Name: Ice Cracking in the Afternoon Sunlight
The Gory Details: I'm posting some extra details for this one because it was my character and I thought it was pretty hilarious.
After going through the sarcophagus teleporter in Zinlun's Tomb, the bard found herself alone, being attacked by Zinlun the Awakened Demilich and his Fossil Golem minions, with the rest of the party unable to come through to help her because the lid was off the sarcophagus on her side and she was unable to get to it.
In the epic solo battle that followed, she was hit with Reverse Gravity, Glitterdust, Mage's Disjunction, three Disintegrates, three Fireballs, three set of Magic Missiles, four attempts to devour her soul, and innumerable bite attacks from the Fossil Golems. Thanks to a string of lucky saves, a Greater Aegis of Recovery, two Heal scrolls, and a whole lot of spells, magic items, and bardic performance, the combat ended when, burdened with seven negative levels and reduced to single digit hit points, she slew Zinlun.
Then, the very next day, in the very next encounter at the entrance to the court in the Boneyard, with her full party at her side, fully healed, fully buffed, and newly raised to 17th level, a Sinister Sphinx leapt off a pedestal and killed her in the surprise round.
(The rest of the party paid to have him raised from the dead before the day was out.)
I got super into it. My character hated being an aasimar and was absolutely delighted to switch bodies. For awhile I decided she went temporarily insane and thought she *was* Sorshen, but she got over that around the end of Book 4. But she still pretended to be Sorshen a couple of times during appropriate situations, and took to sometimes calling herself "The Last Azlanti". Good times.
One of my most successful evil characters was an aasimar cleric of Asmodeus I played all the way through Shattered Star. What helped was:
1) She was fiercely loyal to the Pathfinders, who had helped her get out of a very bad situation, giving her motivation not to betray them and perform tasks as assigned. (She actually thought of one of the Pathfinder-associated NPCs as more her mother than her real mother ... although that got interesting at the end, as you'll see.)
2) She got along well with her fellow PCs, who were pretty much neutralish types. She eventually started dating the tiefling alchemist. (And why would she betray them? Not only did she like them, they were the front line soaking up the damage she would have taken otherwise!)
3) The faith of Asmodeus in particular is VERY strict about the Lawful part of Lawful Evil. You are supposed to obey the laws of the land you are in. So, no random murder or selling people into slavery unless she was in a place where that was legal - and she wasn't.
The evilness caused some interesting events towards the end of the Adventure Path. She'd spent a decent chunk of the game trying to figure out a legal way to kill her (hated, horrible) real parents. When she finally did, along with a crowd of other people (and was perfectly within her legal rights to do so), the woman she considered her "adoptive mother" was HORRIFIED and they basically never spoke again. My character was very hurt, especially as she'd been protecting that same NPC by immolating that crowd!
My character choice also had the interesting result that Magnimar was at one point saved directly by the intervention of Asmodeus (can't reveal more without possible spoilers).
A horde of those things is like asking why a bunch of shadows haven't wiped out life on Golarion.
My explanation for this kind of thing is that there actually aren't that many monsters in the world higher than CR 3 or so. It's just that the PCs happen to run into every single one of them in a short time and limited area because they are Destined Heroes.
It's the same reason every village isn't run by a group of 20th level adventurers in an impregnable castle with their rule challenged by another group of 20th level adventurers from the next village over. 99.99999% of people who decide to go "adventuring" die at first level, killed by a goblin. You just happen to be playing the ridiculous outlier who isn't (well, most of the time, early TPKs aside.)
One factor is that in a fight against a single foe, a single lucky roll (like a critical hit, especially if playing with something like a crit deck) or a single unlucky roll (like a failed save) can sometimes really turn things around because they have no backup to heal them/step up/whatever. If such a thing happens early on, it can make fights pretty brief.
In some ways, that's a good thing, because it can turn the corner on fights that are otherwise lost causes. But it can reduce the tension a bit if it happens in round 1 or 2 ...
