Dr Lucky

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*** Pathfinder Society GM. 1,539 posts (3,145 including aliases). 10 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 21 Organized Play characters. 8 aliases.

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I'm trying to find the name or number of a old PF1S scenario that was a murder mystery on a ship. Can anyone help? It had a rust monster.

Why: I use PFS scenarios as creative go juice for my home campaign. And I'm fleshing out an 'antagonist hiding on your ship' plot. So I'm looking for any adventures that have the find the antagonist hiding in your space plots. The more the focus is on hiding and evidence, and less on disguise and deception the better.

This is the first chapter of a larger journal where I am running the Everflame arc as the parties backstory to lead into the Fists of the Ruby Phoenix adventure.

The primary purpose of this thread is a place to order my thoughts and keep a journal, however everyone is welcome to post here, add comments, and join the conversation. Ideally this will be a useful reference for others and at the worst just a journal.

Lets get started.

I did most the prep for this module back before the delta wave as I was excited to get playing again after the 3rd wave passed...

Last weekend while sheltering with my cohort we decided to play 2e on impulse. There was only three of us. This wasn't the group I prepped this adventure for. I was GMing off my phone working off prep notes I hadn't looked at in months. It was great.

The 2e Conversion.
This adventure converts fairly well, for many encounters I was just swapping 1e skeletons with 2e skeletons. So instead describing the conversion for every encounter I'm just going to discuss where there were hurdles and headaches. If anyone is interested I'll post a link to my conversion notes.

My group was a Giant Instinct Barbarian and a Cleric of Nethys (magic missile!). They came from Holgast's Home for Homeless Children, the local orphanage. It was a quick way to make any ancestry and background local to Kassen.

Part 1, First Fight.
This is the illusionary orc encounter. I used the Illusory Creature spell and GM fiat'd it so there would be 2 or 3 orcs. In this session a player opened with a 3 action magic missile hitting all of them and ending the encounter on the first turn. Anticlimactic but it worked. This didn't need to be a full encounter and it worked well to introduce the mystery that something was not right.

Part 1, Eyes in the Dark.
Wolves passed their stealth so no early warning of the attack (other than the howling) and no chance to avoid the attack. Used 3 weak wolves for 2 players. It went well, endless knockdowns.

Part 1, Unfortunate Bandit.
I'm trying lay the groundwork for the next chapter (Masks of the Living God) with the hints here with the age of the corpse and the coins. But I'm worried that it opened too many mysteries at once? Na, players are smart, they will figure it out.

I changed the loot from a masterwork weapon to a useful armor. Because I wanted limited magic weapons going into the shadow encounter.

Part 1, Treacherous Hillside.
For this I told the players that because everyone was trained in athletics they navigate the slopes safely. No rolls required. Was trying to reward skill investments by allowing being trained to be an auto-succeed.

Part 2, Crypt of the Everflame
Upper Level. Entry + 1. Entry Hall.
The fresh corpses at the entrance were helpful to let the players understand that these bodies and the lake body are not directly related. No one was trained in social so no one figured out that these were villagers.

I used skeletons but added no special abilities. None of them felt right.

2. Maze of Pits
This one worked really well with secret rolling. They only walked into one trap which worked well for revealing the pillows, and explaining the pillows they found earlier.

I was concerned about 2e non-lethal being a problem but it worked well, that there is no way falling 20ft isn't going to hurt (pillows are only so good), but it won't kill you.

It is here that I saw the first hints of a challenge with this group of players. After it became obvious that this room was full of pit traps, they did not try to improve their chances of finding them with clever solutions. No using the brooms to poke ahead or similar actions. They did use the rope as a grab line after falling in a pit trap the first time.

I decided against balancing the three switch puzzle for two players and left all three switches in. They tied the rope to one of the switches to pull all three at once.

3. Wailing Survivor
The group failed their diplomacy to calm Roldare down and did not attempt to intimidate him. But the cleric in the group made good use of his ramblings to try to figure out what kind of undead we was going on about.

One of the characters recognized his crossbow (through the cracks in the door) as one his mentor had made. Still no one coming out and saying "These are our villagers".

I made sure to let that character know that it was a +1 potency crossbow. Incase it came up with the upcoming shadow...

4. Hungry Beetle
Only level -1 or 4 beetles in the bestiary right now. So there wasn't an easy single beetle conversion. I added flash beetles until I had an appropriate challenge. With a larger group a normal/weak stag beetle is an option.

5. Shadowy Shapes
This is the encounter I was really worried about during my original prep. That a weak shadow might be too much for a 4 player party.

I used a double weak adjustment on the shadow. Ham-handed, but whatever. I also really played up that it was tied to the shadows the dagger was casting from the fire and that it was flinching from the light cantrip that the cleric has on their staff.

A few hits and a magic missile won the battle. I'm glad I really reduced the shadow's damage, because when I run this with 4-6 players I expect the shadow to drop 2-3 characters.

I made the dagger +1 striking.

6. Key Pool
This is a puzzle based in 1e mechanics. That there are 100 keys but the correct one is magic. I simplified the puzzle, having only one key at the bottom of the pool and making it magic so that detect magic tells you it is down at the bottom of the pool.

I was happy with the simplified version, but will continue to thing about how to add one more step.

