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Looking for scenario suggestions

TLDR: Sacred artifact hammer got corrupted when it was used to kill a high priest and then used to do bad stuff. To fix it, PCs must venture into a dreamscape within the hammer populated with the souls of the hammer's victims along with the murderer who was killed while holding the hammer. Looking for 3-4 dreamscape scenes that the PCs must somehow resolve to put the souls at rest.

Background: Torag crafted an artifact hammer which was given to the dwarven people at the beginning of the Quest for Sky. It was used to guide the way to the surface, to remove obstacles in their path and to forge arms and armor to outfit the dwarves for use in the quest. The last obstacle before reaching the surface was a huge vein of mithral blocking the dwarves' advance. The hammer was used to crumble the surrounding stone to reveal the sky above. The massive mithral ingot left over became the sacred anvil at the center of a cathedral to Torag in which the hammer was enshrined. The hammer, anvil and a dragonfire-forge were used in tandem to forge epic arms and armor which were used to found the kingdom of Koldukar. About 1,000 years later, giants and orc hordes started to encroach threateningly on the borders. The dwarf king's princely brother tried to convince the king that the hammer should be used to subjugate the giants and orcs so that they could serve the dwarves and build an empire. The king disagreed so the prince took it upon himself to go to the cathedral and instead convince the hammer-bearer high-priest himself. The high-priest told the prince that the gods didn't want the chosen people to achieve greatness through slavery.

The dwarf prince grew angry, snatched the hammer and struck down the high-priest with it before fleeing with it. This blasphemous act made the dragonfire-forge grow cold, the anvil turn to black iron, the hammer to become cursed, and all the magical arms and armor it had crafted in the past 1,000 years to lose power. The murder, theft, and despoilment, along with the loss of magical arms and armor throughout the kingdom severely weakened Koldukar. Shunned by his people, the prince fled into the mountains where he was cursed by the gods to become a fire giant. Seeing this as a sign, the prince used his new form and the power of the hammer to begin subjugating the giants as he'd originally planned and use them to seize the throne from his foolish brother to (say it with me) Make Koldukar Great Again! A pseudo-civil-war broke out, but even demoralized and underpowered the dwarven legions managed to defeat the cursed prince's giant forces. The prince, in his fire-giant guise, slew and in turn was slain by dwarven legionnaires. Unfortunately, Koldukar was left weakened by these shenanigans and the orc general Belkzen took advantage of it to raze the Koldukar to the ground.

Now the PCs have the hammer and have seen evidence that the souls of the righteous dwarves slain with the hammer are somehow contained within it. On occasion, ghostly dwarf legionnaires have been called forth from it to bolster the party in times of need. Unbeknownst to them, the soul of the high-priest as well as that of the cursed prince is also contained inside; forever wrestling for control of the hammer. The PCs, who are all dwarves themselves, are about to set foot inside the long-abandoned cathedral where the iron anvil and cold forge are. I was thinking that this might serve as a catalyst to draw the PCs into a mindscape within the hammer in which the souls are trapped in a stalemate. I'd like to present the players with a few scenes which introduce these ancient souls as fully-fleshed characters and possibly showcase some of the key moments from the story above; all with the goal to have the PCs resolve the conflict, remove the curse from the hammer and restore it to a state of grace. I'm also considering the notion of having the soul of the high-priest grant the hammer sentience.

Any suggestions for scenes or events within this scenario which the PCs must favorably resolve and what powers the uncursed artifact hammer could possess afterward? C'mon guys! We're nearly 50 sessions into this scenario and I want to make it memorable.

One of my players has taken levels in the Arcane Savant prestige class following his start as a Wizard. At 2nd level he gains the Esoteric Magic ability:

Esoteric Knowledge:
Esoteric Magic (Ex)

At each class level beyond 1st, the arcane savant chooses a spell from any class’s spell list and thereafter treats that spell as if it were on the spell list of the base spellcasting class for which he has the most levels; if this base spellcasting class could not normally cast that spell, it is treated as 1 level higher than it is on the original class’s spell list. If he could cast the spell using his base spellcasting class, the spell’s level does not increase. The spell is cast as if its type (arcane, divine, or psychic) were that of his base spellcasting class, and save DCs function as normal for spells of that class. All other restrictions of his normal spellcasting class apply. This ability does not grant other spellcasters special allowance to prepare, cast, or use spell-trigger or spell-completion items of esoteric spells (such as a sorcerer using a cure light wounds scroll prepared by the arcane savant).

He's proposed taking the Greater Angelic Aspect spell:

Greater Angelic Aspect:
Angelic Aspect, Greater

School transmutation [good]; Level cleric 8, paladin 4, sorcerer/wizard 8

This spell functions like lesser angelic aspect, except you gain low-light vision; darkvision 60 feet; DR 10/evil; immunity to acid, cold, and petrification; resistance to electricity and fire 10; a +4 racial bonus on saves against poison; and protective aura and truespeech as supernatural abilities for the duration of the spell. Also, your wings give you a fly speed of 60 feet with good maneuverability.

