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Goblin Squad Member. Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. Organized Play Member. 2,776 posts. 55 reviews. 1 list. 1 wishlist.

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

[cross-posting this from another forum]

The more I think about this, the more I hope that Paizo finds a way to grandfather Open Game Content from the Open Game License v1.0a into the ORC License. I have no idea if that's possible at all, if they'd need WotC to be onboard somehow, or what it would otherwise entail, but there's just so much that can't (or likely won't) be able to make the jump from the OGL to the ORC if they don't.

Consider, for example, where the OSR falls in all of this. OSRIC, Swords & Wizardry, Old School Essentials, Castles & Crusades, etc., all work off of the 3.5 SRD. If there's no way to get the 3.5 SRD into the ORC License, then these systems – and the companies that are invested in their product lines – are going to be stuck with the OGL, regardless of how generous the ORC License is.

Another one is companies that are defunct now, and so aren't in a position to create an SRD under the ORC License. For instance, my understanding is that West End Games, which created the OpenD6 system under the OGL, has since shut its doors. So anyone who wants to keep creating OpenD6 content, which relies on the OpenD6 SRD, has to stick with the OGL, since only West End Games could make a new OpenD6 SRD for the ORC License...and they're not around to do so.

Even Paizo would be affected by this. I don't know if Pathfinder 2E really is different enough from the 3.5 mechanics that they could "deOGLify" it, but I sincerely doubt that Starfinder is. Unless they're prepared to jettison that entire RPG (or start rushing a Starfinder 2E into production), the loss of the 3.5 SRD will hit them fairly hard in that regard. And I've already mentioned that a lot of other companies will be forced to stop producing PF1 content if there's no PF1 SRD...which would also require the 3.5 SRD to be part of the ORC License.

Paizo, I love what you're doing; it's not an overstatement to say that the ORC License (and your courageous announcement that you'll take WotC to court to protect the OGL v1.0a from being revoked) has made you the saviors of the tabletop RPG community. But please, don't just stop at making a new, truly open and irrevocable license. We need this to be past-proof as well as future-proof; please please please find a way to get Open Game Content from the OGL v1.0a into the ORC License. Get WotC onboard if you have to; tell them that it will help rehabilitate their image (which it will), since they'll lose nothing by doing this and potentially gain back some of the goodwill they've lost.

This ORC needs to keep the Past In Esteem.

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So one of my players is making a druid, and wants to get a familiar instead of an animal companion. I suggested variant multiclassing as either a witch or wizard (since they didn't want to play a blight druid). They're partial to wizard, but had a question that I'm not sure about. Specifically, they noted the first power of VMC wizard:

School: At 1st level, he chooses a school of magic in which to specialize. For all powers of that school, he treats his character level as his effective wizard level.

The issue is with that first sentence. Specifically, they wanted to know if 1) specializing in a particular school (outside of Universal) meant that they'd also need to pick two opposition schools, and 2) if their druid spells which were of those schools would require two slots to prepare.

I'm fairly certain that the answer to both questions is no, but I'm not 100% confident, so I wanted to bring this up here. What do you guys think?

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A little while ago, one of my players asked me about potentially playing a paladin character with a Chaotic Good alignment (they didn't like what they felt was the restrictive nature of being Lawful Good). After we got the ubiquitous "just play a warpriest," "I don't want to play a warpriest!" back-and-forth out of the way, I told him I'd look to see if there was an option for a CG paladin archetype somewhere.

And so far, I've come up with nothing. I was already pretty sure that Paizo never made a CG paladin option (I've seen various third-hand assertions saying that was because James Jacobs wasn't a fan of the concept), but I'm surprised at how hard of a time I'm having finding one among third-party options. So far the only one I've seen is the free one on the Kobold Press website, and I'm not a fan of it (the aura of retribution feature potentially deals out more damage than a protected creature might take from an attack, and doesn't mention what type of damage it returns, which can be awkward if you're hit by an attack that does multiple types of damage at once, e.g. a +2 flaming dagger).

My other thought was to just turn the paladin of freedom, from 3.5's Unearthed Arcana, into an archetype (it pretty much is already), but there's a problem there too: the effect of the paladin of freedom's aura of resolve is something that the Pathfinder paladin gets anyway (i.e. aura of righteousness). The level they get it at is wildly different, but it's still enough to make it mechanically awkward. Plus "aura of resolve" is a name that the PF paladin already uses anyway.

So my question to the community is: have you come across a well-made paladin archetype that allows for a Chaotic Good alignment somewhere? If so, please let me know!

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

One of the NPCs I'm prepping is an angurboda (from Legendary Games' Mythic Monsters #14: Giants) with the witch simple class template (from Rogue Genius Games' The Genius Guide to Simple Class Templates for Monsters), and I'm having some trouble giving her the spells I want her to have.

Specifically, I want to tie this character in with the daemons of Abaddon by way of the soul trade. The witch simple class template gives her a familiar (a la the witch class), and swapping out her Intimidating Prowess feat for Improved Familiar lets me give her a cacodaemon familiar, which gives her access to the crystallized souls, but I also want her to be able to call daemons in order to trade with them. But this poses a problem, since the planar binding spells, along with dimensional anchor and the magic circle spells, aren't on the witch spell list!

Now, her having the Dimensions witch patron (which works well with her being in league with daemonic powers) gives her the planar binding spells and dimensional anchor, but I can't seem to find a way to let her cast magic circle against evil.

Since she's using a simple class template, archetypes are out, and most prestige classes are off the board as well (plus, I don't want to load her up with additional class levels; that's why I used a simple class template to begin with). I can't seem to find any feats that will add that spell to her spell list. Magic items aren't helping either; the ring of spell knowledge seemed like it would do the trick, until we come to the problematic sentence "All of them are useful only to spontaneous arcane spellcasters," since witches are preparatory casters. A page of spell knowledge is less ambiguous in its restriction to spontaneous casters only, and can't let you access spells outside your spell list anyway. Neither does a spell lattice.

Angurbodas have a decent bonus to UMD (+17). Is my best bet to just give her a wand of magic circle against evil and go with that? I'd prefer to give her the ability to cast the spell herself; is there some way to do that I'm unaware of? If so, please let me know!

Please be aware of my use of affiliate links in this post.

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Simple class templates are one of my favorite ways of advancing monsters, to the point where I use them more often than adding class levels to creatures.

While Paizo only covered the eleven Core classes in their initial offering, Rogue Genius Games filled in the gaps with their Genius Guide to Simple Class Templates for Monsters and Genius Guide to MORE Simple Class Templates for Monsters, which between them covered all of the remaining Paizo PC classes (save only for the shifter).

Now, beyond that simple class templates tend to be vanishingly rare, despite how many third-party classes are out there. What I'm wondering is if anyone put out simple class templates for the psionic classes from Dreamscarred Press; the library of DSP books would be the obvious place to look, but so far I haven't found any among their products (though it's entirely possible I missed something; if so, someone please enlighten me!).

Has anyone put out simple class templates for the psionic classes?

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So with Pathfinder 2E having been out for a year now, the third-party community for Pathfinder 1E still seems to be kicking. Certainly, a lot of major publishers have shifted their focus to the new edition of the game, but at the same time Pathfinder First Edition hasn't exactly gone the way of the dodo either.

My question is, has any of the Open Game Content released for Pathfinder 2E been back-converted by anyone to Pathfinder 1E? Just the new monsters released in the last twelve adventure path volumes alone seem like an obvious conversion project. Has anyone taken up the challenge of putting these (or similar PF2E-exclusive materials) out for the previous edition of the game?

