Callum's page

Organized Play Member. 1,005 posts (1,174 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 12 aliases.

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MrCharisma wrote:

For thise who don't understand the reasoning:


This is a line of enemies blocking the path. They are lined up from east to west.


This is the same 5 enemies blocking a different path. They are lined up from North-East to South-West.

Why is it that when facing one way they form a solid wall that people cannot step through, but when facing another way there are gaps in the wall?

Well, in the second diagram the enemies have spread out a bit, so they're farther apart. If they were like this:


you would say there's definitely room to step between them. When they're like this


you'd say there's definitely not room to step between them. The diagonal version is in-between those two, so it seems reasonable to say that this is the point where they're just far enough apart to step through.

But, of course, it's all just an approximate simulation!

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John Mechalas wrote:
You're arguing semantics here.

I'm not arguing semantics. In the rules for Casting Spells, "Area" and "Effect" are specific game terms, and getting them confused leads to all sorts of issues.

These rules are presented working through the spell description format, category by category: Name, School, Level, Components, Casting Time, and Range. The next section is titled "Aiming a Spell" and states:

PRD wrote:
You must make choices about whom a spell is to affect or where an effect is to originate, depending on a spell's type. The next entry in a spell description defines the spell's target (or targets), its effect, or its area, as appropriate.

We're now on to the next entry in the spell description, which is one of three types: Target, Effect, or Area. We have three separate sections of rules, covering the rules for each of those types of spell. So, from the construction of this whole part of the rules, it seems clear that you should only apply the rules from the appropriate section to any given spell; the other sections are talking about different types of spell. Furthermore, the rules in the different sections don't make sense if applied to other types of spell (for example, the Area section says "you select the point where the spell originates, but otherwise you don't control which creatures or objects the spell affects", which wouldn't make sense if you tried to apply that to a Target spell). A Line spell is a subtype of an Area spell. Trying to apply the rules for this to an Effect spell is erroneous and confusing. Pointing out that error is neither arguing semantics nor splitting hairs, it's drawing the readers' attention to a significant aspect of the rules for spells.

Furthermore, your absolute assertion that "Wall of Fire is a line effect" is simply untrue.

You are attempting to apply the rules for Line spells to wall of fire - ignoring the distinctions put in place by the game's designers - claiming that this somehow makes things easier. In fact, as shown in this thread, it makes things more confusing and illogical. No new "rules and conditions" are required to adjudicate the effect of wall of fire without pretending it's some sort of Line spell. You simply need to read the spell's text and apply it. Are creatures within 20 feet of the wall's hot side? If so, then they are damaged by it.

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There isn't any such thing as a "line effect" spell in Pathfinder. There are Area spells that are line-shaped (such as lightning bolt) - for which those templates are intended. Wall of fire is an Effect spell, and as such has no connection to the rules for line-shaped Area spells.

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Personally, I would rule that a creature in H1 is not "within 20 feet of the wall". The wall is a sheet, and doesn't fill the whole of the squares it passes through.

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Joe Mucchiello wrote:
Callum wrote:
I'm not convinced it even has to start at a grid intersection, as it's not an Area spell.
But it does affect an area. If instead of starting an intersection. Say it starts half way between two intersections. Is the square next to the origin point affected by the fire or not? How about the similar square at the other end of the sheet of flames? If the length of the wall is 160 feet, does the halfway between two grid intersections wall affect 155 feet, 160 feet, or 165 feet of squares by 20 feet of squares to one side of the wall?

Strictly, no, it doesn't affect an area. It creates an effect, the wall, which then deals damage to creatures based on how far away from the hot side of wall they are.

In practice, for ease of play and adjudication, we've always started the wall at a grid intersection. But I don't believe there's anything in the rules that require this - and not doing so doesn't present insurmoutable problems. (In your example, I'd rule that the wall counts as being "in" one of the end squares, but not the other - your choice which.) It's also quite nice to imagine a wizard saying "I want the wall to run from that tree to that rock", without any consideration of where those things are in relation to the grid.

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Thanks, Koi. A key contention that both Diego and I have made is that the rules about Casting Spells that you quote from under the "Area" heading are not applicable to blade barrier, because it is an Effect spell, not an Area spell. These rules are presented working through the spell description format, category by category: Name, School, Level, Components, Casting Time, and Range. The next section is titled "Aiming a Spell" and states:

PRD wrote:
You must make choices about whom a spell is to affect or where an effect is to originate, depending on a spell's type. The next entry in a spell description defines the spell's target (or targets), its effect, or its area, as appropriate.

Note that the choices you must make about a spell (such as where it is to originate) depend on its type. We're now on to the next entry in the spell description, which is one of three types: Target, Effect, or Area. We have three separate sections of rules, covering the rules for each of those types of spell. So, from the construction of this whole part of the rules, it seems clear that you should only apply the rules from the appropriate section to any given spell; the other sections are talking about different types of spell. Furthermore, the rules in the different sections don't make sense if applied to other types of spell (for example, the Area section says "you select the point where the spell originates, but otherwise you don't control which creatures or objects the spell affects", which wouldn't make sense if you tried to apply that to a Target spell).

I hope my rather long-winded explanation makes it clear why we think that you shouldn't cite rules for Area spells when talking about an Effect spell (or vice versa).

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As I said in the blade barrier thread, I'm not convinced it even has to start at a grid intersection, as it's not an Area spell. That doesn't really affect the rest of the analysis, though, which is excellent.

