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@ Talivar: I like the double agent idea, and that guy was definitely the most likely to flip, but Kilarra's not alright with that based on past experiences. Sorry. If everyone else was down to give it a try I'd let you go with it anyway (with a very angry Kilarra), but since Talia also seemed skeptical Kilarra just put an end to it.
In regards to the party being dysfunctional... I don't think they are. They don't get along, they don't see eye to eye, and they don't agree, but that's okay. I like that. They're all different and have strong personalities -- and strong personalities can clash. It also gives them room to grow as a team -- which they have, I think. They've gotten to know each other better and grown closer (some relationships more than others, lol), but not fully embraced one another yet.
It think as a team the characters have plenty of room to keep growing, and keep getting to know one another, and keep getting on each others nerves.
Yes, tactically they can be tough to manage, but that's the nature of PBP, I think. It's a lot easier to hammer those things out at a table than online. We don't all agree, and they don't all agree.
Honestly, I like their dysfunction. Jut because Kilarra'd like to punch Talia in the face doesn't mean she wouldn't jump in front of a Mantis sabre for her. They're... one of the more realistic teams that I've gotten to play with in a while, I think. People who don't necessarily like each other, or get along, or even work well together, that have to work together to get the job done. They're misfits, not a well-oiled military machine or a long-time group of friends.
I like them as they are. That's my two cents, anyway.
@ Talivar - If, as a player, I'm doing anything to upset you -- or if Kilarra does something that absolutely makes you furious and you can't stand to play with her anymore -- feel free to shoot me a PM to chat about it. I won't be offended.
As to busy-ness... yes! I am super busy lately. I started freelance writing for RPGs and have had a lot of extra work to try to balance along with everything else. Which is awesome! But time consuming! Haha. I am scheduled to remain busy for a good long time, but don't expect it to slow me down too much more. I'll continue to warn you if I'm going to have shaky posting for a time. Otherwise, I should be back to posting once a day and once on weekends.
And yes, I expect another dry spell coming up. I'll be particularly bust the last half of October and first week of November -- but I'll let you know if it'll affect posting closer to then.
Thank you for all your thoughts, Kilarra! Seriously, I really appreciate getting more insight into everyone's thoughts rather than just assuming one thing or another.
I also think it's a cool idea to think of the dysfunction as a feature not a bug, so that's a perspective I'm glad to hear.
Please feel free to continue discussing matters, and my inbox is always open as well.
Yeah so what to do from here? In character Talia is irritating Talivar so much he can't stand being around her (and probably vice versa). Its difficult to imagine any in character solutions, both are a bit stubborn and neither seems likely to apologise to the other (especially Talia).
Out of character I don't actually find this a fun thing to roleplay. I also don't have as much free time in the evenings as I used to and am often posting really late when I should be in bed.
This might be a good point for Talivar to fly off into the sunset never to be seen again.
Talivar, I certainly hope it won't come to that. I usually like a little bit of strife in a game amongst characters since that can add some drama that usually feels real. But of course, always if it is all in good fun and everyone's enjoying it.
And I'm feeling really bad about CDG-ing Erandlon.
Honestly, I didn't realize it would become such a setback. In truth, I felt it was very in-character to do, especially when Talia said:
As Erandlon falls asleep, Talia calls out urgently to Uruelleth."He is out of the fight Uruelleth and will sleep for the remainder of the combat. I want to learn what he knows before we kill him - its important for me to avoid traps against teleportation magic. I couldn't care less about the others, but I'd rather not kill him just yet.".
That's a mouthful. He was in battle, in a Bloodrage, and in my opinion he would have stopped listening somewhere around the "remainder of combat."
I'm not blaming Talia or her player! It's totally in character for her, but had she simply said "Don't kill him yet!" Ruel would probably have stayed his hand. I'm sorry that I blew the plan.
Anyway, I agree it's a setback, and I'm getting that, "where to next?" feeling that I think we all have (and our characters have). I think it feel a like a lot of our options are either too high level for us, or too risky since we'd be going in blind.
