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Gaurwaith wrote:
I don't mean to be disrespectful, but


Gaurwaith wrote:
It's just an encounter with a moral component, and not too specific to a warzone.

I've consulted with the greatest writers in the land, and after many days of hard labor, I think I've rectified the situation.

Cattleman wrote:

19. Escorts for a cart/caravan are required. This is meant to secure a temporary peace (an act of good faith) between two armies. The contents are a secret, but at some point during the trip it becomes apparent that you're transporting slaves.

Do you secure the peace offering and try to fix things afterwards, or do you free the slaves and abandon helping such a distasteful situation?

Gaurwaith wrote:
More importantly, and the reason I say this, is that all of these encounters are meant to be for PCs who are doing something else. They aren't soldiers or hired guards, they're adventurers. Even more, they're adventurers who already have a quest, and who are making a very real decision about if they even have the capacity to accept new quests as they pass through the area.

Yes, I've GM'd before. I get it.

Gaurwaith wrote:
This makes a much more real and full world, where the PCs aren't the only ones solving problems, and in fact very clearly don't have the capacity to do lots of things they wish they could. They can't stay and help the villagers repair their wall, but someone else will, because there are other real people in the world who are working to better themselves.

Truly. I really do get it.

Gaurwaith wrote:
Instead of the PCs struggling against the evils of a world, it's the PCs existing in a world that has different sides already engaged in different struggles, which the PCs are only a small part of. This gives much more agency to the NPCs, which I think creates a more immersive experience.

I just want to point out that you didn't comment on the one about spilled grain. Also notable, your suggestion here:

Gaurwaith wrote:
The next village the PCs are planning on visiting, where they will stay the night, is entirely abandoned.

I'd defy you to find a campaign that that doesn't fit in. It's a fine suggestion, but it's also not war specific.

Irontruth wrote:
At a small village near the battle lines everything seems quiet, but several villagers act very nervous. Everyone is trying to rush the PCs through town.

This one also fits in any campaign, other than the few words mutated to fit your request.

So when the above examples (grain, hostages, literally just an abandoned village) weren't particularly tailored for war I added my suggestion because I figured a couple words wouldn't be such an issue.

Now, for the sake of re-railing and being mildly productive:

30) A town is under the brutal thumb of a group of soldiers and locals are being publicly executed and tortured. You find out that it's because a spy lived in the area and they assume the citizens know where he is (or that one of them is the spy.) Capture the Spy alive (or maybe convince them he's dead) and you'll save the remaining townsfolk.

[This could be solved many ways: tracking the dude and capturing or killing him, convincing the guards some unrelated body or a citizen they already killed was the spy [use some mcguffins], framing someone [especially with mindcontrol or ventriloquism spells], convince them new orders have arrived and the Spy is small fish, convince them he never existed.. etc..]

31) A truce with some defenders of a small fort has been established with carts of clothing and other supplies. All seems well; but coincidentally those in the fort are falling terribly ill.

Palidian wrote:

Is any of this wrong? Anyone see a verifiable breech from RAW?

Why does it matter? Pathfinder rules are attempting to balance items the players will get (and preferably want to use) with costs to associate the power of the item. Attempting to balance a plotline around a broken currancy system when your players will never investigate the cost of such an endeavor seems like a huge waste of GM time.

I have a bit of a similar situation with a cursed item in my campaign, but I have basically handwaved a good chunk of it. Will the players ever find even all the things I've put in the game and designed? Let alone figure out some technicality in how it works by the rules? In a game where rules are 100% determined by your GM?

Like.. the goal you have in mind and arguing over whether or not *a magical potion of some kind* could pollute a water supply is ridiculous. We have *real life people who believe in homeopathy.* The idea that you couldn't use Homeopathy as your argument and taint the water supply with a drop of the solution in a game ruled completely by magical forces just seems... like a huge waste of potential.

Run with your story as is, use your time designing meaningful encounters and NPCs and hooks and all that; and don't worry about if some rules writer from 7 years ago thought of a way a GM could specifically design a potion that does the exact thing you want, in a campaign you're attempting to make unique (and in doing so are probably avoiding the cliches said writer prepared for.)

The problem you're trying to solve is antithetical to the creativity you're trying to use. Don't snuff it.

19. Escorts for a cart/caravan are required. This is meant to secure a trade agreement (an act of good faith) between two cities. The contents are a secret, but at some point during the trip it becomes apparent that you're aiding slavers.

Do you secure the trade agreement and try to fix things afterwards, or do you free the slaves and abandon helping such a distasteful ruling class?

Rolls are better for tension if the player's don't know the result until you tell them. I just say "roll a Reflex save" and then tell them if they're successful.

When it comes to AC, they may eventually hone in on the exact number, which I find lame; so I have (in the past) had a D3 represent a -1, +0, +1 to attack rolls that were hidden, and I'd just pick them off in order to obfuscate the exact ACs of opponents when there were a lot of them. That said, it's too much work and I felt bad when I took away a successful attack.

Instead, you can obfuscate the ACs with Fighting Defensively, Total Defense, and using the Combat Facing rules if you want; as the various +2, +4, -2, -5 nature of it makes it much more "exciting" and hard to track whether their AC is 14 or 17.. if that makes sense.

I will give hints in some form on things like "This is below your skill level", "This is seems like it'll be challenging", "That Ork is wearing very heavy armor and carrying a shield."

Long story short, I hide as many numbers and rules from the players as I can really; and I instead try to guide them RP descriptions and whatnot. Honestly, if it didn't take the fun of the game away I'd rather roll for the players behind the screen too, so they find out if they were successful only when I tell them; but I think it would be less fun for the players then.

First, if you need inpsiration, this is a power metal concept album about a good necromancer.

White necromancer rules I was able to find here but it is third party. That said, you don't have to be Evil to cast evil spells unless you're a cleric/warpriest/paladin/etc..

You're doing something Evil when you raise undead, but if your intentions are good and you are solving the world's problems or helping those that are, you're probably at least neutral.

On visuals:
I tend to build/paint models. This isn't cheap either, but it's a hobby I enjoy and half the reason I GM really. So rather than artwork, people see the gribbly on the battle map. Unsure if that's what you mean.

I also will sometimes do mechanical puzzles or cut shapes for puzzles. That kind of thing. You can always spin your laptop around and show them a picture of the thing you want. When it comes to the puzzles/shapes, it's normally paper and I design the puzzle around how I will have them mechanically solve it so that paper is an adequate medium.

RumpinRufus wrote:
long quote above

Admittedly, I'm not 100% it works by RAW; but I feel like if you healed yourself to positive HP, you should probably not "count as disabled" or "count as dying" anymore, since you're not. Still, it would have to be torn apart in an rules thread. As a gm, I'd allow it.

As for the 1d6, this is actually the only reason I didn't suggest a Fighter 1 (or another class dip) since they'll need all the healing and saves and whatnot they can get, and the healing of 2d6 at Paly3, the aura of courage, etc.. all come online at level 3, so dipping is a substantial cost given the difficulty of the campaign. I'm not even sure if they gain levels in the campaign, but my entire suggestion banks on Paly4 because Hospitaler doesn't do anything until Paly4.