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As blade barrier is not an Area spell, I don't think you even have to start it at a grid intersection.

If you wanted to damage creatures standing in a 10-foot-wide corridor, putting it straight down the middle (five feet away from each wall) would be foolish. You want to "evoke the barrier so that it appears where creatures are", so you'd be better off putting it down one side or the other, or at an angle across the corridor in order to catch as many of the creatures as possible.

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Tusk the Half-Orc wrote:
KlausGer wrote:
If detected successfully, are the character able to hit the yeth hounds at the ceiling with their melee attacks, or not?
Looks to me like a minimum of 12 feet - to accommodate a 10-foot tall statue on a 2-foot high platform - and probably not too much taller than that, given that the rest of the level has ceilings that are 8-feet high. Unless your players are giants (or enlarged), they should not be able to reach the yeth hounds at the ceiling in melee, even with reach weapons.

Unless the ceiling is 15 feet high, medium-sized PCs will be able to make melee attacks against flying yeth hounds. With a normal melee weapon, you can strike any opponent within 5 feet - and the yeth hounds are medium-sized themselves, so they won't be able to get more than 5 feet away from the PCs upwards unless the ceiling is 15 feet high (or more).

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Yes, Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk, by Bulmahn, Jacobs and Mona, is a must. They are real Greyhawk aficionados (particularly Mona), and their love for the setting shows.

Monte Cook's Return to the Elemental Temple of Evil (for 3rd Edition) is also worth looking at.

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Transylvanian Tadpole wrote:

Thanks for the suggestions folks. What about adventures? I know the old 'classic' adventures are nominally set in Greyhawk, but perhaps light on lore. Any latter-day adventures?

Also, I have an idea that Paizo developed Greyhawk a little more in their tenure overseeing Dragon magazine. Any stand-out articles?

There's a list of Greyhawk-related products, including adventures, here.

For Dragon Magazine articles, have a look in the DragonDex under Greyhawk.

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Basillicum wrote:

I've been playing around a little bit with ambience playing in the background during sessions, and feel like Foxglove Manor should have, well, just what you said. The sound of rats running around in the walls, and the wind brushing across the side of the building. Creaking, and so on and so forth.

Anyone used ambience like that successfully in Foxglove Manor? So far, I've not found anything fitting. There are some dungeon sounds in Baldur's Gate that would work well, I think, but I'm bad at looping and don't have the files anyway.

My players will get to Foxglove Manor shortly, and I've purchased the Skinsaw Murders SoundPack from Syrinscape to use with them. I highly recommend it! You can try it out with a free one-month subscription, if you like.

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The Rot Grub wrote:
While we're on the lantern puzzle, does anyone know the significance of the missing finger on the tomb in the main chamber? I gave my players a handout of the upper half of that picture, wanting to hide the zoom-in in the bottom half, and my players latched on to the missing finger. The text mentions that this is a clue to finding the true tomb, but I can't find anything in the text about its actual importance...

The missing finger itself isn't significant - it was broken off by tomb robbers ages ago and can be found among rubble elsewhere in the tomb - but the three extended fingers on the hand are a (rather obscure) clue. They indicate that if you turn the sarcophagus three clicks clockwise, from its starting position facing the orange tunnel, it will be facing the entrance to the true tomb, in the blue tunnel.

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Drunken Irishman wrote:

I was honestly a bit disappointed with Thessalar and his keep. Him being just a plain old lich when fighting Ulgurstasta sorcerers and spellweaver liches made him seem very vanilla.

I really reworked his spells and tactics to make him more of a challenge for my pcs. (And i might have used the stats for advanced Thessalhydra instead of the regular.... don't tell my pcs ;)

Would you mind sharing your reworked spell list and tactics? I agree with you, and my PCs are just about to run into him...

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I made a tiny change to The Skinsaw Murders - I had the PCs encounter the surviving farmer, Maester Grump, on the road as they travelled back from Habe's Sanatorium to Sandpoint. It seemed much better to do this than have Sheriff Hemlock feed them the next lead yet again - and send them back south again!

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Sheriff Belor Hemlock CR 3
XP 800
Male human fighter 4
CG Medium humanoid
Init +3; Senses Perception +6
AC 19, touch 13, flat-footed 16 (+5 armor, +3 Dex, +1 shield)
hp 38 (4d10+12)
Fort +6, Ref +4, Will +3; +1 vs. fear
Defensive Abilities bravery +1
Speed 30 ft.
Melee mwk longsword +6 (1d8+1/19-20)
Ranged mwk composite longbow +9 (1d8+3/x3)
Str 12, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 13
Base Atk +4; CMB +5; CMD 18
Feats Alertness, Deadly Aim, Iron Will, Point-Blank Shot, Weapon Focus (composite longbow), Weapon Specialization (composite longbow)
Skills Intimidate +8, Knowledge (local) +2, Perception +6, Sense Motive +2, Survival +5
Languages Common, Shoanti
Combat Gear potions of cure light wounds (2); Other Gear +1 chain shirt, masterwork light steel shield, masterwork composite longbow with 20 arrows, masterwork longsword, everburning torch, masterwork manacles, 15 gp