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According to the order confirmation email I've received, the items in this order appear to be shipped separately, as each item has a separate shipping charge listed. Please combine the two items in this order into a single shipment in order to eliminate the secondary charge.

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

According to the order confirmation email I've received, the items in this order appear to be shipped separately, as each item has a separate shipping charge listed. Please combine the two items in this order into a single shipment in order to eliminate the secondary charge.

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I suspect I'm missing something obvious here, but I wanted to ask anyway:

I have a lhaksharut that's used its dimensional lock spell-like ability to ward an area against teleporting. One of the PCs is going to try and use a forcecage to try and trap it within the area of the dimensional lock (I've already rules that the barred version should be just big enough to contain it). Now my question is if the lhaksharut needs to make a caster level check against its own spell resistance to use its greater teleport spell-like ability to get out. Can it choose to fail that check against itself, meaning that it can greater teleport out?

I know the rules for spell resistance say that it "never interferes with its own spells, items, or abilities," but its not the spell resistance that could potentially interfere, here.

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So I'm looking at designing a larger-than-usual coven via the grand coven occult ritual. I'd like to make it as diverse as possible, rather than being composed of just hags and witches (whether single-classed, multiclassed, or variant multiclassed) with the coven hex. As such, I'm looking for all the various rules and exploits that allow characters to join a coven. Here's what I've come up with so far:

1) Be a changeling and take the Coven-Touched feat.

2) Be a sorcerer with the accursed bloodline (the bloodline arcana lets you join a coven, which also lets this work if you take this bloodline for a creature with the sorcerer class template, or alternatively works nicely with the crossblooded archetype).

3) Be a sylvan trickster rogue, and select the coven hex.

4) Acquire a shawl of the crone.

5) Worship Mestama, take the Fiendish Obedience feat (I'm not sure if Deific Obedience would count), and then take Diverse Obedience and (once you qualify) choose either the second sentinel or second evangelist boon. Alternatively, take levels in the demoniac prestige class (if Deific Obedience can qualify for Mestama, then you could alternatively take either the sentinel or the exalted prestige classes instead) and choose either of the aforementioned boons.

6) Be a bloodrager with the hag bloodline (though this won't kick in until 16th level, but still works nicely with the crossblooded archetype).

7) Take the hag's calling special patron. This is as per a witch patron, so a pact wizard should be able to take it.

8) Be a cleric with the triadic priest archetype.

That's what I've come up with so far. But what other ways are there to qualify? For that matter, what exploits are there that I'm not seeing? Is there another archetype that gains access to a witch patron, allowing you to take the hag's calling patron? Is there some way to count as a different race so you can take the Coven-Touched feat? Or some other archetype that lets you take a hex, and so can take the coven hex? What are the most unusual combos you can find?

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The most obvious way for a non-sorcerer to gain access to certain bloodline powers is via the Eldritch Heritage feats. But I was curious if there are any witch archetypes that offer bloodline powers? Ideally one that could be used to take a mutated bloodline (a la the Wildblooded sorcerer archetype), but that might be asking for too much.

On a related note, are there are any ways for a non-sorcerer character to gain access to mutated bloodline powers? The Eldritch heritage feats don't seem to allow for that.

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I could swear that I once saw a third-party product that had simple class templates for classes such as the witch, oracle, etc. However I can't seem to locate any such book now. Does anyone know if this was ever done, or am I misremembering ever seeing those?

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So I have a player whose witch PC has recently started using swarm of fangs as one of their go-to spells for dealing damage. However, we're having a disagreement over the last sentence of the spell:

Creatures caught inside the swarm’s area of effect take 2d6 points of damage. The fangs deal damage to all creatures sharing their area when they first appear, and at the end of their movement each round.

Simply put, the player is stating that on the round the swarm first appears, it fulfills both of the conditions outlined in that last sentence. That is, that it deals 2d6 damage in the area where it first appears and that it's ended its movement that round for another 2d6 damage; 4d6 in total for that first round, in other words. (His idea for why this is allowed is "okay, so it deals damage as soon as it appears for 2d6 damage. And since I spent all of last round summoning it, I can still take my actions this turn. So I use a move action now to move them 20 feet away and then 20 feet back to where they just were, for another 2d6 points of damage.")

I disagree with this interpretation; the sentence reads to me like the swarm deals 2d6 damage, with a clause in there to make sure that this is understood to happen when its initially summoned, and when it subsequently moves around.

Given that we're at loggerheads, I wanted to get some other opinions on this. Is the spell supposed to effectively deal double damage on the round it first appears?

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So my group has just hit 3rd level, and the party alchemist is looking at various alchemical items. While he's having fun with the possibilities, he's concerned about the DCs of their abilities, which are not only low, but static, with no obvious way of scaling them or even a clear metric for how their DC was reached.

To that end, is there any way to add to an alchemical item's DC? Alternatively, is there a formula for how the DC was reached? The latter could be useful for reverse-engineering a formula for increasing the DC by increasing the cost of the item, but if there is such a formula it's not making itself clear to me on a casual examination.

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So the recorporeal incarnation spell is a spell that disguises creatures, cleverly sidestepping the vulnerability to true seeing that most such spells have by being an instantaneous effect that physically wraps the target creature in the corpse of another creature. It's a pretty awesome spell.

My question is, was there something like this spell for undead creatures? That is, something that physically covered them with some sort of "living facsimile" in order to make them appear to be alive to most physical and magical detection effects? I thought I recalled something like this, but I wonder if I'm misremembering now.

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(Note: I am not affiliated with this company or their Kickstarter campaign. I'm posting this here purely to raise awareness of it.)

Changeling Games is relaunching their Kickstarter for Galloping Stars, the pony-inspired sci-fi RPG! With a more modest goal, this game already has more than half of its funding secured, and is running until September 3rd. For more about Galloping Stars, I'll repost their campaign information below:



Simply put, Galloping Stars is a pony-inspired tabletop RPG set in an original sci-fi universe!

Designed by a team of creative minds that have been playing RPGs of all sorts for years, we feel confident we're able to build upon and innovate off that experience in order to bring you a fantastic tabletop experience.

Developed using our in-house MAGICAL system, we bring a unique set of attributes to the table:
- Magic
- Agility
- Grit
- Intelligence
- Courage
- Allure
- Luck

Its mechanics make use of a standard set of RPG dice (d4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 20) in an way that doesn't hold you back from doing what you want to do. Each race has its own array of these dice, ranging from d6 to d12, that only affect your capability to roll high, but they aren't a limit to what you can do.

Obviously, some races will be more adept at certain things than others, but (with the exception of flight), your race should not prohibit you from making the character you want! Dedication and determination can overcome adversity here. By spending experience, your character can build up his skills, attributes, and talents in order to overcome the racial dice he or she is given. In addition, our dice system features limited exploding dice, so even a character with a d6 in their Grit (strength) has a chance to, with enough determination, overpower an adversary rolling a higher base dice.

There are also no classes. Your characters can be whatever you want them to be! Be a pilot, or be a scientist. Be a pirate, or be a bounty hunter. Be a soldier, or be a smuggler. The galaxy's the limit in Galloping Stars!

And finally, our system features a Luck Point mechanic. In Galloping Stars your character starts each session with a number of Luck Points based off of their Luck Rank. These points can be spend to reroll and manipulate dice. They can be used to barter with the GM to manipulate story elements. And your Luck Rank itself can be used as a bargaining chip with death; offering a semi-permanent Luck Rank drop in order to "negate" an untimely demise.

