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kyrt-ryder wrote:
Joe Homes wrote:
I have found that a character picking a new class out of nowhere typically indicates that the player's attention is on optimization rather than on who the character is.
Or that who the character is is shaped in part by the player's optimization. There's no wrong way brossif.

Exactly. Which is why I reserve the right to disallow it, but have rarely exercised that right. In fact, I think that just having the threat hanging over their heads has made my players more likely to think in story terms about how their characters become who they are...multiple times, a character who has wanted to multiclass into something like warpriest has made it a personal quest to go find an instructor in a temple, or to meditate until achieving enlightenment, etc.

YMMV, but I've found that even though that hurdle is a bit annoying, the players feel way better about their identities than in games where they can just say "okay, I'm a warpriest now."

Editor

I allow only 1st-party stuff.

I ban Crafting/Profession/Downtime, for no other reason than that I subjectively don't like to run those systems in my games.

I ban selling mundane gear for similar reasons, but also because the players' loot lists end up too bloated when they're stripping down every guard to his skivvies for his scale armor and short sword, and they end up forgetting about the actually useful items that they have. If they don't need it, they don't pick it up. et voila.

I ban Leadership when I have 4+ players. At 6+ players, I also ban animal companions, summoned creatures, and familiars from taking part in combat. It seems harsh, I know, but in a big party it cuts down on chaos on and around the table, and on turn length. This keeps people from playing their turn and then checking out on their phones while the summoner makes full attacks with his 1d4 eagles. Players are aware of these restrictions ahead of time, of course, so they can just pick classes that don't rely on extra creatures to win their fights.

I don't outright ban multiclassing, but I reserve the right to disallow multiclassing except for story purposes. If you're going to multiclass into ninja from cleric, you'd better have found somewhere to train those skills. I have found that a character picking a new class out of nowhere typically indicates that the player's attention is on optimization rather than on who the character is.

Also, I don't like to run for gunslingers, but I houserule the way guns work, and everything is fine.

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*sees a beautiful crossbow across the room*
"OOH, I want that!"

*sees the swinging blade trap attached to the crossbow*
*looks at Valeros*
"...You go get it."

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chuffster wrote:

You can also have fun defining the remedies....

So at the end of the day you get their soul for fifty-five GP...
(...as long as there is at least some value on both sides of the exchange they won't invalidate a contract as lacking consideration.)

I'm considering running something akin to an insurance scam: dressing up as a cleric and offering to "save" the customer's soul as insurance against untimely death before the victim can cleanse his soul via confession, or some such. Then, of course, including an assignation clause that will allow me to "entrust" the contract to anyone I deem worthy.

To be honest, I'll probably ask for a donation to the "church" for my services. Think I can get away with saying that the consideration given to the customer is peace of mind? That's essentially what insurance companies do, right?

EDIT: maybe I could offer a "blessed coin" (a copper piece) to seal the deal?

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Knight Magenta wrote:

You can define non-sensical terms, for example: Define the person signing the contract as the signee, and yourself as the signer. Then re-define them half-way through. Or even retroactively. For example:

furthermore, on odd lines of this document, exchange the meaning of 'signee' and 'signer.'

I love that! I was considering working some sentence into the text such as "Of course, the opposite is true." Then, any time I want to, I can give a sentence an asterisk and have the footnote refer the reader to that line.

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Sissyl wrote:
...make sure there are thousands of references throughout the text. Defining terms differently in different parts of the agreement is good. Conditional phrases are good, because if you can deny their condition, the rest doesn't mean squat.

Oh, great ideas! Anybody have any particularly funny/nasty examples of these I could include?

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Blackvial wrote:
make sure you check with a Phistophilus so you don't step on any toes

Step on their toes? They're my best customers!

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Shiroi wrote:
You offer them limitless power*. You offer them immortality*. You offer them tons of gold*...

I love it!

contract wrote:

A life eternal*!

