the unconscious body of a well-dressed man wearing a single glove. Strewn around the alleyway are the unconscious bodies of four more Chelish Citizens' Group members. One would surmise that the man did not go down without a fight, but he is clearly beaten now, and the five who remain are preparing to cave in his skull.

One of the attackers, a tall lanky man with pale, freckled skin and reddish-brown hair, turns to you as you enter and waves his mace threateningly.

"On your way, gents. This doesn't concern you."

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The crowds have abanoned the immediate area, leaving open ground between Wilhelm and the Dottari attacking Voreni. He charges forward, driving his spear into the man's side, tearing a bloody gouge in his armor. The Dottari's morale doesn't break as quickly as the thug's, however, and he merely grits his teeth and turns towards his new attacker.

The female Dottari blocks Valleria's second blow with ease and steps up to follow her, keeping close distance between them.

The female Dottari swings at Valleria with a forehand volley, hoping to beat down her defenses.
Attack: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 = 171d8 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 = 9

The other Dottari focuses his attacks on Wilhelm
Attack: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 4 = 121d8 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3

The female Dottari sees Ignati circling around her and sweeps her heavy mace behind her, parrying his rapier with perfect timing.

Voreni takes a full-round disengage, as he is helped away from the fray by Lily, who is visibly concerned.
"They've killed him! The Dottari have killed him!"


The man that Morrigan is searching is clearly not a dottari; he is dressed in black and red studded armor, and wears a Chelaxian Cross on a chain around his neck. Besides his light mace (clearly not of the same quality as the heavy ones the Dottari use) he carries a pair of manacles and a light purse containing 4GP. The pendant might sell for more money, however.

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In the interest of simplifying this, I'm listing all of my interactions in initiative order, and keeping the enemies actions together in one section

The man gasps in shock as the spear skewers him again, leaving him in a bloodied heap atop the cooling body of his friend. Nearby thugs take notice and begin to seek victims elsewhere.

Valleria intercepts the Dottari attacking Voreni and blindsides one of them, gouging a deep cut across his chest.

Chelish Citizens' Group / Dottari
The Chelish Citizens' Group forces in your immediate area have scattered, fleeing the well-armed resistance they found. Two Dottari members have waded into the fray, however, initially drawn to Voreni and Lily.

The Dottari on the left, a stoutly-built woman with a newly-acquired chest wound, turns on Valleria and throws her weight behind her mace swing. The off-balance attack sails through the air harmlessly.
Attack: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 141d8 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8

The other, still focused on Voreni, rushes forward towards him.
"You had your chance to stand down, now I'll put you down!" he shouts.
Attack: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (19) + 4 = 231d8 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 = 9

to clarify, there was only one thug attacking you, so no healthier target is present. I will definitely look into mapping solutions for future combats to make this easier.
Ignati's rapier finds it's mark and expertly dispatches his assailant. The halfling family, taking heed of his advice, has escaped from the melee.

The readied actions required an attack to trigger, and thus were lost
The Dottari's mace strikes true, dealing 9 points of damage and rendering Voreni disabled, but still conscious.

Corian's blow lands forcefully, but the damage was already done to the poor man. His broken, punctured body falls to the cobblestones, staining them a deep red.

Morrigan's punch sends the man reeling, and Bacon's vicious head-butt to the groin takes him out of the fight entirely.

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Wilhelm's spear punches through the thick leather of the man's armor, drawing blood. The man cries out in pain and staggers back, holding his seeping wound.

This one is too strong! Let the Dottari deal with him! he cries out to his fellows, and stoops down to drag his fallen friend's body away.

You may take an attack of opportunity if you wish

Voreni and Lily move as far as they can to safety; due to the difficulty of moving in a crowd, a full-round will only get them 30 feet away, where Voreni is confronted by a matched pair of Dottari, brandishing heavier, more battle-worn maces than the Chelish vigilantes.
"Drop the rapier and lay down on the ground, and you won't get hurt! You are both under arrest for rioting!" says one of them.
Both dottari have readied actions

The man doesn't even take notice as Bacon yips and snaps at his heels, nibbling ineffectively on thick boot leather. The sudden surge of shadow magic around him, binding him to the ground. The shadows will not last long in broad daylight, but perhaps long enough to escape...