This may seem like a lot of power, but trust me, the universe is an unfriendly place for little ponies. Your character will need Lady Luck on their side during their journey...

On top of a full character-based system, basic rules will also be included for vehicles and starships, with a much more in depth rule system for these things planned to follow in an expansion book, if the campaign is successful.


The world of Galloping Stars is vast and filled with life. Equus, Galloping Stars' equivalent of Earth, is home to the three main species of ponies. However, they are not the only sentient species out there. Our core rulebook, as it currently stands, includes 9 unique playable races, all from different backgrounds and homeworlds. These are as follows:


The ground-bound ponies of Equus. They are strong and capable of enduring hardship compared to the other races.


The magic-wielders of Equus. Unicorn horns give them a natural foci for casting spells, and they tend to be the more powerful magic users.


The flyers of Equus. Being capable of flight means the sky's the limit for these ponies. They aren't the strongest flyers in the galaxy, but their natural ability to manipulate weather makes them very versatile.


Hailing from a tidal-locked world of perpetual twilight, known only as Harmony, this race's lives are anything but harmonic. A dynastic civilization, every Twilightborne either belongs to the Imperial family, or to one of four Houses. Intrigue, stealth, deception, and diplomacy play an integral role in their culture.


The Zebras of Sphinxonia have probably the hardest life of any of the races. Their backstory is one of enslavement, rebellion, and then surrendering to being a working caste. They are now the servants of the Sphinxes, despite having rebelled previously, and losing. Some do find their way free of the shackles they bear, though. They are dedicated workers, and have a natural attunement to any environment they find themselves in.


The Sphinxes are the ruling class of Sphinxonia, and the Sphinxian Empire. They rule over the Zebras, their subjects, with an iron will. While their populace is much less numerous than that of their servants, they are greatly advanced in the ways of law and are great at keeping order. Having the magic of the "Gods" on their side helps, too.


The bipedal race of canines, hailing from Aschere. Their race primarily forms the Starhound Syndicate, a great mega-corporation with a hefty percentage of the galaxy's gem deposits under its control. While, on the whole, not the brightest race in the galaxy, they've certainly developed some fantastic technology using those gems. Their Arcano Tech's simplicity is what has made their magic technology the most widespread.


The Cervidae hail from the lush alpine planet of Cervidas, where great forests and sprawling meadows cover much of the landscape. Their society is governed by a geniocracy (problem-solving, creative intelligence and compassion as criteria for governance). They utilize the materials of their natural surroundings to great effect in everything from their buildings to their weapons. Also capable of producing magic through the natural foci of their antlers, they are not as potent as the Unicorns, but they have more control.


A race of strong flyers, the Gryphons no longer hail from their original home planet (it was destroyed by an astral collision a long time ago). Now they call the nearby gas-giant planet of Salacia home. They have learned to harness the natural forces of their planet not only as they are, but in a miniaturized version, in order to produce their own gems, and thus competing with the Starhounds.

Lore and Additional Content

In addition to all of these races, there is an ever-evolving lore surrounding the universe. This will reflected, not only in the core rulebook, but in future expansion books if the Kickstarter is successful. The core rulebook will include an introduction to the lore of the universe, starting with the home planets of the included races. It will also include a handful of creatures in a starting bestiary. Future expansion books will look into other planets, technology, races, and stories that will, together, build the full universe of Galloping Stars.

There are currently two days left to get the $50 reward tier for only $35! I've already pledged, and I can't wait to see the finished product!

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"10th-Level Spells and 4 Spell Lists"

So I was looking at the playtest page again, and something occurred to me when I read the above bullet point: what if the presence of 10th-level spells is just the existing system of spell levels being slightly readjusted, rather than creating a new category of high-level magic?

To put it another way, what if Pathfinder 2E is simply going to have spells ranging from levels 1 through 10, rather than 0 through 9?

We already know that there are going to be some fairly substantial changes to how spells and spellcasting work, and that some spells will be assigned at least slightly different levels (e.g. shield is a cantrip now, though what a "cantrip" in Pathfinder 2E is remains unknown), so maybe the levels of spells are simply being recategorized as well. In that case, we're simply looking at the existing top-end spells, for the most part, under a new label.

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So with the huge brouhaha that erupted over the shifter class, and the subsequent errata that the book received (I count a half-dozen questions in the FAQ whose answers say they'll be in the errata), I was planning on waiting for the book's second printing to pick it up.

Then the Fire Nation attacked Pathfinder Second Edition was announced.

The Playtest FAQ says "While we do not plan to release additional Pathfinder First Edition products after August 2019, we DO plan to keep paperback Pocket Editions of First Edition rulebooks in print as long as enough people are buying them, so even in the era of Pathfinder Second Edition, First Edition adherents should be able to find their preferred version of the game in print without too much trouble. Our First Edition PDF products will also remain available. We're not asking you to abandon First Edition if you don't want to, but we are asking you to help us make Second Edition a game that you want to play!"

This gives some clarification, but makes it sound like - if Ultimate Wilderness receives an integrated, errata'd printing - it will be either PDF-only, or as a Pocket Edition.

I know that second printings (which are where errata is consolidated) depend on how fast the first printing sells out, but with Second Edition now on the horizon, I'd be surprised if Paizo was planning on reprinting any First Edition products (that aren't Pocket Editions) regardless of sales, since their "shelf life" now has a firm expiration date. So to that end, I want to ask: is there any chance that we'll see a reprint of Ultimate Wilderness (or any other hardback books) before Pathfinder 2E hits the shelves?

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

(Rephrasing this here from when I asked it in the Rules forum.)

So one of the Leadership perks in Ultimate Charisma is called Power of One, which states the following:


Power of One (Army, Loner)

You are able to put your abilities to good use when facing off against numerous opponents alone.
Prerequisites: One-Man Army, character level 8th.
Benefit: While acting as a commander of a Fine army (an army consisting only of yourself), your army gains all army special abilities that share a name with any class features that you possess.
For example, if you are a paladin with the smite evil class feature, your Fine army gains the smite evil special ability.

The problem is, from what I can tell single characters who act as Fine-size armies already gain all army special abilities that share a name with class features they possess. Certainly, nothing in the mass combat rules seems to imply otherwise, unless I've overlooked something.

Is this ability in need of errata, or is there some rule that I've somehow missed?

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"You there! Yes, you, the burly fellow in the armor! You look like you enjoy hearing the screams of your enemies! Are you tired of being limited to one-on-one melee engagements? Are Cleave and Whirlwind Attack suboptimal choices for your precious feat slots? Do you sometimes wish that you could get those sweet AoE spells like your wizard friend has, without multiclassing?

If so, then I have the thing for you! Check out the insane deals we're having on these necklaces of fireballs! From our type I "little firecracker" to the type VII "burn baby burn," these primo magic items will let you deep fry a pack of goblins or disrespectful orphans just as well as any spell-slinger! Each necklace comes with multiple fireballs of different die ranges, guaranteeing that you'll always have the right level of lethality for the monster you're facing! They're even programmed to look like a set of ordinary beads to anyone who isn't holding them, so no one can accuse you of mage-envy!

What's that, you say? You're worried about that pesky ten-foot range increment for throwing things? Never fear! Every necklace of fireballs has a built-in enchantment that lets you throw them an astonishing seventy feet, all without so much as an attack roll, let alone a range penalty! Plus, with our safety-first guarantee, no one will be able to detach and throw these babies except you! You'd have to be Chaotic Stupid not to want them!