*Defined herein as the time from the time of signing until the moment of Signer's bodily death (natural or otherwise). Signer agrees that time is subjective and cannot be meaningfully measured independently of signer's capacity to observe, and that therefore any reference to a time after signer's death (natural or otherwise) is meaningless and arbitrary, and that Signer hereby waives all rights to exist, live, or especially litigate during any such period such as may exist due to unthinkable paradoxes or the natural order of the universe. Neither Signee nor Signee's agents shall have any obligation to attempt to extend Signer's life (natural or otherwise) through any effort, expense, or investment of any sort, nor shall they be bound to refrain from efforts, actions, or thoughts that may be deemed deleterious, harmful, dangerous, or lethal to Signer.
In the event of Signer's undeath, resurrection, or other return to life or demi-life of any kind (natural or otherwise), Signer acknowledges Signee's claim to and shall make every effort to remit to Signee any soul restored to Signer by any applied revivication process whatsoever, in accordance with this agreement. Signer agrees not to rise as an undead under the control of any creature except Signee, and only then at Signee's behest.

---

Third Mind wrote:
The Signee hereby agrees to undertake one single, solitary desire of The Signer, the scope of said desire being The Signer's choice...

Ok, great! but what about:

contract wrote:
Signee agrees to undertake one single, solitary desire of the Signer, the scope and nature of which shall be defined by the Signee and agreed upon between the Signee and any of the Signee's agents prior to undertaking. Such agreement shall be final and binding, and all parties agree that Signer probably doesn't know what Signer wants to begin with, so it's best this way.

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I'm starting an evil campaign soon, and my character is a diabolist in the soul trade. His gimmick is to scam others into assigning him their souls—usually for marginal or nonexistent payment—and then re-sell those contracts at a markup to whoever's buying. (I've cleared this with the GM and the group.)

I'd like to write an actual contract—not an Infernal Contract, per se (since no devil is a party to the agreement), but one that my character will scam NPCs into signing, which forfeits their souls. Of course, I'd like this to be full of humor, confusing clauses, and almost-nonsensical legalese. I can't be the first person to write one of these, but I can't find anything of this kind on the boards.

What are your ideas for clauses to include? Better yet, are there pre-existing contracts out there somewhere that I might use as a launching pad?

(EDIT: I know there's an Infernal Contract in Book of the Damned 1, but that one is geared toward giving a whole bunch of power to the mortal—I'm trying to get souls for NOTHIN'!)

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Hawkmoon269 wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
MorningstarZero wrote:
Theryon Stormrune wrote:
[EDIT: Remember that Wrath contains blessings for evil deities like Deskari and Baphomet. They're corrupt and invoking blessings from them doesn't always bring good things to everyone.]

Actually, I know absolutely nothing about the Pathfinder game world or it's Deities, so had no idea Deksari or Baphomet were Evil. I guess the Cultists should have been a HUGE clue though.

Knowing that now, it certainly makes TONS of sense.

The Corrupted trait on the blessing is also a pretty good hint that you may not be dealing with the god of kittens and rainbows.
Exactly who is that god in the pathfinder universe?

Mooby, the lovable cow.

(...Actually probably Shelyn, though)

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nondeskript wrote:
Moving doesn't end the encounter. That was established earlier in discussions about banes that forced involuntary movement during an encounter. Additionally, Alahazra is all about encountering cards at other locations, if you choose the right role card.

Who's got two thumbs and needs to reread the FAQ? *points to self* This guy.

Editor

My instincts agree with your instincts; this seems wrong.

I'm tempted to cite "finish what you're doing before you do other stuff," but I don't really think that that applies either.

If it IS legal, I'd be tempted to rule that playing the Potion of Flying would end the encounter, since you can't logically encounter a monster in a different location than the one in which it's located. This would make the Potion of Flying a sort of stealth-evade power, but WAY better, since you can use it after the encounter has already begun. That seems too strong to me, so I don't think it's intended. (Would "causing the encounter to end" count as a power that would affect the check? I'd rule yes.)

So, yeah, this SEEMS wrong, but unless there's a rule that says you can't continue an encounter in a different location than the one in which the encounter began, I don't actually see a rules problem here...TECHNICALLY. I'll look forward to the ruling on this, though, and I expect it to be disallowed.

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It's a 2-foot-by-4-foot sack. You could get a basketball into a hole that wide... or a smallish person, for that matter. If you're imagining a little belt pouch, you've got it wrong.

