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tivadar27 wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:

I like the new bard for what it is: a spellcasting class that can also buff the entire party at the same time. I dislike the bard for what it isn't anymore: A class that can hang in there with some of the fighting types while also doing a bit of spellcasting and being good at a variety of skills.

I don't think the new bard is a bad class, but it should be viewed similar to "enchanter" in a lot of other games, and not be viewed through the lens of what it was/is in other editions. Something was lost, and I miss it, but I don't poo-poo the 2e bard either.

Yeah, you said that 9 months ago and it didn't make any sense then, and it doesn't make any sense now. PF2 bards are closer in accuracy to PF2 martials than PF1 bards were to PF1 martials. And multiclassing is now a viable option for casters unlike PF1. Go Champion and you can get heavy armor proficiency without worrying about arcane spell failure, plus some other sweet defensive boons like Lay on Hands.

As for skills, the bard gets more skills trained than anyone but the rogue (and probably the Investigator in a few months) and have a variety of muses and class feats to further buff those skills. Versatile Performance alone lets you effectively get the benefits of 3 legendary skills at the price of 1.

They are better at "hanging in there with some of the fighting types" and are still plenty good at a variety of skills.

The two people above you seem to disagree with you... And given the new bounded accuracy, what you're saying isn't really true. Sure, a bard is only 3 less to hit than a ranger, and 5 than a fighter, but that's also true for a wizard... Bards are no better martials than any of the pure caster classes in this edition.

Yes, I said this 9 months ago. Nothing's changed... It's possible that the APG adds a subclass for bards that focuses on the martial aspects (skald or the like), but for now, what I said remains true.

Except the bard does get better proficiencies than say wizard and sorcerer. That said, I think you do have a point with the tighter math at the moment that the decrease in accuracy makes a bigger difference. Of course, that will likely change a bit over time, but that's an entirely different issue.

I think that tthe bard is likely to have a bigger issue with bulk than anything unless they really plan for it from the start. They can of course pump Str, but that's then likely to be at the expense of dex which makes all those skills a little less effective too.

Honestly though, I don't see this as a huge problem. The fact that there are things that any given bard can't do well isn't a problem. That's the way it should be. Same for every other class. A class should have its strengths and its weaknesses. The "knock" in my opinion, with bards is that a lot of what they do really focuses around buffing and debuffing, which while quite effective, isn't always the most entertaining style of play for a player. But then I've got a player I've played with for 20 years now and he's never played any kind of caster, so there's always certain aspects of any class that won't appeal to some people.

To me, the trick to enjoying the bard, as mentioned by others, is to figure out what your goal is and then build toward that goal. Knowing your goal will point you to the proper class selections.

Castlilliano makes a good point. I should note that it wasn't my intention to never engage in offense, but rather was just acknowledging that I would be looking at doing a fair amount of support. Quite frankly doing pure support 100% of the time would likely, in my opinion, be boring. As such, I really do appreciate the advice, especially since I'm still wrapping my head around the new ruleset. I've been DM'ing Kingmaker for years now but hadn't even cracked PF2 before about a week ago and man is it a different system!

Won't deny that the familiar/talk to animals is appealing and may be particularly useful. I'm going to have to take a look at the familiar section since that was not initially on my radar.

Leshy could be interesting, but doesn't really fit my particular taste, but does sound like a cool concept.

And see, right here is what I'm talking about! Two very good options and well articulated lol!

We haven't even gotten to Human yet which can get pretty dang skill monkey-ish too between heritage and level 1 feat. I like all these options! Hmmm, wonder if the GM will let me play two bards, lol!

To piggyback on what Claxon and Alyran are saying, you can think of the final boss battle as occurring over multiple stages. He doesn't need to simply change forms (though that's certainly a good way to go from one stage to another). As an example:

Stage 1: Relatively straight forward encounter in the "throne room". Boss is there with a number of minions, maybe some traps or other "turret like" effects helping him out. As the Stage 1 boss is about to go down . . .

Stage 2: Boss teleports/flies/whatever out of the area, leading the party on a chase. This can be a bit difficult at higher levels since the party may well have access to abilities to limit this type of thing (I'm pretty new to PF2, though fairly familiar with PF1). The chase has them running through the castle/fortress/lava caverns/whathaveyou all the while the boss and/or his minions are peppering the party. Its unlikely to kill the party at this point, but the idea is to weaken them, consume some of their resources, etc.

Stage 3: The Boss gets to inner sanctum/secret spawning pool/etc. Stepping onto the magical platform heals and transforms the boss to its new form, giving him new attacks, resistances, and bonuses, etc. But maybe this time he's alone, etc.

Wash, Rinse, Repeat as necessary but be careful about doing it too much or it may feel as though you are simply making the players wait for their victory (i.e. "Yeah, we're going to win, but not until the GM 'lets' us")

I'm actually getting a chance to be a player for a change (instead of the GM like normal) and have decided to embrace the largely support role of a Bard for a variety of reasons. Now, the only problem is that while I have been playing RPGs for over two decades now, this will be my first foray into PF2, so I'm still flipping through the book trying to get my bearings on the rules, etc.