But wait, there's more! Did you know that a necklace of fireballs doesn't take up a magic item slot? That's right, you can wear this and still benefit from that amulet of natural armor you're counting on (we have those over in aisle three)! Where else are you going to find this much value for your hard-earned gold?! Why bother buying a wand and sinking ranks into UMD when you can use these WMDs?! There's no command words or spell triggers needed, just throw 'em and blow 'em away!

Just pay the listed price and try to avoid magical fire attacks and be the envy of all your linear fighter friends today!"

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Under the mass combat rules, a Fine-size army is an army that consists of a single individual. Insofar as I recall, this plays by the same rules as any other sort of army in terms of statistics.

My question is, while I was reading over my copy of Rogue Genius Games' Ultimate Charisma (an excellent book, by the way), I noticed this Leadership Perk:


Power of One (Army, Loner)

You are able to put your abilities to good use when facing off against numerous opponents alone.
Prerequisites: One-Man Army, character level 8th.
Benefit: While acting as a commander of a Fine army (an army consisting only of yourself), your army gains all army special abilities that share a name with any class features that you possess.
For example, if you are a paladin with the smite evil class feature, your Fine army gains the smite evil special ability.

This confused me, because the implication is that a Fine-size army doesn't normally gain army special abilities based on class features that character possesses. But reading over the text, I can't see where it says that. Did I overlook something, or is this perk granting a benefit that Fine-size armies should already receive?

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The text for locate creature says:


This spell functions like locate object, except this spell locates a known creature. You slowly turn and sense when you are facing in the direction of the creature to be located, provided it is within range. You also know in which direction the creature is moving, if any.

The spell can locate a creature of a specific kind or a specific creature known to you. It cannot find a creature of a certain type. To find a kind of creature, you must have seen such a creature up close (within 30 feet) at least once.

Running water blocks the spell. It cannot detect objects. It can be fooled by mislead, nondetection, and polymorph spells.

My question is if an intelligent magic item could count as a "creature" and not an object. I'm presuming so because of the following text under the Intelligent Items section of the rules:

Intelligent items can actually be considered creatures because they have Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores. Treat them as constructs.

That seems pretty clear-cut to me, but I've seen some people saying that they're objects, and so the spell wouldn't detect them.

What say you all?

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So there doesn't seem to be a thread on this that I've found (though I might have just missed it), and there's nothing in the FAQ about this; as such I'm moved to ask, if you alter your shape, such as via polymorph or the change shape special quality, does your scent change as well? Or do you smell the same?

This seems kind of relevant since creatures can recognize familiar scents the same way creatures that can see can recognize familiar sights. Hence, scent could be a way to see through a magical disguise...if it works that way.

Are there any rules or rulings on this that I'm overlooking?

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So the description for the ring of mind shielding says that it defeats detect thoughts.

My question is if this extends to spells that "function as" detect thoughts, such as detect anxieties and detect desires. While a strict textual interpretation would seem to say no, I have to wonder if the wording indicates that they're similar enough that they'd also be defeated by the ring.

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So the other day I stumbled across the Kickstarter for this (warning, link is NSFW), and wanted to help spread the word. From the main page:


The Book of Erotic Fantasy is one of the most infamous books in 3rd edition Dungeons and Dragons. In fact, there are several third party books made with sex in mind for 3rd edition. Thus far, however, there has not been a sexy rule book for 5th edition. Until now.

The Erotic Adventures book will feature the sexual attraction system, fetish rules, new spells, new items, new feats, new races, new monsters, new gods, and a new specialty for each class in the Player's Handbook. Play a barbarian maenad and use sex to recharge your rage. Play a rogue paramour and manipulate others using seduction. Cast a spell to enlarge your breasts, or gain an additional penis. Fight a gender bending semen ooze. And much, much more...

The goal is 1000 dollars, but, for each additional 100 dollars I raise, I will add a picture to the book. If we reach 2000 dollars, I will make an android app based on the book and put it for sale on SlideMe.

So back this project, and be one of the first to bring sex into the world of Dungeons and Dragons!

It's currently 95% funded with twenty-two days to go!

(Note: I am not affiliated with this Kickstarter in any way; I'm simply helping to raise awareness.)

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I couldn't find if this has been asked before, so my apologies if it has:

While raise dead requires that it be cast on the dead body in question, resurrection only needs a piece of the body - and true resurrection doesn't need any part of the body at all - to bring someone back to life. While the spells are silent on the specifics, the implication seems to be that a new, living body is created in proximity to the spellcaster when these spells are used...which means that the old body is left behind, since there's nothing about it fading away or otherwise disappearing.

Given that, could you then animate the old body (after the person has been resurrected) as an undead creature? A mindless undead seems like a simple yes, but a sentient undead creature (via create undead or create greater undead) seems a bit trickier, due to that note in magic jar saying that sentient undead have souls...which you've presumably brought back into a living body already. Does that mean that you can't make a "leftover" body into a (sentient) undead creature? Or could an adventurer later run into their own mohrg or spectre or similar creature?

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So I only recently got to sit down and read my copy of Prisoners of the Blight, and I have to say that the "Fey Boons and Banes" article was fantastic! I think it's one of the very best articles I've ever read in a Pathfinder AP, and my only complaint is that it could easily have been several times as long as it was.

Paizo, please have Isabelle Lee come back and write a sequel (of series of sequels) for other fey creatures! There's plenty more that deserve this treatment!

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There's a question that's come up recently in my group with regards to how to stop a sending spell from reaching someone. Other than disrupting the actual casting, there doesn't seem to be very much that can stop this spell from being sent.

The basic scenario is that my group is worried about a BBEG calling for reinforcements, and want a way to isolate him before moving in for the kill. This basically means shutting down a lot of long-range communication spells, but this one in particular is giving them trouble.

Any ideas?

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Role-playing games are, at their core, something you do with friends. Whether people you’ve just met, or a group that you’ve known for years, sitting down around the game table is fundamentally an activity that’s about friendship. So wouldn’t it make sense for the actual game-play to be about friendship as well? Of course, that’d require something different from the usual fare of “killing monsters and taking their stuff.” It’d need to be something like…

My Little Pony: Tails of Equestria: The Storytelling Game.

Based on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Tails of Equestria (and no, that’s not a typo; it’s “Tails”) is the official tabletop RPG adaptation of the TV show. Created by River Horse Games and distributed in the US and Canada by Shinobi 7, the main (or should I say “mane”?) rulebook is a 152-page full-color hardback. Retailing for $34.95, it’s reasonably priced for what’s being offered.

There are several things to be said about the book before we start looking at the RPG system itself. The first being that this book is COLORFUL! This isn’t so much due to the full-color interior artwork as it is just how much of it there is to be found; I believe there’s only a single page (the first page of the index) that doesn’t have a picture or illustration on it somewhere. Other than that, every single page has a screenshot, drawing, picture, or other artwork on it. More than that, there are numerous instances of one- and two-page full spreads throughout the book as well; each of the book’s twelve chapters, and the adventure and appendix, have a two-page spread opening them, which comes out to almost 20% of the book right there. That’s before looking at the rest of the book’s artwork. If you were to look at a text-only version of this product, I suspect that it would be literally half as many pages as the finished book.

The other thing that needs to be explicitly noted is that this book is meant not only for younger gamers, but those with no experience with tabletop role-playing games. That might be expected, given the target demographic of the source material, but it’s worth repeating. Indeed, the expected “what’s a ‘role-playing game’?” blurb is actually on the back cover! Moreover, the book’s writing is very simplistic, and clearly meant to be approachable by younger readers. While it never talks down to you, it also is making a clear-cut effort to be as unintimidating as it possibly can. (On that note, it flat-out states that it’s using “storytelling game” as a synonym for “role-playing game,” which are fighting words in some parts of the RPG community.)

