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62 posts. Organized Play character for Chris Mortika (RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16).

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The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Sad news. Len Wein, comics creator, dead at 69, just six months after his Swamp Thing co-creator Berni Wrightson. 1202553608/

A druid has cast awaken animal on her animal companion.

Marc Radle wrote:

Per the rules, an awakened animal cannot also serve as an animal companion. If an animal companion becomes awakened, it ... ceases to be an animal companion, which means it reverts to a normal version of that animal. ...

You then add the 3d6 Intelligence, +1d3 Charisma, and +2 HD to the now-normal animal. At that point, the animal becomes a magical beast (augmented animal) and can begin gaining class levels as a monster cohort per the Bestiary rules...

Let's imagine that a druid did such a thing, and shortly thereafter perished.

What type of animal would you think most likely to be making a name for itself in the world?

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

The old FGU game "Swordbearer" had the outlines of a magic system based on the four humours, which captured my attention. A lot of the details of that system didn't work very well.(There were only 24 spells, entire, and about a third of them were nasty NPC_only spells, like "make yourself a lich".)

So, what am I imagining?

A d20 magic system in which people have "nodes" in their bodies that allow them to fuel spells. Some simple ideas:

Choleric nodes encourage people to be enthusiastic, intuitive, ethical, spiritual. A character could tap a Choleric node for spells such as:

  • Preserve the Soul, which would bind soul to body, allowing healing magic to work for several minutes after a mortal wound.
  • Rage

Melancholic nodes influence people to be somber, sensible, materialistic, historical. A character could tap a Melancholic node for spells such as:

  • a vampiric form of healing
  • Fox's Cunning

Phlegmatic nodes encourage people to be calm, reasoning, logical, scholarly. A character could tap a Phlegmatic node for spells such as:

  • Magic Resistance
  • Bear's Endurance

Sanguine, or vitriolic, nodes encourage people to be cheerful, artistic, sensual, spontaneous. A character could tap a Vitriolic node for spells such as:

  • Vigor, similar to Infernal Healing
  • Cat's Grace

Some design features of the magic system: low-level spells, such as those above, might be available to anyone who wants to use them.

Skilled users can cast spells more reliably, and are less prone to burning out a node (causing spiritual damage).

Pearls provide "colorless" nodes, but burn out. A rare form of snail shells also provides power, but as living creatures, snails are aligned to a humor, usually Phlegmatic.

Powerful, evil wizards might be able to use other people's nodes to fuel spells. These are People You Don't Want to Mess With.

What sort of spells might require two nodes, either two of the same humour, or two different humours?

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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In another thread,

John Compton wrote:

In all seriousness, though, I would love to see a real-world cultural shift to stop badmouthing the likes of Sheila Heidmarch, Drandle Dreng, and others.

I understand your feelings, John, but those two Venture Captains, in particular, have earned their scorn. Sheila established herself as very casual towards the lives of agents under her command and all-too-ready to commit crimes against innocents. Dreng has never done much to earn anyone's respect.

I understand why: they give agents missions in Magnimar and in Absalom; if they were too nice, or too helpful to the PCs, parties might think to turn to them as resources during the adventures. To keep the PCs independent, the local Venture Captains have to be drawn as either contemptuous or undependable. But then, they get the reputations they earn.

(Besides, those are our managers. We're going to gripe about them. If you want us to think nicely of an NPC, those characters should be the faction leaders, to people we choose to follow.)

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Is this the season of all two-parters?

Is Clara a better character now that her fiance is dead? Should she have taken a pot-shot in the dalek at Missy on general principles?

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Adventurer's Armory provides rules for using alchemical and other unusual materials as additional components for spells. (For example, tanglefoot bags used with the slow spell.)

Do such shenanigans work with psionic spells from Occult Adventures?

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

In two of the specials, the Decemverate is referred to as "the Twelve" rather than "the Ten". Is this just an error?

This is the discussion thread.

The Grinning Pixie is a three-masted schooner, designated a trading vessel. She sometimes flies the flags of Varisia and Magnimar; on other days, Absalom or Taldor. She plies the shores of the Arcadian Ocean, picking up cargo here and selling it there, often at a small loss. Her captain, Calistro Benary, doesn't seem to mind.

There's a secret in the hold of the ship, known only to the officers and long-time crew: the Pixie serves the Pathfinder Society as a floating lodge and research station, keeping a strictly mercantile profile in ports where the Society is unwelcome or on missions where discretion is required.

This week, each of you have received orders to report to the Grinning Pixie as passengers. The ship begins up in the Land of the Linnorm Kings and sails south, across the mouth of the Inner Sea, towards Cheliax. Where did you board the ship? What do you do during the days it takes to collect each of you?

We'll assume that you board in the order that you first post here. Once everybody's found their bunks, the captain will invite you to join her in an evening meeting in a locked room in the aft of the hold.

Hey there. My name's Chris.

I'd like to run "Out of Anarchy", an infiltration-and-rescue mission for the Pathfinder Society.