But yes, your GM is correct, if you can't fit it through the bag's opening, you can't put it in the bag. There are already enough shenanigans with bags of holding that this limit is fair.

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lucky7 wrote:
I fudge dice rolls to save PCs when I feel it serves the story well.

Me too. Although I think I've never taken mercy on a PC and not come to regret it. My GMing journey has been one long story of gradually losing empathy for the PCs, and I think my games are more fun because of it.

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In general, I agree that the base assumption of most campaign worlds is that if you are slain in battle, whoever bested you has the right to take your stuff. Like maritime laws of salvage, looting your slain foes is just the law of the land, and thus would be a neutral act. Some particularly lawful characters might even say it's their duty to ensure that the slain person's belongings are put to good use, or back into the economy, or whatever.

You're not really expected to bury your enemies, but you are certainly allowed to take their stuff.

If I were GMing this game and wanted to let my good-aligned PCs feel better about looting, I'd plant something personal, like a silver locket with pictures of the dead combatant's family, on one of the bad guys. That way, the PCs can choose to hawk it, but if they could reasonably return the locket to the family, they would have that option (the bad guy would need to have dog tags or something). I wouldn't punish them for selling it (again, neutral act), but it would certainly be a nice opportunity to RP a good alignment.

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Amanuensis wrote:
Numenera has a category of items called 'oddities' that fit your description. You might want to check it out for inspiration.

I believe the term used in that system is "cypher"; a maybe-useful, maybe-just-funny item that you find once in a while, and each player is limited in how many she can carry, to keep loot lists manageable.

Or are oddities a distinct mechanic? I don't recall.

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Serghar Cromwell wrote:
I like the game my couple dozen pages of house rules and homebrew material have turned it into.

Same! For me, it's as much a rules sandbox as a rules system!

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1. I believe that the character first encountering the Maggot Swarm fights only the copy she encounters. The other two characters at the Canyon must each fight TWO Maggot Swarms, once from the original Maggot Swarm's power and once from the Canyon's power. The summoned Maggot Swarms can't cause more to be summoned.

2. To avoid shuffling a Maggot Swarm into the location deck, you need to beat by 4 only the card that came from the location deck. The other cards came from the box, and to the box they shall return.

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Anybody in or around Starfall should be able to tell the PCs that the Technic League security on the mountain is VERY tight, and there is almost certainly no way to get in undetected—and that unauthorized excursions to Silver Mount are highly illegal and punished harshly.

If the PCs take that as a challenge, great! If they manage to make it into the mountain, Unity notifies Ozmyn—Increase their Notoriety in Starfall to 5 or 10. Once the PCs realize they're outclassed within the mountain, they'll find a Starfall whose authorities—and underground—are itching to meet them. The next time they try to get into the mountain, security has doubled.

They won't have the experience of working their way up from unknowns, but they'll have made their choice to jump right onto the Technic League's radar.

Editor

Profession (herbalist) is probably the best option, though most PCs won't have it.

Editor

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Fleetwood Coupe de'Ville wrote:

Flavor text of Jaunt Boots. "They can be worn up to mid-thigh, or have their cuffs turned down to make knee-high boots."

Great item, AND so fashion forward.

There's a reason for this, actually! Though folded-down boots rapidly became a mere fashion accessory for the gentry, the original idea was that the cuffs could be rolled up during a duel to protect the combatant's delicate knee joints.

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BlackJack Weasel wrote:
do you ever take people outside and have private conversations with players during the game so you can give them information that you don't want the other players to know...

This is a bit meta, but it could also be interesting to take a player outside and tell her something completely mundane; now, when she goes back to the table and reveals nothing to the players, the rest of the party trusts her that much less...

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Wolfsnap wrote:
...The things that PCs find creepiest are things that fall outside the normal game experience: goblins that gibber dire warnings at you but won't fight. Weird noises that come from nowhere. Corridors that lead to spaces that can't possibly exist. Objects that disappear and reappear without warning. Evidence of something dangerous that must be nearby but which nobody can find. Terrifying creatures who are themselves scared and blubbering in fear of something worse...

Exactly! This is why I advised that you ditch the map. If the world is drawn out in front of your players, they feel rooted and in control. If the world is violating the rules they thought they knew, they're engaged and FREAKING THE EFF OUT.

