Mad Scientist

Jhaeman's page

Starfinder Charter Superscriber. FullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. Starfinder Society GM. 1,046 posts (1,362 including aliases). 272 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 8 Organized Play characters. 4 aliases.


RSS

1 to 50 of 1,046 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next > last >>
**

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

There's an enormous amount of self-congratulation on how enlightened the Society is here. I found that ironic, because the classic square-jawed blundering pulp archaeologist like Indiana Jones would be immediately accepted into the Society, but more "realistic" anthropologists and archaeologists would be summarily excluded. Getting up there in years and not quite as spry as you used to be (Dexterity of 9)?--BANNED! A sickly child who turned to the excitement of books and history, only to eventually become a (mildly frail) scholar (Constitution of 9)?--BANNED! A brilliant anthropologist who is seen by her peers as a bit too egotistical and dismissive of other's theories (Charisma of 9)?--BANNED! The classic absent-minded professor who's spent a bit too much time reading ancient runes to notice the world around him (Wisdom of 9)?--BANNED!

In my head-canon conspiracy theory, the Starfinder Society has been taken over by Azlanti deep-cover agents to further a vision where anyone below average is deemed "inferior" and barred from meaningful roles in society :)


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

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

**

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.

**

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.

**

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.

**

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?

**

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.

**

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.

**

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.

**

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.

**

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.

**

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

**

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.

**

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.

**

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.

**

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.

**

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


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Nope.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I forgot to add for the "code of conduct" question that Trokkus is Oathbound against Fiends: "Code of Conduct: Never suffer an evil outsider to live if it is in your power to destroy it. Banish fiends you cannot kill. Purge the evil from those possessed by fiends."


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

In addition to the usual info needed for reporting and chronicles, would you please post to say if you have played any of the following scenarios with the character you are bringing to this scenario:

#14: The Many Fortunes of Grandmaster Torch: NO
#2–07: Heresy of Man, Part 2: Where Dark Things Sleep: NO
#5–12: Destiny of the Sands, Part 1: A Bitter Bargain: NO
#6–04: Beacon Below: NO
#9–04: The Unseen Inclusion: NO

How many Scarab Sage boons do you have? (Obviously if you're not a Scarab Sage the answer should be zero). ZERO

How many feats, traits, or class features do you have that impose a code of conduct on you? PALADIN

Do you speak Draconic? Do you have any other dragon-themed feat, trait, or class feature? (If so how many?) NO/NO

How many languages do you speak, not counting your racial languages? 3

-

How many Mendevian Commendation boons do you have? 1

How many bonus combat feats do you have? ZERO

How many mutually exclusive boons do you have? These are boons that result in another boon being crossed off a chronicle - either you made a choice on the chronicle sheet or the party made a choice during the adventure. 8

How much gold and/or Prestige have you spent in order to heal other Pathfinders? ZERO

What colour outfit/robes/armour are you wearing on your expedition?

BLACK AND RED


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Session # 69 Recap:
[1 Calistril 4708 continued]

At the Founder’s Archive in Magnimar, Kang, Nerissa, and Jinkatsyu decide to focus their investigation on the mysterious crimson insect-like mask that they found hidden aboard the boat belonging to Nerissa’s would-be assassin. During their day at the library, Kang accidentally knocks a dusty book on murder-cults off the shelf and it falls open on a page with an illustration that exactly matches the mask! Underneath the illustration is the caption “Red Mantis.” With the library about to close, they head back to the Black Shield inn to find Ava and Salma staring at the front of the establishment intently to help fix it in their memories for future spellcraft. When she hears about the book they found, Salma explains she’s heard a little about the mysterious organisation of assassins known as the Red Mantis: she says membership is by invitation only, that they’ll accept contracts to kill anyone except heads of state, and that they have means of assassination that keep the victim from being raised from the dead! Salma says she could put feelers out to try to get in contact with them, but Nerissa says it’s too dangerous. The group speculate whether there is a contract out on Nerissa and, if so, who placed it. Although the library surely holds more secrets about the Red Mantis and perhaps the key to deciphering Nerissa’s mysterious journal, the group decide that the priority has to be stopping the giants of Jorgenfist; a decision is made to teleport there in the morning.