The consensus around here is that the scenario runs long and is complex, which I think makes it best suited for a play-by-post environment.

I intend to run this as a legal Pathfinder Society game, so all the characters will earn PFS Chronicles for their efforts. I ran several Play-by-posts a couple years' back, so this will be an opportunity for me to learn some things as well.

If you don't have a Society character, yet, that's fine. You're welcome to build a new PC according to the free Guide to the Pathfinder Society. (If I were to oversimplify, I would say: it's a 20-point buy, 150 starting gold. There are a handful of campaign-specific rules.)

Once I pick a team and check stats, I'll start the scenario in a week or so, with text here on the Paizo boards, and maps through Google. I'm expecting to get finished by the end of August, with a break for Gen Con. To accomplish this, I'm expecting people to be able to post daily during the work week. (More frequently is welcome, of course.)

So, what am I asking you to do here?

1) Introduce your character -- if you have one -- or your intended concept. To give PFS veterans some guidance: "Out of Anarchy" is a Tier 1-5 scenario and I'm guessing we'll be running at sub-tier 1-2.

2a) Experienced PFS characters: Provide two or three paragraphs, in character, explaining the greatest accomplishment, or the greatest disaster, or the greatest lesson, you've experienced during your career as a Pathfinder agent.

2b) New Pathfinder characters: According to "Seekers of Secrets" almost every Pathfinder agent endures a three-year apprenticeship program in the Grand Lodge. Provide two or three paragraphs, in character, explaining why you left home to join the Pathfinders, and what motivated you to join the secret faction that earned your affiliation.

3) Let me know whether your character is running in Core or Standard Mode.

This recruitment is not first-come, first-serve. In a day or two, I'll draw straws, looking to build a well-balanced party. I'll let you know now that I'm likely to be capricious, and I'll apologize in advance to those who won't make the cut.

I am, of course, happy to answer any questions.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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It's apparently hard to send Sara Marie or Jeff A. a personal message. That's okay: this can be as public as people like.


You made a decision to help Pathfinder at a general purpose convention. You were uncommonly generous. You two exemplify one of dozens of reasons that Paizo rocks.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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I am hoping that this thread can catalogue the special cases and odd one-off rules for Core Mode. I am hoping that the posts here will contain, for the most part, questions from the player base, and replies from the Venture Officers and campaign leadership.

In particular, I'm asking that any questions or replies that start creating chains of entries on their own, be pulled out into their own threads.

It's the internet, I know, and these are Paizo's boards, I know, and I'm a naive goob, I know. But, if I can ask you, individually a favor, would you let someone else break that request first?


Some modules are tricky.

Can we assign a playing of "We Be Goblins" to a Core character?

What pre-gens can we use for "Risen from the Sands"?


Wizards can copy spells from one another's spellbooks into their own. If my Core Mode PC has a non-core spell (from a Chronicle), can another PC copy that spell and use it?

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Do we know yet who has filled the roles that Paracountess Draleen, Colonel Maldriss, and Amenopheus have left open, as ambassadors to Absalom?

Is Lady Morilla still the Taldan ambassador, or have her efforts with the Sovereign Court taken her away from that?

I might recommend that we decommission First Steps, part 1. It's more confusing for new players than illuminating. I could well imagine some GMs trying to update the scenario by having Paracountess Draleen speak of the Dark Archive, or replacing Amenopheus with the current ambassador from Osirion.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

I have a large collection of comics, mostly Marvel and DC, dating back to the early 1970s. It's about time I sold the collection, because my mom wants her basement back. How should I go about doing that to get the best prices for these? E-bay? Sell on Amazon?

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Occult Adventures Playtest document wrote:
Occult Adventures is designed to give players and GMs the tools and guidance needed to add mystery and secrets to their game. While an ordinary game might see the players facing off against a tribe of goblins who have been killing local livestock and threatening villagers, in an occult game, the players might then learn that the livestock were sacrifices made to a dark altar, and that the altar was given to the goblins for some foul purpose. .... So it goes in an occult game: each hidden truth hints at further mystery and stranger plots.

Does anyone have any recommendations for scenarios or PFS-sanctioned modules that are particularly fitting to the sort of adventures the playtest characters should experience? Off the top of my head, I could start the list with:

Black Waters
Encounter at the Drowning Stones
Haunting of Hinojai
The Cultists' Kiss
Day of the Demon
Carrion Hill

My criteria are: hidden things revealed, more than once, and a macabre atmosphere.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

This is for Pathfinder Society. I have some GM credit from running the Thornkeep adventure, so the character will come in at 4th level, and then jump to 7th level.

I have not played a lot of PFS Season 5, which takes place in the Worldwound, but I wanted to build a character who'd be "coming in out of the cold", a character from old Sarkoris, trapped in stasis since shortly after Aroden's passing, only recently released.

My idea was to build an old, crotchety half-orc woman with nature powers representing the land of Sarkoris.

One option was a blight druid, or a druid with the bat shaman archetype. Another option, more newly available, would be a nature shaman.

