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4-08 Cultist's Kiss GM Discussion


Pathfinder Society GM Discussion

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Sovereign Court ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Philadelphia , Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka Iammars

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Reading through this for tomorrow - if I'm reading this correctly the PCs can get a free tattoo from this mod? (Not that many of them may want it, especially if they don't know what it does. And I have a sneaking suspicion that it's going to cause detriments to the character in later Lisallan scenarios...)

Liberty's Edge ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Not as far as I can tell; I think it's treated as any magical item you'd get during a scenario. You get the tattoo (or not) and can use it during the scenario, but you'd have to buy it after the session is over to keep it.

That said, I'm very much looking forward to running this one; I love the flavor, and the combats look like they'll be... challenging.

Sovereign Court ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Philadelphia , Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka Iammars

That's what I thought too, until I read this:

Page 15 wrote:

A PC who accepts the Sihedron brand from the

cultists’ magic branding iron receives the magic tattoo at
no cost. The tattoo appears on this adventure’s Chronicle
sheet, but only those PCs who receive it as part of this
ritual gain its effects without needing to expend any
character resources.

**** Venture-Lieutenant, Canada—Ontario aka Feegle

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Iammars, you are correct. If a player accepts the branding during the scenario, they receive the tattoo for free. If the deny the branding, they may purchase it at a later time. This is an exception to the normal item use during a scenario/purchase it for permanent access rule.

When I GMed this, I wrote the tattoo under the "Items Purchased, Conditions Gained" section with a price of "free" and then initialed it for anyone who accepted the brand during the rite.

Silver Crusade ****

Just to further support this. Jeff and Iammers are both correct.

Sovereign Court ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Philadelphia , Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka Iammars

Daniel Luckett wrote:
Just to further support this. Jeff and Iammers are both correct.

Who's this Iammers guy? :p

But thanks for the clarifications. Just wanted to make sure that it was correct seeing as that is unusual for a PFS scenario.

Paizo Employee ** Developer

Iammars wrote:
I have a sneaking suspicion that it's going to cause detriments to the character in later Lisallan scenarios...

Why ever would you think such a thing?!

Silver Crusade ****

Mark Moreland wrote:
Iammars wrote:
I have a sneaking suspicion that it's going to cause detriments to the character in later Lisallan scenarios...
Why ever would you think such a thing?!

Yea, especially since Mark has yet to punish or reward players for the Kirin Way boon in Intro 2. Clearly no wrong (or reward) will ever come of this.

Scarab Sages **** Venture-Lieutenant, South Carolina—Irmo aka DarthGoob

Daniel Luckett wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
Iammars wrote:
I have a sneaking suspicion that it's going to cause detriments to the character in later Lisallan scenarios...
Why ever would you think such a thing?!
Yea, especially since Mark has yet to punish or reward players for the Kirin Way boon in Intro 2. Clearly no wrong (or reward) will ever come of this.

Actually, we used it as a reference in the Haunting of Hinojai for some of our characters to know about the Way of the Kirin.

Grand Lodge ****

Iammars wrote:

That's what I thought too, until I read this:

Page 15 wrote:

A PC who accepts the Sihedron brand from the

cultists’ magic branding iron receives the magic tattoo at
no cost. The tattoo appears on this adventure’s Chronicle
sheet, but only those PCs who receive it as part of this
ritual gain its effects without needing to expend any
character resources.

Follow-up question on the Tattoo. How long does the temporary hit point effect last? 3 minutes, 30 minutes, 3 hours? It is a 3rd level Tattoo. Just want some clarification.

Thanks.

Nathan Meyers
NYC Player/GM

Paizo Employee ** Developer

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Natertot wrote:

Follow-up question on the Tattoo. How long does the temporary hit point effect last? 3 minutes, 30 minutes, 3 hours? It is a 3rd level Tattoo. Just want some clarification.

The temporary hit points last one minute per caster level (as bear's endurance), so 3 minutes.

Grand Lodge ****

Mark Moreland wrote:
Natertot wrote:

Follow-up question on the Tattoo. How long does the temporary hit point effect last? 3 minutes, 30 minutes, 3 hours? It is a 3rd level Tattoo. Just want some clarification.

The temporary hit points last one minute per caster level (as bear's endurance), so 3 minutes.

Thanks Mark.

Nate

****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I ran this in 9 (Nine) hours at our last gameday, overriding the next slot to be played.

It was a whole lot of fun, but as typical for the season, heavily overpowered. My group with 3 venture officers, playing down, was nearly ripped apart at every stage.

I would not for an instant schedule this for less than 6-7 hours.

