DM Brainiac’s Rusthenge

Game Master Brainiac

Exploration Activities: Ed: Detecting Magic, Hess: Avoiding Notice, Reknar: Searching, Tol: Scouting, Turac: Searching


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Welcome to the game! To begin, create a 1st level character using the standard rules. Your characters will be villagers from Osprey Cove on a journey with one of your elders to the nearby village of Iron Harbor. You are encouraged to choose one of the following custom backgrounds to tie your character into the adventure and give you a reason for getting involved.

Rusthenge Backgrounds

Here is a history of the two villages that your characters would be aware of:

Regional History:
Rusthenge is set in western New Thassilon, on Chakikoth Isle. In particular, the adventure focuses on a stretch along the isle’s southern shores—a region known as the Kindred Coast. This area is about a 20-hour trek south of the dangerous ruins of Old Xin-Edasseril, the one-time capital of Runelord Belimarius’s nation. For ages, Chakikoth Isle was one of several unclaimed islands in the Ironbound Archipelago, a region sandwiched between the Lands of the Linnorm Kings and the frontier of Varisia. The archipelago’s position beyond the borders of any nation’s rule made it an appealing destination for pioneers and settlers to set out for and establish new homes. Life in the Ironbound Archipelago was not easy, but to those who welcomed the challenge, the freedom to live as they wished was too great a draw to resist.

In the year 4606 AR, at the dawn of the Age of Lost Omens, a series of frightening storms scoured many parts of the world, and the pirate city of Riddleport in Varisia was no exception. Weeks after the storms cleared, two siblings, Dartanious and Santwi, took advantage of the chaos and disarray to flee their servitude at the hands of Riddleport’s crime lords. The military-minded Dartanious had been working on a plan to escape and was waiting for an appropriate diversion to put his plan into action. Meanwhile, Santwi had inspired their fellow captives, helping them to feel brave enough to attempt an escape in the chaos the storms left in their wake.

Sailing in two ships they stole from the harbor, the siblings and their combined crews of nearly a hundred followers made their way north across the Shining Sea, eventually making landfall on the southern shore of Chakikoth Isle. Here, far from the cruelties of their hometown, the siblings and their crews started new lives. They founded a village called Osprey Cove, named after the birds that populated the shoreline. For nearly a year, things went well, but by the end of that time, the siblings’ bickering had resulted in a schism. Santwi, a worshipper of Cayden Cailean, wanted to continue developing Osprey Cove into a gentle, commune-style society of fishers and farmers, but Dartanious was a worshipper of Gorum. He increasingly focused on plans to train a navy so that, one day, he could return to Riddleport to strike back at its crime lords. Before the two siblings and their followers came to blows, Dartanious gathered his followers and abandoned Osprey Cove. They traveled up the coast to establish a second village and named it Iron Harbor.

For years, the two villages grew and prospered, slowly augmenting their populations with a trickle of newcomers searching for a place to start new lives. Each town’s leaders were gifted and charismatic, and their villagers were hardworking and loyal, but they rarely mixed. They established their own trade with villages on other islands in the archipelago, secured their own defenses and stores, and when they did think of each other, those thoughts were tainted with bitterness and suspicion. A sort of cold war escalated between the two settlements, a long-lasting feud that would outlive both siblings. Today, Dartanious and Santwi are long dead, but the villages of Osprey Cove and Iron Harbor live on. In honor of their founders, the locals refer to this stretch of Chakikoth’s shoreline as the Kindred Coast, yet their cooperation ends there.

But with the rise of New Thassilon, life has changed for the people of the Kindred Coast. Thankfully, the new ruler of this region, Runelord Belimarius, is more concerned with her disputes with rival Queen Sorshen, power grabs against the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, and opposition from Varisia to the south. So far, she and her armies have not paid much mind to the smaller settlements that already existed in the Ironbound Archipelago when she returned to power in the region. The villagers realize this is mostly because Runelord Belimarius considers these villages to already be part of her domain. And this is how the people of Osprey Cove like it. When Runelord Belimarius and her agents turn their attention to Chakikoth Isle, it is invariably to the notorious ruins of Old Xin-Edasseril at the isle’s heart—a place the citizens of the Kindred Coast have long avoided.

But once a year, a tax collector visits the Kindred Coast to gather dues for the capital of New Xin- Edasseril, located four islands to the northeast. The tithes they demand are light, and while the villagers still rankle at having to pay taxes to anyone, they also realize that the less attention they draw from Runelord Belimarius, the better. To their relief, the tax collectors always seem eager to conduct their business quickly and never even stay the night in town, and so far they have left Osprey Cove and Iron Harbor alone to conduct business as usual.

Still, the leaders of Osprey Cove fear that they’re living on borrowed time, and talk about abandoning the Kindred Coast to seek a new home further abroad has been circulating in town. Until the town can reach a decision, though, the villagers do their best to lie low and not cause a scene, so that they will continue to be beneath the notice of their land’s ancient overlord. Unfortunately, something that has festered for a long time in the hinterlands of the Kindred Coast is about to threaten that status quo...


