GM Granta's WftC

Game Master Granta


Sovereign Court

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It is meant to be an archive of GM rulings that is easy for players to search.

Sovereign Court


  • Ability Scores: 20 point buy, maximum 18 after age and race
  • Races: core only (including options in Advanced Race Guide)
  • Classes: barbarian, bard, bloodrager, cleric, fighter, inquisitor, monk, oracle, ranger, rogue, sorcerer, wizard
  • Traits: Ultimate Campaign and War for the Crown Player's Guide only, two (one campaign), plus optional third (with drawback)
  • Hit Points: maximum at first level, then roll (minimum Constitution modifier)
  • Starting Gold: class maximum
  • Story Feats: Story feats are legal, and each PC gains a bonus story feat slot at first level. Prerequisites apply.
  • Teamwork Feats: Teamwork feats from Advanced Player's Guide, Ultimate Combat, and Ultimate Magic are legal, and each PC gains a bonus teamwork feat slot at 2nd, 8th and 14th level. Prerequisites apply.
  • Background Skills: no, but everybody gets maximum ranks in one Craft or Perform skill
  • Alignment: any
  • Equipment: Each PC gains a free musical instrument or artisan's tool associated with their free Craft or Perform skill. May be upgraded to masterwork at character creation by paying the difference. This is a family heirloom and cannot be sold without GM approval.
  • Spells: Core plus communal and greater versions of core spells.
  • Unrestricted Books: Core Rulebook and Ultimate Equipment
  • Permission Required: archetypes, feats, spells, etc. from other Paizo sources. No alternate races, classes or third party material. Most options will be approved; don't hesitate to ask.

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    The specifics of this may change, but the general principles will hold. Each time you level up, you will get two days of free time per level, i.e. four days when you reach level two. The story line will frequently not allow for that though, so the days will be held in reserve until it makes sense. Most likely, you will not have any free time until the end of book one, at which point you will have eighteen days to play with.

    This time can be used to craft magical or mundane items, retrain, research unique spells, pull off a heist, etc. At the end of that time, you can ask for another day (again and again if desired). However, at the end of each day I will roll a percentile die to see if there is a random encounter. There won't be any treasure or experience for these combats though, they are just a risk to balance the reward of additional downtime--and perhaps a chance to practice your strategy and teamwork. Each day the percentile chance will increase, and each encounter the CR will increase--though both reset once the campaign resumes.

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    Grand Duke: Rules a prefecture and answers directly to the grand prince; because this is one of the few titles strictly defined by the land it is tied to, Taldor is limited to 62 grand dukes: 12 who wield real power (sometimes referred to as grand high dukes) and 50 lesser grand dukes (unofficially referred to as nominal grand dukes).

    Governor: Appointed by the crown to rule a province; most are also nominal grand dukes.

    Duke: Typically rules a duchy within a prefecture; dukes who serve a grand duke directly without governing lands are called attending dukes.

    Senator: Votes in the senate; must have a noble rank.

    Marquess: Guards a large wilderness estate or border region, such as those in the wild prefectures of Verduran or the World's Edge Mountains; generally looked down upon as uncouth, backwater nobility, but often command impressive military resources to defend against invaders or monsters.

    Count/Earl: Rules a county (large tract of land and people within a duchy); counts and earls argue frequently over who holds dominion over the other.

    Landgrave: Administrates a nonwilderness tract of land that lacks a settlement (such as canals, isolated farms, ranching lands, trade roads, etc.); theoretically the equal of a marquess, but in reality far less prestigious, as landgraves lack the military power a marquess wields.

    Baron: Rules a barony (large swath of land with up to a dozen communities) or sometimes a single major city, or else an unlanded advisor to the crown.

    Baronet: Assist a baron in administering the baron's lands; baronets are rarely landed themselves.

    Viscount: Administrates a swath of land within a county, traditionally including two towns and the lands between them.

    Tribune: Oversees a community, functioning as its mayor and judge; technically an elected position, but almost always a title granted in exchange for political favors; usually answer to a baron.

    Lord: Holds and rules specific lands; usually a knight; normally answers to a baron rather than a viscount.

    Knight: The lowest noble rank in Taldor, though many overlapping ranks and titles exist within "knight," including elector, esquire, and patrician; newly awarded nobles almost always begin at this rank (especially those who achieve the rank through military service); likewise, the children of noble families who've yet to prove themselves often begin as knights

    Sovereign Court


    There is a lot of vagueness and inconsistency in the published material, so I'm going to make a GM ruling: primogeniture applies only to the title of Grand Prince, and women in Taldor are not noticeably more oppressed than in other countries.

    I know, that makes no sense given what you've read in the player's guide, but it is the only thing that makes sense otherwise. 1/3 of senators and 5/12 of Grand Dukes are female. That means women in Taldor hold more power than in any real country I know of.

