Cannon Golem

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RPG Superstar 6 Season Star Voter. Organized Play Member. 275 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 Organized Play character.


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The Exchange Star Voter Season 6

Hope it isn't too late to submit--this was my submission for this year. Personally, magic item creation is one of my biggest challenges, so I really welcome advice to get over this "hump."

Firebrand’s Cravat
Aura moderate enchantment; CL 11th
Slot neck; Price 38,000 gp; Weight —

This silk neckband, dyed crimson and cobalt, grants a +4 competence bonus on the wearer's Diplomacy and Perform (oratory) checks.
Once per day, as a full-round action, the wearer may make a DC 15 Perform (oratory) check. If successful, she may make a single suggestion to up to 11 creatures, within 210 feet of the wearer, who hear and understand the performance; the suggestion must be to cause injury, death, or other physical harm to a specific creature or object known to the listeners. This effect lasts for 11 hours or until the completion of the suggestion.
Additionally, creatures affected by this suggestion or any violent compulsion effect created by the wearer (such as a suggestion bardic performance or suggestion spell) gain the effects of the rage spell as long as they are within 30 feet of the wearer.

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, eagle's splendor, mass suggestion, rage; Cost 19,000 gp

The Exchange Star Voter Season 6

I favor the low-CR construct niche that this creature fills--it has some dynamics that could be replicated by stretching the animated object of the PF Bestiary to the breaking point, but I think the fluidity and collapsing elements give it a bit of flair.

I'm voting for this in hopes that the designer can flesh it out if given the chance, mechanically. I'd certainly play it in my campaign.

The Exchange

Session Two

The party completes their preparations for the ambush, scouting out the site and re-arranging piles of junk to provide sufficient cover for the less stealthy members to hide in. They also convinced Savah, the local armorer, to lend them back the masterwork horsechoppers they had sold her to provide suitable bait for the incoming goblins-she permits it with a down payment of several gold.

They also scavenge up several heaps of oiled rags left from smithy work and array them in the sands east of the cove; they hope to light a distracting blaze with an alchemist fire if goblins attempt to flee. Emyrelda was to serve as ambush leader, launching an attack with a color spray when enemies drew near the bait.

Finally, preparations made, they wait until dark, hiding beneath the junk, and wait for goblins to approach. Due to the high stealth of the three sneaks (goblin rogues), Em was not able to pinpoint their locations as they infiltrated the ambush site—their lone goblin warrior lackey, saddled with a crude sledge for transporting goods, stood oblivious amongst the junk heaps.

Taking a chance, Em launched her spell from cover, ensnaring the warrior and revealing two nearby sneaks, both whom made their saves. The rest of the party rose from their hiding spots to confront the goblins—a bloody battle ensued, as the beguiler failed to launch her dancing lights as planned and the darkened night left Morrigan blind and unprepared for several sneak attacks—as the fight raged against the very nimble rogues, the party failed to notice the sudden death of the unconscious warrior, nor the subsequent accumulation of leather and metal scraps on its body.

Over the next five rounds, the group beat down the goblins, Em’s sleep[/] spells helping to drop the rest—one by one, the helpless foes died to an unseen force. Finally, as the party released their untouched foes no longer breathed, a large mass of driftwood rolled into the combat arena with blinding speed. A whirl of sharpened bits of junk rose into the air and sliced at the trunk, eliciting a multitude of wooden birdlike forms in mere seconds. Simultaneously, the goblin corpses jerked to their feet, the leather and linen bindings jerking them about as marionettes as metallic shards bound to their hands and limbs.

Engel, the dwarven warrior, recognized the avian symbol of Jarvis Stoot, the infamous and deceased Chopper of Sandpoint, and assaulted the effigy with his waraxe—his blow was rebuffed by its hardness and it lashed at his body with powerful limbs, the birds clawing his beard and face. The corpse puppets likewise thrashed at the warrior from all sides, sometimes piercing his steely defenses.

The group rallied behind their comrade, Morrigan and Dario attacking the less fortified puppets as Em aided Engel’s attacks against the effigy. Beth’s knowledge of the divine and undead enabled her to detect the essence of negative energy powering these animated objects (fueled by the roused hatred of the serial killer) and began unleashing bursts of positive energy to snap the “strings.”

Although Engel was pushed to the brink of serious wounds, the party was able to fell all of the animated objects and again lay Chopper’s madness to rest. Although none of the goblins survived to report the ambush (as was the original plan), the group nevertheless deemed the evening a success, especially after they discovered numerous masterwork and high-quality weapons and armor on the goblin’s sledge, including a glowing crystal designed to fit a masterwork weapon’s hilt.

{GM Notes: I added the encounter with the 3 goblin rogues/1 warrior, followed by 1 Medium animated object and 4 small objects for two reasons: First, we are following the Pathfinder medium experience progression and the group needed some extra encounters to keep them on track. Second, the group’s wealth progression was severely lacking following the Festival, so this provided me an opportunity to customize some mundane gear to bring them up to speed.}

On the following day, the group alerted Father Zanthus of their encounter at the cove and continued to recover from their wounds—Ameiko’s halfling maidservant served them breakfast, explaining her mistress was out for the day and would likely return in the late evening.

Dario recalled an earlier lead he had wished to pursue—the ownership of the wagons which brought a group of goblins to ambush the Festival—and set out right away. Hemlock’s second-in-command directed him & Emyrelda to the wagons, which were to be disposed of in the near future. Exploring the interior of the wagons, they found them bedecked with goblin graffiti, all drawings of course, and were intrigued by a particular set of carvings—these showed the goblins being directed by a “longshanks” to conceal themselves in a wagon, after which he pulled the wagon (under the “clear” guidance of the artist) through the city gates. Figuring there were elements of truth to this illustrated “power fantasy,” the pair discerned that the longshanks was well-dressed and had long ears, marking him as elven or half-elven (like Em).

Asking around the town, they realized there were few young, male elves or half-elves to be found, but caught a clue that one such individual had been seen, albeit rarely, around Ameiko Kaijitusu’s Rusty Dragon Inn a few years back and, more importantly, made have been a ward of the Tundarok Academy for Sandpoint’s orphaned children.

Continuing their inquiry, Dario and Emyrelda visited the Academy’s wizardly owner and headmaster and struck off a fine conversation about their exploits, as well as his long-past days of adventuring. Over several hours of chatting and a bottle of wine, they learned that a young man, named Tsuto, had been a ward of the Academy up to a few years past, having left to seek his fortunes—he had been quiet, resourceful, and quite the acrobat by the headmaster’s reckoning, but he could see no reason why the young man would have anything against the town. As they left, the master also recalled that Tsuto room & board has been fully covered by a private, anonymous donor, since his earliest childhood and up to around the point he had departed—the donations had ceased without warning at that time.

More knowledgeable, but uncertain of what to make of this new information, the pair rejoined the party at the Rusty Dragon, still overseen by the weary maid, and retired for the evening.

The next morning, the group sought breakfast and found the taproom a flurry of motion—guests were waiting for overdue breakfast and the maidservant frantically dashed about trying to appease them. Pulling her aside for a moment, the group realized that Ameiko, for the first time ever, had not prepared the breakfast as promised and had not returned the evening prior; the maid promised to say more, but was clearly overwhelmed by the task at hand. The group volunteered to help serve breakfast and privately sat down with her as they ate their own.

She explained that Ameiko’s room was empty, bed unused, and that a note in a variant form of Common had lain crumpled on her floor. Em and Beth began to decipher the note, with the aid of [i]comprehend languages and discerned that Ameiko had a brother, named Tsuto, who suspected their father (Lonjiku Kaijitsu, owner of the Kaijitsu Glassworks) had a hand in the goblin raid and invited her to talk at the Glassworks the evening prior. The maid revealed that Tsuto was an illegitimate son of Atsui, Ameiko’s mother and Lonjitsu’s wife, and that the boy was aware of his heritage—he and Ameiko had fought years ago but had since reconciled and spoke infrequently since Tsuto had departed Sandpoint.

The group, sensing the connections building, headed off to the Glassworks immediately. Finding it locked up and windows curtained, they set out to find a way in—Engel eventually consented to Emyrelda using her talents to unlock the loading bay door, while Beth and Morrigan convinced onlookers to move along. Entering the Glassworks, the party found it silent, aside from the chittering shrieks of goblins at play! They rushed into the furnace room, finding it an abattoir of charred limbs and shattered glassware—eight warriors capered about, some with empty bottles in hand while others cavorted with tongs slathered in molten glass. Beyond the horde, a humanoid figure, entombed in thick, wavy layers of glass, sat beneath the atrium skylights.

Bearing no mercy for the wretches, the party cut them down with swiftness, blades and sleep spells felling them where they stood—even with flying bottles and searing molten glass, the group suffered little harm—and preventing any from escaping.

The group surveyed the first floor in a matter of minutes, ascertaining that none of the laborers had survived the goblin attack and that the glassy prison contained the body of Lonjiku. Finding Ameiko and Tsuto nowhere on the first floor, they descended to the lower levels.
In the narrow halls of the basement, they found ancient rubble and a fusion of new and old construction—as they exited a large storeroom, a flicker of motion caught Em’s eye; leading the party, searching for traps, she was left exposed as Tsuto stepped into the corridor and let fly with an arrow they slammed through her shoulder, tearing open an artery.

Teetering on the edge of unconsciousness, she let fly with a color spray that left him unafflicted and ended with her collapsing to the floor. The narrow passage made it difficult for a counterattack, though Engel rushed ahead to swing and miss the nimble half-elf, while Dario sought the rear passage and Beth struggled to Em’s side. Still in melee, Tsuto attempted to fire a strange arrow—green-shafted and ending with a thick glass bulb—but fumbled the shot, causing it to land at his feet. As it hit the floor, it exploded in a geyser of green acid, washing over the surprised Engel and Tsuto and nearly slaying the unconscious Emyrelda.

