The other nice thing about anathemas is that they only work vs. creatures of the selected type. This is a benefit even if you are not trying to bypass racial poison immunity or a Periapt of Proof Against Poison. If you have prepared an inhaled dust poison as an anathema for drow, you can freely disperse it without worrying about harming a party member (unless you have one in your party). If you have converted an ingested poison, you can mix it in food, serve it at the table, and even go ahead and eat that food in front of your target to show it is harmless.
The text says "When an investigator creates or prepares a poison, including poisons derived from racial or class abilities, he can spend one use of inspiration to create an anathema instead." So you get the racial targeting specification and whatever other ability you select instead of what the poison would normally do. The only properties of the poison held over are method of delivery (contact, ingested, inhaled, or injury) and save DC.
Question also on Vaporous Potions. Clearly, the intent is that you can use potions as improvised single-target (targets one square) ranged "attacks" to provide the benefits of the potion to a party member. But what about hitting my own square?
Drinking a potion in combat is normally a standard action that provokes attacks of opportunity. The text says the vial is considered an improvised weapon, so if I throw it at my own square I still provoke attacks of opportunity (for making a ranged attack in a threatened area, if I don't have the proper feat), which means I might as well just drink it. But what about simply dropping it? Dropping a held item is a free action that does not provoke, but would there be a chance it fails to break? If it doesn't break, can't I just stomp on the following round since it will then be an unattended object?
If dropping it without provoking works, then will brew every potion this way and drop them like ninja bombs at my own feet every combat. People will be able to tell where I have been by the caltrop-like spread of broken glass. Since applying this Versatile Brewing feat does not increase the level or cost of the potion, there really is no downside to applying it to every potion and keeping my options open.
Question on Phase Step. I know it was included in this book because it is a potable version of Dimension Door, but it is also castable as a spell.
If brewed into a potion it is pretty clear how it works: Subject spends a standard action to drink the potion, teleports a short distance, and then its turn ends (unless it has the Dimensional Agility feat) as per the spell D-Door.
But if cast as a spell, you can target another willing subject touched. What happens to that subject's actions? It is transferred to the new location on your turn, not its turn. Does it lose the entirety of its next action? Only lose the remainder of its current action (for example, if it was readying or delaying)? Or suffer no penalty and just act normally on its each initiative?
Dimension Door says after using it you can't take any actions until your next turn. "You" means the caster when talking about a spell, though it becomes the subject when dealing with a potion. So it sounds like if you cast it as a spell, you can't then take additional actions that round, but the subject who is teleported (assuming you didn't target yourself) is not impaired.
Rezing this thread because a new issue was raised in-game:
Can you use this spell to gain flanking? Since the subject makes a full attack into the space it believes the nightmare opponent occupies, you know where the victim thinks its opponent is. So if you step into the space where the target would be flanked do you gain the bonus because it believes it is flanked?
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
You thought so because the text says: "You lacerate the body of the target creature with telekinetic force..." How many telekinetic effects aren't force? If it isn't force then it does untyped damage. Given that this spell appears to have gone to press when it wasn't ready to roll, it is just as likely the [Force] descriptor was left off along with whatever we were supposed to see in the text about that Fort save.
OK, so the subject believes it is being attacked by a creature out of its nightmares and makes a full attack against that creature each round, but where does this combat happen? Is it all in the creature's head? It is an Illusion (Phantasm) [Mind-Affecting], but the actual text says: "Each round the subject makes a full-attack action against the creature" not that it imagines it is doing so without actually burning any resources. So, as written, the subject takes real swings in the game world, or does it?
So at what "range" does the imagined combat occur? Is the target locked in melee? It doesn't say so. Does the caster need to specify which square the imagined foe occupies? It doesn't say that either. Would an archer see the creature at range and begin wasting real arrows shooting at it? Does an affected alchemist start lobbing bombs (with Fast Bombs and Rapid Shot that can be quite a few explosives as a full-attack, and with Precise Bombs he doesn't care if the target is only one square over) round after round? With the alchemist example, it makes a huge difference whether the combat is entirely imaginary (and he still has all his bombs when it is over because he only thought he was throwing them) or if he is blowing away bystanders (including the person who cast on him) because they are in the splash zone around his illusory opponent of no fixed position.
