Ice Titan's page

2,219 posts. Alias of SecSeibzehn.


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Thank you very much!

This subscription's order of Ruins of Gauntlight arrived basically crumpled in half...

Just want to know what my options are.

Thank you for your time.

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And an 8th level Confusion would incapacitate up to 10 creatures within 30 of you. Based on dice odds probably half of them for a minute and the rest for up to a minute... So again since they need to succeed a DC 37 with a 22, unlikely they get out by the end of that minute.

Or a Weird next level could kill a third of the entire encounter with the same parameters, and do a boatload of damage besides.

Or it's not a race and there is no Pf2elogs parsing your run so it's fine to play whatever.

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Moppy wrote:
Searching for me isn't a problem. It's when players get told to search automatically on entering a location when they wouldn't normally think of it. You just walk in a cake shop to get a cake, as soon as you enter "oh we should search under the counter".

Yeah. The PC is playing a class called the Investigator. They should be able to play a character who is very good at investigating without having to be very good at investigating in real life.

Do you make the fighter kick open doors to see if he can pass strength checks, or the wizard recite spells to use magic?

Why does the investigator player have to be unusually prescient to play an investigator?

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My only thing is that the class feature for the sigil calls out that it's obvious the two are linked.

Most enemies with a functioning brain may decide to stop tangling with the buffed monster with expert unarmored and go for the spellcaster if it'll have the same result as "the eidolon goes away."

Add in that for area debuffs like divine wrath or frightful presence that the summoner rolls twice and takes the worse-- so we could both just be frightened 4 because of an unlucky 1 on 2d20-- it's enough for me to want slightly more HP than a fighter, yeah.

If a fighter has to roll twice and take the worse on every dragon's breath weapon then maybe he should have some more HP too, but he doesn't. And his 10th level feat can be spent on something other than "now I don't have disadvantage," which feels real bad...

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8 hp per level instead of 10, but you add the Eidolon's CON mod to your own to determine your max HP.

That would make me feel much better about the moments I am worried most about-- being a detriment to the party because both eidolon and summoner are injured in 1 turn, forcing the party healer to expend resources on me instead of assessing that we're both above half and will probably be OK later to medicine.

thenobledrake wrote:
Ice Titan wrote:
One of those seems way better than the other.
Just about anything can be made to sound worse that something else if you phrase one positively and then the other as the worst-case scenario.

I really like that the worst-case scenario is the first stage of the Battle Oracle's curse.

Of which there are two other progressively worse stages.

Captain Morgan wrote:
I dunno, the Oracle of Flames in my game has been wrecking stuff. Those focus spells are a lot better than what most classes get access to.

I don't disagree there are good Oracles, I'm just sad that it's limited to 3 mysteries (fire, cosmos, tempest).

For what it's worth I disagree with the OP. I think the APG classes are interesting, and the Swashbuckler or Investigator are not definitive downgrades to Rogue. The Witch has some problems but is very playable. The Summoner is really interesting from a gameplay standpoint and I really want to playtest one as-is-- I think it looks incredibly unique.

Being behind an archetyped CRB class in proficiencies is a death knell for the Magus. Needing to hit both rolls is... tenuous considering they aren't particularly amazing at either.

There's a google doc with the % chance a spellstrike fully goes off, and it's something like a 10% chance to spellstrike a level+2. So you have 4 spell slots and they're relegated to fighting the boss's minions. Trying to be cool and save a cool attack spell for the boss is foolish given the mathematics and that kind of thing feels weird to me, but I understand with Paizo's design theory around making boss fights less one-and-done with things like Incapacitation.

I just hope they work out the Magus so that it's not worse than multiclassing.

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Orithilaen wrote:
Ice Titan wrote:

First round:
Three action summon -> Automatic sustain
Eidolon gets a free strike, and the enemy is flat-footed if the summon isn't already in flank
Strikes, Strikes

Any other turns after:
Boost Eidolon
Act Together -- Sustain; Eidolon Strides or Strikes
Eidolon Strikes
Stride/Strike x2

I don't exactly view this as crushing?

"Crushing" was too strong. But the eidolon is generally going to be more useful to you than your summon. And here you are limiting your eidolon to one action in the first round and two actions in subsequent rounds--which also limits the utility of special eidolon abilities that require more than one action. (Also, when I wrote that post I hadn't yet noticed the Distracting Summon feat, so my bad on that.)

Generally speaking I view summoning as a way of putting more HP and easier targets on the field for monsters.

It's one of the things that alleviates the Summoner's dual-body-one-hp-pool problem. Remember, monsters don't know what summoning is, don't understand why there's a celestial goat here now but they do realize it's attacking them. If they swing they notice it has low AC, and now their attacks might be spent brutalizing this poor elysian goat instead of my eidolon or any other party members.

I imagine a lot of the two-action eidolon moves are going to be first-round moves either way. The Beast eidolon suffers most from this as they want to use their charge to dive in, but then you're not likely to go the full 50+ feet if you don't want your eidolon flanked, surrounded and beaten down. So they're probably in range for the summon on turn 2.

Having an extra body on the field no one has to heal up after the battle is just a good way to soak some damage.

pauljathome wrote:
oholoko wrote:

The Oracle is in such a weird place... I wouldn't call him bad.
Its definitely NOT bad. For example, a Spontaneous Divine Caster with up to 4 spells a level and no focus spells is a perfectly viable and decent character. And that is only one of the many options that you can play.

