Gregg Reece wrote:
Yep, you're right. I realized I made a mistake in percentages somewhere and must have not put the 5% back into hit chance for the New Power Attack. Pesky math.
So I originally posted this on the other thread, but if you want a test case, your code should converge to the following answer if you assume no Strength bonus and that everything doubles on crit.
Assume base 5 to Hit, 15 to Crit. Assume 20 always Crits.
Old PA: -1 Attack, +3 Damage.
Old PA Attack List:
New PA Attack List:
This is all raw probability, so with sufficient number of randomizations, you should converge to this result. I will note though that it seems likely that we may no longer be doubling static numbers on crit - that was a consequence of no longer confirming crits in 5e and it seems likely that they might share design philosophy there (since it helps reduce the sudden spikes on crits a little).
As I have discovered after posting! I thought I was on the last page and apparently misclicked onto Page 10. Oops. Still, it is always fun to do an analytic calculation with probabilities.
Your calculation is incorrect somewhere, I believe. I just did the calculation by raw probabilities and came to the following conclusions.
Assume base 5 to Hit, 15 to Crit.
Old PF: -1 Attack, +3 Damage.
Old PF Attack List:
New PF Attack List:
I didn't test to see how it scaled with level, admittedly - though I imagine that is somewhat of an incomplete picture due to not knowing how many static modifiers they intend to have in the entire system.
I'm going to be a little bit of a pedant here, so please forgive me. Ultimately, Pathfinder rules will never be perfectly clear and what the GM decides on is how their particular game goes. That being said, I do feel that this is an interesting case for the editorial side.
But let's try to address some of these questions!
"Corrupting Touch is a touch attack." By RAW, I'm not so sure this is clear. They describe it as "gaining an incorporeal touch attack", but then go on to have further language on it specifically being a Standard Action. For direct comparison, the language on Shadow and Wraith is quite different and does not include this exclusionary language.
Shadow Strength Damage wrote:
A shadow’s touch deals 1d6 points of Strength damage to a living creature. This is a negative energy effect. A creature dies if this Strength damage equals or exceeds its actual Strength score.
Wraith Constitution Drain wrote:
Creatures hit by a wraith’s touch attack must succeed on a DC 17 Fortitude save or take 1d6 points of Constitution drain. On each successful attack, the wraith gains 5 temporary hit points. The save DC is Charisma-based.
This would imply that the exclusionary language on Corrupting Touch is special. I see your case regarding "it is a touch attack", but requiring a "standard action" which is not stated as an attack action might exclude it from Vital Strike. Note other Ghost abilities use the same language as Wraith/Shadow as well. You can see this question also pop up with regards to "can a Ghost take an AoO with Corrupting Touch."
I would also note this is clearly outside the RAW expectations of Vital Strike anyway. It multiplies weapon damage. A natural attack counts as a weapon (though that is not entirely clear half the time), so we can assume it counts. But it almost certainly was not designed for the case where something has a d6 per CR scaling damage. A greataxe improves by 6.5 damage on a hit. This improves by 59 damage on a hit.
"The bite is incorporeal." Now that I re-read it, it does not explicitly say that the Ghostly Fangs ability is corporeal. However, the high accuracy (matching the corporeal weapon) coupled with dealing Force damage (which specifically is called out as being equally effective on physical and incorporeal things alike) implies to me that it should not be a touch attack. One could further note that I can't think of an example of a touch attack that does not include touch in the attack block, though I might be just failing to recollect.
Two Headed Snake wrote:
I will argue against your point, since Vital Strike says that it can be used as part of an Attack action, which is exactly the action you use with Corrupting Touch, despite them both being described as "special."
As quoted, Corrupting Touch describes it as a standard action, not using the wording of it being a generic natural attack. This wording is also the sort of thing that excludes a lot of actions from working with Vital Strike.
One could make the argument that it is an incorporeal touch attack that follows normal natural attack rules, but then there shouldn't be need for the text on "as a standard action", implying that it is a special action type.
I will agree that it isn't the most well telegraphed fight either. It comes out of nowhere with an enemy type that tends to be much stronger without preparation. While it certainly creates a rough fight and a strong climax boss encounter, it does seem like bad design mechanically.
...also, I am pretty sure we ruled the bite attack was corporeal, as an aside. I think that was clear from the statblock, but now I am less sure.
