Mad Scientist

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Starfinder Charter Superscriber. *** Pathfinder Society GM. Starfinder Society GM. 1,074 posts (1,507 including aliases). 291 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 8 Organized Play characters. 6 aliases.


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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Session # 74 Recap:
[5 Calistril 4708 continued]

In the cave that has served as their hidden base for attacks on Jorgenfist, the defenders of Sandpoint discuss what to do about the lamias that have defeated them handily in two consecutive battles. A suggestion is made to simply bypass the lamias, but Salma worries that would lead to the party being attacked from behind while engaged with other foes. The discussion of strategy continues until, with a loud “popping” sound, a pair of figures suddenly manifest in the cave! One is a robed figure, while the other is a heavily armed dwarf holding a waraxe! The robed figure nods to the dwarf and then teleports away, leaving the dwarf in a standoff with the adventurers. Jinkatsyu breaks the ice by asking the dwarf what he thinks of giants. “Kill them all!” shouts the dwarf. The others relax, and allow the dwarf, Jemar Crowell, to explain he was teleported to Jorgenfist in search of a fellow group of dwarves from Janderhoff who went missing while prospecting on the Storval Plateau. The adventurers decide not to look a gift horse in the mouth, and an alliance is quickly struck. The rest of the day is spent in heated debate about what to do next. Eventually, a consensus is reached to try to sneak past the lamias but to be prepared to fight if necessary.

[6 Calistril 4708]

The adventurers, with their new dwarf ally, try to move stealthily into Jorgenfist’s subterranean level. But Jemar’s armor clinks with every step, and Jinkatsyu’s scabbard constantly scrapes along the wall. The group doesn’t get far before they hear cackling laughter in the distance. Deciding to quickly search some of the unexplored side chambers, the adventurers discovery a reeking (but unoccupied) tannery and a forge designed to allow prisoners in iron cages to work the bellows—and the cages are still occupied! The five dwarves that Jemar came in search of are set free and given directions to the adventurers’ hideout to wait in until the threat of the lamias can be dealt with.

The adventurers decide to backtrack to make sure they’re not being followed. They see a massive dining hall that contains a large throne, and hear banging sounds coming from what must be a kitchen—but they decide to leave it alone for now. Conna, the stone giant elder who earlier gave them advice, whispers to the group from around a corner that Mokmurian is still alive and that the tribes above continue their preparations for war. Jemar erupts with fury when he realizes that the adventurers have befriended a giant, but although he scares Conna away, he doesn’t give chase.

After several more minutes of cautious exploration and backtracking to ensure they’re not walking into another ambush, the adventurers finally approach the unholy shrine to Lamashtu from the north. The cloaked figure is still on the altar, but Jinkatsyu discerns it’s larger than last time—and he’s ready when the figure throws off its shroud to reveal one of the lamias! Inexplicably without its magical duplicates, the lamia is stabbed multiple times in quick succession by the swashbuckling kitsune, and he resists the priestess’ attempt to paralyze him, thanks to Ava’s magical preparations. In seconds, one of the lamia sisters that had caused the group so much heartache lays dead at their feet!

A column of flame announces the arrival of the second lamia, laughing with joy when she sees the fate of her kin. Salma resists the lamia’s next wave of magic, and before it can try again, Jinkatsyu and Jemar have dispatched it. The stunningly easy victory is tainted only by the realization that another figure stands further in the shadowy caverns. The hooded figure is missing its fingers, and the adventurers are prepared for what they see when they remove the hood: Wystan has been turned into a cruel mockery of life—a zombie! Although destroyed quickly, the lamias would no doubt believe they had the last laugh. In what may be a sign of the greed that has infected them, the adventurers quickly and unceremoniously strip the paladin’s corpse of anything valuable.

Director's Commentary:
Jemar was a temporary "loaner PC" from the NPC Codex for the player who had been running Wystan. I didn't want the player to know beforehand whether Wystan was alive or dead.

The final engagement against the lamias was something of an anti-climax.

There's irony in the PCs cold-heartedly looting their fallen given that a major theme of the entire campaign is greed.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Thanks--I didn't think of that! Yeah, I just got worried because in the past I always received a reply within a couple of days.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I guess I'm going to have to bump this again.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Session # 73 Recap:
[4 Calistril 4708 continued]

In their cliffside cave below Jorgenfist, the adventurers regroup after a disastrous battle against lamia priestesses of Lamashtu. Jinkatsyu, returned to life thanks to Ava’s divinely-granted power, finds his wits restored thanks to Kang’s foul-smelling but always-effective alchemical wonders. The group are in the midst of a free-flowing discussion about how to defeat the lamias when Wystan receives a taunting, magical message from one of them: “Cowardly knight, why did you flee? You only delay the inevitable. Mokmurian has been alerted to your intrusion, and his wrath is mighty.” Wystan conceals the telepathic communication from his new allies. Before any decisions are reached, Salma unexpectedly reappears, explaining that she had to fulfil a promise to an old friend. The others introduce her to Wystan, and fill her in on the dramatic events she missed.