And when you want your focus spells back and 3 extra heals per day you can retrain to being a cleric.

Or use one focus spell and take -2 AC and all saves unless you're making a Strike every round. Which I'm sure goes over great against Complex Hazards like Haunts.

One of those seems way better than the other.

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Sporkedup wrote:
ShikiSeiren wrote:
manbearscientist wrote:
No, the DM is not using those. He is doing 10 vs 4 with the enemy level at party -1, because the difficulty rating as written makes absolutely 0 sense
The difficult ratings are by the far the best in the entire industry. I say this as someone who has GMed PF2 continuously since playtest (hundred+ sessions over the past few years), virtually every single time I've made an encounter the encounter building tools have accurately depicted the difficulty of the encounter.

The difficulty rating is horrible. I've been running a few games, one was literally a single player campaign (player + 1 npc). I just wanted to see what would happen if I threw 5 goblin warriors and 1 goblin commander at them when both player and NPC were level 1. An encounter this so called "best in the industry" system calls "impossible"... They lost 4 HP. FOUR. In total! I reran this encounter 4 times to see if it was just the dice, but no. Worst that happened is that the player character dropped to 6 HP once. Unless the balance between enemy types shifts wildly within the same level range, this is NOT indicative of the RAW encounter calculations being any competent.

Weird. Either you're doing things hilariously wrong or you're a tactical genius!

As I have a handful of dice within reach of my computer, I just ran that encounter real quick against two Champions (to be generous) within 25 feet (to be generous).

The champions lost every time-- best they did was 4 of the 6 goblins.

Which reads, because extreme difficulty encounters are supposed to mean the heroes lose 50% of the time. If you won every time without problem then me losing every time is statistically likely!

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Deadmanwalking wrote:

Yeah, I think they should get either a Focus Spell summon, or a pool of maxed Summon spells ala Channel Divinity on a Cleric. Either could then max out at 10th level.

It's a fairly minor issue balance-wise, but a huge quality of life improvement.

"When you prepare your spells each day, you can prepare additional summon spells depending on the tradition of your eidolon... The number of slots is equal to your 1 plus your Constitution modifier."

Not sure how to word the legal-ese of which summon should be allowed, but just getting one and then upgrading it along would be fantastic.

Orithilaen wrote:
And the need to Sustain a Spell to keep a summon on the field will be crushing given the tight action economy of the shared actions rule.

First round:

Three action summon -> Automatic sustain
Eidolon gets a free strike, and the enemy is flat-footed if the summon isn't already in flank
Strikes, Strikes

Any other turns after:
Boost Eidolon
Act Together -- Sustain; Eidolon Strides or Strikes
Eidolon Strikes
Stride/Strike x2

I don't exactly view this as crushing?

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Basically thread title. 4 spells known total and you have to choose summon x feels extremely weird for the class called the Summoner.

Also funny that there's a sidebar about there being no 1st-level divine summoning spell, so summon celestial animals. Occult is good summoning like pugwampis and mites or whatever, that fits the undead phantasm of devotion theme perfectly fine though.

Adding texture to a combat and making it engaging and memorable are more important factors than raw combat strength.

The d20 is too big of a variable to be reliable anyways. I've had near TPKs on Low encounters because of hot dice and I've had the end boss of an AP roll nothing above 10 and get bodied in 3 rounds.

Having the ghouls all hit and run individualistically, not trying to aid the others too much, looking out for themselves etc. instead of fighting like a football line makes that fight sound way more fun.

Despite your math error it sounds like this fight was executed well if the PCs used tactics to match tactics instead of just running pathfinder.exe. Don't sweat the small things!

For your second question, refer to the sidebar on the bottom of page 444 under "Ambiguous Rules."

Staves aren't weapons. Staves fall under the Staff magical item rules, and can be used as weapons, but it doesn't make them melee weapons.

You can of course shift it into a staff as per the rules in table 6-7, but that doesn't grant it any special rules other than two-hand d8. Plus they're already staffs so that doesn't really do much.

Javelins aren't ammunition, so they should be able to be made +1 to gain the ability to add a property rune.

You're misreading the text a bit there. Taking damage while you're dying increases the value by 1, or by 2 if it's a critical hit or critical failure. In the sidebar under Death and Dying next to the condition, it clarifies that if you are rendered unconscious you go to dying 1, but if you get crit unconscious or a critical failure brings you unconscious you go to dying 2. Still not great if all the monsters crit PCs on 13s but that's... that's a party composition problem, which is a new thing in PF2e that doesn't ever get mentioned.

As for the rest of your post: I give my PCs two hero points when the session starts, and a third after about 60% of a session has elapsed if it's a long session (thanks to COVID sometimes we play for 10 hours, most of the time 5 1/2). That fixes granting them.

I also add +10 to hero point rerolls if the value is under 11, so a 3 is a 13, a 9 is a 19, and a 10 is a 20, but an 11 is an 11 and a 14 is a 14. This makes hero points much more viable and interesting instead of "dud points" where you roll a 2, fail, and then roll a 1 and somehow heroically fail worse.

Giving a penalty to the wounded condition will tamper with death spiral mechanics. It's the same as making the PCs 2 levels lower every time they go down, which can just make a TPK guaranteed instead of recoverable with a single death.

