Pathfinder Society Survival 101

Monday, October 8, 2012

One of the concerns I have heard pop up lately, both on the messageboards and at shows, is that Pathfinder Society scenarios have become more deadly. I've heard horror stories about TPKs on the rise in various regions of the world. Let's see if we can help combat some of that and help the new player, or the low-level character of a veteran, with some options that may just prove useful.

One of the benefits of being a Venture-Captain before this job was that I met a wide variety of players throughout the southeast. Each and every one has their strong points and weaknesses. One of the strongest rules players I know from my time in Georgia was Jordan James. He survived quite a few tables I GMed, and most of the time, it was because of brilliant use of a piece of equipment I had never heard of or had seen used once at most. He has been discussing equipment that makes survival easier, specifically when it comes to lower-level characters, with the Georgia crowd for the last year through their Pathfinder Society lodge messageboards.

After speaking with Jordan this past week, he proved excited to share his thoughts on a few overlooked items that might just make the difference between your low-level character surviving or going to meet Pharsma earlier than anticipated.

Jordan advised, "Here we have a simple list of items I have found to be ridiculously useful, and sometimes critical, to have around for those situations that, if you aren't prepared, may very well turn into a TPK."

"Please do reply with items I've missed (there will be many) because the sole intention here is to provide a helpful thread for fellow adventurers, and to have a little fun in writing it," he noted.

So, what are some things that are just wonderful to have available in a pinch, and more often than not, are generally not well known?

Elixir of Spirit Sight (1,000 gp): From Pathfinder Adventure Path #38: City of Seven Spears, 1,000 gp for 1 minute of see invisibility and ghost touch for both your weapons and armor! Incorporeal entities got you down with strength drains and random irritating things that ignore your armor and halves your damage? Go to town on them with this wonderful concoction.

Bladeguard (40 gp): Straight out of the Advanced Player's Guide and into your martially inclined character's inventory. This clear resin protects a weapon from harmful attacks from oozes, rust monsters, and similar effects that corrode or melt weapons, rendering the weapon immune for 24 hours. One pot can coat one two-handed weapon, two one-handed or light weapons, or 50 ammunition items. Applying it takes 1 full round. Immersing the weapon in water or similar liquid washes it off. That's pretty useful for its cost.

Potion of Feather Step (50 gp): More Advanced Player's Guide spell goodness, and bottled for your convenience. For 10 minutes, you can ignore difficult terrain, and even take 5-foot steps in such an area, oh HADES YES! Seriously, have you got one of those wizards in your party? You know the type: crazy guy throwing around stone call, sleet storm, and other such "control" spells thinking he's awesome, when all he's really doing is making it impossible for you to move? This bottle is your answer (you can even throw the empty remains at the wizard afterward as a free action!). Smart wizards of the above type also keep a couple of these on hand.

Potion of Invigorate (50 gp): Going into battle with a creature that can sap your endurance, leaving you fatigued or exhausted, this potion will banish that pathetic mortal weakness and allow you to ignore the associated penalties for 10 WHOLE MINUTES. Of course, when it runs out, you get not only the penalties, but also an extra d6 points of nonlethal damage for your arrogance in ignoring your natural limits—but hey, performance enhancements are just an easy way of separating winners from losers! Honestly, though, ignoring those penalties for 10 minutes, that's freaking awesome for 50 gp.

Potion of Delay Poison (300 gp): 300 gp might sound like a lot, but for that handful of gold, you get to tell any and all poisons coursing through your veins for the next HOUR to sit down, shut up, and wait for you to finish beating the stuffing out of the poor fool that thought poisoning you would be its ticket to victory. This is like antitoxin, but sexy.

Smoked Goggles (10 gp): So, medusa, basilisks, and other gaze-type critters suck. You can avert your eyes (50% chance to avoid the gaze, 20% miss chance that round), or close them (immune to the gaze, but then everything gains total concealment from you, which kind of sucks). The answer: These cheap-as-dirt goggles grant you a +8 circumstance bonus on your saving throws vs. gaze, and all you suffer is a 20% miss chance (and a -4 on Perception checks—I know, a real deal breaker there if you're using these for combat). More Advanced Player's Guide goodness.

Smelling Salts (25 gp): Speaking of Advanced Player's Guide goodness, one last entry is the useful smelling salts. These sharply scented gray crystals cause people inhaling them to regain consciousness. Smelling salts grant you a new saving throw to resist any spell or effect that has already rendered you unconscious or staggered. If exposed to smelling salts while dying, you immediately become conscious and staggered, but must still make stabilization checks each round; if you perform any standard action (or any other strenuous action), you take 1 point of damage after completing the act and fall unconscious again. A container of smelling salts has dozens of uses if stoppered after each use, but depletes in a matter of hours if left opened. That's just nifty.

