Mark Hoover 330's page

Organized Play Member. 567 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


1 to 50 of 567 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next > last >>

What level PCs are you talking about here? I'm running a home game with APL 8 characters; none of them have a "buff train" effect happening.

The Inquisitor/Wizard spends all of his time plinking with wands/arrows and lamenting his lack of DPR. The Druid spends most of her spell slots on utility spells or healing and sends her insanely equipped lioness into the fight for her. The Bloodrager/Brawler/Fighter does have a lot to keep track of, but that comes from personal Feats and he... has a system. Finally, the Barbarian/Bard has 1 buff effect that she forgets to use often.

On the off-chance that any of these PCs actually throws out a buff spell or ability, we just jot it down on an index card like B-laffs there.

The BR/B/F with all his Feats does sometimes come up with some de-buffs that affect combat. When this happens we pull out a bunch of colored magnets my group used in the 4e days. I have a handout in my notebook with all the conditions printed on it as a quick reference.

I'll agree with Old (Undying) Blue-Eyes upthread: PF is as complicated as you make it. 4 8th level PCs, three build for DPR in some fashion and with just enough magic items to get the melee martial type airborne when necessary, and you've got a consistent way to end every encounter.

Y'know, I'm just putting this out there but... another way to control the "winning" of arcane casters is to control their spells.

I know, it's not on point for this thread and it's a bit heavy handed as a GM tactic, but I wanted to mention it. With any spellbook-based caster they have to research spells, even if it is handwaved between adventures, in order to have a specific spell in their tomes. Witches receive their spells from a mysterious Patron which in this case is the GM. Heck, you could even just dictate to spontaneous casters that THESE are the spell lists they can choose from, take it or leave it.

Another thing, to cut down on the amount of world-bending spells they're tossing around every day: LOTS of attacks.

At 10th level a Wizard is a truly frightening force of the cosmos. For all their fury however they have 2 5th level spells, plus any bonus for high Int. What if they're attacked by 3 CR 12 encounters in a day? Better yet, what if it was 9 encounters?

So perhaps the way to address your concerns isn't necessarily a different way of PC spellcasting, its a different way of GM'ing?

Aren't spells/day already a limited resource? Even though YOU build nice blasters, people in your games might not have the same skill. Between having to live long enough to acquire the right Traits/Feats/Class Abilities to become an OP blaster/caster, only being able to use my spells 3-6 times out of every 24 hours and me in real life having to be a research master to find the build or make it from scratch that MAKES my character potentially so mega, there's a lot of hoops to jump through already.

That being said, I'd say go "Dark Sun" on everyone. When casting spells you drain a number of points that eventually suck up all life around you; casting a lot of spells or more powerful spells is an instant-win but whole regions wither, animals go extinct, the caster turns to dust in the process, etc. Dark Sun btw is an old TSR game, a kind of variant to D&D.

I think there's spell point variant rule sets out there so you might not need to make one from scratch. Another easy one is just to have the caster always make a Will save vs the DC of the spell their casting. They'll win most of them but on the off chance they fail they suffer Ability damage to their casting stat. Without magical healing (which would cause the OTHER caster to put themselves at risk) the afflicted caster would take days to recover their casting stat. You could set it at 1 pt of ability damage/level of the spell (that's casting slot level, not ACTUAL level when looking at spells affected by metamagic).

What if, instead of magical healing going slower, you just made it less effective? Replace all the D8s in magical healing with, say, D4s? Reward folks with high Heal skill checks by letting them add in what they'd heal in their "heal lethal wounds" check into these spells, if an hour of rest is taken alongside the spell.

If a cleric has the Healing domain, put them back up to, say, D6s for healing spells. Channel Energy could get a nerf down to d4s too.

Recovery under the Heal skill seems OP until you look at HP as a measure of "how much of a movie-based action hero is your character" kind of way. As an abstraction of actual health and life related to any sense of realism, HP and the Heal skill don't compute at all.

Look no further than disease. A PC suffering from an illness that doesn't target their Con can fail every save and be reduced to 0 in a stat and still somehow be alive by PF1 standards.

The Heal skill then allows someone who's lost 4 points of ability damage to recover them fully with one complete day of recovery. IRL some folks who've suffered illness might never fully convalesce to full health, and in game your flagging nervous system is back online in 24 hours after a bout with tetanus.

So if we're just talking about healing rates being OP and we want to put a hard stop there, I'd say keep it simple and either have everything either take longer (minutes instead of rounds; days instead of hours, weeks instead of days, etc) or reduce the dice size of magical healing to make it less effective.

If our end-goal though is a grittier, more realistic game, consider hit points and ability damage as a whole. Think about variant rules such as the one that makes any type of ability damage lethal - reduced to 0 Dex? Your nervous system shuts down no longer sending signals to your muscles, your organs... you died.

I hear you folks when you say this is a time sink. That has come up on occasion in my current campaign, where time is a factor. I started running a second game however that meets once a month and adding treasure like this has been more well received by my players in that one; we play for like, 9 hours a session and its based around trips to a megadungeon so during a lot of the downtime between encounters this motivates the PCs to actually interact with their surroundings and the players get a lot more of the lore of the dungeon which is helpful to me as the GM.

In my main game I've taken a hybrid approach, to save time. I usually point out lucrative details here and there, when I describe a scene or immediately after a fight ends. It might run something like this:

Before fight: you enter the hall of the ancient wood giants, long abandoned and now the home of the vampire's proxies. Huge oaken statues of exquisite carvings stand forgotten but immortal along the walls and any one might merit a masterwork bow if presented to the Erastilin lodge near town.

After battle: the giant scorpions shudder in their death throws. Investigator, you know for a fact that the poison glands of these creatures will stay viable for several hours now, should you want to try and procure some for your own stores. Moreover, you all know that the head, pincers or even the creature's shell would fetch a pretty penny in the more esoteric markets of the city of Valyg's Crossing.

Then, once I've described stuff the PCs might take I leave it to them. Usually the players take the articles I described, though they've gotten clever enough to once in a while ask about other stuff in the room, make Perception checks for things they might've missed, or ask about other monster's value.

I generally just handwave the selling of this stuff in settlements, too. If I've established a settlement that's too small or rural to really appreciate, say, troll spleens or the rug of ancient demon worshippers, I might have the party wait to capitalize on their loot, but otherwise when they make it to town they just get gold.

In the 1/month campaign, one player is running a dwarf paladin who is a merchant in his spare time. He's taken my setting-based loot to a whole new level.

Usually he'll hinge on one thing in the loot - something I've described as ancient, or eldritch, or historically significant or whatever. After talking it over with the players for their buy-in, the player will then run a mini-game with me once they get back to the city.

He runs around using Diplomacy to find the exact right buyer, then tries to negotiate the best price for the item. We don't resolve it by simple die rolls alone; rolls will be thrown but there might also be some in-character conversation. The other players might contribute to the scene with Aid Another from Diplomacy, Knowledge: History rolls, spells and abilities, etc.

In this way the players have earned extra cash. Its also netted them at least one Contact in the city, Merchant Lord Lindergen. It even earned them a secondary mission in the dungeon, to retrieve a sister blade to a dagger lost in the dungeon during the Orc Wars decades earlier.

2 people marked this as a favorite.

So... the campaign is one of attrition; you all make characters, no one else is allowed in, and once your PC dies you're out until the start of a new campaign. Also the group is "Gygaxian" with a GM who is not only turning a blind eye to the loutish and potentially TPK-inducing behavior of the paladin PC, but is in fact amused at how it is playing out.

Fayette G, do you LIKE playing this game?

To me it sounds like Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. All of you enter the "blood bowl/Thunderdome" of the campaign and it only ends when you die, at which point there's no respawn and you the player are booted out.

This game style might be contributing to the paladin player's behavior. Not only that, but the other players may be thinking "yeah, he's annoying... but whatever; that's the game" and may not be willing to help out.

Are you and the gamer playing the paladin friends? Do you want to kill this person's character, shunning them essentially from the game, and then look them in the eye in future social situations?

It sounds to me like, as long as you and he are in the same campaign you won't be having fun. Killing his paladin may get you killed, meaning you leave the campaign unsatisfied and frustrated. Succeeding in killing his PC will likely give Mr "I don't care about anyone else in conversation" yet another chip on his shoulder, meaning he leaves the campaign the same.

Think of the campaign as a lady as I quote the immortal (in many senses) Sean Connery's character Ramirez from the original Highlander movie: "You must leave her brother."

My suggestion is that you leave the game. This way you leave on your own terms, with your own principles intact, and can take away SOME kind of positive from the situation. The paladin's player won't understand why you're leaving, the same way he wouldn't understand or care why you'd killed his PC, but its likely the other players will understand.

Then, free of the stress and distraction of this game you could make your own and run IT for the other players from the campaign you're leaving!

Silly putty

1 person marked this as a favorite.

A little while ago I put my own homebrew campaign on hiatus so that I could be a player in the reign of winter AP. Trying not to spoiler things too hard but we encountered a particular humanoid foe of dubiously primitive intellect and lair with some ridiculously effete art objects as treasure.

Where did they get them? Where were these being stored on their loin-cloth-clad person? It was pretty jarring.

Since then I've been trying to work treasure more organically into my own campaign and I'm wondering if anyone else does any of these things or has any tips. By "organically" I mean that when my PCs defeat monsters or foes they don't just collapse into piles of coins and items like a video game anymore.

Sure, I still include video-game tropes in my adventures: chests filled with loot, literal vases and urns that can be smashed or opened for treasure, etc. But I usually litter the setting with just as much GP worth of valuables for the players to take advantage of, if they wish.

Things like: vintage furnishings, expensive (mundane) clothing, very minor magical "novelties" with Cantrips in their item creation, rare herbs, plants or fungi around the adventure site, permanent art features like friezes or carvings which would be difficult to move but could be depicted for cash, and so on.