The big thing with PF2e from my experience that no one talks about that everyone SHOULD talk about is you need to have a solid party composition if you want to play the Adventure Paths without changes. You cannot run a bard/monk/rogue/rogue party composition in the PF2e adventures-- with the space-saving and time-saving measures put in place, there are extremely minimal low encounters and almost all fights are moderate or severe. Clerics and divine Sorcerers are the only "healer" classes with abundant free heals and are nearly mandatory. Making sure at least 1 of your frontline have an oppressively high AC-- mandatory-- and if they're not a Champion, then the party is likely going to take level+2 extra damage every single round-- so Champion, mandatory.

If you're running your own home game you can make the encounters far less lethal, far less pressed-for-time, far less "1e" where the encounter math wasn't so tight that an enemy escaping to get reinforcements is an all-but-guaranteed TPK if the PCs have any damage on them whatsoever. But if you're running Plaguestone or Age of Ashes-- good luck. Not only are these modules written under 1e assumptions, their math is off so badly. The official Paizo encounter math back then was for some reason very number-of-creatures light, so you only see a few sparse level-2 or level-1 encounters. Everything else is 2 +1, a solo +2-+3 or three equal-level, and that's not the sweet spot for many groups, especially mine.

So, TL;DR: If you're party isn't willing to char-op their party composition, then put the weak template on the monsters. Weaken them twice and add an extra. Avoid solo fights at +3, aim for +2 solos. Buff hero points and give them more treasure.

This worked for me and we've been having a blast in my homebrew campaign. Good luck!!

Got the APG in the mail. Was really hoping the adventure path would be inside, but... nada.

I even picked up Lost Omens Legends for a friend and it got sent pronto.

Just really curious what happened behind the scenes here. Hoping nothing is bugged or something.

Sara Marie wrote:

I went through the following products and looked for subscriber copies of the following books which were not in sidecarts and not marked as having been processed for shipping & fulfilled, and added the corresponding PDF to the customer's digital asset. Unfortunately this is a product search and not a person search, so folks who have subscribed to multiple lines may have gotten multiple notifications for the various PDFs.

PZO7114 Starfinder Starship Operations Manual
PZO7230 Starfinder Adventure Path #30: Puppets Without Strings (The Threefold Conspiracy 6 of 6)

PZO2105 Pathfinder Advanced Player's Guide + Special Edition
PZO9306 Pathfinder Lost Omens: Legends
PZO90157 Pathfinder Adventure Path #157: Devil at the Dreaming Palace (Agents of Edgewatch 1 of 6)

I'm really scratching my head on this one. My AP subscription is still pending. Still no email. Didn't even charge me for the book?

I'm just happy to have the APG at least. I can wait until September for the AP stuff no problem. Just fell in a weird crack I guess.

All I want to know is if you need to roll concealment checks for spells like heal.

It's important for how I word my houserule document for Oracle.

Finally got the email for the APG but just realized my AP subscription never sent out a pending email. And it's not shipped with my APG...

Oh, boy.

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On the AC thing: My party has 3 high-AC frontliners and 3 mediocre-AC backliners. The lowest AC in the party at 5 is 21 and the highest is 24, then 26 with shield or fighter parry stance.

It matters a lot when I'm swinging on a +14 for creatures. I miss often by shield/parry, or don't crit by shield/parry. And even though they've been hit, not being crit is huge!

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I'm loving this new edition of Pathfinder.

I love Golarion. Like, a lot. It's easily one of my favorite campaign settings ever just because it's so grab-bag with everything. The world is incredibly varied, just like the real world, and it makes my obsession with anthropology, culture, language and geography validated. But the one big hang-up with trying to play Pathfinder to play in Golarion was that... we had to play Pathfinder.

My players had effectively "solved" PF1 with the aid of Guide to Etcetera google docs and forum posts, much like any of the people on this forum could attest. They could easily kill any encounter in the game without taking damage if they chose the right spell and won initiative, and even then, enemies winning initiative didn't mean they could do much besides deal a middling amount of damage and present themselves to be full attacked. All of the narrative gravitas we'd build to in our roleplaying would amount to the villain being one-round killed. Action economy worked against us so hard to have a satisfying storytelling experience that one of my players gathered the others together and made them promise to not attack the villain who had a name over their mooks until the mooks were dead just so every climactic fight wasn't flat and boring after the villain who spoke inevitably died just before their turn. At least they could have fun bantering with the villain while they killed the mooks they would inevitably fight anyways.

I think I've told the story of my PC who full attacked the boss with her bow, killing him, and then he came back to life... during her full attack, so she finished her full attack and killed him again.

That's not happened only once, or just because of splat books. This also happened against the main villain of Curse of the Crimson Throne back in 2011. And the main villain of Council of Thieves in 2010. And so many bosses inbetween.

And the prevailing wisdom was always "add 100% more hp!" or "make their saves impossible!" as if that was the goal-- to pretend to play Pathfinder and just make everything up. And it was exhausting, and more than exhausting, it was dull. I stopped running Pathfinder 1e after a particularly strong Hell's Rebels game led into a flop of Ironfang Invasion because the PCs felt like they could just take on the eponymous Ironfang Invasion instead of running and honestly with their builds lovingly hand-crafted from internet google documents they probably could until I put something too strong to one-round on the table, but that something wasn't in the book so again-- exhausting, dull.

Even worse! We had a few players drop in here and there who hadn't played D&D before and when they realized their entire character was a character optimization checklist I could tell that they checked out as well. About as much interactivity as a World of Warcraft simcraft program! Plug in fighter, what weapon? Oh, two-handed sword, how daring! Here's your build...