Adventure Paths are written assuming 15 point buy and a party of four characters. Usually going up to 20 point buy doesn't impact things too much (makes the SAD a little better, but really helps out the MAD more).
As for the experience track, I believe Medium is what Hell's Vengeance assumes.
So, Starfinder has an interesting quirk in their ability score buying math that the +1 stat bonus from Themes ends up being functionally useless. This is the result of the fact that bonuses come in groups of +2 (except for going from 19->20 which only gets you a +1) and the fact that ability score pre-reqs are mostly gone (except for Dex 15 if I recall).
Will this be the case if we are now taking their ability score system and porting it to Pathfinder, or will changes be made to address this?
Sort of by definition, they are all railroads! I would certainly agree with that assessment. However, with many of them, the railroad can be at least somewhat disguised under the veil of the players taking initiative where the clues tend to point with big glowing arrows.
Hell's Vengeance at many points you have higher-ups telling you exactly what to do.
I will also add one thing that may be perhaps more meta than some of the other suggestions.
Make sure the players buy-in to the understanding that a substantial amount of the arcs involve doing things other people tell you to do. This is not a sandbox (though a few books have some elements of it) and is possibly the second hardest railroad of the Pathfinder Adventure Paths. If the players don't buy into that style of game, you will have to do some not insubstantial rewriting.
I think my point on the matter is that it is unclear under what authority Abrogail I was able to negotiate the Kintargo Contract prior to signing the Cheliax Covenant. Bribery and manipulation seems the likely route, though, as has been stated above.
It's just a little awkward that the Cheliax Covenant is what gave House Thrune power to end the civil war, but it is also what holds the nation together under House Thrune rule as well. I guess the nutshell is that she didn't have the legal authority to make any of the deals until she had the power to enforce them. Perhaps that is part of the Cheliax Covenant which is not mentioned.
So. Regarding Parnoneryx and Vital Strike... how?
Corrupting Touch wrote:
Corrupting Touch (Su): All ghosts gain this incorporeal touch attack. By passing part of its incorporeal body through a foe's body as a standard action, the ghost inflicts a number of d6s equal to its CR in damage. This damage is not negative energy—it manifests in the form of physical wounds and aches from supernatural aging. Creatures immune to magical aging are immune to this damage, but otherwise the damage bypasses all forms of damage reduction. A Fortitude save halves the damage inflicted.
Vital Strike wrote:
So Corrupting Touch is a special standard action and should not be able to be used with Vital Strike. It shouldn't even be able to be used as part of a full attack as is listed in the statblock. It seems like a pretty big rules error - especially when you can let something throw out 34d6 attacks with a DC 28 Fort save for half.
Edit: I'm not arguing that NPCs can't break the rules mind... or that the huge attack isn't inappropriate for a nasty boss. But I am stating that if you break the rules, you should be clear about it in the statblock for prospective GMs.
So, one of the early plot hooks in this module is the Board of Governors. While I already ran into what I am about to ask about... I feel I should ask anyway.
DC 50 is not infeasible to meet with bonuses from the Special Collections in the Church of Asmodeus for characters at this level. A trained character could reasonably have +7 Int, +9 Ranks, +3 Class Bonus, +4 Aid Another, and +10 to +14 from the various books that were added throughout. A Bard can make this even easier, conceivably. This came up in my game, where the group was able to work through the Kintargo Contract initially without the help of Odexidie to remove the +10 DC penalty and as such they were able to determine the existence of the Board of Governors.
The book does not mention the Jackdaw (who was alive while the Board of Governors was active) nor does it consider the use of Speak with Dead on the corpses of the Silver Ravens... or really anybody in Kintargo from 100 years ago. It feels like enterprising players could easily just bypass Odexidie as written - or at least there would be no mystery of the Board of Governors given the lifespan of races in Golarion. Did Thrune Redactors go around eliminating any long-lived people with knowledge of this subject? I could certainly see Queen Abrogail make the point of that.
As a somewhat related question, I am utterly boggled by the timeline on the Kintargo Contract. The Kintargo Contract covers House Thrune's ability to use military force in Ravounel... but House Thrune needed the Cheliax Covenant to end the Chelish Civil War and crush Kintargo. Since these contracts are intertwined, I am unsure how this works.
It feels like if it was pre-end of Civil War, Abrogail would not have had the authority to negotiate a contract on behalf of Ravounel and if it was post-Civil War, Abrogail would have already had to have the Cheliax Covenant active. Any thoughts on this?