Shadow Lodge *** Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Majuba wrote:

I ran this in 9 (Nine) hours at our last gameday, overriding the next slot to be played.

It was a whole lot of fun, but as typical for the season, heavily overpowered. My group with 3 venture officers, playing down, was nearly ripped apart at every stage.

I would not for an instant schedule this for less than 6-7 hours.

Ran it in 4 hours, twice w/no problem, played once in a 4 hour slot. One party came close to defeat in the first Totemmask combat because 5 of 6 had Charisma as thier dump stat.

Wasn't rushed. Time I played it, final fight was a walk over.

I wonder what the difference was.

Dark Archive ***

We spent around 5 hours just exploring the city and playing up our cover identities, didnt even roll initiative until around 6hrs in when I played it.

I was playing up as a level 8 fighter/rogue/hellknight so the combat was a pain (we activated all the fights at once from what I can tell) eventually we were forced to withdraw due to time and the amount of risk.

Dark Archive ***

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Kerney wrote:
Majuba wrote:

I ran this in 9 (Nine) hours at our last gameday, overriding the next slot to be played.

It was a whole lot of fun, but as typical for the season, heavily overpowered. My group with 3 venture officers, playing down, was nearly ripped apart at every stage.

I would not for an instant schedule this for less than 6-7 hours.

Ran it in 4 hours, twice w/no problem, played once in a 4 hour slot. One party came close to defeat in the first Totemmask combat because 5 of 6 had Charisma as thier dump stat.

Wasn't rushed. Time I played it, final fight was a walk over.

I wonder what the difference was.

Role play?

***

Marcus Mayes wrote:
Kerney wrote:
Majuba wrote:

I ran this in 9 (Nine) hours at our last gameday, overriding the next slot to be played.

It was a whole lot of fun, but as typical for the season, heavily overpowered. My group with 3 venture officers, playing down, was nearly ripped apart at every stage.

I would not for an instant schedule this for less than 6-7 hours.

Ran it in 4 hours, twice w/no problem, played once in a 4 hour slot. One party came close to defeat in the first Totemmask combat because 5 of 6 had Charisma as thier dump stat.

Wasn't rushed. Time I played it, final fight was a walk over.

I wonder what the difference was.

Role play?

When I ran it it took about 8 or so hours: yes, roleplay!

It's pretty "sandboxish" (a bit like the first City of Strangers scneario in that sense), with lots of opportunities for interacting with the city folk (AND each other... lots of nice fodder for inter-party strife!) If someone stripped out the roleplay aspect (or ran it with a group uninterested in roleplaying) it could go pretty fast at low tier (at high tier combat will be much more complex in this scenario).

It's amusing to note that everyone at my table had a pretty high charisma (I think 14 or so was the lowest), and were roleplayers. It's sort of unsurprising that a low-charisma table might run fast (since charisma dump-statters are more likely to skip the roleplaying).

I will say that this could go VERY badly indeed for the (increasingly standard) low charisma PFS table ;)

It's a great scenario, and definitely one you'll want to prep well so you know the city and the key figures.

Silver Crusade ****

I thought it hilarious when a witch seeing what happening with the whole domination bit, decided it was time to evacuate the "not best/worst" scene and teleported him and the others in there with him out. The poor paladin and cleric of Asmodeus were left behind.

The Cleric was unconscious and the paladin was 1 turn away from being drained to death. It was really, really close.

Dark Archive ***

I note that Tomasz is a Dhampir with negative energy affinity. The suggested spells to help him are likely to kill him.

Heal is likely to kill him outright and regenerate is gonna hurt (if it affects him at all).

I am not clear what restoration will do to him.

Dark Archive ***

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GM prep stat blocks for Cultists Kiss (18 pages) in Google Docs format

Sovereign Court ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Australia—Sydney aka Luke_Parry

FYI, 'Heal' could not kill Tomasz - RAW, it can never reduce a target's hp below 1 ;-)

That said, I still doubt that he would enjoy the experience...

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Fresno aka Sarta

Luke_Parry wrote:
FYI, 'Heal' could not kill Tomasz - RAW, it can never reduce a target's hp below 1 ;-)

Yup, I once hit a lich with a heal spell and did a grand total of 3 points of damage. Cure light wounds would have finished him. It's what I get for trying to throw the kitchen sink at him.

Liberty's Edge *** Venture-Lieutenant, Rhode Island—Providence aka SerSeptimus

I also had the experience of this scenario running long - The open ended progression of events after the PCs reach town are fantastic, but they also allow for numerous distractions from the main scenario and can easily turn into hours of content (great for RP, but bad for staying on schedule if you're in a time slot).