Your opinions?

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

So, it's a simple matter for a character to join the Scarab Sages or the Grand Lodge these days and never do a lick of work for Osirion. It's even more likely that a character called to watch over the malignant Dark Archive would blanch at some of the demands of a paracountess still loyal to Cheliax.

In other words, it seems likely that there will be little incentive for many characters to be loyal to the old versions of their factions. One of the main issues with "Eyes of the Ten" is the tension between loyalty to your faction, versus loyalty to the Grand Lodge. That tension is largely removed given the adjustments in Season 6.

I'll be running Eyes over Christmas / New Year's, and I'm looking for advice.

Is anybody planning to modify the scenarios to make more sense in the current play environment? Or would you recommend that I just ask the players to imagine they're really working to advance the position of Cheliax / Taldor / etc. among the politics of Absalom?

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Could somebody please fill me in on the summer Marvel cross-over Original Sins? I understand it's a mystery, about who killed the Watcher and stole his eyes. But I haven't read any of the issues or cross-overs or support ancillaries.

A certain amount of snark is necessary in most discussions about current comics, but I'm more interested in the facts of the storyline and anything you think is cool or well-done, rather than the ways that the series indicates that Marvel has jumped the vibranium shark.

If it turns out that the Watcher was secretly married to Elongated Man, I'll be disappointed.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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So, we have an influx of cool new PFS players in town, and some of us were thinking about tossing up a list of courtesy reminders.

Does your local store / PFS group have anything like this? Do you have any suggestions for improvements?

1. Watch your footprint. This involves spreading things all over the space around you, voice volume, food in the map, all that stuff.

2. Don't cheat.

2a. This includes: if you're honestly not sure how something works, ask or look it up. Don't presume that it works the way that's most advantageous to you.

2b. This includes dice. Listen to the GM about his or her rules for when to roll dice and how long to leave them on the table. If you need to pick up your dice to read them, get new dice.

3. Dont over-metagame. Distinguish between player knowledge and character information.

4. We're all friends, and every meet-up is a reunion. Nevertheless, don't take over the table with tangents and out-of-character tales of previous sessions.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

So, here's my definition of the term: sitting down and running the scenario without prep.

Sometimes, it's the GM's own damn fault. I've seen people try to run adventures at conventions where (a) they had had the table assignment for weeks, but 9b) had never gotten around to reading the scenario. That's very bad GMing.

I've also seem GMs volunteer at the last minute, to run scenarios they weren't familiar with, to make sure the table happens. That's also a bad situation, but commendable on the part of the GM.

By my definition, running a scenario you've already played, but never read through, counts as running cold. Running a scenario, having only read the background and synopsis, also counts as running cold. On the other hand, running something that I've already prepped and run last year would not count as running cold. I mention this because other people may have different definitions.

I am, myself, lousy at it. I won't volunteer to run cold, even with a bunch of games under my belt. The players only get one shot at a particular scenario, and I'd rather have the table not go off today, and have them eventually play it under good circumstances, than play today struggling with a poor experience.

So, I know that "GM 101" has some tips for running cold. All well and good, but what advice do you folks have? In particular, Season 4 and 5 have encounters with unstatted opponents who have templates and other modifications applied to them, or stat blocks in books (like the NPC Codex or Bestiary 4) I am probably not carrying to the table. (And lots of spells or feats I don't have access to.) . How do you handle running cold in those circumstances?

To gameday coordinators, how do you respond to GMs who consistently come in unprepared, and run cold? To convention coordinators, how do you encourage GMs to come prepared for their tables?

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

A PFS player emailed me over the weekend, asking about poisons. Her character is a nagaji ninja, from nagajor, with the Snake Bleeder trait. She wants to know if she can brew poisons with Craft (alchemy). (If not, the trait doesn't seem to do her much good.)

As far as I can tell, the answer is no, but she can buy poisons at full price, because she's playing a ninja. (And yes, the trait does no good at all, except to help her day job, if she chooses to "craft poisons".)

This is not a corner of the rules I've had much contact with, so I'm double-checking here.

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

I'm very excited to see a new evergreen scenario. And more modules. And heck, more of everything! Thanks, Nathan, for stepping up to the plate.

Greedy request: any idea when Emerald aspire will be sanctioned? We've been talking about scheduling it at local game days. Something along the lines of "not until after GenCon" would be plenty to go on.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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That's it

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

What are your candidates for scenarios which are really well-designed and fun, but which very few people have played?

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Hey folks, just checking.

At a few conventions, my friends and I have been getting more and more players claiming re-rolls for odd things. Some, we're able to dismiss outright. Others, we've heard from multiple people. So I thought I'd come here and check:

Rerolls for messenger bags?
Rerolls for goblin plushies?

And GMs still need to wear a shirt or have a folio at the table in order to "give" our re-roll to a player?

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16


We're a little early to be shilling for Convergence. (This will be the third year that PFS will have a presence at the big honkin' sf / fantasy convention, but we'll get to that later.)

