Mark Hoover 330's page

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One last thing Rooty, I gotta ask: how immersed are the players in the game world, story and their own characters? Do you feel like the players feel an emotional connection to the action, or are they mechanically playing a tactical combat simulator to "win?"

I ask b/c as I've been re-reading this thread your players sound EXACTLY like my own in the megadungeon game I'm running right now. They're veteran players, both of TTRPGs in general and PF1 specifically; they've learned to exploit a lot of combat mechanics and understand resource management well; the way they explore the dungeon involves methodical Perception checks, Stealth or Invisibility, they don't separate themselves too far, etc.

The individual characters are OP. They started off rolling their stats and the lowest stat array, the paladin's, would've been a 28 point buy. Then you add in that the PCs took magic item creation feats, have had periods in the plot where they've had days, even weeks to craft, and while they didn't build for full optimization they do use the feats, items and abilities they have to the utmost.

All of that being said Rooty, these players all came to me from other campaigns that were basically combat simulators with silly voices. What I mean is, the players are all very separate from their characters and the game world. The fun they get from this hobby is when their numbers and dice rolls are better than their enemies.

So think about your players. Are they interested in the AP's plotlines and story beats? Are they engaged with the foes their fighting? Do they act out a personal stake their characters have in seeing this through? It might be that the issue you're feeling is that the players just want a combat simulation and you want something else? IDK, just throwing that out there.

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Akses wrote:
In the AP we're playing almost all the combat takes place in ruins/dungeons, I don't think any rooms have been larger than 30 squares/150 ft to a side, so the point about distance is somewhat moot without redrawing all the dungeons. A PC with haste can charge 120 ft per round, and the PC wizard can dimension door himself and both martial PCs on top of enemy casters.

Then I would strongly encourage the GM to use Cover, Improved Cover or Total Cover for the enemy spellcasters. 10th level NPC spellcaster that can be seen by the PCs? in encounter areas that small they're dead in 2 rounds.

Now imagine the golem, prior to the PCs' arrival, piled a bunch of rubble up with a hollow space inside, around the enemy spellcaster. They are essentially looking through "arrow slits;" tiny openings in the stone, but otherwise have Improved Cover. Enemy spellcaster keeps a Dimension Door on hand just in case they need to make a hasty retreat and then just hangs out using a Rod of Maximize to max the damage on whatever 3rd level spells they're casting or whatever.

The game can play in 3 dimensions; use height to the villain's advantage if you can. Putting that rubble pile hideout 40' up with no easy way to reach it will certainly slow down the PCs' tactics. Make the PC spellcasters burn their spells to solve problems, so they have less resources to actually fight with.

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Your PCs are 10th level; either combats are a slog or they last 1 round. On the point of enemy wizards though:

1. Check your spell ranges: Fireball is a Long Range spell; 400' + 40'/level. Take advantage of your spell ranges! If all your encounter zones are 40' to 80' from one end to another, enemy wizards WILL get owned.

2. Prepare: An enemy wizard casting their 1st spell on round 1? That's weak sauce; if their primary brawler minion isn't starting with Stoneskin, Bull's Str and other buffs, if that wizard can have those spells... consider other villains regardless of the AP. This is why I said above that GM's should actually pay attention to Perception checks and when the villains would actually hear the party coming.

3. Cover: I can't say it enough - some spells require only line of sight. To achieve this, the enemy wizard need only have a keyhole to peer through. My point is, if there's a way for an enemy wizard to have Cover or better yet Improved Cover from the PCs, put them there.

4. Mirror Image: such a simple, low level spell and it doesn't work against EVERY attack, but if the PCs are trying to target you with arrows and grapple checks, and they gotta find you in between 6 figment copies of yourself, you've got a round, maybe two to play with.

At the end of the day, veteran players know the system really well and APL10 or higher PCs have a LOT of resources and combat styles to use. The game is designed for the PCs to win most fights. As GMs we have to be willing, once in a while, to make a combat tougher.

I'm curious to know: where are most of your encounters taking place? I don't know the AP. What are the sizes of the encounter areas, what kind of architecture or furnishings are we talking? What kind of magic gear do the villains typically carry?

A GM has a LOT to keep track of in a combat, but even more before and after one. IDK what AP you're going through but many have multiple encounters in a "dungeon" type setting; a series of rough hewn caves, hilltop ruins with bramble walls, a rime-coated tower and so on.

Perception lists the DC of hearing a creature walking as DC 10. Many armors have an Armor Check Penalty that applies to Stealth among other things. I routinely subtract that penalty from the DC of monsters hearing the PCs walking towards them, even if the PCs aren't attempting stealth.

So my megadungeon game with the vanilla paladin wearing +2 Half Plate with a -6 ACP has a base DC 4 of being heard coming through the stone-tiled halls of the dungeon, modified by distance and obstacles. Even a CR1/4 Mite with Perception +5, standing behind a closed door, hears the paladin coming from 60' away. Generally the party moves at half speed in the dungeon while they scan for ambushes and such, so 60' gives the mite 2 rounds to prepare for a potential encounter.

Take this a step further. If the rooms or encounter areas are interconnected to one another or close enough that sound travels or folks in one area can see into another, opponents of the PCs might hear the sound of battle (DC -10, modified by distance and obstacles) or even see combat the party is involved in.

My point is: sentient monsters, NPCs, and such may very well be able to prepare for combat, learn what the PCs' tactics are and tell others. The GM can either game all of this out with skill checks or just hand wave it but whatever the case, monsters shouldn't just be in their pre-planned encounter zones just waiting for the PCs to roll up on them.

If the players are more experienced, the actual foes they face should reflect that game mastery. Not EVERY foe; it's fun as a player to whomp on a bunch of minions once in a while, but for example:

At low levels weak humanoids or fey might start with different gear. All fey for example have Simple Weapon Proficiency; why would mites arm themselves with throwing darts when they're physically strong enough to carry and load a Light Crossbow they're skilled enough to use?

If the enemies have spellcasters or alchemist types, introduce consumables: from as simple as a scroll of Bless to a CL 10 Wand of Scorching Ray, there's no reason PCs should be the only ones using these items.

Escape routes and pre-planned tactics: villains might not know EXACTLY what the PCs' skills and abilities are, but they're expecting to be attacked in their lair. They should, therefore know that if the guards in room 1 are taken out but there's any kind of warning, we'll post 4 guys in room 2 to hold them off while the rest of us head to the great hall and arm the portcullis trap; from there, we'll use the cover of the pillars and balconies in room 3 while we pepper 'em with ranged attacks and maybe some of em get squashed in the trap. If any make it through that, we fall back to... and so on.

Knowledge (Local) and general news: does the AP involve sentient monsters/NPCs who coordinate with a larger group of themselves or allies? Did any of these escape with first-hand knowledge of the PCs? Animal Messenger spells, Teleport or even just a fast horse can mean that the larger organization now knows who the PCs are, what they can do, their description and so forth. More than that a Knowledge (Local) by a creature might ID some very general info about a PC's Class, possibly even targeted info about them or their Archetype, depending on how the GM wants to rule things. Seeing a guy riding a war bull through a dungeon with a holy symbol on his shield for example might let foes know this is a Paladin of Abadar, one who has received the gift of a Sacred Mount from his deity.