Protective aura provides a +4 deflection bonus to AC and a +4 resistance bonus on saving throws against attacks made or effects created by evil creatures to anyone within 20 feet. Otherwise, it functions as a magic circle against evil and a lesser globe of invulnerability, both with a radius of 20 feet.

Truespeech allows you to speak with any creature that has a language, as though using the tongues spell.

Since the spell is already on his Wizard spell list, he's able to add the Paladin version of the spell to his class' spell list as a 4th level rather than 8th level spell. From the reading of the rules, this seems a legit approach. Am I missing something? His main purpose is to use this as a party buff; granting everyone within 20-feet +4 deflection to AC, +4 resistance to all saves, protection from evil, and lesser globe of invulnerability. All that while enjoying a slew of bonuses himself, along with flight and truespeech to boot. Pretty darned awesome for a fourth level wizard spell; no?

Ooh. That's a great idea LizardMage; Earth Child Style is perfect for this character!

Thanks to all for checking my work and the helpful suggestions. You'll make my player very happy.

I've been trying in vain to figure this out and would appreciate some insight. I have a character with a BAB of +7 and a natural Slam attack. The player is tired of making a single attack every round and is looking for options, so she's thinking to take a level of monk. I know that flurry of blows doesn't play well with natural attacks, so let's ignore the flurry ability for the moment.

Can the character take the Two-Weapon Fighting feat and simply make iterative unarmed strikes and then add the slam as a secondary attack to the routine? Since the monk's unarmed strikes are considered light and there's no off-hand penalty, they only suffer the flat two-weapon fighting penalty of -2 to hit. So the routine would look like:

Strike +5 / Strike +5 / Strike 0 / Slam +2

Strike damage would be the monk's regular unarmed 1d6, and the slam damage remains the same though with half Strength. Does this make sense, or am I way off base?

Chess Pwn wrote:
Is this an actual published item in a module or something?

It's Nargrym's Steel Hand; an artifact from the Giantslayer AP.

Chess Pwn wrote:
you need to be able to have the GM clarify how it works for their game.

I'm the GM, looking for clarifications.

Another question is how to resolve the issue of the suggestion spell's description: "Asking the creature to do some obviously harmful act automatically negates the effect of the spell." So, if attacking one or more giants, how "obviously harmful" must the situation become before the suggestion is negated?

Chess Pwn wrote:
It doesn't say if the wearer SEES a giant, just if they are within line of sight, So eye aversion won't work.

I'm not disputing your conclusion, but it does create the possibility of being compelled to attack a creature the PC is unaware of; say if the PC failed to spot the giant or the giant is invisible. That's hard to make sense of.

Dave Justus wrote:
unless you have left something out, that doesn't seem to apply since nothing is 'speaking' to you. While the mind effecting tag on the spell may be relevant, the language dependent doesn't seem to be. So basically, as suggestion tells you nothing except, that unless the artifact can speak, it can't work as suggestion.

Not leaving anything relevant out. The item isn't sentient nor does it speak. I guess what's intended is that the effect is similar to a suggestion if not exactly the same. Just have to figure out what that means exactly.

One of my players may end up saddled with an artifact with a distinct drawback:

"whenever the wearer of the hand is within line of sight of a creature
with the giant subtype, he must succeed at DC 15 Will save or be compelled to attack the giant, as suggestion."

I have three questions about how this works:

First, since the effect is based on the suggestion spell, does the effect count as a spell-like ability for the purposes of saving throw bonuses?

Second, does line of sight mean that the PC must actually see the creature or merely be in a position to see it? That is, could the PC choose to avert its eyes or wear a blindfold to avoid seeing a giant and so trigger a save?

Third, does seeing multiple giants require multiple saving throws, or just one? Are saving throws required every round or merely upon first seeing a giant?

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Even before he was a Lich, I imagine he has some form of ability to escape from entrapments such as that, via Teleportation (Even Dimension Door may suffice), Plane Shift, Demiplanes, etc.

He did know such spells but, as I said, he no longer had any prepared when he was caught; otherwise he would have simply teleported to safety before being entombed. Since he was also deprived of his spellbook, he couldn't prepare the spells thereafter; otherwise he would have teleported out the following morning.

Doomed Hero wrote:
So, it would make logical sense, after 700+ years of being inside a cage, that he'd invent a way out through his sorcery.

That's what I'm exploring here, but so far it seems he's still stuck. :)

Doomed Hero wrote:
he'd probably desecrate the entire area with all kinds of horrific things, whether it's accursed hieroglyphs (graffiti), defecation and urination of the warrior's corpse

I imagine desecration makes sense. But he's undead; so no bodily waste to work with beyond the little he came in with. All he's got to work with in his own malice, bones, and dust.