7. Room of Reflection
The three part arc, Everflame - Masks - Golden Death, does not have really strong narrative ties from one chapter into the next. This is something I'm really trying to add because I am doing this as a three part arc. So I spent time describing their amulets, and did a simple sketch that showed that they were each about one third of a whole.

They used the bench from this room as a swimming anchor in the key pool... disrespectful...

8. Gauntlet
They easily found the pressure plate and jumped it. Some suspense as they wondered if they spotted all the pressure plates. This room did well as 80% narrative and 20% trap.

9. Shield Guardian
This was the weird encounter of the night.

When the players first encountered it, they looked at everything in the scene and thought it was a puzzle. They tried yelling at it, guessed different command words, and decided they hadn't found the hints for this puzzle yet. Then they backtracked to explore the rest of the crypt.

I used animated armor and added the weak adjustment for 2 players. I removed the Grab ability and gave it the ability to raise its shield.

After exploring the rest of the upper levels they returned to the golem. In their first attempt the barbarian went down the stairs and the cleric stayed on the elevated platform. With no one on the stairs the ramp trap never caught anyone. The golem won initiative, critically hit the barbarian and took them from full health to zero in one hit. The cleric was able to drag them up the stairs and heal them. This really sapped the player's fun, it was a bad experience for the barbarian to go from full to zero in a single hit.

After I encouraged the players to continue (we had been playing for 4 hours) they attempted again. They didn't attempt to cheese the fight by attacking it from the upper level which surprised me at the time, but this was from a combination of past experiences where cheesing constructs was unproductive and with it being late they didn't want to waste table time on unproductive paths.

In the second attempt the group was able to beat the golem with a simple approach of being more lucky. The barbarian didn't get crit and a combination for melee hits and magic missiles brought the golem down.

As for the puzzle aspects of this encounter. The group was aware of the key hole on the back but was wondering where the 3rd key was. Next time I'll ensure that the correct key is engraved with double shields. The group didn't suspect that disarming the shields would disable the golem, but I'm alright with this being a hidden solution. With the animated statue's fort save two successful grapples are unlikely, so I'm thinking about different options for using key to disable it. 2e's disarm rules also makes disarming the shields challenging, but more practical with a larger group and it's low reflex save, I'll leave the disarm as is.

10. Supply Vault
I added a +1 potency weapon for the barbarian (oversized) and a wand of magic missile for the cleric of Nethys. The wand might be a little too valuable for the location, two lvl 2 scrolls might be better, and scrolls give them some big guns going into the second level if needed.

11. Pillar of 1000 Arrows
I used the spear launcher hazard from the Core Rulebook. It one shot the cleric and missed, or wounded (I don't remember) in round one. I may tone down the damage slightly in the future.

I made sure the party knew that the door in was one way, that it had a 'fire close' on it so it would close if unattended and not propped open, and when they entered the room I described the arrow column starting to activate giving each character 3 actions before the trap acted at zero initiative. But I rolled initiative for them so the players were not certain when the trap would start. Cleric tried the exit door and cast the shield cantrip. Barbarian inspected the trap (failed) and then took cover on the floor. The cleric went down in the first volley. After some consideration on trying to run or saving the cleric the Barbarian retrieved the grapple hook and rope from his bandoleer, set the grapple hook securely, and rolled into the pit at the center (crawled). I thought it was cool. After finding the pit disappointingly empty (pillows at the bottom) they waited out the trap. I was worried that the 9 rounds of non-lethal damage hitting the cleric would remove the suspension of disbelief, but the group seemed to be entertained by the the descriptions of the violent beating the Barbarian could hear happening about him but could not see.

The party had seen but not fought the golem at this point, using the shields did not occur to them. Even if using the tower shields as full cover would be fiat in 2e, the players didn't know that tower shields could provide total cover in 1e.

12. Chamber of the Bloody Dead

Encounter went well. 4 bloody skeletons for 2 players. with the skeletons having 4 hp the bloody ability did very little. I did not carry over the 1e rule that they return to life after an hour if not sprinkled with holy water.

At this point we found out that the Cleric did not know that a 'basic' save meant something extra. So there was some disrupt undead damage we were missing earlier.

Thoughts and Feelings

So ya, not sure how I feel about puzzles that have solutions inside the game mechanics. Either the players know that mechanic, or you explain it as something there character would know, or you just don't use that solution. However, most these puzzles failed forward well with alternate solutions. And I like using the game mechanics, and I liked these puzzles as a player in 1e.

This was a fun dungeon crawl, and the players mostly liked the combat (golem being the outlier). With two players most the enemies were weaker than the characters, so combat felt really rewarding as their actions often succeeded. For the next level I'll keep that in mind and error on my encounter conversions towards more enemies, not stronger enemies.

I did try a MICE analysis on this chapter in an attempt to tie it into the bigger arc better but that will wait for another day.

This is my journal to talk about my experiences, struggles, and joys in running this Adventure Path. The primary purpose of this thread is a place to order my thoughts and keep a journal, however everyone is welcome to post here, add comments, and join the conversation. Ideally this will be a useful reference for others and at the worst just a journal.

The planning and how we arrived at the Fists of the Ruby Phoenix.
The pitch for this campaign resonated with the group and we were instantly 100% committed to playing it. Only then did we notice that it was level 11-20.