**

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

How did you folks handle Part One: Finding the Cult? I'm thinking of placing a map of Palin's Cove (without the lettering designating buildings) on the table with a glass bead marking where the PCs currently are and having them point to buildings they want to approach. That is, unless, they come to know the names presented in the section on Palin's Cove Locations by asking for the manors, factories and such. The 1d4 hours per check seems a bit excessive to gather a couple of mysterious sentences. Seems the first person they walk up to could mutter one of these with a successful diplomacy check.

Dark Archive **** Dedicated Voter 2013

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
xebeche wrote:
How did you folks handle Part One: Finding the Cult? I'm thinking of placing a map of Palin's Cove (without the lettering designating buildings) on the table with a glass bead marking where the PCs currently are and having them point to buildings they want to approach. That is, unless, they come to know the names presented in the section on Palin's Cove Locations by asking for the manors, factories and such. The 1d4 hours per check seems a bit excessive to gather a couple of mysterious sentences. Seems the first person they walk up to could mutter one of these with a successful diplomacy check.

I put out the unnumbered map and then place numbered dice on the map as players find out what locations are - I then have a player make a map-key based on these numbers using a wet erase marker and a folded-up flip map. The players' exploration then flows in a more natural form and they can add notes next to each location, such as which NPC they talked to, etc.

**

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Justin, that's really great. Thanks! Reading this scenario feels like it places a lot on the GM to keep the players from spending a lot of time at the table extracting little to no information. Roleplaying is fun, but so is getting to bed before sunrise. I'll take your advice and give my players hints and Sense Motive checks to get a hunch about a certain location once they've been there, at least if they linger or are getting the "wrong" impression.

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Fresno aka Sarta

I'm planning on simply using the map as is. The letters cover every major building on the map and don't really give anything away.

**

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Will, I was considering doing the same, which is completely reasonable. I feel like it gives away some metagame information that would distract from immersion. This, of course, will depend on the players.

On another topic, I think it is important to point out and/or discuss dominate person, as it is not fleshed out in the scenario. In area H5. Involuntary Veneration if a PC is dominated and ordered to "defend" the vampire spawn this PC should receive another save against the effect as per the spell: "any subject forced to take actions against its nature receives a new saving throw with a +2 bonus." James Jacobs made the following statement in this thread:

James Jacobs wrote:

Yeah; if you force a dominated creature to do something against its nature, it gets that new saving throw. If it makes that saving throw, it throws off the ENTIRE dominate effect and gets to go back to doing what they want.

As for what constitutes "against its nature," that varies from creature to creature. For a PC, I would say that forcing a PC to attack another PC would normally be against a PC's nature and would allow a new saving throw (unless, of course, that PC has already displayed a propensity for attacking other PCs).

Lastly, if the PCs have protection from evil active for one reason or another "While under the effects of this spell, the target is immune to any new attempts to possess or exercise mental control over the target." And if protection from evil is cast on a dominated PC "the subject immediately receives another saving throw...with a +2 morale bonus, using the same DC as the original effect." Those are potentially 3 likely saves that a dominated PC will make in the first rounds of combat.

Anyway, I wanted to put this in the thread just in case a GM unfamiliar with the specifics of vampires and dominate person, like myself, would be helped by the information.

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Fresno aka Sarta

Yup, many may use clear spindle ioun stones and wayfinders to ignore the effect.

I know that when I run it this Sunday for a necromancer, what will be more important is that it is a charisma check to force a controlled undead to act against its masters. Since the spawn are introduced first, I have a feeling they will be commanded to fight the others.

Dark Archive **** Dedicated Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So far, my favorite tactic against those dominated is to tell them to "Bow before Lissala! Bend to your knee and watch as her disciples fight!" Thus you effectively REMOVE the PC from combat entirely, and it isn't really against anyone's nature... unless I hear someone's nature is to defend their friends with their own life, then I'd consider it :-p

Another great one if you feel really REALLY vicious is to order them to report to the cult's leader... and thus trigger the next fight while the first is still going on! *Muahahahahaha!!!*

Liberty's Edge ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So here's a question: seeing as how we now have Tieflings and Aasimar running around by the dozens, do we as GMs have the discretion to have the Vampire's dominate affect other creature types? Particularly Outsider (Native)?

Vampire's Dominate Ability wrote:

Dominate (Su)

A vampire can crush a humanoid opponent's will as a standard action. Anyone the vampire targets must succeed on a Will save or fall instantly under the vampire's influence, as though by a dominate person spell (caster level 12th). The ability has a range of 30 feet. At the GM's discretion, some vampires might be able to affect different creature types with this power.

I know a number of players who forgo a clear ioun spindle simply because they're immune to most charm and dominate effects.