    Also, neither the AP nor Taldor, The First Empire mentions a single cultural or systemic abuse or mistreatment of women. As far as I can tell, the whole feminist story line was a last minute addition to the Taldan lore--and it causes way more problems than it solves, so it's out.

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    After one day with some food and water, but not enough, a character must make a Constitution check at the start of each day (DC 10, +1 for each previous check) or become fatigued. Fatigued characters who fail this check become exhausted. Exhausted characters who fail this check take 1d6 points of nonlethal damage. Characters that take an amount of nonlethal damage equal to their total hit points begin to take lethal damage instead.

    Fatigue, exhustion and nonlethal damage from thirst or starvation cannot be recovered until the character gets sufficient food or water—not even magic heals these conditions or damage.

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    Players earn buckeye leaves for exceptional posts (gameplay or discussion) , and can use them as an immediate action to lessen the effect of lethal attacks. Multiple leaves can be used at the same time, and the costs are as follows:

    HP Damage: 1 leaf per 4 hit points reduced
    Ability Damage: 1 leaf per 2 ability points reduced
    Ability Drain: 1 leaf per ability point reduced
    Saving Throw: 1 leaf per 2 points die roll increased

    This is not a healing effect and cannot be used to reduce more damage than was received on the killing attack. Increasing a saving throw to 20 counts as if a natural 20 was rolled. Other characters may contribute leaves if the affected character does not have enough, but each character must use their own immediate action.

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    For the purposes of using a whetstone, a blade is any weapon from the axe, light blade, or heavy blade weapon groups, or that has "blade" in its description.

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  • Succeeding on a Spellcraft check to identify an illusion spell as it's being cast counts as studying it carefully, allowing an immediate Will save to disbelieve. It also counts as receiving a communication from a successful disbeliever, granting a +4 bonus on that saving throw.

  • Interacting with the illusion requires either the illusion or the creature to take an action which would normally elicit a reaction from the other. For example, successfully attacking or being attacked by an illusory fighter. In contrast, speaking to a silent image wouldn't count, because a real creature could easily ignore the speaker. However, if a major image answered back, that would allow a save to disbelieve.

  • When successful interaction would normally require some sort of check, like hitting a target's AC, I usually replace the variable component of the number with a caster level check. So for example, AC or CMD would be 10 + d20 + caster level, but a saving throw would just be d20 + caster level. However, on a skill check I often allow the caster to use his own modifier if he prefers.

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    If multiple characters ID the same creature, the first piece of information will be the same. However, additional info from high rolls will be different, so there is a potential advantage to multiple Knowledge checks.

    The base ID will include CR, and the intention is for you to use that when deciding how to fight. I don't consider it meta-gaming for the identifier to shout something like, "Bring the heavy s!%& fast! This one's dangerous!" or "Save your spells, this cake can be eaten whole." Just keep it in character. That includes actually talking to your allies; they know what you tell them, not what's in the spoiler.


    You can aid another on Spellcraft checks to identify magic items. The aiding party just needs to cast their own detect magic.

    Background Skills

    We won't be using the mechanic, but will be using the skills themselves. These are not useless skills in this campaign. If a skill suits your character, but you aren't sure how effective it will be, ask for help and ideas.

    Aid Another, Take 10 & Take 20

    In my opinion, these are extremely underused and undervalued game mechanics. I encourage you to use them liberally.

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  • Breastplates, ceremonial armor, and light armor may be worn inside the senate building, but no other armor is permitted for anyone except guards.
  • Potions, scrolls, spell component pouches, and wands are permitted inside the senate building, and in fact, many senators are themselves spellcasters. However, spellcasting is not permitted within the building without written approval (often issued to entertainers).
  • Only light and one-handed weapons are allowed inside the senate building; ranged weapons and two-handed weapons are not allowed inside the building. All weapons brought into the senate building must be peace-bound—secured in a sheath with a length of decorative cord. Drawing a peace-bound weapon requires a full-round action. Guards do not need to peace-bind their weapons.
  • Animals are generally not permitted inside the senate building, excepting familiars and service animals. Animals larger than an average member of the senate guard are not permitted within the building under any circumstances.
  • While guests are free to roam the senate building when invited, individual senators’ offices are off-limits and locked. No one but the senators and a single aide for each is permitted on the senate floor during a vote.

    These rules are important, because you enter the senate right after the mission briefing.

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    As citizens of one of the oldest nations in Avistan, whose bravery and martial prowess forged an empire and whose canny wit helped them establish trade networks around the globe, Taldans are complex and multifaceted. While the amusing illusion of stuffed-shirted wealthy elites harrumphing as they look down their noses at downtrodden peasants makes for an easy laugh, a campaign in Taldor means much more frequent contact with a vast array of citizens. To diversify your view of Taldor, here are 10 interesting aspects of the Taldan people.

