Witch Doctor

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douglasiv wrote:
David Haller wrote:

Waiting 3 weeks is one thing - waiting FIVE MONTHS is another.

(Cancels Amazon order...)

Amazon always moves the date out to Jan of the next year. Then they come back in a couple weeks and fix it to send out the following week. Based on past paizo products on Amazon you should disregard the January date that Amazon told you and expect them in 3-4 weeks.

You were absolutely right -- I just got that email, hanging the release date from Jan. 10 to Sept. 20. Whew!

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I recently tried True20, and while there were things about it I didn't much care for, I kind of liked the way it did wounds. It got me thinking about a way to borrow the idea a tiny bit for Pathfinder.

This would be an easy addition to the current hit points system and would not replace it. Basically, any time a character/monster/NPC etc. takes a critical hit, aside from the hit point damage they receive as normal, they also take 1 wound. Each wound imposes a cumulative -1 penalty on any roll that involves a d20: attacks, saves, and skills. There is no upper limit to how many wounds one can have (though I'm also considering a cap equal to one's CON score). Wound levels can be healed magically at a rate of 1 point for each die rolled for the spell (so 1 for Cure Light wounds, etc.) or healed naturally at 1 per day of rest.

With this I'd also let characters heal all their hit points with a 10 minute rest, so the gradual accumulation of wound levels would be their main source of rising tension.

The similarity between this and the Wounds/Vitality system is no accident. I've always liked it, but felt there should be some effect to taking wounds other than ticking off a separate set of points.

Anyway, I'm open to any feedback or impressions. Sometimes it isn't easy to see the flaws in one's own designs.

douglasiv wrote:
David Haller wrote:

Waiting 3 weeks is one thing - waiting FIVE MONTHS is another.

(Cancels Amazon order...)

Amazon always moves the date out to Jan of the next year. Then they come back in a couple weeks and fix it to send out the following week. Based on past paizo products on Amazon you should disregard the January date that Amazon told you and expect them in 3-4 weeks.

I just contacted customer service to see if someone can get to the bottom of this weird delay. Sure, it's cheaper, but I don't want to wait 5 more months, either. If, as you say, they will readjust the date and then ship it out, no problem. Otherwise I'll cancel the order and go buy one at my local FLGS (which is what I usually prefer to do anyway).

Just got an email from Amazon this morning saying delivery of my Bestiary Box -- pre-ordered months ago when it was first announced -- is being delayed to...

(Drum roll please...)

... JANUARY 10, 2013!

I came on here to rage at yet another product delay, only to find the Bestiary Box is already in stores. So I guess the moral of the story is: Never pre-order stuff through Amazon. (I only did so because I had a $50 gift card. I'll now be canceling the order and just buying the pawns the old-fashioned way I guess.)

Whoops, all right I guess that solves that. Thanks everyone!

Okay, my ranger just turned 6th level and I finally got my first iterative attack.

If I understand the way Furious Focus works with Power Attack, I apply the Power Attack to ALL attacks I make that round if I declare I'm using it. Then, Furious Focus allows me to ignore the penalty for ONE of those attacks. Right?

Since my attack bonus (with BAB +6, Strength +3, magic weapon +1, Weapon Focus +1, etc.) is +11, I can apply the Furious Focus to one of those attacks to get either of the following:




Right? If so, which one seems better to you? Which is the smarter approach -- the accurate hit followed by the not-so accurate one, or two medium-accuracy attacks?

There seems to be three possible responses here, depending on which style on the GNS (Gamist/Narrativist/Simulationist) spectrum one falls. (Please, no debates on the accuracy of the GNS model -- it works for an easy examination.)

Gamist: Approaching this from the standpoint that this is a *game*, you would want to cut down on the number of traps, make them weaker, or cut them out entirely, because the character class mainly designed to deal with them is absent.

Narrativist: If "the story" is your thing, you'll want to only use those traps that make the most sense, are the most interesting, or most fit dramatic need. You probably won't want a lot of them, and the ones you have should be mainly useful for creating atmosphere and/or letting the characters learn more about the nature of the enemies who set them.

Simulationist: Going for pure simulation, you'll want to ignore the fact that there is no rogue, since the people/creatures who set the traps don't really think about that anyway. Those traps are there to discourage intruders or flat-out kill them, so the folks who set them are going to make them hard to spot, as numerous as they can manage with their resources and time, and as lethal as possible.

Me, I'd go with a blend of Narrativist and Simulationist.

