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Zalman wrote:
Jack Vance's writings are a treasure trove of charismatic, interesting wizards, particularly Lyonesse and the Dying Earth series.

Thanks....ill look them up!!

So I did a brief search and only came up with a few results, but I am looking for some books that focus primarily on magic users, and more specifically magic users who exude, charm and wit.

I've read most of the Elminster stuff, and am looking for something new.

I have a love for spellslingers who avoid the fireball and lightning bolt slinging in favor of subtlety and cleverness.

Any suggestions?

ahhh my mistake, however the stacking of penalties was my focus as well.

Thanks to you both!

I am fairly certain they do, but for clarification.

Does the AC penatly from raging stack with the AC penalty from cleaving for a combined -4 to AC?

What if you did a charge and cleaved while raging is that -6?

Thanks in advance!!


Smurf this!


You are correct sir! The war started with an un-named evil diety creating a godspawned horror to destroy and torment the flora and fuana created by the nature diety...well one of the goodly gods didn't like that so they created a "good" Godborn beast to battle the evil...and so on escalating until "elder powers" came in and basically destroyed the greatest threats to creation and then told the gods...

ok fine you created these things nearly destroying this your very existance will be tied to thier worship. Well many gods said forget that!...and they faded from existance...others had thier followers wiped out in "mysterious" plagues etc.

So now you have this work where exactly that happens Greylurker...ancient dungeons filled with forgotten relics of a diety inspired war...corpses and undying horrors lurk in the shadows!

Is there no more?

no one? but said you loved me....

I'm not sure if this is the right forum topic for this but if not, I trust some helpful moderator will see me properly tossed into the appropriate alley.

I've posted quite a bit about my ongoing campaign and thought it might be interesting reading for someone to get it all in single thread. So in summary here is my current Incursion: Githyanki Invasion Hombrew Campaign.

We play in a homebrew world that is only recently (1500 yrs) recovering from a war where dieties played cosmic chess by creating ever more unstable/dangerous creatures to "one-up" each other.

This resulted in them (the gods) being stripped of thier powers and forced to rely on worship and created a world based largely off the 4E concept of points of light in a sea of darkness. IE. the world at large is untamed and long distance travel is dangerous.

Enter the PCs who through a series of misadventures end up on the southern end of the primary continent (which is totally unknown/explored by the northern half) and is a desert wasteland.

They get captured and sold into gladitorial slavery in a city run by monsterous races and ruled by a githyanki dictator.

They spend several months becoming powerful gladiators (Dungeon Magaziene "Blood in the Viens" gladiator storyline.

Upon escaping they embarrass and earn the hatred of the gith ruler....who having interrogated the PCs now knows about the bountiful land north of the mountains.

As the PCs work to find a way home via friendly city of psionically empowered warforged they githyanki ruler contacts her lord and liege on the astral plane begging a chance for vengance and selling the gith queen on the valuable resources to be taken by invading the N.

The PCs finally make it back N. by aquiring parts for and rebuilding an airship which is a relic from the God's war and unheard of in this time.

After heading back home...they start to encounter the Gith slowly at first and then more. Finally learning of the planned invasion and they must warn the entire continent via airship travel.

The Gith have infiltrated several town/cities and work against the PCs also cutting off communication via guerrilla tactics and a bloody dragon!!

PCs warn three towns...losing one when they opt to continue spreading the word rather than stay and defend it...tough choice but they made the right one I think.

Now they have killed a dragon that was single handedly cutting off trade between the two primary kingdoms and are traveling east to continue spreading the warning.

Meanwhile the gith are now having to step up the invasion and the PCs will have to play a part in planning the defense of two kingdoms and make some tough choices about sacrafice for the greater good as the gith queen is working to spread disinformation and get the cities to over commit forces while using her gate ability to shift forces rapidly.

And that's where we stand now....

Any thoughts, feedback, ideas or experiences running similar adventures is welcome!

Fergie wrote:
ClarkKent07 wrote:

The battle was epic, they felt like they all nearly died, but pulled it out through smart play and good dice...and I got cheers when the battle was over so I think I'll chalk that one up as a DM and a Player win!!

GM wins again!

Just out of curiosity, did you use the hover feat to create a cloud of dust? Were there any things your players did (spells, special attacks, etc.) that made a big difference?