Male Daytona 500 DM / 12

Very interested. I'll work on something tonight. The problem is there are so many options I'd like to try out!!!

I think it's very important in 2e to collaborate on character generation. I don't really have a preference on what to play but was thinking about a Druid as I haven't played one in a while. Ancestry tbd.

Are you thinking about any options like Ancestral Paragon, or Free Archetype?

Grand Lodge

Reporting.

Will do a character later today.


Dotted. Thank you for running this Brainiac!
I want to go with something simple - a Fighter, sword and board. Done :)


Does this guy look... Ok, mechanically?
Planning on grabbing the Osprey Fisher Background.

Reknar, The Fighter:

Reknar
Human fighter 1
CG, Medium, Human, Humanoid
Heritage versatile human
Perception +6
Languages Common, Orcish
Skills Athletics +7, Crafting +3, Intimidation +3, Medicine +4, Sailing Lore +3, Survival +4
Str 18 (+4), Dex 12 (+1), Con 16 (+3), Int 10 (+0), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 10 (+0)
Items chain mail, wooden shield, flail, guisarme, longsword, sling, purse (4 gp, 2 sp)
--------------------
AC 18 (20 with shield raised); Fort +8; Ref +6; Will +4
HP 22
Attack of Opportunity [R] Trigger A creature within your reach uses a manipulate action or a move action, makes a ranged attack, or leaves a square during a move action it’s using. Effect You lash out at a foe that leaves an opening. Make a melee Strike against the triggering creature. If your attack is a critical hit and the trigger was a manipulate action, you disrupt that action. This Strike doesn’t count toward your multiple attack penalty, and your multiple attack penalty doesn’t apply to this Strike.
--------------------
Speed 25 feet
Melee [1] flail +9 (disarm, sweep, trip), Damage 1d6+4 B
Melee [1] guisarme +9 (trip, reach 10 feet), Damage 1d10+4 S
Melee [1] longsword +9 (versatile P), Damage 1d8+4 S
Melee [1] shield bash +9, Damage 1d4+4 B
Ranged [1] sling +6 (propulsive, range increment 50 feet, reload 1), Damage 1d6+2 B
Ancestry Feats Natural Ambition
Class Feats Power Attack, Reactive Shield
General Feats Shield Block, Toughness
Skill Feats Quick Repair
Other Abilities shield block


Male Human

Thanks for getting this together Brainiac. I’m likely going to go the same route mechanically as my earlier Monk, and looking again to take a Thaumaturge dedication at level 2. Taking the Osprey Barnraiser background.

Gender: 1-3 Male, 4-6 Female: 1d6 ⇒ 3


Male Human
scranford wrote:

Very interested. I'll work on something tonight. The problem is there are so many options I'd like to try out!!!

I think it's very important in 2e to collaborate on character generation. I don't really have a preference on what to play but was thinking about a Druid as I haven't played one in a while. Ancestry tbd.

Are you thinking about any options like Ancestral Paragon, or Free Archetype?

My first PF2e character was a Hobgoblin Druid. Though I didn’t play him for long, i do remember havijg fun with his wolf animal companion, despite getting a sense that animal companions are way less…effective? In PF2e in terms of not really having their own actions…

As for collaboration: I get that PF2 parties can live or die by teamwork but I’m not really much of a Session 0 guy as I find it a bit metagamey and actually sometimes breaks verisimilitude for me, but I’m…trying…to….branch…out. So here goes:

My monk will whack things. Possibly while flanking.

See. I knew I could do it!

I guess I could make a more healer-y type if we need it, but Battlefield Medicine seems to go a long way…


I will give this game a shot. I have a Wizard that I first used with the old adventure Fall of Plaguestone.

HERE is his profile.


Male Human (Tiefling) Monk 2 | HP 32/32| AC: 18 | Fort: +8; Ref: +8; Will: +6 | Per +4 | Spd 25 ft. | Darkvision |Hero Points: 2 | ◆ ↺ ◇ | Scouting, Perception + 4

This is OSW's Human (Tiefling) Monk, Tol Greave. The spoiler contains a bit of flavor, and a bit about ....roles and such.

Spoiler:
Tol is "known" as a bit of a ne'erdowell, possibly due to his being typecast as "hellspawn", "weirdo" and "that guy..." because, well, he has fiery eyes that allow him to see in the dark. Though a lot of people that cast aspersions don't actually have a lot of proof of his misdemeanours and calumnies. Or..any proof. Beyond he found little Oola's missing rabbit Pinky (who isn't pink) that one time. At night.

Tols actually pretty well behaved, kind and considerate. When he's not working for Elder Bo'mel on her farm Tol likes long walks in the bush and "playing wolf". At night.

It might be the darktime prowling in the woods that lends credence to his poor reputation. Small town prejudices and all that.

Mechanically, because it's probably a good idea to share, Tol has Natural Medicine to help heal folks in the wilderness, but because I'll be leaning into Thaumaturge to increase his ooky-spooky heritage vibes he doesn't really get much of bonus to that because his Wisdom is still 10. Fun times in multiclassing and all that.