The PCs in my game routinely encounter creatures that don't inherently have treasure, such as some magical beasts or undead, and the "mastermind" types in their adventures don't always have NPC-level loot. As such it's been hard for my players to hit WBL.

When the players began grumbling I not-so-subtly began pointing out all of the "background" treasure they'd been ignoring. I also directed them to the Ultimate Wilderness rule for Trophies. For the past couple levels the players have gone from being paupers to being premier dealers in rare alchemical and arcane monster parts.

Does anyone else incorporate treasure variants that fall outside the typical coins/magic items/art and jewelry/gems that typically inhabit fantasy adventures?

Ironically I'm in the exact same boat, just with more experienced players. At low levels and veteran players, I could cram several small fights into an adventure and make that adventure last several play sessions. Unfortunately the PCs are now 8th level, the players have been at this home campaign for nearly 2 years and gameplay moves at a glacial pace.

I think in my case gameplay is so slow because of several reasons. The players spend a lot of time researching their foes; sometimes an entire game session is the PCs investigating. Then there's the fact that they now have a magically-enhanced sailing ship, powerful mounts and short-distance mobility spells that make travel a snap. Between these factors, I tend to skip a lot of random encounters and get the PCs right to their intended adventure sites.

Because of the time constraints of the sessions I usually use the "5-room dungeon" formula for the adventure sites. Room 1 is an intro to the theme and most times some kind of combat; room 2 is the opposite type of encounter from room 1, so if 1 was a combat, 2 is an RP encounter; room 3 is a setback where they're near the goal of the adventure site but have to overcome some obstacle or another combat in their path; room 4 is usually the big boss; room 5 is either their reward or some kind of plot twist.

This usually results in 2-3 combats for my players in an adventuring "day." If I set any of these to CR=APL, the PCs sleepwalk through it unless dice luck is extremely lopsided against them.

To answer the OP's question, if I boiled all of this down to one encounter/session I'd likely go CR+3 to CR+4. This is based on my players' gaming experience and the strength of their builds. Also 2 of the 4 PCs have been crafting items since level 1 so between heaps of consumables and the Wondrous Items they're wearing these characters rarely go into battle with the standard strength level of an 8th level party.

To the OP, I'd suggest sticking with CR+3. Yes, you nearly scythe-critted a PC's dog but then that's what scythes are. If the weapon had been in the hands of a PC and a crit had been rolled, how would 64 damage have changed the outcome in the party's favor? Would it have made the combat a cake-walk for them?

CR is as much art as it is science. The starting point for CR was back in 3e D&D and in Pathfinder it's based on a party of 4 PCs who started at level 1 with a 15 point buy, maintain standard Wealth by Level and with that wealth hit certain obvious benchmarks in terms of stat advancement, AC and weapon enhancers, etc.

So if your PCs started with a 15 point buy and are exactly where they need to be wealth-wise, CR+3 should be a tough but winnable fight. If however your players are like mine who rolled stats that resulted in the equivalent of a 27 - 33 point buy at level 1, have slightly over WBL not counting consumables, and 3 of the four have meticulously researched builds of impressive effectiveness, not to mention having decades of tabletop RPG experience and strategy... CR+3 can even sometimes be little more than an appetizer!

How do saints work in PF? Or even religion in general?

Religion in PF:
The PF wiki suggests that Abadar doesn't have churches, he has banks. So is it a bank that's also a church, or a church that does money lending? Also the inner sea gods may be loosely bound into a group but it doesn't necessarily lay out a pantheon; in the fluff of one adventure path it is suggested that Erastilin have their own burial customs even though they have no Death domain and Pharasma is clearly established as the cannon deity of that portfolio.

If you worship Abadar, say like a patron deity of your city, and you're a cleric that gets your powers from him but you choose, say, Animate Dead as one of your spells for the day since its on your spell list... did Abadar give that to you? Like, did the king of merchants with nothing about necromancy in his portfolio just pull something out of his First Vault and imbue you with the ability to cast that spell for the day? Or does he do some horse trading with, say, Urgathoa. Or do you, the cleric, say prayers to multiple gods even though Abadar is your primary?

And then that brings me back to saints. Generally these are folks who were mortals that performed miracles in the name of their deity and were then raised to a level where they themselves are worshipped for specific reasons. I might pray to my deity every day, but when I get a cough I offer an extra prayer to one of his henchmen to fix my throat.

In that way, when you choose a patron deity to receive your spells from, do you AUTOMATICALLY gain access to all the saints in their employ? I'm guessing in PF a "saint" could also be extra-planar beings that serve the deity. Is this how you can have that one cleric Archetype where they get to pick a random Domain that has nothing to do with the cannon Domains of their patron deity?

If the above is the case, where you get a deity and all their associated "saints," do they form a little mini-pantheon? Consider that a cleric of Abadar COULD take an Archetype where they have the Protection and Animal domains, primarily venerating their patron deity as a sort of druidic defender of hunters. They might even worship a particular "saint" of Abadar who was himself a hunter and barterer who miraculously used trade to assuage war and performed miracles.

Would that be cannon, since the PC still worships Abadar and just took an Archetype to get Animal? Or would that be considered a "sect" of the main cannon? If it's a sect, could it be considered heresy or blasphemy and get an Inquisitor after the PC?

And finally, what is the physical organization of these deities? Like, IRL certain religions started in one part of the world and look a certain way there still, but then as they spread to other parts of the world they took on other aspects of the cultures they were brought to. Does that happen in a world where some rare people can literally cast a spell and go VISIT their actual patron deity?

I guess what I'm saying is, if worship of Sarenrae began among tribal desert wanderers, but then ages later it's thriving outside the decidedly medieval-Europe-inspired towns of, say, Varisia, would they STILL wear silks and dance with a scimitar? Like, maybe they have adapted Dervish Dancing with hand sickles (because farmers primarily worship the goddess of the sun here) and their garb is decidedly more Cossack-inspired.

To that end, who in the organization or the "church" of Sarenrae would decide that one group or another is "doing it wrong" and send an Inquisitor to end the non-cannon behavior? Is there, like, a holy-mother-church in Qadria (or whichever region of Golarion the Sarenites hail from originally) or is it more regional?

Phew, I'm sorry for that.

Quixote wrote:
Mysterious Stranger wrote:
Any reason you cannot use the aid other on the WIS check?

Can't see why not.

Though if it's a matter of understanding complex theological discussion, then it should be Knowledge (religion).

Bible study?

The OP said the PCs' cohort was going to be doing the research. The OP also said there would be a war brewing, possibly even taking place, if reading this book and interpreting it correctly took more than "days." To me, this doesn't seem like Take 20 criteria, if the cohort recognizes that something in the book might influence the war. Certainly not if the NPC's study time coincided with the sounds of battle outside their chamber door!

I think a study group is a more appropriate method of resolving this. Based on the 1 minute/page ruling, a single book the size of a spellbook (100 pages) would require a little over 33 hours of study - maybe 5 days (rounding up).

Four PCs pooling their Wis checks, casting spells to boost said checks and generally aiding one another in discussions, all in an effort to work WITH the cohort, could get the same study done with 4 +2's to the cohort's eventual check, which could further be boosted by a spell or spells on them, in an hour and 40 minutes.

Now that's 100 pages. I don't know how long the OP's book is. The only challenge is that DC 25.

For guaranteed success, we'd want the main purveyor of the tome to have a Wis of at least 18 or better as a starting point. From there consider the 4 Aid Another bonuses of the PCs getting us another +8. Add in, perhaps Owl's Wisdom (+2) and a Guidance spell (+1) and all totaled you're looking at a +11 on top of the main reader's at least +4.

All of that... and you're still only looking at a +15, meaning the NPC has to roll a 10 or higher on their Wis check.

There are other things that can add into this check however. The OP said it was an "urban" war. Is the research occurring in a settlement? Does the location have a Settlement stat block? This may also give a bonus to their check from the Lore bonus/penalty in the Settlement's stat block.

Do we have access to the Downtime rules from Ultimate Campaign? Spending Capital can grant a bonus similar to Aid Another on checks made in a settlement and since they are considered Aid Another bonuses they should stack with the party's work. Also there is a Room called a Book Repository that can grant bonuses to research based on the Knowledge type they're aligned to; one aligned to Knowledge: Religion may grant an additional +2.

But that's all numbers, rules; what would it LOOK like?

The heroes have sequestered themselves in their sanctum, in the center of the city. Tensions are high between the warring factions; a powder keg waiting for a spark. But yet, there is the tome and its wisdom may yet quell the hateful rage threatening to destroy this place from within!

The morning was spent scouring the city, begging and borrowing, calling in favors from every corner of the metropolis, desperately seeking any scrap of lore or wisened tale on the teachings of this mysterious goddess. Hours disappear in desperate discussion, pouring over this archaic tome. Notes hastily scribbled, debates fought and their own tensions fraying. Spells, meant to expand their minds and ease their hearts are cast upon the group, all in an effort to keep going, keep reading, find the truth in the forest of fictions before them.

Late in the evening their cohort, learned scholar and trusted ally, suddenly stands, eyes widening. "I have it!" they bellow with rising glee, "I have it!" All of their work, the discussions, arguments... all of it has come to this. Amid a sea of scrolls, stacks of books in every direction, finally the answer comes!

1 person marked this as a favorite.

At level 1 the Cleric of the Sidewalk God could gain Expeditious Construction as a Domain spell. This spell is meant to make low walls, 3' tall by 3' wide by 10' long, 1 section per every 3 levels, but in the description it says "or other simple structure." What if the cleric creates a section of sidewalk, 5' wide by 6" tall by 10' long, for every 3 levels?