A suggestion is made to return to the caves where the waves of stone giants and ogres were repulsed, in order to move or hide the bodies so that the remaining defenders of Jorgenfist can’t discover the adventurers’ hideout. Kang says it’s far too late for subtlety or deception, but Salma is strongly in favour of the idea and persuades the others (bar Kang) to come with her. She explains that she can cast a (newly-mastered) spell ahead of time that will let everyone teleport away simultaneously! The journey through the maze of narrow tunnels connecting the cave to Jorgenfist’s subterranean levels proceeds without incident. Even working together, however, moving the stone giant corpses (each of which weighs half a ton!) is slow, exhausting, and quite loud. The sound echoes through the now largely-vacant chambers, and before long the cackling, mocking laughter of a lamia can be heard approaching from the east. Salma tries to get the jump on their tormentor, but the wizard’s spellcraft is ineffectual and the lamia dances away into darkness. Ava shouts that they need to leave before the other priestess appears, so Salma intones the final guttural syllable of her escape spell—but Wystan resists it! “I do not fear you,” shouts the knight to the lamias, readying a javelin as his only allies disappear.

Back in the cliffside cave, Kang sees everyone who left on the expedition suddenly reappear—except for Wystan. Ava shouts that Wystan doesn’t know the way back on foot, and everyone commendably starts running back through the narrow tunnels. But run as they might, they’re not fast enough to affect what happens next. Wystan waits, poised for battle, as he hears distant shouting in a language he cannot speak. Just as he’s about to leave, having decided that discretion is the better part of valor, the lamias strike! One has snuck up behind him from the north, while the other uses foul magicks to seal his eyes shut! Stumbling and blinded, Wystan can’t stand against the despicable genius of the lamias and succumbs to their attacks. When the other adventurers arrive, they see only the signs of battle and a message crudely painted in blood on the walls: “We have him, and he lives!”

Salma and Jinkatsyu are prepared to go after him, but Kang and even the sobbing Ava know that it’s too risky. It’s clearly a trap, and there are no guarantees that Wystan is even alive. With all of Varisia at stake, the rescue of one life can’t outweigh the protection of thousands. Reluctantly, the adventurers return to their hideout to rest until morning.

[5 Calistril 4708]

In the morning, Ava awakens to the sound of a lamia whispering in her mind: “He hurts, he hurts! Vainglorious fools, Mokmurian delights.”. She shares the taunt with her friends, but Kang is unshaken, saying that once they’ve witnessed the full power arrayed against them, the lamias will regret their errors. Battle plans are drawn, and the foursome return to the giant caverns. They find a disturbing sight—individual, severed fingers pointing, like breadcrumbs, to the lamia caves! Undeterred by the ghastly jest, the adventurers press on and soon arrive the unholy shrine. One of the lamias is there, and motions towards the altar where a figure, covered in a cloak, is held down by chains and moaning inarticulately. “You’re just in time to save your friend!” shouts the lamia while backing away into darkness.

While Jinkatsyu starts to move towards the altar, Kang shouts an alarm—something is rushing towards them from behind! The other lamia, having hidden in a side passageway, has come up behind the rear of the party’s formation to attack Ava and Salma. Salma reacts quickly, evoking her most powerful fireball yet on the lamia—only to find, when the smoke clears, that it had absolutely no effect! The brilliant wizard quickly deduces that the lamias (having heard earlier battles and seen the burned corpses of the multiple giants and ogres) have abjured themselves against her favourite spell! Jinkatsyu doesn’t hesitate to charge to Ava’s aid, plunging his rapier deeply into the lamia's side. But in the early flush of success, Jinkatsyu doesn’t realize that the first lamia has returned from the south. Magickal power paralyzes the kitsune, while the other lamia prepares to decapitate him—again! But in a stunning move, Ava transdimensionally hops in and rescues Jinkatsyu, taking both of them to the rear of the chamber.

Alas, Jinkatsyu’s salvation comes with a price: Salma is left unprotected against both lamias, and their joint charge leads her dead before her body hits the ground. Cackling wildly, the lamias revel in another sacrifice to their dark god. Ava again manages to teleport herself, Jinkatsyu, and Salma’s body back to the cliffside cave, while Kang narrowly escapes, thanks to the magicks of his alchemical invisibility proving just strong enough to resist the dispelling magicks of the lamias.

Back in the cave, Ava’s prayers (and valuable sacrifices) are up to the task, and Salma’s wounds knit together and she gasps back into life. But once again, the adventurers have been defeated with fatal results—and Wystan’s fate is still unknown. In the depths of despair, do they have the courage to sally forth yet again?

Director's Commentary:

I love paladins, but unfortunately Wystan fulfilled the "lawful stupid" stereotype. It was a pretty fast in-and-out for this PC!

As I mentioned in the last commentary, these lamias proved surprisingly effective. They had a good mix of spells, were clever and cunning, and the PCs hadn't quite shored up their magical defences. On the plus side, the players definitely learned from this series of encounters how to prepare themselves against spellcasters later in the campaign. It wouldn't be long, for example, that they wouldn't budge without spells like freedom of movement and protection from evil cast on themselves.

Ava always had the best and most exciting rescues. She saved Jinks' life and Salma's corpse, so that a simple raise dead didn't have to be a burdensome resurrection.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Session # 72 Recap:
[4 Calistril 4708 continued]

As the smoke clears from the furious fighting, Salma suddenly cocks her head as if listening to an unseen voice. She announces that she has to leave on urgent business, but will return soon—and then teleports away!

