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Edge93 wrote:
Huh, curious. Before I did not see the whole "Your Stealth init roll is also your Stealth hiding roll", esp. with how you are supposed to be able to Take 20 when Invisible, but now that you outline the text I see that. I feel like that is an unintended interaction. That or Invisible characters should be able to Take 20 on Init. XD

That’s what we have been doing in Starfox’ group. The initative doubles as your sneak roll, and Invisibility allows you to take 20 on your sneak roll.

Invisibility heightened to 4th level is one of the best buff spells available, we’ve found. Not for sneaking around, but for the miss chance and for the above take-20 on initative. It has allowed us to get most opponents frightened and prone before their first action.

Edge93 wrote:
Also small note, Frightened from Dirge and Sickened both impose conditional penalties, so they would not stack. There is merit to using both, as they have different durations and cure methods, making it harder to shake both than it would be for just one.

Necerion was also prone, and that is Circumstance. :)

But as Starfox has mentioned elsewhere on several occations, the words ”Circumstance” and ”Conditional” are easy to mix up when you are dyslectic.

DerNils wrote:

I noted this Assurance use in one of your other threads, but I think it is not intended to work like that and won't make it into the CRB post playtest. It also is one of those completely weird disconnects where being a farmhand makes you really good at tripping Monsters, but only at specific Points in your career.

Hopefully it will be changed, yes. It is extremely clunky with its three big steps compared to the the more incremental by-level DC increase for skills. But as they did not update it or remove it during the playtest, its what we had to go by when playing.

DerNils wrote:
It is a bit unfortunate that a lot of the interesting Options are hindered by the MAP, meaning they will rarely be interesting to use. If I critfish anyway, might as well do it for damage.

If you upgrade your Athletics rank ASAP you can use Assurance at selected levels to avoid MAP on combat maneuvers. You can extend the levels where this is possible if you have e.g. a bard with Dirge of Doom to lower the opponents' saves.

Many of the playtest scenarios took place at those very levels. It was nastily effective when we played them.

When we had both a rogue and a fighter, a tripped opponent had to choose between sacrificing an action to stand up and get an AoO from the fighter in the process, or staying down and getting sneak-attacked by the rogue...

DerNils wrote:
The Jumping rules are completely weird, especially their interaction with the various Feats.

Agreed. Powerful Leap and Speed 45 (Cavern elf with Fleet, Nimble and Bounding Boots) luckily made those rules reduntant for us. We used Leap, never Jump.

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Starfox wrote:

Is used often, average once per scene or more.
* Assist
* High Jump
* Long Jump

Actually, it is Aid and Leap we use a lot. (I’m one of Starfox’ players)

Assist is when you improve someone’s ”to hit” or AC in combat, and it has a bad critical fail. Jump is simply too complex too use with its odd DC mechanism, compared to Leap, especialli if you have Powerful Leap.

Consider for example Comprehend Languages:

In order to cast Comprehend Languages, you have to hear someone talk the language. That means that in the tense first moments when you meet strangers you cannot communicate with, you cast an obvious spell - which can be taken as a hostile act, as they don't know the spell is harmless. How *do* you handle this?

Edge93 wrote:
Starfox wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
As a result the usable magic items for certain levels ends up quite generic with everyone choosing the same things over and over again and then using gold to buy Trinkets (if desired - and one player did invest in several Trinkets, seeing he was playing a Fighter).
Very true! i'm looking at 4 characters for Red Flags that all have essentially the same magic items and ancestry feats. Cave elves that are as fast as they can be, wearing celestial armor and with some actobatic boots thingie.
That's... peculiar. Your players must have very similar mindsets or playstyles, or my group must be the oddball because I've seen very little such similarity at my table.

Yep, we pretty much like the same playstyle. (I’m one of Starfox’ players) We love skillfull, mobile, sneaky characters. It is also much easier to play a skillfull, mobile, sneaky character if your buddies are like that too. ;)

So, our four characters are Cave Elves because of Darkvision (if all four have it, sneaking is much easier), Nimble and Expert Longevity (one free expert skill, changeable every day!)

All have Celestial Armor (+3 Diplomacy, Fly AND no movement penalty!), Boots of Bounding for movement, and Armbands of Athleticism because they are real cheap for their level, and Trip rocks in combat. We spend very little of the money part of the starting allotment on consumables or trinkets, prefering to buy cheaper permanent stuff instead.

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One problem with Survival that makes the Survival rolls in the scenario extra difficult: The difficulties are taken from table 10-2. Table 10-2 assumes you have magic items that boost your skill. There are no items that boost a straight Survival roll; there are items that boost particular subsets of Survival, but no items that help when you roll a generic, unspecified Survival, like there are e.g for Athletics and Diplomacy.

"Starfox” wrote:

Something to be noted here is that Arami knows Lingering Composition, but despite being played in ALL the scenarios so far (yes, against the rules), she has NEVER used it.

Yes, I have Lingering Composition. No, I’ve never used it. One, I hate the exposed treadmill mechanism. Two, it is unreliable. Three, it is unnecessary. I would need its effect if I was going to cast spells more during combat while moving, but the simple truth is that Trip and Demoralize are superior options.

As for using Arami during every scenario, I’d like to point out to the readers (Starfox already knows this): I’ve retrained her for each scenario to fit that scenario’s requirement, and I have not kept any items or cash from scenario to scenario. Each scenario I’ve done a fresh equip from scratch in accordance with the scenario setup rules, nothing more.

Ancestral Longevity and later Expert Longevity do wonders in order to fullfill scenario requirements: ”Oh, we are supposed to play characters that are good at handling terrain? Well, *today* I am an expert at Survival.” (What was the name of that TV series from the 90s? “The Pretender”?)

My notes from session one are here.

Note: There may be mistranslations: My GM translated the scenario on the fly from English to Swedish as we played, and I translated from Swedish to kind-of-English as I wrote notes on what happened

== Characters ==

The characters were:
Arami, Cavern Elf Maestro Bard.
Deena, Cavern Elf Cleric of Honey, passion domain.
Frag, Dwarf Fighter.
Keyt, Cavern Elf Rogue.
The characters were played by two players, each playing two characters. All characters had Darkvision, Fleet and Nimble. Yes, even the Dwarf had Nimble, as he had been adopted by the Cavern Elves.

My GM used his Greyhawk setting to tie in with other campaign, so some dieties and place names have been changed. Honey is an old ascended player character.

== Continuing from the previous session ==

We ended the last session just as the two rocs had been killed by the characters. That meant that there were some unhealed damage: Arami had taken 16 HP and Keyt 27 HP in the fight.

It was time to roll out the healer's kit and get to work:

Frag: Treat Wounds: 19 - fail.
Frag: Treat Wounds: 28 - success.
Deena: Treat Wounds: 31 - success.
Deena: Treat Wounds: 25 - success.

So, 40 minutes later we were all topped up and ready to go.

-- Day 20 --

On Phantom Steeds, directions southwest, southwest: hills

Arami: Survival 19 - fail
Deena: Survival 26 - fail
Frag: Perception 34 - success.
Keyt: Survival - ?

Nothing interesting.

-- Day 21 --

On Phantom Steeds, directions west, west, west: The gnome village.

We arrived at the gnome village with proof of the Rocs' demise. We were happy to have succeeded at the task, and the gnomes were in a festive mood too, so there was only one thing to do: Party!

With a bard and a cleric of a performing arts goddess present, partying also meant performing, now that we had an adoring audience:

Arami, bard: Perform 29
Deena, cleric: Perform 27
Frag, fighter: Acrobatics 29
Keyt, rogue: Acrobatics 19

The performances were enthusiastically received, and we were showered with gifts and vigorous declarations of support.

In mini-game terms this could be translated to 1 Treasure Point and 2 Ally Points. Yay!

-- Day 22 --

On Phantom Steeds, directions southeast, southeast, southeast: forest

Arami: Survival 21 - fail
Deena: Survival 20 - fail
Frag: Perception 25 - fail
Keyt: Stealth 31

Needed to stay a second day in the same hex.

-- Day 23 --

Same hex.

4 x rolls, no natural 20.

Nothing interesting.

-- Day 24 --

On Phantom Steeds, directions southwest, southwest: hills, river.

Arami: Survival 14 - crit fail
Deena: Survival 25 - fail
Frag: Perception 24 - fail
Keyt: Survival 26 - fail

Needed to stay a second day in the same hex.

-- Day 25 --

Same hex.

4 x rolls, no natural 20.

Nothing interesting.

-- Day 26 --

On foot, directions east, east: hills, river

Arami: Survival 14 - crit fail
Deena: Survival 30 - success
Frag: Perception 21 - fail
Keyt: Survival 33 - success

Nothing interesting.

-- Day 27 --

On foot, directions west: hills, river

Arami: Survival 14 - crit fail
Deena: Survival 33 - success
Frag: Perception 37 - success
Keyt: Survival 17 - fail

Nothing interesting.

-- Day 28 --

On foot, directions northwest: forest

Arami: Survival 21 - fail
Deena: Survival 26 - fail
Frag: Perception 21 - fail
Keyt: Survival natural 20 - critical success!

Keyt noticed that the vegetation seemed unnaturally lush to the east.

Knowledge Nature rolls:
Arami: 12
Deena: 11
Frag: 23
Keyt: 26
The lushness might have come from energies leaking over from the First World, which meant that there might be fey or fairies in that direction.

-- Day 29 --

On foot, directions east: forest.

We decided to adopt an entirely different exploration tactic for exploring the presumably fey hex: Draw as much attention as possibly and try to attract the interest of whatever was in the hex.

So, we rolled for these not-at-all-by-the-book tactics:
Arami: Performance 30
Deena: Performance 16
Frag: Perception 31
Keyt: Stealth 19

Frag noticed that the vegetation was subtly steering us in a particular direction. We decided to pretend we had not noticed this, and followed these guiding hints, into a lovely open spot among the trees.

We found us surrounded by applauding and smiling trees. We managed to identify eight of these as treants, while the others probably were animated trees.

As we took our bows, the branches of some of the trees lifted like a curtain, and a dryad stepped out. She introduced herself as Tulaeth.

She did not want to talk at once but wanted more performances. So as Arami and Deena danced and played, Keyt sat down in the grass and tried to extract some information while pretending to make light conversation.

Arami: Performance 29
Deena: Performance 29

Both were successes but not criticals. The GM was irritated, as we had rolled very well. If we had used the DCs for a dryad of Tualeth's given level from the bestiary, these would have been critical successes instead, but the scenario used inflated DCs...

Anyway, the performances put Tualeth in a good mood, and she let us enjoy her company for the evening, as she professed to dislike messy adventurers, but love talented performers.

She claimed to have some problems with cyclopses, who had appeared about a season ago and done some logging in her forest, which irritated her.

There had been many more fey in the forest before the gnomes had burnt most of it down, but now there was only she and her treants left.

Yes, she knew where the Cyclopses lived, and could point it out to us on our map.

The lake? Before the fire a nereid had lived there, and when she left she left her pet behind. It has since grown to a humongous size.

To the southeast a dragon had recently appeared, and Tuealeth did not like the way to was eying her forest. It was the fire breathing kind, you know.

The Moonmere? Wasn't that supposed to be at the source of one of the tributaries?

She did not mind helping such lovely people, so two more ally points.

We stayed the night in her pleasant glade, and in the morning we discussed Cyclopses. What did we know?

Arami: Know Occultism 20
Deena: Know Nature 26
Frag: Know Nature 13
Keyt: Know Nature natural-1

So, cyclopses can see into the future (which gives an auto success). They can take an extra hit when they are blow 0 HP. They like to use crossbows, and in melee they can it several opponents in one hit. They talk Jotun and Cyclops, and most also speak Common: "More well-spoken than the average adventurer".

This led to a rules discussion on Comprehend Languages, in case these cyclopses did not speak Common. In order to cast Comprehend Languages, you have to hear someone talk the language. But that usually means that you cast a visible spell in the tense first moments when you meet strangers - which can be taken as a hostile act, as they don't know it is a harmless spell. How *do* you handle this?

-- Day 30 --

On Phantom Steeds, directions southwest, southwest, hills

Arami: Survival 21 - fail
Deena: Survival 23 - fail
Frag: Perception 23 - fail
Keyt: Stealth 16

This was supposed to be the Cyclopses' hex, but we could not find them. Oh well, on to next day.

-- Day 31 --

In the same hex. If the cyclopses were here, we would find them. So we thought we would start with stealth tactics to avoid confrontation:

Arami: Stealth natural 1 - crit fail
Deena: Stealth 24 - success
Frag: Stealth 22 - fail
Keyt: Stealth 35 - crit success.

So Keyt is the one that found the cyclopses' viking-style timber longhouses.
They had two posted guards, but they spent most of the time looking up into the sky. More worrying was their sabre-toothed tiger pet.

The roofs were singed. GM: "You can roll perception to see what might have singed the houses." Players: "We don't have too. We've already decided it is the dragon."

So, those two that had found the cyclopses with their good rolls withdrew. Time to make a plan.

We decided to make a pompous entrance as questing dragon-slayers. Keyt was best at crafting, so she painted a big colorful standard for us. On it was a dragon, on its back, with a big sword straight through the body. We brushed up our armor, and made sure to sit straight up in a heroic pose as we rode into the Cyclops place.

Arami: Diplomacy 28
Deena: Diplomacy assist 15
Frag: abstained from assisting, as a crit failure would impose a penalty
Keyt: Intimidate assist 30

Keyt's assist was a crit, so it gave Arami a +4 for a total of 32. Deena's assist did not stack, which was especially unfortunate as we were 2 short of a crit.

Anyway, our entrance got a "too good to be true" reaction, and the cyclopses started cheering as we entered their place.

Soon they were gathered around us, more than willing to offer any information they could.

We wanted to talk to their leader, but they had none. They had followed a prophet up into this area. This prophet followed the proper god Obad-Hai rather than the random demons Cyclopses tended to worship instead. Unfortunately that prophet had been eaten by the dragon, and they were in the midst of discussing whether they should go back to demon-worshipping or not. (Deena made a mental note to try to send some enthusiastic missionaries their way if she could. The cyclopses were not prime material for her Goddess, but there were allied cults that might fit better...)

As reward for killing the dragon we were offered a chest of gold. Well, not purely gold, but a chest of treasure anyway.

-- Day 32 --

On Phantom Steeds, directions northeast, northeast, east: mountains, rivers joining.

Arami: Survival natural 1 - critical fail
Deena: Survival 27 - success
Frag: Perception 27 - fail
Keyt: Survival natural 20 - critical success

We spotted a giant-sized helmet that came floating down the river. It had a nose-guard in the centre, so it was not a Cyclops helmet.

Arami: Society 23 - success
Keyt: Society 16 - fail

The helmet had belonged to a Hill Giant. That means that someone had given it equipment, as they were too stupid to get things like helmets themselves.

Discussing plans for the dragon, we got to roll knowledge for it too:

Frag: Nature 29 - Dragon had immunities to sleep, fire, paralyse and cold. Their frightful presence depended on age, and this one might be old enough to have one. They have good perception, scent, and darkvision, but don't have blindsense.

Deena started rearranging spells to make room for resist energy and remove fear.