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Father Abstalar Zantus CR 3
XP 800
Male human cleric of Desna 4
CG Medium humanoid
Init +1; Senses Perception +4
AC 15, touch 11, flat-footed 14 (+4 armor, +1 Dex)
hp 25 (4d8+4)
Fort +5, Ref +2, Will +8
Speed 30 ft.
Melee mwk starknife +5 (1d4-1/x3)
Ranged mwk starknife +5 (1d4-1/x3)
Special Attacks channel positive energy 7/day (DC 14, 2d6)
Domain Spell-Like Abilities (CL 4th; concentration +8)
7/day - bit of luck, touch of good (+2)
Cleric Spells Prepared (CL 4th; concentration +8)
2nd - aid (D), hold person (DC 16), lesser restoration, spiritual weapon
1st - command (DC 15), divine favor, protection from evil (D), sanctuary (DC 15), shield of faith
0 (at will) - detect magic, light, mending, stabilize
(D) Domain spell; Domains Good, Luck
Str 8, Dex 12, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 18, Cha 14
Base Atk +3; CMB +2; CMD 13
Feats Brew Potion, Extra Channel, Weapon Finesse
Skills Diplomacy +9, Heal +10, Knowledge (arcana) +4, Knowledge (religion) +7, Spellcraft +7
Languages Common, Varisian
Combat Gear scrolls of cure light wounds (2), scrolls of remove disease (2); Other Gear +1 studded leather, masterwork starknife, healer's kit, silver holy symbol of Desna, spell component pouch, 21 gp

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AwesomenessDog wrote:
The definition of difficult terrain is that all squares cost two movement

The effect of difficult terrain is that each square counts as two squares of movement. The definition of difficult terrain is "such as heavy undergrowth, broken ground, or steep stairs".

AwesomenessDog wrote:
grease makes the squares count as two movement if you've succeeded at the check

Grease makes you move at half speed, if you make a DC10 Acrobatics check, and prevents you from moving at all if you don't.

AwesomenessDog wrote:
therefore grease is difficult terrain as its effects are encompassed by the definition

Even if grease made each square count as two squares of movement, which it doesn't (it has a different effect with a potentially similar outcome), this conclusion wouldn't hold. A => C and B => C doesn't mean A = B. Also, as you state below, the effects of grease are not encompassed by the effects of difficult terrain.

AwesomenessDog wrote:
It is difficult terrain with some bonus penalties added on.

Grease has its own set of penalties, some of which are similar (but not identical) to those of difficult terrain. That's why I think grease shouldn't be treated as difficult terrain - its effects are clearly spelled out, and to apply the penalties of difficult terrain as well seems uncalled-for. Having said that, if a GM feels that greased areas come under the definition of dificult terrain, then that's up to them.

AwesomenessDog wrote:
Regardless of that fallacy, half of 5ft is still less than enough distance to make a 5ft step and cannot be done.

Halving your speed doesn't mean you can't take a 5-foot step, unless your starting speed is 10 feet or less, as spelled out in the Take 5-Foot Step section.

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Wolin wrote:
Note that the phantom steed exists in the first place with no hit dice, so I don't see this as an issue.

Ah, but simulacrum also specifies that the duplicate has hit points appropriate for a creature of that HD - which would be 0. At 0 hit points, a simulacrum melts into nothingness.

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I am.

Back in February, Sara Marie said there were more than 500 but fewer then 1,000 left.

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The issue is that spells (and many other parts of the game) are not written in the form "This spell applies the helpless condition to the affected creatures", nor can they be reduced to that. Pathfinder (along with all the prior editions of D&D on which it is based) relies heavily on text written in ordinary English, which must be interpreted by those playing the game. For example, the sleep spell text begins "A sleep spell causes a magical slumber to come upon 4 HD of creatures", and that text must be interpreted in order to apply the effects of the spell. Exactly what happens to creatures that have a magical slumber come upon them is not spelled out anywhere in the rules - it is open to the interpretation of those playing the game. The range of valid interpretations encompasses those creatures falling over and dropping things they're holding, as well as those creatures standing upright in some kind of dormant state. The interpretation that any given group of players will agree upon depends on various factors, which may or may not include "game balance", "realism" and simple preference. That's the way the game has always been played, and - I venture to suggest - the way it will always be played.

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I changed all the lizardfolk to blackscale lizardfolk, from the Monster Manual III. This seemed to work thematically, and made it a bit more of a challenge, though still not a difficult one.

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It took me under ten minutes, using this online tool!

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There's a wondrous item that does this in Inner Sea Gods. It costs 1,000 gp per use, so it may not be worth it, but it at least gives you a baseline, "official" answer.

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I just wanted to say that I love the title of this thread! :-)

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Lifat wrote:
Is this an area spell?

No, it's an effect spell.

Lifat wrote:
Can it affect more than 1 creature?

Yes - if more than one creature is in a 5-ft. space that the sphere enters, it will affect each of them.

Lifat wrote:
And would it do extra damage against swarms?

No, as it doesn't "affect an area". It would do its normal damage against swarms, though, as it doesn't target a specific number of creatures.

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outshyn wrote:

Me: UGH. OK, I eject him!

DM: You can't. You have to succeed on an opposed grapple check to break free of him.

Me: But this is my whirlwind power to eject people! It doesn't have any conditions on it; it just works!

DM: Grapple imposes conditions, sorry.


OK friends, what is wrong with any of that above?

