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The Shifty Mongoose wrote:
Cheers to you and your group! Did they win? Did they wipe? Any highlights, or did you put those elsewhere?
They won, but they surprisingly didn't take the Hurricane Crown -- handed that off to the Master of Gales.
A few highlights:
- The cleric getting sucked into the Immortal Dreamstone just as the sorcerer shattered it, sending his soul into the afterlife
- Allying with Besmara's herald, the Kelpie's Wrath, to take down Ifestus
- Coincidentally, the PC designated as captain randomly rolled on the massive damage table and lost an eye, so he had an eye patch for the majority of the campaign
- The Free Captain's Regatta is a fantastically written series of encounters
- I gave the PCs an opportunity to claim revenge on the Dominator while "shooting the gullet", which I changed to an escape through a series of tunnels
- The number of NPCs that the PCs could ally with in this campaign is fantastic, and they took full advantage of it
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After three years, four character deaths, five guest players, and probably 10-12 gallons of whiskey, our Skull & Shackles campaign wrapped up last night. It's been a wild ride, filled with lots of plunder, tons of NPCs, hours of pirate music, and loads of interweaved character arcs.
This is the first pre-written campaign I've run, so I can't really compare it to others. But I can say that I REALLY enjoyed running the Island of Empty Eyes arc (I actually thought I would hate it and considered skipping most of it -- glad I didn't do that), and I REALLY hated ship-to-ship combat. We tried it once and never again. Also wasn't a fan of the fleet battles, and in retrospect would have skipped over those encounters and added more on-deck encounters while describing the battle raging around the PCs.
I liked the idea of Infamy/Disrepute, but in the end there wasn't really a good payoff for all the work the PCs put into it. The Plunder mechanic worked really well and I may incorporate something similar into future campaigns.
The best part, as always, is hearing how much fun my players had -- makes all the work outside each session absolutely worth it.
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Quick question, no where near this book but wondering what people did.
What was done about Tidewater Rock? Did your players just fully drop it? Move the people to the Island of Empty Eyes?
They kept it as a second base of operations. After winning several ships, they gave them to their allies as a reward to go and engage in piracy in the Shackles, so every now and then they'd come back and their captains would have deposited a couple points of plunder. Plus, my party's captain married the Lady of the Rock, and she didn't care to leave, so they always had a connection back to it.
Do items like Svingli's Eye, which grant bonuses to Profession (Sailor) checks made to navigate, also grant bonuses to a fleet's initiative modifier if the admiral is using it?
I assume not, but thought I'd ask.
-Make an effort to engage him with important NPC's. Get Cogsward to find an interest in this violent, rash newby, or have Sandara find him attractive - anything to give his character roleplaying that doesn't actually involve skill checks.
Cut-Throat Grok should especially find him interesting.
For reference, the errata go on the free PF resources page as they come out.
Ah, perfect, this is exactly what I needed. I had forgotten about the errata page.
On the Paizo site, Stoneskin, Communal has a material component cost of "granite and diamond dust worth 250 gp per creature affected".
However, the print version of Ultimate Combat (First Printing, August 2011) states the cost as "granite and diamond dust worth 100 gp per creature affected".
Stoneskin has a cost of 250 gp, so it would make sense that the communal version has a component cost of 250 per creature affected.
Is there an official ruling on which is correct?
Don't forget that Cyclopes have Ferocity, so they go on fighting well after the party brings them to 0 hp.
True, but it doesn't matter so much when they're up against a group of level 10 PCs with haste and mage armor, bumping their AC up to around 25-30. With a +11 to hit, that means a Cyclops needs to roll 14-20 to hit (with the exception of their flash of insight).
Sometimes I don't understand the encounters in these APs. They often seem so ridiculously easy. Are they intended to be challenging? If so, CR 5 monsters up against level 10 PCs seems like a crazy oversight. Ishtoreth is a CR 12, but I foresee them knocking him out in two or three rounds due to action economy.