The book also takes a moment to moment to mention other Tails of Equestria products (e.g. dice, character sheets, etc.), doing so first in the book’s introduction and then again at the end, but I can’t find it in myself to be cynical about this. That’s because the book also goes out of its way to suggest free alternatives to these. For example, it not only says that you can find dice-rolling programs online, but offers “dice charts” – full-page charts with random numbers that you can point to randomly in lieu of rolling dice – in the appendix. Similarly, there’s a blank character sheet in the back of the book as well. So the book is making an effort to be playable right out of the metaphorical box.

So with all of that said, what’s the actual RPG like?

All PCs play as one of the three main kinds of ponies: unicorns, pegasi, or earth ponies (in fact, “PC” stands for “pony character” here). Alicorns – ponies that blend all three types – are mentioned, the book flat-out says that you can’t play an alicorn character. Needless to say, I’m sure that house rules to allow for this are being implemented even now.

The central aspect of characters are traits and talents. Traits are essentially ability scores; Body, Mind, and Charm. Talents, by contrast, are skills, being things like Keen Knowledge: History or Fly (if you’re a pegasus). Each race includes one talent for free (such as the aforementioned Fly for pegasi). Each trait and talent is measured in terms of the die size associated with it. So your earth pony PC might start out with Body d8, Mind d4, and Charm d6 for your traits, with Stout Heart d6 and Special Skill: Running d6 for your talents.

These dice showcase one of the core aspects of the game rules: there are no numerical modifiers to dice rolls. To be clear, you can modify your rolls, but only with regard to the size and/or number of dice used. In the latter case, you always pick the die with the best result; the only time you add or subtract anything is with regards to your character’s other main mechanic: stamina points, which are essentially hit points by another name.

Most of the other aspects of characters are largely non-mechanical in nature. You pick which Element of Harmony (the game’s six principle virtues: Kindness, Laughter, Generosity, Loyalty, Honesty, and Magic) your character most closely aligns to, but this is purely as a role-playing guideline. Quirks, the inverse of talents, are likewise not measured with dice rolls. Instead, when a quirk comes up and you voluntarily allow it to impede your character’s efficacy, you’re rewarded with a token of friendship.

Tokens of friendship are a meta-mechanic that allow characters to affect dice rolls, or alternatively to change minor aspects of the setting. You start with a limited number of them, but can gain more in various ways (such as by role-playing quirks, as noted above). The game lays out the basic manner by which tokens can be used, and how many tokens are required for certain actions, but makes sure to leave this open to GM adjudication. Wisely, this is framed in reference to the GM being encouraged to lower the total cost of tokens for certain effects if multiple PCs contribute them, serving to incentivize the cooperative aspect that this book is predicated upon.

At the end of each adventure, characters gain a level. This isn’t tracked by any sort of point mechanic; completing an adventure is worth one level, period. Leveling allows you to buy larger dice for some of your traits and talents, though the game implies – but doesn’t outrightly state – that this tops out at a d20 (given that some of the example creatures have multiple dice for certain traits, there’s an obvious house rule of allowing you to buy a second die at a d4 after your first one hits a d20). You can also purchase new talents (or new quirks, if you’re so inclined), which always come in at a d4.

Your trait and talent dice are put into play for one of two different types of rolls: tests (where you’re rolling to try and equal or exceed a static number) and challenges (where making an opposed roll; this is where you’ll find the combat rules). The thing to note is that you can usually – but not always – roll your dice for the most-relevant trait AND roll the die for an applicable talent, keeping the better result. More notably, there are several sub-rules given for these rolls as well. For example, rolling double or more versus a target number (or an opponent’s score) allows for a critical hi-, er, amazing success, or what happens if several characters work together (which, in a friendship-focused game, naturally provides notable advantages).

I should note that the combat rules – called “scuffles” here – are set up in such a way that most fights probably won’t last long. Basically, each opponent makes a Body challenge (with a combat-relevant talent, if any) and the one with the higher roll subtracts the TOTAL value of that roll from their opponent’s stamina points. Given that your total stamina points are the maximum value of your Body and Mind dice, that means that characters will only be able to take a couple of hits before being defeated (though characters who run out of stamina don’t die; rather, they lose consciousness, run away, admit defeat, etc.). That certainly fits the theme of the show, where combat is only rarely used, but if you want fights to last longer, consider having the loser’s die roll subtracted from the winner’s die roll to determine how many stamina points are lost.

There’s a basic equipment list in the book, and some quick rules for how much money characters have/earn. This section felt odd, if for no other reason than equipping for their adventures isn’t something that’s done very often by the characters in the TV show. Given that having the proper equipment can bump up the die used on a relevant roll to the next-larger one, PCs will almost certainly be looking to purchase goods that they think might be useful in the near future. Though I have to note that, for fans of the show, the list of prices for various goods is a godsend; finally something hard-and-fast with regards to how much things cost!

The book’s introductory adventure is entitled “The Pet Predicament.” It sees the PCs being called up by the Mane Six to look after their pets while they go investigate a new threat to Equestria. Naturally, the pets don’t take very well to their new keepers, and a search-and-rescue mission ensues when they all wander off and get into trouble. Despite the low-stakes nature of the adventure, it does a fairly good job laying out the game rules, and has several call-outs to aspects of the show built into it (e.g. a meeting with Zecora). Of course, it ends with a sudden cliffhanger that just so happens to lead into the next adventure (sold separately).

More noteworthy is that this is where we get stats for creatures and NPCs. While all of the creatures used in the adventure are given game mechanics, it’s more noteworthy that this is where we get stats for the Mane Six, and even Zecora to boot! Of course, there’s a bit of an irony in that Spike (and the pets) remain without stats, given that Spike and co. are typically overlooked to the point of it being a minor trope in the series anyway. A few generic stat blocks for background ponies wrap this section up.

Overall, I only noticed a few production issues with the book, such as two instances where there wasn’t a space between words. More hilariously, the table of contents listed chapter five as being “Traits & Shamans” when the chapter itself correctly listed it as being about “Traits & Stamina.” So it looks like we’ll need to wait until a future book to have more shaman characters besides our resident zebra! (I’m also convinced that Twilight not having the Stout Heart is an error as well, since it’s the racial talent for earth ponies, which as an alicorn she should have.) But overall, there aren’t really any errors here.

I’d say that the book’s biggest issue is that it doesn’t have very much in the way of help for GMs. While there’s plenty of advice as to how to be a good role-player, coming up with adventures is an area that it doesn’t really cover. This is somewhat understandable, as adventures are likely to focus around social, puzzle, and even athletic challenges, rather than combat per se. Moreover, they’re going to need to be at least somewhat tailored for each group, depending on the talents that the PCs are bringing to the table. A group of all pegasi is going to be very different from a mixed group. Although these are areas that the book can’t readily address, I still feel like it should have said something about them, even if only to acknowledge them in overview.

Despite this, Tails of Equestria is a great game for bringing young people into the hobby, though this is predicated on them already being fans of the show. The mechanics are light and easy to grasp, and the book’s presentation means that it’s actually not that difficult for younger gamers to pick up and start using on their own. Likewise, older members of the RPG community will likely have reason to appreciate the RPG engine that the game runs on, though the book’s focus on introductory presentation will be somewhat wasted on them.