In previous years, our goal was to provide a Pathfinder Society experience to folks who were already at the convention, who might or might not have played Pathfinder before. This year, we wanted to see if there was any way we could attract some Pathfinder aficionados who might not already be planning to attend the convention.

Join us at Convergence this summer as we host a spectacular Pathfinder Society interactive experience.

This event is modeled as a smaller version of the PaizoCon 2012 Grand Convocation and based on the Jade Regent Adventure Path. There will be periods of table-top gaming alternating with larger, live-action gaming set in Sandpoint and the ruins of Brinewall.

Be one of the novice adventurers investigating the upturn of goblin attacks -- where the goblins are coming armed with alchemical explosives! Defending Sandpoint leads to the discovery of an old parchment that connects local tavern-owner Ameiko Kaijitsu to a legacy hidden in the abandoned ruins of Brinewall.

Registration is limited. Sign up at our Meetup site to claim one of the 30 spaces. We'll send you the character-building rules, or you can claim one of the pre-generated adventurers.

This event uses the "Campaign-mode" rules for Adventure Paths receiving Pathfinder Society credit; participants will earn a Chronicle sheet which they can apply to any 2nd- to 4th-level PFS character.

When: Friday, July 4th, 11:00 am till 11:00 pm
Where: Convergence sf / fantasy convention, DoubleTree Hotel located at 7800 Normandale Blvd, Bloomington, MN 55439. More information.

You must be registered to attend the convention in order to play in this event. The rest of the weekend, you can play any of the other 15 PFS scenarios under more normal circumstances, or enjoy the extensive offerings of one of the largest sf conventions in the Midwest.

(It conflicts with PaizoCon. We know. Sorry about that.)

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

There doesn't happen to be an open call for adventures with a lot of desert-dwelling Qadirans, and farm animals, does there? And maybe an angel or two? 'Cause there are a lot of pretty cheap miniatures sets available right now.

Does anybody have a good CR for a baby-eating camel?

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16


Generally speaking, I was disappointed. Like much of the last season, any given five minutes is nice work, but the whole plot didn't hold together for me at all.

And the naked jokes fell entirely flat for me. This is how the show introduces Clara's family? (Her father remarried, it seems ... )

The TARDIS doesn't seem to care very much for Clara. Why did it extend its atmospheric bubble around her to survive outside through the Time Vortex? You know, the thing that was supposed to be impossible for anybody other than Captain Jack?

Howdid Tasha Lem's corpse fight off the dalek conversion? For that matter, how did Tasha Lem's dalek-converted corpse learn to fly the TARDIS, and why did it go back to fetch Clara? (How did it even know where / when Clara was?)

What purpose does the story have, bringing in the Weeping Angels? For a scene. Same with the Silence. Ditto the Silurians. (All of whom have really suffered from Villain Decay.)

So the reason the Doctor stays on the planet is that the populace of Christmas, Trenzalore, would be killed if he left? Why not take them with him? And hey, aren't the Time Lords supposed to be in stasis?

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Hello. This is a message to local convention planners and gameday organizers in the Midwestern Plains (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Wisconsin, maybe Michigan)

I've read through the Dragon's Demand module and started preparing it. I'm enthusiastic about the opportunity to run it at conventions /gamedays this coming season. as sanctioned PFS play. (What Dragnmoon named 'module mode' as opposed to 'campaign mode'.) Right now, it looks like each block would take 8-10 hours.

From January through April, I'd like to run Part 1: The Blood Vow Lair (Tier 1-3).
From April through June, I'd like to run Part 2: Hunclay’s Cave, Auction, and Crypt of Tula (Tier 3-5).
From June through August, I'd like to run Part 3: Monastery of Saint Kyerixus (Tier 5-7).

That way, maybe a player who enjoyed Part 1 might travel a little farther to a convention, to continue the saga.

If you have a long convention, we could run more than one part there, but I'm not sure it's a smart idea to run all three back to back without some intervening opportunity for gaining XP. I have my doubts that a party consisting entirely of 5th-level characters could succeed in Part 3.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

If you have GMed, I could use some help. In two weeks, eastern Iowa will be hosting "I-CON 30" in Cedar Rapids. For the second year in a row, I'm in charge of the Pathfinder Society gaming. Last year, we had two tables running simultaneously, and indeed had an overflow of players. The problem is: this year, I-CON is scheduled opposite the local PFS game day at Critical Hits games in Iowa City. And it's concurrent with a small gaming convention in the Quad Cities. So a lot of potential Game Masters have other commitments. I'm looking for one or two people to run games on Saturday, November 16th.

Most players at I-CON are casual fans of the campaign. They haven't played very many scenarios, and they have a lot of other things going on at the convention to hold their interest. But they're all really terrific players. Our theme this year is Absalom:

4:00 PM - GMing Fundamentals
Expereinced and novice GMs alike are welcome to come and share advice and questions. We intend to focus discussion on pen-and-pencil tabletop role-playing games, with a particular nod towards the specific difficulties and opportunities in organized play environments like Pathfinder Society.