54. The All Knowing Trash Heap
Passing through a park area overseen or occupied by a family of three ogres or thawns (depending on setting), visitors can gain audience with Marjore, the All Knowing Trash Heap (oytugh oracle 6). She is accompanied by her awakened rat minions, Phylo and Gunge, and can either serve as purveyor of "potions" (edible pieces of garbage infused with a spell effect delivered upon consumption) or simply a provider of great wisdom. She is known as the "trash heap" because Marjore has formed a symbiotic relationship with the pile of garbage that perpetually surrounds her. Visitors seeking her aid are required to bring payment for Marjore's services along with some bit of trash to add to the heap.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Steve Geddes wrote:

Id run lots if I could. My players can barely manage 3 hours a werk though.

That leaves me twiddling my thumbs in the intervening days. There's only so many times I can read a PF1 book though and I'm sure there'll be fewer and fewer rules discussions to read.

Gaming has shifted in my case - not by choice but rather through getting older. Ongoing support and debate is what I have so I'll follow where that is.

So what you're missing is human contact, socialization... you miss spending more time with people, in regards to this game? Unfortunately as we get older all of us are going to run into this and it has nothing to do with the edition we're playing.

I can relate Steve-o-G because my own gaming has dwindled to 3 hours, 1/week. Because of folks personal lives, kids, significant others etc, we sometimes start late, finish early, or skip game nights altogether. I'm lucky to have the little table time I have.

All we can do is adapt though. Find other social outlets. Maybe dive into PF2 or D&D5e? If not, crack out some old board games and try to get folks together around that. I'm lucky to have a gaming company a HQ a few miles from my house and they have a store/gaming space that is open to the public. If I'm ever in need of a game I can drop into one of the open nights and play one of their games, jump into a new RPG, etc.

We must grow. We must strive for the things we want. If we want more friend time, we have to get after it. Maybe this edition change isn't a negative; maybe it's the kick in the pants we need to go make new friends, start new adventures?

After asking the realistic questions: why was the city sited here, who built it, and what natural resources does it have, I then find myself falling back on random generation. I grab the Settlement tables in the GMs Guide, roll some dice, and decide what the qualities are, overall alignment, etc.

Sometimes for individual districts I might roll those up like smaller Settlements within the city instead. Like, say I'm going to divide a Large City into 6 districts; I might roll one of those up like a Village or Small Town, with a quality or 2, the district's general alignment, make up 3 interesting NPCs and so on.

Honestly I don't put a ton of planning or thought into them lately since my players don't really care. Consider what your players are actually going to use the city for, and how they've used other settlements in the past, then add that level of setting detail. If players see a Large Town in your game as "the loot exchange where we get rumors and missions from our Gather Information checks" then it won't matter how meticulously you've planned your districts.

On the other hand if your players doodle images of noble pennants hanging over NPC castles, take copious notes on the history of your setting and generally memorize every shop owner they encounter, it might be worth your time to lay out your city with care.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

My players... *sighs like a French art film* ... are meticulous planners. I run a homebrew hex crawl type game and have tried handing out false and true rumors for adventures.

Most of these they ferret out in the "planning" phase of the adventure. It's like DMing an episode of a formulaic TV show: the PCs get wind of something the party is interested in. The next part of the "episode" involves all four making Gather Info checks around town, getting supporting details, going to local churches/libraries/sages to research the lore involved, summoning animals of the wild or bug scouts to scour the area, and so on.

The last time I tried a false rumor the players rooted out the falsehood before they'd even gotten after the "dragon" that was terrorizing the locals. Turned out to be a Scooby Doo type situation where the noble was trying to keep folks from going near a particular mine where the corrupt baron was making deals with kobolds.

I mean, if my players are having fun then I can't fault them, but being the old skool type GM that I am, sometimes I wish they'd just go to site x, kick open some doors and adventure.

RA is a nightmare. A big, brutal nightmare. Not only for the PCs, for obvious reasons, but for a GM of older, seasoned players.

Using the PF system my players traveled hundreds of miles from Endholme to the south, gathering info along the way. A few high rolls with Diplomacy, Knowledge: History, Geography and Local told the PCs some of the lore around the Forest of Good Hope and the Dungeon of Graves. They made one delve, found some loot and nearly all died, and then turned the campaign BACK towards Endholme.

So much for my RA campaign.

Hugo Rune wrote:

I must admit that from the OP's description I see no impetus to explore the area.

If the campaign is literally wander around the wilderness until you bump into a random monster then there isn't much motivation to leave home.

Some obvious hooks would be:
1. Party accepts a commission to survey the area for potential resources.
2. Humanoids or a monster is raiding an area and the party is commissioned to find and exterminate the raiders.

The most obvious one would be to make it personal. The cult has decided that one or more of the characters' businesses are required in some shape or form to further their goals. What this is will depend on the business and the cult's goals but the cult would force the party to react and hopefully you are on your way.

You're partially right HR Puff n Stuff; currently there's no impetus to explore the wilds.

When the campaign first began, the mandate from the adventurer's guild was that the characters were to expand the area which they monitor, positioning the adventurer's guild as a kind of police force.

Since then, the guild has monitored (with the characters' help) and then called them in for missions: the party initially explored one hex, found a ruined tower, and conquered it over the course of a few sessions. When they returned to the city they

1. Set up businesses in town

2. Investigated a cult from one PC's backstory, that was operating in a civilization hex

3. accepted missions from the guild that dealt with civilization

As I've said, they've explored one other hex. This was because I suggested that "fey energies" were seeping into the world and the portion of the hex they could see into seemed to be noticeably more wild than it should've been. They found an evil plant creature in league with the fey, stopped it, and then returned to their missions from the guild.

I don't want to keep handing out missions.

I definitely think I need to get a tad more "fantastic" with my game. One of the reasons most of the PCs' missions involved civilization hexes was because I took a fairly realistic, formulaic approach to their genesis.

In other words field agents of the adventurer's guild would either notice something and report it or a request would come from locals. Humanoid bandits; an evil cult; paganistic heresies coerced by the fey. All of these were things that affected real people in the area that the characters were charged with stopping.

At this point, the people are either safe for the moment or there are more level-appropriate NPC field agents dealing with these lesser threats. I need to broaden my "danger notification" system to include mid-level spells, random visitations by outsiders/powerful fey, etc.

One other thing, and here's where I kind of clash with my players, as a GM and a player I kind of accept a bit of curiosity getting me into trouble. Like, in our Reign of Winter campaign when I was a player I talked with every NPC, wandered the area around villages, followed random tracks one time, all while having no intel to go on other than what the scene provided me.

This isn't the case with the players in my homebrew.

They like missions b/c the reports and intel from the guild gives them a starting point. Once a mission gets accepted there might be an hour of gameplay up to an entire game session where the PCs are consulting libraries, hitting up contacts, reading old church writings etc, to gather every last fact about what they're dealing with.

When they finally arrive in the midst of the threat the druid and investigator kick it into high gear. The druid might Wildshape and scout for an hour in Tiny animal form; the investigator uses Fast Stealth and perhaps Invisibility to look over the immediate area. There are an abundance of monster knowledge checks, geography, and so on.

Only once the PCs feel they've exhausted every possible means of reconnaissance does the "adventure" get underway. At that point it usually degenerates into a preset formula of attack methods that maximize success in battle, tons of half-moves, Perception and Stealth checks to ensure traps and secret doors are discovered, Scent on an animal companion, See Invisible and Detect Magic are kept on deck to ensure there are no other surprises, and then they neutralize the threat and go home to collect their reward.

So yeah... maybe I just need to change my play style and accept what my players like, now that I just wrote all that out...

I have to admit I don't understand what you mean by "the matters of the actual running of the encounter." If you've got game mechanics AND storytelling down, all that's left is to just storytell your way into the encounter, then run the game mechanics as is throughout the various interactions with the creatures, hazards and so on which you've added to said encounter.

That's running the encounter.

I'd suggest more interesting wilderness dressing, but you've already got that; I'd suggest cool ways to transition between the 2 different wilderness areas narratively, but that's storytelling which you've also handled. What precisely are you wanting help with in regards to running the encounter?

You don't require a Somatic component... the S in those components. In the definition of Somatic components it states:

Magic wrote:

Somatic (S)

A somatic component is a measured and precise movement of the hand. You must have at least one hand free to provide a somatic component.

Ironically in reading the actual definition of M for Material components, and going on into F for Focus and DF for Divine Focus it never ACTUALLY states that you need to be holding these components as part of the spellcasting nor does it state the requirement of having at least one hand free
Magic wrote:

Material (M)

A material component consists of one or more physical substances or objects that are annihilated by the spell energies in the casting process. Unless a cost is given for a material component, the cost is negligible. Don’t bother to keep track of material components with negligible cost. Assume you have all you need as long as you have your spell component pouch.

Focus (F)

A focus component is a prop of some sort. Unlike a material component, a focus is not consumed when the spell is cast and can be reused. As with material components, the cost for a focus is negligible unless a price is given. Assume that focus components of negligible cost are in your spell component pouch.

Divine Focus (DF)

A divine focus component is an item of spiritual significance. The divine focus for a cleric or a paladin is a holy symbol appropriate to the character’s faith. The divine focus for a druid or a ranger is a sprig of holly, or some other sacred plant.

If the Components line includes F/DF or M/DF, the arcane version of the spell has a focus component or a material component (the abbreviation before the slash) and the divine version has a divine focus component (the abbreviation after the slash)

Thus I posit that as long as you have your Divine Focus (holy symbol) on you (and in the case of Defending Bone have the skull or femur of a Medium sized creature on your person somewhere) these spells go off as intended, not requiring at least one hand free and with no Somatic components. Thus the reason there is no AoO.

Grippli. Take the alternate racial trait Glider at level 1. You can now glide and thus "fall with style" which some Tiny sized sentient Constructs say is the equivalent of flight.

