DM Brainiac's Tyrant's Grasp

Game Master Brainiac

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Current Date: 18 Pharast, 4719 AR


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Welcome to the new game! Here are the character creation rules:

20 point buy
2 traits (1 Campaign, 1 Other)
All Paizo sources are acceptable

Let me know if you have any questions.


Yay this is going to be fun!


Awesome! Still no idea what to play though - or rather, I have TOO MANY ideas for what to play...


@Brainiac - will we be using any of the mechanics from Horror Adventures for this AP? I know that Paizo likes to put new game systems into each AP - is there one for this one?


There are no new systems hard-coded into the AP. I'll give Horror Adventures another look and see if there's anything in there that's applicable.


I like turtles.


The player's guide is actually frustratingly non-specific about what to expect from the AP, other than "don't pick a class that has a familiar or an animal companion"

I'm still no closer to narrowing my options. Think I might have to wait until a couple of others have made a decision...


Generally, anything tuned towards fighting undead will serve you well.


Theme: Survival Horror
"The overall theme of Tyrant’s Grasp is survival horror. The player characters will often find themselves in desperate circumstances with limited resources, particularly during the first few adventures. Terrible tragedies are destined to occur as the events of Tyrant’s Grasp unfold; often, your objective isn’t to prevent these disasters, but to survive them and to display heroism and resourcefulness in their wake. Circumstances will compel the player characters to leave Roslar’s Coffer much sooner than you might expect, so characters prepared to travel across Lastwall and beyond are the best fit for this Adventure Path."

This is just my take on it, but going by what I've read so far we'll want:
-Someone with a ton of perception to spot traps, find secrets and prevent ambushes. An archaeologist bard or trapper ranger might be a perfect fit?
-Self-reliant casters. A sorcerer seems like a better fit than a wizard, what with not needing a spellbook, not having to add spells to said spellbook and all that. Druids and clerics that can sustain the party and keep everyone going through divine blessings also strike me as super valuable.
-Strong-willed frontliners. I got a feeling we'll be encountering plenty of magic-wielding undaddies and investing a bit into feats and stats to bolster your saves might be a great idea.
-A solid presence of knowledge history and religion. Survival, knowledge dungeoneering and the usual suspects arcana and planes will probably come to good use as well :p
-At least one PC to be a local from Roslar's Coffer.

And it seems that familiars and animal companions make a comeback later on, so while a druid and cavalier might suffer at first, it shouldn't be permanent. I guess that does rule out the witch and shaman class as you can't do much without a familiar xD

With that being said, I always prefer groups that make sense from a RP point of view and as long as characters are build somewhat decently, I'm sure we'll be fine. I'm thinking of a halfling fighter but I'm more than okay with filling the skill-monkey slash trapfinder role.


The Player's Guide is a bit misleading. Classes with familiars or spirit animals will still have access to them at the beginning of the AP. Same with eidolons or phantoms. It's only animal companions and mounts that are affected.


Really now. Well, a shaman makes for a great self-reliant caster so that's good news.

Also, the traits for this AP are great. The pessimist trait has to be my favorite. 'I'm so grumpy that when you fail a save, you get to reroll it just to spite me' xD


Agreed, the traits are fabulous!

Thanks for that summary. Not sure where turtles come into it, but hey I'm not going to judge you :P

Still deep in thought, but at least I have a bit more of a framework now

EDIT: also, based on the summary, it seems like abilities you can use over and over again (study target, hex) might be more valuable than limited-use abilities (smite evil, inspire courage)


Itzi and I are planning dhampir sisters, one Inquisitor (probably xbw focused) and one Magus (Mindblade - so combat). We'll cover a lot of bases to some degree, but none 100% so full casters and full BAB would be good for balance!

Between us we'll have the combat knowledge covered and a reasonable splash of magic. If someone makes a full scale tank then they'll have lots of versatile support!