I didn't GM or play Pathfinder during the dark times that are not over but will pass, Urgathoa willing, so I was hesitant to jump straight into a 11th level 2E game. The players had a few more games under their belts, but were similarly hesitant to make 11th level characters from scratch. We considered the obvious choice of the Abomination Vaults for levels 1-10 but in the end decided to try something ambitious (for me).

The Origin Story Arc
I decided to string together 3 or 4 PF1 modules converted to 2E that would serve as the Origin Story of the heroes that go on to enter the Ruby Phoenix Tournament. Didn't I just say last paragraph that I'm still new to 2E, and now I'm converting 10 levels worth of content! I can not be trusted to make decisions for myself... The Price of Immortality trilogy (Crypt of the Everflame, Masks of the Living God, City of Golder Death) serves as a great arc, starting in a humble village, finishing in the abandoned Capitol of the Whispering Tyrant (backstory will happen before relevant events occur here, probably). I'm holding space for an extra module if there is something that really complements the themes of the group. I also plan to scale the modules so that the City of Golden Death is lvl 8-9 to let them finish on a super epic note. Converting and re-leveling, why am I committing to this!?

I'll post links to the origin story threads in their relevant forums to keep this forum on topic.

The Origin Story Mechanics?
I've been thinking a lot about what mechanical changes I could make to create a ludonarrative harmony in the Origin Story. That these origin adventures are the stories the future adventurers are telling about themselves, or these are the adventures as they remember them, not as they were. 'Back in my day we walked up hill to the dungeon both ways, in four feet of snow.' All these ideas would apply to the backstory adventures only.

We could roll in memory points and narrative rerolls: Either direct player override on the story "You're telling the story all wrong! I didn't fall off the roof and land on my butt surrounded, I made leap attack to take out the ringleader bandit from above! You were just to far away to see my prowess." The Prince of Persia, 'no that isn't how it happened' retcon also fits in this category. Or pull on different "I had a plan for this all along" or "I have a guy for this" mechanics. I'm not in favor of these because I don't want to remove too much tension, and without some meaningful balance point it feels like adding mechanics just to add them.

Next thought was that since this is the character's origin story; they due not die unless the player decided they die. I'm looking at this because I want to give the players the permission and power to make ambitious, crazy plans that they will look back on and laugh at. I'm a little hesitant to remove the risk of death without playing more combat rounds with players in the dying condition, just cause I don't want to remove too much tension. If I do dive into death manipulation, I could also add an option that when you hit dying you either follow normal rules (while still protected from dying), or enter a 'death or glory' state where your dying increases as normal in all ways except that you are not incapacitated and instead get a bonus to all rolls equal to your dying value, until you die. These rules could serve as a safety net if I get the encounter challenges wrong in the conversions.

Random secret objectives is something we have had fun with in dungeon crawling board games (Gloomhaven) and they add an interesting twist in those games. I thought about if random secret objectives could force some interesting dynamics. I would never consider this in a typical campaign, but if we insist the entire game is an unreliable narrator (if the objective does not match the character personality) and have some safety nets (to prevent silly TPKs) in place they might have a place. I don't like this idea because it isn't giving my players enough credit, they are going to create great and interesting dynamics with or without outside pressure.

All that said and considered, I don't think any of the mechanics above would benefit the backstory premise and that my best shot at having adventures that these characters look back on and tell tall tales about is to just run a few enjoyable, well paced games. We will however have level and time jumps where they needed with players filling in the time and level gaps with their own stories (6 to 8 levels of content taking them to level 9 or 10, so they may finish one adventure at level 2 and start the next one at level 4). Retraining will be very permissive.

Character Creation
Started with all Uncommon races are permitted.
Uncommon and rare options are negotiable.
It is already looking very exciting.

In Closing
That is enough for now. I'll post the links to the early adventure journal threads as they happen. The adventure will tentatively start in September, Urgathoa willing, so it will be while before we get started and longer before we start the Fists of the Ruby Phoenix.

Thread Ground Rules
Everyone is welcome. Post away on feedback, comments, or tangents. Everything in here is brainstorm or feedback on how things went, so there are no bad ideas. There shall be no vileness, cruelty, or arguing in the thread. This thread is full of spoilers for the Fists of the Ruby Phoenix. I'll be dropping any direct questions in the relevant GM Reference threads, any questions here are thinking out loud or an invitation to brainstorm on solutions specific to this campaign, or a chance to take tangents that are not helpful in the GM Reference.

I'm going to be running the Fist of the Ruby Phoenix Adventure Path that starts at 11th level. For a variety of reasons we do not want to start at 11th level. We have decided to convert to 2E and run the Price of Immortality trilogy (Crypt of the Everflame, Masks of the Living God, and City of Golden Death) which will serve as the party's 'origin story'.

I'm brainstorming mechanical and storytelling changes I can make to make these first three 'chapters' feel different than a typical adventure. To make them feel like something that has already happened, to make them feel bigger than life like they are the tall-tales told by seasoned adventurers.

A few ideas I'm bouncing around:
- Level jumps between chapters. The idea that they are looking back and only the exciting points are vivid in their memory. That the year they spent isolating in Nirmathas as a plague ravished the countryside is an uncertain blur.
- Super powering hero points. Leaning into the Prince of Persia death mechanic of the storytellers going "No, wait, that isn't how it happened." when something goes very wrong.
- More super powering hero points. This time to make the heroes the unreliable narrators of their own stories. Since these chapters are the telling of their adventures, not their actual adventures, some of their exploits can be extremely exaggerated.
- Frequently returning the narrative to the present. Starting each chapter or session from the point of view of the lvl 11 characters preparing for the tournament qualifier, either bragging up their exploits, reminiscing, or such.