Another way to do it would be:

1. Level 3/Craft Wondrous Item Feat
2. Save up 8,000 GP
3. Craft Winged Boots - base DC 15 item creation skill check, 8 days construction time, requires the Fly spell

Now I'm guessing that to get 8k GP you'll need to be about level 5; an arcane caster or other class with Fly as part of its potential repertoire may have access to that spell at this point. Cooperation while crafting a magic item is a thing. Otherwise hiring an NPC spellcaster to lob this into your boots every day for 8 days is another 720 GP - expensive but maybe not a deal breaker.

Other races to start as would be Strix, Gathlain, Wyvaran, Syrinx, or even a kobold using a gliding wings alternate race trait similar to the grippli.

You could be a Separatist cleric of Gozreh and take the Feather subdomain as well. Perhaps your own faith lies outside the orthodoxy, rooted in druidic traditions?

Smooth jazz

Normal combat doesn't work on the golem right? What about... on it's inhabitants?

If she's a living dungeon maybe add some areas occupied buy creatures that could cling to a vertical surface - they have a Fly or Climb speed. Ideally they'd also be Small sized or smaller with a Fey theme. Gremlins and Mites leap to mind, though you might have to modify some stuff for the PCs levels.

As to how they go about defeating the golem's gate itself, I'd suggest either using a Skill Challenge mechanic or a series of riddles to further the faerie motif. Perhaps as they ascend the golem the creatures they encounter and the traps/hazards contain elements they need to complete the challenge.

5 room dungeon: The Golem of the Labyrinth

Room 1/CR 6: Beginning the Ascent - "as you approach the only gatehouse in the final wall of the labyrinth the 100' tower suddenly animates! The twin archways split and turn to reveal legs; the rising buttresses form arms holding a rapidly forming glaive of constructed stone. At the top the crenellations frame the actual gateway into the realm beyond. All along the surface of this immense creature are living vines, moss, handholds and ledges that trace a vertical path up it's surface, if you dare undertake the journey!" The CR of this first leg of the journey represents the players figuring out how to begin climbing the thing, understanding that combating the construct as a whole is worthless, and succeeding at their first skill checks if that's the path they choose.

Room 2/CR 6: The First Key - "as you scale the surface of the construct a sudden glint catches your eye from the heart of a thick patch of moss and vines to the (pick a direction away from the obvious pathway the PCs are following). Moving to the area will be dangerous and something about the flora's maddening colors strikes a chord of trepidation in you but the shine is the reflection of light off of a crystalline key embedded in the living wall" Throw in a CR 6 Hazard or perhaps a pair of Advanced Assassin Vines or something, guarding the key

Room 3/CR 7: The Gremlins' Key - "the tinkling sound of crystal on stone alert you to another key, this one hanging from a thong bound to the masonry on the underside of an overhang above. A difficult climb, to be certain. As you spy it you (choose a PC who might have an obvious lack of Will save, such as someone dressed as a fighter), feel a growing need to possess the key at all costs" pit the PCs against a group of Erinat Gremlins, reskinned with a Climb speed but without their SR. The Gremlins try to hide in the cracks of the masonry using their Discordant Aura to weaken PCs' saves, then casting Lesser Confusion or employing their Malicious Mischief to sow disaster for the characters

Room 4/CR 6: The Pixie Problem - "nearing the top a buzzing noise reveals a Tiny, winged humanoid hovering over the break in the crenellations which had been your final destination. 'Halt! Who goes there eh? You near the Court of the Pixie Queen Minerva and only the purest shall pass!" read the CR - this is actually a pair of pixie guards standing watch over the entrance to Minerva's Court (see below). Regardless of alignment, which the pixies can read at will, the PCs are being tested by the Permanent Image presented by the guards; if they attack on sight or are otherwise aggressive the guards will do their level best to drive the characters back. Kindness and conscience however will reward the PCs in being given an "audience" with good queen Minerva and they will also be presented with a third key.

Room 5/ The Court of Queen Minerva - "scaling over the precipice at last you find that the massive turret representing the 'head' of the construct is in fact a miniature garden. Even as you put your feet to the ground the whole place seems to spring up to larger than life size and the crystalline gate at the far end fades long into the horizon. Humming and buzzing all around indicates the presence of several more pixies all hovering about the rose bushes and hedgerows that frame an imperial courtyard rivaling the beauty of any mortal monarch. Sat upon a throne of sedge, wood and vines is a beguiling female pixie wearing a crown woven of willow branches and flower chains. 'Present to your queen the gifts which you have earned, that I might allow you passage through my realm' she beckons sardonically and you feel almost compelled to comply" I didn't put a CR on this because it might just be a talking scene or it might be a fight. If violence breaks out you can add your own twists - maybe all of this isn't real and Minerva flees; perhaps this is all a trick and Minerva is having a laugh at the PCs' expense. Whatever you want goes here.

How LONG are these encounters? Do we anticipate players requiring sleep? I had a modified Lyrakian encounter where the PCs were able to enter into a skill challenge with the Azata, essentially trading stories and poems and entertaining one another; success allowed a modified version of her Traveler's Friend effect where they got an 8 hour rest over the course of an hour.

Gelfin Moss (stolen from the movie The Dark Crystal) - this moss grows in enchanted woodlands and is renowned for its healing properties. Using it in place of 2 uses of a Healer's Kit in the Treat Deadly Wounds or Provide Long-Term Care uses of the Heal skill, Gelfin Moss doubles all HP recovered and adds +1 to Ability Score recovery.

For the forest scenes, what about auras that inflict Waves of Fatigue or just general conditions, representing how the unnatural wilderness is draining the PCs' life force to feed its own? There might be a lot of Poisons you could lace the area with. A wasting disease with a supernaturally fast onset time, like say 1 hour, could be fun.

Will either scene contain fauna beyond the fey you mention might be a factor in the orchard? Even if they don't attack, you could describe weirdly twisted animals in the forest; grab some of your favorite animalistic-looking Aberration creatures and go to town! Feral, sickly animals that have been warped and yet somehow survive. Maybe throw in some kind of howling or baying that inflicts a negative condition.

Another thing to think about is landscape dressing. Pools of crystalline water, bubbling tea, honeyed ale and such could exist in the Orchard; consequently in the Forest would be bogs of liquid waste, fetid ponds of blood or even some kind of Ooze or Slime (monster or hazard). In the orchard: singing moss, fronds that braid the PCs hair as they pass, swarms of bugs that form into words or signs to help the characters. In the Forest: Thunderclap Caps - mushroom caps which, if disturbed, explode with a deafening bang; hypnotizing mold that changes colors to distract the unwary while the vines sneak in to attack; Liar Beetle Swarms that don't attack but just try to mislead the PCs.

Oh, and try and get them lost in both places. In the orchard it might just be a friendly prank as the fey giggle and then reward good-natured PCs with candy or something; in the forest use their off-course travel to drop them into hazards.

Finally, what about using the Haunt mechanics to invoke ambient memories or spiritual presence in each place? Say they wander into one spot in the Orchard and the memory of a fey revel takes place; unless the PCs make some saves they're swept up in the dance and might suffer Fatigue or something but also gain some temporary bonus like the effect of a Bless spell for the next hour. In the Forest you could really make it a Haunt with the PCs coming face to face with the vengeful spirits of victims long past.

A couple years ago I started a sandbox campaign with the premise that the PCs would be part of an adventurer's guild and go on missions into the wilderness. I also told the players that, over time, the campaign would evolve to a point where they could pursue establishing their own kingdom or settlements in said wilderness.

Initially we had 2 druids, a wizard and a barbarian. This changed over time as PCs were retired and swapped out, died and got replaced, or the roster expanded with additional players. Currently I have an Investigator 6/Wizard 2, a Druid (Swamp Druid)8, Barbarian 7/Bard 1, and a Bloodrager 4/Brawler 4.

These PCs have lots of skills based around Survival, Knowledge: Nature and Knowledge: Geography, among others. They also have several utility spells and the ability to Scribe Scrolls using found materials in the wilds (homebrew rules). With all of this, you'd think it would be a no-brainer to get the characters out into the wilderness as was the thrust of the campaign.

At the start I made a hex map for the campaign and established "civilization" of some sort in 5 hexes, representing the main city and hinterlands to the south, west and north. Outside the main city hex the other 4 are mostly settlements anywhere from a Thorp to a Large Town, scattered sparsely around the area of the hexes. This was to represent that the kingdom (more firmly established far to the north) had only a foothold in the region. Again, no-brainer, right?

So far the PCs have explored only 2 other hexes of "wilderness" in all of the campaign. These only happened when the adventurer's guild that I use as a proxy to hand out missions and spur the PCs into action required them to go and manage things in those hexes.

Since its a sandbox game I try not to force the players into missions or plot threads. I offer lots of smaller quests which develop into big adventures. Between these adventures the PCs have used their Downtime to create businesses in the main city or at least that main city hex (in the case of the druid's grove) that keep them tied to the area.

So, how do you motivate your players to just go and explore? I've seeded out several items like whispers of a cult gathering in the moors, a newly rediscovered megadungeon called Irongate that promises riches and a Blodeuwedd Queen's realm to the south but the players aren't biting.

Not only do they not explore but they're really bad at self motivating. One of the players keeps a log of all the plot seeds they know of currently. Even when reviewing these the players tend to wait until either the adventurer's guild sends them on a mission or an NPC coerces them to choosing one plot thread over another.

So how do I get these players to get out of their comfort zones and go traveling?

Hey, here's a thought experiment for puzzles next time we all get in a jam like this: wandering monsters.

So the OP says they're running a megadungeon. The PCs in the story they linked to used glaives to hack apart a creepy crypt, searching for the secret door until at last it was found. According to the story this took at least about 2 hours of the characters' lives and resulted in much noise, dust, debris and so on.

GMs have a lot of leeway in these types of situations. We can just decide certain things happen, sometimes using dice rolls to mask it as random chance. One thing that COULD'VE happened here was adding an intelligent NPC to the mix to help speed things along.