-- Day 33 --

Followed the river upstream. Directions: southwest, east: mountains, river.

No exploration to avoid drawing attention from the dragon.

-- Day 34 --

On foot, direction east: mountains, river. The Dragon's hex.

We decided to use a recon tactic of mixed stealth and perception.

Arami: Stealth 18 - crit fail
Deena: Stealth 21 - fail
Frag: Perception 32 - success
Keyt: Perception 29 - fail

Frag spotted the lair in the distance, but we didn't see any way up.

-- Day 35 --

We tried to find a better way to the Dragon's lair.

Arami: Athletics 35 - success
Deena: Perception 34 - crit success
Frag: Athletics nat-20 - crit success
Keyt: Stealth 30 - fail

We found the rear entrance, a narrow path that wormed its way up the mountainside. And not only that, but while the dragon was away, the lair was guarded by a fire giant. Looking her over, she looked more of a bored mercenary than some kind of fanatic dragon cultist.

We quickly made a plan, and as usual, it was hard to keep to any kind of semblance of the official exploration rules. Ah well, we had to make it work somehow.

Deena kept a lookout for the dragon's return.

Arami would try to charm the giant, and then try to talk it over to our side.

Frag would be in reserve if the Dragon returned early.

Keyt would use the Dust of Disappearance we found with the cultists to keep close by while invisible.

== Not Quite Fight ==

-- Initiatives --

Keyt: Stealth 37 (dice counted as a 20 since she was invisible)
Deena: Perception 33
Frag: Perception 21
Arami: Diplomacy 19 (sigh)
Giant: 23

-- Round 1 --

Keyt: Delay

Deena: Delay

Giant: Scan 37 - noticed the invisible Keyt. Draw Sword. Activate Sword.

Keyt: "No-no-no-don't hurt me, I'm not dangerous!" Deception 18 - fail.

Frag: Delay

Arami: Move out in full view of the giant. Cast Charm on giant. Giant save: 18 - fail. Giant was now friendly for an hour - better reinforce it with some quick diplomacy. We noted that charm only got penalty if *we* had been hostile. That the target had drawn weapons and advanced on us did not matter. Phew!

-- Round 2 --

Giant: Wanted to use intimidation to coerce Frag to reveal himself: "Come out!" but Coerce takes a minute... Frag stepped out anyway.

Keyt: prepares for diplomacy assistance: "What's your deal with the dragon? Is it any good?" - Critical success on the support roll.

Arami: "Let's have talk! I'm sure we can offer you so much more than a stingy dragon!". Diplomacy with Glad-Hand: 35 - 5 (for a fast Glad-Hand) + 2 (for friendly target) + 4 (critical support) + 2 (situation bonus) = 38, a critical success.

Not-quite-fight over.

The giant told a sad story about being outcast from har tribe, drifting around, getting a raw deal from the dragon...

Well, we negotiated a deal with her. After some haggling, we decided that the giant would get two shares of the dragon's treasure. To her credit, she did keep a good face on when Deena rejoined us, revealing that the giant's share would be two sixths, not two fifths.

Frag kept an eye on the giant to judge her sincerity: Perception 32 - she seemed to mean it.

While Arami, Keyt and the giant negotiated, Deena cast a Sanctify Ground versus Dragons in the middle of the dragon's very lair.

We ended with a final roll to seal the negotiations: Keyt support - critical success. Arami: diplomacy 36 - crit success: It was a deal!

Deena returned to her guard post to look for the dragon: Natural 20. The dragon was a bit away, but incoming. As it was a crit, we would have two rounds to prepare.

== Fight 2 ==

-- Pre-fight round 1 --

Arami: Cast invisibility 4 on Keyt.

Deena: Move to Frag, cast Resist Energy Fire on Frag.

Frag: Move to Deena, then move to mouth of cave.

Keyt: Exit out the cave to hang on the wall just outside.

Giant: Ready action - throw rock.

-- Pre-fight round 2 --

Arami: Move to Deena, cast invisibility 4 on Deena.

Deena: Cast Resist Energy Fire on Arami.

Frag: Ready action - strike when dragon was in range.

Keyt: Ready action - intimidate when dragon was in range.

Dragon backed away slightly when it spotted us, hanging in the air 80 feet away.

-- Initiatives --

Keyt: Stealth 37 (take 20 for being invisible)
Deena: Stealth 28 (take 20 for being invisible)
Frag: Perception 26
Arami: Perception 18
Giant: 36
Dragon: 26

-- Round 1 --

Keyt: Delay

Giant: Throw rock vs dragon: 30 - 26 damage. Throw rock vs dragon: miss. Throw rock vs dragon: miss.

Deena: Cast Resist Energy Fire on herself.

Dragon: Breathe fire on giant, Keyt and Frag: Damage 43. Giant: immune; Frag save: 30 - success. Keyt save: 21 - fail, hero point reroll: 30 - success, evade.

Frag: Draw shortbow. Shoot vs dragon: 28 - hit, 7 damage. Pick up polearm.

Keyt: Stow sword. Draw shortbow. Shoot: natural 1.

Arami: Inspire Courage. Move. Intimidate Dragon: 16 - fail.

-- Round 2 --

Giant: Throw rock vs dragon: 32 - 25 damage. Throw rock vs dragon: miss. Throw rock vs dragon: miss.

Deena: Delay

Dragon: Flies away (to recharge breath attack)

Frag: Delay

Keyt: Move. Move. Move.

Deena: Cast Resist Energy Fire on Keyt.

Arami: Step. Cast Fly on Frag.

-- Round 3 --

Giant: Throw rock vs dragon: 20 - miss. Throw rock vs dragon: 29 - hit, 18 damage. Throw rock vs dragon: 18 - miss.

Frag: Pick up bow. Shoot: natural 20 - crit, 18 damage. Pick up polearm.

Dragon: Breathe fire on Arami, Frag, giant: Damage 35. Frag save: 24 - fail. Arami: natural 20 - critical success.

Keyt: Delay

Deena: Delay

Arami: Move to Keyt. Cast Fly on Keyt.

Keyt: Move. Fly to dragon. Backstab dragon: 32 - hit, 20 damage, bloodied.

Deena: Move. 1 action Heal 5 + Healing Hands on Frag: 54 HP - completely healthy again.

-- Round 4 --

Giant: Throw rock vs dragon: 27 - hit, 23 damage. Throw rock vs Dragon: miss. Draw sword.

Frag: Fly to reach distance from dragon. Strike dragon: 33 - hit, 21 damage. Brutish Shove: 26 - miss, but dragon flatfooted.

Dragon: Fly into lair. Frag: attack of opportunity: natural 1 - miss. Draconic Frenzy vs giant. Claw: natural 1 - miss. Claw: 33 - hit, 19 damage. Wing: miss. "The Dragon has landed."

Arami: Dirge of Doom. Move to reach distance. Trip dragon with whip: natural 1, drops whip.

Keyt: Fly to outflank dragon. Dragon AoO: miss. Backstab vs dragon: 29 - hit, 23 damage. Backstab vs dragon: miss.

Deena: Delay.

-- Round 5 --

Giant: Sword strike vs dragon: 25 - hit, 27 damage, killed.

Fight over.

The giant definitely deserved her double share: In the fight she had done 119 in damage, while Frag had done 46 and Keyt 43.

The giant lifted one of the rocks in the lair, and there was the dragon's treasure: 6 treasure points! As we had agreed, the giant took two of those, while we kept four.

The giant also agreed to wait for us where the two nearest tributaries joined, to help us in the final fight.

So, four treasure points and one ally point. Not bad!

-- Day 36 --

On Phantom Steeds, directions west, west, west, west. The Cyclopses' place.

We got a chest of treasure, and their promise of assistance.

So, one more treasure point and two ally points.

== Stake-out ==

-- Day 37 --

On Phantom Steeds, directions northeast, east, east, northeast, east. Mountains, cultist camp.

We did not even have to search the hex; the camp was so large that it was immediately obvious, especially as they had spread garbage all around.

There were Trolls, Hill Giants commanded by a Fire Giant, and cultists in the camp.

The GM now explained the next step in the scenario mini-game: we could collect Research Points by doing a stakeout on the camp. A success versus a DC of 31 would give two points, while a crit would get three. We would need four points.

We discussed stake-out tactics for a while, and the GM thought it was reasonable to use stealth to add some Recon, and when we discovered that Deena could cast two Prying Eyes per day, the GM thought them so well-suited for stake-out duty, that we would be able to roll for them too, even if they only lasted 10 minutes each.

Meanwhile, Arami would use her Phantom Steeds, ride back to the base camp with the collected treasure in a Bag of Holding, inform about the alliance, and ride back with the magic items we could buy for the treasure.

Our wish list for items was:
Frag: +3 Guisarme
Keyt: +3 Short Sword
Arami: +3 Studded Leather

-- Day 38 --

Deena: Perception natural 1 - critical fail
Frag: Perception natural 1 - critical fail
Keyt: Stealth 19 - fail
Prying Eye: Perception 25 - fail
Prying Eye: Perception 28 - fail

Not a good start. Total Research Points: 0

-- Day 39 --

Deena: Perception natural 1 - fail
Frag: Perception 34 - success
Keyt: Stealth 23 - fail
Prying: Perception 35 - success
Prying: Perception 35 - success

Total Research Points: 6

-- Day 40 --

Deena: Perception 32 - success
Frag: Perception 30 - fail
Keyt: Stealth 29 - fail
Prying: Perception natural 1 - critical fail
Prying: Perception 35 - success

Total Research Points: 10

-- Day 41 --

Deena: Perception 32 - success
Frag: Perception 29 - fail
Keyt: Stealth 30 - fail
Prying: Perception 29 - fail
Prying: Perception success -

Total Research Points: 14

-- Day 42 --

Deena: Perception natural 20 - critical success
Frag: Perception 33 - success
Keyth: Stealth 30 - fail
Prying: Perception 23 - fail
Prying: Perception 35 success -

Total Research Points: 21

-- Day 43 --

Deena: Perception 23 - fail
Frag: Perception 30 - fail
Keyth: Stealth 34 - success
Prying: Perception 31 - success
Prying: Perception natural 20 - critical success

Total Research Points: 28

-- Day 44 --

Deena: Perception 34 - success
Frag: Perception 28 - fail
Keyt: Stealth 33 - success
Prying: Perception 29 - failure
Prying: Perception 33 - success

Total Research Points: 34

-- Day 44 --

Deena: Perception 34 - success
Frag: Perception 29 - fail
Keyth: Stealth 19 - critical failure
Prying: Perception 35 - success
Prying: Perception 19 - critical failure

Total Research Points: 38

-- Day 46 --

Merenaries and Allies arrived, and we had our new magic items.

The mercenaries and the allies meant that we only had to take care of a group of:
* One Boss Mummy (some kind of old flan wizard)
* One Brain Collector
* Two Human cultist.

We did not get anything extra for our massive amount of research points, but having four or more gave us:
* +4 initiative
* Cast any number of preparatory spells.

== Fight 3 ==

-- Preparation --

Arami cast Invisibility 4 on all four in the party, and Fly on Keyt.

-- Initiatives --

Keyt: Stealth 41 (as usual, invisibility gives an automatic 20 on stealth)
Arami: Stealth 39
Frag: Stealth 35
Deena: Stealth 32
Mummy: 23
Brain Collector: 22
Cultists: 17

Keyt: Battle Cry vs Brain Collector: 22 - success, frightened 1.

-- Round 1 --

Keyt: Delay

Arami: Inspire Courage. Move. Trip vs Brain Collector: 29 - success, prone.

Keyt: Move. Backstab Brain Collector: 32 - critical success, 51 damage. Backstab Brain Collector: 28 - hit, 19 damage.

Frag: Move. Strike vs Brain Collector: 31 - critical success, 66 damage. Strike vs Brain Collector: 18 - miss.

Deena: Flame Strike vs all four opponents: 55 damage. Brain Collector: fail, killed. Mummy: natural 20 - critical success (Drats!). Cultist 1 - critical success. Cultist 2: fail. Sneak: - success.

Here the GM remembered the Mummy's fear aura, and had us roll against it:
Frag save: 32 - critical success. Keyt: 31 - critical success. Arami: 11 - critical fail, hero point reroll: 23 - success.

Mummy: Move. Frag: Attack of Opportunity: Miss. Sandstorm Wrath aura: 42 damage. Frag save: 20 - fail. Keyt: 24 - success, evade. Arami: 24 - success. Deena: 28 success. Deena save vs fear aura: 19 - fail, hero point reroll: 30 - success.

Cultist 1: Cast See Invisible. Draw Mace.

Cultist 2: Cast Invisibility. Sneak: 27 - unseen.

-- Round 2 --

Arami: Inspire Courage. Step. Trip Mummy: 38 - critical success, 5 damage.

Keyt: Backstab mummy: 25 - hit, 32 damage. Backstab mummy: 25 hit, 32 damage. Intimidate Mummy: 35 - critical success, frightened 2, fleeing.

Frag: Move to mummy. Strike vs mummy: 21 - hit, 32 damage. Strike vs mummy: miss.

Deena: Move to mummy. Channel Smite: 23 - hit: 51 damage, killed.

Cultist 1: Cast Invisibility. Sneak: success.

Cultist 2: Cast See Invisible. Sneak.

-- Round 3 --

Arami: Delay

Keyt: Delay

Frag: Delay

Deena: Cast Invisibility. Perception vs Cultist 2: 34. Perception vs Cultist 1: 23

Frag: Seek: Perception nat 1 vs Cultist 1, 29 versus Cultist 2 - success. Charge Cultist 2: flat check ok, strike: 29 - hit, 15 damage.

Arami: Inspire Courage. Move to Cultist 2. Trip Cultist 2: flat check fail.

Keyt: Move. Strike Cultist 2 using blindsight: Flat check ok, strike: 19 - fail. Strike Cultist 2: flat check fail.

Cultist 2: Move. Frag Attack of Opportunity: flat check ok, strike: miss. Spiritual Weapon vs Deena: 21 - miss.

Cultist 1: Cast Soothe on Cultist 2: 38 HP.

-- Round 4 --

Deena: Cast Faery Fire on Cultist 2. Move

Frag: Move. Strike Cultist 2: flat check ok, strike: 20 - miss. Strike Cultist 2: flat check ok, strike: 33 - critical success, 67 damage.

Arami: Inspire Courage. Move. Strike Cultist 2: flat check ok, strike: 21 - miss.

Keyt: Backstab Cultist 2 using blindfight: 24 - hit, killed. You're Next vs Cultist 1: 37 - critical success, frightened 2, fleeing.

Cultist 1: Fled, not to be seen ever again.

Fight over.

== Wrap up ==

Investigating the camp showed that the cultists had tried to summon a Mu Spore.

This led to a long discussion about the forum thread on the high Mu Spore Stealth skill.

== Session over ==

7h 20 minutes spent.

Hero points used: 6 (three save rerolls)
Death Saves: 0
Consumables: 1 holy water as spell component, 1 Dust of Disappearance.
Resonance on non-investment: 1

During this sessions exploration we rolled Survival or Perception 38 times
8 were failed 2nd day "fish for a 20" rolls.
4 were critical failures,
18 were failures
6 were successes
2 were critical successes.