One thing that I've wondered a bit is why the "single giant monster" -- sometimes with assorted screening minions of much lower power -- seems to be the default end-of-module encounter. A fight against a party of 3-4 with assorted powers evens up the action economy and makes a single brutal takedown less likely to end things all at once. (I mean, there is a reason that's the standard for adventuring groups; it's what D&D is basically designed for.)
I realize that's harder for the GM, but we are talking about what would generally be one encounter in a book.
Yeah, throughout the module, Olwen had Sheila taking the stance that the Sihedron would help Magnimar defend itself against the terrible threats facing Varisia in the post-return-of-Karzoug era. Some hints Olwen gave in the second module that Sorshen might still be alive out there somewhere helped to cement this.
As for Xin, I think we went to check out his palace with a relatively open mind about what he would be like, but our conversation with the axiomites at the gate, coupled with our first encounter with him right past the gates, had us firmly convinced that he was a card carrying member of that Raving Psycho Loony Party and had to be dealt with as a threat to Magnimar.
We started making jokes about how assembling the Sihedron was going to trigger the apocalypse 'round about the second module, so it wasn't exactly a terrible shock ...
However, it did end up negatively affecting the relationship with Sheila Heidmarch in a somewhat roundabout way. After a busy day spent saving Magnimar from the tsunami and assorted monsters, an angry, torch bearing mob, led by my character's parents, came to Heidmarch Manor blaming Sheila, the Pathfinders, and us for causing the problems besetting the city. We managed to convince about half the crowd to disperse and go home, but the rest remained there, angered, and someone threw a lit torch onto the Manor.
At that point, my character incinerated the remainder of the mob, including her parents. (And turned from LN to LE at that moment.)
Sheila was horrified and her close, almost motherly relationship with my character was shattered.
I would have found the AP to be an incredibly tedious, endless dungeon crawl if we hadn't tried to talk as often as we tried to fight.
Groups we successfully talked-to-rather-than-fought included the Tower Girls, Brast the ghoul, a few devils, the smith from the plane of fire, the fire giants, the scylla, and the axiomites at the gate of Xin's palace.
Groups we tried to talk to but they attacked us anyway included Xin, the aboleths, and the Grey Maidens.
And sometimes, we were at first unsuccessful and got attacked and then brought them around (the troglodytes, Oriana), or were at first successful and then screwed up and got attacked (Gnaeus, the guard Marilith, Kandamereus the mummy).
How to create a compelling high-level boss fight is actually something I've been grappling with in my own GMing/adventure design. In Pathfinder, I'm personally coming to the conclusion that the most effective ones have huge defensive abilities and good but not overwhelming offensive ones.
The basic principles being:
Bosses that get taken down quickly aren't as much fun
We were a pretty talky bunch, too, but we generally gave up on it once someone actively started to kill us. Although there were a couple of exceptions even to that (Oriana springs to mind.)
We tried to talk Xin down when we first encountered his presence, but he seemed pretty much supervillain-level crazypants and ordered us killed, so we decided that was not a fruitful approach.
From what I recall and my perspective as a player:
The magus did, in fact have magical lineage (shocking grasp).
The barbarian had reckless abandon and come and get me, but not dazing assault.
The alchemist seemed quite well-built mechanically to me, and was designed and played by the player who probably puts the most thought into how to build characters from a mechanical perspective.
My cleric was designed primarily to be a decent area-effect blaster and have good charisma-based skills, and (see above) could pull off some quite powerful effects by the end there, but I think it certainly would have been possible to create a more optimized build. I did indeed have no dips or dazing spells.
(I do, however, tend to optimize a bit more than I sometimes do when I play in Olwen's games, because he has no major qualms about having a TPK/end of campaign if that's the way things go.)
As a group? Well, we made decent use of tactics (flanking was a major issue), and we did put some real thought into shoring up our weak points (and we found that we definitely had some) with appropriate magic items whenever we discovered them.
I can't say she was wrong… Especially since Viv had a luck blade with one wish (from Beyond the Doomsday Door), which she could have used to resurrect/raise Draco on the spot if needed.
