Nightmare Bat

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Organized Play Member. 662 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.

I just started playing around with the 4e character classes, and, after seeing PHB2, I noticed that as of the release of that book, the four power sources presented had four classes to choose from, each. So, the idea of doing a martial-themed campaign sounded more realistic (or any other, for that matter, but I have the PHB2 on my birthday list, which is three weeks away). Yet, there is no "controller" role for martial characters. (Arguably, I can appreciate why this might be, given that the wizard has such a breadth of options available to him, making him a definitive controller.)

So I started thinking about how I could create a martial controller class, which I have dubbed as a working title, "Samurai". I'm still just starting with this idea, but I envision the character being able to maneuver deep into combat, and mow down minions, while using Bushido to carefully deliver varied attacks with his weapons. Here's what I have to start:


"Throughout history, rulers have engaged in games of tactics; their aptitude and skill have shaped the course of history. I, too, forge a path into greatness, as I wade into battle like a skiff on a lake."

Role: Controller
Power Source: Martial
Key Abilities: Strength, Constitution, Wisdom

Armor Proficiencies: Cloth, Leather, Hide, Chainmail, Scale
Weapon Proficiencies: Simple melee, military melee, simple ranged, military ranged, bastard sword (katana)
Bonus to Defense: +1 Fort, +1 Will

Hit Points at 1st Level: 12 + Constitution score
Hit Points per Level Gained: 5
Healing Surges per Da: 7 + Constitution modifier

Trained Skills: Endurance (Con) or Insight (Wis) (choose one). From the class skills list below, choose three trained skills at 1st level.
Class Skills: Athletics (Str), Bluff (Cha), Heal (Wis), History (Int), Intimidate (Cha), Perception (Wis)

Build Options: Survivor Samurai, Iaijutsu Samurai
Class Features: Ki Channel, Way of the Five Rings, Honored Daisho

I'm sorry to say it, but right now, I cannot afford to continue my subscription to Pathfinder.

Don't get me wrong, it's very reasonably priced--and the subscription rate is amazingly competitive--but I am once again drowning in unplayed adventures.

Thank you for understanding, and I'm looking forward to giving my copy of "Howl of the Carrion King" to a friend for his birthday. Considering Erik Mona's "The Whispering Cairn" and Age of Worms AP got me back into D&D after a many-yeared hiatus, I desperately made sure I didn't peek and spoil any surprises...torture indeed!

This takes me back.

When I first heard about a remake of Ys Books I and II, I practically bought a DS for it. I mean, it's not an exceptional game by today's standards, I suppose. You really just run around on the battle map slashing baddies. But, it is--in many ways--the progenitor of the modern action-RPG, and its best qualities remain timeless.

The music--which first-run copies come with a soundtrack--is phenomenal, and the graphics are respectable on the DS. The cinematics in the intro are quite impressive for the system, as well. And the story, though cliched by this point, is still a familiar walk down memory lane of what was for many, many years, my favorite RPG from the TurboDuo.

If you have a DS, and really want a history lesson in gaming with your Zelda-esque gaming, check this one out. I'd be interested in hearing what someone who hadn't necessary fallen in love with this series so long ago might get from it. Me, it was like welcoming back an old friend.

This thread is a response to the Achievement Feats proposed as an option in the Legacy of Fire Player's Guide. What follows is an alternate proposal for implementing "achivements" into a 3.5 OGL campaign setting; in this case, I am using the Achievement Points and following Hero's Paths in a campaign set in the Darkmoon Vale locale (detailed in length in numerous GameMastery and Pathfinder Modules, as well as Pathfinder Chronicles: Guide to Darkmoon Vale.) Individual Hero's Paths have been condensed into spoiler tabs for ease of navigation.

Adventure Achievements and Hero’s Paths

As the players progress through the Darkmoon Vale adventures, they can accomplish goals, some necessary and some optional, to gain “achievements”, marking their efforts. These achievements can then be invested into special “Hero’s Paths”, giving their characters access to increasingly potent abilities.
How these work is that when the heroes gain achievement points, varying depending on the significance, difficulty, and uniqueness of specific situations in an adventure, they can begin to invest them into a Hero’s Path. Although there are no limit as to how many Hero’s Paths to pick from or invest into, investing all achievements into one Hero’s Path may be preferred for accessing its more powerful abilities, though splitting the points between multiple ones allows for access to more—albeit weaker—abilities.
Investing achievement points is a free action that can be done at any time, such as in an act of desperation. A PC can begin investing points as soon as they are acquired, but cannot disinvest the points until an opportunity to retrain arises (generally after a week of downtime). The cost for higher-tier abilities along the Hero’s Path increases significantly for each tier. Thus, a character who wishes to save his points until that path’s next tier ability is available is going to wait a lot longer than a character who invests into many first-tier abilities frequently; however, since a character who invests into other tiers must wait until retraining to disinvest those points, the one who waits may gain an advantage when access to the next tier is available, as he can readily invest his saved points on the spot.
Adventure Achievements are designed to be similar to the achievement/gamerscore system introduced with the Xbox 360 video game system, representing the gamer’s skill and dedication. Likewise, not all achievements will be easily earned; in fact, while some are rewarded for plot points and progress, as some are dependant on small percentages of chance on the part of the heroes, some may not be achieved at all. Nevertheless, the ones that arise from extraordinary effort or luck can be equated to “bonus points” in this respect.
The following are the known adventures for the Darkmoon Vale campaign:

Hollow’s Last Hope: 500pts
Crown of the Kobold King: 1000pts
Carnival of Tears: 1000pts
Revenge of the Kobold King: 500pts
Hungry Are the Dead: 1000pts

While some achievements may be made known to the players, many—for anti-spoiler purposes—remain secret. The average amount of achievements that any player should expect to earn is roughly half of the possible amount for an adventure.

Hero’s Paths

The following are a list of the eight Hero’s Paths available from the start in the Darkmoon Vale campaign:

Costs to invest in achievement points:
Tier 1—150 points
Tier 2—450 points
Tier 3—1100 points
Tier 4—2500 points

El Viento (The Wind)—Powers: Wind, Speed
Tier 1—Double Jump
After having made a successful Jump check to move at least 10 feet, you can make another jump check to move an additional distance, as long as you have movement remaining, in a direction of your choosing. Treat this jump check as though you did not have a running start, though it still qualifies as a leap for purposes of feats, such as Leap Attack. Spellcasters can sacrifice a spell to gain a bonus on their Jump checks equal to +4 per spell level sacrificed as a free action.
Tier 2—Wind Blade
Once per encounter, you can make a basic melee attack with a range of 20 feet, with an additional +1 to hit and +1d4 damage. This attack can be part of a full attack action, but cannot be used with maneuvers. Normal penalties for making a ranged attack into melee apply. Alternately, you can use this to add the slashing subtype to any spell or ranged attack requiring an attack roll to hit, increasing its range by 10ft, granting an additional +1 to hit, and dealing an additional 1d4 damage.
Tier 3—Squall Strike
Once per encounter, you take flight, and deliver a deadly flyby strike, dealing +4d4 damage. You move up to your speed, and can attack your target at any point during the movement. If you engage your opponent in melee and move out of his threatened area during Squall Strike, he cannot make an attack of opportunity against you. If you possess the feat Spring Attack or Flyby Attack, your attack has a +4 to hit. If you have a fly speed, you instead deal d6s for the extra damage instead of d4s.
Tier 4—Hurricane
You are constantly surrounded by faint winds, making physical ranged attacks made against you suffer a 20% miss chance. Furthermore, once per day as a full-round supernatural action, you can let loose a terrifying burst of wind, buffeting enemies, and thrashing them with high-velocity bits of debris. Allies can take an immediate action to abate the effects upon themselves to move up to their speed toward—or, if more beneficial, away from—you, as you conjure a 50ft radius burst with up to a 5ft radius “eye” in the center, which is not affected by Hurricane. Hurricane creates hurricane force winds in the area of effect (See DMG p.95), and deals 8d6 total slashing, piercing, and bludgeoning damage to all within the area of effect (Reflex DC 10+ 2x tier level + ½ character level half). If you possess the feat Whirlwind Attack, the DC increases by 4.

Nautilus—Powers: Water, Defense
Tier 1—Water Tank
You do not suffer an armor check penalty for armor while making Swim checks. You gain a +1 bonus on hit and damage rolls with piercing melee weapons. If you possess Weapon Focus in a piercing weapon, your weapon now does an additional +1 damage.
Tier 2—Wave Beam
As a standard action, once per day, you thrust a line of watery force, buffeting enemies with bludgeoning power. The line can be 10ft wide by 20ft long, or 5ft wide by 30ft long, dealing 2d8+Wisdom modifier in damage. You can make a basic melee attack as part of this attack against a target within the area of effect of the wave beam. Anyone in the area of effect also is pushed back one square. If you wield a piercing weapon, the extra damage is in d10s instead of d8s. Additionally, the bonus from Water Tank to hit and damage with piercing melee weapons increases by another +1. Alternately, a spellcaster can “tack on” this attack onto a spell that has a line as an area of effect, dealing the extra damage along with the damage of the spell. A Reflex save (DC 10 + 2x Tier level +1/2 character level) reduces the damage by half, and negates the push.
Tier 3—Impenetrable (Stance)
As a move action, you can generate a shelled carapace (a stance), which protects you from damage, and reduces damage taken, though potentially slowing your movement. This provides an additional +4 armor bonus, and grants you DR 5/piercing. However, while in this stance, you are considered to possess a heavy load, and the armor imposes a 10% arcane spell failure chance. If you have the Combat Casting feat, you ignore the spell failure chance, and gain a +10 bonus on Concentration checks made to resist losing a spell if disrupted while casting. This stance is taxing however, and can only be used for a number of rounds equal to your Constitution modifier +1 (minimum one round) per day.
Tier 4—Rolling Thunder
As a full-round action, while in the Impenetrable stance, you trample opponents whose squares you move through of your size or smaller, dealing 2d6+Strength modifier in damage. An opponent can make a Reflex save (DC 10 + tier level +1/2 character level) for half damage. These opponents can make attacks of opportunity against you, but at a -4 penalty, but forfeit their Reflex saves to reduce the damage. You can attack a larger creature with Rolling Thunder, but it does not have a penalty on its attacks of opportunity, and it gains a +4 bonus on its Reflex saves. Unlike regular trample attacks, you can repeatedly reenter an opponent’s square after leaving it, to deliver multiple Rolling Thunder attacks, though each attempt allows either a reflex save or an attack of opportunity, if applicable. If you possess the Mobility feat, your Rolling Thunder DC increases by 4. If you wield a piercing melee weapon, you can make a basic melee attack with your weapon as a part of Rolling Thunder.

