GM SpiderBeard's Tyrant's Grasp

Game Master Barvo Delancy

Book One: The Dead Roads

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Welcome to Tyrant's Grasp!

This is a survival horror adventure path with plenty of undead goodness and great personal loss. The tone of this AP is bleak with moments of weird and wonderful. I'm sure we'll have a blast :D

Character Creation Guidelines:

- No alignment restriction but if you wanna be evil you have to have a good concept.

- This is the last 1st edition adventure path. If Pazio has published it, I will allow it.

- My rule on unusual races is keep them unusual. I don't mind if someone plays a campaign-appropriate weird race provided there's one or two and it's not the whole group.

- I use background skills and all classes from Unchained

- 20 point buy, 150 gp, and max hp at level 1 followed by 1/2+1 per level (you can roll if you want)

- 2 traits - one campaign, one of your choice

- You are starting at a small town in southern Lastwall. Read the player's guide and set your characters there. This AP works best if your characters have a sense of home and connection - if not to Roslar's Coffer then to something. This AP starts off better if you have something to fight for or something to lose.

Please complete the following before we begin:

- Full stat block for your character
- Whatever fluff you think is best (background, appearance, etc..)
- A class/level tag with vital information

My Preferred Vital Info Tag Format:

Paste this format into the following fields on your character profile. When you post it'll format out nicely and show a short version character sheet that makes my job a lot easier as a GM.

Race: | HP: XX/XX | [ ooc]AC: X (T: X, FF: X) [/ooc] | CMB: +X, CMD: XX | [ ooc]F: +X, R: +X, W: +X[/ ooc] | Init: +X | [ ooc]Perc: +X[/ooc]

Level: | Speed XXft | [ ooc]Eample Power: 1/1 [/ooc] | Active conditions: None

Gender: [ ooc]Gender Race Class Level[/ooc]

Escaping the Grave, Table 1 | Escaping the Grave, Table 2 | The Midnight Mirror

Dotting in. Initial character concept is a LG or NG halfling cavalier/bard possibly going toward Battle Herald. Probably starting with Bard at level, then adding Cavalier at level 2, then bouncing back and forth for a while. Would be a citizen of Roslar's Coffer, probably part of the local guard contingent.

Male Human Nerd 10

Dotting in. Would a separatist/varisian pilgrim cleric of Pulura going into Stargazer work for this campaign?

Silver Crusade

Hmmm what to pick what to pick...

Human? Changeling? Dhampir? Skinwalker? Duskwalker?

... Gnoll? Rougarou?

GM Who Must Be Feared & Obeyed (Or At Least Bribed With Cookies)

I’m thinking of trying a Changeling Sword-Devil ranger who focuses on her claws for her attacks. I should have something more concrete by this afternoon.

Silver Crusade

Oh that sounds fun.

Silver Crusade

Does Barbarian have to be unchained?

Other than that might try Green Knight Cavalier or Tortured Crusader Paladin... but that requires playing a Paladin.

Checking in. Still gotta read the guide. But I'm cool with making any character to fill the gaps once everyone else has a concept.


@Rysky - If you wanna go with classic barbarian that's fine. I think the only one I may insist on for unchained is summoner.

@Dragoncat - I'm on board. Looks cool.

@tieflingwizard - Yeess although the game very much has you in a specific place fighting a specific threat (lastwall/ustalav, bad guy is the whispering tyrant). So I'm not sure how Varisian separatism will interact with the campaign but it likely won't be something we can focus on much.

@Rinaldo - You know my opinion on short cavaliers. Looks groovy.

Silver Crusade

but... wands of teleport...

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Escaping the Grave, Table 1 | Escaping the Grave, Table 2 | The Midnight Mirror

I think I'll go with the halfling bardalier. This is actually based on the original "The Great Rinaldo" who is my namesake and is a lot of fun. Full sheet and background to come, but for others as you are planning, the crunch of the character is Arcane Duelist Bard and Order of the Dragon Cavalier. The bard archetype makes the character more melee focused, and swaps out bardic knowledge for some combat feats and swaps the Countersong performance for Rallying Cry, which helps to negate fear effects. The cavalier levels will allow him to share teamwork feats as well as be highly mobile.

