Durkon Thundershield

Karlstar's page

29 posts. Alias of James Laubacker.


Very happy to have found this and I'm really pleased with this edition. If I could, I'd give it 5 stars.

GeraintElberion wrote:
James Sutter wrote:
Cpt_kirstov wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
Also, even if things go amazingly well at Book Expo, don't expect to hear anything for a while. Negotiations like this take time, and we're not going to be able to talk about any of it until a deal is done.
Even for the books under the old contract that just didn't get audiobooks up yet?
Those we're still trying to get sorted. (Things have been a little bonkers around here recently with all the Starfinder prep!)
Don't make me resent Starfinder!

James, just another vote from someone who wants to see Pathfinder Tales resume! I don't care what format, though the trade paperback price was too high. I wouldn't mind seeing Planet Stories make a comeback either. :)

BigNorseWolf wrote:
polite troglodyte wrote:

see thats what we thought too but the fact that the following was included confused me;

"Extracts cannot be made from spells that have focus requirements (alchemist extracts that duplicate divine spells never have a divine focus requirement)."

why include that if only spells available on list could be selected in the first place?

I think they were originally going to have the alchemists able to cast the entire wizard list.

Some of the spells the alchemist casts ARE divine, like cure light wounds

I wanted to bring this up again, after playing an alchemist it has struck me that alchemists are the WORST possible alchemists! Even sorcerors would be better potion makers, as they can select their spells from the entire arcane list, alchemists are limited to a very short, very limited list of spells they can make into potions. Has there been any significant expansion of the alchemist 1st and 2nd level formula lists? They are limited to just 2 schools of magic (plus CLW); they should have at least one other. Not only that, but their slow advancement on the spell level makes them just as slow to make 2nd or 3rd level spells into potions.

Don't forget that the Old Light comes up later in AP #4. The more important you make the Old Light now, the better that hook will be later.

One quick question - who the heck is Osprey? Please put a reference in the mod to who and what an NPC is for such a critical NPC. I'm sure I'm supposed to know, but having played only 1 PF mod (#2) and run #7, I have no idea.

Is this really a TPK adventure if they get fatigued or don't run away from the taer fast enough? Also, by the midpoint of the trip, won't they all be fatigued from altitude sickness? Has anyone who ran this actually made anyone roll all those Fort saves?

selios wrote:
Yes, USPS is really expensive. The problem is when you attain a given weight for an order, it's USPS only. And so I need to make multiple different orders.

Did shipping costs go back down when gas went back down to $2? They went up when it hit $4.

One relatively easy way to add to the difficulty for large parties, and give them an incentive to go to the Runeforge and make weapons, is to add DR runemagic to some of the key monsters. I did this with the Stone Golem under Jorgenfist, to the Runeslave Hill Giant, to Mokmurian himself, and to the Scribbler. I'll be adding it to some of the Runeforge residents, as well as some of the Xin Shalast residents. Initially, I started with DR 2, especially for the creatures that already had DR. This made them a little more difficult, but not tremendously, but was immediately obvious to the group. Mokmurian had DR 5 when Karzoug reanimated him - and he attacked the party again. Basically I added it to any monster that had a stronger connection with Karzoug or rune magic.

James Jacobs wrote:

Dragons are tough. Their CRs are, as a general rule, too low; this was done on purpose to skew dragons to the tough side so they'd be memorable opponents.

This isn't necessarily a fight that's built for the melee guy to win, though—not every fight should be one where standing toe-to-toe and hacking is the best plan. Like many dragons, Arkrhyst's critical flaw is his touch AC; scorching ray in particular is a great spell to use against him (even with his fire resistance). Acid Arrow's good too because it even avoids SR.

Also, 8 points of his armor class comes from magic, and his caster level is pitiful. A dispel magic should quickly make short work of shield and mage armor, which drops his AC don to 31, a much more manageable number.

In short, Arkrhyst isn't intended to be a foe one fighter-type can take down. To deal with him, you'll need the entire party working as a team.

Of course, this makes a few assumptions: that there ARE PCs in the group who can fly or dispel magic or have touch attacks. This isn't at all an unreasonable assumption for a 12th level party, but if through chance or design your group lacks them, you should absolutely consider taking away the dragon's shield and mage armor spells. Adapt the adventure to suit your style of play and the style of your players.

Thank you James, that pretty much confirmed my assumption, that the PC wizard will end up doing most of the damage - though Freemaw should know that and target him first.... Unfortunately, they only have one PC with ranged touch attacks, so this should be interesting. I'll leave it up to them to see if they remember Dispel Magic. I'm dealing with relatively new players facing their first 'real' dragon foe, wanted to make sure I wasn't lining them up for an unfair fight.

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My bad aim with the buttons ended up editing Karlstar's post instead of replying. He asked a question about the white dragon, with its high AC and whether or not that it was over the top. And I accidently DESTROYED said post by clicking EDIT instead of REPLY. Doh!

