GM Rednal's Cyclopean Deeps (Inactive)

Game Master Rednal


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Alright, I think I've got my concept decently thought through and a background fleshed out. Incidentally I wasn't worried about the combat stamina feat anyways since I was always going to be focusing more on the caster side of things, I had just picked that fighter archetype as sort of a placeholder since I knew I wanted something to make me a little less squishy. In the end I decided it would be better to swap it out with magic knight for extra sphere talents and spell points though. Also are you really going to want to be rolling spellcraft for spell crafting? As I read it there's no cost to it other than time and nothing stopping you from just trying again if you fail. Or should I just start adding the handful of days for every failure on to whatever age I decide on for my character? :P

Anyways, here is what I came up with.

Victoria Masters:

Race: Dhampir
Classes: Soul Weaver/Magic Knight
Play style: Victoria is a master of life and death, that being said I intend to give her talents in only the life and death spheres with a little buffing on the side if I have the spare talents. In combat she will rely primarily play more of a support role, using minions from her death sphere and soul weaver levels to control the battlefield while she uses her life sphere talents to protect her still living comrades.

One of the main features of this build is the characters tenacity. I intend to use spellcrafting to combine the advanced death talent 'summon spirit' and the basic death sphere ability 'reanimate' and use the resulting spell in conjunction with the contingency feat. This is where the master of life and death part really comes into play, if it works as intended the character will pop back up as an intelligent undead (read 'smart zombie' until I can grab some level fifteen talents) after she is slain and continue taking part in whatever fight ended her. After the fight is over she will then be able to return herself to life with advanced life talents. Finally, if she has nothing else to do Victoria will have some minor skill with ranged weapons.

As far as progression goes I think my build is pretty straight forwards, continue to master the life and death spheres. I'm not going to lie, I haven't really looked very far into the specifics of what I want to do with her yet, although that shouldn't be too surprising since I haven't statted her out yet either. All I can really say is my priorities are to improve casting, imrpove survivability and last would be to improve ranged weapon abilities.

An old soul.. That's what he had said when the bartender caught her gazing into the slowly swirling red liquid in her glass. 'It was the eyes' he had said. This would have puzzled most onlookers, considering the woman looked barely a year or two into adulthood with her pale unblemished skin and dark flowing hair, but Victoria hadn't even batted an eye. In truth the bartender hadn't been wrong, she was much older than she appeared.

Internally she grimaced as the red wine graced her palate, secretly she hated the stuff, but it was all part of the image she had cultured for herself all those years ago. In the beginning she was little more than the undertaker's.. Unusual daughter, she had spent more time reading amongst the tombstones than with warm bodies her own age. Victoria had been an outsider of course, it tends to work out that way when you've been sired by a known vampire. Her voracious appetite for red meats on the rare side and more noticeable oral characteristics probably hadn't helped matters either.

Still though, the young Victoria was content to spend her time among the dead and listen to the ocasional whisper from the docile spirits only she seemed to notice. That all changed on the eve of her sixteenth birthday though, when she came home to find a monster of a man crouched over the rapidly cooling body of her mother. The woman could only guess what had happened after that, but her next memory was of slamming the small town's tavern door open and throwing the severed vampire head to the floor. Although she hadn't realized it at the time, the fact that the head had belonged to her father wasn't lost on several of the older patrons at the time. Either way a public menace was dealt with and that was more than a good enough reason for a celebration. That day had taught her just how fleeting life really was, and the ensueing party how exciting it could be.

In the end she had chosen to drink only the most cliche drink that day, perhaps it was an attempt at mockery towards the vampire she had slain? Or maybe it was to make herself appear more mysterious and dangerous. It had been an aweful decision, but word had gotten around that that was her preferred drink.