So with that said, my goal is to be the support player and a bit of a skill monkey (not sure yet if anyone is picking up rogue). What are your favorite ancestries for a Bard? We'll be playing an AP but don't want to divulge which so as not to generate bias based on knowledge of the AP (i.e. I don't want spoilers lol). My thoughts:

Gnome/Halfling: The most obvious choices (along with Goblin which I don't want to play). Gnome probably a little bit better given the extra language and the extra hit points, though both are likely to become less and less important over time. Gnome does offer more flexibility in ability boosts though since it automatically gets Cha as opposed to halfling requiring you to use the free boost on it.

Elf: Not as obvious but still strong. The penalty to Con hurts but with luck, I shouldn't be targeted overly often.

Human: Typically strong, but not as many initial boosts, but also no penalties.

Really, it seems like a lot comes down to the ancestry feats and that's the part that has me struggling as trying to wrap my head around those while still learning all the spells, feats, skills, etc. is a bit of a challenge.

What ancestries do you like? Does one offer particularly strong feat choices for a support/skill role? Initial plan would be to probably start with Maestro Muse and pick up Polymath at level 2, but frankly, I'm likely to want to pump into all the social skills anyway, even with the polymath benefit since its still somewhat situational.

As always, any help is greatly appreciated!

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RobRendell wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
In my game a PC stayed to keep the Kankerata distracted, and another cast levitate on a Centaur to get them out. The den is really a morality test.

Ok - that's cool. I hope they earned some bonus Trust Points for stopping and helping their opponents out of a sticky situation :)

Yeah I didn't really think of it as a morality test (though in hindsight that seems pretty obvious) but I certainly did give them some bonuses for helping the centaur out.

RobRendell wrote:

For anyone who has run Dudemeister's Kankerata Run - how did the centaurs manage Kankerata's Den (location 6)?

In general, the centaurs in my game did not do too well in the Run. For this location though, one made the check and one initially failed. A couple of PCs also failed and they helped fight off Kankerata so that all three could escape.

No problem, happy to help.

"Five Minute Workday" refers to exactly what you said, more or less. Essentially having only 1 encounter in a day, after which you rest. Much of the AP, especially as written (i.e. not adding additional content) has them exploring large tracts of land where they may be only a single encounter in a given hex. They'll then be able to rest afterward. Some of the dungeons or other locations might get a bit dicey in some places without a beefy melee fighter, but the players might come up with some clever solutions.

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Absolutely. A lot will depend on how they build their characters, etc. but as you know, most of the AP revolves around the 5 minute work day, and by the time they get to the tougher, longer drawn out dungeons, they should be able to summon in help, have followers that can help, etc.

At most, you may want to monitor how the combats go and potentially alter some fights in order to make them more suited, but honestly, I'd say its more up to them to figure out how to survive in the wilderness.

With my group, with where their saves are, they almost all had at least a 45-50% chance of making the save, so still likely that someone would make it under normal conditions.

The real kicker for the encounter though is the trap preceding it, which my party failed to notice, and then triggered, and then rolled poorly on. As it was, I still had 2 of 6 make the save. But yes, its definitely got the potential to be extremely deadly and is more reminiscent of a lot of older school games. I certainly don't have a problem with GMs modifying it and you definitely need to know your group.

I personally never really saw Jhod as the type that would actively fight against the party. Rather, he'd be content to have his temple and grow the church from there. However, there's no reason that he would need to help the party either.

My players used Jhod a lot early on as a source of healing/spells and ultimately put him on the council. In your scenario, I'd see Jhod as a "Thanks, but no thanks." kind of guy. He'll stay out in his temple and honor Erastil that way. Now, if you want some kind of confrontation there, I could see the PCs eventually expanding the kingdom out to where his temple is and Jhod, and presumably now a sizable section of followers, saying "No way! Leave us alone!" You could have a bit of a conflict there if you wanted -- though lets face it, its unlikely to go well for Jhod and his crew at that point.

All that said though, this is your campaign. You can very much make Jhod a holy avenger if you want. Heck, in my game I gave him a couple of levels of druid as a means of helping the party out early on.

Thanks for the reply! This helps a lot and makes me feel far more comfortable going forward!

So when creating/modifying monsters how much do things like immunity and resistance etc., affect CR?

The question is because in my current game I have an upcoming villain who has been dabbling in technology, both magical and mechanical. The idea I had was that as part of his dabbling he's been mucking around with golems and trying to create the "perfect" golem. He's been trying to combine the various types of golems with the hopeful (though likely not entirely fulfilled) end goal of creating a golem with all of the benefits of multiple golem types without any of their weaknesses. The idea would be to combine say Clay, Iron and Stone golems to get their advantages (and any healing from certain damage types) without suffering the susceptibility to slow and the like.

Now obviously you would start with the highest CR of the three and go up from there, but not sure how much that would affect CR. It would start with the base stats of the highest CR for instance. I obviously don't want to make it too powerful for the party level.

Anyway, any help would be much appreciated!

The orc fighter (York) has caught wind that some barbarians to the north and west of the kingdom are searching for an ancient weapon, but its winter and the party is interested in focusing on kingdom building, crafting items, etc. York tries to convince some members of the party to go searching with him.

York: Hey Ronni! We should really go check out the barbarians over there, wanna come?
Ronni (Cohort of Joseph, being played by Joseph's player): Well, I don't go out adventuring, I just oversee things here in the capitol. You'd have to ask Joseph.
York: Ok, I go find Joseph!
Me: No problem, he's still in the city.
York: Joseph, you want to go check out those barbarians???
Joseph: No.

