Dan Simons's page

92 posts. Alias of Thamius.


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GardenCon was one of my favorite conventions during my time in Europe, congrats on the event promotion! I can confirm that at least some of the tables were in English, too, otherwise my gaming would have been severely curtailed.

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Next month you'll be able to pick up People of the River, which is about the Sellen River and the region of Numeria. Parts of the book will specifically be tied to the Iron Gods AP, but much of it will probably be made PFS-legal by GenCon.

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Congrats and welcome, Shane!

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Congrats, Rick, and welcome to the Island! Here, have my place, it's getting so crowded I'm moving back to the Mountain...

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I wonder if this player thought that he could just collect up

Scenario Spoiler:
the black dragon skeleton's bones at the end of Night March of Kalkamedes
and keep reanimating them.

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Inspiration, because it is not a permanent effect and has an extremely limited number of times per day it can be used, is NOT usable on Day Job checks, any more than you can use Guidance on Day Job checks. The Day Job check is an abstract compilation of potentially dozens of individual crafting checks as you make and then sell items in your down time. If it's not an all-day-long duration modifier, like Crafter's Fortune, you can't modify your Day Job check with it. However, if you just wanted to make a single alchemical item for yourself then I would allow inspiration on that one die roll.

This is all very clearly spelled out on page 21 of the Guide to PFS Organized Play:

GtPFSOP wrote:

Permanent bonuses from equipment, feats, racial bonuses, and traits affect your Day Job check as they would any check for the rolled skill, but temporary bonuses such as those granted by spell effects, other than crafter’s fortune, do not contribute, as the duration over which the Day Job check is made is undefined and represents a longer amount of time than a spell’s duration would permit the bonus to remain. You may take 10 on a Day Job check, but you may not take 20 nor can you aid another.

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Please read the Guide to PFS again, this isn't a problem. My 16th level wizard has 8th level spells.

Guide to PFS, page 26 wrote:

Any Seeker with sufficient Fame and experience can purchase scrolls containing 7th-, 8th-, and 9th-level spells, following the price guidelines in the Core Rulebook. Access to these spells is restricted to scrolls and is not available for spell-casting services. Upon reaching 13th level, Seekers are eligible to select spells or purchase 7th-level scrolls. Upon reaching 15th level, they are eligible to select spells or purchase 8th-level scrolls. Upon reaching 17th level, they are eligible to select spells or purchase 9th-level scrolls.

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Dave, please add me to your list of GMs for the con! You can reach me at

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If it's not (1) in an official Paizo product, and (2) authorized as "legal" on the Additional Resources page, then we can't use it. My investigator looks forward to taking this prospective feat when the ACG comes out in August and is added to the Additional Resources!

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Congrats and welcome, Dustin!

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Dhjika wrote:

It has always struck me that most of the time diplomacy role-playing is done completely backwards.

The numbers and the dice rolling are the mechanics of the results and laws of the game - and how people interact with the game is based on the results of those numbers.

The following is my opinion on how the social mechanics work.

Have you ever had to prepare for an important conversation with someone, and in doing so held the discussion several times in your head? In my head, they always go great. But then you either nail it or totally screw it up when you actually start talking?

I view the "Tell me what your character says" explanation as the in-your-head, perfect world conversation detailing what you want to say, and the dice-rolling part as the "Let's see how it actually comes out of your mouth" moment.

TetsujinOni wrote:
Do you also grab the info off sheets, record damage taken for each PC, and only tell them that the hit they just took only hurt a little or a lot?

Nope, I tell them how much damage they took and let them track their own hit points, that way they can accurately describe the extent of their injuries to the healer.

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In the middle of combat in the hold of a ship, one player has his character run back topside alone to try and kill the tied up NPC because he misinterpreted his faction mission, while the rest of us get paralyzed and eaten by ghouls below decks.

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pH unbalanced wrote:
Pout when the PCs defeat their opponents earlier than was expected.

This is one of the first things I tell my student GMs in GM 101: "Don't take it personally when the PCs kill the boss before he ever had a chance to act, even if you spent an hour last night prepping his feats, spells, etc. Sometimes that's just how it goes. You've all been on the other side of the screen, too, so congratulate the players and move on with the story."

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Congrats and thanks for all your dedication, Dominick! What have you found is the best way to prep for a game? I'm always looking for new techniques to make my games better.