1. After the first few glaive hits, the sound echoing about the crypt, a clicking and clacking is heard approaching from the (pick random direction that enters the chamber the PCs are in). "Who disturbs Mordath, Master of the Black Blade?" the skeletal figure hisses as you turn at the sound. "You seek the Hidden Door of Secrets eh? Well, only MORDATH knows it's true place for its cipher is etched into my unliving eyes! Come fools, to your DOOM!" - PCs fight the creature (a forgone conclusion of victory based on these being the martial types per the story linked) and afterwards notice there are indeed several pictograms carved into the inside of Mordath's eye sockets. Shining a light through the skeletal champion's skull projects an image on the wall and poof! There's the secret door.

2. As you hover inches from the ceiling, hacking chunks of masonry and hoping a collapse is not imminent, a small voice cries from below "What's all this then?" Peering down you spy a (choose Small sized humanoid appropriate to the dungeon) dressed in several clashing styles, as if his wardrobe were piecemealed from several others. An oversized satchel hangs at his hip and his meager frame is adorned with bandoliers, pouches, belts and such; if not for the setting the creature before you would seem to be some kind of traveling peddler - the party is looking at Dervos, a "merchant" of the dungeon who buys, sells and trades his way through the levels. He has a few levels in PC classes, enough to make sure he can survive this dangerous place. He also should have an escape kit such as a 1/day Dimension Door ability or something just in case the PCs get frisky. Basically Dervos has something, like a map or Chime of Opening or whatever that will help the PCs get through this secret door, which the peddler will sell to the party or perhaps trade to them for their help, a magic item they have, etc.

Along with the suggestions of others such as Soupy Sales above there, this approach shows another way to help the heroes get to their intended goal. The OP asked if giving help to the party cheapens it for the players: I'd say no, so long as you're not doing it for them.

Try to play to the strengths of your players and their characters. The story in the link describes the PCs assembled as the "full BAB" types but I've had a couple fighters, barbarians and paladins in my campaigns that knew ahead of time we'd be dungeon hacking a bit and thought to take ranks in Knowledge: Dungeoneering, Profession: Engineer or at least Survival.

If you want to just handwave the glaives eventually hacking their way to the secret door, just do that and move on. If not consider the skills and abilities of the characters, the attitudes of the players and try to introduce the clues to solve the puzzle or trap in an organic way.

Lastly there can be consequences for brute forcing their way through such obstacles. These consequences can be opportunities in disguise though, as in the case of the 2 wandering monsters above. Not only do each of those "random" encounters carry with them the possibility of getting through the secret door easier but defeating Mordath could net the PCs some treasure as well; making deals with Dervos could earn the party better items or vital dungeon info.

Don't forget that Metamagic Feats can be applied to scrolls. Also don't forget that by the time Quickened Spell comes online you could have a familiar, with the right build and magic items, with a Use Magic Device of +24 (assuming a Level 9 full spellcaster). So said familiar could be reasonably expected to succeed at casting a Quickened spell from a scroll with a CL of 6 or less. Don't know if that counts as "casting a spell" but I figured I'd throw it out there.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

One other thing to consider re: loot from Random Encounters is the value of the monster itself. There's an optional rule, I think in Ultimate Wilderness, re: Trophies. If the PCs are willing to take the time they might take Trophies for cash. Other opportunities might be Poisons that can be harvested, and with a little modification on those 2 rules a homebrew rule could be made re: harvesting arcane ingredients from monsters for profit.

But why stop there?

Remember that RA is as infamous as it is lethal. Adventurers are ALWAYS looking for an edge in the Dungeon of Graves. Clever PCs might take the time to generate maps, scribe journals; sell the information gathered from their journeys to the highest bidder. Then there's the background environment of the dungeon, the "dressing." If the random encounter takes place in a hallway or antechamber, perhaps there are old Cold Iron candle stands 3' tall in niches in the walls; decrepit tapestries which, if repaired using Mending and Prestidigitation would fetch a decent profit; ancient mundane scribblings and tomes of historical note tossed aside in a pile of bones.

There are many ways to deliver loot to the party. Some of these may not be as straightforward and obvious as sacks full of coins. As a GM you might give the players a gentle nudge towards some of these and see where the party takes it from there.

The nicest thing about these "alternative revenue sources" is that it eats up time. This is one way to avoid the "15 minute adventuring day" that seems to plague many groups. If your PCs descend into a dungeon, even one as massive as RA, they may choose to only stay long enough for their powers to last. So if the arcane spellcaster has, say, 5 spells of high enough level to actually make a positive impact on the party's survival and didn't think to back that up with wands or scrolls, then they may only tarry in the dungeon near the entrance while they use up those 5 spells.

That's 5 fights say, with an average of about 2.5 combat rounds each. That's approximately 2 minutes of their day with travel between fights, pre-fight buffing perhaps and such. Then add in another 2 minutes in searching those fight scenes for obvious treasure like coins, gems, and what not contained in chests or pouches, and then say another 11 minutes of general exploration around the larger area (5.5 minutes in, another 5.5 minutes back out while using caution, checking for traps and such) and the heroes have only spent 15 minutes of their actual day having an adventure.

Now add in harvesting Poison, taking Trophies, removing expensive furnishings, sketching unique wall art or friezes, and so on... suddenly your PCs are down in the dungeon for hours. During that time they COULD grow a lot more wealthy, if they're lucky and make it back out. But also during that time you as the GM get to finally engage some of the bigger environmental rules like Cold or Heat rules, Disease checks, perhaps Forced March effects and so on.

Meirril wrote:
The GM has a responsibility to look after the interests of his players. If a character has abilities but you NEVER give them an opportunity to use them, they might as well have gotten something else.

I can't second this strongly enough. If a barbarian takes Cleave and Great Cleave but every fight scene features singular brute monsters on the melee side with ranged support well spaced across the battle map, these Feats are a wasted choice ending up with a peeved player. Several GMs find it easy to manufacture scenarios where these Feats are suddenly relevant and its easy enough to do.

So why should crafting feats or others get the shaft?

If a Wizard begins at level 1 with Scribe Scroll and doesn't trade it away, there's even ways in total wilderness settings for them to find the materials to craft with, provided they have the time. You as GM have an obligation to allow that time.

Now all of that being said, the burden doesn't ALL rest on the GM. If the crafting PC wants to make a half-dozen Magic Weapons and Wondrous Items amounting to, say, 2 months worth of crafting time, then they need to at least voice this to their fellow players and make the case for delaying the adventure while they craft. If the player(s) won't advocate for themselves it shouldn't be solely on the GM to MAKE them wait.

To that end in my own home games I've allowed small (items whose Market Value, not Crafting Cost, are 500 GP or less) to be crafted alongside other larger magic items. So, for example if you've got an Inquisitor 5/Wizard (Universalist)3 who has both Craft Wondrous Item and Scribe Scroll and the party has decided to take a week of Downtime so that a new Circlet of Intelligence +2 can be crafted for another PC's Familiar, said Inquisitor/Wizard has every right to also make a handful of scrolls using the rules governing Scribing Scrolls while performing other actions during the day.

TL/DR: I guess all I'm trying to say is I agree that we need to provide situations and scenarios that validate our players' choices with their characters. If a players is willing to take niche abilities or non-combat Feats and so on, and they make it known to the group that they WANT to use these abilities, we as GMs have a responsibility to engineer the space in the campaign.

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Not a lot of power creep? Just use the CRB. Seriously, you can create lots of dynamic characters with just that book alone. I'd also endorse (as others above have) the APG for choices.

The only other one I might suggest (if only for the Traits section) would be Ultimate Campaign. There's some alternate rules in there for gaining Contacts or Exploration as well but they might not be pertinent to RotRL.

Thing is, many of the most basic but still most often used combat or metamagic feats are in the Core. Same goes for the baseline classes, spells, etc. I've been running PF games for 11 years now and the bulk of my players' PCs are made up of choices made out of the CRB.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Monster: 1d765 ⇒ 336

So 336 huh? That's a Djinn. What can we do here...

6 people marked this as a favorite.

Life is rough. One minute you're buying one of the APs, marveling over 15+ levels of well-developed campaign and debating with online gamers about the merits of slings in the current PF game, secretly wishing they weren't so restrictive to use in some builds.

Then suddenly the shelves thin out at the game store. Your online debates no longer have developers weighing in or FAQs being created from them. We all hemmed and hawed with the grey areas of PF1, some of us DID in fact call for a 2e, but when it finally came... when the edition we were playing was slated to end...

Life is rough.

Sure we can make our own content and I intend to keep doing just that. We can also shop 3PP stuff as well. But we no longer have the thrill of seeing something from Paizo drop online or hit the shelves and then, when we have a question about the monster stat block on page 7 being able to have the creators comment on it in realtime on these forums.

It leaves a gap. One of many I suspect that lots of us have in us. I can empathize with the melancholy. Once something is gone we can celebrate it, ritualize it or enshrine it in some way but we can't deny the fact that, officially, its gone.

PF1 is gone.

But we can take solace in each other. The online community for this system is still pretty strong and as long as there's players with cash 3PP folks will likely still put stuff out for us.

I know guys IRL who still play D&D 1e, Marvel Super Heroes and other older games. The 1e folks have gotten new modules at least, after a fashion, with Dungeon Crawl Classics.

So chin up folks. Its a bummer certainly that PF1 is over, but it will live on in the tables and forums where we choose to breathe life into it. We can soldier on. We can endure.

Life is rough. We can choose to carry on through this challenge though. I look forward to the worlds and wonders you will all create and hopefully I can add to them as well.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I still come back to the 2 tactical reasons mentioned above: for one its a Standard that draws AoOs if threatened and for another the fiend may go from full health to dead in one round if PCs are well built for damage.