I certainly would't mind seeing some new alchemical remedies, and better ones. They are cheaper than potions and give characters who put points into Craft (Alchemy) something useful to do with their skill.
Did you know that if you are suffering from the nauseated condition drinking a dose of Wismuth Salix allows you to roll a save at +2 to end the condition? Would be useful, except the only action you can take is a single move action per turn, so you can't drink a potion, elixir, or remedy while nauseated. So maybe add a remedy in a jar where all you have to do is open it (as a move action) to release the anti-emetic vapors.
I also wouldn't mind some new pharmaceuticals and tech healing to supplement the Tech Guide. Even an quarter page would be nice, it might actually tempt someone to spend a feat on Craft (Pharmaceutical). My group is 4.5/6 of the way through Iron Gods and the tech healing options are just underwhelming -- we really want to like them and call them cool, but we don't; we use regular healing. Well. except for Medlances, those are awesome and my alchemist keeps a bandolier full of them with pre-loaded potion and infusions. Against willing targets administering is a move action (see Nausea relief, above) so it saves me having to use Touch Injection and has better action economy.
I would also like to second the plea for a damage and condition transfer healer (an Empath-type) which was mentioned on the first page of this thread.
1) Techno Savant. Someone who masters tech (including figuring out how to work unfamiliar devices) by instinct as opposed to training. Give them a mechanic like Inspiration that applies to Use Tech Device, Repair Device, etc. And maybe a pool similar to Grit/Panache that applies to wresting an extra charge or getting an unfamiliar gizmo to do something useful.
2) ESPion. Psionic spies who use telepathy and remote viewing. The craft of psychic spying and subterfuge would be known collectively as ESPionage.
3) Something akin the the Bene Gesserit with the serial numbers filed off. The Vox from Ultimate Intrigue is close (has the compelling voice thing down) but it lacks the body control and the access to an Akashic memory of their order. The mechanic for "Other Memory" could be like Inspiration only for Knowledge skills. They would also need those myths and legends seeded across multiple worlds, and the organization would need to pursue inscrutable agendas that span centuries. Cause what kind of star-spanning futuristic adventure would be complete without mysterious and sinister bald women?
"It is impossible to cast a spell with an emotion component while the spellcaster is under the influence of a non-harmless effect with the emotion or fear descriptors."
Descriptors come with spells, spell-like, and supernatural effects. Merely being upset does not come with the "upset" descriptor. Also, being angry is harmless (there are not game effects for the player controlling a character being upset and having his character lash out at the offending monster) and therefore not non-harmless.
"Even if the effect’s emotion matches the necessary emotion to cast the psychic spell, the spellcaster is not in control of her own desires and animal impulses, which is a necessary part of providing an emotion component."
The key is you being in control of your emotions. If you are ticked-off (as opposed to someone else forcing anger upon you) then it is your emotion.
If using the RAW then those are the things to look for: Is it non-harmless? Is there an emotional descriptor? Who controls the effect?
Encumbrance is fairly easy since everyone is my group uses Hero Lab for character sheets. When it flags that you have medium encumbrance you can go through your character and say "oh yeah, those 20 torches and a tent I have been carrying around since first level. And the wand I got at second and have never burned a charge. And all those potions I never drank. Now that I am 12th level I should sell some of this junk."
Option 3 only for those spells where a specific costly material component is listed (generally listed parenthetically in the components line). Gathering such components is part of adventuring and becomes the basis of quests.
For material components with a negligible cost we just assume that when you buy a spell component pouch it contains all low-cost components for all the spells you are currently able to cast, and you are assumed to be gathering components from the environment constantly and the cost of such is not tracked as part of group treasure. We also do not require that casters pull a specific material out of their pouch; merely having the pouch in hand is sufficient. For example, I have never said: "I see that spell requires a bit of animal hair, how are you separating that from the bits of human hair, spider web, and other fibers in your pouch?" Instead, when you cast a tiny bit of the appropriate material is consumed without the need for you to fish it out.