What ideas do you have? I'm really focused on mechanical adjustments we can make that can reinforce this premise.

I'm between campaigns and taking the chance to actually write up my session 0, welcome to my table guide. Right now I'm trying to make some examples for my 'how alignment is handled' section.

I run with a light hand on alignment and use the rule that if the character can rationalize their actions to themselves, then that is enough. This approach to alignment doesn't work for everyone and that is alright. I'm trying to come up with a benign example to demonstrate this and became immediately stumped.

My example:
Your character captures a criminal, collecting a sizable bounty.
Good: The community is safer because of my actions.
Evil: I have personally profited from this.
Lawful: I have maintained order, and we all benefit from this.
Chaotic: ???

Given the assumption that alignment is how a character explains their actions to themselves, how would would a chaotic neutral character justify their actions in the above example?> Or do you have a different recommended example where each alignment justifies their actions differently?

To you gain lesser cover against enemies on foot while mounted? See the bolded section.

Core Rulebook pg. 478 wrote:

When you’re mounted, attackers can target either you or your mount. Anything that affects multiple creatures (such as an area) affects both of you as long as you’re both in the area. You are in an attacker’s reach or range if any square of your mount is within reach or range. Because your mount is larger than you and you share its space, you have lesser cover against attacks targeting you when you’re mounted if the mount would be in the way.

Because you can’t move your body as freely while you’re riding a mount, you take a –2 circumstance penalty to Reflex saves while mounted. Additionally, the only move action you can use is the Mount action to dismount.


Can a character take the Five Kings Mountains for the Home Region Boon to gain access to uncommon dwarven weapons?

I'm assuming that I read the rules right and the a Dwarf need the Weapon Familiarity feat to gain access to uncommon dwarven weapons.

Rules question thread on if being a dwarf grants access to uncommon dwarf weapons.

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The druids are evil! No angry! Maybe just moody! The motivation is going to vary but the result is the same; they are attacking civilization!

What are 100 attacks and plots carried our by the local druid circle to put an end to the local industrial / logging / basket weaving complex?

Do we need to bring anything other than dice?

What does an invisible scrying sensor look like? What does a player character notice with that DC 24 perception check versus the scry spell?

Is it cheating the character out of knowledge if it is just 'a sense of being watched'. Should they have to pass a DC 24 knowledge arcana check (Identify a spell effect that is in place) to realize that they are being scryed on?

One of my player characters is being inducted into an order of knights, and they are pretty pumped about it.

Any advice on making this into an exciting, monumentus, and engaging roleplay scene?

Right now there is a rite that they must complete that they have a small chance of failing (I'm going the look at their stats and game the checks so that they have a high but not guaranteed chance of passing). Then I might write a ritual speach for the induction of a new knight, but I'm worried that that will just be making a poor monologue.

The order of knights is lawful neutral leaning good and are a small order in exile.

Any help is appreciated, I'm going to go consume any media I can involving knighting.


My employer has programs to recognize volunteer/community work. I need a paper trail to back my claims of volunteer work.

Does the Organized Play Foundation encompass the VAs across the globe? Is there a VA task/responsibility summary that references the OPF instead of Paizo? Anything else I can point to make an audit of my volunteer claims easy?

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This is my journal to talk about my experiences, struggles, and joys in running my first ever Adventure Path. The primary purpose of this thread is a place to order my thoughts, however everyone is welcome to post here and join the conversation.

I can't believe it took me this long to run an Adventure Path, but sometimes the winds of life and hobby blow in strange directions. For the first years of Pathfinder I ran and played in home brew material, then I found PFS and dived head first into that, now a couple moves and a few PFS lodges later I have a small PFS lodge with 6 regular player that just finished the playtest. I decided that a change of pace was in order, something different to do until the release of 2nd edition.

After an extensive survey of player preferences we decided to close the doors on the lodge until the release of PF2 and become Hell's Rebels!

I remember reading once how the colors and shades of dragon scales would change as they aged. Which ones would become more vibrant and which would fade to dullness.

Anyone remember where this info was? Was it in the 3.0 monster manual? Does anyone have the description for ancient green dragons?


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I was surprised that I couldn't find a topic on this, if there is one please point me towards it.

We ran into our first anathema conflict in Doomsday Dawn. That got me thinking about how I wanted anathema handled in PFS.

Chapter 3:
A player brought a cleric of Urgathoa who's anathema includes destroying undead. Every enemy is undead.

The anathema are plentiful enough and specific enough that they are guaranteed to come into conflict with the rest of the table and with the plots of many scenarios. Some highlights include Pharasma (rob a tomb), Gorum (prevent a conflict through negotiation), and Torag (show mercy to the enemies of your people).

I want anathema handled in such a way that it is a minor component of the PFS experience. So that anathema does not interfere with the duties to Explore, Report and Cooperate. I want this because:

  • -Conflicts over in game code of conducts can be a very negative experience with some otherwise good GMs.
  • -Scenarios are currently using their full time slots and I don't have the time to take on the tangents involved in some anathema.
  • -I do not want the group division when a characters anathema interferes with primary or secondary success conditions.

My list function is broken.