Beyond these there are planar reasons a GM might consider in the fiend's thought process. Demons have to answer to their layer of the Abyss and the demon that rules it; Devils have a noble boss to deal with. Both planes have a mechanism of punishing lesser fiends by stripping them of their status and power and reducing them to the primal stuff of the plane. Perhaps that's what's happening to the fiend that has to wait 100 years to return.

Then again, there's the promise of power itself. Adventurers will go to great lengths and risk their very lives for treasure. What is the commodity of fiends? Mortal souls. What if a nice, squishy wizard stood just 40' from you and you had every confidence that before his three friends turn you to dog chow you could rend the wizard's soul from his body? You might spear head for the spell caster and ignore the hazard to claim your prize.

That way, when the massive damage dealt to your physical manifestation in the Prime sends you screaming back to your home plane you could actually claim a victory, another mortal soul slain or possibly even captured! Imagine your potential promotion opportunity!

1 person marked this as a favorite.

So cursed items can be identified, albeit with a -10 penalty to the check, so I suppose you could detect THEM with Detect Magic. Spells cast to evoke curses would also be governed under the rules of using Detect Magic for spells being cast/lingering spell effects.

If being afflicted with a magical affliction curse such as Runecurse the curse itself becomes an affliction. You might be able to detect it like a disease, but I would say not with Detect Magic. However if someone offered you a cursed object that would pass the Runecurse TO you, that object could be detected with Detect Magic.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

If you're looking at Craft or Profession skills to base a career on and have a Wizard, regardless of specialization, they have Mending and Prestidigitation which are the 2 most employable out-of-combat spells you can have.

You can clean, mend, and generally maintain any small, physical object in reality. As you gain levels you can use Mending on bigger objects. Think about that - you could make a fortune just running a simple salvage company, 10 minutes at a time.

Throw in Cantrips like Create Water, Mage Hand or Spark and suddenly you have little need for much other than a basic set of tools to run a workshop. Take the Familiar option, give yourself a Valet archetype Familiar and you've got an instant helper on all your projects.

Kaleb Kimberfrost, and his wolf animal companion, Magnus.

Kaleb is a NG M Halfling Hunter 3/Warpriest (Erastil) 5. While his father endured a minor tragedy escaping Irrisen, Kaleb was raised relatively happy.

He made friends with a powerful grey-white wolf as a pup and they became inseparable; he helped his father establish a hunter's lodge and dedicate a shrine to Erastil; Kaleb became a deputy and eventually sheriff of his tiny village before feeling a compulsion of wanderlust. Eventually however snow fell upon the northern border in midsummer and Kaleb took up the task of discovering the power of the White Witches.

Needless to say when I played the character and we got to some of the more grizzly, macabre stuff that the evil NPCs do in the Reign of Winter AP, I acted mortified. I went off on one of them and even had a period of ennui through 2 sessions as Kaleb grappled with the very real horror of the lands of Irrisen.

If you're really into playing your character and acting out a role, playing a happy backstory character can be just as grueling as one born of tragedy. Its just a different kind of arc.

I feel like Color Spray is the superior of the 2 for utility beyond level 1 and the ability to affect more creature types than Sleep. The one drawback of the spell however is the range/area of effect. With a fixed, 15' cone you better have a LOT of confidence your spell is going to work. Otherwise you're a potentially level 1 spellcaster, standing 15' from something that likely has a good chance of knocking you out in one shot.

This is why I don't discount Sleep as an option. Having 100' or more distance between you and your targets is a big bonus when you might only have 8 HP. And to the point that unaffected foes can wake up sleeping ones, that means that for that round, that enemy's Standard Action is taken up.

Both still have value in my opinion. Color Spray is the best deterrent between the 2 but imposes the most risk on the caster; Sleep affects fewer types of foes but provides plenty of buffer zone between caster and enemies.

Oh, and one last thing: Sleep takes a Full Round action to cast. However you're targeting foes 100' or more away. If you START casting when the bad guys are a ways off, chances are high that they won't even be able to get into Attack of Opportunity range by the time you finish. I'm not saying this tactic works EVERY time, but it may help some of the time.

A level 10 Arcanist should not have to worry about getting hit in combat, even if being surprised. A 10th level Arcanist should have so many tricks to avoid combat at this point that it would be laughable to target them. A 10th level Arcanist could easily have Quicken Spell, either from their own feats or a rod; if your friend doesn't have this advise that they pick this up.

A 10th level Arcanist, armed with Quicken Spell, could be dropping either a Quickened Vanish (50% miss chance as well as other penalties) or a Quickened Mirror Image (multiple illusory dupes to soak up hits) right off the bat STILL allows said 10th level Arcanist to lob a fireball into the midst of combat with a Standard action that same round.

But moreso than counseling you or the player of the gnome on how improve the Arcanist's defenses, I think the best course of action is to help that whole group of gamers be more effective in combat.

Yes, new players will be eager to charge the front lines. However GMs should be applying a bit of logic to their combats too. Even in the middle of an open field, unless the PCs are outnumbered or at least even matched in quantity of foes, said enemies wouldn't be able to completely surround the party.

This means that, if the PCs aren't completely surrounded, the foes may be using this reasoning: say, there's a bunch of enemies before me and 3 of 4 are well-armed, slavering maniacs trying to hack us to pieces, but there's that ONE guy riding around back there on a mechanical bug. He looks like a soft target so I'll just avoid all these OTHER opponents and bee-line for THAT guy!

TL/DR: talk to your buddy, his fellow players, and even the GM. See if they can tighten up their tactics and the GM his combats.

Don't forget your Familiar. Seriously.

IF you choose to take a Familiar AND said Familiar has a way to open/manipulate things i.e. having hands, gaining at will Open/Close and Prestidigitation, etc, giving your Familiar a carrying device isn't a bad way to go, Familiar Size permitting.

I had a Wizard that only made it to 3rd level but she had an Owl Familiar with the Valet Archetype. She also had Craft: Leather so with some of her money at level 1 she constructed a Bandolier for the bird as well as a "masterwork backpack" stylized as a satchel with accordion file inserts.

She also made a truckload of scrolls.

Routinely She stood at the back of the party using either utility or battlefield control spells from scrolls. Her Familiar would use a Full Round action plus his at will powers from the Archetype to draw out a new scroll to hand to her. I think it helped that she took Cypher Magic as her level 1 Feat.

Anyway, the goal eventually was to put Handy Haversacks on both the bird and the wizard. It doesn't have a slot so technically the owl could wear it; the device only ever weighs 5 lbs and even at Tiny the owl's Light Load is 10 lbs. Never underestimate the utility of your Familiar.

You don't need to run the big, set piece encounter to remind the players that splitting the party is a bad idea. But then, that's what it comes down to doesn't it; the horror of splitting the party.

For the GM, this scenario presents several problems. When PCs go off in different directions, the GM has to play to 2 or more separate groups. PCs might be out of contact with each other during these events. How does the GM handle this? There might be notes that can't be read aloud until the party meets up again, or players removed to different rooms/areas so they don't know what's going on with the others, etc. This all means extra work for the GM.

There's also the OP's original concern. While there are MANY powerful builds out there, a PC is generally as powerful as, say, a CR monster of their level or maybe slightly below. So a level 3 Fighter is probably as powerful as, say, a CR 4 magical beast. This means that 1 against the other is a 50/50 battle depending on the luck of the dice as much as on build strength.

This means that 2 PCs, off on their own and found by the APL +4 final bad guy may very well be obliterated. Contrary to popular belief this isn't just about inconveniencing the players whose characters get killed. If a PC dies this event may have the effect of temporarily derailing the momentum of a scene, a whole adventure or may even disrupt the entire campaign.

Again, a negative for the GM.

From the Players' perspective though splitting the party can be a fun thrill! The PCs have a chance to showcase their superior powers and abilities, flex their might a little and steal a bit of spotlight they might not get if they're lumped in with the other party members in a fight.

What's more they can cover more ground, gather more clues, collect more loot in a shorter amount of time and so on. There are many potential upsides to the players for splitting the party. They don't necessarily see the extra work and possible strain this strategy might have on the GM, and even the most compassionate player may understand the GM's concern but may still go along with the plan because there's ONE GM and there's likely more than one player.

How we as GMs deal with this scenario owes a lot to who we are as people. There's those who just roll with it, being able to ad-lib threats and hazards that are at once challenging but also manageable for the individual PCs to chew through while delaying the set piece encounter. There are even some GMs who anticipate these scenarios, making such threats up ahead of time and having a physical gaming environment conducive to isolating players such as tables with note-delivery systems built in or a basement with several comfortable rooms in which players can be easily separated.

There's another school of thought though, one more punitive in nature. Splitting the party is a valid weakening of the party's combat efficacy so if the players so choose and we've done our job telegraphing/foreshadowing that the set piece is coming up, the players suffer whatever consequences come their way. This basically boils down to negative reinforcement; going the wrong way in the maze brings an electric shock so if the players receive enough of these they may curb their wandering behavior.

There is a third option though: make a new maze.

Yes, this is more work on the GM than any suggested above but hear me out. The PCs inhabit a strange world of gods, monsters, magic and legend. Who's to say that they, as the center of said world, don't have some kind of influence on it or, more to the point, that the world doesn't react to their decisions? If a PC decides to take an extended va-kay with Bill the NPC aboard their pleasure cruiser, who's to say that the assassins stowing away didn't anticipate this and have a contingency plan in place: kidnap the PC.

In Pathfinder, one way a PC dies is if they are reduced below 0 HP, fail to stabilize, and then lose a number of negative HP equal to their Con score. If the assassins have a potion of Stabilize plus manacles, rope, or some other more advanced restraint device they have a pretty good chance of ensuring the one PC has been captured. Said assassins now also have a very convincing argument to ensure that the rest of the party is in place to receive their final come-uppance for being nosy do-gooders; a place of the assassins' choosing.