The only times negligible-cost components have ever mattered at our table are those few times when due to circumstance a caster doesn't have them. I had my entire party fall into rapids and get tumbled and nearly drowned for 10 rounds before going over a waterfall. When they hauled-out into the bank they were attacked. The wizard had lost most of his components and certainly didn't have any spider web or a pinch of flour on him. The other time, and it is equally rare, is when someone makes the effort to make a combat steal maneuver and grabs your component pouch. In that case, you can't cast spells with components you no longer have on your person. Not because you can't afford them, but simply because you don't have them. The rogue gets that much for his successful combat maneuver, and for guessing right on which of 10 pouches to snag.
Ectoplasmic Eruption. Psychic 7, Spiritualist 6.
Does 6d6 bludgeoning damage to all creatures in a 30 foot radius burst. Reflex for half. It affects ethereal and incorporeal creatures normally.
Other effect: ethereal and incorporeal creatures in the area must make a Will save (regardless of whether or not they made the Reflex save) or be pushed partially into the material plane. Those who fail can't enter or pass though solid objects, take half damage from nonmagical attacks, take full damage from magic weapons, spells, spell-like effects, and supernatural effects. Corporeal spells and other effects that don't do damage affect the target normally instead of having a 5% miss chance. It keeps all other benefits of being incorporeal and its AC does not change. This effect lasts 1 round/level.
If the spell works, the initial damage is the least impressive part. Your entire party gets to attack the target normally, and it can't escape by phasing through through a wall or the floor.
If the Adventure Path after the current one is designed to support Occult Adventures then the individual and final boss fights will be meant to be handled as simultaneous physical and psychic fights. Of those published, only a few would fit the flavor. I could see it being the thing to do against the AI opponents in Iron Gods -- Psiberspace/Matrix duel while the rest of the team is tackling the foe's physical systems.
You can quick draw a grenade (it is ammunition) and according to the Technology Guide it is a free action to arm and prime it. Unless you fire it from a grenade launcher, however, it goes off at the beginning of your next turn instead of on impact. So tricks that let you lob it faster only give opponents more time to deal with it before it detonates.
Occult Adventures has multiple spells that affect non-corporeal creatures (ghostbusting appears to be a specialty of two of the new classes).
On the Magus spell list.
Magus 2: Ghost Whip: Creates a ghost touch whip. It passes through objects and creatures other than your target.
Magus 3: Ectoplasmic Snare: Creates a tendril of ectoplasm that grapples a target and binds it to you. This works on non-corporeal creatures.
Magus 4: Ethereal Fists: Your claws, unarmed strikes, and touch spells affect ethereal creatures.
Ectoplasmic Eruption (Psychic 7, Spiritualist 6). 6D6 bludgeoning damage and entangle effect in a 30-ft-radius burst. More importantly, incorporeal creatures must make a Will save or be pushed partially into the material plane for 1 round/caster level. Those affected can't pass through solid objects, take half damage from non-magical attacks, and take full damage from magic weapons, spells, spell-like effects, and supernatural affects. Corporeal spells and effects that don't do damage affect the target normally instead of having a 50% miss chance. If you manage to land this one early you won't need to worry about ghost touch because all your weapons and spells will be able to hit, and the ghost can't escape by phasing though a wall or floor.
Calm Spirit (Cleric 2, Medium 1, Shaman 2, Spiritualist 2). Doesn't harm a ghost, but it can't attack or initiate any type of hostile action for a few rounds, giving you time to set up your plans.
Incorporeal Chains (Psychic 6, Spiritualist 5). Does 1D8 + ability mod damage and the creature gains the grappled condition. As the name implies, it works on incorporeal targets.
Purge Spirit (Medium 2, Occultist 2, Psychic 3, Sorc/Wiz 4, Spiritualist 2, Witch 4). Does 1D6/level and target is staggered 1 round (Will save for half and not staggered). It works on ghosts.
There are more, but these might be what you are looking for. Most every spell that has the word "ethereal" or "ectoplasm" or "spirit" in its title will work on non-corporeal undead.
