Danse Macabre

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The Diplomat wrote:
For cheep items, like daggers and arrows, just use the mechanics of the "earn an income" rules, and role play as if that the character had created (an) item(s) up to the value of the income earned.

Actually, the amount created is even higher. The "earn income" income is pure profit, which means expenses for materials are already substracted. So while you can sell ten longbow arrows for 1sp, your profit would be lower (you have to pay for materials, workshop access, tools and so on). To earn 1sp in pure income by crafting long bow arrows, you have to sell more than just ten.

But PF2 is no economic simulation, and this is an abstract rule, and the developers probably never meant to for you to sweat about the finer details of the economics of fletchery ...

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Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
If I recall, magus was close to keeping up with BAB of martials back then, but nowhere near the pure casters? While Eldritch Knight was a nice prestige, wasn't it kind of overshadowed by how magus streamlined it?

I played both and I liked the magus better, if only for the fact that I did not have to think too much about fiddly things like multiclassing and prestige classes.

The main problem in discussions like this is simple: There is no fixed definition of what a gish actually is, and folks have different images. It is basically an axis between a martial with spellcasting and a spellcaster with martial prowess. But where on this axis it exits, how much it gives up to gain the other thing, and even what is a fair trade, will be vastly different to folks. You can see that in this very thread.

Fighter-mages have changed a lot in the history of the hobby, from elves being able to switch between fighter or mage for each adventure to being two classes at the same time, to multiclassig, to prestige classes, to archetypes and so on.

My favourite gish is a martial character that gives up martial prowess to gain spellcasting of the arcane sort. My perfect design would be worse at fighting than pure martials without buffs, but reaching their levels when buffed. Given good encounter and adventure design, this is of course somewhat worse than just martial characters, but they also gain versatility with their spells. Now this is the difficult part, because it cannot be put into simple numbers. How much loss is invisibility worth? Flying? And so on.

But right now, before more classes and/or archetypes are released, there are basically two options: Focus more on martial prowess or more on spellcasting. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and people will feel very different about them, given their own ideas of what a gish is.

Corvo Spiritwind wrote:

Fighter/wizard better at weapons backed up with spells.

Wizard/fighter better at spells backed up with weapons.

Yes, and since MC archetypes do not give up enough of the class, you cannot lean deeper into the other class.

I think that a fighter-wizard would be closer to what the OP was envisioning - smacking big bads while slinging spells. And also that the "true" gish will be its own class, like magus.

ChibiNyan wrote:
Is there situations when you'll be like "Oh, good thing I invested in some melee prowess?" Maybe just vs Golems or things like that.

I would say that depends on level of play. The character is probably OK at lower levels, but to be honest, I have not done a real comparison.

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As I said in the other thread, you need to campare wizard-fighter with fighter-wizard. The latter is the one you want for smacking bad guys while also casting the occasional spell.

Magus and/or more archetypes will probably get you closer to what you imagine.

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The barbarian can pick up a shield and use it, though. Everybody can. And can invest in shield block if that seems opportune.

Fromper wrote:
This may seem like metagaming, but it kinda makes sense in context. After all, your experienced adventurer will be able to instinctively gauge how hard an incoming blow looks.

I am fine with that. Combat in PF2 is always about numbers, so that is OK. Shield block is about spending a potentially finite resource, which should be a tactical decision.

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Unicore wrote:
dialing sword

Aldori phone home?

Sorry ... carry on!

I am with Rhyst, I think the -4 is the combined benefit of both feats.

I will wait until I have enough material, but I think PF2 lends itself well to Roll20/virtual tabletops.

The thing is, with these rules-heavy, miniature-based games, I need rules support and modules, because doing it all from scratch is just not possible with my schedule (anymore). I need rules, monsters, maps and so on.

For less rules-heavy systems, I do not care that much, but even then, I find that the logistics are more demanding than at the table.

When I moved away from my regular gaming buddies, I started a couple of D&D 5e campaigns on Roll20, but the amount of work was simply too much. Nowadays, I just GM modules that give me everything I need, which is well worth the price.

So, some nice Adventure Path and maybe a Bestiary would be nice.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Going straight Barbarian, multiclassing into Fighter, then grabbing Double Slice makes for one of the highest DPR builds in the game (specifically, I believe to get as high as possible you go Giant Totem and dual wield oversized, non-agile, weapons).

If you go giant instinct, you should talk to your GM beforehand so that they can decide how you get a second weapon, as the class feature only grants one weapon initially.

Unfortunately not, but there are ways to get cantrips at 1st level if you want to start as a magical character, for example feats for elves and humans or a skill feat for arcane (this is Detect Magic only). You can retrain later on, or keep them, as seems fitting to your concept.

Midnight Anarch wrote:
Based on what logic? The CRB states that halflings "rarely grow to be more than 3 feet in height" which is half that of a typical human. Why wouldn't they weigh/bulk half as much, too?

Bulk is an abstract measure, so that is whatever the designers deem feasible. But weight does not scale 1:1 with height. D&D 3e even had a table for the enlarge spell, while PF simply went with doubling size and multiplying weight by 8.

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John Lynch 106 wrote:
2. How does high strength and wisdom reduce his perception, HP, initiative? I am genuinely confused by this statement.

I laid it out in my post, and it is pretty obvious: For each feat a STR wizard needs for armor proficiency, a DEX wizard can spend a feat on something else.

A very simple example would be at 1st level, STR wizard gets into medium armor, DEX wizard obtains +2 initiative and expert perception. The STR wizard is worse in perception, worse at initiative, and if perception is initiative (or stealth), a lot worse. Better at athletics initiative, though ...

Over the lifetime this will fluctuate due to class proficiencies and feats to spend, but getting heavy armor has the opportunity cost of not getting whatever else those three feats might grant.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
3. It was labeled as an eldritch knight build, so strength is definitely relevant. Can you please go into what several other stats he was worse in that would be necessary for an eldritch knight build?

Speed, HP, saves, skills, whatever one chooses instead of armor proficiency.

Honestly, the best comparison with your character is probably with a fighter MC'ing into wizard. Both will spend precious actions whacking folks, while a wizard will mostly cast spells. So you can compare AC and the like, but due to the vastly different styles of playing, this is rather difficult.

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John Lynch 106 wrote:
What am I missing?

You are missing several things. First of all, the character is trained in heavy armor, that is +2 AC. Secondly, unarmored can use runes, too, which means that magical bonuses to armor can be ignored (just like level, base and so on). You only need to compare

Full plate (6) + trained (2) = 8
Unarmored (0) + Dex (1) + Expert (4) = 5

But the most important thing is this: A typical unarmored wizard will not boost STR, but DEX. At DEX 18, which is easily achievable, the unarmored AC is actually the same from 13th level, but you spent three feats to get there (also, your REF is 1 against damage and 4 against the rest). If the DEX wizards invest as heavily in DEX as you in STR, it is 1 point of AC plus 2 points of REF (5 versus everything).