[2 Calistril 4708]

As the adventurers assemble for breakfast in the common room of the Black Shield, a general hubbub alerts them that something unusual is going on. Kegs are being lined up against a wall, bottles of wine cover an entire side table, and the place is surprisingly crowded at a time when most people would be heading off for a hard day’s work. Having been far too busy to glance at a calendar, the adventurers quickly realize that today is a holiday: Merrymead! Originally a day to share the last of the previous year’s mead with one’s fellows, the holiday has since evolved into a general day of heavy drinking, frivolity, and (more often than not) outbreaks of drunken violence. Nerissa is overjoyed and immediately starts to partake while the others hunch around a table examining the sketch-map of Jorgenfist they obtained from the scout Veridian. Various possibilities for teleportation are discussed, but the consensus is to try for one of the caves on the cliffside under Jorgenfist, overlooking the river. It’s not long before the shouting, spilled drinks, and pushing and shoving start, something that drives everyone but Nerissa into the alleyway behind the tavern. Ava barely manages to persuade her to come with them and, as they walk out into the bright light, the grippli realizes that Nerissa’s shadow sometimes disappears completely and other times points in the wrong direction given the angle of the sun! Ava points this out, quite concerned, but Nerissa explains it’s always been that way and isn’t something to worry about.

A cold wind swirls around the group in the alleyway as Salma makes a final study of the special teleportation scroll sent to the group by Magnimar’s army commander. Salma sighs as she realizes that the magic in the scroll isn’t powerful enough to take everyone along; someone will have to stay behind and be picked up later. Nerissa is quick to volunteer for the role, and happily heads back inside to keep drinking. Salma reads the complex runic magic on the scroll flawlessly, and an instant later she and the remaining adventurers appear in a cave almost 250’ above a narrow beach and river below. Countless bloated, many-legged insects trample one another on the floor of the cave, creating an unnatural susurrus of a million clicking bug legs. The rear of the cave is blocked by fallen webs and occluded by darkness.

Ava starts snacking on some of the bugs while Jinkatsyu lights a torch so that he and Kang can investigate the rear of the cave. As they approach, thick ropy strands of webbing shoot out from things hidden in the mass; Kang dodges out of the way, but Jinkatsyu finds himself entangled! From the rear of the cave, stocky, partially-decayed spiders the size of a horse advance as thousands of living spiders fall from their bodies like drops of blood. Kang shouts “deathwebs!” and hurls a makeshift explosive just before getting impaled by a sharp, serrated leg. Jinkatsyu cuts his way free from the webbing and starts attacking, but begins to feel sick as some sort of necromantic venom courses through his veins. Ava works out a plan with Salma, magically silencing the rear of the cave so that Salma’s massive fireball creates no noise when it explodes. Two of the monstrous creatures are fried in the explosion, and Kang manages to finish off the last one.

Jinkatsyu uses his torch to burn away much of the webbing and finds a surprisingly large collection of skeletons enmeshed within, many still wearing armor and grasping weapons. Salma appraises whether any of it is worth keeping while Jinkatsyu continues investigating—at Kang’s suggestion, he looks to see if there is a secret door, and is astonished to realize there is one! The adventurers, having established a beachhead in their invasion of Jorgenfist, decide to rest for the night and collect Nerissa in the morning before moving further in. Meanwhile, Nerissa is having an adventure of her own as the patrons of the Black Shield turn into a mob when the barrels and bottles are emptied—they rush off to ransack a nearby wine cellar, and Nerissa narrowly avoids being swept up in the riot and arrested by the city guards. She makes her way back to the Black Shield and helps the grateful proprietor clean up.

