Jeff Wilder's page

Goblin Squad Member. Organized Play Member. 408 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 2 Organized Play characters.


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Liberty's Edge

My PC has had several bad HP rolls in a row, so I'm looking to retrain some HP.

Are there any martial academies or monasteries in the vicinity of Lepidstadt?

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Has PF2 Core been reprinted yet, incorporating errata? I want to buy it, but I do want to wait for that to happen.

Related question, for those of you with the PDF, does it say "Second Printing" yet?

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As others have said:

(1) You can't "propel" anything for damage with mage hand.

(2) I think it would be reasonably accurate. If you're looking for something precise (e.g., in the course of entertaining someone, you use it to propel a grape into a cooperating friend's mouth), I'd ask for a ranged touch attack, just to gauge the accuracy. (I'd put the AC of my example at about a 12, BTW.)

(3) It's propelled 15 feet in one move action. Whether or not a GM would allow you to use the spell to distract someone, therefore giving you the chance to silently move up and sneak attack, is going to vary. Me, I'd allow it, but you would need to be pretty close, because you'd have to make a Stealth check and then move, which would be at half speed if you're not taking a penalty to Stealth.

The problem with overdoing the "there is no facing" general truism of Pathfinder is that it means a guard in the center of a featureless corridor can never be taken unawares, and that flies in the face of every action adventure book and movie that ever existed. There's a reason the game has a GM, and this is an example of why.

(As an aside, there are clear-cut exceptions to the "no facing" general rule. Flying creatures, for instance, barring hovering, must indicate facing. A creature in the throes of a suggestion to examine the wall completely and minutely, as another example of "no facing" being only a general rule, can be snuck up on. Any GM who says otherwise isn't a GM you want.)

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I play Pathfinder because 3.5 ended, and 4E was (IMO, obviously) absolutely terrible. My group bought all the way in to the Pathfinder playtest, and we've been playing since. The system is a long way from perfect -- mainly because the 3.5 chassis is a long way from perfect -- but it's good, and it's amazingly detailed, with a fantastic default world.

I think 5E is a good system, and I think PF2E will end up being a good system, but we're just not going to start the game-book-buying treadmill again ... not when we're pretty happy with what we've got.
We're looking forward to having a "complete" game, and I'm personally planning to systematically work my way through the rules and build "PathWilder" with a comprehensive set of house rules.

Like the mentions above, I also think Paizo is a good company, run by significantly better than average people. That's not a DECIDING factor -- I still buy Northern TP! -- but it's nice to know I've been a completionist supporter of the company for these several years.

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Gulthor wrote:
Speaking for our group, our plan is that now that we'll have a stable, complete, finished version of the game, our focus is going to be on house rules.

This is exactly us. (I'm not posting this reply to discourage the original poster -- I wish you all the luck in the world! -- but just to express support for this idea of finally being able to fine-tune a complete game for our group.)

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As a GM, I've rarely found that DPS is a problem. I mean, it's incredibly easy to add more HP. Your damage is high, but it's something a vanilla fighter could easily reach, so ... is the GM somewhat inexperienced?

I've experienced far more problems with excessive AC, because it's not easy to up the bad guys' attack bonuses without wiping out the rest of the party.

(Just to be clear, though, as a GM or a player I very rarely find myself with a player who wants a CharOp build, and when I do, it's usually a new player who is bad at the game anyway. My group's long-time players tend to self-balance, such as my making deliberately suboptimal choices for my mesmerist that started with a total +13 stat mods.)

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... Wut?

I did a search for "hypocr" on this page, and your post was literally the only hit.

Neither BlarkNipnar nor I are attacking you in any way ... we're simply pointing out that what you have asked for, and decided on, are illogical and contradictory.

Whether that matters to you or not is, of course, completely up to you.

(Me, I'm still fascinated by the idea that, somehow, this intelligent magic item that can end the world is so dumb that it will always try to assert control first thing in the morning, so the charm idea miraculously works. But that's just me.)