Unarmored will also have a mixture of master proficiency in perception / REF / Will / HP / 5 Speed (which would be 30 to your 20).

So, in the end you have at best the same AC, worse perception/saves/HP/speed/initiative (take your pick), with no practical way of retraining. The upside is that your AC will be better for some parts of the journey, while you will be worse in other stuff, as they spend feats on that.

Going STR is only feasible if you want to use that STR for something besides armor or if you spend a lot of time at the level range in which your AC is actually higher. Your character multi-classes into fighter, so maybe it is worth it. But even then, you at best end up the same in AC, but worse in several other important stats, or even worse in AC in addition to being worse in other stats ...

Barnabas Eckleworth III wrote:
I'd think (or least I'd allow) using a higher slot for juice to cast a lower level, non-heightened spell.

I hope that is RAI, as the sorcerer MC archetype would be quite limited otherwise.

It does not look good, though. The rules on heightening on page 299 in Chapter 7: Spells are pretty clear. The first paragraph is only about casting spells at a higher level without greater effects, and still precludes spontaneous casters from doing so. Only the second and third paragraphs go into heightening for greater effect.

And the part about Heightened Spontaneous Spells specifically prohibits a spontaneous caster who knows both the 3rd and 5th level version of fireball to cast it at 4th level. If the exception was that one can do it without higher damage/greater benefit, it would be mentioned there.

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Bandw2 wrote:
it's more like he just doesn't want to spend his general feats on heavier armor...

It is not just feats, it is also about raising STR, which is a non-retrainable resource that does very little for a pure caster. of of the few reasons to raise STR on a wizard are if you want to actually use it for more than just donning heavier armor, or if your campaign mostly plays in the level sweet spot where it is superior.

Bandw2 wrote:
for stealth just use invisibility

At 20th level, sure, trained skills are not hot anymore in any case. But at low levels? You cannot cast invisibility at first, and then it is one of your precious higher level slots.

And arguing like that is a fallacy, obviously, as the swiss army knife of full spellcasting often has options to circumvent a particular problem, but also the accompanying opportunity cost. Everything you spend is not available elsewhere.

Also, choices always have to be looked at over the assumed lifetime of a character. Of course, that is where the general proficiency feats are lacking, except in some cases like light armor on a wizard.

The whole spontaneous MC seems off. My first try at making a PF2 character was a port of a very old rogue with spellcasting concept, and I thought that sorcerer would be a fit, since the character is supposed to be high CHA, too, but especially at low levels, sorcerer MC casting was strictly inferior to wizard MC. Which is especially painful as this was about flexibility. The sorc MC gets a bit more spontaneous at 8th level, but the wizard MC can write spells in the spellbooks all the time. The trade-off between knowing less spells but being more spontaneous in the moment versus having access to more spells but having to dedicate resources was simply not there.

I hope that they clarify that sorcerers and the like can cast spells in higher spell slots without heightening them. It is still painful at lower levels, but gets better over time.

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Bandw2 wrote:
while i agree about spreading stuff from dex, i'm not actually arguing for a dex build.

Maybe this is a matter of definition, but I consider folk in light armor to be DEX-based, meaning they will use their ability boosts for DEX.

Remember, you using a general feat for light armor means that other will use them for other stuff. For example Canny Acumen, which can bring perception to expert (to be retrained later), so your higher WIS just means you have a bit worse perception; one has slightly better REF, the other slightly better WILL, one has slightly better DEX skills, the other slightly better WIS skills. Not much to go between, and usefulness will vary from table to table. I am partial to stealth, to be honest, because at lower levels trained with good DEX will be more than adequate, but again, that is a matter of preference.

Going lightly armored is a simple trade-off, the numbers wander around a bit on the sheet, but it is fundamentally very close to unarmored. And since the lightly armored caster will in all likelihood raise DEX anyway, retraining later on is always an option. That is no trap, even though it might feel off that one gets better at stuff that is not exercised at all.

The more you have to invest, though, the worse it gets. Medium armor takes STR to not take a hit to speed and skills (as well as a bit of DEX), and STR gives few advantages, especially when compared to other attributes. Also a second general feat with an opportunity cost. Retraining becomes worse, as abilities are fixed. Heavy armor is worse still.

All doable, but the more you invest, the worse they get.

Bandw2 wrote:

]I'd actually disagree, initiative and accuracy are the reasons you'd need dex before. you always want to go first in combat to get a bit higher chance to buff/debuff/kill before stuff starts happening, and of course to hit people.

hitting people has been moved to casting stat and initiative to wisdom. I think wisdom is ultimately more important than dex. meaning probably a tuned wizard will start with at most 14 dex, meaning they'll get 20 dex at level 20 and 18 at level 10...

Sorry, I missed that. Yes, they removed some dependency on DEX, or spread it more. That is a good thing. But with the way ability boosts and class proficiencies work, it is obvious that the designers believe that DEX is one of the important stats for unarmored casters, i.e. their meta. You can go against it, but at a cost. That's what I meant with metagame.

Also, you are actually arguing for DEX, because the general feats are the ones that grant initiative and perception (often also initiative, this being quite valuable). Stealth is another common initative, by the way. It gets more complicated later, when the classes offer expert training, too, but one can always retrain.

DEX ist still a good stat. Not the "I do everything" from before, but is two defenses in AC and REF, a couple of nice skills and meshes with the way unarmored proficiencies work. And relying on it alone frees up feats that grant nice bonuses to important stats.

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Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
I wouldn't care if people called them weak or suboptimal feats, but calling them trap feats is a little reaching

Well, that depends. Going full STR on wizards is pretty close to a trap, because ability boosts lock you into a concept. In this case, a concept that starts worse, gets better in mid-level play at AC, but is still worse in other defenses/perception/skills and then will be the same for two levels in AC, while worse at other things and could end up even worse in AC and other stuff for the endgame - while having spent three feats to achieve that.

Being worse at several things while having spent resources to get there, with no feasible way out, is rather trappy. Although still playable, of course. If you go with lighter armor and more DEX, it is pretty close and a matter of preference, I think.

As for hiding behind a rock for better REF saves, anybody can do that, so that is not really an argument for or against anything, as it is agnostic to stats, armor and everything else.