If you’re a fan of ponies and slinging dice, I definitely recommend checking out Tails of Equestria.

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I've noticed that there are a lot of subsystems for various things in the Pathfinder rules, and I was wondering if there was any sort of index for them, short of checking to see what's been added to the PRD or d20PFSRD.

"Subsystems" are what I call aspects of the game rules that cover a specific that are (semi-)complete unto themselves, with only modest connection to the wider game rules. Things like the weapon creation rules from the Weapon Master's Handbook or the "hexploration" rules from Ultimate Campaign. There seem to be a lot of these minor rules systems for adjudicating specifics aspects of play, but for the most part they can be difficult to find unless you already know what you're looking for.

Is there any repository of these and where to find them?

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A discussion arose in my group as to whether or not the true seeing spell would reveal that a creature was being possessed, such as via a ghost's malevolence ability or a magic jar spell.

As written, I don't think that it does, simply because the text of the spell doesn't seem to say anything about that. The counterargument is that the spell lets you see "the true form of polymorphed, changed, or transmuted things," in addition to everything else it says it does (that, and asserting that possession would fall within the scope of the spell's first sentence, to "see all things as they actually are").

I'm skeptical of that interpretation, but I wanted to know what you guys think.

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One of the major issues that comes up when critiquing Pathfinder is that some options offer more narrative control than others. The big one in this regard tends to be full-progression casters versus non-casters.

But leaving aside that fairly major distinction, what specific options - e.g. spells, feats, magic items, archetypes, etc. - offer a great deal of narrative control? Leadership is an obvious choice, but what else?

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So I'm thinking of running an E6 campaign with no full-progression casters (or, alternately, having them use Spheres of Power). It's supposed to be somewhat gritty, and being in a frontier area I'm going to be playing up interaction with the local environment. However, I'm having quite the hard time figuring out how to adjudicate how much time and what sort of rolls (if any) are necessary for some of these things:

1) Digging a pit - a 10-foot deep pit that's 5-feet wide and long (your basic pit trap, in other words) probably shouldn't require any rolls, but I'm not sure how long it takes to dig (without getting into all sorts of cumbersome equations...let alone issues of Strength scores, how many people can participate, adamantine shovels, etc.). This also goes for trenches.

2) Making a berm - roughly the same problem here, insofar as time adjudication goes. This is made with the displaced earth from digging a pit. I'm mostly confident no rolls are needed here either.

3) Chopping down trees - This one seems a lot simpler. Wood has hardness 5, and 10 hp per inch of thickness. The issue is that there's a question as to whether or not that's too much for "just" chopping a tree down, since usually that's enough to open up a 5-foot square in a wall.

4) Damming a river - I have no idea how to adjudicate this. Presumably there's some sort of skill check involved, and the dam would have hardness and hit points?

5) Salting the earth - Alkalizing a patch of earth so it won't ever grow anything again (at least for a while). For a 5-foot by 5-foot patch of earth, how much salt does this take, how much would that salt cost, and how long would it take to do this? Would any rolls be involved?

6) Erasing a scent - Obviously a stronger scent can cover up a weaker one. But besides a powerful chemical, or a skunk, what can do this? Is there a scent equivalent to covering yourself in mud to hide your body heat? There's presumably some intersection of Perception and the scent ability here, but the specifics seem vague.

7) Insects as irritants, not threats - Presuming that things like mosquitoes don't become deadly swarms, what's a good way to treat them as irritants that have some sort of mechanical effect don't rise to immediately life-threatening dangers?

8) Sleeping in trees - This isn't really an issue of altering the environment, but I'm not sure if I should hand-wave this or not. Would this require a Reflex save not to fall out of the tree during the night? Can you get sufficient rest while tucked in branches?

9) Camouflage - I really don't like the idea of this being limited to rogue talents and racial traits. Are there any rules that generalize this?

10) Smoke signals - I'm tempted to have this just be a language, taken with a single rank in Linguistics. Presumably there wouldn't need to be much of a Perception check within a few miles, at least during the daytime.

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My group and I use several abbreviations and nicknames for various elements of our games. For example, instead of calling Pathfinder's second monster book "Bestiary 2," we say "Beasty 2." The spell "see invisibility" is usually just called "see invis," etc.

(More amusing is that, having heard the rumor that the Advanced Race Guide is called what it is because Paizo was concerned that, if the existing naming convention for splatbooks were used, it would sound too similar to "Ultimate Racist," that's how we refer to the book now.)

What terms do other groups use for game elements?

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So a friend of mine is playing a level 18 cleric with a focus in necromancy. Naturally, this means that he has an animated minion, but he wants to know what he can do to further enhance it.

Currently, he's hauling around a pit fiend bloody skeleton. However, he's chafing at the fact that he can't put the skeleton template on a creature with more than 20 Hit Dice; he knows that he can command a lot more than that via the animate dead spell, but doesn't want to manage more than one companion creature.

So my question is...are there any ways to break the 20 Hit Die cap on a skeleton? I know the obvious answer is to just use a higher-level spell (e.g. create undead and its ilk) to make a stronger undead creature, such as a skeletal champion, but he seems to want to limit it to mindless undead.

So if we only allow for one animated minion, and keep it to mindless undead, has he hit the limit for what he can have? Or is there something else that he can make use of?

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There's no particular mechanism (at least in first-party materials) that I'm aware of for modeling trauma (e.g. PTSD) in the Pathfinder rules. My guess would be that it could be modeled via mental ability score damage/drain, or possibly the madness/insanity rules, but that's just a guess.

In that case, would spells such as heal or restoration be able to fix trauma instantly?

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So one of the guys in my weekly group decided that he wanted to run a brief mini-campaign. The hook was that it was for 18th-level characters; naturally, we were all quite excited, as the highest this group has ever gotten has been about 12th level.

Some necessary background here: the GM for this is a fellow who has only run a game twice before, both of which were short campaigns that got mixed reviews from us. He has a good grasp of the rules, but (like most of the group) treats gaming as a pastime rather than a hobby, which meant that he had only passing familiarity with some of the game-breaking shenanigans that can happen at high-level play.

As such, while I was eager to make a level 18 wizard, I was also nervous about the impact such a character would have. This was especially true since he said we could use all first-party materials, buy ability scores with a 25-point buy, could spend our WBL on any item we wanted (including custom items), and had 11 RP to build a custom race if we wanted.

I voiced my concerns, and this prompted a long discussion within our group about what should and shouldn't be allowed. In the end, he chose to ban a few things (e.g. no use of blood money, no adjusting wealth by level if you have item creation feats, etc.), but for the most part said that he was very confident he could handle whatever we came up with.

The major limitation he invoked on my character, and that I was fine with, was that I couldn't use more than one instance of planar binding, though he was fine with my using other spells that brought in outside help. However, he was fine with my taking Leadership and having my cohort be an intelligent magic item, which I made a level 16 psychic. I also decided that I wasn't going to try and exploit every loophole that I possibly could (e.g. no carrying around a 5-foot section of wall with a permanent shrink item on it that was covered in permanent symbol spells).

We spent a few weeks making characters (if that sounds like a long time, it was because a lot of the group only did work on their characters during our weekly get-togethers). In the end our group looked like so:

  • Three players made level 18 antipaladins (this caught me by surprise; apparently it was in partially in protest to the fact that the GM wanted to include a GMPC with our party. He capitulated when he heard about this, but the other players kept their antipaladins anyway). They mentioned all having glabrezu companions, though only one person actually had that on the board.
  • A level 18 cleric with a necromantic focus (he wanted to make full use of animated dead for minions, but by the time we started had only made a single pit fiend bloody skeleton).
  • A sorcerer 8/dragon disciple 10 (built with a focus on getting into melee).
  • My wizard (conjurer) 18...and company.

