Wild Watcher

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Goblin Squad Member. RPG Superstar 8 Season Star Voter. Organized Play Member. 257 posts (419 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 10 Organized Play characters. 2 aliases.

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I'd like to hear thoughts from the community about how everyone handles situations with Dominate Person like the situation that came up for us last session.

We're running through Giantslayer and, since giants are known to have weak minds, the group rightfully used Dominate Person and the target rolled a natural 1 on its save. Dominate successful.

The command they gave the giant was to turn and kill that other giant right there, so he did that. Other giant dead. I did not feel that making a giant attack another giant was "against its nature" since I see them as creatures that fight amongst themselves all the time anyway and sometimes that leads to killing each other.

This is the point where my group got frustrated with me as the GM. My interpretation of the spell is that, having completed the action he was commanded to perform, in the absence of any further commands (because the caster's turn had not yet come back up in the initiative to provide another command), the Dominated giant was free to behave normally and do things that he would otherwise normally do such as take attacks of opportunity against these humans who were obviously here to murder him. So he took his AoOs as people moved through his threatened area. My group was upset by this, believing that, in the absence of any further commands, the giant should perform no actions or at the very least should not attack the party.

My group then, beginning to feel that I was being a jerk for trying to be overly pedantic with the wording of the command, next issued an overly worded compound command, something like, "attack this other guy until he's dead and then stop attacking anything and just stand there doing absolutely nothing until we tell you do do something else." I let that go, though I feel in retrospect that I should have paused the game right there to address the underlying issue.

The situation became even more heated when they next ordered the giant to drop his weapon and take off all his armor. In that moment, with the giant surrounded by enemies with their weapons drawn and covered in the blood of his companions, THAT seemed to me like an action that would be against his nature if not completely suicidal so I gave him a second save, per the spell description, which he passed and threw off the spell.

The group became super angry that I was, in their opinion, GMing in an "adversarial" manner and stated that it felt to them like I was giving him a second saving throw because I just wanted to play him and didn't want them to win the fight due to the giant rolling badly on a Dominate Person effect.

I can understand their feelings, that they went from the super high of watching a tough opponent fail an encounter-ending save only to have that excitement dashed due to what felt like an arbitrary adjudication by the GM. On the other hand, I'm trying to follow the spirit and letter of the spell description which allows the caster to force the target to comply with the caster's commands but does not turn the target into a mindless automaton incapable of any actions but what he is told to do.

So, I turn to the community. Do other people interpret the rules of this spell differently? Am I being a jerk about the way I'm ruling it? If you were GMing it, how would you have handled it?

Hobgoblins, being loathe to wield "elf magic," rely on the Alchemist class for their arcane powers, but I noticed that neither of the two NPCs with Alchemist levels that the part runs into in the first book (Tukang from Oreld's Fine Shop and Yissti from Camp Red Jaw) possess formulae books. I assume this to be an accidental omission on the part of the author.

My group running through this adventure contains an Alchemist so he is always on the lookout for new formulae. I was thinking of including a formulae book in one of Yissti's locked chests. Noting that the hermit Veld possesses a spellbook with all 0- 1st- and 2nd-level spells from the Core Rulebook, I was considering taking that same approach with Yissti's formulae book - including all formulae of 1st- and 2nd-level from the Core Rulebook and APG.

Does anything think that would be problematic?

Where do we submit feedback regarding editing errors in the playtest Rulebook?

As someone who enjoys playing in and running Adventure Paths and would like to be able to do so for PFS credit, I sincerely hope that Paizo releases 2E Chronicle Sheets for the existing sanctioned Adventure Paths for those who wish to play through them as 2E conversions.

If a prerequisite spell for the creation of a magic item has an expensive material component cost, does that cost need to be paid each and every day while the item is being crafted?

For example, the Fortification special ability for armor has a prerequisite of limited wish or miracle. Limited wish has a material cost of 1500 gp. If I put heavy fortification onto an existing suit of +3 armor, it would cost 55,000 gp and thus 55 days of crafting. If I have to expend a casting of limited wish each of those days, do I need to spend an additional 82,500 gp (1,500 gp x 55 days) just for the castings of limited wish?

If someone can point me to somewhere in the PRD where it states whether expensive material component costs do or do not have to be paid during item creation, I would really appreciate it.

And, yes I know I could just skip the prerequisite and accept a +5 to the DC; that's not the point of the question.

What kind of opportunities will there be to buy improvements in gear? For example, around the time I hit 7th, I would like to purchase mithril full plate (because I doubt I'll find a suit of it lying around) but the frenetic pace that I've seen so far makes me wonder if I will even have the opportunity to do so.

In thinking of ways to exploit the weaknesses of giants, it occurred to me that setting some simple traps might be a good way to take advantage of their low Reflex saves. In looking for how the construction of traps works, I found THIS PAGE.

Can someone please confirm that my math is correct because it does not seem to pass a basic sanity test.

Let's say I'm not a trap master or anything, just a level-1 guy with a shovel looking to even the odds a bit, right? I'm looking to make a camoflauged pit trap because that seems doable. According to the info on that page, this is a CR 3 trap. Constructing a trap costs 1000 gp x the CR so right off the bat that just seems insane. That puts the cost at 3000 gp to dig a hole in the ground and cover it with a tarp and some leaves. They do however specifically note that for a very simple trap such as a pit trap the cost might drop as low as 250 gp x CR. Oh, what a relief! My hole in the ground only costs 750 gp. I guess that covers the cost of the shovel and the 749 gold coins that I used to line the walls of the pit.