And of course, the DEX-based wizards ducking beside the STR-based wizards will still be better by a couple of points, up to 5 or so (DEX10 versus DEX16 at lower levels without bulwark, with Canny Acumen). Even at the worst point, they will be at least even (humans with everything as soon as possible versus DEX16 - which of course means the humans will be very slow (-10) and suffer full ACP). Otherwise, the straight DEX wizards will always beat the STR wizards at REF saves - obviously!

That is before making arguments about having better initiative or more speed and so on, which might preclude the need to duck in the first place, or even only allow the DEX wizards to reach cover at all, and so on ...

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Bandw2 wrote:
Until 13th level or whatever a single armor profi feat for light armor and 16 dex is decent, just transfer over to unarmored or not, your AC remains the same. that's another option. this saves 3 boosts. the advantage of course is you gain +2 ac much earlier than you otherwise would and keep that AC advantage until 13th level when you'd have 1 higher AC, assuming your boosting dexterity every time you can as a wizard.

That's true, still DEX-based, but at low levels it's basically a trade-off with a spell/spell-slot and whatever other general feat one would take. With magic items, it might even get better AC-wise for some time (worse elsewhere, due to the opportunity cost). And with retraining, you do not lose anything.

That is a fair trade-off. Going full STR for three feats to be worse for long stretches of the leveling process is rather not. Of course, it can still be done. I guess, I'm revising my earlier statement: better to have the feats than not having them (but still worse than some kind of scaling).

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Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
I get that it might be weird leaving that ten year meta of dex casters

The meta is still DEX casters. You can go against it, but you could do that in 3.0, too (it just sucked a lot). It got gradually easier with the editions, but PF2 has Paizo actively telling you they expect casters to go unarmored with the way class features work. You can invest to go against that, lowering your saves/perception/speed/initiative/skills compared to the expected way in the process (higher DEX, Canny Acumen, Fleet, Incredible Initiative), and if you fully go that way, aka a human spending all feats as soon as possible, you can even be better during some parts of the game at some things (worse at others, of course), but the meta still is DEX all the way very much.

This will probably change with more content, new classes, archetypes, feats, etc.

Funnily, the comparisons seldom include the bonuses that would be gained by not spending feats on heavy armor. A pure STR wizard would be lacking compared to pure DEX in important stats like perception, saves and so on for quite some time. I think it is highly disingenuous to act as if the general feats do not actually provide bonuses if not used for armor.

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Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
Wizard in Trained fullplate at 13th has the same AC as an Expert Unarmored wizard at +8AC. The only way the Expert will rise above the Trained, is if he pumps 20Dex, which is unavailable till 20th.

When exactly does this STR-based Wizard kick in? You need three armor proficiency feats, so that would be, what? 5th level for humans, 11th for everybody else? Before that, the wizard with STR instead of DEX will be strictly worse when it comes to defences. Or they invest a bit in DEX, which brings some defences on par with the DEX wizard, but reduces other scores for skills & saves. If you actually want to forgo DEX completely, you also need STR 18 to avoid penalties later on.

The investment is three general feats, plus STR (so you do not even gain more ability boosts or whatever, because both will bring STR or DEX to 18). For that, you start slower, only to become the same later on? Not even that as your reflex save will be lower, even when bulwark actually applies; also you will be 5 feet slower. Not to mention equipment costs.

To summarize, you spend three feats to be a lot worse at the beginning, maybe have a few levels of enjoying a small advantage, then be a bit worse again for the rest of the game. That is without counting the fact that the DEX-based wizard can simply chose three other general feats (for example being faster, quicker or able to take a step into difficult terrain). Not huge, granted, but more and better than the STR wizard.

There might be a case for other builds spending feats to gain armor proficiency (although it seems to be suboptimal in the long run usually with the way classes handle proficiency), but spending three feats to be obviously worse off for the most part of 20 levels is simply not a fair trade-off.

And retraining is not useful, of course, because of the investment in ability scores.

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Perpdepog wrote:
Gonna expose my ignorance for a moment here. What's the real-world purpose of a buckler?

For example, in the beginning of the 16th century, the Spanish used Rodeleros, aka sword and buckler men, in their pike and shot formations, to break up the dreaded push of pike, when formations became locked with each other. They were supposed to bypass the pikes and attack the enemy directly. Others used halberdiers or the like for the same effect. It only lasted a relatively short time, though, as the Rodeleros were quite vulnerable on the battlefield.

The buckler is usually gripped in the hand, not strapped to the arm (so no potion chugging with that hand). One could protect the sword hand, shield it from view (quite important to prepare an attack), deflect blades (as it is much more mobile than a heavier shield) or even trap them, and of course punch people with it.

EDIT: For what it is worth, a Skald was one of my few 2nd Edition AD&D characters; I think I wanted to go with dual-classing, but the campaign petered out too soon. That was in the 90s, so while I do not know if that is a classic fantasy build, it was around.

Narxiso wrote:
The feats work perfectly fine for what they are: general feats. They can make interesting builds without sacrificing class feats, which open up much stronger options, while putting less emphasis on dexterity if that is not my focus. I like that as an option.

I guess that is subjective, but the way proficiencies given by classes work in this game makes the investment rather meh sooner or later, which in addition starts rather late unless you are human. I dunno, mechanically they are objectively suboptimal, have been for three previous and one contemporary edition and seem very much like an artifact of "how things are done". Having more options is OK, but then they could have done them differently from previous editions to keep up at higher levels - especially if you only took them to play an interesting build.

Also, maybe it is a matter of style, but I actually like archetypes better for this sort of thing. Running around in armor different from the rest of your class - especially if the difference is vast, like plated wizards -, sounds very much like an archetype to me. But that is subjective, of course.

EDIT: I usually refrain from prophecies, but I am fairly confident that they will become even less appealing the more material gets published.

mavbor wrote:
A Multiclass Rogue sneak attack is 1d4 (at level 4) and 1d6 (at level 6) and requires the target to be flat footed. This is only dealt once each round.

It is? Why?

EDIT: Thanks, Deadmanwalking, I thought I missed something vital ...

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The armor proficiency feats are suboptimal, but that is a legacy feature. From 3.0 to 3.5 to PF1 and even to 5e, these feats existed and nobody chose them (at least in my experience, coupled with at times really extensive online exchange), because there were always better ways to obtain armor (& weapon) proficiencies. Honestly, they should have just done away with them and fully rely on archetypes.

In 3.0/3.5, class features heavily restricted armor usage anyway, but the best ways to get more proficiencies were multi-classing / prestige classes - feats were actually precious back then! PF added more classes, and with archetypes and alternate class features many more possibilities opened up. D&D5 is similar, with subclasses simply adding stuff that is needed for some character concepts (and feats being precious again!).