Almost forgot, with the Mind Swap, Major method (see above), if you use a hapless third person use a newborn baby because: 1) Terrible Will save. 2) If seekers manage to find their mark's body and un-petrify it the mind in that body won't be able to tell them anything. Not even with torture. It won't even know what its native body looks like or what its name is. Even with mind reading they won't get any useful info. 3) If the baby doesn't even have a name that is one less bit of info they might use for scrying. 4) Smaller body you trap the mark's mind in means a smaller rock to hide after you petrify it.
Note: May run afoul of that right/wrong thing people are always going on about.
Can we use Occult Adventures?
Assuming you are the same race as your target, cast Mind Swap, Major to permanently body switch with the target. If you are sentimental about your own body, cast it once to mind swap with a lowbie nondescript schlub, again to swap with your target, and a third time to jump back to your original body (leaving your target and hapless bystander in each other's bodies).
Then, flesh to stone on your target (both of them if applicable), then permanent Sequester on the statue(s) you have created.
He isn't dead, so even True Res doesn't work. Even if they manage to find his petrified body by groping for it, well, it isn't really him because another mind is in it permanently. As for finding his mind, they don't even know what his body looks like, much less where it is.
You could take a cue from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: Despite his prodigious knowledge of archeology, at the beginning of the story Indy didn't know for sure that the artifact even existed, much less where it was. There was an organization (the Order of the Cruciform Sword) that did know, but they were unknown to the protagonists at the beginning of the story. Said organization wasn't seeking the item, they were actively protecting its location and eliminating anyone who got too close to finding it. Indy didn't make a single knowledge check that revealed everything, but he got something for each phase of his investigation -- each interaction lead to another breadcrumb to follow. Eventually, his adventure lead to the library where he crossed paths with the Order and learned there was a group who knew exactly where the Grail was (confirming that it existed, if not all its powers).
So, it is possible to have this skill check give the player something valuable that moves the story forward without it being a complete spoiler. If you give absolutely zip on a 32, then you are sorta binding yourself to setting all DCs higher for further rolls.
My group has discussed this quite a bit and come to realize that some form of Clash of the Titans syndrome is inherent in a tabletop game that uses miniatures and a battle map. Players take the roles of gods, just like in the movie, who move figures of beings who act as their avatars or puppets in the game world. Through this controlled avatar (player character) a players works his or her will in the same world, but the view from the world above and beyond the table surface is always present. You want players to inhabit their characters and play as though they actually were them, then you should either get rid of the figures and go with full immersion, or make the players wear goggles with fiberoptic cables that tunnel their vision down to the table top level, even drilling holes through the figures' heads so the view shows whet the min would see. In that case, you might want to go with a game with facing, since PF characters can spin in place like tops and it will make you dizzy if you try to map your eyes to theirs. Players made to fully inhabit their miniatures should also roll to hit their target spaces, even if the rolls area fairly easy, to see if they center their area effect correctly.
With Clash of the Titans, players move solid mini statues, but they are not animating bodies of lead, pewter, or plastic or pretending that tiny toy constructs are their character. Those items are mere tokens representing the characters position in the game world and their relative distance form one another. It there are figures on a table, then the top-down view is there, it is simply the interface between you and the game.
You, the player control your character and endow him/her with basic wants and goals. but you don't imagine it it is the figure wanting;you are not playing the tiny figure, you are playing the full-sized virtual character tied to that figure.
While you are aware of your character, he or she is not aware of you., nor aware of the toy figure token, nor aware of the gridlines on the battle map, though all of there are real to you. This the basis of out of game meta knowledge; when characters can appeal to their uberselves for aid and resources. Now, maybe your character worships Zon-Kuthon, but you don't (I hope) so when your PC is asking the Midnight Lord for help he is really asking he DM.
I did side with the player. And let him continue to use his spell range and area templates rather than force him to occasionally catch a PC in a spell in the interest of avoiding the gods' eye view metagaming effect. The rest of the party also wanted to keep playing as though their characters were tactical veterans.
I don't force a barbarian player to rip a phonebook in half before he can make use of his character's 27 Str, so there is no reason to force someone whose character's Int exceeds his own to make idiotic decisions. A certain amount of "yes, he is able to see the math in every angle. And he has been slinging fireballs for 30 years" should be included in his character's high Int score.