Yeah, one reason the fight never reached peak tension for me, even with the loss of the Sihedron, is that we never ended up needing to pull out that particular Big Gun.
... and a quickened maximized empowered intensified fireball.
For those curious:
As an theologian of Asmodeus with the Ash domain, all my fireballs were automatically intensified without raising the level via the Domain Secret ability.
I had used a block of incense of meditation, meaning all of my spells were maximized without raising the level.
I had Spell Perfection Fireball, meaning I could apply Quicken to fireballs at will so long as that did not raise the total above ninth level.
Prep an empowered fireball as a fifth level spell (which, as a theologian, I could actually do in multiple slots using Focused Domain), and viola - Quickened Maximized Empowered Intensified Fireballs. A thirteenth level spell for the cost of a fifth level spell slot.
(Incidentally, since I was also using a Candle of Invocation, I was able to toss off some Maximized Empowered Silent Disintegrates, too.)
1) Ok i haven't brushed up my knowledge of sunder rules but i seem to remember that you can't sunder a weapon with higher enchentment bonus than the weapon you are using for sunder, i will have to go check.
I just double-checked the rules for both the Sunder maneuver and the Damaging Objects section, and didn't see that one.
3) Ok that makes sense, still if i was in his place i would ask the cleric to risk the save since it seems that Viv was the caster sort of cleric (unless the barbarian was using his FCB to buff the superstition even more, then it might not be worth the risk).
He didn't have to roll very high to make the save; although I don't remember the exact number, it was definitely a significantly better than 50% chance that he would save and the spell would be wasted. After a couple of memorable failed attempts at healing him in-combat, he decided to switch tactics. And to be fair to him the drop-out-of-rage-die-get-Breath-of-Life tactic worked well for him a couple of times during the campaign.
Don't get me wrong, this was a tactic that caused significant eye-rolling on the part of my cleric whenever he used it, and it failed rather spectacularly at the last there, but it definitely wasn't a crazy choice.
Honestly, I don't think the Sihedron was ovepowered; it was an artifact, it's *supposed* to be powerful. It was really nice to be able to use it to good effect.
The problem was that the final dungeon was a bit underpowered. We did get a bit lucky in the fight against Xin (it could easily have gone differently), but ... even without the Sihedron, he never seemed as great a threat to us as, say, Nyrissa was.
Also, despite all the Thassilonian history sprinkled throughout the campaign, it still felt like he popped up as the Big Bad at the last minute. Compared to say, Jade Regent, where you periodically encounter assassins sent by the Big Bad throughout, Xin seemed much less well integrated.
(Bear in mind, I overall found the campaign great fun, much more so than I thought I'd find a "dungeon crawl" campaign. It had good points and bad points, but was on the whole very nice.)
1) I'm the player whose character (Viveltre Vanderale, cleric of Asmodeus) activated "THAT TRAP". My character was affected by it the whole game, and never reversed it. (Frankly, since she had some ... issues with her original body, she was actually delighted by it.) It was great fun to roleplay, and we benefited from it at least once when I
managed to convince a Scylla that I was Sorshen and ordered her away.
Although I am not sure it was mentioned in the campaign description, my character kept her old body around, Gently Reposed, at first in a closet and then in a Bag of Holding. During certain situations, she brought it out "so she could watch". My character was not entirely sane.
2) We did save Magnimar from that threat, using
A scroll of Miracle, which incidentally meant that Magnimar was saved by the might of Asmodeus.
3) Yes, but the Sihedron meant we never had to worry about running out of healing resources; it was infinite healing as long as we had the time.
I think it's safe to say that this campaign had a clear winner:
Death: a confused Draco (-24) hacked by an incubus and a confused Oriana
Death: Draco (-24) sizzled by the conjunction of three sea drakes' balls of lightning, falling unconscious, and die to the end of his rage and his aegis of recovery not healing him enough.
Death: Draco (-31) pummeled to death by wave after wave of Groetan mummies.
Death: Draco (-30) as he left rage in an attempt to get healed by Viv.