The GM has to go through a lot of emotional labor to get a game going. In my opinion you have to be a certain kind of person who enjoys letting everyone else stomp on your toys so that they can have fun. You have to both want the villains to lose and to play them to win-- after all, what point is it in playing if the heroes don't need to struggle along the way to their goal? It's all charades, and when the system actively fights against that by making the villains' victory something that is impossible to even comprehend the game becomes... flat. Even for the players. Especially for the GM.

Another Anecdote::
We walked into the final battle of Book #1 in Shattered Star to find... not what we expected as a final villain. Our oracle was so non-plussed she refused to cast spells or spend resources during the combat assuming there was more to the adventuring day after this. Because of that we were effectively down a player. Everyone else engaged and won the battle and the oracle was surprised that was all. I still remember what they said in defense of their inaction: "It's Pathfinder. It's not like we're going to lose as long as our paladin can smite and full attack." Despite the fact that we felt this was wrong, we also knew... yeah. We won. They were right.

2e's tighter math means that villains are threatening. The margin for failure for the heroes is higher, but not because you didn't look in a google doc and you've just built your entire character wrong. It's about strategy in play instead of outside of it, it's about character synergy and setting up your allies for success. Magic items aren't a necessary wish-list save for arms and armor, and now there are way more interesting and fun things to pick up. Everything is more tightly controlled both so the GM can't abuse mechanics vs the PCs and vice versa. I love it. As a permanent GM, it's a dream. I've planned something like 300 encounters from level 1-20 for my home campaign and so far at level 5 (only 75 encounters in) the only thing that's effected the perception of their challenge rating is bad rolls!

Are there some things I don't like? Yeah, sure. Animal companions kind of suck in this edition. Casters feel bad because their spells become easy to save against if they don't know the monster's save totals. Party composition is incredibly important to the point where it can make or break your entire experience -- I think clerics and champions are as mandatory as a class can be to help survive unlucky streaks on dice, for example. I don't like that hero points feel more like mediocrity points because you can just roll lower or the same and now you're going to die to what hit you because you were stupid enough to try to save instead of lay down the whole fight-- how heroic!

But unlike PF1 it's not the core of the game that's gone bad for me-- it's things I can houserule and move on with. I'm considering making archetypes free, adding a divine font archetype, adding a champion's reaction archetype. We add +10 to hero point re-rolls below 11. I added magic weapons for casters that add to their to-hit and DC. I'm working on houseruling animal companions, but it doesn't look like anyone is going to use one because of how soured our druid was watching their bear miss every attack in a boss encounter because they have an arbitrary -3 to hit because of no magic weapons.

Because the math is so tight, houseruling is easy. Making up new treasure is easy. Adding new subsystems like a deck of cards that represent allied characters aiding the party-- it was super easy!

In short: yes. Huge improvement. Love it. Golarion! Yay!

Not one, but three linnorm kings? That's really exciting.

I knocked 5 PCs out in the entirety of the Age of Ashes campaign. 6 if you count a swallowed whole PC intentionally casting a spell to free them which had them start drowning, but then they were free, so they were fine. If you don't, none of those unconscious characters hit the dirt past level 8.

So far I've knocked out... 4 PCs in my homebrew campaign. One was because a bow-wielding ranger PC had an ogre werewolf stride up to them and miss, so they deemed them incompetent and spent all their actions shooting. The attack of opportunity on the ranger chunked them to near-unconsciousness, so the cleric stayed nearby to heal, and then the ogre werewolf had enough speed to stride to them and attack twice, dropping them.

It was a long conversation on "why you shouldn't spend your last action fishing for a natural 20 that would just hit" afterwards.

Oh, and the highest wounded value for all of those characters has been 2. We've made a grand total of one death save in levels 1-20 in Age of Ashes and 1-4 in my homebrew.

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Does the Champion's reaction carry forward on each individual 'tick' of poison damage from an injury poison?

How about every morning when you roll your Fort save vs a disease and take damage from it.

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Is this being put on Roll20? Hoping it will be, especially since it may be 2021 before we put an actual real-life book to use

I just made every magic shield a Sturdy Shield of the appropriate level and moved on.

Not had any problems. Enemies still shred shields unless you trade up for higher level shields, but now the shields do something other than "not die in 1 hit."

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James Jacobs wrote:

Just popping in to say a "Disney Princess AP," as an elevator pitch for a campaign, is rad.

We could absolutely do this.

And it's not like so many of the stories Disney made movies out of are their stories. All of Grimms' Fairy Tales are in the public domain.

My feelings on this adventure path concept are both nuanced and subtle.

I really, really, really like this. That's such a cool idea.

So if an elemental bloodline sorcerer casts Burning Hands and hits 3 guys-- when do we add that extra fire damage per spell level? And what happens on a save or crit failure?

We're of two minds on this-- that it's just a flat bonus to damage that applies no matter what, even if the target crit passes, or that it's baked into the damage and doubles/halves/nils on the appropriate save types.

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Caster monster ACs are higher because the GM should not be expected to have to char-op his encounters with an hour of spell research (or more than an hour at high levels where buff stacking becomes mandatory so even your lowest level spells are being ruthlessly optimized) and the creation of a "before combat -> during combat" flow chart of actions to stand a reasonable chance of surviving a full attack, let alone providing a memorable challenge for his players.