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A couple of years ago I finally got to play my elderly blind wizard, Tolarias Manaster. He was a character that had been kicking around in my head around since the early days of 3.0 but I could never make him "work" because I kept getting stuck on the idea that I needed to do it through some combination of feats, classes, and spells that exist in the books. The problem was that he needed some way to see so he could target spells, much less find his way down a hallway. I imagined him spending his whole life researching spells and prestige classes that would finally grant him the sight he covets, but nothing ever came up in the books, and why would it? D&D as a game doesn't have drawbacks for characters, so even stuff like Blind Fight is more for characters who find themselves in a dark room.

For a while I toyed with the idea of having him born with Arcane Sight (as per the spell) but no actual vision, so he can "see" magic weapons, spells, creatures, and objects (much like Neo sees the Matrix, but with dark gaps where there is nothing magical).

Finally, I just realized it would be really easy to invent my own cantrip. So when it came time for me to get to play him, our DM agreed (see below). This made for a lot of fun because he would kneel down and carve the eyes out of vanquished foes, storing them in little belt jars full of formaldehyde. He had a special magical staff crafted to have a glass bulb on the end which screwed off, so he could place an eyeball in there, screw it back on, then have it floating around at the top of his staff. This came in particularly handy when we needed to peek around corners or in holes. His blindness never really came up in any dramatic way, unfortunately, and my dream of slaying a beholder so I could carry around all those special eyes never came to pass. But he was tons of fun.

Manaster's Surrogate Eye
School: Necromancy
Level: Sorcerer/Wizard 0
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Components: V, S, M (one eyeball)
Range: Close (10 ft. + 5ft./lvl)
Effect: magical sight
Duration: 1 day
Saving Throw: none; Spell Resistance: no
Description: By casting this spell, you are able to magically see through the eyeballs of another creature. The creature must be dead (not undead) when the spell is cast, and the spell can only be cast on the same eyeball one time. The caster can not see through both his eye and the surrogate eye at the same time, and switching between normal sight at that provided by the surrogate eye causes the caster to be dazzled for 1 round. The eyeball can move under magical propulsion to gaze in any direction. After 24 hours, the eyeball ceases to function and a new eye must be enchanted. Using a creature's eye grants all natural sight-based abilities of the eye, such as darkvision, petrification, etc. as if being used by a creature of your level. Eyeballs have 1 hit point and 0 Toughness and are destroyed instantly by a targeted spell that does damage.

I just finished watching an episode of Boondocks that features an homage to the titular weapon from the classic Kung-Fu movie Master of the Flying Guillotine. http://youtu.be/jejQ1wJ_oeI

It got me wondering how one could build such a weapon for PF. I was thinking:

Flying Guillotine
Exotic Light Melee Weapon
Cost: ???
Dmg (S/M): 1d6/1d8
Critical: 19-20/x2
Range: 30 ft.
Weight: 8 lbs
Type: S
Special: Vorpal

In order to have the vorpal ability, this would obviously be a magical weapon. It would be nice to build it without resorting to magic, though...

Lord Twig wrote:

For me the 1hp minion rules introduces more problems than it solves.

My players would quickly realize that a 0 level Acid Splash will take out that that high level Hill Giant minion in one shot and use that. Or just use that worthless necklace of fireballs 3d6 fireball to take out a bunch.

So then you introduce the idea that if they make their save against an AoE spell that they take no damage. But what if the Wizard casts an Empowered Maximized Fireball against a bunch of cold based creatures that really should die even on a successful save? What do you do then? Just arbitrarily make an exception in that case?

I run combats with lots of lower level creatures supporting the big bad guy all the time. They may not hit very often, but they do hit sometimes. It might take one hit to take them out, or two or more. The party can try to ignore them, but they still get in the way. Any attack against a minion is damage that is not directed against the BBEG.

Well, for one thing I wouldn't have a giant as a minion. They should be anonymous and minor, the kind of things that would make up a horde. Orcs, goblins , skeletons, human fighters, etc. If the spellcaster uses a cantrip or low-level spell to take one or two out, that's fine with me: it ate up his action, and that's what the minions are there for, to be taken out en masse.

Regarding the cold-based critters (maybe some ice mephits?), what I do with minions is give them evasion as long as there are three or more of them, and unless I'm mistaken, a cold-based monster with evasion wouldn't take damage from a fireball anyway, right? But if I feel an exception is warranted, I have no problem using one. Maybe I'll just make it clear this is a one-time deal or something.

I've used the minion rule for years without problems. Though the rule can be abused by particularly savvy players, I don't really care too much anymore. The d20 D&D rule have always been frustratingly easy to throw out of whack and resistant to house rules, but after almost 12 years I've stopped fighting back. I don't really worry any more about doing things "by the rules". We've abandoned attacks of opportunity, for example. I think the key to making minions work is to let go and not worry about the game as much as the story.

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xanthemann wrote:

Bride of the portable hole was recommended to me...it is a free download.