Same goes with his Survival schtick, which also relies on Wisdom. Oh well. I did put some ranks into Diplomacy and Intimidation, but he's not the "party face" because I hate that term. And he's not really a leader. Yet. Maybe later. Mostly he minds his p's and q's, knows you get more flies with honey and doesn't mind scaring the pants out of bigots. At night. Or any time really.

In Combat he uses Wolf Stance to set up flanks to trip, and loves his weird ancestral longspear because, hey, it's a reach weapon. If something gets too far away he has spears, clubs and a dagger to throw at it. Further away than that and it's probably someones else's issue.

Grand Lodge

I’ll warrior cleric it. Standby. Are we Golarion?

Human

Spoiler:

Hit Points 8
Size Medium
Speed 25 feet
Ability Boosts Two free ability boosts

Cleric (War Priest)

Spoiler:

Key Ability: WISDOM
At 1st level, your class gives you an ability boost to Wisdom.
Hit Points: 8 plus your Constitution modifier
You increase your maximum number of HP by this number at 1st level and every level thereafter.

You’re a warpriest, you balance between casting spells and attacking with weapons — typically the favored weapon of your deity.

Initial Proficiencies: At 1st level, you gain the listed proficiency ranks in the following statistics. You are untrained in anything not listed unless you gain a better proficiency rank in some other way.
Trained in Perception
Trained in Fortitude
Trained in Reflex
Expert in Will

Skills
Trained in Religion
Trained in one skill determined by your choice of deity
Trained in a number of additional skills equal to 2 plus your Intelligence modifier

Attacks

Trained in simple weapons
Trained in the favored weapon of your deity. If your deity’s favored weapon is uncommon, you also gain access to that weapon.
Trained in unarmed attacks
Untrained in all armor, though your doctrine might alter this
Trained in unarmored defense
SpellsTrained in divine spell attacks
Trained in divine spell DCs

Divine Font
Through your deity's blessing, you gain additional spells that channel either the life force called positive energy or its counterforce, negative energy. When you prepare your spells each day, you can prepare additional heal or harm spells, depending on your deity. The divine font spell your deity provides is listed in the Divine Font entry for your deity; if both are listed, you can choose between heal or harm. Once you choose, you can't change your choice short of an ethical shift or divine intervention.

Healing Font: You gain additional spell slots each day at your highest level of cleric spell slots. You can prepare only heal spells in these slots, and the number of slots is equal to 1 plus your Charisma modifier.

Warpriest
Source Core Rulebook pg. 120
You have trained in the more militant doctrine of your church, focusing on both spells and battle.

First Doctrine (1st): You’re trained in light and medium armor, and you have expert proficiency in Fortitude saves. You gain the Shield Block general feat, a reaction to reduce damage with a shield. If your deity’s weapon is a simple weapon or an unarmed attack, you gain the Deadly Simplicity cleric feat. At 13th level, if you gain the divine defense class feature, you also gain expert proficiency in light and medium armor.
Second Doctrine (3rd): You’re trained in martial weapons.
Third Doctrine (7th): You gain expert proficiency with your deity's favored weapon, simple weapons, and unarmed attacks. When you critically succeed at an attack roll using your deity's favored weapon, you apply the weapon's critical specialization effect; use your divine spell DC if necessary.
Fourth Doctrine (11th): Your proficiency ranks for divine spell attack rolls and spell DCs increase to expert.
Fifth Doctrine (15th): Your proficiency rank for Fortitude saves increases to master. When you roll a success at a Fortitude save, you get a critical success instead.
Final Doctrine (19th): Your proficiency ranks for divine spell attack rolls and spell DCs increase to master.

Field Medic (just use the Rusthenge warrior flavour text, healers are always welcomed in rural communities, and field medicine for setting bones etc is rustic healing when moving someone from a field or barn isn’t the best option)

Spoiler:

Source Core Rulebook pg. 62
In the chaotic rush of battle, you learned to adapt to rapidly changing conditions as you administered to battle casualties. You patched up soldiers, guards, or other combatants, and learned a fair amount about the logistics of war.

Choose two ability boosts. One must be to Constitution or Wisdom, and one is a free ability boost.

You're trained in the Medicine skill, and the Warfare Lore skill. You gain the Battle Medicine skill feat.

Attribute

Str 10 race boost, background boost, general boost = 16
Dex 10
Con 10 general boost = 12
Int 10
Wis 10 class boost, background boost general boost = 16
Cha 10 race boost, general boost = 14

Have I calculated attributes right or am I missing a boost?should I shuffle a Str boost to a con boost?


Male Human

Looks right to me Helaman:

2 boosts from Ancestry
2 boosts from Background
1 boost from class
4 free boosts

Then again, I failed and left out a boost on my first monk, this one is correct. I think.


scranford wrote:
Are you thinking about any options like Ancestral Paragon, or Free Archetype?

I'll say no, only in the interest of keeping things simple. This adventure only takes you through levels 1-3, after all.