Frustrated, the man hurls his mace at Morrigan's head.
Improvised ranged attack: 1d20 - 3 ⇒ (14) - 3 = 111d6 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 = 7

The man chokes, coughing blood onto the hilt of Valleria's sword as it punches through his sternum, emerging from his back. He sputters his last words:

"I...I die for...Cheliax..."

Corian and Ignati
Ignati's rapier thrust falls wide of his target, and the young man sneers dirisively as he steps forward to swing his mace in reply.

"Your swordplay is as rotten as the filth you've been spewing all afternoon! Take this!" he cries.
Attack: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (15) + 3 = 181d6 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8
The mace connects with Ignati's ribs with a sickening crunch, leaving him gravely wounded.
Ignati is currently at 0 HP and disabled, but still conscious

Corian slides in on the left of the Chelish thug and slams his own mace into his shoulder. The arm hangs loose and bloodied now; almost useless.

NEXT: Top of the third round, Wilhelm

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Ignati successfully suppresses the pro-Thrune group, and draws the attention of three more citizens who form a retinue around him. They are a middle-aged Halfling couple and their teenage son.

Elsewhere, the others are not having as much success as Ignati, but Morrigan does safely reclaim her pig. The young Tiefling smiles and doesn't seem to mind the pig at all. Morrigan catches her name as "Zea" before she fades back into the crowd.

And then, the bells of the Cathedral of Asmodeus toll three times, for no apparent reason (as they always do; no one knows why or when the bells ring). A moment later, a pair of windows on the third floor of the Opera House swing open, and a man dressed in red, orange and black, wearing an ornate breastplate emblazoned with the star of Asmodeus appears. He is idly cradling a finely-made mace. It is the new lord-mayor of Kintargo, Barzilai Thrune.

“Ah, my adoring little chickadees. I am sorry to say I have not yet adapted to your quaint, country ways, being accustomed as I am to the sophistication and learning of Egorian. Nonetheless, know I have heard your concerns, and that I appreciate your valued feedback, and I know we shall eventually find a mutual understanding in the fullness of time. I take pride in updating Kintargo’s quaint, outdated laws to the modern standards the city deserves, and strengthening its ties with the empire in these cruel times, but obviously I have approached my duties too aggressively.

“You say you chafe at the presence of nonnatives in positions of power? That authorities not of this city have no place as its leaders? That you will not be yoked by intruders? Your lord-mayor hears you. And so it is with a heavy heart that I issue this proclamation, in response to your demands: all ships’ captains are hereafter barred from leaving their vessels and setting foot on Kintargo docks or streets, under pain of... let’s say... squassation!”

No sooner has he finished his speech than a pile of rancid manure sails through the air and lands about 6 feet below the window. Startled, the lord-mayor flinches and spills his glass of wine onto his breastplate. Incensed, he throws the wine glass down onto the streets below and bellows:

"Enough of this! Nox, arrest them or kill them. I care not which!"

Nox straightens up and signals the dottari, who spring into action. Within the crowd as well, many begin to move, raising weapons in preparation.

Time to roll initiative

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Also, Chelaxians is more appropriate for a culture that loves to chillax as much as the Chelaxians do :P

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John Cena isn't terribly Chaotic; he's generally in favor of fair play and supports legitimate authority. He hasn't turned heel in over a decade, and despite being taunted by the crowd with "John Cena Sucks" chants, he remains positive, accepting that not everyone will support him, and the fans have a right to cheer whoever they want. He's a hero to children, has done more Make a Wish visits than any celebrity every (no, really), and is out in front of any charity stuff WWE gets involved with. He can be pushed into bending the rules, but I'd say he's more of a Neutral Good deity, and I could see justifying Lawful Good if only so that he could support an order of Paladins (which seems just about perfect for him).

As for domains, I'd say Strength, Community, and Nobility match up with his "Hustle, Loyalty, Respect" mantra, and I'd add in Good to round it all out. His followers will already have access to the subdomains of each, so they can take the Fist subdomain if you like.