From the book: A scantily-clad character gains a +1 armour
bonus to AC. A completely naked character gains
a +2 armour bonus to AC. Found under Nude Defense.

I just started running a bi-weekly True20 campaign, and I've given it a "Sword & Sorcery" theme, borrowing the wonderful Beasts & Barbarians setting for Savage Worlds. I converted a house rule from that setting called "Loincloth Hero/Bikini Heroine," which lets a character who intentionally wears very little to gain a bonus to their Toughness Save equal to their Charisma bonus. Toughness saves in that system are the alternative to hit points (you save versus damage and take wound levels with a failure) -- so, essentially, the hotter you look in a loincloth or bikini, the better your ability to shrug off damage.

Does it make sense? Hell no! But it's fun!

Oops accidental reply

I'm a 5th level ranger (jungle theme, jungle as my first favored terrain) and I'm thinking about moving into Horizon Walker as a Prestige Class. But it sounds a little too good, and I want to make sure I'm not misunderstanding anything.

• Upon taking my first Horizon Walker level, I'll gain a new favored terrain. This works as per the Ranger rules, so this means one of the two favored terrains moves to +4 and the other is +2, could be either the new or previous terrain. (This means I'd get a new favored terrain a couple levels early.)

• Upon taking my second Horizon Walker level, I'll gain a third favored terrain, meaning I'll have three total, at +2/+4/+6, whichever. That bonus goes to initiative, along with the skills mentioned in Ranger.

At that time I also gain a Terrain Mastery bonus that depends on one of the above chosen terrains. This bonus is always active. This means if I were to choose forest, for example, I'd gain a permanent +4 to my Stealth.

• Upon taking my third Horizon Walker level, I'll gain a Terrain Dominance bonus, which allows me to use my favored terrain bonus against all creatures from that terrain, as if they were all favored enemies. Thus, for example, if I chose forest, every single time I met a creature who was native to the forest in which we were adventuring, I'd gain +6 to attack and +6 to damage against that creature?

(rinse, repeat -- as the levels accrue, I gain mastery & dominance over more terrains)

Is this true? If so, I'm seriously thinking of nerfing my animal companion for this, as this PrC will come in REALLY HANDY in our Serpent's Skull AP, because I think we'll be in jungle/underground/water and maybe swamp during the rest of the whole thing (if the back copy on the adventures is any indication anyway)...

Funny, I hear CityHigh in my head every time I read my own thread title.

DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

The Riddle of Osirion

Themes: Treasure Hunting, Politics, Religion, History

Location: Osirion

Book 1: Tomb Raiders (Level 1-4) The PCs have each been given a piece of a map that supposedly leads to a great treasure - the problem is the final piece of the map is missing. The PCs must infiltrate a notorious thieve's guild and snatch the piece before heading into the desert to find the Lost Tomb of Wa-djet - lost king of Osirion. Unfortunately the PC's inadvertently free undead mummy king who blows into the desert.

Book 2: The Canopic Keys (Level 5-6) Having freed a mummy king from his imprisonment the PCs must seek out his organs that are hidden in tombs throughout Osirion. The Mummy King is wasting no time though and has raised his servants to hound the PC's at every step. The PCs must break into a Museum, a Palace, A River Barge and a Temple.

Book 3: The Pyramid of Wa-djet (Level 7-8) Armed with the Canopic Keys the PCs must seek out the Pyramid of Wa-djet - designed to restore the long dead ruler's power to it's utmost. The PCs must brave a megadungeon in order to access the inverse pyramid of Wa-Djet. At it's deepest point the PCs face off against Wa-Djet's most fearsome guards and the king himself uses the power of the pyramid to throw the PCs back in time to the height of the corrupt king's rule.

Book 4: The Sphynx's Riddle (Level 9-10) The PCs are sent back into the Age of Destiny the PCs see Wa-Djet during the height of his rule. The PCs in the past watch the pyramid being built and are able to seek the help of the Sphynx who originally imprisoned Wa-Djet. The PCs discover that they are the key to imprisoning the corrupt Pharaoh.

Book 5: Time Tossed (Level 10-11) The PC's time gate throws the PCs into dangerous eras of Golarion's history, the PCs must restore these moments in Golarion history in order to return to their own time. Along the way gaining weapons and items that will help them in their final confrontation with...

Um, that sounds FRIKKIN AWESOME!

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Vic Wertz wrote:
Kudaku wrote:
You mentioned "gargantuan" and "colossal" monsters were not feasible because they were oversized - would it be possible to include bases of the appropriate sizes (gargantuan and colossal, respectively) anyway? Some DMs modify their monsters via the "giant" subtype, there's various "enlarge" spells and the like. I don't mind improvising pawns for the monsters, but I've grown addicted to using the bases... I'd also like to join the choir of people asking if you intend to sell the bases separately - that would be excellent.