Anyway, that may clarify why I've mentioned what I have. I agree that in a *regular* campaign the GM may not kill you while you're down, and you're less likely to be TPK'd, but this campaign is particularly cruel/deadly it sounds like. Given that, having a psuedo-HP buffer is almost the only reason I said "Half-Orc."

If he wants Sacred tattoo, more power to him, but it seems like a loss to me since his saves will already be pretty good and Orc Ferocity with the Paly backup means he can (if nothing else) heal the whole party 1d6 before going down

RumpinRufus wrote:

Unless this GM is big into coup de graces, I'd recommend any excuse to trade away Orc Ferocity. By taking Sacred Tattoo and Fate's Favored, you're trading something away that's likely to kill you for something that's likely to keep you alive.

Why? Swift-action heal saves the party having to heal you, and you get to stay standing. Now that you're no longer disabled (due to the heal) you can keep taking your turn as normal.

I don't think having people be disabled/prone/unconcious is good in a campaign where you'll regularly go down to massive enemies. This dramatically reduces the possibility of TPK IMO.

EDIT: In terms of action economy this:
* Saves you a move action (prone)
* Saves an ally a Move Action and a Standard Action (at a minimum.)
* possibly buys you a Move Action and a Standard Action as well (by using your swift action to make yourself no-longer disabled.)

That's severe action economy gain.

The Nite Owl wrote:
You needn't play a half orc, dual-classed human can get +2 to STR and CHA. Aasimars are good too.

Ferocity by itself is almost worth two feats (Diehard) and nearly doubles his effective HP and access to the HornBow would be pretty good. The free Darkvision is a nice bonus too. I think all of that compared to an extra 2 Ability Score is way better. Ferocity allows him to Lay on Hands while he'd normally be Dying and not even fall prone, let alone unconcious. In a campaign where he may take 30 damage in a round with an HP pool of 25 or less; I think that's hugely valuable.

Additionally, a HornBow is a greatsword you can shoot 100ft; possibly multiple times if you took a couple feats for it and used the Spear (or w/e) as a backup instead. If he took PBS and Rapid Shot, he'd be firing 4d6+4 (strx2) each round at +6 to hit; +7 within 30ft. Given his party sounds like it has a lot of melee, being able to fling a bunch of damage at a wizard, a flying thing, or similar (at near greatsword levels of damage) seems like a good deal IMO.

I like Combusted. There's also undead and skeleton templates, so I wouldn't worry too much. Just find something need and apply a template, or build something from the ground up.

I have been thinking of making an Undead Plant due to a miniature I have, but I'll probably just treat it as a Mandragora with some mild mods.

I think a Half-Orc Paladin (Hospitaler) would be good. Get several Channels that don't eat Lay on Hands (allowing supplemental healing) and it has no real downsides*. I'd probably dump Int, and go in order Cha, Con, Dex, Str, Wis, Int. This should max your Saves, HP, and AC.

*[It makes the Channels worse in terms of level, but you get to do it several times in addition to your Lay on Hands instead of replacing it, meaning you can heal the party ~7 times per day for 1D6 at level 4, which is pretty massive. It's also still a good way to clear loads of mediocre Undead.]

Paladins get +Cha to saves, are immune to disease and fear, and give fear bonuses to party members, while also being able to heal quite reasonably and can use a mercy to cure some common ailment you think the GM will throw at you.

Smite Evil is also better against higher CR enemies, especially when you have bad gear. Being able to ignore their DR and hit them easily (and with extra damage) isn't a bad way to bypass one of the encounters by itself.

Half-Orcs have Darkvision, can use HornBows (2d6 bow with str!), and have Orc Ferocity (which will give you supplemental psuedo-HP so you can keep yourself from dying without needing assistance when combined with lay on hands, channel, or similar.) Note: this works with Smite Evil to give you an accurate full-damage attack at good range.

Being able to HornBow your opponents if they hang back is neat; and swapping to a 10ft Spear when they want to close. This gives you AoO opportunities, and you can do a:
* Drop the bow
* 5 Ft Step back to avoid Provoking
* Move Action to pull out the spear
* Still attack your opponent at 10ft

It gives you synergies for your party if they have Enlarge Person and stuff too. This has good potential for AoOs and may result in you protecting the party from extra melee dudes or simply piling on damage.

Then wear the heaviest armor you can afford (Breastplate for +6 allows your +2 or +3 from dex) isn't a bad start. I'd have a backup weapon (Warhammer?) and Heavy Shield too, so you can pump to 20, then defend to 22 or 24.

If you end up going the Dazzling Display route, you also have a +2 to intimidate checks from Half-orc; which is alright.

Summarizing this gives you:
* (very) Good Saves including against Poison, Ref spells, etc
* Reasonably good AC
* Fear and Disease Immunity
* Fear Support for the party
* Supplemental healing and a lot of it
* AoO opportunities to increase DPR in melee
* Darkvision
* Good ranged attacking (2d6 + Str)
* Not Disabled when you go below 0 HP for added survivability

Note: your saves can easily be +9 +7 +7 with your level 3 build, with no item support.

Taja the Barbarian wrote:
Finally, historically speaking, repeating crossbows are a bit of an oddity: I don't think they were popular outside of China and I doubt they offered significantly better performance than a short bow (increasing the rate of fire from any bow generally involves putting less energy into each shot, and the awkwardness of the mechanism probably degraded accuracy as they seem to be intended to 'fire from the hip'). I don't really think there is any particular need to make them more attractive to players.

I went ahead and did a little reading and:

* Indeed they did have less power. This is because they were made to be fired and reloaded in a single motion, and because it caused a lot of string wear (so they made it less powerful to keep the string working longer.)

* The mechanism made them very heavy, so if they weren't mounted on a wall it was likely to be fired from the hip.

I'll say, that I didn't find anything saying it impeded aiming (after all, aiming with a bow or crossbow is vastly different than sights for a rifle) but I could understand if it did.

[Note: I misread your post originally and went gathering information to refute a point you didn't make; in case you're curious why I'm giving random useless information.]

I think it's just really complicated for what it's supposed to be. Dark souls just allowed you to throw it, not use it as a weapon.

IMO, Sun Spear should just be:

Casting Time: Full Round (it always took forever to get a spear to throw IMO)
Range (throwing range)
Target 1 Opponent, see text
Duration 1 round/caster level
Spell Resistance: Yes (unless Undead or Evil Outsider)

Sunlight spear does 1d6 (some reasonable maximum should be applied) Lightning Damage per caster level on a successful ranged touch attack. Additionally, the spear remains stuck in an opponent (who was hit) for a number of rounds equal to your caster level.

If an opponent is affected by Sunlight, Bright Light, or similar effects, the spear causes the opponent to suffer those effects for it's duration [whether that be damage, blindness, destruction, etc.]