The bit where the DM says you can't eject the grappler is clearly wrong. Grapple does impose some conditions, but those are very clearly specified. Here are the rules about what you can do if you are grappled:

PRD wrote:
If you are grappled, you can attempt to break the grapple as a standard action by making a combat maneuver check (DC equal to your opponent's CMD; this does not provoke an attack of opportunity) or Escape Artist check (with a DC equal to your opponent's CMD). If you succeed, you break the grapple and can act normally. Alternatively, if you succeed, you can become the grappler, grappling the other creature (meaning that the other creature cannot freely release the grapple without making a combat maneuver check, while you can). Instead of attempting to break or reverse the grapple, you can take any action that doesn't require two hands to perform, such as cast a spell or make an attack or full attack with a light or one-handed weapon against any creature within your reach, including the creature that is grappling you.

So you can attempt to break the grapple in order to move, if you want to, but that's not all you can do. In fact, you can take any action that doesn't require two hands to perform. Ejecting the grappler from your whirlwind (a free action you can perform whenever you wish) certainly comes under that.

outshyn wrote:

Me: So what can I do?

DM: Nothing. You're frozen in air, and he deals damage every round with the grapple until you're dead.

As stated above, it's not true that there's nothing you can do. In addition, the grappler doesn't automatically deal damage to you - he has to succeed at a grapple check (as a standard action) each round to do it. Conversely, you do deal your slam damage to him automatically each round, as specified in the whirlwind rules:

PRD wrote:
An affected creature must succeed on a Reflex save (DC 10 + half monster's HD + the monster's Strength modifier) when it comes into contact with the whirlwind or take damage as if it were hit by the whirlwind creature's slam attack. It must also succeed on a second Reflex save or be picked up bodily and held suspended in the powerful winds, automatically taking the indicated damage each round.
outshyn wrote:

Still me: Fine. I fly up to drop him.

DM: You can't. You have to beat a grapple check to move.

Me: BUT I'M A FLYING AIR ELEMENTAL. How does a grapple stop me from that?!?!

DM: Grapple rules, that's how.

However, in my opinion, this is your DM's biggest error - not applying rule 0. The rules are guidelines that need to be interpreted. While it's true that the rules state that "grappled creatures cannot move", this presupposes that the grappler is physically capable of holding them in place. If the grappler is "picked up bodily and held suspended in the powerful winds", then they cannot stop the whirlwind from moving, as thy have no purchase point by which to do so. Grappling is not some magical power of non-movement, it's a physical ability.

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barry lyndon wrote:

I'm trying to run the campaign as written as much as possible. It's also my first campaign GMing.

My players will soon be heading to Thistletop...somehow. The text reads:

"...approaching by land is difficult since the tangles of Nettlewood are in the way. A DC 14 Survival check reveals a route through the woods. If the check exceeds this DC by 10, the PCs come across one of the several narrow goblin trails that eventually lead to area C1. Each attempted Survival check takes 1d4 hours of wandering in the woods..."

So...that seems to mean that they can fairly easily find a route through the woods but to find one of the trails takes a much harder DC 24. My guys' highest survival will be +5 by then, requiring a 19 to find a path.

Does that mean that unless they get a 24 they could potentially be wandering for days trying to find a route in? Have I read that correctly?

I take that DC 14 Survival check as a specified value for the chance of Getting Lost. (Note that the standard chance to not get lost in a forest is a DC 16 Survival check, with a +2 bonus if you have at least 5 ranks in Knowledge (geography) or Knowledge (local) pertaining to the area.) If you beat the DC 14 check by 10, then you find a goblin trail - which means you can't get lost, and you travel at normal speed (as opposed to the half speed you'd be using with no trail).

So, even if you never get 24 or more on your Survival checks, you'll still find your way to Thistletop, with the time taken dependent on whether you get lost (ie fail to beat a DC 14 check). As it's only about 1 mile through the wood to Thistletop, it shouldn't take more than one hour to get there, even moving at half speed - so only a single Survival check should be necessary, unless you get lost.

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Logan1138 wrote:
Is that 1st Edition game a face-to-face group, PbP or VTT? I stopped gaming (on a regular basis) back in 1988 and was still playing 1st Edition. Trying to find people still interested in playing 1st Edition in this day is pretty hard; I've looked but most (almost all) of it takes place in PbP which I am not a big fan of participating in.

There are quite a few 1E players in the Fantasy Grounds VTT community - they mostly seem to play Castles & Crusades these days. You could have a look there and see if you can find a game that suits you...

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But, in fact, Dragotha would get to save against each of the potions, making it even more unlikely!

Casting dimensional anchor on Dragotha is an attack and would reveal the wizard before he casts gate.

Personally, I wouldn't have the ocean come rushing through the gate - too many silly things can happen if you rule it that way.

But it's an entertaining story, in any case!

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The Interactive Maps that come with the pdf have some errors in. For example, when you click the "Map Tags Off" on page 3, none of the brightly-coloured arrows indicating the directions of the stairs disappear, nor do the the text boxes showing the map scale. Do you think there's any chance that a corrected version of this might be available soonish? If not, I'll have to look for another version, as my players are about to explore this area.


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Here's another contribution - my version of the Swallowtail Festival speeches, based on versions by others here, but tidied up to give a consistent approach. It's all narrated as it happens, with the spoken words clearly assigned to a speaker up front - as appropriate for use in a Virtual Table Top like Fantasy Grounds.


The Swallowtail Festival begins promptly as scheduled, and the turnout for the opening speeches is quite respectable. Several merchants have already set up tents selling food, clothes, craftwork, souvenirs, and beverages. Other folk have arrived early to claim positions near the stage that has been set up in front of the cathedral. Behind the stage, several tables are being loaded with free food from the town's taverns for the congregation after the ceremonies.