But the surprises don’t stop there: a low rumble of words can be heard to the north—the stone giant’s equivalent of a whisper! “I don’t have much time,” says the voice. “But know that if you are here to slay Mokmurian, I am your ally. Come with me to a place where we can speak in peace, for I would aid you in your quarrel here—without my assistance you might find only your graves below Jorgenfist.” A brazier is ignited, and the adventurers can see that the speaker is an older female stone giant wearing heavy bearskins over her shoulders.

Although wary of a trap, they agree to follow her to a cave whose walls are painted with images of giants, mammoths, elk, deer, wyverns, and more. A simple oil lantern illuminates a small altar, and a modest offering of antlers, hooves, and patches of fur have been piled in front of it. “My name is Conna,” says the stone giant, the last remaining elder of the Kavarvatti tribe. After having been cast out, Mokmurian returned to the tribe full of dark power. He defeated the tribe’s other elder, Vandarrec and had his body blasphemously sacrificed here in this shrine to the Plateau People’s ancestral spirits.” Conna goes on to explain that she’s been tending the shrine since Mokmurian’s rise to power, praying for the intervention of outsiders strong enough to defeat Mokmurian and keep him from leading the assembled tribes into a disastrous war against the city dwellers. After the adventurers pledge themselves to stopping Mokmurian before the invasion is launched (something that will happen in a matter of weeks, if not days), Conna says she asks only one thing in return for help—that as many of her kin be spared as possible. She goes on to explain that Mokmurian spends almost all of his time in the library level below and that there are two different approaches that lead there, an eastern route that is heavily guarded and a southern one that is less so. But, she says, a powerful knight was recently captured on the surface and has been taken to the “Sihedron Room” for branding and sacrifice! Conna says that if the adventurers hurry, they might be able to add another ally to their side.

Before they leave, Conna mentions one final thing: she fears that Mokmurian has fallen under the influence of a powerful evil spirit—one of the legendary Ancient Lords who enslaved her people millennia ago. She says she’s heard Mokmurian whisper the name of this spirit when he thought he was alone: “Karzoug.” Kang remembers hearing this name before—as the figure responsible for binding the pit fiend to thousands of years of service inside Skull’s Crossing!

The adventurers decide their first priority should be to seeing if they can rescue the captured knight. They follow a long, relatively straight corridor until they reach a massive set of stone doors carved with an immense seven-pointed star. When they push the doors open, before them is a large rectangular chamber. The floor is loose soil, into which seven fifteen-foot-tall tree trunks have been driven into the ground like immense stakes. And manacled to one of them is one of the celestial-blooded: an aasimar! Unfurling his dragonfly wings, Kang flies over to the aasimar, completely unprepared for what happens next: a truly gigantic hill giant covered in runic tattoos somehow emerges directly from the ground and swats Kang like a fly, using a warclub that’s larger than the victim! Suffering cracked ribs, Kang manages to weave an evasive pattern and escape. Undeterred, Jinkatsyu charges in and stabs the giant in the hand, forcing him to drop his club. An amazing display of swordplay follows, as the dashing kitsune fills the hapless giant with so many bloody holes that it collapses with an echoing boom!

The unchained aasimar introduces himself as Whistin, Paladin of Ragathiel. He says he worships the empyreal lord of chivalry, duty, and vengeance, and was captured in an attempt to destroy the growing evil within Jorgenfist because he was a firsthand witness to the destruction of his home—Turtleback Ferry--in the recent flood! Kang quickly changes the subject, and explains that he and the others are here to stop Mokmurian. Whistin is keen to join the crusade, and together the group moves back down the corridor.

Before long, they hear voices coming from the southeast, speaking a harsh tongue that Kang explains is Draconic. “Sulaminga, I hunger! When shall we have fresh meat?” asks one of the voices. Ava panicks and says they should move quickly back to the deathweb cave to rest and recover. The group makes it back there without further incident. They rest for a little while before Kang announces he’s perfected a new recipe for his explosives. The adventurers decide to press further on this day and clear more of the way to Mokmurian. Instead of taking the “safer” southern path, they decide it would be better to secure the eastern approach so that nothing sneaks up on them from behind when they descend to the library. The group returns to a spot near where they heard the conversation in Draconic. The disgusting parasitic tumor on Kang’s back begins to move and wriggle erratically until it suddenly emerges from the back of his shirt and splits into two! Kang gives one half strict instructions to go scout out the cave ahead, reassuring his allies that it’s perfectly expendable. When the crawling, sluglike thing returns, it whispers in Kang’s ears: “Dragons, my lord, dragons!”

The adventurers decide to charge in and take the dragons by surprise—and the plan works perfectly! Kang’s bomb knocks one of the dragons off its feet in perfect synchronicity with Jinkatsyu’s charge. Whistin readies a polearm and flies in with a battlecry to attack the other. One of the stunned dragons manages to breathe a gout of flame, but the experienced adventurers have no trouble taking down both dragons quickly. However, there was one unforeseen flaw in the adventurers’ plan: the attack has given the inhabitants of the chamber directly adjacent to the dragons’ lair time to prepare their defences.