My point to all of this is that foes can be played as intelligently as the players run their PCs. If the party is making knowledge checks, investigating mysteries, learning about their foes' strengths and weaknesses and then exploiting them through tactics and preparation, turnabout is fair play.

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In 1e and 2e, movement and timing of attacks were nebulous. I hated the systems/rules, but tried to use them the best I could. Since a lot of combat rules were optional though, my game was different from every other one of my friends' games. More than that, you'd get things like my buddy having a fight w/me at school and suddenly every enemy just HAPPENED to go faster than all my spells.

You can still fudge die rolls or as GM just INVENT a +2 on a roll if you need to, but for the most part rules are rules, at every table, for both GMs and the players. Make a Dex based PC with Improved Initiative and the Reactionary Trait, you're likely going 1st a lot; now you can comfortably plan out your attack strategies.

Skills, outside of Thieving Skills, weren't really a thing in 1e and 2e. There was a lot of "can I do THIS" questions being asked at our tables. You might think that's super creative, but it led to MORE favoritism by DMs, and it slowed things down while the DM pontificated, you made your case as the player, they thought some more and the resident "rules lawyer" weighed in.

In PF1 you know what your skills are, how your spells work and don't work, and so on. You aren't guessing IF your Grease spell is flammable; it isn't and that's it. Wanna invent one that IS though? There's rules for that too.

Yeah, higher level combat moves slower than 1e/2e games, I'll give you that, but I LIKE having clearly defined action types, consequences, combat rules and so on.

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You mention the backline a lot in your OP. Some thoughts:

1. Dimension Door delivery service: a 7th level wizard NPC is a CR6 addition to the fight; not much of a genuine threat to an APL 10 party. However that's 1 NPC that can bring 2 Medium creatures from somewhere ahead of the fight to the backline in a heartbeat. The wizard NPC enemy has no more actions this round, but if the 2 Medium sized foes were specialized for grappling and instantly began engaging the wizard and cleric, there goes a lot of spell support

2. Stealth: a Small sized foe with Stealth as a Class skill at around CR8 could potentially have a Stealth +20. Say for the sake of argument this foe had a 10 on their Stealth check to hide and wait for all but the backline of the party to move into the combat area; there's a good chance some or none of the PCs detect them.

3. Long Range spells: the humble Magic Missile travels 100' +10'/level. A CR8 NPC Skeletal Champion caster would be L8 in their casting class. That means from 180' away they're dropping 5d4+5 on the Sorcerer, Bard or Cleric. Use a readied action so that the damage disrupts spellcasting for extra oomph.

4. Reinforcements: I run a ton of dungeons in my homebrew campaigns and my players routinely sweep and clear them like a SEAL team, but occasionally they're either fighting outdoors or miss a room full of guards. In those cases, hearing the sound of battle is a DC 0 modified by distance and obstacles. If the big boss Rathos is being attacked and a handful of his CR7 Elf Skeletal Champion Fighter (Archer)6 guards are nearby, it could be super easy for their Hawkeye Perception checks to hear the scuffle and come running, targeting the Sorcerer with 4 arrows.

I get that you don't want to overtune the fight and TPK the party or invalidate their builds. The challenge though is finding the fine line between that and handing them a cake walk, and from APL 10 on that line gets finer and finer.

Adding more numbers to the fight just makes it longer, and potentially more deadly - interesting once in a while, but not super memorable. If you want your party to REMEMBER the fight, give them reasons to:

1. Taunt your players in real time: What does Rathos know about the plot that the party doesn't? What do they know about the PCs? Pick on them, taunt them with hints or clues, try to make the players feel that, even if their PCs win this battle there are still mysteries their foe will keep from them, reminding them how far behind the 8 ball they are.

2. Play tactically: how much time does Rathos have before the PCs get to them? What resources do they have, how can they use that time? Could Rathos bar a door, scatter caltrops or hoist a log trap in place? Do they or their minions have access to longer term spells like Cursed Terrain or Symbol of Death to ward the approach with? Does Rathos have an escape route planned in case the PCs prove too much for them?

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I don't know the AP, so IDK who or what Rathos is, but I gotta assume Undead all over the place.

1. Braziers in the room/encounter area: currently they're sputtering out smoke from smoldering Smokesticks. The coals are also doused with any kind of powdered Inhaled Poison you want; burnt othur fumes, night's eye dust, whatever. pretend an expert NPC alchemist made it and up the DC if you need to.

2. Minions with spells who don't attack the PCs: take a kobold; give it 10 levels of Adept. This is a CR7 foe. If you want, give it Skeletal Champion too and push it to a CR8. Whatever the case, you've got a minion that can turn itself invisible and remain invisible while casting Bull's Strength, Cat's Grace, Protection from Good or Obscuring Mist. If Rathos can benefit from +4 Str or both a +2 Deflection and Resistance bonus against the PCs, he's got that kobold 5' from him, remaining invisible.

3. Animal Companions: if you're willing to build minions with class levels, take it to the next level and give them Animal Companions. Its a lot to manage but the AC gives the minion extra actions they can take every round.

4. Maneuvers: Dirty Trick/Blinded or Trip are great for groups. If a Large creature with a Reach weapon can pull off a +22 Trip maneuver against the paladin from 15', said paladin might be able to be surrounded by 4 minions all itching to deliver AoOs to the PC as he stands up.

5. Target the PCs weaknesses: I don't just mean their lowest save either. Someone's got a slow speed? make the party travel uphill or over difficult terrain. Do the PCs need to breathe but they're fighting undead? Flood the area, fill it with choking smoke or strangle them. If the PCs need to see hit them with every kind of Blindness-inducing attack you can.

6. Prep ahead of time, and use ALL of the villains' props: did you put a wand of Scorching Ray in the treasure of the room? Give it to a minion. Remember that a tanky paladin likely has a penalty to their Stealth from armor and detecting the sound of a creature walking is DC 10. If the villains know the PCs are coming 1 or two rounds ahead of time, make sure they've got any defensive buffs on, caltrops on the floor, etc.

7. Swarms and Trample: a Beheaded Cackling Skull Swarm is one way to go but just taking a simple Scarab Swarm and slapping a couple templates on it to make it CR6 can be a sure way to auto damage the PCs. Likewise, undead Large sized animals with a Trample attack should be big enough to grind down the PCs' HP without having to roll attack rolls.

8. Cover and tactics: a minion firing an arrow at a PC might have a +12 to hit and deal 1d8+2 damage; a minion standing behind a chunk of masonry is doing the same thing, but with a +4 to their AC. Resist the temptation to move the villains into the open, force the PCs to advance through their crossfire or AoO's. Last but not least, attack the party in waves if you can, covered by foes at a distance.

Remember that every minion you add to the fight will likely only last for a round, maybe 2; they need to be able to do something significantly threatening with a single combat round.

Don't be afraid to really gear up your enemies. Have them use treasure items if they can, or add extra potential treasure in the form of scrolls, potions and wands the villains have on them. Give the animal companions cheap, +1 armor or masterwork tuskblades or whatever.

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Ozreth wrote:

All good points that I mostly agree with, but is this why you prefer running 3.x or why you prefer playing it? It sounds like the latter.

I think my question was a little more specific than a lot of the responses are realizing.