A woman with short auburn hair climbs up the steps at the side and walks to the centre of the platform. As the crowd notices Mayor Deverin, the chatter begins to die down and eyes turn to the stage. She smiles and begins to speak.

Mayor Deverin
Good morning, everyone.

The attractive and personable woman welcomes the crowd with her usual friendly attitude. Her excitement is obvious and seems to spread to the spectators.

Mayor Deverin
I see everyone’s arrived. Even Larz Rovanky has left off tanning hides to be here. I’m sure his workers are glad it’s not their hides getting tanned - at least, not today!

When the chuckles die down and Larz stops glowering, Mayor Deverin continues.

Mayor Deverin
It's wonderful to see so many members of our community here on this proud day, and I'd like to extend my welcome to the many new faces I also see in the crowd. I hope you all are enjoying your stay here in Sandpoint and I sincerely hope that you're having a wonderful time. Our town has much to offer, and I hope we can consider you new friends. Spend some time in Sandpoint and you’ll grow to love it like we do. And even if you don’t stay long, spend your money while you’re here!

Several of the merchants give vigorous applause, and the Mayor lets the crowd settle before continuing.

Mayor Deverin
And to all of the old faces I see, thank you for coming and thank you for everything that each of you has done to keep this town strong. Thank you especially for all the time, sweat, and love you’ve put into building this fine cathedral. Sandpoint didn’t seem complete without a church. We’ve always had heart - the true heart of Sandpoint - you, her people. But now we have an expression of that heart, and we built it ourselves! Anyway, I can smell the lunch being prepared already. A round of applause for Ameiko, Garridan, Cracktooth, and Jargie!

More cheering erupts: the enticing aromas drifting over the crowd are mouthwatering.

Mayor Deverin
Now, since you have three more of us to listen to before you get to eat, I'm going to sit down. Today, as mayor, I am declaring a town order: have fun!

The crowd responds with a roar, and it is a while before the Mayor can continue.

Mayor Deverin
Without further ado, let me welcome our dutiful Sheriff, Belor Hemlock, to the stage!

She gestures towards a dark-skinned, bulky man, clearly of Shoanti descent, dressed in well-kept armour and with a sword at his side. Sheriff Hemlock nods and steps up onto the stage.

Sheriff Hemlock
Thank you, Mayor. First off, let us have a moment of silence.

He bows his head and continues speaking.

Sheriff Hemlock
Let us honour the memories of those friends and family members who lost their lives in the tragic blaze that made our new cathedral necessary. Cherish those memories, and may the blessings of our gods see them happy and safe in the afterlife.

He raises his head and stands in silence for a moment, scanning the crowd.

Sheriff Hemlock
As the Sheriff of Sandpoint, I would also like to welcome you to enjoy yourselves here today, and remind you to stay safe as you do so. If you are planning on attending the bonfire at the beach tonight, be especially careful. Try not to overindulge, as there will always be those who are ready to take advantage of carelessness at a festival such as this. If you are a militia member, remember where your duties lie, and help me keep the peace in Sandpoint. Thank you.

With that, the Sheriff steps back awkwardly and beckons for the next speaker to approach. After a short pause, a young man hurries up onto the stage, dashes over to Mayor Deverin, and speaks briefly to her in a whisper. He hurries away again, and the Mayor steps forward.

Mayor Deverin
I'm sorry to say that Lonjiku Kaijitsu won't be able to join us today, as he is not feeling well. So please give a warm welcome to Cyrdak Drokkus!

Cyrdak bounds onto the stage, beaming broadly. He is brightly dressed, sports a well-groomed goatee, and seems to thoroughly enjoy being center stage. He loosens his collar a bit, winks at the crowd and launches into a speech.

First of all, I'd like to thank the Sheriff for his uplifting oratory. Don't worry, I doubt there will be any fun for you to worry yourself about today, Belor. If things get out of hand, you can always ask Ameiko to take to the stage and put us all to sleep with one of her stories.

The crowd reacts with a combination of chuckles and offended heckles. Without missing a beat, Ameiko shouts back from the tables behind the stage.

What about the story of your last flop at the theater? Funnily enough, I'm almost done with my latest ballad. I call it "Cyrdak the Unimpressive"! Who wants to hear it?

The crowd responds with laughter and cheers. Ameiko can still be heard, shouting over the crowd.

Your secret boyfriend helped me come up with the title!

Cyrdak stands awkwardly, waiting for the laughter to die down. When it eventually does so, he continues with a somewhat strained smile, as if nothing happened.

Listen, there's something we can all agree on: this is our time to celebrate! I know this town has been through some hard times, but we don't lay down easily. Look at what we've accomplished!

He motions towards the church.

And, I'm telling you, they spared no expense with this place. Father Zantus' chamber pot is solid gold and comes with a singing choir standing nearby! There's no doubt our neighbors and nobles put a pretty copper into the construction. And to think they want nothing in return except to enlighten us and our purses for many years to come! But don't tax yourselves unduly today - relax, and have some fun. In fact, I'd like to extend my personal invitation to each and every one of you to come to the new production of "The Harpy's Curse", starring the world-famous Magnimarian diva Allishanda as Avisera, the harpy queen! It's premiering tomorrow evening and continuing throughout the next two weeks at the Theater. And now, join me in a round of applause for his holiness himself, Father Zantus!

The crowd cheers as Cyrdak motions Zantus to the stage. The young priest looks noticeably abashed at the reception given to him. He wears the traditional ceremonial robes of a priest of Desna and a gleaming silver holy symbol about his neck. He smiles and tries to calm the crowd down, eventually speaking when the applause has subsided.