Jinkatsyu advances and sees a chamber filled with incense smoke, the walls of which are painted with angular symbols of a three-eyed, jackal-like visage. The swashbuckler has stumbled into an unholy
shrine to Lamashtu, the Mother of Monsters, and the shrine’s two priestesses cackle with malevolent joy to see new playthings. Each of the priestesses is a lamia, and their magical defences prove strong as Jinkatsyu’s and later Whistin’s attacks often go awry due to illusory duplicates. The two lamias quickly get on either side of Jinkatsyu and take turns touching him with an ungloved hand, each touch sapping him of his willpower. In seconds, he collapses to the ground! Kang shouts for Ava to get ready for a retreat and hurls another bomb, but the adventurers can’t get to Jinkatsyu before it’s too late. With a euphoric evocation of Lamashtu’s name, one of the lamias decapitates him! Ava’s command of trans-dimensional magics allows her to move in and teleport herself, Whistin, and Jinkatsyu’s body back to the deathweb cave. Kang, for his part, flies away invisibly on dragonfly wings and manages to outrun and outwit the chasing lamias.

In the cave, Ava sobs as she calls down the spiritual might of Sinashakti for the magical energies needed to bring Jinkatsyu back to life. It works. But for the first time since their arrival in Jorgenfist, the adventurers have truly met their match. Will they be able to overcome the cunning and magical power of the Lamashtu priestesses?

Director's Commentary:

Salma's player had to miss this session, hence the abrupt, mysterious exit at the beginng

I think Conna was good to help fill in some of the backstory, and there's not many NPCs to role-play with in this chapter. I do wish her situation had been a bit more complex, because the conversation boiled down to "I want you to help me." "Okay." "Cool, bye."

Whistin was the new PC for the player who previous ran Nerissa. As you will soon see, Whistin was not long for this world.

I thought Kang using his familiar (with a duplication spell) to scout was really cool and very smart. It was one of the very few times the PCs actually scouted ahead (physically or magically). It worked well, and I'm surprised there wasn't more of it throughout the campaign.

Man, these lamias! They're treated as just another monster in the AP and not given much backstory or attention, but they were tough for this group of adventurers! It's funny how a little thing like mirror image can stifle the best swordsman, and how they were able to use their own touch attacks to kill a PC (a bit of poetic justice, as eventually we'll have almost every PC doing touch attacks for the "I Win" button in a campaign full of creatures with natural armor).

2/5

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I did post about this in website feedback—-I think multiple Season 10 scenarios are/were affected.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Just bumping this.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Charter Superscriber

This thread is awesome. It’s like an outtake from an episode of the Big Bang Theory.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Hello,

For the above order, I ordered the "Enemy Encounters Pawn Collection" and was instead shipped the "Tyrant's Grasp Pawn Collection." Could you please send me the correct item? (I don't mind if it's sent with my next regular subscription box)

Thanks,

Jhaeman


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Marco, how are you enjoying CotCT so far? I'm just GMing our final session of RotRL next week, and might do CotCT sometime next year.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Interesting! And surprising! 1E stuff must still be selling, which is great to hear.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

The boons you receive don't depend on what sub-tier you play at, so there's no real drawback to doing lower tier (since there's no gp or other rewards).


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Ok, great! We'll wait until Monday (so Lysle will have a PC) and then get started.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Yes.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Anyone else interested? We need one more sign-up. This is a good opportunity to test out a fun character concept with essentially no risk.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Thanks, I understand. Just PM me if the slot is available later. I GM'd the first three levels of Thornkeep, and it kind of broke my group :) I'd like to experience the last two levels (obsessive completionism!).


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I would really like to play this, but don't have any Core characters. Could I play a Level 7 Core Rulebook Iconic and then assign the Chronicle to a non-Core PC?


Your recent downtime in Magnimar seemed peaceful, but you've just been delivered a message: your immediate attendance is necessary at Heidmarch Manor for an urgent mission briefing!


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

"The Urge to Evolve" is a short PFS1 Quest that originally appeared in an issue of The Kobold Quarterly. In real-time, it would take about an hour to play. Unlike most Quests, "The Urge to Evolve" is not reportable because it offers no XP, PP, or GP. There is a Chronicle sheet that offers boons upon successful completion. Because it's not reportable, no conditions have to be cleared and no consumables need be tracked. (Official guidance on these points are found in the GM Discussion thread). Although I've played a lot of PFS via PbP (and have two GM stars from tabletop games), this is my first time GMing in the format so I thought I would start with something pretty straightforward.

This is a Tier 3-7 adventure with the usual maximum of six players. If you would like to play, please fill out the check-in sheet information below:

Player:
Character:
Pathfinder Society Number:
This Chronicle #:
Starting XP:
Initial Prestige:
Initial Fame:
Starting Gold:
Faction:


Discussion thread.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Session # 71 Recap:

[4 Calistril 4708 continued]

After Kang finishes his experiment, he joins the others for a discussion of who is to blame for Nerissa’s death. There’s no consensus. Salma says she’s thought carefully about what she said earlier, and would in fact like to be raised from the dead should she perish in battle. Ava is overjoyed about the turn of events, and says that if she herself ever dies, she hopes the others will carry on their mission to stop Mokmurian. Kang adds that he’s written a will which he carries on his person at all times. With Jinkatsyu in agreement, the group resolve that they can’t let the tragedy of Nerissa’s death dissuade them from taking the battle to the stone giant leader.