== Scenario over ==

Total time spent: 12 hours 13 minutes
Hero points used: 6 (three save rerolls)
Death Saves: 0
Consumables: 1 holy water as spell component, 1 Dust of Disappearance.
Resonance on non-investment: 1

During the scenario's exploration we rolled Survival or Perception 105 times
28 were failed 2nd day "fish for a 20" rolls.
15 were critical failures,
39 were failures
20 were successes
3 were critical successes.

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I've previously written reports on our playtest of The Lost Star and Sombrefell Hall. We've played Pale Mountain's Shadow too, but I have not had time to clean up my notes from that.

Note: There may be mistranslations: My GM translated the scenario on the fly from English to Swedish as we played, and I translated from Swedish to kind-of-English as I wrote notes on what happened.

== Characters ==

Due some unfortunate stuff, we were unable to start with our initial three players, so us two remaining players are running two characters each, and we got a very late start on doing the playtest.

The characters were:

Arami, Cavern Elf Maestro Bard. Trip specialist with a Master's rank in Athletics, and armed with a whip, which allows her to use its finesse trait to trip with dex.

Deena, Cavern Elf Cleric of Honey, passion domain. Honey was a previous character that ascended after Rise of the Runelords. Honey is a patron of the performing arts, and for those with a generally bohemian hippie “flowers in your hair” lifestyle. Here we decided to translate Honey into the Playtest rules as a diety with the Performance skill, Fist as holy weapon (as Irori) and Domains and Spells as Shelyn.

Frag, Dwarf Fighter. Yes, that *is* an authentic Old Norse dwarf name, taken from the Völuspa of the Poetic Edda - same place Tolkien got his dwarf names. With an Adopted Ancestry: Elf, he fits in a group that otherwise is purely elven.

Keyt, Cavern Elf Rogue. Demoralization specialist, with a Demon Mask and Master's rank in Intimidation. Unfortunately, that tends to collide with the bard's Dirge of Doom.

All characters have Darkvision to allow us to sneak around easily without revealing light sources, and all are fast, thanks to Fleet, Nimble and Bounding Boots. The bard and rogue have a speed of 45, and the fighter and the cleric have one of 35.

Our playtest game has been transplanted to the World of Greyhawk, in order to tie into our GM's past and future campaigns. This means that such things as the names of deities and places have been changed.

== Setup ==

So, given that we were in Greyhawk, we met up with Keleri Deverin in the city of Rook Roost in the Buff Hills, between the Duchy of Tenh, The Rovers of the Barren, and the Bandit Kingdoms, and she gave us some background information:

We knew that The Night Heralds have been looking for Doomsday Clocks. The Dominion of the Black were somehow involved, and a wizard named Ramlock was somehow associated.

Ramlock was an Ur-Flan from the old days when Flan wizardry flourished under Vecna himself, and one of the first wizards to research the Dominion the Black. He grew up in a place called Moonmere, and the Night Heralds were now looking for it. And if it was important to them, it should be important to to us.

Keleri gave us a map, and indicated that Moonmere ought to be somewhere on the map, at the source of one the small river tributaries. She wanted us to search the area, find resources, and form alliances.

We gathered some rumours:
There were supposed to be rocs to the north, a dragon to the southeast, a monster in the lake in the centre, and most fey had left the forests, but some might still be there. Also, in the north forest, there were supposed to be a secret village of gnomes, and south of it a displaced tribe of cyclopses.

The basic rules of the mini game were explained by the GM, with Treasure Points, Ally Points and Research Points, and how Treasure Points could be exchanged into magic items. We were to start at the point marked "E", and the GM had calculated how fast we would travel using either on foot or using level 4 phantom steeds. The GM was a little irritated over that the scenario did not mention which terrains counted as "difficult", but he had assumed that mountains and forests were difficult, while the other terrains were not. As the GM's travel times were presented, Deena got some in-character teasing about being as slow as the dwarf: "only" speed 35...

Checking on the bulk calculations, we came to the conclusion that Arami and Deena could double up on a Phantom Steed, so those days we traveled using those, Arami needed to spend only three level 4 spell slots. The bulk of the equipment would go into Keyt's Bag of Holding, while Deena would use a level 2 slot to create food everyday.

After some negotiations and rules quandaries we agreed on the exploration tactics we would use:
A DC 30 Perception check or a DC 27 Survival would allow us to explore a hex in one day, otherwise it would take two days. We would roll the second day too, but then only critical successes - i.e. natural 20s - would count for extra information. A Stealth check versus an appropriate DC would give us stealth advantage when meeting whatever was in the hex. The rolls would be open.

Both Arami and Deena used their Ancestral Expertise to temporarily become experts at Survival for this mission.

== Journey Begins ==

-- Day 1 --
On foot, direction east: Grasslands and river.

Arami: Survival 16 - fail
Deena: Survival 28 - success
Frag: Perception 30 - success
Keyt: Stealth 28

Some shepherding flan, nothing interesting.

-- Day 2 --
On Phantom Steeds, direction northeast: Forest.

Arami: Survival 28 - success
Deena: Survival nat-1 - crit failure
Frag: Perception nat-1 - crit failure
Keyt: Stealth 22

Nothing interesting.

What we were heading for was the gnome village, which we thought was *in* the north forest. We avoided the lake, since we thought it unlikely that a lake monster could contribute either Ally Points or Treasure Points.

-- Day 3 --
On Phantom Steeds, direction northeast: Forest.

Arami: Survival 24 - fail
Deena: Survival 26 - fail
Frag: Perception 22 - fail
Keyt: Stealth 33

Needed to stay a second day in the same hex.

-- Day 4 --
Same hex.

4 x rolls, no natural 20.

Nothing interesting.

-- Day 5 --

On Phantom Steeds, direction northeast: forest.

Arami: Survival 20 - fail
Deena: Survival 15 - crit fail
Frag: Perception 19 - crit fail
Keyt: Stealth 36

Needed to stay a second day in the same hex.

-- Day 6 --

Same hex.

4 x rolls, no natural 20.

Nothing interesting.

-- Day 7 --

The GM took mercy on us, and allowed us to roll a Society. Arami rolled a natural 20. This gave the GM an opportunity to point out that we had misinterpreted the gnome village rumour. It was north *of* the forest, not north *in* the forest.

On foot, direction: northeast: hills.

Arami: Survival 22 - fail
Deena: Survival 20 - fail
Frag: Perception 26 - fail
Keyt: Stealth 29

Needed to stay a second day in the same hex.

-- Day 8 --

Same hex.

4 x rolls, no natural 20.

Nothing interesting.

-- Day 9 --

On foot, direction east: hills and river.

Arami: Survival 12 - crit fail
Deena: Survival 20 - fail
Frag: Perception 29 - fail
Keyt: Survival 14 - crit fail

Needed to stay a second day in the same hex.

-- Day 10 --

Same hex.

4 x rolls, no natural 20.

Nothing interesting.

-- Day 11 --

On foot, direction northeast: hills and river.

Arami: Survival 17 - crit fail
Deena: Survival 21 - fail
Frag: Perception nat-1 - crit fail
Keyt: Stealth 26

Needed to stay a second day in the same hex.

-- Day 12 --

Same hex.

4 x rolls, no natural 20.

Nothing interesting.

The GM allowed us to roll some Know Nature to gain a hint.

Arami: natural 20. Keyt: natural 20. Now we got the 20s we needed... Hint: "Rocs live in mountains". It was nice of the GM, but we had kind of already assumed that - we were looking for the gnomes.

-- Day 13 --

On foot, direction northeast: mountains, river.

Arami: Survival 14 - crit fail
Deena: Survival 33 - success
Frag: Perception 33 - success
Keyt: Stealth nat-20.

The GM allowed Keyt's natural 20 to reveal that the Roc's were in the next hex upriver, even though it was a on a stealth roll, not a survival or perception one.

More nature rolls on the nature of Rocs: Frag: 26 - Roc's hunt prey the size of elephants. They are not interested in puny humans.

-- Day 14 --

We knew where the rocs were, but they were animals; we wanted intelligent allies, so we turned back at speed.

On Phantom Steeds, directions southwest, southwest, southeast: hills, joining of two rivers.

Arami: Survival 29 - success
Deena: Survival 28 - success
Frag: Perception 24 - fail
Keyt: Survival 21 - fail

Nothing interesting.

-- Day 15 --

On Phantom Steeds, direction east, northeast: mountains and the source of the second river tributary.

Arami: Survival 14 - crit fail
Deena: Survival 29 - success
Frag: Perception 26 - fail
Keyt: Survival 26 - fail

We found some dead bodies, and got to investigate the scene:
Arami: Occultism 32 - These seemed to be Night Herald cultist, trying to set up a metal net over the river to trap magical energies for some kind of ritual.
Deena: Survival 34 - They seemed to have angered the rocs and been killed by them.

Some loot by the bodies:
* Lesser spell duelist wand
* 2 moderate healing potions
* Scroll of Locate
* Vial of dust of disappearance.

Since we had a day, the GM thought it unnecessary for us to roll to identify these.

-- Day 16 --

On Phantom Steeds, directions southwest, southwest, west: forest

Arami: Survival 16 - crit fail
Deena: Survival 32 - success
Frag: Perception 35 - fail
Keyt: Survival 29 - success

Nothing interesting.

-- Day 17 --

On Phantom Steeds, direction northwest, northwest, west: hills.

Arami: Survival 19 -fail
Deena: Survival 31 - success
Frag: Perception 20 - fail
Keyt: Survival 19 - fail

Deena found some gnome tracks! Following them we found the gnome village in a ravine. This was 3h and 5 mins since we started this session...

The gnomes were very happy to see us - they had not had any visitors for a long time.

Keyt warned them for some bad humans skulking around this area, but they were more concerned about the rocs, which they had had problems with since a month ago.

Deena rolled perception 32 - crit. Frag rolled perception 33, also a crit. They noticed that three houses were missing, and there were some damage to others that looked roc-caused.

We managed to get a talk with their mayor.

Long time ago - a hundred years - one of the gnomes went fire-crazy and burned down most of the forest in the area. Since then they had hidden here in the ravine and gotten left alone, until the rocs came and started stealing houses.

Arami used some diplomacy to gather information about the Moonmere: 34. It was supposed to be far south, but now a dragon lived in the mountains there.

If we solved their roc problem, they would become allies, and they claimed to be good at all kinds of magic - except fire.

-- Day 18 --

On Phantom Steeds, direction northeast, northeast, east: mountains.

Arami: Survival nat-20 - crit success
Deena: Survival 30 - success
Frag: Perception 29 - fail
Keyt: Survival 19 - fail

First critical success on an exploration roll!

Nothing interesting in the surrounding hexes, but we saw the remains of the missing houses, dropped from high up. Fortunately the gnomes had managed to evacuate them before they were taken.

-- Day 19 --

On foot, direction east, east: mountains, tributary source. Presumed home of the rocs.

Arami: Stealth 26 - success
Deena: Survival 27 - success
Frag: Perception 31 - success
Keyt: Stealth 32 - success

Thanks to the stealth rolls we spotted the nest without being seen, and got a good look at the rocs.

The rocs were orange, and when we recalled the orange tiles on the gnome houses, we realised that the gnome roofs looked like roc wings.

There were lots of whale bones around under the nest, but they did not seem recent.

Frag: know nature 22 - If there were no more whales to fish, then perhaps the rocs had changed hunting grounds and spotted the gnome village.

But what had happened to the whales? Frag: know nature - nat 20: "perhaps they were overfished by rocs?"

Arami was very reluctant to attack the rocs in cold blood, and bemoaned the sad fact that we had no way to talk with them and save the gnome village that way. The others managed to persuade her with the argument "We have to save the whales!"

== Fight 1 ==

We climbed up to the nest while the rocs were out. As we could see them coming in, Arami and Frag hid in cracks in the rock, while Keyt and Deena received last-moment level 4 invisibility spells from Arami.

Just as the rocs landed in their nest, we triggered initiative.

-- Initiatives --

Keyt: Stealth 37
Arami: Stealth 35
Frag: Stealth 31
Deena: Stealth 28
Roc 1: Perception 33
Roc 2: Perception 20

(As all started invisible to the Rocs, either by spell or by rock walls being in the way, the GM ruled that the got an automatic 20 on their rolls. With Roc 1's perception beating Deena's stealth in spite of this, Roc 1 sensed Deena's presence.)

-- Round 1 --

Keyt: Delay.

Arami: Crawl out of her rock crevice. Stand up. Dirge of Doom.

Keyt, invisible next to Roc 1: Backstab: 27 - hit, 24 damage. Backstab: 31 - hit, 23 damage. Backstab: miss.

Roc 1: Fly up to 15 ft height. Try to pick up Keyt: flat check ok, 21 - miss. Wing Buffet vs Keyt: 32 - hit, 13 damage, pushed 10 feet.

Frag: crawl out of his crevice. Stand up. Strike Roc 2: 21 - miss.

Deena: Flame Strike vs Roc 1: 41 damage. Roc 1 save: 14 - fail.

Roc 2: Wing Buffet vs Frag: 22 - miss. Wing Buffet vs Frag: 26 - miss. Fly up to 15 ft height. Frag: attack of opportunity: 24 - hit, 28 damage.

-- Round 2 --

Arami: Dirge of Doom. Leap up on conveniently placed rock. Trip vs Roc 1: 37 - crit, trip + fall damage 20, bloodied.

Keyt: Skirmish Strike vs Roc 1: 19 - miss. Backstab: 19 - miss. Backstab: 24 - hit: 24 damage.

Roc 1: Stand up. Wing Buffet vs Arami: 27 - hit, 16 damage, pushed 10 feet. Wing Buffet vs Keyt: 32 - hit, 14 damage, pushed 10 feet. Wing Buffet vs Frag: 25 - miss.

Frag: Power Attack vs Roc 1: 35 - crit, 57 damage. Roc 1 died and fell off the mountain. Intimidate versus Roc 2: fail.

Deena: Ray of Enfeeblement vs Roc 2: 18 - miss.

Roc 2: Fly. Strafe vs Frag: 22 - miss. Strafe vs Arami: 23 - miss. Intimidate Frag: 18 - fail.

-- Round 3 --

Arami: Dirge of Doom. Leap - up on the shoulders of Frag: "How hard can it be?" GM, looking at the acrobatics examples in table 10-3 determined: "Incredible 2" - i.e. DC 17. Roll: 22 - success, and Arami got an extra hero point. Trip vs Roc 2: 29 - success.

Keyt: Climbs up cliff.

Frag: Strike vs Roc 2: 34 - crit: 49 damage. Strike vs Roc 2: 23 - hit, 22 damage. Strike vs Roc 2: nat 1 - miss.

Deena: Ray of enfeeblement vs Roc 2: 30 - hit, Roc 2 fort save: 17 - fail, enfeebled 1.

Roc 2: Stand up. Frag: Attack of Opportunity: 23 - hit, 28 damage. Beak vs Frag: miss. Wing Buffet vs Frag: 24 - miss.

-- Round 4 --
Arami: Move around Roc 2 to outflank. Dirge of Doom. Trip vs Roc 2: 35 - crit, 2 damage.