Don't know how I missed this the first time around, but dangit if I ain't stealing it! :)

For me, the most important thing as a GM is to remember the Rule of Cool. If its cool, then its generally ok. On top of that, you always have Rule 0 to fall back on too.

So in sum, I'd say do it because its cool and doesn't in any way break the game.

Canarr wrote:

Thanks. I'm okay with glass cannons, but they should have an actual chance of doing damage before going down. A single critter vs. a party is always going to have a hard time, but this thing depends a lot on the players not using that single level one spell. And my party's cleric uses that a lot...

Yeah in that case, you may want to bundle it with something else, or really make certain you are able to ambush the party at an opportune time, etc. The one good thing here is that V is watching the party for some time thanks to his familiar, so he would likely be aware of that particular tactic and would plan accordingly.

I believe you are correct. The soul eaters are the proverbial "glass canons". They have the potential to be extremely damaging/deadly, but if approached well by the party, they can also be beat down pretty quickly.

For my group I used the advanced soul eater from the 6 player conversion due to party size, but I also made sure that the first one hit the party at night. When they were sleeping. Its damage really does depend upon the victim failing her saves, so it does kinda feel ok as a glass canon type critter.

My group never thought to try Protection from Evil on them though.

Cenorin wrote:
Gargs454 wrote:
My party takes a trip to Restov when they want to access higher priced items...

That's what my group has been doing so far, but according to VV, Restov itself has a base value of 12,800gp and follows the same model of magic item generation. It seems like the author's intent is that the PC's capital is a better place to find magic items by the end of the campaign.

Improving magic items in Restov is also a bit complicated, since the PCs would need to either stick around or leave their equipment there to be modified.

Yeah for me, I am ignoring the gp base value for Restov (though it hasn't been a big issue yet since we just finished VV). I do though sometimes make them wait for the items as the merchant either needs to craft it or order it from somewhere else.

You are right about having to leave the items with the merchants for upgrade purposes. Its a cost-benefit analysis for the party. That said, in our campaign, I've had a fair amount of contact between Restov and the party (as well as many of the Noble Houses), so sticking around in Restov for a period of time isn't always a problem. Of course, as they ask for bigger and bigger upgrades, that time frame will increase. It has worked well with our group since it reinforces the isolated nature while still allowing them access to the items they need/want.

Now that said, much of KM, particularly as written, will enable your party to get by with a bit lower level gear than normal because there are a lot of "5 minute adventuring days". They would still run into problems though in a few of the dungeons.

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My party takes a trip to Restov when they want to access higher priced items. For me, this works well as it still allows access to a wider variety of items, but also reinforces the fact that they are very much a fledgling kingdom. They've had a few run-ins with Surtova too, so it also keeps them a bit humble so to speak.

Even then, if they want a specific item, I still roll to see if its available in Restov or if a merchant has to put in a request. There's enough down time in KM that making the PCs make a second trip to the big city isn't a huge problem.

So looking through the thread, it seems that perhaps my group was just well equipped for Vordakai? Thinking about it a bit, I can see where a group that lacks a paladin or monk, or someone with a magical blunt weapon might struggle more. Though I do still think that his spell selection is a bit lackluster -- especially considering he's encountered on his own.

In a similar vein, I find the wizard in Drelev to be just an annoying speed bump. He won't really trouble any party at that level. In and of itself, that might not be a bad thing though if you are looking to just have an easy encounter tossed in there. Plus, its not as though he's the BBEG.

One thing that would be good to consider for the new version though is that I imagine most groups are likely to largely abandon the Hexploration by book 3 or certainly book 4. Its pretty cool early on, but rapidly becomes redundant. To that extent, perhaps come up with a few other ways for the group to earn XP (assuming the DM isn't leveling them up as needed without XP).

Canarr wrote:

Adding to 6), even though that may be going beyond this thread: I find the Flash of Insight ability way overpowered. Basically a Crit on demand, for a creature that already deals a ton of damage? Where's the fun in that?

The campaign I'm running is still in RRR, but I'm already planning to change Flash of Insight into something defensive - maybe a 50% miss chance for a number of attacks per day, or the ability to negate a crit per day, something like that. Give the cyclops more staying power, without the risk of one-shotting my PCs.

On a more general note, the AP would greatly benefit from more interaction with the Kingdom's neighbors. As written, neither Varnhold nor Drelev are actually a Kingdom on par with the players', Mivon isn't even a footnote, and Brevoy only very occasionally rears its head. There is a lot of potential lost here for a great political/military campaign.

Just a quick point that flash of insight only really guarantees a potential crit. The confirm roll, as I understand it, would still need to be made. For the standard undead cyclopes in the adventure, this wasn't a huge deal as they mostly failed their confirm rolls anyway, even using the advanced template for the 6 player conversion. For the graveknight though, its a legitimate concern, but does admittedly go a bit beyond the scope of the thread (even though I brought it up) since that was community created material, not published inclusion.

Of course, every group is different, so your players might end up with lower ACs than mine did due to class selection, feats, items, etc., in which case the flash of insight could be a bigger problem. Vordekai's melee touch is a bit more problematic with flash of insight as well, but the flip side to that is the damage is almost non-existent. The real threat there is the potential permanent paralysis, but at the same time there's multiple opportunities in the adventure itself for the PCs to get access to Freedom of Movement without even considering prepared spells.