A knowledge check that high should make her aware of the 10-20 people (or a subset of them) who are aware of the artifact, even if she doesn't immediately become one of those illuminati. People can, for example, be aware of the existence of Freemasons, even if they know none of their secrets. If information has been actively scrubbed, then she should notice there are voids in the available records about... something. Her skill roll might also yield something like: "Hmmm... I have made enough of a research effort to have found the data, or proof of its falsehood, but I found neither. It seems even the Akashic record has been altered. I wonder what this means?" In other words: Let the knowledge roll give her a good reason to care, and want to learn and explore more.
Example of a metagaming conversation I had with a player (paraphrased):
It was 3.5. We were using miniatures, hex map instead of squares, and had 3-D dioramas for walls. This player had plastic meter sticks designed to work with the hex map scale to measure his spell ranges, and area effect templates he could hold over the battle map to determine exactly which spaces would be affected, and exactly who would or would not receive cover based on where an area effect was centered.
Me: "You know, technically, it is metagaming. You are taking advantage of your top-down view of the battle map. Your character is in the world; he can't count out hexes from above. You also can't see those guys behind that wall, even if you know they are there.You should just tell me where you intend center that fireball, then we figure out if your target space is in range and who is going to be affected."
He: "You know, technically, my character has a 24 Int, 15 ranks in Knowledge (Engineering), and four metamagic feats that alter spell range, area, and shape, and to extend spells into other dimensions. My counting out hexes is just a way to simulate someone who can process quadratic equations in his head faster than any of use can do it with a calculator and who has spatial skill we could barely comprehend."
That is a point -- if you feel like players are circumventing the game rules by metagaming, then making additional rules for them to ignore is unlikely to solve the problem. Problems arising from out of game knowledge require an out of game conversation.
I consider it metagaming if my party is fighting 2 trolls, but the players note I have set aside figures for 4 more and adjust their strategy, like the wizard holding back that fireball until the remaining trolls move into view, but I am not going to force the wizard to cast now rather than hold back to counter this annoyance, nor am I going to randomize PC actions to prevent them from using this OoGK.
The mass combat rules. Because they don't feel like mass combat so much as each army oozes together to form Mecha-Shiva and they each go at it as massive single creatures. I get that they were trying to simplify and not have a role-playing game transform into a tabletop wargame, but it just doesn't feel like armies fighting. Just about to start module 5 of Kingmaker, and half my players are hardcore Warhammer fans, and I know they are going to be grinding their teeth over these mechanics.
Sending. It doesn't allow a saving throw, or SR, and range is unlimited if you know the target and it is on the same plane. If you are in downtime and can cast it one or more times, you can mentally tweet the BBEG of your campaign, even if it does him no harm and he is not obligated to act on the message.
"Hey, its 2 AM here. I'm bored. What are you doing? What are you wearing? Will you tell me a story?"
"Wha? You? Why are you talking to me??? Get out of my head!!!"
[casts it again]
"Ohhhhh, sounds like someone needs a hug. Who's the big evil necromancer grumpy pants? You are."
"....Not listening.... not listening... I will kill you slowly someday."
Monster knowledge skills are supposed to provide a benefit for making them rather than remove a state of being hosed for not attempting them. If you make the check then you know holy water is a good idea. If you don't even attempt it, then you are on your own to come up with ideas. Yes, there are individual monsters who break the molds for their kind and you will have to find out the hard way: "yikes, these are bog mummies. They are immune to fire rather than being highly flammable." If the monster at hand isn't one of those, there is no reason a single monster 411 check should have a huge effect on the fight.
Minor and Major Creation for their oft-forgotten Dismissible duration. Make a 50 or 100 foot rope to climb or use as a zip line, when your enemies try to follow dismiss it when they are at the highest point. It is so priceless to the the look on faces as they are grasping at empty air for just a split second. Pitons, door spikes, and shims for deactivating traps are other fun items to have simply disappear at just the right moment.
So throw it and see what happens. Either they are vulnerable or they are not. The knowledge check doesn't determine whether or not the holy water will do damage; it determines whether or not you expect it to work.
i've always rolled openly... the screen took to much space on the table, true story. never used it later either.