Bracers of Archery, Lesser (5,000 gp): A wrist slot that offers +1 to hit with a bow you're already proficient with is okay, but the hidden gem is that it works like the greater variety in terms of providing you proficiency with ANY bow (excluding crossbows). For characters without any bow proficiency or chaffing under a short bow only restriction, save the feat, drop 5,000 gp, and be happy!

Elixirs (250 gp): These are pretty well known, but just in case, for a paltry 250 gp you can pack potions for a +10 competence bonus on Acrobatics Perception, Stealth, and Swim checks. Handy, but keep in mind the swimming one is sort of overshadowed by the touch of sea potion below.

Golembane Scarab (2,500 gp): It's a neck slot that detects golems within 60 feet and ignores their DR with weapon, unarmed, or natural attacks. This can be a nice little package of helpfulness here!

Pathfinder's Pouch (1,000 gp): This little gem from Seekers of Secrets functions as a small bag of holding, allowing one to store up to 10 pounds of items within its 2-cubic-feet limit. Why is it special? Because detect magic ain't got nothing on this pro—thus, a Pathfinder can keep important or dangerous items safe in its confines with little worry from guards, customs, and random searches. Even if the pouch is opened and turned upside down with a shake, as long as the proper command word remains unspoken, nothing in the extradimensional space will fall out.

Potion of Bestow Grace (400 gp): For good characters only, but this can be a sweet bonus if you happen to have the rare positive Charisma modifier (and aren't already a paladin). For 4 minutes, you get a sacred bonus on all of your saving throws equal to your Charisma score bonus. That's almost good enough to make me consider being good, almost...

Oil of Weapon of Awe (300 gp): For 3 minutes, your weapon not only gains a +2 sacred bonus on damage rolls, but if you score a critical hit, it causes the creature hit to become shaken for 1 round with no save. It can't be used on natural weapons (though it can on unarmed strikes), but the gravy is that when used on ranged weapons, it applies to missiles fired. Loving some of these Advanced Player's Guide spells.

Potion of Touch of Sea (50 gp): For a measly 50 gp, you get a 30-foot swim speed, +8 competence bonus on Swim checks, the ability to take 10 on Swim checks even when distracted or endangered, and even use the run action while swimming. While this is more than enough to leave the poor elixir of swimming curled up in a corner, the one caveat is that it doesn't enable you to breath underwater, but for 1 minute of duration, you are bloody well near a seal.

The following are from the Pathfinder Society Field Guide:

Air Crystals (50 gp): An inexpensive personal bottle of air. Find yourself underwater, in a void, or otherwise bereft of air? Pop some of these beauties in your mouth and you've got 1 minute of breathing space to plan your escape (note that you can't talk while chewing on these crystals).

Comfort (armor special ability) (5,000 gp): Whoa. Okay, for 5,000 gp (doesn't even take up a slot of enhancement bonus on your armor) you get armor that is always clean, doesn't penalize you in hot weather, counts as cold-weather clothing in cold weather, reduces armor check penalties by 1 (minimum 0), AND regardless of what kind of armor it is, it can be slept in as if it were light armor! Note that only applies to being slept in, but my goodness, for anyone concerned about getting caught without their armor in the night, this is a sweet solution!

Dweomer's Essence (500 gp): Casters take note! For 500 gp this one-off pinch of powder may seem insane, until you notice that you can add it as an extra material component to any spell you are casting and receive a +5 bonus to your caster level to overcome spell resistance. It's like an on-demand rod of piercing spell, except it's available whenever you need it, stacks with the Piercing Spell feat if you really need that spell to land, and doesn't cost you an action to get out a rod or an additional level to apply the metamagic. This is the sort of awesome that I'd pay more than 500 gp for, so enjoy and keep some in the component pouch!

Fortunate Charm (3,000 gp): Anything that can help alleviate the terrible pain of lame dice is wonderful, and this neck slot beauty does just that once per day on a failed skill or concentration check. Since failing checks like that can often result in extremely severe consequences, 3,000 gp for that kind of love is just sweet.

Runestone of Power (2,000 gp): Wow, that's a lot of gold! Ever looked longingly at wizards and their fancy pearls of power letting them get free spells? Well, as long as you're a bard, inquisitor, oracle, sorcerer, or summoner you are in luck! For the cost of double an equivalent pearl of power, once per day (per runestone, of course) a spell you cast of its level uses the runestone's power and not one of your limited spells per day.