Brother Fen wrote:

It breaks down into about four parts.

Part one involves learning of the shadow fey problem as they take over Zobeck which you can switch with a city of your choice.

Part two is the shortest and involves making the journey through the shadow road to the courts of the shadow fey.

Part three involves the PC's arrival at the court and their slow rise in status through dueling and alliances.

Part four involves the feast, the firebird chase and petitioning the queen.

The final section which is an extension of the previous one involves confronting the Moonlit King.

Some parts can be left out relatively easily, but part three can be rather time-consuming as it may take some trial and error as the PCs get caught up in courtly intrigue and try to raise their status enough to gain an audience with the queen.

Good to know, thanks! I'll be downloading this shortly and giving it a read through. Might need to get a bit creative and/or streamline, but definitely sounds interesting. Fortunately I have some time to figure it out. We're missing our next, biweekly session and the party just knocked off V so there's going to be probably at least a session or two of dealing with the fallout (they are still in the throne room since we ended with the monk plucking out his own eye) and then kingdom building. In the end, I am looking for something to fit in between VV and B4B just because I know the party will be skipping much of the B4B, but I will report back on what I figure out!

Brother Fen wrote:

It's easy enough to adjust the CR by adding more creatures. The main problem with using it in Kingmaker without dropping another book entirely is that it's not a one-shot. It's a rather involved sandbox which can take up quite a bit of time. At a weekly, then bi-weekly pace, I think it took me about 18 months to run the adventure in its entirety, but I did not skip anything and ran every possible scenario involved.

A good GM could probably speed it up by changing the status rewards/penalties, but it will take some work to modify.

Thanks for the quick response. I doubt I would run it in its entirety, though I don't mind running a chunk of it since I figure a lot of B4B will be essentially cut by the players. It also sounds like a nice change of pace after the dungeon crawl at the end of VV and what will more or less amount to dungeon crawls in Drelev and Armag's Tomb. Looks like I'll give it a good read through and see what can easily be plucked. Our group tends to progress pretty slowly anyway given that we do a lot of "beer and pretzels" and then miss a number of sessions due to our assorted schedules.

Just curious how this has worked out for others, and how easily it could be adjusted up a few levels? I'm asking because my party just killed Vordakai and I'm looking for something to toss in before Blood for Blood. Main reason being that my party is pretty much done with the whole hexploration thing. They didn't really do it in VV, and I can't say I blame them. I have already run much of Felnight, so this does feel like it could mesh in fairly easy -- even if I lop off big chunks. Might be good to use to get them up at least one level to 11 before sending them to Drelev, then assuming they clear Drelev, they can be 12 when they go after Armag.

Name: Bernard
Race: Human
Classes/Level: Paladin 9
Adventure: Varnhold Vanishing
Location: Vordakai's Tomb
Catalyst: Graveknight
The Gory Details: The party had trekked through Vordakai's tomb looking for their missing party member (arcanist had wandered off after being reduced to 1 Wis and been captured). After fighting the water elemental off, the party opened the door to confront Vordakai. Opening the door the saw their missing party member strung up in chains and a large, armored foe. A voice boomed that party was meddling where they did not belong and that they should leave but they did not listen and ventured in further. The Graveknight (I have 6 PCs) rushed forward toward the paladin and Flash of Insight + Smite Good + Power Attack saw poor Bernard slice from his right shoulder down to his left hip where he fell in a pool of his own blood and entrails.

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Alright, my group is only halfway through at the moment, having just finished of Vordakai on Saturday. That said, a few thoughts.

1). As noted, the one encounter a day thing is very prevalent here and as a result a lot of the fixed encounters become pushovers. One thing that could potentially be done is to clarify the expected ability gen system. I notice that a lot of groups tend to use 20 point buy, but I think the "default" was 15 if I'm not mistaken. That makes a big difference.

2). Perhaps each adventure could have a few notes about "ramping up the difficulty" if needed? I know that word counts are a thing, but something to help GMs out might not be bad. This could potentially tie into a 6 player conversion (see the threads on here) as well.

3). Hargulka definitely needs some help as noted already.

4). Cephal Laurentus in Varnhold Vanishing was an absolute pushover. His spells don't really do anything and he's a lone caster that is likely going up against a 9th level party. He needs . . . something. Of course, the occasional "easy" encounter, especially in a dungeon, isn't a terrible thing either.

5). Vordakai. Its interesting seeing people's descriptions here. I think this fight is a classic "boom or bust" type of fight. Either Vordakai is going to devastate the party, or he's going to be a pushover. In my game, he was pretty much a pushover. His spells were largely dependent on a failed save to do much of anything. Worse, they were mostly Will saves, which uses the same stat as perception, and thus, gets bumped by a lot of savvy players. I think my party averaged about a +11 on their Will saves, making the saves pretty easy. The result was he was pretty much dependent on his melee touch attack, but was pretty easy to pin in.