But I'm open to figuring something out and keeping the game going. Sorry my posting has dropped off a little, but I've been dealing with a little health complication which has sapped a bit of my consistency in posting. Hopefully I'll get this straightened out soon and I'll be back posting more frequently.
In closing, let's not end the game over this.
If it would help, we can certainly have several days pass in-character with not much happen to allow things to calm down a bit. If having something happen in-character to facilitate cooperation would help, we can also look into that possibility. I'm open to other ideas to make things work.
As for things to do, you still have the remaining goblin tribes to deal with, as well as Ganda-Uj after that. If you would prefer something else, there's the cult of Norgorber you could try tracking down. There's also the Brotherhood that you haven't tried talking to in a while. Goldshackle the slaver is also a possibility, as is talking with Jaxira again. You also haven't talked to Asheda yet (since killing Erandlon).
As Ruel said, let's not end the game over this.
I'm going to break this up into spoiler tags so people can only read what they want to read. I'll preface by saying that I agree with Uruelleth - I hope that it won't come to that. I also don't want the game to die.
Firstly, Erandlon's life actually had limited value for Talia. She did however, base her decision to take him alive on two things.
1. She asked what people wanted
2.If Erandlon could tell us whether the island was teleport warded, it would reduce a group disagreement we were having, as Talia wasn't supporting an attack without it. The disagreement was leading to comments such as:
...However of of late it feels like Talia has become frightened of her own shadow...
Or being labeled as 'paranoid'. Those comments hurt, and Erandlon represented an opportunity to avoid those situations in future. Thats really all Erandlon meant to Talia - a means to an end.
Speaking OOC for a moment though, I don't really mind that the CDG happened, as Erandlon had an obscene Will Save and statistically would have saved against Dominate Person / Misfortune. In character though, Talia just felt a little hurt that Uruelleth didn't speak up earlier and say "Hey actually I don't really want to keep Erandlon alive" pre ambush. In essence, it wasn't that Uruelleth did something different that was planned, that offended Talia - it was just the communication breakdown.
I guess the decision could have been spur of the moment, but Talia couldn't see what had gone so wrong so quickly that meant Dominating Erandlon was no longer a viable option. This was seconds after she successfully Slumbered Erandlon to take him out of the fight so all things considered - she thought she had things well in hand.
I do take your point that she could have said things simpler to Uruelleth - and this was my fault - I should have been more clear. At the time though I was actually worried that "Don't kill him" without further elaboration would lead to Uruelleth shrugging his shoulders saying 'Why" to himself and proceeding anyway. There is no need to apologize though - Uruelleth and Talia are actually acting entirely IC (including the CDG) and like - there's no hard feelings or anything over that.
I'm going to be direct here, because I think clarity is going to be the way to go. Worth noting that this is all from Talia (IC Perspective).
Talia's frustration started when she vented to Uruelleth. She was angry, she wanted to say something. She felt however, that Talivar was dismissive of how she was feeling when he started that she was 'being precious' - as if it wasn't ok for her to feel upset with Uruelleth.
She feels worse when Talivar proceeds to lose his cool with Kilarra - as if it was fine for him to get upset but she's 'being precious' for being angry with Uruelleth. She also feels resentful that it was fine for Kilarra to disagree with attacking the island, yet when Talia disagreed Talivar refers to her as 'paranoid'. Moments later, she feels dismissed again being told to refrain sulking and then to cast Speak with Dead on Talivar's behalf.
I am not defending Talia's actions - shes being a right b%&@+ by refusing to Dominate - but she did so because she felt cleanly dismissed by Talivar and that deeply offended her. I'm not saying Talivar has done anything wrong - its entirely possible she read more into his remarks that she should have - but that's why she's upset.
Talia still cares about Talivar - that's precisely why she's flying after him because she is worried about him going off on his own (and potentially making the trip back alone) in an area where the Mantis have launched several ambushes from. If she's not that wrong and Talivar's simply flying in a circle above everyone's ahead then I apologize and there's no need for her to take to the skies - but I didn't get that impression from Talivar's post.