The expensive part of making things in plastic is making the molds... so I wouldn't expect to see larger bases without a really good reason for their existence.

On the other hand, that means that, when it comes to the more standard bases, we've already done the expensive part, so we should be able to provide them separately. Stay tuned.

Perhaps you could do one of two things: make colossal/gargantuan pawns so that they have more than one tab to use two or more bases, or design them a little differently so they come in two pieces that interlock in an X shape and won't need bases at all.

Just got an email from Amazon sayin the order has been delayed again! What's going on? I've been very patient, but it's starting to get tough.

You've been super helpful! Thank you.

There were lots of good suggestions by folks and I'm looking into those. I'm torn right now between ranger and horizon walker. I'll most likely spend level 6 beefing up "kitty" with boom companion, then spend some time in horizon walker. Those crazy bonuses are hard to resist!

Also I'll get a long spear and hide armor for sure, as soon as I can.

I'm also toying with the feats Diehard, Vital Strike, Iron Will, Toughness, and Weapon Focus. Tough choice.

Some nice advice, pobbes. Boon companion does look good, but for me the jury is still out on the whole animal companion thing. They're a lot weaker than they used to be, mainly in that they only know command words and are hard to work with. My panther only knows attack, defend, and stop. Been working on other commands but it takes a long time. Our DM won't let an animal tactically position itself so it basically just goes in wildly and does its thing. Getting it to do something outside the known commands is dicey at best. Are we doing something wrong?

Not to mention how hard it is to maneuver an animal in a dungeon, even something as agile as a cat...

FireberdGNOME wrote:
You sound like you are playing a great character, I would be proud to run a game for you or just play next to you =)


Mike J wrote:
You are creating all of your own problems by being directly contrary to the game.

Funny thing is, I actually completely agree with you. Over the years I've formulated a theory that D&D (in all its incarnations, including Pathfinder) is, at its heart, a game about Imperialism. It is built on the notion of acquiring wealth by taking it, by force or by duplicity, from minorities, other cultures, or from the remains of people from the past. In the deepest part of the game, it is about taking s*$@ that ain't yours. For me to refuse to participate is to violate the fundamental essence of D&D. Actually, my character does take wealth from vanquished foes if they are evil or are her favored enemies, but even that in itself is a form of rationalization of violence in the pursuit of profit!

Seriphim84 wrote:
PLEASE make sure your GM and other players are enjoying this as much as you. If not, it just isn't fair to force it on them.

As far as I can tell, they're totally fine with my character. Honestly, I probably dislike her more than the others, because of the struggle to make her reach her potential without violating concept.

Brox RedGloves wrote:
I'm surprised none of your team mates have decided to portion off your "share" of the loot (esp the gold), and keep it for you for later in case it is needed.

They've said they'll do this, but it has never come up. The Serpent's Skull AP takes characters far away from civilization, and thus any opportunity to spend that ill-gotten gold. After Smuggler's Shiv, there is a brief time when the party passes through a town, but alas I was out for a few weeks and missed that time! As far as I know, we won't make it back to civilization for the rest of the AP, or at least if the back copy of each adventure is any indication.

JohnF wrote:
Leaf armour (from the Inner Sea World Guide) is even better; +3, No Armor Check penalty, weight 10lb.

I'll look into that!

Porphyrogenitus wrote:
... Vow of Poverty feat... glamered armor...

I looked into the 3.5 version of Vow of Poverty and really like it, but it's a no-go for my DM. The Pathfinder version was too weak to bother. It would be nice if they came up with something more middle-of-the-road.

Glamered armor is a good idea, though I think it's more for people who are trying to fool others into thinking they are unarmored, no? It seems like a waste of a +1 to just make flavor "official."

Gignere wrote:
Longspear... Big game hunter

I'll consider longspear. I originally went with regular spear because I started off throwing the spear, but have since decided to stick to using it in hand-to-hand.

I couldn't find Big Game Hunter. Is it an archetype?

AkaKageWarrior wrote:

Combining all that with your not so optimized character (even with the wrong ruling concerning the buckler - and even worse the ranger archetypes!!!!): bad idea, friend.

2 major questions arise:
- do you contribute to your party's success or just barely surviv with using up too many resources from the other party members?
- do you have fun playing that character?

Yeah, I know. *sigh*

I do contribute to our success, and in fact am the front-line fighter. For a while the druid in our party was outshining me something fierce (in fact I ranted about it on these boards a few months ago, then just dealt with it and moved on), but now that only happens if he shapeshifts. I've been the party savior more than a few times, and have chased down escaping adversaries.

I do have fun playing the character overall. Where it isn't fun is when I'm dealing with the build itself.