{Notes: We use Vitality/Wound, and Em was left disabled at 0 Wound from Tsuto’s sneak attack shot, so her spell knocked her unconscious. The fountainhead arrow is aimed at a square, so we decided the natural 1 meant he dropped it into his own square, where he promptly failed his Reflex save. It also left Em at -12 Wd, which forced a Fort save 12 to survive—she barely made it and would certainly have died from the damage of the next round}.

Seeing the peril as the acid geyser continued to pulse, Engel dragged Em to safety where Beth’s Healing touch (1d4 Wd per touch) could begin to restore her. Tsuto had fled down the passage and swift Morrigan followed him into a tiny office, its rear occupied by a desk flipped forward for cover.

Morrigan found Tsuto a particularly hard foe to catch, especially as he somersaulted backward from his scythe, flipping over the desk in a backflip. He was soon cornered by Engel, Morrigan, and Dario, but none could harm him as his shortbow continued to whittle at their life—a black crystal in the bow flashed as he landed hits and seemed to restore him.

In the end, the party fought bravely for 11 rounds as Tsuto tumbled through the corridors, his arrows nearly felling Dario, and only as he began to find an escape route, did a lucky shot from the swashbuckler stun him and allow the vengeful Morrigan to knock him out with a blow from her stout bludgeon (One-handed sap).

Finding respite, the group discovered a bound and unconscious Ameiko, whom they freed and restored with healing, as well as a passageway that they surmised was an old sumggler’s tunnel.

They drug Tsuto to the garrison, Engel using his influence to have him shackled in a single cell, and rested for the evening. The next day, having bribed his warden (Engel’s friend and Morrigan’s cousin), Gryn Baerl, with silvers for Three-Dragon Ante, they interrogated Tsuto, using fear and [i]charm person[/] from Em, and found him a gold mine of information that, coupled with his journal, revealed the organization of a much greater goblin raid, orchestrated by the Thistletop goblin leader, Ripnugget, as well as the (presumed dead) Nualia of Sandpoint who sought the sacrifice of the entire town! Tsuto worked hard to convince the group that Nualia was misguided, but was willing to report on the tactics and equipment of her minions, Lyrie, Orik, and Bruthazamus, as well as their hideout beneath Thistletop. The group also learned of a “quasit and her minions” beneath the Glassworks and were all the more unsettled by this local threat.

Deeming the Thistletop goblins to be a challenge too great for the five of them, they began making plans for an exploration of the old tunnels beneath the Glassworks.

{GM Notes: I changed Tsuto into a 5th level rogue, but maintained the Improved Unarmed Srike and Deflect Arrows feats—the former helped him make numerous AoO as the group attempted to surround him in the tunnels. His 3d6 sneak attack and Bleed nearly killed Em, but his lowered damage after that kept him a reasonably challenging, but not abusive, CR 3).

The Exchange

Session One
This is a campaign journal for Rise of the Runelords, converted to Pathfinder Beta/Final (when available). I’m running this with five players, one familiar with Pathfinder, two familiar with 3.5, and two who have never played beyond 2nd edition. We additionally use the Vitality/Wounds rules (my version has floated through these boards several times) and rolls 3d6 for Ability & Skill Checks.

We used Pathfinder point buy (15) and the Rise of the Runelord bonus feats for Varisia—the characters are as follows:

Morrigan: A young female, with a large family in the farmlands south east of Sandpoint. Talented with a scythe and able to grow to a tremendous size for brief periods of time—unsure of what other potential she may have, but willing to travel with Beth (see below) to find out. Is traveling to Sandpoint to see the Festival and check in on her black sheep cousin, Gryn Baerl, at the request of her aunt. Human Psychic Warrior 1 (Full Attack Bonus and d10s added to balance against fighter's gain in power), Country Born

Beth: A young human female, acolyte of the mysterious Rune Goddess Irori; out of Magnimar, traveling to gather knowledge on recent local history, as well as understanding the meaning behind the ancient Thassilonian monuments. “Discovered” Morrigan during her travels and convinced the farmer to visit the world and seek her true potential. Is on way to Sandpoint to record events of the Festival and make contact with an estranged member of her order in town. Human Cleric {Irori} 1, City Born [Magnimar]

Dario: Young dandy and swordsman, mentee of the Korvosan swordmaster Vencarlo Orinsi; seeking the wider world as Korvosan king’s health fails and city’s politics become all the more intolerable. Passes thorugh several towns, including Turtleback Ferry and Sandpoint on way to Magnimar to see passage to the further world. Human Swashbuckler 1, City Born [Korvosa]

Emyrelda: Alluring arcanist, specializing in illusions and enchantments, serving as information seeker and broker at behest of Vencarlo Orinsi; raised by Varisian half-brothers and sisters, adopted worship of Calistria and secretly seeks recompense for pain suffered by the native Varisians. Accompanies Dario on his journeying away from Korvosa durings its time of troubles. Half-elf Beguiler 1, Vairisian Tattoo

Engelberg: Grizzled watchman of Sandpoint; served town for decades and has become Sheriff Hemlock’s de facto lieutenant after the former Sheriff’s slaying at the hands of the Chopper. Has made numerous contributions to the Sandpoint Cathedral fund, fueled mostly by earnings by drinking from Norah’s tank at the Hagfish. Taciturn and observant, works to keep his young partner, Gryn Baerl, from getting in too much trouble. Dwarf fighter 1, Home is Where the Heart Is {Free ranks in Knowledge (local-Sandpoint) equal to his level, +1 morale bonus to attacks, damage rolls, and saves when fighting in Sandpoint}
The party makes their respective entrances into Sandpoint, meeting around a game of Silver Three-Dragon Ante at the Rusty Dragon, dealt by Gryn Baerl (GM NPC). After a few rounds, group agrees to reconvene at Festival for further company.

Following day, Beth finds the estranged monk, Enderaki Tobyn, has passed on, but his daughter Sabyl has followed his footsteps—secures good relationship with the young, lonely monk. Group carouses over mugs of mead and ale, arguing over their respective gambling prowesses—enjoys speeches by town leaders, rise to the challenge when goblins attack during the evening invocation.

First set of goblins, 4 in number, are quickly subdued by the powerful, nonlethal sweeps of Morrigan’s scythe, Emyrelda’s color spray and daze spells {unlimited cantrips is quite potent}, and the sweeping axe and rapier of Engel and Dario. Beth and Morrigan bind the wounds of their foes, looking for future interrogation opportunities. Few injuries sustained and quickly repaired by Beth’s Channel Positive Energy.
{Player prepared no combat spells for the Festival, but enjoyed converting to cure when needed}

The second set of foes, four goblins with torches and the warchanter, prove similarly unprepared for the capable adventurers. Emyrelda’s second color spray disables three goblins and the other party members set out to subdue the rest—Morrigan pursues the fleeing warchanter and savages her with a brutal critical from the scythe.

The group continues on, barely scratched, to save the forlorn nobleman, Aldern Foxglove. Morrigan grows to 9’ in height and charges the commando and goblin dog—hurts the commando badly with one swipe but is similarly savaged by the enemy pair, suffers allergies from the bite. Beguiler uses her last 1st level spell to sleep all but one goblin warrior, and party keeps them locked even as they attempt to rouse one another—commando is dazed four rounds in a row, keeping Morrigan hale as Beth patches her wounds mid-combat.

Aldern is enthralled by three PCs (all Charisma 12), and flirts with both Beth and Emyralda while admiring Dario’s incredible swordsmanship. Invites party for an excursion—group Sense Motives his fascination with the trio, and the troubles he’s suffered with his Magnimar business, but generally like him.

Group enjoys being local heroes—Sheriff Hemlock updates Engel on graverobbing and compromised security, which he passes on to the group. Dario is convinced to attend to Shayliss Vinder’s “rat problem”, Emyralda follows and works to delay Vin Vinder’s return to the shop, allowing Dario and the half-dressed Shayliss to arrange a cover story (swooning) that barely fools the suspicious father and lets the heroes avoid a sticky social situation.

When Amele Barret shows at the Rusty Dragon (PCs place to stay, aside from Engel at the barracks), they quickly mount an early-morning expedition to the home. They enter with stealth and are struck by the total silence of the home—they surround and infiltrate the bedroom where they find the dead father—Engel is assaulted by the crazed Gresgurt (commando) and fends him off with back-row assistance from the group. They are made solemn by the savagery of the goblin and the civilian casualty they could not prevent.

Group joins Aldern on boar hunt—Beth’s stance on Love vs. Lust dissaudes further advances from the noble, who continues to split his focus between flirtation toward Emyrelda and shameless admiration and questioning of Dario’s heroics, gambling ability, and attractiveness to women. Emyrelda fells the boar, garnering furthering praise from Aldern.

Group meets whith Shalelu and discusses serving as short-term defenders for the town (Engel planned on always remaining, but Dario and Emyrelda had considered departing back onto their travels.) Shalelu advises the group to reinforce the notion that no goblins will threaten Sandpoint by setting up an ambush at the Sandpoint Junkery for Seven Tooth scavengers on the following night. Group makes plans, unaware of the rousing spirit of Chopper that haunts the nearby isle…..

The Exchange

I have only utilized the "Class-only" clause in my games, and on a limited scale. Basically, when a class feature is required (a use of druid wildshape or bardic music) I tack on the 10% to account for the ability usage.

In other words, if I make a special item that casts Heroism once per day as a bard recites a famous passage (using Bardic music and perhaps Perform [oratory]), then I might discount it 10%.

The Exchange

Hope all had wonderful holidays!
Chapter 2- The Longest Night, Part II

Emerging from the smoke and tumult of the crowded taproom, the fresh air, if Diamond Lake could be said to have such, washed over Raamson and Quel like a purifying ablution. It had been several hours since the free drinks had come round, and fatigue drug at the xeph and giantkin’s heels.