His clerics should all wear brightly-colored armbands and wristbands, and their prayers always begin with a familiar hand gesture. He is known as the Invisible God, for sinners cannot see him.


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So, I made my triumphant(?) return to PFS GMing last night. Our group had been going late quite often recently, so the players were definitely on-board with the concept of getting through things smoothly, if not necessarily the execution.

As always, the group started late because of the time everyone showed up, so we started closer to 8pm than the 7/7:30 that was intended. Still, I had the game wrapped up by 11:15pm, and everyone was out the door with their chronicles by 11:30. I count that as a "win".

The main factor causing delays was overplanning. THey spent more time talking about how to deal with entering a warehouse full of pirates than they did actually fighting the pirates.

Player indecision/too many suggestions for new players was a minor issue, and one that's easier to deal with for me (I just go with whatever the new player said they were doing; they can try the other guy's advice next turn).

There were a few grumbles when they failed one of their objectives, but I figure that when you open fire on a woman holding a hostage, you can't be too upset when she makes good on her threat to kill that hostage.

I also had one potential rules kerfuffle regarding the use of the Grapple manuever to reposition an enemy, but it turned out to be largely irrelevant, and we didn't really lose much time to it.

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lucky7 wrote:
A world where there is a Mega-Dungeon Roguelike structure, and there is an industry of looting stuff from it.

Isn't this the premise of a bunch of anime shows (Magi, Is It Wrong To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon, etc.)?

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I like to think that old Wizard familiars go on to find new apprentices to teach magic to, and thus become Witch familiars :)

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I vaguely recall that Galt's guillotine's were designed to do something weird so that you couldn't resurrect someone who had been killed by one - does it completely devour/destroy the soul, or simply send it to the Boneyard? If it's technically robbing Pharasma and the various afterlives of the souls that they're due, why hasn't there been any backlash against Galt?

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I'm very interested in this game, and I was considering a Sorcerer with a Draconic or Linnorm bloodline; I'm a little off on my geography here - is Trunau too far to possibly host Linnorms? I plan to re-read the guide when I get home, but I thought I'd ask.

If we're going to be too full on arcane casters, I might consider an Oracle. I'm kind of in the mood to try out a spontaneous caster.

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gustavo iglesias wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:

Being bad at your primary function isn't entertaining, its depressing.

I see how some people would love that, because I've known a few of them. It's ok, there's nothing wrong. They can play Pippen if they want, as long as they also understand that some people preffer to play Legolas.

There's no badwrongfun. There's people who insist that the rest of the group play like they like, and those are the problem. It doesn't matter if it's people asking everybody else to power up, or to power down. It's just, in my opinion, a wrong thing from ethical point of view, to assume that you are enlightened with the Only Truth, and try to force feed everybody else with your own opinion.

Let Pippin be Pippin, and let Legolas be Legolas. They'll both have fun

Pippin was bad at Legolas' role, but he was pretty good at what he did (stealing things, sneaking around, negotiating with trees, etc.)

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So, I originally bought Unchained for the class fixes, but hadn't had time to really dig into it until recently. I really like the Background Skill option, but I'm a bit torn regarding Group Skills and Consolidated Skills.

I realize that there is an option to combine them, with with the suggested adjustments, leaves low-level characters with one skill group, regardless of class, which doesn't quite seem right.

What I like about Consolidated Skills is that it leaves characters feeling more "complete", and able to do things that I would expect them to be able to do given their specialty. What I don't like about it is having to educate my players on all of the updated skill descriptions, which are only available in a book that none of them own since it hasn't been added to the PRD yet.

What I like about Group Skills is that it doesn't change the way the skills themselves work, while still giving players more bang for their skill point buck. This is particularly a concern if you run a lot of APs, as failing knowledge skill checks can grind the investigative portion of an adventure to a halt and force some rather blatant coincidences to get the players back on track. What I don't like about Group Skills is that because players only gain expertise in a few areas, it seems like characters would be less rounded, and thus, less interesting.

Has anyone put either of these systems (or both?) into practice yet? What were your results like?


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FLite wrote:

Taking without permission is not always chaotic. However reposession is a bad example of this. In reposession the person doing the reposession has permission to do so (laid out in the original contract.) Taking without permission may be lawful in some lands (where the laws say a certain person cannot own property) but that wouldn't be stealing.