The DM screen used to be indispensable (whether or not it was standing on the table) because it contained all the tables and quick reference rules so you didn't have to flip through the books. The newest one not so much because a tablet delivers the info better with just a few finger flicks. Now, the inside of my screen is covered with notes about which NPC's the players have/haven't met and whom they are on good terms with, which organizations they have interacted with, and a Golarion calendar with campaign events (to remind me to say Erastus instead of July).
I have instructed my players to give me the raw results of the roll only when: 1) They get a natch 20. 2) They get a natch 1 on a roll where 1 automatically fails. 3) They beat the DC of an all-or-none effect (no bonus for making it by X amount) with the roll even before adding bonuses. At all other times I will assume the announced number is the total.
The flavor text from Self-Perfection even suggests some physical checks you might make:"The focus you find while exercising, fasting, and otherwise tending to your body broadens your psychic powers."
Exercise: As previously noted, swim and climb checks are not uncommon. Where other casters would levitate, you actually climb. Not sure I would let a player have a point for doing jumping jacks, but 10 minutes of yoga or tai chi maybe.
Fasting: You stop eating 3 days before adventuring. The Con checks you make to avoid starvation damage and fatigue starts out at DC 10 and you get to add your Con and Wis mods, so it is good for a few daily phrenic pool points before you are really worried. And you get to tell your party that it isn't an eating disorder, it is the pursuit of your perfect self.
It it isn't just a matter of challenging the character, there is also realizing when something isn't a challenge and then not wasting time having them roll. Do quantum physicists have to roll mental dice to recognize the formula E = mc2? (how do I get a superscript on this board?). Do students of American history roll to see if they have heard of George Washington? If you are trained in a mental skill then there is probably a body of knowledge that is basic to that skill and you just know it all. If someone has a 95% chance to make the skill roll that does not mean there are 5% holes in his grasp of the most basic concepts related to that skill (which is what happens if you make him roll for everything -- eventually he will blow the roll on something he can't reasonably not know. It is funny when that happens, but not particularly plausible.
I don't do gimmes as often with physical skills, but if the party has to cross 10 feet of still water, and one has ranked Swim to the point where he is basically Michael Phelps, I don't ask for a roll. I don't say: "Your take 10 would make it" (especially when his take 2 would make it) I say: "You swim across. The rest of you (who don't have a single rank) roll."
Take a look at Grouped Skills in Pathfinder Unchained. I have been using it to write up NPC's (did not impose it on my players since they said they didn't want a skill set change and didn't want to retro-write their characters). Works great for quick NPC generation: Even for a middling to high level rogue, I have 3 to 5 skill groups to pick, then a handful of specialty skills and I am done. No level-by-level skill rank allocation.
As it turns out, changes in the way skill are purchased, rather than in how they are executed, makes little difference in game play. It is a timesaver to general skill totals, but an NPC with 15 total sense motive mod still makes the same roll regardless of the build mechanics by which the total was generated.
Not quite at will for Self-Perfection since you can only invoke the ability a limited number of times per day, but it does amount to: You can reliably replenish up to your Wis mod in phrenic pool points per day. The rules for regaining Grit and Panache points state you don't get them back for ganking something that isn't a threat or if you have some means to autocomfirm a crit. Physical Push doesn't contain such verbiage, not only can it be a trivial roll but you get a bonus to it. I am guessing many DMs would rule that it is implied that trivial DC rolls don't hone your mental and physical attributes.
Mike J wrote:
If there is something that is a major plot terminator for an entire adventure, then it is generally a bad idea to have it be dependent on the results of single skill check or on the PC's asking a question that might be obvious to you, but isn't to them.
So if a Knowledge (History) check is what you have decided is going to give them the breadcrumb trail that leads to the next part of the adventure, and a PC makes it, then major props to the character whose recall of history propelled the adventure forward. If not, then you aren't bound to give it to them anyways, but there should be another way. Something they can do. Maybe the character uses a resource to re-roll the check. Or maybe they have to hit the library and do some research. Or they call in favors. Or maybe the single skill check was the easy way to get the information and instead they have to do it the hard way by beating or intimidating it out of someone. Or they might just come up with an intuitive leap that you never even considered that takes them to the next stage of the adventure.