The spear counts as both Good and Lawful for effects it could interact with and deals double damage to Undead and Evil Outsiders. Additionally, it ignores Lightning Resistance/Immunity on Undead and Evil Outsiders regardless of special rules they may have.

Damage and wording can be adjusted; but I think this is much simpler and does everything you'd expect it to do, while also being more accurate to the game.

Flyboy wrote:

How about any tweaks to the action economy you've found necessary? Any more feedback on the necessity of an E6 or E8 game?

A lot of people really like the 10-12 gameplay too, and some (like orthos above) apparently regularly go all the way to 20. E6 is hardly necessary and I assume is 10% or less of the community. But it is a thing. On action economy, that's more encounter-design space. If you want though, there's a bunch of articles on TheAngryGM about designing boss encounters. I haven't tried it yet, but I think mixing that with a little of the Dark Souls boardgame style of bosses may make them pretty satisfying.

Flyboy wrote:

Thanks for the replies thus far. Some interesting stuff I have yet to run into reading the forums.

In the cases of the subsystems you've all mentioned (ABP variant, dedication system, earned skills, unique traits, herbcraft, etc), do you have more specifics written out, like a Word document?

At some point, when I'm *really* happy with things and not still tweaking them, I'll probably put up a big document.

I'll put the Math part here. The work is on the DM's side, and I'm still experimenting. Thus far I've enjoyed it quite a bit and I think the players have too.
"Earned Skills":
Skill Ranks have a DC of "11 + 2 * Skill Ranks" you have to meet in order to gain one. So you can consider that a Lockpicking 2 needs to roll a 15(11+2*2) or higher on a lockpicking check (AFTER ALL MODIFIERS) in order to gain a rank. Additionally, you need to be "challenging yourself" by going against a DC that is higher than your skill level (11 + Skill Ranks), in this case, you need to roll that agianst a lock that is DC 13 or higher.

IF DC >= 11 + (Skill Rank) <- requirement to be a "higher skill" dice check
AND IF (D20 Roll + Modifiers >= 11+(2* Skill Ranks) <- you pass the check by your skill rank DC

Say you have 2 Ranks in Lockpicking and it's a Class Skill (+3) and you have a confidence bonus of +1. You have 3 skill ranks so you need to be against a DC 14 or higher check. You roll a an 11 on a D20, you add +3+1+2 to your roll for modifiers, and it comes out to 17; this is greater than or equal to 3*2+11; which means you gain a skill.

This is still a work in progress. It's probably too much rolling right now.
When a player enters a new region (determined by DM), they may make a Knowledge Local or Nature check. If they beat a DC 10, they know how to craft 1 poultice (without using a book or asking around or something.) For every 5 thereafter, they know another poultice they can make in the area.

Using a poultice is a standard action and (if necessary for some reason) is a melee touch attack.

Roll on a table to decide what they can make, and do it "in order" to establish DCs to make. The first being a DC10 to make, then DC15, then DC20, etc.



* poultice cures Sickened
* poultice grants Fast Healing 1 for 4 rounds
* poultice cures Nauseated
* poultice cures shaken (think like a drug)
* poultice increases movement speed by 5 ft for 1 minute
* poultice increases strength by 2 for 1 minute

[For the most part, I just made those up off the top of my head. Make a table of what you consider is fair/balanced/etc and run with it.]

Each day they may make a Survival Check exactly as they would for rations, but instead gain a number of "ingredients" instead. They may then take a number of Craft Checks equal to that "number of ingredients" in attempts to make poultices. <- This part needs revision; as I had a guy get like.. 30 on his survival and realized I was about to ask him to roll 5 times.

Unique Traits is pure DM fiat. So I have a guy who made a "Jump Attack" onto someone and rolled a crit. I gave him a trait for "+1 to attacks made while jumping" with some name. He has ran with that and started doing it to more people (where he leaps off some high point and hopes he makes it/successfully hits them.)

Usually, if someone fails a specific skill roll a bunch of times in a row; I'll give them a trait for -1. I have a player who is really forward with women and also fails at it consistently, so he has "Overly Forward: -1 Diplomacy if NPC is female" or so. Another got "Hates reading." after failing to pass Book DCs 5 times in a row, and the DC was like.. 11.

I do the opposite, to a lesser degree, with good things too though. (Because of Earned Skills, you often get things for passing anyway.) This is instead of the "traits" system that Paizo made, because that system is really bad. People min max their char with one or two free bonuses from the traits that are way better than the rest.

EDIT: Oops, I think everyone here is just listing rules they use. I enjoy the below; though "essential" would probably be a misnomer.

No Xp - Level when the DM allows (mentioned above)

"Earned Skills" - A system I've designed that treats skills much like Oblivion/Skyrim -> you get skills by successfully using them. Skill ranks are not capped by level in this system (but are worded in a way to make the system not too abusable.)

Book Skills/Trainer Skills -> Similar to the above, this allows one to supplement skills by using books and trainers to help gain skill ranks

Unique Traits -> Related to the above, I hand out interesting traits based on the decisions and performance of the players, building their character as they go based on their actions; and applying mechanical benefits or deficits

Easy Help -> Tasks that are passive instantly benefit from "Aid Another" from all players. Perception, for example, is the highest perception in the group, +1 for each player at the table. I'm fairly liberal with how people can help one another as well.

Approach -> Players who describe an approach that may utilize a different Ability Score will gain the benefit of that ability score. Things that are not ability scores, such as other skill ranks, BAB, or similar stats will sometimes be added or used for the DC as well.

Hex Battle Map variant, Flanking rules, and called shots

An E6 Variant -> Max level is 6, later levels are "psuedo levels" that give the 1 Hp or Favored Class Bonus, and give you a feat. If you have NPC levels, you may also replace one with a PC class level. Some higher level class features still unlock as appropriate.

Psuedo leadership -> You can recruit NPCs and swap characters with them at times. The idea being that this allows more natural Death replacement of PCs, among some benefits that you don't just "happen to meet someone" when someone dies; instead you already knew this person and had a meeting that you probably initiated, and convinced (or paid them) to join your cause.

Herbcraft -> Regions have various poultices that can be made. Survival checks or Knowledge Local or Nature can help you figure these out. A survival DC can be made and for every 5 you beat the DC by, you gain a poultice of your choosing from the list (sort of.)

Time Passes -> Time is tracked (roughly) as you go through a dungeon. A set number indicates when events will happen. Players roll dice as time passes to chip off the hidden DC until the event happens; encouraging them to move through dungeons at a reasonable pace.

probably some others

It does seem like (really really) high number of deaths. I've been planning in my campaign to be able to handle a lot of deaths as I'd like portions of it to be "run away, you literally can't win this" kinds of things (which they could win if they found a way, but I mean encounters that are a few CRs higher in claustrophobic spaces, so that the PCs use the environment to get away or whatnot.)

That said, I'm guessing this is 18 deaths in 20 or less sessions (maybe even 10?), which is pretty high. I think if I crossed even a "someone dies once every 2 sessions" point.. I'd probably be concerned (and that's from the perspective of someone who wants their campaign to be a bit dangerous.)