The group move back through the mazelike tunnels, having encountered no danger at all there since the original attack by redcaps. Due to Jinkatsyu’s inability to see in the dark, the group is forced to travel with a source of light. A stone giant sentry posted in the chamber previously occupied by the kobold Enga Keckvia has no difficulty seeing the group’s approach, and stands at the ready, slapping his greatclub in his palm. Jinkatsyu gives a battlecry and charges forward! Despite being knocked off-stride by the club connecting with his hip, he closes within rapier reach and lets loose a flurry of strikes. Combined with Kang’s explosives, the giant is no match for the adventurers and soon falls.

The adventurers see tunnels leading out of the chamber to the north and to the east, and decide to head north. They pass by what is obviously the “inside” of a secret door, and when they push through, they find themselves in the personal quarters of the giants’ second-in-command: the famous general Galenmir! Galenmir and Jinkatsyu exchange blows as the stone giant bellows for his “Pit Guardians.” Jinkatsyu jumps off a piece of furniture to stab the giant in the eye, but the half-blinded warrior retains the wherewithal to slam the kitsune to the ground! Ava is grazed by Galenmir’s fist as she darts in, but she succeeds in magically teleporting herself and the unconscious Jinkatsyu out of the chamber just as Kang realizes three more stone giants are coming from the north. The alchemist hurls an explosive at the giant general and then calls for a retreat. The adventurers see Galenmir drink a potion before his body becomes almost cloudlike. Salma evokes another fiery blast before everyone retreats to the entrance to the small tunnels.

Ava calls upon his most powerful magicks to rapidly heal Jinkatsyu, and then the adventurers decide to make a stand against the onrushing giants. As the “Pit Guardians” start to succumb, the adventurers decide to counter-attack and Jinkatsyu rushes forward. Just as the battle in front of them is won, however, more giants and and a handful of ogres join in the fray from the rear! The battle becomes a true free-for-all, but the very size of Jorgenfist’s defenders means they get in each other’s way squeeze together in a manner that makes them easy pickings for Salma and Kang’s explosive attacks. The adventurers fight their way back to the small tunnels and temporarily block it with melded stone before attacking again, with Salma’s cascade of magical fire jumping from enemy to enemy decimating the defenders. In the end, only single ogre lives long enough to flee the scene.

Somehow, after all the furious fighting and ebb and flow of the battlefield, the invaders have triumphed over almost a dozen foes! Only the most fickle of fates could bring tragedy from a single kobold and glorious victory from a horde of giants. As the smoke clears from explosion after explosion, the adventurers have truly cleared a path into the heart of Jorgenfist. Will they be able to take advantage of their victory, or can the defenders yet rally?

Director's Commentary:

This was pretty much an all-combat session. The PCs chose their trademark strategy when assaulting fixed fortifications: start a loud fight, battle wave after wave of defenders, partially kind of but not really retreat, and end up triumphing. Some would call it crazy and suicidal, but somehow it works for them!


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I have a level 9 support paladin I’d like to play.

2/5

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Many of us foresaw this happening when goblins were announced for 2E, raised concerns, and were pooh-poohed. Now that it is happening, we are still pooh-poohed.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Session # 70 Recap:
[3 Calistril 4708 continued]

In the narrow tunnels leading from a cliffside cave near Jorgenfist, Kang suddenly realizes that the battle against the redcaps caused many of his vials of chemicals to crack! He rushes back to the cave to render them inert before they explode. The others decide to continue on, with Nerissa scouting ahead. Eventually, the main branch of the small tunnels leads to a chamber cluttered by tiny mounds of carefully sorted junk. Resting on a hammock tied between a pair stalagmites is a kobold idly holding a shortspear. Nerissa’s stealthy approach allows her to retreat silently and confer with her fellow adventurers. They agree that she should sneak up again and try to subdue it so they have a prisoner they can interrogate for information.

At first, the plan goes well. Nerissa tiptoes in and pounces on the surprised kobold, placing a hand over its mouth so it can’t even cry out! But the wily creature is stronger than it looks and breaks free of her hold. Before Nerissa can react, the kobold impales her with its spear and then wrenches the weapon free, shouting “Enga best guard ever!” Nerissa collapses to the ground in a pool of blood. Hearing the shout, the other adventurers rush in. Salma’s magic locks the kobold’s muscles in place as Jinkatsyu darts forward and stabs it, but then the kobold also breaks free of the paralysis enchantment! Salma reverts back to her favourite means of dispatching enemies: conjuring huge explosions while somehow sculpting the flames to exclude herself and her allies. This time, though, an unwelcome surprise rears its ugly head: the beaded necklace that the kobold was wearing explodes in a fireball an order of magnitude higher than even Salma had ever conjured before! The blast shakes the cavern, killing Nerissa and Salma instantly and badly burning the kobold who is somehow still standing! Fortunately, Ava had not yet arrived on the scene and Jinkatsyu was able to duck between stalagmites to escape unscathed. Jinkatsyu shouts for Ava’s help as he stabs the creature in chest and it collapses, gurgling blood.

Ava arrives in time to bring Salma from the brink of death’s door, but Nerissa is too far gone to help without more powerful magicks. Knowing that the tremendously loud explosion must have alerted everyone nearby, the surviving trio of heroes quickly gather up Nerissa’s remains and rush back through the narrow tunnels until they reach the cliffside cave. There, they see Kang has set up his alchemical workshop in a niche in the rock; he forbids any interruptions, saying he’s on the verge of a magnificent breakthrough! Ava makes the preparations for the elaborate ritual to summon Nerissa’s soul back to her body, but she decides to communicate with it first—and in so doing, is surprised to learn that the soul has moved to a better place and has no wish to return. The grippli sobs as she realizes Nerissa is gone forever, and then, to make matters worse, Salma adds that the next time she dies, she wants to stay dead as well.