More specifically, I sat down at the table with my wizard, his intelligent item psychic cohort (my followers from Leadership were back in my private demiplane where I was astral projecting from...and in my other private demiplane tending to my clone), the solar angel that I'd called via greater planar binding (utilizing Augmented Calling and Spell Perfection), a bythos aeon that my cohort had brought via greater planar ally (via the Faith psychic discipline), and a Gargantuan animated object (animated and made permanent by the solar angel). This rose to eight characters when I had my psychic cohort use monster summoning VII to bring in three (I rolled high) celestial triceratops in the first round of our first combat. (I should note that I'd mentioned all of these to the GM before we sat down to play, and he signed off on all of them.)

Our first combat lasted two rounds, and took us an hour to get through. What caught me by surprise was that, at the end of it, the entire group was me.

I don't just mean that they were a little ticked off; they were pissed, to the point where two guys said that if I sat down with this character next week, they weren't going to bother showing up. When I asked what was going on, they made it clear that they had two complaints:

1) I was taking too much time. Each turn it was taking me about 8-10 minutes to resolve what all of my characters were doing. This wasn't because I was looking stuff up (I knew to do that during everyone else's turns), but simply because it took that long to move minis around, roll attacks, damage, saves, spell penetration, etc. Still, this one struck me as a legitimate complaint, even if there was little that I could do about it.

2) I was overshadowing everyone else. They made it clear that they felt completely superfluous compared to what was essentially my own adventuring party.

It culminated with the GM pulling me aside and telling me that I had to make a new character by next week, because my current one was too disruptive. I tried to point out that he'd given me the okay for everything that I was doing, and he admitted that he hadn't realized just what effect all of that would have. I likewise pointed out that, with only 95 hit points (I'd had some bad Hit Dice rolls) and an AC that was in the mid-20's, that I'd essentially need to redo my entire character, since just getting into direct combat would pretty much be the end of my character.

His reply went something along the lines of, "I feel like I have a worthwhile story to tell, and your character's distracting from that."

Needless to say, the entire thing has left a bitter taste in my mouth. I quite like my character, and want to keep running him, but at the same time I'm quite ticked at having had the gauntlet thrown down. I have no idea what to do before next week's game, and time is running out...

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I'm uncertain if a trap the soul spell would be impeded or otherwise affected if you cast it on the astral body of someone using an astral projection spell.

Mainly, this is because trap the soul says that it also pulls your physical body into the gem, but in this case your physical body is presumably on another plane, far outside of the spell's range. In that case, what happens? Does your original body get pulled in even though it's on another plane? If not, does the spell work on your soul/astral body? What if your original body dies after you've been trapped?

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So I'm not sure how many people have heard about this, but on Monday the U.S. Supreme Court made a 5-3 ruling in Utah v. Strieff.

Up until now, the "exclusionary rule" - the rule that says that evidence which the police gather illegally cannot then be used in a court prosecution - applied to instances where the police stop someone without a "reasonable articulable suspicion."

However, the new ruling says that if the police stop you even without any such suspicion, evidence that they subsequently seize could still be admissible. According to Justice Thomas, writing for the majority, this won't cause police overreach because the threat of civil suits will keep them in line.

There's a good op-ed about this over here.

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So I'm trying to remember a monster that I know I know, but my brain refuses to identify. It was a bird with a very low CR (something like CR 2) that had vorpal wings, allowing it to potentially behead an opponent on a natural 20...or something like that.

Does anyone remember what this is and what book it's from?

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So one of the rotating pool of GMs in my group has decided that he wants to run a mini-campaign when it's his turn again. For this, he's asked us all to make 18th-level characters. As soon as I heard this, I jumped on playing the wizard.

While he hasn't set out our ability score point-buy (I think it'll be 25, though), he has said that we'll have our standard WBL values, and that all first-party materials (e.g. anything published by Paizo) will be allowed.

So what I want to do is use this as a chance to run the sort of wizard that's always talked about in whenever the caster-martial disparity comes up as a topic. To that end, I wanted to ask what the best - or at least, most classic - options are out there for this. Off the top of my head, I recall the following:

Traits: Magical Lineage seems to be obvious here (though what metamagic feats are worthwhile is another matter). I'm less sold on Wayang Spellhunter, simply because I'm not at all sure what specific 3rd-level-or-below spell to pick.

Feats: Using two or more item creation feats seems like a no-brainer, what with the whole adjust their WBL upwards by 50% if they have two or more item creation feats guideline.

Spells: Traditionally, using create demiplane and astral projection in conjunction get brought up a lot. There's also greater planar ally and simulacrum (though the latter never made much sense to me, since it's at one-half the creature's Hit Dice, so in this case it'd be a 9th-level wizard). Obviously blood money is on the list.

Those are the ones that immediately come to mind; what else should I be looking at?

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Apparently one of the San Bernardino killers had an iPhone 5c, which the FBI now wants to access. Because the encryption key for this phone isn't stored by Apple, that means that the only way in is brute-forcing the password (e.g. trying every possible combination). But the security features on the phone are such that, after ten wrong password entries in a row are entered, it will delete all of its data.

Here's where things get tricky. Apparently the FBI has taken Apple to court to order them to build special firmware that will disable this security feature, making the phone accept any number of wrong passwords without deleting anything. Apple isn't willing to do this, pointing out that this could be used to disable that setting on all current and older iPhone models, and so represent a serious security threat.

Yesterday, a federal judge sided with the government, ordering Apple to build the firmware. Apple's Tim Cook has vowed to fight the decision.

Here's a CNN article for those who want more information.

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Purely for crits and giggles, I decided to try and legally create the most broken, overpowered D&D character that I could. The catch? The character is for Second Edition. Come follow each step in the process over here!

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A friend of mine asked me if there are rules anywhere for a "false tooth," which could contain a single dose of a poison/potion or something like that.

I checked several books and can't find one, but I wanted to ask if maybe someone else has seen such an item somewhere.

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Tarnsman of Gor by John Norman (Published 1966)

I dislike forming opinions about things based solely on second- and third-hand information. Far better, to my mind, to actually sit down and engage with a thing directly; that's a large part of the difference between an opinion and an informed opinion.

It was with that thought in mind that I ordered an old copy of Tarnsman of Gor off of Amazon. I'd heard about Gor (and things "Gorean") for years, but this was the first time I'd gone straight to the source. (As a quick aside, it seems silly to warn about spoilers for a book that's almost fifty years old, but I'll do so anyway for those who care: spoilers ahead.)

For those who don't know, a quick primer: the Gor books tell the tale of a sister planet to Earth, in the same orbital plane as us but on the opposite side of the Sun, where the mysterious "Priest-Kings" have been clandestinely bringing humans to live for millenia. The most popular (or perhaps infamous) aspect of Gor, however, is its slave culture, particularly where female pleasure slaves are concerned.

My expectations for the book were mixed. I knew that the series as a whole was famous for its focus on female sex slaves; but I'd also heard that the first half-dozen or so books were much more muted in that regard, serving instead as thin veneers for the author's own thoughts on society.

What I found was that neither of those descriptions were entirely true. Rather, Tarnsman of Gor is a rather standard sword-and-planet adventure. It proceeds to tell the (slightly convoluted, but fairly standard) tale of an Earthman named Tarl Cabot, brought from Earth to Gor, where he has an adventure that sees him helping to destabilize the existing power structure among Gor's city-states, while at the same time meeting and falling in love with a beautiful woman.