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Jiggy wrote:

But both the wizard and the barbarian said "I'm feeling half-dead".

So how would you prefer the players to indicate their actual needs while speaking in character?

Excellent question, and I agree that some aspects of healing have to involve numbers - Kyra can't say "I heal your booboos but not that big sword gash," her player has to ultimately say "I heal your character for 8 hp." Another example, the oracle of life with life link up has to ask, "Who is down at least 5 hp? OK, you three heal five, now how do you look? Oh, that barely closed one of your many wounds? Well then..."

For your example:

Wizard: "In my experience, a couple of pokes from that happy stick should be enough to fix me up, this isn't my first time being bit by some creature."

Barbarian: "If you're going to use your stick we're going to be here a long while, I've been doing this adventuring thing for a few years now. Best hit me with once or twice with Sarenrae's really good magics and then we'll see how I feel."

Is there an element of metagaming going on in the back of each player's head as they calculate their hp and the average healing they can expect from the various Cure spells? Yes, can't get rid of that completely, so experienced players/characters will be able to read between the lines without having to completely break into metagaming at the table.

I give a lot more leniency to new players, of course, as they try to figure out how the various numbers on their sheet should translate into the character in the game world.

And then you cure them with Science! Can't type that without the exclamation point!

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pauljathome wrote:
While I sympathize with you I strongly believe that you are wrong.

Then we must agree to disagree. Players should not treat their PCs as buckets of numbers.

Many times the PCs are being grabbed out of the hallway in the Grand Lodge and sent on a mission together without any foreknowledge of each others' abilities. How do they find out about each other? They talk, presumably, but no PC should ever say "I have a +9 to Diplomacy." However, they could say "I took Diplomacy 101, 201, and 202 while in Pathfinder training, plus people seem to naturally like me," as compared to the guy who never went to Diplomacy class (i.e. no ranks) because he was too busy taking and retaking "Sword swinging for dummies."

It would be like me walking up to you and asking you what your Diplomacy score is - a meaningless question. How good are you when talking with people? A much better question, but one that can only be answered with adjectives, not numbers.

All of my players seem to appreciate the reduction in metagaming and increase in pseudo-realism at the table. At GenCon many of my players also said they were going to steal these policies for use at their own tables.

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kinevon wrote:
GM Lamplighter wrote:
I have the same pet peeve, to the point that I don't allow numbertalk at my table... In terms of hit points, skill bonuses, or any other number. Players should be able to describe their characters in the same terms as they would in real life.

So, do you letr them set up consistent equivalencies, or do you just enforce mumblety g@&$?

And what do you do when the real life descriptions would alreay be a number? "I am 5' 6" tall."

So, is a +9 Diplomacy good, mediocre, or excellent? Or would you just let me describe it as, "I can automatically assist anyone performing Diplomacy."?

Sorry, when a skill number can ligitimately range from -3 to +30 or more, not even counting ACP or encumbvrance, it is hard to force someone to use a non-numeric descriptor withotu a defining table.

Heck, even as a GM, I have to check the spell detect magic to give the proper aura strength reading...

Do Native Outsiders radiate their alignment at 1st level if they are not a Cleric/Paladin?

Kinevon, I completely disagree with you, and this same rule is something that I brief in my "tables rules" talk before my games begin. In character, ability scores, hit points, and skill ranks are meaningless. If one character asks another how he looks, I don't want the player to say that "I'm down 6 hit points" because that number has a totally different meaning for a first level wizard vs a 12th level barbarian. I tell my players to describe their health from the perspective of the character: "I'm barely scratched" or "I'm about to fall over from blood loss."

Same with skill levels. There is no set scale! If your character thinks he's the best diplomat in the history of diplomacy, say it that way! I don't care if it's a +21 or +2. After a few rolls the other characters will step in and say, "No, I'll take the lead this time, you assist me." Use your words, not your numbers!

I also make people declare that they're assisting a skill check in advance, and saying how they're going to do it. Once the primary has rolled, no jumping in and say, "Wait, I'll assist you." Too late.

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Speaking of Mummy's Mask, the first book is not called The Witch Queen's Revenge... I'm looking forward to those AP chronicle sheets, though!

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You are free to buy and mine PFS scenarios as fodder for ideas for your home campaign, but any variation from the scenario as written, to include running them in a setting other than Golarion, means the characters can't get official PFS chronicles and be reported online.