Exhausted and dispirited, the adventurers undergo a miserable day of rest in the cave. Their misery is exacerbated by swarms of poisonous army ants that stream out from cracks in the cave floor, and Salma is forced to nearly exhaust her magicks to fend them off. After getting to a fitful sleep that night, another infestation is discovered a couple of hours before dawn and this one is almost lethal! And then, a final blow: just before dawn, Jinkatsyu is tormented by nightmares of being unable to save his family only to realize that the horrific visions have magically sent to him by the surviving hag of Hook Mountain.

[4 Calistril 4708]

Having endured one of the worst days of their adventuring career, the survivors decide they have no choice but to press on. But do the defenders of Jorgenfist realize they’re under attack, or do they simply think Enga had an unfortunate accident with her necklace? And if the adventurers can barely survive one kobold, how will they ever succeed against the far greater terrors that lie beyond?

Director's Commentary:

Kang's player was unable to make this session, hence the character's sudden need to work on alchemical formulas in the safety of their cave.

I really enjoyed the necklace of fireballs situation here, as it's one of the few times in RPGs that characters face consequences for hurling massive incendiary magic left and right.

The decision by Nerissa's player to stay that her character wouldn't want to come back from the dead started to become a pattern, and I think grew frustrating for the others at the table.


Thanks for the great game, everyone. That was a really fun and memorable adventure!

GM, please assign my credit to Trokkus, 238544-1 (Silver Crusade).


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I've noticed there seems to be a problem with the display of reviews in the Season 10 PFS section. The number of reviews and their ratings are visible, but the reviews themselves are not (or, sometimes, only 1 recent review is visible). I don't know if this problem is confined to this area, or is more widespread across product pages.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Name: Jhaeman
Character Name: Gurkagh
PFS Number and Character Number: 238544-2
Initiative Bonus: +2
Perception Bonus: +7
Normal or Slow Track: Normal
Classes and Levels: Shaman 8* [He's Level 7 right now, but I'll be playing him in a live game on Sunday that will take him up to 8]

Biography of your character

Gurkagh is a good-natured, rather dim shaman from the Realm of the Mammoth Lords. He's easily influenced, and goes where either the spirits or someone who seems like a leader tells him to. But his innate kindness wins over a lot of people who just can't help but like him. Gurkagh never carries weapons, instead fighting with whatever happens to be around--a rock, a cooking pot, or a tree branch.

[Gurkagh has a Chronicle from a previous scenario that makes him a Baronet in Taldor and gives him bonuses when interacting with nobles and commoners! It was a pretty funny boon considering the character.]


Terribly sorry everyone. I was unable to post for the past week (my own fault).


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I got this deck, and I really can't figure out a rhyme or reason to why the cards are in a particular order. I do get the icon thing (even if it's not always intuitive), but I feel like the cards need an index! I'll give them a try, but it might be easier for me to find stuff by flipping through the rulebook.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I won't be making the move to second edition. Thanks!

2/5

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Thanks to everyone for contributing to the discussion. It’s important that as a community we can debate and discuss in a civil way. This thread is a good example of how we can “disagree without becoming disagreeable.” I’ve been thinking about the issue that originated this discussion and I wanted to consolidate and summarise my arguments for allowing sub-par ability scores.

1: Sub-par ability scores help some players better realize their character concepts. Many players base their role-playing off of their character’s ability scores, and allowing a broader range of ability scores helps those players create a broader range of character concepts. Creativity and imagination should be encouraged.

2: Sub-par ability scores help some players better represent some physical and mental disabilities. There may be some alternatives that satisfy some players, but to other players there are disabilities that are difficult to portray without some actual mechanical limitations.

2a: There are many characters with mental and physical disabilities in science-fiction/fantasy stories: Professor X, Tony Stark, Barbara Gordon (Oracle), Bran Stark, Fitz (Agents of SHIELD), and thousands more, and these characters are often placed in situations of adventure and danger.

3: The risks of allowing sub-par ability scores is minimal. Two such risks have been claimed: a) Players will use sub-par ability scores as an excuse for bad behaviour at the gaming table; b) Players will create characters with such sub-par ability scores that those PCs are no longer able to contribute meaningfully toward successful resolution of the scenario’s goals. Neither of these risks is of sufficient magnitude to outweigh the benefits of allowing sub-par ability scores.

3a: Abusive, disruptive, or discriminatory behaviour at the gaming table violates the tenets of Organized Play whether or not the player claims it is “justified” because “that’s what my character would do” or “that’s just how my character is.” This standard is long and well-established, and applies whether or not there’s a claim that a particular mechanical feature (including a sub-par ability score, such as a low Charisma) supports the bad behaviour.

3b: There are *many, many* ways a player could create a character that fails to meaningfully contribute to the group. They could be in a Tier 7-10 scenario and insist on using all Level 1 equipment, observe combats and skill challenges without attempting to influence their resolution in any way, intentionally learn and cast only comparatively useless spells, refuse to leave Absalom Station, or a host of other possibilities. The hypothetical risk of a character with sub-par ability scores being unable to contribute is only a drop in the bucket to these possibilities.