Death: Draco (-90) ripped apart by Skullcracker, Jubbek's smilodon, after Draco had killed his master.
Death: Draco (-86), sizzled a bolt of Cadrilkasta's storm breath.
Death: Draco (-40), badly timing the end of his rage when, half dead, he was facing the clockwork reliquary.
The fellow had lives like a regenerating Time Lord.
Tentative shopping list:
Clay Golem (purchased in Magnimar, teleported illegally to Westcrown), 41,500 gp
I think the only one T&A enterprises are capable of making is the luckstone. If so, I'll ask for that one; if I am wrong, I'd be happy to ask them to make the Ioun Stone instead.
I am not having luck find free mapmaking software to detail my townhouse; will a detailed description work instead?
I'm going to have to go with Kitty D'Kshandr, my naïve, ultra-good paladin who refused to kill anything, anywhere, ever. When attacked, her preference was to defeat her enemies, tie them up, and then read aloud to them from the pamphlets she carried around with her, which had titles like "Being Good: Why It Is Better Than Being Evil!" (Several of her foes started begging for death after only a couple of minutes of this.)
Obviously, she wouldn't work in every campaign, but in the low-combat, low-magic, heavily social/political campaign she was designed for, she was a real treat to play. One of her shining moments came when the guardian of one of the rare magic items her group was at that point questing for told them he would only give it to someone "with the purest of hearts", and before he was able to say anything else, the rest of the group started interrupting with, "Great! Just give it to Kitty, there. Are we done here?"
I'd love to play her again some day.
Killer Power wrote:
... it took Kendra to -13. As her actual constitution score was 12 (because of the wyvern's poison) this actually meant an untimely meeting with her god in his grove.
Just as a quick note, by RAW, Constitution damage does not work this way:
"[Ability] damage does not actually reduce an ability ... Damage to your Constitution score causes you to take penalties on your Fortitude saving throws. In addition, multiply your total Hit Dice by this penalty and subtract that amount from your current and total hit points. Lost hit points are restored when the damage to your Constitution is healed. A character with a Constitution score of 0 is dead."
Ability damage only ever has certain specific effects, and for Constitution, lowering the point-of-death is not among them. Ability drain is the one that would do this:
"Ability drain actually reduces the relevant ability score. Modify all skills and statistics related to that ability."
You may, of course, have been playing under house rules or something, in which case no worries, but I thought I'd mention it.
My gnome queen didn't have much a problem being taken seriously, but that was possibly in part because she was a paladin and once word gets around that the little brightly colored ruler is smiting trolls and such, it's harder to write her off.
So my advice might be, do some badass stuff. Once you've saved the Kingdom twice or thrice, no one's going to say, "But, on the other hand, he is very short."
Heck, if your character is a bard, write some great songs and poems about how you saved the kingdom whether they're strictly speaking true or not. Bards should be great at PR campaigns.
I think the most broken character I ever played was Lilith, who was, by the end of a full 20 levels of campaigning in 3.5, a Wizard (Focused Necromancer) 5 / Divine Oracle 3 / Loremaster 7 / Master Specialist 1 / Archmage 4.
She had the magical lineage trait for Enervation, and also took it as the spell for an Arcane Thesis feat. With appropriate metamagic feats, this eventually let her cast a chained split maximized empowered enervation followed by a quickened chained split empowered enervation, promptly bestowing 14 to 24 negative levels on everyone in a 30' wide circle.
That was fun.
In our game, Jhod was a very conservative type, but it was never assumed that Jhod unquestionably represented Erastil. It was implied that there were more liberal wings of the church, and that Jhod just happened to be a bit of a narrow-minded traditionalist.
This was actually great fun to roleplay, as Jhod was the kingdom's high priest and my character, the Queen, was a very progressive gnomish lesbian (paladin of Arshea.) Jhod was a dissenting voice and a bit of a thorn in our side on a number of issues, but we needed him because bascially there was no one else capable of filling the position for a long time. Things came to a head when my character proposed marriage to her female half-orc cohort, and Jhod had a meltdown. So we had to go into serious damage-control mode to keep him from quitting the Council, which would have been bad for the kingdom.