What struck me most about the writing (which is entirely in the first person) was the sense of distance that the author's tone conveys. Tarl tends to describe things in a very straightforward, almost clinical manner. Even when overcome with emotion, he rarely focuses on how he's feeling, instead talking about what it drives him to do.

I'm uncertain if this tonal presentation is purposeful on the author's part. While it's easy to simply chalk this up to John Norman not being a very good writer, I hesitate to do so for two reasons: the first being that narrator, Tarl Cabot, is British born and raised. While he expresses some disdain for his homeland in the beginning of the book, it's amusing to think that his detached tone is due to his having internalized the whole "stiff upper lip" mantra.

More germane, however, is the explanation given in the epilogue. While several first-person perspective novels never bother to explain why they're being presented that way, Tarnsman of Gor explicitly states that Tarl's writing all this down six years after the fact - presumably the distance he feels from those events is affecting how he writes about them.

What's not notable - at least not as much as I think new readers (who've heard of the series) might expect - is the focus on female slaves.

Simply put, slave-girls aren't important to the overall plot of the book. Indeed, Tarl notes his disgust at how slavery is an integral part of the cultures of Gor, to the point of silently swearing to himself that he'll bring the entire institution of slavery down. While he doesn't have a chance to act on this during events of the story, he does free the first slave-girl he's given (who has been instructed to perform a suicide mission in order to help him achieve his own task, which horrifies Tarl).

The area of the book where slavery and sexual politics are highlighted the most are with regard to its main female character, Talena. The daughter of the ruler of the city-state of Ar, Talena is abducted by Tarl when she interferes with his mission to steal the "home stone" (essentially the flag) of Ar.

From the first, she seems to be a completely formulaic character. She starts off as a b%+~~y, pampered princess, who grows closer to Tarl as they travel together, until she inevitably falls for him and, upon doing so, begs for him to formally enslave her. Rather ironically, she's kidnapped before he can, and by the time he rescues her at the end of the book, he ends up taking her to be his "free companion" - that is, his spouse - instead.

I said "seems to be" in the above paragraph because there's a more subtle aspect to Talena's character - and here, I do think that this was done purposefully on John Norman's part: her antagonism towards Tarl is in direct proportion to the degree that he breaks from the cultural expectations she has for him. Literally, the more he acts the way she expects a "tarnsman" (a warrior-raider that rides a giant, ill-tempered tarn bird) to act, the more warmly she treats him.

Specifically, she explains her original antagonism as being not due to his having stolen Ar's home stone (which destabilizes the city and drives her father from power), but because he didn't do what tarnsmen traditionally do when they kidnap a noblewoman from another city-state: strip her naked right there on the back of their bird and toss her clothes to the city streets below (in a gesture of "this is what I do to one of the revered daughters of your city!"). Tarl had no idea that was the custom, but by failing to perform it, Talena interpreted it as the act of a coward - someone with a "get in, do the job, and get out" mentality, rather than showcasing the boldness that tarn-riders are supposed to exhibit.

Likewise, as they journey together, they both take on disguises to protect themselves from other raiders. Since this necessitates that Talena appear to be a slave-girl, Tarl is forced to treat her like one. It's no coincidence that this is the period when she starts to become amorous towards him, since now they're acting a role that's in accordance with her understanding of how things should be progressing. He's finally, in other words, acting like a man she can respect, despite (or perhaps because of) his being her enemy.

While my suspicion is that later books eschew this level of subtlety in favor of the more blase "she's happier because she's a slave now; that's how all women are" idea, taken unto itself Tarnsman of Gor's main idea seems to be less about the peculiarities of a slave-owning culture, than it is about the idea of a stranger trying to navigate a foreign culture's values. Much of the book is about Tarl either stumbling through Gorean customs that he is (mostly) unaware of, or attempting to turn those customs to his advantage.

Ultimately, Tarnsman of Gor is a fairly straightforward sword-and-planet adventure, with little to distinguish it from its better-known fellows in the genre (at least unto itself). It's largely unconcerned with slavery, except as a vehicle for pushing the idea of "when in Rome" as well as the romance between Tarl and Talena. Had the series not eventually decided to make that background element into the primary focus of the series, I'm not sure how much Gor would even be remembered today (for better or worse). As it is, I can recommend Tarnsman of Gor only to those who would be interested in a fairly average sword-and-planet tale, or are otherwise curious about the beginnings of this infamous series.

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For those that haven't heard, James "Grim" Desborough published a GamerGate card game via his publishing company, Postmortem Studios, which went up on various OneBookShelf sites (e.g. RPGNow and DriveThruRPG) on December 4th. (Note that, while Postmortem has a Paizo outlet, the game has apparently not been uploaded here.)

Very shortly after it was uploaded, the guys at Evil Hat Games started threatening to pull their products from OBS unless the GamerGate card game was dropped.

Rather saddeningly, the game went down almost immediately. While Grim eventually put it up for sale elsewhere, it's still upsetting that this happened at all. Somewhat hopefully, the line from OBS is that internal discussion is still going on over this. They seem to be fairly open to input as well.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I think that Grim courts controversy, often in a manner that could charitably described as lacking nuance. That said, I find it to be beyond disgusting that Evil Hat Games thinks that they can try to coerce a vendor into removing products that they personally don't like.

Apparently they're also fine that people can buy books such as F%#~ for Satan, Choice and Blood (which can be summed up as "d20 Modern: Abortion"), and the infamous Carcosa, but a card game that leans in support of GamerGate? That's apparently a bridge too far.

A few caveats here:

I'm a supporter of GamerGate, having read more than a few articles about both the movement itself and what it means when viewed against a broader cultural context. Simply put, it doesn't live up to the "harassment campaign" that its detractors have labeled it as. I mention this because I'm guessing that some people will respond with something along the lines of "it's not wrong to take a stand against something that glorifies a hate group." That stance is based on a fundamentally incorrect premise; namely that GamerGate is a hate group to begin with.

Secondly, I'm anticipating that some people will respond with "Evil Hat has the right to determine where they sell their games." That's true, but questions of "rights" are questions of legality, not ethics. You have the legal right to ignore someone who's injured and needs help, but doing so is ethically corrupt.

While (what I call) a "personal boycott" is simply choosing whether or not you want to patronize a given business or outlet, that's different from what Evil Hat is doing, which is an "organized boycott" (again, my term). An organized boycott is a public pressure group that's designed to use the threat of economic harm in order to use coercion against a business or other entity in order to make them comply with your demands. As the ACLU states:

In contrast, when private individuals or groups organize boycotts against stores that sell magazines of which they disapprove, their actions are protected by the First Amendment, although they can become dangerous in the extreme. Private pressure groups, not the government, promulgated and enforced the infamous Hollywood blacklists during the McCarthy period. But these private censorship campaigns are best countered by groups and individuals speaking out and organizing in defense of the threatened expression.

So I think that what Evil Hat is doing is founded not only on a fundamentally misdirected sense of outrage, but is ethically corrupt as well.

If the GamerGate card game had been hosted at Paizo, I wonder if they would have received the same threat (and I wonder how they would have responded).

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So I was looking over the list of Paizo employees and their job titles, and I noticed that there are several developers alongside a few designers.

I'm curious what the difference is between the two jobs? It sounds like the designers are responsible for creating new materials, and the developers are responsible for shepherding these ideas to (greater) completion, but is that correct? Or are they something else altogether?

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