I think there's several things we still need to do. The GM (unless I'm mistaken) designed this as if it were an AP and I think the titles are still in the recruitment thread somewhere. So I'm fairly certain the logical progression is eliminate the Goblin Tribes first and foremost. The Mantis lose the stranglehold in the jungle which gives us freedom of movement.
I think our second task is to go back into the City, because there are a number of things still outstanding. Goldshackle has been mentioned several times as being important to the Mantis - even the Druid(?) Jaxira was mentioned in a vision as being enslaved by her (or on the way to be). We still need to influence the Pirate Lords (which are waiting for a show of strength - crushing the tribes and the slaver trade would be good starts) and there's maybe that Assassin Cult to try and work on / curry favor with.
I think with the above allies then we take on the island, which gets shark people on board (their name escapes me at present) and leaves us with a sizable force should we then want to liberate the City / push onto the Citadel. There's undoubtedly more stuff that we haven't got to yet but thats the progression for me.
Damn you GM, you ninja'd me.
Looking back on it, Talia has always been a bit abrasive (e.g. with the pirate lord) and Talivar has long viewed Talia as a bit of a loose canon. Also he feels she's a bit of a nay sayer, frightened of her shadow except when the plan is hers. The fact that she's right to be afraid at least some of the time makes it worse (people are dumb like that).
Bringing up his Daughter unexpectedly with Erandlon in front of bystanders however well intentioned royally pissed him off. Yes trying to find her is terribly important for him but there are limits to what he'll do. When Talia later said, "So warn me next time you get cold feet - preferably before I dedicate a large chunk of my spell list around a goal" he found that infuriating. To him that came across as meaning her spell selection was more important than his feelings or the lives to the (possibly innocent) bystanders.
The next day Talia said this to Urelleth which reinforced the feeling that she cared more about her spells than anything: "Next time Uruelleth, give me fair warning before you decide to screw me. There is a substantial number of spells I could have prepared today that would have been more useful had I been aware you had no interest in learning what he knew."
OOC obviously for Talia spell selection is everything, but Talivar doesn't have to make the same choices so he doesn't really understand. That's not helped by his abysmal sense motive which renders him largely unaware of why his reactions could be deemed offensive by her.
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I think what we need to emphasize here is the difference between PCs and players.
All four PCs have reason to be angry, grumpy, act like jerks, and so on. And yes, PCs are not players. Of course, My opinions are not Kilarra's and so on. I'm not doubting anyone knows that.
But, I feel like we need to remember the most important part of any game is for the players to work together to be functional. Its our job to realize when something's not working, and adjust it from a player standpoint, even if our characters wouldn't do so. Sometimes we need to find creative justification for why a PC would adjust their behaviour in situations like that.
What I mean Is, yes, Talia and Talivar are mad at each other, offended and at an impasse. And yes, neither of them, in character, wants to bend or apologize, or forgive. But you're not Talia and Talivar. And their discussion and continued arguments is causing discomfort for at least one player. So as players, I think its up to all of us to adapt our characters until they work.
Talia: find a reason why she would forgive Talivar. Find a reason she would accept what happened, and move forward with forgiveness. It doesn't matter that she feels justified in her behaviour, or she wouldn't want to forgive. It's a game, and for the sake of the game you need to bend realism for a moment and find a way to make it work.
And Talivar, the same. Yes, Talivar is mad, and yes, he has reason. But for the sake of your play experience, you need to invent a way to make him accept what's happened, forgive Talia, realize it's not just her fault, and move on. Same goes for Kilarra and Ruel, obviously, whenever their behaviour becomes an issue.
It's up to us as players to stay true to our characters, but more importantly, it's up to us to make them work together, even if that means adjusting who they are and how they behave.