[3 Calistril 4708]

Salma teleports to the front of the Black Shield first thing in the morning, but has the bad luck to manifest while a horse and carriage are speeding down the road! She gets knocked brutally into a nearby snowbank that’s still covered in vomit from those who drank more than they could handle the night before. The now-filthy half-elf heads inside and, after some effort, manages to rouse a very hungover Nerissa. When they return to the cave near Jorgenfist, the others are ready to see what lies beyond the secret passage. The adventurers head through to discover a veritable maze of narrow tunnels. Wisely staying to what seems like the main branch, they navigate deeper and deeper in until Ava and Salma realize the adventurers are not alone—creatures have used the various side tunnels to surround them! The snarling, gnomelike figures wear metal boots and blood-red pointed caps while wielding large scythes, and their eyes are filled with the anticipation of blissful sadistic slaughter! Ava shouts a prayer to Sinashakti while Salma doesn’t hesitate to fill the caves with a massive fireball. The affray is fast and confusing as the attackers slip in and out of the side tunnels, but the adventurers stand their ground and eventually kill all but one of the attackers who slips through a tunnel so narrow the others can’t easily follow.

The adventurers have stumbled onto a potential way into Jorgenfist that could allow them to bypass many of the fortress’ outer defences. But with their penchant for setting off thunderous explosions, will they remain undetected for long?

Director's Commentary:
Merrymead was another one of those holidays on the calendar that I went ahead and implemented just for some local background color. Nerissa's player really took to it, and had great fun getting her PC enmeshed in the festivities.

Of every possible location on the map of Jorgenfist the PCs could teleport to, they just so happened to pick the one cave that offers a perfect hiding place/staging area and a secret route that bypasses all the dangers on the surface (while taking the unusual action of explicitly searching for secret doors). Maybe it's just really good luck, but sometimes I suspect someone may be reading something they shouldn't!

The redcaps felt a bit out of place--kinda goofy fey that presented absolutely no threat to PCs of this level. They were more a nuisance than anything.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Just a minor issue with this order: you sent me the Rise of the Runelords *Adventure Card Game* poster instead of the Rise of the Runelords *Anniversary Edition* poster. Could you please add the correct one to my next shipment? Thanks!


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Player Name: Jeremy
Character: Trokkus
Pfs-Id: 238544-1
Faction: Silver Crusade
Track: Normal
Level: 7
Class: Paladin
Trokkus is a half-orc paladin, but he's not really tough enough to be a front-line fighter. He's more of a second-rank support character.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

It's in the first part of the description, where it says it "provides the wearer with life-sustaining nourishment."


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I’ll pile on and say the links to various product groups are labeled inconsistently, and don’t always work.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Session # 68 Recap:
[30 Abadius 4708 continued]

Inside Sandpoint’s Town Hall, a hearing is about to start on Nagol Scarnetti’s lawsuit against Ava stemming from an encounter where he called her names and she responded by conjuring a burst of water to drench him. Ava whispers to her friends that she doesn’t want them to do anything violent, as she’s confident she’ll get a fair trial. Kang says that with himself as her attorney, she’ll surely be acquitted. However, he sneaks off to the latrines to chug an elixir to increase his personal attractiveness and charm. Meanwhile, Jinkatsyu and Nerissa talk about the latter’s own legal troubles with Nagol Scarnetti. Truly, the adventurers have made an enemy!

When doors to the large meeting room are opened, the adventurers are ushered inside. They see the town council (representatives of the four “founding families”) sitting behind a semi-circular table, ready to hand out judgement at the end of trial. Present are Mayor Kendra Deverin, Ameiko Kaijitsu, Titus Scarnetti, and Belvan Valdemar (standing in his for his elderly father). Ava and her friends can tell that Ameiko is favourably predisposed to them and that Titus is downright hostile, but that the other two are remaining steadfastly neutral out of either principle (Deverin) or disinterest (Belvan). Mayor Deverin explains that the charges against Ava range from assault (for using magic against Nagol) to destruction of personal property (for allegedly ruining Nagol’s fine silk clothing) to seditious libel (for impugning the character of a noble).