Congratulations on a successful first dragon encounter!

Use of the tanglefoot bags was risky...but her touch ac was abyssmal and her reflex wasn't great. So they took a chance in wasting an entire round of tossing bags but they all hit her weak 11 touch ac...and an unlucky roll dropped her to the ground.

So again they played smart. I may have played her just a bit over arrogant in that she flew right at them to "teach" them a lesson with her breath weapon...but I think it fit the temperment of a young red.

Also they worked with a local druid to try and contain the forrest fire.

The fight opened with the PCs staging an elaborate set up using a false trade skiff traveling down river, they waited among the treeline with arrows outfited with experimental high tension wire. Burst DC of 25.

As the dragon came in to strafe the skiff with fire she sensed them at 60' but they opened fire with the arrows.

She was hit with multiples and they were anchored to trees, so instead of trying to fly away first she hovered...kicking up dust effect and dropped lower to unleash breath weapon into the tree line.

The clever PCs however had a couple with readied action to fire much shorter tethers when she dropped lower....they hit despite concealment.

Her breath weapon hit hard, but they then proceeded to pepper her with tanglefoot bags banking on her failing at least one save.

She did (no DM cheating..the dice just didn't support her).

Once she was grounded they surrounded her taking some serious hits on improved vital strike bites for AoOs, and she unloaded her full attack on the party.

However they are decently built and have decent to hits so they retaliated with multiple full round attacks.

Thanks to the tethers and the tanglefoot bag..she was in no shape to spend a round or more getting free. So she full attacked and followed up with a breath weapon again...but numbers were against her and she fell a round later.

3 out of 4 PCs were down to single digits in hp...the fourth was a last minute addition of a ranger with favored enemy dragon...I think this contributed ALOT to thier success.

But agian they had a blast and brought low a very young red....however they all realized that dragons are not to be toyed with as she was a round away from a TPK and flying off.

Well for anyone interested, they killed my dragon!

I allowed them plenty of time to prepare, they came up with good strategies, they played smart...they took a wicked beating, but in the end all the posts that warn against solo monsters versus a group of PCs are right.

Even with 6 attacks a round with full attacking they still chipped her down with a continual volley of arrows and eventually melee full attacks.

I am certain that some might say I didn't play her to her full capabilities or that some of the player tactics shouldn't have worked, but in the end..

The battle was epic, they felt like they all nearly died, but pulled it out through smart play and good dice...and I got cheers when the battle was over so I think I'll chalk that one up as a DM and a Player win!!

Now I have to have my githyanki react to the removal of a major piece of thier invasion plan.

Thanks again for all the feedback leading up to this fight.

For my homebrew world, I tell the players that while many species worship unique dieties they are all infact aspects of the prime nine.

So you can worship Jubity Boop the unforgiving, and you may even get spells if you're a cleric, but in the end that worship goes to one of the primary nine dieties as Jubity is just an aspect of him/her used for slumming with goblins.

This way any player can create/choose a diety to worship and still not disrupt my cosmology.

My dragon's backstory just in case anyone was interested.

• Billonox is a young red dragon who has already made a name for herself as being exceptionally destructive and malicious. In her brief life since leaving the nest, she has killed two of her siblings, eliminated a young brass dragon, enslaved two kobold tribes, and eliminated an elven village entirely!

• Recently she has answered the call of the ancient pact between red dragons and the githyanki, traveling down from the far north and so has been tasked with preventing all travel or communication along the trade way between Haven and Waylon.

• She greatly enjoys causing devastation with her fiery breath and has trained to move swiftly while strafing the ground with burning destruction.

• Forced to leave her lair and hoard behind has left the mighty red in a particularly foul mood, thus she taken great pleasure in the screams of those she has roasted along the trade way. Even the wildlife has not been spared her wrath as she has boiled the fish in the water and charred both bears and squirrels alike.

• Billonox has no sense of honor or fair play and truly she is devastation upon the land…

Homebrew setting and rules for a one off adventure.

The PCs can play any mortal race from any time period and I just DM ad hoc the rules to make weapons work.

Modern day L.A. police officer with a shotgun.
Traditional D&D elven archer
A massive armored warrior.

Mission retrieve and contain a powerful artifact orb that is basically an eclosed demiplane of pure evil.