The top 3 options currently bubbling in my head (disclaimer: subject to change with latest shiny thing)

*Obnoxiously optimistic Dwarf Gunslinger (or Ranger) EDIT might be a Cleric

*Former Sarenite acolyte turned atheist Magus (Bladebound or Staff, possibly) EDIT wait - possibly Arcanist (sooooo shiiiiiny)

*Battle-scarred and foul-mouthed Freebooter Ranger (ideally also with the Skirmisher archetype if mix-matching is permitted) EDIT possibly a Paladin instead? I like paladins, but they don't have enough skill points...


Okay, that is one badass duo. Do you have an idea of what you want to play, Wastrel?

edit - check, so we'd be in serious need of a full caster.


Probably don't need two Magi? Although having a Mindblade and a Bladebound in the same game would likely lead to hilarious 'who's got the better sword' contests... :D


Has Ashira chipped in yet with preferences/ideas?

Agreed that we don't need 2 magi - although staff beats sword every day of the week :P

Solicitor wrote:
Okay, that is one badass duo. Do you have an idea of what you want to play, Wastrel?

No - I need help!


@Wastrel - maybe, but why choose when your weapon choices are limited to your own imagination?! ;)

The ranger idea sounded like a good one - either as ranged or (probably more helpful) as close combat.

Honestly to go with what Itzi are planning I think we need

- Full Combat (Ranger/Fighter/Slayer/Barb etc)
- Full Caster (Wiz/Sorc/Cleric etc)
- Something else (traps/healing/anything else we dont have)


I've played Freebooter Rangers before - they tend to work at their absolute best when most of the party is into doing some sort of DPR: the ability to churn out, all day, every day, a consistent bonus to hit and damage is fantastic (no 15-minute adventuring day issues here!).

If the rest of the party is less focused on DPR and more on control, buffing/debuffing, or spells then they don't do so good.


Mindblades are versatile in the extreme - I can have whatever weapon I want at a given moment and will eventually be spell-striking while dual-wielding/two-handing so loads of DPR there. Spells from me will be prep/occasional nuking rather than the 'infinite shocking grasp' builds Magi seem to default to.

I imagine Itzi will be pretty consistent DPS too, ranged characters usually are...

As for everyone else - who knows? :D If we get a tank and/or a rogue type then there's probably enough to be worthwhile. You'd benefit from your own ability, Itzi and I would too - so that's 3/5 at least.


Pirates aren't thematically a great fit for the campaign, but you could reskin it to be part of a mercenary company instead of a pirate crew. Though I don't know if your 7th level fast swimmer ability will come up very often.


That is a fair point, but I was looking at the map and thinking how much river traffic must go past on the Tourondel River: tempting prey for orc raids, and thus you'd need guards for the river barges.

Agree on the fast swimmer thing being not really a great thing, but I've never got much use out of Woodland Stride either so it all evens out.

Anyway, I'm changing my mind again... I'm too used to being the DM, I think ("why do I have to choose?! I'll just play EVERYONE!!!!!")


Questions @ Brainiac ...

What'll the starting cash be?

Can we take a drawback for an extra trait?

What will the crafting prospects be in this AP?


Starting cash is either average or roll.

You can take a drawback.

Crafting prospects will be limited. It doesn't seem like there will be much downtime between adventures.


Another question @ Brainiac ... :)

I've encountered two different interpretations of the dhampir's Negative Energy Affinity. I'm not arguing for either version, I'd just like to know in advance which one you would follow.

1) Dhampir's take damage from positive energy no matter the intended usage. Example: the party's cleric uses Channel to heal the group and one of the members is a dhampir and in the AoE- they take damage.

2) Dhampir's only take damage from positive energy that's used specifically to damage undead. In the above example, the dhampir wouldn't take any damage - they just wouldn't get any healing.


It says dhsmlirs react to negative and positive energy as if they were undead, I think number 2 is correct. If it were number 1, then all undead would take damage when a cleric channels to heal her allies. She has to specifically choose to harm undead with her channeling, and thus, same with dhampirs.


So in 2nd Ed (which has done away with that distinction) they'd always take damage. Thanks for the clarity!