PF2 flattens armor types even more. If armor is so similar anyway, heavy investments seem out of place - and they are, because that is, again, a legacy feature. Trap, no trap, who cares about nomenclature, that is just not good usage of limited space in a book bursting with content. But these are the artifacts you get when rules systems have history.

Eggstraordinary thread!

Although my main question would be why PF2 needs Tengu egg sizes at all?

I managed to get the players together for another session. This is the first one with many big alterations to the AP. A new player joined us this time, while one was absent.

Scene III

In which a murder is committed, a investigation is conducted, a trio of evil-doers is brought to justice and a terrible secret is brought to light.

Despite the misgivings of the people of Lepidstadt, our heroes are of high spirits. Judge Daramid invites to dinner, promising a taste of the regional cuisine. They visit a small tavern that Embreth calls the best restaurant for traditional Lepidstadt dishes. There they meet Professor Wilhelm von Eisenberg, a friend of the late Petros Lorrimor, who seems to have taken his friend's death to heart; he is busy drinking himself into a stupor. Our heroes decide to invite him to their table and commence their meal, which turns out the huge amounts of black pudding, lamb, potatoes, dumplings, black soup, all dripping with fat. Afterwards they return to the judge's house and get some much needed rest, secure in the knowledge that they saw justice done.

Only to be woken by a servant of justice early in the morning. There has been a grisly murder, and our heroes are wanted for questioning! The priest of Belenus has been shot and stabbed, and the wounds match the weapons of our heroes. Together with Embreth they go the the courthouse and face Otto Heiger, the grim advocate, who relishes in breaking the whole news to them. They are the prime suspects in this case and are questioned and told not to leave the city. Although Judge Daramid assures them that Otto Heiger may be harsh, but not unjust, our heroes feel uncomfortable with the direction of the official investigation and decide to conduct one of their own.

They gather clues, experiment with alchemical precision and gather information. Fortunately, Professor Wilhelm von Eisenberg joins them. He is good at asking questions and not yet reviled by the good people of Lepidstadt. This leads them to the townhouse of Count Alpon Carromarc. They break and enter it stealthily and discover the dead body of the caretaker. After alarming the city watch, they search for more clues. This leads them to believe that agents of the Whispering Way spent several nights in the house, right at the time of the theft at the university. Most have left several days ago, but three remained behind. Exchanging knowing glances, our heroes deduct that these three are responsible for the reprehensible murder. Since the assassins are unaware of the discovery of their hideout, our heroes spent the night in the townhouse.

And almost catch a shadowy figure trying to sneak in. They give chase and follow the fleeing person out of the city, on the northern road along the Moutray. While they are sure that they are right behind the culprit, they do not seem to able to close in on him. And while traveling through a small wood, they are ambushed! Three deadly assailants attack, a crossbow-sniper hidden in a tree, a two-gunslinger and a fierce warrior woman. The fight is short, but very brutal. Our heroes manage to slay the sniper and the gunslinger, while knocking out the warrior.

Afterwards they question their captive. She does only know a little, as the main connection to the Whispering Way was the gunslinger. But she does know that some of the insidious necromancers are at Schloss Carromarc! Our heroes gather their loot, some of it rather quickly, and return her and the bodies to Lepidstadt. Otto Heiger is not happy, but just as Embreth said, he respects the law. Our heroes buy horses and race onward to Schloss Carromarc.

They reach it at dusk. It sits atop a waterfall, a large, fortified manor connected to the either side of the river by two narrow bridges. Our heroes approach the gatehouse with trepidation, and rightly so, as they are promptly assaulted by skeletal fiends and minions of the Whispering Way. A fierce combat ensues, but our heroes emerge triumphant!

Kitsune should be no problem: they can pose as humans thanks to their racial Change Shape ability. The rest may have difficulties, especially those races that cannot easily hide their features, like Catfolk. I can see a half-orc trying to disguise his heritage, but Catfolk with their fur and feline heads?

In my CC campaign, most non-humans take pains to appear as "normal" as possible, using the disguise skill, wearing hoods, concealing clothes and so on. Of course, most of the PCs including the humans in that campaign are not from Ustalav, which means they are considered unwelcome foreigners anyway and are often treated as such.

Well, there is the Sword and Pistol feat. Opening Volley could be interesting, too. You would probably want the pistolero archetype, and need to find a way to reload your pistol while wielding a sword in your other hand.

If you are willing to go for a finesseable weapon like the rapier, you could go all DEX and try to get your hand on an agile weapon.

No ideas on 3rd edition stuff; it's been to long since I actually played it.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
With Str 22 or so (actually low for this level), that's, what, +27/+27/+22 for 6d6 +35 damage per hit, criticalling on 17-20? That is going to seriously mess up a Magus. Mirror Image will hold it off a little...but a couple of rounds at best, even assuming Dispel Magic isn't used. And at 13th level, the Inquisitor gets True Seeing, and Mirror Image stops being a problem at all.

At the postulated 12th level, Mirror Image and Displacement/Greater Invisibility will really mess up that Inquisitor. At 13th, as you said, it looks better, but she should really spend a round casting See Invisibility at 12th level, if she does not want to risk starting the fight without actually being able to see her opponent.

Both are very nice classes, versatile, good in design, with lots of options. Magus might have the edge because of the ability to nova against single targets, but both have a large box of tools and possible builds, so I do not believe that you can give a definitive answer; too many variables.

Pledged. I am really looking forward to this.

Pledged. Looking forward to this.

Kickstarting this is great - I cannot wait to mine the book for jewels to use with my old-school'ish dungeon campaign.

I have copied the text and a map from my RPG-Wiki into a google.doc. You can find it here. It is my first google.doc ... I hope this works as intended.

I did something similar for my own CC-campaign. I placed Ustalav in Ravenloft, albeit a heavily modified one. I wrote a primer and drew a map for my players and can share that, if you would like.

For more instant Steampunk, I replaced the summoner class with the clockworker, which does basically the same thing but with constructs instead of outsiders. Add steamboats or even trains and similar advanced technology and it should be easy to get a steampunk'ed atmosphere. One thing I toyed with was armor-less combat, as I feel that the 1800s do not mix that well with full-plate (even if they are still around and used in some of the more backwater places (and by PCs with that background)).

It is working well so far. Further adventures will take the players all over the Core, as many of the themes presented in the AP are available in other domains and mesh quite well with existing stuff.

While both the Whispering Tyrant and Azalin Rex are evil liches, they are quite different. I kept both, as the Whispering Tyrant is more the world-conquering, all-should-be-undead type and thus a pretty good threat from ages past.