But here's the part I really don't get... the time. So if we assume that I'm just your average guy, let's say I took a rank of Craft (trap) so with my 10 Int I have a total bonus of +4 (1 rank plus 3 for Craft being a class skill). The hole in the ground has a DC of 20 so I can't take a 10 and succeed at... digging a hole in the ground. But let's just say I roll it and succeed if just barely. So I got a 20 and I multiply that by the DC of 20 for a total of 400. That gives me 400 silver pieces progress toward my goal of 7500 silver pieces.. after A WEEK of digging a hole in the ground. Since I need to roll a 16 or better to hit that 20 DC, I'm only going to succeed 25% of the time so on average I can expect to make 400 silver pieces progress every 4 weeks or 100 silver pieces per week.

That means I'm looking at 75 weeks of work. That's a year and a half. To dig a hole and cover it with a tarp and some leaves.

Is my math right?

Now, I get that the crafting system is designed to discourage PCs from spending their lives crafting instead of adventuring but this is me trying to dig a hole to trap some giants. I'm trying to adventure, to be clever, to utilize planning and reconnaisance to lure the enemy into a trap... that turned out to be a construction project on par with Boston's "big dig."

I really hope that I have totally misunderstood some essential element here that will snap this whole picture into focus so it will suddenly make sense.

Goblin Squad Member

I'm still seeing significant slowness in loading Goblinworks site pages. They're not taking 5+ minutes like yesterday but they're still abnormally slow.

What is the status of this problem?

Goblin Squad Member

Has anyone identified a trainer that teaches Survival? It is referenced as a skill that raises Wisdom but I can't find a trainer for it.

Goblin Squad Member

I was reading through the stealth thread and considering the merits of buying some Perception when it occurred to me that I have no idea which trainer to seek out if I wanted to do so.

Extrapolating this beyond just this one question, it occurs to me that it would be a handy resource if we could get from the devs or put together ourselves a list of what can be trained from each respective trainer. If the dev team has not provided such a list by the time servers come up in about 5 hours from now, can we get a few volunteers to pick a trainer and report on what all is available?

I'll start by offering to report the Dreadnought Trainer's selection.

Goblin Squad Member

When is the server expected to be up tonight? I've been trying since around 3 PM but getting no response.

Goblin Squad Member

For some reason, the bow attacks have damage modifiers significantly in excess of nearly any other attacks I've yet seen, the sole exception being one of the two-handed attacks. While most attacks have damage ratings between 0.5 and 1.5, bow attacks have ratings between 2.5 and 3.5 for the most part.

I guess the issue boils down to DPS of different weapon types. I think the DPS of bows should be significantly lower than melee to balance out the significant benefit of attacking from range.

Goblin Squad Member

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In no particular order, the following is a list of observations and impressions from day one:

  • The tethering mechanism is easily exploitable to solo entire camps of creatures by engaging from max range and then just taking a few steps backwards when you want to disengaged. The mobs reach their tether distance and run back to camp.
  • Iron ore (and possibly other base crafting materials) are not dropping from nodes so crafting is impossible.
  • Not having any indicator of the source of incoming damage makes it really easy to gank other players before they realize what's going on.
  • Character wipe upon logout combined with repeated power outages in my neighborhood (five so far tonight) makes for a frustrating combination.
  • Several times early in the evening, my character model simply vanished and movement keys stopped working. The UI was still responsive but I no longer had a character to move.
  • At one point, I had somehow been removed from all chat channels. Hard to ask for help on that one. Couldn't even whisper anyone.
  • Twice the client thought it was still connected to the server but clearly was not; there were no NPC guards in town, no trainers, no other players, etc.
  • Having some devs in game to answer questions that the UI could not yet answer was really helpful (like, "What do I need to do to reach level 2?")

I'm sure there are others but these are the ones that come to mind at 3:30 in the morning.

Goblin Squad Member

Is anyone else seeing an issue where nothing is appearing in any of the chat tabs?

Goblin Squad Member

While awaiting the arrival of your Alpha or EE invitation, what games are you using to fill the void?

Personally, I have found recently that my perception of what makes a fun game has changed so much from following the development of Pathfinder Online that a lot of games I might have turned to in the past no longer do it for me. Static quests in games like Skyrim and Elder Scrolls Online just feel flat. I've found myself turning to old standby sandbox games like Privateer but have been frustrated by the technology gap.

I tried State of Decay for a few hours but tired of the mission-based nature of its gameplay.

I've thought about going back to Wurm but the extreme grindiness has scarred me for life.

I've never been able find a decent group to hang with in EVE so have quit that several times; I can only solo so long in an MMO before it weighs on me.

I might pick up X-Com again as that has a good balance of freeform and directed play.

How about you?

Goblin Squad Member

Bonny Paz wrote:
I just wanted to let you all know that I am going to be making a Guide for streaming on twitch and overlays that streamers may use on their channels. It will be available around the same time as Alpha.