Albion, the Eye wrote:
Does this guy look... Ok, mechanically?

Yes! Looks like a perfectly solid and straightforward fighter.

Helaman wrote:
Are we Golarion?

We certainly are!

***

With four out of five characters complete or mostly done, I'll open up the gameplay thread. Feel free to post when you are ready.

Grand Lodge

DM Brainiac wrote:
scranford wrote:
Are you thinking about any options like Ancestral Paragon, or Free Archetype?

I'll say no, only in the interest of keeping things simple. This adventure only takes you through levels 1-3, after all.

Albion, the Eye wrote:
Does this guy look... Ok, mechanically?

Yes! Looks like a perfectly solid and straightforward fighter.

Helaman wrote:
Are we Golarion?

We certainly are!

***

With four out of five characters complete, I'll open up the gameplay thread. Feel free to post when you are ready.

Won’t take me much longer


Male Daytona 500 DM / 12

I'll be finishing up my character this morning. Thinking of going with a Rogue... just have to decide on whether I like the Eldritch Trickster, or the Mastermind, or the Scoundrel better. Lot's of humans in the party so might step out a bit... or try to fit in. I've got a background forming so I'll dot the gameplay thread as soon as I figure out which of my many aliases to reuse.


Cleric, fighter, rogue, wizard, monk. What is this, an OSR game? :D


Male Goblin (Unbreakable) - AC 19(21), HP 28/28, PER +5; F +5, R +10, W +5 Rogue (Mastermind) - SPD 25, Background - Osprey Scribe

I need to clean up Hess's profile page (Make it more readable), and flesh out his background... but at least he's ready to venture forth.

Grand Lodge

HP14/18 AC 17(19); Fort +5; Ref +0; Will +7 SPD:20 Perception +6 Male Human Cleric/Warpriest 1 (Iomedae)

He needs a bit of work but Helaman/Cleric here… still feelin thru how I want to play him but Gorum might work. Ragathiel is more fun if that’s possible.


Either choice of deity is fine.


Once Turac is ready, I will move things along!


Male Human (Tiefling) Monk 2 | HP 32/32| AC: 18 | Fort: +8; Ref: +8; Will: +6 | Per +4 | Spd 25 ft. | Darkvision |Hero Points: 2 | ◆ ↺ ◇ | Scouting, Perception + 4

Thanks for the headsup DM.


Male Human Fighter 1 | HP 25/36| 19 (21 with shield raised) | Fort: +9; Ref: +7; Will: +5 | Per +7 | Spd 25 ft. |Hero Points: 2

Hey Helaman, what is a +1 Striking Sword, and how do you get AC23? I also want it! :O


I went ahead and posted. Helaman can catch up when he has time to finish his character. :)


@OSW, perhaps this map will help visualize it. You're following the road on the bottom left of the map, heading to the right. So the rowboat is on the same level as where you are walking, no need to climb.


Male Human

Awesome, thx Brainiac.

Grand Lodge

Apologies on the delay. Been…. Interesting for a few days

Grand Lodge

Reknar wrote:
Hey Helaman, what is a +1 Striking Sword, and how do you get AC23? I also want it! :O

I used the template from a character I am running in a PF2 game here. It will be updated.


Male Human (Tiefling) Monk 2 | HP 32/32| AC: 18 | Fort: +8; Ref: +8; Will: +6 | Per +4 | Spd 25 ft. | Darkvision |Hero Points: 2 | ◆ ↺ ◇ | Scouting, Perception + 4

Ah yes. Scranford has brought up a good point in Gameplay - Exploration mode. So this differs from Encounter mode, which is typically, but possibly not limited to Combat.

And there are handy-dandy Exploration Activities that players can elect to have their characters conduct during Exploration Mode, sometimes at the DM’s prompting.

Tol would have been using the ever-useful “Singing awful rhyming doggerel in a bad falsetto while also oblvious to any peril” action, and after he is dead will probably blame Elder Ordwi for not telling him to Search, or Investigate or even Scout.

Obviously right now, he is using the “Rush headlong into possible danger” action. It provides a -5 to Initiative, and you need to roll using half your Common Sense with your Proficiency modifier rounded down and then halved again.

Though we are possibly now in Encounter mode, which means depending on what we were doing previously we will use different modifiers for Initiative. Or this is still Exploration mode. I’m not sure.


Yes, thank you. We were technically in Exploration Mode as you came across the boat, so you can retroactively declare which exploration activity you were performing. We are about to transition into encounter mode.

Going forward, it will be helpful if you could choose a default exploration activity and add it to your status line. Let me know if you want to change it at any point.


Male Human Fighter 1 | HP 25/36| 19 (21 with shield raised) | Fort: +9; Ref: +7; Will: +5 | Per +7 | Spd 25 ft. |Hero Points: 2

Since we are an open and communicative group, I will use this forum to point out the things which 'rub me wrong' in PF2e if that is ok? If not just tell me to shut up.