Later on, the other characters suggested replacing Jhod with either one of my higher-level followers or the Calistria worshipper we met later on. My character actually nixed these ideas on the grounds that we *needed* a conservative voice on the Council, or we were making ourselves deaf to the wishes and beliefs of the not insignificant portion of the population that agreed with Jhod.
Paizo has explictly stated that the rules in the magic section are wrong:
"Still Spell is really only useful for situations where you do not have one hand to devote to spellcasting, such as when you are pinned. You can attempt to cast a spell when grappled, and you must make a concentration check to cast it (whether or not the spell has a Somatic component). Still spell is also handy for casters who intend to wield weapons or shields quite frequently.
"There is an incongruence btw the magic chapter and the grappled condition (and a few other spots). This will be cleared up, but the grappled condition wins out here.
NOTE: There is another rule, not yet mentioned that maybe implies that if somone is grappling (e.g., controlling/maintaining a grapple) instead of being grappled, they cannot cast spells with somatic components: "To cast a spell with a somatic (S) component, you must gesture freely with at least one hand. You can't cast a spell of this type while bound, grappling, or with both your hands full or occupied." But for a couple of reasons I could detail I think this is one of the "other spots" indicated by Jason Bulmahn and should therefore be ignored.
Epic Meepo wrote:
Of Elephant Stomp, Kitsune Tail, Mounted Combat, Prone Shooter, and Weapon Finesse, only Elephant Stomp and Prone Shooter are in the running for worst feat ever. There is literally no situation in which either of those feats provides any benefit to any character taking them, ever.
Since Pass For Human (which was brought up earlier in the thread) is keeping one of my characters alive right now, I going to strongly suggest that it shouldn't be on the list either. It's highly situational, sure, but it's a definite, tangible, and quite high bonus if you happen to be in a game that calls for it.
Hey, there. I was one of the players in Olwen's game.
The Boggard were actually one of the sensible tasks for us to take on, because we often regarded contact with a new species as a diplomatic mission. By the end of the game, we were quite firmly allied with the fae, the kobolds, the centaurs, and the boggards, and had made treaties explicating the degree of independent government they had over their own lands, what areas we would leave exclusively for them and not develop with roads and farms, etc.
But the larger point remains. Book 1, we were explorers! Book 2, we were running a barony, but we were still adventurers at heart, and although we grumbled about the pettiness of some of the tasks it was nice to sometimes get back out on the road and get our hands dirty "for old time's sake".
But Book 3, we were starting to go ... Look, we're running a country, we're trying to get a Cathedral built in time for the royal wedding and are in heated political arguments as to whether it's going to be interfaith or dedicated to Erastil since the conservative religious faction in the kingdom is already having enough problems with the very progressive gnome Queen opting for an interspecies same-sex love match, not to mention the difficulties the bride's family causes when they arrive from the Hold of Belkzen, plus the kobolds are stirring up trouble again and we have to tell them to quit it while also placating them so we don't have a civil war on our hands, and meanwhile our neighbor to the east has disappeared and we're the only people in the kingdom capable of fighting the lich responsible, SOMEONE ELSE CAN EXPLORE THE STUPID MOUNTAIN HEX, OK?
Then by Book 4, the mechanics of kingdom building had simply become so unwieldy it was no fun any more. Not to mention that, like exploring, deciding to build a monument in Southport, our twentieth or whatever city, also started to seem a bit below our specific notice at that point.
Fortunately, our GM was very quick to react whenever we said "This part is getting boring", and adapted the campaign to suit.
Hey, Justin. Melilot would have brought up the following questions as things to hopefully cover in however you're getting your information from Sian. They may be ones you were planning on inquiring about anyway, but I figured I'd say, since these would have been the ones Melilot was particularly interested in making sure were dealt with:
1) Who are the twins?
Hi. Also e-mailed this to you.