Wolfsnap wrote:
Finally: trap them someplace that they cannot rest and start plinking away at their hit points VERY SLOWLY with small environmental and encounter hazards. It will be annoying at first but as they slowly burn though available healing resources they'll start to realize that they are the frog in the stewpot and the water's getting slowly warmer.

This is great advice! But see if you can find a subtle way to get rid of those pesky "wands of cure light plot tension" before sending the PCs in there. My players rarely care about serious damage taken during a fight, because they know they can retreat and whack each other with a wand until they all feel better. Once they're down to 10 or so charges, things start getting interesting. Maybe a monster or haunt that depletes wand charges?

Editor

A few recommendations:

1. Lose the map, especially if your group is used to playing with one. I don't agree that Pathfinder is bad for horror, but I know that map-based tactics are, because they give the players too much information. Everything is psychologically less scary when the players can see the whole room at once, and know where enemies might be hiding—there are no "shadowy corners" on a map. This will also force you to describe things more.

2. I would not recommend splitting the party, as it will break immersion, but I really like the idea of pretending that they're somewhere that you didn't expect them to be. However, only do it if you're typically a well-prepared GM; my players would see right through this, because they know I never plan my games that far in advance.

3. Don't count on scaring PCs away to start a chase scene. If the paladin sees one of his friends being murdered, he will go bring justice, and now you have a combat on your hands. Rather, a ticking clock mechanic (combined with the big bad) is much more effective. Set the house on fire, or have a portal to the Abyss slowly devour it, or something. Something that the PCs don't have the tools to fight that says "if you stay here, you will DEFINITELY die." That's not to say that having the NPCs murdered won't be effective and spooky, especially if the PCs are fond of the victims. Just don't expect your typical adventurer to turn and run at that point.

4. BE CAREFUL with your players' actual fears!!! It's fine making someone a bit uncomfortable to tickle their fear response, but it is very easy to go too far and make someone genuinely uncomfortable. Beyond being inconsiderate at best and dangerous at worst, it's also bad for the game.
I always go by the quote from Declan Donnelan: “The space must be safe so the performance may be dangerous.” Players will shut down emotionally if you make them too uncomfortable. It sounds counterintuitive, but if they feel personally unsafe, they will stop being scared, and might even get angry. Either way, they won't be having fun. It's best to make a safe atmosphere (though feel free to play up the ambience with music and whatnot) so that your players remain engaged and emotionally open (and thus easier to scare). The whole performance revolves around their trust of you, so maintain that at all costs.

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iMonkey wrote:

Powers:

- You may reveal a card with the Whip trait to move.
- You may discard a card with the Firearm trait to immediately succeed at your check to defeat a monster.
- If you are at a location with a character with the Female trait, add 1d6 to your check.

-Add the Swashbuckling trait to every check.

-If you would die, but there was a chance, no matter how ridiculously slim, that you COULD have survived, you don't die, but gain Shia LeBouf as a cohort, which, you know, is still pretty bad.

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By the way, my favorite puzzle in a game went like this (I was a player):

The key to exit the room was under a brass-and-glass case on a pedestal in the center of a tall room with three windows. From each window was streaming a colored beam of light: Yellow from one, Red from another, and Blue from the last. Between each pair of windows hung a tapestry in the secondary colors mixing the two windows colors: a green tapestry between the yellow and blue windows, a purple tapestry between the blue and red windows, etc.
Finally, at the back of the room was a statue with huge gems in its eyes. These gems were easily removed and acted as focusing prisms, allowing one to stand in the light from one of the windows, hold a gem aloft, and direct the resulting beam of colored light anywhere in the room.

The solution? The glass case was unlocked. All we had to do was go pick the key up. Still took us 15 minutes to solve, but we had a great time combining light until someone thought to try the case.

Editor

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YES, puzzles can work! They can they can they can!
That said, there are a lot of pitfalls that GMs frequently run afoul of when mixing RPGs with puzzles, and they can make the experience a bad one, so go forward carefully or not at all.

You have to let the characters breathe in a puzzle encounter. Just like in any RPG encounter, you must avoid forcing a single course of action—something that puzzles do by default. This is why they're so unpopular on this thread, and why they're so dangerous for GMs who go in unprepared for PCs to act like PCs.