Thing 1. I dislike the Exploration Mode, and the default exploratory activities. It feels awkward to me, like a PC game and not a roleplaying game. Some of them just feel positively 'absurd' to me? Like Repeat a Spell/Detect Magic. And Scout feels to me like it turns the activity into an irrelevant mechanical bonus, instead of an intelligence gathering activity with moving parts. I don't know - I am weirded out by the concept.

Diclaimer: This is just a matter of personal taste, and maybe I will get used to it in the future.


Male Human (Tiefling) Monk 2 | HP 32/32| AC: 18 | Fort: +8; Ref: +8; Will: +6 | Per +4 | Spd 25 ft. | Darkvision |Hero Points: 2 | ◆ ↺ ◇ | Scouting, Perception + 4

@Brainiac: All good, and I’m not by any means faulting you. I completely forgot about Exploration mode and related activities.

@Obermind: I dunno, I kinda like them. I mean, yes, I get the kind of robotic nature of them, but then the Exploration mode is kinda of an extra abstraction. I do wish there was a little more granularity to the activities, but I’m not seeing many more options. Perhaps the granularity could be within each type, like Searching could be split into a bunch of different aspects. The other thing I found odd is that the overlap seems a little handwavy - like Search and Investigate…

I do like that Initiative can be based off a variety of stats and skills.


LG Human Male Wizard (Universalist) 2 HP: 22/22 | AC: 15 | F: +5, R: +5, W: +7 | Perc: +5 | Speed: 25 ft. | Spells (1st): 3/3; | Active Conditions: Detect Magic

I agree with you Reknar, and that is one of the things I do not like about PF2e. The changes made with the ReMaster (aka No Alignments) kinda sealed the deal for me.


Male Human (Tiefling) Monk 2 | HP 32/32| AC: 18 | Fort: +8; Ref: +8; Will: +6 | Per +4 | Spd 25 ft. | Darkvision |Hero Points: 2 | ◆ ↺ ◇ | Scouting, Perception + 4

@Eric: I guess Alignment is one of those things you either love or hate. Personally I found it to be restrictive and felt like something a little “beyond the fourth wall”. Sure, I found the “mechanics” of alignment kinda useful, but the Paladin’s Detect Evil back in the day made a lot of intrigue…not very intriguing. (Side note, I loved the Dragon magazine article detailing the Paladin’s of various alignments - the nasty Arrikhan and Illrigger, the neutral Paramander and creepy neutral evil Paremandyr).

I dunno. I’m definitely not on the side of “all new progressions are good” in RPGs, but I’m also a kind of “kill your sacred cows” contrarian. And Alignment just seemed to equate to a weird immutable and universal code hard wired into your personality. I mean, I guess, technically it was fluid and characters weren’t stuck in one alignment for life, but while they were a certain alignment they definitely were defined by it.

Having said all that, I’m not exactly grokking the unholy/holy/sanctified stuff, and I fear the holy and unholy concepts might have some very uncomfortable morality shades attached to them. Paizo have always been weird about undead for example, and only recently (with Book of the Dead and the odd adventurous writer) moved away from all undead are evil. I’m waiting to see how it all plays out, but generally, the Remaster looks like a *good thing* for PF2 to me.

I could see how, perhaps if you, I dunno, play a…wizard…you might be super weirded out by the loss of spell schools. That one to me seems like a pointless removal, anf the replacement looks definitely half baked. High in flavor perhaps, but not….great. Then again, I don’t play wizards, but the universe now not having a….”physics of magic” the way it did is a pretty hefty change to the reality.


Male Human Fighter 1 | HP 25/36| 19 (21 with shield raised) | Fort: +9; Ref: +7; Will: +5 | Per +7 | Spd 25 ft. |Hero Points: 2
Edoveus "Ed" Almar wrote:
I agree with you Reknar, and that is one of the things I do not like about PF2e. The changes made with the ReMaster (aka No Alignments) kinda sealed the deal for me.

Hm, I did not know about that - they removed Alignments in PF2e? :)


@OSW, you can try to escape being grabbed by using the Escape action. You can enter the Wolf Stance, and Reknar can Stride to flank with you.

I also forgot to share the image of the reefclaw.


Male Human Fighter 1 | HP 25/36| 19 (21 with shield raised) | Fort: +9; Ref: +7; Will: +5 | Per +7 | Spd 25 ft. |Hero Points: 2
DM Brainiac wrote:
I also forgot to share the image of the reefclaw.

Eeeeesh, that's nasty!


Male Human (Tiefling) Monk 2 | HP 32/32| AC: 18 | Fort: +8; Ref: +8; Will: +6 | Per +4 | Spd 25 ft. | Darkvision |Hero Points: 2 | ◆ ↺ ◇ | Scouting, Perception + 4
Reknar wrote:
Edoveus "Ed" Almar wrote:
I agree with you Reknar, and that is one of the things I do not like about PF2e. The changes made with the ReMaster (aka No Alignments) kinda sealed the deal for me.
Hm, I did not know about that - they removed Alignments in PF2e? :)

The Remaster of PF2 that comes out later this month (in part due to ingoing legal mire post WotC’s OGL debacle, in paet also due to Paizo wanting their own non-OGL rules and another part to clean up the ruleset) removes Alignment and spell school like Abjuration, Necromancy, Illusion etc… Paizo is forging ahead with their ORC licence, so monster names are being changed, soell names etc….Moving forward, all future rules systems will be ORC-based, though “full compatibility with PF2/OGL is still fairly seamless.