Potion of Stalwart Resolve (300 gp): New cleric spells to the rescue! For 3 rounds per pop, this little gem lets you ignore ability damage and penalties to any one ability score of your choice (unless it equals your total ability score, in which case you're still screwed). It has a short duration and doesn't protect you from ability drain, but when you really need to shake off some bad ability damage and get back into the fight, this is what you need.

Now for a few from the Adventurer's Armory:

Weapon Cord (1 sp): Cheap as dirt and twice as useful! If you are disarmed or drop your weapon, it never moves farther away from you than an adjacent square and you can recover it as a swift action. The caveat is you cannot wield another weapon with the same hand the cord is tied to, and removing the cord is either a full-round action (untying) or move action (cutting). Great for archers who never want to be separated from their bows.

Spring-Loaded Wrist Sheath (5 gp): Retrieve any dagger, dart, wand, or equivalent-sized object (forearm length or so) as a swift action. Let me provide a simple example of why this is awesome. Your friend is 20 feet away and dying. You move to her, get out your wand, are out of actions, and she dies at your feet. With this wrist sheath, you move to her, produce your wand of cure light wounds with a swift flourish, and save her life.

Antiplague (50 gp): Getting diseased can be really bad. Use this if you know you're moving into an area where such might be likely. For an hour, you receive a +5 alchemical bonus on Fort saves against disease. Even better, if you're already diseased, this will let you make two saves (no +5 bonus though) and use the better result. Good thing to have.

Vermin Repellent (5 gp): Not a perfect defense, but it keeps individual vermin away and swarms of vermin must make a DC 15 Fortitude save to enter your square. Not bad for a 4-hour buff.

Allnight (75 gp): Recommending "herbs" and "black market items"—I love this guide! Allnight eliminates the effects of fatigue for 8 hours, during which time you take a –2 penalty on all skill checks, and when the duration runs out, you're exhausted. The good news: Combine a couple doses with a couple potions of lesser restoration and you are the Energizer Bunny.

And a few other generally useful items to have around:

Potion of Blur (300 gp): Sure, the miss chance may only be 20%, but there are a couple nice bonuses during its 3-minute duration. First, since you gain concealment, most precision-based damage, such as from sneak attacks, won't work on you unless the user has some pretty special feats. Second, if you like to be stealthy, then here is your bottle of "hide in plain sight," since this grants you that necessary concealment you need to hide.

Oil of Align Weapon (300 gp): Your go-to spell when you need a weapon to bypass DR of the evil/good/lawful/chaotic types. Three minutes per use, so it should last long enough to even apply before combat if you know what's around the corner.

Potion of Remove Sickness (50 gp): For 10 minutes, you gain a +4 morale bonus on saves vs. disease and the sickened and nauseated conditions, or suppress effects already being experienced for the duration of the spell. While being sickened is annoying, some diseases, and especially being nauseated, really can make you useless, so this is a lifesaver. Pro tip: When you're nauseated, you can't take standard actions, so either pour this down a nauseated ally's throat on your turn, or hold it out and have one of your comrades do the same for you.

Potion of Negate Aroma (50 gp): For the sneaky types that are sick and tired of being given away by scent, one hit off this potion and you've got 1 hour of scentless scouting as long as you don't get doused in a new, smelly substance.

I know there are more, especially out of Ultimate Equipment, but those are a few I really wanted to throw out! Post other great options and we all might just survive an extra encounter or two!

Mike Brock
Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

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Liberty's Edge 5/5

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Starfinder Superscriber
Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:

That really doesn't fit the definition. But if it did, then it could never be cast. Even if you are in the air the planet is exerting a force on you it is called gravity.

Really, free fall is a poorly defined term. Everything is always in free fall. Even under acceleration, you are free fall with respect to a vector perpendicular to the axis of the acceleration.

Actually, if you'll allow me to step into General Relativity... the concept of free fall is well defined. It means "under the influence of no force other than gravity".

In GR, gravity isn't even considered a force, it's the curvature of spacetime.

Feather Fall, as a spell, then, takes somebody in free fall and exerts a force on him, so that he is no longer in free fall.... If the spell were really picky, though, it would refuse to function because the wind pressure (air resistance) would keep a falling character vrom being in free fall.


Dot

Silver Crusade

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marvin_bishop wrote:
They're more expensive but Mithral weapons allow you to bypass silver DR without giving up the point of damage.