Shadowsword—Powers: Darkness, Martial
Tier 1—Dark Hand
Your off-hand manifests a blade of darkness, equivalent to a short sword (1d6 dmg per tier). Although you do not gain any bonus to damage from Strength, you can attack with it as a swift action, and it ignores miss chances provided by concealment due to darkness, and reduces the miss chance for total concealment due to darkness to 20%. If you already wield an off-hand weapon, it is now instead sheathed in darkness, dealing +1d4 dmg per level of Shadowsword tier invested into. If you possess the Two-Weapon Fighting Feat, you do not incur a penalty to hit with Dark Hand from wielding it in your off hand.
Tier 2—Lance of Night
Once per encounter, if you are charged at by an opponent, you can use an immediate action to retaliate with a lance of darkness which bursts up at them from the earth. This attack uses your character level as its attack bonus, and deals 1d8+2 damage per tier of Shadowsword invested into; this attack also has a range of 20 ft, and does x3 damage on a critical hit. This attack also halts the charge and ends his movement, unless your opponent makes a Fortitude save (DC = 10 + 2x tier level + ½ character level). Your Dark Hand and Lance of Night abilities ignore the first 2 points of damage reduction.
Tier 3—Shadow of Death
An opponent struck by your dark hand or lance of night must make a Fortitude save (DC = 10 + 2x tier level + ½ character level) or lose any temporary hit points; if it possesses no temporary hit points, it’s threshold for massive damage decreases by 5, and the save DC required to make a save vs. massive damage increases by 1. These effects stack. Also, Dark Hand and Lance of Night increase in damage by +2 and ignore another 1 point from damage reduction.
Tier 4—Black Mirror
Once per day, you manifest a shadowy duplicate (a construct) of you as a free action, when adjacent you are to an enemy. That duplicate flanks the enemy, and mimics your actions entirely, effectively twinning your actions, for the rest of your turn. This duplicate cannot be disrupted or halted in its actions, as it is nothing more than shadowy substance. Finally, you can make one additional attack with Dark Hand as a free action once per round.

Kreighund (War Hound)—Powers: Mercenary, Alacrity
Tier 1—Ready for Action
If you have a weapon drawn which you are proficient with, you gain a +2 bonus on initiative checks. If you have Quick Draw, and do not have a weapon drawn, you still gain the +2 bonus to initiative.
Tier 2—Tip the Scales
Once per encounter, as a swift action, you can make a Spot check to discern some weakness in your foe’s defense (Spot DC = enemy’s AC). If successful, you gain a +4 bonus to strike your foe and confirm critical hits until the end of your turn. If you possess some type of precision-based damage (sneak attack, skirmish, sudden strike), it deals d8s in damage instead of d6s when using this ability when applicable.
Tier 3—Underestimated
If you kill an opponent in combat, your level is considered to be one less for purposes of gaining experience at the end of the encounter.
Tier 4—Reaper
When you kill an opponent, you gain temporary hit points equal to the difference in damage dealt and its remaining hit points, for the remainder of the encounter, up to a maximum of the creature’s hit dice x2. If you cast a spell as the finishing strike, you can make a DC 20 Concentration check to retain the finishing spell cast, though you only gain half as many temporary hit points, instead.

Desperado—Powers: Combination, Acuity
Tier 1—First to Fight
You gain a +1 bonus on Spot, Listen, and Sense Motive checks; also, you gain a +1 bonus to your critical threat range for the first round of combat. If you also have Improved Initiative, you gain a +2 bonus to confirm critical threats in the first round of combat.
Tier 2—Wrath
Once per encounter, as a free action made on your turn, if you are bloodied (reduced to 50% or less hit points), you gain a bonus to speed of 10ft, can make one extra basic melee attack as a swift action, and gain an additional +1 bonus for each point of base attack bonus used on damage rolls made when using the Power Attack feat. This ability lasts for a number of rounds equal to your Constitution modifier (minimum 1). If you are raging, you can make a basic melee attack as an attack of opportunity when struck in combat while in Wrath. Alternately, if you are a spellcaster, you can channel this wrath into your next spell, empowering that spell without increasing its spell level, but requiring a full-round action to cast. In this way, you can do this a number of times per day equal to your Tier level in Desperado.
Tier 3—Deadly Rave
Once per encounter, you rush your opponent in a reckless charge super combo. As you are about to connect, roll 5d20, then divide by 20, rounding down; you can make this many additional specific attacks as listed below, each following bonus attack with a cumulative -2 penalty to hit, taken from your highest to hit bonus. Make any normal attacks from your charge attack first, then resolve the bonus attacks of the Deadly Rave. Bonus attacks from the Deadly Rave deal the following damage:
1st Atk—Jab: 1d4+Str dmg
2nd Atk—Uppercut: 1d10+Str dmg
3rd Atk—Air Suplex: 2d8+Str dmg
4th Atk—Hadouken: 1d20+Str+Con dmg
5th Atk—Raging Demon: Instant Death (no save)
All attacks must be made on the same enemy you charged.
Alternately, if you are a spellcaster, once per day, you can channel this deadly energy in to your damaging spells as a full-round action against one target. Roll 5d20 and divide by 20, rounding down. Your spell gains the following characteristics for each value:
1—Magna: Your spell buffets your foe with the force of your rage, dealing an additional 1d4 bludgeoning damage per spell level.
2—Magnus: The intense fury of your spell knocks your foe back by one square per spell level.
3—Magdyne: Raw power shocks your enemy’s system; your foe must make a Fortitude save or be knocked prone (DC 10 + tier level + spell level).
4—Magnum Rex: As the fullness of your wrath washes over your foe, he becomes increasingly vulnerable to your power, and your spell’s damage becomes maximized.
5—Armageddon: All Hell breaks loose, as a cosmic tear swallows your foe, instantly destroying him.
Tier 4—Way of the Warrior
Simple movements and fighting techniques are now effortless for you. You gain +5ft to your speed, and can make an additional 5-foot step per turn, even when it isn’t your turn, as an immediate action. Likewise, once per turn, as an immediate action, you can parry a blow that would hit you. Roll 1d20 + tier level + ½ character level + Wisdom modifier against the attack roll that would hit you; if you match or exceed that number, you parry the blow. If you possess Combat Reflexes, you can instead take a 5-foot step instead of an attack of opportunity, and can parry a number of blows equal to half the number of attacks of opportunity Combat Reflexes would grant you, and the action to parry the blow is now a free action.

Lionheart—Powers: Justice, Bravery
Tier 1—Lion’s Pride
When engaging a foe in a Duel of Wills (Tome of Battle), you gain a +5 bonus on Intimidate checks if they participate; if mounted on a warhorse, the benefits increase to +10. If you remain mounted during combat, and possess the Mounted Combat feat, the bonuses and penalties provided by the Duel of Wills are doubled.
Tier 2—Herald of Victory
To take advantage of this ability, you must bear a banner of your party, worth at least 25gp, in your off-hand. This banner may be affixed to a spear or lance, though after that weapon has dealt 25 or more hp in damage, the banner is soiled and useless, and must be replaced. As long as this standard is borne in battle, your allies gain the benefits of a heroism spell (+2 morale bonus on attack rolls, saves, and skill checks), as long as they have line of sight to you. These benefits do not apply outside of an encounter. If you possess the paladin’s aura of courage ability, that aura extends to line of sight as long as you bear the standard. (Remember, the paladin’s aura of courage provides a morale bonus that does not stack with Herald of Victory.) Enchantment spells you cast are at +1 caster level, and enchantment spell DCs increase by 1. You also gain an additional +5 bonus on Intimidate checks made for a Duel of Wills. The benefits of beating a participating opponent double; if you possess Mounted Combat and remain mounted in combat, they are instead tripled, and an opponent cannot ignore you.
Tier 3—Righteousness
Once per encounter, as a standard action, while bearing your standard, you can let loose a war cry that fills your enemies with shame and terror, or the unholy with your righteousness. Make a Charisma check + tier level + ½ character level, and refer to the follow chart for its effects:
0-9: Your enemies are shaken for one round
10-14: Above, and your enemies’ shame prevents them from targeting you effectively, granting you and your allies concealment, and you and your allies gain a +1 bonus to hit for one round.
15-19: Above, and your enemies’ shame forces them to turn from you, granting you and your allies total concealment, and you and your allies gain an additional +1 bonus to hit for one round.
20-24: Above, and during this round, you and your allies automatically confirm any critical threats against evil foes.
25+: Above, and you and your allies deal an additional 1d6 holy damage against evil foes with each attack and overcome DR/evil automatically for the remainder of the encounter.
If you possess the feat Leadership, you gain a +4 bonus to this Charisma check. If you can turn undead, you can sacrifice a turn attempt to affect undead with this ability, even though undead would normally be immune to many of these effects. Also, you gain an additional +5 bonus on Intimidate checks made during a Duel of Wills; the benefits and penalties of defeating a participating opponent or a submitting opponent are now tripled; these benefits are quadrupled if you remain mounted in combat and possess the Mounted Combat feat.
Tier 4—Crusader
As long as your standard is borne in battle, you and your allies gain the benefits of a delayed damage pool. You and your allies do not immediately accrue damage until the end of each affected character’s next turn. In the mean time, for each five points of damage, you and your allies receive a +1 bonus to hit and damage until that damage is taken, up to a maximum of your tier level in Lionheart x 5hp, i.e. 20 hit points at tier 4. Alternately, a spellcaster can instantly take the damage in the pool to increase the caster level of a spell on his turn, even breaking the damage cap as a result, a number of levels equal to the damage in the pool, divided by 5. This ability has no effect outside of combat.