His DR can be a great help. Unless of course the party has a monk or paladin. Mine had both. So yeah, my party was pretty well set up for the fight, which is fine, but its just something to keep in mind. I think perhaps a better fight might have been to make him more of a battlefield controller with more minion support. That way his abilities are not so closely tied to the failure of the PCs to make their saves. Also, having him use one of his precious 5th level spell slots on a quickened shield seems like a really questionable decision. He's smart enough to know that the PCs are in his tomb long before they reach him. He's smart enough therefore to be watching/waiting for them. So just have him buff up right before the PCs open the door. He's going to know that they are fighting the elemental presumably anyway. If need be, and frankly it makes sense, his familiar can be hanging out invisible out there (rework V's spells if need be).

Additionally, he's a lich. Even atrophied, he's still really intelligent. More traps littered throughout his tomb would be good. Symbols of Pain, that sort of thing. Not anything that necessarily will kill the party, but enough to use up some more of their resources. More roving dread zombies. Paladins love using their smite evil, and getting them to use them up before they reach Vordekai definitely changes things up.

Finally, I get the atrophied part. He has to be. You can't have a 20th level lich going against a 9th level party. However, I don't like the whole "Oh, he's 9th level now, so you don't have to worry about him coming back." Granted, as GM I can, and will, make it so that he is able to come back, but the threat should be there. I also like the spell dump that comes with his spellbook, but his book should absolutely be warded. A lich is not going to leave his spellbook unprotected.

6). Sticking with Vordakai for a moment, while I think his spell list could be reworked to be a bit more reliable, I just wanted to make a note about the 6 player conversion presented on the forums. The Graveknight definitely helps make the fight far more interesting and deadly for a larger party (I had 6 PCs at the time of my fight), but he a) has the chance to outshine Vordakai (my party largely ignored V because the knight was the bigger threat, especially as none of V's spells were going through) and b) he is particularly deadly as written: Flash of Insight + high strength + axe + power attack + smite good = one shot kill at 9th level. Which is what happened to one of the characters in my group. My group is pretty old school, so they were cool with it, but just a warning for others. I think my suggestions above of making him more a battlefield controller with good minions that have a variety of offensive options (kind of like an adventuring party) would go a long way to making him way more memorable. Of course, a group without bludgeoning attacks or without a paladin will have had a lot tougher time with him. I understand that.

7) Just a general thing. I think there should be something in the modules along the lines of "the clock is always ticking" and making the antagonists more proactive. As written, they all just sit around and wait for the party to show up.

8) Going further beyond the scope of the AP here. At the very least, some more notes about the fate of Brevoy would be good. Something as to what the Civil War entails. Who is aligned with who? The Venture Capital thread provides some great potential for entangling the new kingdom in the affairs of Brevoy should they choose to do so. I realize you can't dedicate a ton of space to it, but something would be nice just to point GMs in the right direction.

9) Finally (for now), there is a super cool hook dangling in the introduction to the campaign. Skywatch. Then, nothing. Absolutely nothing. In many respects, the mystery of Skywatch is even more compelling than Varnhold. I'm making my own stuff for my campaign, which is fine, but even just a few ideas would be helpful. Ultimately, I think a good challenge for Kingmaker (given that the nature of the campaign often makes the combats cake walks) would be presenting the party with more plot lines than they have the time to address. Combine that with "the clock is always ticking" and you may have some complications arise from the sheer fact that the party can't address every little thing. This also adds a certain amount of realism to the campaign as well. A leader of a nation quite naturally has to decide what is and isn't worth her time and then deal with the consequences of that decision later.

Sorry for the long post and I know it strays a bit from the request. All in all though, I have to say that I absolutely love this AP even with some of the flaws that have been noted.

Spatula wrote:
I thought energy damage wasn't multiplied on a crit. So it would be 9d6+90 + 3d6 fire, average 125. Which would still probably kill most characters at that level. But smart PCs will have breath of life handy, because instant deaths will happen around this point, and going forward.

Yeah, you're right, I had missed that part, but still plenty deadly . . . as the paladin found out. Sadly for the paladin, cleric didn't have Breath of Life because he had memorized Raised dead instead since they had list a different party member the day before.

One minor note, Vordakai, as written, already has Mage Armor cast upon himself, so the bracers of armor +4 do not actually add to his AC as they are both armor bonuses.

So it seems the old forum topic on this got lost in the shuffle. Or at least the link to it no longer works.

Anyway, my question revolves around the final encounter with the Graveknight. While I like the addition of a bodyguard to this encounter a lot, I'm a bit concerned at the potential damage output of the knight.

If I'm reading this correctly, with his Flash of Insight, he can Smite Good with a guaranteed Crit Threat while power attacking at 3d6 + 30, plus 3d6 fire, which equates, essentially to 18d6 + 90 if he confirms (albeit 9d6 of it is fire). Even the +90 is likely to drop anyone, with a good chance of outright killing them. The variable damage then averages out to another 56 points.

So 1) Has anyone run this conversion and 2) What did you do/How did it go? I like the idea of upping the challenge for the party obviously, but I'm just afraid that might be a bit much. Frankly, if I were a player and I saw a PC take 146 points from a single weapon attack, I'd be running.

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I'm not sure I would have fully taken away his spellcasting right away like that, but that is neither here nor there.

You are in a bit of a pickle because by punishing the cleric, Desna (i.e. you) is also punishing the party. That said, I agree with Lord Foul. Have her revisit him and let him know that he has strayed dangerously from her path, but that she still believes in his potential. If the party has not yet located the Temple of the Elk, making it a temple of Desna is a great chance for his redemption. She can drop hints of a lost holy site of hers in the woods. More to the point, she not only suggests he reestablish said temple, but to help she gives him back his spells.