Some of them aren't even all that expensive. At 502gp, a mithral dagger barely costs more than a masterwork one (and it's masterwork to boot). Of course, it can get pricey for two-handed weapons, but rapiers and short swords (1000gp) aren't bad and longsword/scimitar/falcata at (2000gp) aren't any more expensive than cold iron (once you enchant them) but have better hardness/hp. For two-handed weapons it does get cost-prohibitive though.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Nevada—Las Vegas aka kinevon

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Elder Basilisk wrote:
marvin_bishop wrote:
They're more expensive but Mithral weapons allow you to bypass silver DR without giving up the point of damage.
Some of them aren't even all that expensive. At 502gp, a mithral dagger barely costs more than a masterwork one (and it's masterwork to boot). Of course, it can get pricey for two-handed weapons, but rapiers and short swords (1000gp) aren't bad and longsword/scimitar/falcata at (2000gp) aren't any more expensive than cold iron (once you enchant them) but have better hardness/hp. For two-handed weapons it does get cost-prohibitive though.

Which is where, pardon the pun, Silversheen from the Qadira book shines.

It has a static price add-on for weapons (+750 gp), makes them masterwork, and doesn't have the penalty to damage for alchemical silver. Add in that it also makes the weapon immune to rusting effects, whether monster or spell, and you have a winner.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I know this thread has been inactive for a while now, but can anyone give any suggestions for excellent equipment options, brilliant potions, etc etc from the recent books released??

Further upthread, the Cleric cast Continual Flame came up. The best way to deal with that I've came up with, is have the cleric cast it on a 25gp burnt out ioun stone.

There's about 3 other players in my PFS group who now also have these. Expect clever GM's to use Dispel Magic on them if the scenario gives them that option, and mid-high tier scenarios usually will..


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Here's an interesting spell from ACG, Contingent Action.

A potion for 300gp, And you get an extra (specified) readied action.

Something like: If a threatened enemy casts a spell, I attack them.

So even if some smarty-pants casts defensively, you still get to smack them. It only works once per casting (or potion), but quite handy I think..


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Could you make a potion of Life Pact? Share the potion between the three of you, if any one goes into negative hp in the next 3 minutes, the other two donate 1hp each (which if all else fails can stabilise you)..


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Argh, I should be working, and here I am going through the ACG for good potions...

Shield of Fortification is a 2nd level cleric spell. For 3 minutes the target gains 25% negate chance on any crit or sneak attack.

That could be a very nice potion..


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Heart of the Metal. 3rd level spell, so 750gp for this as an oil or potion..

Drip it onto any weapon, and the weapon becomes either silver, cold iron, or adamantine (and ignores up to 20 hardness) for DR purposes for 5 minutes (half that for Cold Iron).

Now that is a beauty. Especially for those characters with a particular favourite weapon.

And it can be used on non-metal weapons too!!

The spell makes no mention of Natural weapons, or unarmed attacks. A potion of this would rock for my Mad Dog's animal companion...

Shadow Lodge 4/5

Don't forget that it has this line: "Components V, S, M (a chunk of adamantine worth 100 gp, or a chunk of cold iron or silver worth 20 gp)". So any oil made from the spell needs to include the cost of material component and that also restricts each oil to include only one dr-bypassing feature.

850 gp is decent enough price to bypass hardness, I guess, but I would not bother with it otherwise.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Really good point Muser, hadn't spotted that. That makes it a lot less versatile, but still pretty useful (especially the adamantine one).

Shadow Lodge

Apocryphile wrote:
Really good point Muser, hadn't spotted that. That makes it a lot less versatile, but still pretty useful (especially the adamantine one).

A scroll of Versatile Weapon (APG, level 3 sorc/wiz/magus spell, or 2 bard/ranger spell) does the same thing but also includes changing it to bludgeoning/slashing/piercing for minutes/level. And has no silly costly material component.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

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Yeah, it just doesn't include adamantine and doesn't bypass that pesky hardness.

Liberty's Edge

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Oils aren't the best use of Heart of the Metal, which is ranged and targets 1 weapon per level. A scroll of it runs 475 and gets the whole party in on the action, if you can directly cast or UMD it.

Dark Archive 4/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dave Setty wrote:
Oils aren't the best use of Heart of the Metal, which is ranged and targets 1 weapon per level. A scroll of it runs 475 and gets the whole party in on the action, if you can directly cast or UMD it.

Indeed, I am picking one up for my sorcerer to add to my collection of useful scrolls to cast with my mnemonic vestments.

Scarab Sages 4/5

Just keep in mind if you use a Mnemonic Vestment to cast it, you need to keep the material component on hand. It'll still cost you 100 gold per casting if you want to make a weapon adamantine.

Mnemonic Vestment wrote:
Activating the robe is not an action, but casting the spell otherwise works as normal, including casting time, providing components or foci, and so on.

