Our party was the investigation team from a healer's guild. We gathered all of the BBEG's notes and sent them to the guild, along with our wizard, who was not infected.
The lack of cure was DM fiat, clearly communicated. Our party attempted many cure ideas before this. The ending implied that bigger better people would eventually cure the illness, but not in time for anyone in the city.
We were limited to PC level 3 and below resources, so we could not try the big boys like heal and greater restoration.
Two of us died, both the melees, the thief and the fighter. I failed on a natural 1 and thief failed on something in the 10 range.
The cleric stayed behind on the illness island to prevent other ships from landing there, via manning a lighthouse. I give her a 50/50 of getting infected on the island. She's isolated and well stocked, but the island is a cess pool.
I've been mulling over this in my head and I tend to agree. I can't think of anything I've written or DM'ed that had this effect. Even in the RA campaign, there were cures possible with magic.
I think I get the story idea that was being intended: you have to make choices and their are consequences...terminal consequences.
I think it just feels like an intention that belongs in a Philsophy class, not an adventure game.
I did the best I could with it. My character returned to the infected town and quarantined himself with the other infected, caring for them until we all dissolved into goop.
I play a one-shot yesterday in which their was an incurable disease that was certainly fatal and delivered by monster melee attacks. I was the party fighter and the recipient of said attacks. I could fail only on a 1....and rolled the 1. Then long slow heroic death.
I've always struggled with this outcome: in RA, in one shots and in home games. I get raising the intensity of threat attempt by raising the stakes, but mechanically, some combats cannot be avoided or fought so that the melee can actually avoid melee.
I feel like there are rarely alternatives that target other classes, like a fatal spellplague if you cast a spell in a certain area.
Anyone else have similar experiences?
This is totally DM dependant. I see a few ways this rolls out:
1.) heavy DM plot hooks: you spend a lot of time defending/protecting the castle. Your new $$ comes from monsters knocking down your gates or from politics with NPC barons.
2.) DM by the book: over the course of the next 2 game years, with lots of cash investment from the party, you make a working kingdom that makes it own $$$. This is it's own minigame.
3.) You sell the castle. This could net a lot of a little $$, depending on the GM.
4.) Organic but no money: over time, as you adventure, you gain NPC staff and a great homebase. It's just not a moneymaker.
Congrats on the +6 untyped to diplomacy. That's an amazing, lucky gift. Even if you aren't a diplomacy focused character, a little investment will make you unstoppable. Add a diplomacy class skill trait if it's not a class skill.
Not a different planet. Planes are planets for terrestrials from a terminology standpoint in the game. Some planes are huge with many subplanes, but if I'm from golarion, that's both my planet and my plane, imo.
In a space adventure, where several planets in a solar system are regularly traveled between, I might allow hitting any of them.
Tonyz, that also, totally fair. I'd do that if my players wanted it for sure.
Lots of things here, easiest first:
The price of a slotted magic item that gives bonuses to multiple skills in one slot is (bonus squared) x 100 for the first skill and (bonus squared x 1.5) x 100 for each addition skill added together.
"For items that take up a space on a character's body, each additional power not only has no discount but instead has a 50% increase in price."
I'd consider adding on a handy haversack-esque feature at 1.5 times the cost to actually capture the physical texts.
The price goes up if you're using a slot that doesn't typically work for that skill, so headband would be good here.
The price goes up if it's a wondrous item that doesn't need a slot.
There aren't rules i know of for swapping skill abilities out, as items cannot be retrained. I'd recommend simply adding more knowledge onto the item at cost.
Now as to the DM situation:
As a DM, personally I would not care if my players had a knowledge monkey who was spanking my standard knowledge checks. I would let them succeed and then add new EXTRA hard knowledge checks that led to little extra adventures, secret rooms and additionally added monsters, even in an AP. This way, the player gets to feel cool about what they're good at, but also there still is mysterious knowledge that motivates the party.