No trapper + skirmisher? Looks like I missed another one. Okay, I'll ditch the skirmisher. It was a recent addition anyway.

Based on the descriptions on the back of the AP modules, I thought we were going to be in the Mwangi the whole time (other than Smuggler's Shiv, which was jungle also)? Or are you referring to dungeons? Don't tell me -- I'll find out I guess.

Urg, no I didn't know that. I've had a hard enough time getting AC, it sucks to lose it now.

As for better armor, yeah it would be smart, but unfortunately I'm pretty deep into roleplaying this character as opposed to advanced technology.

She also hates money, seeing it as a corrupting force, and won't take her share of party treasure, so I rely on what I can find or convince the DM to give me. So far I've talked the DM into letting me alternate increasing the bonus on my spear and my amulet of natural armor by +1 every other level. I turn down gold, but I'll take any relevant magic items we find, which is why I have the ring of prot.

It gimps my character, but I like what it does for exploring the character's personality. The down side is that I have to work twice as hard to be viable. :(

By the way, it's been entertaining seeing how one character not taking money throws the whole system out of whack so easily. It gives the other characters more money than they should have, causing the DM to not be sure how much gold to allot in encounters, and it pushes them ahead in development, causing the DM to wonder why his monsters are dying so fast. Sad that the system would break down so quickly from such a small thing.

So... if I'm reading the Horizon Walker right, once I hit the 3rd level of that PrC, I'd be able to add +6 to every attack vs. Jungle critters?

+6 because I currently have Favored Terrain (Jungle) from the Ranger class, then with Horizon Walker each time it gives me a new terrain I increase the bonus for my other by +2, for a total of +6 by third level? It seems to, according to this passage in Favored Terrain, which Horizon Walker says it uses: "At 8th level and every five levels thereafter, the ranger may select an additional favored terrain. In addition, at each such interval, the skill bonus and initiative bonus in any one favored terrain (including the one just selected, if so desired), increases by +2."

Because that would be awesome, since we're doing Serpent's Skull and we're not leaving this jungle for the rest of the adventure path! That means almost every single thing we encounter I'd be at +6 to attack and damage...

Sure thing, I do appreciate all the help!

Human Ranger 5
Str 16, Dex 17, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 10.
Saves: Fort 6, Ref 7, Will 2 (ouch)
Traits: Jungle Walker (+2 Survival in Jungle), Stowaway (+1 Stealth, Survival)
Feats: Power Attack, Dodge, Fleet, Diehard.
Class Ability Specifics: Favored Enemy 1 (Humanoid Reptilian, Favored Enemy 2 (Human), Favored Terrain 1 (Jungle), Hunter's Bond (Animal Companion).
Archetype: Trapper and Skirmisher. Both ditch the spells (I'm not good at playing spellcasters) in exchange for ranger's traps and for hunter's tricks.
Most Important Skills: Acrobatics (3 ranks), Handle Animal (3 ranks), Knowledge Nature (4 ranks), Knowledge Local (4 ranks), Perception (4 ranks), Stealth (3 ranks), Survival (3 ranks).
Armor: Leather, +1 darkwood buckler, amulet of nat. armor +1, ring of prot. +1 = 20
Attack: +1 Spear (when I use this with Power Attack, Furious Focus, the 2-handed bonus, plus my Strength I get d8+11 damage. Tempted to add Vital Strike to this!), Net, Dagger, Shortbow. CMB 8, CMD 21.

The character concept is "Queen of the Jungle," and I envision a Frank Frazetta/Edgar Rice Burroughs-esque spear-fightin' bikini warrior woman. She's from the Mwangi, which is perfect because we're doing the Serpent's Skull AP, so she's basically in her back yard. She has a panther animal companion.

There are several abilities I covet: precision damage, uncanny dodge/evasion, damage reduction (I struggle with my AC because I don't want to wear much armor, as per the concept), AC increases (though I don't have a high INT so duelist, etc., are out), and higher Will save progression.

My DM is actually okay at working with me, but I think I've waffled too much and asked for too many favors by now. I'd love to find my way "by the rules" but since there aren't many options, I think I'm out of luck.

@Ub3r_n3rd: I hadn't looked at Horizon Walker, but I like it... Thanks for the heads up!

• Rogue, which I like for the sneak attack, though I could really use some Will save increases.

Actually, the sad fact is I don't like any of the classes. They just don't allow me to make the character I envision. I wish there was an a la carte method for character design, because being forced into one class or the other is way too limiting. :(

Troubled_child wrote:
This might not prove to be a popular suggestion but if the problem with having an advice section in the AP volumes (and I favour it, especially when it came to the gunpowder/skull and shackles debate) is space, rather than messing with the adventure design (a very complicated and difficult task) why not drop the fiction?