Father Zantus
Ahem, thank you. Thank you, Cyrdak. And thank all of you for coming to join us on this most holy day. Today, as I'm sure you know, was the day Desna fell from the heavens during battle with Lamashtu. Though all the world wept for the loss of the goddess, and of dreams, it is said that she survived. She was discovered on the rocks of a beach by a blind orphan, one forgotten and cast aside by the rest of the world. Though the orphan didn't know who the wounded goddes was and could do little for her, still she stayed by her side, holding a vigil on the beach, offering her companionship and prayer. When other followers had abandoned Desna, the orphan held hope in her faith. Through the simple care of this orphan child, Desna recovered, and in return asked the girl to accompany her to Desna's palace. When the orphan agreed, she was transformed into an immortal spirit in the shape of a butterfly and lifted up to the heavens.

Father Zantus motions toward the newly-finished cathedral, the sunlight glittering off the stained glass windows.

Father Zantus
This story reminds us that seeming tragedy is just a setback, not an end. Though our place of worship was destroyed, and our previous priest, Father Tobyn, perished in the flames, we have persevered as Desna would desire, and built anew. Today is our day of new beginnings. Our day of ascension. Friends of Sandpoint, I declare the Swallowtail Festival officially underway!

An acolyte throws off the canvas of a nearby wagon, revealing thousands of swallowtail butterflies - the Children of Desna. He opens the cages and the crowd begins to applaud as the butterflies swarm into the air in a spiraling riot of color, and eager children begin chasing them through the crowd.

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In an attempt to contribute to this thread, rather than just take things from it, here's a version I made of Aldern Foxglove for use during Burnt Offerings, reworking him as a straight aristocrat.


Aldern Foxglove CR 2
XP 600
Male human aristocrat 4
CN Medium humanoid
Init +2; Senses Perception +1
AC 16, touch 14, flat-footed 13 (+2 armor, +1 deflection, +2 Dex, +1 dodge)
hp 17 (4d8-1)
Fort +0, Ref +5, Will +5
Speed 30 ft.
Melee sword cane +4 (1d6+1) or boar spear +4 (1d8+1)
Str 13, Dex 14, Con 8, Int 12, Wis 12, Cha 16
Base Atk +3; CMB +4; CMD 18
Feats Dodge, Lightning Reflexes, Persuasive
Skills Bluff +10, Diplomacy +12, Intimidate +12, Knowledge (local) +6, Knowledge (nobility) +8, Ride +9, Sense Motive +7
Languages Common, Elven, Varisian
Gear ring of protection +1, leather armor, sword cane, boar spear, light horse, extravagant noble's outfit worth 200 gp, 65 gp

I tried to extrapolate back from the later version of him as much as possible. That's why, for example, I've used three of his favoured class bonuses as extra hp (assuming that aristocrat is his favoured class). I've deliberately left out all the rogue elements of the character - this is simply a smooth-talking aristocrat who does his best to keep out of harm's way. His low Constitution score also contributes to his desire to avoid fights unless he has the upper hand (preferably through the assistance of the PCs). I've made his gear appropriate for an NPC of his level - though you could argue that he would have more. Thanks to RuyanVe who (in another thread) inspired me to do this, and some of whose ideas I stole (such as giving Aldern a sword cane).

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Fromper wrote:
Does anyone have a map for the Die Dog Die encounter at the north gate?

I spent quite some time looking for a suitable map to use for this - as we play online, I can't just sketch it out, but need a properly-detailed map. Unfortunately, I didn't find one, so I decided to just have the encounter occur on the Swallowtail Festival map, in the south-western corner. This seemed to work quite well, as the PCs weren't over in that part of the map after the previous encounters.

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Calybos1 wrote:
Does anyone know how popular and widely-used the various tools are relative to each other? Most of the PFS online games I see are using Roll20, but that's a pretty narrow sample.

I'm not sure how you'd be able to work that out - most answers to that question would be opinion or hearsay. Fantasy Grounds publishes an annual report that reports on the number of licences sold, but I don't know if any of the others do something similar. There are plenty of PFS games run in Fantasy Grounds, if that helps you. I'd say your best bet is to dip your toe in the waters of each community, and see whether it suits you, and how easy it is to get the sort of game you're looking for.

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What's the best campaign you can make using adventures from Dungeon magazine? In other words, pick your favourite scenarios that will take a group of players from 1st level to 12th level (or higher, if you prefer). They won't make a neatly stitched-together story, obviously, but it should be possible to link each to the next without too much work. The emphasis should be on the quality of each individual adventure rather than a nice story arc. If you have a choice, use 3.5E adventures rather than 3E ones.

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If they failed their initial saving throw, they would be grappled. This means they would have to make a concentration check to cast a spell.

The anchor points have to be diametrically opposed, so the floor and ceiling would work, or two walls on opposite sides of a room or corridor, so long as they are 40 feet or less apart.

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Bring forth the pizzas!

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I've put the answer to your question below, hidden by spoiler tags...

Yes, the very first location encountered on exploring Maure Castle in either version (WG5, Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure, or Dungeon #112) is the origin of the octych. This is an eight-pointed star chiselled into the floor of the corridor, which has "something missing" from each point. These missing items are eight differently-coloured metal triangles, each of which provides (one-way) access to a different plane or demi-plane. The orange octych found in EttRoG is one of these - but no details are given of where they lead. They were intended to be used as launching points for further adventures.

