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Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Why is your Paladin helping Baba Yaga?

Because that is the main storyline of the Reign of Winter AP.

People don't cease to function inside of a bag of holding. Bag of Holding itself says it contains enough air to support people for 10 minutes. The way its written the number of people doesn't matter, it is just a flat 10 minutes.

So if it takes longer than 10 minutes to pack and unpack your passengers you are unloading corpses. If you end up being attacked at the destination it could become a problem. Also just having people get into the bag willingly might be a challenge. This would be like offering a cheap cruise to Hawaii and telling the passengers to get into a shipping crate. Sure we can tell the crate is next to a container ship, that doesn't mean you're passengers will warm up to the idea of being shipped as cargo instead of actual passengers.

If you want to make some money in your free time, just Fabricate ships. Nobody complains when you sell them a finished product. The initial investment is a lot cheaper too. 1/3rd of the cost of the ship in raw materials, and if you don't have craft: shipwright then get a Headband of Intellect +2 with that skill. You also might consider a Rod of Widening to help you make larger more profitable ships.

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Valandil Ancalime wrote:
I completely agree with this. I had a character take the "Step Up and Strike" feats and almost all monster immediately stopped taking 5' steps. The number of times I was allowed to use it were few and far between. It was very frustrating.

As a GM I think you need to create the situation where the player gets to use feats like this. After all, they took the feat. Giving the players a chance to use their abilities is a good idea.

But that doesn't mean you let the feat take control of all combat. Bad guys fall for it a few times, realize what is going on and depending on how smart the BG is they either stop or they weigh the risks vs reward.

Even if they know some enemies won't care. Wild Boars can see you have a spear with reach, they still charge and give AoO because that is what they do. A whole pack of goblins might timidly walk up to the edge of your threat range because they think the spear might kill them. Trolls are smart enough to know the threat is there, and dumb enough to arrogantly depend on their regeneration plus tough hide to ignore you're attack and charge anyways. Who the enemy is should be as important as what the threat is the PCs present.

It also depends on how much information the BG has about the party. If the party is exploring the lair of a lich that uses scrying magic to check up on his minions (or some minions escape an earlier fight and inform the boss) the BBG is going to know the tactics the PCs used in the dungeon. The BBG won't just give you an easy time like the previous encounters did, because he watched them and learned from their mistakes. That is if the BBG is cunning. If the BBG is a brute, play him as a brute. BBGs need to have a personality and make sure it comes through during the brief encounter the players have with it.

For Ranger: Rework Favored Enemy to only use the highest bonus for all of the selected Favored Enemies. Also allow the Ranger to replace a favored enemy by announcing they are dropping X creature to study Y creature and facing 6 encounters with Y.

For Paladin: Allow the Paladin to have both the weapon and mount divine bond. Give them an ability to remove negative conditions and stat drain/damage by expending their Lay on Hands like a dispel.

For Either class: 1 extra feat every 4 levels. No strings on what the bonus feat can be spent on.

Theaitetos wrote:
Skrayper wrote:

Does this mean (just wondering), that each ray of a scorching ray would get +1, or the entire spell gets +1?
Every individual damage roll gets a +1; that is, whenever you roll dice for damage, add +1 to the total.

Hmm...that actually makes it rather good for magic missile. Not for a lot of other spells, but hey its only a trait.

Skrayper wrote:
Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:

-one level dip into orc bloodline sorc with the blood havoc bloodline mutation: get +2 damage per die no matter what element. That's +30 from an intensified fireball. Plus, you're still getting +1/2 your wizard level to damage.

Now, would that stack with Emberkin race trait, Pyromancer?

Benefit: You gain a +1 trait bonus on damage rolls for any spell you cast with the fire descriptor. Spells that do not deal damage do not benefit from this trait.

Yes it would, but it isn't very good. The trait bonus adds +1 damage to the entire spell, not +1 per dice.

Let me offer an alternative: Kineticist.

Aether Kineticist means you're doing physical blasts (vs AC) from 1st to 6th level. 7th level you can double down on Aether and start doing Force Blasts (vs touch) as a composite blast.

