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Organized Play Member. 80 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 3 Organized Play characters.

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Figure I'd signal-boost this excellent podcast, the Back Patio Network guys (who also did a fun complete playthrough of Doomsday Dawn and are 50% of the Called Shot podcast) run a hilarious and deadly game that's definitely worth checking out, they just wrapped up Book 2 so it's a great time to jump on.

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The players wanted to play with their characters again, and I had a level-10 adventure in the kitty, so we did more. Again, characters are:
A Dwarf vanguard
A Half-Elf mystic (star shaman)
A Nuar soldier (blitz)
A human witchwarper
The adventure was a little shorter this time, a little shy of five hours. They were infiltrating a dragon's volcano lair, the dragon being a red traditionalist with Bond villain tastes. One of the areas of the lair had the dragon's mad science minions working on "improving" dragonkin; biohacker NPC time.

I built the leader biohacker like a level 9 PC, while the underlings were using a scraped-together class graft on CR5 experts. This of course meant that the biohacker sub-boss was the second best armored thing in the entire adventure, barely behind the CR13 adult dragon. The frustrating thing was that the biohacker sub-boss was initially planned on being someone to buff dragonkin "brute" enemies, but he missed his buddies several rounds in a row even against monster KACs. All that was my behind-the-screen annoyance, though, the players had fun.

The vanguard built directly up to level 10 all in-class. He boosted strength twice and, after a lot of debate, enhanced his CON (to 23) first behind his DEX (to 21). He found his mobility much less of an issue at level 10, with the reach entropic strike thingy plus the lunge feat giving him an enormous range to truly mess people up with. He wryly commented that his character must have deep neurosis about the levels before 7 (lunge and haste), however. He was a horror of a tank, dealing out 3d6+19 damage against EAC to any intruding on his range. Having multiple reactions also helped his Bodyguard feat usage; the after the first combat the mystic nailed herself to his tail permanently. With his heavy armor, maxed dex, shield, and otherwise vanguardiness even the multi-attacking dragon missed. He eschewed a haste circuit because the mystic was supplying it for the party, but haste was a massive deal for him to actually get up into range.

The witchwarper had gone all-in on spells still, bringing himself to 24 charisma (!), which along with Spell Focus meant even the bigger threats were still occasionally failing their saves. As with anyone trying to be a pure caster in Starfinder, he still found himself with a tough row to hoe. The 18-wisdom mystic felt herself to be about equally effective with her focus on summons and buffs. That said, the witchwarper had a lot of fun, even getting off a successful baleful polymorph on the dragon (briefly). Slow was the MvP, because slow is always the MvP. Infinite Worlds with a 20ft radius was excellent, preventing the dragon from escaping in the very end even. The volcano hazard was unfortunately not used as a lightning volcano, but the "step down heat" function let the life-bubbled party bypass an otherwise very damaging chamber. Given the number of dice being thrown at upper levels, Lessen Injury still felt like the go-to Paradigm got used 8 times, compared to Flash Teleport (2) and Inhibit (6 tries, landed 3). It was particularly funny when they fought an operative enemy.

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Every single member of our Dead Suns group agrees; if they release a 3-volume AP set for 12+, we're there with bells on. Considering SoS and DoF will also dump out a lot of parties at that level...

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Since we had both a vanguard and a witchwarper, didn't think this belonged in either class forum; feel free to move if desired.

I ran a nice long one-shot session (my own adventure) over the weekend, a six-hour session with a good mix of combat and exploration/talking. My players picked their own characters, level 4 with bog-standard WBL, and we wound up with:
A Dwarf vanguard
A Half-Elf mystic (star shaman)
A Nuar soldier (blitz)
A human witchwarper
I didn't push for it, but I was happy with what we got here; the soldier contrasting with the vanguard and the mystic with the witchwarper. The Nuar was focusing on a doshko rather than Ring of Fangs or horn-gore natural attack builds, while the dwarf was being traditionalist with axe and shield (player wanted this since that awesome Dwarf vs. Vesk art in the CRB). The half-elf had pumped Dex with her first enhancement and was focusing on spells without saves, while the human seemed more focused on Cha and casting. Of course, everyone has played Starfinder before, so they knew to make dexterity second priority in all cases (14 on the solider was the lowest). Nobody felt terrible at their jobs, and everyone had fun.

Ship combat went well; Vanguard gunner, Soldier engineer, Mystic pilot, and Witchwarper captain. The witchwarper was relieved that there wasn't an envoy, who would have been a better captain...felt like that was pretty much the only role he could play with any efficacy. Then again, that makes him less screwed that any non-Star-Shaman mystic.