Actually, it is quite simple: magic items that require slots only do their thing for you if you wear them in the appropriate slot. Your Ring of Sustenance stops working if you put it in your pocket, same for your Amulet of Natural Armor. If you use your Cloak of Resistance as a pillow at night, it does not confer its benefits to you. Any item that you use with Continual Flame will work regardless of where you put it. You do not even have to carry it on your person. It is obviously not something that requires a slot, regardless of its form.

The Mysterious Stranger archetype for the Gunslinger gets the deed Focused Aim which allows the spending of 1 point of grit to add CHA to firearm damage for 1 turn.

Scene II

In which a trial is held, and our heroes visit places of great tragedy and must deduce a terrible truth while facing adversaries born of shadow and night.

Fuelled by a desire to see justice done and by compassion for a creature that displays heart in a heartless situation, our heroes begin their investigations in earnest. Out of the many dreadful events that are attributed to the beast, the court decided to allow three cases: the disappearance and murder of six children of the small farming community of Hergstag, the abductions of several people from the aptly swamp village Morast and the burning of Doctor Brada's Asylum for the Lunatic Afflicted. All three events happened in the last six months, in all cases witnesses have seen the beast and will be called to court. As some of these witnesses now reside in Lepidstadt, our heroes decide to visit them first.

Karl, who used to be the groundskeeper of the asylum, lives in a small hut on the outskirts of the city. He lost his eyesight in the attack, but swears that the last thing he saw was the beast running out of the burning asylum and knocking him out. He seems earnest and believes in his account, but knows little of the asylum itself and its inner workings. Doctor Brada inherited a small fortune when his wife died and used the money to build the asylum just outside Lepidstadt. He believed that lunacy and madness could be cured instead of just locking the afflicted away, and conducted many experiments to help the poor souls. He died in the fire and was buried at Lepidstadt cemetary.

On the other side of town, three spinsters, the sisters Starle, have bought an old windmill and are very happy to entertain our heroes. They relate the tale of Hergstag, where four small kids went missing within the span of one month, and even the beadles of Lepidstadt in league with the best hunters and trackers where unable to find them. Then one day the beast walked into the village, the body of Ellsa in his arms, laughing maniacally. The villagers drove it off, but decided to abandon Hergstag as they believed it to be cursed. While the sisters are friendly, our heroes believe that they might be holding back some information, and a little questioning brings out the truth: the sixth victim, a girl named Karin, was found two days after the incident by her father, lying peacefully in her bed without any mark in her body.

The two visits only confirm our heroes' suspicions, and they make haste towards Hergstag to investigate the scene, as this case is to be tried the day after tomorrow. On their way they stop at the asylum which is situated on the isthmus knows as Karb Isle. The fire has destroyed most of the evidence, but they manage to find an iron lockbox, heavily damaged which resists their attempts to open it for quite a while. Finally, a concerted effort breaks it, and they find badly burned pieces of paper which turn out to be records of the asylum. Only the name Vorkstag and Grine’s Chymic Works can be read several times. It seems to be a factory supplying mostly alchemical products. Our heroes discover an entrance to the cellars and climb down. Sarah sees movement out of the corners of her eyes, but just as she warns her companions, half a dozen undead monstrosities ambush our heroes. Sarah is bitten and paralysed, Lucretia shares this fate, and Elias is wounded to within an inch of his life, but before the ghastly attackers can kill the helpless trio, they are struck down by sword, axe, bolt and bullet. Our heroes discover the gnawed bones of victims of the fire, some of which bear the marks of surgery, and a little treasure - and an empty bottle of Vorkstag and Grine, Chymickal Bleach.

As the ruins of the asylums refuse to release its secrets, our heroes travel to Hergstag which was little more than half a dozen farmsteads huddled together. The villagers abandoned their homes about half a year ago. They left the traps that they placed to catch the beast behind. Our heroes discover one of those, a wicked bear trap. They come across some tracks, but the village seems empty. As Catalin approaches the shrine devoted to the Raven Queen, she hears a children's voice singing a hymn, but it stops before she reaches the shrine which turns out to be empty. Our heroes decide to visit a small hill to the south-west, as there is a scarecrow on its top. As they advance on the hill, they find more tracks and then see a fallen figure in the overgrown fields. It turns out to be the corpse of a man, obviously some kind of looter, who went into the village, but then moved into the fields and straight into the trap. His path is puzzling, but without further clues our heroes begin to search the hill. Lucretia comes across a small hole, looking like a badger's burrow, near the scarecrow. After some debate, Elias drinks a potions that shrinks him to half his size and enters the hole. He soon finds a small cave and several human bones, but before he is able to examine them, he is attacked. Small claws hit his back, and he feels as if some malignant force is draining his life away. He whirls around but cannot see his assailant. Again he is struck, and already begins to feel faint, so he decides that caution is the better part of valor and flees, suffering a last attack from invisible claws. Lucretia and Catalin heal his wounds, and our heroes devise a plan to capture the creature in the burrow.

With tools from the village they dig towards the cave. Pat and Elias craft a smoke bomb using gunpowder and alchemical ingredients. Our heroes place one of the bear traps in front of the only exit. Digging a hole deep enough takes until sundown, but then they drop the smoke bomb into the cave. Something flees the attack but fails to avoid the trap. It is smaller than humans, and the vicious trap nearly cuts it in half. It turns out to be some kind of fey creature, a Lurker in Shadows, evil and known to steal the souls of the living with a mere touch, collecting and binding them to itself. The light of the sun melts its body away, but Kostja places the remains in a box to preserve them for the trial.

Our heroes return to Lepidstadt where they are met with anger and scorn. The people of Lepidstadt have been told that the strangers are helping Barrister Kaple, and they do not cherish the thought of the beast receiving aid. Nonetheless, our heroes remain unfazed and spent the night at Embreth's mansion. In the morning, they speak with the beast and with Karl, visit the alchemical factory to ask for their records of Doctor Brada's orders, and then leave the city early in the morning to visit Morast. They travel through the swamp and reach the village before noon. Lazne, the village elder, greets them enthusiastically, as he believes they were sent to escort him to the city as he is, in his own words, the “star witness”. Our heroes use his enjoyment of his moment of fame to get him to talk about the alleged crimes of the beast, which he happily does. People wandering the swamps alone disappeared, which in itself is not that remarkable, but it soon became obvious that there was more than the dangers of the swamp at work. Then the beast became bolder, even attacking villagers in their homes and abducting them. Lazne organized his brethren and laid a trap for the beast. They attacked it as it entered the village and drove it into the swamp, following with their coracles. It went to the boneyard, at which point the villagers caught up again. It tried to escape by jumping into the waters, but a blood caiman attacked it, bit into its shoulder and dragged it down. Lazne believed the beast to be dead until he was called as a witness in this trial.