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Haerthguard wrote:
Speaking of the infamous Face Trap, does being held affect your ability to make saves against the wind effects? Or once held, do you auto-fail and get blown back??

Strictly, I don't think there's any rules interaction between being paralyzed and the effects of the winds. When paralyzed, you have effective Str and Dex of 0, but as you're making Fort saves against the wind, that doesn't really have an impact. A reasonable house rule might be that, similar to flying creatures, paralyzed creatures are treated as one size category smaller for the purposes of wind effects - representing the fact that they aren't able to struggle against the wind.

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Just to tie off my initial question, I decided that there was a way of opening the mouth from the inside - a little puzzle trigger, based on the rainbow colour theme. My players did indeed get stuck behind the mouth, but managed to solve the puzzle and get out again!

Shoggothic wrote:
1) When the trap triggers and the 'Face' animates, do the eyes emit light? The trap description states "the face's eyes spin with hypnotic illusory patterns in all of the colors of the rainbow that correspond with unlit lanterns in the chamber below."

I think it's best to assume the eyes do emit light - the trap is connected to the light of the lanterns below, after all, and it's important that the PCs are able to get the clue that might enable them to deactivate the trap.

Shoggothic wrote:
2) If no light is emitted from the eyes of the 'Face' during its wind cycle, wouldn't torches and/or lanterns be blown out and, if so, wouldn't there be no colors to see in the first place? Not only would the characters not know what colors are 'missing' from the lantern room below, but how could they be affected by 'hypnotic eyes' (and in turn, the hold person effects) they couldn't see?

The wind force starts at "strong" (though in my game I made it start at "moderate"), which is enough to blow out ordinary torches, but not lanterns - so there may well be enough opportunity for the PCs to see the colours of the patterns, even if you decide the eyes don't emit light. Some PCs may have darkvision, too.

Even if the tunnel was pitch dark when the trap activated, I think that anyone in the passage would be subject to the paralysis effect, as it's based on hold person, not hypnotic pattern. This would also mean they'd get a new saving throw each turn, if needed.

Shoggothic wrote:
If the eyes do radiate light, would they be considered 'Bright Light' or 'Shadowy Illumination'?

I'd say it was like a torch or continual flame - bright light to 20 feet, shadowy to 40 feet. Note that this still means someone at the far end of the passage can see the face and eyes, as they're looking towards the light.

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Aberzombie wrote:
Jenny Scott wrote:
Talk Like a Pirate Day falls on a weekend this year (Sunday, September 19).
Maybe its just me, but isn't today 19 September? And isn't it also Wednesday? I'm confused.

Arr, that be because, bein' a refugee from Davy Jones's locker, ye have no concept o' the passin' o' time.

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Located on the outskirts of the Diamond Lake community, a ruined mine office and dwelling sits unoccupied, without an owner. This crumbling office is the site of the PCs’ first meeting in “The Whispering Cairn”. The previous owner of the building, the mining manager Ulgo Fant, abandoned the place more than fifty years ago when his mine ran dry. When he died over a decade ago, the property was left without an owner. Few have bothered to visit this wreck since its abandonment. Young children from the town often come up to the building on a dare and a few years back an inexperienced thief took up residence here before moving onto more lucrative trade routes.

If the PCs want to use the ruined mine office as their base of operations, they’re going to have to win it from the creatures that have squatted there – including a small band of goblins led by their shaman, Ugloop. These goblins have been wandering the Cairn Hills for weeks, completely lost and cut off from their tribe, trying to avoid the daily garrison patrols. They have holed up in the building until their leader, Ugloop, can figure out what to do. With the exception of the shaman, the equipment used by the goblins is rusty and in disrepair, and is valued at a fifth of the normal price (DC 10 Appraise check). There are also a few infestations that must be dealt with to make the place safe.

The Yard (EL 1)

A modest dwelling squats upon the crown of a small hill. While the rough stone walls of the first floor look mostly intact, the second floor has completely collapsed. A half height wall rings the house, but it too is in a state of severe disrepair. Rubble and dense weeds choke the yard, and a twisted, dead tree stands in the south-west corner.

The entire yard is considered difficult terrain, except for the small path leading up to the building. Clearing the yard requires 20 total hours of work and makes the yard normal terrain. Behind the building, a stone well rises up out of the weeds. Although the bucket is gone, the water is clean, if a bit brackish. In the back, the remains of a wooden outhouse lie in an unrecognizable heap.

Creatures: Hanging around the tree are three stirges that have caught the scent of sweat and blood inside the mine office and are waiting for it to come out. They have been waiting too long, however, and are now ravenous. They attack anyone who comes into the yard.

Stirge (3): hp 5 each; Monster Manual 236.

The Building

Made of smooth stone blocks, this building stands in shambles. Thick vines creep up the side and most of the windows are broken. The front door hangs open, barely on its hinges under a sagging and partially collapsed porch.

Part of the front porch has collapsed but it still allows entry to the building. The two exterior doors are damaged but are still sound and easily repaired with an hour’s worth of work and a successful DC 15 Craft (carpentry) skill check. The locks on the doors are rusted beyond repair and must be replaced (see page 128 of the Player’s Handbook for prices). The walls and doors have the following statistics.

Wooden Doors: 1½ in. thick; hardness 5; hp 15; Break DC 18.
Stone Walls: 1 ft. thick; hardness 8; hp 90; Break DC 35; Climb DC 20 (15 with vines).