I have a 5 PC party and they had no trouble with Bikendi (although one of them died against an Animate Dream...). They'll probably hit the level 10 sometime in Sumitha. If I want it to be a challenge, I'm definitely going to have to buff it up. Either buff up the cyclopes themselves (which is what I'm leaning toward) or add more.
Since the PC's are in a situation that lets them retreat and re-prepare almost indefinitely, I'd say absolutely yes.
Now that I'm looking more closely at the encounters in Sumitha, I'm a lot less concerned about that ability. Pretty sure the PCs are going to steamroll this dungeon.
From a DMing perspective, do you think it's fair to have every Cyclops in Sumitha use their Flash of Insight ability to score/confirm critical hits against the PCs?
I don't suppose the Cyclopes would have much use for it on the the island unless they got mixed up in a scuffle with some of the island's other inhabitants, but the fact that they're in Sumitha suggests they haven't.
I've planted hooks for Ifestus early on, and plan to include the Fiendspray of Chains and Hooks toward the end. I've never built my own monster, so that should be fun.
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Conchobar had the most possible love in my campaign. Not all of the characters liked him, but the players thought he was a hoot. I played him as a fop, but competent. He was eventually captured in a battle with a Chelish ship. (The party at this point was way out of the sandbox of the campaign off stealing the Sun Orchid Elixer.) They escaped, but he was left behind. They found him again while breaking someone else out of an island prison. He was playing it all out, wearing rags, used prestidigitation to grow his hair and beard long and crazy.
** spoiler omitted **
That is incredible.
I'm always, always a fan of introducing drinking contests into a session!
I turned it into a drinking contest.
I wrote up Tsadok as a 14th level Barbarian Drunken Rager with a huge Fort save bonus. PCs were 8th level at this stage of the adventure.
The contest took place outside a tavern in the street, where the bar staff set up a small table and chairs. The barmaid put down trays full of rum shots and pulled a live cobra out of a basket, which she used to expertly 'milk' a drop of venom into each drink.
Players had to match Tsadok shot for shot and could walk away after each round keeping their winnings, but the goal was to impress Tsadok with their drinking prowess.
Each drink consumed required a DC10 Fort save to not drop unconscious (the fate of losers was left to their imaginations) and every drink consumed after the 2nd round gave a cumulative -1 penalty to skills and saves for 1 hour.
The captain anted up the 1000gp entry fee, as did the sailing master. Both were the only crew who believed that they had a reasonable chance to win/not embarrass themselves. Captain (Swashbuckler) used his Charmed Life to survive 10 or more rounds, and the Sailing Master (Shaman) outright cheated with Polypurpose Panacea and lasted 15 until he started to think that Tsadok was getting wise.
Tsadok produced gold and platinum bars between rounds as wagers in order to keep the PCs from quitting too early. Both walked away with more than 10,000gp in winnings, and Tsadok's grudging respect.
Other events I subbed in: Bareknuckle Boxing, Fetch The Strumpet, Dagger Catch, Tell The Tale
I thought creating my own tests ended up being more fun than the stock ones were.
Did anybody else skip Tsadok's second test, "A Friendly Game of Cards", entirely? It was entirely inappropriate for my group -- they would have been bored within the first dice roll.
For those of you who ran it, how did you keep the entire party engaged?
So it's nature themed right? What CR Encounter do you want? 3, like a standard Derro?
Probably a little higher CR, 4 or 5. One monster, so I'm sure they'll slaughter it pretty quickly, but I think it'll be interesting to have the listeners decide what they fight. Some of the options on the poll are hydra, a pack of hell hounds, etc.
You can check it out (and vote) here: Facebook Polldaddy Poll
Mystically Inclined wrote:
The Derro are using the prisoners as fuel for some sort of ritual. In the script, the ritual is interrupted before it can finish.
... but what if it wasn't?
I like that idea and am planning on incorporating it into the results of the poll. Listener interaction is always a bonus -- especially when they're helping shape the outcome of the game!
Hey everybody, I've been using "The Devil We Know" series in PFS season 1 for the first story arc of our podcast, Misfits of the Inner Sea. Until now, I've been mostly satisfied with the series, but we're coming up on the final "episode" and it's a little anticlimactic to say the least. I intend on beefing it up and making it a little more epic.