Name of PC: Gaius
One Power Attack and critical damage later, the battle began with the corpse of the Paladin of Erastil laid out at their feet.
Name of PC: Narcela
Name of PC: Kena
Name: Galen Jayr
The Silver Ravens, in the wake of the Ruby Masquerade, have taken to Kintargo in force almost immediately. After reviving those who had fallen in battle with the help of Galen's access to the Ultimate Mercy of Sarenrae to raise the dead with his healing, they went to the streets for the next two days. On the first day, they cleared out the secret underground chambers of the Silver Star and finished exploring the Opera House - in the process restoring Shensen and Jilia to health. With new information, they crushed the Dottari at the Bleakbridge, imprisoned Tiarise gagged and bound within a Forbiddance inside of the Records Hall, and rescued Jackdaw from the grasps of the First Warden. Any hope Barzillai Thrune had of controlling the city faded away.
But this means their reserves were taxed when Rivozair swooped down from high above the sky, having spotted the Silver Ravens. Going down invisible, Rivozair was able to easily land a Hellfire Breath that left the party in an immediate panic despite being able to get mostly out of the way. She circled at first, pummeling the enemy with a Fireball before being goaded into attacking Galen. Swooping down, there was a brief exchange where she took a bite out of the Paladin before being driven off through Bartholomeus' use of Greater Dirge of Doom and Intimidate to buy some time.
Preparations were made - flight, True Seeing to bypass the Mirror Images, and a holy blanching for Ilias' fauchard Anathema. A few rounds later, she returned, peppering the group with more fire and fury on the descent before Galen invisibly descended upon the dragon to engage her in melee. The resulting fight was furious - with Smite being able to barely land a critical hit out of invisibility, but with Rivozair forcing two Hero Points from Galen to allow him to use Hero's Defiance to stay conscious.
Ultimately, even this was not enough and another set of blows later, Galen plummeted from the sky. The tapped out Bartholomeus also used a Hero Point in order to cast Featherfall, stopping the Paladin from dying from his fall from the heavens. Shortly after, the burned and struggling Ilias was able to deal just enough damage to Rivozair to send her plummeting down to be ended next. The Devil's Bells pealed out in the background.
The party now recovers, having struck Level 11 and 12 in the same day, ready to take the fight to Thrune at the Temple of Asmodeus.
A question for those who have already run this section of the AP.
My players have gotten certainly excited about this section of the adventure, especially with the prospects of taking back the streets from Thrune. However, they recently had the Church of Asmodeus carry out an inquisition against some of their followers and the resulting deaths has made them hellbent on going after all sources of that.
I worry that this makes it look like they want to go straight after Castle Kintargo and the Church of Asmodeus, rather than deal with the smaller side events on the way. Does anybody have some thoughts as how to reframe things in a way that might make them less likely to charge head first to their doom?
The group has finally reached the Ruby Masquerade. And boy was it a doozy.
A few general notes: I am running with Barzillai Thrune as Occultist and ran with this for certain other characters as well. Further, since the trap happened with no distractions, I handled all associated Summon SLAs in advance, which likely did not make things any easier on my group. The group also chose to cause no problems, only mingling the entire Masquerade. So when the trap was sprung... oof.
Name: Alexander Dune
Cizmekris opened his gambit much the same way - aided by a Bone Devil to allow for some extra action economy. He went Invisible after his speech and hid in a corner. A Bone Devil made an image of him appearing up in the rafters. This seemed sufficient to make the party assume he was merely going to gloat from the rafters. He promptly used his Dimension Door to get next to the party - ultimately ending up right next to Alexander. The next round, he dropped his invisibility, just as the group was finishing frightening and disabling most of their enemies with their shocking display of power.
They were greeted to the vision of Barzillai Thrune caving in Alexander's skull in a ruthless full attack. Hero Points allowed him to survive the ruthless assault... but only just.
Galen Jayr found himself on the second floor -
alone and choosing to draw the attention of every devil in attendance, especially the Erinyes and the Bone Devil. This was going about as expected - he was knocked to the ground after being pierced with numerous arrows and was on death's door. His familiar worked desperately to get him back to his feet, only to be rewarded with being the subject of Bearded Devil glaives and Erinyes arrows.
A desperate bid at becoming gas was made to land the last heal to get Galen back to his feet - allowing him to witness when a last salvo of arrows brought the familiar to an end.