Likewise, killing may not be evil. Killing in self defense, or in active defense of another for example. But killing after all opponents have been disabled, is not killing in self defense, you have other ways to protect people, killing the guy is just the most convenient way. So you are killing for convenience, which is evil.

It may be justified by his actions, so it is a justified evil act, which means in isolation it is not enough to shift your alignment, but it is still an evil act. That just means you have grounds for arguing that it is a lawful evil act.

Again, you are mistaking your personal views for objective facts. Stop that.


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...none of which state that performing a Coup de Grace is an evil act.


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FLite wrote:

Killing someone who has surrendered or been incapacitated is an evil act.

The fact that he is a mass murderer doesn't make it less evil, it just means you are descending to his level to resolve the problem. However it is a good justification for your to decide that getting rid of him is worth the 500 gp to pay for an atonement to get forgiveness for the evil act.

The fact that it is a one time thing may mean that your other good deeds balance it out and that you don't need to pay for an atonement.

The fact that the other player is not a good role player has absolutely no bearing on whether this is an evil act or not.

Your opinion on good and evil has no real relevance to the PFS interpretation of how the alignment system works.

The other details were provided for the sake of context (as my motives were being called into question by you and others), nothing more.


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Jessex wrote:

Murdering helpless sentient beings is evil. What is so hard to understand?

Quoting the Core Rulebook "Good implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others."

Killing an evil man before he can kill again is a sacrifice I was willing to make. Besides, retributive justice isn't Evil in Golarion, it's Neutral. Otherwise Callistria would be a Chaotic Evil deity, not a Chaotic Neutral one.

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Imbicatus wrote:
spectrevk wrote:
Who is there no love for the Fighter (archer archetype) in this thread? Full BAB plus cool tricks like ranged disarm.

Because it makes it so you can't use Gloves of Dueling, you lose Armor Training which actually does something with the high dex needed for archery, and ranged maneuvers are terrible and are replicated by targeting feats in the Ranged Tactics Toolbox. It's a strict downgrade to a CRB fighter.

Ah, that's a real shame. I hadn't checked out the Ranged Tactics Toolbox. I hate it when they make their own previous products obsolete, though.

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It looks like I misjudged you, and I apologize. I had initially taken your "not calling you out" line to be somewhat sarcastic, and I'm a bit sensitive regarding the way people discuss issues like this online, particularly the presumption of guilt and dog-piling. It's clear now that this wasn't your intent, and I jumped the gun.

I share your disdain for many of the public reactions to clear proof of wrongdoing by celebrities. At the same time, I'm also concerned about the presumption of guilt based on the severity of allegations, particularly since the fallout doesn't end up being equal (Roman Polanski is still considered a "genius" after being convicted and escaping his sentence; Bill Cosby is a social pariah over numerous allegations that never went to court).

But I digress; any conversation about the various iniquities and failures of the U.S. justice system and the media/entertainment machine that reports on it could easily consume an entire forum, let alone a single thread.

Back to Upchurch, it's funny that you should mention running into his defenders at your comic shop, as I was just talking to the (female, if it matters) co-owner of my local shop about Rat Queens. She told me that immediately after the news hit (shortly after issue 8 came out) she had a lot of female readers say they were quitting the book, who then came back to it as soon as they heard Upchurch was being replaced). I didn't find out about it until a while after that, because Rat Queens has always had a pretty inconsistent schedule, and I just figured Upchurch was slow.

For me, I fully understand people not wanting to be involved with him under the circumstances. My initial point was that his art style is unique enough that he'd be hard to replace, and since the art was such an important part of the book, I was concerned about the future. I fully understand the necessity of him paying the consequences for his crime, and I expect that to happen.

I was unaware that the creator-owned caveat at Image extended to Artists - everything I've read on their submissions guidelines for writers say "you own your work, but we won't find an artist for you, you need to find one yourself." This to me has always implied that the writer owned the scripts, characters, and narrative - while the artist was contracted to the work with the writer, by the writer.