This is where you come in. I've set up a Facebook page for the podcast with a poll to help me determine the "final battle" against the cult of Nature's Cataclysm. The scenario calls for yet another battle against the derro, but I don't think that will be very interesting or conclusive.
If you have any additional ideas to make the session more epic, I'd be glad to hear them. Post here or on the Facebook wall, I'll check out your ideas either way and look forward to hearing them. I'd like to continue to solicit the ideas of our listeners to make for a much more interesting (and hopefully hilarious) experience for everybody involved!
How can anything be readied after spending a round of moving then attacking (as stated above)?
I don't think anything allows for this, and he definitely couldn't have readied an action. Your DM has made a house rule that doesn't seem to be popular with the group. I would suggest talking to him about it with the group and, if he decides to keep the house rule, use it against him at every opportunity.
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Don't ever see the game as you vs. the players, and don't let them see it as players vs. you. If ever they say, "Man, you keep hitting me!" or something similar, always respond with "I'm not hitting you -- they are!" while pointing at the bad guy miniatures. Similarly, don't act excited when the bad guys get a hit in; instead, show that you're genuinely bummed (especially if somebody drops). It'll help them see you as being on their side instead of being the enemy.
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DM says: You don't find any traps on the door.
DM means: You failed your perception check.
DM says: You don't have time to rest.
DM means: This scenario's final boss isn't challenging enough.
DM says: It's a gazebo.
DM means: It's a gazebo.
DM says: You take 6d6 acid damage.
DM means: I'm sick of your PC stealing the spotlight from the other PCs.
After six years of playing Pathfinder, you're probably just experiencing some serious fatigue. D&D 4e looks fresh, new, and exciting, especially with its "powers" concept. I'm experiencing similar fatigue. Fighters and other martials don't have much choice in combat other than "swing my sword/axe/rapier/fists". Throwing "Tide of Iron" at somebody seems much more exciting, and it removes the need for clunky CMB/CMD grappling maneuvers (that I've never seen used effectively in gameplay).
Switch to D&D 4e for a while. Maybe after six years you'll come to the same conclusion, and that's all right. Fresh rules may help remove the fatigue, and I've been considering the same thing for some time now. Of course, buying new material is a barrier, but hey, 5th edition should help to bring those costs down.
80) Local Venture-Captain demoted to cohort in wake of embezzlement scandal.
I'm interested in hearing what the OP eventually decided to do.
The Broken Man wrote:
I listened to all four episodes today. Excellent work. I hope you keep them coming. The audio quality is good and the table chatter is kept to a minimum. Actual Play's can often be difficult to listen to, but the disciplined way you've approached this makes it accessible and fun.
That's great to hear! Thanks for the excellent feedback. Episode 5 was released just this morning and is a continuation of the same session, so check it out if you have time. We do plan on continuing with the "season" format in which one session is broken up to 6-8 episodes, which I think is the key to reducing table chatter. We'll be meeting again on Memorial Day to record the second "season", and I'm going to try to release new episodes every Wednesday.
Bump -- let's give this another try. :)
As promised ages and ages ago, I have finally overcome the various barriers to get a Pathfinder actual play podcast going.
Currently, we have four episodes out that cover the first half of a four-hour session. The table talk is kept to a minimum and the majority of banter is game-related. I'll be releasing new episodes as I get them edited down for content, which will probably be once a week.
More episodes will come down the chute once my buddies and I can get together for another session. I'm going to keep the format this way because I feel it extremely helps keep the out-of-game talk to a minimum.
Please come check us out! Download all the episodes and subscribe, and if you like it, give us a five star rating in iTunes. Maybe we can make the "New & Noteworthy" section.
You can find our iTunes page here (which offers links to launch iTunes to the appropriate page): Misfits of the Inner Sea.
If you don't have iTunes, you can download them on the boring ol' host page.