Hosanna—Powers: Exalted, Peace
Tier 1—Voice of Reason
Your words speak into the souls of others, regardless of language barriers. Once per encounter, as a full-round action, convey to your enemies the futility of their assaults. Although some enemies will not be reasoned with, some will. Make a Diplomacy check to influence their actions if they appear to be reasonable, and you can potentially alter their attitude toward you. Those who will not listen to reason are still affected by it, taking a -2 penalty on attack rolls against you, and you gain a +2 bonus on saves against abilities they use against you, for as long as you do not attack them. If you do happen to speak the creature’s native language, your Diplomacy check is made with a +4 bonus, and the penalty on attack rolls becomes -3 and your bonus to saves is +3. If you possess the feat Nimbus of Light (Book of Exalted Deeds), you can make this check as a standard action.
Tier 2—Hand of Mercy
When you deal nonlethal damage to your opponent, your opponent must make a Will save (DC 10 + 2x tier level +1/2 character level) or lose his resolve. He is treated as shaken for the remainder of the encounter. If you possess either of the feats—Subduing Strike or Nonlethal Substitution (Book of Exalted Deeds)—the penalties imposed for being shaken are doubled.
Tier 3—Ordained by Blood
Once per day, as a full-round action, you can activate a powerful, yet somewhat costly, ability. First, you must expend a vial of holy water, and second, you must take Constitution damage. Once activated, a rain of holy blood pours down onto the battlefield, regardless of whether or not you are exposed to the elements, in a 40-foot radius, centered on you, for three rounds. During this time, your allies recover a number of hit points equal to 1d4 per point of Constitution sacrificed per round, and enemies take 1d4 damage per point of Constitution sacrificed per round; undead and evil outsiders take 1d6 points, instead. A Reflex save (DC 10 + tier level + ½ character level) can be made for half damage. You can sacrifice a number of Constitution points equal to your character level. This Constitution damage persistently bleeds for one hour, not inflicting any additional damage, but preventing the Constitution damage from being healed for that hour. If you possess the feat Stigmata, you also heal your allies for an additional 1 point of damage per level they possess for each 2 points of Constitution damage you take, round down; also, each ally can make a new save against any disease affecting them with a sacred bonus equal to the amount of Constitution damage you took. For purposes of Voice of Reason, this does not constitute an attack.
Tier 4—Ascendance
Barriers and obstacles cannot keep you from your goal, nor can compulsions. You are perpetually under the effects of a protection from evil spell, and can act as though under a freedom of movement spell for a number of rounds equal to your tier level as a free action, per day. You can also use one of the following spell-like abilities, once per day: water walk, levitate, zone of truth, calm emotions, create food and water, remove disease, passwall

Apollo—Powers: Fire, Movement
Tier 1—Chariot of Fire
Flames lick your feet and that of your mounts, spurring you onward in your journeys without tiring you; furthermore, your spared energy from an easy sojourn give you an advantage in encounters. Overland travel for you and your allies is made at double speed. If you encounter a wandering monster, you can make a Survival check (DC 15 + monster’s CR) to surprise the monster. If you have the feat Track, you gain a +4 bonus on this check.
Tier 2—Fire Scion
All things of fire and light are enhanced in your hands. Fire or light spells and effects, as well as weapons with fire or light damage, deal their damage in the next larger damage die. Furthermore, you can enhance your melee or ranged attacks with fire damage, dealing an additional 1d4 fire damage per attack. (This damage—nor other fire damage provided by the Apollo Hero’s Path—is not enhanced by the Fire Scions ability.) Finally, light sources you wield or produce from spells increase their area of effect by 50%.
Tier 3—Fire Dance
Once per day, as a full-round action, fire wreathes your hands and feet, as you dance with the flames. You must be able to move at least 10 feet to use this ability, and can move up to your speed as a part of this ability. You can Tumble past or through enemy squares as part of this move, but must make the appropriate Tumble checks to do so. Make a Perform (dance) check, and consult the following for its effects:
0-9: The flames grant you a +2 AC bonus until the end of your next turn.
10-14: Above, and you can make a melee attack at the end of your dance, dealing an additional 1d6 fire damage. The AC bonus increases to +4. If you possess Improved Feint, you can make a feint action as a free action prior to striking with this attack.
15-19: Above, though your melee attack at the end of your dance has an additional +2 to hit, and deals another 1d6 fire damage. Flames trail behind you, dealing 1d4 fire damage to enemies you pass by. If you Tumble through an enemy square, he instead takes 2d4 damage.
20-24: Above, and you can make a ranged touch attack during your movement, dealing 3d6 fire damage. You can instead cast scorching ray—if prepared—at this point, gaining the larger damage die from Fire Scion. If you possess Shot on the Run, you can instead make two ranged touch attacks, each dealing 3d6 fire damage.
25+: You can instead use Nova Cyther—if able—at the end of the dance, instead of a melee attack, adding an additional +2d6 fire damage that cannot be resisted to the damage of Nova Cyther.
Tier 4—Nova Cyther
Once per day, you manifest the form of Apollo to teleport you behind your target. Your target is denied his Dexterity bonus to his AC, unless the opponent possesses four or more levels in a class which provides improved uncanny dodge more than the character’s total class levels. As you teleport, you grab your opponent with a touch attack (this does not provoke an attack of opportunity), with a bonus to your attack roll of two times your tier level (i.e. +8). If successful, you pour heavy nuclear damage into your opponent, devastating him. Your opponent takes 8d6 fire damage that cannot be resisted by normal fire resistance. Creatures immune to fire still take half damage. A Fortitude save (DC 10 + 2x tier level + ½ character level) reduces the damage by half. If you possess the Improved Grapple feat, you can instead engage your opponent in a grapple with this ability, adding +2 to the save DC, and dealing d8s for Nova Cyther’s damage, instead of d6s.

These Hero's Paths are untested, and are intended to be significant in their power at the 3rd and 4th tiers, representing the devotion of the character in his path of a hero, and encouraging its usage in the player's game plan.

I would love any input anyone would like to offer regarding these abilities, which would greatly benefit the campaign I have recently begun, and would love to hear how these might play out in other gamers' campaigns.

So, some months back, I heard about this wonderfully ridiculous title of a game, and saw a small screen shot that suggested a Devil May Cry-meets-Dead or Alive action game. So, I thought, what the heck, let's give it a try.

But there's a few caveats:

First, and most importantly, I recently replaced my XBox 360, and have had little problems, but this game (both copies I tried) froze during loading screens like no other game I've played before...and often just as I was about to finish a level. At least a dozen times since I got it almost a week ago. It's not always, but typically at least once during a play session for over an hour.

That aside, it's not exactly a revolutionary title, but in a way, that's its charm. I remember beat-em-ups from the PS2 like Bujingai and Blood Will Tell which were not exceptional in story or graphics, but were competent and enjoyable slash-n-bash action games. I have fun with just kicking back and beating up the bad guys till they're dead for a few hours. (That is, I enjoy playing for a few hours, during which time I beat up bad guys until they're dead...syntax...)

This is no different, and though the graphics are washed out, the characters look good (I mean, they have respectable detail, not perfect, but...) The cutscenes are enjoyably ridiculous, and the titled chapters are like great B-movie horror flick titles (mostly).

The loading in the game is ridiculously bad, though, and frequent. (And, this is when my game would be prone to freezing.) The little mini-game in it I think actually makes it take longer, or freezes the game! The levels would be fine, but you have to replay them like four times in a row, going back and forth opening gates, etc. That's kind of excessive.

I like the sword slashing, and the customization in leveling up, though the experience orbs drop much later than they should, as you're far away from them when they do manifest, typically. I think the best of it was the boss fight with the zombie killer whale, which is hysterical.

I'm not too disappointed by this game, because I didn't go into it with any raised expectations. But, for anyone considering buying this, keep the receipt handy.

This may sound wild, but...

I've recently been working on adapting psionics for a mid-level (6th-13th) level campaign set in a futuristic sci-fi setting, with futuristic weapons (like pulse rifles, and even grenade launchers, etc), practically eliminating the presence of magic (in all its myriad forms), and making the XPH races and humans the only available races.

What I mean might sound wild is, that since psionics occupy such an unusual role in D&D, in that it's in many ways functionally similar to magic, but rarely, if ever, supported in any published adventures, it tends to get swept under the rug as an oddity.

Well, why not take Pathfinder into outer space. Several planets have been mentioned over the course of GameMastery (Pathfinder) Modules and Pathfinder adventure paths. Seems like it could be a new...ahem, "undiscovered country" (couldn't resist) for 3.5 OGL D&D.

I'm sure this sounds like shadows of Spelljammer (which, I confess, I have no experience with), but it may be more interesting to set it in a futuristic time/space, and using some of the rarely used weapons (if only for a basis) mentioned in the Dungeon Master's Guide (p. 146) to give both psionics and space-RPGs a fresh feel. Plus, could tie in with Planet Stories, I suppose...

I've dubbed my own work in this vein "Planets & Powers", and have borrowed from numerous sci-fi sources, from Star Trek/Star Wars, Mass Effect, Aliens, and bits and pieces from here and there. While I should have had this done by this January, my brother got me "Hungry Are the Dead," so now I have to do a Darkmoon Vale campaign. Oh, well...maybe in a few months.

Still, I know it's a bit out of left field, but it could be a unique and exciting take on these unexplored realms of RPGs.

While I've not seen the Tome of Horrors entry for quicklings, I was wondering if Prig's stat block is accurate, when it lists his speed as being 240 ft., and his bonus to Jump check being +100. While I get that if his speed is indeed 240 ft, he would gain a +84 bonus to his Jump check from this alone, I guess the question his speed really 240 ft.? (Maybe that's why they call him a "quickling"?)

Presuming it is, I can't figure out how the PCs could catch him. Obviously, he's interested in taunting the PCs, more than a flat-out fight (thank God), but is he even supposed to be caught, or rather, defeated? My guess is that he is meant to lead the PCs to the Ice Carving area, wherein he "slips up" and loses his grasp over the witch ice shard. I suppose a lucky shot or a flubbed Reflex save from a fireball spell would do the trick, though.