Name: Alexander Dune
Alexander, rather than deciding to remain out of the combat, rose back up to his feet to fight and bring his magic to bear against the enemy. Landing an impressive enchantment on the devils that drove them to confusion, he then planned to bid retreat from his encroaching enemies with a carefully cast Dimension Door.
Unfortunately, that failed. The ensuing blasting of Unholy Blight by the Erinyes was sufficient to bring him to a more permanent death as the cloying miasma filled the room time after time.
Name: Bartholomeus Muninn
Cizmerkis had been forced to retreat by Ilias Dune's rage induced assault upon him. He promptly made it to a stash of healing supplies, recovered considerably over a few rounds,
and promptly resumed his approach under invisibility. Ultimately,
his attack began anew in between Bartholomeus and the healer Arryn,
leading to the former being driven to the ground and the latter being forced to flee. Unfortunately, Ilias was back in the battle and taking advantage of the reach of his weapon and his ability to fly in order to stay out of reach of Cizmerkis' mace.
The cruel devil made his next gambit - come to face him in combat on the land itself, or he would finish the wounded man at his side.
Thankfully, they ultimately ended triumphant (if only just) and Galen Jayr, with his Ultimate Mercy, has resurrected Alexander... in time for the inevitable approach of the Dottari, lead by Tombus Regegious and their recurring enemy - Lucian Thrune. As a GM, I underestimated Galen's resilience - assuming I could keep him down when he is was at negative HP with this party turned out to be false. He probably should have been added to the death tallies, though it likely would not have changed the outcome, as it only distracted two Bearded Devils who were getting one-shot by Ilias' Evil Outsider Bane fauchard, Anathema.
Still, a suitably epic encounter and the group impresses me again by managing to survive a CR 15 encounter by the skin of their teeth, albeit with a lot of resources expended.
I think the answer is designer fiat and a bit of justification with character backstory.
Very much this, I imagine. Consider horses - you need no special class feature to have a horse. He just spent a lot of money on a fancy dragon horse.
That being said... having abysmal Will Saves basically meant that he just immediately got hit with a Suggestion and left the battlefield in my case. At least he gets to come back later?
So. I would fall myself into the camp that, given a chance to do everything over again, would drop Rebellion Actions.
It ends up feeling awkward - why would you have others do Rescue Actions when you could go out to do it yourself? Why aren't you doing these things during the week on your volition anyway? How does this all factor together again? Every time, it ends up feeling more like an exercise in bookkeeping than anything exciting.
A death? A death that was not averted by Hero Points? It is true! And... a little tragic.
Name: Ilias Dune
The Silver Ravens took the Fort in a head-on fight, using their high mobility to mount the walls and start defeating Menador Soldier after Menador Soldier. They even managed to land a Suggestion on Lucian Thrune that had him fleeing with the remainder of his men to the east to regroup after a devastating loss. So they were certainly at a high point when their exploration of the emptied fort proper began.
So imagine the surprise when they find a room that is entirely bare of any dust. Imagine their surprise when the bulkiest, most difficult to injure member of the Silver Ravens steps into the room. Imagine the look when he is suddenly wracked with paralysis. Imagine the fear when he finds that all the Slithering Trackers have won the initiative rolls. After the first Slithering Tracker failed to even be able to grapple a paralyzed, helpless target. The intelligent,
They had to kill the Fighter. Two coup de grace attempts later,
I really wish this had happened in a more epic encounter. ...but given the fact that they have trivially breezed through the last few months of encounters, I did need to put them on their toes a bit. Besides, their Scroll of Raise Dead is gathering dust! As I also use Hero Points, a chance to mitigate the circumstances was already there. I do question my choice of using Coup de Grace a little so soon - they needed a nat 20 to grapple and the first grapple attempt was a 19... since they were intelligent creatures, I justified it as enough to get a sense from there. But maybe another round of wasted attempts was warranted.
...still, what is done is done. And so 8 levels in, the first death has come. Right on track for when they can deal with it more easily.
That is sort of why my line of thought doesn't outright rule out (ConMod+1)*HD - they seem to be pushing more in the direction of stronger campaign traits.
Animal Whisperer allows Bards and the like to impact an entire extra type with their spells long before they start getting access to things like Charm Monster. Frontier Healer gives you a bonus to heal checks AND what is essentially an Enhanced Cures for everyone. Another gives you a bonus to critical hit rolls AND a bonus to some saving throws under certain conditions. There is undeniably some power creep with traits at the very least.