Haven't heard anything from you in over a week, Bonny. Just thought I'd touch base and see how the progress is going.

Goblin Squad Member

Will PFO make use of the TrackIR Unity 3D plugin? I would love to see TrackIR supported to enhance immersion.

Goblin Squad Member

I just read an intrresting atricle about a couple of popular murder simulations available right now on Steam. CLICK HERE to check it out. Throughout the article I kept imagining whether PFO would fall into this same category. I hope that the safeguards it puts in place will be sufficient to keep such behavior rare in the extreme.

Goblin Squad Member

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Dear Goblinworks,

In order to facillitate settlement management, please consider implementing a tool settlement leaders can use to view the contributions of its members, an influence leaderboard if you will. I envision such a tool as a chart containing a list of every company currently sponsored by the settlement along with a score. That score would be an abstraction of factors including, but not limited to, the following examples:

- Influence currently allocated to settlement resources
- Number of PoI currently held
- Number of outposts currently held
- Lifetime influence earned while sponsored by settlement
- Lifetime days spent holding settlement PoI
- Lifetime days spent holding settlement outposts
- Other factors reflecting a company's contributions to a settlement

In a perfect world, the interface for this leaderboard would have a tab where each factor calculated into the score would be listed along with a weighting value. I imagine it defaulting to all factors being equal with a value of 100. Each weighting value could then be manipulated to alter the relative weight of each factor into the overall score.

The goal is to create a tool for settlement managers to identify which companies are now contributing or have in the past contributed to the success of their settlement. Such a tool would be tremendously valuable and I sincerely hope you consider this suggestion.

At the battle of Keeper's Canyon, the Knights of Kenabres were destroyed by the ravening hordes of dretches. While the Knights ranged opening salvo destroyed the tiefling army, the dretches' reckless ranged attack delivered 8 points of damage. In the subsequent melee phase, the dretches continued their reckless assault and, rolling a natural 20, delivered another 13 points of damage destroying the Knights down to a man. Before falling, the Knights delivered enough damage to their reckless foes to ensure the destruction was mutual but now the PCs are left without an army.

Does anyone have any suggestions about how best to proceed with the assault on Drezen? There is another army of survivors so I'm thinking of reworking that encounter so it's a skirmish instead of a battle but I would love to hear other suggestions.

Goblin Squad Member

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CLICK HERE to see an amazing Kickstarter project about the history of the empires of EVE Online.

This is EXACTLY the sort of project that I would love to see for Pathfinder Online as well. And to think... we all get to be in on this from the ground floor. How exciting is that?

Goblin Squad Member

With the Alpha stage beginning shortly, there is sure to be an upcoming blog post describing what we can expect from it.

To the community: What specific questions do you want answered within that blog post? If we can compile a clear and concise list, we may be able to get some great answers!

Three questions high on my list include:

- Will the proto-settlements of Callambea, Brighthaven, and Phaeros be in place during the Alpha stage?
- Will we be able to place PoIs yet?
- Approximately how many members will comprise the Alpha community?

Goblin Squad Member

It has been stated that the end of Alpha will include a complete character wipe and that the game will begin with Early Enrollment. I request that this be reconsidered to allow Alpha characters to retain what XP was earned during the Alpha stage.

If part of Alpha testing will involve direct manipulation of XP amounts (for instance, granting a chunk of extra XP to allow people to purchase higher tier abilities for testing purposes) then I would like to suggest wiping XP back to where it would have been based on the length of Alpha and the final decided-upon rate of XP accrual.

$1000 is a fair chunk of change and it would be nice to get an in-game benefit for that money. Early Enrollees will be getting an in-game benefit for their money compared to those waiting for Open Enrollment. I would request that Alpha enrollees get a similar benefit.

Goblin Squad Member

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Ryan, you mentioned that the team is working on completing all the tasks for the current milestone. I wonder if you can elaborate on that somewhat.

What tasks make up the current milestone?

Additionally, what impact, if any, does the land rush have on the start of Alpha? If something hangs up the start of the land rush, will that also delay the start of Alpha?

Goblin Squad Member

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In preparation for the highly anticipated opening of Alpha access, I decided to go back and read some of the blog posts I haven't read in a while. I wasn't concerned with posts about the art assets, Kickstarter rewards, or how the money is being spent; rather, I was trying to focus on brushing up on the mechanics of the various systems.

I discovered that it is virtually impossible to review the posts in any fashion other than starting with post number one and advancing through every single post in turn. The reasons for this are two-fold.

1) Entitling the posts with song lyrics that are only tenuously related to the topic of the post and even then only if you already know what the post is about makes it impossible to see at a glance what the actual topics are by scanning the titles. Clever, yes; useful, not so much.

2) In the entirety of the blog, there are only two posts that have been given a category, they both have the same category, and that category is the least descriptive word I can think of, short of perhaps "Stuff."

Give this job to an intern if necessary but please, someone, take a few minutes to go through and slap some categories onto the blog poets.

Some recommended categories include: Geography, Settlements, Combat, PvE, PvP, Character Development, Factions, Reputation, Alignment, and Companies.

If the software you're using for your blog supports the use of user-generated tags (which it should, given that the game is ALL ABOUT user-generated content), please consider enabling that feature so we can do the work for you.