While I'm looking forward to running this potentially chaotic encounter, I'll have to be quick with the dry erase markers, if--as I suspect--Prig is going to run laps around the carnival, giving the PCs a literal "run for their money".

One last thing, I noticed that Prig's fey dagger has a sleep effect attached to it, but here is no description as to the nature of the sleep effect in the stat block. Just wondering how this sleep effect functions.

...I'm just full of questions, today...

I was looking over the heroism spell, and noticed it is an enchantment (mind-affecting) spell. Would a character under the effects of the spell "mind blank", which reads, "this spell protects against all mind-affecting spells and effects" still get the benefits of a heroism spell, or is he out of luck, by having mind blank active when the spell was cast?

Hey guys,
Just wondering if anyone has looked at the spell "Ironguard" (p. 125) in the Spell Compendium. In particular, I was looking for some advice as to whether the spell, which reads, "metal items (including metal weapons) simply pass through you," would apply to all types of "metal" weapons, such as cold iron or silver, or if it just applies to non-typed weapons, such as regular or masterwork longswords.

Hey guys,
Just thought I'd offer a suggestion. I'm a fan of video games, and wouldn't mind sharing some thoughts regarding them on the site, especially how they relate to D&D, and other games of it's ilk. Is there any possibility of creating a tab on the messageboards for Video Games?


I was reading through the Enemies of My Enemy adventure (Dungeon #149), when I got to the beginning of the last column of p.69, which reads, "[Malcanthet's] eyes light on the PC with the lowest Charisma and she...drains 2 life energy levels...through a double strength succubus kiss...After she bestows 4 negative levels, she spends an additional round to grant her victim the effects of the Queen's Kiss, so she can observe her new champions from afar."
Now, the Queen's Kiss ability will allow her to use her demand spell-like ability on the PC, if need be, to force the PC to attempt to claim the title of Prince of Demons, as mentioned on p.94 of Dungeon #150, in "Prince of Demons".
Since the check to claim the title of Prince of Demons is modified by Charisma, I think if Malcanthet wished to have a hold on the (potential) new Prince of Demons, she would do well to bestow her Queen's Kiss not on a PC with the lowest Charisma, but on the one with the highest Charisma score.
Just a recommendation for other DMs when they get to this leg of the AP...

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A few weeks back, the party finally made their way to Scuttlecove. The name had been dropped several times throughout the campaign, but learning that Lavinia might be there was the final bump to get them to go. One of the PCs is a pirate who was betrayed, then killed, by Cold Captain Wyther, and was a co-founder of the Crimson Fleet (before it went to the worship of Demogorgon).

Another PC is a killoren who was from the island of Ruja, a place with (mostly) insanely high cliffs (iirc), which had at one time been assaulted by the Crimson Fleet and Seventh Coil. The killoren were made into slaves by the Seventh Coil, though only one has since survived, namely the PC. The killoren PC was introduced as the raid on Farshore commenced, originally dominated by the yuan-ti, but "miraculously freed" just in time to retaliate against his captors. Thus, this PC had an interest in destroying The Seventh.

Another PC was in love with Liamae, and although he attempted to remain in constant contact with her as they progressed into the jungles of the Isle of Dread and City of Broken Idols, was shocked to learn that he soon did not receive replies back. (He was an acquaintance with Noltus, as well, and knew that when the same happened to him, trouble was up.)

I preceded the adventure with a naval battle, as the PC who was once of the Crimson Fleet wanted to use the caravels still in Farshore to launch an assault. They encountered a band of the Crimson Fleet mutineers already in battle with the Crimson Fleet loyalists. (The loyalists also had a massive warship named the Belcheresk, which the crusader dimension doored under, smashed his way into, and fought of the taskmaster barbarian beating the drums, and the lemorian captain, as the tactical naval battle raged on.) The PCs met the mutineer's leader, a half-fey bard named Avlash Redlegs, whose fey qualities resembled that of a dragonfly. (I made the Black Sprite the ship belonging to the pirate PC back in the day.) He advised the heroes that he would distract any other Crimson Fleet ships defending Sekorvia, and would send coordinates to the PCs regarding the whereabouts of the Wreck when he felt it was safe.

The players recently completed Serpents of Scuttlecove, and it was loads of fun. The backdrop for Scuttlecove and the map were exceedingly useful for the adventure, as it gave the party the incentive to check out areas of the city, rather than just being railroaded into "go here, then go here". In fact, I really enjoyed how flexible this adventure was. The first combat at Red Foam Whaling was challenging to run, but introduced enemies that would permeate the whole adventure.

My only criticisms of the adventure were the placements of maps and stat blocks in correlation to the pertinent information for various rooms, or tactics. Maps were often on different pages, and stat blocks on others. I recommend using those post-it page markers if you've got them, otherwise, you might end up tearing your pages furiously scrambling to check the stats of various creatures involved in the combat (like I did, twice).

The PCs didn't even head to the Minting House, and that's fine as they were already ahead of the curve. It makes for a great optional encounter, by the way. What's funny is that they didn't even talk to Tyralandi until, wrecked the Wreck. Since they used a scroll of discern location to find Liamae, they went to save her, and stumbled into Harliss.

I did use her to introduce the PCs to the Protectorate, now much diminished by the ambush at Red Foam Whaling. A cleric on a mission of atonement from the Dawnhouse in Sasserine, also a surrogate father to the PC who knew Noltus, was there, and introduced him--and the others--to another religious individual, like him, who was on a quest for "atonement"...(Age of Worms spoiler follows)


None other than the former prince Zeech from the city of Alhaster in Redhand was present. This caused much shock in another PC, who was originally an orphan from Alhaster, once nobility in the city, forced to flee and forage for himself after the events at the end of Age of Worms. He had much hatred for Zeech, blaming him for leading Alhaster into destruction, even though he never even met him. This created a wonderful dynamic between the two. Zeech was still the arrogant bastard he was in AoW, but--long story short--has become as scion of law, emphasizing a dual-worship of Heironeous and Hextor. Apologetic to the Alhaster PC, he still belittles the other members of the Protectorate as cowards for not opposing the evils of Scuttlecove openly.

Another guest was an NPC from back in Sasserine, who had been brainwashed back then by Alma Talventa. Now a skilled battle dancer, she came to Alhaster on a vendetta against Kedward Bone (whom she has traced the drug trade in Sasserine to, and is thus responsible for being robbed of her dream of being a dancer, as Alma used these drugs to aid in the brainwashing). Again--long story short--she has assumed a disguise, posing as one of the heroes who ousted the Holy Triad, a devil-hunting assassin named Silverthorne, with the aid of none other than Tyralandi.

Harliss, in some ways adopting the role of leader of the Protectorate, informed the PCs that if they were to strike at the Crimson Fleet, they had better make plans to deal with the other factions in town, as they would surely rouse the others. In other words, the Seventh Coil, the Dealer's Consortium, and the Monks of Dire Hunger. (Interestingly enough, Harliss and "Silverthorne" have shown deference to the Porphyry House, as Tyralandi has greatly helped them both, and the half-fiend nymph stands to profit as a result.)

The battle in the Wreck went splendidly. I decided to shrink the Wreck slightly for the purposes of combat on a large scale. I had the crazies in the gibbets alert the pirates shortly after the combat with the death slaad. From the various huts, pirates emerged, then yuan-ti. Most of the pirates were armed with pistols, including weapon crystals I invented, which allowed for the pistols to magically hold more shots, and thus fire more rounds with a full attack. The mass combat played out over several rounds, topping off when the killoren PC launched fire at the hut with Vzorthys, who emerged quite agitated. (His flash DC was imposing, but the fight went wonderfully, using PC abilities well.)

From there, the party explored the individual ships, and discovered a few more pirates with a level of swordsage thrown on, then the orlath, et al. One of my favorite parts had the party fighting the Seventh at the onset, only to notice Wyther observing in darkness from afar. The ambitious PCs decided to attack him in the middle of the combat, only to find themselves fighting both at once. I gave him a maneuver I invented to make him even more dynamic. (Crimson Slide: as an immediate action, Wyther can dodge a ranged attack, and teleport up to thirty feet, leaving a red streak behind him, and deliver an attack with +2d6 dmg. Also, the foe is denied his Dex bonus to AC.)

Killing Wyther fulfilled the pirate PCs last requisite for unlocking his legacy weapon's greater abilities. (The "weapon" is an Olman ring once used to deliver Tlaloc's Tear into the depths of Golismorga.) Interestingly, the chapel to Demorgorgon afforded a spot for the crusader PC to unlock his last tier of Faithful Avenger's legacy abilites. (I substituted a goristro for the horned devil, as a horned devil makes no sense w/regeneration overcome by silver, and faithful avenger is cold iron. Buh?)

Gotta say, the treasury was amazing. The party was dumbfounded when they tried to get into it. (No breaking through lead-lined walls of force.) The yagnoloth Ghourgos was a great fight, and they were down two PCs, as a couple couldn't make it.

They just completed the sidequest at Kedward's Tower tonight. They first accompanied Silverthorne to Parts is Parts, intimidated Rhemus into providing info as to how to get into the tower via a secret underwater passage into the basement. Doing so, they let two other characters d-door in later. However, as Kedward had a greater anticipate teleport up, they were delayed, and thus alerted the wizard to their presence. The tower had Kedward's simulacrum first snipe them, along with triggering a "drugburst/burning hands" trap, effectively confusing Silverthorne, ironically. A fight with a few hamatulas (who I feel deserve higher CRs than 11) then led to Kedward.

Kedward, in typical villain fashion, revealed his whole drug empire was devoted to aiding in his devil patron, Mammon, and his rise to corrupting the souls of innocents. Kedward didn't last long, even with stone body active (Spell comp), but as he died, he completed the last sacrifical component to summon up a (CR 19) aspect of Mammon.

Mammon--and his bulk in the small tower--caused the whole structure to collapse under his weight, pinning individuals on lower floors beneath him. The crusader had to use a greater divine surge/swift restoration from Faithful Avenger to dish out severe damage to the aspect, who proved resilient, but ultimately capable of being overcome.