If you want to run your home campaign PFS-style and if you and your players have no intention of going to game stores or conventions and playing these characters in PFS, then it's no big deal.

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Or bouncing the lightning bolt off the back wall and back at you, so long as you stand JUST far enough away that it hit everyone in front of you twice?

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Hmmm, it won't be me this year, I have to break my string of cross-country attendance. Nope, I'm stumped!

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nosig wrote:

calculating the volume of the fireball... "So, after you have been shrunk yourself down to fit into the 1' tall tunnels to fight the gremlins, you throw a fireball in a room that was ten times as tall as you? It's a 10' cube room ... wow - I think you just flushed all the tunnels leading into here too and out into the main dungeon... what's the formula for calculating the volume of a sphere again?"

Yeah, I remember those days...

Lol, I was reminiscing about this with some young whippersnappers players this weekend when I ran them through Eyes of the Ten over two days.

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Losing a point here or there will have a pretty negligible effect by the time you're a few levels in. It certainly doesn't affect "power level."

Slow progression is very useful for those of us who already have some maxed-level characters and want to play some of our favorite characters more often in the mid-level "sweet spot" and stretch out their careers a bit. I have three slow progression characters right now!

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Agreed. You have nine PFS characters registered and over five dozen games just in your reported sessions list. Also, your definition of "quite a while" is odd, you were last reported on New Year's Eve, less than three months ago.

If you lost some or all of your chronicles contact your VC/VL and use the list of reported sessions as a starting point to have replacement chronicles created. But creating another account so you can potentially replay a bunch of scenarios is not kosher.

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Congrats and Happy Birthday, Doug! 500!! Did the lichdom process hurt as much as they say?

Puts finger to ear, listens intently.

I've just been informed that this thread is for 500 games GM'd, not a birthday. My bad. Silly me for only reading the thread title.

It's been a pleasure meeting you at GenCons, one of these days I hope to actually play at one of your tables! Congrats on the milestone.

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Don't forget the two Restorations to remove the two permanent negative levels. You can use prestige for one or both of those and gold for the resurrection, if you want, since that's three different spellcastings you need. However, as already mentioned you can't split the costs of one spellcasting between gold and prestige.

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A year ago I wouldn't have said this, but with the impending exploration of Jormundur I recommend that PCs who can spare the point learn Dwarven.

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Alecak wrote:
I would have the Wizard copy it and then let the Witch see the spell from his book.

A witch's familiar cannot learn a spell from a wizard's spellbook.

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Ah yes, I see. That's correct, since you're talking about adding a metamagic rod to a spell that's already been modified by a metamagic feat normally. However, I would think you can modify a fireball with a metamagic feat you know, say Empowered, using a Staff of the Master, and then use a Lesser Metamagic Rod to add a different metamagic effect, like Selective. Neither changes the level of the spell.

Adds the Staff of the Master to my wizard's shopping list.

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That FAQ from the Feats & Skills section is about applying metamagic feats normally, not from the use of metamagic rods.

Core Rulebook and Ultimate Equipment wrote:

Metamagic Rods

Metamagic rods hold the essence of a metamagic feat, allowing the user to apply metamagic effects to spells (but not spell-like abilities) as they are cast. This does not change the spell slot of the altered spell. All the rods described here are use-activated (but casting spells in a threatened area still draws an attack of opportunity). A caster may only use one metamagic rod on any given spell, but it is permissible to combine a rod with metamagic feats possessed by the rod’s wielder. In this case, only the feats possessed by the wielder adjust the spell slot of the spell being cast.

Possession of a metamagic rod does not confer the associated feat on the owner, only the ability to use the given feat a specified number of times per day. A sorcerer still must take a full-round action when using a metamagic rod, just as if using a metamagic feat he possesses (except for quicken metamagic rods, which can be used as a swift action).

Thus a fireball modified by a metamagic rod is still a 3rd level spell and only uses a sorcerer's 3rd level slot.

Staff of the Master wrote:
In addition, this staff can be used to cast spells using any metamagic feats known by the wielder without increasing the spell’s level. This consumes a number of charges equal to the number of spell levels increased by the feat. No more than one feat can be applied to a spell cast by the wielder in this way. Using the staff for this purpose does not increase the casting time of the spell.

Seems pretty simple. If you know Quicken Spell yourself (not with a metamagic rod), you can apply it to a fireball at the cost of four staff charges and only use up a 3rd level slot.