Though if you want to be mechanically closer you'll choose a different element that lets you do an energy type as your basic blast. Fire or Cold would probably be best. Water/cold has more flexibility to avoid energy resistance. Fire is more focused on doing damage, and Searing Flame will help you overcome fire resistance...but not immunity.

If you mix water and fire you get the best of both worlds. Cold or Fire basic blasts, and you can do steam blast if the creature is immune to both.

ErichAD wrote:
Smurfs seem like tiny sized creatures.

Pathfinder kind of breaks when you get down to tiny size. The default reach being 0 ft is bad. There is no such thing as finding equipment in your size. Carrying things is a nightmare. Anything that does a hit+grab is going to end you even if you are a full BAB class.

Small is basically medium size with a few trade offs. The basics of reach and occupying squares is the same as medium sized, mostly because it would make life difficult if it was as different as tiny sized.

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Just reskin Gnomes and call it a day. Heck, allow any small race considering the diversity amongst Smurfs. Just no tails.

Ah, ok Shield Brace. I didn't pay attention to that...

...kind of like OP didn't pay attention to shield proficiency. Swashbucklers are only proficient with Bucklers.

As long as you stick to combat, everything should be fine.

The main problem I see with this lineup in dealing with traps and puzzles. None of these classes are expected to be good with int skills, or to be heavily invested in knowledge skills. If there are static traps or puzzles with no bad consequences for failing the first attempt the group should be able to use spells to make up for the lack of skills. On the other hand if you have a Sphinx asking questions type situation I'd expect failure.

VoodistMonk wrote:
Bladed Brush is very clear that you are treated as not using your off-hand specifically for feats and class abilities that require such... so that feature only works with other features requiring the off-hand to be free. For literally evwrything else, it's just a Glaive with Weapon Finesse. Its interaction with Shield Brace/Power Attack/Furious Focus is unaffected by Bladed Brush.

Why do people think you can use a heavy shield with Bladed Brush? Does a feat or class ability normally disallow the use of a shield and a 2 handed weapon? No. The standard rules disallow you from using a 2 handed weapon and a heavy shield at the same time. You are allowed to wear a buckler and use a 2 handed weapon, but if you use the weapon you lose the AC bonus from the buckler (unless you have a feat or class ability that says otherwise).

You aren't literally one handing the Glaive. If you want to do that, dip a level of fighter or barbarian with the archetype that allows you to use 2-handed weapons in 1 hand.

As for dex to damage, if you use Slashing Grace to achieve that you need to be counted as a 1 handed weapon, so you don't get the 2 handed multiplier to the damage. If you used the Agile weapon special ability then I believe you could get the 2-handed multiplier since Agile enchant wouldn't care about that... also because Agile isn't a feat or a class ability you'd have to treat the glaive as a 2-handed weapon.

Derklord wrote:
Dragonborn3 wrote:
zza ni wrote:
free healing to any target you can see
Phoenix Bloodline Sorcerer + Words of Power = Cantrip that deals fire damage but can also heal.
Glorious Heat + Spark can do that as well.

Wow. Glorious Heat + Spark is way better than the Phoenix thing. Just because you get to be a full cleric with one feat choice taken up vs a Sorcerer forced into the Phoenix bloodline. Not saying Phoenix bloodline is bad, but its a lot more of an investment than 1 feat plus deity choice.

Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:

-dazing spell, because unless they have evasion they just lost 3 turns

-one level dip into orc bloodline sorc with the blood havoc bloodline mutation: get +2 damage per die no matter what element. That's +30 from an intensified fireball. Plus, you're still getting +1/2 your wizard level to damage.

Dazing Spell only dazes targets that fail their save against the spell. If the spell allows no save, the target makes a will save against the daze separately. Fireball allows a reflex save for half damage. Even if the target takes half damage, they did save so they do not get dazed.

While the Orc bloodline arcana technically doesn't specify Sorcerer spells, Blood Havoc says it only works with Sorcerer spells. So if your Sorcerer/Wizard throws a spell with his Wizard spell slots, he doesn't get the bonus from Blood Havoc.