Keyt: Step into range. Backstab Roc 2: 24 hit, 28 damage - killed.

Fight over. Arami had taken 16 HP damage, and Keyt 27 HP damage. The other two were unhurt.

== Session over ==

4h 53 mins spent.

Hero points used: 0
Death saves: 0
Consumables: 0
Resonance on non-investment: 0

During this session's 19 days did we roll Survival or Perception 67 times.
20 were failed 2nd day "fish for a 20" rolls.
11 were critical failures,
21 were failures
14 were successes
1 was a critical success.

Edge93 wrote:
Though PC saves might need tweaking as it would make NPC casters pretty strong against PCs.

Well, NPC casters ought to be made using the monster rules anyway, to be consistent.

Mathmuse wrote:
Mats Öhrman wrote:

One of the common complaints about spellcasting is that the accuracy is low. I think that there is a very simple way of handling this: Rather than having a separate proficiency for spellcasting, use one of the skills to determine attacks and save DCs.

Let wizards cast spells with Arcana, Clerics with Religion and Druids with Nature. Let Bards use Performance, and Sorcerers use Deception, Diplomacy, Intimidation or Performance depending on bloodline - BAM! Instant flavor difference.

I like this idea and consider it very flavorful. Furthermore, I have had players ask me multiple times, "What is the Spell DC for my new character?" Spellcasting proficiency is not obvious despite it being in the proficiencies sidebar of the class. Better flavor might make a spellcating skill easier to remember.

However, I am going to tease that you forgot about the Occultism skill. Logically, Occultism would serve the bard like Arcana serves the wizard. In practice, we think Performance when we think about bards and I already proposed merging Occultism and Performance into one skill: Bard Skills: Performance and Occultism.

I simply think that there are future classes that would be better served with an int-based Occultism as a spellcasting skill.

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One of the common complaints about spellcasting is that the accuracy is low. I think that there is a very simple way of handling this: Rather than having a separate proficiency for spellcasting, use one of the skills to determine attacks and save DCs.

Let wizards cast spells with Arcana, Clerics with Religion and Druids with Nature. Let Bards use Performance, and Sorcerers use Deception, Diplomacy, Intimidation or Performance depending on bloodline - BAM! Instant flavor difference.

With the better skill proficiency, and the opportunity to get item bonuses, this will improve accuracy, something I understand people asked for in the survey on magic.

I came to think of it when I leveled up my Bard to 9th level for Mirrored Moon (yes, we *are* behind in the play test) and compared my options for debuffing opponents: Trip is Master with a +3 item bonus (Armbands of Athleticism) for a total of +5, while corresponding spells are Trained with no item bonus for a total of +0. +5 vs +0 is a *lot* of difference in this system (not to mention the difference between one action and two to use). My co-player's rogue has the same setup with Master Intimidation and Demon Mask. No wonder spell accuracy feels so bad...

Besides, this gives Bards a very good use for Performance, rather than the very contrived one in Lingering Performance and Inspire Heroics. :)

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This is continuing from session 3.

Note: There may be mistranslations: My GM translated the scenario on the fly from English to Swedish as we played, and I translated from Swedish to kind-of-English as I wrote notes on what happened.

== Characters ==

The characters were:
Arami, Cavern Elf Maestro Bard.
Deena, Cavern Elf Cleric of Honey, passion domain.
Elise, Cavern Elf Cleric of Honey, passion domain.
Keyt, Cavern Elf Rogue.
The characters were played by two players, each playing two characters. All characters had Darkvision, Fleet and Nimble.

Facebook link to a picture from a playtest session.

== Introduction ==

As it only was a few days since we played session 3, we did not need to do any intro or recap, but proceeded with immediately placing our characters on the map.

* Keyt went into the dining room.
* Arami and Deena into the study, together as Deena had just cast Restoration on Arami.
* Elise stayed in the hall.

Arami was given the opportunity to roll an open Perception check: 20 - nothing.

Action kicked off by someone outside sending us a taunting and threatening telepathic message. The message made us believe the final attack was imminent, so we immediately gathered again in the Hall, in order to cast the buff spells we had hoarded so far.

Exploration mode did not seem to suit the situation, but we had not really made contact with anything yet, so rolling initiatives felt premature. So, we fell back on what we've done before in other editions and games: "round-by-round play in whatever character order seems suitable".

-- Pre-combat round 1 --

We heard someone read a spell out loud outside.

Arami: Cast invisibility, heightened to lvl 4, on Keyt.
Elise: Circle of Protection on the Professor.
Keyt: Occultism to identify spell: 26 - "Telekinetic Haul".
Deena nothing.

-- Pre-combat round 2 --

Door is thrown open with great force, clearing the rubble inside it.

Arami: Cast invisibility, heightened to lvl 4, on Deena.
Elise: Cast sanctuary on herself, while making a pearl from her Necklace of Fireballs ready. (Somewhat contradictory, yes, I know)
NPCs: Move into the dining room
Keyt: Move to just beside the now empty doorway.

As we could now see the enemies just outside the doorway, the GM decided it was time for the fight proper to start.

== Fifth Fight ==

Keyt: Stealth 34 (Automatic 20 on the roll, as per the invisibility rules.)
Deena: Stealth 27 (Same as above, as she was also invisible)
Arami: Perception 27
Elise: Perception 25
Ilvoresh: 16 (natural 1!)
Vampire Spawns: 21

Illvoresh started with Mirror Image running.

-- Round 1 --

Keyt: Delay

Deena: Delay

Arami: Dirge of Doom. Move to encompass all enemies in the aura. This required some rule lookup to determine the effect of a wall with a doorway between us and them, but apparently an Aura does not need a line of effect, making it go through a wall OK. The move made Arami the closest visible character to the enemy.

Elise: Throw a 4d6 Necklace of Fireballs pearl. More rules argument about whether the damage should be upgraded as per upgrade 1.5 or not. As the item stated it did damage as the spell, we allowed the item to get the spell's damage upgrade, so the "4d6" pearl actually did 6d6, which turned out to be 20 damage when rolled.
Ilvoresh: Save 17 - fail.
Vampire 1: Save 22 - success.
Vampire 2: Save 20 - success.

Keyt: Move. Backstab vs Vampire 1: 29 - crit, damage 39, killed. "You're Next" versus Vampire 2: 31 - crit: fleeing. Sneak: 34 - hidden again.

Vampire 2: Run away.

Ilvoresh: Cast paralyze on Arami. Arami: Save 18 - fail, paralyzed for one round. Move into contact with Arami.

-- Round 2 --

Deena: Cast Divine Wrath on Ilvoresh, damage 26. Ilvoresh: save 17 - fail, Sick 1.

Arami, paralyzed: 3 x Know Occultism rolls. The GM postponed the rolls until later. No, we never got around to resolve them.

Elise: Delay.

Keyt, invisible and next to Ilvoresh, decided to use an old trick versus Mirror Image - close her eyes and use Blind-Fighting to find the right target.
Backstab vs Ilvoresh: flat check ok, strike: 30 - crit, damage: 38. Ilvoresh: save versus brain loss: 21, fail - enervated 1. Backstab vs Ilvoresh: flat check ok, strike: 19 - miss. Backstab vs Ilvoresh: flat check fail.

Vampire 2: Sneak: 31 - success. Move. Move.

Ilvoresh: Bite vs Arami: 30 - hit, 20 damage + venom. Arami: save 29 - success. Claw vs Arami: 25 - hit, 17 damage + energy drain. Arami: save 18 - fail, enervated 1. Claw vs Arami: 21 - miss.

Elise: Move. 1-action Heal 4 + Healing Hand on Arami: 37 HP, Arami back at full HP.

-- Round 3 --

Deena: Delay. (Waiting for the second Vampire Spawn to return.)

Arami: Draw rapier. Strike vs Ilvoresh: nat 20 - crit and Mirror Image bypass, 30 damage - Ilvoresh killed.

Vampire 2, no longer controlled by Ilvoresh, immediately turned and fled.

Fight over.

== Cleanup ==

With Ilvoresh dead, The Professor thought himself cured from his affliction and he would be more than willing to help.

About here, Keyt's player discovered that blind-fight apparently only worked against opponents of a lower level than you, and was much incensed. As important fights tended to be against higher opponents, not lower, that would make that feat worthless.

== Session End ==

Time Spent: 1h 5min.
Death saves: 0.
Hero points spent: 0.
Total party damage taken: 37.
Consumables used: 1 fireball bead.
Resonance used on anything other than daily investments: 1 for fire ball bead.
Spell points used: 0.

== Scenario End ==

Time Spent: 2h 11min + 3h 20min + 2h 42min + 1h 05min = 9h 18min
Total party Death saves: 0.
Total party Hero Points spent: 2 on a reroll.
Total party damage taken: 91.
Total party Consumables used: 2 holy water as material components, 2 fireball beads.
Total party Resonance on non-investments: 4 (2 fireball beads, 2 staff charges)
Total party Spell Points used: 0.

The rest of the allotted session time was spent starting to level up our characters for Mirrored Moon.

Luguza wrote:
Do you have the rules reference for that? I mean does this stand anywhere in the book?

It is under "Difficulty Class" page 421, and under "Determine the Diffculty Class" on page 291.

If someone's Perception is 3, then the DC versus that perception is 13.

If someone's Fort Save is 7, then the DC versus that Fort Save is 17.


Starfox wrote:
The shadows proved better tanks than stalkers, being immune to Sneak Attack and the clerics starting to conserve Channel Energy for the boss fight

Note: We did not know then that there would be only one more fight, so yes, we tried to be conservative.

Starfox wrote:
Ilvoersh should have entered with Greater invisibility and Mirror Image up

If you yourself are invisible, are your images visible? How much do they reflect your current state?

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This is continuing from session 2.

Note: There may be mistranslations: My GM translated on the fly from English to Swedish as we played, and I translated from Swedish to English as I wrote notes on what happened.

== Characters ==

The characters were:
Arami, Cavern Elf Maestro Bard.
Deena, Cavern Elf Cleric of Honey, passion domain.
Elise, Cavern Elf Cleric of Honey, passion domain.
Keyt, Cavern Elf Rogue.
The characters were played by two players, each playing two characters. All characters had Darkvision, Fleet and Nimble.

== Introduction ==

We played this session just after update 1.6 had dropped, so we started this session by discussing whether we should convert the characters to that update in the middle of the scenario. After some arguing back and forth, the GM decided he wanted us to stick with the 1.5 update, not change in the middle without giving us opportunity to change memorised spells.

After that, we made a recap of our defensive situation:
* Two sanctified ground were running, one versus Undead, one versus Aberrations.
* Rather than barricades, we had difficult terrain rubble strewn over the hall, with some caltrops at strategic squares. We wanted to lure the opponents in while slowing them, not keep them out.
* We had made dummies from left-over clothes and bedded them down in the upper bedrooms.
* The windows in the dining room and in the study were broken after fighting off the wights who tried to enter those ways.
* The remains of the chandelier added to the rubble just inside the front door.
* The front door had not been repaired again, and was broken at the moment.

== A Brief Calm ==

We started the session proper by splitting up the party so that we had a watcher in each direction. As the bard and the rogue had 40 speed, and the clerics 35 speed, we expected to be able to reinforce each other when trouble came, especially as looking out the windows with darkvision would give us advance warning.
* Arami went north, looking out over the lake from the recreation room.
* Keyt went south, trying to repair the front door while keeping a lookout in that direction.
* Deena went east, looking out through the broken study room windows.
* Elise went west, looking out the dining room windows.

Here we ran into problems with the Exploration rules as written (again!). How *do* you keep active lookout using them in a way that rewards us actually taking precautions, rather than just rolling the usual initiatives as soon as the monsters appear? Sigh.

Our GM allowed us to squeeze in some minor activities while we waited for the next attack.

The Professor spilled the beans to Elise: He had secretly suffered memory loss, dissociation and other possession-like stuff. The episodes usually happened after midnight (quick time-check with the GM - no, we were not at midnight yet). When asked about the vampires being able to enter, he sheepishly agreed that he might have given them permission during an episode.

Elise also asked about what the Professor thought about the undeads' behaviour. He thought they looked controlled. Could there be a master vampire controlling them?

Keyt rolled 20 on her repair of the front door, and it regained two dents.

Arami, with Lucvi's assistance, piled a pair of sofas on top of each other, to make it easier to jump up to and down from the balcony in the centre room.
GM: "Are you trained in Crafting?"
Arami: "Um, no..."
GM: "I'll let you roll for it when you actually use them in a hurry..." (evil grin)

Returning to her post, now one floor up at the centre top floor bedroom window, Arami got to roll a perception: 17. This was actually a critical success versus the six zombies crawling out of the lake. The GM ruled that the crit meant that they were approximately a minute away.

As Arami had line-of-sight to Keyt, she waved her over. Keyt came running and jumped up. The sofas held.

The GM rolled a secret roll for Arami: Nothing.
The GM rolled a secret roll for Keyt: "Something is strange with the shadows".

Arami got a new perception roll, open this time: 20. Nothing.

Keyt dragged Arami out of the room by her neck, and both jumped down from the balcony. The sofas held again.

With plenty of warning, we did set up for a fight: The NPCs hid in the kitchen, while the PCs retreated to the Consecrated Ground in the hall, two at each side of the doorway to the library.

GM: "Once again you have the used the exceptional tactic of looking out the windows, which the scenario is totally unprepared for."

We heard window glass shatter, as the zombies entered the bottom floor windows.

== Fourth Fight ==

Elise: Perception 33
Arami: Perception 25
Keyt: Perception 21
Deena: Perception 17
Shadows: 23
Zombies: 13

-- Round 1 --

Elise: Know Religion: 28 - The shadows were Greater Shadows; Incorporeal, immune to precision damage (Rogue: awww), don't like light. This info made Elise cast a Light cantrip at the top of the bookshelves in the Library, spreading light over the choke point where we expected to fight.

Arami: Inspire Courage. Seek: Perception 18 - nothing. Seek: Perception 13 - nothing.

Shadows: (something secret only the GM knew)

Keyt: Delay

Deena: Delay

Zombies 1-6: Moved through their different bottom floor bedrooms and opened the doors in to the library.

-- Round 2 --

Keyt: Draw shortbow. Shoot Zombie 2 with a sneak attack 26: 13 damage - bloodied.

Elise: Delay

Arami: Delay

Shadows: (something secret)

Elise: Level 4 Summon Monster: Animated Armor. This lead to a *lot* of rules lookup to figure out how it worked, especially: could it act immediately it was summoned or not? We finally decided that it was not, so it had to stay where it was summoned until Elise could spend a concentration action on it.

Arami: Dirge of Doom. Cast Haste on Keyt.

Zombie 1-6: Move + Move, barely reaching the PCs.

-- Round 3 --

Keyt: Haste move to Deena. Reposition to place her in the center; Lots of argument if you could reposition an ally or not. The GM finally let Keyt roll for it. Athletics 25 - Keyt moved Deena two steps. After this, Keyt shot Zombie 2: 27 - crit. Killed.

Deena, now in the center in front of all the bottlenecked Zombies: 3-action Heal 4: 24 damage.
Zombie 1: Crit fail - dead.
Zombie 3: fail - dead.
Zombie 4: fail - dead.
Zombie 5: fail - dead.
Zombie 6: fail . dead.