However there is the possibility to use anathema as an influence to shift the culture of the Society away from one of 'winning' towards improvised storytelling. Where the rewards take the back seat to being able to fully realize the storytelling potential of the group. Where 4 PP per 3 experience is normal. Where high prestige is the reward for being the Decemvirate's lap dog at the cost of your own morals. However this is moving back to the flavor of the old faction missions which we have already moved away from (I never played under the old faction missions).

How can we keep anathema in PFS without creating excessive conflict?

We gain ancestry feats at 1st, 5th, 9th, 13th and 17th levels. Recommend feats that are level appropriate for 5th, 9th, 13th and 17th levels for the core races.

Why I'm asking this:
The playtest selection of ancestry feats are mostly level 1 with a few level 5 feats. PF2 needs higher level ancestry feats or feats or else any of the uncommon races will end up with a huge power boost (e.g.: at level 13 the asimar takes wings while the elf takes sleep resistance).

I'm guessing that the playtest feat selection was a sample of the system constrained by development time and page count. For gaining ancestry feats at higher levels to be meaningful you will need to be able to establish a racial identity at level 1, and then magnify it at higher levels. There will need to be a selection at higher levels so that most characters have a good option at each level.

I like the dwarf boulder roll feat, fun and flavorful. How about a cleave like option and a natural armor bonus available at 9th, a ferocity-like ability at 13th level?

What is a 17th level racial feat for a Dwarf, elf, or human?


What scenarios or modules lend themselves to easy conversion? Ideally one with some monsters in the bestiary. I'm looking at Black Waters and Dragon's Demand part one. Any others I should look at?

I have a mixed group coming up with some players new to the playtest and some of my regular group who have already seen the other playtest material.

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Chapter 1, Session 1;


I'm running Doomsday Dawn with our single table PFS lodge. We had 5 players last night, this will go up and down over the adventure. Three players are experienced with PF1, two players started PF1 within the last year.

We had a human ranger, a gnome alchemist, a human cleric, a dwarf monk, and a gnome bard. The biggest complaints about character creation was the difficulties of flipping between chapters in a PDF. The two new to pathfinder players commented that character creation was easier than PF1. Everyone joked about the look up chain; your class gets a power, you look up the power in the spell section, then you look up the conditions the power inflicts in the appendix. It is hard to get a number on character creation times because of the overlap with learning the new rules, but one character was able to change his mind the night before the game and make the bard from scratch.

I took maybe 8 hours to prep this chapter, again there was more time trying to study and learn the rules. This prep time was on par with the time I take to well-prep for two PFS sessions, so I didn't feel this was a long prep time for a game that would go for two sessions.

The encounters:

With 5 players I made no adjustment to the Sewer Ooze. I said it had concealment in the cistern water to hide in allowing it to ambush the party as soon as someone got within 10'. I had uncertainty here with stealth; the ooze wants to wait in ambush until they are within 10', the party would attack it as soon as they spot it. I rolled stealth once to see if it successfully hid, then when it succeeded I rolled initiative with the front of the group 10 feet from the ooze (If it would have failed I would have starting the fight with the party further back). The ooze died in exactly one round, it would have taken down the cleric if it got to act again.

The party was definitely assessing how important healing was going to be and I was reminding them that they had 7 days to retrieve the star.

The goblin fight went well, with the goblins only getting in a few hits while the party was able to take them out over a couple rounds. I added one goblin for the 5 player adjustment.

They were thinking for heading back to rest at this point but decided to press on into the fungus room. I made no 5 player adjustment here. Other than learning that the confusion condition might be nasty, this was mostly a comedy encounter as the group waited for the confused monk to calm down. (It helped the alchemist won initiative and hit it with fire.) At this point the party decided to return to rest.

I was frustrated with dubious knowledge at this point and declared that both the mindquake survivors had the same nightmares that gave them the same dubious knowledge results (kinda works with the plot). Now that I know I have characters with dubious knowledge I will be able to prep red herrings, It is not too hard with warning to flip through the bestiary and recite a plausible ability.

After the rest they encountered the centipedes. I added one additional centipede for the 5 player adjustment. This encounter was as hard as advertised, the cleric went down after leading the way in and rolling poor on initiative but they did learn that a raised shield was a good tactic, it definitely increased their longevity. the monk was almost dead when they finished off the last centipede. This encounter felt like it needed one lvl 1 enemy with staying power, as it was easy to kill the centipedes after surviving the initial 'swarm'.

Next was the fountain. I added a homunculus for the 5 player adjustment, the lvl 0 creature worked very well as it was a threat but died quickly. Since invisibility gives no bonus to stealth, it was easy for the group to find and kill the quasit that went invisible and flew to the roof. One of the party members went to town to buy lockpicks as the alchemist 'pulled out a reagent kit' and spent half an hour inspecting the fountain, discovering that the water was becoming clean and that it had restorative powers.

While preparing the game I tried to focus on what where the narrative, puzzle, and reward encounters in addition to the combat encounters. The players definitely were proud of themselves when they thought that the idol was corrupting the fountain, tested their theory, and were correctly. It was a small but successful puzzle, huzzah to the authors.