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Mike Brock's post on that issue, dating from 2012, is right here.

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Richard D Webb wrote:
With that current mix, you would clearly be in Tier 2 (12 total levels divided by 6 = 2)I usually only bump up a tier if there right in the middle of total levels (ex. 3.2, 3.3, 3.5, etc)and everyone at the table is okay with it. Also, Seasons 4+ have the option to play higher tier with 4 characters, meaning it is possible to play a full 6 person group that is on the border with the higher tier for 4 players.

One note of clarification, the words "option to play higher tier" are no longer applicable in PFS. The APL and the number of players dictate which tier and which level of difficulty (4-player or 6-player, for Season 4+ scenarios only). Choice has basically been removed.

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Bobby Harring wrote:
Dan when is the con in va? I have a con the first and last weekend of April.

1d4Con is the last weekend in April, so sounds like you're booked already.

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They're actually called First Aid Gloves, and yes, they're in the Pathfinder Society Primer.

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Congrats on the promotion from VL to VC, Bobby! Coming down for 1d4Con in late April in Winchester, VA? There will already be 3 VCs there...

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The gold you've earned is on your chronicle sheets. You have that much, minus what you've spent on items. The Fame cap is how much you can spend on any one item, if you've saved that much of your gold. Basically, the more famous you get with your faction (i.e. Fame score) the more your faction is going to help you find and buy more expensive items. If an item you want isn't otherwise on a chronicle sheet or on the Always Available list, this limits your max spending per item.

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TOZ wrote:
Now that's a Venture Captain.

So is Sheila Heidmarch, try not to hold that against the rest of us!

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Putting on my Big Boy pants.

Time to clear the air. I thought I recognized aspects of the OP's story when I first read this so I reached out to one of my players and it turns out this is about my Meetup site, thus I'm the nameless VC. However, like all stories there are two sides, so grab a beverage of your choice and read on.

I have 285 players registered on my local PFS-only Meetup site, and I haven't had a chance to meet all of them. The OP is one of those that I've never met in person. (Because he posted anonymously I will honor his desire to remain that way. In no way does it change the story.) A few weeks ago he "Suggested a new Meetup" at his house, but in my opinion he used some pretty strong language, to the effect of (and I'm paraphrasing here) "I reserve the right to select only those players I want." It came across as fairly elitist in my opinion, so I posted a comment that it seemed counter to the spirit of organized play and that I preferred games posted to be first-come, first-seated. He deleted the event and e-mailed me to get clarification on my posting policies. However, life and work happened and I didn't immediately get a chance to answer him. He also began posting more games on the site to be run at his house, but without this language.

After I saw this thread, I reached out to him to ask if he was the anonymous OP so that I could find out what was really driving this and get the story on what had happened with the problem player at the referenced game back in October. He responded that he was the OP and let me know that the only point of his original statements were so that he could exclude this one problem player if necessary, and he agreed that perhaps his original comments could be construed as somewhat elitist. With that point now known to me, I agreed that yes he could exclude specific players if he had cause. Said player had RSVP'd to one future event at the OP's house so I overrode the RSVP, and then contacted that player myself to let him know I was the one who had done it so that the OP wouldn't have to deal with this player if he didn't want to. For those of you posting that, within reason, an event host has the right to exclude certain problem players for cause, I agree with you, I just didn't want event hosts to start cherry-picking players who signed up for their games. I believe that, by-and-large, we should be more egalitarian than that.

If players want to set up private PFS games with certain people only, they are welcome to do that off-line via e-mail. As has been said, I have no power to control that, nor would I want to so long as it's working for them. I know of several local games that have occurred this way. Heck, I've done it myself - there are only a few of us with high level Seeker characters, so when we wanted to play a level 15 module we just e-mailed each other to organize our schedules, there was no reason to post that on the Meetup.

Mike Brock, when he was still a lowly VC, once posted that many players use PFS as a way to meet other players, decide which ones they feel comfortable gaming with, then invite them to home campaigns or adventure paths and sometimes disappear from PFS. He didn't say this in a derogatory way, he supported it as a neutral way to safely meet a variety of players before inviting them into your house! I even let people post one-time organizational meetings on my site for those GMs looking for interested players for an AP or home campaign, although I don't let them use it to coordinate their routine gatherings after that, mostly because it would clutter my site with events that the vast majority of the players would be excluded from. Once a home group is formed they can use e-mail to coordinate their schedules after that.