I agree, or at least alternate fiction with other content. Myself, I have absolutely zero use for the other material in the adventure, and it just seems like bulk filler to me. I'm sure there are others who disagree.

I'm going to level soon and am torn about my choices. I've never been very good at the optimization game and so consistently come out with a weak character, which makes me terrified of making a fatally bad choice each time I level. :(

I have a 5th level Ranger (jungle theme), two-handed weapon speciality (regular spear), and use a darkwood buckler. With Power Attack and Furious Focus, plus my 17 DEX and 16 STR I can attack pretty well and dish out 1d8 + 6 (Power attack w/ 2-handed spear) + 6 (STR + 2-handed damage). Not bad. Current hit points = 49 and I'm human.

For the next level I can't decide if I should take:
• Another Ranger level, though honestly I don't much care about the rest of the 2-handed weapon feats, and I've gotten everything out of Ranger I want at this point.
• Barbarian, which fits the character concept. Maybe even Savage Barbarian?
• Fighter, which is vanilla as hell but gives me a feat (I'm thinking of taking Shield Focus to bring up my low AC from only leather armor). Since I use a regular spear, I don't think I'd take the polearm master or any other archetype.

Any advice?

James Jacobs wrote:

The problem is that every part of the book we spend telling you how to run an Adventure Path differently makes us have less room to present it in it's baseline form.

Frankly... the kind of advice you're looking for is best handled by these boards, rather than in print.

I can't disagree more. The adventure paths already have plenty of content -- too much, in my opinion. Sometimes less is more. Or put another way, I'd like a little less quantity in favor of more quality. They don't need any more encounters crammed in. Frankly, they could use fewer encounters and more thought put into managing the plot. That could go a long way to avoiding the railroading people often point out in adventure paths.

And as for the message boards, not everyone has the ability or interest to go online looking for help. The adventures should be self-contained and not require the DM to post on the boards, or scour Google or whatever, hoping for help in scaling an adventure. Besides, online those answers most likely don't come from the person who knows the work best -- the writer.

The answer to a slow adventure path isn't to "play more often or play longer sessions." We shouldn't have to change our schedule to fit the material. Our lives are not slave to the adventure. It is a tool that we use as we see fit. What I'm suggesting is to consider making adventure paths a little more adaptable and geared for groups with slightly different needs. I'm not talking about cutting out pages and pages of content here, just a sidebar or two would be most useful.

I like those, especially the one in Osirion.

I'd love to see an Adventure Path dealing with the rise of a church that claims to be good but is way too evangelical, heading toward a Golarion-wide inquisition to wipe out all other religions and also magic itself.

Perhaps, but I see adventure paths as toolkits for running a whole campaign with minimal prep for the DM. So advice on alternative ways to use the adventure only make sense. Besides, a lot of adventures have those kinds of sidebars, offering advice on customizing the material from the person who knows it best -- the writer.

richard develyn wrote:
I have found that each AP takes about 4-5 sessions to complete...

Wow, that's exactly the opposite of my experience. Our group games for about 3.5 hours every week, and it takes us about 12 sessions to get through one chapter. Which, of course, means it takes us pretty much a year and a half (!!!) to get through the whole AP, way too long in my opinion. We level about once every three weeks or so.

For me, the change comes when wizards start getting spells that can get them (and the rest of the party) easily past challenges.

DM: "The entire cavern before you has collapsed and is now a white-hot lake of fire! The only way across are several rickety-looking pillars. Who dares to go first?"

Wizard: "I teleport the party to the other side. Next!"

Also, I tend to easily get overwhelmed with having too many class abilities and feats, and start forgetting about them all (this is also why I can't play any kind of caster). Once I get past about 8th level, I lose interest.

Thanks, James. One great thing about these boards is getting the word directly from the folks at the top!

It wasn't solicited, but I have some feedback/suggestions for adventure paths. I'd love to see a sidebar or front matter section which tells DMs how to run an "accelerated" version of the chapter and/or entire adventure path. That could mean cutting out 25% - 50% of the content of each chapter, or even tips on ending an Adventure Path at a midpoint instead.

A greater focus on plot would also be nice. I enjoy dungeons as much as the next guy, but there are so many of them in APs I groan every time a new one comes up. Sometimes it seems like the plot is merely thin tissue to get the party from one dungeon to the next. Shorter dungeons would also be nice. In Council of Thieves #4, it took our characters nine days (in-game time) to reach the end of the dungeon, and that was one that should have been time-sensitive!

While you're at it, it would be a great idea to put in the occasional sidebar for handling deviations from the AP plot. (One great example has been Racing to Ruin -- I didn't want to team up with a faction, or follow the route provided. I wanted to forge our own. It would have been great if we had been given a map and been tasked with picking a route, then the DM could compare that with the "master" map to determine encounters, including run-ins with enemy factions!)