I prefer to RUN PF1 the same reason I prefer to PLAY PF1: easy customization.

Set up a fight in AD&D or 2e, it's super easy to miscalculate and put too much in front of the PCs. I haven't run 5e but from playing it a bunch, at low levels with an inexperienced DM we were nearly tpk'd often.

PF1 and 3x make monsters easy to add classes to. More than that, PF1 has a vast array of well balanced templates to snap on as well. While I do things manually, I understand there are a couple different apps you can use to speed through those changes.

Downside, most skills outside combat-applicable ones become pretty much fluff by 5th level IMO. Climb or Swim have niche uses but are generally replaced by magic, so running any kind of skill-based encounter requires a bit more work but combat encounters are easy to build, customizable, and can remain tense through double digit levels.

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We are into the home stretch, for better or worse. Basis for my campaign has been the Lost City of Barakus from FGG, updated for levels 1-15 instead of of 1-5.

The PCs are APL 15, have the weapon to destroy the BBEG, and have entered the final area of the megadungeon. This past Saturday, they had their 1st couple of encounters in the BBEG's "prison" level.

In the original module, PCs would be APL 5 and there were some set encounters, then the BBEG. My update took one of these and warped it into a farcical hyperbole while keeping the main intent.

Barakus was ruled by wizards long ago and portions of the city fell into ruin after their fall, hence the megadungeon. In my version, PCs enter the "prison" level and are greeted by a great hall containing the wizards' last ruling council.

They are real; no illusions detected, but there's something off about them. As they interact w/the PCs, a portion of the wall opens revealing the BBEG taunting the heroes. The ruling council tells the heroes to use their weapon, defeat the evil then assembles on the far side of the hall to watch like an audience, complete with popcorn.

At this my players cast a couple spells to buff up. The BBEG moved closer and began casting a modified Scorching Ray spell, but the PCs beat the BBEG's initiative and hit him once in melee. In spectacular fashion the BBEG's body collapsed into dust, fanfare played and the ruling council clapped, lauding the heroes and bidding them take their reward.

A side panel opens revealing heaps of treasure, gold, magic items etc. At this point the players are thoroughly confused and frustrated. They begin to argue w/the council so the entire place goes black, the council figures dissolve into puddles of water and the BBEG's telepathic transmission begins.

The players get a choice, just as 6 past iterations of such "heroes" have gotten in the past: take the treasure, leave the BBEG alone, and leave Barakus; in return there will be 100 years where the magic of Barakus is "turned off" so evil won't be attracted to the region. Or, if the PCs remain to attempt to fight the BBEG and win, not only will their treasure be lost but slaying the BBEG will reveal and even greater evil that's been waiting all this time for the BBEG's soul and, once obtained, said greater evil will be unstoppable.

Oh yeah, and the last catch: if the heroes take the deal they'll have all the treasure, they'll get 100 years of relative peace and stability, but all of their heroics, their deeds, the knowledge of Barakus and so on will be lost. Once they emerge from the "prison" level of Barakus they will be unknown and their works will be undone in the land, so while they may yet live and prosper as heroes elsewhere, in this region it will be as if they never were and the cycle will reset again.

So of course the players and their PCs have decided to press on, slay the BBEG, and take their chances against the greater evil to come. The players didn't perfectly solve a riddle getting into the "prison" level so they're essentially trapped down here and if they use any "treasure" laying around this might translate into them taking the BBEG's deal so they are stuck with limited, dwindling resources.

I would suspect that our next game session will be the last of this current story. The players have asked me to keep going, up to 20th level with these PCs so there'll be an epilogue of sorts after this BBEG is defeated, but we'll burn that bridge when we come to it.

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From '80-'85 I played AD&D, Runequest, Rolemaster, I think Car Wars was in there somewhere, but by '85 me and my brother were playing Marvel Super Heroes. Yeah, we liked comics, but that wasn't the reason we played.

In Marvel and the Advanced version as well, you could make your own hero. dependent on random rolls you could make nearly anything, from a robot that turned into animals to a mutant with a sentient weapon. I know there was also Villains and Vigilantes or the DC Heroes one and whatever, but our game was Marvel.

The point was: you could customize your PC to be anything, do anything. There weren't classes and set advancements and specific spells/magic items that the GM handed out to you; as a player you had TOTAL control to make your hero whatever.

As far as D&D clones over the years, unless I was willing to play GURPS (I wasn't) you didn't really get this much control until PF1. Arguably you could customize a lot in 3x/3.5, but PF1 you could customize feats, skills, favored class bonuses, swap old spells for new on spontaneous casters, pick archetypes, take traits and so on. You could really cobble together whatever you could think of.

I agree with all the stuff TXSamila has in their 10 points above, but I'll add this as my #11 - PF1 is a game that gives players the ability to make what they WANT to make instead of trying to shoehorn their concept of their character into a generic class.

On a side note, that's why of all the full BAB martial classes in PF1 I still favor Fighter over everything else. No 1 set gimmick; tons of archetypes; loads of class ability subs to really flesh out who YOUR fighter is versus every other one. Dip a couple levels into this class or that and suddenly you've got a truly unique martial PC with plenty of character baked right into their personality AND mechanics.

As others have said, you or the NPC are only going to make 1 Craft skill check per day, so it's like having a permanent +5. The bonus type is a Luck bonus, which even stacks with other Luck bonuses so inherently more valuable than a Competence bonus.

A Mossy Disk Ioun Stone is a slotless wondrous item. It grants a +5 Competence bonus on a single Knowledge skill. It states that the creator determines the Knowledge, unlike your custom item which, as written, could give a luck bonus to ANY Craft skill 1/day by the wielder.

The mossy disk Ioun Stone costs 5000 GP; 2500 to craft. I could very easily see a GM using that stone as a model for pricing this item. This being the rules questions and about 2 weeks old at this point, IDK if this is helpful but I'd advise your GM to review other skill-enhancing Ioun Stones like this one for a baseline.

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The Ravager is a 3PP on the PFSRD site from Frog God Games. It has a built in "ticking clock" to motivate PCs to destroy it; every week it survives, the creature gains 1HD and thus, over time advances in power and therefore in other physical attributes including size. You'd have to make it CN instead of N but otherwise it might fit the bill.

Boomerang Nebula wrote:
Do you want your PCs to role play more? Or do you like them just the way they are? As things stand now, at least you know how to motivate them.

We're 13 levels into a megadungeon campaign that has been in person and monthly in the middle of a pandemic. Play has gone on literally for years. I no longer have any expectations of their style of play matching mine for the level of roleplaying I personally enjoy.

Really I'm looking for tactical advice, like not letting their high level abilities be restricted or modules/APs that I can steal encounters from. I've always been terrible at designing challenging encounters at most levels of play, but I've gotten slightly better at it for the mid levels, from APL 5-10.

I've literally not run encounters for parties over APL15. I've participated in a couple as a player, but never designed anything. I'm trying to focus on that and mining for inspiration on campaign-ending plot points beyond the campaign-ending plot point I'd already planned for the PCs by APL15.

Do I want them to engage with the setting more? Sure, but I can't MAKE them. By the time PCs hit APL3 they began encountering architecture, writing and non-magical artifacts of the ancient wizards who existed when the megadungeon was first created. It was 6 months later, APL6, when the player running the fire wizard spent a Linguistics rank on the language and actually spent specific Downtime to research that ancient culture.