Goblin Squad Member

Please forgive me if this has already been addressed and please point me in the right direction; I couldn't find it.

What's with the differences between the landgrab.png map and the "more detailed" map? For example, the landgrab map shows broad swaths of highlands with clusters of mountains at their center but on the more detailed map, those areas are all changed to nothing but mountains instead of highlands.

Additionally, the cluster of mountains around 02.13 has a bunch of campfire icons that are not described in the legend.

Goblin Squad Member

Can a character be a member of more than one company simultaneously?

I envision a scenario where I am attempting to train members of my settlement's military. A simple method might be to divide them up and put each into a separate company (Red or Blue, for example). The two companies declare against each other and thus the members can train without incurring antisocial flags.

Would such a thing be possible without them having to abandon and then rejoin their original companies?

If that functionality is not currently in the works, I would like to request that it be considered. I understand that the implications are far more wide-reaching than the simple scenario described above, so please consider the potential benefits and drawbacks with care.

If I'm using a Reach weapon and adjacent to a Large creature, does the adjacent square of the creature provide cover against an attack against a square of the creature further away, reachable with a Reach weapon?

This issue came up recently in our game and there was some debate about it so I'd like to get some other people's opinions.



X = Me
1234 = Squares occupied by a single size Large creature
. = placeholder for empty square

If I'm using a longspear and standing in square X, I can attack square 2 with reach. While doing so, does square 1 provide cover against my attack?

Please reference specific sources and page numbers for rules in support of your opinion.

In #2-14 when the moorlocks attack with the nightmare vapor, I'm unsure of exactly how to handle the save DCs with multiple doses.

Do the PCs make six saves as the six vials crash to the ground, exposing them six times (in high tier)? Would those saves be at DCs 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, and 30? Or would they all be at 20, +2 for each FAILED save?

Or would they just make a single save at DC 30?

If they stay in the cloud of poison, they'd have to make DC 30 saves to not be effected, assuming they're not already affected from the initial attack, right?

I'm considering the feasibility of running a PFS campaign consisting of modules strung together instead of scenarios.

What is the level range allowed for a given module, for PFS credit? For example, if the module is designed for characters of 5th level, could a mixed group of 4-6 play through it? Could a group of all 4th levels? All 6th levels?

And how many XP and PP do characters get from modules?


What are the differences between a VC and a VL? What responsibilities does a VC have that a VL does not? What benefits does a VC get that a VL doesn't?

I looked through the PFS-RegionalCoordinators.pdf but there is no mention of Venture-Lieutenants anywhere in the document.

Is it all just worked out on a case-by-case basis with the regional VC? Do the benefits described in the PDF apply to VCs and VLs alike, or just to VCs?

I've always wanted to have a character that rides a griffon. The character I'm envisioning isn't a druid, ranger, paladin, or other animal companion/mount type of class, probably just a fighter. Is there any way in Society play for such a character to acquire a griffon mount?

I don't want to enslave one; I would prefer to befriend a free griffon, even that means buying one, freeing it, and then befriending it.

Any possibilities?


I'm working up an archer as my next PFS character and I'm torn as to which path to take.

Options include:
1) Fighter
2) Ranger
3) Monk (Zen Archer)

Considerations include:
1) Early access to Improved Precise Shot (IPS)
2) Survivability
3) DPR
4) Cheese factor

Option 1 (Fighter)

- Greatest number of feats so plenty of room for non-archery-related feats (Improved Initiative, Iron Will, etc.)
- Low cheese factor
- Weapon Training and Gloves of Dueling

- Does not get IPS until 11 ::sadface::

Option 2 (Ranger)

- Gets IPS at 6
- Lowest cheese factor

- No access to Weapon Specialization
- Not much room for extra feats

Option 3 (ZAM)

- Gets IPS at 6
- Extra ki attack for highest DPR

- Highest cheese factor
- Not much room for extra feats

Cheese factor is understandably vague and subjective, but basically involves judging the likelihood that the other players and GM are going to roll their eyes and mutter, "Oh great, one of THOSE."

So, of the three options, can I get some input as to whether you think any additional factors should be considered, whether you think one is a clear win or fail, or any thoughts in general about how to succeed with a particular build.



Goblin Squad Member

In anticipation of Pathfinder Online, I started up an EVE Online account to get a feel for how some of the systems might work. I don't expect them to be identical, by any means, but I'm hoping I might be able to at least get a general sense of how some of the systems interact with each other. Last night, I noticed something about the PvP experience that I want to talk about.

A little background, first. I enjoy PvP. My first real PvP experience was Dark Age of Camelot (DAoC) which I played from the day of launch. Ironically, I kind of did the same thing with DAoC that I'm now doing with EVE. I got started with DAoC to check out what PvP was like, in anticipation of Star Wars Galaxies which I knew was going to have faction-based PvP as a core element of the game. DAoC, as a theme park MMO, had its flaws and has suffered from them over time but one thing that I think it did very well was introduce players new to PvP into a PvP environment in a way that didn't frighten them off.

The PvP experiences in DAoC were all consensual, though some were more consensual than others. There were areas of the game that were completely free from PvP and then there were the frontiers. In the beginning, people would often PvE in the frontiers, levelling up on content there. In doing so, they recognized the possibility that PvP could occur, but they weren't really there FOR the PvP, they were there to level on PvE content. So it was technically consensual since they chose to be there knowing that PvP could occur, but not fully consensual in that they weren't looking to PvP, they were just looking to level.