Monsters don't need to use debuffing/buffing actions in combat so that a new GM can plop down an encounter and have it work to a reasonable standard without having to make a hundred posts on this forum asking why their enemies die in one turn just to hear a cacophony of "add more hp!" and "rocket launcher tag :(" and "just fudge the numbers" back at them.

A lot of these "problems" are because the playing field between GM and PC has been leveled so that the GM doesn't need to be an absolute master of tactical wargaming in order to challenge a PC who has "Treantmonk's Guide to Wizards: Being a God" bookmarked on his cell phone.

And we're gonna keep arguing the math and making bar graphs of Bestiary stats instead of ever acknowledging this viewpoint because of the unspoken rule that no one actually cares about the GM's enjoyment of the game. Sit there, smile while you lose and have all of your prep work evaporate because of rage lance pounce, peasant. You may be struggling to keep up with the high level buff stacking meta and carousel of rotating monsters all with their own optimal play styles and monster synergies, but I read a guide.

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Games like Pathfinder are about living out my social justice fantasies already. The opportunity to play the good cops instead of rooting out a cult of evil bad guys in the guard, or fighting against the evil king's guard, or whatever-- with the single token Good Guy cop (like Cressida Kroft) to be party to the PCs-- is actually thrilling.

I know that Paizo is gonna give me an AP that is about being a hero and is written to make my players feel heroic. Maybe the text will need a sensitivity tweak, but honestly I don't want to see these books delayed or cancelled.

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I would love a true plane-hopping adventure. The PCs could all be yanked out of line in the Boneyard and sent from there, adventuring through heaven, hell, the elemental planes... It could be a lot of fun and show off some cool parts of the universe we don't really get to see.

Another fun theme would be music. I've toyed with running a game where every member is part of a band, going on the ultimate road trip collecting various artifact instruments to keep them out of the hands of The Man.

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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Ice Titan wrote:
And generating adventures for levels 1-9 sounds like a great time.
Of all possible complaints, this one is the most bizarre. You can just start at level 11.

I wasn't complaining. I can see how in text it may seem sarcastic, but I actually really enjoy writing Pathfinder adventures, especially on the low-end of the level scale.

To be honest I was expecting it to be a Land of the Linnorm Kings AP, but only because I've put a huge amount of time into homebrewing my own 1-20 campaign that takes place there.

keftiu wrote:
Joana wrote:

For those of you not on Twitch right now: 2 three-part APs, Abomination Vaults and then Fist(s?) of the Ruby Phoenix. The first one is a megadungeon outside of Otari on the Isle of Kortos that goes to 11th-level; the second one, in Tian Xia, goes from 11 to 20.

Honestly, neither one of those sounds interesting to me ... which is okay, since I'm running 2 PbPs of Age of Ashes and will be running Agents of Edgewatch IRL.

Our 2e introduction to fantasy Asia being a martial arts tournament... kinda sucks, right? Feels very stereotypical in a way they've been trying to get away from.

I'm with you. Hopefully it isn't a rehash of the module I've already run. And generating adventures for levels 1-9 sounds like a great time.

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Currently wrapped up AoA. At the start of my own personal campaign now, and the party just hit level 2 after 9 encounters. So far no one's gone unconscious yet and the least amount of enemies in a combat has been 2. Only one enemy crit so far and the champion kept the sorcerer (who ran into the frontline to see into a ravine to cast) up with their reaction. Nothing so tough yet that the PCs have missed the majority of their attacks-- no solo encounters at least.

I'm glad that the enemies in Pathfinder 2 are much stronger than the enemies in Pathfinder 1. When I say that, I mean-- I'm glad the monsters aren't just paper tigers who fold instantly. After running Age of Ashes to 20, I can say that combat only slightly breaks down at 20, and even then it should-- the PCs are 20th level and they deserve to have a bunch of badass moves. From 1-19 the system stays relevant and it never just becomes an exercise in instantly defeating the enemies like PF1 begins to slip into at level 9.

Man... PF1 combat was demoralizing as GM. So many encounters ended on the first turn of combat that it basically permanently soured my feelings on the last edition. So many enemies who were made RAW, painstakingly, over hours... and took their entire hp total in damage in one full attack from a dimension doored martial. Or failed a save they could only pass on a 15 and are instantly, embarrassingly defeated. And then they burn a hero point (I had to give them to the villains to make them a threat) to barely squeak a pass instead so they'd get a turn, and so then they miss most of their swings. All the story building it up and then the mechanics just relentlessly failing.

One time we had a climactic end-of-campaign battle against a foe I'd built up for almost a year out of game. Our ranger one-round-killed him from the starting position on the map. Deflated, the party sensed how miserable I was and asked if maybe he had some way to come back from death... sensing their utter disappointment I rallied, improvised, figured out a way for him to survive a 300-damage volley. The rest of the party was excited! They closed the gap and engaged his minions in combat! He moved up and exchanged blows with his nemesis! This dramatic swashbuckling combat is why we everyone wanted to play Skulls and Shackles!

On the ranger's turn they just volleyed him to death a second time. "He was the biggest threat so he had to die first." We spent the rest of the plodding, meandering combat fighting nameless mook 1 and 2 and 3 who no one gave a damn about before calling it for the night.