He didn't do it bc his character had a thirst for lore. He did it bc I offered a +2 Circumstance bonus on some Knowledge and Perception checks if he did so. Regardless of the player guide I made up about the caste system I invented, names of the councilors the PC learned about and so on, the player still asks me to explain why certain things he sees in the dungeon are significant.

Bottom line, these players don't find plot points or have internal motivations for their characters, that is left to me as the GM. The only time the PCs do directly engage with the setting is when there is some kind of mechanical benefit for the PCs.

I can't stress enough that there is nothing wrong with this style of play. It's what my players enjoy. It just simply is not MY style of play. If I'm going to add an entirely new ending to my campaign from APL15-APL20, I'd like to prep for it now and try to foreshadow it in some way.

Phoebus Alexandros wrote:
Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
I think this is probably the direction I will take things. The players don't seem particularly interested but I don't really have any other plot threads hanging out there since I figured I'd wrap the campaign when the current BBEG buys it.
To be honest, I'm a bit mystified by your players' lack of interest in what seems like a rather intense hook. Are they not interested in the setting and the enemies that would entail, do they not feel like it takes into account their character arcs and goals, or is it something else altogether?

Ask my players, they'll say they care but they can only focus on slaying the BBEG, whichever one is in their sites at the time. Or get this maguffin. Or stop this event or ritual.

One thing at a time, with narrowly defined stakes and consequences. These players have gotten better at roleplaying over the years, but they don't actually inhabit a role. Gaming for them is a mechanical hobby, like a video game or a board game.

Their goals or arcs are thus mechanically based: build a wizard's tower, not bc I envision one in my mind's eye but because it generates x bonus for y Capital or GP. I want to hit L5 so I can get a sacred mount; I want to hit L8 bc Scout's Charge, and so on.

Now, bc of this style of play, they never go LOOKING for anything, at least, nothing specific. The rogue PC for example has owned a bar she helped build since L3. Rather than develop a guild, or even keep tabs on specific things in the city, since APL4, during Downtime, the player rolls Gather Info checks and asks me what rumors she's hearing around the bar, or occasionally she'll use Stealth and Perception to eavesdrop from the rooftops at night.

It's hard to explain in text, but the player is waiting for plot points to come TO her, not exploring them on her own, y'know? Like they never ask "are there notable dragons in the area?" and research that, but if a rumor of a dragon hit's their ears they seize on it, use spells and skills to learn all they can then spear-head an attack on the thing's lair.

So, for all the above reasons, I'll probably have an NPC they interacted with, who has ties to the plane of fire, show up at one of their doors near death. He'll explain how things have gotten crazy there and the Sultana of the City of Brass has started a planar war. That'll be the push they need to start the decision tree they need to work through to resolve specific plot points.

From there the PCs will then research, figure out what spells/items they need for planar survival, go to the plane of fire, and start fighting Mortal Kombat style up a chain of planar foes until they deal with the Sultana herself.

TR_Merc wrote:

At level 4, there can be a big difference between making the roll and not.

1d20+7+Int to make a DC 23 requires a 16 or higher, meaning a 25% chance of success vs a DC 17, which requires a 10. 50% chance of success.

Plus, at a 16 or higher, a DC 17 would allow 1 additional useful piece of information. I was trying to get an in-game reason why my character, who had been using an MW Battleaxe the entire campaign so far, would switch to a +1 dagger without metagaming.

1d20+7+Int requiring a 16 to hit a DC 23 means you have no bonus from Int. Do I have this correct?

Assuming an Int based PC has the Knowledge (Planes) skill and it's a Class skill, I'd figure the PC is at least +9; Class Skill +3, 4 ranks, and Int bonus of +2. In fact, I'd figure it'd be higher.

I don't know the area in which the PCs are encountering the barghest, but at the end of the day it is a CR8 creature. Your PCs are under WBL and only APL4 to start with, so I'm guessing this fight was being issued by your GM to either urge you to learn how to run away, negotiate with your foes, or to so severely challenge the PCs physically as to discourage or end your current plan of action in the AP.

My advice, for future encounters regardless of the DC of the knowledge checks: get your Int based PC to an 18 or better Int, pay the GP for the spell and it's costly components to have Visualization of the Mind somewhere in the party (200 GP components, but 24 hrs of +5 on Int based checks), figure a way for the Int based PC to have a Familiar for potential Aid Another on Knowledge checks, scout ahead whenever possible.

And until the GM gets you up to your WBL, start buying or making a lot of consumables. Potions, Scrolls and Wands, though they eat up actions to use, will give you +1 weapons, Bless, possibly even Divine Favor or Magic Stone for stonebows. If your GM isn't giving you +1 weapons but they're throwing such powerful bosses at you, every +1 helps.

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How many barghests are there to encounter in the AP? How common is graffiti depicting the monster, or scenes of folks sitting around in taverns swapping stories about them?

I haven't played the AP but reading entries about Sandpoint it seems fairly common knowledge that there's a couple goblin tribes living near the town. In turn, Goblins seem a pretty safe bet for a common monster to make a knowledge check for.

You COULD then make the argument that Barghests, often associated with being leaders of goblin groups, are talked about often by those who make it their profession to deal with goblins: adventurers, military folk, religious or arcane leaders, and so on. A town library, if well curated, might contain material on such creatures if goblins are frequently encountered in the hinterlands and so on.

My point is, there's an argument that can certainly be made, around Sandpoint, that "barghest" could be a Knowledge check with a DC = 10+ CR. Knowing this particular barghest is named Bob and has ingested specific sacrifices that make it even more developed than the 2 stages the creature normally has might not be in scope for that roll however.

Tables will vary. As this is the rules forum, I don't know that there's a specific RAW that will support either interpretation. I'm just saying the argument to make a Barghest common exists in RotRL.

Phoebus, the PCs are a Wizard (Fire Elementalist)13, Paladin 13, and an Un Rogue (Scout) 13. The Paladin travels with his Cleric of Pharasma 11 Cohort and the Rogue has a Bard (Busker Bard) 11 Cohort.

About midway through the campaign, the PCs began collecting lesser maguffins which would get them to the maguffin they now seek. One of those lesser quests involved fire elementals, the City of Brass and a possible connection between the wizard and a matriarch of the city. I've also planted seeds of a war on that plane which could spill across multiple planes.

I think this is probably the direction I will take things. The players don't seem particularly interested but I don't really have any other plot threads hanging out there since I figured I'd wrap the campaign when the current BBEG buys it.

For even more info, the players are vets who've played PF1 exclusively since '09, so they are very good technically. The one concession I gave them before starting is that they get to roll stats so the PCs have some ridiculously high arrays as no one rolled particularly bad. That, coupled with crafting their own items, being extremely methodical over time and just being very good at combat mechanics means that putting fight scenes in front of these PCs can swing wildly.

Thanks for the suggestions D O. For reference if folks need it, the setting is the area around Endholme in the Lost Lands setting of the Frog God Games/Necromancer Games world. As for NPCs, there are staggeringly few.