Part of what makes adventurers adventurers, and why they are both loved and hated, is that they are exceptional and disturb the equilibrium wherever they go. Maybe the smartypants adventurer embarrasses some town sages when the adventurer pulls out their datacube and the sages send thugs to get the cube. Party retribution leads to discovering a small hidden evil temple in the sages tower. The temple contains hints at additional power sources for the data cube, which it turns out resembles a set of cubes the evil god once made.
The PC ends up at a random location on their home plane and has to figure out where they are and how to get back. Unless they are banished as a group, they end up in different locations on subsequent banishes.
I tend to follow plane shift's rules if no others are present. Keep in mind, the caster is picking the location or not, so a smart caster could easily dunk a PC into the middle of an ocean.
Gotcha. My claim would be that the vanilla cleric is still tier 1, but it is the bottom of tier 1, whereas it used to be the arguably strongest class in the game. It's not tier 2, because it is still world ending AND very flexible. It loses ground to wizards, who honestly got better and new classes like the Master Summoner. I'd look at it this way:
There are 3 filters to gain entry to tier 1.
We are creating a vacuum in which we evaluate only class skills, features and 20 point buy stats; no race, no general level feats or general level bonuses, no money, no equipment. All class features are from the base class only. We'll level the PC's in question to level 10, so we can look at class features.
The we make a bunch of challenges:
Then we ask the question: Who can do all 11 at 10th level with just their class skills, stats and abilities. Then we ask who can do all of them without foreknowledge and in 2 days. Finally in 1 day and the encounters are random.
Finally, we ask if you can do 5 of the 10 better than the class designed to do the thing without magic.
You are a well built tier 1 or the best classes in the game if you can blindly, randomly bypass these challenges back to back.
You are tier 1 if you can do all 10 in 2 days without foreknowledge and you did 5 out of 10 better than the specialized class (or are the specialized class).
You are tier 2 if you can do all 10 with foreknowledge and 5 out of 10 better than the specialized class.
remember, no gear, no feats, no race.
All non-casters fall away immediately. Their class abilities cannot bypass several of these challenges. They can't do all 10. This is the bulk of playable classes.
All of the full casters can qualify for tier 2 immediately. Several of the partial casters will pass as well.
There's actually a good chance the full spontaneous casters and the memorized casters will qualify for tier 1. I can think of common designs for several classes that would get the job done. Unless their spells are weird, the cleric has this locked up. Some partial casters will make it.
one question: can your default class abilities break the game system wide open? If yes, tier 1 or 2. If no, tier 3. Clerics have miracle. That's all you need to wish engine (they have other stuff as well earlier. planar ally is a great example). this step filters out most of the partial casters. they can kick ass in reasonable challenges all day long, but they cannot break the game.
Can you, without changing your character sheet, but with time, now duplicate 8 out of every 10 other ways other classes can break the game?
Clerics can absolutely copy almost every way to break the game. This step filters out most of the spontaneous casters, because their spell selections are locked.
If yes, tier 1. If no, tier 2.
The interesting discussion is weird classes like the Master Summoner, who uses depth of action economy and a ridiculous amount of maximum level SLA's to try to brute force the gap between tier 2 and tier 1.
I think I get where you're coming from. It seems like you're saying:
1.) Arcane spells have more and more deadly combat options, so you can more easily spank monsters as a high DC wizard.
How am I doing?
Clerics are tier 1. They are "Capable of doing absolutely everything, often better than classes that specialize in that thing."
There is not an CR appropriate encounter or necessary action in the game that a cleric cannot defeat, most better than most other characters. A cleric can buff themselves so far that they make a barbarian look sad. They can control an entire NPC army of barbarians, undead and allies.
The tiering system does not speak to "time to do task". It doesn't matter that the cleric needs 24 hours plus 15 minutes to solve a problem; it's the fact that they can solve every problem. The optimized barbarian cannot solve every problem.