I feel like both Talia and Talivar (as players) need to spend a day or two thinking about how their characters can individually accept, forgive, and move on. It could be just internal, or a self revelation or something, or it could be an actual olive branch to one another in character. Even just refocusing on the goal, and remembering that our PCs aren't important -- the mission is. They vowed to essentially give their lives for this cause. It's nothing to sacrifice their egos for a bit. They can do that. I believe, in character, they both have that in them. Then make a post about whatever you come up with. All it would take is a post like that from each of you. Just one, of any length. A paragraph, or even a short story, if you want. Then we can hop right back into gameplay at the kobold warrens. If we're cool with that, Kilarra and Ruel can make one, too.
I'm not saying they need to get along. They don't. None of them do. But, they do need to function to continue their mission. If it would help, after we pick back up at the warrens we can enact a sort of bubble around that event. It happened, and our PCs won't forget it did, but we need to let it not affect our PCs going forward, or bring it up, for the sake of gameplay. Like you're packing it up and shoving it into the back corner of an attic. If your PCs continue to bring it back up in conversation or let it inform their behaviour the game will continue to break down.
It's time to pick up the pieces, set them back on the board, and get back to playing an awesome game.
Are you alright with that?
Thanks Kilarra. Been thinking about this, I can see two possible ways for Talivar forgive Talia:
1) Seems unlikely, but if she said sorry and nothing else (no massive monologue) Talivar would be initially shocked but would forgive her for sure.
2) Much more likely, time is a healer. In game they'd need to have some time apart and if she didn't bring painful topics up neither would Talivar and he'd move on and maybe she would too.
As for Talivar apologising to Talia, it might help if somebody (gently) pointed out he'd pissed her off too.
Spent most of yesturday / today thinking
I don't see Talia apologizing out of the blue. There is being slightly ooc and then there's doing a complete 180 - and if the issue is Talia and her spell list - thats possible what would be required.
At the end of the day, Talia cares about her spell list because if its not in sync with what the rest of the group wants - then she isn't getting 80% or 90% or 100% out of herself. Its not good for her, and its not good for us as a unit / team / group. Her IC worry is that if we are not coordinated (and recently, we haven't been) its going to bite us in the future, so she harps on about it when its relevant.
In the interests of trying to find a resolution (in case its a sticking point) someone could argue that Talia could be saying or delivering things in a better / more polite or respectful way / manner and she would be receptive towards (or could acknowledge) that - but I don't see her strictly apologizing as she's bringing it up in the spirit of finding greater cooperation.
The good news is that Talia doesn't want / require / expect any apology from Talivar either. If he wants to say something - hes welcome to but she doesnt need it to forgive or move on. A lot was said in probably 10-20 mins in game time, so give her an hour or so and she should be right as rain. She is only angry 'in the heat of the moment' as multiple things, all at once, got on her nerves. Just some time is all she needs. In that respect - thats similar to Talivar.
I'll have her act slightly OOC in that she won't hold any grudges from the previous conversation (as she otherwise would) but thats probably the only adjustment I'd need to make and would be pretty easy to do / fit.
Hopefully this helps somewhat.
Maybe we just need a scene change here?
Just breaking down the various options we have
-Dominate Person: Hopefully draws them into a battlefoeld of our choosing. Con is that it relies heavily on a DC 15 SM check to be failed before its useful. Doesn't help us during combat.
-Cloudkill + Wall of Stone: Surround the base with a Wall, then cast Cloudkill within it. Problem with this is that we don't know how high the trees are so they might be able to use that height to climb above the stone walls and scatter. They would be climbing through Cloudkill though.
-Greater Curse Terrain: Basically Rain of Gore + Animating Fog creates an army of Zombies. Goal being to draw attention and resources away for us to then step in and strike while they are divided. Gnarled Tree hazard (for a treetop base) is also brutal since it basically turns the trees into immobile treants that attack anything in range. Con being that you cannot predict where the hazards manifest so they might manifest in different areas.
-Blasting: Control Winds + Call Lightning Storm basically means I can hit them with 15 lightning bolts over the duration. Add in 4 Fireball spells + Talivar's blast spells and there is huge damage we can do to the tribe from long range. The Con I guess is that it takes a lot of resources and we might get swarmed or they might scatter.