So my head does not automatically rule out a fullround action to get ~1/4 to 1/3 of your HP back once per day. At low levels it will be adored and extend party resources, while at high levels it will fade off with Wand of CLW/Infernal Healing/etc.
So. There is a trait in the Player's Guide that specifies that 1/day as a Full-Round action you can gain hit points equal to "Constitution modifier plus 1 HP per Hit Die."
Anybody know if that text means the formula is intended to be (ConMod+1)*HD or ConMod+(1*HD)? I cannot place the intent myself as the former seems rather strong compared to other options, while the latter seems like it would scale poorly.
The wyvern sculpture is a gift from his aunt as I recall - there is no mention specifically as far as I can about why it is so important to him aside from being linked to happy childhood memories.
If I recall, the dresses and perfumes are loot from people who passed through. Which lends itself a very creepy underpinning.
From CRB FAQ wrote:
That is the specific line that would rule out charge, but I do not think it rules out Mounted use of Vital Strike necessarily.
Another rules question related to the tactics listed for Lucian, if anybody can give some clarification.
Lucian's tactics for mounted combat suggests that he enjoys making use of Ride-by Attack and making Vital Strikes. I think my question stems from misunderstanding of mounted combat rules. I am not certain which of the two situations apply here:
1. The mount uses actions to charge and as a result, Lucian is considered charging (though has not spent actions to do so). This allows him to then spend his standard action at the end of the charge to Vital Strike.
2. The mount uses actions to charge And Lucian spends his actions to charge. He cannot use Vital Strike because he spent a full-round action to charge.
Given a read over the rules with the fact that this is written in as tactics< I am inclined to believe #1 is the case now, but I would like to confirm.
That argument does persuade me to worry less about the statblocks. It is certainly something that I would not have noticed were it not for trying to plug everything into the Roll20 framework, which then leads to trying to reconcile the missing digits here and there. Still, I do think consistent and clear presentation is important, especially when the underlying system tends more to prescriptive than otherwise.
Since I rebuild things for a little increased difficulty for my particular group, this tends to require careful understanding of the underlying statblocks... which I am clearly still learning! Asking these questions has been highly informative for that, even if what I thought were errors were mostly just me being unclear about the blocks.
So. The latter is beyond the scope of the AP as written, but is something that you can definitely work with. Keep in mind that Thrune, upon moving in, has immediately went to work establishing loyalists, so high ranking Dottari and the like have changed overnight. Thrune loyalists exist within the writing and vie for his approval though, so there is definitely space to work with that.
If you are working on romancing the Dottari, feel free - but keep in mind that the rank-and-file Dottari are going to be limited in what information they can give. They are the town guard dealing with Thrune coming to town for the most part, trying to do what they feel their job is despite these strange proclamations. They are not card-carrying villains who have their finger in the evil pie.
I will warn that the Adventure Path as written does have some issues with a secret rebellion. Many parts assume that the players are open and approachable as the Silver Ravens. This can be worked around (my party is really focused on being secret), but it is definitely something that needs to be considered as you move forward. I would say try to find a way to unmask them, but that feels rude to your Vigilante players... so just work around it!
Therefore, his statblock assumes he's is attacking a human and getting +2 hit and dmg per attack from favoured enemy.
Assuming he is attacking a human seems like a stretch - or at the very least a poor course of action. I do not think I've seen another statblock roll in Favored Enemy into their attack/damage bonuses.
As for his hp, the listed Con 15 assumes Bear's Endurance was cast, so he gets 4 bonus hp per level: 2 from Con, 1 from Toughness, 1 from favoured class.
Good catch on that - I assumed the Con 15 was his baseline Constitution and the Bear's Endurance hadn't been pre-factored in. I'll have to keep an eye out for that when reading in the future.
Conditional bonuses to saves are presented in the statblock if present, that's why Nerenn has them listed. Does Menotheguro have any conditional bonuses?
Ah, I see my confusion with the Nerrenn statblock after further looking over. The saves seem to hold up if "Weakness: Sickened" means that he is perpetually inflicted by the Sickened condition. I have not seen that wording before. Though in that particular case, his attack block is incorrect as far as I can tell.
w/o Power Attack
w/ Power Attack (as claimed in block)
In fact, it seems like the attack blocks are assuming no Sickened (assuming that is what the Weakness means, I have not seen it before), while the rest of the block is accounting for the Sickened condition. However, I will note that the block gives the +2 Natural Armor for his Form of Dragon and the extra movement from Longstrider, but I can't reconcile the HP total or listed saves with Bear's Endurance.