Next, they'll get to fight the monks of dire hunger, and their corrupted greater dusk giant barbarian 1/fighter 1 leader...with the aid of...(Age of Worms spoiler)

Prince Zeech!

Wow, I just saw this!

Really cool movie, for most of it. Fun, 80's musical numbers, "cool dude"-type hero, a young Diane Lane (grrrrowl!), all directed and co-written by Walter Hill (The Warriors, 48 HRS).

Some scenes are really DOA, like every scene with Rick Moranis whining; but many are loads of fun, like every Pat Benatar-esque song w/Diane Lane on stage. And plenty of bizarre dialogue.

Willam (sp?) Defoe plays--guess what?--the bad guy leader of a gang of 50s-styled bikers. When he's hanging out at his HQ, a bar called "Torchy's", he runs around in this black leather apron/smock that makes him look like a gay butcher. His fight with the hero at the end is funny. First, they use picks, or hammers, I'm not sure, with some really bad stunt choreography, but the fist fight afterwards is pretty good.

Overall, the whole thing's kinda like Purple Rain. Cheesy, campy, but loads of popcorn-noshing fun.

So one of my players, playing an artificer in the campaign, was stumbling through the DMG, looking for more crunk to outfit the party with, courtesy of his obscene crafting capabilities. (Last time I let an artificer approach the Magic Item Compendium carte blanche.)

Nevertheless, my player (and brother) pointed out a potential item he could craft that he thought might make for an interesting "weapon": the Mirror of Opposition. As a high-level artificer fully capable of "faking" the necessary spells for the item, it is well within his reach--at least by the time he intends to use it.

See, he told me his plan was to use the mirror of opposition against Demogorgon--the inevitable BBEG by this point--hoping that by creating an exact duplicate (no save/no SR) when he looks into the mirror, they will find themselves with a surprising "ally".

Although not one to refute a clever plan, I had experience with rules cracking against the penultimate BBEG in AoW (long story, very painful, lol), and just said "no". He argued (amicably) that he would even hang the thing from an immovable rod when the time came, and admitted that the whole thing was just a wistful throwback to 2nd Ed.

But I started thinking. Because of Demogorgon's duality, and the fact that each of his two sides has their own separate clones already--Bagromar and the other one--even if he were subjected, what would be the result? Would one of the clones emerge? Might Demogorgon's control over tanar'ri come into play, backfiring the plan? Who knows? But I thought it was fascinating enough of a query to open to discussion.


...What happened to my pants?


(Posts may only be in the form of a question.)

--Alex Trebek (known for speaking in parentheses)--

My PCs just finished one of the first of many encounters in Taboo Temple, and emerged victorious against the skinwalker tribe. After they acquired the gear, they were amazed at how much stuff they claimed.

However, my brother (one of the players, who usually handles treasure) asked about the doses of violet fungus venom found on the bodies. He looked through the DMG to find its value, but couldn't. (He told me this today when he was at work, and I was at home--he took the DMG with him.) So I scoured on the web for info about the value of the poison, as I couldn't find it in an appendix for the City of Broken Idols adventure.

Surprisingly, I couldn't turn up a lick of info on its value. So I guess my question is, how much is a dose of the poison worth, and if it's value has seen print, where did I miss it?

My players have just felled the (relatively easy) aboleth, N'Glothnoru, and discovered the likelihood of dozens of kopru in Golismorga from the ancient demon fish, along with the presence of Tlaloc's Tear. They've learned that Tlaloc's Tear is what is anchoring the Cerulean Curtain, and is keeping the water out of Golismorga, where they now know the kopru have been harvesting the bilestone for production of the shadow pearls.

However, the PCs also know that Tlaloc's Tear may be the only thing keeping the aboleth from reclaiming Golismorga, with one of the PCs being an Olman descendent, feeling obligated to retaining the Tear his ancestors died to create. (Slight story variant: Tlaloc's Tear was not dropped through a drilled hole from far above, but delivered by several Olman using magic rings allowing them to breathe water and navigate the flooded Underdark, of which the same character possesses one of these rings as a legacy item.) In addition, my overconfident players are not quite balking at the idea of somehow taking on dozens of kopru at once, overpowered as they may be.

So, my question is, how important--short of providing a distraction to get into Holashner's Ziggurat--is destroying Tlaloc's Tear? I can only assume the kopru have left it alone as it keeps the aboleths out, thus their concern at its destruction. But would destroying it really have any other benefit than bringing dozens of aboleths back home, thus sparking a conflict between the aquatic denizens of the Isle's Underdark?

If--as unlikely of a plausible solution as it is--my players do manage to avoid Tlaloc's Tear, and defeat the kopru denizens--even if by hit-and-run tactics--of the Ziggurat, would it not be better for the potential future of the Isle of Dread? After all, if the aboleths are not there, and neither are the kopru, then it's unlikely that any serious problems would arise from Golismorga. On the other hand, perhaps the aboleths provide a counterbalance of power to other races that might find a use for Golismorga and its resources, as the kopru have.

In order to drive my players toward considering destroying the Tear to prevent a future calamity, I have to convince them that allowing the aboleths to return is the lesser of two evils. I plan on having Rakis-Ka the devourer make himself a sage to the party as they enter Golismorga, in the hopes of persuading them to destroy the Tear, and also avoid a potentially huge mass combat.

I'd love to hear some thoughts or advice on how to handle this sticky choice with a minimal of railroading.

I'd just like to give my thanks to Stephen S. Greer and Gary Holian for creating the perfect "sandbox" environment with their contribution to the Savage Tide Adventure Path: Tides of Dread. (For those who are unfamiliar with the term "sandbox", it is a term--to my knowledge--generally used in video games, indicating a style of non-linear, open-ended, or free roaming gameplay, such as GTA.)

Upon reaching Farshore, the party was forced to contend with the pirates from Rat's End. Even in this multi-faceted "encounter", the players were allowed to make an unparalleled amount of input as to how they should confront the raid, deciding that splitting up would be the best way, for purposes of time, primarily. Not only did splitting up actually help, but it ensured that each player felt that they were contributing to saving Farshore in some varied way.

But the real treat was to follow, when the heroes learned that they had only six weeks (I shortened it) to prepare the town's defenses against the invasion by the Crimson Fleet. As they surveyed the town, they desperately tried to figure out how to spend their time wisely, including an interest they had in hunting down "The Infamous Seven".

They spent the first two weeks in town, attempting to bolster the militia, the palisade, watchtowers, and even discover the thief in the warehouse. Knowing they only had so much time, they even enlisted the Jade Ravens to secure the safety of Temute Island, by handling a couple of the "adventure" options mentioned in the backdrop. (Absolutely stunning backdrop for context, adventure hooks, and establishing the town, by the way.) The next week and a half--our last Friday's session--they spent visiting Tanaroa and securing a route to and from the tar pits, while en route to the shrine of Zotzilaha. Next, they plan to repair the Sea Wyvern, and I expect them to be able to secure the rakasta weapons by the time the invasion hits.

I'm already anticipating that this adventure may become my favorite in the path, because it does what I've rarely seen any other adventure do with great success; that is, giving the players genuine freedom to plot their own course through the adventure, and not have to deal with an imbalance of challenges.

Also, special thanks to Nicolas Logue for the Savage Tidings article in Dragon 352: Braving the Isle of Dread. While highly informative for the PCs in guiding them very thoroughly through how to handle the upcoming invasion--all while remaining spoiler-free--it also provided a portion at the end about the Infamous Seven. The descriptions and bold titles immediately conjured images of the "Weapons" from Final Fantasy VII in the minds of most of my players, which spurred them to try to claim their hides as trophies, and encourage the inhabitants of Farshore with their bravery. I was, of course, obliged to craft the other five [even though I did "boost" Temauhti-tecuani to a 31 HD behemoth with 395 (remaining) hp and Awesome Blow (mmm...tar)] for my gregarious players.

I did decide to make Xiureksor not just a very old green dragon, but an evolved dracolich, as well. Hopefully, the evolved skeletal and zombie young adult green dragons in her lair will give my PCs the hint not to come back until much later. ;)

So, thanks for the creative boost, and here's to the Isle of Dread!

So my players were checking out Savage Tidings for Dragon 352, and discovered a section on page 77 about The Infamous Seven, (some of) the deadliest monsters on the Isle of Dread, or at least some of the most legendary.

This got them thinking they'd like to go hunting these behemoths, after settling into Farshore. (They're still at the end of HTBM, so I kept my wry smile to myself.)

But it did get me thinking that if ToD offers many possibilities to build Victory Points for the upcoming battle, couldn't rallying Olman natives under the banner of the legendary hunters of The Infamous Seven have a similar effect? Sure! And, my bloodthirsty players get to fight devastating "hidden bosses" of (mostly) my own design. (Albeit, Emraag the Glutton and Temauhti-tecuani have seen print in their appropriate sections of the AP, but five yet remain.)

Since I don't yet have a Monster Manual III (Baaragrauth is supposed to be a dragon eel, and they come from that book), I started with Burbalarg, the gargantuan shambling mound of Blackfen Swamp.

For your amusement...

Burbalarg CR 14
advanced shambling mound
N Gargantuan plant
Monster Manual 222
Init -1; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; low-light vision; Listen +10, Spot +0
AC 27 (-4 size, -1 Dex, +22 natural), touch 5, flat-footed 27
Hp 434 (28 HD)
Resist fire 10
Immune electricity
Fort +26 Ref +7 Will +8
Spd 20 ft.; swim 20 ft.
Melee* 2 slams +21 (6d6+23/19-20)
Space 20 ft.; Reach 20 ft.
Base Atk +21; Grp +46
Atk Options improved grab, constrict (4d6+7), Power Attack
*10-point Power Attack
Abilities Str 37, Dex 8, Con 30, Int 7, Wis 10, Cha 9
Feats Improved Critical (slam), Improved Natural Armor (4), Improved Natural Attack (slam), Improved Toughness (+1 hp/HD), Power Attack, Skill Focus (hide) Weapon Focus (slam)
Skills Hide +12*, Listen +10, Move Silently +10
Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, a shambler must hit with both slam attacks. It can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. If it wins the grapple check, it establishes a hold and can constrict.
Constrict (Ex): A shambler deal 4d6+7 points of damage with a successful grapple check.
Immune to Electricity (Ex): Shamblers take no damage from electricity. Instead, any electricity attack (such as shocking grasp or lightning bolt) used against a shambler temporarily grants it 1d4 points of Constitution. The shambler loses these points at the rate of 1 per hour.
Skills: Shamblers have a +4 racial bonus on Hide, Listen, and Move Silently checks. *They have a +12 racial bonus on Hide checks when in a swampy or forested area.