Male Human (Tiefling) Monk 2 | HP 32/32| AC: 18 | Fort: +8; Ref: +8; Will: +6 | Per +4 | Spd 25 ft. | Darkvision |Hero Points: 2 | ◆ ↺ ◇ | Scouting, Perception + 4
DM Brainiac wrote:
@OSW, you can try to escape being grabbed by using the Escape action. You can enter the Wolf Stance, and Reknar can Stride to flank with you.

Ah. Yes. Completely missed it as I was so focused on not being poisoned! Right there in your post - Escape, with a DC. Whoops. I’ll stick with my posted actions for now.


Male Goblin (Unbreakable) - AC 19(21), HP 28/28, PER +5; F +5, R +10, W +5 Rogue (Mastermind) - SPD 25, Background - Osprey Scribe

A couple of observations here.

1. Exploration mode is a little vague... but I believe it is attempting to solve the whole "Skill Spamming" exploration of earlier games. So many times, while dungeon crawling there was move 10' and check for traps... oh I rolled a one, then the next person tries. Most of these are designed to be secret checks, but I often hand wave that as players want to roll their own dice. I just usually chime in if they start metagaming. "Now why are you checking the chest as well Player B? Do you not trust Player A"?

2. I've codified by exploration a bit in the home games as some of the activities are similar.
* If you are Scouting you are on the lookout for encounters and that's what you roll perception for. (Hence the +1 for initiative... Look out!
* If you are Searching you get the perception rolls to look for traps and secret doors.
* If you are Investigating You get the perception rolls for everything else. "Hey, isn't that painting similar to the ghost we killed last room"? "Those bloodstains are leading right into the wall".

We've debated this forever, but this seems to pacify those who want more clarification on what they're doing.

3. As far as removing alignment... can't wait. Alignment has always been a thorn in my side as whether something is 'Good' or 'Evil' is in the mind of whoever is judging the event. I long ago removed the Good and evil part of alignment from my games. i.e....The Catholic Church is known as a bastion of Good and Law, and in most of their views they are... but certain Muslims, victims of the Crusades, and the Inquisition might see their actions as evil. While looking back we generally as a society judge Hitler as Evil... in his mind and in the mind of many of his followers they were doing what they thought was necessary to advance his people. (NOTE: I'm not defending Hitler by any means, just observing that I believe actions might be good or evil... but beings are not so easily categorized. If Hitler helped an old lady across the street that would be considered a good act, right?
I think the revised rules will still offer holy and unholy as general guidelines, and sanctified if you are counting on spiritual influence to reign, but I feel that the whole Anathemas and edicts more truly paints an accurate picture of a belief and alignment system.

Don't want to get into a long debate here, but maybe pointing out some potential weaknesses in the whole 9-axis alignment systems. I think the majority of beings fall somewhere in the middle, but what they absolutely won't tolerate, and always promote are much more individual.


Male Human

@Scranford: those do seem to be useful categorizations of the Exploration Activities I have had the most issue with, or even seen much of.

Re: Alignment: Pretty much with you Scranford. I remember reading an article in, again, an old Dragon Magazine that posited that two opposing sides might have Paladins go to war against each other, and that their individual (or even state- or nation-state-level) concepts of good and evil were at odds with game mechanics of Good and Evil….

Grand Lodge

Will 100 percent be finished in the next few hours and post. Again, apologies.

Grand Lodge

HP14/18 AC 17(19); Fort +5; Ref +0; Will +7 SPD:20 Perception +6 Male Human Cleric/Warpriest 1 (Iomedae)
Turac Llaest wrote:
He needs a bit of work but Helaman/Cleric here… still feelin thru how I want to play him but Gorum might work. Ragathiel is more fun if that’s possible.

I THINK this is good to go… I’ll do background etc later (soon).

This should be enough to bring me in game.

Imwas trying hard to go ragathiel or gorum BUT as I was pen and papering it made my head hurt (been up since 2am) and just went with more or less the same build as I used before. I’ve a personality in mind for it

Grand Lodge

Fixed saves and skills totals, taking it down a peg in some cases.


Climb

Note that you only fall on a critical failure.

The Reflex DC to Grab an Edge is 15.

Failure results in a 20 foot fall into the water which deals no damage but is rather embarrassing!


Male Human

Just thought I’d relate an episode from the other PF2 game I’m playing, to highlight a few things (and DM Brainiac, feel free to chime in to explain stuff further, point out if you see any errors etc):

It is the final encounter (I think) of “[redacted] in [redacted]”. The party consists of a catfolk monk, leshy sorceror, duskwalker warpriest, halfling cleric, human witch and my human fighter. All second level.