Long story short after much hardship they reach the orb...police officer learns that it is trapped...he shoots the orb of total evil with a shotgun....despite DM description of incredible power and evil radiating from it...

melted faces ended...bad times!

I think I will bring her down to a CR8 and I have already adjusted stats to make her a hit-and-run attacker instead of a toe-to-toe destroyer.

I really do appreciate all the feedback.

Just as an FYI, for the PCs at this point in the story just chasing her off would be as much a win as killing her outright as she is crippling trade along a specific route at the whim of the Gith and thier pact with red dragons.

Good points Hoove, I've tried to lay some of that groundwork but you might be correct in that for MY players it's too vague...

Make the bad santa an alchemist with his workshop being his lab...

The "elves" help him add poisons/potions to common goods "gifts" as he once participated in the stardust ritual and did NOT get his wish...he has captured the wishbringer and now tortures them out of vengence.

but will his heart grow three sizes this day? Who can say? Will the heroes pave the way, save the day, and make him pay, rescue the fey, or will the world sink into gray?

Tune in next week

The river itself is about 45' wide and is the primary "road" for trade to travel across the continent as I go with a "points of light in the darkness" take on civilization so roads are often just too dangerous for regular trade across any unpopulated distance.

So the players go involved by no ships arriving at one end for several days...they were asked to investigate and realized very shortly that it was the work of a dragon.

Now the town at one end says "hey you gotta help us here also the PCs need to travel that route to continue spreading word/warning of the coming invasion".

You have all given me a great deal to consider and I thank you!!

It's these types of responses that make the boards such a great resource!

We play on Saturday and I'll let you know how it goes.

@ Zahir in regards to the tether arrows etc.

If I allow it at all, the guild will make sure the PCs are aware that it is VERY experimental tech and also this guild is already known for jealously one might even say zealously guarding its secrets. So in the one dire circumstance they might gain acces to it but likely never again.

Again thanks all!!

@spook & Nearyn

Great advice on both parts!

They absolutely are afraid which is good as I agree with Nearyn they SHOULD be.

Again the dragon is a young 5 years old I believe so I think I would be within rights to play her as impetutous and headstrong but not a fool.

As to supplies...the town has a tinkerer guild which I had considered having help equip the party with experimental tech to assist.

perhaps a specially treated cloth or alchemical solution for some fire resist.

high tension tethered arrows for the ranger to try and anchor the beast and cause her to land.

the engineer can create an enlargement and bulls str effect so played smart that could be helpful in creating reach and tethering her.

However even tethered I plan on playing her smart..hovering 10' up creating a dust cloud if possible...full attacks and making sure they remember her....

The landscape is a well traveled river bordered by forest on one side and basic plains/ rolling hills on the other.

Nearyn wrote:

Well, I'll give you the advice that I usually give people when they talk in uncertainty, of dragons vs party.

If you're in doubt, you'll probably kill the party. That is, of course, assuming you play the dragon to its strengths, and don't decide that it starts meleeing the fighter.

To be perfectly honest, I've seen that situation you describe before, and I always say the same thing. The party should run in terror. Fighting a dragon in the open is close to a deathsentence. You need to drop to the ground, and pray that it didn't see you. Or you need to run for cower and pray it is not in the mood to chase you.

TL:DR - If in doubt, assume it will murder your party. Dragons are dangerous if played as statted.

Hope it helps


Thanks Nearyn....


In theory they could level prior to facing her...we use an xp free leveling system and they are about due.

The town depends on the trade route so maybe they have a bola system or tethered harpoon to lend?

The PCS already know the dragon is there...and are pretty determined to face her.

so while I could just have her not be present...i'd much rather give them a fighting chance let them make thier own choices.

The Party is aware they are coming upon a red dragon and will have a chance to try and prepare in town a bit first..that's the good.

The Bad- the dragon is eliminating travel along a trade river path and so while there will be some forest cover on one side, the dragon will be strafing the river.

The Ugly - She (the dragon) is working with the Githyanki for thier impending incursion and her primary task is to eliminate travel/trade along this river route which is primary for the region. So she has little interest in pursuing PCs into a heavily forested area that is ...between us..full of gith raiders who are trying to prevent people sneacking around the river route via a land path.

So she gets to somewhat dictate the terms of engagement.

I DO want this to be a very tough fight for them...but I would prefer not to decimate them...