-Gravity Sphere: Hopefully leaves them floating in the area unable to move (since only the casters can fly I bet) which lets us pick them off. Might need to combine it with a wind spell to make it harder for them to hold onto something.
-Control Winds: I *think* we could buy a one off CL 13 Control Winds scroll possibly?
-Rope Tornado: Tornado force winds in a 120 foot line. Possibly breaks the base?
-Parchment Swarm - Warp Wood. IDK if this is Warp Wood in a 20 foot radius?
I think I have been looking at this problem a bit too long and I'm starting to go a bit crazy. Its making me want to abuse Army Across Time but that makes me feel a bit dirty. I might come back to it in a few hours.
GM / Anyone - tips or advice on anything iv missed would be appreciated.
All of those ideas could theoretically work, to one degree or another. The only thing I would specifically mention is that the average tree height in the jungle is about 85 ft. (If that seems high, I based it roughly off the average height of trees in the Amazon.)
Going in all guns blazing is certainly the simplest plan, but what if they run away? Can we use cursed terrain (to make the trees uninhabitable) plus the plants somehow to mop up any that try to escape?
Unfortunately not really, because Curse Terrain only lasts for one day and as I said above - the effects manifest randomly. I don't know what you mean by the plants - I'm Commanding them elseware (due to travel time restrictions) and they have no importance to this upcoming combat.
Valid point that they can all run away...but they can do that anyway no matter what strategy we try. Even luring them out with illusions doesn't stop them scattering retreating immediately afterwards
Actually I tell a lie, I just realized that there is a way to stop them running away.
Part one: Gravity Sphere
The first part of the plan is Gravity Sphere. It creates a 30 foot radius of Zero Gravity, leaving everything in the area to float in the air. The only way to move out of the sphere is flight, and thats going to telegraph that you are, in fact, a caster.
The downside to Gravity Sphere in a treetop forest, is that the goblins can probably grab hold of a tree and climb. I was initially worried they could climb branches and eventually leave the area of Gravity Sphere. Slow going, but doable. Which brings us to...
Part two: Parchment Swarm (Warp Wood) or Control Winds
Basically the strategy is to use either spell to destroy surrounding tree branches / wooden bridges to basically keep them within Gravity Sphere. Control Winds has an advantage of affecting any flying casters within Gravity Sphere but it has the downside of not explicitly destroying any tree branches the goblins could use to climb out of Gravity Sphere. It depends how the GM would rule Windstorm Strength and whether it could / would do this. Warp Wood has no such issues but doesn't affect any flying casters.
Combination doesn't do anything to stop Dispel Magic on Gravity Sphere so someone would need to be on standby to disrupt any spellcasting (such as a readied high damage spell like Fireball or something to force a high concentration check) but once the two spells are cast I can wade into combat with blasts / dispels of my own to shut down any spellcasting. I could theoretically cast Black Tentacles on Round 3 (there doesn't seem to be a height description) to harass any spellcasters if we were really worried.
It also requires 2 5th level spell slots from me, and possibly 3 3rd level spells from Talivar (Fly x3 since otherwise Rue and Kilarra cannot enter the area). So its heavy resources invested but it does stop all of their ground fighters from fighting or fleeing. I can also Slumber at will post casters being dealt with if we wanted to take prisoners for interrogation.
GM feel free to weigh in if I'm making incorrect assumptions. My scouting missions should give me enough knowledge of their base / home or whatever and the terrain.
Eighty-five feet seems high for an island jungle. Especially if it's closer to the shore than the other tribes.
But anyway, I'm good with a loose plan, whatever Talia cooks up since she's so specific about her spell list. Ruel is going to go to do his usual attack-move-attack-move thing that he does.
Yeah, Kilarra's good with whatever Taila and Talivar decide. She'll stand in an appropriate place and stab stuff. Or fly, I suppose, if someone casts fly on her. Either way, she'll stab stuff. She's not picky.