As the dream starts to fade though, she leaves him with a final message. "We are not defined by the mistakes we make, but rather by whether or not we learn from them. I believe you have the capacity to learn, do not prove me wrong."

Edit to add: For extra motivation for him, while giving his spells back, don't let him see the stars just yet. Thats a good sign he's still being watched carefully.

Lord Foul II wrote:

One simple thing you could use is the spellcasting is the boss

He can scry and he can summon daemons and he can cast guards and wards

Yup. Big V is pretty familiar with my party. They never did anything to ward off his familiar (not that they knew it was a familiar, but I digress). They are exploring the tomb now and have had some difficulties. The soul eaters did a number on the party and the arcanist wandered off as a result of having a Wis of 1 and got himself captured (back to back crits by the piscodaemon). I had V take special interest in the arcanist an so the arcanist is currently running a modified Xamanthe while they look for him.

The final encounter is about the only challenging one left for the party, so we'll see what happens. They should, hopefully, get there this weekend!

I ended up letting them notice it at the door. Makes sense since the door is the trigger. But just curious how others would have ruled.

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Can't help you personally on the new ruleset, but I don't see any problem with asking Kingmaker specific PF2 rules questions here. Just know that obviously a lot of the people here ran/are running it under PF1.

As for where to go, I think you already have a good start. You can probably keep a lot of the same monsters, just give them stats that are identical or very similar to the published monsters in the new bestiary. So you can still call mites, mites, but instead you are largely using goblin stats, etc. I'm assuming you are already familiar with the assorted Venture Capital and Dudemeister threads which offer great ideas as well. Most important piece of advice though is to have fun!

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Zi Mishkal wrote:

Not actually an encounter - but the overall map. It would be great if you could (a) resolve it with respect to the rest of the world (b) orient it so that north is "up" and (c) include a little more of the borderlands so that players have a much better idea as to where they are with respect to Brevoy, Mivon and Pitax. This last in particular as the stolen lands map actually overlaps Mivon when you orient it onto a regional map.

Many people worked on this problem in the past decade. My solution is here and you are free to use it, whole or in part. That would be sufficient for adventures in the Stolen Lands

A larger, regional map might look something like this. In our campaign, I added an extra book (Book 5.5?) in the area to the east as the PCs explored a lost Taldan colony with a sinister secret. It also gave the PCs an interestting alternative to trading west - trading east to Casmaron! And you can see how a larger map works and helps out the GM by quantifying the landscape. It would also be useful for narrating a Brevic civil war or trips to Iobaria.

So much this. The maps are incredibly annoying as published.

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Indraea wrote:
My interpretation had been 'no', but reading the rules as written, it does say to "choose a third Kingdom attribute" at size 101+, and if you can't take the same attribute multiple times, then there's no choice for a third attribute. Therefore, it appears that, as written, the answer is 'yes', even though that doesn't feel correct/intended.

There are three attributes though (Stability, Loyalty, Economy). You just add Cha to each.

For me, since it says a "second attribute" and a "third attribute" I would say you have to add it to each, not doubling or tripling up on one.

In area W12, there is the Stygian Fires trap that is triggered by opening the door on one side. It's bypassed by lighting the fires and donating blood. My question is, where do the PCs need to search in order to detect the trap? The door? The altars? Either?

Obviously this is one that could easily be ruled differently by different GMs, but just curious what others have done.

Just curious as to what you did with Skywatch? I think this is one of the cooler mysteries in the AP, but unfortunately there is nothing more said about it after the first mention. I too am trying to lay hooks for Skywatch for my party and thus, would love to see what others have done.

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Warped Savant wrote:
Gargs454 wrote:
Yeah I plan to use the marriage contract too, though I have a feeling my players will simply shrug and say "Well, sucks to be you." I mean, this is the group that signed a treaty with Hargulka and gave the keep in Varnhold to the spriggans. We'll see what happens when/if they actually manage to rescue the remaining Varnholders of course.


I hope a lot of them giving land away is either greatly rewarded or majorly bites them in their collective asses.

And I don't know which one I'd prefer to see happen.

Heh, well, a little of both will/would be the outcome. I mean, I'm not going to specifically penalize them for not going in the direction the authors anticipated. That said, Hargulka ended up not being an issue because they wound up attacking him anyway when they believed he had violated the treaty (he didn't really, but they interpreted it differently). They do still have the lizardfolk living there though -- sadly they did not notice the missing boy.

As for the Spriggans, it was kind of a "Not our problem" issue. Though they are obviously missing out on some gear as a result. From an XP standpoint, I don't track XP but rather level up at appropriate times, but I would have given them the same XP as if they had stormed the castle so to speak.

I have to hand it to my group, they are very much a "Hey, if you don't mess with us, we'll leave ya be" group. This did cause some issue with Gregori whom they largely ignored because they figured it was his right to speak out. They eventually got tired of it and managed to out debate him though. The spriggans will be an interesting one to watch though assuming they rescue some Varnholders. I imagine though the PCs might just tell the Varnholders to bugger off since they are learning that they were not exactly the good people they thought they were. Having a Surtova noble come to collect his bride that was promised might almost cement the deal in that regard. The interesting long-term questions will be that there are now a number of potential enemies that have been let go, or who have run off and not been pursued. This could lead to some interesting developments later on.

