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Kingmaker Showdown, Paladin and Briar (Spoilers)


Advice


Dear fellow DMs,

how would you handle the following situation:
your Kingmaker game has entered the final stage. The party has acquired Briar and the weapon is awakening.

The problem: there's nobody in the party who can really wield it. The only character who is any good at melee is a Paladin who is, by definition, Lawful Good. Once awakened, Briar would impose 1-2 Negative Levels (haven't calculated the Ego score) on any non-chaotic creature wielding it.

The only other character who can wield Martial weapons is also Lawful. There are also two Chaotic party members but they are not Melee, don't have Martial proficiency, and have terrible BAB and Strength scores anyway.

So, the Paladin is really the only one in the party who _could_ use it. But, if the thing imposes Neg Levels, with their attack and save penalties and HP reduction and suppressed spell slots, he won't want to.
The BBEGal is scripted so that she can pretty much only be overcome by Briar.

Considering Neryssa's considerable AC of 51, bonus dilemma points if eating those NegLevels would mean she can only be hit on a 20.

So, what would you do? Enforce the Neg Levels, even though it would frustrate the players and might make the campaign unwinnable?

I'd prefer to offer some way out. Maybe
- allow Death Ward to prevent the Neg Levels
- allow the players to simply _talk_ to the weapon; it is intelligent after all; and convince it to cease its resistance against being wielded by the Pally, since they both share a common goal -- vanquishing Neryssa -- and making it clear that the blade would never fulfil its purpose otherwise.
- OR, as a GM, simply "forget" that intelligent items with incompatible alignments impose negative levels. ;)

Thoughts?


MacFraggin wrote:

Dear fellow DMs,

how would you handle the following situation:
your Kingmaker game has entered the final stage. The party has acquired Briar and the weapon is awakening.

The problem: there's nobody in the party who can really wield it. The only character who is any good at melee is a Paladin who is, by definition, Lawful Good. Once awakened, Briar would impose 1-2 Negative Levels (haven't calculated the Ego score) on any non-chaotic creature wielding it.

The only other character who can wield Martial weapons is also Lawful. There are also two Chaotic party members but they are not Melee, don't have Martial proficiency, and have terrible BAB and Strength scores anyway.

So, the Paladin is really the only one in the party who _could_ use it. But, if the thing imposes Neg Levels, with their attack and save penalties and HP reduction and suppressed spell slots, he won't want to.
The BBEGal is scripted so that she can pretty much only be overcome by Briar.

Considering Neryssa's considerable AC of 51, bonus dilemma points if eating those NegLevels would mean she can only be hit on a 20.

So, what would you do? Enforce the Neg Levels, even though it would frustrate the players and might make the campaign unwinnable?

I'd prefer to offer some way out. Maybe
- allow Death Ward to prevent the Neg Levels
- allow the players to simply _talk_ to the weapon; it is intelligent after all; and convince it to cease its resistance against being wielded by the Pally, since they both share a common goal -- vanquishing Neryssa -- and making it clear that the blade would never fulfil its purpose otherwise.
- OR, as a GM, simply "forget" that intelligent items with incompatible alignments impose negative levels. ;)

Thoughts?

Death ward, sure.

But remember UMD skill can used to emulate another alignment negating the negative levels for 1 hour. Best to use before picking it up, of course.
Paladins usually have good Cha so not impossible. DC 30 is pretty high though.


Problem with UMD is, Pals don't have it in class by default, and to reliably make a DC30 would require probably a Trait and Skill Focus plus maxed out ranks - something you can't improvise unless you warn the player way, way ahead of time that he might need it.


My PC in Kingmaker had 4 levels of Paladin and a UMD bonus good enough to hit DC 30 every time (mostly a Bard actually). Max ranks in a skill can be pretty easy to get with a headband, and a Circlet of Persuasion can help. It still might not be enough if the PC isn't highly Cha focused like mine was though. Anyhow, maybe in your version of Kingmaker Briar has a different alignment or, as you suggested, is willing to form a distasteful alliance with a PC to get rid of its chosen foe.

Other problems with the sword can be that certain PCs might prefer the special qualities of their own specially chosen weapons to what Briar has to offer. On a more basic level, not everybody wants a bastard sword (like maybe you use a shield or don't feel like being a bastard) - allowing the quest item to transform into whatever weapon the target PC favors or just having it be that sort of weapon to begin with is another way to increase the chances somebody will want to use it


The Headband keyed to UMD makes a lot of sense, and it would be a reasonable investment. Otherwise Paladins aren't exactly skill-heavy. ;)

Also, as I read it, _emulating_ an Alignment is not _activating_ an item (since you don't activate a sword), so a Nat1 would not bar the player from trying again.
Where does it actually say you can emulate an alignment only for 1 hour at a time? I can't find any such limitation in the skill description. For all I care, the character might draw the weapon in the morning, keep trying until he makes the UMD check, and put it down at night.

(Maybe the UMD use could actually be RPed as negotiating with the weapon)

Cool, that seems to be the most viable solution then. Thanks everyone!

Devilkiller wrote:


Other problems with the sword can be that certain PCs might prefer the special qualities of their own specially chosen weapons to what Briar has to offer. On a more basic level, not everybody wants a bastard sword (like maybe you use a shield or don't feel like being a bastard) - allowing the quest item to transform into whatever weapon the target PC favors or just having it be that sort of weapon to begin with is another way to increase the chances somebody will want to use it

Oh yes, do get me started! OK, Kingmaker specifically says that the weapon could and in fact should be a type that the intended wielder prefers to use, but gee, the Paizo guys seem to really have a thing for Bastard Swords. :p

The idea about the item being able to change shape (type) is really nice. I'll think about that. ^^

Of course, this being Kingmaker, the players have nice, custom-crafted items already, so they probably won't care to use Briar until they have to, anyway.

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