Over time however, customers utilized that content less and less for fear of getting rolled by a roving band of PvP'ers. People avoided less-than-fully-consensual PvP until they got to the level cap where things were more equal. When Mythic (the makers of DAoC) saw that all this content was getting ignored by people levelling up, they introduced the Battlegrounds. Those were lower-level areas of frontier where each area allowed characters of a narrow level range so people could be assured that they would be able to dip their toes into the water of PvP without fear of being overwhelmed by characters who were grossly more powerful than them.

That feature is missing from EVE and I fear that it may be overlooked in Pathfinder Online. I think a game with PvP as a core mechanic can really benefit from an introductory level of PvP where people can check it out without fear of getting totally ganked with zero chance to enjoy the experience. Maybe we can toss around some ideas for how to introduce customers gradually to PvP in a way that ensures characters of like power are matched together.

Perhaps areas (arenas?) could be set aside that limit PvP engagement to characters that have a certain point total in the combat-centric skill tree? I know the subject of arenas has been brought up in the context of duelling but, rather than consequence-free duelling, perhaps it could be implemented with all the normal consequences of death. There would likely be no looting within that environment because everyone would dump their non-essential gear prior to going in so they didn't lose it.

Or maybe PvP missions as part of the tutorial? If you have a particular mission, you can only be engaged in PvP by someone with the matching mission. Make it a mission provided in the tutorial in an area isolated from the rest of the game? The mission would have to expire after a certain duration and would need to have a limit for how many times you could re-acquire it after expiration to prevent people from using it as a shield to protect themselves permanently.

Or perhaps someone can think of some better ideas for how to introduce customers gradually to a PvP environment.

Goblin Squad Member

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I'm really looking forward to Pathfinder Online for a numer of reasons but high on the list is the wealth of dynamically generated content in the game, much of which is generated by the actions of the playerbase. Some of the quests in the game clearly will be generated by the players in the form of bounties, contracts, etc. I would like to suggest a possibility for dynamic generation of non-player-created content.

Way back in the day, Sid Meier created a spy game called Covert Action. The game had its share of flaws but one thing it did which I think has tremendous potential was the way it generated "missions". The game contained ten mastermind villains; in Pathfinder Online those might be evil demigods, demon lords, mighty necromancers, or crafty dragons. Each of those mastermind villains had a specific objective, something far-reaching requiring the achievement of numerous smaller objectives; think along the lines of development, production, and distribution of a magical disease or the subjugation of an entire region by turning everyone into undead.

To acheive that larger goal, several intermediate goals would need to be achieved, perhaps an ancient formula retrieved from the depths of some ruined wizard's tower or the destruction of a village for the rapid generation of corpses for reanimation. Some of these intermediate goals might be broken down into even smaller goals such as researching the location of a wizard's lost tower or blackmailing a guard captain to turn against his village.

The accomplishment of these goals can be approached from two angles. Through successive layers of obfuscating underlings, the mastermind villain needs to hire someone to accomplish these goals. But as word gets out that someone is being or has been hired, opposing forces may choose to take action to prevent the accomplishment of these goals. So for each goal, content is generated for two types of players.

Now, from the mastermind's perspective, the goal NEEDS to be achieved. If one group fails, another group must be hired to achieve that same goal. Perhaps she hires from a different region and that same quest spawns elsewhere in the game. Once that goal is achieved, the next step in her nefarious plan gets generated as a quest. At some point along the quest chain, perhaps there is a point of no return where failure of the quest results in a complete collapse of the quest chain. And that quest chain might appear later in the game having been generated by a different mastermind.

So from a list of masterminds and a list of plots, a series of goals can be generated as quests. Each quest results in content for two types of players, the "for" and the "against." Some of those plots may share similar goals to reduce development resources and to obfuscate the true nature of the plot.

I believe this could be a great way of encouraging player interaction in an ongoing storyline without that storyline being static content that is consumed once and then ignored.

What resources do you feel would be particularly inspirational for Skull and Shackles?

A few that come off the top of my head:

  • Captain Blood (movie)
  • Count of Monte Cristo (book by Alexandre Dumas and movie)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean (movie series)

I just finished George R. R. Martin's A Dance with Dragons and was looking for another book to read when it occurred to me that I should use this opportunity to start a book with a piratical theme so if anyone can think of a book along those lines, I'd appreciate it.

We're planning to run through this Adventure Path (AP) and my group is trying to decide on which books to allow for character creation and development. My group's GM (me) is a bastard and only wanted to allow Core classes initially, but he's starting to bend.

My initial hesitance to using the additional content was for balance issues. It seems to me that most of the NPCs in Adventure Paths are designed with Core classes, feats, spells, etc. so allowing PCs access to a whole host of new classes, archetypes, feats, spells, items, etc. that the NPCs are not going to have access to would be imbalancing and significantly reduce the challenge to the party, thereby reducing the fun (presupposing that the fun comes from overcoming significant challenges). One of my players has suggested that recent Adventure Paths have been including more and more content from the Advanced Player's Guide (APG), Ultimate Combat (UC), and Ultimate Magic (UM) so it actually would not be imbalancing at all to allow such content for the players.