The proceedings begin with Edgeworth, Nagol’s high-powered Magnimarian barrister, making an opening argument that seems to go over well with the judges. When Edgeworth begins his well-rehearsed examination of Nagol, Kang jumps to his feet to interject for proof that the noble’s clothes were actually ruined. Unfortunately, Edgeworth was well-prepared for this eventuality and has a set of ruined clothing introduced into evidence! Edgeworth elicits testimony that makes it sound like Ava, an “adventurer and spellcaster of tremendous power,” lost her temper and assaulted a defenceless, well-respected resident of Sandpoint. Edgeworth’s oratory is quite effective, and Kang has an uphill battle to win the judges back over.

Kang, who (despite his bluster) has no particular knowledge of the legal system or trial advocacy, begins the defence case by calling his companions as witnesses. Jinkatsyu’s testimony does little to change the basic outline of events as presented by Edgeworth, but Nerissa’s passionate defence of Ava’s character and contribution to Sandpoint is quite effective. Salma’s point-by-point, fact-based breakdown of what happened also goes over quite well. Edgeworth decides there’s little to be gained from cross-examining the trio, and waives his right to do so. But then, in a move that surprises many in the room, Kang calls Ava to the stand! On the verge of tears, she explains how hurtful it was to be accosted and called insulting names over and over again by Nagol, and how she was afraid of the much larger man and his friends. Sympathy wells up in the hearts of the judges (apart from Titus Scarnetti), until Edgeworth begins his cross-examination. He adroitly brings out just how many battles Ava has participated in, how she has fought terrifying foes, and how she could not conceivably been afraid of an unarmed young nobleman standing on the streets of Sandpoint across from the Garrison. “Ladies and gentlemen, I posit to you thus: if the defendant can stand toe-to-toe with massive bears and stone giants, how could she truly be afraid of my client? Was she afraid for her safety, as she claims, or merely suffering from hurt feelings?” All of the progress the defence witnesses made are shattered by the devastating remark, and Kang’s closing argument fails to further sway the judges.

During a recess for the judges to consider their verdict, Edgeworth approaches Kang and smugly offers a settlement: if Ava compensates his client to the tune of 2000 gold pieces and publicly apologises for her misbehaviour, he’ll withdraw his earlier request that she be stripped of all property and exiled from Sandpoint. Kang quickly rejects the offer, and whispers to his friends that if things go really bad, they can just teleport away. Some of the others argue that then they all might get in trouble and be permanently barred from the town.

When the judges return, it’s clear that only Ameiko is still on the adventurers’ side in the dispute. The verdict isn’t as severe as it could be, but it’s still harsh: Ava owes Nagol 500 gold pieces as compensation for the damaged clothing, and is exiled from Sandpoint for the assault and seditious libel. The grippli breaks into tears, but while the others console her, Jinkatsyu catches up to Mayor Deverin and asks for a quiet word. The kitsune prevails upon Deverin to reconsider the decision, saying that the adventurers have saved Sandpoint in the past and are currently on a mission to stop stone giants from invading again! However, Mayor Deverin says that the law does not allow past or future deeds of virtue to absolve one from wrongdoing: no one is above the law, she says, and (regrettably) even the “Heroes of Sandpoint” have to respect town law. She does whisper to Jinkatsyu, however, that Kang was a terrible trial lawyer and the group should seek an appeal of the verdict in Magnimar!

Sheriff Hemlock clearly feels sorry for Ava, and says he can give her an hour to gather her things and say goodbye before he has to escort her to the edge of town. The adventurers discuss what to do next. Jinkatsyu raises the idea of hiring a barrister in Magnimar and appealing the outcome, Nerissa says that it’s best just to take it on the chin and get on with things, and Salma suggests using magic to disguise Ava as someone else. In fact, Salma and Kang are so outraged by the verdict that they suggest just letting the town be levelled by the stone giants! Jinkatsyu is aghast at the idea of letting so many die just because of one lawsuit. Ava remains quiet and subdued during the conversation, her eyes downcast. Eventually, the group decide that they’ll make Magnimar their new base of operations, but that Ava should pay the fine and comply with the exile order to avoid further antagonizing the town leaders. Ava hurries to the Cathedral to say goodbye to Father Zantus, and he’s clearly saddened by what happened—he explains that many people in Sandpoint despise the Scarnettis. The two agree that in an emergency, Father Zantus will contact Ava through magical means. Afterwards, the adventurers are escorted through the North Gate by Sheriff Hemlock. Nagol Scarnetti is there, smirking, but Ava classily turns her back and ignores him.