With a sigh The Lady of the Full Circle tossed a few silvers next to her unfinished drink as she left the building towards a dark carriage drawn by a skeletal horse. Even now, after years of helping the people, peasants still hid their children whenever Victoria rode past and inebriated farmhands spoke in hushed whispers of what they would do if the 'necromancer in sheeps clothing' stepped the tiniest bit out of line. These moments always brought forth a dark chuckle, because she knew it was those same poeple who would be lining up the next morning for free healing on the occasions she offered it.

It had been several years of studying the mysteries of life and death in the musty libraries of the rundown mansion Victoria had found out belonged to her father before she was confident enough to use her powers before a public audience, and it wasn't long before just such a situation appeared before her. On a routine trip to gather supplies from a nearby smattering of homes that could barely be called a village Victoria managed to walk in on the middle of several bandits robbing the hamlet for likely more than it was worth. A young boy had run one of the thugs through with a pitchfork and had his head twisted almost completely off by one of the others for his trouble. Suffice to say the child was dead, and when the shouting men failed to notice the young Victoria stepping out from between two houses towards the corpse that gave her all the chance she needed to press her hand to the body and pull it back up in undeath.

The first thing anyone noticed was the supposedly dead child taking a bite out of the bandit leaders jugular, and that was enough to freeze both the cowering townspeople and the brigands in place. After that the bandits ran, and the people cried out, for they believed they had gone from a bad situation to an even worse one. Fortunately Victoria was no ordinary necromancer and had no interest in pillageing the village, with a clap to the zombies forhead it crumpled back to the ground. It was probably fear that kept the farmers at bay for the hour it took Victoria to channel the magics required to bring the boy's life back, but when she did she was greeted by some fear, some elation and mostly confusion.

That was a prime example of how Victoria's relationship with the populace went, noone really knew what to think of her. On the one hand she practiced the vile and dark arts of necromancy, but on the other hand she selflessly handed out magical healing and even the occasional ressurection to those who couldn't normally afford it. It was stories like these that earned the woman her plethora of titles; The Living Death, The Lady of the Full Circle, That Damn Confusing Wench, and several others. None of that really mattered right now though, she simply always got nostalgic before a 'treasure hunt' and this time Victoria had the perfect target. Tomorrow she would arrive at the ominous Dungeon of Graves..

GM Rednal, are you good with DSP psionics, or should I look at other options for Drake?

He has mentioned repeatedly in this thread that psionics are not allowed as he feels it doesn't feel like it fits with what he envisions for this game.

@Arcturas: What I didn't want was for people to feel like they had unlimited time to perfectly arrange everything in their lives before accidentally falling into the Under Realms. XD If you could do it by Taking 10, you're fine. If it's more complicated than that (i.e. more powerful), you actually have to take the risk of the roll, as normal. This won't stop you from attempting to craft it again in the future, it just means you won't start with it.

(By the way, psionics actually is a thing in the Lost Lands - it's just very rare, and not what I'm looking for in this game. Note that you can make something surprisingly close with Spherecasting, though, since it doesn't natively require components and it's easy to flavor it as mental abilities. XD)

I understand where you're getting with that, and it makes sense mechanically to not just fill up your repertoire (or spellbook if you take that feat as well) before the game even started. The only reason I had even asked in the first place was because it was sort of integral to the idea I had and if it weren't I would have waited. Either way I haven't actually calculated out the difficulty, but I don't think it'll be too tough to craft the basic version of it. So it shouldn't be a problem taking ten.

So exactly how "preferred" is Spheres of Power over Vancian? I keep looking at Spheres and for some reason it's not quite clicking with me on how it works from that website.

How much of an uphill battle is it if I play a normal caster? Or should I just play a non-caster instead?

What're you having trouble with? Spheres in general is MUCH easier than Vancian casting. (Think of it like buying spells with feats, and most spells scale linearly to your level. That's pretty much it. XD)

As for how preferred it is, Spherecasters will be getting priority in consideration. Only if I fail to fill out a full party with them (as in, characters I actually choose to join) will I be looking at Vancian casters. Depending on the submissions, that could make your odds range from "better than the GM thought" to "not happening", and I have no idea what it'll be until I actually pick characters. It's not impossible, but it's definitely less likely.