The pair set out for the barracks—the bunkered housing established by Mr. Dourstone for his laborers—plodding through the twilight in silence. For all the delight Quel found in cheerful banter, she enjoyed these quiet walks with stars cavorting in the smoggy skies above. Despite her fatigue, Quel’s endless energy manifested as the constant motion of her eyes, alighting from building to cobble to star. And thus, she noticed a muddled shape in a near alley—her “nightsight” discerning the grays of cloth and rag from the black mud—a beggar, face-down and writhing in the murk like a wounded animal.

“Raamson!” she gasped, darting down the narrow way for a closer look. “Someone’s hurt!” came the echo of her cry. Quel’s eyes ran over the beggar’s shuddering form, looking for the source of their pain—dark blooms about the shoulders, ribs, and head spoke cried testament of recent blows. Kneeling, she tried to roll the man (woman? human?) on their back; No one deserves this…beaten and left to die in the mud. Quel grimaced, as even her lightest touches evoked rasping gasps from the beggar. “Raamson, they need help right now! I’m not strong enough to carry them without hurting them more!” Quel’s arms were lean, muscled from daily labour, but her strength paled to the raw power within her companion’s towering form. I’ve yet to win a strength of arms contest out of fifty with him… She shook her head; panic made her thoughts wander, but they were reined in by sympathy pangs as the victim began to wheeze.

Raamson strode into the alley with careful purpose, wary of the mud’s unsteady purchase. “Quel, what do you think we can do? I’m no healer.”

“I know that, Raamson!” Quel snapped, determination honing her voice. “Just…let’s…take them to the Cuthbertians by the old mill; they might be able to help.”

“Those fanatics? They whip themselves to bloody tatters, Quel; they live in pain. They might even see this as a proper state and all.” He frowned at the beggar’s silent suffering. Who would want to live in this pain?

“Come on, Raamson, they still might help. Or, the Heironeans?”

“You want to drag a beggar seven miles to the garrison’s door and beg to track mud into their sacred chapel? They barely give notice to the trouble of Diamond Lake’s citizens, let alone a stranger to this area.” His voice grew hard, shaped by unfamiliar anger. “They have no time for those worth nothing in their eyes.”

“Any street-seamsters?” Most are butchers, but anything might help…

“No coin, Quel; we’re both still paying our dues to the orphanage.” I ate enough for three children…I’ll be paying forever.

“We have to do something! We..” Quel paused, swinging her upper body toward the mud, head inches from the beggar’s lips.

Broken words rasped in her ears, “Cuth…shelter…hurry”

“'Cuth?’ They want to go to the Cuthbertians. Maybe these bandages are to hide scars from the lash?”

Raamson stared up at the stars. She’s going to be the death of me.

“Let’s go!”

The half-giant knelt, cradling the beggar as he rolled them over. His eyes narrowed; a thicket of cuts and bruises shrouded their face, revealed where bandages had loosened. Dark eyes met his—unwavering within a sea of pain. He grimaced and lifted them from the mud. What did they do to deserve this treatment? Are they even a Cuthbertian? The real fanatics don’t stray into town this late.

His thoughts stewed amidst the sea of Quel’s worry-driven chatter; a sharp note of panic entered her voice, “Raamson…turn around.” He rose from his crouch, lifting the beggar from the clinging muck, and looked to the alley’s entrance—two figures, men in leathers w/ blades sheathed at their waists, stood illuminated in the wan moonlight.

The Exchange

Chapter 2- The Longest Night, Part I

Ten hours later…
Quel, Raamson,, Sethe, and Romet huddled around a splintering excuse of a table in the Mad Dog tavern, gulping down diluted ale to wash the grit from their mouths. The taproom was abuzz with the mutters and weary laughter of other mining crews; their humour seemed forced to Raamson’s ears, exhaustion blunting all emotions not sapped by the drudgery of their lives. As always, Quel was the exception…

“Really? Picks showed up right before me? Wonder what he was doing so deep…”

Sethe shrugged, “Who cares, Quel, aside from the fact that it kept your scrawny neck from the rope.” Sethe was good-natured for a dwarf, a slight smile shaping his intent.

“Well,” she piped back, “I care… I know all are scared of Picks and say he’s a mindless beast, but I’m glad he was there. And besides, Dourstone never sends him into the deep veins; he’s always near the surface so they can keep an eye on him!”

“There you go agin, girl. Him! It’s a beast, like a rock roach or spider,” Romet barked, eyes fixed on his mug. Quel pouted, emerald eyes pleading Raamson for a kinder word.

The giant-kin sighed deeply, “I suppose he did no harm today, seeing as he kept the foreman from catching you. Still, I wonder why his rock pails were empty when he left; he had to be there before the foreman…”

“See!” Quel flashed a triumphant smile, “Picks was there to help me.” The dwarves snorted in unison, swapping glances before resuming their drinks.

Raamson let his eyes wander the room as silence reigned at the table—every night, the tavern was packed with poor laborers desperate to exchange meager coin for cheap ale. At the bar, a rugged set of regulars bellowed and laughed amongst themselves—Kullen’s gang.

There were few ways for a woman to gain coin in Diamond Lake and even fewer for men—one could be a rockbreaker in the mines, a sorter of ore from the rubble, a hand on the shipping wagons, or a laborer in the refineries, where coal and wood burned on the pyre, yielding pure metal for their sacrifice. There were odd jobs as well, but the mines ruled Diamond Lake. No, Raamson corrected himself. The mine barons ruled, and the enterprise of delighting these wealthy few was the foundation of places like the Emporium and its Carnivale of Oddities.

There was a final way to get by—serving as a “self-made” man on the town’s streets, or in employ of the barons or the Emporium. A brigand, swindler, or mercenary in other words. Kullen’s gang was of the latter, though it was said that its leader owed allegiance to Mr. Smenk; with snow-white skin unbefitting a rugged orckin, Kullen would have otherwise found himself as an attraction in the Carnivale. So would I, if Mr. Smenk hadn’t taken me in at his orphanage and seen to my job at the mines. I owe him my life as anything but a sideshow exhibit.

Reflecting on his current state often led Raamson to consider what came before—Quel thought him dour and “moribund” in these moments—and he treasured what he could recall; his mother had come to Diamond Lake with young child in tow—her size and fierce mien made her better miner than Emporium dove--and she seemed to thrive in the tunnels. She worked for a now-defunct baron for four years, raising Raamson to early childhood, before her life was snatched away. He found grim irony that a tunnel collapse—indeed she had survived three—could not bow her, but a rampant malady—“rosebloom fever” as it was called locally—had taken her and left a clumsy boy, nearly two meters at seven years of age, to live alone. To you Mr. Smenk. Raamson raised a mug in silent toast and was surprised to see his benefactor stride into the taproom. Mr. Smenk? Here?

He began to turn, but Quel’s words were faster, “I see him too, Raamson!” Quel’s parents had been performers in the Carnivale, before the ringmaster’s penchant for drink and debt had mired the dynamic traveling show in Diamond Lake; “bottom line” had cost her parents their lives, as the owner’s unpaid debts to a local baron (now also defunct) brought deadly reprisal upon the show. Once again, Smenk’s orphanage had been there to pick up the pieces of a child’s shattered life. “What’s he doing in a pit like this? And who’s with him?” she whispered. Mr. Smenk always traveled with his two manservants—Jacob and Caleb were often the agents of his patronage—but a slender, effete figure had now been added to his entourage; the man was striking in appearance, as lithe as Quel but nearly two meters in height and clothed in a cerulean outfit fit for a noble and unsmirched by the omnipresent mud of Diamond Lake. He kept a rapier in a sheath as silvered as his hair, pulled back into a fencer’s knot that rustled as if windblown.

He seems sprightly for an old man…grey hair but face unlined… mused Raamson.

“A genasi? A real genasi, Raamson!” chirped Quel. At his blank look, she continued, “They’re people with genie’s blood—they are said to ‘speak with the elements.’” She mimed the dramatic tones of the Carnivale’s fire-haired fortuneteller, who claimed the same heritage.

“Elements? Like fire and water?”.

“Yea! And rock and sky. He’s so slender, so tall, and look at his hair! It’s like he’s got his own private breeze whirling about his head! I bet you he’s an air genasi.”

Romet snorted awake, looking at the subject of conversation. “Bah, just some nobleman slumming, maybe playing investor or would-be slum lord. Forget him!” He settled back into his cup.

“Oh…” Quel wilted slightly. “Still, even if he’s just passing through or slumming, he’s still new and handsome enough for my eyes…I bet he could have any girl’s bed in this place.”

“Even yours, Quel?” Raamson had an earthy sense of humuor that belied his stoicism.

She blushed, “Raamson! Well…I wouldn’t say no, if he even bothered to ask.” She scrubbed at her dusty cheeks, then supported her head with arm braced against the table. “I can enjoy looking at least,” she sighed.

Raamson returned his gaze to Mr. Smenk—he had moved through the crowd to Kullen’s side at the bar. They conferred for a minute or two, a purse passing into the half-orc’s pale hand, which began to secret the prize behind his chain vest. Mr. Smenk halted this action with a word, gesturing to the crowd with the sweep of his arm and a winking nod. Kullen scowled, briefly, and then turned on his stool as Smenk motioned his entourage to follow him out of the tavern.

Kullen’s voice, lisping about his lower tusks, boomed through the tavern; the murmur died. “Two drinksh on the how-sh for every man! Curt-eshy of the generoush Mr. Shmenk!!” The room roared in approval, though their benefactor had already stepped out with a brief wave of departure.

Eyes twinkling, Quel grinned at the table, “Well, fellows, what’ll you have? Piss-ale? Rotgut? Mop water?”

The giant shared a smile with his diminutive friends, “Whatever makes tonight pass and the morrow come quicker, I’ll have it.” Sethe and Romet snorted in approval.