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Part of my point was excellently reiterated by BlarkNipnar.

The rest of my point is that what you're describing is just a plot device. There's absolutely no unscripted story possible in it.

So why not just say, "Enh, my character is smart and wise and has money, so let's just make that the item is permanently protected and nothing bad will ever happen with it a set part of the campaign plot"?

(EDIT: Not to mention, the charm of fate is more likely to fail than the cyclops helm, since, logically, the intelligent item would at some point figure out that the best way to vie for control is after the bearer has been in a fight and might be weakened. (I.e., it's not guaranteed to try to dominate as the first save of the day.) But the cyclops helm is simply a guarantee when you want it. If this really is "I cannot risk even the tiniest chance of losing control," then the cyclops helm is the right answer. If, again, it's just not treated as a plot point.)

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As I read this, my first thought is, honestly, "How is 'never even having the chance to fail' any fun at all?"

My second thought is, "How does the character know that a re-roll on a 1 -- 'what's rolling a 1?' -- results in an actual failure 1 time in 400?"

Considering that you don't want to go for "cheese" (the cyclops helm), just don't go for cheese! Accept, as a player, that your character might lose control to the item for a bit, once every 14 months or so.

It's just better story.

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We've settled on a method we like so much it is likely to be permanent.

(1) Write down STR, DEX, CON, INT, WIS, CHA.

(2) To each stat, assign one of these: 15, 14, 4d6, 4d6, 3d6, 3d6. Each must be assigned once.

(3) Roll your stats (4d6 is drop lowest).

(4) If your total modifiers don't add up to +5, you may start from the beginning.

The thing we like about this is that unlike point-buy, you end up with some unusual results, like, say, a fighter who rolls a 14 Intelligence on 3d6. Unlike pure random rolls, it's impossible to get completely screwed out of playing what you want to play, except maybe the worst of the MAD classes.

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Thanks! I'll check those out. I especially like the poppets idea, just on the face of it.

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We seem to be out of luck, Harley Race!

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I play a gnome mesmerist (10th level now), and I had the good fortune to roll incredibly well for my stats (pre-mods: 12, 14, 14, 15, 15, 17), so in order to avoid pulling too far ahead of the group, I'm somewhat deliberately gimping myself.

What I'm looking for, therefore, are fun and useful magic items for mesmerists that aren't the standard Big Six. (With regard to Big Six items, I'm restricting myself purely to what we find as a group.)

So, for instance, I bought a shadow falconer's glove the last time we had a chunk of change and the chance to shop. It's not a powerful item, but I like the visual, and it seems fun. (And it could be useful!)

So now I have about 13,500 gp to spend, and I'm looking for another item or two in the same vein. Fun, flashy, and interesting ... but not contributing directly to the strengths of the mesmerist.

Limited to official PFRPG books, but any of those are fair game.

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Kayvaan Shrike wrote:
If my character is chained with masterwork shackles, can he implant the Slip bonds trick then use it? or can you only activate it when you actually -get- chained?

This is a really good question, and I actually came here specifically for an answer to this.

(The premise of the question applies to many mesmerist tricks. For example, if I'm in pitch-darkness, can I implant See in Darkness and trigger it, or does the trigger have *literally* be "moves into darkness"?)

We've been playing that if the triggering *state* exists, you can trigger the trick (so, yes, my mesmerist can implant Slip Bonds when chained, or See in Darkness when there's no light, and then trigger them and they work), and it hasn't been overpowered, but I'm curious as to the intent of the ability.

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I also tested one out at GenCon. It's fantastic for metal dice. (Or stone, I assume, but I don't have any stone dice.)

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Why the small pictures? Who do y'all think is still using a 56K modem?

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So I made a change to the final battle with Munasukaru. (Actually, I suppose, two changes, but one was almost irrelevant.) It worked out really, really well. Without these changes, my players would have steamrollered her. As it was, it was a tough, scary fight, but they escaped (barely) without a fatality. (I should note I have six players with 25-point-buy PCs, but they do not have a full arcanist or cleric. They have plenty of healing, but not much in the way of utility magic.)