As above, you pretty much have to confront him (as a group) and get it to change; or find another DM. If it's just you who has an issue with it, you should just change DMs at that point

So I've been thinking about this a bit and I think what I'll do is have the other players (potentially) act out what they're doing without knowing; and then retcon things so that all the players get to participate, but it was really all in the mind of the player affected.

As in:
* dude who is going nuts fails a check or has a nightmare
* the entire party participates and reacts as they would normally
* at some point he exits the nightmare
* The GM retcons some amount of the happenings (or all of them) and it is now apparent that it didn't really happen.
* You might consider damaging one of his Mental Ability Scores on some check with these; but that's debatable

This keeps everyone playing and it doesn't break the hallucination until it actually breaks, and the players don't know if it's real or false. Even better, it means that some of the crazy things you put in your campaign that seem like nightmares will catch people off guard haha; which is really what you're trying to do by breaking the continuity of the session with the retcon style.

I've only been thinking about this a couple hours, so this advice may change!

EDIT: If the whole party is susceptible, this can potentially leave some of the happenings that are strange in place; with the GM preferably knowing which ones are real (so he doesn't goof the story) and the players being left guessing sometimes if that person they encountered really existed.

EDIT 2 (moments later!): I think I'll try this this weekend. One of my players has accidentally been mildly corrupted, and I think having a really unexpected battle with an NPC that turns out it didn't happen will be awesome.

FINAL EDIT I SWEAR: Just to say; I've built some nightmare (well.. Eldritch) creatures from Eidolons. They work really well. One is based on an old Chaos Spawn (40k) and it functions how it looks; except that it's "large" a couple levels too early... but that's alright.

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KingGramJohnson wrote:
Don't forget about the Rule of Cool. Sometimes as a GM, a player does something so outlandish, but it won't work in any kind of way, but sounds so awesome that I need to let them try it. I call in Rule of Cool, set them a check to pass, and if they do, Rule of Cool dictates that they pulled it off.

I've definitely done this at times; sometimes it lines up with the rules (and I didn't know) and other times it shows a logical flaw in a trap or something like that. I had some Arrow Trap type things, and so the party crawled under them. Seems fine to me!

EDIT: Another example: Jump Attack. while you can technically Move (with an acrobatics check to jump) and then attack; I ruled you could include the fall damage (to yourself and the opponent) with the attack, making it a full round deal. This resulted in my player's Greatsword Wielding Lvl 2 Pally getting a crit the first time he did it and a whopping 42 damage to a small-time bandit wizard not paying attention.

That story has not only provided several laughs but resulted in his character finding more opportunities to do this; those Troglodytes never saw him coming as he lept out of the sewer above. That'll teach 'em.

I think there's a few things you can do:
* Have fights that didn't actually happen. This can be done a bit like Eternal Darkness; where the world starts shifting in ways that it actually isn't because your brain is not quite right.

* Have horror elements that didn't happen that don't make sense (knocks on doors or windows, especially if they don't exist.) Have doors or windows appear when they didn't exist before, etc.. and the interaction with these things should get fundamentally weirder the more you go into them.

I'm a fan of (when using fear descriptions) trying to get the player to run via descriptions of what is causing the fear. Maybe "The <monster>'s hands seem to be holding black holes sucking the light around them; you have heard of such spells and are sure it would result in certain death. Tendrils from this black mass reach for you and the world starts going dark."

A player getting that description will adequately not only understand they're about to die, but will tell that to the other players. Those that pass the save may have a different belief about the situation; but that type of save is a good "roll behind the shield" roll; as it's anyone's guess whether they're being fooled by something that will kill them, or fooled by something that won't.

Morbid Eels wrote:
Well, Arete is 3rd party stuff. So you should really ignore it if you're asking rules questions here. Plus this seems more like a general discussion topic (or maybe homebrew if you're wanting to create your own codes) because there doesn't appear to be a mechanical issue you're struggling with.

I wasn't sure if it was technically rules; since I'm attempting to find the rules or asking if they existed. Since there's a generic code of conduct, I wasn't sure if there were specific ones in the actual rules. I can see posting it elsewhere; but it does have a hidden rules question:

"Can a Paladin fall if he acts within his Code of Conduct but against his God, or vice versa." If the deities have specific Codes (which they seem to) then that answer is a firm "No." Otherwise there'd be a contradiction in the rules and the fluff they were made for, requiring (minor) arbitration.

Anyway, Thanks all! I'll check out those books and Nethys

I see that some people derive them from information about their God; and if that's the best answer I get then that's fine. But many of the gods, Arete for example basically just says "Tireless foe of <evil stuff>"

Thanks Arete. Thanks for nothing.

So directing me to what books have codes, or example codes, or something.. these would all be great answers. Thank you for any assistance!

[Also-> Pasting codes of conduct would also be neat. I'm in the midst of trying to build one for a player or three, and if I had several examples I could mix and match a bit.]

Lucy_Valentine wrote:

As a sort of tangent, I don't know if anyone's mentioned the difference between linearity on a strategic and linearity on a tactical scale? [..] But if individual combats can only be won in one specific way, that annoys me immensely.

Depends what you mean; but I think there is leeway here. Having the old "You have to destroy McGuffin X during the fight in order to kill the BBEG" is a form of this isn't it? And that's certainly often a more interesting fight than "Kill the dude."

I am slowly moving towards having more fights with "has to be done in a certain way" kinda deal; but with indicators of what that is. I can see having it be like the Gallows Tree Zombie where there's a way to make life easy and there's the harder way to do it; or like a Troll.

But even a boss who changes resistances or that kind of thing is pretty typical of RPGs and is a way of saying "you pretty much need to beat him by doing X."

In your case, if I had a colossal giant that can easily gib you but you can anticipate it's attacks; there's only one real way to beat it: "Dodge the attacks and hit when it's not swinging" or w/e. If you attempt *anything* else [except maybe running away or the objective is to get something in the room and not to kill it] you'll get smashed under a massive club. But that to me is a totally (in terms of Pathfinder anyway) a more interesting fight.

Similar, the scene in God of War where you move statues to block the never-ending swarm of Harpies; that has only one way to really end it, but it's also an interesting fight and fairly memorable.


More clarification from your end would be good; but IMO; anything that turns it into a different puzzle than "Can I damage it quick enough" is good.

Claxon wrote:

As a GM I don't feel bound by rules, and also don't expect my GMs to be bound by rules. So it's impossible to cheat.

But, a GM can be unfair, which is far far worse.

This is mostly the camp I'm in. I can spend 6 hours figuring out the exact way to build a monster to work properly in the rules, or I can have him "Play as a Small Dude" with the same stats. I could spend a long time cultivating exactly how McGuffin X's curse works and how much gold it's worth, or I can just make it work the way I want since the players really don't know the difference and it saves a bunch of work that's considered non-essential anyway.

Similarly, I can have an encounter that floats around Position A, the players take a left at Albuquerque and I need content; looks like that encounter happened at Position B! How random!