Doomed Hero wrote:
Another idea is that the "plug" may have been broken by other adventurers within that 700 years after hearing tales of the warrior's treasure being buried there (and of course, it being valuable and/or powerful), only to find that they instead unleashed a powerful lich onto the world

Right. That's what risks happening when the PCs breach the tomb themselves. Having it occur earlier and by NPC adventurers defeats the purpose of this encounter.

Nixitur wrote:
What he could have done is invent his own spells. Yes, he'd be basically starting from scratch because the only spell he can prepare from memory is Read Magic, but again, 700 years.

Except that spell research costs approximately 1,000 gp per spell level in exotic supplies; supplies he simply doesn't have. Even etching the spells he has prepared isn't really feasible, again because of the lack of exotic supplies needed for the procedure.

Scrapper wrote:
Being the tomb of a heroic warrior, it could have been blessed and sealed with holy symbols of the local faith, perhaps preventing the lich from even getting with in 5-10ft of the exit due to warding magic, and the spirit of the dead warrior may have disrupted alternate plans of escape as well.

I'd prefer to keep things simple if possible. No need to add all kinds of fancy blessings if a big rock is sufficient. ;)

Scrapper wrote:
So lvl 11 Dwarf Necromancer(CR 10) with Lich template(CR +2) but hampered by lack of spells? Probably reduce the CR 1 to 3

Don't forget that he's got great saves, crazy skills, a heap of hit points, DR 15/magic+blunt, a fear aura, paralyzing touch, negative energy damage attacks, etc. He's a CR of 8; which is appropriate for the party's level.

Scrapper wrote:
or perhaps it regains some of it's spells by destroying the very gear he created for the dwarf warrior, reclaiming spell energies to inscribe new spells?

Sounds like a bit of a stretch...

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Dwarf wizard (necromancer, undead subschool) 11

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I'm preparing a scenario for an upcoming session. The PCs have been searching for the lost tomb of a legendary dwarf warrior and they are about to find it. First a bit of background, but if you don't want to read it all, just scroll down to the last paragraph.

Unbeknownst to the PCs, the warrior was betrayed and murdered by a dwarf wizard friend of his; the crafter of the wondrous weapons, armor and even a minor artifact used by the warrior. The wizard had grown resentful of the warrior using his items to gain fame and renown amongst their people while he himself was still looked down upon for practicing arcane magic. So, in search of respect and aggrandizement, the wizard began entertaining the overtures of some Whispering Way cultists, delved into necromancy and started preparations for becoming an all-powerful lich. If he couldn't make his people love him, then he'd make them fear him... Once well into it, he found that the final ingredient he needed for the vile transformational elixir was a hero's heart, and he figured he'd kill two birds with one stone; taking his revenge on the warrior by murdering him and using his heart in the elixir. Killing the warrior was easy; he didn't suspect the wizard and willingly accepted what he thought was a beneficial spell from his buddy, but which turned out to be a fatal curse instead.

Unfortunately for the wizard, some of the warrior's followers found him as he was brewing the elixir and, by that time, he'd already expended most of his daily spells in the lichdom ritual. So, the followers overpowered the wizard, stripped him of his gear, and shackled him. They didn't really know what he'd been doing, but in anger they force-fed him the vile concoction he'd been brewing (which they took to be poison). Then, as the wizard lay dying, the followers went about the process of converting an ancient subterranean shrine the hero had been using as a home-base into a tomb befitting the hero. After laying the hero to rest inside, they decided that trapping the still-dying wizard inside the tomb near his victim was poetic justice. They then reset a large stone plug into place to seal off the tomb forevermore.

Though the wizard's plans had been interrupted, they weren't necessarily ruined. He was suddenly under the gun however, needing to finish the ritual before his body died. He needed to prepare a phylactery immediately to protect his soul. Unfortunately, he was shackled, weak, low on spells and with few resources beyond the funerary goods inside the tomb. His only option was the minor artifact he'd made for the warrior long ago. He used his feats and what remaining spells he had to transfer his soul into it as his body died. And... it worked. He arose as a lich. It took some doing, specifically the breaking of his own limbs, but he eventually freed himself of the shackles. Unfortunately he had no way to regain his spells without his spellbook.

TLDR: Dwarf necromancer lich is trapped inside a tomb, sealed by a big rock he can't move, with no spells prepared and no gear but alongside a dead hero with magic armor, a magic weapon and the lich's own phylactery.