Here's how a typical puzzle encounter goes, and how it crushes player agency: The GM describes the puzzle; within that description lies the answer (however many layers down); the players analyze the description, parrot the answer to the GM, and are allowed to continue.
You'll notice here that at no point do the players or characters make any choices. Even actions such as "let's try pulling these two levers" aren't really choices in the RP sense, because such actions reflect the desire to "get it right," not to act like a character would. It doesn't matter what kind of character you are or what your character would do—your GM has mandated that this is what your character does.

How To Avoid Crappy Puzzle Encounters
So, first of all, ALWAYS ensure that there is a method of bypassing the puzzle, and be open to creative methods of getting around it. Disable Device on the door/lock is a good place to start, but allow almost ANYTHING the PCs decide to try to affect the environment to some degree. Giving your PCs the genuine choice of whether to engage the puzzle on its terms is as important to your game's RP quality as offering the choice of whether to charge in to battle or set an ambush for a combat encounter.

Second, and this flows from the first point, don't be precious. That's a big lesson to learn for GMs in every environment, but especially during a puzzle encounter. You may have concocted an elegant solution based on your setting, which requires the PCs to re-enact the legend of the wooing of the ancient dragon prince or some such, but you probably have a surly dwarf in the party who just wants to get on bashing things, and suggests using the dragon prince statue as a battering ram to bust on ahead. This is where many GMs get offended at the player's lack of respect and are tempted to strike the PC with lightning, or worse, say "you can't move the statue." Other flavors of this include "there is no other way out," "there are no other items nearby," and "nothing happens." "Nothing happens" is the worst thing you can say during a puzzle encounter, because it means the PCs don't have any actual control over their environment, and thus their choices don't matter. As soon as a player gets a whiff of that, she will tune out exactly as described in other posts on this thread. GMs who require that the players land on the "right" solution end up with empty tables... even when it's a puzzle, and there really IS only one right solution.

Finally, remember that you have more power over the PCs during a puzzle encounter than at any other time. Puzzles rely EXCLUSIVELY on your descriptions, and omitting a clue that a PC could reasonably have discovered is very frustrating and a big no-no. Don't put crucial information behind skill checks that might fail—languages nobody in the party can read, or a lock that can't be bypassed, or some such. The players should have all the information they need when they get to the puzzle, and a few extra hints as well.

So basically, allow your lovely, perfect, elegant puzzle to be completely smashed to pieces, or bypassed in a stupid way, or generally just completely misinterpreted. Don't make it too hard, and never, ever, ever allow yourself to force the "one solution" philosophy on the PCs.

Editor

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You accept burn as a cost of using your ability, so the burn and all associated bonuses are already in effect when your ability manifests.

Editor

Disclaimer: not a dev, don't know what I'm talking about, commenting only as a GM.

I'd say that the character has a choice of using either Wisdom or Intelligence for each separate Bluff check (assuming the Bluff check is to convince others that a lie is true; if not, she uses Wisdom).

Righteous Infiltration seems to replace the base statistic wholesale; you can't actually choose to use your Charisma modifier any longer. From now on, the default is Wisdom.

In the second ability, the word "can" is important. This implies that each time you attempt one of the described checks, you choose whether to use this power or not, and use Intelligence instead of your default base statistic (which is Wisdom, not Charisma).

I think it's nonsensical to read the second power as replacing ONLY Charisma, or to say that if you wouldn't use Charisma for that check, you can't use this power. Rather, I think the "in place of your Charisma modifier" clause is included in this rule to clarify that you don't add both your Charisma AND Intelligence modifiers when calculating your result (as I'm sure many players would otherwise be tempted to do). That sort of thing happens from time to time, where necessary clarifications cause some confusion elsewhere. ROI is definitely a thing... and is actually the exact reason that my job exists, come to think of it.

Anyway, it's not a terribly powerful combination, but could play out well in a few corner cases. For instance, if the character has a higher Wisdom modifier than Intelligence modifier, she will typically choose not to activate her second ability to use her Intelligence modifier; however, if she takes a great deal of Wisdom drain or suffers some other effect that drastically reduces her Wisdom modifier, she is able to use her un-damaged Intelligence modifier on those (relatively specific) Bluff checks.