We enter a large cavern and find the [redacted], and it moves swiftly toward us and uses a [redacted] that does 5d6 damage. The GM rolls 4,6,6,4,5 for 25 damage!* With a Reflex save DC 24, and we are reminded that we each have at least one hero point. (The monk and I have 30 HP, the warpriest and witch have 26 HP and the cleric and sorceror have 24.)

The monk gets an 18, cleric gets a 15, the witch an 11, the warpriest a 10, and I get a 9. (The sorceror was out of the area of the attack.) Everyone who rolled failed to beat the DC.

The cleric opts not to use a hero point, and collapses. I ask “why - what is worse than being knocked out/or dying?” His reply: if he rolls and fails by 10 against the DC that is a critical failure, and he would take double damage; and taking more than twice your HP in one blow is Massive Damage, the rules of which are “You die instantly if you ever take damage equal to or greater than double your maximum Hit Points in one blow.”. At least now he is just dying.

Oh.

Plus he reminds me that my score of 9 is based on actually rolling a 1 (oops!) with is also a critical failure, quite apart from the fact that I also rolled more than 10 below the DC. He advises I use a hero point to reroll.

The warpriest needs to reroll. The witch also. They both critically failed. If they don’t reroll they are dying and thus should reroll - they might merely fail, leaving them on 1 HP; or even succeed, whereas the cleric is dying already - I guess he *could* succeed with a reroll, but the chance of succeeding compared to critically failing is not a risk he is willing to take.

The witch rerolls and also rolls a 1 and is instantly dead!

The warpriest rerolls with an 18 and thus fails, but at least doesn’t fail by 10 or more and is on 1 HP!

I reroll, getting a 12 - critically failed again, but as I had 30 HP to start with this isn’t Massive Damage - I am just dying not dead.

The warpriest casts a heal for 4 HP, and the cleric and I are now conscious with 4 HP. The cleric casts a heal for 5 more HP.

Our witch is dead. Our sorceror is on full HP. The cleric and I are on 9 HP, and the warpriest on 10 HP. The monk has 14 HP.

No-one has managed to hit the [redacted] which is also 10’ in the air. I do have the 2nd level Fighter feat Lunge which is a one action Strike that allows me to extend my reach by 5’, which is better than nothing, but not as good as a Power Attack, the bread and potatoes of my fighter’s success so far.

Essentially, the four degrees of success system (Critical Success/Success/Fail/Critical Fail) can be deadly! And PF2 swings like this quite a lot from my limited experience and from reading endless posts about how many characters were down during combats. And the rolls, like all good RPG really can mean the difference between life and death - if the GM had rolled a bit lower on the damage, this all would have been very different in terms of the Massive Damage threshold.

I guess it also means if your magical “area healers” go down, you can be in a lot of trouble as the alternative, the Battle Medicine Skill feat requires, at least insofar as I understand it: the skill feat, the Medicine skill, a healer’s kit, proximity to the patient and success on at least a DC of 15 to heal 2d8 (or 4d8 with a critical success) HP by using one action. It’s great, but not exactly without a few challenges, particularly if folks are already down, in the midst of battle, and every action you don’t use to winnow your foes is a real tax. I’m not even sure how Battle Medicine interacts with the dying condition.

Of course, I’m loving the deadliness!

* Note the GM later said: “the average roll for 5d6 is 17.5 so 25 is very high (1.62% chance).”

Grand Lodge

Interesting! Swingy dice are both a blessing and a curse BUT they keep the game fun.


Male Human Fighter 1 | HP 25/36| 19 (21 with shield raised) | Fort: +9; Ref: +7; Will: +5 | Per +7 | Spd 25 ft. |Hero Points: 2

Hey OSW, for me that is the kind of thing which brings me to the second point I think I dislike about Pf2e.

Thing 2. Rocket-tag. We all know PF1e gets rocket-tag-y at later levels, but PF2e seems/feels rocket tag since the start? Nothing against short combat encounters, specifically in PbP, but I hate rocket tag. There were some tactical elements in that encounter (like the BBEG flying), but they were completely overwhelmed by the massive 5d6 attack.

I had the exact same experience playing PF2e with a level 1 ranger. Bad guy (water Mephit?) comes out of hiding, wins initiative, casts some sort of acid spell BAM! 3d8. I get hit for 20 points of damage. No save. Dying. Our kineticist strikes back with hydraulic push BAM! Crit for 6d6 + elemental toss (or whatever its name is). Fight over.

Next encounter - a swarm/murder of crows. My character runs to hide and think about options. Kineticist wades in with Burning Hands kind of attack (sorry I know nothing about kineticists), swarm critically fails Saving Throw BAM! Fight over.

I mean... These are the definition of 'swingy', and have nothing to do with playing smart.

But I understand these are also only three situations, so they do not mean PF2e is swingy or rocket-tag by themselves. Hence I am here for further experimentation with all you fine people :)


Male Human

Oh I get it. And I actually prefer long combats - my favorite class (apart from the one I made…) was the Inquisitor, with an array of Swift and Standard actions to make round by round narrative tactics a thing of immense pleasure. But mostly I see combats end…very quickly in PF2.