The game bogged down here as the bard with a +3 to thievery tried to open the lock and the characters with craft tried to figure out how to fix the picks he broke. This was tedious. When I read the rules about locks I thought it was a cool mechanic that could be used during a fight when the group was under pressure but I have doubts now. Having a 6sp tax on critically failing and breaking the picks is also a nuance to the players without adding anything interesting (unless there was some interesting time pressure). Even if the bard had better bonuses, rolling until they succeed sounded tedious. We missed taking 20 here, with taking 20 although the character is frustrated and wasting time the table time goes quickly and goes without frustration. This definitely succeeded on making the player feel the frustration that the character felt.

The DC 15 hidden door and lock is likely to be encountered next session, we will see how that one goes. Hopefully it they will be able to open it and it will be a cathartic success for that poor bard.

Closing Comments:

Generally the players were happy. They had concerns that skills felt very flat, that everyone had a chance of succeeding at everything and that they couldn't invest to make any one thing reliable (missed the 3 point boost of a class skill). They are all looking at the 4 stat boosts and wondering how high level characters will look. I'm concerned that with 10 skill feats per character over their lifetime, that the skill feats have been watered down; not to powerful, not to interesting.

What is your list of rules that you may have liked (or hated) in PF1 but were so circumstantial that you never used them (or the GM never remembered to use them)?

Mine are:
The visual effects of multiple nearby abjuration auras.
And the concentration checks for casting spells during violent motion.

Should cones, bursts, and areas of effect scale with the caster level?

I enjoy how the range of spells increases as you level up, often the range increase on short and medium range spells has made a tactical difference at high levels. I'd like to see the variable range expanded to apply to all spell effects, including 15ft cones becoming 20 and 25ft cones at higher levels.

Is this a valued feature or unnecessary complication?

How many characters is the adventure path intended to be played with?


I need a scenario recommendation. Our single table lodge has just hit the 4-6 split with the regular players. Any softball tier 3-7 scenarios that won't kill an ALP 5 group?

Silverhex Maps


Disclaiming: This is my first time GMing pbp.

But welcome to the recruitment thread. A few seats are already claimed, the rest will be split up by lottery closing Wednesday.

Silverhex Maps



This thread has spoilers for Assault on Absalom 9-00!

I played a caster during the Assault on Absalom, and...
...I used all but one of my spells before the end of Act 1.
...The GM let me loot a longspear from a dead soldier, so I could contribute in some way.
...I used 15 charges off a wand of true strike.

Did you play a caster in 9-00? What happened?

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Here is the idea; below is a list of quotes from philosophers or about morals, go through them and apply to each an alignment that you think is reflected by that quote.

Then read the replies of others to see how others view the alignments.

Put your responses in spoilers so not to prime the other replies. All my replies are only related to the specific quotes, not their larger bodies of work. I know some of these quote miss-represent the arguments they were attempting to make.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
“The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.” ― Elie Wiesel
“May you live every day of your life.” ― Jonathan Swift
“Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is.” ― Albert Camus
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” ― William Shakespeare
“Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.” ― Isaac Asimov
“Every man is a creature of the age in which he lives and few are able to raise themselves above the ideas of the time.” ― Voltaire
“Nanny's philosophy of life was to do what seemed like a good idea at the time, and do it as hard as possible. It had never let her down.” ― Terry Pratchett
"The ends justify the means." – Niccolò Machiavelli
“The life of man (in a state of nature) is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” – Thomas Hobbes
“One cannot step twice in the same river” – Heraclitus
“The greatest happiness of the greatest number is the foundation of morals and legislation” – Jeremy Bentham
“Liberty consists in doing what one desires” – John Stuart Mill
“There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance” – Socrates
“He who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god” – Aristotle
“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation” – Plato
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” - ?
“I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong” – Bertrand Russell
“Morality is not the doctrine of how we may make ourselves happy, but of how we may make ourselves worthy of happiness” – Immanuel Kant
“I don’t know why we are here, but I’m pretty sure it is not in order to enjoy ourselves” – Ludwig Wittgenstein
“Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest” – Denis Diderot
“Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it” – Karl Marx
“Virtue is nothing else than right reason” – Seneca the Younger
“Good and evil, reward and punishment, are the only motives to a rational creature” – John Locke
“Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end.”― Immanuel Kant

My responses:

LG “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
N “The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.” ― Elie Wiesel
CN “May you live every day of your life.” ― Jonathan Swift
CN “Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is.” ― Albert Camus
NE “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” ― William Shakespeare
CG “Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.” ― Isaac Asimov
NG “Every man is a creature of the age in which he lives and few are able to raise themselves above the ideas of the time.” ― Voltaire
CG “Nanny's philosophy of life was to do what seemed like a good idea at the time, and do it as hard as possible. It had never let her down.” ― Terry Pratchett
LE "The ends justify the means." – Niccolò Machiavelli
CE “The life of man (in a state of nature) is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” – Thomas Hobbes
CN “One cannot step twice in the same river” – Heraclitus
LG “The greatest happiness of the greatest number is the foundation of morals and legislation” – Jeremy Bentham
CN “Liberty consists in doing what one desires” – John Stuart Mill
LN “There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance” – Socrates
LN “He who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god” – Aristotle
CN “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation” – Plato
NG “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” - ?
CE “I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong” – Bertrand Russell
LN “Morality is not the doctrine of how we may make ourselves happy, but of how we may make ourselves worthy of happiness” – Immanuel Kant
N “I don’t know why we are here, but I’m pretty sure it is not in order to enjoy ourselves” – Ludwig Wittgenstein
CN “Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest” – Denis Diderot
CG “Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it” – Karl Marx
LN “Virtue is nothing else than right reason” – Seneca the Younger
LG “Good and evil, reward and punishment, are the only motives to a rational creature” – John Locke
G “Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end.”― Immanuel Kant

I'm running PFS games and this is largely centered around running published material.