Hope you enjoy listening as much as we did playing! And let us know what you think, whether on here or at email@example.com.
no no no no no no
you do not deal with LGBTQ awareness in pathfinder gaming by ignoring it, or excluding it from published material because you want to have fun and avoid 'political' issues
this is as terrible of a strategy as those who are saying "do whatever you want in your home games" and thinking it solves everything, like this is an issue of paladin alignments or fighters getting extra skill points or rogues just basically not being completely terrible as a class
play a PFS scenario like Midnight Mauler in random groups
see how a wide variety of players react to it
understand that this hobby we all share goes beyond one's own table
or stick your head in the sand
man I hate when I have to type some many dang words because of bad thread stuff
I'd really rather not have my friends and players get riled up because I invited them over for a game and it denigrated into a political discussion/argument. It's rarely fun.
Because, you know, it's a fantasy setting, and some of us want to play in a world where we don't have to deal with the same crap we have to deal with in real life.
I think you're failing to consider that exact statement from another viewpoint. Think about that for a moment.
Why is a gay couple considered "gender politics", but the straight couple is not?
Because gay issues are ballot issues in multiple states/countries/territories and a hot-button topic.
Sure, put 60 random people in a room and have them all get along and agree on societal issues without any problems, while playing a game that potentially will confront them with societal issues they do not like, agree with or want to participate in
Well said. I don't think it gets any simpler than this.
Alternatively, always follow the golden rule: Avoid politics when trying to have fun. And right now, gay issues are political issues.
I still don't see why folks consider LGBT characters as examples of "gender politics muddying the fantasy escapism", while the husband and wife that run the inn are not "gender politics muddying the fantasy escapism".
I think that's a fairly narrow-minded viewpoint. Gender politics are a very muddied, sensitive topic in real life so they will easily translate to a muddied, sensitive topic in a game. Expecting otherwise is probably a little insensitive of others' sensitivities.
And just for the fun of it: sensitivity, sensitivity, sensitivity. The word should now sound weird.
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While shopping for t-shirts online yesterday I noticed that the list of items Amazon was recommending for me based on recent purchases by customers similar to me was about 1/3 Pathfinder books and about 1/3 gay pride gear. This makes me curious if there’s a deep intersection between the Pathfinder and LGBT communities.
It's more likely that 1/3 of your purchases have been Pathfinder books and 1/3 of your purchases have been gay pride gear. Amazon's recommendations for me are 1/4 Pathfinder books, 1/4 recording equipment, and 1/2 Metallica/Avenged Sevenfold/Halo soundtrack albums -- because that's what matches my shopping history and "customers like me".
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I treat homosexuality in Pathfinder as I do real life -- a non-issue. Sometimes it shows up, sometimes it doesn't. So what.
Good catch, MurphysParadox. I've never used the Beginner's Box so I'm not familiar with the differences. Thanks for patching up the holes in my post!
I like to keep my campaigns somewhat realistic when it comes to sociological behavior. Racism, sexism, inequality, tyrannical government control -- it's all in my campaigns. Of course, only with gaming groups that can handle it. I've found there's nothing more satisfying for a halfing PC than overcoming a human NPC who made remarks about his stature earlier. Same thing for a female PC taking down a barbarian male NPC who sells women into slavery.
Welcome to the game! This is a great community here, so never worry about asking questions. I usually GM for my groups, so I'll tell you what I usually do:
1. I think you did the right thing here. Non-spellcasters wouldn't necessarily know if an item is magical, but they would probably know that they could have them checked out back in town. I'd say make sure the merchants play fair -- i.e. they recognize the item is magical and pay for it fairly. Don't want to throw the players for too many loops their first few sessions.
2. Yes, you can pour a healing potion down an ally's throat. It's a standard action that provokes attacks of opportunity (if enemies are nearby). This is usually the best way to make up for having no magic users in the party, so continue to encourage them to carry lots of healing potions.
I'll also suggest Obsidian Portal. It's fantastic and super simple.
Thanks, but no, Im afraid his situation is pretty grim, weeks maybe.
Terribly sorry to hear it -- my deepest condolences.
Here's to hoping your friend makes a swift recovery.
As for the material, do you have an Ultimate Magic book you'd be willing to part ways with?