I will likely allow them to get some fire resist in town. And since she is young...good RP may be able to taunt her into landing to confront them.

Any other tips/thoughts? Again this is thier first dragon I want it to be terrifying...awe inspiring ..and deadly...just don't want to squash a campaign with it.

So my players are about to encounter their first dragon..ever!


They are APL = 6 with decent items, it's a homebrew world with some house ruled classes/races.

- Warforged Soulknife
- Warforged Clockwork Engineer (detailed in one of my threads)
- Human Swashbuckler - per 3.5 not the new one.
- Human Ranger (dragon favored enemy)

The beast is a young (CR10) red and yes despite all common sense will be a solo encounter.

The set up:

The party will encounter the dragon in the open and she will use her flyby attack to continually hinder them with breath attacks, mixed in with the hover ability to generate concealment and vital strike bite attacks inbetween.

I plan to keep her off the ground and mobile for much if not all of the encounter, so unless the party can think of a way to ground will be a very HAIRY fight for them.

All fairly new players with little game mastery.

My questions is does this seem like a fair encounter?

They DO know what they are about to face as far as it being a red dragon.

I am afraid this could be a TPK...any thoughts, feedback, tips would be appreciated.

I mean spell level and sending may work but as I read it the sender must be familiar with the reciever.

-the primary issue is two city-states seperated by hundreds of miles and while they may have some casters able to reach 4-5 level spells not many and certainly very little reason to have an established means of communication.

They typically rely on a regularly used trade route to communicate though each is very independant so again little need for regular communication.

As the Githyanki invade they plan on cutting off that trade route to keep each city in the dark for as long as possible.

I just want to make sure such a plan is feesible before it unfolds.

@Claxon actually that is excellent news!

I am DMing this and want to make sure that the Gith maintain the element of suprise for as long as possible.

Part of the PCs goal is to spread word of the invasion so cities can prepare.

I am currently running a version of the Incursion story line with a githyanki invasion in a homebrew world.

What if any means of magical communication are there that would allow casters seperated by more than several hundred miles to communicate?

I run a fairly low level magic setting so nothing above 4th level please.


So in case anyone is interested we have moved forward and I have a good plan for thier next move.

Thier first stop was to the dwarven kingdom where they were hardly believed and eventually suspected of murder due to a mole working for the githyanki...proving themselves innocent they moved on, but only after TWO days delay.

Now i have a tight timeline for the Githyanki invasion plan so the more the PCs are delayed the further the invasion will progress without thier influence....which is bad for the rest of the world.

Now they are on thier way to one of the major capital cities which with enough warning could greatly impact the invasion, however along the way they stopped at a tiny town that was recently attacked by an advance wave and told they needed to surrender within the next 24 hours...

SO the PCs will have to decide if they will stick around for a day to protect this little town or move on to warn the larger city and leave the town to it's fate...

this concept will continue throughout the invasion as they have to make tough choices...

so far they are all REALLY enjoying it.

Keep them coming, very entertaining!

@ Snow Tiger

I like that idea as well! There are a few town ruled by corrupt leaders who might in fact see such an uprising!

This is just the kind of stuff I was hoping to see to get my ideas flowing!


The party shouldn't split up as they have an airship to transport them as a group from city to city. Also I hope to have challenges within several locations that will convince them to stay together...

IE - assassins as the gith get tired of thier interference
- sleeper agents that work to convince the rulers that they PCs are just warmongering


The PCs are the only ones with advance knowledge of the invasion. They basically have been told by an ally "in the know" that without preperation thier homeland will fall to the gith in the invasion.

What they do with that knowledge will be up to them...but I am betting that they will visit the various powergroups to give them warning.


That's just it...they won't have much in the way of evidence, unless they manage to uncover gith sleeper they will really have to work to convince leaders.

I will be tracking thier success to determine how prepared or unprepared the world is when the first wave of the invasion force rolls in.

@ Douglas

Thanks for the feedback

- Yes I have been planning this out for sometime and the PCs have built up a real hatred for them (gith)

- I planned on a couple of sleeper agents and maybe even assassins.

- I really like the idea of #2...a powergroup that works to undo any progress the PCs make....that's good stuff.