(1) I decided the SotBP would retreat to Munasukaru when reduced to 40 HP and make a last stand there.

(2) I added eight magical prayer wheels to the walls above the pit overlooking the kimon. (So they are embedded in the walls, spinning 30 feet above the floor of the pit.) While spinning, these prayer wheels give Munasukaru the following bonuses:

+6 AC, regen 12/-, DR 8/-, +6 damage, +6 attack, SR 18.

I divided the bonuses up and randomly distributed them among the prayer wheels. E.g., one prayer wheel, if stopped, might give a -1 att, -2 regen, and -1 dam. The upshot is that if all the prayer wheels are stopped, Munasukaru has no bonuses left. (To facilitate play, I made a chart of which bonuses where associated with which prayer wheels, and made tick-marks for "effective penalties" (because I incorporated the bonuses into her statblock).)

While even one prayer wheel spins, Munasukaru cannot die or be disabled. When she is in "disabled" territory, she is staggered.

Two ways to stop a prayer wheel (must be adjacent):

(1) Knowledge (engineering) DC 22 to pick a spot to jam; jam with anything with hardness 4 or higher. (This ruins a non-magical item.) These are move and standard actions respectively. I allowed one PC to do each action.

(2) Knowledge (religion) DC 22 to recognize the glyphs on the prayer wheel; recite counter-prayer. Again, I made these move and standard actions respectively, but I did not allow them to be split between PCs.

Anyway, as I said, it worked out really well.

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Out of curiosity, why the "Toad Demon" nomenclature? (I.e., instead of "Hezrou"?)

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I did two battlemaps for the first level on Munasukaru's Penance ... the initial gate/fortress room, and the big pig cavern at the end.

I'll never use these again, so I thought I'd offer them to a GM who is about to run the Penance.

All I ask is a stamped, self-addressed manila envelope to mail them in. I would think two stamps would be enough ... if you want to be really safe, use three.

First-come, first-served. Email me at jeff dot wilder at gmail dot com to make sure the maps are still available (and get my mailing address to send the SASE). I'll post a reply here if/when they're claimed, too.

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I don't understand. This is already answered in the link to the FAQ Jeff Merola posted:

Example: On round 1, you hex the target's AC. On round 2, you hex the target's attack rolls, so the target now has two evil eye hexes on it. On round 3, you hex the target's saving throws, so it now has three evil eye hexes on it. On round 4, you hex its AC again, resetting the duration of the AC-hex (which does not add an additional –2 penalty to its AC). The same thing would happen if two witches were using evil eye on the same target--as long as each evil eye hex applied a penalty to a different thing, they'd all apply.

Evil Eye (Saves) doesn't stack with itself, even from two different witches.

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Unfortunately, that's the white dragon on Minkai.

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Hey, folks, I am working up the Swine Shogun as a boar-riding samurai. (In contrast to the otherwise delightful boorish fighter he is supposed to be. I have a samurai/rogue PC, and he's only had his challenge answered once in 10 levels, so this seemed like a good opportunity. A boar-riding samurai is nasty, BTW; but I have 6 powerful PCs, so they'll get over it.)

For the Banner ability, does anyone know if there is heraldry for the Five Storms floating around anywhere? (I have all the JR books, of course.)

If not, anybody have any good ideas?

As an aside, I'm using Hero Lab's CR Estimator, which is interesting. Even with Botu's PC-level gear, he is "Low" on everything but attack and damage (where he is "OK"). This is interesting, because it's obvious that this will be compensated for by his mount, which is not factored in, and I'm impressed by that display of thoughtful balance.

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Quatar wrote:
He's an Oni. So he's probably bound by the same laws that bind Munasukaru here, correct?

Not necessarily. Munasukara is a Five Storms oni, bound by the law. Ichirou was born after the law was put into place, right? (I don't have FOS handy to check.)

I don't think an oni would have any compunctions about escaping a law on a technicality.