For what it's worth, we don't use XP -- we just level when it seems right, which is usually every 3 - 4 sessions, or upon reaching plot points. We also tend to run our games a little light on the magic items (my character in particular this time around -- I'm playing a jungle ranger who refuses all money and only uses what gear she can make or find).

Just my $0.02 cents.

I'm curious about how Paizo determines the length of an adventure path, for th whole thing and for each chapter. Is there an official "goal" in terms of game hours for each chapter/the whole series? How long does it take the typical group to get through one, if the DM plays "by the book" with no changes of any kind?

Our group is almost done with chapter 2 of Serpent's Skull. We started it in early January and have only missed a couple of meetings. We game for an average of 3.5 hours at a time. By my rough estimate, it has taken us an average of 3 months per chapter, or 45 hours. Is this about right? It seems awfully slow to me. I feel like the chapters are too long and the dungeons WAY too long.

Magic jar?

chaoseffect wrote:

Just reading what you've had to deal with fills me with rage >:[

I'm... so sorry it happened to you.

LOL, yes, this is why combats always seem to take two or more hours, even just to handle the four goblins guarding a door.

Oh, another suggestion for speeding things up: Try running most of the less important encounters without a mat and minis at all. Just use description and cinematic action. This works if the DM can relinquish some control and let players help with the battle descriptions. Area of effect attacks really present the only problem, but just declare who is involved, randomize it, or just be clear about where everyone is relative to the threats. Use generalized terms like "next to," "near," away from," and "far from" and just let everything else be free-form. You'd be surprised how freeing this can be.

Then break out the mat and minis for important/boss battles, or ones where the environment is so particular that it requires careful positioning.

chaoseffect wrote:
I disagree with you on attacks of opportunity. If you're playing with people who are familiar with them, then planning for them kinda becomes second nature. The only time I see AoO slow things down is when we have to explain to someone why they are being attacked for moving that way and pointing out how to move without provoking... it usually seems to be the same one or two people who never quite get it >_<

I guess it depends on whether one has a mind for tactics. It actually took me many years just to understand the concept of AoO and why all of a sudden someone gets a bunch more attacks just because his opponent has decided to draw a new weapon from his scabbard. I was thinking too literally about it (same thing with hit points).

But it seems every group I've been in, all the players move their piece around, move it back, try out another path, argue over a detail, look something up, move it back again, think about a suggestion by another player about where to position themselves, move the piece to a new spot, realize they can't actually go there, move it back, discover they've been using the wrong starting square the whole time, argue about whether or not that would have changed last round's action, think about an entirely new action, change their mind again, move their piece to a new location, decide it will block their view and move it back, bicker with another player about which monster they should be worrying about, then decide in the end not to move at all because they don't want to be exposed to even one potential attack of opportunity. Rinse, repeat.


Fake Healer wrote:

2000gp would upgrade your armor and your buckler to +1 each.....

Have your PC give up her share of gold to the party but when it comes time for upgrades they should chip in and help....

Other people in the party have suggested they'll "gift" me on occasion. It hasn't happened yet, mainly because Serpent's Skull has us away from any place where magic can be acquired in exchange for raw money. I do like your simple suggestion of increasing my leather armor and buckler for so cheap.

dunebugg wrote:
I'm going to also suggest a re-skin of the Vow of Poverty feat.

I thought about this, and went in search of something that exists between the 3.0 version and the Pathfinder version. Hopefully my DM will consider this, because it makes a lot of sense.

dunebugg wrote:
Also, by giving up your share of the loot, you are only INCREASING the power disparity as your allies will have a larger chunk of change than intended by WBL.

LOL, I realized this recently, too. I imagined the DM would decrease the loot haul, and it has been much lower than one would normally expect in one of these adventures.

dunebugg wrote:

Or, simply re-skin EVERYTHING. People have thrown in a lot of good ideas. You want a stronger weapon? Invest gold in "ritual equipment", and next time you kill a powerful weapon soak the weapon in its blood, etc etc.

Amulet of Natural Armor? No problem. Your skin has gotten tougher over time from battle. No need to have a "magic item" involved.

Almost every single magic item you "wear", you could explain the bonuses happening from your experience in battle. Still wear and use the magic items as normal on your character sheet, but represent them differently on your actual in-game character.

TL;DR - fit the rules into your concept, not the other way around.

You're on to something there. Maybe I can suggest this to the DM.

• Use the "minion" rule -- all the nameless, generic mooks have 1 hit point and Evasion. That way they die as soon as someone lands a hit on them. The other benefit of this is the DM can throw a horde of low-level baddies at the party and not have to track hit points for any of them except their leaders.