With this knowledge, our heroes decide to investigate the boneyard. They find a small isle with a grove of willows. Their keen eyes discover hints that some of the graves have been tampered with. Further investigation reveals a small camp a few months old, with the remains of an alchemistical extract of Darkvision and half eaten rations. Suddenly, Lucretia explains that she could imagine a person sitting there, using some kind of mask to make him look like the beast, and that there could be a box with the letter V next to him. Her very detailed imaginations astonish her companions but she does not reveal her source. Nevertheless, our heroes conduct their search with renewed vigour and find a place where someone fastened a small boat and a lost scalpel marked with a V. Knowing that the beast neither has use for extracts of Darkvision nor for a surgeon's tools, our heroes return to Lepidstadt with the intent of finding the artisan who crafted the scalpel.

They arrive well before dusk and proceed to ask around until the stumble upon the crafter's shop. But he himself refuses to tell them his client's name, so they bribe one of his apprentices who prompts them to Vorkstag and Grine’s Chymic Works which lies on the fringes of Lepidstadt. Before they can investigate any further, they hear loud screams from the courthouse. They hasten towards it, finding a large mob on the market square. The guards are gone, and there is a priest of Belenus whipping the townspeople into a frenzy. He wants them to kill the beast which he calls an abomination. As our heroes try to intervene, the priest accuses them of being in league with the beast and being creatures of darkness themselves. Only by working together can our heroes disperse the mob, but the priest swears vengeance for their sinful acts.

Finally, our heroes decide that they must take more vigorous action as the trial will commence tomorrow. They infiltrate the Chymical Works, dispatching some kind of alchemical guard dog. Inside the factory, they see zombies driven by alchemical concoctions. With this proof of illicit behaviour, they alert the city watch which arrives half an hour later. The captain, distrustful of their motives, wants to wait until dawn and arrest the owners, but our heroes fear that their intrusion will be discovered and evidence destroyed and they offer to act as deputies and carry the risk of facing the zombies themselves. After a short negotiation, the captain agrees and our heroes begin their assault.

The fight inside the factory is brutal. Vorkstag and Grine are accomplished alchemists and fight like cornered animals. Their bombs wound many. The toxic fumes and hazardous environment make every step dangerous, but after a long, hard fight and a final chase, our heroes knock out Grine who falls to his death and subdue Vorkstag. Then they discover the terrible secret: the respected business owners are actually otherworldly creatures, and their business only a front for their real activities: bodysnatching. A dozen corpses are preserved in alchemical fluids in the cellars. Grine was a dark creeper and Vorkstag is a skinstealer, a creature that can wear the skins of flayed humanoids to impersonate them. Our heroes discover his cabinet of skins and faces, containing more than two dozen of the grizzly exhibits. Among them are the victims of murder - some of those have been attributed to the beast! - but also the skins and faces of respected citizens of Lepidstadt, both male and female. And one skin taken from a creature known as a mongrelman, that could be and was used to impersonate the beast.

Knowing their discoveries will help Barrister Kaple make his case, our heroes find some much needed rest. Early in the morning, they attend the first day of the trial. Lucretia presents their findings and deductions to the court, and in two glorious days the defence smashes the prosecution's every accusation. The beast is acquitted on all charges and released. The enraged people of Lepidstadt are loath to accept the verdict, but the beast escapes before the gathered mob can act.

Our heroes are now reviled by many in the city, but their minds are at ease as they have helped seeing justice be done. The only troubling thought that remains: neither Vorkstag nor Grine had anything to do with the theft at the university, and this remains an unsolved mystery.

We played another session. As two my players are going to work on the side of the world for at least two years, I have asked two friends if they would like to join the campaign. They did.

Sarah Guyro, a Sylph Clockworker with deft hands and a deadly crossbow.

Pat Haycox, a Dhampir Gunslinger who lets his gun do the talking.

I had to fiddle with the rules a bit since I am using my own rules for firearms and I had to mesh them with the gunslinger class, but I think it worked pretty good. I changed some of the adventure to fit the needs of my gaming group. We managed to complete the trial, and that will be the last part of the AP that I can use almost as it is written.

Without further ado, the campaign journal:

Act Two or The Trial of the Beast

Scene I

In which our heroes reach the great university city of Lepidstadt, hear of the capture of a dreaded beast, meet learned women and men and discover a strange happenstance.

On their way to famed Lepidstadt, Elias picks the lock on the Manual of the Order of the Raven's Eye, but discovers that it is written in code. Federico, a natural linguist, manages to decipher the code. The Order of the Raven's Eye is a relatively young secret society intend on battling the growing influence of the undead and of the Whispering Way. The folio is a primer for newly initiated members, containing basic information about the order and its beliefs. Apparently, there is some kind of connection between the rise of the Whispering Tyrant and the Amber Wastes. The order was founded by a group of early scholars of Akirology who found these links in ancients tombs long thought lost to the shifting sands of the desert. The order stays secret because its enemies seem to have influence even at the highest levels of society, and agents of the Whispering Way are known to work ceaselessly towards their great goal: freeing the Whispering Tyrant!

Even before reaching the city, our heroes hear tales of the dreaded Beast of Lepidstadt, some kind of flesh golem, and its capture by brave guards. When they arrive in the early evening, they call upon Embreth Daramid, an old friend - some say even lover - of Petros Lorrimor. She welcomes them warmly and invites them to stay at her mansion for as long as they like. Over dinner, pressing matters are discussed. Embreth has been called to sit in tribunal in the strange case of the Beast of Lepidstadt. Despite being a golem, the beast seems to have developed an intellect of some sort, a living consciousness. This has prompted the people of Lepidstadt to conduct a trial, as the beast is regarded as a person and not as a thing as a golem would be. Embreth is troubled by this trial, as the verdict of guilt and subsequent execution are seen as a foregone conclusion. Alas, her sense of justice does not allow her to disregard the traditions of the law, and she asks our heroes to associate themselves with the advocate Gustav Kaple, who has been called upon to defend the beast. He is up against the ambitious prosecutor Otto Heiger, who is said to be gearing up for the next election of the burgomeister. While discussing the case, our heroes discover strange links between the events at Ravengro and the events that lead to the capture of the beast. Not believing in circumstance, our heroes agree to at least take a look at the case and meet Gustav Kaple and the beast.