And that was the BASELINE experience we had past a certain level. It got so narratively dissonant that my PCs would specifically hold back to sell the 'kayfabe' of the encounters so that the bad guys wouldn't get looney tunes'd and invalidate their struggle in comparison. Basically doing things to throw fights for two rounds before flipping the switch and blendering them. After all, if the villains are incompetent cartoon characters, that just also casts a question about how incompetent the PCs must be if these guys who died in one full attack were hounding them in story the entire campaign.

Literally have had a wizard with no proficiency pick up a magic greatsword off an enemy and wield it into combat instead of casting spells, and have had a caster PC who used a bow and had bow feats and a melee PC who used a rapier+buckler with rapier-specific feats swap weapons for a fight just to goof off. They won, of course.

Now with PF2e, the challenge feels more par for the course. Villains have bite to them so it's fun for me, the historically luckless GM, and the PCs get the mechanical challenge that makes it feel like their struggles are real instead of illusory. Combat doesn't get cartoony anymore as I add a hundred, then another hundred, then another hundred HP to boss monsters in-play just to make sure everyone in the boss fight gets an action. My PCs don't have to stagger around like pro wrestlers acting like the enemy's attacks that bounce off their AC, saves and buff spells are bone-shattering assaults. Math matters and I can get a better grasp on what challenges my PCs should face.

Blade4041 wrote:

Good evening Hive mind, need some advice on an encounter I'm planning for my party.

I'm incorporating my players backstories into our campaigns, and would like to throw in some mimics. They are getting to the level where True Seeing is becoming available, and I was trying to see if this spell would see through a mimic's disguise. I'm thinking so, but hoping not. What do you think?

True seeing counteracts illusions and transmutation effects. Object Mimicry is a polymorph without those traits, so True Seeing doesn't effect it.

My 6 person group had some problems but smart gameplay invalidated them.

The first fight was fairly standard with additional ice devil backup (6 person party). Our spirit barbarian ignores the adamantine DR on golems so he just corralled them while the rest of the party dove in on Embermead. She separated the party with blade barrier, but the party went in and got her anyways. Divine Wall means that enemies can't Step away to cast spells, so she had to spellcast in their face. A crit canceled that and she whiffed her attacks to boot.

Veshumvirix's dungeon looked tough but the party had multiple resist energies on hand and salamander potions. They didn't really expend resources getting to the dragon. Things seemed scary but his breath wasn't tough to beat and the party druid laid down a wall of stone above the lava to give the melee somewhere to stand on. Everyone rushed him. See, here's the cool thing-- they all had items that gave them flight. So when he smashed the wall of stone, the party flew away from the lava.

I have notoriously awful dice rolls though so ymmv on my experiences. I just went through the final battle of the campaign against the last boss and he didn't roll above 10 on any of his melee attacks the entire battle.

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Our sorcerer uses this spell in my campaign to decent effect. The best so far was when a monster pincer attacked the party and on its first turn crit our bard to dangerously low HP. Our bard didn't want to take an attack of opportunity that would likely crit and drop them, or spend their entire turn stepping. Instead, the sorcerer swapped the Bard's position with our Champion. Now the bard could cast without problem and the Champion laid into the monster and prevented it from pushing forward to threaten the rest of the group.

Another time they simply rearranged our two melee on the other side of a blade barrier so they were in flank with the cleric who cast it.

Never even used it on enemies so far but that's alright.

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I'm unbelievably excited for this. That we never leave Absalom to do a wilderness trek and the final dungeon is a landmark in the city is so thrilling.

Bring it on. I'm beyond ready!

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The callback to Breachill in this volume was incredibly well received by the PCs. I initially ran saving the orphanage as the original DCs from AoA book 1, and then explained the party seguing into saving the entire town is that they realized they've grown so much that they themselves alone are each worth a party (or more) of level 1 adventurers.

After all was said and done the party got an equal number of successes and I rolled the fateful 1d6 of dead citizens... and came up 1.

The party universally decided to use the elixir of rejuvenation from the Temple of All Gods to bring them back. Felt great.

And to answer your question from March James, my PCs loved receiving a massive hoard of treasure upon the start of Part 2. We've always disliked when the adventure rewards amazing treasure in the final dungeon like huge gold totals when we know the game is ending. Getting almost everything for 19 and 20 in one giant lump sum felt awesome and they only ended up selling 6 items (just the low level stuff mostly, and the journal of stories-- our bard is a storyteller and wanted it to himself to read and create plays from).

Should be done in 3 sessions so I'll keep an eye out on the game and report back. I'm thinking the choice here was the right one, though.

Hey gang. I was prepping the last part of Broken Promises when I noticed a small... bug? It seems real odd that Ilgreth has 28 AC, 17 Fort 19 Reflex 19 Will. His natural 20s fail my PCs saves so they'll just succeed instead and any other numbers fail.

I don't think that's intended. I added 10 to all of those numbers. Just thought I'd point it out!

Draco18s wrote:
Ice Titan wrote:
I'm starting to think the problem is that your GM is discounting his decision making to the system, and so you're angry at Pathfinder 2. Have you considered being concerned that your GM is throwing two severe threat boss enemies at you at a time instead of a more even spread of CRs within each encounter?


The [...]'s tactics as listed in the book are to ready-action hurl alchemist fire at whomever opens the door....

It's not. His action is to flee into the next area as soon as someone opens the door.

The GM was having the Sculptor roll his Crafting checks as his action in order to herd the Blood Ooze into attacking the PCs instead of him, correct? He has to roll a 6 but it does cost him an action to try.

None of those enemies have a 27 AC.