The Exchange

Chapter 1- A Miner’s Life

The next morning…
A cluster of grim-faced men huddled in a twisted narrows of rock and timber, deep beneath the surface. Rock dust and sweat blended into the dun cosmetics of the miner, slicking the splintering handles of their picks.

“If she’s late again, I swear the foreman will see her swing,” grumbled one of their number.

“Aye, you can’t save her this time, Raamson,” chimed the second, a bearded native of the earth, like the first. “The boss is in his temper and the foreman’ll take it out on those he pleases. Quel ain’t his favorite, y’know.”

The third member of the group mused for a moment before muttering a bass retort to the second, “Quel takes her own risks, I’m not her keeper, Sethe.”

Sethe frowned in the dim lantern light, “Sure, m’boy, but that won’t stop you from speakin’ in her defense—it never has.”

Raamson sighed deeply, shifting slowly in the narrow confines of the tunnel. His bald scalp nearly scraped the timbers, as it rose a meter above his fellows’ heads; his forearms, as thick as the wooden supports surrounding them, clenched hamfists tight about his oversized pickaxe. He could scarcely hide his giantish heritage, evident in his tremendous size and strength, slate-grey skin, and the ease in which his eyes could pierce the darkened crevices of the earth. It was this last trait that placed him amongst this “depths crew”—when wick dimmed with dust-choked air or long shifts exhausted the oil supply, this crew could soldier on in the darkness. Being a member of the elite team had its advantages, though Raamson could do without the constant company of cramped muscles and sore joints from labour in such confinement. His even-tempered manner complimented his slow & precise movements—both a blessing in the claustrophobic depths.

Mining the depths had comprised the sum of Raamson’s four decades of life and labour—his fellows joked that he was born with a pickaxe in hand, gods save his poor mother. The giant’s strength and determination made him a favorite of the foreman and even Mr. Dourstone, whose dwarven tongue was rife with invectives for giant-brood, had offered grudging admiration for his prize worker, or so said the rumours. The giantkin squared his shoulders as the reedy voice of their foremen echoed through the tunnel.

“Best be ready to cash in some of that status, Raamson… she’s going to catch it.” Sethe had admiration for the fellow, but envied the giant’s seeming immunity from the aching joints and weary bones that accompanied his own twelve decades. He held a similar duality in his regard for the demihuman, “Quel.” A wisp of a girl, she had joined the crew seven months prior, when Sethe’s cousin was caught in a tunnel shift that trapped both arm and foot under a ton of rock—he lost both in his battle to survive. Needing a compliment of four, the team soon received his “replacement,” a sprightly and nimble creature whose speed of speech was dwarfed only by her speed of limb. The old dwarf could have considered her a niece, of sorts, if not for her luminous feline-green eyes, set in her chestnut-coloured face, and her tangled black topknot crowning her bare skull. Its not natural for a woman to be lacking so much hair

She and Raamson were a true pair—hairless and young, each orphaned as children, each granted a lease on life by the generosity of Master Smenk and his philanthropy. Looking up from his musings, Sethe spied the creeping, yellow tendrils of the foremen’s lamp. “Dammit girl!” he whispered, “you’re going to catch it!”

* * * *

A hopeful mantra pounded in Quel’s (Quelisania, according to the small pendant that served as her only material inheritance) brain, I’m not going to catch it! Foreman’s not going to catch me! Her limbs stretched in full service to the sprint, as Quel darted into the gloom of Dourstone’s mine, grinning at its surly guardians and sagging laborers as she ran past. The xeph, as her race was said to be, never saw a need for flame in the dark; her eyes rendered it a jagged landscape of gloomed hues, allowing her to navigate the earthen tubes free of torch or lantern. Her nimbleness also proved an asset, haste plunging her toward frequent near-collisions with laborers burdened by pails of rock & ore and fatigued by brutal labor.

Quel gave little thought to the “why” of her lateness—time had simply slipped by, its limbs faster than her own—but the “consequence” was foremost in her mind. If the foreman finds me missing, Raamson‘s going to defend me—the fool’s going to get in trouble again. Without pause, she plunged into a rock chimney, the entrance to the “depths,” grasping at the occasional rung of the metal ladder to slow her descent. She curled up as she reached bottom, pushing off the wall to continue her headlong rush through the mine. Her eyes captured the startled faces of the odd crewman—in these depths, only the most experienced (‘or expendable,' as Sethe often grumbled) labored; these tunnels were largely deserted.

She neared a fork in the rocky tube; its right branch led directly to her team’s present worksite, while the left languidly curved past other expended veins before reaching the same point. The pair provided an assured escape route, if one branch collapsed, though her crew had shared concerns if both were to suddenly give way. As he she began to run down the right branch, she spied the brilliant yellow glare of the foreman’s enchanted lantern—never dimming and vividly coloured to herald his arrival and urge his workers to labour more quickly at his approach (especially when accompanied by the boss).
He’s almost there! Can’t pass him! Have to take the long route!

Attitude never wavering, Quel spun about, grit and pebbles cascading about her feet. Time to run! With a thought, she tapped into her race’s latent power—her luminous eyes sparkled with bursts of green energy—limbs a blur, she raced back to the fork, covering ground faster than before. She wouldn’t be able to keep this pace for long, but it would be enough, she hoped. He’s not going to catch me!

* * * *

Raamson sharply sighed as the foreman’s luminous aura coalesced into a blaze of light—its glare needling his gloom-adjusted eyes. Quel…why do you do this to me? He prepared himself for the tirade to come; the foreman was a bombastic champion of “work ethic”—never mind that his spittle-filled, profane rants on the subject, which left ears ringing and the portly human out of breath, were hardly brief or even coherent. The foreman stepped into the tunnel’s entrance, only five meters from the crew, and began to navigate the rubble-strewn floor—he was already breathing hard and seemed to labour even to lift the prized symbol of his office.

“Picks down and eyes up you lazy moles!” rang his strained voice.

Raamson didn’t mind the ill-aimed slur, but he spied Sethe and Romet’s fists clench at the insult. Why does he antagonize the dwarves? Is it because Mr. Dourstone is one? This encounter needed to be resolved quickly, before Raamson’s compatriots were insulted further.

The glare of the lantern suddenly dimmed, as an alien silhouette filled the space between crew and foreman. The dwarves grumbled a prayer as the foreman jerked back in surprise, sending lantern rebounding off a near rocky protrusion.

“You f***ing bug!" the foreman shuddered with rage, "Don’t’ you f***ing ever try and sneak up on me! I will see you put down if you do that again!” His voice was reaching a fevered pitch as further invectives spilled from his sputtering lips, aimed at this new offender.

Shadowed as it was in the eldritch light, even Raamson could feel a chill at the creature’s surprise appearance. Vaguely humanoid, the mantid laborer’s body was a nightmarish composite of dun carapace, twitching antennae, and sickle claws; insectine mandibles shivered between a pair of glaring, sallow eyes and the creature’s upper limbs clutched a pair of picks and rock pails, its lower set bent and taut like a cricket’s.

Picks… Raamson recalled Quel’s nickname for the beast; he couldn’t understand her fascination with the mantid--like a child towards a pet. No pet that. More a monster waiting to strike. He had never seen it act in violence or anger, aside from the dual strikes of its picks against a rock wall. The creature tapped out an alien rhythm as it laboured, blows alternating with the scrabble of its lower claws as they wrestled broken rock into its twin pails. Still, all of Dourstone’s miners whispered over their mugs after a day’s labour, trading rumours of men gone missing and found dead with deep gashes in their backs.

Raamson and the dwarves remained silent, watching the foreman fume and flail at the immobile mantid—its only reaction to the man an unwavering gaze. Abruptly, as the foreman’s bellowing threatened new levels of profanity, the mantid shifted forward and stalked past the man—-ore buckets swinging lightly as its insectine feet clicked across the rock. It passed out of sight, leaving the foreman to gasp and gape. Turning his bloodshot eyes back toward the crew, he croaked “AND YOU… Four?!”

Startled, Raamson turned about, his chest meeting the elfin gaze of Quel, quietly standing agrin.

She looked up, whispering, “Hi, what’d I miss?” Without waiting for his answer, she leaned past Raamson’s bulk and exuberantly waved to the foreman, holding up a half-full pail of ore. “Hey boss!”

The Exchange

Well, I promised an irregular posting schedule, and I kept it ;). I just moved to the other side of the state to pursue a new teaching job, so it's taken me a bit to get settled. We now resume...

The Exchange


Whether shrouded in silk or smoke and arguing over vintage liquors or rotgut swill, the idle rich and the penniless academics each gnaw at a particular bit of philosophic gristle—Is a man’s career path dictated by his talents, or does his path determine what talents innate flourish as others wither on the vine? And is a talentless man destined to brigandry, or is the lack of a guiding hand that leads him to this end? A common dialogue goes as thus:

Proposal—a vintner’s success hinges on his tongue detecting the acridness of souring wine, just as a baker’s nose capture the smell of pasty and loaf at their gustatory apex, the jeweler’s eye spies facets and flaws that divide gem from glass, and the minstrel’s ear guides her tune to perfect pitch to meet her audience’s mood.

Rebuttal—could not the wagoner, farmer, alley thug, or bodyguard each turn their own senses to the task if proper training were presented?

Perhaps the irony is that prince and scholar claim the intellectual merits to hold this discourse, in the same breath denying their counterparts the same perspective and privilege, and yet never consider asking the brigand himself.

Brevrecht Allogenuous’s ears had rung with these words in ale-reek taverns and noble court alike, and each time had concluded that it did not matter what a man noticed that struck his fancy, but what a man could be made to miss—the silver coins of his money purse, for example. Brevecht had traveled for nearly a week on the padded cushion at the fore of a rickety conveyance, an ox-drawn wagon turned caravan, the vehicle wending its way over empty stretches of road toward his final destination.