Shadow 1, peeking out of the ceiling above us: Cast Shadow. Time for rules lookup again. Apparently, the heightened level of the Light cantrip in place made the shadow spell fail to penetrate. Retreat out through the ceiling: Hide - fail against all PCs perception. So, we know it was there, on the other side of the ceiling, but we could not reach it.

Shadow 2: (something secret)

Elise: Delay

Arami: Fearing the hidden Shadows were doing something nefarious to the professor, Arami rolled a series of Know Occult rolls to analyse their behaviour: 18, 19, 14 - nothing.

-- Round 4 --

Keyt: Know Occult 20 - nothing. Know Occult 21: Believed the Shadows were focused on us first, and not going for the Professor. Draw shortbow.

Deena: Half-cast, half-ready Disrupt Undead. (Yes, I know, readying the second action of a spell is under some discussion on the forum, but with incorporeal undead that can use their three actions to move out of a wall, attack, and then move back in again, it would be a *very* slow and boring fight without the ability to ready something.)

Elise: Concentrate on the summon. Half-cast, half-ready Disrupt Undead.

Shadow 2: Sneak 28 - success. Shadow Hand vs Arami: 28 - hit, 9 damage. Deena's Disrupt Undead triggered: 13 damage. Shadow saved for half damage. Shadow Steal vs Arami: enfeebled 1.

Shadow 1: Move out of ceiling. Elise's Disrupt Undead triggered: Damage 7, save fail. Look around. Regular attack vs Elise: 24 - hit, 12 damage.

Arami: (Gave up concentrating on Haste.) Dirge of Doom. Move. Trip Shadow 2 with Ghost Touch whip and Master Assurance Athletics: automatic success, no roll, thanks to Dirge of Doom.

-- Round 5 --

Keyt: Move. Attack Shadow 2: nat 1 - miss. Attack Shadow 2: 17 - miss.

Deena: Cast Searing Light on Shadow 2: 31 - crit, 84 damage.

Elise: (Gave up concentrating on summon) Cast 3-action Heal: 17 damage. Elise's and Arami's HP damage cured. Shadow 2 save: fail, killed. Shadow 1 save: success.

Shadow 1: Shadow Hand vs Arami: 24 - hit, 6 damage. Enfeebled 2. Regular attack vs Arami: 11 damage.

Arami: Dirge of Doom. Move. Trip Shadow 1 with Ghost Touch whip and Master Assurance Athletics: automatic success, no roll.

-- Round 6 --

Keyt: Move into flank vs Shadow 1. Attack: 39 - crit, 20 damage, 12 goes through. Attack: 26 - hit, 12 damage, 4 goes through.

Deena: Casts Searing Light versus Shadow 1: 17 - miss. Hero Point reroll: 15 - still miss. Double Sigh. Intimidate: 24 - success.

Shadow 1: Rise. Shadow Hand vs Elise: 25 - hit: damage 16. Enfeebled.

Arami: Dirge of Doom. Trip Shadow 1 with Ghost Touch whip and Master Assurance Athletics: automatic success, no roll. Strike: 16 - miss.

-- Round 7 --

Keyt: Strike x 3 - all misses.

Deena: 2-action level 4 Heal with Healing Hands vs Shadow 1: 47 damage. Save: 16 - fail.

Elise: Staff of Healing: 1-charge 2-action Heal: crit save - no damage. Staff of Healing: 1-charge 1-action Heal: miss.

Shadow 1: Rise. Strike vs Elise - miss. Strike vs Elise - miss.

Arami: Dirge of Doom. Strike with ghost touch whip: 24 - hit, 5 damage. Automatic trip as above.

-- Round 8 --

Keyt: Strike vs Shadow 1: 22 - hit, 15 damage: killed!

Fight finally over!

== Cleanup ==

Arami cast Soothe 3 on Elise for 18 HP, and a Soothe 3 on herself for 26 HP, which took care of their HP damage.

Deena started casting Restoration on Arami.

Elise started casting Restoration on herself.

Keyt cleaned up after the zombies.

To our relief, the GM announced that we would have time to finish our Restoration spells.

== Session End ==

Time spent: 2h 42 minutes.
Hero points spent: 2 on a reroll.
Death Saves: 0.
Total damage Taken: 54 HP.
Consumables used: 0.
Resonance used on anything other than daily investments: 2 for the healing staff charges.
Spell Points used: 0

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Starfox wrote:
ShadeRaven wrote:

As an aside, I don't mind some of the restrictive nature that comes with heavy armor - there should still be a place for the non-DEX-heavy fighter type. I think the bigger problem is that there's less defensive benefits to wearing them (AC gains seem low with the heavier, slower, more encumbering armors). When Studded Leather is AC 2, losing 10 points of speed, adding 3 bulk, losing 4 max dex, penalizing skills by 4 more points, just to gain 4 points of AC (in Full Plate) seems like too much loss for too little gain.

Add to this the fact that Fighters and Paladins gain better proficiency in heavy armor than in light or medium, and the ridiculousness stands out fully. Paizo had to shoehorn fighters/paladins into heavy armor, or no-one would ever wear it. If heavy armor is supposed to be better than it is, make it so, don't put weird compensations into class designs.

In many systems, you can have a mechanical rules difference between a "slinky" and a "brick", i.e. someone who dodges damage and someone who can take the punishment - think e.g Spiderman vs The Hulk.

D&D-style systems have the problem that AC kinds of cover both alternatives. You could sort of go either way in earlier editions by going for Con or Dex, and with their permissive rules you could go to extremes that expressed either alternative.

With the narrower, more restricted math of the playtest you cannot really mechanically express the difference between a Slinky and a Brick, and I think Heavy Armor suffers from not being able to express a Brick build in a maningful way.

(I wish I could remember which Superhero RPG it was that coined the "Slinky" and "Brick" terms...)

Well, with alternative 2 you have to take into consideration just what the creature is using to grapple you at a distance.

A) Is it an appendage, like a tentacle?
B) Is it a weapon, like a Man Catcher or a Sasumata?
C) Is it something disposable, like a lasso or spider webbing?

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Starfox wrote:
While I like @Captain Morgan's suggestion, it feels like more detail that PF2 usually has. Just adding an Auditory tag is a lot easier.

Note that the Lingual trait says: "Effects with the lingual trait are also likely to have the auditory trait". This looks like a simple oversight.

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Gaterie wrote:
If people weren't complaining about treat wound, I'm sure the rage check would be a Con check with a DC determined by your level.

Well, it would be completely in line with how Lingering Composition works... What is good for the goose, is good for the gander.

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My co-player in our two-player playtest campaign has a rogue as primary character.

That rogue has started to carry a big bag of old bent nails to use as improvised lock-picks. At negligible cost each, a critical failure basically no longer cost anything, except time. And even if using an improvised pick carries a penalty, a natural 20 is still always success.

Lock-picking is a one-action activity. Doing three attempts per round for 10 minutes, i.e. 300 attempts, would be fatiguing under the current Exploration Mode rules. But if you stop short, let's say at 299 attempts, and then rest a little, it is not.

My co-player's reasoning is that if he just keeps on rolling, he will sooner or later get three nat-20s sufficiently closely grouped to unlock the lock. He just has to keep trying... "I've got a big bag of nails and I am not afraid to use it."

My GM caved. He did not want the player to try 299 times, agreed that he would probably succeed, and let the rogue unlock the lock in a ten-minute Exploration Mode period without rolls...


So, if you can get rid of the failure penalty for an activity, you can go natural-20-fishing for automatic successes in Exploration Mode. You just have to be willing to spend time to roll a lot.

We sorely miss the old "take 20" rule.

Starfox wrote:
Sum of first 3 waves - No damage to the PCs, 6 channel energy, 4 spells [Edit: By Mats' report, this was actually more], and 1 pearl form a necklace of fireballs (and 1 resonance) expended.

Went through the report and did a tally:

Spells cast:
Deena: Sanctify Ground
Elise: Sanctify Ground, Disruptive Weapon
Arami: none

Channels used (written as Heals in the report):
Deena: 3
Elise: 4

Cantrips used:
Deena: Disrupt Undead x 3
Elise: Disrupt Undead x 1
Arami: TK Projectile x 2

Stupid autocorrect: ”She identified the smell as Ghosts, a tougher Ghast with a sickening stench aura and hand attacks that could give you Ghast Fever.” should be: ”She identified the smell as Ghasts, a tougher Ghoul with a sickening stench aura and hand attacks that could give you Ghast Fever.

This is continuing from session 1.

Note: There may be mistranslations: My GM translated on the fly from English to Swedish as we played, and I translated from Swedish to English as I wrote notes on what happened.

== Characters ==

The characters were:
Arami, Cavern Elf Maestro Bard.
Deena, Cavern Elf Cleric of Honey, passion domain.
Elise, Cavern Elf Cleric of Honey, passion domain.
Keyt, Cavern Elf Rogue.
The characters are played by two players, each playing two characters. All characters have Darkvision, Fleet and Nimble.

== Introduction ==

Last session ended with a cliff-hanger, with persons unknown pounding on the door, just as we were enjoying a tasty late-evening dinner with the inhabitants.

The GM, however needed to start with a little retcon; He had forgotten to give out a +2 armor we were supposed to get at the beginning. So, he decided that the Professor simply gave out a +2 rune he had found during his research: "Could this be useful to you?"

This started a discussion between us two players: "You take it." "No, you take it!" "Who has bad AC?" "They are about equal"... It finally ended with us simply rolling for it, and Arami got it.

== The door ==

We did not want to open the door until we were ready, and we definitely were not going to let the professor do it. So, how long would the door hold?

The GM could not find any such information in the scenario at any of the obvious places: in the room description and in the description of this encounter, so he decided to roll for it. (Apparently he later found it in *later* encounter, not this one, and it was a lot faster than his estimate.)

So Keyt tried to estimate how long the door would last. She rolled 16 on Craft. "At least a minute." That would give us some time to prepare.

Deena cast Sanctified Ground versus Undead, centered just under the chandelier, covering large parts of the room.

We decide to build a barricade. Not the full barricade that had predefined time estimates in the scenario (as quoted by our GM), but just some rubble on the floor to provide difficult ground. We did not build it at the door either - we built it at both sides of the chandelier, with an opening in the middle. The idea was to use this clear path to funnel any assailants into the area just under the chandelier. And as we did not build a full barricade, the GM ruled that we would finish much faster.

Arami rolled a 24 on Diplomacy to enlist the civilians, and Keyt a 22 on Craft to coordinate the work. Keyt spread some caltrops among the rubble.

Elise, who was close to the door, rolled a 19 on Perception and noticed a bad smell oozing in through the cracks. She followed up with a Religion Knowledge of 28 - a crit. She identified the smell as Ghosts, a tougher Ghast with a sickening stench aura and hand attacks that could give you Ghast Fever.

The civilians withdrew, except Lucvi, who we stationed at the chandelier lever, tasking her with dropping the chandelier when we called out for it.

(We struggled to express these activities in terms of Exploration Mode, but it did not really work out - much easier with Encounter Mode.)

Elise cast a Disruptive Weapon on Keyt's short sword, Deena's handwraps, and Arami's whip.

Preparations done, it was time to open the door and let the ghasts into our trap. Arami, Deena and Elise lined up under the chandelier. Keyt stood by the door, ready to open it.

== First Fight ==

Keyt: Stealth 34 (My GM allows you to take an automatic roll of 20 if there is a wall between you and your opponents, similar to what Invisiblity does.)
Arami: Perception 18
Deena: Perception 18
Elise: Perception 15
Ghasts: unknown, due to our delay tactics, coordinated with the GM. See below.

-- Round 1 --

All player characters delayed. Since we were the ones that would open the door and let the Ghasts in, we could make sure everyone went before the Ghasts. Yet another way to re-invent the surprise round.

Ghasts: pound door.

-- Round 2 --

Keyt: Opened door. Hid behind door: Stealth 32. Fort save against Ghast stench: 16, a success thanks to Sanctified Ground. Held attack versus "last ghost to enter".

Arami: Telekinectic Projectile vs Ghast 3: 18 to hit, 14 damage. Moved back to just behind Chandelier Drop Zone.

Deena: Disrupt Undead vs Ghast 3. Ghast saved with a natural 20. Moved back next to Arami.

Elise: Throw a 6d6 pearl from her Necklace of Fireballs: 19 damage. Ghast 4 save: fail, Ghast 3 crit fail: died, Ghasts 2 success, Ghast 1 fail, and Ghast 5 success. Elise than moved back next to Deena.

Ghast 2: Move, move. Arami, Deena and Elise were now in range for his stench area. This led to an intricate rules discussion. Does "entering aura" include when you are not the one doing the entering, but it is the area that moves? We finally ruled on the side of the monsters, so it was time for saves. Elise: Fort 27 - success, Arami: Fort 15 - fail and sickened 1, Deena: fort 17, success. The Ghost finished by trying to strike Elise: 21 - miss.

Ghast 5: Move, move, strike vs Arami: miss.

Ghast 4: Move, move, strike vs Arami: 24 - miss thanks to Sanctified Ground and the armor rune from the Professor.

Ghast 5: Move, which triggered Keyt's held attack. Keyt strike vs Ghast 5: 30 - crit with a disruptive weapon. 50 damage - ghast dies.

The surviving ghasts were neatly grouped under the chandelier, between our two rubble "barricades". Lucvi dropped the chandelier: 18 damage. All three ghosts failed to save, and we now had a two-square wide line of difficult ground across the room.

-- Round 3 --

Keyt: move, ignoring first square of rubble. Backstab vs Ghast 4: hit, killed. Backstab vs Ghast 5: miss.

Arami: Draw rapier. Strike against Ghast 5 with outflank: 28 - crit, damage 30, ghast killed. Intimidate vs Ghast 2: 29 - crit, frightened 2 and fleeing.

Deena: kick vs Ghast 2: 28 - crit. Damage 30, killed

-- Fight over --

We dragged away the stinking corpses.

== Preparing for the next fight ==

We dragged the remains of the chandelier closer to the door to get rearrange the area of difficult ground more to our liking, and fetched a ladder from the library so that we could keep an eye out through one of the high-up windows close to the door.

Elise cast Sanctified Ground in this room too, now against aberrations. After this, she climbed up the window to act as look-out. As all the PC:s she had darkvision, so she could get a nice view of the approach to the door.

Keyt repaired the door: Craft 27 - door completely whole again.

Elise rolled 23 on perception, and saw six figures trying to sneakily move towards the front door. She tried to identify them: Religion 25. It turned out to be two Vampires and four Ghasts. With a 19 on her own stealth she stayed hidden behind her window.

The ghasts seemed to go for the door, while the vampires tried to climb the walls, apparently to enter the high-up windows.

Keyt opened the door to let the ghasts into the room in the same moment the vampires entered through the high-up windows on each side of the room, triggering the next fight.

== Second Fight ==

Rolling initiative triggered another rules question: Sanctified Ground gives you a bonus on skills. Does it give that bonus to Perception too? We ruled not, for now.


Keyt: stealth 30
Elise: perception 23
Arami: perception 10
Deena: perception 30
Vampires: 15
Ghasts: got to go last by timing Keyt's opening of the door, see first fight.