As a cool side point though, my group of very veteran gamers had no idea that the Hargulka's Monstrous Kingdom stuff was not part of the AP as written, which is very much a big time kudos to Dudemeister. His stuff was so well laid out that it was easy to flow it seamlessly into the adventure.

Warped Savant wrote:

I use Dudemeister's suggestion and had Brevoy send a noble down during book 3 that had a contract for marriage to Varn's daughter (that didn't exist as written but DM added in). It created a fun challenge as the group had to figure out a way to convince her to get out of it, figure out a way she could get out of it, and that entire area was on the line if they failed.

Later, in book 5, I again used a suggestion from Dudemeister and had Brevoy working with Pitax and attacked from the north/east as Pitax was attacking from the west.

Yeah I plan to use the marriage contract too, though I have a feeling my players will simply shrug and say "Well, sucks to be you." I mean, this is the group that signed a treaty with Hargulka and gave the keep in Varnhold to the spriggans. We'll see what happens when/if they actually manage to rescue the remaining Varnholders of course.

I too used the Venture Capital approach with a bit of an assist from the Redcelt's Game of Thrones in Brevoy thread. I'm seeding the story as a bunch of jockeying for position among the various houses and the PCs thus, are roughly allied with half of the great houses, and thus lined up against the other half. When war breaks out in Brevoy, there will no doubt be a call for the PCs to aid one side (especially now that the Baron is married to the granddaughter of Poul Orlovsky).

Additionally, I've been trying to plant a hook for Skywatch (which the PCs haven't really latched onto yet) but setting up a series of observatories (Talon Peak, Candlemere, and Skywatch) that were all part of research being done by the Casmaran Cyclopean empire which ultimately drew the attention of the Dark Tapestry. In my game, the Cyclopes Empire was actually good, though Big V was ultimately tasked with monitoring the Dark Tapestry after the empire was destroyed fighting them off, and his thirst for vengeance has turned him into the evil creature he is now. Ultimately I think the party will have more hooks than they can realistically follow, so we'll see what they decide to latch onto.

Bumping because I too am a bit concerned my players might have a bit of an easy go of it. I do like the changes proposed here, especially the "fleeing Vordekai" option. My party is generally fairly well equipped to handle undead between a cleric, paladin, and two arcane casters. As an example, as they reached the Valley of the Dead, I started with four Dread Zombie Cyclopes (though I missed flash of insight in the stat block). Party started to mow through them so I started to spawn new ones as they were still in the massive cyclopes graveyard. Ultimately I had 12 total (though no more than 4 at once) and the party had very little issue with them. Granted, catching flash of insight would have helped tremendously, but still.

The Soul Eaters will help in the early going, but Big V might be an issue. I do like the Champion proposed in the 6 player conversion but am also a bit worried that flash of insight combined with a 30 AC might prove a bit . . . daunting.

For those who have played with the teleport difficulties described above, did you do anything to allow the PCs a chance to notice the potential danger? My party does have teleport available, so wanting to know what kind of check to give them to notice. Spellcraft probably? So yeah, I think the biggest thing will be to keep the pressure on the party. Don't let them rest in the dungeon, maybe toss in an extra soul eater on occasion, etc. If the party backs out of the dungeon to get a rest, then V can also make preparations. I will definitely be using the 6 player conversion though as I have potentially 7 players, one who is a druid and has a cohort with an animal companion, so there does tend to be a lot of bodies in the fight (though in the dread zombie cyclopes encounter above we were down two players, so it was only a 5 person party).

As an aside, I love the story of the two players that sold the soul jars! Great job on running that!

GeraintElberion wrote:
I prefer when the curse comes because the holy sword was used to slaughter innocents, that kind of plot-curse.

This too. :)

Loren Pechtel wrote:

Some more thoughts on this:

1) The need to identify items pretty much means you can't use the stuff you found until you have downtime to identify it. Whether that is a good or bad thing, though, I'm not sure.

2) Personally, I never use cursed items. I just can't see why anyone would make one and I don't agree with them being due to a failure in making them, either--where did the additional power come from?! Yes, someone could make one as an assassination weapon--but anyone worthy of such effort is going to have a lot of protection and unlikely to go into combat in the first place.

As to #1, I do agree that some of this is a relic of the older versions of the game wherein identifying items was not exactly cheap. More to the point, depending on the style of game you ran, even if you had the money for it, you might not have yet located said material component (this of course, being far more common a game style a long time ago than currently). That said, it can be fun to try to identify items without identifying them, but as a practical matter, you do need to figure out the stats pretty quickly just for bookkeeping purposes. This is especially true as magic items have become more prevalent in the games as well. It might have been pretty easy to add the additional +1 behind the scenes before (or subtract 1 if it were an armor item) but now its a lot more work for the GM.

As to #2, I can think of a number of reasons for creating a cursed item. The necklace of strangulation for instance might be a particularly good assassination item depending on the target. You want to kill the King's daughter in order to (insert reason here), what better way than to gift her a beautiful necklace on her birthday? Done right, you don't even need to be there when she opens it. She'll see a gorgeous necklace and won't be able to wait to try it on!

Or, you are a budding villain who has several key henchmen laying the groundwork for your plan of ultimate doom but you don't fully trust them? How about giving them an item they can't remove so you can scry on them -- works great for when they are killed by those darned adventurers too.