Salma’s attempt to teleport everyone to Magnimar fails—twice! The party ends up on top of a rocky escarpment somewhere in the Sandpoint hinterlands and decides to set camp for the rest of the day and try again in the morning. Nerissa bakes some fantastic muffins, and says that if Nagol pursues a lawsuit against her, she’ll win. She ruminates about just sneaking into Sandpoint and assassinating the man (saying there’s no way she’d get caught, and no jail that could hold her), a remark that Jinkatsyu condemns. Later, Kang announces a breakthrough in his attempts to decipher Nerissa’s coded journal: he says it’s a log of imports from Aldoran to Cheliax. The others seem sceptical. Apart from rats swarming through the camp in the middle of the night (easily dispatched by one of Kang’s bombs), the hours until morning pass uneventfully.

[31 Abadius 4708]

In the morning, a snowy day greets the adventurers as they reconsider their plans. A consensus starts to develop for teleporting back to the Iron Peaks and the path towards Jorgenfist immediately, as the timeframe for the stone giant invasion is not known apart from scattered intelligence that it would take place in just a matter of weeks from the initial raid on Sandpoint. The heavy snowfall, however, convinces the group that travelling through the mountains is too risky and that they should head to Magnimar instead. Salma’s initial attempt to teleport the group utterly fails, and angry, he has to be talked out of trying for the Iron Peaks instead. On the second try, the group appears in Alabaster Park in Magnimar. The adventurers trudge through the slushy streets into the center of the city and head for the Arvensoar, hoping to gain some sort of reward or sponsorship for their quest to defeat the stone giants. Soon they reach the massive fortress that towers over the city, and Jinkatsyu persuades the sentinels to allow them in by mentioning their encounter with the scout, Veridian. After being escorted through the labyrinthine corridors of the massive fortress, the adventurers are eventually taken to meet with Captain Gibble Fank. Fank listens to their tale and Nerissa’s persuasive request for assistance on their expedition to Jorgenfist; Fank says he’ll consult with his superior and let them know in the morning. In the meantime, given the weather outside, he suggests they stay at a nearby inn, the Black Shield.

The Black Shield seems to be a tavern and inn that caters to soldiers, mercenaries, and caravan guards. Battle-scarred shields line the walls, and the half-orc behind the bar grunts as he takes the newcomers’ coin. Nerissa, Jinkatsyu, and Kang decide to brave the snowstorm to find a library so that Nerissa can research the origin of the strange red insect mask found in the boat belonging to her would-be assassin, and to see if she can learn more about the code she must have used when writing her own journal. A few hours later, however, when the adventurers finally find Magnimar’s best library, the Founder’s Archive, they have only moments to speak with the matron, Irba Demerios, before it closes. She confirms that the library should have the resources to assist them, and that patrons can hire private researchers if their own skills are inadequate. The trio agree to come back in the morning.

[1 Calistril 4708]

While the others are away at the library, Ava and Salma stand outside and endure the harsh weather so they can memorize the façade of the Black Shield to aid in future teleportation attempts. Just before lunch, a messenger arrives bearing two scrolls. The first, signed by High-Captain Acacia Uriana, says “Take all means at your dispersal to destroy the stone giant threat.” The second is a magical scroll that Salma deciphers as holding a spell that should allow them to teleport directly to Jorgenfist!

Director's Commentary:
The trial was pretty fun. I set it up as a skill's challenge, with different DCs to persuade different judges. Kang is pretty much the world's worst attorney, with a very low Diplomacy score that is an essential part of his character. Edgeworth (a character from a video game that I uncharacteristically implemented into the campaign at a player's suggestion) rolled much higher. I actually though the verdict was reasonably fair, but I soon realized it was perceived quite differently, with talk of abandoning Sandpoint altogether! It's hard to add some intrigue without the risk of it backfiring.