Will the players anticipate the trap? Likely. Will they try a desperate, crazy rescue to get their comrade back? Almost a foregone conclusion. Will it be fun to watch play out? If you've planned for it, yes.

Goth Guru wrote:

38:Well of Life

Beneath a worn down mountain with copper veins in it is a chamber with a pool of primordial soup. It has been mistaken for a god named Abhoth by primitives. A stream of magma, a stream of water, and occasional jolts of lightning has resulted in random DNA and RNA. There are multiple creatures growing, competing, and evolving in this soup. Some have crawled out and are living on the land.

There are mutant plants and animals as well as interesting aberrations.

If Settlement: +2 crime and magic because any who look upon the thing gain madness and mythos, about 1-6 of each.

If no Settlement: There will be ruins where random monsters drove the intelligent creatures away.

What is "madness and mythos?" That sounds like fun!

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Double A Battery: that's all VERY good advice, both from you and the Angry One. There's one more reason to eschew variety for interesting tactics through limited design: birds of a feather.

Consider: a red dragon living in a semi-dormant volcano isn't going to have lots of non-fire surviving creatures like trolls as his minions. It's likely that the dungeon surrounding his lair contains fire elementals, red drakes, and so on.

If the PCs have done their research and know where they're going, as well as who owns the place, they will likely stock up on fire resistance and cold damage attacks. Their prep will be validated once they arrive, making the players feel savvy and accomplished.

If however you decide "wouldn't it be great to throw them a curve ball?" and suddenly drop in, say, a random ice giant, it would not only be way out of character for the setting but also be weirdly specific about all of the party's resources it negates.

So I guess what I'm adding is: monsters who are of the same type, do the same stuff, have complimentary powers/resistances, tend to work well around one another. They don't all have to be carbon copies of one another but if, say, Fear effects are going to be a constant threat the only things surviving in the vicinity should have some kind of defense against fear.

One comment I'd like to make RE: the demon helper's post and the quoted material, if your players are already seasoned vets to the game giving them multiple opportunities to work around the monsters' tactics may not be needed.

I run a game for folks who've all played tabletop RPGs now for at least 2 decades if not longer. They all picked up PF right as it came out so compared to them, I'M the newb.

Running a combat for these folks is getting harder and harder for me. I'm having to constantly invent new monsters just to give them anything to tactically consider, and even then this is pretty much a speed bump.

I try to use all three dimensions of the environment as much as possible. I also have just started dipping my toe into environmental effects, constantly resetting traps and other ambient threats to try and add challenge and interest to my fight scenes.

The PCs however have now survived and thrived to 8th level. One of the characters makes potions, another can craft Wondrous Items and the players make great use of their Downtime and WBL. Before they undertake a quest there's copious research and gearing up. by the time they physically enter the "dungeon" setting, whether a haunted forest, underground caverns or hilltop ruins, the PCs have ample resources specific to the expected threats.

Then there's their character builds: multiple forms of movement, from Climb and Swim speeds to enhanced speed and high Acrobatics for jumping are a constant; a superior ranged attacker, a superior DPS melee monster, and a well-made switch hitter to support either; a druid focused on summoning and battlefield control.

Finally, the players' high degree of gaming experience means that they break down each fight into digestible elements and take their Knowledge checks seriously. They're all acutely aware that using a Knowledge check trained requires no action, how much they can relate to one another with the Free action of talking, and how far apart they can be using a Message spell. For instances when noise/magic makes talking an issue they've even worked out a crude system with Dancing Lights.

All of this translates to the PCs witnessing the foe/challenge before them, immediately rolling Knowledge checks, and sharing their findings with one another. The players then begin brief, terse directions between each other, suggestions of possible solutions to neutralizing the threat. I've taken to counting "30" to keep them honest but this usually gives everyone enough time.

TL/DR: know your players. Know what they're capable of and plan accordingly.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Ahh, the scheming bad guy. Whether Tiny or Huge, invisible or omnipresent, it always comes down to the schemes. Y'see, all the non-detection, illusion and divination in the world only provides the villain with info... info the GM already has since, y'know, they're the GM. So what does the GM DO with all that info in the hands of their scheming villain?

Well, they scheme, right?

Now consider what you're already doing when you have a "big bad" planned at the end of your campaign. Said villain is 15th level and likely has some plans going on that don't even notice the level 1 PCs until they become a fly in the ointment. Once they DO become an issue, does the evil guy at level 15 teleport in and lay waste to the low-level heroes themselves? NO, of course not; they send some minions.

I guess what I'm saying is, lots of "big bads" are schemers capable of going invisible, using non-detection items and spying on the party without the need for "extreme subterfuge" like taking vigilante levels and hanging around in bars.

I say focus instead on what makes them a villain, rather than what powers/size category they have. If the villain is a manipulator, why not make the party of heroes its minions?

For that matter, WHY is the villain so... villainous? Is it simply a narcissistic obsession with personal power, or perhaps an elaborate revenge plot? Are they trying to save someone they care about the only way they know or perhaps pursuing an agenda for the "greater good" that only THEY have the mental fortitude to execute (looking at you, Thanos).

After all that, you could take a Human Wizard 15 with a few well-chosen magic items and WHAM! You've got the villain you need. Or a demon, or a fey sorceress, or an ogre cleric, a dragon, an advanced, awakened giant ant with levels in Vigilante... take your pick.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Umm... either change the alignment or Int scores of the creatures you want? I mean, no one says EVERY hobgoblin on the planet has to have an Int of 10, nor does every ogre have to be CE. These are the average, not the only.

Is every PC Int 10+? How many barbarians dump stat their Int? If there can be variety here there can be variety everywhere.

Personally, if you're going to re-imagine a monster as LE with low Int, I vote for Tatzlwyrms. They're CR2, Int 5, and normally N in alignment but I've used them as CE. They're JUST intelligent enough to understand speech and have a decent Wis. They're also described in the fluff as having the ability to build complex lairs and rudimentary traps.

Tatzlwyrms have a poisonous breath they can exhale up to 5' away. This poison is only a DC 12 Fort save but could still be a threat to low level PCs. However, between traps that deliver the Entangled condition or inflict penalties to movement, this poisonous breath, and their ability to pounce, grapple and rake, Tatzlwyrms are tough for their CR.

So they're descended from dragons and are in the Dragon type. What if your Tatzlwyrms descended from, say...Green Dragons? Their progenitor is LE and heavily on the cunning side, with a penchant for forests. What if Big Daddy Green mated with some ancient forest dweller, created a race of mutant, runt offspring, then used some eldritch powers known only to dragons to help these new Tatzlwyrms breed true?

Then, as the generations wore on these new creatures took on some of the personality traits of their creator. They became a tad haughty became aware of their own power, rising above some of their more animalistic influences. Never gifted with vast intellect their culture still remains fairly low-tech, governed more by superstition than fact, but the Greenblood Tatzlwyrms have nevertheless become organized through ritual and tradition.

What's worse... they're worshipped. Yes, the ancient green dragon also produced a line of kobolds. These creatures, similarly tribal, hewed to the outskirts of the woods for centuries until their "god" was destroyed by the evil mortals living in their castle on the hill. But the kobolds still commune with the "servitor race" of their god, the green dragon's divine soldiers, the Tatzlwyrms.

Shrines to the 'wyrms can be found in several places in the woods. Kobolds hold ritualistic worship and sacrifices in these sites and their shamans actually receive divine power from said worship. For this reason some of the more powerful shamans are able to coerce the Tatzlwyrms into joining forces, using these soldiers as "muscle" in their peoples' raids.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

For true cosmic horror at 4th - 6th level the big bads like the Dark Young and such are probably out. Still, for horror in general I like looking through Aberrations personally. How about some of the following:

1. 1d4 Chokers (CR 4 average) among the ruins. These could be degenerated gnolls left behind by the raiders

2. Urhags in the town, erupting from corpses. Each individually is a CR 3 so use as many as you think the PCs can handle; they are bat-like moray eel types that grapple and infest the flesh of a host, but only if the host is capable of dreaming

3. A Bonesucker/CR 7 in the lair of the gnolls. It's described as resembling a "fleshy tree trunk" so could be a spawn of Shub Niggurath. Basically its a big, tough monster in the classic sense, and it, well... sucks bones. Good thing for scavenger gnolls to have around if they don't feel like making skeletons that day.

I'd encourage thinking about some truly "monstrous" encounters like aberrations or maybe some magical beasts. Shub Niggurath is said to have "a thousand young" and is a prolific breeder deity. Most of the spawn it is described as creating however are monstrous, alien trees, but this doesn't have to be its ONLY get.

Creatures with tentacles, things that resemble perversions of trees or animals, or perhaps even monstrous humanoid types are all good candidates.

Then, think about the gnolls themselves. They are obviously a powerful group, being led by a 7th level cleric. Consider that a level 7 Cleric can summon a gibbering mouther, spread plagues of Filth Fever or create bombs of acid in the corpses of creatures they've killed. Each of those spells has a finite duration but as a GM you could certainly work around those making them into traps or cursed items or something.

Anyway, if a gnoll group has a 7th level cleric and worships The Black Goat, think of what their normal life is like. Do they only have the one leucrotta as a pet, or do they also cultivate others such as giant vermin in their lair? Do they scavenge like the typical gnolls or do they hunt and forage? Are they focused on fertility in the name of their deity? If so, perhaps they themselves have spawned several mutant offspring.

If you want to buff your allies, buff your allies; if you want to cast other spells, cast other spells... and "if you want to sing out, sing out, and if you want to be free, be free, 'cuz there's a million ways you can be, you know that there are" - C. Stevens.

Seriously though, be the spellcaster you WANT to be.