The tiering system does not take into to account fringe or weighted scenarios. Naked in a closet, a lizardfolk barbarian will possibly rend a wizard limb from limb if it wins initiative.
Being tier 1 doesn't make you invincible. The DM can kill you instantly by fiat.
Being tier 1 means when you compile a list of all the things you needed to do, your list is complete and the barbarian's list is incomplete.
Being tier one means you do much of what you did better than the class "expert", BUT not the same way necessarily. When he barbarian brags about their 200 hp critical hit, you point out that you save or died a 1000hp creature effectively dead.
I do not have to hit as hard and fast as a barbarian to deal with my target better. I simply need to remove the threat more effectively.
The irony is that a spell-buffed cleric is an incredible beatstick in addition to a banishing monster.
All of this is possible without a prestige class or "trick" build. There will be lots of times when a tier 1 class PC dies anyway while the tier 5 class didn't. that's the nature of random dice and adventuring.
Wait, this is in 3.5? So Pun Pun is legal? No way. There have to be more rules than this. Pun Pun is a god, literally.
10th level in 3.5 is nuts. Full casters with location confirming telepathy is the way to go.
As for the archers, how do you intend to see the wizard at 2200 ft?
Level 10 and 50k gold in 3.5 is out of control. The game will never end unless the GM's add poison gas or whatnot.
Here are the big things, regardless of class:
Ask this question: What are the DM's going to do to make me fight? That's the real question.
Second question: How quickly can I kill several other players and then take all of their stuff and hide?
Things got less complex in Pathfinder from 3.5, with the diminishment of prestige classes and the removal of big stat swing racial modifiers.
I did a blooded bullywog fighter\barbarian once that was a mess to put together, but elegant and simple to play and by far the most difficult to kill or incap or mind control frontliner I've ever seen. all without magic. I miss Bolly.
Do you feel like your question about Cleric OP'ness was answered?
One thing that was left out is that clerics can and do easily fix conditions that virtually no other class can fix, also better and faster.
Run the first 4 PC levels of Rappan Athuk without a divine primary class. you whole team will be dead multiple times over from disease, poison, drain, grapple, etc.
People get the tier 1-ness of offensive classes because they proactively cast. Clerics are half proactive casters (mostly buffs) and half reactive fixers. Their reactive fixing is actually sickenly powerful and adds to the fun level of other players a lot.
Add on top of that the diverse options of channel (hangover for instance is an entire class's power level all by itself).
Add on top of that the strong combat presence, with the ability to buff higher than a fighter.
They summon AND planar ally, which is a sickening spell.
A good example is that our 5th level party was attacked by 12 enhanced gargoyles. Should have been a TPK. Our hangover cleric daze locked nearly all of them for 8 rounds, despite being focused. This didn't even impact her spells per day. not a single party member went incap. All of the gargoyles died, despite their silly DR. The party dusted off and kept adventuring. Only a tier 1 class can achieve this result with such an OP encounter.
Even vanilla, I would pick a 1-20 cleric in the 1 or 2 slot in any new party, unless a bunch of partial casters wanted to support a druid.
I want to add to the discussion that the MC/D is absolutely measurable if we want to create an extensive data collecting tool and run it a ton of times.
Back in 4th edition, they did this with special challenge dungeons that they released to gaming stores with prizes. The dungeons had carefully designed diverse paths and were played on a strict timer. Team comps, timing and performance could be measured to some success.
An easier example is online gaming. League of Legends has tons of data collection going on across millions of games, characters and abilties. they also have role based play, but strive a lot less for social, random and rp, as well as a lot more for mechanical tiers and balance.
The challenge here is specificity of comparisons to evaluate, density of data to mine and ability to give scenarios to get feedback.
RPG's are both mechanical games with balance issues
Social experiences where balance issues can both help and hinder the experience.
Recharge time is rough. It's what makes it feel like a consumable and not "permanent" like Boots of Speed.
You spend it, get more spends than one ofs and then wait for it to be back.