I set a *very* high Diplomacy DC for the PCs' attempt to get some direct help from the authorities in Magnimar, and they made it! Hence, the scroll of greater teleportation.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Well, it sounds like you guys had fun, and that's the important thing. There's a Campaign Journal sub-forum you might want to put posts like these next time.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I'm hoping that (someday!) when there's a second printing of the Core Rulebook with errata, they clean up all the battery/power cell/recharging stuff.


No worries. Thanks for taking over, you're doing a great job.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Thanks for explaining business to me. I had no idea it involved making money. I am now educated.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Charter Superscriber

There does seem to be a regrettable “Jade Regent didn’t sell well so we’re never ever do another Tian Xia AP ever again” implicit mindset by the Paizo leadership.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

You're lucky--my kid (who's also 8) forced me to run the whole intro adventure in one afternoon. Steel Talon was too tough though, and escaped to make havoc another day!


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Props to making it 1E compatible. Now I must put my money where my mouth was. Well played, sirs, well played.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

My son and I ran the intro adventure on Saturday and had a blast. I think it's a really well-designed box--good work guys!


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Session # 67 Recap:
[28 Abadius 4708 continued]

As the adventurers continue pushing through the rugged landscape despite the blizzard that obscures their vision, they hear what can only be described as a loud trumpeting ahead of them. Seconds later, a tremendous rumbling noise seems to come towards them from the north. With no idea what they’re about to face, the adventurers brace themselves for attack only to find massive boulders rolling over them from out of the swirling snow! Kang and Ava are badly bruised, while Jinkatsyu somehow darts on top of one of the boulders and escapes unharmed. But Neriss and Salma are neither so lucky nor so strong, and each is crushed to a veritable pulp by the cascade of rocks. Ava reacts quickly and is able to magically pull Salma back from the blackness of death, and the weakened wizard’s only thought is escape. She magically teleports everyone back to the day’s previous campsite a few miles further south. Ava rushes over to Nerissa and tries to repeat her feat, but it’s too late—Nerissa has slipped away.

Salma conjures a magical dome to keep out the wind and snow. The others talk about how what happened wasn’t an avalanche, as they weren’t buried under a cascade of snow and jagged rock—just smooth boulders. Obviously, a trap of some type, but they can’t figure out how the defenders knew they were coming. Ava prays to her lord Sinashakti, the Walker of Worlds, for the power to bring Nerissa back to life and, fuelled by the sacrifice of a flawless diamond, the supplication works. Nerissa slowly regains consciousness, looking wan and pale from the ordeal. Ava’s joy at the miracle is short-lived, however, as she realizes she has no more diamonds to fuel further magicks of the same sort, and not enough money to buy more even if she were back in Magnimar. Salma suggests simply stealing some, as they’re now far more powerful than any jeweler’s bodyguards, but Nerissa and Ava are strongly against the notion.

The adventurers’ much needed rest that night is interrupted when Salma realizes that some of the rocky outcroppings near them have moved slightly over the night—gargoyles! As has proven the case so often in recent battles, the foes cannot withstand the pure destructive conflagration of Salma’s fire magicks and Kang’s explosive bombs. Searching a crevice in the rock, Salma finds some old trinkets and battered gear that the gargoyles must have collected from past travellers over the years.

[29 Abadius 4708]

In the morning, despite the urgency of their quest, the adventurers settle on going back to Magnimar immediately and then on to Sandpoint the next day so that Ava will be present for the legal proceedings brought against her by Nagol Scarnetti. Kang again offers to act in her defence, confident that his self-proclaimed status as a “genius” will make up for any lack of legal training.