I am not privy to the contract details between Wiebe and Upchurch; it is possible that he retained full rights to the IP, but it seems unlikely; modern comic artists are all too aware of what happened to Jack Kirby, Bill Finger, and other silver/golden age artists who made huge contributions to the characters we all know and love, but were robbed of both the financial gains and historical recognition for what they did. Artists typically get co-creator rights for characters that they help develop, so it seems likely that Upchurch has some kind of continued stake in Rat Queens, but the only way to be sure would be to ask Wiebe. And even if I'm right, I imagine it wouldn't be too hard for Wiebe to buy Upchurch out of his stake, as I'm sure both parties are aware of how much damage Upchurch's continued involvement would do to the IP.

Lastly on to more pleasant topics: Yes, the Braga one-shot was fun, and actually speaks very well of Wiebe's work with other collaborators.

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jemstone wrote:
spectrevk wrote:
Zeugma wrote:

The whole Roc Upchurch arrest is making me feel uneasy about the series going forward. Will Wiebe having a new illustrator change the content? Is it temporary or will Upchurch return to illustrating it at some point down the road? It also makes me super sad that a series that is so positive/entertaining about women kicking @ss has a corollary in real-life violence that is as far as one can get from "entertaining."

I was wondering what other readers on here thought about the issue, or if y'all don't want to touch it with a 10 ft. pole.

I, too, was troubled by the Upchurch situation. Obviously, if he did what he's accused of doing, that's a serious problem. But replacing an artist with such a specific style is going to have an effect on the book, and I'm already not enthusiastic about the updated character designs that Stepjic has posted so far. I want to see the current storyline through to its conclusion, but I'm unsure of how long I'll be continuing after that.

I've thought about replying to this. spectrevk, I don't mean to seem as though I'm calling you specifically out here. This is directed at the royal "you," and it's not personally directed your way.

I'm just really tired of people trying to excuse Upchurch's behavior and cast some kind of doubt over the cycle and history of abuse that he displayed toward his wife and others. As though his being an artist makes up for it.

Who in this thread has been doing any of this? Nobody has come to his defense, or suggested that he should be treated differently because he's an artist. Unless you were interpreting my comments on the difficulty of replacing him as an artist that way. I realize that the nature of his departure from the book makes this more sensitive than usual (and again, I understand that domestic violence is a serious problem), but my point was specific to the book, not the man or the incident.


So, I realize that as a survivor of domestic abuse, I am grossly biased, here, but:

The guy got arrested because he had a history of abuse and was caught red handed. He's going to go to trial, and if his wife is very lucky, he will go to prison.

Frankly, I don't care what his defense is. I want nothing more to do with his art. I want him to never get a job in this or any other industry ever again.

You seem to know more about his background than I do; I was unaware of any previous incidents of abuse, as the only stories I could find about the incident implied this was a first offense. Regardless of whether he's done it once or repeatedly, it's a crime, and he's going through the legal process for it, which is good.

As for the rest...well, I understand that you're angry with him, and other abusers (understandably so), but unless we're going to start executing people for domestic violence, blacklisting them from working "in this or any other industry ever again" seems like it's going to hurt the rest of us as much as it hurts the person being punished. What do you expect a person who can't get legitimate work to do with the rest of their life? How would they eat, or live? This is the kind of attitude that has turned America into a country with the highest incarceration rate in the world. We release people from jail into a society that won't hire them, and expect them not to re-offend. If we don't want to give people second chances, then why are we releasing them from prison? Either admit that you want to throw people into a black hole for any violation of the law, or actually give former inmates a real chance to redeem themselves. I realize that this is a digression from the Upchurch/Rat Queens issue, but your rant here is touching on one of the things that really bothers me about modern culture.


And if you really do love Weibe's story as much as you claim, the art shouldn't matter.

If Rat Queens was a series of novels, sure. But it's a comic book, specifically a creator-owned book that was a collaboration between Wiebe and Upchurch; it's unrealistic to expect that the departure of one of them isn't going to change the book, not just in appearance, but in narrative. I'm not asking for Upchurch to be forgiven, or released; I'm simply being realistic about the effect of half of the creative team leaving the book during the climax of a pretty big story arc. I'm also being realistic about how much I dislike Stephen Sejic's art style.