Swaying in his seat, he drew in the essence of Diamond Lake, with all his senses, begrudging each in turn. The vintner’s tongue would recoil at the bitter smoke filming the air, the baker would wrinkle his tool of trade at the stench of humanity lolling on the fetid eponymous shorelines, and the architect’s eye would flinch at rutted, mud-spattered roads and sagging buildings. Even the minstrel would be pressed to present a tube that could allay the ennui and misery that lined the faces and creased the minds of these citizens.

Himself an artisan, Brevecht grimaced at the appalling and unwelcome lack of wealth to be seen on the grimy miners, prostitutes, and other day laborers that slogged through the morning streets. Desperation can blind a man with greed, but what’s the use if he lacks the coin to be taking under his unseeing eyes?

Fingers idly tugging at his shoulder-length silvered locks, the self-titled “Conte Brevecht Allogenuous of Deremor” continued his languid journey through the decrepit town, eyes lighting at the appearance of Diamond Lake’s “Emporium” and the glimmering rings that decorated the hands of its clientele and their escorts. There’s the place! Brevecht rose, legs bending to meet the lurching floor of the cart, and agilely lept onto a single cobblestone, drowning in the sea of mud.

The wagoner's scowl at an unpaid departure vanished behind naked greed as five silvers flashed toward him—he nearly hurled himself from the seat to capture an errant sixth silver—embarrassment hidden behind a broad grin. “Safe roads before you, sir!” he shouted as his snorting oxen bore on through the muck.

With luck, he’ll not notice those six still bring him four short from the journey’s start. At least, not until either he or I are out of sight. With his own grin, “Vex” spun about and approached the three brutes that served as the Emporium’s security force, standing astride the burlesque’s entrance. “Gentlemen,” he said with a wink and the gleam of four silvers, “Master Balabar Smenk is expecting me.”

* * * *

Minutes stretched on, mired in the wagon’s trek through Diamond Lake’s midden-heap streets. The “best” part of town, along with most of the vehicle’s passengers, had slipped away long before. Cocking a look back, the wagonmaster grimaced at the lone patron left in the rear of his splintering cart—rags and bandages enshrouded much of the figure, masking all but dark eyes and a black slit for a mouth. Damn beggar, didn’t even see them get on. Could’ve done me a favor and fallen off at some point as well. Perhaps later, he would recall that not once had the wretched figure approached him during the journey, where he, his money pouch, and the affable “Conte” had sat. For now, he scowled as the beggar rose to their feet and clambered over the sign of the wagon, landing hard in the mud, leaving behind five silver “friends.” How’s a beggar got that much coin? And why’d they leave four extra?

* * * *

The “Conte” sauntered into the heart of the Emporium, a multitier building where glitter and gaud coupled in a wreath of rainbow smoke. At least half of those substances are banned in Free City. I suppose anything goes in a place like this he reflected with a subtle grin. Inebriated men and women lounged on plush but stained divans, sipped brews, inhaled from hookahs, and chewed and spat from wads stuffed into their cheeks; all were laughing and spending their coin on ephemeral excess. Brevecht also noted gaming parlors scattered about the main floor, with card and coin swiftly changing hands, as well as dragonchess boards that allowed would-be generals to unveil their grand, drug-diluted stratagems through onyx and alabaster foot soldiers. Glimpses of pointed ear, childlike stature, and thickly bearded face hinted that more than just the race of man cavorted here.

Navigating the den of vice, Brevecht reached a private lounge whose bouncer beckoned him to pass beyond a thick velvet curtain. Walking behind the heavy drape, which ably served to ward sound and smoke from the chamber, he found himself in the company of four men. Two burly toughs stood at the lounge’s entrance, blades sheathed but accessible while their patrons, a man and a dwarf, reveled.

“Conte Brevecht Allogenuous I presume?” Grandiloquent and obsequious tones carried these words, spilling from the seated human’s bulbous lips. Balabar was a man of great appetite, as ruddy cheek and bulging belly confessed, but Brevecht could see a cunning mind nestled in his porcine eyes.

We are men alike, Mr. Smenk, crafted facades hiding our trickster’s wit. But you’ve got the long con here, while I am merely transient. Vex had heard of the philanthropy of “Master Smenk” long before walking the sodden streets of Diamond Lake—the man had produced orphanages and funds for widows of unfortunate miners, a hazardous profession anywhere, but worse when “safe practices” and “structural soundness” were ignored in the name of a mine baron’s “bottom line.” There were, of course, rumours of less savory deeds—debts collected in pain—but on the surface, Smenk was of the impoverished and de facto king of this sordid burg. “My dear Mister Smenk! It was indeed gracious of you to invite me to this scintillating establishment! Even more gracious to offer me lodging as we discuss the wealth I could be making for investing in your operations!” Play the fool, and they’ll expect nothing.

“Of course, of course my dear Conte!” smacked Smenk with a hearty laugh, “may I introduce the owner of our most lucrative mines, Gavine Dourstone?”

A sooty cough punctuated the dwarf’s arrival into the conversation. Eyes rheumy and bloodshot from clear intoxication, the mine boss extended a stubby arm across the polished wood table, the other limb entrapped in the sinuous curves of a hookah, purple haze sweeping from its stem. Brevecht was forced to lean to practically genuflect to briefly meet the grimy grip; greenish plumes of smoke rolled from the inebriate’s lips, as he fell back into his cushioned seat with a whoosh of breath.

“As you can see, dear Conte,” Smenk interjected, “Master Dourstone might prefer negotiations and discussions on the morrow. Perhaps you’d join us for a drink?”

That’d be a one-sided affair, old man. Dourstone can barely form a coherent thought—at least one considered coherent for a dwarf—and you haven’t touched a drop I’ll wager. “You are too generous, Mr. Smenk, for this meager village—you’d cut a dashing and welcome figure in any court I’ve spent my time in. Still, the travel wears too heavily on me to enjoy a stiff drink over a soft bed. Perhaps I might be shown to my lodgings?”

Dourstone giggled in hoarse rasps, though whether at Brevecht’s supercilious manner, his compliments, or the dwarf’s addled imaginings was left unsaid.

Casting a gracious and apologetic glance for his partner, Smenk smiled broadly, “of course my dear Conte, my manservant, Jenson” he indicated one of the two bouncers, “will show you the way.”

Brevecht bowed, and allowed himself to be led back into the smoky commons and outwards for Smenk’s manse.

* * * *

Balabar Smenk sneered once the “Conte” had departed. “Never trust a nobleman without his own servant and a parcel of luggage, Dourstone. A man unburdened by others is one prepared to run at the slightest trouble.” Smenk neglected to mention that he had at least three contingencies for escaping from Diamond Like with life and wealth intact, should the need ever arise. “Caleb?”

The other bodyguard suddenly focused on his employer’s words, “Yes, Mister Smenk?”

“Keep a weather eye on our dear Conte, and let me know if he strays far from the Emporium or the manse.”

Caleb had served Smenk for six years, and knew exactly what to do if the fop failed to comply with his boundaries; he’d buried his share of bodies. “Yes, Mister Smenk.”

Balabar had already returned to his musing, “Never trust a genasi, Gravine. As capricious as a gnome and light-fingered as a halfling, that breed.”

An indelicate snore marked Dourstone’s thoughts on the matter.

Balabar rose, disgust writ plain for the dwarf’s intemperance, “I fear for Mr. Dourstone’s miners tomorrow, Caleb. He’s a hog when he’s sober, a boar when he’s drunk, and an ogre when he’s hungover!” Chortling at his own wit, Smenk left the Emporium imagining the pain he would inflict on the “Conte Allogenuous” if his guess was right. Don’t con a conman, genasi; he’ll keep you dancing until you swing!

The Exchange

Hey all,

I've admired the work of certain authors on ENWorld's story hour board, specifically the "story hour" by LazyBones. For those not in the know, this gentleman took the Shackled City Adventure Path and conceived of an entire party (plus stats) whose journey through the campaign he described in beautiful and exciting detail.

This was not a campaign journal, as no dice were actually thrown and no players laid claim to these characters, but it was a fascinating travelogue through the written adventure.

In a separate vein, I found myself drafting a high-level psionic group to see how they might fare in "Wormcrawl Fissure." The playtest was short-lived, but my "iconics" stuck with me. Now, with much time on my hands as a substitute teacher, I began to write their story from Day One (or Level One ;)) with the same plan in mind-- to foretell how this group would fare in the Age of Worms Adventure Path.

I can't promise dice will be rolled to back-up my narrative, but I will try hard to keep to game mechanics as I proceed. With any luck, you'll enjoy reading this as much as I'm enjoying writing it.

Warnings: There will be obvious spoilers for plot lines. Additionally, I will be incorporating rules mechanics from Complete Psionic and fusing this into the PF Beta system. Thus, I can't post full character stats (as LazyBones has done) in respect for Paizo's policies regarding copyrighted third-party material.

Ask questions as you see fit and I'll do my best to answer them.

No promises on the frequency of my posts will be made.

The Exchange

Keep in mind the +3 is just for the distance-- if a guy is standing 300' away and has no form of cover, then he's going to be fairly easy to spot. However, if our sniper is prone beneath some thick bushes that provide improved cover, then he's got a +10 to that Hide check for only having his eyes and crossbow peering out. Now he's just increased his success rate by effectively 50%.

My experience is that most snipers are using cover (+4 Hide) or improved cover in addition to distance.

The Exchange

Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Truth be told, Concentration is just unnecessary. Successfully casting spells mandated it in many situations, making the skill a requirement for far too many classes. Add this in to a number of other compulsory (or nearly so) skill choices (Knowledge, Spellcraft, etc) and a lot of your spellcasters started to look the same. This skill was also based on Con, making it an oddity. In the end, to narrow things a bit it got rolled into Spellcraft, for reasons I won't go over here, but now I am thinking that it should be a simple automatic function (either a save or a caster level check).