Salma’s teleportation spell is successful, and the adventurers instantly find themselves at a beautiful public park (lightly dusted with snow) in the city’ exclusive Alabaster District. Nerissa’s interest in finding a tavern, despite the early hour, leads her to ask a wealthy couple for directions. Alarmed at her vagrant-like appearance, the couple motion for a nearby member of the City Watch to escort the adventurers away and down from the Summit. The group decide to find someplace to sell some of the spoils of war they’ve accumulated in their recent adventures and eventually make their way to the Bazarre of Sails in Dockway. Here, despite the cold, hundreds of stalls have been set up to form the largest free market in Varisia. Nerissa is enchanted by the array of exotic foods and spices from all over the continent and even further afield, while Kang makes fast friends with a dwarf named Bartol Ehdrick who has been experimenting with mechanical wings, spring-loaded boots, and ink quill finger gloves to write ten messages at once! Meanwhile, Salma, Jinkatsyu, and Ava learn that the best place to purchase flawless diamonds of the type they’re seeking is at the Bronze House—the regional headquarters of the Aspis Consortium. There, they speak to a gaunt Taldan named Maiveer Sloan, who is willing to sell them “blood diamonds” from the Mwangi Expanse.

The rest of the afternoon passes quickly, with only Ava’s sobbing (caused by Kang referring to her and the others as “acquaintances” rather than “friends”) marring the day. At sunset, the adventurers walk to Defiant’s Garden, where Kang intends to see Lord-Mayor Grobaras and collect some sort of reward for having discovered the fate of Fort Rannick. Unfortunately, he can’t talk his way past the guards outside and is turned away.

The adventurers decide to spend the night in Sandpoint, and teleport into the room at the Rusty Dragon that Salma carefully memorized in past stays. However, they’re not prepared for the fact that other guests might stay there after their departure, and they find themselves suddenly standing next to a half-dressed, terrified couple screaming for help. Seconds later, Ameiko Kaijitsu bursts through the door, rapier in hand, and has harsh words for the adventurers’ foolishness. Jinkatsyu’s attempt to charm her is shut down hard, as he can’t escape the indignity of his embarrassing practice duel in the common room from days earlier.

The adventurers are lodged in different rooms, and spend the evening in the common room. Nerissa’s alcoholism becomes more alarming as she challenges the crowd to a drinking contest and finds no takers. When she offers to pay for the wine herself, she’s invited over to a table in the corner with a trio of well-dressed young men sit. Soon, she realizes that she’s sitting with Nagol Scarnetti and his friends and they’re mocking her for her association with “freaks.” Nerissa places one of the spicy peppers she obtained earlier from the markets in Magnimar into a flask of wine, and challenges Nagol to drink it after she takes a sip with no visible effects. He drinks the concoction down and then gasps in agony from the pain before rushing outside to dunk his head in a snowbank—leaving Nerissa chuffed at how well her prank on Ava’s tormentor worked. Meanwhile, Jinkatsyu, who is down to his last coppers, hears how Ameiko gives a discount to anyone who entertains the crowd with a story or performance. He takes the stage and tells the moving story of his family’s death at the hands of a coven of hags—there’s barely a dry eye in the room when he finishes. Ava braves the stage to tell a joke that is surprisingly well-received, but Kang’s follow-up leads to boos and minor outrage in the listeners.

[30 Abadius 4708]

In the morning, the adventurers visit local cartographer Veznutt Parooh in order to sell him a copy of the map of Jorgenfist they obtained from Veridian. Veznutt wistfully expresses his desire to accompany the adventurers, mentioning how the only true death is living the same day over and over again! He says he’s come across a few mentions of the Black Tower in his work—apparently it has stood since the days of ancient Thassilon, and no explorer who has entered has ever been known to come out alive. Legend has it that a great storehouse of knowledge exists under the Black Tower, but this has never been confirmed.

After their visit to Parooh, the adventurers hurry over to the Town Hall for Ava’s court proceeding. They see Nagol Scarnetti in the hallway, accompanied by a well-dressed and imposing barrister from Magnimar named Edgeworth. Edgeworth makes his way toward the group but instead of speaking with Ava or her “legal advocate” Kang, he instead hands Nerissa scroll. “You’ve been served my dear—poisoning a Scarnetti has consequences!”