...and you can be sure a lightning storm will breakout mid-fight, smacking Burbalarg up with up to 56 more hit points. :)

I'd love to hear if any other DMs have played around with this portion of the Isle of Dread, also.

Of course, this is bound to hearken to the old argument of flavor vs. crunch. (That is, should an NPC baddie have skills/feats/abilities/equipment that make sense for that character to have, regardless of the applicability of them in their--potentially--only ever encounter, or should they be optimized to the teeth, and hope that the players never question how this diabolical lich managed to surround himself with so many golems without the Craft Construct feat?)

But I digress. I'm a bit for the crunch, myself, and am interested in seeing how different people may have "bumped-up" the difficulty of different encounters throughout the STAP.

First off, I'm flipping through "Prince of Demons", and I get to the awesome Gromsfed the Drowned. Killer. A wicked pic, to boot. But then I see it: 185 hit points. Sure he's got a terrifying array of abilities, but I'm thinking he needs a little boost.

Then it hits me: Unholy Toughness. This ability gives undead bonus hit points equal to their Charisma modifier times their Hit Dice, or another 168 hit points, putting him up to 353 hit points. Ahh, there's a challenge for a party of 20th-level heroes.

Yeah, I know this is just one example--and a bit of a cheesy one, I'll admit--but I'd love to here more.

Well, my players are on the cusp of HTBM, and have I got a surprise for them.
One of the things I like to do is advance monsters on the fly to provide an extra challenge. Of course, Olangru will not be spared, though I'm quite pleased by how he turned out. He's CR 11, and should terrify them to no end. So, without further ado, here's a krunked-out version of an already wonderful enemy.

Turbo Olangru CR 11
Bar-lgura scout 5/fighter 1
CE Medium outsider (chaotic, evil, extraplanar, tanar’ri)
Initiative +7; Senses darkvision 60ft.; Listen +15, Spot +15
Languages: Abyssal, Celestial, Common, Draconic; telepathy 100 ft.
AC 29, touch 18, flat-footed 29; Dodge, Mobility, skirmish (+1 AC), Improved Skirmish (+2 AC), uncanny dodge
HP: 127; DR 10/cold iron or good
Immune: electricity, poison
Resist: acid 10, cold 10, fire 10; SR 22
Fort: +15, Ref +16, Will +8; evasion
Speed: 60 ft., climb 20 ft.; Run, chronocharm of the horizon walker
Melee* 2 claws +16 (1d6+10) and bite +11 (1d6+6)
Base Atk: +10; Grp +18
Atk Options: Power Attack, Spring Attack, pounce, skirmish (+2d6), Improved Skirmish
Special Actions: abduction, summon tanar’ri
Combat Gear: chronocharm of the horizon walker (1/day, move ½ land speed as a swift action)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 12th)
At will—darkness, cause fear (DC 14), dispel magic, greater teleport (DC 20), see invisibility, telekinesis (DC 18)
2/day—disguise self (DC 14), invisibility, major image (DC 16)
*2-point Power Attack
Abilities Str 26 Dex 23 Con 20 Int 13 Wis 12, Cha 16
SQ battle fortitude (+1), fast movement, trackless step, trapfinding
Feats: Dodge, Improved Skirmish, Improved Toughness, Mobility, Power Attack, Run, Spring Attack
Skills: Balance +22, Climb +31, Hide +24, Intimidate +18, Jump +40, Listen +15, Move Silently +20, Spot +15, Tumble +22
Possessions: combat gear, bracers of armor +2, boots of striding and springing, cloak of resistance +1, ring of entropic deflection (if Olangru moves at least 10 feet, ranged attacks have a 20% miss chance against him; if he has an item that grants a bonus to speed [boots of striding and springing], the miss chance increases to 50%) , ring of protection +2
Abduction (Su): A bar-lgura can use greater teleport to transport other creatures. It can bring up to one Large or two Medium or smaller creatures with it each time it teleports. It can teleport unwilling targets as well, although an unwilling victim can attempt a DC 20 Will save to resist being transported. The DC is Charisma-based.
Battle Fortitude (Ex): At 2nd level, a scout gains a +1 competence bonus on Fortitude saves and initiative checks. A scout loses this ability when wearing medium or heavy armor or when carrying a medium or heavy load.
Pounce (Ex): If a bar-lgura charges a foe, it can make a full attack.
Skirmish (Ex): A 5th-level scout deals an extra 2d6 points of damage on all attacks and a +1 competence bonus to Armor Class during any round in which he moves at least 10 feet. The extra damage applies only to attacks taken during the scout’s turn, and only against living creatures that have a discernable anatomy. Undead, constructs, oozes, plants, incorporeal creatures, and creatures immune to extra damage from critical hits are not vulnerable to this additional damage. The scout must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. Scouts can apply this extra damage to ranged attacks made while skirmishing, but only if the target is within 30 feet. A scout loses this ability when wearing medium or heavy armor and when carrying a medium or heavy load.
Summon Tanar’ri (Sp): 1/day, a bar-lgura can attempt to summon another bar-lgura with a 35% chance of success. This is the equivalent of a 2nd-level spell (CL 12th).
Improved Skirmish: This feat allows Olangru the ability to deal +2d6 skirmish damage and gain an additional +2 competence bonus to AC when moving 20 or more feet in a round.
Improved Toughness: This feat grants Olangru one additional hit point per hit die.
Skills: A bar-lgura gains a +4 racial bonus on Hide checks and a +10 racial bonus on Jump checks.

Well, it was sure to happen...

One of my PCs got himself offed last gaming session. (Ironically, in a side quest of my own design, but enough of that.) Anyway, while the party as made the effort to seek out Lady Annah Teraknia of the Church of Wee Jas to raise him--they had done so prior for Kora Whistlegap in an act of exceptional philanthropy--he was sure to lose some experience, or at least the level, for the raise dead spell. He was cool with that, but later, a thought occured to me.

With Dungeon #149 now on the stands, and Charon's stat block just staring me in the face, I had the idea that upon a character's death, that character would find themselves face to face with Charon. Perhaps the two meet in Hades, but I'm more inclined to make it the Abyss for this character, as he has a very shady past involved in piracy. (His own back story makes assertions that he was the co-founder of the Crimson Fleet with Cold Captain Wyther, who betrayed him.)

At this point, across the planes, the call to his soul to return to be raised comes out. Well, in this situation, I see raise dead's loss of a level as being Charon's "portion of the recipient's soul" which he takes in lieu of its entirety. Thus, every individual who is raised by raise dead is, in effect, bestowing his portion of his soul unto The Ferryman.

Here in lies the interesting part. I think it might be fascinating if, with a stat block in hand, that if the character "refused" to part with that portion of his soul, Charon would come after the character, looking to take what's his. Therefore, I came to the conclusion that if such a character tried such a bold act in front of an immortal creature, he faced its wrath, as the effect of raise dead was in progress.

So in short, the idea I have is that a character who dies, and is raised by a means which would not ordinarily prevent loss of level will confront Charon. Unless they choose to willingly part with their experience/level, they could fight him, or rather, just try to stay alive until such time that the raise spell "took effect", i.e. say, one round per character level. If the character survives, he gets to keep his experience et al, and is raised as well. If not, Charon takes the experience/level, and then departs with his due; the character is raised, but with the usual penalty.

This does pose the problem that although raising a character is an expensive venture, I believe my players are a little too attached to their characters. Thus, they will strive to keep them alive. (Good luck on the Isle of Dread, I know.) But that said, I'm wondering if using this strategy, if anyone can think of a way to more appropriately adjudicate Charon's abilities, so that the character doesn't have to roll a nat 20 on any given save to have any chance, whatsoever. Or, should I just have Charon mercilessly pummel him, and instill a sense of fear over this figure sure to rear his head at the end of the campaign?

Well, thanks to my overwhelming need to bleed all the adventure potential out of Sasserine before my players bid it farewell (with the exception of the new adventure in #149...thank you, Dungeon!) my players are going to be 6th-level, or maybe 7th by the time they start SWW.

So, I noticed that this article--great as it is--does not have the "how to scale the adventure", with respect to PCs of higher levels than 5th. I was wondering, did anyone have any recommendations as to what to do to "kick it up a notch", and make the adventure one of reasonable challenge for my PCs?

Ideas so far include advancing the flotsam ooze (though I wonder if the +1 CR per 4HD is accurate for this creature), giving Lars "No-Neck" Helvur another level of fighter or two (or even swapping fighter/rogue for swordsage, or some mix), adding a second gibbering mouther in area 2 of Tamoachan, advancing Sutolore, increasing the number of vine horrors, and giving the Mother of All the half-fiend template.

Can't wait to run this one, though. The plant and animal creature types get well-earned love!

I was surprised when, after gaming, one of my players asked if he could acquire Lavinia as a cohort. My interest was piqued primarily because the player usually doesn't like extra paperwork to deal with, but I soon realized that because her level throughout the path is conducive to this kind of situation, I haven't been able to think of a really good reason why he shouldn't be able to do so, mechanically speaking.

However, I am concerned, because Lavinia spends almost all of Sea Wyvern's Wake on the Blue Nixie, Here There Be Monsters over in Farshore, is probably busy with the election during Tides of Dread (haven't read through it as significantly, yet), and is kidnapped during Serpents of Scuttlecove. She's even absent during most of Into The Maw. So, is this just one instance where I should recommend that the PC avoid trying to employ his employer, or is this the kind of thing that, with a little imagination, might just be crazy enough to work?