Since the components cost more than 1gp, Eschew Materials doesn't apply.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

Per casting? The scroll is not consumed in the process and, being a spell-completion item, the material component is part of the scrolll. That's why scrolls of, say, raise dead cost so much.

Scarab Sages 4/5

The text of the Mnemonic Vestments says that you must provide the material component, because you cast it as if it were a known spell for you. Remember, the scroll is just the written source. Using the vestments doesn't allow you to use the scroll. It allows you to temporarily learn the spell, and it works the same whether the written source is a scroll, a spell book, or whatever. Since the scroll is not consumed, the material component used to create the scroll is not consumed. So you have to provide it. I quoted the line from the Mnemonic Vestments description that says as much.

If you have a scroll of Stoneskin, for example, you still have to provide granite and diamond dust each time you cast it using the vestments.

EDIT: Think about it this way. You're getting to cast the spell at full caster level, not the level of the scroll. That means you're also not limited by what components were used creating the scroll. A scroll of Restoration that was only created with 100 gold worth of Diamond Dust could still be used to learn the spell temporarily by way of the Vestments. If you have 1,000 gold worth of Diamond dust on hand, you could still cast it to remove a negative level. The trade off is that you have to meet all of the component requirements (v, s, m) that the spell has. If that we're not the case, the vestments would be vastly more powerful than they already are (a free Raise Dead one per day, etc.)

Dark Archive 4/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah, still need to provide components with the vestment as I am not casting the scroll, but rather using the scroll to add the spell to my list of spells known, and then using my slot to cast.

This spell will make the weapons for the whole party and my animal companion adamantine. I think that's worth 100gp and a 3rd level slot. I'll probably carry Cold Iron and Alchemical Silver components around with me as well, they don't add weight and are dirt cheap.

This a perfect mnemonic vestment scroll. It's highly situational, so it's not something I want on my list of spells known. But when it is needed, it will be the difference between a 5 minute combat and one an hour long.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

Somehow the vestments just became a whole lot worse for me. :D

Scarab Sages 4/5

Muser wrote:
Somehow the vestments just became a whole lot worse for me. :D

And yet still amazing.

2/5

I feel like a Razmiran Priest could get quite a bit of mileage out of the vestments, what with having False Focus and all...

5/5

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

As an alternative to Dweomer's Essence you could instead get a Wand of Sure Casting. It's basically a True Strike for spellcasting. It adds +5 to Spell Resistance checks. The only problem is that it costs a Standard Action to use. For my PFS wizard I keep one in a Spring Loaded Wrist Sheathe. It's for the occasion where a spell just has to work. Either 500gp for one shot of Dweomer's Essence or 750gp for 50 shots of the Wand.

Dark Archive 4/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Soluzar wrote:
As an alternative to Dweomer's Essence you could instead get a Wand of Sure Casting. It's basically a True Strike for spellcasting. It adds +5 to Spell Resistance checks. The only problem is that it costs a Standard Action to use. For my PFS wizard I keep one in a Spring Loaded Wrist Sheathe. It's for the occasion where a spell just has to work. Either 500gp for one shot of Dweomer's Essence or 750gp for 50 shots of the Wand.

I think I'd rather take a rod of Piercing Spell or the Staff of the Master and be able to cast every round instead of every other round. I use dweomer's essence as well, but the staff is my next purchase, and I can use both if SR is really an issue.

4/5

Well for three rounds. Also they do stack when you have a tough nut to crack.

Sczarni 4/5

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Atragon wrote:
I feel like a Razmiran Priest could get quite a bit of mileage out of the vestments, what with having False Focus and all...

Exactly what I was thinking, False Focus and a gold holy symbol, gives free castings of Heart of the Metal for any of the special materials.

Then again, for my Razmiran Priest, one of his first purchases was a gold holy symbol...

And a spare...


Confused newbie here. The Guide to PFS Organized Play says

Quote:
Beyond the gear noted above, your character is restricted to purchasing additional items from his accumulated Chronicle sheets, or by capitalizing on his fame.

The "gear noted above" does not include most of the stuff listed by the OP. So what is all the talk about having to own the books where that gear is described? The Guide makes it sound like I can buy it if and only if it's on my chronicle sheets, regardless of what books I own. Can somebody please clarify?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

DancerDan wrote:

Confused newbie here. The Guide to PFS Organized Play says

Quote:
Beyond the gear noted above, your character is restricted to purchasing additional items from his accumulated Chronicle sheets, or by capitalizing on his fame.