What I do know is that if you are saying you won't support the book any longer because a violent abuser is no longer part of it, then you might want to step back and reconsider a few things.

I think that's what you *want* me to be saying, so that I can become a convenient straw man for you to vent your anger upon. But this makes no sense. If I was only interested in Rat Queens because a "violent abuser" was part of it, then how would I have started reading it in the first place? Roc Upchurch's domestic violence issues didn't come to light until after they'd already published 8 issues of the book. If I was only interested in the book because of its link to domestic violence, I wouldn't have bought the Braga issue, and I would have removed the book from my pull list already, rather than sticking with the book through the current storyline and giving Sejic (whose art I've already stated I don't like) a fair chance (which I clearly stated I was doing in the text that you quoted).


Weibe addressed the issue of Upchurch's arrest in an intelligent and thoughtful manner. He decided that he still has a story to tell, and that he no longer wished to associate with Upchurch. He no longer wanted Upchurch to be associated with the story going forward. That was the best thing he could do.

Personally, I take his stance against Upchurch's behavior and his resolve to continue the story to be a positive thing.

Agreed. He also sent his best wishes to both Roc and his wife and children, hoping that they could all find healing, which is a bit more positive than your "I hope this man never works anywhere ever again" response. Wiebe did the right thing, not trying to excuse his partner's behavior, but not speculating either; he took care of the book and his readers. It's worth pointing out that Image books are creator-owned, however, so he wouldn't have been able to replace Upchurch on the book without either obtaining Upchurch's permission, or taking him to court for ownership of the IP.

Again, I'm not targeting anyone specifically

That is demonstrably untrue. You specifically targeted me, and deliberately misinterpreted by statements about the new art direction of the book as some kind of support for spousal abuse.

but I will not apologize for having a stance that punishes the abuser rather than excusing them

Literally no one in this thread has tried to excuse any sort of abuse, or even Roc Upchurch in particular. Assuming that his guilt is still in question prior to his trial isn't excusing anyone; it's the way our society is supposed to work.

Your anger at Roc Upchurch and spousal abuse is nothing to apologize for; your views on the American justice system, on the other hand, are appalling. Guilty until proven innocent, punishing criminals after they've served their time by blacklisting them from any and all employment, and painting anyone who disagrees with you as an apologist for domestic violence? That's something to apologize for.

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Wiggz wrote:


Pathfinder Society
Pathfinder Society Core

These aren't different rulesets. Pathfinder Society is an organized campaign that uses the Pathfinder rules; Pathfinder Society Core is the same thing, but with a more limited set of potential sources. It's a *reaction* to complaints about bloat. It's the anti-bloat.

Pathfinder Unchained

This isn't even out yet.


Beginner Box

Mythic Rules

These aren't really different rulesets either. The Mythic rules fit on top of the existing rules, and the Beginner Box is just a stripped-down version of the normal rules designed to appeal to kids and get them interested in regular Pathfinder. It even comes with a booklet to teach those kids who to convert their Basic characters to normal Pathfinder.

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I, too, disagree. The summoners would roflstomp at pretty much any level.

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CommandoDude wrote:

Or, what are other people's experiences with the Witch class? From the perspective of - the player; the teammate; and the GM?

The primary offensive power of the Witch is obviously its Hexes. The class is built around it, and while it does get full-spellcasting like the Wizard, it's spell list is much more limited.

The problem I have with the Witch is that its Hexes are basically scaling, non-vancian limited, auto spell resistance penetrating, save or suck "spells." Oh, yes it does receive a variety of Hexes, but the most powerful are obviously the combat oriented ones - of which Slumber is the king.

I'm coming from the perspective of this from "the teammate" I've had a friend who's played the Witch for 3 campaigns now. And I honestly think Hexes are becoming a crutch for him at this point. His character either wipes the floor with the enemy if they don't have good will saves or sleep immunity, leaving the rest of us feeling mostly useful; OR he can't do anything because the enemy have high will saves, leaving him feeling useless. (He tends to pack mostly out of combat heal spells instead of anything else)

I always kind of liked Warding and Evil Eye more than Slumber, personally. There are plenty of things that can't be affected by sleep, and a will save totally negates it. Even if they succeed at a saving throw against Evil Eye, they still take the penalties, but for only 1 round. And unlike Slumber, you can re-apply Evil Eye to the same target over and over again. Ward is also something he can always be doing to contribute to the group's success, so if he isn't taking that, I don't know what he's doing with his other hexes. Fortune/Misfortune are also popular.