I know that it screws with Psionics, but we can deal with that problem when we come to it.

Concentration is dead (along with Use Rope.. uggg)

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Jason, perhaps Autohypnosis could be used to acquire Psionic Focus? It seems to me that finding one's "mental center" would work fine for a Wisdom-based skill. Besides, Autohypnosis remains an otherwise completely ancillary skill, and I think Psionics could benefit if most of its wielders were naturally talented in this "mind over matter" oriented skill.

The Exchange

This si not directly related to the playtest report, but I have a player who ran a monk from 6th to 8th with Scorpion Style Strike.

His wisdom was an 18 and he and the cleric were bumping it to 22 during key fights with Owl's Wisdom. Since he liked to stay mobile (he was the melee bruiser) and wanted to run interference for the eaker party members, he'd advance to the enemy line and hit them with Stnning Fist and Scorpion Style (Fort 20s) often landing a hit with Bull's Strength and the bard's song boosting his hit. Enemies could commonly fail a DC 20, and the 6 rounds of hampered movement could effectively drop an enemy out of the fight or a few rounds.

In fact, the final fight of Bloodsworn Vale was a win almost solely due to this technique dividing and slowing the villain's minions to allow the party to regroup and heal while being pummeled by his arcane might.

The Exchange

My wife and I got our Wisdom teeth out on the same day, at the same dentist, but had vastly different experiences...

She woke up after 45 minutes, in the chair, and was able to walk out and go home comfortably.

I woke up, groggy, in a bed with cotton stuffed in my mouth, unaware that 1.5 hrs had passed. Additionally, I was still loop and tired from the meds.

Turns out her teeth were a cinch to remove-- standard procedure and all.

Mine apparently involved the first time the dentist had ever needed to use a chisel... a literal chisel... to pry the teeth from my mouth as they were growing in toward my upper palate on the top.

Only time my iron-hard teeth have served to cause me trouble...

The Exchange

In my group, we've also debated dropping the cleric's free Heavy Armor Proficiency on the foundation that their training in channeling of the divine should bear some sacrifices-- i.e. if a Fighter and Paladin's big boosts are getting Hvy Armor Proficiency, and the assumption is the Cleric has less time for combat training than either of them, then why are they fully proficient with all armor?

Additionally, this squares cleric better with the favored soul, ala Complete Divine, which already can only wear up to Medium Armor.

The Exchange

During college, I was exposed to an anime series by the name of Flame of Recca. It was about 43 episodes long and I watched all of it in an 18 hr period (wasn't very tired apparentely). During the show, a heavily-armoured minor villain appears in the midst of a tournament. His armor can lash out with four tentacles (very "Doc Octopus" ala Spiderman) and he shows both combat prowess and a degree of nobility yada yada. The important thing is that his armor was named "Magagumo" (or Japanese for spider) and I was both taken by the style fo the armor and the style of the character.

ANd thus, "magagumo" for all my online personas.

The Exchange

Sorry, been absent from the boards for awhile. Can interested people email me their requests at "myname" @ gmail dot com? I'll send my document back to you in short order.

The Exchange

In terms of Knowledge (local), I actually allow players to buy "extra" ranks based on the focus of their knowledge.

e.g. A country might be a 1 rank per 1 point purchase, while knowledge of a moderate geographical region (say, Northeastern USA) would be 2 rank per 1 point and Knowledge (Chicago) would be 3 ranks per 1 point.

This is based on pre-Pathfinder skill points and I generally have used them in in Eberron (Khorvaire vs. Breland vs. Sharn, to those who follow me).

The Exchange

I honestly apologize if this has been stated prior, but here is one of my primary reasons for approving Paizo's change to PA.


A 1st level fighter, stripped to his underclothes, is thrown into a adamantine-walled cell, exhibiting fine quality craftsmanship(i.e. no glaring structural defects) with no spaces exhibiting anything less than a hardness of 20 and significant hp.

This fighter has a strength of 13, the Power Attack feat, and a thick iron bar that he can wield with two hands. Assuming this bar does 1d10 base damage, (and ignore the consequence of a weaker material striking adamantine, though no such consequence is stipulated in the rules)and he uses full PA with each blow, his damage ranged from 4-13 (1d10+1+2). In other words, he will never bash his way out.

Now, take a fighter with the same ability score (Str 13), only he is level 20. Now, by sacrificing the accuracy of his blows (his muscles cannot exert anymore effort than the 1st level fighter, mind you) and lashing out against his prison, he will deal 42-51 (1d10+1+40) damage per round, devastating his prison in a matter of minutes.

That's right, by aiming less and turning his finely honed precision strikes into wild swings, he has gained the ability to devastate the hardest non-magic metal in D&D (I assume). But, if he and the 1st level fighter had a rock-carrying contest (i.e. maximum load), they would tie.

By making Power Attack based on transforming the penetrating power (i.e. to hit enhancement of Strength) of a blow into an ungainly but more kinetically-charged wild swing (i.e. Strength bonus to hit converted to damage), we see a simple system wherein the extra damage makes sense, and we avoid the logic loopholes of a man's combat precision "magically" transforming into a tremendous destructive force because he wrapped two hands around a metal club.

Trust me, I couldn't trap a 15th level party in a antimagic field + adamantine cage for more than 20 rounds, thanks to a heavy flail and a Strength of 16 on a 13th level cohort.

The Exchange

I mused over using a baseline of 3 buffs at 1st, then adding an available "buff slot" at 10th, 20th, 30th, etc. Basically what was mentioned prior, but codified to include 10th level and levels beyond 20.

The Exchange

We've been running Vit/Wds in my group for 2 years now-- tweaked from Unearthed arcana's system a decent amount though. Major Changes:

1. The "crit = wound damage" only occurs once a person is at 1/2 Vitality or less (i.e. "Bloodied" ala 4th Ed). This prevents the "first hit= death from 40+ damage" that high level play can bring and actually keeps players interested in maintaining their Vit above a certain level. In my game, players like to gamble against having Full Vit when resources are limited, since each hour can bring healing, but know they need to keep above bloodied to avoid devastating Wound damage.

When a crit hits a non-bloodied individual, they took two times damage or higher, see #3).

2. Add 2 Wd to a PC/NPCs Wound pool for every 3 class levels-- this was a somewhat arbitrary determination but has been shown to raise survivability at an optimal rate.

3. Keep crit ranges as written in the PHB; when a scythe hits a non-bloodied foe it deals x4 damage. If it hits a bloodied foe, it deals 2x to Wound, given its brutal nature. An axe would be x3 and x1.5, respectively. Its nice to keep versatility with the weaponry

4. If a foe lacks any Vitality and is critted, they take the full crit damage (x2, x3, or x4)... they're in bad shape and then just got hit in a major location.. death is imminent.

We've done even more with the static saves, rate of recovery, thresholds for becoming fatigued, interaction with fast healing, regeneration & healing magic, etc.

It's quite fun for us, but its not a great system straight out of the book I'm afraid, though I've run our version for people at a GenCon game who had no prior exposure and they responded quite well. I'd be happy to provide our full rules list if anyone is deeply interested.

The Exchange

Silence, already referenced, but with hopefully an additional perspective:

A Glamer spell can be used to conceal the physical properties of an object (like Invisibility preventing the visual observance of an object, can be it can still be heard, smelled, or even sensed through blindsense/blindsight).

As Silence is also a glamer spell, it is theoretically concealing the sounds made in an area, which has resulted in its use in preventing spell casting. My issue, is that silence is not rendering the words unspoken, just as invisibility does not remove the object's physical presence, but simply makes the affected unable to hear them. How is it that the very words of a spell are being choked out when, in reality, they are simply being unheard?

As invisibility effectively renders an opponent "blind" to the affected object/creature, I believe silence should render them "deafened" (as per the status effect). Thus, the affected individual would suffer the initiative penalty and would have a 20% chance to miscast a spell, rather than the "auto-counterspell" as written.

In jest: If a spell's verbal components are uttered, and no one is able to hear them, is the spell still cast?

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Bards are listed as being able to cast spells while wearing light armor and shields and the following sentence they incur arcane spell failure if wearing medium or heavy armor and shields

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I think the half-orc needed the help... two mental penalties completely screened out their usage as arcane casters (not completely, I suppose, but it made them highly sub-optimal, given their inherent boost to Strength, which also benefited wizard/sorcerer to a minimal extent).

I do agree that these races now outclass some of the established La +) out there, but I've noticed a trend with the additional stat boosts (ignoring the loss of half-orc Charisma penalty).

Dwarves: Mostly fighters, but also good clerics-- +2 Wisdom
Gnomes: Natural Bards-- +2 Charisma
Elves: Natural wizards-- +2 Intelligence
Halfings-- Natural rogues-- +2 Intelligence (more skills, clever planners)

Based on these patterns, I think one could take the favored class of the other +0 races (kenku, goblins, orcs, changelings, shifters, etc.) and extrapolate an appropriate bonus, based on this class.

Fighter/Ranger/Cleric/Monk/Druid: Wisdom
Wizard/Rogue: Intelligence
Bard/Paladin/Sorcerer: Charisma
Barbarian: Wisdom?/Charisma?)

For the LA +1 (jaebrin, MMV; Hobgoblins), perhaps one could reduce the LA to +0 and call it square? Hobgoblins certainly get two physical bonuses and no penalties, but their other bonuses are rather sparse. I'd be fine if Paizo established that the hobs still have more abilities to make them LA +1, or justified them as LA +0. Either way, I allow LA buy-off w/ experience (ala Unerathed Arcana), but I'd love to see what kinds of things Paizo churns up...

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I suppose this isn't entirely novel/constructive, but thank you for removing the opportunity for a Str 13 individual, with Power Attack and a greatclub, to damage an adamantine object with ease. (see below)

Damage: +1 from strength modifier + 20 (10 Power Attack x2 from 2-handed weapon) = 21 damage.