The "gear noted above" does not include most of the stuff listed by the OP. So what is all the talk about having to own the books where that gear is described? The Guide makes it sound like I can buy it if and only if it's on my chronicle sheets, regardless of what books I own. Can somebody please clarify?

Welcome to PFS!

Okay, so you see the last phrase in the line you quoted, where it says "or by capitalizing on his fame"? That means that as your fame increases (via earning prestige points), you gain access to more and more items. There's a chart in the Guide that sets various fame thresholds against gold piece values. For instance, once you have at least 5 fame, you can purchase ANY campaign-legal item worth 500gp or less, even if it's not on any of your chronicle or on the Always Available list. As your fame increases, that "cap" for what you can buy keeps increasing.

In fact, by the time you get to mid levels, it's very likely that your fame will allow access to more expensive stuff than you could possibly buy anyway. Hope that helps!


Jiggy wrote:
DancerDan wrote:

Confused newbie here. The Guide to PFS Organized Play says

Quote:
Beyond the gear noted above, your character is restricted to purchasing additional items from his accumulated Chronicle sheets, or by capitalizing on his fame.

The "gear noted above" does not include most of the stuff listed by the OP. So what is all the talk about having to own the books where that gear is described? The Guide makes it sound like I can buy it if and only if it's on my chronicle sheets, regardless of what books I own. Can somebody please clarify?

Welcome to PFS!

Okay, so you see the last phrase in the line you quoted, where it says "or by capitalizing on his fame"? That means that as your fame increases (via earning prestige points), you gain access to more and more items. There's a chart in the Guide that sets various fame thresholds against gold piece values. For instance, once you have at least 5 fame, you can purchase ANY campaign-legal item worth 500gp or less, even if it's not on any of your chronicle or on the Always Available list. As your fame increases, that "cap" for what you can buy keeps increasing.

In fact, by the time you get to mid levels, it's very likely that your fame will allow access to more expensive stuff than you could possibly buy anyway. Hope that helps!

Thanks for your answer, but that can't be the whole story. Chronicle sheets for scenarios/tiers of level >= 3 often list loot that costs less than 500 gp. Based on your answer, most PCs at that level will have the fame required to buy that loot anyway, so why bother listing it? And what would it mean when such an item imposes a limit on how many you can buy. E.g., +1 flaming arrow (166gp, limit 3). If I could buy it without the chronicle, then the limit would never apply, right?

Perhaps related, there is still the part of my question about owning the books. According to the official rules, must I own the PFSFG for my 4th level PC to buy Air Crystals for 50gp, assuming they are not on any of that PC's chronicles?

Thanks in advance!

Venture-Agent, Canada—Ontario—Ottawa aka Mistwalker

DancerDan wrote:

Thanks for your answer, but that can't be the whole story. Chronicle sheets for scenarios/tiers of level >= 3 often list loot that costs less than 500 gp. Based on your answer, most PCs at that level will have the fame required to buy that loot anyway, so why bother listing it? And what would it mean when such an item imposes a limit on how many you can buy. E.g., +1 flaming arrow (166gp, limit 3). If I could buy it without the chronicle, then the limit would never apply, right?

Perhaps related, there is still the part of my question about owning the books. According to the official rules, must I own the PFSFG for my 4th level PC to buy Air Crystals for 50gp, assuming they are not on any of that PC's chronicles?

You have to buy wands that are fully charged, and magic ammo in lots of 50. Unless you find it on a chronicle sheet in smaller lots.

Example, a wand of Lesser Restoration (50 charges) usually costs 4500 gp, but if on a chronicle sheet there is a wand of Lesser Restoration with 10 charges for 450 gold, you can buy that partially used wand for a much cheaper price. Sometimes the wands also have a higher caster level than the minimum caster level that wands usually have.

Yes, to use a feat, spell or item, you have to own the book that it comes in (either hardcopy or watermarked PDF).

Scarab Sages 4/5

DancerDan wrote:
Thanks for your answer, but that can't be the whole story. Chronicle sheets for scenarios/tiers of level >= 3 often list loot that costs less than 500 gp. Based on your answer, most PCs at that level will have the fame required to buy that loot anyway, so why bother listing it?

That's a question that has come up before. It was just policy to list anything that wasn't always available that was found in the chronicle. I don't know if that's still happening on the newer chronicles. John's been making a lot of good adjustments to them, like including partially charged wands that you wouldn't otherwise be able to purchase at all.

5/5 5/55/55/5

It is the whole story. Chronicle sheets are pretty much useless unless they have a partially charged wand or a unique item. Fame really is THE go to mechanic for buying things.

Recent year have gotten a bit better about deciding what does or doesn't go on a chronicle sheet and giving some usable loot.