Now here's the point I need help with. I don't want the lich to have escaped; otherwise there's no encounter for the PCs inside the tomb. But I don't want to cheat the lich; he's an immortal genius with all the time in the world (specifically 700 years or so). What would he have done trapped for 700 years in a tomb with the body of his murdered victim? He was entirely new to undeath and lichdom when he was trapped inside, so just learning his own abilities and limits is step one. He might have tried killing himself, though I don't know if that's even possible since a lich can't overcome its own DR with its natural weapons. Even if he did, he'd simply reform inside the tomb since his phylactery is stuck inside with him. It would be sort of funny if he could succeed in killing himself however, cause he could end up with a potentially infinite number of bodies; forming a new one each time he arose... What else might he have tried to do to escape? Similarly, his natural attacks can't overcome the Hardness 8 of the stone plug since they only deal negative energy, right? The only metal tools he has for digging is the dead warrior's weapon; likely a greataxe or greatsword. But, even if magical, could he use it to deal sufficient damage to beat the rock's hardness 8 and deal the 200 hit points required to breach the stone plug? How much banging into solid stone can a magic axe take before being blunted itself? Would doing so utterly destroy the weapon, or would there be something left of it?

So that's my question; what will the PCs find inside when they open the tomb?

Does anyone else see Lokmorr as a bizarre and terrible waste of a complex and intriguing character? I say bizarre because I find the backstory of how he became "cursed" with immortality and trapped within the tomb rather hard to imagine. Dude grows jealous of his former friend, murders the guy and the gods figure that making him immortal is a reasonable response? Ookay. Then he gets trapped for seven centuries by some undetailed but evidently very skilled tomb builders who plied their trade on a remote mountain plateau in honour of the victim. Then his despondent mom starts worshipping some alien insect demon and she starts a multi-generational spider cult in Lokmorr's honor that endures for severn centuries...

I say terrible waste because all of this backstory amounts to an odd cat-and-mouse game with Lokmorr within the tomb in which he madly fights to the death against a group of strangers for... reasons. The most intriguing question about Lokmorr is never addressed in the module; what does he do if he outmaneuvres the party? What, after being trapped for 700 years, does he wish to do if he gets free of his prison? Lokmorr has the makings of a phenomenal reoccurring villain. He's immortal and he's had 700 years to scheme and formulate plans for when he escapes. Where might he go? What might he do? What's his goal? But instead, he's just a crazed dwarf made to kill or be killed by the party. How disappointing.

The all dwarf party in my Giantslayer campaign have gone somewhat off the rails; sidestepping a good chunk of the second module. This leaves them a bit underpowered before venturing into the deep end of the third module.

To that end, I'm looking at either shoehorning in a 6th level exploration side-quest or using a significantly more elaborate giantslayer's tomb than what is presented in the third module; seeing as how I find its arachnid-theme somewhat odd.

So can anyone suggest some cool 6th level dwarven tomb/ruin adventure; something substantial enough to take the PCs up to the edge of 8th level?

Upon seeing Redlake Fort, my players quickly tumbled to the notion of blowing the dam to flood the moat; sending an earth elemental in to do the deed from within the dam itself. There doesn't seem to be any mention of the size of the sluice gate or the rate at which the moat fills once it's opened. Anyone have a clue how long it might take before the entire moat is refilled?

I'm crunching some numbers, assuming that the sluice gate is maybe as big as 5 feet square, but it looks be a relatively slow process unless some major demolition work is done to the dam.

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JulianW wrote:
How does Melira find out about the PCs and their exact destination (right down to the specific stone marker they are told to look for) in time to send Tark a letter and sneak aboard the boat?

There are many many background details that are ignored in the first and second modules; this being a significant one.

After carefully going over the first module, I concluded that the saboteurs had no plausible skills with which to locate the tomb entrance nor to paint giant white crosses on vertical surfaces without being detected. As it turns out, Melira has access to spells, a wand of invisibility as well as the best ranks in Climb and Stealth among Skreed's crew, so I added her to the ranks of the saboteurs and gave these tasks to her. That placed her within Trunau before the raid.

She being entirely human however, unlike the other saboteurs, Skreed feared that the orc raiders might attack her on sight so he had her leave town shortly beforehand for safety's sake. I figured they had a rendezvous spot picked out a few hours outside of town where she waited out the raid.

Once Skreed was killed or captured and disarmed, his locket ceased functioning and Melira panicked; sneaking back into town the morning after the raid to see what had befallen her lover. She quickly zeroed in on the PCs since their heroics during the raid were all anyone was talking about in town. Then she used her stealth abilities and her wand to get close enough to overhear their conversation with Helgra and hatched her plan; hooking up with one of the undiscovered half-orc saboteurs (quite a few of them aren't detailed in the first module) and sent him with her message to Tark while she herself made her way to the river to infiltrate Bloodtusk's barge.