Since I've been DMing the STAP, I've noticed that many adventures bear a "cinematic"-adventure feel. Of note, in "The Sea Wyvern's Wake", Richard Pett suggests in his bio to "treat yourself to a viewing of...Aliens, and learn more from the classic 'against the odds' monster movie,"

regarding the sargasso.
Personally, I felt "The Fog" to be more akin to the feel of the aforementioned spoiler-bound scene, but all the same, it suggests that various movies may have a particular kinship to this AP.

I'd be interested in hearing from others involved in this AP what movies have become ingrained with the feel of the game, or have influenced DMs--and players--in their games.

Since the Diamond Lake backdrop in #124 for Age of Worms, I've found the backdrops in the adventure paths to be some of the most inspiring articles pertaining to a campaign that I've ever read. In Age of Worms, I made it a point for my players to feel that they could explore the city--or section of it, in the case with Midnight's Muddle--in any way they saw fit, even if it took a hook or two to get'em to bite.

Sasserine's been no different, and I've already outlined several side quests for my players to explore at their leisure. Just last night, one of my overzealous players went back to explore the Kellani Manor, having just defeated Rowyn. (He's previously been involved with the Kellani's--particularly Rowyn--in his back story, and that was a lot of fun to write.)

Our eager beaver, a pirate-y warlock by the name of Zatara, went to snoop around the estate, hoping to get an idea of what Heldrath Kellani's involvement might have been. (In the Lotus Dragons' Guildhall, I marked the Kellani Estate on the map found in D28 with a blue pin and gold pin. My PCs assumed that Heldrath was the "puppet master" for the guild.) Bluffing his way in, he confronted Heldrath, letting it slip that he was responsible for her daughter's defeat. (Heldrath Kellani was a rogue 4/aristocrat 2, who was on an upper landing in a wheelchair; she was attended by a mute half-elven eunuch in a formal suit, monk 4, named Vyth. Thanks to Mike McArtor's ninja from Dungeon #129's editorial.) She bluffed in such a way that Zatara could not see what she was doing next...drawing out a musket from behind her, ordering Vyth to get that scalywag!

Vyth leapt into the air, though missed the warlock with his deadly flying kick. Zatara withdrew, one guard on him already too slow to take an attack of opportunity. Still, as he made for the gate, passing another guard, he ducked just behind the estate walls, before a bullet hit where his head would've been. The guard at the front turned to him, and stabbed him for max damage. Now, Zatara's many things, but unfortunately, being capable of resisting damage isn't one of them. Soon, the other guard and Vyth were on him, and he was knocked unconscious, the last thing he heard before slipping into the inky darkness of sleep was Heldrath shouting, "Now, we've got something to play with."

The other party members, now quite concerned at Zatara's long absence--he did point out where he was heading, and what he was up to prior--went to inquire at the Estate about him. The guards failed to conceal that they were anxious, and one left to "announce" them. Vyth, who had been keeping an eye on Zatara, saw that he was using his eldritch powers to try to get out of the rope binding and gag that was adhering him to a rack in a secret basement torture room, as he regained consciousness. Vyth fled through a secret staircase to retrieve Heldrath, who descended in her own secret elevator, musket on the warlock. Just then, the other guard descended, informing Heldrath that the "others" she mentioned were here. Heldrath instructed them to lead them into the trap, and that she and Vyth would be up soon. She left her other two guards to torture Zatara to death. (Running these two scenarios simultaneously at the same table was a boat load of fun.)

The guards led the other four party members into a greenhouse, where they were assaulted not just by the same two guards, but by an assassin vine. As this combat was going on, Zatara, who had been stripped naked before being bound, asked the two guards who were about to kill him (one with the rack, the other with a spear should he resist) if he could die with some dignity and have his pants back. (His pants had a Healer's Belt attatched; he only had two hit points left). He bluffed, they complied. The battle overhead continued, as Vyth and Heldrath took up an ambush position on the same landing above as before, Vyth ready to leap down, and Heldrath to fire on any foes racing out of the greenhouse. (No PCs knew of this tactic.) The other party members swiftly laid waste to one of the guards and the vine, the other remained to harass them.

Below, Zatara needed to be free to aid his allies, so he bluffed to send one of the guys up to aid his buddies, the noise of his allies screams becoming more desperate. The guy at the rack left, as the one with the spear stayed on him, turning away for a second to see his ally leave. Zatara seized the opportunity, frying his face with his briny eldritch blast in one shot. He quickly escaped the ropes, and had scant seconds to run upstairs to aid his allies. His equipment on a table was laid out, but he would have had to waste a round to get fully equipped. I said he could grab 1d4 items, and run upstairs. During this time, the other guard charged into melee with the party, assisting his ally, and blocking their passage.

As soon as Zatara raced up the secret staircase--now healed with his belt--he caught sight of the pair laying in wait to ambush his allies. He shouted to draw attention, calling her an "old bag", which prompted her and Vyth to focus their attention on him. While the other four were mowing down the guards, Vyth and Heldrath joined in on the initiative with Zatara, all moving very close together. Vyth rolled a nat 20 on a Jump check, swinging from the chandelier, and plowing his foot into Zatara's skull. Zatara, staggered at zero, acted next, desperately using (defensively, barely) his Gloves of Eldritch Admixture to give his eldritch blast (already 2d6) another +4d6 of cold. (Both this item and Healer's Belt are from the Magic Item Compendium, and were crafted by the party artificer.) Heldrath, with only 23hp, was frozen with 25pts of damage. She slipped from her wheelchair, dropping her musket, and shattering like an ice sculpture as she landed. Vyth threw his hands up in the air, and a Sense Motive determined that he was surrendering.


It was a load of fun, and I'm glad that the staff at Dungeon has put such incredible detail in Sasserine, thus making a side quest like this possible. I have loads of hooks already lined up for this backdrop, and have been dangling them in front of my party for some time already.

For this backdrop, I've been using movies (mostly horror movies) as heavy influences for the side quests. Hopefully, some of my movie-savvy players will dig the references. If they bite, they're sure to see side quests featuring them doing battle with villains like Errix Vorn, Gerialar Divalean, Captain Shadwick, and Alma Telvanta, inspired by movies like Phantasm, Name of the Rose, The Departed, and Suspiria, respectively.

I'm eager to find if any other DMs running Savage Tide have come up with any other exciting side quests featuring these characters, or even side quests outside of Sasserine.

Well, my players just finished playing through TINH, particularly the Lotus Dragons' Guildhall...and they're soon to embark upon a quest to smite whomever in Sasserine provided the subterranean rogues their cornered market on soggy doors and confined passageways.

If I could make a suggestion to other DMs running TINH, reduce--if not eliminate--the need to make a Strength check to open the closed doors when the guild is on alert, by making only a select few stick...say, six or so. Also, I would do away with adding any doors which lead to specifically empty rooms, or rather rooms which have no descriptive text.

Don't get me wrong. As a DM, I loved the verisimilitude in scale to Sasserine's street level and the construction of a seedy, underground thieves' lair, as well as the confined--and, therefore, more challenging--encounter spaces (mostly). It was mostly a response on the majority of my players that prompts me to suggest to other DMs to give the Lotus Dragons' Guildhall a onceover, and see if their players will dig the nonstop attempts to break down doors, some of which lead to no specific advancement.

Another major recommendation I would make regarding the encounter with Rowyn would be to expand the size of her room to at least 20 ft x 20 ft. With five players in my group, and her and Gut Tugger, the room was packed and she was surrounded before the fight began.

Again, this is not a criticism of the adventure--though one of my players who ran through Into Wormcrawl Fissure made eerie comparisons--but a suggestion for others to gauge how much time busting in will take, and if your party's truly up for a confined dungeon crawl.

The Rhagodessa is a rather potent creature introduced in the first adventure of the Savage Tide (There Is No Honor). But I do have a few questions I was hoping someone could answer for me regarding how they play.

The first being how their full attacks function in conjunction with their pedipalps. The description for their improved grab says that if they hit with a pedipalp attack, they can attempt to start a grapple as a free action...and can make a bite attack as a free action, with a +4 bonus. My questions arise from here.

First, can they use their improved grab against creatures of medium size (or larger, theoretically) with their pedipalps, or are they too subject to the restriction that it can only be used on a smaller creature? (I believe this restriction comes from the improved grab description in the Monster Manual.) In a way, this question can apply to the ravenous zombie pirates to follow in this adventure, and their improved grab (bite).

Second, if they make a full attack action, hit with a pedipalp, follow it with a successful grapple, and then bite attack, can they continue with their full attack action? Is their full attack action canceled by starting a grapple? If not, does this mean that it can make up to three bite attacks a round with a full action, provided that each pedipalp hits, and that by winning the grapple check for improved grab, it is allowed to make a bite attack as a free action?

Finally, does the +4 bonus that the rhagodessa gains for making a bite attack following a successful grapple help to negate the -4 penalty that usually follows making an attack in a grapple, or do the rhagodessas somehow supercede this penalty? (Penalty to hit with natural weapon listed under Grapple in PHB.)

Again, I absolutely love these original creatures--especially considering they are vermin, and always useful--that help to represent the brutal spirit of the Savage Tide Adventure Path. If anyone could help me (and others) to clear up these questions, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Has anyone noticed that the Savage Tide Adventure Path is shaping up to contain a significant amount of "cheesecake"?

To explain, Serpents of Scuttlecove just came out, and I'm noticing a continuing trend amongst the female NPCs that they are (mostly) all tough and hot...well, er, vixens! (Thank you, Russ Meyer.)

We have, as a running total:

Lavinia Vanderboren (truly the "goodie two-shoes" of the batch)
Rowyn Kellani (my favorite, and the first fiery femme fatale)
Harliss Javell (brassy, raven-haired, and competent beyond most men)
Tyralandi (half-fiend nymph...nuff said)

That's not even mentioning other "hotties", like Liamae Teslikaria or Amella Venkalie. Also, we're sure to see the seductive succubi queens, like Shami-Amourae and Malcanthet.