OK. I want to start by saying that there are two major reasons I didn't e-mail you directly about my feelings, such as they are, right away. The first is that I was pretty sure I was MAJORLY overreacting and didn't want to yell and scream and b+#&+ at you for no reason and wanted to calm down first. The second was that I realized pretty quickly that my dissatisfaction regarding game wasn't really all about Rev, it's more that Rev happened to be the character I was talking to when things came to a head.
Yes, I am somewhat miffed (and "somewhat miffed" is about the level of it) that you designed a character who injured other PCs without checking first that this would be cool with everyone. Melilot is not a crazy Rovagug-worshipper in love with Rev, and I basically felt like you were attacking my character and then entirely resisting the notion that another character/player might not be happy about that. Once I'd calmed down, I'd probably have wanted to chat with you about that OOC.
But my real dissatisfaction with game is stemming from the fact that I'm not having good interactions with many of the PCs, which is hardly all about you. I DON'T want you to pull Rev on my behalf, if that's why you're thinking of doing it. I'm still debating with myself whether or not to switch out Melilot and I will still be having that debate with myself whether or not you switch out Rev.
I'm not mad at you, and hope you're not mad at me for having a spoilered hissy-fit meltdown.
Other popular rumors include:
1) The Daystar has fled and may never return!
Unless life is a monk. DEEP!
OK, I'm thinking it's pretty much time to admit that I cannot do this right now, and put the game back on GM Post Hiatus. I want to run the game right when I run it, and not this half-assed maybe-I'll-post-and-maybe-I-won't-but-I'm-certainly-not-up-to-any-difficult -scenes thing.
Game WILL resume, and I will not leave you all stranded in a forest, but ... at the moment, the Monk Of Life Threateneth me with Palms A-Quiver, and this is one of the things I need to put off until that stops.
Well. If I were posting once daily, as I'd hoped to at the start of this, I probably wouldn't be having a serious debate with myself about putting the game (or at least GM posts) back on hiatus or not.
But ... last night, in the one window of time I had to post, Paizo was down. Tonight, it's already after 1:30 AM and I have a sore throat and I'm exhausted and I'm just not up to it. And that's pretty typical these days. And you guys never knowing if there's going to be a GM post or not on a given day seems unreasonable.
The main reason I've been pushing forward at this point is the fear that if the game stops, it won't restart even when I have time and a life etc. again. That may be a little silly ... I've been in plenty of tabletop games that broke for vacation or the holiday season or a show or whatnot and resumed later with no difficulty.
So, I haven't made a final decision yet, but I'm leaning towards going back on break until such time as life stops beating the GM with a big stick.
Myriana Bayden wrote:
Returning to the spot she left Zaiobe, Myriana appears in her normal traveling gear(like just about always), and leading one of the white Arabians the caravan was gifted with. She reaches towards Zaiobe, offering her hand. (& assuming it is taken) <I know you can fly. Doesn't matter. You're coming with me. 'kay?> and unless she resists Myri lifts (or helps) her into the saddle, mounts up after her and rides out of camp. Myri keeps her left hand on Zaiobe's exposed (thigh or waist?) so she can talk if she decides she would like to say something as they move away from the caravan.
<O ... K. I guess I am coming with you, then,> Zaiobe says, sounding puzzled.
Melinda Sorn wrote:
Koya raises her eyebrows at the term, but doesn't protest. "Weren't plannin' on throwin' her back in."
liothonae cromvathar wrote:
<I'm not sure yet,> Zaiobe replies. <I rather hope he eventually gets over it.>
<Until he does ... it occurs to me that it may be possible for us to communicate without being physically present, if you are willing to put up with that for a while as a stopgap measure.>
Mid-Desnus, on journey through Hongal, post Zaiobe meeting
Myriana Bayden wrote:
"If not, how about in three days? & um, are we excluding the guys? I kinda hope not, since I much prefer Rhosts culinary skills to mine. Sorry, I don't really know what I'm doing if that wasn't already painfully obvious." she smiles a little abashedly.
"I had not planned on excluding anyone," Shalelu says. "And three days' time sounds reasonable to me."