-- Round 1 --

Keyt: delay

Deena: 3-action Lvl 4 Heal. DC 21, damage 18. Vampire 1: save 9 - critical fail, Vampire 2: save 9 - critical fail, Ghast 1: critical fail, Ghast 2: fail, Ghast 3: fail, Ghast 4: fail.

Elise: 3-action Lvl 4 Heal. DC 21, damage 17. Vampire 1: fail - killed, Vampire 2: fail and killed, Ghast 1: fail and killed, Ghast 2: fail, Ghast 3: success, Ghast 4: fail.

Arami: Intimidate x 3. +2 Situation modifier, due to their vampire bosses just having been killed. Intimidate vs Ghast 2: 31 - crit, intimidate vs Ghast 3: success, intimidate vs Ghast 4: 26 - crit.

Keyt: Step. Backstab vs Ghast G3: 26, 30 damage, killed.

Ghast 2: flee.

Ghast 4: flee.

-- Round 2 --

Deena: Cast first action and hold second action of a Disrupt Undead, in case the Ghasts return.

Elise: Delay

Arami: Cast first action of Telekinetic Projectile and hold second.

Ghast 4: Move, Sneak: natural 20, do something unknown.
Ghast 2: Move, Sneak: 12 - failed versus Keyt and Deena, Move - which triggered Deena's held Disrupt Undead. 12 damage, killed.

-- Round 3 --

Deena: Seek for the missing ghast: Perception 23, spotted. Disrupt undead - killed.

Fight over.

== Preparing for the next fight ==

Keyt tried to repair the front door: Craft 12. "Umm, I'm working on it..."

Deena took up lookout position next to the door again.

Arami and Elise patrolled the rest of the house. The GM was to roll for random room for them when something happened.

Some secret rolls later, Elise spotted something moving outside the big windows in the dining room with her darkvision. Arami and Deena hurried to join her. Elise got to roll Knowledge Religion for each, and got a 27 on both: Elite Wights.

== Third Fight ==

Due to the situation, we got to choose ourselves between perception and stealth for initiative.

Keyt: stealth 34 (got to take 20, since she was in the hall, and not in the dining room)
Deena: perception 29
Elise: perception 27
Arami: stealth 23
Wights: 14

-- Round 1 --

Keyt: move, move, sneak: 17 - fail.

Deena: 2-action lvl 4 heal + Healing Hands vs Wight 1, 44 damage. Save: natural 1 - crit fail, instant dust.

Elise: same versus Wight 2: 50 damage. Save: 25 - success.

Arami: Inspire Courage. Telekinetic Projectile vs Wight 2: 30 - crit, 14 damage.

Wight 2: Move, climb, step to close with PCs.

-- Round 2 --

Keyt: move into outflank. Backstab: 31 - crit, 30 damage - killed.

-- Fight over --

Keyt looked at the dinner table to see if it could be tipped up against the window.

Deena returned to the ladder at the entrance.

Arami checked on the NPCs.

Elise decided to check the Professor's study. Perception: nat 20 - sees two shadowy figures about to enter the window.

== Third fight, continued ==

Elise: perception 25 (including +5 situation modifier)
Deena: perception 23
Keyt: perception 22
Arami: perception 10 (natural 1)
Wights: 15

-- Round 1 --

Elise: 3-action 4th lvl Heal: 23 damage. Wight 1 save: successful, Wight 2 save: fail.

Deena: Leap (from ladder, over our difficult ground rubble), move, move.

Keyt: Move, move, sneak: success.

Wight 1 and Wight 2: enter the room, and start some kind of weird summoning chant.

Arami: Move, move, Intimidate vs Wight 1: 20 - success.

-- Round 2 --

Elise: 3-action 4th level Heal: 20 damage. Wight 2 save: fail, Wight 1 save, success.

Deena: 2-action 4th level Heal vs Wight 1: 18 damage. Wight 1 save: success.

Keyt: Move (with Acrobatics: 22), backstab vs Wight 1: nat 20 - crit: 48 damage - killed. You're Next vs Wight 2: crit.

Wight 2: Flee through the window and fall (nat 1 on acrobatics, 2 damage), stand up, move.

Arami: Move (acrobatics: nat 1, have to stop), move (around obstacle), scan: perception 26 - see nothing more than the fleeing wight.

-- Round 3 --

Elise: move, hold.

Deena: delay.

Keyt: delay.

Wight 2: move back to just outside window, intimidate vs: Arami x 2: fail x 2.

Arami: Inspire Courage. Trip Wight 2 with Assurance(Master Athletics): automatic success, as it still was frightened 1. Strike with whip: hit, 6 damage.

-- Round 4 --

Elise: move, Disrupt Undead vs Wight 2: 14 damage. Wight 2 save: 14 - fail.

Keyt: Draw knife, move, throw: hit. Damage 18, killed.

Fight over.

== Session End ==

In this session we got a lot of mileage out of all characters being Cavern Elves; darkvision meant we all could keep a lookout through the windows, and moves of 35 and 40 meant we could spread out to patrol, and quickly rejoin each other when something happened.

It does not feel that the tactics we used worked well with Exploration Mode at all, tactics that otherwise felt natural for us to use.

Time spent: 3h 20 min
Hero points spent: 0
Death saves: 0
Damage taken: 0
Consumables used: 2 holy water as material components, 1 fireball bead.
Resonance used on anything other than daily imbuements: 1 for the fireball bead.
Spell Points used: 0

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I’m delaying typing up my notes from Pale Mountain in order to catch up with reporting, as we are behind already. My previous reports from Lost Star are here and here.

Note: There may be mistranslations: My GM translated on the fly from English to Swedish as we played, and I translated on the fly from Swedish to English as I wrote notes on what happened...

==Character Creation==

We are down to two players, so we play two characters each. As my primary character from previous scenarios is a bard, I could bring her into this scenario too, which the other player thought unfair. He is also the one player whose character was particularly interested in the Countdown Clocks during our Mummy’s Mask campaign. So our GM allowed the other player to bring his primary character, and we created a cleric each as secondary characters. With two high-charisma clerics and a bard, we thought we would bring sufficient magic healing to make the scenario work, whatever it was.

So, the characters were:
Arami, Cavern Elf Maestro Bard.
Deena, Cavern Elf Cleric of Honey, passion domain.
Elise, Cavern Elf Cleric of Honey, passion domain.
Keyt, Cavern Elf Rogue.

As we’ve relocated the scenarios to our GM’s version of Greyhawk, tying it into the meta-plot threads connecting his different campaigns together, places and gods had to be changed. Honey is an old character that ascended in the events following our run of Rise of The Runelords. She is a patron of the performing arts, and for those with a generally bohemian hippie “flowers in your hair” lifestyle. Here we decided to translate Honey as Playtest Deity into: Performance skill, Fist as holy weapon as Irori, and Domains and Spells as Shelyn.

All four characters were Cavern Elves, as both players are very fond of the combination of high movement and Darkvision, and nobody wanted to get stuck with the one character without these two properties. Of course all four had both Nimble and Fleet.

Equipping the four characters took forever, as it was hard to find a satisfactory combination of items using the “X of level Y” rules, especially as we tried to co-ordinate the items over all four characters. Fortunately we could pool the money part - that made things a bit easier.

== Introduction ==

Our GM introduced the letter from the Esoteric Order with the mission, and described where in his campaign world he wanted to set the scenario. Sombrefell Hall ended up at the edge of a swamp just east of the City of Greyhawk itself, near Cairn Hills and its many haunted graves. Apparently the aristocracy of the city once liked to build large villas in the area because of its sombre ambience, making them feel darkly poetic and expressively emotional - or something.

After the intro, we decided to pick memorised spells for the two clerics. This proved to be a severe speed bump, as we argued a lot on how much meta-knowledge we could use in the spell selection, especially knowing that the scenario called for magical healing - and what that implied. Finally we solved it with deciding that as we knew that we were travelling into an undead-infested area, it would not be unnatural to pick a lot of anti-undead spells.

== Entering the Hall ==

We all got delivered to the Hall in style - in a black carriage, care of the Esoteric Order. However, after ushering us out the driver sped off, obviously relieved to be able to leave the area, leaving us to stare at the massive oak door and its iron knocker. We knocked… and knocked… and nothing happened.

Investigating the door while we waited started a long discussion on what you could and could not do with the playlist’s version of Detect Magic, and what heightened meant in that context.

Finally, this out-of-character discussion got interrupted by the door getting opened by a dark-haired woman in a green dress, Lucvi. She did not want to let us into the house, and asked what our mission was. This immediately triggered a “We’re on a mission from God!… I mean, our Goddess!”. Keyt got to roll an intimidate for this line: 30. A stunned Lucvi let us into the hall.

(Here the GM revealed the map of the house)

Keyt immediately spotted the chandelier (obvious on the map) and noticed the levers that could be used to lower and raise it - and make it crash to the floor.

The professor came out to meet us, and we started to discuss our mission with him. He only came with excuses and faint justifications for avoiding the task. When we pressed him on this, he claimed we did not have sufficient knowledge for understanding the situation. Arami immediately proved him wrong with an Occultism roll of 24, to persuade him that we indeed knew what we were talking about.

Reluctantly, the Professor revealed that he feared he was pursued by an agent of the Dominion of the Black. When we asked what kind of agent he got vague again: “I’m unsure, some kind of dream being…”

Well, we argued that for who could be better at coping with supernatural threats than clerics, and we offered divine protection until his immediate concern was dealt with and he could accept the mission we wanted to give him. Also, as we seemed to know our stuff, we were allowed to stay in one of the guest rooms, and prompted by us, we also got permission to investigate the house to spot any threat.

Of course, the first thing we wanted to investigate was his study…

== The Professor’s study ==

We all entered the professor’s study together with Lucvi and the Professor - and spotted all the interesting notes strewn around the room. After some out-of-character discussion on how to do this, we decided that Deena and Elise would engage the researchers in conversation to distract them, while Arami and Keyt tried to surreptitiously read the notes.

First attempt:
Distraction - Deena: Diplomacy 18, Elise: Diplomacy 29 - successful
Investigation - Arami: Occultism 12, Keyt: Occultism 15 - fail

Second attempt:
Distraction - Deena: Diplomacy 21, Elise: Diplomacy 27 - successful
Investigation - Arami: Occultism 16, Keyt: Occultism 15 - fail

Third attempt:
Keyt rolled a natural 1 on occultism before we had a chance to roll the distracting diplomacies - and the GM decided this was reason enough for us to get thrown out, with the Professor and Lucvi staying in the study.

But we still had permission to investigate the house…

(Here we asked how much time we had to investigate the house: 2h 40 mins until nightfall, and we could use up 10 mins for each room we did a “normal” search in. We gave the GM a note with our perceptions on, so he could roll secretly for each of us for each room we searched.)

== Storage room ==

A lot of leftover junk. Search gave nothing. On a direct question if anything could be used to defend the house: “Well, you could always build a barricade out of it.”


== Kitchen ==

Place looked messy but had no food: “Typical student cooking.”

Search revealed some silver knives:
“Silver kitchen knives?”
“Yes, big ones.”
“Tableware can be made from silver - but kitchen knives? Something is fishy.”

Well, Arami and Keyt decided to take a knife each.

“Oh, and the knives are of expert quality.”

== Dining room ==

Floor to ceiling glass windows. Search only revealed that the big kitchen table was bolted to the floor. Why?

Food trolleys were moveable.

== Pantry ==

Search revealed preserves, bread, sausages, four flasks of olive oil, and seven braids of garlic.

“Seven braids?”
“Somebody must love garlic…”

Out of character: “Barricades, silver knives, garlic. This feels like an old-style computer text adventure where you pick up the stuff you find, to use later…”

== Library ==

Attention was immediately drawn to the immense block of marble drawn on the map. We refused to believe you would build such a big thing as just a decorative pillar, and insisted that it had to hide a secret room or something. To stop us from derailing, the GM had to retcon it to a marble floor with a smaller column in the centre, with the bookshelves standing on that marble floor.

After that change, we spent double time searching here, with Arami and Keyt searching the bookshelves, and Deena and Elise “searching” the sofas.

The double search allowed Keyt to find a handwritten note in a book, with ramblings about transformation. We fruitlessly tried to draw conclusions from the book the note was found in, and why anyone (obviously the Professor) would write such a note and then place it in a random book…

== Bottom floor bedrooms ==

We quickly looked into each of the bottom floor bedrooms to try to decide what room belonged to whom, no searching.

“Man, woman, not a bedroom, apparently the professor, apparently Lucvi.”
“Ok, lets’ investigate the Professor’s bedroom. We *do* have permission…”

== Professor’s bedroom ==

It was surprisingly clean, and the bed was made. We searched.

Keyt found a book under the pillow in the bed.

Out of character:
“Wait a minute. Under the pillow? That’s the most obvious place to look ever… Just to satisfy our curiosity: what was the DC to remember to look under the pillow?”
“DC20 to look under the pillow?”
“That is so stupid”.

The book ended with torn out pages. The last ones not torn out were six weeks old, and contained ramblings about a Ramlock, whose voice the professor apparently could hear.

== Professor’s Walk-In Closet ==

Old clothes and a carpet on the floor.

Before deciding to use 10 minutes to search:
Sarcastically: “Ok, a carpet on the floor. Is it also DC20 to remember to look under the carpet?”
“Actually…. it is DC26.”
“But as you specifically mentioned looking under the carpet, you don’t have to search and it won’t take 10 minutes. You find a trapdoor.”
“Could it not have been an intricate puzzle of sliding parquetry tiles or something? It’s a regular carpet - this is stupid.”

== Unlocking the trapdoor: The big bag of nails! ==

This will take some explaining. This is something my co-player has figured out, so I hope I get this right.

Rather than use regular lock picks, Keyt has a big bag of old bent nails to use as improvised lock picks. That means a lesser chance to succeed, but you eliminate the cost of a critical failure, as you only need to sacrifice an old nail when that happens. As long as you still have any chance of success, you will eventually make it - and remember, a natural 20 is a success unless the GM says the task is impossible.

So, all you need is that big bag of nails, and the patience to roll *a lot* of checks. It is in exploration mode, so you would be fatigued after 300 attempts, but 299 is ok, as long as you rest a little before the next 299 rolls…

Of course, Keyt just *had* to ask for Inspire Competence rolls from Arami, i.e. me. But as Inspire Competence is a reaction, so you can only use it on every third attempt…

Arami: Inspire Competence 27, critical success
Keyt: Thievery 27, success
Keyt: Thievery 23, fail
Keyt: Thievery 21, fail
Arami: Inspire Competence 20, success
Keyt: Thievery 22, fail
Keyt: Thievery 25, fail
Keyt: Thievery 25, fail

I think you get the idea. After four more Inspire Competence and twelve more Thievery checks the lock was unlocked… Total of 24 rolls.

This is why we think the absence of take 20 together with having success on a natural 20 is bad.

== Cellar ==

Cot, chains, bizarre writings on the walls.

We tried to identify the language of the writings:
Arami: Society 18 - fail
Keyt: Society 21 - fail.