Also, if she maxed out her Intelligence score, she would want to use Wisdom for most checks, but Intelligence for the specific instances in which she was allowed to.

So, not a great power, but *might* come in handy. Someday. Maybe.

Editor

'Course, there's nothing stopping you from recharging a card and putting Leryn back INTO your hand...

(Although once you're doing your combat check, it's too late to activate that power.)

(Although-although if Leryn was displayed, there's a good chance that you knew the combat check was coming and had a chance to put him back in your hand before exploring.)

(Adowyn rocks, IMHO.)

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Tanis O'Connor wrote:

Ekkie: Hiya, Ranzak! Whatchu' eatin'?

Ranzak: Bits of tiny flapping demon...

After this, I was really hoping that the entire post would be in goblin-style rhyming verse.

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Dave Riley wrote:
Basically, keep your hand small before trouble starts.

A good strategy in general, to bring this thread back to the OP's original question. :)

Similarly, Adowyn should be recharging cards with Leryn multiple times per turn if she can, first to keep her hand small and second to dredge up her weapons (since her favored card is ally, she doesn't always start with a good hand for a fight). Her scouting ability is top-notch for avoiding tricky barriers and for minimizing risk when you do face a surprise golem.

She can pass Leryn to other players to scout as well, and to help loosen up the melee martials' clogged hands.

Be careful, though, as too much caution can burn unnecessary turns.

Editor

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My group loves riddles, but I agree that they need to be done right. Here's my outline for a good riddle encounter:

For each riddle, write not only the main riddle ahead of time, but also 3–4 hints, getting progressively more obvious.

1. Hand the players the riddle, and have them read it aloud. Give them time to discuss the riddle, and maybe try one or two solutions if they come up with something quickly. During this time, shut the heck up except to describe their physical surroundings if they ask.

2. If there's no motion within 2 minutes or so, have them lean on their characters by rolling Knowledge checks, Wisdom checks, Perception checks, whatever. For each successful check, give them the next hint in your queue, but only one hint per minute or so. This mechanically represents a character suddenly remembering something about the lore of the dungeon, or the sigil on someone's armor last week, or any number of details that the characters might remember (but the players, let's be honest, probably don't). It's best if you use a few different skills for each hint so the whole party can get involved.

3. If the players still haven't divined the answer after you've given them all the hints, the next character to succeed at a check solves the riddle.

You can add or remove hints based on your players' patience and love of puzzles, but this gives players a chance to feel clever while also having a good chance to get through the encounter.

Of course, if there's no risk, there's no reward, so don't be afraid to punish wrong answers—a sprung trap, a boon withheld, a monster spawned, etc.

Editor

Joe Homes wrote:
One of Adowyn's powers refers to "a bane that may be evaded."

I misremembered—I believe this phrase appears on Olenjack from the Rogue class deck. My apologies.

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CosmicKirby wrote:
Joe Homes wrote:

Gunslinger. Getting rid of AoOs with guns for the price of one feat is, just, really strong.

Deft Shootist is the feat.

Not what I was referring to, but Deft Shootist certainly does the trick if your GM is canny enough to ban feats from the 2008 Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting. (Obviously, I wasn't.)

Gunslinger is the feat from that one, and it removes all AoOs, no questions asked, whether you have a grit point or not. You need a +4 BAB to qualify, though, so you may be able to get Deft Shootist first.

Editor

Gunslinger. Getting rid of AoOs with guns for the price of one feat is, just, really strong.

I know it's not as powerful as some of these other ones, but it certainly makes my life miserable when I'm running combats with my 2-gunslinger party!

Editor

I'm also loving my Adowyn playthrough, though I wish her favored card was weapon. if I don't draw one of my weapons, I have to skulk about to waste a turn or two as I roll through cards to get my combat setup.

Luckily, there's still something for me to do (scouting with Leryn), and the very same mechanic means that emptying my hand to find my lucky dagger isn't nearly as painful as it would be for other characters.

Adowyn's a boss.

Editor

Disclaimer: This isn't an official ruling, as I don't have that authority.