Sorry about that, Karlstar! I did post a reply below, though, before I ruined your post! :(

(James Jacobs the Destroyer of Posts)

James Jacobs wrote:
Karlstar wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

If the PCs were to tackle Celwynvian on their own without elven help... yeah, they'd quickly bring the entire drow army in the region down on their heads.

And that drow army is how big??
We don't mention that on purpose, because we want the GM to be able to manipulate that number as he or she wishes. If you want to run a game where the PCs have a chance to face the drow army, then the number should be small. If you want to run the adventure as written, the number should be in the hundreds. If you want to do a mass battle scene between elves and drow, it could be in the thousands. It's up to you.

Thank you James. For those folks who were complaining about the 'gap' in these adventures, some early skirmishes with smaller drow units around or outside Celwynvian would help make up the difference.

James Jacobs wrote:

If the PCs were to tackle Celwynvian on their own without elven help... yeah, they'd quickly bring the entire drow army in the region down on their heads.

And that drow army is how big??

I think the adventure gives DM's a perfect opportunity to allow ultra-good characters to succeed. All it would take is to add additional servant tasks that allow for a good result. If you look at the existing list of tasks, most of them don't even require anyone to do evil, but they *might*. During the course of the day, the good character may have opportunities to aid another servant, save one from death, take an undeserved flogging themselves, etc. In none of the written encounters or tasks are the characters required to slay, hinder or betray a good NPC. DM's may require that, but that's at the option of the DM.

While the paladins may have trouble serving the nobles of the house via diplomacy or perform, they should be able to grit their teeth and bear it for the 'greater good'.

This was a very ambitious module, and I think it was pulled off well. There's lots of background info on drow available to flesh out the city and inhabitants. I really appreciate that a good list of house inhabitants with a blurb for each was included.

James Jacobs wrote:
I like prestige classes a LOT. Especially when they feel prestigious. I don't like when there's a billion of them and they start to look like power creep (here's a class that's an even BETTER wizard than a wizard!). It's best when they're methods to grow and develop world flavor.

I like a limited number of prestige classes, particularly ones that aren't just a slight variation on a class or prestige class already done. Some of the prestige classes in Complete Divine fall into this trap.

Azoun The Sage wrote:

To be honest lethality is nothing on my end. It's been dice rolls! Seriously...my group rolls all their dice in front of one another including myself as the DM so no one can be accused of cheating.

It's just been dice rolls really...and PC's have been taken to -10, heck I had one fumble so bad he almost killed himself! I've had one fumble so bad he messed up a party member that let a simple hit from another creature kill the member. Then there are the crits i've gotten. Killed one PC out right with a decapitation.

Have you considered reducing the impact of fumbles? Does your group not raise dead characters?

Also, you've just reminded me of the first and best reason for using a DM screen. If you roll too many crits, feel free to ignore some! Bad luck is one thing, incredibly bad luck that goes on and on isn't very interesting. It should be the DM's perogative to pull punches when necessary, and that's not cheating.

doctor_d wrote:
I agree. After reading Paizo's Classic Monsters Revisited Ogres became than just muscle they got a background story.

You've pointed out one of the things I hate about 3rd ed - monsters as collections of skills and feats. A dragon doesn't NEED weapon focus, ability focus, improved grab, or anything else, it just needs to be a dragon. It also doesn't need diplomacy, climbing, swimming or (ugh) sense motive. I know monsters have to have game stats that fit into the system, but they shouldn't just be a collection of stats, they have to have purpose and reason - and just be monsters, not PC's that come in funny shapes.

I have to agree, I don't want to see these adventures shortened any more. However, if that is already a done deal, then a short synopsis at the beginning of the mod with information for DM's to flesh them out would be very helpful.

These mods are already too lacking in key information and background to be made any shorter.

Andre Caceres wrote:
SirUrza wrote:

Monsters reference in other books I'd suggest typing their stats or photocopying or whatever so you have them prepared. You could even roll their initiative as part of your game prep (something I like to do.) Why type out a stat of "Initiative +2" when you could just roll the D20 now and type "Initiative 16" instead. :)

never thought of that, good idea.

Read the modules three or 4 times, particularly after the group has started the mod. There are lots of connections you, as DM, need to build on, supplying information that isn't in the mods. Make sure the characters meet some of the folks around town, and get to learn their way around.

Dan Davis wrote:
I do maximum hit points per level. Otherwise what's the point of being a barbarian with a d12 HD compared to a sorcerer with d4 HD? If the barbarian rolls a 1 and the sorcerer rolls a 4, the sorcrer suddenly has 4 x as many hp as the supposedly super-tough barbarian, which makes absolutely no sense.