Now, I know I could just roll with these small errors, but I actually do a fairly large rebuild of things to bump up the difficulty. My party is running with 5 people using 20 pt buy and Hero Points, with no small amount of optimization, so the as-written encounters tend to all end up feeling trivial. As part of that, I really try to make certain everything is within existing rules so that things remain feeling fair, rather than fudging things when it is avoidable.
That is certainly fair with regard to the templates on zombie/skeleton. I went looking around and found that there were certainly points where making a zombie or skeleton ended up with a recommended CR that clearly does not match the actual output. I think that is entirely fair.
I will say that there is inconsistency in full statblocks in this book though. Nerrenn and Menotheguro have their saves presented differently (Nerrenn presents the level 7 ranger bonuses, Menotheguro presents the final numbers). Menotheguro's HP does not seem to match his reduced Constitution either.
I know I am probably nitpicking here, but I didn't see anything quite like this in the previous two chapters, so now I am worried that either I failed to thoroughly check things in the first two books OR that I will have to check multiple stat blocks to make certain they all are kosher.
Going to add a note actually. This particular book is rife with system errors. Stat blocks are not formatted correctly (Nerrenn in particular set me off to this), notes on templated creatures are incorrect (Zombie Shark CR is clearly miscalculated), and it makes me worry that I will have to comb this whole book extra carefully.
So if you are running Dance of the Damned, make sure you're double-checking statblocks along the way. I have not converted everything into my Roll20 game yet, but it seems like this is going to be more work than any of the previous books, which were of much higher editing quality.
Going through my standard combat modifications and I appear to have hit something that is confusing me.
There is a Zombie Great White Shark that is listed as being CR 7. Following the Zombie Template does not seem to yield this result though. You end up with 9 HD, which should yield a CR of 4. Everything else is consistent with this not being a special template.
+3 CR for environment to the encounter seems exceedingly generous, but the CR seems to be applied to our shark anyway. Am I correct in that the shark itself is only CR 4 as written?
Well, I found the exception in the Pathfinder Society FAQ, which is why I had this confusion to begin with. They mention a group of friends always playing around the same table and the wording is a little ambiguous about if they should all own their individual copies without the additional context that this is to prevent a needed for duplicate material at the same table.
However... this is the same section with the family member exception. So that does raise a certain confusion. Perhaps it would be better to break up that into two sections on the FAQ?
Good to know! I will keep this in mind for if any of my friends decide to transition from our home games to PFS, so that they don't end up going to an event with anything illegal! With that additional context, I do see how the intent is to not require ten duplicates of material at the table, rather than share sourcebooks within a home group.
Yeah, my concern with things is in keeping everything on the level if I were to work with something on PFS in the future and the FAQ from 2011 probably did not anticipate quite the rise in Virtual Tabletops that has happened since then.
My thought - which is quite possible not correct - is thus:
Again, I could be horribly wrong with this, but my reading of intent is: do not distribute watermarked PDFs, because this is piracy + make sure there is a legal copy of the rules available for referencing, because the burden is not on the GM to own all non-core material.
Steven Lau wrote:
Is this same group the only group you play with for PFS?
We actually do not play PFS currently, but it came up when looking at how Adventure Paths are sanctioned. Since I am Lawful Neutral, I was wondering exactly how these rules would be applied to online tabletops. For the sake of this hypothetical argument, let us say the Player B ONLY intends to play in games with Player A, thus guaranteeing that the legal copy would always be available for reference.
GM Lamplighter wrote:
You need to own the stuff yourself - sharing isn't allowed except for family members.
"If it is a group of friends that always plays together at the same table, as long as there is at least one sourcebook that covers each rule for every character at the table, it fulfills the requirement."
This line is the part from the Pathfinder Society FAQ that confuses me. At a physical table, it seems the key is that you have to be able to guarantee that there is access to the rules and you cannot depend upon the GM/other players/etc having access to non-Core material. This is obviously not the online/virtual tabletop case, but it would seem to me that this should also be fine provided that there is no distribution of PDFs, which would violate the copyright.
So, I have a quick question regarding how the additional materials rules work in terms of pdf/material ownership. When I play online games with my group of friends (non-PFS), we typically tend to own a single physical or PDF copy, and look at the PRD/Nethys during character generation. We play with each other fairly extensively and play together, so if one of us needed to look something up from a PDF, it is a fairly simple matter for the owner of the PDF to look up the relevant details in a book.