I'm GM'ing a game right now where one of the players has been frankly bullied into veering from the Magus build he worked hard on to a generalist wizard b/c the other players were worried that they wouldn't have the Utility spells and some higher-level buffs they've come to expect from other games. I counseled the players on how they could overcome their deficiencies, pointed out that some of the things they'd miss were corner cases etc. but they persisted.

In the end the Magus player acquiesced. I know he's not having as much fun but I get WHY he did it. We're still just starting out at 3rd level so it's not a huge jarring change, but it was shocking for me to witness.

Try to consider though what the reason is behind your allies' need for buff spells. On the one hand it might be something as innocent as insecurity. The barbarian might not feel their 62 average damage on a full attack is enough and they need the extra attack from a Haste spell to compete with the monsters being thrown at you.

It might be something more insidious though. Full arcane spellcasters are known to be the owners of this game, long term. Their abilities can duplicate and even exceed the effectiveness of nearly every other PC class, in and out of combat. What if you're being relegated to the role of team buffer because... they fear you?

By 5th level you can sneak better than the rogue and pop doors just as well; with the right build and a couple of Scorching Rays you could outgun nearly every ranged attacker; an evoker type at level 5 has enough raw damage to challenge even a great-axe-wielding barbarian!

Fear of irrelevance can drive people to dangerous extremes.

In the end though, I'd urge you to consider the math. If you cast X buff spell it'll add Y attacks or translate to Y extra damage/attack for an ally or allies. Measure that against if you cast X direct damage spell it would deliver Y damage to my enemy/enemies. Or, on a more esoteric level, measure your buffs against if I cast X battlefield control spell my enemy/enemies are Y% likely to resist/ignore it resulting in no benefit to my team.

I personally love playing buffer wizards. I feel like part of the team, I know my spells will always work as I want them to and there's a couple different Familiars that help this build. Plus most buff spells do just fine in fixed-level consumable magic items which means I can have loads of them at the ready on cheap scrolls or wands. Being helpful, cheerful and having the right utility at the right time is my jam!

I haven't run/played Strange Aeons but as I understand it the AP is fairly dark horror with nods to Lovecraftian storytelling and mythos. Does the standard PF Wild Magic table of effects add or detract from that? I ask because keeping a horror mood at a tabletop RPG is hard enough without jarring disruptions like a magic missile spell turning into flowers or a Stinking Cloud spell becoming one long episode of wizard-with-flatulence.

As for the randomness of Wild Magic, it isn't all THAT random. From what I remember the GM sets a guideline or 2 on how a wild surge happens, be it when a spell gets counterspelled or if the player wants to use a metamagic feat on a spell without paying for it.

Finally, a personal note on random tables: I love them as a GM, but hate them as a player. Some folks are like this. As a GM I get to toss out a little chaos, throw a monkeywrench in the gears and see my players' reactions. As a player though I like to KNOW that when I use this wand, rod or spell, THIS is what it does.

I personally allow and encourage level 1 Wizards with Scribe Scroll or Level 1 Alchemists/Witches with Brew Potion to use their starting gold crafting items BEFORE the start of a campaign. Wizards start with 2 spells and some Cantrips at will. Looking at the maths, unless the PC has optimized for damage with spells, they likely come up short in hitting average damage expected from a level 1 PC with Cantrips.

That all being said, 2 things:

1. If the player is making a PC, using the abilities of that PC, then retraining their level to another PC class, I'd flat out disallow this. The player is looking to game a system already heavily weighted in the PCs' favor.

2. If you choose to allow this kind of character building, the player and the party should be made very aware that you will have to organize your threat level around challenging THEIR specific PC.

For example, if my players take me up on all possible advantages I lay at their feet before campaign start, a Wizard can Scribe Scrolls before the first adventure. I use the Downtime rules from Ultimate Campaign and all PCs begin with 150 GP worth of starting gold.

A PC Wizard then might have generated and paid for up to 3 Magic Capital prior to the start of the game. This means that they've spent all 150 GP on said Magic Capital, but can in turn use that resource to pay the crafting costs for 300 GP worth of scrolls.

If each scroll costs 12.5 GP to craft, this translates to 24 scroll spells the PC Wizard could potentially start the game with. They wouldn't have any other gear besides clothes and maybe a club, but they'd have 24 spells plus the 2 level 1 spells they could cast in a day.

If my first adventure opened on a Wizard with 24 spell scrolls, I'd modify said adventure to include many more minor foes to threaten the party. Its likely that these scrolls don't add tons of attack spells, but it's entirely conceivable that these extra utilities extend the Wizard's defensive and out-of-combat abilities far beyond being useful for the usual 3-4 combats in a day.

TL/DR: my point is if you allow your players to use all the resources of their character builds prior to the campaign start, be prepared to modify that start to challenge what the PCs end up creating.

Craft skills and even some Professions might translate to more cheap gear than standard PCs begin with. High enough starting skill might even mean Masterwork armor if they have enough starting gold. Potions and Scrolls might also be in the PCs' possession. Imagine if the party Rogue invested in Handle Animal to justify starting with a trained Donkey Rat as a flanking buddy; they could work it into their backstory that they just befriended the thing as a pet and trained it for combat. It would be free essentially, though you could impose some kind of GP cost if you'd like, and it wouldn't be an Animal Companion, Familiar or Mount so it would be a bit tougher for the Rogue to control, but having a way to always get Sneak Attack in Melee might be worth it for them.

However if fighter starts with a golf bag full of cheaper weapons to manage any kind of low-level DR, the cleric begins with a MW shield, the Rogue has their flanking buddy and the Wizard has a dozen or so spell scrolls and hands out cheap Acid Flasks to everyone... plan accordingly.

Just remember: deities can choose to intervene in subtle ways whenever ANYONE invokes them, be it in prayer or desperation.

In the Golarion-specific deities, Shelyn is said to visit warriors in moments of utter despair on the battlefield. When all else seems hopeless there is a chance that the Beautiful Glaive will make herself known and turn the tide for those of good heart. That's how some of her clerics get started.

Also in older editions of D&D it was said that each deity had intermediaries and THESE were the ones who granted spells until clerics reached their highest levels. So perhaps at level one to gain the Cure Light Wounds spell you offered up prayers to Ra the Sun God but also to Corfru, Son of Ra, the mendicant emperor who was renowned for his great healing techniques.

In that regard, when you used a lesser divination spell you spoke with one of these intermediaries which was why there is a chance for failure. Within to Inner Sea deities, consider Pharasma.

She has in her portfolio a History/Lore component and at one time she was the deity of prophecy. If you used a divination invoking this goddess, certainly your info would be accurate right? But RAW states that you might get false info or something. So when casting a lesser divination you are in fact speaking to one of her owl-masked handmaidens who, while extremely knowledgeable are not infallible.

Finally, on the subject of Domains: consider Cure Light Wounds. This is a basic spell that EVERY vanilla cleric can swap another spell for. So if this is the case, by definition every deity can grant this to their Good aligned, vanilla clerics.

What if the deity doesn't have any Healing domain in their portfolio? If a cleric of Cayden Caileen spontaneously swaps out their Divine Favor for CLW and uses it on a party member, do Pharasma and Saranrae get peeved off?

I'd say that there is mutual agreement between deities that certain powers transcend domains, or perhaps there has been a negotiation for some powers within the domains that can be divided out to any and all divine beings. Domains are more of a mortal construct, a way to divide and classify folks, like sects within a specific faith, and I'm guessing they hold little relevance or restriction for the gods and goddesses.

Ever watch a good action film? I mean, like, something when you were a kid that sent chills down your spine when the punches and bullets started flying? Was there a musical score playing in the background?

Bardic Performance.

Ever read old Spider Man comics, back when his secret I.D. was Peter Parker and he wasn't super-angsty or an Avenger? Did you ever grin or chuckle at his quips in the middle of a fight?

Bardic Performance.

Ever heard a speech by Winston Churchill? How about some of Shakespeare's soliloquies? Perhaps even something as simple as a movie quote from a hero to urge the folks around them to get up, keep going?

Bardic Performance.

Try to conjure up the most in-the-moment, inspiring, and emotion-evoking experiences of speech, comedy, music and action you've ever experienced in media or real life. These are all forms of Bardic Performance. It could be as simple as a Skald chanting out "What makes the grass grow? BLOOD! BLOOD! BLOOD!" to a Magician singing/Ghost Sounding/Performing the slow, burning build of Carmina Burana perfectly synched to the action of the fighting around them.

I think it just comes down to one question: what inspires YOU? Not in a silly, Order-of-the-Stick way but really makes you IRL stop and pause, gives you a wistful look and makes you feel like you a just a little bit better than you thought capable a moment ago.

THAT is Bardic Performance.

As for how it gets used mechanically, Pathfinder (and all tabletop RPGs for that matter) is an abstraction. A round of combat only represents 6 seconds. You have to suspend disbelief a lot to imagine through the RAW, but the mechanics are that once you've started your BP it continues as a Free Action allowing you to take other actions such as helping keep friends on their feet with healing.

Personally I like the one Halfling Bard I conceptualized for a game a couple years ago. It was a big party (6 players including me) so I didn't figure my Small sized damage would be missed on the front lines. Instead my idea was 3 fold:

1. have a high Cha and Perform: Oratory for BP
2. take Helpful Halfling and Fools for Friends as my Traits, granting folks a +5 on Aid Another actions
3. take Feats around getting myself a Familiar, make it a Valet Familiar, trade out its starting Feat for Extra Traits, give it the Traits of Helpful and Fools for Friends
4. Take Gang Up and Team Up, Swift Aid, and other Aid Another Teamwork Feats (the Valet shares all TW Feats with me)

Over time all I'd ever be doing is making sure that folks do better at THEIR job. He'd be glib, charming, and have lots of inspiring quotes and speeches at the ready (I went and got a pocket book of famous quotes).

1 to 50 of 567 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next > last >>