One more thought here - the character hit points are taken into account in a lot of other ways in the game, in such things a weapon damage and spell damage. If you choose to always do max hit points every level, did you also increase weapon damage and spell damage? Do cure spells do more because the characters now have more hit points to cure per level?

Dan Davis wrote:
I do maximum hit points per level. Otherwise what's the point of being a barbarian with a d12 HD compared to a sorcerer with d4 HD? If the barbarian rolls a 1 and the sorcerer rolls a 4, the sorcrer suddenly has 4 x as many hp as the supposedly super-tough barbarian, which makes absolutely no sense.

The point being, for that one brief level in time, the sorceror is better than the barbarian! Or close, anyway, since you're ignoring the fact that the barbarian most likely has a better CON score, and when he rages, gets extra HP anyway. Sure, that could happen again, and again, and again, but the odds are very much against it, and if it does, its just created a great character dynamic! I know many wizards who were very proud of rolling hit points and ending up 'above' average, just as I know many fighters and barbarians who rejoice when they roll a 10 or 12 - and get more hit points than the wizard in 3 levels. The same goes for wizards with below average hit points who are proud of surviving despite it. A lot of fun and characterization gets lost if you don't roll.

Besides which, max per level means a complete sameness within each class that is kind of strange. Basically, what you're saying is that 50% of all wizards have 5 hp, 20% have 6, 20% have 4, 10% have 7, and there's 10% with 3 or 8. In other words, that way 80% of wizards have 5 or more hit points at 1st level, ditto 2nd level, 3rd level... that much sameness seems strange, why have hit points?

As has already been pointed out, random hit points reflect the variability in people, making the game a bit more realistic feeling. It also prevents some strategy from the players based on some simple math. If your players know every 1st level fighter MOST LIKELY has 12 or 13 hit points, they can base strategy on that.

I already don't like the 3.5 technique of assigning monsters 'average' hit points, it just doesn't make sense. There's absolutely no reason why every gnoll is the same as every other gnoll.

While we are on the topic, I think that max hit points + CON modifier is the MOST players should ever have at 1st level. If we give them double, or max + con stat, are we going to give all 1st level monsters double hit points?

I liked this module, its got a lot going for it. One thing I'd like to see that was missing in this one and past mods, is a bit more info, very brief, on some of the staff/guards at the major locations. At a minimum, just list their classes and races. In this mod, that applies to the Arkonas Palace. It applies to the Korvosan Guards, Sable Company, etc. Who's the 2nd in command of those? 3rd, etc. Maybe its in the guide, but in one of these mods it should be listed out.

Add another vote for too expensive! I love the minis, but not at that price.

Please retain skill points! As has been pointed out earlier, the previous system allowed for customization of characters without excessive tweaking or resorting to 8 optional rule books. It also allowed for differentiation between characters, rather than everyone having virtually the same amount of skill in key skills. Please go back to something more
like the original 3.5 system.

I'd like to add my vote about the 'darkness' of Burnt Offerings. Please make future modules a bit less dark. Especially considering the whole Mike Vick thing, the goblin in the closet and dog encounter was too much, and so are a couple of the other aspects of the module. I'd rather not edit your module and destroy the continuity by mistake, please just make it less dark. Its just not necessary. In case you are wondering, I am running this for teens, so it is relevant. They don't need M rated content.

James wrote wrote:
As for water... Sandpoint has a LOT of rainfall. Rainbarrels are all over the place to collect and store water (and to catch and drown the odd goblin). Additional water comes from the Turandarok River, or even Boggy Creek.

Wouldn't the Turandarok be very brackish, at least at this point near town? Also, rain barrels are good for supplemental water, but are you saying it rains every day, or, at least, 1 or 2 inches every other day? There would still have to be cisterns, I would think. Maybe a well or two?

Sooner or later I'll remember that '=' in the quote tag, too.

James Jacobs wrote:
I wouldn't get too obsessed with how many people live where, but Sandpoint is certainly a crowded and vibrant city. It's pretty much THE happening place on the Lost Coast, after all!

Exactly the impression I was getting, thank you, that's the image I had in my mind.

I read your post after my other, I'll, um, forget that a cooper or potter ever existed. Even if I think one should move there real soon.

Looking at the map from the PDF, the potter needs access to a lot of water, so maybe along the river between buildings 14 and 25? The cooper would want to be close to the mill, which I can't remember the # of offhand...

I'm now thinking that the garrison would have its own well, and probably the glassworks. For town wells, maybe in the square outside the cathedral, and possible at Festival and Bishop street? Two wells isn't enough for a town this size, so there's probably others.

James, I do believe the answer to many of your questions are "outlying farms".

Yes and no, we were told the 1200 population does not include the farmlands, and I don't think the townsfolk go that far for water. The tinker and potter could be out there though, though I mostly put those out as suggestions for things to add to the town in the future.