Other items, like cursed swords/armor, I guess that would have to be described more as "something went wrong" that wasn't intended, but I do agree it becomes a little more difficult to explain how it keeps getting passed around. Depends on the nature of the curse I guess.

There certainly have been a lot of player-friendly changes over the years, but you can still potentially make it work. One avenue is artifacts of course. They don't even register as magic. After the early levels though, it will be fairly hard to catch the party with a cursed item. Though there are some instances where you might still be able to make it work.

In a recent campaign, I handed out a ring that gave positive effects to the wearer, with the only drawback being . . . the wearer absolutely refused to ever remove it. The party of course figured out it was cursed in this regard and eventually did a remove curse on it (though all the time prior it still only seemed beneficial). The real curse, as it were, was that it was crafted by the evil archmage that was the ultimate BBEG. His purpose in creating it was to be able to scry on whoever had it in order to gain information.

Derklord wrote:

Yeah, I was only thinking about items that can kill you in combat, not ones with non-lethal drawbacks. I actually plan on using some of the quirks and flaws in Unchained (e.g. a weapon that you can only put back when it has drawn blood, so you'd need to cut yourself or an ally for base damage if you didn't hit an enemy), and even some cursed items (like Broom of Animated Attack or Needful Doll) in my campaign.

I just don't see how an item like Armor of Arrow Attraction, or a weapon that randomly stops working in combat, is any fun. Maybe it's just that schadenfreude isn't my thing.

While I wouldn't necessarily say that a GM who puts an item like that in the game is being a jerk (there could have been non-jerk reasons) I also agree that I don't particularly see the fun in said item. I suppose there could be scenarios where its fun, just don't know what those are.

Derklord wrote:
Gargs454 wrote:
One of the more entertaining series of sessions I had as a player was when another character had obtained a ring of contrariness. It lead to a lot of fun at the table as we had to navigate how to get the character to do what we wanted him to do.
You make a good point - I was thinking more of items like Necklace of Strangulation, Boots of Dancing, or Bracers of Defenselessness. When properly used, relatively harmless items could still exist. Indeed, if the players aren't paranoidal making sure to completely identify every item they've found, it's easier to use the more harmless, fun-for-the-players cursed items.

I am not, per se, opposed to utilizing the more dangerous cursed items, but I do agree those should be relatively rare. The cursed hat of disguise can be fun too. ;)

A lot of this comes from a more "old school" approach back when Identify in another notable rpg required a 100 gp pearl as a material component. Part of that meant that, particularly early on, it was often cost-prohibitive to identify. The flip side was that Identify generally worked when used.

As the game has evolved of course, there has been increasingly less emphasis put on things like material components and accounting. There's much more emphasis put on "just play on" which is understandable. Ultimately though a lot of this comes down to what your group prefers. There's no right or wrong answer to this. Rolling to identify items doesn't take much time. In fact, my players can usually give me the result of their spellcraft rolls much quicker than their attack rolls.

As for cursed items, I am a bit old school in that I do like the occasional cursed item. I think it can bring a fair amount of fun to a game, and I've experienced it both as a player and a GM. One of the more entertaining series of sessions I had as a player was when another character had obtained a ring of contrariness. It lead to a lot of fun at the table as we had to navigate how to get the character to do what we wanted him to do. Made more complicated by one of the other characters just not being overly bright and often interfering. That said, I also understand that not every group is going to enjoy that. Some groups just want to bash skulls. Others just don't want to have to worry about their new shiny being cursed. Nothing wrong with that.

One final note: Someone upthread mentioned that "if you can't identify a magic item, its a pretty good indication its cursed". This is certainly accurate. However, keep in mind that this is also metagaming. Just because you don't think its a powerful item, doesn't mean it isn't. Again, as with all things, there's nothing wrong with metagaming if your group is ok with it. At the same time though, a lot of groups would have an issue with this, and I know plenty of GMs who will, for example, modify a number of monsters in their campaigns simply to avoid metagaming.

These are all excellent suggestions! One thing for the PC influence side of things would be to perhaps incorporate the rules of Ultimate Factions into play, allowing the PCs to take up individual factions within the realm.

I would also love to see some more information on Skywatch. Such a cool mystery they toss in there that is then never explored. more information on the disappearance of House Rogarvia would be great too. I get that the idea on these two was probably to leave it up to the GM to write up something that goes well with their particular campaign as it plays out, but I could easily see most groups simply forgetting about it.

To play along with the dynamic options you mention, you could even do something along the lines of having a sufficient number of hooks that biting on all of them is almost impossible. Thus, what is really going on at Skywatch? What is the impact if nobody ever goes to investigate? Same with House Rogarvia? How about Hargulka? If the party allies with him, how long will he hold up his end of the bargain?

Other options that would be fun to explore:

1. The Brevic civil war. Options for how to handle it -- especially if the campaign has adopted Venture Capital and the party is now tied to certain houses.

2. What do certain named NPCs do if they manage to survive? A certain quickling for instance is a pretty prime candidate to escape death, but he's likely to harbor a grudge.

3. What are the rest of the River Kingdoms doing? And what happens if the PC's nation goes against the Rules of the River Kingdoms?

4. Optional rules for treaties with other nations, etc.

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