Upon defeating the enemy ship they followed with a boarding action; the witchwarper LOVED that his Infinite Worlds ability wasn't just land, but would work for sea, air, or vacuum by RAW. There's a lot of applications in free-fall, if free-fall is a common adventuring environment. The witchwarper did get excited at first that vacuum does damage, something he could change to a region of flames. Looks like that isn't doable as-is, though, given vacuum does bludgeoning damage, not energy.

The poor dwarf vanguard did get frustrated about his speed at times; his blitz buddy was often reaching the enemy a full round before he did; he joked that he should have taken the Momentum aspect “even with the useless skill”. Talking afterwards, the soldier suggested a dip into blitz or taking the Fleet feat; the vanguard actually said if he was building again he'd actually take an operative dip for the speed boost plus trick attack accuracy. With Attracting Shield and Interfere, he really did feel like he was an effective tank once he got there. His damage was lower that the solider's, of course, but he loved his accuracy (players like hitting).

We noticed that with Charming Veneer we have a return of the old Enhance Diplomacy. Does it work in starship combat? I dunno. But it's basically an always-cast for the party face. Our witchwarper appreciated the default +1 bonus on his talking, but found it fiddly to always cast. The witchwarper generally enjoyed his casting, although he avoided taking some spells on the list because they “felt too techno”. He did take Spell Focus immediately, of course, and he felt like Spell Penetration was there way earlier than it needed to be. As the loon had gotten up to a 20 in his casting stat he actually had enough spells to keep casting, and as his other feat was Extra Resolve he was able to Lessen Injury a lot. Even with that 9 RP at level 4 (!) he felt resolve-limited.

The solider and the mystic both did more raw damage in fights than the two new classes, but that's what they built for. For what it's worth, everyone wants to play with these four characters again; I might let them level up a bit first.

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How fast did highest-level combats go? There was a bit of puffy-sumo feeling in the last book of Dead Suns, but that could just be that our group had less rockets to play tag with than others. My own homebrewed game is smoothly plugging along at 7, but I eyeball the math ahead and worry a bit.

I do enjoy the Unchained monster building tables, much as my heart will always first love the original 3e "monsters and heroes are built alike". It's gotten to the point where if the players fiddle with something and I need an encounter I can smoothly just run it on the fly, building the monster in Notepad in the initiative-and-scene-setting minute.

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The Lost Star

How long did it take to play this part?

3 hours. Three players makes for faster play.

How long did it take to prep this part?

2 hours. Because, see above, lazy.

How many sessions for this part?

1 session, naturally.

How many Hero Points did you give out?

2, one for the host and one for Hero bringing some first-rate Tennessee whiskey. (Each PC had one to start with by default, naturally)

How many times was a player reduced to 0 HP?

4 times, although one was only at 0 and staggered rather than into negatives.

How many PC were killed?

0 died. Of course, level one, so a bad crit could have vaporized a PC.

Adventure Comments:
***First fight, we bump into a problem. No sewer ooze in Pathfinder. There’s a sewer blight, which I think might be slightly overtuned for three level 1 Pathfinders…okay, screw it, I’m running this from the Playtest Bestiary. It’s hitting hard, but we’ll see…

I kick this off with a filth wave, which is funny given the slow slow slow party. Hampered is an easy condition to port over to Pathfinder Original Flavor. I have the ooze use his standard action for it, and I can already see I’m going to want to figure out a rubric for converting 1/2/3 action stuff back into swift/move/standard, but it feels like this is a SLA, so standard action. I told the PC who failed (Siegfried the 4-Dex) to take move-equivalent actions to de-muck. The ooze managed to chase down poor Siggy and smash him to -2, but after that poor slow critter got all 40 HP whittled down by arrows and starknives.

***The four goblins are a four-goblin fight. I used Pathfinder the First goblins. They were detected and shot by Sally the Magus Dwarf, so they charged. Two got themselves color sprayed (scroll), other two clanked uselessly against Hero. After they got dispatched, the party found the ring (upped to 5gp) and a cure light wounds potion. No finding of the claw. Amusingly, Siegfried picks up a small dogslicer, his first weapon (player bought armor and scrolls).

*** The side rooms didn’t get a lot of interaction. The basic strategy of “throw in a torch” showed the centipedes “we nope the hell out of there”, the drained bodies “they don’t move? Eh, still don’t want to touch that…”, and the fungus. Which then exploded. Sally the dwarf made her save (even though she wasn’t in the room, I ruled the explosion puffed spores out).

***The nasty fountain was fun. Hero the Desnan Warpriest wanted to clear the fountain and he found the idol. They were all careful and poked it with a dogslicer first, and then when nothing happened Hero grabbed it, releasing the quasits. The Standard Issue Fight With Tiny Demons follows, with a looooot of missing but with Old Pathfinder reach/tiny/AoO rules the party managed okay. Sally got crit into 0 HP, but that was the last gasp.