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Write a list of potential character hooks -- tied to the main plot -- that each player can choose from. For example, "You're an understudy for a local wizard and have been tasked with rooting out a cult behind the pirates." Or "You've traveled to [city name] to attend the funeral of a friend. You suspect foul play and intend to investigate."
Then, use the hooks your characters have chosen to determine the most reasonable meeting place. Maybe the local baron calls them in and asks them to investigate one of the ships at the docks quietly, since he has reason to suspect its involvement with pirate activity but can't provide proof yet. Or maybe the PCs' snooping puts them on the cult's radar and are unknowingly guided into the marketplace where they have a huge fireball trap set up.
Can you be more specific as to why they're not working as a cohesive unit? Are their battle tactics lacking, or are they having difficulty meshing with the gaming group? Is the problem in-game or out-of-character?
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Orfamay Quest wrote:
I don't mind a CR+3 fight to end an adventure. But why is it always a "boss" -- a single bad-assed monster?
Your responses would have been much more productive if you focused on this question, explained why you think the "one boss monster" encounter is uninteresting, and gave Headfirst some thoughtful alternatives.
Instead, you took the cliche'd route of saying "DON'T" rather than giving the OP what he needed. Ugh. Tiresome.
Here's your second chance -- go for it. Tell us what Headfirst should do instead.
I take some offense to your words, since you throw judgement without participating in any of my encounters or offering any questions before tossing insult.
The fight was much quicker than you think. Organization, and skill and multiple DMs helped streamline the fight, much better than large grandiose fights involving a DM and a table of players...
Just as an aside, I wanted to mention that your epic, multi-GM boss fight sounded INCREDIBLE, and very well-managed. Sounds like it was a very memorable session for everybody involved!
Gargs454 has great advice. Include lots of minions to keep your PCs busy and distracted from the major villain so that he doesn't go down in one round (which is highly likely since the villain only gets to act once per round!). If the PCs have to fight through difficult terrain, weaker (but still dangerous) minions, and other hazardous terrain obstacles (statues that spew jets of flame! pit traps scattered about the area!), the battle will be much more epic, much more harrowing, and much more challenging. Which will also make them feel like they've accomplished something awesome when they inevitably win.
Also, I would suggest that the fight make a difference in the campaign. What would happen if the heroes lose? Does their hometown become enslaved? Their families torn apart? Their souls dried up into withered husks? The more you have at stake, the more tension you'll create.
As a final suggestion, ignore Orfamay Quest entirely -- only you know if your group wants a boss battle or not. No matter how cliche boss battles can be, you can still make them incredibly exciting and memorable, which will trump any perception of cliche your players may have.
Even if the PC is aware of the combat, they're not on their toes because they haven't sprung into action yet. It's like running a sprint -- you're flat-footed until you're off the blocks.
I would probably describe myself as a Lawful Neutral Trickster... I employ the rules fairly but love to take the players' "good" discoveries and turn them into unexpected, interesting encounters that makes them simultaneously cringe and laugh.
Whenever a death is followed by resurrection in my party, I always bring the character back with a negative trait. For example, when our wizard plunged into a pit of boiling lava and the party resurrected him a few sessions later, he had a dread wraith attached to him and could only remove it through a very specific ritual. The wraith would randomly possess the guy -- and by "random" I mean at the most inopportune times possible -- and they'd have to fight it off to get the wizard back under control.
Are dread wraiths technically capable of doing that? Eh, who cares. We had lots of fun with it.
Even the gods are jealous
It's a tale as old as Forgotten Realms' Avatar series and Dragonlance's Chronicles trilogy, but remains a staple of fantasy and shouldn't be ignored by GMs. At some point the gods will take note of the heroes' accomplishments and either request their aid to shape the world or take action to remove them from the playing field. Like any other ultra-powerful entities, a GM should be extremely careful when throwing this kind of plot into the mix. But hey, by the time they're level 15 the PCs should be accustomed to taking down and propping up civilizations; gods are just the logical next step.
Excellent, definitely following the blog. Great work! And fun to read even when not currently GMing.