Here our GM reminded us of the “nail tactics” above. As Recall Knowledge is a single action, and nothing forbids retries, we can roll 299 times before getting fatigued. He did not want us rolling 299 times, so he just gave us the answer: “The Language is like Aklo, but it is not Aklo”.

More out-of-character discussion: This is just mood-setting information. Why is the DCs to reveal mood-setting stuff so high? It’s not like “it’s similar to Aklo” is of much use to the characters…

The chains looked well used.
Players OOC: “This is like the standard props from a werewolf movie… The main character always tries to lock himself up when he turns into a werewolf.”
The person wearing the chains could unlock them if calm - some kind of safety for psychotic episodes.

== Attic ==

Looking over the map we noticed the stairs to the attic (even if they were shaded to look descending).

Even the simple padlock on this door was DC26. So…
GM: “Let’s just skip the nails and the scores of rolls and say you open the lock.”

We decided to take 10 minutes to search the attic.
“Well, this might be another pick-up-needed-items-room. Let’s look for anti-mummy powder!”

Deena did not find anti-mummy-powder, but the corpse of a dead zombie in a corner. Well, a deader zombie. Somebody had stuck a letter-opener with the Professor’s initials into the remains of its brain, and it was not moving any more.

The GM rolled three secret Medicine rolls:
Deena: It has been here a few weeks.
Keyt: It has been here for years.
Elise: It has been here a few weeks.

Oh, well.

== Upper Floor Guestrooms ==

We decided to all stay in the same upper floor guest room. A search revealed a closet of old clothes. We used these to make dummies to put into the beds of the other guest bedrooms.

== Dinnertime ==

After all this searching we were hungry. We decided to cook something good out of the stuff in the pantry. Keyt cooked, and Arami inspired.

Arami: Inspire Competence: 26, crit success.
Keyt: Craft: 27 (I assume this was some kind off crit, due to the effect)

The wonderful smell of the cooking drew everyone to the kitchen and the dining room, even the cranky Professor.

During dinner, we tried to make conversation about the area - i.e. gather some information.
Elise: Diplomacy natural 20.
We found out that the lake contained a village that had been flooded, drowning the inhabitants, and that the area was known for its vampires. Cosy.

Here somebody started pounding on the front door. Time for a cliffhanger ending of the session.

== Session End ==

Time spent: 2h 11 min
Hero points spent: 0
Death saves: 0
Consumables used: 0
Resonance used on anything other than daily imbuements: 0
Spell Points used: 0
Spell Slots used: 0

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Envall wrote:

Task DC must assume you gain bonus points from other sources instead of just yourself, because treasure that assists you is fact about the game.

Hence the pressure to acquire these sources to keep up, with those skills where you fail to do that falling behind.

As I recall the explanation of the table from the previews, the various difficulty columns in the 10-2 table were supposed to represent a given chance to succeed for a party of that level. I no longer recall the percentages given, but let us for argument's sake say that Hard means "party has a 60% chance to succeed" - so a Hard 6 means a 60% chance for a level 6 party to succeed, while a Hard 14 means a 60% chance for a level 14 party to succeed.

So, again for argument's sake, say that you want to give your party a level-appropriate Hard task. As Hard = 60%, that means that you want to give your party a 60% chance to succeed.

So, what do you do? You go to a table and look up up a number A, which combined with the party's B numbers will give them a 60% chance to succeed. A combined with B combined with die rolls gives you a 60% chance - a Hard chance.

But, since you already *did* decide on a 60% chance by deciding Hard, you might as well have rolled a d100 in a flat percentage roll. Looking up the A and the Bs and using them is unnecessary - it is just a roundabout way to arrive at the probability you already had decided.

(As I said, I used Hard = 60% just for arguments sake, but it works for any reasonably fixed percentage.)

Corwin Icewolf wrote:
Mats Öhrman wrote:

A very nice system designed by Starfox, my GM, for a D&D 3.5 level 1-20 campaign using the Savage Tide AP:

Spellcasting did not exhaust the slot, but "locked" the spell level instead, prohibiting you from casting any other spells from that same spell level. At the end of your turn, you rolled individually for each of your locked spell levels to unlock them. Once a level was unlocked, you were free to cast any memorized/known spell of that level again. The DC to unlock levels increased, so higher levels were harder to unlock. Classes that originally were spontaneous casters got a bonus on the unlock roll.

E.g. cast a 3rd level spell, like Fireball, and you won't be able to cast another 3rd level spell such as another Fireball or a Lightning Bolt until you've managed to unlock 3rd level spells.

This system effectively eliminated the 15 minute adventuring day, stopping spells from being exhausted, while simultaneously eliminating "going nova" and overuse of spellcasting in a single combat. Cast too many spells, and soon you'd end up with all your available spell levels locked.

It was also easy to tune how much spellcasting you wanted to have by adjusting the DC you needed to unlock a level. If I recall correctly, we used 8 + spell level as unlock DC, so you needed to roll 9+ for the first level if it had been locked, 10+ for 2nd, and so on.

It often tended to encourage "creative" spell use, as the level you really wanted to use stubbornly refused to unlock. :)

I really like the sound of this system, but I see some problems. Was it just a flat check to unlock the spell level? It seems like with those DCs anything else would auto succeed at high levels. And outside of combat wouldn't you basically just roll until you unlock the slot?

Yes, a flat check. We tried improving the check with level, but flat worked better.

Outside combat slots would recharge so you had fresh slots for next fight - unless you wanted to keep a spell running continuously. This tied up that level, you had to roll Concentration checks to have the spell up any moment it mattered, and you risked going into combat with the slot locked and your running spell down.

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This is a continuation from part 1

Not only are our playtest group behind in the test schedule, but I am also very late in typing up my notes. But I promised my GM to do it, so here goes.

We lost the third player in our group; first he had scheduling problems and then he had to quit due to health problems - genuinely so, no hidden rage quit or something like that.

Down to just two players we pondered what to do. First we tried doing a society scenario with two characters at a slightly higher level than the scenario was written for, but then we decided to play two characters each, and continue to work our way through Doomsday Dawn as far as we could.

So, our Gnome Barbarian was retired, and two new characters created. Also, the new Heritages had just arrived, so the half-elf rogue and the elf bard were both turned into cavern elves. The new party line-up was:
* Arami, cavern elf maestro bard.
* Keyt, cavern elf rogue.
* Shimmer, svirfneblin gnome primal sorceress.
* Frag, dwarf fighter. Yes, that *is* an Old Norse dwarf name, taken from the Völuspa of the Poetic Edda - same place Tolkien got his dwarf names.

Common theme? Well, due to the race changes in update 1.4, we all now had darkvision, making sneaking around in dark dungeons a cinch. Our GM was less than amused, especially as he had already worked out a way to sneak around with a torch during our previous session.

Our game is set in the World of Greyhawk and tied to our GMs other campaigns, so the name of gods etc have been changed.

=Continuing the story=

The party had left the dungeon to procure some holy symbols of Selene, which we hoped would take us past a statue trap. Visiting the Selene temple, we decided to make a full report to the clergy there in order to gain their favour. Our GM decided that getting their attention was a trivial level 5 diplomacy task. With a roll of 21, we succeed neatly, and even got a blessing: a +1 conditional bonus on attack and defence versus undead.

=Return to the Dungeon=

Arami and Keyt took point with Shimmer and Frag following as we sneaked back into the dungeon, now without any torchlight. When we reached the big gallery where we had killed several goblins earlier, we got a nasty surprise: Six big centipedes had crawled out of a side room and was feasting on the goblin corpses.

As the two point characters had declared a Sneaking tactics, our GM decided that our Stealth rolled for initiative would decide whether the centipedes had seen us or not. (Yes, we do find scouting under the given Exploration rules very confusing, and our GM has changed his mind on how to interpret them several times.)

Shimmer declared that she would bolt one of the centipedes with a cantrip to start the fight, luring them into the rogue's caltrops and the fighter's attack of opportunity. The GM decided that this meant that she would roll Nature for initiative.

=Centipede Fight=

Keyt, rogue: Stealth 27 (got to take 20 because of wall between her and the centipedes)
Arami, bard: Stealth 24 (also got to take 20 for the same reason)
Shimmer, sorceress: Nature 10
Frag, fighter: Stealth 15
Centipedes: Perception 21

Our plan had suddenly failed - not only did Shimmer end up last even though she was supposed to start the fight, but she had also been spotted by the Centipedes since their perception was higher than her nature, as well as having misjudged the distance - the centipedes were 35 feet away, longer than the range of her cantrip. Did we say we thought the Exploration rules were confusing?

-Round 1-

Keyt: moved forward, spread caltrops in a choke point.

Arami: Inspire Courage, then hid: Stealth 20.

Centipede 1: 2 x move to close, which triggered Frag's attack of opportunity: 23 to hit, crit for 17 damage. Centipede killed.

Centipede 2: 2 x move. Entered caltrops, failed save and took 1 damage + 1 bleed. Bit Frag: Nat 20, crit, 4 damage + venom. Frag saved successfully versus the venom.

Centipede 3: 2 x move. Successfully saved versus the caltrops. Bit Shimmer: 20 to hit, 2 damage. Shimmer failed to save versus venom and became flatfooted.

The rest of the centipedes found conditions too crowded and kept eating goblin corpses.

Frag: Tried to hit centipede 2: nat 1 - miss. Tried again: 10 to hit, miss. Tried a Brutal Shove: crit fail.

Shimmer: Moved to the rear. Took out an antidote. Drank it. Took 6 damage from the venom, then rolled 12 vs the save DC of 13, which moved her to affliction stage 2.

-- Round 2 --

Keyt: backstabbed and killed centipede 3. Hit and then missed centipede 2, which was left at 2 hp.

Arami: hit and killed centipede 2 with her whip. She then cast Soothe on Shimmer for 10 hp.

Centipede 4: now noticed there was room to reach the fight. 2 x move, which triggered an attack of opportunity from Frag: miss. Bit Frag: 18 to hit, 3 damage. Frag successfully saved versus the venom.

Centipede 5: 2 x move. Bit Keyt: 22 to hit, 3 damage. Keyt successfully saved with a 14.

Centipede 6: 2 x move into outflank vs Keyt. Bit: nat 20, 6 damage. Fort save failed, which brought Keyt to affliction stage 1.

Frag: struck outflanked centipede 5: 24 to hit, crit, killed. Brutal shove versus centipede 4: miss. Struck centipede 4: 16 to hit, killed.

-- Round 3 --

Keyt: delayed.

Arami: Move. Inspire Courage. Trip centipede 6: 12, successful!

Keyt: struck centipede 6: miss. Struck again: 11 damage, killed, which means all centipedes had now been killed. Drew an antidote. Took 3 damage from the venom, then failed her save, which took her to stage 2.

Shimmer: took 4 damage from venom. Rolled 12 on the save, which kept her at stage 2.

-- Round 4 --

Keyt: Drank antidote. Tried Treat Poison: critical failure. took 3 damage, and then saved with a 17, which brought her to stage 1.

Shimmer: 2-action Heal on Keyt for 9 hp. Took 2 hp from venom. Failed save, stayed at stage 2.

-- Round 5 --

Keyt: Move. Treat Poison on Shimmer: fail. Treat Poison on herself: success. Took 5 damage from venom. Save 12: fail, took her back to stage 2.

Shimmer: 2-action Heal on Keyt for 5 hp. Took 3 hp from venom. Saved, taking her to stage 1.

-- Round 6 --

Keyt: Treat Poison on Shimmer: fail. Treat Poison on herself: fail. Treat Poison on herself: fail. Took 6 damage from venom. Save: fail, stayed at stage 2.

Shimmer: 2-action Heal on herself: 7 hp. Took 1 damage from venom. Failed save, but effect ends.

Arami: Soothe on Keyt for 9 hp.

-- Round 7 --

Keyt: Treat Poison on herself: fail. Treat poison on herself: success. 1 damage from venom. Failed save, stayed at stage 2.

-- Round 8 --

Keyt: Treat Poison on herself: fail. Treat Poison on herself: fail. Treat Poison on herself: fail. 1 damage from venom, effect ends.

-- Fight Over --

The fight is over after 3 rounds of fighting and 5 rounds of bouncing up and down along the affliction track. The latter was not exciting at all, only *incredibly* tedious.

After this we rebelled and decided to cheat a bit, giving Frag the medicine skill in case anything like this ever happened again. With his assistance the party was fit for fight again the next day. I'm *not* going to write down the rolls that was required!

== Next Day ==

After all that it was nice to see that the chapel room had improved since last time we visited it. The water was shimmering and shining and altogether pleasant.

The door that went in the direction we wanted, according to Talga's map, had already been unlocked by Keyt the first time we were here, so it was no trouble. Keyt approached the Selene statue with the holy symbol she had been given by the Selene temple, and nothing happened - the trap did not trigger. We all passed by the same way without incident.

Keyt checked the next door for first traps, and then to see if it was locked. She realised that it was simply stuck, which meant it was a job for Frag.

Frag tackled the door with a mighty Athletics roll of 22, which means it was a crit. Looking up the effect of a Break Open
crit, we found that this meant that the door was "not destroyed", which gave us a good laugh.

Our GM ruled that such a good roll meant that Frag could keep it and use it as his initiative roll, and that the others got to roll their Stealth because of surprise. (Still trying to puzzle out the transition from Exploration to Encounter mode.)

== Drakus Fight ==


Frag, fighter: Athletics 22 (kept from before, see above)
Shimmer, sorceress: Stealth 22
Arami, bard: Stealth 21
Keyt, rogue: Stealth 13

Drakus: Perception 18.

-- Round 1 --

Frag: Moved, closing with Drakus. GM read up if Drakus should get an attack of opportunity here, but decided that by the room description Drakus would still be unarmed, especially as we surprised him with that crit Break Open roll. Frag struck Drakus with a Power Attack: nat 20, 32 damage. Drakus became bloodied by the first strike.

Shimmer: Move. Cast Fear on Drakus. Drakus saved and became Frightened 1.

Arami: Move. Inspire Courage. Trip with whip: 20, success. Drakus fell prone.

Drakus: Rose up, which triggered an attack of opportunity from Frag: Nat 1. Drew weapon. Struck Frag: 18 to hit, 7 damage.

Keyt: Delay.

-- Round 2 --

Frag: Step. Power Attack: 19 to hit, 12 damage, which killed Drakus.

-- Fight over --

Arami tried Occultism to identify Drakus: 7, fail.

We examined the altar and found some possible loot: an expert longsword, two potions, a silver holy symbol and an expert studded leather - but not the jewellery we were looking for.

Arami cast Soothe on Frag for 7 hp.

== Small Chapel ==

The first door out of the room could be opened with a key Drakus had. Keyt looked for traps, but found none.

After some stairs going up, we found a little chapel, spotlessly clean - even suspiciously clean. There we found a book, a magic dagger, and a silver bowl with holy water.

Arami rolled a 19 on Occultism and realised that the funeral prayer in the book could be used to cleanse the altar in Drakus room.

Looking in the bowl gave a vision of us looking older ("But we are elves, can you really see that? - Hush!") and the stars going out ("Oh, like in the Nine Billion Names of God!")

Arami cleaned and cleansed the altar, while Keyt and Frag impatiently kept guard. Shimmer got to make a secret nature roll, which the GM then stated failed...