Shadow Lodge

There is also the idea that you are not supposed to always get 2PP per scenario. The official ratio is pretty low to what Ive ever seen in play (failing to get full PP is pretty uncommon), so the idea is that they put some items on there for those that might not be able to afford it through Fame to keep from falling way behind the base assumptions of the game.

There is also the case where with modules, you automatically get lower max PP and thus fame, but tend to walk away with a good grip of monies all at once.

One final thing to keep in mind is that the "Always Available" items, everything mundane in the Core Book, and all +1 weapons/armor/shields get by the Fame requirements as well.


I realize that the original post is now almost 2.5 years old, but I'm very curious as to what these "dangerous scenarios" are. I've now played or GMed about 70 organized PFS sessions, many at conventions. In all that time I've only seen one PC die, and I'd estimate that at least 2/3 of the time nobody even goes unconscious.

My group enjoys playing because we have fun together and the scenarios are typically well-written and entertaining. But we regularly comment on how little risk our characters feel. We played a scenario last night ("Overflow Archives" from Season 6) in which only one PC was damaged by more than a handful of points, and that one was down maybe half of her HP. This was at the high tier.

So, honestly, I'd love to see a list of those scenarios that are considered "the most dangerous".

Many thanks in advance....

Sovereign Court 5/5 RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

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Myrddin111 wrote:


So, honestly, I'd love to see a list of those scenarios that are considered "the most dangerous".

Many thanks in advance....

In general...

Anything written by Kyle Baird

Waking Rune when run by a GM with lots of source material for spell emulation.

Palid Plague can be dangers, and Among the Living/Among the Dead can be very swingy.

Silver Crusade 2/5

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Season 4 is considered by some to be the most deadly. After that the scenarios started to tone the danger down.


For those who may be curious, the scenario in which the character died was "By Way of Bloodcove", but that was only because the GM double-critted with a great axe while power attacking. :-)

Dark Archive 5/5

Alchemist fire.

Grand Lodge

Myrddin111 wrote:


So, honestly, I'd love to see a list of those scenarios that are considered "the most dangerous".

Many thanks in advance....

Walking Rune, Weapon in the Rift, and The Sealed Gate are all pretty tough and have Hard Mode Options

All 3 Bonekeeps

King of the Storval Stairs, The Dalsine Affair, (Temple of Empyreal Enlightment certain has potential), Words of the Ancients, King Xeros of Azlant.

I'm sure there are more some I'm forgettiing and some I just left off, for example, Valley of the Veiled Flame and Kirin and Kraken both have the potential to be deadly but not the reputation (at least not yet)

Grand Lodge

Matthew Morris wrote:


In general...

Anything written by Kyle Baird

Not quite anything, he also wrote the Confirmation, though definitely a good rule of thumb.

Scarab Sages 5/5 5/5 Venture-Captain, Netherlands aka Woran

BartonOliver wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:


In general...

Anything written by Kyle Baird

Not quite anything, he also wrote the Confirmation, though definitely a good rule of thumb.

The confirmation has the dreaded great axe crit at lvl 1 which has claimed many a fresh character.

Hall of the flesh eaters is nasty at low tier with 4 characters, and is just plain nasty at high tier. Its wonderfully flavorfull tough.

Also, Myrdinn, did you play all your tables with six players? The earlier season scenarios were written with four players in mind. A full party most certainly makes them easier.

4/5

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I've run King of the Storval Stairs a few times - really really fun (looking forward to the next time I get to run it) but I'm not sure it is particularly deadly - though that could depend on the party.

Some levels of Thornkeep are potentially very deadly.

Looking forward to finally playing Waking Rune someday - I want to play it when my character who has been through most of the high tier scenarios for that season finally hits 11th - ideally with a high tier table (may even risk Hard Mode...)

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Starfinder Superscriber

Some of the scenarios are purposefully not deadly, I think. By which I don't mean they're easy-- I mean that they focus primarily on things other than combat. I would include "Stolen Heir" and "Scars of the Third Crusade" both in this category, and there are others as well. ("Throaty Mermaid" is sorta too.) This isn't to say that there is never any combat in these scenarios, but I do think it's entirely reasonable for a party to get through some of them without being in really serious danger. However, that doesn't mean the scenario's level was "off", because physical danger wasn't necessarily the point of it.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber
Rycaut wrote:

I've run King of the Storval Stairs a few times - really really fun (looking forward to the next time I get to run it) but I'm not sure it is particularly deadly - though that could depend on the party.

Some levels of Thornkeep are potentially very deadly.