5:00 PM - PFS 00-02 The Hydra's Fang Incident (Tier 1-5)
After an Andoren village is razed by the Hydra's Fang, a renegade Chelish slaver-ship, outrage threatens the stability of both nations. You and your fellow Pathfinders are sent to capture the Fang before the Inner Sea is pitched into political frenzy.

11:00 AM - PFS 04-11 The Disappeared (Tier 1-5)
A powerful ally of the Pathfinder Society has disappeared, and no one but the Pathfinders even remembers that she ever existed. Can the PCs discover the fate of their missing associate, or will all memory of her be erased completely from history?

1:00 PM - PFS 03-02 Sewer Dragons of Absalom (Tier 3-7)
Absalom is Golarion's busiest and most populous city, but one of its largest populations goes largely unnoticed. You must venture into the sewers beneath the City at the Center of the World to stop the meddling dragons within from disrupting a vital Pathfinder Society operation.

3:00 PM - PFS 01-55 The Infernal Vault (Tier 1-7)
A decade ago, the Decklands family, a house of Chelish nobles, were exiled from Absalom for treason. Their fate made for an interesting story and when a Pathfinder agent in Cheliax studying the family's long history and exile from the City at the Center of the World ends up murdered, the Society sends you to the recently discovered Deckland Vaults in Absalom to see what connection their old home might have to your murdered colleague.

1:00 PM - PFS 03-24 The Golden Serpent (Tier 5-9)
The Pathfinder Society sends a team of agents to meet an important contact in an unassuming restaurant in Absalom's Ivy District, but not everything is as it seems. What the Pathfinders find there will lead them into a lion's den of danger and intrigue in the City at the Center of the World.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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This may be a dumb question. But there we are. I had thought that there were only seven runelords, that the original seven survived until the end of the Thassilonian empire.

But a recent Paizo product explained that there had been hundreds of men and women who took those seven positions, and the Big Seven were only the most recent, and so now I'm confused.

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So, I'm trying to get my head around "how to run demon opponents". I suspect I'm going to have a lot of practice with this skill this year.

My understanding is that demons aren't nice, don't cut PCs slack, and are all about causing their opponents pain, misery and suffering, to the extent that their powers and Intelligence allow. That's the distinction between demonic outsiders and just nasty humans: humans have goals you can negotiate with.

If a PC drops one weapon to use another, or loses a firearm in a Disarm, it's not above a babau's tactics to pick it up, teleport to the center of the Worldwound, drop it, and teleport back.

If a PC is dropped unconscious or helpless, it's not above a schir's tactics to demand that her allies surrender or else it'll kill her, and then, after they drop their weapons and spell component pouches, kill her anyways.

All of the "don't be a jerk" advice gets a little caveat: "...unless it's in character for the demonic NPC." All the rules about "Don't set out to kill PCs" get the footnote: "... unless they're fighting an intelligent demon. At that point, do everything you can to cause the characters woe."

Which makes fighting demons distinctive and thrilling, but not much fun for a weak or inexpert party.

Your take?

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

This is mostly idle questioning. I know that PFS serves as a marketting tool, yes. (I suspect that Paizo would be selling fewer Character Folios if not for PFS.)

It's probably also useful in terms of getting a collected group of GMs and players who are playing the game under reasonably similar situations. We probably provide useful playtesting after products get released.

But does PFS have any downsides, as far as the game is concerned? Are there pressures to make the game "safe for PFS" or "usable in PFS"? Would Paizo be putting out more cool, GM-discretion-required material, (I'm thinking of things like the alternate spell-building system in Ultimate Magic, or Mythic rules) with less pressure to make things that are usable in the PFS environment? Are fewer Paizo fans running adventure paths, or home-built campaigns, in lieu of Pathfinder Society?

(I am reminded of watching, again and again, players who simply refuse to play Pathfinder, even with Paizo authors GMing the games, once they find out there isn't a Chronicle sheet involved.)

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

I'm looking to play a half-orc, maybe a witch or a druid, and I'd like her to remember Sarkoris.

So, she can be really old -- we know that Sun Orchid elixir gets brought into Mendev, but I don't think a lowly half-orc is in the running for so lofty an anti-aging drug -- or she could have time-jumped somehow, from 100 years ago.

Anybody have any plausible ideas?

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Hey there. I'm looking for some advice.

I'm helping to organize a couple of weekly game days. There are some conventions coming up in the next month or three around the area, and I'm hoping that the weekly players go out and attend a convention or two and connect to the larger PFS community.

I'm worried, though. There's some ways that people get sloppy and informal when they play with the same small cadre of friends week in and week out.

I'm planning to have a "get your stuff in order" session before the local convention. What advice doyou have, for things that I should have them check, double-check, prep, etc. to make sure they have a good conention experience?

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

This is an off-shoot from another thread that mentioned combining Pistollero and Mysterious Stranger archetypes for a Gunslinger PC.