However, such creatures appear in... (PFS Season 6 Spoiler)

Spoiler:
Pathfinder Society Scenario #6–16: The Overflow Archives. The tooth fairies have pliers with reach, and their reach is listed as 5 feet.

These Tiny creatures have reach weapons, and it's clear in that scenario that they're intended to have a reach of 5 feet.

Scenarios often have rules exceptions and subsystems, so it's not the strongest possible rules precedent, but there ya go.

Editor

The When Closing entry on the Torture Chamber reads (paraphrasing from memory):
"Each character takes 1 point of mental damage, which may not be reduced."

Is this intended to hit even characters at other locations? That's how we've been playing it, but I thought I'd check.

Editor

jduteau wrote:
Joe Homes wrote:
One of Adowyn's powers refers to "a bane that may be evaded." Which banes can't be evaded?
There are a few henchmen as well as some monsters that can't be evaded. If you look through the various monsters, a few of them have some wording about how they can't be evaded.

Ok, so by default, every bane can be evaded? Someone at my table insisted barriers couldn't be evaded, but we couldn't find that rule.

Editor

One of Adowyn's powers refers to "a bane that may be evaded." Which banes can't be evaded?

Editor

I've been running Iron Gods for about...6 months? I couldn't imagine getting through even a single book in a week with my group—much less six.

I might suggest Skull & Shackles. Much of the random-encounter swashbuckling can be compressed—particularly in the first adventure—and if you want to avoid bogging the pace down in lots of ship-to-ship combat, you might consider replacing Raiders of the Fever Sea with the Plunder and Peril module that came out last year.

Combine that with hand-waving most of the travel time, and you'll save a lot of time.

That said, I still think it's an unrealistic goal... but I'd be fascinated to see it work!

Editor

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I'm one of the fudgy GMs. My encounters are designed to be beaten, and it takes a good deal of bad luck before I'm willing to say that a character dies. I usually aim to have the PCs win, but juuuuust barely—I still want them fearing for their lives.

That said, I also have a lot of power gamers in my group, and I'm frequently surprised by just how easy they find my "challenges." So I've learned to try to overestimate them by bumping the assumed APL up by one or two when planning my encounters.

Often this ends up right in the sweet spot, but sometimes I realize after a fight has started that the PCs are way overmatched. So I empathize with an inexperienced GM who doesn't realize the danger until after the encounter has begun.

At that point, my reaction is usually to say something like "Hey, you are all welcome to stay and fight, but you should know that this encounter is much tougher than normal." If I can give them a warning and a chance to run, I'll let them die if they choose to stay and fight. The trick is to make sure everyone realizes the danger. If you can do that with in-game description, great. But it's better to break the fourth wall for a moment than to have death suddenly spring upon the players.

For me, the solution to killing a PC "fairly" is giving the PC a few rolls to try and avoid the fate. I killed my player's bloodrager last night, but only after he failed a disarm check and a few other AoOs to disable the baddie... Then the big bad rolled a crit with her bow, and that was it. If the player has rolled only once in the whole encounter before dying (including saves and AoOs), it's going to feel like she didn't have a chance. But there'll be no bad blood if she rolled three attacks and missed (or worse, hit and failed to take the bad guy down, and chose not to run away from a clearly superior foe).

Editor

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Personally, I allow it in my home game, but in the absence of an official ruling, I wouldn't risk it for PFS.

I treat Dragon Disciple as having been written without the forethought that non-sorcerer characters may gain a draconic bloodline. I have a similar reading of the Taunt feat, which would by RAW not combine with the use of any effect of the form "when you use Intimidate to demoralize an opponent..."
Sometimes rules just get written without full thought toward forward-and-backward compatibility, so if these kinds of conflicts come up, I try to figure out what abuse the rule was trying to prevent, and abide by that, but otherwise allow reasonable flexibility there.

If rules are getting in the way of fun, it's time to change the rules, imo.

Editor

This is a good question. I'll be running the same trap myself in a session or two.

Not sure about RAW regarding this. As opposed to a trap that springs once and then is gone—arrows flying from the walls, or rocks falling—this trap remains in play for several rounds, which I would think should allow people to interact with it.

The common sense answer for "can I swing my sword at it?" ought to be "yes," though I think the rules are muddy on what effect that should have, exactly.