First in the morning, our heroes visit the scene of the last crime and capture of the beast, the great university of Lepidstadt, one of the most renowned colleges of learning in all the Core. Embreth brings the books to the library and negotiates a deal that allows our heroes to visit the closed part of the library and study the locked-away tomes of dangerous contents. While they search for clues, they interrogate one Montagnie Crowl, a professor of history and antiquities, who is head of the department where the theft of a strange statue, the so called Raptor Effigy took place. The beast forced its way into the well-guarded storage room and was found standing there as if dazed. The statue is the only thing missing, despite not being the most powerful or even valuable item. In fact, nobody really knows its purpose and use. Our heroes are appalled by the lackluster investigation conducted by both the prosecution and the defence, but this only confirms Judge Daramid's words that the trial is only meant to prove the beast's guilt.

At this point, Elias mentions that he came across a special book, a Flesh Golem Manual in Ravengro, where the proprietor of the Unfurling Scroll, Alendru Ghoroven, offered it for sale. He remembers the name in the exlibris: Montagnie Crowl. Our heroes debate the significance of this finding and decide to subtly confront the professor. As it turns out, he was the official owner of the book, as he tried to pierce the mysteries surrounding the beast, but he gifted it to the library of the university years ago when all his work came to naught. A quick research in the library records reveals the truth: the book was stolen! In shock, our heroes ponder the consequences. Meanwhile, Professor Crowl sends servants to fetch the book from Ravengro.

Finally, our heroes decide that it is time to pay the beast a visit and talk to dreaded golem themselves. They return to Embreth's home where several surprises are waiting for them. Unfortunately, Anna-Katerina and Federico have to depart as they have duties to attend to. But there are new guests at the house, friends and companions of the late Professor Lorrimor. Two of those, the silent man named Pat Haycox and the young engineer Sarah Guyro, decide to join our heroes in their quest for justice. The third, the middle-aged noble Adivion Adrissant, a well-known friend of the professor, has eyes only for Kendra, and the two of them seem very close.

After a heartfelt farewell to Anna-Katerina and Federico, our heroes accompany Embreth to the courthouse of Lepidstadt. A huge pyre in the shape of a man - Lepidstadt’s famous Punishing Man - is being erected in front of the courthouse, and locals eagerly add fuel to the effigy in preparation for the Beast’s execution. The atmosphere is that of a funfair, with the people of Lepidstadt already in the mood to celebrate the burning of the dreaded beast.

Judge Daramid takes our heroes inside the heavily guarded courthouse and to the office of Barrister Gustav Kaple, the appointed counsel for the defence. After a few words our heroes realize why he was chosen; he is prone to stutter when nervous, becomes nervous very often, and his recent track record is rather dour: of his ten last clients, one was sentenced to ten years in prison, three were sent to life-long hard work in the quarries and six were hanged. He is a defeatist, believing the beast to be guilty and the case already lost. His defence will only centre around the effort to change the mode of execution to something more humane than burning. His opponent, the famed Otto Heiger is the best prosecutor of the whole Palatinate and supported by an extensive staff of legal advisers. Barrister Kaple tells our heroes that nobody in the city was willing to help him build his case, and that the trial is set to begin in two days, giving him barely enough time to prepare. While Embreth is one of the associate judges and well known for her compassion and sense of justice, the other one, Kasp Aldaar, an ex-General famed for his impalement of four-score deserters, is a hard-liner in the extreme . The chief justice, the honourable Ambrose Khard, is known as a fair and impartial man who follows the law to the letter.

While the barrister's aide copies some of the records for our heroes, they follow Barrister Kaple down the stairs into the dungeon of the courthouse. All cells except one have been emptied, and half a dozen rather nervous soldiers of the Lepidstadt militia guard the sole incarcerated - the infamous Beast of Lepidstadt, bound by a dozen heavy chains. Even a cursory glance reveals several marks of abuse or even torture, which infuriates our heroes. They try to communicate with the beast, but are only met with silence. Even their offerings of aid fall in seemingly deaf ears. But just as they are leaving, they hear whispered words:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

The guards try to silence the beast with their long spears, which prompts Kostja and his companions to threaten them until they stand down. Some of the heroes recognize the poem, and Elias visits the library of the university to confirm their thoughts. The poem was written more than five decades ago by a famed writer from Mordent. It is called Unconquered and signifies a man's will to live despite the cruelties that fate may lay at his feet. Our heroes decide that the beast may be more than simply that - there seems to be a kind soul hidden somewhere below the monstrous appearance. They ask for an audience with the Magistrate Khard who has decided that the flesh golem can be tried.

The audience only last a few minutes as Magistrate Khard is a busy man. He confirms that he has spoken to the beast and that it proffered its innocence and even called one of the dead children of Hergstag its friend. As his communication with the beast confirmed its sentience, Magistrate Khard decided that it was not to be regarded as an item but a being, and thus has to stand trial for its crimes. After a short discussion he allows our heroes to actually enter the cell, but only after they sign a waiver relinquishing all claims of compensation if they are hurt in the process.

While the guards do not really like the idea of opening the cell, our heroes brook no insolence. Lucretia and Sarah enter the cell and try to heal the beast while their companions distract the guards. Lucretias magic works, but her magic is seen by the leader of the guards the women are removed from the cell. But their efforts seem to have gained the trust of the beast and it now answers their questions.It relates that Ellsa from Hergstag was its friend, and that it found her dead near the old scarecrow. It took her body to the village in hopes of finding help and warning the villagers of some unknown danger, but they droveit off. The beast mourns the death of Ellsa, and our heroes promise to find the real culprit and bring him to justice.

On their way out, our heroes come across Arlash, a red wizard from Hazlan who demands to be allowed to examine and vivisect the beast to learn its secrets. After a short talk our heroes determine that the self-professed expert is mostly inflating his ego and decide to leave the clerks of the court to deal with him.

Your player had a moment to shine, the fight was won. Sounds good to me. Actually, it sounds like a "remember when I pushed that drider into the river?"-story to be told in the future. I see no need to reduce the XP. Maybe the fight was easier than you anticipated, but stuff like that happens. Some fights are easier, others more difficult. You cannot account for all the myriad possibilities of a fight.

And I guess it is better to not listen to the people who make assumptions about your game based on nothing really. Sailors (and driders) can be unable to swim (look up Nelson's Navy for example), and there can be cliffs at rivers (look up many non-engineered rivers for example).

wraithstrike wrote:
What does CAGM stand for?

I guess it is Come And Get Me.

Well, my main PF campaign is already set in a world in which only the bad guys have access to divine magic (the setting is FFG's Midnight), so I never really thought about that. Still, divine magic is rare, as most members of any given faith are laypersons. There are only a handful of religions anyway, and even most organized faiths are not that influential.