The players' guide mentioned that we would be separated from our animal companions for the first adventure, so it actually helps story-wise to explain why he isn't mounted at level one. :-) "They took my dog! The bastards!" ;-)

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Broadway performance of John Wick.

With Peter Dinklage as the lead.

Male Human Nerd 10

Hmmm... I’ll work on a different concept then.

So, we have bard/cavalier and changeling ranger for set concepts, and a possible barbarian. I'm thinking of going with either an alchemist or cleric to focus on healing. But if somebody else wants that role, I can easily switch it up.

GM Who Must Be Feared & Obeyed (Or At Least Bribed With Cookies)

Unfortunately, time got away from me. I'll have to finish tomorrow.


Don't stress it. I have ANOTHER conference this next week and so will start the game when I come back. That gives you all plenty of time to set things up.

Male Human Nerd 10

Okay, so it looks like some roles have been fitted in. Essence, I had been thinking about a cleric character. But I'm willing to step aside on that since you called it first. Also, fun fact, I read the Religion section of the handbook and it says that Desna is popular among the civilian citizenry. And the Origins section says that Varisian caravans stop at Roslar's Coffer. So my original idea seemed like it had some merit. But, I'll go for a different idea. What that is, I'm not sure. I know that it might be a half-orc.

Mostly settled on cleric. Probably a pretty standard one, build-wise. Also will likely stick to Sarenare as a patron. Story-wise, undecided between a local and somebody sent on an extended task for the church.

Spiderbeard, permission to start at middle-age (+35) and the relevant stat adjustments? My concept has my cleric be a bit of an aging grump.

Liberty's Edge

Spiderbeard, a quick question about animal companions. The players' guide says that we are separated from our class-feature NPCs for "the first adventure". For planning purposes, does that mean just the first section of book one, or all of book one? I wondering whether I should plan to be without my mount just for level 1, or for several levels.

(And if answering that gives too much away, that's fine, and I'll make contingency plans. :-) )


@Essence - Permission granted. Grumpy Serenrae worshipper sounds fun. Lastwall is a backwater so being sent north to this crusade that's been cold for decades to share the good word is an assignment nobody would want.

@Rinaldo - There's some nuance. If you have some kind of supernatural bond (like with a familiar or shaman thingy) you keep 'em. You will lose animal companions/mounts for the entirety of the first book.

Escaping the Grave, Table 1 | Escaping the Grave, Table 2 | The Midnight Mirror

OK, I can work with that. It informs my decisions about leveling and feat selection.

Share the good word and/or survey the recently cleared temple for damage. That works well enough. The Player's guide recommends at least one PC is a local to the town, so I'm wondering if anybody else has taken that mantle.

Escaping the Grave, Table 1 | Escaping the Grave, Table 2 | The Midnight Mirror

I was going to be local though not born here. I was sent here with the group of knights who came to reclaim the city ten years ago, and then stayed. I am positing a "light cavalry" of halfling and gnome wolf-riders who supplement the better known Lastwall heavy cavalry with scouting and cleanup; a contingent was left here to help patrol and monitor the border.

I could do the opposite. I was a resident until the town was razed, and only now have I been sent back.


I dig the light cavalry, take advantage of the local wolf population and there's always a need for those sorts of patrols since its a dangerous part of the world.

Male Human Nerd 10

Okay. I may have an idea forming. Just a question for the group. Would anyone be upset if I went with a wizard with the Exploiter Wizard archetype and the Pact Wizard archetype from Haunted Heroes Handbook? Or is that too overpowered? I want to be fair and not power-gamey.

If this idea is declined, then I can just take the Pact Wizard archetype.