4: Characters are explicitly allowed to be deaf or blind. These disabilities, particularly blindness, likely hold far, far more impact in a scenario than many sub-par ability scores could. Without special means to compensate, blindness reduces the location of enemies to guesswork and provides them with total concealment, while making other meaningful parts of scenarios (such as Chases) far more difficult (sometimes verging on impossible). No PC *has* to be blind, so allowance has already been given to a (strictly mechanically speaking) sub-par character concept.

5: Characters who have sub-par ability scores are legal for play if this occurred during a scenario through ability score drain (unless drained all the way to zero). Players are completely free to decide whether to rectify this condition or not, and may continue to play these characters in future scenarios while maintaining the drained ability score. Thus, the strange situation exists that unintentional sub-par ability scores are always allowed (even if capable of remedy) while intentional sub-par ability scores are not.

The concrete benefits of allowing characters with sub-par ability scores far outweigh the speculative risks. I recognise that the Organized Play team has made a decision. I also recognise that they remain free to alter or reverse this decision at any point in the future.

My suggestion is as follows: temporarily rescind the recent ruling that bans sub-par ability scores. Adopt a “wait and see” approach. If actual evidence mounts that this is causing problems, we’ll know the ruling is warranted instead of being based only on hypothetical concerns about bad players causing problems. I may be naively optimistic, but I think the vast majority of SFS players, the vast majority of the time, show up to play in good faith and to have fun as a group. I sincerely doubt the proportionately tiny fraction of the community who would like to explore variant character concepts by using sub-par ability scores present a risk substantial enough to justify the restriction.

Thanks for listening.

2/5

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Tonya, to clarify, are we not allowed to discuss this matter anymore? I think most of us have been engaging in a civil discussion.

2/5

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Regarding this recent spate of posts, I don't think "just pretend his ability score is lower even if it's not" is a good solution. I understand it might work for some people, but many of us like to meld our role-playing to our mechanics. I'm going to play a character with an Intelligence of 20 differently than a character with an Intelligence of 8.

An interesting aspect of playing a disabled character is overcoming actual limitations. This is where creativity comes in. Having actual limitations also presents abuse. If I want to play Professor X, and his wheelchair is damaged, he presumably has no land speed apart from crawling. But if the wheelchair is wrecked, I as a player can't say "Professor X gets up and sprints around like the rest of you--I guess he was just punking you on that whole disabled thing? Funny, huh?"

Similarly, we don't tell someone who wants to play a blind PC "he can't actually be blind, but you can have him keep his eyes closed all the time!" or someone who wants to play a deaf PC "he can't actually be deaf, but you can pretend he just didn't hear what others say because he had his headphones on."

The disadvantages of playing a disabled character are integral to the concept, not something to be assumed away.

2/5

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I think, respectfully, it is very close to a "no disabilities" policy--with the explicit exceptions of deafness and blindness. If I can't play a character with any mental or physical impairments, it's very difficult to represent many sorts of disabilities.

Again, the risk seems to be a purely hypothetical one. We're not talking about bad behavior in general--any player might try to behave badly, whether "mechanically justified" (by a low Charisma) or not, and then the GM has to intervene. Most of us in this discussion have GM'd our fair share of games and get that. Through over ten years of organised play, these rules are well-established.

I'd like to suggest there is a way to accommodate those of us who want to play sub-par ability characters to represent a vital segment of society out of good faith reasons instead of an urge to behave badly.

The major issue, again, is can this be done in a way that contributes to an enjoyable game for everyone at the table? I don't see why not.

From another perspective: apparently, I can play a blind PC. Unless I choose a race/augmentation/feat or other method of ameliorating this disability, that PC would have to guess which square an enemy is in during combat and have a 50% miss chance. That's pretty hefty in terms of contributing to combat encounters. In theory, I might require special assistance in other sorts of encounters, such as chases. I might require extra description and interaction with the GM in order to figure out how my character reacts to routine role-playing and other social encounters. But being blind is explicitly allowed in the Guide. Why would a PC with a Strength of 7, for example, be so much harder to accommodate?

2/5

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I agree that playing Uatu is a jerk move. But we don't have a "No Uatus" specific rule, we have a general rule (more of a standard or guideline, really) about not playing characters that will ruin the game for our fellow players. This is a rule that covers the weird corner cases like Uatu, and could easily apply to someone who makes a troll PC. And the existence of this general rule is why we don't need an oddly-specific rule to ban sub-par ability score characters.

There's 99 people who have suddenly jumped in to defend this new rule, but I've yet to hear an example from actual gameplay where this was a problem. And my point about embracing diversity and disability continues. Why do we need to treat people who want to play a disabled character like a jerk who is going to automatically ruin everyone's fun?

If this was the Azlanti Explorers' League and any physical or mental imperfections were ground for exclusion, I could at least understand the in-canon rationale. But the Starfinder Society is recovering from the loss of experienced agents in the Scoured Stars. It accepts members from all walks of life, valuing their unique contributions. Does it make sense for it to turn away Stephen Hawking's brilliant mind because he's not as agile as the average human?