I have played in a few systems without magical healing. One way is to strengthen more mundane means of healing, like skills, herbs, alchemy, potions and so on. But I have not done that with Pathfinder, and I guess that the quite complex rule system might pose problems.

I am going to give the players the less potent magic items without penalties. A lot of that is not worth the hassle of designing a curse anyway. They will receive less, as their relics already cover some basics; they will become quite powerful. I will keep curses and the like for the important pieces.

Switching to E6 after a campaign started does not sound like a good idea. My players would not like that either. I really think that you can do horror even at higher levels. It depends on your players and their acceptance, of course. If they are willing to play that mood and theme, it is still possible even with high powered wizards on flying carpets summoning celestial beings.

There should be a threat. It must be palpable and serious (of course, it often is already). Not just the good old "evil rises again", but something that touches the characters' lives. It would be great if they are actually bound to it, maybe by descent. Give them stuff to care about, NPCs, places, organisations. Now have the evil guys threaten to take it away, destroy it. The players should be open to invest emotions in this, so that losing it is actually horrific.

Doing sequences of dreams or visions in which the PCs actually lose or even die can work, too. Showing them the consequences of failure, actually letting the players think that they have failed/died, should stir up emotions. You can encounters which are not about winning by using the resources at hand, but by using secret knowledge or guile. Gothic heroes are not superhuman; actually, they are quite human. Overcoming the evil should not always be just about the numbers on the sheet, but about doing the right thing at the right time.

My personal experience is that horror in RPGs relies on the group to accept it. It is easy to destroy any hint of horror with a quick joke or just ignore it and treat anything as mundane obstacles to be overcome. Even with systems that try to evoke horror with their rules, it can be nigh impossible if the players are unwilling to cooperate. Horror can be very rewarding, but it is also difficult to pull off.

Gonturan wrote:
I wonder if you would care to provide specifics about the changes you've made to keep CC close to its gothic roots?

Sure. As I said, I use a modified Raveloft as the overall background, but I advanced the general theme of the setting to a more 19th century feel. This means technology, which I decided was low-steampunk, but also much of the society in general. At least for the more "enlightened" part of the setting. Ustalav is more backwater and clings to some medieval structures. I wanted it to be like the Transylvania of Bram Stoker's Dracula in this regard.

To threaten Pathfinder PCs - which can be quite heroic even at low levels - I use both a Taint and a Sanity rules system. Taint is not easily gained, but the mechanic allows for PCs to slide into evil, gaining powers but also losing "humanity" along the way. I use it rarely, as I want the threat to be subtle and not just a simple mechanic to be played. I tied it to CHA, so PCs with higher CHA are better at resisting Taint, which grants that ability score a higher value, something I consider a nice side-effect. Sanity reflects one of the common themes of gothic literature, the unspeakable horror that breaks the minds of its witnesses. The aim is to create a constant aura of fear, not only for the characters' lives but also for the less tangible integrity of their personalities. It is possible to physically survive the horrors but still be traumatized by them. Again, I use it sparingly so that the effect is greater when I do.

The low magic part is introduced in two ways: first, magic is seen as unnatural and the target of many superstitions by the general populace. It is rather rare and its practitioners are even shunned and hunted in some domains. Second, magic items are rare as well, and those that are found are usually "cursed" in some way, having one or more negative effects along with their bonuses. For example, the Headman's Axe (I changed it from a scythe as I cannot picture someone trying to execute a victim with a scythe) prompts its users to kill even if they want to stop, and it always goes for decapitation.

But the lack of magic items is countered by the introduction of relics. Basically, I designed one special item for each character, an item with a backstory that was used against the minions of the Whispering Tyrant. These items are not magic items in the common sense, but are powered by the deeds that have been done while wielding them. They also grow with the PCs, gaining powers as they do. Most PCs started with the item, and it ties their stories to that of the campaign, and later on ties them together in their quest to stop the Whispering Way. The relics can also be used as plot devices: some have granted visions of their history, showing the PCs a glimpse of the threats they face.

I use an E7-system, because I believe that capping the power curve creates more opportunities for horror. At higher levels, the game changes considerably, and many of the higher spells and abilities can detract from the feel I am aiming for. The greater dangers of the world are meant to be avoided or defeated by using special tactics, exploiting their weaknesses and so on, not by overpowering them. I also use a very simple system to allow PCs to fight unarmored, as gentlemen in tuxedos wielding pistols to ward of werewolves fit my idea of the campaign better. I allow PCs to add their BAB to their AC as a dodge bonus if they wear no armor at all.

Cyxodus wrote:
So I should equip the Gunslinger with a crossbow? I should also get him some Alchemist's Fire or Acid?

A crossbow might not be necessary, but alchemical paper cartridges are 12gp a shot, 6gp if your GM lets you craft some before the campaign starts - do not forget to get at least one rank in Craft (alchemy). There will probably be times when you do not want to "waste" a shot, so finding something else to do in a fight is not a bad idea. Switching to an inexpensive weapon is one way to do it. When you earn your first money and gain a level or two, this issue will most likely disappear.

I can only speak out of limited experience as a GM for a low-level gunslinger, but money was his biggest issue, and I am mostly running an official adventure, so it is not me being to stingy ... ;-)

Cyxodus wrote:

Maybe set up the Gunslinger like this.

lvl 1 - Point Blank Shot, Rapid Reload (bonus), Rapid Shot
lvl 3 - Precise Shot
lvl 5 - Deadly Aim

If you are going for a musket, Rapid Shot is not a good choice at first level. Reloading your musket will be a standard action, even with Rapid Reload (muskets). You gain the deed that allows you to treat a musket as a one-handed firearm at 3rd level: Fast Musket. Even then, reloading a musket will still be a move action. Take either Deadly Aim or Precise Shot at 1st (I would probably chose the latter). Weapon Focus is always a choice for characters that focus (haha) on a specific type of weapon.

EDIT: Maybe invest in some thrown splash weapons or some other way of dealing damage. Firing your musket only every other round with no real bonus to damage might get frustrating.

"What do you mean: draw their fire?"

Mabven is right. Another magic item, the Bracers of Armor actually have this included in their write-up. If the Robe of the Archmagi was written like that, the discussion would have been shorter ... ;-)

blackbloodtroll wrote:
The mutagen gives alchemical bonuses to stats and natural armor, which is good because it stacks with enhancement bonuses like an amulet of natural armor or bull's strength.

Note that the natural armor bonus is not alchemical. It is a plain +2 bonus to natural armor. You could enhance it with an enhancement bonus to natural armor, such as from Barkskin, but it does not stack with other natural armor bonuses.

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