You're right, One Who Does Not Die, my players are obsessively focused on the mechanics and fighting of this game system. They like playing the system, with story being secondary. 2 of them HAVE come around a bit on this over the past year (we play monthly sessions), but this helps explain why they have so few NPC connections. In short, every campaign they've played before now they've been CN mercenary types just looking to amass personal power.

Your point about multiple conflicts at once though is a good point. Right now at 13th level the PCs have a single dungeon and regardless of its size they essentially have 2 things they have to get done: find a maguffin and also find the entry point to the BBEG's lair.

They've never really had to deal with multiple fires at once. Thanks again for the bit of advice, I'll take it to heart. If anyone else has adventures I should review or other suggestions let me know.

You're a 15 point buy, 3/4 BAB PC with limited armor options. Mysterious Stranger had some great suggestions but I want you to consider the following:

1. if you have an animal companion, you have to equip it. Barding or armor, Amulet of Mighty Fists, and other gear to protect this class feature means your PC will have to split their resources between outfitting the PC and outfitting the Companion. Plan your build accordingly.

2. You have a weak Ref save; your AC will have a weak Will save. With a 15 point buy and limited resources, you'll need to monitor how often these weaknesses are exploited by your enemies and plan accordingly, perhaps by taking feats to shore them up

Can I point out something here that no one else has? Perception is a Class skill for your, Wisdom is an important stat for your PC and by 4th level you can assume Small size (+4 Size bonus to Stealth) and several potential movement types including a Fly speed. If you're only playing Core rules, 15 point buy and splitting your resources between your PC and your Animal Companion, you're probably not going to be the big melee bruiser of your team.

Wildshape gives you the versatility to function in so many ways other than as a high Str melee with multiple natural weapon attacks per round. Since you're a vanilla, Core druid, by L2 you'll be moving through most natural environs without reducing your movement and by 3rd, again in natural environs, you don't leave tracks either. Scouting may be much more in your wheelhouse in these natural environs than for any other PC.

Speaking of movement and Wildshape: let's talk about Flanking. You're a 3/4 BAB and don't have a lot of feats - attack bonuses to boost your accuracy with your natural attacks in Wildshape will be important. Your Animal Companion is a built in flanker and Flanking gives you both a +2 to attack after you're both already in position.

Getting into a flank can be dangerous, especially w/out access to Teamwork Feats. Taking Dodge and Mobility however would give one of you the chance to move through a threatened area at full speed without triggering AoOs. That's a handy way to get both of you into a flank while minimizing the danger of the movement it takes to get there.

Lastly, a bit of advice if you find your GM is limiting your resources as a party: make consumables. You stop in a village or hamlet, visit with a roadside peddler or otherwise have the chance to buy things? Make sure someone in the party can make Scrolls, Potions or Wands, then buy the materials to make such things and make them. Often.

A cheap CL3 scroll of Bull's Strength costs 75 GP to make but ensures an extra 3 minutes of your day when you've got +2 Attack and Damage w/all those natural weapon attacks of yours. And remember: YOU can supply the spell if someone ELSE has the Item Creation feat in order to make these items. Having a bunch of 12.5 GP Summon Nature's Ally I scrolls around is a way to put living obstacles and flankers on the map if you're desperate, or set off certain traps.

I haven't run an adventure ever above level 15, and rarely make it to level 10 before real life conspires against one of my campaigns. For several years I have run a hybrid of the Lost City of Barakus and homebrewed adventures which is nearing it's natural conclusion in the megadungeon; PCs are L13 and hot on the heels of the BBEG of the titular lost city.

A couple sessions ago my players asked if we can continue this campaign after this expected end. I have to admit, this stopped me. I'd fully planned to start a new campaign in the setting to the point where I'd already started writing up random encounter tables.

Anyone have tips or suggestions for adventures between 15th-20th level? Like, I can pick some monsters out of the bestiaries and try to come up with fights but I don't have a lot of plot threads dangling out there. I do have one re: the elemental plane of fire and a war there, but like I said I didn't really revisit that, instead thinking I'd end and restart something new.

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Dex does everything else, why do we need it to do damage too? Like, I know others have mentioned this but Dex is your defense, your attack bonus with ranged attacks, your ref saves, 7 skills I think and with 1 feat it's your attack bonus for low to mid damage melee weapons. I want it to be niche to use it for damage too or else everyone planning to use a melee weapon is going to front load Dex.

The ONLY thing I'm upset that Dex doesn't do is: you can never use Dex as your attack stat when wielding the melee portion of a slingstaff. Seriously folks, you took the 1 core race that is Dex heavy, Str light and made their racial weapon impossible to finesse.

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Isn't melee DPR for Dex builds based more around # of attacks/round and add-ons like Sneak Attack though? Like, a barbarian 10 has ridiculously high Str damage, Power attack, and then 3 attacks while hasted. A chained rogue has what, potentially 5 melee attacks while hasted and, depending on the circumstances might be adding SA 1 or more times?

Like, I figured the classic trade-off for going Dex based in melee, offensively anyway, was more attacks doing less damage individually while Str based was less attacks but bigger damage per hit. And to reiterate what others have said, every class can benefit defensively from putting points into Dex, but not every class benefits from Str offensively.

Dragon78 wrote:

The poor Monk has no options for Dex to damage with unarmed strike and they are a Dex based class.

I hate that the Dex to damage feats are too specialized. There should have been only one feat that lets you pick any one weapon that is a finesse weapon(including unarmed strike and natural attacks) plus the requirements should only be weapon finesse and Dex 13.

I don't know that monks are designed for DPR. The vanilla Chained monk is designed around Str for attack and damage, Dex and Wis for defenses. As they level they get some offensive as well as a number of defensive abilities. Also the vanilla monk is slightly better with maneuvers than other 3/4 BAB attackers.

If you're building your monk for melee DPR, you want to take advantage of full Str bonus to damage on unarmed attacks and Flurry right? What am I missing?

In my own games players get to play characters they want, using skills and stats to create a fantasy that might not match their own reality. Physically weak players get to play brawny melee full-BAB types. Folks who bombed their SATs can run arcane spellcasters with limitless knowledge. Socially awkward types can play honey-tongued PCs who are masters at manipulation.

I don't demand that any of these types of players roleplay or act out exactly what their PCs are doing when they use skills and abilities they don't possess IRL. If they want to haggle, negotiate, make peace treaties, coerce enemies to their cause and so forth, I make the social contract w/my players that regardless of what THEY'RE capable of, I will respect the combo of their PC's skills, Cha, items/spells/feats being used, and the general reputation of the character in determining how successful their attempted action is.

Haggling and "verbal duels" happen in my games and have since before UC came out. I've always run them like 4e Skill Challenges, with any PCs either contributing Primary or Secondary successes. Primary is one success on the road to victory; Secondary acts like an Aid Another on someone's Primary attempt.

Early in my current campaign, the PCs got themselves a great deal on horses, then later a cart and some trade goods. Such haggling over the years has also netted them weapons, trade deals, and a couple of peace accords with evil or CN enemies. They even used a combo of Diplomacy, Knowledge (Planes), Linguistics and Perform (Sing) to coerce an elemental prince to allow the party to use a portal to just outside the City of Brass.