I feel really stupid because I didn't realize until now the "Using Spheres of Power" link was actually a link.

I was trying to figure out how Magic Talents work.

Is Spherecasting that important for casters that aren't 9th or 6th?

I'm a bloodrager, and don't feel like learning the entire system unless it'll actually matter.

*Points up*

Alright. This makes Untouchable Rager look better.

My problem with spherecasting is not so much learning how the system works, but rather figuring out what I can and want to do with it. I've picked up a few things, but it'll still be several days, or perhaps even weeks, until I feel comfortable enough to make choices with it. I've found that I often want to tie my character's abilities into their background and that'll be a whole lot easier once I know what those abilities are.

I think I want to avoid the dark, death and destruction spheres, though that's not for certain. If you got any suggestion for things you feel would be particularly fitting for a worshiper of Yidhra, I would welcome the advice. Finding order/patterns in chaos, or genius in madness are the main ideas of my character so far, but I don't know how that translates into spherecasting (with Vancian casting pattern spells and things like confusion would have been very fitting).

I'm quite familiar with it, and can answer questions. What exactly is it that you want to do with the character? What role do you see yourself playing?

Also, Fate has good ties to Yidhra. o wo/ It's mainly a Battlefield Control sphere, with some buffing and debuffing as well, that allows you to sway situations in various ways.

I'm interested in playing a Sorcerer/Dragon Disciple and Fighter. Will be focusing on self buffing and shape-changing and using as many natural weapons as possible. Is this a PrC combination you will allow?

*Rubs chin* Hmm... My gut feeling there is no. A Spherecaster focused on shapechanging can be an excellent natural attacker all by itself, and adding a Fighter's capabilities to that would probably make the character waaaaaay too good at combat.

As I said earlier, I like to build up my characters flavor and mechanics dependent on each other. Since I'm not quite sure what mechanics are possible, I don't have a complete vision for my character either.

The character will try to make order out of chaos and sense out of madness or even proclaim those things. I imagine a certain aspect of practical jokes and deceit. Perhaps the illusion, mind, time or fate sphere can offer some of that?

Of course my character is also an underground angel with aspects of both light and dark, so if there are methods to combine such oppositions to hamper opposition that would be cool too (bind to the ground or lift up to float helplessly midair or perhaps blind with dazzling light or impenetrable darkness).

My punches will seriously weaken the saving throws of enemies, something to take advantage of that would probably be nice. I think battlefield control would be cool as a primary focus, but with some effort put into healing and buffing (both offensive and defensive) as well.

I was originally thinking to go LN for alignment, but looking at the fate sphere it seems like LG would be a lot more useful. Will it be problematic to play LG in your game (that still works with Yidhra right?).

The only alignments that can't match Yidhra are NG and NE. ^^

I've found that the best way to make a Spherecaster is to say "It would be really cool if I could..." and go from there. Based on what you've said so far, I think you might do well as an Eliciter. ^^

Ah, but one of the main ideas of the character is to force his or hers musings of chaos and madness onto enemies through touch, overwhelming them and making them weaker offensively and more susceptible to magic. To do that I need both madness and chaos domains, which I won't get as an Elicter.

Hey Rednal, thoughts on Akashic Mysteries by DSP?

So, looking over sphere-casting, there seem to be a lot of optional things, spellcrafting, advanced talents and casting traditions. Are we using all of them? I want to use at least advanced talents and casting traidtions if I can. Spellcrafting seems to be pretty much up to the GM, but it seems like it'll allow unlocking a lot of cool things that wouldn't normally be possible. Can we chose what drawback and boons we want or do we have to directly align with one or more of the casting traditions??