Take your pick: combining archetypes in a way we understand to be illegal, or resulting from what we understand to be an illicit use of the rebuild rules, or exploting a combinations of rules we've seen ruled illegal in an FAQ post.

So, this isn't the same as a legal character without resources, or a player who sits down without Chronicle sheets or Inventory Tracking sheets. And it's not the same as a character who is using rules that are easily proven to be disallowed under Additional Resources. (I had a player sit down at my table last fall with a "Words of Power" wizard build. 4th level. None of his first 10 GMs had questioned him.)

The issue is: you're pretty sure that the PC is illegal, but without hauling out the FAQ print-outs right then and there, it's your word against the player's.

Do you let the player sit and play the illegal character?

Do you require the player to rebuild the character, using the Ultimate Campaign rules and Prestige costs, before the session begins? (This is the correct answer in case the player wants to play a character but didn't bring the additional resources to the table.)

Do you require the player rebuild the character, for free, before the session begins?

Do you just refuse to let the player run his character?

In that last case, are we building an environment where characters are legal at some tables but not others? ("I played Snakes in the Fold, part 1 under that GM, and she didn't have any problem. Are you saying I can't complete the arc because I don't have a PC?")

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Good. Super. Yay. I'm sure I join with many members of the Paizo staff in regretting that you didn't ship another boxcar-load of the game out to the convention.

I hope you do another storyline ("adventure path" seems a weird term). And I hope it's unique to the card game.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Is this a safety langyard?

That is to say, if somebody grabs the badge and pulls, is there a safety snap that comes apart, or does it just yank the wearer around by the neck?

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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It's three weeks out till Gen-Con. It's getting on to the time that Sean K. Reynolds reminds us all to start exercising, to get ready to stand and deliver good adventures for three-and-a-half days straight.

Remember water. Remember throat lozenges. Remember all the things you'll need to get you through the convention in as good a shape as possible.

And I'll add one thing more: remember to prepare your adventures.

Now, you wouldn't think I'd need to say that. But I kept walking around the ballroom last year, and I kept seeing, at table after table, GMs who were just then reading the adventure for the first time. I kept hearing from friends, over and over, about GMs who didn't know what they were doing, weren't prepared, and so on. At Gen-Con, the premiere gaming convention in North America, where Paizo wants to put its best foot forward to the paying public.

(At Origins last month, I overheard two GMs in the Food Court, bragging about how they were running with no idea about how the adventure would run. I was boggled. To my ears, it sounded like two guys bragging about how they held both their players and the campaign leadership in contempt.)

(Now, confession time. it's happened to me now and again. I've been a replacement judge on short notice, or I have run the Special in a tier I wasn't expecting. I sort of muddled my way through, trying to keep the action moving and trying to make as few mistakes as possible. But I kept seeing ways I could make it better, seconds after I announced something.)

So: prep. Reading through the scenario once is not the same as prepping it. That's only the first step. Make or select great maps. Plan your bad guys' strategies. Look up their spells. How will you change things up, if the players obviously want a tactical challenge? Do you have any miniatures, or Face Cards, or Item Cards, that could help bring the adventure to life?

Are you running a Chase Scene, or a haunt, or an NPC who like to use some odd-ball maneuver? Look all that stuff up ahead of time.

Look through the Shared Prep files. What have other GMs used or built? Look through the relevant spoiler thread. What questions have other GMs had? How will you answer them? What weird things happened at other tables? What will you do if they happen at yours?

Prep your Chronicle sheets in advance. (By the way, John and Mark: what's the Event Code for Gen-Con?) Prep your Faction Missions in advance. Any handouts? Any props?


The "GM 101" course walks you through how to run PFS adventures when you sit down at a table cold and have to GM something you've never set eyes on. But, people, that's not ideal. That's not what the campaign leadership is expecting from us.


This is my challenge to you. Come to Gen-Con having done enough work to blow your players away. Even on the Season 5 and late Season 4 scenarios. Even on the Special. Especially on the Special. Do what you need to do, that all the neighboring tables are looking at you and your players enviously. "Wow." they'll think. "I wish our GM was that well-prepared."

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This is not a philosophical thread. This is where we share practical hints about GMing.

1) Drawing maps at the table eats time. It's almost never worth it. Pre-draw or pre-print your maps.

2) I've found that the blank or blank-ish side of flip-maps are better than either rolling flexible maps or 1-inch-square drawing paper. YMMV.

3) Don't tell players how many hit points the monsters have left , and don't let them tell each other how many hit points their PCs have during battle. That's what the deathwatch spell is for.

4) But let the players see how much damage the bad guys have taken. I use piles of poker chips: 10 pts = blue, 5 pts = red, 1 pt = white. YMMV.

5) Compliment players when they do smart things. Encourage them. I say things like: "Good! That's a smart idea!" Don't congratulate them for simply doing normal stuff, or for random dice luck.

6) Bring a low-level PC to conventions so you can sit in on tables that don't have enough players during the sessions you aren't running. Make that character a member of the Grand Lodge, so he can sit next to new players with pre-gens and help them with their faction missions.