Quick note on WBL: a CR 1/4 mite has Sleight of Hand +9 and Stealth +13. A CR6 Lake Troll gets an auto Sunder on a PC's worn/held item on a 20 and has +14 on Sunder attempts; success means they deal Sunder damage to the item on top of their normal damage to the PC.

In short: there's ways to take stuff from the PCs. Some WBL, such as horses or businesses, don't really have much game impact. If however the PC just haggled well and got a +2 Holy longsword super cheap and the rest of the party just got their first Belt or Circlet, that longsword wielder might need to get hit by a rust monster or something.

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This is a fantasy game filled with magic. One of the Core classes has an at-will ability to detect evil as the spell. My point is that if a player lost their PC and wants to keep playing in the form of a new character, let them.

There are a million ways to write them into the existing story. If the immersion and storytelling is 2-dimensional, like a check-your-head-at-the-door kind of hack-n-slash game, the new PC just appears by magic. If the story is more of a factor:

they're a fan of the PCs and were secretly stalking them

they are a divine/profane servant to aid the PCs

the NPC is afflicted by a Geass or Quest spell and must help the PCs

a former minion of the BBEG that sees the party as a common enemy

local celebrity seeking fame, fortune and glory

I'm sure there could be more, but hopefully you see my point. If a PC is like, DEAD dead in one of my games, I have a 1-on-1 with my player. I ask would they rather stop playing the rest of the campaign, bring back this current PC or bring in someone new?

Depending on their answer I'll contrive some way to make it happen as a GM.

No gems with unique properties that translate to game mechanics, no, but in the 1st Ed DMG from D&D on pages 26 and 27 there's a table called Reputed Magical Properties of Gems. Said table indicates that Crystaline "wards off spells" and Sard "benefits Wisdom." Again, no game mechanics but there you go.

The only unique gems in PF1 I think are magic items like Ioun Stones or other wondrous items. A couple of the special materials are stone, not metal or wood, so they might be adapted to what you want but I don't know.

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PCs are 13th level in the megadungeon now. They know their final boss is hiding somewhere in the dungeon they haven't gotten to yet and also know they have to collect 3 maguffins, empower a weapon to be able to damage said final boss, and have 2 of the items for the rite.

Currently they're exploring the deepest section of the place they've found so far. Following old, charred footprints on the floor the PCs entered a series of rooms with magma bubbling up (Fort saves to avoid Fatigue every minute) and a cadre of burning skeleton/skeletal champions made from the remains of fire giants with fighter levels guarding the skeletal remains of their king and a bunch of treasure.

Combat ensued, undead destroyed, treasure acquired.

After that, PCs note a hallway behind a secret door and hear a whispered voice from down that hallway. Moving to investigate the party's movement is detected and whoever is speaking casts a spell while still out of sight and flees; loud booming footsteps far away are also heard and a door slamming.

PCs continue forward and the tunnels and chambers ahead begin filling with fog. PC wizard recognizes Guards and Wards, dispels it, and the party continues. Without the fog, PC rogue easily detects and removes an Acid Pit trap, then the PCs make it past a lone Gravesludge and up a short flight of steps to a door.

Here they encounter Festus the Mad, a paranoid wizard convinced that the feminine shaped Iron Golem he commands is actually his wife. Knock spell, door opens, PCs engage, and after taking some damage and a cohort needing a Breath of Life spell, Festus is nearly dead and the IG is slightly damaged.

The villain teleports away, managing to remove the gold wedding band from the construct's finger before disappearing. The PC wizard however just happens to have Control Construct for the day so he casts that, marches "Jocasta" the IG to one of the magma pools and lets her melt into oblivion.

One very minor thing to point out, and it's kind of negligible, is that if you're a heavily armored melee type you likely start with some kind of martial weapon proficiency. If in that case you want to sword and board with an axe instead, the battle axe costs 5 GP less than the longsword, but it weighs 2lbs more. IDK if folks even really use starting gold anymore when building PCs, but there you go.

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The Angry GM has a series on the basics of creating a campaign. The link is the intro to that series. There are also lots of other blogs or advice columns out there on creating and running your own homebrew campaign.

Your synopsis is just that: a synopsis. The characters start here, do this stuff in the middle, and end up here. You're not really missing anything but details, but again, this is a synopsis.

I'd say the only thing you've gotta decide, before you start a homebrewed campaign is: how linear do you want it to be? You've got the bare bones, know who your villains are going to be and you understand their motivations. Do you want the players stuck on a single track from the first adventure to the last, do you want the PCs to have free rein to go wherever they want, or do you want some hybrid where most PCs' decisions still lead back to the main plot in some way.

The 2 extremes are easy to map out. The hybrid is a bit more challenging and will depend on the attitudes and playstyle of the group. If the players are vets of RPGs and PF1 specifically, let them lead; if they're novices you'll need to prep NPCs, foreshadowing and clues you can plant that reconnect disparate plot lines to the main one.

Last but not least, running a long term campaign that isn't being run like an AP can be very reactionary for the GM. You might plan for an obvious clue to take the PCs from one settlement in trouble to the next, but the players might decide instead to go elsewhere, pursue a different villain or whatever. No matter how well you've outlined your game, now you as the GM have decisions to make in response to your players.

I guess it sort of depends on the kid and the story at hand. If the campaign is a wilderness hexcrawl or megadungeon and the orphaned girl has no chance to reach civilization, take the kid with me. If this is an urban intrigue game and the child has no seeming significance to the plot, place her with some kind of organization or friendly NPC with the funds to care for them.

As to the moments, days or years they were in my care, I'd cherish them. All children, even fictional ones, deserve safety, happiness and protection against the darkness of the world.

Depending on the character, this might take many forms. Reluctantly holding hands and skipping, enthusiastically singing and playing games, or gruffly bundling them against the weather even though the clothes are itchy. The one thing all of my characters would have in common is the thought that this child is precious, but also a small person and not some mewling animal or automaton.

If they turn out to be a villain in disguise, then I'll burn that bridge when we come to it. Otherwise this girl is in trouble, and they need our help. We don't exist solely for ourselves, or to fight a war, or to relentlessly seek an ancient witch or whatever. If we can't do our best to help one little girl, what good are we actually doing?

When he was found by Odin, Loki was a scared little baby on a rock left to die. His whole life he grew up in the shadow of his half brother; while perhaps his mother taught him magic or his father showed him combat, neither really heaped their love upon him.

Loki's "friends" in the movies were Thor's allies who tolerated him so long as Thor was around. By the time we meet him Loki is a conniving villain, bent on domination. The Loki we come to know in S1 however exposes his truth; it was all a facade to shield himself from the rejection he's felt his entire life.

In S2 Loki proclaims to Sylvie that he doesn't want to be alone. All through the season he seems to demonstrate a genuine care for these mortals, feelings he didn't have about anyone else except perhaps his brother. All that scared little boy ever wanted was connection, belonging, not to be left alone.

The final shot of the season broke me. That was the absolute definition of bittersweet. I'm guessing we'll get more of Tom's Loki; he's good for the bottom line after all. But to finish his arc in the series in that way, in that moment.

That was cruel, even for him that was cruel.

Senko wrote:
How do you see force energy?

with my eyes.

Narratively speaking I've described it as a variety of things: a pneumatic blast of super-dense air, a blue, glowing missile or fist; an eerie, pallid wall.