If I got to chose I would pick something like the following drawbacks: Somatic Casting (x2), Focus Casting, Verbal Casting, Magical Signs, Wild Magic (how can I not chose this?), Consciousness Linked (Requires Enhancement), Obvious Enhancements (Requires Enhancement), maybe Aligned Combatant (Requires Destruction), if I do pick up destruction

I didn't really like the choices for buff in the enchantment sphere on the wiki, I think I'll mainly rely on alteration for buffing instead. Though those new abilities that you mentioned were just released might not be available on there.

Dark Archive

I'm working on a Vanilla Fighter and Ranger with the Deep Walker and Trapper archetypes. Even if he would get a ton of feats, I'm building him to be more of a tank than a dps, with pretty good scouting and surviving skills. Even if he could be stealthy, I promise he'd use his skills just for recon.

He'd be a dwarf and really hard to crack, be it by attacks, magic, or the unhospitable environment of the underground. If you think that it could be too optimized to have the two halves as combatant, I could probably change one of them... the problem is that I really do not like casters...

Also, any tips regarding favored enemies? It really sucks when you pick a useless favored enemy...

HERE he is, still a WIP.

@Sir Longears: Underground stuff. XD

@oyzar: Advanced Talents are available on a case-by-case basis. (They're explicitly FAR more powerful than normal abilities tend to be, and many can be game-changingly powerful, which is why they're restricted.) You can pick which drawbacks and/or boons you want for your Casting Tradition (which is something generally used, although not explicitly required of a character, because of the benefits it gives). And the Wiki is up-to-date through the Enhancer's Handbook.

How does wands work? I can't find the rules on it. Do you have to know the sphere to avoid having to use UMD? There are a few spheres I really only want a few long duration buffs from (Prescience from Divination, Armored Magic from Protection) and in order to get those as spells I would have to pay 2 talents, right? Can I use wands of those without knowing the spheres, if so, how much would they cost?

The Advanced Talents I'm considering at the moment are Permanent Transformation, Mind Control and Crystal Cocoon (and at level 11 I was thinking to pick up Resurrection). Which of those, if any, would be ok?

At the moment I'm thinking to have the majority of my talents in mind, alteration and life with a few dips in divination, protection, light and maybe destruction and if I can fit it in fate...

Stuff on Wands is under Magical Items. Read that - it should answer most of your questions. XD

Those particular Advanced Talents aren't available. (The main reason for this is that I want to carefully control access to anything that I think has the potential to make certain things too easy. Permanent Transformation could quickly make the whole party drastically stronger, for example, or be used on hostile transformations in very unfortunate ways. There's a reason Advanced Talents are separated from the rest and not normally something players can select.)

Resurrection is an exception - that one's okay, and indeed, the party may well need it at some point. Frog God Games generally does not do easy-mode adventures. XD

That's a shame, especially for Permanent Transformation as it seems hard to keep up the buffs with all of them having such short duration. It's certainly understandable why you think it's problematic. I guess it's slightly better than applying 3.5 persistent spell to your alteration spells, which is really powerful.

The questions about wands were indeed answered there, but that brought up a whole slew of new questions. I see that SOP comes with it's entirely own item creation system. Do I have to learn that as well in order to get items or can I simply go with/craft the normal paizo items? As an example, I probably want a monk's robe. How would I go about crafting that with SOP?

Shifters are naturally better at keeping their transformations up for a long period of time. For everyone else, it gets better as you level.

...I should note that even with many things being rounds/level, that won't usually be a problem. Most fights are over within five rounds or so, and since your level is twice that...

Anyway, you can craft normal Vancian items, which is pretty much exactly the same as normal crafting except that it's more challenging. (The base DC is 10 + the item's Caster Level, rather than 5, and since you don't know any of the spells that would be used, that's another +5 per-spell missing. If that seems a bit too challenging to overcome, there's always buying the items at list price instead.)


Akaska? I think you missed my earlier post.