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In our last session (right before GenCon), I had my samurai/rogue player subject to a grease spell (to avoid aranea webbing) and the barbarian with a fly on him.

The aranea sorcerer, right out of the gate, casts baleful polymorph on the barbarian ... First save: fail! Second save: fail! Awesome. Turned him into a Hongalese potbellied pig.

Later, with one slot left, he tries the same spell on the samurai/rogue ... First save: fail! Second save: fail! Double-awesome! A matching potbelly!

So now I have, running (or flying) around, a -- wait for it -- greased pig! And, you might be thinking, "How does a barbarian fail a Fort save? I'll believe that when ... pigs fly!"

It was awesome. AWESOME.

They won that fight, but barely. And this Sunday, down, down, down into Manusukara's Penance!

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As a player of this at GenCon, I have to say that Sir I's self-conflict was not at all evident, at least as portrayed by our GM. After he ordered us to abandon the peasants, even after we saw two killed by the vermleks, I scored extremely high on a Sense Motive check and got nothing except, "He thinks the overall mission is more important."

At that point, yeah, we all assumed he was either just a nasty, evil person, or just a total dick-weed. When he refused to come with us to rescue the torture survivors, my (Andoran) PC ripped into him hard. When he relented, "just so I can laugh as you're torn limb from limb," we were just like, "Yeah, whatever."

When he turned on us, it wasn't shocking, because we expected it ... but we just figured he was a hiding-in-plain-sight (and not very well) BBEG. When the GM explained why Sir I was so messed up, we just had no investment in understanding the guy or caring about him, because we never really got a chance to get beyond "huge dick."

I think this one could be great, but it's really gonna take a delicate GM-touch to walk the line between "WTF?" and sympathy.

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Thanks, folks. It is a great relief that an AC member making threats like this isn't against PFS rules or guidelines.

I did consider making an even stronger, more ruthless, demand, but it seemed very Belloq-like that DV would want to see what was behind the puzzle door, and I figured a more reasonable demand would be more likely to end the stalemate.

I also do think, as suggested, that late-con fatigue may have been a factor in the alchemist's player's behavior. I know that even in my home games, when I'm exhausted I'm snippier than usual. So I'm gonna give the benefit of the doubt.

Kintrik's question is valid, and I did actually require her to make a Heal check (I decided on a DC of 15, ad hoc, and rolled a 17 on the d20), which she made. (I wouldn't feel too terrible, though, even if I had not, because the downed PC's player was announcing exact HP status to the rest of the table, which IMO isn't exactly kosher, even if it's understandable.) At one point I'd also had her make a check to recognize the wildshaped druid as shapeshifted, based on size, gear, and behavior. The player objected, but his brother quietly told him that he'd actually seen me make the check.

As far as alignment goes, I strongly considered noting an infraction on the Lawful PCs' chronicle sheets, but we were very late (I had earlier offered to stay after end-of-slot, and they had all enthusiastically accepted), and I just wasn't sure I was within PFS rules and guidelines with regard to DV's actions, so I passed on it.

Thanks again.

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Actually the archer's player's brother (the OP wildshaped druid) was mostly fine. A little snarky, because I ruled that jumping toward DV would trigger her attack, but mostly fine. (The archer's player himself, although it's never enjoyable to be the bargaining chip in that situation, wasn't even snarky.)

It was the alchemist's player who (just plain out of the blue, unless you count his mildly OP build against him) got upset and had the tantrum.

Just to be clear.

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I've been playing PFS since GenCon 2010, and I only play at GenCon. (I play PF at home in two ongoing campaigns.) This was my first time GMing, and I had a couple of weird experiences.

Before I get into the weirdnesses, I want to say that, for the most part, this was a very positive experience, and literally until the final hour of my final slot, I was assuming I'd be volunteering next year. The other volunteers were great and friendly -- young dude named Justin was so enthusiastic it still makes me smile -- and the appreciation for being there to GM got me one spontaneous hug from a complete stranger who was a marshal. (I'm not a hugger, but I still thought it was really nice.)