7) Ask permission of a really good GM, and then sit at a nearby table during a session and watch him run. Pay attention to the boring stuff. How does he keep things moving? How long does he take to look things up? What is *he* paying attention to? How much of the first 30 minutes is spent just getting to know the people at the table?

8) You don't want to make players feel bad, or feel like you're out to get them. There's a whole lot of things I'd forbid at my table (hard-to-read dice, for example) but it's not worth making everybody else at the table uncomfortable.

9) If the game is turning dangerous, with people bleeding out, or a character really needing to make a cave, give the people involved all the time they need to check everything -- maybe they have forgotten a Chronicle that allows a re-roll -- and ask "Is there anything else?" That's not the time to rush anybody.

10) But once they give their final answer, nobody gets to go back and amend it. Move on.

11) Funny voices and NPC character exists to draw out players speaking in character. Get the PCs to interact with the VCs, with the bad guys, with other NPCs. Nobody wants to hear you do two minutes of "crabby old dwarf lady" improv. Your crabby old dwarf lady has to be drawing the PCs into conversation.

12) Writing up Chronicle sheets at the table eats time. Get them copied off and get all the stuff at the bottom filled in before the session. And three-hold-punch the things before you hand 'em out.

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So, some of us are designing a "PFS Quick Build" station. The idea is to get new players to walk away with a perfectly legal Core-only PC as quickly as possible, skimping on as few decisions as possible.

(So, for example, we're putting together a sheet of 10 common feats for warriors, 10 common feats for rogues, etc. Also, a sheet of 12 good spell choices for 1st-level wizards /sorcerers.)

So we want to provide a short list of the 8 or so most common deities in Pathfinder Society. Sarenrae, Cayden Cailean, Gorum, ...

Which other deities do you find to be common in your neck of the woods?

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CONvergence is a very large "big tent" science fiction and fantasy convention. CONvergence was launched in 1999 and has grown to be the largest convention of its kind in Minnesota and beyond! CONvergence is held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Bloomington – Minneapolis South in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota on the first full weekend of July each year.

Along with the extensive ConSuite Board and Card Gaming on the 2nd Floor, geeks gather in the Gaming Suites (on the 22nd floor). A place to roll some dice, zap some virtual critters in a very large LAN gaming network room, draw maps, flip cards in several CCG tournaments, and meet people. (More about gaming at CONvergence.)

After a week-and-some of scurrying and duck-arranging, we'd like to proudly announce that PFS will be at CONvergence for the second year in a row. We'll have a character-building station, continuous short adventures for folks of all ages, and at least 15 scenarios running throughout the weekend.

The goal is to introduce a bunch of people to Pathfinder Society. Last year, two-thirds of the players took home brand new PFS numbers. We're expecting something similar this year.

If you'd like to see what we're offering, or if you'd like to sign up, please go to our Warhorn site . (There are only three slots per table available on Warhorn. We're leaving the last three seats available for people to walk in and sign up at the convention.

If you're in the Minnesota / Wisconsin/ Dakotas neck of the woods and would like to attend, or if you're already one of the FIVE THOUSAND people who are already planning to attend CONvergence, we'd love to have you come sit at a table, roll dice, and tell stories with us.

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There are many good reasons to hand a player a pre-generated iconic character. I have my own opinions as to which are the best pre-gen for newbies (Reiko the Ninja) and which are the worst (Amiri the Barbarian), but you might have different opinions, and that's okay.

What I'd like to suggest, as more than a personal opinion, is that we are growing to use the pre-gens more than we ought to. At a couple of conventions and game days in the last couple of months, I've seen people playing a pre-gen that they're not particularly fond of, all the way through 1st level. I've seen potential players run through two or three Beginner Box adventures with pre-gens.

The satisfaction of an enjoyable adventure is magnified considerably when the player has made the character. I think we will be more successful in growing Pathfinder Society if we get more new players to walk out of their first convention, or their first demo, with their own character in their hands. They will want to know what other adventures lie in store for their PC.

So, I ask: for players who are brand new to Pathfinder, what have you found to be the best ways to walk them through character creation? Some people listen to the new player describe what she'd like and then build that for her. Others I've seen walk with the new player through the options. Which approach do you think is better?

Do you walk them through all the core classes and races? Do you explain the differences between a Strength-build fighter and an agility fighter? How do you explain the difference between sorcerers and wizards?

How do you go through feats? Do you pare down the options to a few good choices for them?

What about traits? Factions?

Do you use software, like HeroLab? Or just pencil and paper?

What other advice do you have?

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It occurs to me that people on the boards use "Mike Brock" as a conjure word, usually when shaking fingers at others. (I've done this myself.)

I thought I should do me part to compensate for all the stern juju that clings to his name.

Mike Brock.
Baby otters.
Mike Brock.

Mike Brock.
Tasty Adult Beverages.
That don't have the word "Lite" in their name.
Mike Brock.