Banned advanced talents? I was under the impression that they were supposed to be your high level spells that you toss around occasionally, or in some cases something you could focus your build around. So to me it sounds like cutting out advanced talents is like limiting a vancian caster to under sixth level spells. Besides, in some instances it seems you can actually do less than vancian when you don't use advanced talents (for example you're limited to four types of undead that can only last for a number of hours without advanced talents in the death sphere.) But then again I really only looked at the death and life spheres, and I have no doubt that there are some advanced talents out there that are completely broken. Just my thoughts on advanced talents.

Either way, which talents are unusable in the death and life spheres?

The SOP rules are quite clear on the fact that advanced talents are optional rules that have to be allowed by the GM. Those rules state that if you want the kind of high magic game normally found in pathfinder, you can just allow everything. Of course this means that'll a SOP caster will be weaker than a vanican caster, but that power discrepancy is easily solved by the fact that it's very unlikely that there'll be any vanican casters in the game.

Dark Archive

Hum... It looks like I'm going with Aberration, Ooze, and Vermin as favored enemies. Any problems so far? Also, for the background I generally prefer to tie my pc to regions, cities, and organizations if possible... I think this game will not be in Golarion, right? Is there a source for the campaign world?

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@DeviousDevious: Yeah, I missed it. XD; Akashic Mysteries isn't available because 1) I don't have it, and 2) I don't think they're actually DONE with it... it's still a work-in-progress, right?

@Arcturas: Oyzar is correct in that Advanced Talents must be specifically permitted by the GM. They are not simply higher-level abilities in the way that, say, Witches get Major Hexes. Many of them really can affect the game in unusual ways, hence the built-in restriction. That said, Life's Advanced Talents (those currently out, anyway) are available, while Death's are not. FGG makes challenging games, so I'm trying to make sure you have access to healing, at least. XD

@Sir Longears: The setting of this campaign is the Lost Lands, the main world of Frog God Games products (except for a very few old ones that, for complicated reasons, they can't include). Having ties to pretty much anywhere in the Borderland Provinces should work. If all else fails, say you're from Bard's Gate.

Would you mind if I made a re-worked version of Brass from you Rappan Athuk game? Obviously minus templates, and probably with an Alchemist/Machinesmith combo. It seems like a good way to continue her story.

There's nothing stopping you from submitting whatever idea you want. o wo/

There isn't...but if the GM is mentally screaming 'NOOOOOO!!!' at the very idea there isn't much point.

Although I tend to assume people think that when I show up anyway.

True. XD In this case, another setup might be more appropriate. I'm not sure Brass' setup really matches the idea of this campaign.


Do you have a Hero Lab template handy that I can use to format my Alias? I don't have Hero Lab, but I'll certainly be able to fill out a template.

Whelp, that's too bad about the death advanced talents. I had assumed at the start that they were all available since it said all spheres of power in the accepted sourcebooks section of the opening post. So which advanced talents are available since it sounds like most of them aren't?

@Arcturas: You can ask about them on a case-by-case basis. ^^

@Oyzar: I don't have a fill-in-the-blank, but basically, it should look like this. ^^ All you REALLY need to do is copy/paste the bold tags into the right spot, and that's most of the formatting right there. XD

Are Spherecasters preferred over pure martials? I have a lot more ideas for martial gestalts than casters that don't make me want to scream at the action economy for ruining my fun.

Can I trade feats for extra talents? I feel like I'm a couple talents short. Though it would be even better if I could pick up that Academy Trained trait in the linked profile. I assume that's a custom trait as I can not find it anywhere.

Would Dodge scale into Mobility (though not further)?

I'll pick up Improved Ki Throw instead of Enchanted-/Spinning Throw as I do not have the feats to get all. I hope that's ok. It follows the original guidelines anyway, so I think it should be fine.

I'll probably want to make use of spellcrafting as there seem to be no disadvantage to doing so, but that can wait as it won't be fundamental to my character.

@Josh.Ingle: He said he doesn't want overly focused characters. As long as you manage to diversify your character enough I think you should be said. That said I feel like it's quite hard to diversify your character if you are not at least dipping your toes into spells. Maybe covering pretty much all the skills could do it?