EDIT: And maybe the Thassilonian Magic archetype for Abjuration.


I'll read up on it and get back to you!

Silver Crusade

So Cleric, Cavalier/Bard, Wizard, and Ranger.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

It is powerful but I'm willing to just roll with it since I trust you as a player and haven't shown any powergamey tendencies. Plus the fact you're in a pact with some Otherworldy Thing gives me some stuff to play with.

Male Human Nerd 10

Okay. I gave it some thought and I think I will just stick to Pact Wizard. No Exploiter archetype or Thassilonian Specialist.

Male Middle-aged Human Cleric (Sarenrae) 1 | HP: 15/15 | AC:16 (T:10, FF:15) | CMB: +2, CMD: 12 | F: +4, R: +0, W: +7 | Init: +4 | Perc: +9 | Speed 30ft | Spells: 0:4 1:2+1 | Active conditions: N/A

Got a profile. Still working on the character.

Male Human Nerd 10

Sorry for not having something up sooner. I'm just working on the concept a bit more. I'll post my ideas to get some feedback on it and see if it will work with this group.

So, my idea is to make a human Pact Wizard. This could open up some interesting possibilities for RPing and in combat.

I was thinking of making a more control type wizard. I don't know how many of you are familiar with the Magic the Gathering card game. But, I have been getting back into it. The concept behind this character is the characteristics of the Azorius Senate. For those who don't know, the Azorius is made up of blue and white mana. This combination tends to have more control cards and flying and defensive creatures. The Azorius itself is all about law and order. Here is a link that goes more in depth with it. The reason I'm building my concept off of that is because I think that it's interesting and something different. I also have the D&D MtG player's handbook and have been enjoying it.

So, I want to make a wizard that specializes in buffs, debuffs, counter spells, defense of myself and other players, and battlefield control. However, he would need to be able to fight the undead hordes. So here's what I'm thinking and what I could use feedback on.

Arcane School:
I originally wanted to go with the Abjuration school and I'm still leaning towards that. I'm iffy on the Counterspell subschool. It would help with the concept... But that first power requiring a melee touch attack? No thank you. I'm now thinking about going Universalist and not have to worry about arcane schools and opposition schools. This is another good option to open my versatility.

Opposition Schools:
So, if I went with Abjuration school, I was thinking about taking Enchantment and Evocation as my opposition schools. But, how smart of a choice would that be?

So, as a Pact Wizard, I get access to a witch patron. Some interesting options fore me would be Ancestors, Boundries, Endurance, Ethereal, Fate, Healing, Jynx, Mercy, Occult, Peace, Portents, Protection, Recovery, Spirits, and Wisdom. I am leaning towards to Mercy.

Prestige Class:
I'm going with Evangelist of Iomedae. I like the Evangelist class, it works with the character and the Adventure Path, and I think I can get some real use out of it.

Sorry for the longish post. But what are your thoughts?


My instinct would be to go universalist even though there's a temptation to specialize to fit character theme. A lot of the best buff spells aren't even in abjuration which weakens that school a lot I think. If you do specialize and want an opposition school, enchantment has marginal use in an undead-heavy campaign.

Counterspell has a super great level six ability but the level one ability, though powerful, would just never be used. I can't imagine two conventional wizards in melee combat with each other.

So yeah if you want a battlefield control buff/debuff wizard I'd either go with universalist or even conjuration since it has the best battlefield control spells by a long shot.

Abjuration fits with the theme of the Azorius Senate the best as a very 'white' kind of magic, but nothing saying you still can't play to that aesthetic and philosophy regardless.

Escaping the Grave, Table 1 | Escaping the Grave, Table 2 | The Midnight Mirror

Spiderbeard, my backstory is percolating, and I wanted to check: Would it be reasonable in the setting for my character to be an officer or noncom leading the local wolfrider squad, or would that be problematic for the story? If so, I'll make him be just a grunt.