We need wands of inflict I think Itzi! :D


Who knows how it will work in 2nd Ed? We still haven't seen the final rules yet, and it will probably be a while until they convert dhampirs, anyway. :P


I've always thought that was odd: if you're channeling positive energy, then it should affect everyone (and likewise for negative energy). How does the energy know what it's being used for? Is it the photons in the Y-tube all over again?

In other news, I'm still making up my mind/paralyzed with indecision (take your pick)


You could always roll randomly, Wastrel. Alternately, there are a few new archetypes presented in the support material for the module that might be of interest:

Graveslinger (Gunslinger Archetype)
Graveslingers craft signature bullets to hunt down wandering undead. With this infused ammunition, they can take on the most resilient spectral foes with ease.

Soul Shepherd (Monk Archetype)
Whether studying at the feet of psychopomps or merely imitating the creatures’ philosophy and methods, soul shepherds believe in safeguarding the Cycle of Souls.

Reaper (Oracle Mystery)
Oracles with the reaper mystery strive to quiet restless souls, end lives, and send souls to their final reward.

Plus, there are psychopomp totem rage powers for barbarians.

I can post more details if one strikes your fancy.


Those sound interesting! :) We could use an oracle for sure, or any of those really!

@Wastrel: seconded. That's one thing I'll probably house-rule next time I'm actually running a game where it matters!


Ooh, the Graveslinger interests me strangely and I wish to know more, please, O wise and beneficent DM :-)


Whatever you do or don't, do let me know whether I gotta take up full BAB or skill-monkey duty =P


Graveslinger:
Deeds: A graveslinger gains the following deeds.

Ghostbane Shot (Ex): At 1st level, once per day by spending 10 minutes to combine mundane ammunition with a mixture of grave dirt and powdered bone, the graveslinger can prepare a number of special bullets equal to her graveslinger level plus her Wisdom modifier (minimum 1). When attacking incorporeal undead, these bullets are treated as if they had the ghost touch special ability. These bullets function only for the graveslinger, and if not fired within 24 hours, the bullets become inert, losing their ghost touch special ability.

This deed replaces the deadeye deed.

Ectoplasmic Anchor (Su): At 7th level, an incorporeal undead creature hit by one of the graveslinger’s ghostbane shots becomes infused with ectoplasm, interfering with its defenses and mobility. The creature must succeed at a Will save (DC = 10 + half the graveslinger’s level + the graveslinger’s Wisdom modifier) or become semicorporeal for 1 round. A semicorporeal creature takes half damage (50%) from nonmagical attack forms, and it takes full damage from magic weapons, spells, spell-like effects, and supernatural effects. During this time, it cannot enter or pass through solid objects.

This deed replaces the startling shot deed.

Undead Hunter (Ex): At 11th level, the graveslinger’s ghostbane shots are treated as if they also had the undead bane special ability.

This deed replaces the bleeding wound deed.

Staggering Shot (Ex): At 15th level, when a graveslinger confirms a critical hit against an undead creature with one of her ghostbane shots, the creature is staggered for 1 round.

This deed replaces the menacing shot deed.

Supernatural Awareness (Ex): At 4th level, the graveslinger gains Blind-Fight as a bonus feat. Additionally, as long as she has 1 grit point, she can always act in surprise rounds that are triggered by haunts and incorporeal undead, even if she fails to notice them. This replaces the bonus feat gained at 4th level.


Can you post the Reaper as well? I'm curious...


Reaper Mystery:

Deities: Achaekek, Groetus, Pharasma.

Class Skills: An oracle with this mystery adds Intimidate, Perception, Stealth, and Survival to her list of class skills.

Bonus Spells: Chill touch (2nd), calm spirit (4th), sands of time (6th), purge spirit (8th), slay living (10th), undeath to death (12th), destruction (14th), horrid wilting(16th), wail of the banshee (18th).

Revelations: An oracle with the reaper mystery can choose from any of the following revelations.

Death’s Embrace (Su): You gain Improved Grapple as a bonus feat, even if you do not meet its prerequisites. Once per round when you succeed at a grapple combat maneuver check, you can deal 1d6 points of negative energy damage to the target of your grapple. This damage increases by 1d6 at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter, to a maximum of 5d6 at 20th level.