Mild spoilers are possible for Wonders in the Weave I and II.

My first slot was Wonders I. This went really well, with four 7th-level pre-gens and a 5th-level boyfriend-girlfriend duo. The 5th-level characters were more powerful than the pre-gens, and the boyfriend tried a tiny bit to dominate the table, but it was mild. I think I'd have played with them both in my home game. The pre-gen players were great ... slow, because three of them had little rules-knowledge, but fun. We went to time, but (just) finished.

My second slot was Bonekeep 2. I was assigned a table ... but they didn't show. I still don't know what happened, but I was told they chickened out after JB read the disclaimer. I wish I knew! Disappointing.

My third slot (Sunday morning) was Wonders II, and I honestly expected this one to last all of three hours at most. There were two pre-gens, one simple hybrid druid, a mildly OP alchemist, and two brothers (I think) playing an archer and a more-or-less perma-wildshaped, quite OP, druid. The OP druid worked really hard to dominate the table, but after he got them into a bad tactical situation in their first fight, the other players smacked him down a little bit.

He sulked a bit the rest of the game and mildly challenged me on every rule or ruling. I would not play with that player in my home game, and he may be the first PFS player I'm run into for whom that's true. (I would play with his brother, who I think would be a fine player if separated.)

The weird part is that player didn't end up making me doubt GMing PFS again. That was, instead, the alchemist's player, who -- up to that point -- had been a fine player at the table.

In the fight with DV, near the end, DV had dropped the archer (with help from the archer failing a DC 11 Fort save and taking 4 Con damage), but had immediately been wounded within one hit of death. The scenario says she takes lizard-folk eggs hostage, but if she had moved to do that, she would have provoked (and likely died), so I had her ready an action to attack the fallen archer if the others didn't surrender.

After a long, tense, RPed negotiation, which I actually admired, the alchemist's player -- player, not PC -- snarled, "This is b%&%#*!%, so I'm putting up my dice."

I asked what he meant and he said, "You can't coup-de-grace a character. That's b!@+%#$#. PFS doesn't allow that."

I said, "First, she hasn't done anything except threaten. Second, it wouldn't be a CDG, it would be an attack. Third, she's NE Aspis Consortium, willing to kill unborn lizard-folk young, and I find it hard to think it's unfair she'd threaten people trying to kill her, and I find it hard to believe the PFS would have a problem with that."

This went back and forth a couple of times, and I started to get really uncomfortable, because I was feeling like there's no way this ended positively for me. If this player was right, and a Neutral Evil Aspis Consortium member isn't allowed to threaten to kill a PC ... there's something wrong with PFS. But if he was wrong, and was just having a melt-down, well, he was the second problem player at a table I had ever seen in PFS, and they were both at a table I was GMing. Either way, it felt like I must be a crappy GM. Not a good feeling.

I ended up negotiating her surrender under the conditions that (1) She be allowed to leave alive with all the wealth she could carry, (2) She get to see what was behind the puzzle door. They agreed, but as soon as she dropped her weapon, they attacked her (with ray of enfeeblement initially), provoking a new init roll (she rolled a 1 and died, of course).

That last hour really left a sour taste in my mouth, and I honestly don't know where I stand. Any thoughts or comments welcome; I'm looking for honest criticism, not validation.

One final thought: Of 12 players, the six playing pre-gens were an absolute pleasure to GM for. They were engaged, interested, RP-oriented (but of course liking to roll init). I wonder if it's possible to ask to GM an all-newbie table?

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Michael Brock wrote:
Jeff, did you already receive WitW parts 1 and 2? They should both be in your account. Bonekeep 2 will hopefully find its way in there today.

Yes, I'm prepped for WitWI&II.

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Thanks, Coach! I appreciate it. Kinda looking forward to scouring through my 2,500 minis and picking out the perfect ones.

As an aside, do the newer mods often suggest Flip-Mats? I don't get the Map Packs, but I buy all the Flip-Mats, and I'd love to get some official PFS use from them.