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Draco18s wrote:
Aratorin wrote:
Why didn't someone in your party immediately cast Heal? Or Goodberry? Or use Battle Medicine? Or Gloves of Healing? Or feed you a Healing Potion? Seriously, the APs give out Healing Potions like candy. We have like 30 of them and have only ever needed to use 1.

You obviously missed the obvious sarcasm, but sure. I'll bite.

Why wasn't the person immediately healed? Because (1) getting someone up to ~16 hp after they just took ~30 damage and are still within reach of the guy that did it seems really smart tactics.

So alternatives were chosen to get the bad guy away from the unconscious player.

It worked, the PC got healed, another PC went down, bad guy (at level+2) spawned another level+2 creature...right on top of the first PC that went down. Who went down again.

And then a third PC went down.

And then there were no more heals to give.

How did the battle last half an hour? Battles last like 10 minutes, tops.

One, we have six players, two:

Barbarian: "I rolled a 16 on the die, so that gives me a 24, 26 because flanking. Bardsong?"
Bard: "Even with lingering, that expired last round, sorry."
GM: "That misses."

Repeat for 5 rounds.

I'm starting to think the problem is that your GM is discounting his decision making to the system, and so you're angry at Pathfinder 2. Have you considered being concerned that your GM is throwing two severe threat boss enemies at you at a time instead of a more even spread of CRs within each encounter? When you go above 4 players the system favors quantity over quality (increasing enemy numbers with low-level reinforcements over eliting or duplicating high level foes) because of the tight math of the system-- turning a PL+2 encounter into a PL+2x2 just because that would fall into the guidelines is often not the correct decision. It took me a while to grok that the CR guidelines in this game are way more important than they were in 3.5 and Pathfinder 1.

Afaik that math checks out for your barbarian's second attack, assuming you're level 6 (6, prof +4, str +4) and they don't have a magical weapon yet-- which is pretty unusual and wraps back around to my GM query above, but... If you're talking about his primary attack missing on a 16 with a result of 24 (26 with flank), you're between levels 3-4? versus level 8 opponents?

In PF1 the game was ostensibly -not- a team game. You were a loose collection of characters who did not rely on eachother at all, programming your character with macros of devastating combinations that would one-round-kill opponents. Now, the math of the system is set up to encourage teamwork. Intimidating enemies, using a bevy of magic items to provide minor benefits, using debuffing spells, making use of talismans etc. Right now according to your anecdote you are playing hard mode Pathfinder 2. Are you character optimizing your party composition to account for that?

It sounds like more of a talk to your GM scenario.

How did the battle last half an hour? Battles last like 10 minutes, tops.

Man, I wish. At level 18, every enemy has between 280 and 500 hp. Even high-damage crits from the barbarian deal on average 110-- everyone else needs to trigger weaknesses to get big damage like that. Equal level monsters save on 8s vs most damaging spells, so spellcasters don't do strong damage unsupported. Add in that our party is unusually caster heavy-- druid, sorcerer, bard, cleric-- and you can see how things can get dragged out. It takes about an hour and a half for my PCs to kill 3 level appropriate enemies.

The enemies are almost permanently debuffed though, and our champion and barbarian are soaking up magical assistance. Monsters can have a hell of a time hitting, and with a liberator champion most of their full attacks are dead in the water. Two reactions per turn that give -20 resistance to all... so that soaks up 20 slashing, 6 evil, 12 fire... AND the hit ally gets to stride away AND anyone else in their reach gets to step away too. Sometimes it feels like we're slow-pulling through a dungeon. Lowest HP I've gotten someone in the last 10 levels is 29 (out of 250)-- and that's from an implosion failed save, a power word: kill, drain bonded object and power word kill combo from a furious enemy wizard. Our cleric healed them for 180 on their turn with one action then echoing channeled for another 40 something, over full health.

Our next game is a flip-flop with 4 martials and 2 casters. I'm sure they'll rip through enemies far quicker and the enemies will be more effective to match. At least, I hope so.

This keeps getting better. I keep finding these new volumes and waiting for the other shoe to drop and it doesn't. This sounds so cool! Can it be November yet??

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Here's a pair of maps I edited to fit the unique circumstances at the start of Book 6.

Broken Promises content ahoy:
... during the Dragonstorm

... during the Dragonstorm

Thanks to Ruzza for making the non-wrecked Altaerein for me to edit. They're not super hi-res but they'll set the mood.

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Franz Lunzer wrote:
Ice Titan wrote:
Franz Lunzer wrote:
Still, the AP is called "Extinction Curse", not "Under the Big Top".

I think this is primarily where my disjointed expectations let me down in regards to this AP.

My PCs and I would have been more than happy with the latter, as every other AP we've got covers the former.

Quite understandable.

Let me ask how an "Under the Big Top" AP would play out though? How would it bring the PC's to 20th level?

Challenge... accepted.

For my solution, I immediately thought... I wouldn't mind if Pathfinder had 3 book APs. I think I heard something about it not being that profitable for Starfinder however, so, that's that.

Book 1: The PCs all are part of a circus together. They perform and make merry. Someone kills the ringleader of their circus, so the PCs investigate. Their investigation turns up a new settlement to perform in, and an ancient ruin occupied by a cult. The PCs are also harried by old friends and enemies from the Celestial circus who see their ringleader's death as the death of their circus and are here to "help"-- fat chance! It turns out that the person who did it had connections to the cult, as well as a neighboring town's thieves' guild, and to devilish forces. The PCs don't catch them, but foil their lackey's plot to kill another influential performer-- maybe a bard or something that joins the party, that sounds cool. Meanwhile, the PCs encounter a strange man at the crossroads who is cryptic and foreshadowy...