I appreciate that Power Attack persists (especially in the streamlined form that rewards the brutes over the finesse fighters and makes for easy GM judgment calls re: Power Attack levels), but you've effectively removed my biggest gripe, that no stone or metal cell could hold a character with BA 10+ (including a strong 20th lvl wizard) with a stone and strength of 13+, as they proceed to 20-pt power attack his way through all obstacles.

Thank you also for including our other three senses as means of detecting a foe and providing all races with boosts to help improve the lowly half-orc.

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So, now you can sunder your opponent's armor as well?

Follow-up: Adamantine full-plate, suffering 1 point of damage (out of 60 hp) is treated as having half effect for AC until repaired by mending outside of combat?

Follow-up 2: Does the armor bonus from enhancement (+1-+5) also get halved?

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Magnificent says I!

I like the inclusion of "psuedo-reserve feats" for most (all?) of the domains and schools-- it's nice to provide wizards and clerics constant opportunities to wield arcane and divine power without running completely out of spells-- the inclusion of being able to cast signature spells (i.e. shield or magic missile) with greater frequency as they level is nice as well. I also notice that these reward players who stick with the base classes, whereas prestige classes from 3.5 granted domain/specialty slots for all spell levels, including those earned using boosts from said prestige class.

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I've termed these "crescendo" feats due to their escalating effect, round-by-round, but I admit this post is a mixture of confusion and praise.

First praise-- the Cleave/Great Cleave crescendo is a nice conversion of an otherwise barely used feat set (and very similar to 4th ed's Cleave ;)).

The shield bash "hit vs. miss" impacting the outcome is clever and logical, creating a chance of risk but rewarding success.

The "Targeting" tree is potent, but the 1/3 round nature of these attacks (especially Pinpoint Targeting) seems appropriate for power balance.

"Overhand Chop" feats rewards persistent two-handed attacks (berserker style) that fits the barbarian style nicely, I think.

(Others are good as well, but these stand out to me).

Confusion-- So, why can we only Spring Attack once every 3 rounds? I like the chance to Mobility and Dodge-- more streamlined-- but even alternating between the two of them is straining at my logic. Is the individual spending one round hopping in one spot to avoid attacks (Dodge) so that the following round he can dart away without suffering AoO (Mobility). If so, then how does the avoidance of AoO then contribute to being able to move in to an enemy, strike, and move away?

If it were me, I'd keep the requirement progression (Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack), but made Dodge the trigger for both Mobility and Spring Attack.

Dodge--> Mobility: Player boosts AC then moves past any enemy without an Attack of Opp.

Dodge--> Spring Attack: Player boosts AC and can then target a foe for a strike (one attack), while focusing on avoiding their attacks (no AoO), and searching for an avenue for retreat (move again).

The expense to the player is that they can now no longer avoid AoO from every foe, due to their focus on the one, but Spring Attack becomes a feasible maneuver every other round.

Just my thoughts.

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My groups has been using a similar rule of "CMB" for Tumbling, ala Mike Mearls' Iron Heroes, but that uses opposed roles, rather than a flat DC.

My only concern with rolling Acrobatics against CMB, is that larger enemies get bonuses to their CMB, while smaller ones get penalties-- is it harder to roll between the legs of a 80' giant, or a 2' child?

Again, I like the set-up, but the DC 15 for Tumble now is going to become 15+CMB and we have to include modifications for CMB vs. Acrobatics with regards to target size, which clutters things...

I'm sure there's an elegant solution out there somewhere...

Also, I don't see "casting defensively" mentioned in the Spellcraft skill description, has this requirement been removed from Pathffinder RPG?

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I approve of the switch from (auto-cower/destroyed) seen in the 3.5 PHb, though I'm still on the fence regarding the ability of the cleric to "mass cure" with turn attempts...

With regards to power level, this ability was previously only used in fights vs. the undead (or to fuel turn-based feats in several splat-books). Now, it can be seen for regular combat usage....

Personally, a 19th level cleric using ~4-5 of these a day (maybe more) for 10d6 healing seems potent, though no more than a Mass Cure Light Wounds of that level (1d8+20).

And I think the tactical choice of healing both allies and enemies when undead aren't involved does seem to help balance out the effect (my caveat is when if the party is largely outnumbering the enemies, meaning that, proportionally, they benefit more from the healing).

I think the link to positive/negative energy is a solid move and I like the rules for turn resistance including "positive resistance".

I like the evil cleric "negative energy nuke," especially since it moves all evil clergy from having to rely upon undead-- after all, what use was the power for them otherwise?

To finish-- give consideration for this ability's power in a 8-person party, vs. a 4-person-- if the burst heals all within 30', this provides effectively more hp per use than for a smaller group.

Good stuff, all in all.

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I used to frequent the WotC boards heavily a few years ago (I'd be lying if I didn't admit that my ceasing of activity on that board occurred about the time I started frequenting this one....)

In general, I found there were some good ideas, but they got lost in the shuffle, argumentation, and dross. Heck, I still check out the Eberron site every-so-often, but a lot of ideas are rehashes of topics that have slipped past the first three pages of threads (a common occurrence with so much traffic) or often fill the heading of what I call "personal fulfillment fantasy," in which they attempt to complain about wrongs done by their GMS or proclaim the wonder of their recent idea (often involving a super feat or item)--- I want everyone to see, I said "often," not always.

However, I will give credit to a few posters on that board, specifically the utter devotion of Keith Baker in providing clarification of issues and further insights into his view of Eberron-- the man is a machine when it comes to the number and depth of his responses, and I feel it fair to compare him to Erik, James, Mike, and others of the Paizo staff in their dedication to their craft and the community.

Also, I believe James Wyatt recently came onto the "Timeline Advancement" debate thread, where Eberron fans discuss the benefits of a timeline advancement in 4th ed, and worked to reveal the thinking behind this proposed plan,responding to many other posters in a thoughtful manner. Later, he announced that the timeline would not be advanced, based on the concerns and points made on that discussion thread (and elsewhere).

You're welcome to judge this interplay with as much skepticism as you'd like, but I found it striking that a main 4th ed contributor would openly acknowledge the effect the concerns and discussions its fans could have on the design process.

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Presently, I'm an intern Biology teacher in a Pittsburgh school/ full-time Masters student. (55 hours a week of education-- mine or someone elses)

Looking to teach "for real" (i.e. same hours, same job, 8x pay) next year.

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A Pittsburgh, PA resident here as well. I saw a poster from August mention they were in the area. Whereabouts?

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Actually, I believe acid and sonic were errated to do full damage to objects (not ignoring hardness), as opposed to fire and electricity's 1/2 damage and cold's 1/4 damage.

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Personally, I ruled that the stated acid damage for the monster (delvers are also nasty) would affect the armor or weapon if the appropriate save was not made.

When you consider that acid deals full damage to objects, most non-magical weapons are going to be destroyed in one hit (21- 10 hardness= 11 dmg vs. the max 10 hp of a greatsword).

On the other hand, magical weapons and armor are seeing a +2 increase to hardness per point of enhancement and +10 hp, so they should be better protected. That +2 full plate should have only taken 7 points of damage per round (21-14 hardness) and it should have had 60 hp to begin with (40 base +10/enhancement), so I agree that it should have stood up to the pudding.

That +1 mithral shirt was actually more at risk... it would be taking 4 pts per round (21-17 hardness) but would only have had 30 hp (20 base plus 10).

Also, I just noticed that 21 damage is effectively the average of 6d6, so the black pudding's system could be applied to monsters with variable damage listed (like the delver).

I really hate "save or die/lose" effects in D&D, so I enjoy working out solutions to issues like this.

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Converted or not, I and mine would continue to subscribe. 4th Edition didn't catch us completely off-guard, and I'm hearing some nice mechanics ideas from the grapevine, but my gaming group was already set for the next seven (yes, seven) years of gaming when we finally finish Red Hand of Doom and I will phase into the chain of the three Dungeon adventure paths (six years of gaming right there). With my fiance, Physchic, having a blast running your GameMastery Modules (she loves roleplaying the cowardly kobolds of the Crown of the Kobold King) and my respect for Pathfinder's quality and originality of events, we'll follow wherever you take us.

In my opinion, playing 3.5 never stopped being a blast, so why stop playing at all?

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I'm with Andrew (and many others) with way too much backstory. I have to remember that "one paragraph summary" guideline for the next opportunity :) (I think all of my submissions have always suffered from that flaw)

1. The object is a silver & sapphire locket containing the fragments of a cold iron pick, owned by the mayor (and mining foreman) of Azurestone. As an enduring symbol of the town founders’ desperate struggle to establish a mining community in the rugged hills of this region, the loss of the heirloom is a blow to the mayor’s pride, and he would lose much of his standing in the community for his apparent negligence. Worse yet, and unknown to the citizens of Azurestone, the pick fragments served as the focus for an ancient abjuration, which has warded the town and its surroundings from the land’s savage fey.

Only a few days after the locket’s disappearance, several townsfolk are missing, unexplained accidents are occurring in both the mines and the town’s main avenue, and a pall of dread looms over Azurestone.

2a. As the party pursues the culprit into the rugged cliffs of the Fog Peak Mountains, they must contend with a Giant Snowy Eagle, which has been convinced to aid the culprit’s escape and seeks to drive the party from the mountainside with swooping attacks. It does not seek to kill, but it will use deadly force if pressed.

2b. Upon catching up to the culprit at their home (a nomadic community of halfling herdsmen), the party must contend with the fact that the heirloom is no longer in his possession, but has been “returned” to what the culprit calls its “rightful owner.” The halflings are not violent, but are more trusting of the new “owner” of the heirloom, “Mother Mauder,” than of the intruding PCs. The party must use diplomacy, impressive deeds, and/or uncover the manipulations of “Mother Mauder” to win the tribesmen’s’ trust and discover the location of her cave.