It is a way to save a little time -- OK, a whole lotta time in many cases -- in exchange for a bunch of bookkeeping. You need to keep track of how many doses of urea, ruby of arsenic, myrrh, ginger extract, etc., you have on hand. In some cases you also need to track what lab equipment you have (did you break your retort, or leave it back in your home lab, or is it in your backpack?). If you have all the ingredients and all the paraphernalia then you can make some low level stuff without having to wait for a significant stretch of downtime.
My Alch will probably make some of the fireworks just for fun (and for sale if we go to Varisia) but most of the items will rapidly stop being worth whatever action it takes to deploy them. There is absolutely noting in the manual that is so powerful that you should really be rolling on a fumble table to see if you blow your lab up while making it.
Well, not so much squirm as demonstrate those narrative skills that a good storytelling DM needs. If you are fudging the mechanics (bumping the DC of even simple tasks so you need a 15 on the roll, not just the skill total, as the OP stated) and are telling a good enough story, then it should be completely seamless and not strain the suspension of disbelief. If it is obvious to your players ever time you apply a fiat and it is taking them out of the story, then they should be able to (in character) ask if their actions are important to the overall story arc.
Note: I did say in another post that fudging the rolls is fine and has its place. I would have had several total party wipes if I didn't overrule a few dice rolls here and there, But I don't overrule character actions or simply nerf the results of decisions they have made, nor do I boost DC's to make their character development pointless.
When my current campaign ends most of the PC's will have families. They are founding a kingdom and so each of the new noble houses will need at least an heir and spare. They will also, as a group, write up two new regional traits that will be available for characters from our next game cycle (one of the current players will rotate into the DM chair) and PC's from the next group could be the children of the current PCs (but probably won't). Oh, and one PC already has a semi-adopted ward.
In previous games we have had characters pair off and raise families, just not while those characters are in play. Pregnant spouses and infants are the sort of DNPC that the BBEG just can't resist, so keep them in a pocket dimension while you are out adventuring.
Oh, definitely cast Legend Lore on the spot. When you have the person (or in this case his corpse) and place (the pit where he died) at hand the casting time is only 1d4 X 10 minutes. It can take weeks to cast otherwise. So get the 411 while you can. And if the storytelling DM isn't an utter hack he should welcome the chance to rattle off new details in the story he is telling and enhance the rich details of a campaign to complex to be derailed by anything as trivial as player characters.
Back to the OP (who hasn't chimed back into this thread with more details, so going off the first post). If the DM is using impossible DC's (as in made-up after you roll and tell him what you got), foregone conclusions, and impassible obstacles to keep the party following the story, just point out those times when this type of storytelling strains verisimilitude.
DM: "You see a 50 foot pit with wicked spikes on the bottom. The skeleton of some hapless adventurer is impaled upon the spikes."
Player1: "How do we know it is an adventurer?"
DM" Uhhhh... moldering remains of adventuring gear cling to the skeleton... So anyways, back to the story..."
Player2: "I fly down there and cast detect magic, The corpse must have some amazing gear if he got this far in."
Player1: "Grab the skull so I can cast legend lore on it. This person must have been a rogue of some renown. Considering he had to have bypassed and reset all the traps and illusions that we did. Because there is only one entrance. He certainly didn't go through any of the doors that are adamantium and welded shut that so carefully guided us along this glorious path."
DM: "None of the items are magic. So back to the story..."
Player3: "That doesn't make any sense. Not even a chime of opening or some magic thieve's tools? There is no way a lowbie schlub made the check to see the invisible entrance door, then managed to deactivate and reset that trap (I barely made it at +20) picked the lock, and survived the disintegration effects that beset us at every wrong turn. You know what this means -- there has to be another entrance."
DM: "No! The legends are very specific: There is only one way into and out of the tower of ultimate doom. So, back to the story..."
Player2: "No way. We simply have to know who this person was. He or she must have had a pivotal role in the lore of this dungeon. Each of us has trained to be experts in our particular area, yet this dungeon (like every one in your world) has has challenge us like were were still first level. And this poor soul made it farther than we have so far, apparently with no magic gear. We will need to delve into how he or she was able to do this because it is all about the story man."