Also, I was going to have his starting armor be parade armor with the standard of Lastwall and the insignia of his wolfrider squad. Let me know if you see any issues with that.

Finally, should I spend starting money on saddle and tack for my mount, under the assumption I may not be able to do so when I get my mount "back"? Or by that time should I have money and opportunity to equip the mount appropriately?


Yes to everything and don't bother spending starter cash on the mount since you won't be able to reap the rewards for a little while and by that point the money spent won't be too material. Just outfit the mount how you feel makes sense.

Escaping the Grave, Table 1 | Escaping the Grave, Table 2 | The Midnight Mirror

Also, to confirm: You said to use the background skills rules from Unchained, so I am assuming that includes the separate pool of background skill points for the skills listed. This is particularly relevant to me since that list includes the Perform and Profession skills, and Handle Animal, so it gives me two extra skill points a level that are especially useful.


Yes exactly. So for those who have not used background skills it means you get two BONUS skill points but they must be used for skills that are just kinda not as good as the main ones.

Background skills:

Artistry (creating artistic products like writing music or painting)
Handle Animal
Knowledge (engineering)
Knowledge (geography)
Knowledge (history)
Knowledge (nobility)
Lore (knowledge/ability of a specific type you define, which the GM can determine the application for, 2nd edition is all about Lore skills)
Sleight of Hand

Escaping the Grave, Table 1 | Escaping the Grave, Table 2 | The Midnight Mirror
GM SpiderBeard wrote:
Yes to everything and don't bother spending starter cash on the mount since you won't be able to reap the rewards for a little while and by that point the money spent won't be too material. Just outfit the mount how you feel makes sense.

My usual is Military Saddle (20gp), Saddlebags (2gp), and light armor (20-50gp). If I will be able to get all of that once I have the companion, I'll spend my starting cash elsewhere.


Groovy. Go with it.

Once I've got a couple completed stat blocks I will open the gameplay thread for open RP in the town.

Silver Crusade

Most likely going to go with Green Knight Cavalier, just trying to narrow it down between Changeling and Skinwalker.

GM Who Must Be Feared & Obeyed (Or At Least Bribed With Cookies)

Oh, that’s a neat archetype.

Got my character’s stats and gear sorted. Now to build the backstory: I should have that finished by this evening.

Of course, I’ve noticed that we don’t really have anyone who can deal with traps... maybe I should build a rogue instead?

Silver Crusade

Thankies :3

And shoot, I forgot you were playing a Sword Devil. Hmm, I was about to suggest I could try a Rogue? But the archetype I’m in trades out Trapfinding...

GM Who Must Be Feared & Obeyed (Or At Least Bribed With Cookies)

The Sword-Devil build I had in mind requires me to dump Intelligence, and I’m a bit leery of doing that. If you want to build the Cavalier instead, I would be happy to build an Investigator or Unchained Rogue instead.

Escaping the Grave, Table 1 | Escaping the Grave, Table 2 | The Midnight Mirror

Will two cavaliers be overkill in that department?

GM Who Must Be Feared & Obeyed (Or At Least Bribed With Cookies)

Well, it is Lastwall...

Silver Crusade


Only if you want to, I don't want to force you out of your character.

GM Who Must Be Feared & Obeyed (Or At Least Bribed With Cookies)

Oh, it’s fine. I’ve got an elven ninja that I would love to dust off.

Speaking of which, would a ninja gain the Unchained benefits a rogue would?

Escaping the Grave, Table 1 | Escaping the Grave, Table 2 | The Midnight Mirror

Probably not unless Spiderbeard is aware of a conversion ... to my knowledge, they haven't reworked ninja to support the unchained rogue base class.

GM Who Must Be Feared & Obeyed (Or At Least Bribed With Cookies)

Well, I can reflavour her as an Unchained Rogue if that is the case.

Male Human Nerd 10

I think I know the elven ninja you’re talking about, Dragoncat.

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