Haunt Channeler (Su): You gain the medium’s haunt channeler class feature (Pathfinder RPG Occult Adventures 31) with an effective medium level equal to your oracle level –2. You must be at least 5th level to select this revelation.

Moral Crisis (Su): As a standard action, you can target a living creature within 30 feet of you, reminding it of its moral failings. The target must succeed at a Will save or be staggered for a number of rounds equal to your oracle level. The target can attempt a new saving throw at the end of each of its turns to end this effect. This is a mind-affecting emotion effect.

Obliterate Memory (Sp): As a standard action, you can target a creature within 30 feet and eliminate all memory of an event the target experienced, as modify memory. A target can attempt a Will save to negate this effect. In addition, you can cause an account of the memory erased by this ability to appear on a blank page of any book you are carrying. You can use this ability once per day, plus one additional time per day at 15th level. You must be at least 11th level to select this revelation.

Pale Horse (Sp): You can summon a phantom steed, as the spell, to serve you for a number of hours per day equal to your oracle level. This duration does not need to be consecutive, but it must be spent in 1-hour increments. You must be at least 5th level to select this revelation.

Return to Dust (Su): You call upon the inexorable ravages of time and entropy to damage an object or undead creature within 30 feet, dealing 1d6 points of damage per 2 oracle levels you have, ignoring hardness and damage reduction. If used against an undead creature or an object in another creature’s possession, the undead creature or the creature possessing the object can attempt a Reflex saving throw to halve the damage. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Charisma modifier.

Spectral Spells (Su): You gain Ectoplasmic Spell as a bonus feat. In addition, once per day, you can cast a spell with the Ectoplasmic Spell metamagic feat as a standard action that does not increase the level of the spell. You can use this ability one additional time per day at 7th level and every 4 levels thereafter.

Spirit Touch (Su): As a standard action, you can touch one weapon to grant it the ghost touch special ability for a number of rounds equal to your Charisma modifier. At 11th level, you can spend two uses of this ability to grant it the ghost touch and undead bane special abilities. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Charisma modifier.

Terminal Aura (Su): You gain an aura with a 10-foot radius; any creature within that has fewer than 0 hit points but is stable must succeed at a Will save or be affected by the spell bleed. A dying creature within range of this aura does not receive a Constitution check to stabilize unless it succeeds at a Will save, but it can still be healed as normal. A creature with fast healing or regeneration must also succeed at a Will save every round or that ability does not function for 1 round. You can suppress and resume this aura as a free action. You must be at least 11th level to select this revelation.

True Death (Su): Those slain by your spells or by one of your attacks that deals negative energy becomes more difficult to bring back from the dead. Spellcasters attempting to bring such a creature back from the dead using raise dead or similar magic must succeed at a caster level check with a DC equal to 15 + your oracle level or the spell fails and the material component is wasted. A successful casting of remove curse (DC = 10 + your oracle level) before attempting to bring the creature back from the dead suppresses this effect for 1 minute.


That is seriously cool. I'm going to change plans and do a Reaper Oracle I think! :D Goes very, very well with Dhampir!

May pick up a single level on monk too - Improved Grapple looks like a must on the reaper!

Yes - decision made. I'm going to build a Scaled Fist Monk for level 1 and then take Reaper Oracle from level 2 onwards. Weird I know but it'll work :)

@Brainiac: if I take Improved Grapple from the Monk level, and then gain it again from Death's Embrace, do I get to retrain one of them for something else (like greater grapple?)


... so, we have:

-A ranged inquisitor (3/4 BAB DPS with casting)
-A monk/oracle (3.25/4'ish BAB DPS with casting?!)
-A gunslinger (full BAB)

... which leaves us needing:

-A skill-monkey (?)(rogue/bard/ranger/slayer?)
-An arcane caster (sorcerer/wizard/arcanist/bard?)
-A source of healing and restoration (?)