Ok so,

In my current campaign the PCs have just learned that the githyanki are planning a full scale invasion of thier home land which is made up of

-3 capital cities
- several concentrations of each of the primary races
- one heavily used trade route
- a few independent power groups

So the PCs have the option to go and warn each of these groups while the early stages of the invasion unfold.Basically I anticipate this whole process taking several play sessions

I am looking for some interesting RP opportunies and challenges the PCs may face, such as:

-convincing the rulers that the invasion is real.
-convincing the cities, power groups, etc. to work together.


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While this is all very spirited and worthwhile discussion, I do have to agree that we see what we want/expect to see in the work of others and many of you are perhaps reading too deeply into this.

The dark has been a source of fear since the days of primitive man, it represents the unknown and at the time very real threat of predation, death, and dismemberment.

As society has grown, developled, and moved forward we have carried this idea with us. The dark remains the unknown and we fear the unknown, historicaly with good reason.

Space is dark and conceals all manner of unknown phenomenon, the depths of the ocean are without light and our imagination fills that darkness with dangers and threats.

Research on psychological evolution supports the idea that we survived as a (to be honest) frail and physically inferior species due to our sense of self preservation and fear of the unknown as much as for our minds.

So yes the dark is bad...the light isn't necessarily good, but hey you can see what's coming at you.

In NO way does this translate to dark skinned peoples are bad and light skinned are good, but as mentioned above...inhuman beastial creatures of darkness speak to our instinctual fear of the monsters in the darkness and not (unless you are a deeply seated racist yourself) the hatred or discrimination of people with darker skin tones.

Just my thoughts...thanks

So much bard hate and people who abuse, but thanks to those of you that contributed good adventure tales!

Ok so if you've read my threads lately you may have noticed a trend, I am working on a new bard character and trying to gather as much for my knowledge bard check as possible.

So I want your best bard moments, if you played them or a friend...tell me about how a bard rocked....bad pun intended.

Good stuff, keep em coming.

So after much debate and deliberation, I've decided to go with Treantmonk's control bard for my next character and am looking for good books/movies that highlight bard characters.

Two of my favorites!

Bard - by Keith Taylor
Great book that really shows the powerful and cunning side of the bard.

The 13th Warrior
Antonio Bs character as well as Herger both strike me as bardlike.

Any others?

Sonic, interesting I would not have considered that...I have heard ice/cold due to the hindering/locking mechanic...

Also had not considered the hypnotic aspect to fire..

good stuff guys keep em coming.

Ok so this may be a strange question, but from a purely fluff/flavor based point of view which energy type seems a best match for an character focused on enchantment?

Please provide your rationale for support.


Whenever my daughter says "That's not fair!" I ALWAYS respond with

"you say that so often, I wonder what your basis for comparison is."

She REALLY hates that.

On a more topic related note:

I really like the idea of him as a fey and I think Sweater Golem has the idea, Jareth is more about the illusion of power than actual demonstrations.

On another side note...I still love this movie to this day!!

Wiggz, good questions...I guess I should have thought that through for the title..but in the end controller is what this particular character would lean towards.

Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:

My approach: Bard.

The major balancing factor of enchantments is being observed.

With spellsong and a high performance roll, you can spam enchantment spells on someone without them (or their buddies) even knowing. Being able to charm the King of Thieves right in front of his bodyguards is the best thing ever.

It isn't 100% effective, but it sure makes things interesting. You basically get a stealth skill for casting (that you're already heavily invested in).

and THAT Mr. Lincoln is what brought me about the bard to begin with, but the overall control a sorcerer can command is a strong arguement.

However, let's say that we limite thier levels to only lv 10...would all previous arguments still stand?

The only problem I have with some of these build suggestions is Fluff/flavor reasons.

The character I have in mind is much more likely to take the infernal bloodline strictly for character concept.

However, you have all certainly made a strong argument for me to stick with the sorcerer.

@Wiggz - that sounds awesome, and just like the kind of character I want to play...minus the Kitsune side :)

@Gustavo - good point.

So two for sorcerer...I was really leaning bard but now....

Anyone going to bat for the bard?

So I want to play the ultimate charmer, master manipulator but still have viability in situations where immunities limit that aspect. In the past I have played this idea with a sorcerer but recent insights have caused me to believe the bard might be the better route to go.

I am torn though as the bard never gets any real direct mind control where as the sorcerer gets dominate monster.



Looking for convincing arguments on either side, convince me which would be better and why.




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