Halek wrote:

It is that playing mother may I? Isnt something i want to do in my roleplaying game.

Theoretically this shouldn't come up. If you have the players describe their actions rather then tell you "I ROLL DIPLOMACY" then you can tell them when the rolls are appropriate. It lends to more natural conversations and it also forces the player to roll what they RP'd.

If they say "I tell him I'm gonna kill his mother, roll diplomacy"; that breaks everything. If they say "I tell him I'm gonna kill his mother" and the GM tells him to roll Intimidate; the game has worked out exactly as the player caused; even if it's not how they desired. No where in here is there room for Mother May I?

The only thing that comes up in my group with that is Item/Archtype/Class balancing stuff. To some degree this should be expected IMO.

Anguish wrote:

That lets a player know confidently what it takes to climb a tree. Sure, they might not know the exact DC, but they know that barring any unforeseen circumstances, their +35 to Climb should get them up any normal tree without difficulty.

The rules-light systems frankly disturb me.

Not that GM-trust is exactly the issue there, but it's very close. I can succeed at the things my GM wants me to succeed at, and can't do what my GM doesn't want me to do. With a rules-heavy system, I can do what I want to do, when I want to do it, and the world reacts to my actions. Basically, I have a hand in writing the story.

I think that you're causing something to be mutually exclusive that doesn't need to be.

In a rules heavy system; I have to check if it's slippery, on a slope, in a stairwell, and look up the values, and calc a DC. In a rules light system I can say "It's normally Medium difficulty (DC15 + PC Level or so) and it's gonna be doable, but a lot harder here because of thing X (DC20 + PC level or so)" and bam; it's roughly in line with the system but I'm not drowning myself in the minutia of charts looking for 17 things.

I fully agree that if I design something badly that is easily circumventable, you should be able to circumvent it. That's player agency. That said, I also believe that rather than saying "The lie is believable, OK, that's -5 to difficulty. But the person doesn't like you, that's +10; oh but it's also something that the NPC knows; and they tried to lie before so it's +5"

What's worse, if you do your roll (sense motive in this case) in front of the players and then they argue about it because you fudged some math by 2 on accident or some garbage; now you're arguing rules in an RP session.

* Hide the rolls. It can break immersion and it lends unnecessary information to the PCs about things. Especially because rolls at odd times make the player unsure when you do rolls that matter. [Such as Stealth and perception of opponents, etc]

* Fudge to make things simple. Add +1-5 or -1-5 based on the things that affect the roll. Make the DC roughly 10,15,or 20 for the tasks, and add player level if it makes sense. (this is a talking point straight from TheAngryGM that I've taken to heart)

* Have your players say what they are doing and "hand them" the dice rolls, rather than them say "I roll <X>".

* Don't hide necessary information behind DCs. That's dumb.

* Don't waste time rolling for things that have no consequences. If they can climb the tree by taking 10 or 20, just give it to them.

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Railroading has a broad and deep number of interpretations I think. If you know the BBEG is going to do X from session 1, is that railroading? Some may say "but what if the players stop it!" and you respond "it happens too soon!" or something; some will consider that railroading no matter how many things the party can do in the world that thing X is happening.

Some of those same people would see that there is a way to stop it rather than dealing with what the BBEG does; but because it's a single way; it's railroading (even though they have the option to do it or react to the problem.)

Some others may think that if you offer only 3 ways to solve the problem that that's railroading. Some may think that the very idea that there is a problem to solve is indeed railroading.

That's my interpretation of the lack of consensus anyway.

In reality, even a sandbox game needs stuff to happen; a world to live in. This leads you to have some plot points and some side quest things. Plot points (as narrow or broad as you make them) will always involve some amount of railroading based on the expectations of the GM and the Players.

It's when the Rails are apparent *and* the players become annoyed that it's a problem. If the story is "off the rails" and the players are annoyed; they in fact are looking to get back "on the rails" because you've been too vague with what they should do with their characters. If they are not annoyed, then what you're doing is working for them (even if it's not working for the campaign or for yourself.)

Long story short; I'm in the middle. I've built a plot that can be tackled over time or more deliberately and an area to exist in that is affected by it. The players are somewhat compelled to solve it because the area they're in is changing in a way that is suspicious and/or bad. They don't have to pursue it (and interestingly, some actions that would probably not happen could derail it quite a bit) but their own interests seem to be enough to cause them to pursue it. This is pretty ideal.

IMO, railroading happens because a GM has built a plot/world that people don't care about. If your drop your players somewhere and their interactions begin to show them that it's changing in a way that they don't like; they will *want* to solve the problem.

IMO, it doesn't really matter if you're CHA 7 INT 7 , just play the character how you want. Mechanical benefits or drawbacks will encourage you to play it correctly because you're not going to be the guy passing knowledge checks or successfully convincing many people of things. Remember: Nat 20s aren't successes.

Play the character how you imagine it, and that's it. Anyone who tells you "you can't do that! Your CHA is too low!" is either talking about something specific (your ability to learn a Cha-based skill) or is adding rules to the game that don't exist.

There is a myth of Character Player separation that really adds an entire layer of rules that not only don't exist, but just enforce awkward unintentional baggage.

What's more; you can totally be a Cha7 player with 23 ranks in Diplomacy and who's going to tell you that your 23 ranks don't mean that you're good at it? The same people who tell you how to act based on your stats.

Long story short: Play how you want to play the character, and ignore everyone who tells you otherwise. The game will attempt to make you play the character correctly via the mechanics. If it can't do it with the mechanics that's a failing of an RP system, not the player.

Additionally, IMO being able to dictate the stat by the approach of the character (as in, Strength sometimes being a stand in for Cha during Intimidate checks) it'll allow a muscle head or a cocky dagger-flipping guy to embrace their good stat in other situations, really reducing their other stat by playing around that it's bad.

Some could argue that this makes Cha even more of a dump stat; but it means that you could potentially use Cha in cases where you shouldn't be able to as well. Example: Sense Motive could rely on your extensive social background; Escape artist (against someone who you can speak to) could be that you give them some kind of distraction with your quick wit.

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Jason Wedel wrote:
I know what the term means in a general sense. However, in my 41 years on this globe I have learned that some terms can have a variety of meanings to a variety of people. What I am looking for a conversation about what it means to you, what is a good optimized character.

It's kind of a trick question. Optimizing is more of an adjective (Optimal) and requires a context. If you say "Help me optimize my Monk"; it still requires qualifiers to "What are we optimizing?"

F.E. What if he wants a weird Archer-Monk? He puts out restrictions, and people work within that framework to give him an optimal solution that fits those restrictions as best they can.

This means it's very much like you said; "Help me optimize <a thing>" is usually finished in the post as "Help me optimize <a thing> <with these restraints>." Thus it could be skills, a wand-using barbarian, etc..

When someone says it without qualifiers, they are (in my mind anyway) likely looking for the highest DPR/battle-utility they can get.

W E Ray wrote:

Thanks guys!

This is mostly theoretical, just curiosity.