So, what's the deal, Paizo? Are we going to see a "Sasserine Swimsuit Spectacular" on your list of releases? ;-)

So next week, my players will fight Dragotha. They cleaned out the Tabernacle's lower level, with great ease, in fact. Venk was blinded, and Zyrith hit with fugue (stunned him). The avolakia clerics got an electric-substituted meteor swarm/quickened fireball, et al. Mahuudril got the old time stop/elec and acid-subbed delayed blast fireball trick, followed with an empowered orb of fire. The wormdrake rolled a nat one on a save for destruction. Hmm...not as challenging as I foresaw.

So, they've got that upper level, with a few nightcrawlers, and Dragotha, hanging on to a few avolakia clerics for assistance. The party went back to Zulshyn's to rest/identify gear, and level all four PCs to 21st. I warned them that they might be giving Dragotha time to prepare.

In the previous adventure's BBEG fight, Brazzemal was sent to another plane. The party went to his Aerie in Wormcrawl--not knowing what it was--and were attacked yet again by the dragon, advanced to a wyrm. Well, at fifteen hit points, he teleported away, and the group decided he learned his lesson. (In fact, I was going to leave it at that, but I think you can see where this is going...)

Even though Brazzemal practically let the party destroy Dragotha's phylactery, Dragotha's probably gonna need some help against four epic--and highly prepared--heroes, especially with Balakarde nullifying much of his power. Should I re-re-introduce this CR 24 dragon into the fight, side by side with Dragotha?

I was planning on having him teleport in at the other end of the upper level, nearer to area 16. That way, if the party decides to run out of the Writhing Sanctum where Dragotha is situated, they find themselves sandwiched between two dragons. Is this too evil, even for a party with high damage output that seems to scoff at the enemies that dare cross its path? Or is this a rare opportunity to truly scare them with a nasty dragon/dracolich combo, one they may remember for the rest of their lives?

When my players made peaceful contact with Zulshyn in Wormcrawl Fissure, she offered them the use of one of her apocalypse golems (advanced stained glass golems). Well, for those who've played the PS2 game "Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne" like me, the images of the four riders from the game came right to mind. So, I made a few alterations, and offered them up as replicated versions of the fiends. For those like-minded, I briefly statted out their differences from the standard apocalypse golems. See what you think.

War/Red Rider
Wields longsword for same damage, but threat range of 17-20/x2.
Terrorblade (Su): Once every 1d4 rounds, War may unleash a cone (30ft.) of chaotic glass that can confuse its victims, as the spell confusion for 1d3 rounds. The glass deals 10d6 damage (piercing) with Reflex save for half (DC 28). A successful save negates the confusion. The save is Wisdom-based. Replace Prismatic Spray with Terror Blade.

Death/Pale Rider
Wields a scythe for same damage, but with threat range of 19-20/x4.

Famine/White Rider
Wields a longbow with range of 90 feet; can still make one rake in melee, or fire one arrow at range, for same damage as rake, with threat range of 19-20/x3.
Horse of Many Eyes (Ex): Famine cannot be flanked and is never surprised. Gains a +20 bonus on Spot checks.
God’s Bow (Su): Famine’s arrows overcome any damage reduction, except epic. It even overcomes flat DR.
Famine does not possess Prismatic Spray.

Pestilence/Black Rider
Pestilence possesses the following spell-like abilities: enervation, knock, darkness—at will, cone of cold (DC 20), avasculate (Spell Comp, p.19) (DC 22)—3/day. Pestilence uses Wisdom for these spell-like abilities’ saves. Replace Prismatic Spray with these abilities.
Pestilence has a Wisdom of 21. This give him a Will save of +16, and Spot and Listen checks of +5
Glacial Drain (Su): For each three points of cold damage that Pestilence would take, it instead heals one point of damage.

My PCs are about to descend into the depths of Wormcrawl Fissure, and approach the Tabernacle of Worms. I got a good look at its defenses, and wonder if anyone has come up with a reasonably efficient way of making their way through the tabernacle.

The Wormdoors: By all accounts, the knock spell seems to be the only real way of getting through them, without risk of bashing the heck out of them. But the front doors in particular are likely impossible to beat down, without serious tenacity, not even considering the looming overworm.

Manifesting Kyuss worms: I noticed that many--if not all--examples of interaction with the Kyuss worms are treated as if the PC had attempted to pass through a wall. Since the examples discuss the worms "materializing" in the victims body, can one infer that the other instances are examples of the worms materializing in the same way, as well? (For example, room 4 indicates that the walls, floor, etc, are seething with worms, and that without a successful save, the victims are treated as having become infested as though they passed through one of the walls.)

Openings: are there any exterior openings other than the doors into/out of the Tabernacle? I haven't seen one, but was momentarily led to believe so after the description of room 3.

Summoning/Conjuring and teleport: Obviously, the unhallowed halls keep good summoned/conjured creatures from entering the halls. Does this keep them from teleporting in? I'm sure it does, but I'm fuzzy on Zulshyn. Since she is not summoned/conjured, I'm sure she's fine, but as a (good, extraplanar) outsider, I was just double-checking. Furthermore, although our party diviner has no problem relaying a message to Zulshyn at the time she is likely to join them, is there any penalty for her to teleport there, having not actually seen the locale? (Surely not, if Balakarde could do it.)

I hope these aren't taken as criticisms. I think that the Tabernacle of Worms is--simply put--the best fortress I have ever seen, and is a tribute to Dragotha and Kyuss' legacy. I am wondering how my players will consider breaching it, if they're having a less-than-clever night tonight.

There was a two-fold reason for me starting this thread. First, my players are at the tail (no pun intended) end of the adventure, and are having a heap of fun. Second, I just noticed the thread "Kings of the Rift errors", and I didn't even notice the occasional mechanical error, as I had been wrapped up in the scope of a magnificent siege in progress.

Personally, I love the role of the carrion crawlers in the adventure. For a low-level worm-like classic D&D baddie not to make an appearance in the Age of Worms would be heresy. While not actually encountered as a typical foe, the crawlers--in the role of the crawler loads--flesh out Kongen-Thulnir's state at an implied level. The crawler loads show that the giants are on the losing end of the siege for sure, if their primary offensive trick is something to which all of the beseiging dragons are immune. (That's how I read it in my own campaign). But it also illustrates a kind of crude barbarism (i.e. low-tech, low-magic) in their strategies that seems befitting of giants at large.

And the encounters! For a campaign which has relatively little to do with dragons or giants, these archetypal foes get their due in this adventure. I felt both creature types were represented admirably, and in the span of only a single adventure, at that! Even though the giants have complex names, they are beginning to be spoken by my players at regular intervals. (In truth, I expanded the scope of the political intrigue within the three tribes of giants, by adding an assassination of Achiame Silvereye by a fellow giant.) Last night, our party fought the Mother Worm (bumped up to CR 22, w/51HD, 844hp, fast healing 20, etc...insert Tim Allen's grunt from Home Improvement here,) Xyzanth, Vercinabex Tor, Wilmot, Bagg (yep), and had time to unravel a murder mystery. And there's more to come.

While I was edgy that my players, who approached Kongen-Thulnir from the top of the cliff overlooking the city, decided to teleport directly to the Citadel of Weeping Dragons, (no secrets, even with a DC 30 caster level check, can be kept from our party's super diviner), I was afraid I'd lose the chance to run all of these encounters. But with the fitting characterizations of the unique giants, they have been able to discern where and how to go next...letting me still get my money's worth from every encounter.

After reading the issue, prior to beginning the adventure, I showed my players a scene from Apocalypse Now (the part where Kilgore flys his helicopter calvary over the Vietnamese village, while playing Wagner's "Ride of the Valkryies") to give them an overall sense of the siege. The effect mirrored dozens of dragons laying waste to the home of the giants excellently.

I could go on about each individual encounter, and how stellar each one ran, but I urge those who haven't had the chance to play out this adventure, do so, as it is a wonderful "smash-and-grab", with so much more.

A while back, almost immediately when I started the AoW campaign, I had the idea of making a soundtrack for it. I eventually made one, and gave my players all cds with issue #124's cover--the image by Wayne Reynolds--as the cd art. It came out pretty nice, if I do say so.

I was wondering if any other DMs had done something similar to this. I went with mostly rock songs, with an odd one here and there--seemed appropriate w/a rock band adopting the name of the main antagonist in AoW, namely Kyuss. So, here's the track list I went with:

Age of Worms Soundtrack
1: “Dirty Black Summer”—Danzig
2: “Immigrant Song”—Led Zeppelin
3: “The Chain”—Fleetwood Mac
4: “Ring of Fire”—Johnny Cash
5: “Gimme Danger”—Iggy & The Stooges
6: “Negative Creep”—Nirvana
7: “Wave of Mutilation”—Pixies
8: “Voodoo Chile”—Jimi Hendrix
9: “Colossal”—Wolfmother
10: “Carry on Till Tomorrow”—Badfinger
11: “Bad Moon Rising”—Creedence Clearwater Revival
12: “Waiting for the Worms”—Pink Floyd
13: “Whiter Shade of Pale”—Procol Harum
14: “Infra-Red”—Placebo
15: “The Supermen”—David Bowie
16: “The Ride of the Valkyries”—Wagner
17: “Black Hole Sun”—Soundgarden
18: “Cities on Flame With Rock & Roll”—Blue Oyster Cult
19: “I’m Not”—Kyuss
20: “Epic”—Faith No More

I'm already looking at the end of the Age of Worms adventure path closing in on my gaming group, and while I'd like to jump into the next adventure path, I've been toying with the idea of an epic epilogue for the players to try.

One of the ideas that's been in the forefront for me has been having the Age of Worms be a millenia-devised conspiracy between the demon lords--or archdevils, maybe--that was used as a cover for another prophecy. The idea is that the fiends circulated the Age of Worms prophecy to get everyone girded up for an apocalypse of sorts, only to find themselves distracted from other signs of the true end times to the hand of the demon lords! It would allow me to put my Fiendish Codex to use on that front.

Another idea concerns none other than Iuz, but more specifically his empire. With Redhand now under the control of good-aligned PCs, Iuz takes advantage of the political instability, and goes to war. The PCs must deal with sustaining the struggling nation, while warding off attacks from their neighbors and more.

I'd love to hear if any other DMs have had the same thought, and what theirs were.