@Josh: I discourage gestalting martials in a way that would drastically improve your combat capability (i.e. being way stronger than the system expects). However, you don't have to be particularly magical as long as you're trying to fulfill different rolls.

@Oyzar: There's the "Extra Magic Talent" feat, which I'm pretty sure does what you want. XD One feat for one talent. Nice and simple.

Dodge does not automatically advance into Mobility.

Dark Archive

GM, regarding your discouragement about gestalting martials, could you give me a feedback if Grunyar falls into this category? His main class is the fighter with the ranger as his secondary...

Since he is already a fighter, here is what he receives from taking ranger as his secondary half:

6+Int skills: similar to a skill class;
Good Ref Save: same as a skill class;
Favored Enemies: could be powerful if I'm lucky... otherwise is almost useless;
Track, Wild Empathy, Endurance, Hunter's Bond (companions), Swift Tracker: Mostly fluff and skill oriented;
Combat Style: a couple more feats... many skill classes gives more feats (rogue, slayer, inquisidor, monk, etc);
Favored Terrain: This is a big boost but excluding the Initiative bonus which is combat oriented, most of the bonus are only to skill checks;
Evasion: skill class classic ability;
Traps: clearly subpar ability compared to spells.

That being said, it looks like taking levels in vigilante, bard, investigator, and especially in rogue would improve his combat prowess much more.

Also, many of his feats slots were used to take defensive feats, like those that enhances his AC and his saves, instead of only taking damage focused feats. He was build to last and work as a guide able to overcome most of the natural hazards.

This 'ranger package' looks much more like a skill class than a martial class IMO... any thoughts?

As a general rule of thumb, it's best to try and avoid gestalting classes with the same BAB. If you want skills as a secondary, it may be better to take an actual skill class, maybe with an archetype that trades away damage for utility (which is great for you, 'cuz you've got damage from another source). ^^

Would an Oread Deep Walker/Student of Stone be a bit too strong of a combo, considering the game takes place entirely underground?

This is a character that i made for a game a while back. I made her to be a controller, where her magic would basically shut down the opponent. She is currently level to level 3, but can easily be leveled up.

ReZa is a Kitsune Bard Mesmerisist. She will play as someone who is sly about her abilities and her race, disguising herself most of the time as a human female.

As for her background. ReZa, along with her sister, were kidnapped as a child by poachers who mistook her for a fox. Her sister vanished one day while ReZa was off being shown to a rich person. Some time after that, ReZa was rescued by a bard and later reunited with her family. When she found out that her sister hasn't returned, she returned to the bard and his band to explore and to hopefully find her sister. She learned how to be a bard from him, while her mother tough her the secrets of the mesmerist when she was younger.

GM Rednal wrote:
@DeviousDevious: Yeah, I missed it. XD; Akashic Mysteries isn't available because 1) I don't have it, and 2) I don't think they're actually DONE with it... it's still a work-in-progress, right?

I believe what they're doing is releasing each class as they finish it and adding it the main book as well as making it a separate pdf. They've done three so far.

No worries though, I've got plenty of ideas!

@Monkeygod: If you have to ask, the answer is probably "yes". (Also, characters shouldn't really be made to be super-underground people. XD; Your visit here was unexpected, after all. ...Also, I kind of don't want players to be total masters of the underground specifically BECAUSE I'm trying to ensure it remains challenging, and being too specialized could throw that off.)

Dark Archive

Ok GM, will be swapping the Ranger half for the Phantom Thief rogue archetype... even if the general fluff of the archetype doesn't really fit, I believe that removing completely the sneak attack from the rogue and hugely improving his 'skill side' will be really useful and fit my idea. Are you ok with this change?

Yup. ^^ Being skillful will probably serve you quite well in the deeps.

(Acrobatics and Climb may be useful in dangerous areas, and social skills as a whole for dealing with the locals are excellent choices.)

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