So, back to the story. Of great concern to me were the particulars of the questionable GM behavior, even though it was four months ago. The story from the OP was so far out there that I needed to get a second viewpoint from the game, so I checked the Meetup history, found out from the RSVPs who the father-and-son were, and contacted the father directly to get his side. He responded immediately and we talked by phone last night, in which his telling of the story was nearly identical to the OP's, even though I only asked the question in an open-ended fashion, not in a leading manner. I'm telling you, this was a "Stop, turn around, use your binoculars, and look for the line that you crossed way back there" moment. With this information in hand, I took the action to ban this person from my Meetup site. I had recently spoken to this player/GM about several much more minor complaints about him so that he could correct his actions, but this egregious error in judgment could not be overlooked.

None of the players ever reported this behavior to me or my VL back when it happened. The father and son simply haven't returned to another game, although I hope they will now. Another of the players later left the Meetup altogether, and the OP almost left. If it weren't for this thread I might never have found out. I have never banned a player before and did not take the action lightly.

Anyway, that's the rest of the story. The OP and I are good, and we look forward to finally meeting and gaming together some day. I have found the comments on this thread to be very thoughtful, given the partial information available, and I thank you all for the food for thought. Now, let's go roll some dice!

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Congrats and welcome to the island, Katie!

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Everyone is assuming that the OP has spoken with his VC and informed him/her of the incident in question. That may not be true.

Paradoxically, the more people that witness an event, the less likely it is that it will be reported. Everyone assumes that someone else will do it, and in reality no one does.

If there's a problem player in your community and table-level efforts to correct his behavior aren't working, make sure to report the specific incidents of his behavior to the VC or organizer each and every time. VOs can't be everywhere and witness every game, thus please do not assume that we are omniscient of what occurs at each table. Armed with a list of grievances, we can then decide what to do. If the actions are correctable we can talk to the player in question to give them an opportunity to improve. My policy is to keep all complaints confidential, which I'm confident is shared by most VOs. However, if the grievances are determined to be well across the line then the local ban-hammer can be properly wielded.

We Venture-Officers do not want one bad apple ruining the local PFS communities we work hard to foster, so be sure to bring him to our attention before all the good apples start to leave.

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Here's another example, which only applies to a tier 1-7 scenario.

Four characters, levels 2, 3, 4, and 5. Clearly they play sub-tier 3-4.

The level 2 is not in the 3-4 sub-tier, so his gold is the average of the 1-2 and 3-4 rewards.

The level 3 and 4 characters are in sub-tier, they get the 3-4 gold.

The level 5 is also out of sub-tier, but his gold is the average of the 3-4 and 6-7 rewards.

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Congrats and welcome!

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Welcome to the Island! Prepare for the extraction team's arrival.

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Iczer wrote:
The problem here is that you cannot 'trip lock' a person.

This statement is completely accurate. If you need to prove it to the player, look at the FAQ post from 2010.

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I assume you're referring to First Steps. Run #5-08 - The Confirmation instead, or in conjunction with First Steps part 1.

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Eric Clingenpeel wrote:
The way I'm reading it you don't have to choose one of each. If you apply one of the three to a character, then you hit 200 tables you'd be able to apply any of the three to another character.

Agreed. Since I'm over 200 tables, I could choose to give the Student of Spells sheet to two different characters if I want.

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Two years ago Jim Groves, author of Hinojai, went through his thoughts/intent on the scenario and we debated whether he had the mechanics correct or not, but after this I modified the way I GM'd the haunts in this scenario so that the players could experience the important story elements they provided while still having a chance to counter the negative effect of the haunt.

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Mistwalker wrote:

If anyone is the group can see invisibility, then bags of powder work well.

If not, then even misses from bags of powder leave a film on the ground that will show footprints, to help with the aiming of the next bag.

So long as the invisible enemy isn't flying, use Create Water to form pools of water that will spread out, then look for the displaced footprints or the splashes and ripples as they move around.

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As the Morphling said, the Shining Wayfinder gives the full spell Prot Evil once per day. The resonance power is not all of Prot Evil, just the part giving you "protection against possession and mental control" from evil creatures. Make sure you are aware of the two FAQ entries that list some of the charm/compulsion spells you're not protected against.

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