I didn’t think that they’d see the pure fountain but they opted to stay in the room for Treat Deadly Wounds (successful). As that lasted an hour, they saw the fountain go clear. I let them roll Knowledge Religion to get an inkling that the fountain would be good to drink, so they all drank up and got healed to nearly full. Then they left via the east door, after every one of them saw the noise alarm trap. Good trap is good, props on the dungeon writing.

***In the corridors, the roomful of skeletons got noped out of when they saw six skeletons rise up. Winning initiative let them retreat before any actual fighting occurred. Because they’d all drunk of the pure fountain, they didn’t trigger the statue trap. There was some fun discussion about trying to bring the goblins they heard in A7 in front of the trap, but they opted instead to go force the door. Kudos for another fun trap, writer.

***Forcing the door open into Drakus’ room was a strength check, which I foresee will be a conversion problem going higher. But for now, they bopped in and charged.

Drakus was nasty; I used the dire rat to flank for him and hitting at +10 for 1d8+1d6+3 is pretty horrible for a level 1 OP&F character to endure. There was a funny up-down where he put Hero into negatives, Siegfried healed Hero, then Drakus promptly put Siegfried down and Hero healed him back up. By then, though, the dire rat was down from Sally’s arrow fire and with focus the PCs took out Drakus’ hefty 40 HP. He failed his evil eye save thanks to a hero point, which helped against his AC. They got lucky to avoid crits, and the claw I ruled was Drakus’ secondary attack, so only something he could do full-round-attacking. The players had fun and were pretty breathless by the end of it all, completely out of spells and blessings. I’m curious to see how things go next for part 2.

***Wrap up was simple, and the party was pretty happy to get some decent loot. They decided to keep the +1 ghost touch dagger for the next part, good on ‘em. They’re all cheerfully signing on as members of the Esoteric Order. Next stop, Pale Mountain (cue cutscene of a couple years’ adventure).

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I suspect the way to get a 12-18 AP is to buy lots and lots of Signal of Screams. They're going to be looking at the sales of that very experimental path to determine the plan going forward I'm sure.

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The Solarian is fine. The iconic makes Harsk look like the most hyper-optimized munchkin in all of history, though.

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Magabeus wrote:
John Compton wrote:
Magabeus wrote:
I used the cantina flipmat for that scene.
It's a good choice, and it's the map I had in mind when writing the scene.
My players resolved this encounter without combat in the Five Arches, which led one of them to comment "this is the third time I have seen this flipmat on the table, and it is the third time there is no combat on it"

Thank goodness it's resolvable without combat, as our group decided to split three ways during the investigation. My operative and his envoy buddy managed to combine bluffs, intimidates, and stealth to get the contact's information while having him call off his heavies. Last time Dart Interobang, Ysoki envoy and cookbook writer, ever managed subtlety.

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I'm running a short Starcraft campaign (started level 5, planned to end around level 7) set on the dusty outer edges of the Koprulu Sector. My players consist of a:
Human (Terran) Operative (Ghost)
Human (Terran) Soldier (Firebat)
Human (Terran) Drone Mechanic (He keeps calling out "SCV ready!")
Protoss Solarian (Templar)
Protoss homebrew race is pretty much as you'd expect, +2 Str, +2 Wis, -2 Dex, limited telepathy, PSI shields (built-in forcefield). It's been pretty fun so far.

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Doesn't look like it'll be like 3.5->PF; I've run straight-outta-tha-book 3.5 modules for Pathfinder characters by just blanket going CR=EL-1. That's going to be a little rougher I'm sure. That being said, I've written modules myself using "quick conversion" rules about a paragraph in length that smoothly convert PF-> long as we're in the first four, mmmaybe five, levels. Eyeballing the flatter Starfinder-esque math, you can probably rock a "quick conversion" rubric longer for PF->PF2. That's certainly a goal, I'd say. But at best, you'd probably get a NewFinder character holding a Pathfinder +5 sword (+5 attack, +5 damage, overcomes...X resistances), and stuff doesn't break.

I am pretty sure I'm going to hit the Playtest with my group running Hollow's Last Hope, just like my first run of Pathfinder. Should be interesting to see how it goes.

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I personally think a bunch of chaotic evil pyromaniacs who don't read anything and have an attention span of roughly eight milliseconds around anything shiny is the *most* PC of races.

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Eox just generally needs a party willing to ride the choo-choo. We were amiable about it, but we'd rented a dune buggy to go out to Radiation Sickness Point. Returning, we had to do a lot of sudden spinning/retcon.
"Wait, we came this way?"
"How did we cross this on the way here?"
...pregnant pause...
In character: "See, this is why I told you just jumping the cliff would cause problems!"
"Well we made it fine."
"That's because it was jumping *down*. Now we need to get out the cables. This is going to be hell on our rental deposit..."

Again, we're cheerfully riding the train but be aware some players are going to kick against the rails here.