Witches are actually one of the better classes introduced in the APG; they're more balanced than the Summoner in my opinion, and they fill a role (debuffer) that wasn't really being covered by either Divine or Arcane spellcasters. Both Wizards and Clerics *have* debuffs, but they don't really focus on them. Witches are almost entirely geared towards weakening the enemy so that other people can murder them. If you're in a party with a Witch, they *should* be setting the pins up so you can knock 'em down. Perhaps you should talk with your Witch about some tactical team-ups you can try.

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Dear James Jacobs: One of the big shifts in 3.0/3.5/Pathfinder was a greater emphasis on planned character growth, versus organic character growth. The rules make it easier to start out a character above level 1, and the nature of feat trees (along with potential multi-classing synergy, which seems to now be part of class design) means that not only are players rewarded for planning their character growth, but they can be penalized for not doing so.

Is this movement towards planned character growth a positive or negative in your opinion? Do you think there is a market for games that encourage more organic, modular character growth, or was that an older style of play that has died off?

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Captain K. wrote:

The campaign traits are superb, and GMs need to be aware that people will want to use them in other games. UMD as a class skill but with Spellcraft and a situational bonus is what a lot of people want, but the cream has to be the trait players are encouraged to take which is unusual. Trunau Native gives +1 Will and a free Masterwork dagger. Expect a lot of players to be Trunau Natives, and a Rogue who doesn't take it is a fool.

It's a free Masterwork dagger that, from a story POV, you aren't supposed to be using. The dagger is supposed to be kept sheathed except when mercy-killing someone else, or killing yourself to avoid capture. A rogue who takes it and uses it as a free masterwork dagger for everyday killing is mechanically doing the "right" thing, but is also kind of spitting on the traditions of the community they're supposed to be defending.

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Has anyone tried using this feat as a small character riding a small mount? Would there be any good reason to do so?

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j b 200 wrote:
The first book seems to be more about defending a settlement from an Orc invasion than about giants. Also, there are interesting locals like fighting inside a volcano and a flying castle. Unfortunately since none of the books are out yet (and we don't even have a final product description yet), we can't really sell you on the AP, since we don't really know what the AP is....

We have descriptions for the first 5 volumes of Giantslayer. It doesn't seem all that varied:

1. Defend town from orc army, explore tomb.

2. Fight Hill Giant chief.

3. Finish exploring tomb, then go to Mindspin Mountains. Fight a bunch of giants in a valley.

4. Fight village of Frost Giants.

5. Fight dungeon of Fire Giants. Learn about flying castle

Presumably, volume 6 will be "go to flying castle, kill Storm Tyrant". I think the problem for me here is the lack of motivation for the villain. Karzoug awakened after thousands of years and was trying to rebuild his empire. First Emperor Xin saw his dream of a perfect society destroyed by his students who then tried to kill him, slept for thousands of years, and went mad. Hakotep had his soul torn into fragments and finally has a chance to avenge himself. These are interesting villains.

The Storm Tyrant is just a guy with a cloud castle and an Orb of Dragonkind, who wants to conquer Avistan because....well, just because. I've heard people comparing this to Against the Giants, but I never had a chance to play that module. What could I be missing out on if I skip Giantslayer?

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When I ran RotRL a couple of years ago, I added a Shoanti barbarian woman as a background character during the initial goblin attack; the players saw her shielding a group of children from the goblins, and looking hurt. It was just a background detail.

Imagine my surprise when the party's Summoner decided to pursue her romantically. In time she became his steady girlfriend, and when he decided to establish a base in Thistletop after the goblins were cleared out, she moved in and established a hunting lodge there. When he died in Magnimar at the hands of cultists, she claimed his body and buried him in Shoanti lands.

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