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I'm a brand-new PFS GM. I'm running Wonders in the Weave I and II (no problem) and Bonekeep Level 2 (problem).

I know that it's common for new scenarios to be revised against a ticking clock. I get that, I really do. But as a new PFS GM, I'm getting worried that I will not have time to prep the mod, at least to the level where I'm sure I'll be able to run it as paying customers deserve.

Deep breaths, Jeff. Deep breaths.

Anyway, for what it's worth, it might be a good idea not to give brand-new GMs brand-new mods that can expect delays and up-against-the-wall prep-times. I'm sure I'll be fine, but just sayin'.

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Just wanna point out something regarding avoiding illness at the con:

(1) There's zero evidence that AirBorne prevents colds or mitigates them.

(2) Vitamin C "boosting" has almost zero effect. Vitamin C is a long-term boost to immune health and does almost nothing short term.

(3) Zinc-based stuff, on the other hand, has been proven to work in studies. It prevents approximately half of cold viruses from gaining a hold in the membranes of the throat and thus sometimes prevents colds and sometimes shortens them.

You can find impartial studies on these with a quick search.

How to get the zinc is a matter of preference. I personally prefer melt-away tabs. I'll be popping them pretty much continuously starting on Wednesday night.

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(1) Would this be a good place to wonder if something is missing from one of the scenarios I've been assigned (Wonders in the Weave II)? I'm sure I wouldn't be spoiling anything for readers here, but just in case, I'll be vague:

The puzzle toward the end ... it doesn't seem to be a puzzle. In fact, I dunno what it is. It seems *intended* to be a puzzle, but it's like there're four or five paragraphs of, you know, actual puzzle missing.

(2) I know the factions have changed/are changing. How do we handle this in older scenarios (like Wonders in the Weave)?

If anyone can explain or help, thanks in advance.

(3) Not exactly a question, but it would be really great if Paizo could allow those of us with packed schedules (like me) to pick up promos in Sagamore (as they did for the buttons last year). I have a cert for the Goblin mini from supporting the PFO Kickstarter, and I'm really worried I won't get to the Exhibit Hall before they're gone.

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I used the Garden of Vivid Decay in the last session -- using a hand-drawn map -- and it added a lot. In addition to the "cancerous abundance" feel of the place, I enhanced the "infested with spiders" bit, constantly describing the presence of spiders from fingertip- to hand-sized. My players were suitably creeped out.

My barbarian player (with a +15 to +19 Fort save, depending on factors) failed seven saves in a row versus giant tarantula poison, and although the other players assured him the poison was paralytic, not deadly, he was freaking out. It was awesome.

They did manage to sneak up on a snoozing Toll-Keeper and his Mistress and coup-de-grace them, which would have been disappointing except that when I described them as snuggled up together, again with the creep-outage.

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Thursday, August 15
Slot 1 (0800-1300): OFF
Slot 2 (1300-1800): OFF
Slot 3 (1900-2400): OFF
Friday, August 16
Slot 4 (0800-1300): OFF
Slot 5 (1300-1800): OFF
Slot 6 (1900-2400): OFF
Saturday, August 17
Slot 7 (0800-1300): OFF
Slot 8 (1300-1800): #03-12: Wonders in the Weave, Part I
Slot 9 (1900-2400): Bonekeep Level 2
Sunday, August 18
Slot 10 (0900-1400): #03-14: Wonders in the Weave, Part II

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NAME: Enzo Vhiski
CLASS/RACE/ETC: Human samurai 3 / rogue 5
KILLER: Yeti Savages (JR3)
CAUSE: A GM whose average roll on attacks was in the neighborhood of 15. (That's not an exaggeration.) In other words, rends. Lots of rends. And a few crits.
AFTERMATH: Returned to life. Still saddled with a negative level for a week.

Next session: Into the Forest of Spirits!

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My PCs are at Day 318 and just went through the pass. They're reach the Wall of Heaven next session, and should finish the chapter a couple of weeks to a month shy of a year's in-game time.