Looking forward to finally playing Waking Rune someday - I want to play it when my character who has been through most of the high tier scenarios for that season finally hits 11th - ideally with a high tier table (may even risk Hard Mode...)

Eleven tables of King of Storval Stairs says that it is quite deadly. There are several trumps that mitigate that. It is typical of my experience of mid-level play (spell levels 4-6 being online) that the sort of "competence check" encounter the third combat entails will catch some players flat-footed.

It shouldn't entirely. Parties which have commensurate abilities for playing tier 7-11 should get challenged, stabilize the encounter, and succeed. But the encounter is effectively VERY high CR and includes some things which PCs may not be used to having to deal with.

Waking Rune (five runs) is unusual and can be interesting. One needn't fish in Additional Resources for interesting options for various aspects, either. If one does, though....

Red Harvest is somewhat selectable difficulty depending on how good the PCs are at listening to Amara Li.

The consequences of failure in King Xeros are high but it isn't a very difficult scenario at all.

There's a bit in Lost at Bitter End and the low tier of Refuge of Time that is unusual for players to deal with and can block some of the usual player shenanigans...

Shadow Lodge

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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
rknop wrote:
Some of the scenarios are purposefully not deadly, I think. By which I don't mean they're easy-- I mean that they focus primarily on things other than combat. I would include "Stolen Heir" and "Scars of the Third Crusade" both in this category, and there are others as well. ("Throaty Mermaid" is sorta too.) This isn't to say that there is never any combat in these scenarios, but I do think it's entirely reasonable for a party to get through some of them without being in really serious danger. However, that doesn't mean the scenario's level was "off", because physical danger wasn't necessarily the point of it.

Oddly enough, the closest I've ever come to GMing a TPK was Scars of the Third Crusade.

Spoiler:
It started with a Chelaxian PC repeatedly referring to halflings as a "slave race" when talking to the Sheriff and quickly went downhill from there. At one point several party members *dared* local law enforcement to execute them. Fortunately for them, their lawyer got them to stop talking and saved their sorry hides. The pathfinders they had come to rescue were not so lucky.

PFS Survival 101 tip: learn to recognize the difference between a combat scenario, and a diplomacy/investigation scenario, and behave accordingly.

Sovereign Court 4/5

The high tier of Quest for Perfection Part 1 has been uncommonly deadly in my (limited) experience. One of my characters died as a player, and I ended up TPKing a party of pretty experienced players when running it. The BBEG can definitely both do and take quite a bit of damage. Two other encounters put the PCs in unusual and disadvantageous positions that can quickly become difficult.

Scarab Sages Venture-Agent, Washington—Ballard aka WiseWolfOfYoitsu

First steps 1 has its fair share of kills, as does Thornkeep 1.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

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Starfinder Superscriber
pH unbalanced wrote:
PFS Survival 101 tip: learn to recognize the difference between a combat scenario, and a diplomacy/investigation scenario, and behave accordingly.

Re: your story: *facepalm*

I'd say that the non-meta survival tip is to remember that you're playing Pathfinders who, regardless of their background, are by nature cosmopolitan and are out there to explore and interact with lots of different people. As such, they are likely neither to be completely clueless at this level, nor are they likely to be under the misapprehension that their own absolute beliefs are universal.

Personally, I like to treat every scenario like an investigation scenario :) Sometimes combat happens and can't be avoided, but really, it's all about the Explore, Report, and Cooperate. (Not the Find, Kill, and Loot.)

Silver Crusade 5/5

Woran wrote:
BartonOliver wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:


In general...

Anything written by Kyle Baird

Not quite anything, he also wrote the Confirmation, though definitely a good rule of thumb.

The confirmation has the dreaded great axe crit at lvl 1 which has claimed many a fresh character.

Not to be nitpicky, but The Confirmation only has that risk if the players are do things that the scenario tries to steer them away from.

For what it's worth, some of Baird's scenarios are dangerous, but I haven't played or run a Kyle Baird scenario that wasn't enjoyable. The Technic Siege is probably in my top 5 favorite scenarios. And the danger in Kyle's scenarios does not go unrewarded, the certs from his scenarios have some of the best gear I've seen on chronicles.

Grand Lodge

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Woran wrote:
BartonOliver wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:


In general...

Anything written by Kyle Baird

Not quite anything, he also wrote the Confirmation, though definitely a good rule of thumb.

The confirmation has the dreaded great axe crit at lvl 1 which has claimed many a fresh character.

Getting crit is getting crit. That has relatively little to do with difficulty of a scenario (except IMO cases where the enemy is specifically built for Crits) and that scenario does quite a a bit to alleviate the possibility of being crit (depending on the players)

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