However, I am not entirely clear how the sharing rules work in the following situation:
1. Player A owns Pathfinder books containing non-Core materials.
Is this valid for PFS Play in general (physically, at a store/convention/etc)? Is this valid for PFS Play Online, where it would have to be documented with screenshots?
I am running Hell's Rebels and playing in Hell's Vengeance, while the GM for Hell's Vengeance is playing in Hell's Rebels. We also have two overlapping players on top of that. It has been interesting.
That being said...
The two campaigns seem to not interact with each other by intent. There is the occasional mention of crosstalk, but there does not seem to be anything too prominent. So feel free to put them up against each other all you want!
"Odds and Evens" and "Devilpins" both show up in Hell's Rebels - Turn of the Torrent. The former is a basic dice game for gambling (with cheating!) and the latter is effectively darts.
I think there is a substantial set of minigames that people have developed for Rise of the Runelord's Swallowtail Festival.
Honestly, in hindsight, I would cut the Rebellion subsystem.
I have struggled to tie the Rebellion subsystem to their actual actions and it often feels more restrictive than an addition. The main problem I think stems from the fact that the rebellion system acts on a timescale of a week, whereas the players are typically not going to want to feel like they should just spend a week letting the villains do whatever they want while they wait for their teams to carry out some act.
As a result, I find that they tend to jump ranks a lot (multiple ranks a week was pretty common) and that when they tend to do other rebellion linked tasks, I tend to reward them for it in the rebellion subsystem just to give them a reason behind the two.
I will say Notoriety tracking is good. I will say maintaining the idea of a rebellion and adding allies to their ranks is good. But I think the actual subsystem with Rebellion Actions is kind of subpar at best.
Strange Aeons looks as interesting to me as the Cheliax APs, and by that I mean I have no interest in this at all. The whole Lovecraft crap just doesn't interest me in the least, and seeing that this has all kinds of Lovecraft influence just makes this an instant pass for me. Lovecraft, Cthulhu, and the whole "insanity" schtick is just (in my opinion only) stupid. I never understood why putting tentacles on things (aberrations seem to be the biggest one) suddenly makes my mind shatter into insanity, yet it doesn't happen when I look at octopi or squids. But hey, people seem to really like that junk, so glad they are getting something. It just isn't my cup of tea.
Sounds to me like you're running into the biggest problem a lot of people have with regards to adapting Lovecraftian mythos to the game world - the horror is not that you have aberrations with tentacles - the horror comes from the idea that there is something beyond the human capacity for understanding, that breaks our conceptions of how reality works, and recontextualizes us into a space in which our individual purpose is meaningless compared to these other begins.
...which to be honest, really tends not to work well in an RPG context.
That being said!
Strange Aeons: I have been following this as a subscriber as each one came out. The first and third modules have been amazing, while the second and fourth modules feel like padding to me. Not bad padding, but padding. It really needs to sell me on the endgame still.
Ironfang Invasion: Not... super excited about to be honest. It sounds like generic fantasy fare after having 4 APs that deviated pretty heavily from that. I will look it over, but it will probably be on my backburner over running CotCT.
Ruins of Azlant: So, I think they have said it will be extensively underwater (something like 2/3rds?), so I am really looking for something that will make being underwater not be a giant pain in the butt to run. The concept is interesting enough, but it could also go very, very wrong. We will see!
Starfinder: I'll be honest. I see the appeal to adapting Pathfinder to a space fantasy setting, but I think it is tough to convince me that I should not just run another game over it. If I want fantasy in space, Star Wars has a long history and a certain fan appeal. If I want to run hard science, I have Eclipse Phase. I will probably look at this, but I do not see me running it.
As is my way, I have two more deaths averted by grace of Hero Points alone.
Name: Alexander Dune
The group had been fighting well since their last poor encounter with Nox, taking out a contingent of Hellknights at an excruciation site, freeing mercenaries from the Holding House, and disbanding a group of cultists that had moved into the Lucky Bones. Unfortunately, their first encounter with the Wretchghosts was something they were unprepared for. Unwilling to retreat, but only armed with a single magic weapon and the channels of the Paladin and Oracle, the fight quickly went downhill. After one round, the most individual damage was dealt by Alexander, who then attracted the attention of one of the ghosts.