3. Amongst the valleys of the Fog Peak Mountains, a small tribe of halfling sheep herders eke out a trying, but rewarding, lifestyle. Maintaining this traditional way of life for centuries, they are familiar with hardship and death, but the unexpected and debilitating illness of the shaman’s daughter has wracked the close-knit tribe with grief and shock.

Desperate to find his sister a cure, the shaman’s son, Red Raven, a talented hunter, herdsman, and sorcerer, sought out the assistance of a dark witch, Mother Mauder, whom lurked in the crevices of the Fog Peaks. Finding her, the halfling requested the boon of his sister’s life, offering to obtain a treasure of equal value, as is his tribe’s custom.

Mother Mauder, a devious and wicked tiefling adept, recognized the symptoms of a rare but easily curable disease in the young halfling girl, but boasted to Red Raven of the grave nature of the illness and warned that without her protection, the entire tribe might be struck down by this “wrath of the mountain spirits.” Terrified by her warning and desperate to please her, Red Raven promised to travel anywhere and acquire any item to satisfy the witch’s double boon of a cure for his sibling and protection for his tribe.

Allied to bloodthirsty mountain fey, Mother Mauder knew of the century-old ward that shrouded the distant Azurestone and the necessity of the ward to protect its founders from the marauding nature spirits that prowled that region. She ordered the brave halfling to locate the “oldest treasure” of Azuretown, cautioning that the humans would likely not trade for such a keepsake.

Made bold with concern for his sister, Red Raven trekked down from the Fog Peaks, across the foothills and scrubland, to the town of Azurestone. Made bold by his concern for his kin, Red Raven endeavored to acquire sufficient goods to equal the “oldest treasure’s” value, hoping that to balance his theft with the replacement of equal-value treasures. In time, his efforts won him the location of the mayor’s treasured heirloom and sufficient wealth for an equivalent “trade.” He now rushes back to the Fog Peaks, unaware of the dire trouble he has brought upon the town.

• Although the PCs can confront Red Raven within his home village, the true culprit remains the treacherous Mother Mauder, hidden within her isolated cave. Guarded by her slagstalker allies, several well-fed dire weasels, and the harsh clime of the Fog Peaks, Mother Mauder will be a difficult enemy to reach, let alone defeat in mortal combat. Retreating as her guardians fall or flee, the tiefling will likely ascend to the harsh cliff that overlooks her lair, her fiendish heritage shielding her from the battering wind and cold that ravage this locale. On this ice-slicked precipice, the party must contend with witch and weather alike.

• The slagstalker, a murderous stone-melding fey with a penchant for ambushes and a talent for causing “accidents” in mines and other rock-filled locations.

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I have to give an acknowledgment to Wes Schneider for my posting in the Open Call; By GenCon, with the close of Dungeon and Dragon, I assumed I'd never had a chance to write for Paizo and didn't even consider going to their seminar on Sunday.

Thankfully, Wes talked me into checking it out, which got me & my fiancee excited about submitting monsters for the ecology and doing anything we could to be involved. So thank you, Wes, for getting me back on track.

Even if I don't get in the Top Ten, it was a blast doing any sort of adventure writing again (I'm putting in 35 hrs as an intern at a local high school and then have 12 hrs of classes for my Masters program each week, plus homework and putting improvements and repairs on PhysChic's and my new house :D. Needless to say, we don't game very much right now, and she's running us through Hollow's Last Hope and Crown of the Kobold King).

Good luck to everyone, and I hope to eventually hear (or even share) the great ideas that were offered that didn't quite make the cut.

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Arachnomancer from Drow of the Underdark (and other previously published books). I think there may be one other Vermin PrC in the drow book, but I know there are several feats.

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I believe its "Lunging Strike" from the PHBII. In fact, I know it's in PHBII, I'm just not positive on the name ;)

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My personal system, is to modify the method in which players acquire ranks in Knowledge {Local}. Although everyone's mileage may vary, I establish a "regional" version of Local and a "city" version of Local. (Conceivably, there could be a distinction in between these two, but I find people either know their country well or know a specific city well, rather than some intermediate area).

Since a use of Knowledge (local) is then limited to a specific country (or country-sized region, like Eberron's Q'Barra, Lhazaar Principalities, Shadow Marches, Droaam, etc.) or city, I reduce the cost of each rank as follows:

"Regional" Knowledge (Local)- 1 class skill point equals 2 ranks; 1 cross-class skill point equals one rank.

"City" Knowledge (Local)- 1 class skill point equals 4 ranks; 1 cross-class skill point equals two ranks.

Max skill ranks still apply, although a player may invest in multiple regional or city applications of the skill. Also, the synergy bonus to Gather Information from 5 ranks in Knowledge (local) will only apply when the PC is in the corresponding region or city in which they have invested the sufficient number of ranks.

This system allows for the "fish out of water" occasion when a well-informed PC moves to an entirely different locality. Conceivably, a DM using the "retraining" system could permit PCs to trade their contacts and insider knowledge in one city or region for another, albeit over time.

Also, any class may now become reasonably informed of the "goings-ons" of their nation or home city, as even cross-class points get 1 or 2 ranks for their investment. Bards and rogues (and others) are simply very good at developing the contacts necessary for being well-appraised of local happenings and thus can gather ranks for minimal investment.

I haven't used this rule in conjunction with a Prestige class or feat requiring Knowledge (local) ranks, but a GM could conceivably force such a character to sufficiently diversify (2 regions, 4 cities, or some combination of the two) to represent the proper expenditure of skill points.

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Hmm, since the Marshal's aura requires the rogue to see and hear his directions, and given the implied transparency of certain class effects, like a Ranger's increased damage vs. a favored enemy, a paladin's boost from smite evil, a monk's stunning fist, and I would argue the basic effects of the Marshal's aura, I believe Malcanthet would order (or directly suggest) that the Marshal cease his "offensive and rude shouting" before the rogue made any attempts.

Same with the obvious nature of the bard's "inspire competence," as humorously noted above and in Order of the Stick.

Lastly, there's no reason for the party to believe the flask is on her personage until she reveals it, and there is little reason for a GM to ignore Malcanthet's continual use of "fast" Sense Motive checks to ascertain if any moves are being made against her, in which she uses telepathy to summon a trusted servant to invisibly teleport the Flask until she can be assured of the party's reliability.

Woe betide the GM whose party's rogue (or bard) has somehow maxed Bluff & Sleight of Hand, has somehow found a wondrous item crafter with 23 ranks in Bluff & Sleight of Hand to make +23 boosting items, has mental shielding to avoid having his mind read, and has been able to survive the hazards of 20th level "life" with such massive expenditures toward non-combat skills (~100k for the items combined). Of course, if they pull it off, they should be awarded for their tenacity and devotion to these skills, but it's certainly not a sure thing.

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Though this references a past point, a Black Dragon's darkness spell-like ability actually has a radius equal to their age category (1-12) times 10'. Give them the Spell Compendium's ebon eyes spell (1st level, can see in magical darkness w/o penalty) and they can bathe a combat in shadow and suffer no penalty. Add a rogue archer rider with the same spell appended and you've got a great sneak attack launcher.

(Technically, this requires the DM to permit the rogue to snipe and re-hide using the dragon for cover {breaks line of sight} and concealment {allows them to hide in the open). With the -20 Hide check, the PCs can overcome the challenge, but it's still brutal, especially if the dragon can fly away and allow the archer to re-establish their hiding place in the darkness cloud.)

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Magic Item Compendium has an item set mask that grants Track as a feat if the owner doesn't previously have it.

That's just off the top of my head.

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I've played a necromancy-focused wizard who made permanant symbolsto be inscribed on his powerful skeleton minions (giant skeletons). It's no so bad if you attune your fellow PCs to the effect, the real trick is figuring out how to protect all the innocent NPCs that might walk by ;). Symbol of Weakness really is fantastic though, especially if placed on allies' shields or armor and triggered though non-reading means...

/end jack

I agree on Power Word Pain... as well as many of the Power Word spells from Races of the Dragon. Far too many overpowered effects, including ability drain 2-3 levels before players can even cast restoration, nevermind that it's a save-less effect with an expensive cure.

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Physchic & I are headed for the first time this year :). I'm also running an Eberron game (At Any Price: Aldurin Expedition etc. ;)). It's already filled up, but I'd love for Paizo-ites to stop by if they'd like-- it uses my heavily modified Vitality & Wound system, and I'm sure you fine people can't have heard me discuss it enough ;).

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There was a revamp of the Paladin established on the WOTC boards awhile back. Though it shows some power creep (making the paladin a better spellcaster, for one; and some overpowered Smite-based feats), it showed some thoughtfulness with regards to three "Style Trees" (Offense, Defense, & Mounted Knight), enhanced use of Remove Disease & Lay on Hands wherein "healing points" can be used to remove other afflictions (ability damage, negative levels, etc) as seen in the Dragon Shaman's healing powers, alternative auras (like the marshal, dragon shaman, or divine mind) and an interesting concept of changing the quantity of Smite Evil from "per day" to "per encounter."

I certainly need to sit down and go over it with a fine-toothed comb for balance, but I have to give them credit for their thoughts-- with more recent classes and mechanics developed since the Paladin's inception, a lot of their ideas make sense.

I apologize for no longer having the link, but I can't imagine it would be impossible to find (Revised Paladin is the title, I believe).

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James Jacobs wrote:

... but I've got an idea on how to do the next best thing...

If those Dragon folks are okay with it, I might say more...

One word, James: Torture

Admitted Demonomicon (and Core Beliefs) junkie

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Nicolas Logue wrote:
I for one would be very happy to answer any questions on how to best convert to Eberron if someone is interested in doing so...and between the rest of the authors and Lords of Paizo, and the excellent excellent fanbase here, I'm sure questions can be accommodated on any open forum.

I'm up for helping with this venture as well :)

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