The adventurers’ initial push towards Jorgenfist has been repelled, and now they’ve become wrapped up in local matters. Will they get on track in time to stop Mokmurian from launching his planned invasion of Varisia?

Director's Commentary:
The adventurers had alerted enough patrols in previous sessions, so I thought this time the stone giants would have a sense of their route and prepared some defences. I didn't expect to kill anyone outright with boulders though, and dropping two of the PCs certainly derailed things for a bit. It led to the group teleporting to Magnimar for more diamonds and other supplies. I think I did a pretty good job depicting Magnimar this session, but one of the things that surprised me this campaign was how much time the PCs spent there--I had very good prep for Sandpoint, but not as good of prep for Magnimar. In retrospect, I would have set aside more time to really bring the city to life. In other respects, this session was a solid "downtime" sort of session, with a lot of good role-playing, some development of subplots, and a few hijinks with plenty of laughs.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Why do people buy complete series DVDs when the individual seasons have been out for years? Why are graphic novels (trade paperback collections) of comics sold in pretty much every bookstore everywhere when people could easily just have bought the individual issues months or years before? Why do people buy the Collected Works of Shakespeare instead of one play or sonnet at a time? It's because people like the convenience and elegance of having everything in one package. For something like the Kingmaker AP, they like it even better if it has new artwork and an improved story. That's why there's a vocal request for it to be updated for 1E.


7 people marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Charter Superscriber

They asked for feedback, they got feedback (make it 1E compatible). If they still don't want to do it, there's really nothing left to say on the matter. It's disappointing.


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I would strongly support making this available for 1E. I bought both the RotRL Anniversary Edition and the Curse of the Crimson Throne hardcover despite owning the original AP volumes because: a) They are beautiful books; b) James Jacobs gave everything a second pass, having taken into account countless discussions on the forums, and the end product is much improved; c) Having everything in one place is very convenient. Having NPCs updated to Pathfinder from 3.5 was a nice bonus, but was not the sole reason for purchase.

**

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I've been tempted, but I didn't think it was allowed to swap maps. (I could be wrong though . . .)


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Regarding the "why not keep rolling until you succeed?", (from memory) I think the rule is that it takes a least a week for there to be a chance that other stuff has come in.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Doh! Thanks!

**

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Charter Superscriber

The Pathfinder Society has all that fancy real estate in Absalom because they sell all the gear of dead PCs and invest the profits in high-interest bonds.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Here's the Haunts Cheat Sheet I prepared for Chapter 2 . . .

1. Before a haunt begins to manifest, the only way to detect it is with Detect undead or Detect alignment at a -4 penalty vs. the Notice DC.

2. Once a haunt is triggered, a surprise round instantly begins. PCs who succeed on the Notice DC can act during this surprise round.

3. The haunt acts on Initiative rank 10; prior to this point, positive energy applied to the haunt (via channelled energy, cure spells, etc.) can damage the haunt’s hit points, and it doesn’t receive a Will save to lessen this damage; attacks that require a successful attack roll must hit AC 10. Unless the haunt has a special weakness, this is the only way to reduce its hit points.

4. If the haunt’s hit points are reduced to zero, it is neutralized (if this happens before Initiative rank 10 in the surprise round, it does not manifest).

5. A neutralized haunt is not destroyed, and can reset after a set amount of time with a DC 10 caster level check (if failed, it must wait that amount of time before trying again).

6. Some haunts are persistent, and continue into regular rounds, triggering once per round on Initiative rank 10.

7. All primary effects created by a haunt are mind-affecting fear effects, even those that produce physical effects.

**

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

A pre-gen Level 12 Obozaya could lend a hand! (hint, hint).


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I think of Shalelu as a scout, not a one-woman SWAT-team. I'd have her watch the place, for a couple of days, realize just how many defenders it has, and return to the PCs with some useful information they can use to formulate an attack plan.

1 to 50 of 1,046 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next > last >>