It seems highly unlikely that Helgra and Silvermane's conversations with the PCs or their mission was public knowledge; likely being known only to them and possibly the other council members. Getting Melira into position to eavesdrop on these exchanges seemed the only way for her to have enacted her plan so quickly unless the PCs sat around in town for weeks after raid talking about it; which I knew my players wouldn't. 2¢

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Dosgamer wrote:
In looking through my Belkzen sourcebook I noticed Heliu's Folly is very close to where Redlake Fort appears to be located. They aren't the same thing I trust, but which would characters encounter first as they travel inland from the River Esk?

Heliu's Folly and Redlake Fort are indeed different locations, though both are remnants of the line of defensive fortifications of the old Sunwall that fell roughly 300 years before the start of the AP. All of these forts are, according to the sourcebook, "placed at intervals of 15 miles" and "the keeps were built to be nearly identical to speed construction and save on


By carefully reading the location descriptions and comparing various maps of the area, it seems to me that Heliu's Folly comes before Redlake Fort along the river Esk; either 15, 30 or 45 miles east of it depending on if you think there should be other ruined forts in-between them. I created my own map of the region incorporating the various locations mentioned in the Belkzen sourcebook for the sake of fleshing out the adventure.

The fact that all the forts were "nearly identical" means that you even can use the Redlake Fort map as a starting point to design Heliu's Folly as a side quest if desired. :)

Dosgamer wrote:
Also, I noticed there is a note about a battle site along the River Esk that is manned by a paladin and supported by angels in times of need. I take it the paladin doesn't interrupt river trade and would have no problem with the boat traveling upriver?

Quite right. I described the ruins of Rake Island as having been a massive stone bridge built by the dwarves of lost Koldukar; part of a trackway that linked Koldukar to the Sky Citadel of Janderhoff beyond the Mindspin Mountains to the south-west.

Far from interrupting the progress of the Bloodtusk's river barge, I imagine Amahlia of Steyr eagerly awaits the traders' arrival. She's a lone knight of Ozem living on a deserted island in the middle of a swamp at the center of a nation of orcs. To maintain her vigil she invariably requires periodic resupply of food, equipment and likely correspondence with the outside world. As a neutral and legitimate trader who regularly travels up and down the river Esk, Captain Bloodtusk is ideally suited to the task. I had the barge briefly drop anchor beneath the ruined bridge's overhang so that a delivery of food preserves, kegs of ale, equipment, munitions, letters and small gifts sent to Amahlia by her fellows in the church of Iomedae in Vigil could be conveyed to her via a basket she lowered on a rope. The party had a brief conversation with the legendary Sentinel of the Battle of Lost Hope before the Captain received Amahlia's return letters and weighed anchor once more.

Although not really touched upon in the AP, I've had the barge stopping in predetermined spots to trade with the locals; both in large settlements like Castles Everstand, Firrine and Heliu's Folly, as well as smaller tribal orc settlements along the way. Sometimes the Captain doesn't even drop anchor; merely haggles with lone orcs running along the riverside before both parties agree and toss their wares back and forth. The captain often trades stuff that's hard to get in the area, like refined metals, tools and salt in exchange for furs and hides. More than ferrying passengers, this kind of riverside trading is Bloodtusk's bread and butter.

I'm trying to determine the cost of a Boots of Striding, which offers a +10 enhancement bonus to base speed, while discarding the Springing part, which grants a +5 competence bonus to Acrobatic (jump) checks. The listed cost of such boots are 5,500 gp.

Normally, when adding a second ability to a magic item, you multiply the lower item's cost by 1.5. A +5 competence bonus to a skill normally costs 2,500 gp, so it seems likely that it's the speed bonus that carries the lower cost. So, if the Striding ability cost 2,000 gp, multiplied by 1.5 equals 3,000; added to the Springing ability's 2,500 gp results in the full item's cost of 5,500 gp. Does 2,000 gp for a +10 base speed increase seem correct?

How much might the cost of additional speed increases for an item be calculated?

So one for, one against, no consensus?

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Thanks for reminding me. I also created a map handout of Redlake Fort for my players awhile back. Completely forgot I wanted to post it here. I kind of reverse engineered it to look as I imagined an architectural map of its construction might have appeared; minus the post-siege alterations that the orcs carried out. I also threw in a brief footnote.

Redlake Fort Player Map

I similarly added in an evening stopover in Squirestone and Castle Everstand during the river trip. Captain Bloodtusk had some business meetings to conduct at the Squirestone dock, so the party headed into the village to socialize away from the barge's half-orc crew while they could. They found the local watering hole and, being out-of-towners, folk asked them to share what news they had. So they started recounting the events of the raid on Truneau. Since it had happened only a few days earlier, folk in Lastwall hadn't yet heard of it, so news spread quickly in the small town. Soon Captain Gauntwood showed up with a small retinue of guards to see these orc-raid survivors for himself. After a bit of conversation, he invited the party to spend the night in Castle Everstand as his guests. Being a military officer on the border, he was quite interested in hearing anything they could tell him of this significant event so he could determine the level of threat still remaining for the area so to later submit an official report to his superiors. When the party told him of their intention to counterattack Redlake Fort, he recalled a book he'd had with a chapter about the Fort. Unfortunately, he'd lent it out to a friend of his, Dame Calrianne Blix, who'd been curious to read about an ancestor of hers detailed therein. Luckily, she was stationed at a waystation only a day or two's sail downriver... :)

How about the opposite? Say the Skald has regular Inspired Rage and an allied Barbarian has Controlled Rage. Could the barbarian use his own Rage's Dex bonus instead of the Str & Con bonus normally granted by the Inspire Rage?