Mike Brock.
Gentle rolling hills.
With flags indicating little holes every so often.
Mike Brock.

Mike Brock
Oatmeal-raisin cookies.
Sunlight on the Pacific.
Mike Brock.

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This is sort of a "just checking" post. I think I know the (unfortunate) answer, but I'm checking to make sure. Maybe I'm misunderstanding a PFS rule, or maybe I'm figuring out how to follow a rule that nobody else follows anyway.

Situation: I have GMed "Portal of the Sacred Rune" a few times. When I've run it, I've never had a character whom I wanted to receive the credit, so I've run it without assigning the GM credit to any character.

Now, I'm in a crunch. I have (a) an 11th-level character, due to the generosity of GMs at Kubla Con and the local game day in Omaha yesterday, and (b) an invitation to play "Eyes of the Ten" this coming weekend. I can get in one game before then, due to the generosity of a GM in Minnesota, but it's hit-or-miss as to whether I'll get a second game in.

Can I assign "Portal of the Sacred Rune" to the PC now, or do I need to run it again, and assign it at that time?

Or is this a rule that nobody cares about?

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Hey there, rules mavens.

Earth Elemental Belt, from Ultimate Equipment:
This belt grants its wearer a +4 enhancement bonus to Constitution, and the wearer is immune to effects that would push, pull, or forcefully move the wearer. This offers no protection from teleportation effects. Furthermore, once per day on command, the wearer can take the form of a Large earth elemental, as though subject to the elemental body III spell.

Treat the enhancement bonus to Constitution as a temporary ability bonus for the first 24 hours the belt is worn.

Living Monolith, from the Osirion book:
During his induction into this prestige class, a living monolith has an engraved scarab stone embedded in his forehead, often inlaid with gems or precious metals. This stone is inscribed on its inner side with the monolith’s true name and his oaths to the gods and pharaohs. It cannot be removed without his permission, cannot be dispelled (though it does not function in areas where magic does not work), and does not use a magic item slot.

The ka stone tightly binds the living monolith’s mind and spirit to his body, providing him with a +2 bonus to saves against negative levels, death effects, and mind-affecting effects.

A living monolith can invoke the power of his ka stone 3 times per day as a swift action, enabling him to grow in size as if using enlarge person (even if he is not a humanoid).

So, if a living monolith activates the belt's ability to turn into a large earth elemental, can he then activate his ka stone and grow in size from large to huge, with the commensurate stats modifications?

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I feel like Bouncing Boy.

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I know that there was a long discussion thread on a similar topic. Rather than resurrect it on a tangent, I'm starting a new tpic. If the moderation staff feels it's more appropriate to merge the two, that's fine.

If I understand correctly, Mike Brock and the rest of the campaign leadership are concerned that some PCs are continually playing at subtiers above their level, and that this procedure (a) eventually buys them access to enough protective gear that they're not dying all the time, and (b) is otherwise skewing the Wealth by Level curve.

As I understand Sean K. Reynolds' views on Wealth by Level, the Pathfinder game is designed that characters are always hovering at the WBL ideal. If a character needs to spend money on something that's not personal loot, then his wealth is a little lower for a while, but he should be back up to normal WBL after a few sessions. Likewise, if a character gets some sort of equipment boon -- say, picks up a chunk of a fallen comrade's gear -- then the character's money stream dries up until his level catches up to his wealth.

This form of Wealth by Level is not servicable in an Organized Play environment. Some people are going to be below WBL, because they paid for consumables, or because they paid for two raise dead spells, or they ran away from missions that were too tough, or just because they decided to play down a sub-tier from their level a couple of times. Once you get below WBL guidelines, there is no mechanic to over-reward your character until you return to wealth equilibrium.

Likewise, there are situations where a PC never ends up paying for soncumables or raise dead spells with money, never has to sell back equipment at half price, and maybe quits some adventures very early on, having gained gold but no XP. Again, there is no mechanic to under-reward the character until his level catches up.

So, in an organized play environment, some people will be below WBL. If the WBL guideline is intended to act like an average, then other people will be above the average. And some PCs die, and some players retire losing PCs, and those all tend to be the people below the WBL guideline. So natural forces select that, if there is variation, the general populace will eventually comprise survivors, which skew high.

(It's like how some GMs allow their players to roll for stats and keep rolling until they like whatthey get. That skews high.)

Continually choosing to play with more powerful allies in higher subtiers is one opportunity for higher-than-normal wealth, but it's neither the only mechanism (As many people have explained, at some length) nor the root cause.

The root cause is the variability of wealth, and the economic self-selection that voluntarily retires characters on the low end of the curve.

I don't have a good solution (I'm honestly not sure there's a problem); one not-good solution is to "correct" a PC's wealth every time he or she makes an even-numbered level: Figure out what you want the typical wealth to be when a PC hits sixth level. See what the character really has, after her 15th XP. If the character is short, provide funds to eliminate half the deficit. If the character is long, pay gold (or sell off equipment at full gold value) to cut the excess in half.

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