Player1: "Yeah, how could I possibly take another step when the body a legendary adventurer needs to be laid to rest? I assume you are going to have full details when we do legend lore."
If your DM is of the "participatory fanfic masquerading as a game type, and you call him on it in-character and in the context of the story then he either has to come up with something to salvage the story line or retro out the element that made you call shenanigans.
Minor (or Major) Creation, not only is the created object there for your use, it is also not there at your option because the duration is Dismissible. So while you can use the obvious created objects such as ropes or ladders to climb into/out of pits, or up to/down from cliffs and ledges, don't forget that when the bad guys try to pursue you you can dismiss the object with a standard action. Do it when they are at the top of the climb just for the look on their face. Created rope bridge used to cross a bottomless canyon? Yes, be sure and dismiss it when the hordes of barbarians is crossing after you. If you make a weapon, or simply a mass of material to bash someone's head in with, it will vanish at the end of its duration (whether or not you dismiss it) leaving nothing for that occultist to do object reading or psychometry on. If you are setting up a deadfall, just stack up a framework of created material with some very heavy non-created matter on top. when your foes are underneath, dismiss all the fake matter to spring your trap.
Kinda hard to pull off (will probably have to Extend and maybe layer on some illusion) but if an enemy is building a wall or other structure and you can add some created logs, bricks, or stone blocks, they could be incorporated into the wall which might then collapse when random bits of the structure simply cease to exist.
Pretty sure priests of Zyphus make use of this all the time.
Kingmaker is sandbox with no enforced order for the outdoor map encounters (there are triggers for the set events). There is nothing preventing characters at first level from heading directly to the 4th module's content, except their own ability to realize they are in over their heads and to pick a different direction. My party chewed through the low-level content with few issues. They wound up running from spider swarms (as they should have; they had no area effect damage) and came back better prepared. They entirely missed the hidden content of a couple of hexes. Every single high crit multiple or high damage weapon that had me a bit nervous, was in the party's hands the next fight.
Is the DM upping the XP rewards to reflect the higher challenge? He should. It is just like slapping the Advanced template on a monster on the fly when you are worried the basic monster won't make the party break a sweat -- it increases the CR by 1 and the XP should be adjusted accordingly.
On the fly adjustment of DC has its place, but it should serve the story and it is just as likely a DM will need to adjust down as up. Like when you set the DC of the lock on the only entrance to the dungeon so that the party rogue has a 80% chance to pick it, but when they actually get there the rogue doesn't have cat's grace up and the party bard is out of performance rounds and so can't inspire competence. If you didn't intend that single skill check to be a stopper that turns the party back and prevents them from entering the tomb you spent weeks designing, then you might want to fudge the DC and just let them in. The way I try to avoid this: When setting the DC for important skill checks I don't assume any non-constant modifiers (spells, on-use or expendable items, rounds of inspire competence, etc.) will be in play. If the party chooses to use those resources, then they have an easier time.
One thing you might point out to your DM: By bumping the DC to the point where the character who has spent skill ranks and feats to be very good at that roll has a slim chance of succeeding, he has ensured that no one else in the party has any chance whatsoever. What you wind up with is a party like: "He is our perception guy. He is the one who can notice stuff. The rest of us blunder around like naked mole rats, we didn't even train perception because we can't be good enough to beat the ever-increasing DC it takes to see and hear stuff in this world and still be good at the other stuff, so we leave that to the perception guy and hope he can point all the threats out."
Knowing your party's take 10 numbers for various skills is a great tool for a DM to set the DC's for a skill check or encounter. The take 10 number is that "just under 50%" mark for a DC. It is also a good way to waive a roll entirely when there is no reasonable way a trained person should fail a check (or when you didn't intend for a specific minor dice roll to derail an entire adventure): "If you are trained in knowledge, local, then you have heard of this guy" is the same as saying "The DC on the knowledge local check to recognize his name is under your take 10 for the skill so we don't have to wait while you pull out your phone, boot up your dice rolling app, then spend 30 seconds staring at the screen and doing math in your head before telling me the result."