• Get rid of attacks of opportunity. They almost single-handedly slow down the game by forcing everyone to carefully consider the simplest of motions, measuring every possible action like deciding which piece to move in chess. We got rid of them years ago and never looked back. If you don't want to fully get rid of them, maybe you could keep them for characters "on hold" (which spends their action for that turn).

• Keep the pressure on the players to make decisions quickly. Look at how turns are handled in tournament play, where players have only a few scant seconds to make a decision or be passed over. I'd give players around 20 seconds, no more (don't time it, but just estimate). It will encourage them to do some pre-planning while it's not their turn, rather than texting or stacking d20s, and also simulates the rapid chaos of a battlefield. If a player can't decide on an action in time, they automatically hold action.

notabot wrote:

Sorry if I see this thread as: I give up all my moneys, why my character so bad?

Build glass cannon character, then make them even weaker "for role playing purposes" then be upset that the tank classes (druid and cleric) have better AC...

PF is balanced on an assumption of WBL (wealth by level). By purposefully choosing to give up your money you chose to put your character at least a full level if not more behind the party. You should have about 10k worth of gear at this level.

On top of that you purposely avoid choices that would give you a decent AC. You have a medium armor proficiency character, yet wear one of the least effective light armors (at least get a mithral chain shirt, its cheap and effective, enchant it while you are at it, 2100 is well worth it and is strictly better than all your gear combined). I didn't know that you could darkwood a buckler, bucklers are metal after all. Anyways enchant that as well. with just these steps alone you should be able to increase your armor by about +4 (upgrade armor, enchants +1 x2). Certainly better than the progress of a amulet. AC is about finding various stacking bonuses, not getting a super one source bonus.

You're right, yes, and I know it. I guess what it comes down to over and over again is that I have a character concept (I'm more of a character-as-person guy than character-as-series-of-numbers guy) and D&D just doesn't let me play it well, sometimes at all. There's just so much expectation and assumption baked into character design. One can't make a character of one's design, it has to be a choice of one of ~11 different types decided upon by some game designer somewhere. Might as well just have pregens. The old argument about "D&D is about archetypes" doesn't wash with me, because one might as well say "D&D is about playing overdone, tired old stereotypes." I want more from a game than that, and I don't think D&D has to be limited to those things.

Part of the problem is how 3.X D&D scales. It ramps up so high so fast that one has to min/max just to stay relevant, forcing the player to get into the optimization game. The mechanics force a play style that works well for some people, but leaves others in the cold. We rely on having a DM that is creative and open and willing to bend the rules, even though doing so easily breaks the fragile balance of the system.

Okay, rant off. It's just something I've run into time and time again over ten years of d20 D&D. I always hear "Try another game," but I *like* D&D and want to play it. I just don't want to have to make my character based on other people's ideas about what I should be doing.

I dont avoid appropriate magic items we find, just haven't been very lucky I guess. :/

Still waiting to hear back from the DM. Thanks for the suggestions so far.

I haven't heard if a madu... I'll look that up.

Yep, it's a regular spear I use two-handed, but I haven't given Shield of Swings much consideration because I give up half my damage for +4 AC, and right now I do 1d8+12 damage (combination of 16 STR, +1 two-handed weapon, Power Attack, and Furious Focus).

Thanks for the suggestions! I'm running them by my DM now...

So I'm playing a 5th-level ranger and I'm having a hard time with my armor class. The character concept is "Queen of the Jungle", so she wields a spear and most of her skills are focused on climbing, acrobatics, etc. I don't want to violate this character concept but need to bring my AC up from 18 somehow.

Here's what I have:

• 17 DEX (I'll raise it at 8th level)
• Masterwork Darkwood buckler
• Dodge Feat
• Amulet of Natural Armor +1
• Leather Armor (ideally I'd wear less than this, but I made a concession)

How can I increase my AC beyond 18? I'm the party's front-line fighter by default, since our other characters are a cleric, rogue, and druid, though I actually have lower AC then those characters!

Another issue: My character has a philosophical loathing of money and wealth and gold, so I forfeit my loot and have always done so. Thus, I made an arrangement with the DM to have my amulet and spear gradually increase in power on their own. At 6th level, my amulet of natural armor will increase to a +2, bringing my total to 19. And of course at 8th level I'll bring DEX to 18 for a total of 20 AC -- not that great for a front-liner!

I know the obvious answers: wear heavier armor, stop giving up my loot and buy some magic items, get DM permission to rearrange my attributes so I have a higher DEX. None of those are feasible for one reason or another, so are there any options left?

This has always been something that has bothered me about D&D. Attack constantly goes up, but defense requires magic items. *dislike*


Can one delete all one's own posts within that thread?

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