I told my players that their characters are citizens of the world and that I'm assuming they are competent adventurers, regardless of any short-comings of the players. This has some good upsides, the players trust I'm not going to play 'gotcha' and we don't waste table time on mundane tasks like looting or searching every nook and cranny for traps (I just ask the players if they are moving fast, or taking time).

But I'm starting to feel like I'm holding their hands as I walk them through the plot, and the some agency has been lost along the way. It is feeling like I've used this too much and the players are leaning on this as a crutch, a spectator experience as I narrate not only what the characters see, but how they understand what they see.

This became very apparent in an investigation scenario I just ran. A mook captain surrendered, and he gave up all the info he had and gave them a letter from his contact. The letter had key clues for the investigation (alchemical stains), but the players assumed that I gave them all the information that was in the letter when I gave them the info the mook volunteered. So we ended up in the awkward spot where they assumed they read the letter, and I was failing on my promise to treat their characters as competent; just so that the players could participate in the investigation instead of me narrating the whole thing to them.

In hind sight there are things I could have done differently; put more time into describing the letter to draw their attention there, explain to the players at the start of the session that it was an investigation so I would be less liberal with their characters actions and investigations.

Have you had this problem? Have you found a working solutions?


I challenge you to present the best pitch to get new players to join PFS in 40 words or less (give or take).

"PFS is an organized play campaign where you take on the role of a Pathfinder Agent. Play in episodic scenarios that build towards a larger plot while allowing for flexible attendance."

I've gone for the objective submission, nothing but the facts. Can you do better?

(I just moved to a new city and am recruiting for a new lodge, so I'm reediting and revisiting my promo.)

Is there anything that permits the School Familiar feat to be taken as one of the Wizard Bonus Feats? I thought I would find some fine print that permitted it (the flavor seems right) but i'm not seeing anything like that in the Familiar Folio.

The Cheliax colonization of Varisia has several parallels to my home brew campaign. So I figure it is a good idea to just move my home brew into Golarion, just 300 years in the past.

My question: Any good reference material I should be reading to help flesh out my setting?

Grand Lodge

I have a flavorful PFS character concept I'm excited about, but I'm at a bit of a loss on how to make them useful...

I'll be making a Grippli Haunted Spiritualist with an Anger Phantom. The Anger phantom will be acceptable in melee, but I'm at a loss on what to do with the Grippli. Dex melee or ranged builds both feel too feat intensive and won't come online until the campaign is half over (PFS is lvl 1-11). In addition the haunted archetype will frequently leave the Spiritualist nauseated, so any tricks that rely on move actions will be exceptionally useful. Even maxing out Wisdom, spiritualists look like they have a fairly limited number of spells per day, so standing back and throwing spells might run out of steam?

So any recommendations on how to make this build under the above constraints, any way to make it competent enough that I'm not dragging down the team and causing the deaths of other characters?

Huzzah! I'm excited for this game!

In the PFS forums and Coordinators page my venture agentness is attached to my forum name instead of my real name.

All the cool kids are using their real names and I'd like to join them (I also support the policy). How do I do this?

I recently started a campaign playing a Bleached Gnome, a gnome with a frequently fatal condition that causes depression-like symptoms. This was briefly a fun gimmick playing this depressed character and I was excited about the chance/challenge to RP something new.

It does have some early successes, the other players seem to enjoy it and it solves the classic question of what sane person would become an adventurer (and on the micro scale gives the group a character that is always willing to enter the dark unknown first).

But this concept has some pitfalls I failed to plan ahead for: A depressed character does not lend itself easily to being proactive and pursuing plot hooks, acting on the world. Our campaign is 90% dungeon crawl which helps but it is already a noticeable problem in the remaining 10%. As a player I want to explore the GMs world but am having trouble coming up with in character reasons to leave the house.

Just checking with the hive mind on this one: If you are in melee with an enemy and making a ranged attack against them, do suffer the -4 penalty for shooting into melee? Does this change if it is you and an ally in the melee?

CRB: Shooting into melee, and point-blank shot wrote:

Shooting or Throwing into a Melee: If you shoot or throw a ranged weapon at a target engaged in melee with a friendly character, you take a –4 penalty on your attack roll. Two characters are engaged in melee if they are enemies of each other and either threatens the other. (An unconscious or otherwise immobilized character is not considered engaged unless he is actually being attacked.)

Precise Shot (Combat)
You are adept at firing ranged attacks into melee.

Prerequisite: Point-Blank Shot.
Benefit: You can shoot or throw ranged weapons at an opponent engaged in melee without taking the standard –4 penalty on your attack roll.

Ally FAQ wrote:

Ally: Do you count as your own ally?

You count as your own ally unless otherwise stated or if doing so would make no sense or be impossible. Thus, "your allies" almost always means the same as "you and your allies."

It seems very clear that if you or your allies are in melee, you will be taking the -4 penalty? Anyone know of exceptions? Trying to find a work around for all the lvl 1-2 kineticist out there.


I had too little or too much coffee this morning, because I just realized I'd volunteered to demo PFS (run quests) at a local wargaming convention. So I've come to my favorite board for advice.