    10. Taldans Love Wordplay. As originators of the Taldane language, Taldans understand a considerable breadth and depth of the Common tongue that even their former colonies don’t share, and fast-paced banter and clever linguistic choices are proud parts of their heritage. Even the flintiest of farmers love insightful plays on words, and a cleverly timed, crass pun can delight even the stodgiest of nobles.

    9. Taldans Love Board Games. Every Taldan fancies herself a general, and so board games, strategy games, and war games are popular pastimes for everyone from gong farmers to emperors. While gambling can be fun, it leaves victory in the hands of fate—something few Taldans can stomach—and they prefer diversions that offer at least the illusion of control. While many board games—the equivalents on Golarion of agon, backgammon, chess, Parcheesi, and rithmomachy—were either invented or adopted by Taldor, just as popular are war games played out with wooden miniatures using elaborate rules.

    8. First Emperor Taldaris Is the Man. Taldans are a people suffused in patriotism and a love of history, but until we published Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Taldor, The First Empire, they lacked the sort of founding myth typical of large (and especially old) nations. When we updated their history, we fleshed out their origins as a series of city-states united by a great leader: First Emperor Taldaris, Taldor’s own Romulus or George Washington. Like similar figures, he’s often invoked and exploited by residents: politicians insist they know what his vision for Taldor really was; tutors place him in all sorts of parables for bravery, honesty, and other virtues; and inns and estates advertise that “Taldaris slept here” to impress travelers—even though few, if any, structures in modern Taldor have survived since the First Emperor’s day.

    7. Taldan Hair Is a Big Deal. Even poor households invest in quality brushes, sheers, and oils from the tea tree and argan tree to keep themselves looking and smelling good, and every family has its own secret recipe for shiny, healthy hair. Many outsiders consider this yet another example of Taldan vanity, but the truth is more complex. Taldans’ world travels have brought a wide array of parasites home over the centuries; clean hair is a simple comfort that also promotes health.

    6. Taldans Will Eat Anything. You can’t be a refugee or a soldier on the march and still be a picky eater. Since the founding of their nation, Taldans have embraced a philosophy of “whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger,” and that very much extends to their embracing of unusual and exotic foods. For nobles, this translates to eating almost anything that walks, crawls, flies, slithers, or swims, while for commoners it more often means making a meal out of whatever parts the rich won’t eat.

    5. Taldans Are Creative. Shelyn began as a Taldan god, and Taldor still reveres the arts in every form. “Anything worth doing is worth doing with a flourish,” the Taldan saying goes, and almost every citizen of the empire pursues an art in her spare time, especially music and dance. Most families have a long tradition associated with a particular skill they may turn into a business—such as painting, weaving, or woodcarving—but just as many are farmers who pluck away at their lyres after work or sing reprises from their favorite operas to make the harvest pass more quickly. Illustrated or illuminated books are especially popular, and many families record their history in books passed down and doodled in over generations.

    4. Taldans Love Dogs. Taldor claims it domesticated the first dog, but then again, Taldans claim to be the first to do a lot of things. Realistically, while dogs were rare in Azlanti society, they were common among the Kellid and Garundi societies that early Taldans filtered themselves through, and dogs became companions and workers in a culture hard up for extra hands. In those first unstable centuries, Taldor bred a hundred specialty dog breeds to assist with herding, pest control, physical labor, warfare, and even kitchen work, and as the Taldans’ fortunes rose, they also bred dogs to serve purely as companions.

    3. Taldans Love Pie. Since before the first Army of Exploration, Taldans have been sealing their tastiest treasures—and especially leftovers—inside pie shells to help preserve them, and that trend continues to this day. Sweet pies are the traditional breakfast, while farmers and laborers carry a savory hand pie or two with them for a midday snack. Taldans particularly love blending the sweet and the savory into pies, creating treats such as jubilee pie, a rich mix of currants, cherries, and fowl served at almost every major event.

    2. Taldans Are Very Polite—Until They’re Not. Taldans live by their politics and succeed through cooperation. Sometimes that means smiling politely and shaking the hand of the man who tried to kill you last week. Rudeness isn’t just unseemly... It’s un-Taldan! They instead couch insults in careful language, usually as unhelpful critiques and backhanded compliments, most notably the cold Taldan “Well, aren’t you a treasure.” Once Taldans decide to stop being polite, they take their outrage and insults up to 11, insulting, scolding, threatening, and yelling in tirades that usually end in duels.

    1. Taldans Never Quit. While most of Azlant sank, the ancestors of modern Taldor dragged themselves onto a foreign shore and pulled their lives back together. Orcs attacked and they rebuilt. Kellids plundered them and they rebuilt. They founded a kingdom and ran into one natural barrier after another—from rivers to forests to deserts to more orcs—and every time they pushed forward again. Taldor’s glories stem from bravery and skill, to be sure, but more than anything they come from the fact that Taldans never look at a challenge and say “maybe not this time.”

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