Again, I'm asking for some thought to be given to reasonable accommodations. Instead of a rule, we need a standard: make a character that can contribute meaningfully to the success of a scenario. There are a million ways characters could fail this standard. But if this isn't the standard, then why pick on the (very rare!) sub-par ability score characters? It'd be like establishing the goal of rectifying global warming by saying left-handed people can't drive cars. Yes, I guess in some miniscule way it's a step toward the goal, but not a step that's rational to take in the overall scheme of things.

2/5

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Banter aside, I'd suggest approaching this issue in the same way real-world issues involving disability are approached: reasonable accommodation.

What's reasonable in the circumstances are going to depend on how much risk or inconvenience is caused by allowing sub-par ability score characters to participate in organized play games. From what I can tell, on this side of the ledger is the hypothetical risk of characters who are either intentional trolls or (un)intentionally can't contribute and thus leave the other PCs in the lurch.

So what could reasonable accommodations be in this context? I've proposed two:
a) Don't have a rule about this, and leave it to GM/regional judgment just like every other decision about problematic play at the table. (my favoured resolution); or
b) Grand-father in those of us who have made PCs under the plausible reading of the Guide prior to yesterday's sudden announcement to the contrary.

2/5

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Is it okay for me to play a character like the Watcher (Uatu) for Marvel Comics? A character who swears an oath of non-interference, so takes no actions in or out of combat to aid the group in any way? Because I think that would be perfectly legal (and conceptually sound), but my brilliant Stephen Hawking PC who *has* contributed to successful outcomes in the scenarios he's appeared in would be banned under these rules because of his disability. The point I'm trying to make is there needs to be a general rule about PCs' ability to contribute to scenarios that requires actual judgement and evaluation (probably by regional coordinators) in the .000001% of occasions where it's an actual issue, instead of what is, in my opinion, a ham-fisted attempt to guarantee PC contribution by banning sub-par ability scores.

2/5

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

If I felt this was a carefully deliberated exercise in line drawing that, understandably, couldn’t satisfy everyone, I would understand. But the sense I get is that it’s a quick, knee-jerk reaction to a hypothetical question with no evidence of a problem. The result may not matter to you, but I really like my disabled PC and don’t want them summarily banned. But in addition, the larger point of embracing disability and diversity is important: let the Starfinder Society match Paizo’s stated commitment.

2/5

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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

There are far more disabilities than blindness or deafness. But why would that be allowed and having a 7 Strength to represent a neuro-muscular disorder be banned? There’s no logical consistency. And saying I can play Stephen Hawking with all physical ability scores at 10 undermines the point of playing a disabled character: to overcome those natural disavantages. It’d be like saying your PC can’t actually be blind, but you can have them keep their eyes closed all the time. It’s not enough to do justice to the concept.

2/5

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I’d like to open a thread to discuss the new ruling that bans disabled PCs from Society play if they have any impairment to physical or mental ability scores. I think this is backwards, and in a game with a progressive ethos and loads of fictional aides to achievement, disabled PCs should be embraced instead of banned. Let’s build ramps, not walls

2/5

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I think I’m most annoyed because there’s this sudden, swift action to ban something on the basis of one post’s hypothetical question, with no evidence whatsoever of an actual problem. Of the million ways to play a sub-optimal character, this one gets banned without time for broader discussion. I can’t play Stephen Hawking if his Dex is better than a PC with a racial penalty to Dex—it’s absurd. The goal is to have legitimately disabled characters still contribute. Would the Society kick him out? Apparently.

2/5

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

May I then suggest the equitable remedy of grandfathering in PCs made before this new ruling? I think many of us made these PCs in good faith.

2/5

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Could I suggest an alternative: leave it to Venture-Lieutenant discretion to declare a character unplayable for not sufficiently contributing to the group? (after complaints, I guess?)

I just think if we’re embracing diversity, allowing for PCs with a sub-10 ability score to represent a physical or mental impairment is a part of that.

2/5

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Was it an “official ruling”? It seemed like more like continued discussion. I’d be bummed if a PC I’ve got up to level 5 and applied several Chronicles to is destroyed in an off-hand comment.

If it was an official ruling (Thurston had the right hat on), it raises that thing we’ve been saying for a few years now: we [i]really[\i] need a better system to capture official PFS/SFS decisions than random forum posts that will soon get buried.

2/5

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I think there are some excellent role-playing reasons to have sub-optimal ability scores. My Stephen Hawking homage character has been very useful in SFS play even if his Dex is intentionally a 1.

There’s no point in trying to dev micro-manage intentional weakness. I might have a level 9 PC who only uses level non-powered archaic gear, a techno-mancer who only uses oddball non-combat spells, or someone who has multi-classed every class in the book from levels 1-7 (soon levels 1-10!).

The super-optimizers will always far outweigh the occasional intentional under-optimizers at any given table, so please let us have our creativity and fun


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Thanks!


Ok, I've posted as Zurnzal. Hopefully it's alright--it's a complicated gameplay thread what with the phases, spoiler posts, and individual missions.


Thanks everyone, I now have the character sheet and briefing. I'm going to finish work in about 4 hours, read through the gameplay so far, make a Zurnzal alias, and then put up a first post (sticking as close to the established personality for the character as possible).


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I'd be interested! Just tell me where to go and what to do.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Spoiler:
When I ran it, I assumed it meant the beacon of the north

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