The Urban Skald's 'Controlled Inspired Rage' ability modifies the Skald's normal ability to offer different benefits. If a Skald starts her Controlled Inspire Rage Raging Song and the party includes a Barbarian or Bloodrager with their own Rage abilities, would the normal Inspired Rage's ability to allow someone with their own Rage ability to use their Rage benefits instead of the Urban Skald's still apply, or is that part of the "normal benefits" of Inspired Rage?

edit: How about the opposite? Say the Skald has regular Inspired Rage and an allied Barbarian has Controlled Rage. Could the barbarian use his own Rage's Dex bonus instead of the Str & Con bonus normally granted by the Inspire Rage?

I always thought it'd be great fun to play a party of Sootscale kobolds in Kingmaker out to create their own empire. :)

Thanks Quibblemuch; the living monolith is a great resource. Right on target. Anything else?

I'm running an all-dwarf campaign in which I've featured the remnants of a prehistoric pre-diefic dwarven mystery cult which venerated the earth and celebrated their race's ties to that elemental plane. During their adventures, the group has found a giant geode-like series of caverns hidden beneath the First World in which dwarves, dwarf-oreads and earth elementals members used magic to record memories into the countless crystals lining the walls; a great archive of sorts.

The PCs are using these crystals to learn the cult's lost secrets. I'm wondering what sorts of things they might be able to glean from perusing the archive. Earth-based spells are a given, but I'm wondering if there are any feats, archetypes, prestige classes or other things that the players themselves may consider desirable. I'm open to 3rd party and even 3.X material if it's somehow earth-based and appropriate. The PCs are a Stonelord Paladin, a Warpriest, a Skald, an Invulnerable Rager Barbarian and a Conjuration Wizard.

Ok. Thanks guys.

As per the title; I'm wondering whether a hag druid would lose her substantial natural armor bonus when wildshaped into say an eagle. This situation arose in our Giantslayer campaign.

Any clue?

As the title, I'm wondering if Goblin Skull Bombs require a successful ranged attack or a touch attack. In the original RPG Superstar entry, it was clearly a ranged touch, but the SRD entry is a little vague:

SRD wrote:
A skull bomb can be used as a thrown weapon with a range increment of 10 feet. If the attacker hits, the skull shatters, immolating the target as described above.

Regular Thrown weapons require a normal ranged attack roll, while Thrown *splash* weapons only require a ranged touch attack. So which is the Goblin Skull Bomb?

I've always believed this was in the core rules; that in lieu of rolling one could accept the average of a die roll for a hit die, rounded down. So instead of rolling 1d10, a player could simply take 5 for example.

But, now that I'm looking for that option, I can't find any mention of it in the core rules. I even checked my old 3.X books to see if it was something we'd held over from previous editions, but I don't see it anywhere. Did my group simply imagine this? Was this ever a core rule?

I agree with VRMH; casting a stone-to-flesh spell on a statue results in a pile of un-living meat; essentially an inanimate object. Since it isn't a creature, it's not a viable target for a magic jar spell any more than a tree or a leather coat.

I seem to recall siege munitions and giants' boulders being singled out often as exceptions for magical defenses vs ranged attacks. Maybe I'm thinking about older editions.

As per the title, I'm just wondering whether this spell's effect might include big rocks thrown by giants or munitions fired from siege engines.

SRD wrote:
A magical field appears around you, glowing with a chaotic blast of multicolored hues. This field deflects incoming arrows, rays, and other ranged attacks. Each ranged attack directed at you for which the attacker must make an attack roll has a 20% miss chance (similar to the effects of concealment). Other attacks that simply work at a distance are not affected.

MeanMutton wrote:
So, they could get this by selling the half-plate for half price and then buying the full-plate for full price. That difference should be the cost of doing it.

I'd crunched the numbers in different ways, but your solution seems the simplest, fairest and most in keeping with the rules. Thanks MeanMutton. :)

I'm actually the GM. One of my players has asked whether it'd be feasible to upgrade an archaic suit dwarven half-plate the party found in a tomb. I was curious whether there was some system introduced that'd make this possible. My first instinct was to say no, for largely the same reasons Oxylepy stated. On the other hand, if it makes the player happy, why not?

Is it possible to modify an existing suit of armor in this way by adding additional plates, padding & reinforcement through crafting or some other process?