I'm planning to show up, lay down a grid, and trick 4-6 stranger into sitting down for 1-6 hours. Does this work? Should I bring a local player to two to seed the table and help teach?

I see lot of reviews that 6 quests are done in 4 hours. Do you end up with a pile of dead time if you try to run one per hour?

The double property of this weapon has me uncertain. Can a character with the exotic weapon proficiency (Taiaha) wield a large version of this weapon in two hands? Would they then have the choice to use the hammer or spear end when they attack?

The Blue Dragon Desert Thirst (Su) ability can destroy liquids in a ten foot burst. Alchemists carry their spell per day as extracts.

Given the time gap between writing of the Blue Dragon and the Alchemist it is possible that this is an unintended interaction.

But it could be that in Thuvia blue dragon wyrmlings are traded on the black market to be uses as a tactical nuke during the assassination of Alchemists.

What do you think? Is it 'fair' to an alchemist character to destroy their extracts with this ability (it is a dragon, they are meant to be terrifying...)?

If I summon a Lantern Archon with Summon Monster III, and it casts Aid on me, do I continue to benefit from the Aid after the summoning spell has expired?

I'm fairly certain the answer is yes, but I want to check with the hivemind before I get a PFS character 5 levels in...

Some background, I've been GMing without a GM screen and rolling everything in full sight. Not having a screen was inconvenient when I need to make a legitimate hidden roll. So I starting taking having the NPCs taking a ten on those rolls.

I was ok with this because I felt like it took some randomness out of the game (I personally have a pet peeve against opposed d20 rolls, they feel too swingy, devalue character skill investments. Is my stats intuition off? Nevermind, this is off topic). And the players had no idea what the NPC skills were, so it wasn't being gamed. Well actually, I never told the players the NPCs were taking ten.

So, have you tried taking ten on hidden rolls? Would you feel cheated as a player if you found out that the GM has been taking ten on hidden rolls? Are there rolls this is appropriate for and rolls it is not (I've only done this with NPC rolls, never hidden player rolls)?

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The Practiced Combatant ability gives the Sentinel a +2 sacred or profane bonus on combat maneuvers performed with his deity’s favored weapon. The Sentinel's Symbolic Weapon ability gives a higher sacred or profane bonus to attack and damage rolls with his deity’s favored weapon. When making a combat maneuver with a weapon, any bonuses to attack rolls apply to the maneuver roll. As is the Practiced Combatant provides no bonus.

Is the bonus from Practiced Combatant intended to stack with the bonus from Symbolic Weapon?

I've come across the argument that gems are trade goods. This isn't very relevant when it comes to handing out treasures, as a GM you can just decide how you want to run it. But this is relevant if your characters can keep their surplus wealth in valuable spell components (diamond dust and large diamonds) that can be used to cast rarely cast spells while stranded in the wilderness (raise dead, restoration), while having the option to redeem those gems/dust for full value later.

3.5 included gems and jewelry in their description of trade goods. Pathfinder excludes those items from the description of trade goods in the Core Rulebook and Ultimate Equipment. Is there any indication that those were not intentional exclusions?

(In my home games I run gems as a currency, but this is relevant with PFS shenanigans.)


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We (the local regular GMs) are looking at the Player Boons and are super excited about them and can't wait to start handing them out. We are also thinking about how to distribute them in a manner that matches the intent the leadership (and the letter of the event support policy), creates maximum player enthusiasm, but doesn't add to after game bloat. I want to start this conversation so that we can share ideas and receive some wisdom from others.

I really like the dice rolling and tokens at our local conventions, but those had a lot of down time where we could look at the boons, get familiar with them, take an hour to decide which one we wanted, and roll at our leisure. I'm less excited about going through that routine on a weeknight time crunch, but maybe I"m just making mountains out of molehills.

We brainstormed the idea of handing them out as "PFS Achievements" or MVP award but that has two huge flaws: It's not an even/fair distribution, and it is super hard to hit the 10% target. I think this is a bad idea.

To make less dice rolling we talked about just having a roll off at every second table with the high roll taking a boon or to roll off once a month with a player gets +10% per game played that month.

The store owner also gave us some expert advice, recommending a points method much like the GM Boon. The VA keeps a attendance tally (not hard in our group) and the players earn a boon every 10th game. We are really attracted to this idea because: the player boon feels earned and new players have one less thing overwhelming them.

So, how will your group distribute the player boons? What works for your game space?

It is popularly accepted that you do not get a passive perception check to search for traps. This has a few problems:

1) Players focused on finding traps and secret doors end up spending table time declaring they are searching for both in every room.
2) Trapfinding is a class feature that is generally made redundant by Players taking table time to declare they are searching twice. (exceptions exist.)
3) Players that want to play a faster paced game and not waste real time searching for traps end up triggering traps and missing secret doors.
4) This system does not have a robust system for handling massive differences between character perception bonuses and trap perception DCs.

So what can we do to resolve the above shortcomings? The solution must be robust enough to apply to almost all circumstances, time efficient to allow for a fast paced game, fair to the characters and to the monsters that made these traps, and has bonus points for staying withing the existing rule system (usable in PFS play).

If a character is possessed by a shadow demon and someone casts protection from evil on them, does the shadow demon get a will save to resist the protection spell?

What about if this is instead a harm spell cast on the host, who rolls the will save?

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