I try to focus staff design in parties for a suite of spells that multiple members of the party can contribute to recharging, thus ensuring the cleric doesn't get spell sapped in the am.
It's not hard to create or buy a staff that several members can use, making them very versatile.
I think people struggle with staves because of the linear thinking of most of the best core gear. You want a +1 this, then an +2 this, etc.
Staves function as resuable, flexible and scale-able consumables. Their added diversity of function makes them very cost ineffective for low level play.
Like any consumables, they run out quickly in back to back adventures with no down time and total resource usage.
Unlike literal consumables, their real value edge comes out over months of in game time. You charge and cast the useful spells over and over.
With a magic mart, a lot of liquid cash and no downtime, you can just roll through the shop, get your ridiculously awesome scrolls and other one-shots and move on.
On the other hand, if you're wandering for a long time, that rechargeable staff gives you a lot of flexibility in what you can do.
Also, a few of the more powerful staves, like The Staff of Power, have unique abilities that are pretty intense.
There's also a meta aspect to this:
Does the party, as party of the campaign arc need to level up? Jade Regent is an example of this during the snow slog. If players don't get experience for avoiding encounters during the slog, I don't think they'll be sufficiently strong afterwards.
An open world like Rappan Athuk has a "find what you want to find" component to it. Players are more mice scurrying for cheese while big cats hunt them. I'd only award xp there for defeating opponents or thwarting them.
If avoiding the monster is similar in function to solving a trap or barrier, they should get xp.
If they simply walk up to a cave entrance, sniff the air and nope out, then limited or no xp.
I'd still give marginal xp for simply exploring things, similar to Kingmaker.
I've done this a couple of times, once with 9 people.
General DM'ing advice:
1.) Have reasonable expectations for in session progress. you will cover less ground than a 4 man party. Make the fewer encounters more interesting.
2.) Do not be a rules hawk. Handwave confusing situations, so people stay plugged in. Pathfinder can totally bog down when a bunch of bites, grabs and grapples happen to 6 players.
3.) Don't worry if it's too easy. Focus on it being fun/interesting.
1.) In 9 person parties, an appropriate APL encounter is very often lethal to a PC. This is because you have more monsters or tougher monsters. Even though the monsters are doomed to lose, the extra dice on the initial round of attacks typically drops a front line PC. If you concentrate fire, players will go down frequently. In our 9 man 4th campaign, we had 3 incapped players a fight on average (actually dying is very hard in 4th). This despite 3 healers; be aware.
2.) I've never had trouble with summoners or pets in big games. The trouble usually comes from slow players. If a player wants to play a controller class, give them a test session to make sure they can make decisions. You'll likely have a lot of people who want to play a druid with a wolf or tiger. It's a major archetype.
Have whole cities near the ascension descend into 3 days of chaos as the the rage of the rage god overcomes them. Perhaps people of the gods alignment are immune.
Very blood red sky over a large part of the planet.
Emergence of a lost race of subterranean, highly intelligent minotaurs or cyclopes focused on carving out a major kingdom amidst the turmoil. Their shamans predicted the ascension.
If the god ascends at a lower sphere, like demi-god, he should lead them.
Barbarian. Run a standard invulnerable rager (so skip all the combat expertise hijinks).
It's a strong class. It has great flavor. It has excellent class skills. It's pretty easy to run and you get to learn about complexity by working out your constantly changing to hit numbers.
As well, you'll matter in combat and out.
Quick runner's Shirt--500gp. Despite the nerf, this is a fantastic item and will let your players feel cool.
Cyclops Helm--2800gp. Yes, you get to pick 1 die roll/day. Awesome!
Pearl of power I--500gp. Cast more spells!
If you're the summoner, Page of Spell knowledge, 500gp. Improve that spells known list!