But I'm intrigued enough that I can find all kinds of uses for NPC Clerics that don't heal my monsters & try to control the battlemat, but rather go toe-to-toe (adjacent with the monsters) against the PCs. The good side of that is that, as NPCs, they're suppose to get killed so they don't have to be playable as PCs.

A NEnergy Cleric as an NPC is definitely much better than a PC (as an opponent anyway) simply because NPCs don't typically endure several encounters a day, so him wham-blasting the party is a good way to get the party to split up or sit away from some zone.

Note: NEnergy Channel with Obscuring Mist (or similar spells) is a pretty good Lose-Lose for the PCs to deal with, as they have to close for melee. Given some Armor and a reasonable weapon, that's a potentially difficult NPC. The concealment makes him difficult to hit, he forces you to close in, he hits everyone in the party at once. Not too shabby. [I have a monster like this]

Oops! I was thinking it was a Readied Action not an AoO, in that case I agree with everyone here.

This kind of Cleric can work; you've just turned all of your healing in to damage abilities though, so you have to take healing spells in order to heal people still. That's fine, but it is what it is. You now have a low-level AoE that's relatively effective (negative channel) but you're using spells to heal.

If you want to negative channel you should get the Selective Channel feat/ability so you can ignore your friendlies when you do it.

*NOTE: you can't have someone who negative channels but spontaneously cures.*

Similarly, a regular cleric can load up on damage spells and turn them into cures instead. The main benefit to a regular cleric is that you have lots of damage dealing potential but you also can heal quite well. Additionally, Positive Energy is very useful against a mass of Undead (which are somewhat common) and pretty useful against Undead Incorporeal creatures, which can be a huge pain for a regular party.

The main problem with a NEnergy cleric is that you've reduced your number of battlefield roles unless you take specific Cure spells, which are *way* worse than the PEnergy Channel. So you've effectively made yourself a bit better at damaging, but *way* worse at healing.

Given that Healing is a valuable thing to a party; it's much better to just figure out how to make a PEnergy cleric work offensively than hamstring your parties' ability to continue without rest.

I believe this is technically true though the mechanical benefit seems pretty small.

Note: You don't re-threaten an AoO for moving through a second opp's square (which is what I'm assuming you're trying to set up.) A relevant discussion and rules quote found here.

If it's to dodge a "Charge" attack, as long as you're still in range I believe the opp will still "get to you" and swing.

So again, I believe it's all legal, but you'd be hard pressed to make it terribly useful without some very specific set up (The opp charges and this puts you just out of range; you use this to dodge a trample/overrun attempt by sidestepping, etc..)

Twigjack and other creatures I can bend into "haunted fauna"; I think my first GasBurst zombie encounters may pop up. I like using Eldritch things, so I may throw a Gibbering Mouther out soon (APL = 2ish) as a "run away from me" problem in a cramped area.

I've been stewing on a giant alligator (Salt Water Croc) encounter in a sewer, like resident evil 2.

diemythtruth wrote:

Thank you Cattleman. So the dwarf can go like this?

Attack rd. 1 - Battleaxe +1 to attack roll due to Weapon Focus
Attack rd. 2 - Crossbow +1 to attack roll due to Weapon Focus
Attack rd. 3 - Battleaxe +1 to attack roll due to Weapon Focus
Attack rd. 4 - Crossbow +1 to attack roll due to Weapon Focus

..or are rounds 3 & 4 not allowed since he used the feat already in Rd 1 & 2 for those weapons?? And if this is the case, in the next room/encounter I imagine it resets so he can start at #1 again? Thanks.

Just to give an example since you seem confused. You chose Weapon Focus (Battleaxe).

Attack rd. 1 - Battleaxe +1 to attack roll due to Weapon Focus
Attack rd. 2 - Crossbow
Attack rd. 3 - Battleaxe +1 to attack roll due to Weapon Focus
Attack rd. 4 - Crossbow

but that can also be

Attack rd. 1 - Battleaxe +1 to attack roll due to Weapon Focus
Attack rd. 2 - Battleaxe +1 to attack roll due to Weapon Focus
Attack rd. 3 - Battleaxe +1 to attack roll due to Weapon Focus
Attack rd. 4 - Battleaxe +1 to attack roll due to Weapon Focus


Attack rd. 1 - Greatsword
Attack rd. 2 - Greatsword
Attack rd. 3 - Greatsword
Attack rd. 4 - Greatsword

Notice that only the battleaxe gets the buff; but it always gets the buff.

I'd say that maybe you have a mcguffin that hints about this somewhere in the area. It could be a journal that says he's ultimately a reasonable person.

You can start the "fight" with a Motive. So if he says "You cannot pass unless you <blah>" or "Give me your <blah> or be ground down by inevitability."

Then your party is aware that he speaks and know of another way to get by him (and possibly haggle/bargin/convince him otherwise.)

It *does* mean they may not fight him at all, but that's fine.

You have +1 to hit with the weapon you selected. You can't change this. If you take this feat more times, you can select different weapons, but not the same one.

This doesn't have any "real time" effect other than the "Attack" (To Hit) roll; so you don't declare it or "use" it or anything; just modify your sheet with the appropriate bonus.

Wheldrake wrote:

My gut feeling is that you need to make a single save for every round you spend inside the spore cloud, regardless of how many squares are disturbed. More squares disturbed means a larger area that is affected. You might also increse the duration of the lingering spore effect as well, in the case of multiple bursts.

But I wouldn't call for multiple saves per round.

I think that's the case with Troglodytes and stuff though. 6 Trogs = 6 Saves. Some play it different, but's worth noting that if you instead combine the 6, you'll get a save that may be impossible (rather than statistically difficult.) And making it only a single save nerfs the creatures in question.

I'd say one save per patch crossed, but not per square of the burst.

[Note on design: If this is for a dungeon you're in or designing, consider looking/designing for alternatives to cross it. Monkey bar like structures, secret passage way, some squares don't have the mold but it makes you run a serpentine route, some squares are illusions of mold to be dispelled, there's a giant barrel of Mold Killing Stuff on one side of the room that could potentially be opened with arrows or telekinesis.]

Hubaris wrote:

@Cattleman: As much as I would like that, I know a lot of players that I have would rather have more codified terms. If I only extend it to players though, and not include monsters, it would probably be seen as more 'fair' for them.

Perhaps I'll just add more traps, encounters or abilities that require other types of checks (Str to break, resist wind, Int to escape a Maze or trap, and Cha to resist Mind Control suggestions like Charm contests).

Thank you all for the feedback!

For clarification if you come back:

* I do only use it for players. I could see maybe using it on a monster for something particularly cinematic, but I could always just do that if the monster rolls well anyway since the players don't know what I rolled. I think we're in agreement on that point (that it's easier and more fair to have the players do this rather than buffing the monsters via approach.)

* This is also something I do. I want my players to be routinely jumping, climbing, dodging, speaking, etc.. because I want their weaknesses to be as apparent at their strengths. [I actually use a Skill system like Bethesda, where you get skills for doing stuff rather than leveling. Because of this I have to design dungeons and encounters with ways to Climb, Break, jump, etc.. so the players *can* gain skills. It isn't too hard, creates more interesting areas, and makes use of all of your stats.