Bear in mind that I changed travel times to match the actual rules, ignoring what's in the AP itself. If I had not, I would expect approximately half this time to have elapsed.

Here's our Calendar, BTW:

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I just figured it's another way of saying, "Under the eyes of a non-interventionist god," with the added implication -- because Aroden died -- that it could all end at any time, for even the most powerful people.

I don't remember reading anything specific about "Aroden's shadow" elsewhere.

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Vaziir Jivaan wrote:
I'd certainly ask players to refrain from making characters who hail from the lands of Tian Xia. Seems once they find out the backstory of the game you end up with an entire party or close to either "Kaijitsu relatives" or swarms of PC's "exiled and wanting to return".

Okay ... but what's wrong with that? There are expatriots of Tian Xia in Avistan, and if they want to go home, there are worse ways than hooking up with a caravan heading that way. Sounds to me like you're advising that a GM say "no" to a player (or players) with rock-solid in-character motivation to drive them along the AP, and I'm not sure why you'd advise that.

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brreitz wrote:
TL;DR - Jade Regent needs a little work, but it's got good stuff in it.

This is my experience, too. To be a little more specific:

(1) I made a stab at using the Relationship rules. My players are not out-of-control min-maxers, but eventually they succumbed to number-crunching and the monotony of sucking up with gifts. I was unhappy, but continued until my players actually started expressing peevishness that their gifts were not 100 percent good for bonuses to their Relationship rolls. At that point, I chucked the system wholesale and it has not been missed.

(2) Caravan combat rules, as written, are an absolute joke. I rewrote them -- took about 20 minutes total -- and although caravan combat is still problematic (see below), it's no longer because of the system. The caravan's combat at D--- M--'s D---, which we did just this past Sunday, was actually pretty tense and exciting.

(3) The biggest thing I've struggled with is when the adventure calls for encounters to be against the PCs ... even though the PCs are with the caravan. People have addressed this in many ways -- including running all the NPCs in a massive combat (the very idea of which makes me shudder, but more power to 'em) -- but what I did was prepare, in advance, plausible reasons to separate the PCs from the caravan, even if it's only for two hours and a mile's distance. As long as you build in instances where this happens and the PCs aren't attacked, which I have, it doesn't strain suspension of disbelief too much.

Anyway, we've really enjoyed the AP. This is the only AP I've ever read or run (unless you count all the Freeport stuff back in 3E), so I don't have much to compare it to. But it's been fun for us.

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I have plenty of powers.

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As a lawyer, I'll point out the contradiction in the OP's thesis.

On the one hand, he argues that someone interpreting the rules shouldn't do it as a lawyer, but rather with consideration of intent. (As an aside, lawyers are absolutely trained to research and argue intent behind laws. So a lawyer interpreting rules "as a lawyer" will be considering intent.)

But on the other hand, he argues that flavor text should carry no weight when it comes to the mechanics.

The contradiction is that flavor text is very often an indication of the intent for the mechanics. If the OP thinks intent matters when interpreting rules, then flavor text matters.

Liberty's Edge

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Once every two weeks for about 12 years now. During some of that time, I've been a player on alternating weeks; second games have been somewhat sporadic, but mine has been pretty much continuous.

I wouldn't say that I enjoy GMing more than playing, but I will say this: if I haven't GMed for a while, even though I'm playing, I get antsy. If I haven't played for a while, but I'm GMing, I don't.

So GMing is more like a need for me than a want.

Liberty's Edge

I started GMing at 12 -- 1980! -- because an adult friend found a coverless copy of the D&D Expert rulebook, gave it to me, I devoured it, and I extrapolated rules that allowed me to use it. (I didn't get the Basic rulebook for a few more months, and I didn't get into AD&D until 1984.) My first dungeons had no orcs or dragons (those were in the Basic rulebook!), but lots of scorpions and vampires.

I was basically the only one of my friends who was in a position to "get" what RPGs and GMing meant, so I was the GM by default.