A big part of the narrative, for me anyway, is WHEN I describe it. For example, with Magic Missile spells, I never describe it leaving the caster's finger/wand/staff etc. Instead, they gesture toward a target and suddenly there are strange flashes of cobalt energy as some invisible force seems to slam said target and causing them severe pain.

A wall of force however might appear visible for a brief second when cast, then disappears from view, but when bumped into ripples with the impact before disappearing once more.

I'm liking S2 so far. Scenes like the automat, interrogation of X5 or others where there's plot development alongside moments of genuine character. I really like long, single takes like walk-and-talks that keep the tension because of the kind of shot, even when the characters are saying banal things. Like, over and over this show reveals that you can have people that act like real people while also having a riveting super hero thriller.

Some of it's confusing. Loki, god of mischief/magic guy, fights TVA in large open room with knives. Trying to piece together that Brad Wolf went back to his life on the sacred timeline long enough to make Zaniac but there's no telling how much time passed for Mobius/Loki from E1 to E2. The time loom.

The cons for me so far don't outweigh the pros. I've got the same fatigue everyone above has mentioned, but I like that the show gets back to the central premise at the heart of Marvel comics: regular people that just happen to have superpowers/tech.

I'll second BN: start with the Knowledge skills. Dungeoneering might tell you the migration patterns of Darkmantles; Arcana warns you what dragon-kin might live in the area and how to avoid them. Then there's alchemy or prestidigitation to create smells. Many creatures might be lured or repelled by the right scent and knowledge or survival could inform a PC.

As for class abilities to help with this, I'd imagine any class that can craft traps, set down Alarm spells or glyphs, craft alchemical items or has bonuses to monster lore checks would all be at an advantage. If you're in an enclosed environment like cave tunnels or dense jungle, having magic to seal off the path behind you or progress without making sound or leaving tracks would keep things from following you.

The biggest thing is that players need to anticipate this and plan accordingly. Not a lot of folks think to bring Brewed Reek with them on an adventure, but if you know you're heading into an area with mites (Fey creatures with the Scent ability) you might pick some up to obscure your path with a stench so foul it deters the mites from your area.

Maybe stop giving PCs any treasure they can individually use. If any of the PCs wear armor, don't give out magic armor; only hand out Huge or Tiny sized magic weapons; consumables with spells like Restore Corpse or Business Booms? In other words, force ALL magic item treasures to be sold for 1/2 price so you don't have to run into a problem of equitable distribution.

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Morals in a game is a 2 way street.

Lawful Good wrote:
Lawful good combines honor with compassion.

As I said, I tell my players if this is a "heroic" game and what that means for me as a GM in session 0. My expectation is that, after the game starts and the players are aware, they will actually form up some idea of the values and morals for their PCs, then stick to them unless a significant campaign event changes their outlook.

I'm not saying every LG PC has to play like a boy scout in my games, but every LG PC should have that core compassion and express it consistently. The players running those characters should be aware of this ahead of time and plan accordingly.

It is frustrating that like in Lilliyashania's assessment, players in my games only seem to consider the rights and autonomy of villains I as a GM have to put special care and attention into RPing. One guy joked that "if the GM gives an NPC a name, they're worth talking to." Like, if you're playing a good character in one of my games, it shouldn't take me tricking you into starting a dialogue with an NPC or villain.

Whatever; playstyles vary, I get that.

TxSam88 wrote:
Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
If the PCs come upon Decimus Meridias Koboldikus, father of a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife, who will have his revenge in this life or the next, desperately seeking justice but being incredibly ruthless and evil in the process, and the players learn all of this about koboldikus, they might try to reason with him, try to find common ground and maybe, over time, the warlord comes to a grudging respect for the sanctity of life.
if he pings Evil when the paladin uses Detect Evil, then I'm pretty sure there won't be any reasoning....

Matter of playstyle. Have a paladin in my megadungeon game, plays like you say. I call it the Jack Burton of paladin: "Evil? (Detect Evil says "Evil.")F*** it!" and hacks through kobold.

Had another paladin in a campaign years ago. Player started every scene with some kind of conversation and attempted Diplomacy before I called for initiative when he could. He turned both a fey and a kobold to the side of good before the campaign ended. He DID use Detect Evil, but only after opening lines of communication or if said communication broke down.

In short, no 2 paladins are the same. No 2 players are the same. Matter of playstyle.

Paraphrase from the lips of the guy playing the paladin in my megadungeon campaign: why should we run from our foes? If we skip 'em or run from them, they'll just be a potential threat later. If we negotiate with them now they can still be enemies later. Plus either we're strong enough to destroy them now, or we need to run the other direction because what creature strong enough to just kill us is going to negotiate with us?

Again, that's the guy running the paladin.

Playstyles will very wildly. Some players don't see their hobby as anything more than a board game with extra rules and never invest in the morals or ethics of it all. Some players on the other extreme are aspiring thespians who immerse themselves into a very living role where even goblins have feelings.

From a mechanical standpoint, there's spells or class abilities to tell you if an NPC/monster is immutably Evil; there are certain mindless creatures that couldn't redeem themselves or creatures literally created from Evil that won't ever see the light.

And yet...

In the show Supernatural there was a demon, Crowley, who begins as a soul broker and eventually becomes the king of hell. He betrays the main characters many times and yet there is one season where a major plot arc ends with the demon, who was once very mortal, regaining a sense of his humanity. Several times Crowley does very unselfish things and ultimately dies a noble death.

In PF1, ostensibly a corrupted soul is remanded to the abyss where it is further transmuted by the plane into a thing of pure evil. Over time that creature may attain more status and power by committing more atrocities. Somewhere though, deep in the core of that being, is the tiniest fragment of a mortal soul.

It is not inconceivable, however unlikely, that a demon could be redeemed in PF1. All it would take is the willing participation of GM and player.

I think another element, besides playstyle, is pathos. PCs meet faceless kobold guards trying to ambush them at night, it's murder time.

If the PCs come upon Decimus Meridias Koboldikus, father of a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife, who will have his revenge in this life or the next, desperately seeking justice but being incredibly ruthless and evil in the process, and the players learn all of this about koboldikus, they might try to reason with him, try to find common ground and maybe, over time, the warlord comes to a grudging respect for the sanctity of life.

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I don't know how anyone else runs their games so I don't know how morality plays into yours. Every game that I run, at session 0, I let my players know what I'm looking for narratively. I might tell the players anything goes, or this is an evil campaign, or you need to pick some kind of Good alignment and in this campaign you're trying to be heroes.

If I haven't set rules from the start or this is an evil campaign and a PC whacks an NPC because they look gross and act rude, I don't care. If however this is one of my "heroic" campaigns and the same thing happens there will be immediate and lasting consequences.

PF1 has its own pantheon based on the Golarion setting. Among those deities is Sarenrae, literally a goddess of redemption. Redemption is also a Domain and an Inquisition. If this path is so potent, so possible that it literally manifests as a source of power to clerics and inquisitors, then "heroes" should be aware of this power as a tool in their belts.

As for the consequences: arrest or sanctions by the local law, loss of reputation and respect by the populace at large, active enmity by local intelligent foes made aware of the PCs' actions, or active attempts to recruit the PCs into more evil. Sustained evil acts can lead to alignment changes which, in turn might affect some classes.