Dark Archive ***

How have folks handled Aasimars in general trying to become members of the cult? It seems they are at a severe disadvantage.

**

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Will Johnson wrote:

Yup, many may use clear spindle ioun stones and wayfinders to ignore the effect.

I know that when I run it this Sunday for a necromancer, what will be more important is that it is a charisma check to force a controlled undead to act against its masters. Since the spawn are introduced first, I have a feeling they will be commanded to fight the others.

I'm glad you know your player in advance. Handling that on the fly would throw me for a few minutes...

Justin Riddler wrote:

So far, my favorite tactic against those dominated is to tell them to "Bow before Lissala! Bend to your knee and watch as her disciples fight!" Thus you effectively REMOVE the PC from combat entirely, and it isn't really against anyone's nature... unless I hear someone's nature is to defend their friends with their own life, then I'd consider it :-p

Another great one if you feel really REALLY vicious is to order them to report to the cult's leader... and thus trigger the next fight while the first is still going on! *Muahahahahaha!!!*

Yes, but if running the scenario as written it explicitly says vampire spawn will be "instructing those already dominated to defend them." Now, if this were my adventure path, your suggestions are EXACTLY what I'd do because it makes dominate person effective.

ZomB wrote:
How have folks handled Aasimars in general trying to become members of the cult? It seems they are at a severe disadvantage.

Not all Aasimars are good, just as not all Tieflings are evil.

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Fresno aka Sarta

I personally wouldn't allow the PC's to make a second will save if told to defend, but would grant one if instructed to attack.

"Defending someone" provides a lot of loopholes and certainly isn't forcing direct lethal PVP. I know that when my oracle was dominated to defend someone I simply went to town buffing them and using fog cloud to protect them from ranged attacks. Melee characters can always trip, disarm, grapple, or use non-lethal damage if defending.

**

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Will Johnson wrote:

I personally wouldn't allow the PC's to make a second will save if told to defend, but would grant one if instructed to attack.

"Defending someone" provides a lot of loopholes and certainly isn't forcing direct lethal PVP. I know that when my oracle was dominated to defend someone I simply went to town buffing them and using fog cloud to protect them from ranged attacks. Melee characters can always trip, disarm, grapple, or use non-lethal damage if defending.

This is a very reasonable argument. As a general rule I try to err in favor of the PCs, at least in PFS. I know as a player who generally is good-aligned, I'd enjoy "defending" the bag guy for a few rounds. Especially because the vampire spawn really don't pose much trouble to the experienced players I'm fortunate to share a table with. A different way to look at the game is always welcome :)

**

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

A couple things of note. Ilan Kosta is listed as a 6th level cleric under subtier 10-11. His hit dice and abilities suggest that he is a 9th level cleric. Secondly, he has memorized bless and undead cannot benefit from morale bonuses.

**

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Taldor Mission wrote:
I have included with this letter a locket with a miniature portrait of Lady Menas, so that you can recognize her.

This phrase was an incredible boon to my players. One submitted it for scrying and after spending a few minutes confirming that I had no reason to disallow it, the Oracle cast the spell. Within minutes of the start of the scenario the party picked up on exactly what they would be facing after a successful Knowledge (religion) check and use of darkvision through the scry effect. They were well prepared.

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Fresno aka Sarta

xebeche wrote:
Will Johnson wrote:
I know that when I run it this Sunday for a necromancer, what will be more important is that it is a charisma check to force a controlled undead to act against its masters. Since the spawn are introduced first, I have a feeling they will be commanded to fight the others.
I'm glad you know your player in advance. Handling that on the fly would throw me for a few minutes...

Yup, so the party entered the inner sanctum with the following controlled: a Totenmaske (shape changed to look like Tomasz), a vampire spawn, and Charito.

The lore warden in the party got blinded and sickened by Ilan's whip, but otherwise it was a cake walk.

Liberty's Edge ****

I had another one of those 'Feral's games take place in another reality' moments.

It was more or less a cakewalk.

Silver Crusade **

Out of curiosity, how would you all handle an Oracle of Lore showing up and getting insanely good Knowledge checks? Would they still take an hour each, give only partial information, etc?

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Fresno aka Sarta

Alexander_Damocles wrote:
Out of curiosity, how would you all handle an Oracle of Lore showing up and getting insanely good Knowledge checks? Would they still take an hour each, give only partial information, etc?

So, within the scenario there are two different charts for information:

There's the general information about Palin's Cove, which allows for both diplomacy and knowledge local. Then there's specifically gathering rumors regarding unusual goings on, which specifies only diplomacy as a method to get the information.