Off the top of my head, I'd probably ask for a sunder attempt, giving the trap hardness 10 or 20. I'd give a trap in general an AC/CMD of 10 + CR, though this particular trap might have a Dexterity bonus as well. If the sunder attempt failed, I'd probably disarm the attacker, or cause him to automatically fail the save against the trap.

Editor

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Mangenorn wrote:
That sounds a bit like Zyphus, he's never plotting any big evil, although the plots are typically murderous, given that the "accidents" are supposed to be lethal, but he's never about absolute power or widespread mayhem.

Came here to suggest this. Seconding Zyphus. His full writeup can be found in Pathfinder #89: Palace of Fallen Stars. Accidental deaths are most pleasing to him, but petty inconveniences—especially those that cause harm—are also in his wheelhouse.

As an example, one of his holidays is "The Day of Gritted Teeth," which basically revolves around punking pharasmin priests in petty ways.

Editor

This is getting close to a home-brew thread, as the Rules Question answer has already been given: you can't. Aside from special abilities such as Grendel's, there's no such mechanic or minimum score required.

However, I'm intrigued, so here's how I'd do it.
I'd be tempted to use the victim's Fort save as well, but run it as an opposed check:
The breaker would make a strength check, the result of which would impose a penalty on the victim's Fort save to resist being torn asunder. There are a few ways you could set the DCs, but I definitely would let the victim roll to save.
That puts the save/fail in the hands of the victim, which always feels fairer to a player, in my experience.

So, to answer the OP's question, in this case you'd need a Strength bonus equal to your victim's Fortitude saving throw bonus to succeed on average, and a bonus of 20 + the victim's Fortitude save to auto-succeed in one try. I'd probably also let a failed dismember check deal Constitution damage, specifically applying penalties on saving throws to resist dismemberment, so the more time you get to pull, the more likely you are to succeed.

As another poster suggested, I'd treat this as a special coup-de-gras attempt, which a creature could perform only if it's 2 or more sizes larger than the victim and holding the victim helpless at the start of the dismembering creature's turn, or 1 size larger if pulling in the opposite direction of a similar creature (such as in the horse example given above, or two ogres yanking on an unfortunate dwarf).

Editor

Umbral Reaver wrote:
You could do it as a resetting magical trap. The area of the trigger is the gun's range, and the gun is the trap itself that fires a spell. This does allow it to fire once per round, I believe.

There is just such a trap in:

Spoiler:
Pathfinder Adventure Path #86: Lords of Rust, on page 21.

The firearm is recoverable, and fires twice per round until it's out of ammo. This is a pretty good place to start, imo.

Editor

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Though this is not an official ruling, I'm abusing the fact that Mark is sitting right next to me, and he says that the linked FAQ doesn't allow Double Slice to work for the rogue.

Editor

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
I could go on and on, but why don't you (OP) tell us more about your party and the the kinds of trouble they get themselves into.

Sure! They're a pretty CG group overall, but I've learned that hit-and-run encounters often turn into hit-and-chase-them-down fights with them. If I didn't have the baddie teleport away, they'd have chased him across the city, even if he wasn't carrying one of their own. They're tenacious and vengeful. Paradoxically, though, they're usually not the ones that shoot first, preferring to find other solutions, and they always try to interact with the map features—definite button pushers. Under normal circumstances, I'm pretty certain that they'd try to take a known enemy like this down, or at least capture him for interrogation.

Without getting into Iron Gods spoilers, the PCs are making trouble in Numeria, which always brings down the wrath of the Technic League. They've also been disrupting the kind of scum and villainy that prefers to remain undisrupted (the bounty hunter was originally contracted by a gang leader).

Ideally—and I know that no plan survives contact with the enemy PCs, but ideally—I'd like to let this guy remain mostly a villain, rather than doing the "well, he's not actually such a bad guy" thing and redeeming him to become a cohort or whatever (but I'll let it happen if it works out that way). Most of the PCs' contact with him throughout their careers will likely be hostile. What I'm trying to do here is set up a situation where the players don't like him and don't trust him, but find that it's in the PCs' best interest to work with him anyway, toward a common goal, however temporary that may be.

Does that clarify everything you were hoping for?

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