One touch later, he was filled with an addiction to opium and became the primary target of the remaining ghosts, who stretched out their arms to bring him to the verge of death, only saved by pure willpower. The rest of the party managed to defeat the ghosts (with only one more case of opium addiction) and the near-dead Wizard was brought back from the brink.
Name: Ilias Dune
For my group of five, I tend to switch encounters around a little - between their optimization, hero points, point buy, and background skills, I tend to find I can bump up encounters by a CR on average. In this case, I should note the single Advanced Xorn was replaced by two normal Xorn guardians.
The group was incredibly paranoid about the colored floor. They attempted to check for pressure plates everywhere. When they found the yellow tiles had treasure underneath, they assumed that the treasure was holding down a pressure plate for a trap. When that did not trigger anything, they suggested that maybe the entire room was one giant pressure plate, waiting to be a trap. They did not pick up on the truth of the matter - the colored panels had meaning to them!
Ilias was the first to step into the room further, moving from a red tile to a green tile and triggering the watchful Xorn. Combat began with two charges out of the walls and while he did his best to swing his polearm at the attackers, the end result was two Xorn maws clamped around his chest, biting down. One of the two crit and ~60 damage later, Ilias only averted death by pure will. The Life Oracle was able to turn the tide with a Calm Emotions, which let one of the two Xorn be taken one-on-one by the Paladin. They eventually had everyone on their feet for a single burst round on the final Xorn, retreating from the dungeon to rest after quite a bit of stress.
Their Hero Points reserves are now VERY tapped. Galen (Paladin) has 2 in reserve, Ilias (Fighter) has fallen to 0, Alexander (Wizard) is down to 1, Arryn (Oracle) remains at 2, and Bart (Bard) is comfortable at 3. This leaves two of the PCs on the edge of permanent death... with the lower floor of the Lucky Bones remaining. We will see if people survive!
Captain Hinks Argup (the Razmiri guy) is listed as a "blackstrike" on page 9, but I don't see that in the NPC list. Is he supposed to be a Shadow Striker (F7/Shadowdancer2)? The CRs match.
Looks like a case of where lore was removed from D20PFSRD for OGL reasons. In the actual NPC Codex, Blackstrike is correct. Standard procedure for names/titles.
I got this one!
They leveled up as adventurer/thugs from level 1 to level ? during their period of time that they had amnesia. With the loss of that amount of life experience, they no longer qualify as high level adventurers.
The Sorcerer forgets some applications of magic, the Cleric loses some connection with their faith, the Fighter forgets those neat tricks he learned to beat people up better, etc. They were also in an asylum, so atrophy could explain loss of physical stats that might have raised.
One bit did stick out to me: several of the cultists have potions of vanish, with no caster level listed, so they default to 1st. Vanish is 1 round/level invisibility, which makes these potions seem rather useless to me. The cultist takes out the potion (a move action), drinks it (a standard action), and maybe takes a 5' step. Then the cultist's turn comes around again, and... the invisibility ends! The ambush writeup says they'll use the potions to get away, but it would need at least two rounds for that to work, no?
There is one way that comes in mind that makes it so that the default CL1 Vanish potion would not be useless for escaping and that is to split up the actions a bit.
Turn 1: Standard action to attack (or whatever), 5-ft step out of melee, move action to pull out potion.
Turn 2: Standard action to drink the potion and move action to flee.
The downside is that this is basically guaranteed to eat an opportunity attack no matter what, but it is at least marginally better than the alternative of not getting the invisible move action.
Throughout this particular module there is a lot of mention of the PCs regaining memories, but there is never particularly specific mention as to how these memories should be assigned - likely to make it possible to easily incorporate any number of PCs with relatively minor tweaks.
That being said, is there any risk of assigning memories between this and the next module that might conflict with each other, or is each memory effectively independent of the others?
So. You know what I want that I know will likely not happen?
An Adventure Path that is not human-centric. I want an AP in which the most reasonable thing is the players not all being humans. An AP in which they have to think about how their human-because-they-are-so-good PCs actually fit into the setting.
My thought is a dwarven campaign. Take a bunch of dwarves in a Sky Citadel of your choosing. Have something terrible come out of the paths to the Underdark, to serve as a catalyst. Have the PCs have to mount an expedition deep into the bowels of the Earth in order to solve the resulting problem.
Bonus points if there is an NPC Wizard you have to sacrifice to escape a Pit Fiend.