Most of that looks feasible, Talia. Just keep in mind that all the goblins may not be in the radius of the gravity sphere, unless you have some way to draw them in. As for Control Winds, it would break the highest tree branches, but the lower ones would be too sturdy to break at the speeds you're currently capable of.
Uruelleth, I thought about the island factor after posting that. The tree height would probably be more like 50-60 ft that close to the shore. The island is big enough, though, that 85 ft would probably be about right near its center.
Let me know once y'all are happy with your plan. You can, of course, take as much time as you need, just be sure to let me know once you're ready.
Thats true, but its a 30 feet radius - thats quite the large area. I haven't received any indication that this is a large village / city - instead the opposite. It won't affect any of the scouts they have though but most of the city / base should be within the zone.
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 9th; concentration +14)
Shaman Spell-Like Abilities (CL 9th; concentration +14)
Shaman Spells Prepared (CL 9th; concentration +14)
5th—control winds (DC 20), gravity sphere; contact other plane[S] or overland flight[S]
4th—emergency force sphere, enervation (2); legend lore[S] or rainbow pattern[S] (DC 19)
3rd—fireball (3, DC 18), wind wall; daylight[S] or locate object[S]
2nd—protection from arrows, resist energy (2), warp wood (2, DC 17); hypnotic pattern[S] (DC 17) or tongues[S]
1st—barbed chains[HA] (3, DC 16), heightened awareness[ACG] (2), unbreakable heart[ISWG]; color spray[S] (DC 16) or identify[S]
0 (at will)—create water, dancing lights, detect magic, guidance
S spirit magic spell; Spirit Heavens Wandering Spirit Lore
Talia is going to pop her Incense of Meditation early morning (as it needs to burn for 8 hours). She can do this without issue thanks to her ring of sustenance reducing the hours she needs to sleep. The idea being, that its good to go when everyone else wakes up. She flies to the base, keeping herself at a large height and with the sun at her back (so that any scouts looking up have to look directly at the sun). She trusts her super high perception and knowledge she has gleaned from her scouting trips to avoid scouts. I'll then follow up with my Gravity Sphere / Control Winds combination from 180 feet away from the base. I'll have Protection from Arrows, as well as Heightened Awareness, Resist Energy Fire and Electricity precast.
So I guess the rest of us will need to move into position a bit in advance. Assuming there's some way of coordinating things Talivar can cast fly on everyone else just before combat and haste once it begins. That burns through a good number of his 3rd level spells but maybe that's ok.
Ideally you want to be one or two move actions away from Talia's attack zone (since she's casting her two spells to basically trigger combat) so probably 30-60 feet away from the base or more if Haste increases the movement speed. Talia probably knows the route best likely to avoid scouts with all the spying / scouting / knowledge geography skills she has.
Remember that in the zone of Control Winds, ranged attacks are going to be impossible. Any medium creatures need to make a DC 10 Strength check or DC 20 Fly check to move. The wind imposes a -8 penalty of Fly checks. Any small goblins are blown away unless they succeed on a DC 15 Strength check or a DC 25 Fly check. They are entitled to a DC 20 Fort save to avoid the effects of the spell though.
Evocation Ranged attacks will still work fine. Conjuration Ranged attacks will not.
Seems like I can go large and start swatting flying goblins (while flying myself, if someone wants to lend me the spell).
By the way, do you really need that daylight spell? Could you trade that for keen edge?
I'm going to be too busy to get a post in over the next few days. Hoping to be back to regular posting by Friday. Bot me if needed. Thanks.
In regards to positioning, Kilarra will place herself wherever is best for the plan. Not sure where that is. Where do you want me, Talia? She'll buff her AC (already reflected in stat line), and use a potion of invisibility on the approach.
I don't really mind where you stand. Talia will probably drop a ton of maximised Fireballs on any fighters in a group (so maybe avoid clumped up enemies) but realistically you can stand and fight wherever you like.
No worries, take your time.