Book 2: The PCs move to investigate the guild-- and in the background, the Celestial circus still haunts them, trying to poach their performers. They are able to infiltrate the thieves' guild under pretense of entertainment at a mob coronation (the man in black is there), performing their act in front of the local underworld nobility (and all of the good and bad stuff that entails!). After undertaking some tasks for the guild to earn their trust like helping or hindering two star-crossed lovers from rival families, fighting off assassins and that kind of stuff they earn another lead that takes them to their quarry through an abandoned menagerie (zoos are cool dungeons). They fight the bad guy who killed their ringmaster and win. But who ordered the killing? That's when they discover that it was the Celestial circus who's been bothering them all along!

Book 3: The third book is about investigating and fighting the Celestial circus, which has gone off the beaten path into a dangerous bayou locale (to get closer to a cool ancient location to fight creatures in), and finding revenge for their fallen ringmaster. They fight through the circus, then the ancient Thassilonian dungeon underneath (and a rad swamp bayou of cool adventure locations, engaging in banjo duels with locals, engaging in war dances with lizardfolk, the man in black again, and taming crocodiles) to learn that the circus itself was wrapped up in an insidious devil's pact, and it's been stealing people's souls-- including your dead ringmaster friend, but also, because the PCs all worked there (look at me working in background traits)-- all of their souls too if something isn't done!

Book 4: As is ceremony, the fourth book is a dungeon crawl into a massive sealed library in the center of Absalom. Learning the way around the mystical wards is as simple as helping an out-of-his-depth wizard fool his new cult of followers who expect him to try to undertake the test of the Starstone soon-- good thing everyone here is high level now! The PCs deal with pact devils, otherworldly nuisances and maybe even hunt down the last member of the Celestial circus who is full fiend-possessed, then crawl through a giant sealed tomb full of magical creatures and weird stuff. Is that painting of... the man in black? Who could that be?

Book 5: With the knowledge of how to break this curse in-hand, the PCs now just need to perform the ritual. The problem? Since the pact was signed in the Material, it can only be broken in Hell, and it can only be broken by a specific pact devil held captive by an archfiend. How are the PCs going to survive? Well... they have the Celestial circus's invitation to a giant Carnivale held in Hell once every 100 years. The PCs buckle up and travel to Dis, exploring the city and such, fighting the fiends who defy their archdevil's orders not to mess with performers, and mingling and meeting with other planar circuses and strange travellers who've come from all across creation to watch the show. They perform for a planar audience befitting of level 17 characters and then storm the archfiend's prison vaults while he's away, finding the pact devil! One last thing: The circus bad guys from Book 3 are back with the half-fiend template and looking for revenge!

The last book is them discovering that the contract is alive-- and it's own demiplane. They delve into it with the aid of powerful magic, battling against clauses and diving through literal loopholes. Right when the PCs break the pact, the archfiend arrives. It turns out he was the man in black at the crossroads the PCs kept meeting, guiding them along until they were strong enough for him to steal their souls! He blows up their circus and they all die... but wait! Shelyn saves them at the last moment, bringing them to Elysium since they're all rad 19th level performers and she's about that. Shelyn hates that this archfiend has been stealing performers souls and asks the PCs to save them. The heroes delve back into the archfiend's lair and defeat him, freeing their fellow artists throughout history. Roll credits, everybody claps.

After the campaign stuff is about going on tour in Heaven.

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My party is already creeping up on Broken Promises so the stuff in here isn't of much use to me, but after transitioning to Roll20 I understood how much work all of this is. You guys are absolute rock stars.

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Ranis van de Moor wrote:

Did anyone have a nice twist why the players should explore dreamgate at all? Is there any link I missed, but I think there is no explaination why the gate the players just unlocked leads by chance to the slavetraders they searched.

I think there are to options this can happen out:

1.) Players check Dreamgate first
2.) Players get in trouble with slavers first

Either way I don't see, how both plots connect.

I had the Scarlet Triad guys who show up at the start of Book 3 disguised as Hellknights from the disgraced Order of the Rack from Kintargo-- they told the party that Alak had told them about them. They were lying. They'd found Alak on the road going back to Kintargo after he left Breachill and kidnapped him, torturing him for information.

My PCs really liked Alak (I changed him significantly, making him part of the Silver Ravens as my players completed Hell's Rebels and managed to convince the Hellknights in Kintargo to do a heel-face turn... or maybe a hell-face turn...). So they geared up and decided to go to Kintargo to save him.

They had already connected the Dreamgate to Ravounel, and so in order to save time, they used the key. When they got there they discovered that the Triad had subjugated the fishing town near the gate and the gate itself in order to study its mysteries-- not a raid in progress like the book suggests, but the Triad were in the process of "testing" every person in the town for the nth factor that their boss requires for admittance to their secret club.

That tied everything together nicely for us. Maybe something similar will work for you?

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Franz Lunzer wrote:
Still, the AP is called "Extinction Curse", not "Under the Big Top".

I think this is primarily where my disjointed expectations let me down in regards to this AP.

My PCs and I would have been more than happy with the latter, as every other AP we've got covers the former.

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