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I'd imagine that the Bag of Holding's apparent bulk is commensurate with it's weight; so I'd say folding it isn't really an option. It'd seem damn strange for a folded up piece of cloth to weigh 60 lbs.

I'm currently playing a treant-like eidolon synthesist and have the party's bag discretely tucked inside a knothole at the crux of my back branches.

It'd only make sense for such an iconic item to have been made with straps for ease of carrying, and yet the item's description seems to preclude any of the sort. Since carrying a loose bag that can weigh dozens of pounds would quickly grow tiresome. Sowing straps onto an existing bag wouldn't seem to be an option since piercing the bag with a sowing needle would destroy it instantly. The easiest solution would likely be to carry the bag inside of a conventional backpack or rucksack.

A player of a wizard PC in a game I run has asked to take this 1st level spell. I'm trying to decide whether to allow it or not. It's clearly modeled after magic missile, with identical range and number of missiles, but requiring ranged touch attack rolls in exchange for more damage of a selected energy type.

D20pfsrd wrote:

A bolt of a chosen energy type (acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic) blasts from your fingertips and with a successful ranged touch attack deals 1d6+1 points of the chosen energy type of damage.

For every two caster levels beyond 1st, you gain an additional missile: two at 3rd level, three at 5th, four at 7th, and five bolts at 9th level or higher. If you shoot multiple missiles, you can have them strike a single creature with one attack roll or several creatures with multiple attack rolls. A single bolt can strike only one creature.

With up to five missiles, the choice of all five energy types and medium range, is it too good for a 1st level spell?

Ah. Thanks for the clarification Rob. It's confusing as written since Story Awards are normally an addition to the the XP listed for each creature.

Last session, my players defeated Crusher. Now I'm trying to award XP for the fight but am not sure about the proper amount based on the encounter's variable CR. Crusher's XP award is listed as 2,400, though should it be reduced if the PCs' Resolve Points reduced his CR to 5 or 4? Does the Story Award for this encounter (3,200 XP) add to Crusher's XP or does it represent the total XP earned?

Karankwan wrote:
So did anyone have a different experience than this?

I guess my group simply got lucky though, being mostly beefy dwarven warrior types, they had no trouble making the Fortitude saves. Half the party had stayed outside the house (out of the smoke) and so were perfectly positioned to intercept the orcs before they could meddle with the rescue effort inside. Two full rounds later, the two rescuers exited with the the couple.

Thinking about it now though, wouldn't it be feasible for the PCs to simply hold their breath while carrying out the rescue to avoid the saving throws? Even with only a 10 Con, a PC can hold his breath for up to 2 minutes before needing to make any checks for suffocation; plenty of time to enter the house, find the couple and execute the rescue. It'd certainly seem far easier than contending with the chocking smoke.

I'm running the Giantslayer AP in which all the PCs are dwarves. As such, I'm trying to tie as many elements of the campaign as I can into dwarven history and tradition of Golarion. One notion I had was to replace the swamp-dwelling Council of Thorns' druidic order with a stone & crystal mystery-cult centered around the dwarves' ancient subterranean origins and their mystical ties to the element of earth. Instead of having reincarnated as Will-o'-wisps, the dwarves of the mystery cult instead transformed themselves into earth elementals to safeguard their vualt. I'm going to change the interior of the Vault of Thorns in the second module from a lush woodland-themed pocket plane to a giant hollow crystal geode with with a giant fungi forest inside.

I was thinking that the lone surviver of the "Council of Thorns", now a venerable dwarf known only as Silverbeard, may try to initiate the PCs into his largely extinct order. To that end, I'd like to hear some suggestions for fleshing out the possible lore and doctrine of an elemental earth based cult as well as giving it an appropriate name which the party could adopt as their own if they're so inclined. Suggestions welcome.

A Magnificent Mansion is tough to adjudicate since it's both a spell effect and its own plane (more or less). Unless there's some explicit top-down ruling, pretty much any plan you concoct will depend on how your GM interprets the combination of spells involved.

I'm not sure a Gate would function since, as per the spell description, a Gate can be prevented from opening by "beings who rule a planar realm"; which the MM's caster pretty much is.

There doesn't appear to be anything preventing the use of A Plane Shift to get inside except for perhaps the material component. Since it has no listed cost, any spell component pouch should have whatever attuned fork you might need to cast the spell. Seems to me that a successful spellcraft check would allow the caster to pick an appropriate fork. The GM might very well veto that however.

Since there appears to be some viable lower level spells, using a wish or miracle would certainly seem sufficient to get inside.

A successful Dispel Magic would also seem sufficient to end the MM spell effect. I don't see any reason it shouldn't work if cast on the door's location.