Can a designer reply with some suggestion of how much of the content from APG, UC, and UM are written into the AP so I can get a better sense of whether allowing such content for those playing through this AP would be imbalancing? And obviously I recognize that the Paizo staff have a vested interest in encouraging use of as much content from supplemental books as possible to encourage sales, but I'm asking for a realistic opinion of whether I can do so and maintain a fair balance.

I'm looking for advice on how to run an in-game tournament. Like, jousting, archery, strong-man, that kind of stuff. I'd like to use that kind of setup as an introduction to an adventure but I've always been disappointed with how in-game tournaments have been handled in the past. Too often, they rely heavily on a round of d20 rolls which have so much variability that even someone who is highly skilled can roll a 1 and totally bomb.

Does anyone have any suggestions for how an in-game tourney might be played out in a way that's fun?


We've started up a new Carrion Crown campaign and will be putting character journals here. It looks like a really fun campaign and we're all looking forward to playing against the gothic horror backdrop of Ustalav.

Our campaign site can be found HERE.


I'm looking for some advice on how to handle Rigg Gargadilly's abilities. His Supernatural Speed (Su)grants concealment with his normal, everyday movement, right? Against most creatures, finding cover or concealment allows you to use Stealth.

When moving at a speed greater than half but less than your normal speed (120 for Rigg), you take a –5 penalty to Stealth. But if people are observing you using any of their senses (but typically sight), you can't use Stealth.

So, I see two options for the ruling here:

A) If the PCs have a readied action to attack as soon as he streaks into their melee range, he can stealth up to them at 115 movement, take a sneak attack (and thus no longer stealthed), receive an attack from the readied action, and then use the rest of his 115 movement to hide somewhere and do it all again next round.

B) As soon as he streaks out from hiding, he is being observed and thus cannot stealth. He can rush up and attack, triggering the readied attack, and rush away again as above.

Option A seems a little too tough since you're essentially giving one creature a permanent sneak attack to every hit without having to get flanking. But option B seems a little too weak since he may as well be standing toe-to-toe exchanging one attack for another.

Star Voter Season 8

The word limit for round 1, per the official rules, is 300 words. But on the FAQ, it is listed as only 200 words.

Just an FYI.


I'm concerned about a problem that I had in Savage Tide that I see as a possibility here in Serpent's Skull as well. Isolation. In Savage Tide, the group went for weeks upon weeks (and level after level) with no access to the outside world. Feats devoted to item crafting were completely wasted with no way to obtain supplies. Roleplaying was virtually non-existant as there were no interactions with anyone who was not already a part of the group.

I haven't read through the first adventure yet (in hopes of being able to play through it), but as soon as I read, "A deadly storm shipwrecks the passengers..." I was concerned.

Is this going to be an issue again?

My group of five level-1 adventurers is standing outside the Stag Lord's fort discussing how best to conduct the assault. <sigh>

They really took to heart Oleg and Svetlana's plight and interrogated the living bandits to determine the camp's location. During the interrogation, one of the PCs demanded to know if they had seen an old man who fit the description of the PC's missing father. Seeing an opportunity for a backstory hook, I had the bandit admit that they had indeed seen a prisoner pass through the camp some days back. Inspired by the urgency of finding the PC's missing father, they headed due SW until they struck the Thorn River, then followed it downstream to the forest's edge and started exploring to discover the camp.

After a near TPK at the camp (the bandits got a few lucky rolls), they ended that fight with one charmed bandit. That bandit confirmed that an old man had passed through their camp recently. In an effort to impress upon them the viciousness and strength of the Stag Lord, I had the bandit relay that the prisoner had tried to strike the Stag Lord and got his hand crushed for his efforts.

Unbeknownst to me, this created in the group a sense of urgency to rescue the PC's father post haste! The charmed bandit provided enough information for them to follow the river down to the Tuskwater where they found the Stag Lord's fort and they're now preparing to mount their assault.

I fear a TPK is in the offing here. I've given them fair warning that they are sure to run into encounters tougher than they can handle so they'll need to be prepared to withdraw if necessary. I'm just concerned that they may all get wiped before they realize it's too late.

Some of them are advising caution, warning that they nearly TPK'd against the Thorn River camp whom they caught unawares. Out of character, I think they all recognize the lethality of what they're proposing but in character they are motivated by what they see as a rescue attempt.

Perhaps I was remiss in following up on the opportunity for a backstory hook? Any suggestions for how I might remediate this situation? Give them a reason to pull back? Allow an opportunity to "rescue" the father without storming the fort?


Since the adventure path starts rather abruptly with a, "You all arrive at Oleg's Trading Post," I was inclined to modify that introduction a bit to provide for more interaction between the players prior to arriving at Oleg's.

I'm sure other groups have done the same and I'm wondering what techniques others have used for this intro.

Our first live game starts next week so I just used the campaign site to initiate a little online roleplaying prior to game time so the players could start interacting with each other and get a feel for their personalities.

Here's how we started our game:


Recently having abandoned the life of the thug and brigand, Ash set off for Restov to try to make a life anew for himself. Arriving in Restov and hoping to find employment, Ash found it more difficult than expected to find his place in society. Everywhere he went, he found other out-of-work swordsmen competing for the same kinds of jobs he sought. In a city filled with hot-blooded young swordsmen trying to prove themselves, conflict was more than likely... it was inevitable.