Note to all: in Brainiac’s other PF2 game I was in, the Fighter received a magic weapon spell. Magic weapon makes the weapon not only +1 but also adds the striking component that adds a second weapon damage dice. With Power Attack, that could be three dice. Just a little bit of a heads up for the casters in the group…Striking runes on magical weapons also add that extra dice of damage. I’ve never seen one yet…but I live in hope!

I do like the amount of damage that gets dished out, but it *is* swingy. But the thing that I like is that the deadliness almost *forces* the party to work that much more synergistically. It is a two-action activity to cast magic weapon, but it is an incredible buff. Any debuffing like making the target prone or Flat Footed (in the Remaster is now called the much better Off Guard) or to make the foe debilitated using flanking or things like intimidating glare - essentially *any* thing we can do as a group to overcome the foe is going to make the difference between success and failure. Sure, this isn’t a lot different in essence from PF1, but, perhaps more sensitive to PF2 in practice.

And in the example I gave, the 5d6 that almost wiped all of us out was really bad luck. And that’s what happens when dice and randomness are involved.


Alright, I looked in your profile to see which adventure module it was. I've read through the encounter in the module and your play experience.

First, the adventure text provides this warning: "That encounter is the most dangerous fight of the entire adventure, so feel free to encourage the heroes to rest if they’re out of limited resources, such as spells."

This is a module from the Beginner's Box, so it doesn't provide a level for the custom-designed enemy. Based on its stats, I'd say it's probably a level 5 creature, which is a severe or extreme threat for 2nd-level characters. The damage for the special attack it used is appropriate for a level 5 creature but a save DC of 24 is quite high. That is equal to a similar level 6 creature in the Bestiary. At 2nd-level, a character wih expert training in Reflex saves and a Dex of 18 would still have to roll a 14 to get a success.

The adventure text provides this caveat for the special attack: "This attack could spell doom for the party, but the [creature] doesn’t have much experience using their [special attack] effectively. The [creature] doesn’t try to catch all the heroes with this attack, but focuses on just the nearest opponent." Based on your play experience, it doesn't seem like the GM chose to follow that tactic.

The massive damage rule rarely comes up. In fact, this example is the first time I've seen it happen since I started playing PF 2E. For something to be dealing that much damage to your character, it has to be either an extremely unlucky turn of the dice or an encounter far too powerful for the PCs' level. That being said, it is generally good practice to keep at least one Hero Point in reserve to prevent your character from dying, whether through this rule or the regular dying rules.

As far as the swinginess of combat, it is true, especially at low levels. PCs can go down easily, but so can the enemies--most low level combats rarely last longer than one or two rounds. This becomes less prominent at higher levels when both sides have more HP. In my experience, after level 6 or so, combats usually last 3-4 rounds, or 6-7 rounds for powerful bosses.

Of course, if you're enjoying the deadliness of combat, then all is well! :D

It is also a good idea to have multiple PCs with healing capabilities in case your primary healer goes down, or stock up on backup healing potions as a last resort!

***

I will post in gameplay in an hour or so.


Male Human

Thanks for checking it out and for the comments Brainiac.

Yes, the [redacted] hit 5 out of 6 of us. And stupidly, I followed our monk up onto the [redacteds] before seeing if there was a map of the chamber - if I had understood there wasn’t a wall of [redacteds] but clumps or single [redacteds] I might have been able to charge through them to the attack the [redacted] and thus have it target just me. Again, little tactical errors can be deadly.

One member of the party (the dead witch’s player) opined initially that the witch dying is what you get when playing a squishy; later they said this was a “pretty deadly encounter” for 2nd level characters - Brainiac’s analysis would bear that out. I replied that a) I’d reserve judgment until I see whether the [redacted] used its [redacted] again, and b) being an adventurer was a pretty deadly profession. We’re still in the midst of the fight, so we’ll see if we win out.

I guess if the [redacted] only hit one or two characters, for less damage, the rest of the party would probably, through strength of numbers and greater ability to heal lost damage, fairly easily defeat the creature. I don’t think RPGs can or should make every battle go down to the wire - even real life isn’t like that. Sure, if that happened every time it might be more exciting, and fulfilling, but again, real life isn’t. Not…all…the time.


Male Human

One more note: I have a real problem with consumables in both PF1 and PF2. I’m not at all a fan of buying magic items, or the Magic Shoppe concept, it just doesn’t sit with me. I don’t think we ever had such a thing in my early days playing RPGs and I’ve never been fond of it, and as such I almost never bought “consumables”. Yet they seem to be a basic part of an adventurers kit when they leave a town to seek…consumable-aided adventure.

I could never wrap my head around even how to cost/price a simple scroll or potion in PF1, and I’m too much of a noob in PF2 to understand them, nor runes and how they work. It’s just a basic blind spot in my concept of RPGs AND understanding. I’m…working on it, ;)

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