So! One option (at least that i do with Skill checks) is that I don't allow players to say "I want to make a diplomacy check."

Instead, they tell me what they're going to do and I say "roll a Diplomacy check, but use Intelligence/Wisdom instead" [if their approach describes diplomacy using those stats.]

Something similar can be done with Fortitude. A Monk could say "I endure the flames through sheer willpower of Mind over Matter" and you say "Well s&+%! Roll a Will Save!" and badda bing, you've now given your players agency to roleplay to their character *and* have given them the ability to pass more saves by doing so, without really changing the mechanics of the game much.

Consider pushing your players to describe what they do and how they do it, rather than the skill or save they make. Someone uses Burning Hands? Use the DC, but not the check (and modify it based on what the character chooses.) For example; let's say dodging a swinging axe requires Reflex 12. This is a wizard with High Int. He says that he instead studies the axe and times it. Instead of dodging with Dex, he could Reflex with Int, because he's using his brain to figure out how to approach the task.

Say someone is giving you "withering" criticism and you want a Will save to see if they handle it well or something; it may be applicable to replace Wisdom with Charisma to see how they fair, since it's a social encounter. (I realize that's a lame example, but Charisma is hard!)

This is my approach, and I imagine that this is the best way to accomplish what you want, rather than trying to engineer new saves.

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Wolfswift wrote:
So in an upcoming game I'm looking to play a Tiny race and possibly even smaller, my issue comes with realizing that while size bonus makes you hard to hit, it somehow makes you easier to grapple? How does that make sense, like a Tiny pixie flying around is hard to hit but easy to grab? In 3.5 grappling and other combat maneuvers required a melee touch attack to initiate contact before calculating what you roll vs the opponent to succeed or fail. So smaller creatures were still hard to initiate contact with, but once grabbed we're easy to hold onto and crush. Now in Pathfinder it seems like if you're fighting tiny and Smaller enemies grappling is easier to initiate and hold, but Why? Am I missing something?

You're still the size of a chicken. It's easy for you to get places that are difficult to get to you in (requiring squeezing or being unable to reach you in many cases) but you aren't hard to actually grab.

I know from owning cats and stuff all my life that things that are "tiny" (for the purposes of this game system) you're not all that hard to catch aside from getting under things or behind things. The only thing that Cats and Chickens have going for them if you are having difficulty isn't their size, but their speed/mobility.

Cats, IMO, are supremely easy to "grapple" if you can get them and the "if you can get them" is completely dependent on the environment and if they can exploit their climbing/speed/hiding; NOT their actual difficulty to grab.

I can see the argument for "diminutive" creatures, but even then, in the last year I easily killed a mole with a shovel and caught a cornered mouse by hand no trouble; and I'm just a regular guy. Without a hiding place or an ability to really utilize your climbing/flying/hiding/speed or erratic behavior.. I mean.. there's nothing stopping a regular guy (let alone magical creatures and Elves and stuff that have enhancements for that kind of thing) from grappling much much better.

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I attempted to do a small "Bring a dollar (or two dollars)" a couple times approach, mostly because I'm buying a good amount of materials as a GM for the entertainment of others; but it was unreliable and I don't feel right doing it. But it'd be the same for paid material. The real expense is the models and stuff to me, not writing material I want to have people play.

If he's in the 4th square away from you, he's 15ft away. You're not helping your situation saying contradictory statements. Either he's 20ft away and not affect, or he's 15ft away and is affected.

If you say "he's 20ft away, and the spell has a 20ft radius" then he's not in range, because he's at the limit of the radius. (He's not *within* 20ft, he's AT 20ft.)

So either he's in the 4th square away from you, which is 15 ft away, or he's 20ft away, which is the 5th square away from you (there's 20 ft between you.)

While you may have been in the right, mixing up the language of the hex or square map is bound to lead to situations where (deliberately or not) your GM makes mistakes. Attempt to clarify this in future scenarios, because I have a feeling you saying "he's 20ft away" and "in the 4th square from me" is the issue. Those are contradictory statements, and people ascribing motive to the GM while the statements made here are contradictory means it's just as easy for the GM to be confused by the jargin being used.

Given the 5ft thing, maybe he planned on taking a step and then didn't. The rules here are pretty cut and dry, but the story isn't IMO.

I have a halfling with 5 or 6 STR IIRC. He can hold 16lbs before going to 15ft speed haha. Given that, if he can make it work, i'm sure you can at 10 Str. And! I run weighted gold and potions and stuff, so it's easy to become encumbered since I actually want them to track that.

That said, for loot he uses a Mule and they often have a guard for it or plan ahead. Having someone else burly in your party helps; for which this party has one guy at 18 Str (Human) and another at 16. Let them carry stuff when you're getting too heavy.

Bags of Holding and whatnot are pretty much how you get around all the encumberment issues anyway.

You surround the touched creatures with a constant and moveable 1-inch shell of tolerable living conditions. This shell enables the subjects to breathe freely, even underwater or in a vacuum, as well as making them immune to harmful gases and vapors, including inhaled diseases and poisons and spells like cloudkill and stinking cloud. In addition, the shell protects subjects from extremes of temperature (per endure elements) as well as extremes of pressure.

It looks like it's a spell is trying to give you protection from the elements. Almost anything environmental is supposed to be blocked and turned into "Tolerable living conditions." I would include acid among those.

NOTE: Nothing but the first line supports this rules wise. Endure Elements is only for temperature.

Endure Elements wrote:

Endure elements doesn’t provide any protection from fire or cold damage, nor does it protect against other environmental hazards such as smoke, lack of air, and so forth.

RAW -> Tough call. It tries to spell out what this does, which is add breathable air, count as Endure Elements, and also protect from pressure hazards; this does not include an acid pit. However, it does add hazardous gasses to the list, which is interesting because hazardous gasses are really just airated liquid yeah? So it protects you from liquids as long as they're not too viscous. That seems to imply that it does protect you from acid.

RAI -> Not sure. Tolerable Living Conditions with a bubble of air around you suggests that it may protect from it. For example, a planet of poisonous gasses would be safe with this spell on. Seems odd that going from Liquid to Gas is the difference; given that Gas is essentially lightweight liquid.

I'd probably just allow it. Try not to add too much logic here or punish the players for having a spell that they learned specifically for things like this.

I think the Dark Souls Boardgame gave me good faith in my group. It's pretty difficult to evenly distribute so we had to keep buying items to try and dig for the guy who didn't have stuff. Eventually we were all in pretty good shape.

I haven't seen issues with people in my games; but we're all good friends. It's part "Who needs it", part "Who can use it", part "Let's divide it evenly."

That said, the "everything evenly" thing is more weighted by people not rolling for stats, not rolling for other stuff, etc..; where as if you got screwed before, you'll probably get more items because you need them more.

Either way, it's been a mixed bag but always pretty positive in my group. It's understood that it's a group task.