That'd really depends on how the party intends to make use of these PCs, their role-playing or tactical cleverness and the proclivities of the GM. Passing themselves off as new giant recruits hoping to join the growing army or possibly assassinating/impersonating/replacing a higher-up could wield amazing results with some successful die rolls as long as the GM likes the notion. The giant PCs could possibly end up with free-reign of most areas, invaluable tactical insight and possibly even giant allies working for them if really lucky.

After recoinoitering an area, making contact, winning over giant NPCs, the PC giants could possibly lead NPCs into carefully orchestrated ambushes or assassinations with minimal risks to the party; leading to huge tactical benefits as they gradually work their way through the giants' ranks. Silence spells, illusions and other means could be employed to keep the army's forces in the dark for quite awhile as the party slowly whittles away at it. The giant PCs could further mislead and confuse efforts to stop what's happening by spreading disinformation; throwing blame on one faction or another, weaving conspiracy theories and prodding the giants to either mutiny or disband. If truly daring, they could go so far as to try and seize control of the army for themselves; leading their giant forces against other giant enclaves in the following modules. The sky is the limit.

It really all depends on the play style of the group and especially the GM. Some GMs would encourage the guile of the players and reward their cleverness and good role-playing and see the PCs efforts as fun. Others would see it as a silly and unwelcome distraction from the tradional and straightforward kick-in-the-door style of gameplay; perhaps playing along for an encounter or two before bringing it to an unglorious end as the PCs' ruse is revealed and thwarted. It also depends on how much the other PCs are into it. If the non-giant PCs are unwisely sidelined while the half-giant and disguised wizard are out and about chatting up every giant in the valley, they'll quickly grow frustrated and less cooperative. To be successful and fun, everyone has to be on board and involved somehow.

Rhys has it right though, as he said, they're geared towards GMs. I'd say the Inner Sea Primer is sufficient for players to get a broad overview of the area.

As a GM I don't particularly care for the odd grab bag of spells wizards tend to have and so was thinking to change some of the fluff in spell descriptions so they adhere better to a theme. One of my players is playing a dwarven wizard and I thought it'd be more thematic to have his spells be earth based. To that end, I was thinking some of his damage dealing spells could have their energy component substituted with a spray of battering rocks or slashing obsidian shards; dealing blunt or slashing damage instead.

So my question is, if I take a cold-based ranged touch spell like Snowball and replace it with a ranged touch attack that deals blunt damage will game balance be preserved or is the notion too powerful?

Honestly, I have no end of questions regarding the Burnt Church, let alone the whole module.

Taking into account the distances and elevations involved, the half-orcs were were digging their tunnel in an open-air pit 70-ft from the nearest buildings in upper Trunau and only 140-ft from the southern-most watchtower and Halgra's residence. Why didn't anyone hear or see the dozen half-orcs carrying out heavy labour under their noses?

Why hasn't Othdan's family raised a fuss in town about his disappearance after several days of his being missing?

Why do Daktani and the flood trolls continue using the church as a nightly rendezvous locale after having been spotted there by a militiaman and considering that the church is infested with monsters and haunts? Surely there's some other discrete landmark outside of town they could use.

It's been noted by others before in the Battle of Bloodmarch Hill thread. As has been suggested...

The giant spiders, centipedes, rats and undead rats all poured out of the excavated tunnel shortly after the half-orc saboteurs accidentally broke through into their warrens and subsequently spread out to occupy their respective niches throughout the Plague House. So the vermin simply weren't around back when Brinya and Rodrick (or any other trysting couples) were meeting up inside.

As for the haunts, they're limited to a single room and remain at rest as long as no one happens to walk down the isle between the rows of bed frames. Knowing that the big room behind the double doors was the hospital ward where all the patients burnt to death, I imagine those visiting the Plague House have wisely kept out of it over the years. Also, it's possible that the dark energies which initially created the shadow rats also spilled out of the warrens to somehow empower the haunts to manifest as described in the module; meaning that they weren't previously an issue.

So, take away the monstrous vermin and haunts and visitors who entered through the front doors to walk down the central hall were treated to a quietly peaceful old church bathed in bright colour from the remaining stained-glass windows and with shafts of sunlight shinning down through holes in the roof. Looking at it in that respect, I can see how the large back room might make a serene and inviting love nest for those seeking privacy. ;)

Honestly, there are other aspects of the Burnt Church which baffle me more; such as why a big obvious lock box, various treasure stashes, sacred statuary and holy texts have never been reclaimed by the Sanctuary's clergy in the past fifty years...

Wonderstell has it right.

Yes to all your questions. The eidolon increases in size and so gains increased natural attack damage, longer reach and occupies a larger space along with the spell's listed bonuses and penalties.

So is it like a Mage Hand effect, which always remains with the caster except in the event where it is carrying something and cannot move its load as quickly as the caster is moving, in which case it ceases to exist? If so, then carrying it around is altogether unnecessary; it's just always there.

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