The First Floor

Small mounds of debris litter the floor of the building’s interior. Loose stones, dead weeds, and grime cover virtually every surface. Paintings must have once adorned the place, as indicated by the particular stain patterns marring the walls. The only light comes from thin shafts sneaking in from outside, illuminating clouds of dust dancing through the stale air.

The first floor of the manor consists of five chambers.

Living Room (EL 1)

The largest chamber on the first floor is the living room, part of which has completely collapsed. A staircase, choked with debris, leads to the remains of the second floor.

Creatures: The goblins inside the building should hear the commotion from the stirges (DC 8 Listen check) and the shaman, Ugloop, will nudge out a few guards to wait for the PCs in the Living Room. The shaman hides in the library/study until the attack is over. If the goblins hear nothing, they will be spread through the house in pairs, with the shaman inspecting the rooms upstairs.

Goblins (4): hp 5 each; Monster Manual 133.

Dining Room (EL 1)

Adjoining the living room is a sizable dining room. Any furniture that remains in the room is completely soiled and worthless.

Creatures: This room contains the “guard dogs” for the small band: two starving, tortured badgers that have taken to digging into the floorboards in frustration. They will attack anything that doesn’t feed them a scrap of food; even then, they will only pause long enough to eat it.

Badger (2): hp 6 each; Monster Manual 268.


The kitchen contains an actual fire pit, but the chimney is blocked and must be cleared before it can be used. A staircase leads down to a crude cellar. A DC 7 Listen check will notice ominous squeaking sounds coming from below.


The pantry, attached to the kitchen, has a number of empty and broken shelves along with two empty barrels.

Treasure: the barrels hold the treasures of the small goblin band: 8 pints of oil, 5 tindertwigs, 1 flask of alchemist’s fire, 50’ silk rope, 18 trail rations, 625 sp, 60 gp, 1 rose quartz (50 gp), 3 blue quartz (10 gp each).

Library/Study (EL 2)

Directly to the right of the living room space is what was once an office. The bookshelves and desk have thoroughly rotted and what few tomes and mine maps remain are ruined and illegible.

Creatures: The shaman, Ugloop, and his bodyguards are located here, and they fight to the death. After days and days of wandering and dodging the garrison and other dangers of the Cairn Hills, these goblins are desperate. Any taken alive will know nothing of the area, but they will have heard strange moaning and whispering coming from the hills.

Goblin (2): hp 5 each; Monster Manual 133.

Ugloop (CR 1)
Male goblin warrior 1, adept 1
NE small humanoid (goblinoid)
Init +1; Senses darkvision 60 ft; Listen +4, Spot +4
Languages Goblin
AC 15, touch 12, flat-footed 14
hp 13 (2 HD)
Fort +3, Ref +1, Will +1
Spd 30 ft (6 squares)
Atk masterwork morningstar +5 melee (1d6+3)
Base Atk +2; Grp -1
Combat Gear three potions of cure light wounds, potion of resist energy (acid)
Adept Spells Prepared (CL 1st):
1st (DC 12) – burning hands, sleep
0 (DC 11) – cure minor wounds, ghost sound, touch of fatigue

Abilities Str 14, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 6
Skills Concentration +3, Hide +5, Move Silently +5, Ride +5
Feats Alertness
Possessions combat gear, masterwork morningstar, studded leather armor, obsidian necklace (value 200 gp)

Basement (EL 2)

The cellar is partially collapsed, but stable at the current time. Along one wall, a crumbling wine rack still stands, although others have already plundered it, leaving a pile of empty and broken bottles at its base.

Creatures: The squeaking sounds are made by a nest of dire rats who have laired in the ruins of the basement. A number of non-combatant baby dire rats blindly root about a nest on the south wall, alongside a couple of badly decomposed bodies.

Dire Rat (5): hp 5 each, Monster Manual 64.

Treasure: The nest also contains a heavy wooden box, nestled under the debris, requiring a DC 10 Search check to find. The box contains an elixir of swimming, a scroll of burning hands, a scroll of animate rope, 340 sp, 82 gp, and a masterwork ivory-bound ledger worth 125 gp.

The Second Story

The second floor of the manor is in complete ruins. Although there is no roof in its current state, the floor prevents most of the rainwater from leaking into the first floor. It is possible that there could be more stirges up here, roosting.

The Tiny Crevasse

About 100 yards from the mine office there is a small crevasse surrounded by a littering of stones and rocks. It would be a great place to dispose of or bury bodies. Alternatively, there could be a cleric of Wee Jas nearby, wandering the hills and collecting the skins of dead animals, who might consider helping the PCs out with this kind of problem.

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Like many other people (it seems), I decided to use Chris Wissel's development of the ruined mine office as an introductory set of encounters for the Whispering Cairn. Chris's original thread has now moved off into the Archives, though, and was (by his own admission) "whipped up pretty quick." I tidied up his creation, incorporating some of the text from the Wormfood article in Dragon #333, and would like to present that here for other DMs to make use of.

I'm worried that use of the Dragon text might involve some copyright issues, and would welcome anyone's feedback on this. I'm putting the material in a separate post, so a moderator can delete it, if necessary (and hopefully tell me how I can re-present it without infringing copyright). To make it clear, this material was originated by Jason Buhlman and Chris Wissel - I just edited it. Oh, and I bumped up Ugloop's hit points a bit!

As an aside, it's good to see that Chris has graduated to the pages of Dungeon, with "Wingclipper's Revenge" in #132. Congratulations!