A grazed shoulder in passing, a perceived insult, a drunken threat - a duel at dusk. The assembled crowd barely even saw Ash move but in an instant his charging, blustering opponent lay at Ash's feet, life's blood darkening the muddy ground.

Dueling, however, is unlawful.


Arriving in Restov, Vodim could see in a heartbeat that this was a city lacking law. The few wealthy noblemen and ladies here walk in the muddy streets alongside ruffians and sell-swords. Seeking out the local clergy, Vodim explained that, as a priest of Abadar, he would be doing his best to ensure the law was carried out and offered his services to the local magistrate. His offer was politely rebuffed and Vodim sensed that he was perceived as an outsider and a possible threat.

None the less, Vodim could not stand idly by and watch lawlessness go unpunished. While partaking of the hospitality of the local nobility, Vodim could be often found in the streets, assisting the local guard with identifying criminals and following up on leads, talking to the locals and gathering information.

Then came the day when he saw a crowd gathered on the street at dusk. Knowing it must be a duel, Vodim strode forward to call a stop to such unlawful foolishness. As he pushed his way through the crowd, he heard them gasp in shock. Breaking through, he saw a fallen body lying on its back, split from neck to hip in a single clean cut. Standing over the corpse, a creature of clearly inhuman origin.

The two men locked eyes and time itself seemed to stop. A battle of wills or perhaps something else passed between them. With a start, they realized that they stood alone on the street, the sun having fallen. Vodim knew that he had to bring this man to justice. Ash knew he refused to live his life fleeing from the consequences of his actions.

The local magistrate, perhaps seeing an opportunity to rid Restov of a ruffian and a rival all in one stroke, requested that Vodim escort Ash to a outlying trading post to the south and ensure that he commit himself to the assistance of the proprietor there.


Having stayed in Restov for some few weeks in his quest for wealth, Kepli had heard much about Lord Noleski Surtova's encouragements to bring order to some of the outlying regions. When he heard that a group had been sent south to assist a fringe trading post, he considered trying to join their company but decided against it as he heard they were a pretty rough bunch and unlikely to treat a halfling with anything but derision and scorn. However, when his identity was mistaken for an adolescent member of the guild of thieves, Kepli decided it best to make a hasty exit. It is well known that halflings have a penchant for thievery so finding justice in Restov seemed unlikely at best.

Leaving town on his trusty pony Nugget, he set out on the south road from Restov. By midmorning, the fog had turned to rain but Kepli pressed on hoping to find a small village where he might shelter with a local in exchange for news of the world.

After slogging through a few hours of rain, Kepli pauses as he thinks he can make out some dark figures on the road ahead. They do not seem to be travellers as they are just standing on the road. Edging somewhat closer, Kepli can make out that there are actually three figures. Two standing at the side of the road and a third dark figure swinging silently by his neck...

Andrick and Vikenti

Having travelled for two days north and east through the woods toward the road that leads to Restov, the two companions stopped on the third day as Andrick could tell there was going to be rain. He built a shelter large enough to keep the two dry and warm and hunkered down as the fog began to change to heavy, fat drops of rain.

Some hours later, Andrick made out the echoing sounds of a fight, though heavily muffled by the falling rain. The sounds lasted only briefly before dying out. Ever on the alert, Andrick and Vikenti emerged cautiously from their shelter and began making their way slowly, carefully east toward the road where they had heard the ring of steel against steel.

Emerging cautiously from the trees, the two crept toward the road where they saw the carnage of a very recent fight. Several bodies had been dragged from the road and quickly stripped of valuables. Judging by what little clothing remained, Andrick and Vikenti concluded that they must have been wearing armor which had since been removed. As they moved closer toward the road, they made out a figure swinging by his neck on what appeared to be a crude gibbet.

Before they can investigate further however, they hear the approach of strangers on the road coming from the north. Unsure of whether these might be the waylayers come back to marvel over their carnage, Andrick and Vikenti withdraw into the mists just far enough that they can barely make out the approaching strangers. They drop to the ground to observe further without being noticed...

Ash and Vodim

Travelling south along the road from Restov, the fog has turned to rain and the road has turned to mud. As you slog your way mile after mile, you stop as you see a figure before you, standing just off the side of the road.

He seems to be swaying slightly as if dancing slowly in the rain. You realize with a shock that the figure is actually swinging in the wind as it dangles from its neck. Moving closer, the two of you see that the figure has been strung by the neck from a hastily constructed gibbet. You can see that he seems to have some notice pinned to his chest... actually, the notice is stuck to his chest with an eating knife plunged into his heart.

Before you can make out what the notice contains, you hear over the constant splatter of rain the sounds of a mounted rider approach from behind you and stop...

I've seen a number of posts about how many characters have gotten whacked by the randomly generated will o' wisp and I'm wondering how this encounter can be made more interesting rather than just a frustrating combat encounter for the players.

Some of the descriptions I've seen have been right on the money in terms of the classic will o' wisp - trick the players into following the light into some dangerous area and then feed on their terror. Others seem to be more along the lines of "You see a will o' wisp. Roll initiative."