I'd personally grant one rumor for a knowledge local role, but require interaction through diplomacy for the rest.

Frankly, not interacting with the townsfolk robs the party of a great role play opportunity as they interact with a few of the locals. The female Taldan duelist at my table took on Nora as a vanity follower after the scenario ended due to great role play.

Also, ideally the players will infiltrate by seeking to join the cult, rather than simply charging in. It's specifically what Sheila asked them to do and makes the encounter that much more fun. Timing wise, this always occurs on the night after talking with Tomasz, so rushing gathering information has no real impact.

Dark Archive **** Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Modules Subscriber

So, I ran this dead cold today for my VC's infamous Blundering Barbarian, Butters, a well played super-charisma ninja, and a cleric of pharasma. They chose Hayato as their pregen to fill the table, and we went to work....

I had a super short amount of time to run the scenario, and we were already down to under an hour left in the slot when we STARTED the ceremonial stuff.

The ninja and the cleric were running their cover identities as being half-sisters... Some failed rumor gathering by the dwarven barbarian turned into an introduction to Ireni and some Novel of Manners scenes that got them some opportunities for old-money rumors and a failed faction mission (because, as we said "Well, Butters.")

Hilarity ensued when the Pharasman determined that the answer to "get a brand" was "Express ticket to the line for judgment: slay living."

"Uhm, okay.... Reiko and Butters and Hayato re-enact the scene in Top Dollar's club from The Crow (from about 2:16...) and now you're standing there wondering where the rest of the cult is."

Some searching and disabling of a lock in the midst of a furnace later... things proceeded, and a prot evil'd ninja and barb with a 2h PA weapon and sneak dice proceeded to mop up the relatively crunchy undead.

Silver Crusade **

Will Johnson wrote:


Also, ideally the players will infiltrate by seeking to join the cult, rather than simply charging in. It's specifically what Sheila asked them to do and makes the encounter that much more fun. Timing wise, this always occurs on the night after talking with Tomasz, so rushing gathering information has no real impact.

Hey now, I behaved myself. It was that darn cleric of Sarenrae that started the fight!

**** Venture-Lieutenant, Georgia—Atlanta aka Yiroep

David Haller wrote:
I will say that this could go VERY badly indeed for the (increasingly standard) low charisma PFS table ;)

Having just played through this, you're not kidding. We had 2 very high charisma characters and 2 very low charisma characters, but didn't do things the way "the scenario wanted us to" and ended up almost getting completely dominated by the scenario. We were able to defeat them by the very skin of our teeth. That, and we were a party of 4 with only 1 real damage dealer, which didn't help matters (the last encounter for us took like 4 hours alone).

But yes, this scenario seems to punish you more than any other scenario for a low charisma party.

Dark Archive **** Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Modules Subscriber
Yiroep wrote:
David Haller wrote:
I will say that this could go VERY badly indeed for the (increasingly standard) low charisma PFS table ;)

Having just played through this, you're not kidding. We had 2 very high charisma characters and 2 very low charisma characters, but didn't do things the way "the scenario wanted us to" and ended up almost getting completely dominated by the scenario. We were able to defeat them by the very skin of our teeth. That, and we were a party of 4 with only 1 real damage dealer, which didn't help matters (the last encounter for us took like 4 hours alone).

But yes, this scenario seems to punish you more than any other scenario for a low charisma party.

So, some potentially punishing scenarios for low-social-skills parties.

Severing Ties
Bloodcove Disguise
Shades of Ice 3
The Disappeared
Red Harvest could very readily.
Blackros Matrimony
Assault on the Kingdom of the Impossible
Race for the Runecarved Key
Green Market

****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

It recently occurred to me that there was a slight chance that the scenario intends the DM to get the "boon" of the free brand. I assume that since the brand is far far automatic that it's only for the PCs, but figured I should check. Any feedback on that?

****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

"far far automatic" --> "far from automatic"

*****

Majuba wrote:
It recently occurred to me that there was a slight chance that the scenario intends the DM to get the "boon" of the free brand. I assume that since the brand is far far automatic that it's only for the PCs, but figured I should check. Any feedback on that?

Well, it's pretty much a guarantee that you can get the brand if you want it, unless the PCs do something very unexpected.

In any case, it's probably as usual--the GM can choose whether or not to get any boon on the chronicle sheet as they see fit.

****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Except on the chronicle sheet it is not listed as a boon, just as an item available.

Sovereign Court ***

Regarding the Lissala's caress:

Do you need to do damage for the sickening effect to go off?

Given that the delivery weapon is a whip, if damage is necessary for the sicken, the utility of the weapon decreases dramatically.

When I played this, one one character ended up with the brand.

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