Matthew Downie wrote:

Another rule that might be relevant in situations where the party can only succeed at a roll by 'taking 22' (i.e. take 20 + Aid Another):

In cases where the skill restricts who can achieve certain results, such as trying to open a lock using Disable Device, you can't aid another to grant a bonus to a task that your character couldn't achieve alone.

Depends on the GM of course. If you read TheAngryGM (and basically how liberal the rules are for GMing in general), it's quite possible they'll give you a +1, +2, or +5 in an aid another depending on what/how they do it. (The +1 and +5 are not standard/rules based of course, IIRC)

Let's say you want to pick the lock and you suck at it, but your buddy is a pro; him giving guidance is certainly a worthy Aid Another IMO. Someone holding up a relevant lockpick schematic* also seems pretty fair.

*[Note sure where he got it but.. meh]

Either way, Ultrace and David basically point out the same thing I did. If there's no consequences for repeatedly trying, it doesn't really make a difference if it takes double the number of rolls (on average.)

Interesting to note:
The rules for Aid Another are

(You can't take 10 on a skill check to aid another.)

but it says nothing about taking 20. This may be was Matthew was pointing out.

It's not that difficult to go all Casters if that's the question. Just make sure that each guy has spells for each situation. Need to sneak? Invisibility or similar. Need to talk? Charm, suggestion, etc.. Need to climb, why not just fly?

There's a reason Wizards are really good, and it's not just their high level stuff; it's that the sheer versatility of having a bag of spells that does everything for you.

Imagine how you play a Bethesda game when you're a pure caster and that's basically how you build a party of them.

Apologies if I've misunderstood the question

I'd say he should allow it IF the Aid Another makes sense. The whole point of Take 20 is "Hey GM, you haven't provided us any impetus to move forward in a timely fashion and we want to see if we can get through this thing"

and the only reason GM's get upset at Take 20 is because they designed the area badly. Literally. If they provided impetus, punished the players for taking all day, or a true failure condition then they'd have a reason not to just give it to you.

Instead, it sounds like your GM wants you to roll until you give up. IMO, if you want to change his GMing for the better, literally just roll until he changes the situation so that you can't or until you get a nat 20 successfully with Aid Another (average: 40 rolls without modifiers.) He will learn to either design better areas or to let you take 20 with Aid Another the whole time.

Note: This ends up being the rule answer pretty quickly when practicality and "boring-ness" come into play. Your party and your GM do not want to wait for 20-40+ rolls to occur just right to find out if a thing can be opened. So if he wants you to *real bad*, go ahead and just keep rolling.

If you want to do it "by the book" AND not waste time, just roll 100 D20's on a computer, find a pair of them that are 20/10+ next to eachother, point to the screen, and open the door. This is entirely the fault of bad design/GMing and is entirely circumventable by generated or spammed d20 rolls.

Thusly, unless he's looking for that nat 1 to matter, he should just allow it; because not allowing it just means a computer generated sheet of D20s that inevitably shows the same result.

I think you're being so specific as to make it difficult for people to know what to tell you. I'll give some guesses of possible obstacles based on the minor bit of images I was able to pull up:

- Climb a Fence
- Find an alternate exit (knowledge or perception)

- Jump over some kind of snare device [acrobatics]
- Disable it [disable device]

- Sneak around guard station/tower/person [stealth]
- Trick him [slealth* + bluff] *a lower check by 5

Towards the end:
- Lose the guards in a field (stealth check)
- Swim through a stream [guards may be in armor]

[Can't edit anymore..]

Also, Vasuthant's (Monster Manual 3) are pretty neat. Basically a black cloud of undead-ness that darkens the area and attempts to sap your strength via grabs. I converted it to pathfinder as a medium creature and user them here and there.

Wraith's are pretty neat. I'll have to make an encounter for them with a bunch of the weakened ones representing it's victims fo' sho' (as the players lead up to it that is.)

Minor Reapers are CR10 and multiply if your friends attack it without disabling it, making the encounter either very strategic or

Hoar Spirits, Necro-craft, and a few others are on my list as well.

I'm in the midst of using other halloweeny like creatures as well:
* Twigjack
* Scythe Tree
* Mandragora
* Gallows Tree and it's "Zombies"

I'll do size, CR, and "reskin" adjustments a bit; but having plant/tree-like creatures come out of the WOODwork seems seasonally appropriate and also gives unexpected monster types.

The fact that they're (usually) weaker to Slashing/Fire as opposed to Bludgeoning/Non-Fire (undead/demons/etc) makes it also diversify the monster pool.

Others in that vein are:
* Bat Swarms
* Giant Spiders
* Saltwater Crocodile - Hear me out

On the croc; remember that scene in Resident Evil 2? :D...

Combusted are pretty neat (and a nifty modelling opportunity for a Warhammer nerd like myself.) Has an OK ranged attack, it can give you a curse, has potential to PK someone who is too liberal with taking damage.. which is alright!

Keep in mind that Non-Undead Undead-Supporters are also neat. An Evil Cleric for example can Negative-Energy heal a bunch of guys, or an Undead Lord can give significant buffs to nearby underlings.

One I'm keen on using soon is a GasBurst Zombie; having characters in tight spaces wanting to run from it instead of fighting it!

Something I've done in my Homebrew is change zombies to:
* 10ft
* Added Grab
* Added 3 HP (an additional "Toughness" feat)
* Added a "Bite with Poison" attack that they use only in a grapple

Players have found that these zombies are somewhat more dangerous up close, and easier to escape. Something a bit more "horror"ish IMO.

The Ghost template is pretty interesting. I used a "boss" like encounter where it kept going inside of nearby skeletons and dead bodies and running away when exposed, dragging the party through a long tomb until it got stuck at the end.

Personally, I'd probably allow a "Jump Attack" type deal. It's very cinematic and it is more difficult than an attack (you have to make a jump check and probably a Disadvantage Attack on it) so it seems fine. I've had some jump (down) attacks that were pretty cool, and I am generally pretty liberal with letting people do cool things; but it's not PFS and I like screwing with the game.

You'll just have to talk with your GM. The grappling rules for multiple things (as a GM who loves using/making multi-grab monsters) are inadequate and confusing and have never been clarified afaik.

Personally I use this for my monsters (and thus my PCs):
* Grappling for several opponents is the same standard action as grappling a single.

* If you have multiple limbs with Grab, each one can initiate grapples. You may take a -20 to keep from being grappled yourself (and the grappling action becomes a free action because you're not being grappled)

* Each Grappling Check (which are combined into the same standard action) can do it's own thing; Pin, damage, etc..

And I'm still debating whether having multiple opponents in your grasp makes it easier for them to get away (-20 to your thing.) But honestly? I'm still working on it. The rules are so incomplete and confusing IMO that you really just need to discuss what makes sense with your GM. I've been reading and using them for years and they honestly contradict themselves many times, to the point you just kinda have to take what they give you and re-configure it to your tastes.

Long story short; 10 people can arrive here with 10 different answers for you IME.

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