My halfling fighter (str14/dex16 with dodge+toughness) won't fit the current composition. I'm honestly not feeling another cleric, but I'm willing to flex :)


I can bring healing along. I'll default to Negative Energy, not positive but I can pick up a selection of healing spells. So don't worry about that - I'll cover that. It might just be in rather odd ways... :P

Build will be about buffs and grappling I think. So kick off the normal buffs like bless and then close to fighting range with grappling etc.

Go play with a bard or something like that! :D


Male Dwarf Archanist 4 / Paladin 3

I'm still thinking. I've been busy at work, so I'm moving a bit slower than usual.

These are my current ideas:

- An orcish ranger (I think we'll want some survival/nature stuffs)
- A 'white' necromancer (doesn't raise the dead, but does wrestle control of them)
- A dwarf fighter, probably axe+shield
- Purification by fire. Not sure how I might go about that, but cleric or oracle might work.
- An alchemist who is a plague doctor (and has the cool mask!)
- An unchained summoner with the angel eidolon


Solicitor - sounds like you are way further ahead than I am! Go with the halfling fighter. If TF is going dwarf then I'll withdraw from that concept.

I see Nik is going Oracle, which maybe opens up the magus slot we thought was closed...?

(progress here, like the plane of energy that nourishes our dhampir sisters, is looking pretty negative)


Those pretty much all look like cool ideas Fox!

You could do a purification by Fire evoker too - might be more helpful than another divine caster?

Rolling random things!

Age: 10d6 + 20 ⇒ (2, 2, 4, 5, 6, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6) + 20 = 61 years old.
Height: 2d10 ⇒ (4, 8) = 12 + 4'5" = 5'5"
Weight: 2d10 ⇒ (5, 6) = 11 *5 + 85 = 140lbs.

Starting Wealth: 1d6 ⇒ 4 *10 = 40.

-----------------------
Party

Solicitor - Halfling Fighter
Itzi - Dhampir Inquisitor
Nikolaus - Dhampir Moracle

Needed - Arcane, Skills.


Male Dwarf Archanist 4 / Paladin 3

I'm not quite as interested in the dwarf or the summoner, but they're alright. I could have fun with them and fulfill a frontliner role. I'm most interested in playing either the orc ranger (archery) or the necromancer. Neither would really qualify as "skill monkeys", since I don't plan for the orc to have a great intelligence. The ranger would focus on survival, perception, and athletic skills. The necromancer would focus on knowledge.

How come your fighter won't fit? I think having a frontliner would be good for the squishies.

I don't really want to play the dedicated healer role (off-healer is fine though), and I also promised myself not the play a paladin this time around.


I guess that means I don't have to determine age. ;)

Just so our bases are covered, the inquisitor half of the duo will be taking ILW as well as CLW for some basic healing for the duo.

Have you given any thought to names, Niko? I've got an alias that I could re-purpose.


Another question for Brainiac:

Are we using Background skills?


Yes to background skills.


Such chaos, much confusion :P

I'm fine with turning the halfling into a slayer if the group cares to have someone with trapfinding in the party, but if Wastrel goes magus and TreasureFox opts for his ranger, I can go for a celestial sorcerer instead of fighter :)

We'll be all over the place, but that ought to cover most of the bases.

... I hope we're not driving Brainiac bonkers ...


Male Dwarf Archanist 4 / Paladin 3

I have some time today, so I'll play around with the mechanics of a few and see how I feel about them. I want to make a solid decision by the end of today.


Rascal: 63/63, +10, d8+6+trip. |HP: 54/54| AC: 22 (19 Tch, 18 Fl) | CMB: 8(10), CMD: 24(26) | F:+7, R:+11, W:+7 | Init: +2 | Blf +10, Dip +15, Itm +10, Perc: +1, Spcft +9, | Speed 30ft | Spells: 1st 6/7, 2nd: 6/7, 3rd: 5/5 | Stun Fist 1/1, Kin Bond 1/1 | Active conditions: Life Spirit, Channel 5/5 (4d6), Curse of Suffering |

@Brainiac/Everyone: We're playing twins. Would it be too confusing for us to use the same avatar? :)

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