If I were to start over today, and I wanted to GM, I would (seriously) find a good GM (asking around to get opinions) and watch. Not play. Watch. If the GM doesn't mind you asking the occasional question, even better. But if you can sit in on 10 or 12 hours of good GMing, you will either (1) have a good idea that GMing isn't likely to be a strength, or (2) get a very good sense of what makes a good GM.

Jumping in, feet first, fully clothed, worked out well for me, but there were definitely times where it was tough staying afloat. (And, unlike today, I didn't have much choice.) Better to get a really good look before leaping.

Liberty's Edge

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Personally, I think most folks vastly overestimate their Goodness. "Good" requires action, not just a general self-assessment of tolerance and altruism.

A Neutral person will generally hold preferences for tolerance and altruism, because when people are tolerant and altruistic, it's much easier for everybody to enjoy their own lives.

If a person is truly Neutral Good, that person is actively philanthropic (or, in an FRP society, sometimes recklessly heroic).

I'm tolerant and altruistic (for example, I don't resent paying fairly high California taxes), but not actively so. I don't do charity work, and only give to charity on the occasional impulse or when I need to get stuff out of my house. I'm a decent person.

Therefore, on the Good-Evil axis, I'm Neutral.

I believe that, overall, rules and structure make life better for everyone, but on the other hand, I strongly believes that individuals deserve protection from the majority, and that unjust (or just plain stupid) laws should be ignored.

Therefore, on the Law-Chaos axis, I'm Neutral.

Liberty's Edge

The single most important GMing skill is being able to keep things moving, without leading players around by their noses. Any GM that can do this is a good GM.

Of course, that's kind of a cheat, because so much of the other stuff folks have mentioned all goes into being able to do that. You need creativity, flexibility, strong descriptive skills, good rules knowledge, almost preternatural impartiality, and so on and so on.

But it's also kind of not a cheat, because it doesn't work the other way: a GM can have all the skills listed above, and more, and if the GM can't -- or won't -- keep the game moving (even the strongest table of players gets distracted or sidetracked sometimes), then the GM has blown it.

Liberty's Edge

Aelryinth wrote:
A wizard doesn't need to rest for 8 hours if he wears a ring. 2 hours is treated as 8 hours for refilling.

True. GMs should still remember that spells are "per day," though. No going from depleted to full multiple times a day.

Liberty's Edge

Or, if you use the travel times in the CRB instead of as listed in the AP, it doesn't actually matter much when they make the trip. From the Rimethirst Mountains to the Wall of Heaven will take the better part of a full year.

Liberty's Edge

HaraldKlak wrote:
As a GM, I would enforce this: Drawing ammunition is a free action when using that weapon.

Yes, me, too.

I wouldn't, however, rule that simply dropping ammo -- shuriken, arrow, or anything else -- might destroy it. I would likewise allow an "attack" with those items that wouldn't destroy them, as long as there was no intent to deal damage.

Liberty's Edge

We've played 29 sessions of Jade Regent since 10/23/11, and there have been nine PC deaths. (Plus one that was a "scripted" heroic sacrifice for a player moving to the Least Coast.)

Four of those have been the direct result of singular massively bad tactical mistakes (not moving away from the full-attack of a Large white dragon; charging a Frostfallen Mammoth while having only 18 HP; moving into full attack range of the same mammoth even though the PC was an archer; and allowing one PC to bear the full attack of a hydra ... while holding an earth elemental gem, even).

Two were the result of horrendous luck (at 1st level, against an AC 20 fighter, landing two crits and a hit in three attacks; a cleric failing consecutive fairly easy Will and Fort saves).

Two were heroic deaths that allowed ultimate victory in the battles (same PC kept an ogre mage tied up, and then a level later, an ettin).

And one was just a battle that turned out to be significantly tougher than it seemed due to a glacier toad's home-field advantage.

So, excluding those four directly fatal massive tactical mistakes, there would have been five. But, you know, tactical mistakes do happen; God knows I make them, both as a player and GM.

A little less than one death per three sessions.

Enough to depress me a little.

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