When the cleansing was done, we saw a vision of happy souls passing through the room, and our GM informed us we had received Selene's Blessing, and that we should remind him if we ever were dying.

== Cave ==

The other exit from Drakus room led to a rough cave that smelled of blood and sweat. In the room was one open and one closed chest - and everybody immediately started looking at the closed one. Frag immediately saw a trap on it.

Once again our GM was frustrated as the scenario did not say if multiple successes were needed or not to remove the trap and unlock the chest, as has been stated elsewhere.

Keyt tried to remove the trap:
Thievery 17 - fail
Thievery nat 1 - critical failure. Trap rolled 26 versus Keyt - hit. Keyt saved: nat 1 - poison stage 2.

Here everybody groaned, remembering the affliction ordeal from the centipedes. At least now Frag was trained in Medicine.

-- Round 1 --

Frag: Treat Poison on Keyt: success.

Arami: Handed Keyt an antidote.

Keyt: Drank antidote. Damage 4, drained 2, save successful, which took her to stage 1

-- Round 2 --

Frag: Treat Poison on Keyt: 3 x fail.

Keyt: Treat poison on herself: success. Damage 2, save failed, which took her to stage 2.

-- Round 3 --

Frag: Treat Poison on Keyt: 2 x fail, 1 success.

Shimmer: Heal on Keyt for 11 hp.

Keyt: 5 damage, save failed, now stage 3.

-- Round 4 ---

Frag: Treat Poison on Keyt: success.

Arami: Soothe on Keyt for 6 hp

Keyt: 8 damage, then effect is over.

-- Affliction roll-off done --

Finally, Keyt was able to have a go at picking the lock on the chest. Keyt has a tactic. I'm not sure I understand it, but it hangs on switching between improvised and regular picks depending on how many accumulated successes you have. She has run computer simulations on it until she was satisfied.

So Keyt started with her improvised picks - a big bag of nails.

After 32 rolls (yes, thirty-two) she had her first success, which according to her tactics meant she could switch to her regular lockpicks.

After two rolls, she got a critical fail, which would mean back to the bag of nails.

Here we gave up, and let Frag go to town on the chest with a crowbar: and he immediately got a natural 20 on Athletics to Break Open the chest. The chest opened nicely without damaging any of the contents.

Here the GM revealed that the same key that opened the door to the small chapel would have opened the chest. This stunned Keyt. "How can a key that opened an original ancient door also open this regular chest - the locks ought to have been made separately!?" The GM could not really answer that.

Inside the chest we found a lot of stolen goods, including the jewellery we were looking for. We decided that we would return the stolen goods to the rightful owners, and the Selene relics to her temple. As a reward we got a free 3rd lvl item pick. As we had what we came for, we left the dungeon.

We finished with a big data dump of background info that I will not repeat here.

== Conclusions ==

Appx 2 h 45 mins used for session.

No Hero Points used. No Death saves. Nowhere near running out of resonance.

Making an all-darkvision party is very tempting for dark dungeons.

The massive dice-rolling for poisons and opening locks are just long boring slog where you grow impatient to continue with the story.

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Wu Nakitu wrote:
scoutmaster wrote:
I will not agree that athletics, for example, let fly breathe underwater or dig underground. I will not allow Acrobatics to permeate through the walls. The spell must be prepared. it's a big difference
With 10 mins Quick Prep and a 3rd level slot, my 16th level Wiz can outperform my friend's Legendary Athletics Skill Feat of choice with a quick Fly spell using a slot 5 levels lower than max - that doesn't seem a little bit problematic?

I've played climb/jump specialists next to people with fly spells in both Skull&Shackles and Mummy's Mask, and what I've found is that by the time they've cast their Fly spell/activated their Fly item, I've already climbed up the rigging/up the dungeon wall and engaged the problem... You don't need to take time to activate climb. :)

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A very nice system designed by Starfox, my GM, for a D&D 3.5 level 1-20 campaign using the Savage Tide AP:

Spellcasting did not exhaust the slot, but "locked" the spell level instead, prohibiting you from casting any other spells from that same spell level. At the end of your turn, you rolled individually for each of your locked spell levels to unlock them. Once a level was unlocked, you were free to cast any memorized/known spell of that level again. The DC to unlock levels increased, so higher levels were harder to unlock. Classes that originally were spontaneous casters got a bonus on the unlock roll.

E.g. cast a 3rd level spell, like Fireball, and you won't be able to cast another 3rd level spell such as another Fireball or a Lightning Bolt until you've managed to unlock 3rd level spells.

This system effectively eliminated the 15 minute adventuring day, stopping spells from being exhausted, while simultaneously eliminating "going nova" and overuse of spellcasting in a single combat. Cast too many spells, and soon you'd end up with all your available spell levels locked.

It was also easy to tune how much spellcasting you wanted to have by adjusting the DC you needed to unlock a level. If I recall correctly, we used 8 + spell level as unlock DC, so you needed to roll 9+ for the first level if it had been locked, 10+ for 2nd, and so on.

It often tended to encourage "creative" spell use, as the level you really wanted to use stubbornly refused to unlock. :)

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Vidmaster7 wrote:

So maybe like turn a lot of utility spells into rituals using the skill tree's maybe?

Have rituals been touched at all in the playtest? Any groups found them useful in the scenarios, any surveys asked about them? Any discussions on the forum? Any playtesting at all?

Otherwise, if they are looking for something that can be cut to make room for stuff that are actually used...

(Not really fair to compare, but rituals in our 4E campaign were unused and a dead weight until my GM cut casting time *severely* and we got to a level where monetary costs were negligible.)

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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

The problem of limited spell slots and nerfed utility spells is that it makes it very hard to justify a 1st level slot on something like Unseen Servant. Not when you could prep a Burning Hands in that slot. Those spells are not equivalent in any way.

It’s weird seeing the design team understand that you can’t just use a single resource pool for combat and utility by separating out skill feats and general feats, but then completely miss it in combat spells vs utility spells and the utility spells are all but useless in exploration mode.

Indeed; the survey could have done with some questions about the balance between attack/control/buff/utility and encounter/exploration/downtime when it comes to magic.

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Jason Bulmahn wrote:

In particular, there are three levers we can manipulate to add power and versatility to magic that we want you to think about when taking this survey:

Number of spells per day.
Chance that a spell will succeed (or that foes will fail saving throws).
Power of individual spells.

I sorely miss "Duration" as an overall option.

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Vic Ferrari wrote:
Mats Öhrman wrote:
To me, magic items has very much been an opportunity to step outside the class bonds and gain new abilities that makes a more varied and interesting character, not necessarily increase the power level of what the class already gives.

I find +X items way too essential in the Playtest.

The devs assume you pick items for power, so they design the difficulty curve so you have to pick items for power, making it a self-fulfilling prophesy. ;)

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"Magic items are a critical part of determining a character's overall power and ability"
"Selecting gear for a higher level character by spending gold resulted in a more powerful character"

I so wish that would have asked questions about "fun", "interesting", "exciting", "varied", and so on, rather than fixating on "powerful".

To me, magic items has very much been an opportunity to step outside the class bonds and gain new abilities that makes a more varied and interesting character, not necessarily increase the power level of what the class already gives.

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I like that Positive Gating would speed up play, would take care of assurance, and that it could be used on a case-by-case basis in a scenario. ”This lock can be opened by a Thievery Master, or by a DC19 check if Expert or lower.”

The games I’ve played that used lots and lots of dice are early editions of Shadowrun and the Warhammer/WH40k miniature games, and there you just counted the number of dice who came up with a given target number. Are there any other games where you have to add up large numbers of large dice like this?

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Starfox wrote:

I want to go the exact opposite way. Remove charges from wands and staves. They cost Focus to use. Period.

I would love to see that.

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Cellion wrote:

Furthermore, the lack of buffs to damaging cantrips is baffling. They could easily be changed to "1dX+Stat w/ a Heightened (+1): +1dX" (a damage buff of +100% in most cases), and still be far worse than any real spell.

Earlier in the Playtest, I still had players talking about picking up a bow over using any cantrips. To me that means cantrips aren't doing their job at being a 'filler' spell.

I'd suggest spamming Intimidation over using your cantrips, especially if you are a Cha-based caster, such as a Bard or Sorcerer.

With my own Bard, I've found Intimidation plus Trip using Assurance(Athletics) to be a very much better combo than any cantrip, especially with an attentive Rogue with Dread Striker in the party. is a good site for comparing probability curves for various dice rolls. (EDIT: Heh, ninja-ed by five minutes. :) )

Here is 9d12 compared to 1d100+8: Click the button named "Graph" in the center to see a graph that shows the two rolls together.

DM_Blake wrote:

Thinks like Attack of Opportunity won't work because Concentrate on a Spell is not one of the listed triggers.

Disruptive, a 10th level Fighter feat, p. 93, allows the fighter to use an attack of opportunity against anyone who takes a concentration action.

Note that e.g. readying an action has the concentrate trait, so that feat may come as a nasty surprise to opponents in some situations.

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Kerobelis wrote:
RazarTuk wrote:

The former is that issue where fighters are the only class where the class abilities are insufficient to fill their role. Fighters are supposed to be weapon masters, and yet they need to rely on wizards to actually deal large amounts of damage. If you make damage runes less common, though, and grant bonus damage dice for higher proficiency levels, they would be self-sufficient. Granted, that would lead to the interesting mental image of a fighter being able to pick a branch up off the ground and murder people to death with it, dealing more damage than a greatsword could in other people's hands. But to be honest, I don't have a problem with that. As an example of that trope in fiction, it would let you build Jason Bourne. Meanwhile, if damage runes still existed, they would let other people upgrade one weapon to be as good as the fighter, or let the fighter go from massive damage to obscene amounts of damage.

It isn't just fighters. Its Barbarians, Monks, Paladins, Rangers, and Rogues. All need magic weapons of the appropriate plus or are next to useless in combat.

Well, it is not really that far from the skill DC table assuming you get the appropriate skill boost magic items at the designated levels, and that monster to-hit assumes a certain AC and saving throw progression through magic armor.

Key item acquisition is simply assumed to progress steadily and smoothly according to plan, with the required items available at the designated levels. That this actually occurs in a natural and smooth manner is unfortunately not something tested in the playtest, as the PCs simply gets a fresh pick of items for each scenario.

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Warning, grognard anecdote:

Back in the 1E AD&D days in the late 1980s we regularly ran 200+ rounds fights with a party of 13-14 players + several followers and henchmen.

When your initiative was up, you were supposed to already have picked your target(s), have rolled both to-hit and damage in advance, and be ready to just present the finished numbers to the GM.

With quick rounds, it was worth it to e.g. take 3-4 rounds to circle around to attack the enemy in the back (remember, in 1E AD&D facing mattered).

Also, my GM was an avid wargamer, and he thought it unrealistic to have unlimited amounts of high-level opponents available, so we tended to meet larger and larger armies of low-level opponents. (He had a box of 37 numbered and painted goblins, and encounters tended to be measured in how many times this box was re-used. Such as "this is a ten-box encounter".)

On the other hand, as he was a wargamer, the enemy tended to have pre-defined lines of communication, alert levels, troops in reserve, and reinforcement routes.

Together with the large number of combattants on both sides this meant that genuine military tactics worked: Concentration of fire, rolling up the flank, cutting lines of communications, blocking reinforcements, etc. Quite different from "tactics" in the "pick power A to counter power B" sense. More like AD&D Squad Leader.

Especially rogues had the important job of cutting communications, whether it was taking out couriers or physically cutting threads connected to signal bells, thus preventing the enemy from calling in reinforcements.

All of this meant that entire dungeon complexes tended to turn into a single encounter - and thus we had 200+ round encounters.

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Deadmanwalking wrote:

I must agree that this is a serious potential issue. I didn't think so upon looking at the chart for all the good and logical reasons presented by defenders of the chart, but the module design thus far makes me seriously concerned.

Almost every DC we've seen so far in all adventures is on-level, and often in circumstances where that makes little sense. It can be argued that's specifically for playtesting, but it sets an unfortunate and, frankly, dangerous precedent.

If the advenures does this (I cannot check myself, I'm intend to play these adventureses when we get to them) I would not say "trap" as the OP. I'd say "bait and switch". with 10-3 through 10-6 as windowdressing bait and 10-2 as the switch.

jozh wrote:
Mats Öhrman wrote:
The undead flesh, the holy symbol, and the letter makes Arami and Keyt think that Wennel had come back as an undead and had gone on a murder rampage.

My players failed the check on the flesh, but even with the holy symbol and the letter clues, they never considered the possibility that the priest of Milani was now the undead killer. They also got the clue from the Bloody Barber they questioned about the murder of the half-elf cleric, though they didn't get his name...

Did the GM provide some other key detail that helped you reach this conclusion?

No, it was the clues listed above, plus the fact that Wennel had died from foul play. We also asked our GM a lot about the timeline: in which order had people died?

We did consider the idea that Wennel had faked his death, but the undead flesh provided a more probable explanation.

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Draco18s wrote:
Gloom wrote:
I find statements like these terribly misleading. When you're trained at your job you may not fail 40% of the time, but you're also not put against 'Even Level Challenges' on a regular basis. When you think about it.. like seriously think about it how often does your job put you up against something that you haven't done so many times it's a rote action?

My old job.

Or heck, my new job that I start Monday.

Welcome to software development.

Oh yes, software development...

Having management every two weeks give the customer the promise that this time you will deliver the Full and Final Version of the Program for half a year's time, with the corresponding guilt trips and feeling of inadequacy every time you fail to deliver, even though you work 60h-70h weeks doing your best effort. And every time you fail, they promise the client more functionality as compensation to avoid a contract fine...

That's one of the reasons why I hate treadmill DCs with a passion. I want to be able to put up intermediate benchmark goals for my character's competency and feel I've reached them.

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Corwin Icewolf wrote:
I'm not the first to notice, but a search came up dry. Inflammable goblin gives you fire resistance. Inflammable doesn't mean fire resistant, it means the same as flammable because English is a goofy language. It should probably get a name change or change the mechanics to give the inflammable goblin some kind of bonus when on fire.


From wrote:

In English, we think of in- as a prefix that means "not": inactive means "not active," inconclusive means "not conclusive," inconsiderate means "not considerate." Therefore, inflammable should mean "not flammable."

That would make sense—if inflammable had started out as an English word. We get inflammable from the Latin verb inflammare, which combines flammare ("to catch fire") with a Latin prefix in-, which means "to cause to." This in- shows up occasionally in English words, though we only tend to notice it when the in- word is placed next to its root word for comparison: impassive and passive, irradiated and radiated, inflame and flame. Inflammable came into English in the early 1600s.

Things were fine until 1813, when a scholar translating a Latin text coined the English word flammable from the Latin flammare, and now we had a problem: two words that look like antonyms but are actually synonyms. There has been confusion between the two words ever since.

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Bartram wrote:

The game needs more variance in build choices (all builds currently feel samey and pigeon holed)

Well, right now the build options are kind of like those adventures where you may go east or west, you may chose to take road A or road B, you may chose to climb the mountains or swim the seas, but you will still end up in the Mysterious City of Y'r Questiz'ere. :) :)

People's tolerance for this may vary, of course.

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