Sticking with the classic methodology of luring PC's into situations likely to evoke the fear and terror on which the wisp feeds, what kinds of scenarios might the wisp lead the PC's into?

  • Quicksand (or slurpy bog mud equivalent)
  • Nearby lair of some other creature
  • Ravine
  • Fast-moving river
I also like the idea of combining some of the above. For example, a ravine which drops into a fast-moving river or a fast-moving river in which lairs a dangerous creature.

What kinds of other scenarios do you envision a wily wisp luring your PCs into?

Anyone else planning on running Kingmaker via MapTool? The group that I game with is spread all over the nation (Maryland, Oregon, Texas, a couple in Denver, and me in sunny San Diego) so we use MapTool to come together for our weekly game.

Running Kingmaker via MapTool looks like it will pose some interesting challenges. Since the group could potentially go to any of a variety of encounter areas, it seems like the GM will need to either A) have plenty of maps already created prior to game time or B) have the necessary resources gathered and organized to wing it and quickly create maps on the fly.

If you're running Kingmaker via MapTool, I'm curious to know which method you plan to take or possibly a combination of both. Also, what other challenges do you think you'll be facing by running this AP via MapTool?


I'm looking for advice on how to build a mostly-core archer.

I am interested in taking on the challenge of creating an archer that is at least reasonably powerful (not overpowered) while sticking to mostly core SRD rules. A few non-core elements here and there are not going to kill me but I want to stick as close to core as I can and still have a character who is not utterly teh suq.

One other stipulation - I don't want to go down the path of Cleric Archer. I understand that one can use cleric buffs to become awesome at virtually anything. I've done that with another character - no need to do it again with this one.

Any thoughts on the issue would be greatly appreciated.


Our group had some difficulty with Kazmojen. They first encountered him coming into the great hall through the dining area. When he demanded to know who had interrupted his business proceedings, the group charged without a word. Kazmojen and Prickles were able to effectively flank the leading members of the party since they had spread themselves out thinly. I had Kazmojen making single, two-handed attacks with his urgrosh instead of wielding it as a double-weapon which made for a more effective combatant.

Kazmojen and Prickles were able to tear to pieces each of the party members that came close, frequently switching to the most lightly-armored target they could reach. I could hear the panic in their voices when the hobgoblins, alerted by Prickles eerie howling, started to flood into the chamber in a seemingly endless stream. When one of the six party members was dead and two more had fallen, the retreat was called. The heavily armored dwarven fighter was felled during the retreat leaving two members to escape.

The fallen members were imprisoned and, in a mini-session played out with captive party members, they were able to effect their escape the next morning through a clever ruse and some very effective Bluff checks. Alas, during the escape, the general alarm was raised.

As the escapees reached the elevator, the party members who had survived the first fight were just coming down to rescue the fallen, accompanied by Fario and Fellian for added support. The reunion was short-lived however as the general alarm brought Kazmojen, Prickles, and the remaining hobgoblins charging in to face the new arrivals and escapees.

In this second encounter, the party was caught off-guard and ill-equipped (with the escapees being dressed only in hastily-donned hobgoblin armor and weapons) and again allowed themselves to get spread out along the length of the corridor, providing ample opportunity for the hobgoblins to surround the archer and Kazmojen and Prickles to again flank the remaining party members freely. After two more deaths (Fellian being one of them) and another two fallen, the party again fled to preserve their lives.

They regrouped on the surface with a few members bringing in new characters to replace the dead and captured. Joined by Fario and Alek Tercival (scaled down for being an early chapter, though still formidable), the revised group once again descended into the Malachite Hold. This time, Kazmojen had left the secret door leading to the elevator open so his guards could see when they came back. The alarm was raised immediately, but since Kazmojen was down to only a few guards left, they had instructions to pull back to the great hall.

The group was blessed with the wisdom to not charge after them and instead proceeded carefully down the hall, through the entry room, and down the next corridor toward the great hall. One of them fell prey to the pit trap but the others managed to avoid it. They had come in time to interrupt the sale of their fallen comrades (shackled and gagged, of course), to a kuo-toan slave trader (in an effort to foreshadow Bhal-hamatugn).

This time, the group stuck together to prevent flanking and kept the cleric immediately behind the front line for in-combat healing. Despite Kazmojen withdrawing for long enough to get two free rounds of Fast Healing, they were still able to overcome both he and Prickles (though they nearly lost another character in the process). During the fight, the Kuo-toan slave trader fled the great hall so he could come around the back of the party with his two lemures (repurposed from Pyllrak) as a surprise for the rear ranks but he fled and was chased down when he saw that Kazmojen had fallen.

To make the combat more interesting and less static, Kazmojen had also set up a swinging deadfall trap by having his hobgoblins go out to the jungle through the lava tunnels and collect saplings that he then had bundled together and hung from the ceiling, rigged to swing down and slam into anyone standing in the center of the great hall. He was hoping to catch a few of them in it, but it was triggered early by a panicked hobgoblin and ended up being something that the group was able to move around instead of though.

I'm really glad they have finally gotten past Kazmojen. He was a tough opponent, made all the tougher by poor tactics on the part of the PCs. I think they're starting to get a better idea of how difficult some of the encounters are going to be, so that's giving them a new respect for those characters who have been able to survive.

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