I think the mold would incinerate, but here are a few thoughts if not or even if:
Case 1, the boat:
Case 2, the lava burns the mold when it expands toward the lava, but that burning fuels expansion above the burn:
I say this breaks down into "burns organic matter" levels of heat which we will call "fire" and "So hot it even burns the mold" levels of heat which we will call "plasma". Basically molten rock is MUCH hotter than molten halfling.
At some point in it's decent into the giant lava pit, the mold is going to cross the radiation boundary at which point "fire" happens to the edge of the mold and it doubles in size, fueled by it's own burning. This point is past the basic "fire" point, because the mold chills around it and there will be a soaking of energy as the mold travels through the "fire" gradient into the "plasma" gradient.
If the mold expands in all directions and anything that expands down burns again, you would effectively cap the fire/plasma with the mold, as it feeds itself on it's own fire.
It get's weirder. Convection currents would churn up the cap, forcing it to break up, float up and then back down, filling the chamber above the lava. This cycle would continue until the chamber was full of mold above the plasma line.
Sadly, the currents would start to build up pressure. Pressure is heat effectively, so the dense mass of mold would begin raise in temperature, even as it chilled. Eventually, this would raise the effective "plasma" layer's height, eventually burning out all of the mold in many cycles.
But...if there was even a single passage out of the cavern, this would give a pressure valve and the mold would march out of the cavern wave after wave.
One of the challenges of writing 1-shot adventures for modern systems is that the systems are much more complex and geared towards extended, planned story telling. AD&D was geared towards unplanned story telling.
ToH is at it's heart an unplanned story telling extravaganza about puzzles and deaths.
While I enjoy both RA and ToH, they are a false equivalency. RA is a supercampaign with many resolvable stories and a plot. It takes years to play through. ToH is a one-shot deathtrap, puzzlefest.
When I ran the 4th ToH stuff, I split it all up, changed the nature of the original ToH (tomb fully resets every night, massive necromancer city outside runs gambling on adventurer success, everyone worships the endboss). It worked well as a stage transition between "modules".
Honestly, converting it to 3.p from 3.5 would be simple. You could just run the 3.5 as is.
I've run the original, the 3.5 and the 4th campaign centered around it. ToH itself is just and adventure, like a 1 shot, not really a campaign. There's not even much of a story.
I don't know that I'd even call ToH "challenging" so much as annoying. A moderately optimized 7th level pathfinder party would probably skip most of the "screw you!" stuff only to get dropped by a few of the "boss" situations.
Keep in mind, immunities are commonplace in pathfinder and basically didn't exist in AD&D. Most of ToH's tricks are deadly to:
A Ghoran or a duergar, wildshaped into an earth elemental would essentially mock most of the dungeon. However, to finish the dungeon, you still have to fight a demi-lich, and that's the problem.
The 3.5 and 4th both have reasonable treasures.
I'm currently playing RA. It's a hoot, but it's like a multi-year commitment. It has ALL the content.
Huh, a giant long term elemental. That's a whole lot of spell and ability support for a pretty awesome "pet". Alter Summoned Monster seems powerful.
A few observations:
Mark and nicholas,
Thanks for these corrections! Sorry this ended up in advice and not rules.
To get the closest source I have, I hopped into:
Does the creature receiving the template get the size boost? Quick rules do not provide it, rebuild rules do. Which do you feel is best to provide?
Mechanically, the physical size increase of a summon M>L>H is more interesting to me than the 4 additional strength and various size penalties\bonuses. The expansion of reach and efficiency of space occupancy are pretty intense with this rod if so.
I can't defend Moos' numbers, but the large to huge boost from RoGS is +4 hit/dam. The giant simple template is changing the monster size modifiers, augment summoning changes the enhancement numbers. They stack, unless there's an errata I missed.
Just stumbled on this item. I'm running a 6th level Master Summoner and at 7, I'm tempted to pick up SMIV in one of my spell slots, along with a RoGS.
Even with a full round casting time, the access to huge creatures and significant damage boosts from size buffing little guys seems awesome.
How has this worked out for those of you who have used it?