Don't know if you're still looking for ideas but oozes are fun. Alchemical Ooze Swarms are low-level swarms of amoeba-like oozes that form from the run-off from alchemical waste. You could also use Fleshwarping to great effect. Another way to think of this... consider the Umbrella Corporation from the Resident Evil series.

They were developing a virus that you could swap for an alchemical substance that would prolong and improve the host's life. They lured groups of elite soldiers and corporate dissidents into an old manor house with multiple underground levels. there were "fast zombies" as well as standard ones, that ginormous mutant hulk thing they call a Nemesis, mutated dogs; you could beef up the stats of an Akata (CR 1 Aberration), and so on.

If you throw in a ghostly illusion of a girl with a Magic Mouth effect and some kind of Fire damage "laser" trap, I wouldn't stop you! Just have fun with it.

138. Carmen San Diego

Slipslinger Style, Slipslinger Grenadier, Slipslinger Bombardment. These three feats, taken together & with all the other prereqs, let you sling multiple alchemical splash weapons as ammo in your sling. The vials still do your normal sling's damage, then also add the damage the splash weapon adds.

So if your slingstaff damage is normally 1d4+6 per bullet, now you're dealing that plus the energy damage of whatever splash weapon you have loaded and it deals 1 pt of splash damage to all adjacent creatures as well. They're not arrows but there you go.

Evil undead worshipping a dark god = Fertility? I would think Fey = fertility.

Lord and council have an uneasy alliance with evil undead for years; during this time, lord can't conceive. Recently a group of fey have entered the nearby wilderness, sensing the unnatural aura of the ruined temple and it's occupants.

If the lord is aware of the fey in some way, why would he make a secret deal to send MORE souls to their deaths for some potential fertility rite when he might instead negotiate w/the fey?

How about: the undead are growing restless as their god is beginning to weaken. They demand greater sacrifices. The lord however, with his eyes on the future and his own legacy, grows a conscience. In secret he begins grooming the adventurers; giving gold anonymously to their efforts, planting clues to guide them towards the fey and so on.

Meanwhile the noble is trying to coax the fey into a war against the undead. He will then swoop in, reveal himself as the mysterious benefactor, and beg a boon from his fey "allies" to ensure an heir.

Just because your U-Rogue (Scout)7 or U-Monk 7 is CAPABLE of reaching a Young Adult Black Dragon/CR 10 in 1 round, that doesn't mean you SHOULD charge in and attack the monster 1 time each. Said dragon has Power Attack, a BAB+12 and 23 Str fueling 6 attacks in a full attack round.

After the rogue died, had to be saved by the one and only Breath of Life scroll the PCs had purchased ahead of time, and then the monk was hit 5 of 6 times on round 2 and died, the players had a private chat between sessions about the virtues of sticking together in melee combat.

Also, glitterdust isn't JUST for blinding enemies. The BBEG in a fight against the party seemed to heal AND get stronger for 2 rounds until the party realized that there were 2 kobold NPC Adept 7 minions standing near the dragon casting spells on it to keep it going. They realized that AFTER glitterdust had been cast on several very visible kobold minions earlier in the dragon's cave lair.

I chalk all that up to overconfidence. Sometimes we're just feeling our oats as players. During those times, GMs can and WILL take full advantage.

If you use the narrative method, or setting and story have any influence on your choices as GM at all, consider the buildings in your settlement, the reasons for it's qualities. An Insular village with Rumormongering Citizens that sustains itself on agriculture probably isn't going to have a lot of wizards with spells to sell.

On the flipside, what if the town contains a wizard's academy? The secret government manipulating the lord mayor is a cabal of arcanists? The tiny hamlet is Magically Attuned to some Arcane phenomena that materializes every year in the hot springs nearby? All of these and more might mean there's a constant flow of people with spellbooks looking to earn some extra income selling access to their spells.

1000 GP limit and 2nd level casting means you're looking at a Hamlet. This is a tiny settlement with no more than 60 people there. Are they going to have both an Arcane AND divine caster in residence? Is the Arcane caster the right kind of caster to sell spells to the PC? What makes sense narratively for your campaign?

For a hard-and-fast mechanic, the 75% chance works but if I have the time and mental faculties I try and answer these three questions. With the themes I put into my homebrews, settlements the size of a village or smaller tend to have only a single spellcaster with a broad range of spells: Bards, NPC Adepts, Shamans or Witches for example. These are folks with healing or curative magic that might also combine a few utilities from Arcane caster lists.

This doesn't always mean the wizard buying spells for their spellbook is out of luck however. There might be other adventurers passing through willing to sell a spell or two from their own books; perhaps the townsfolk have old wizard scrolls or a spellbook to sell that they can't use; maybe there is a crazy hermit living in a tower near the hamlet that is rumored to be a wizard themselves.

A lot of this depends on what spell the player wants his PC to buy. Are they looking for Jump or Magic Missile, staples of these RPGs going back to the late '70's? I'll probably just handwave it. Are the PCs about to go underwater and the PC wants Monkey Fish? That might involve some scrounging around.

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This one hurts a bit more. Pee Wee's Big Adventure was an extreme favorite that united my entire family as kids, in the face of childhood trauma. Rest in peace Paul Reubens.

On the SRD, under Equipment; Furniture, it lists a small stone statue as 300 lbs. Under Equipment; Trade Goods it lists marble at 5GP/LB. So a small statue, just in materials alone, would cost 1500 GP if made from solid marble. Going by the same tables, a small metal statue, made of copper, would weigh 420 lbs but cost only 210 GP for material alone.

In short, statues are heavy and expensive.

But then, what if the PC wants cast bronze instead? Start with bronze, a metal not listed in trade goods, then instead of the thing being solid all the way through its cast over ceramic and ultimately hollow inside. It would weigh less and likely not be the same cost as copper.

In the end I'd say make up a number you think the PC could afford but would be steep. Let the PCs decide how important the statue is and if they want to somehow defray the costs by spending Goods, Labor, Influence or even Magic capital. They might also spend their own time and money creating the statue if they have the right skills.

All opponents in the Web spell take 2d4 Fire damage if the webs are set on fire. 1. have a familiar, 2. make sure the familiar has some way of dealing Fire damage that will ignite flammables. In 1 round you can deliver Grappled, Difficult Terrain, and potentially Cover or Total Cover for you, all while dealing the familiar's normal Fire damage and an ongoing 2d4 extra Fire damage.

Belafon wrote:
Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
If a foe attacks the rogue and hits her with a melee attack that also has Grab, leading to the rogue being Grappled by said attack, and also that attack would cause the rogue to be reduced to 0 HP, would the rogue move to avoid?

If I'm understanding this correctly, the rogue would be reduced to 0 HP by the damage from the melee attack. If that's the case, she could take a 5-foot step. As long as she ends outside the reach of the attacker that effectively makes the attack a "miss" so the attacker would not have a chance to grab.

Second question: if the rogue is already IN a grapple, fails to break free, then takes damage as part of the grapple action that would reduce her to 0 HP, would she move as an Immediate action?
The grapple prevents her from taking a 5-foot step, so she could not use Another Day.

You're correct on your understanding of question 1 and both your answers were what I was thinking, but it's good to have the confirmation!

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