If you crossblood Orc/Draconic(Red or Gold), you get +1 damage to all spells, and +1 damage to fire spells that doesn't care if it is a sorcerer spell.

If you are going to go sorcerer, Phoenix/Orc offers more flexibility. Adding Blood Havoc to the mix means you throw fireballs with +2 damage per dice which makes Empower spell better than Maxamize. Phoenix lets you toggle between doing damage and healing. Use metamagic rods to change the element of your spells as needed. The minor Elemental spell rods are only 3k each, as opposed to the 35k for a minor maxamize rod. You can also pick up benthic spell as a feat to allow you to change your fireball into bludgeoning damage. While most high level creatures have DR, that DR is usually lower than their energy resistance, especially when the monster if often immune to multiple energy types.

Also pick up Leadership and get a druid cohort with the Druidic Herbalism class feature. Now you're 7th level+ druid can give you wis mod channel the gift potions per day for more fireball goodness. Now you look forward to travel days where you get to stock up on extra fireball.

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Weaponized Dust of Sneezing and Choking.

Step 1: take the feat Craft Wonderous Items.
Step 2: learn Bestow Curse.
Step 3: Gather a collection of minions. Followers, hirerlings, familiars, animal companions, trained monkeys, trained goblins, animated dead, constructs, homunculus, anything that could use the Dust of Sneezing ahd Choking.
Step 4: Manufacture 'cursed Dust of Tracelessness'. aka cheap Dust of Sneezing and Choking. Make enough to give 1 or 2 to each minion.

Step 5: Profit! Each time an encounter looks tough send a minion forward and have them use their emergency dust. Bonus points if the minion is immune to the effect. Minus points if you use it against an encounter that is immune to the effect.

Bardic Masterpieces wrote:

Talented bards can learn or create masterpieces, unusual applications of the bardic performance ability requiring special training.

GMs can use these masterpieces to inspire their own ideas for other masterpieces. Masterpieces should generally be no more powerful than a cleric or sorcerer/wizard spell available to a caster of the same level as the minimum level needed to select the masterpiece (a masterpiece requiring 7 ranks in Perform requires a 7th-level bard, and thus should not be more powerful than a 4th-level cleric or sorcerer/wizard spell).

Masterpiece descriptions adhere to the following guidelines:

This heavily implies that you need to be a bard of the appropriate level as well as have the ranks in the right skills to learn a bardic performance.

The other implication is that you don't learn to do a bardic performance, you create a bardic performance. Bardic performances are supernatural abilities, so you shouldn't be able to generate an effect that doesn't match up with your bardic spell casting. Or should that be matched to Bardic Performance?

Also Music Beyond the Spheres is surprisingly generous in the requirement is only a single round of bardic performance. Most performances require 3-5 rounds.

RAW it works. I wouldn't allow it at my table if someone wanted to dip a level of bard and then start casting wishes... or maybe I would allow it and just Mythos up the caster since you're getting wishes from the Dark Tapestry.

Unpopular choice: Vanilla Fighter. Played an 'archer' in the Iron Gods AP. Doubled as the front line tank too. Archer builds are feat intensive, and Fighter not only gets enough feats to fill out the list, but you get to go deeper than other classes. You get enough feats that you can afford to "waste" a few on non-archery pursuits, like when I picked up EWP: Chainsaw and iron will.

I've also seen people take fighter archetypes and be worse off than if they went with a vanilla fighter. Thanks to the Advanced Weapon Training options and the slew of nitch feats most archetypes can be improved on by the base fighter.

What exactly do you think "compel" is? When you compel something it means you are forcing it to perform a task. As in, you are ordering the zombie around.

If you're GM doesn't think that being in control of the zombie is good enough, ask him for an example of what you'd need to do that. I'm betting he has no clue other than the Dread Zombie's ability which is based on Command Undead the spell, which isn't any more controlling than Command Undead the feat, or being the person who raised the zombies through Animate Dead.

The zombies will obey orders that both of you will give. If you order a zombie to attack the Dread Zombie it should become a contest between you and the dread zombie and follow what command undead says since that is the ability that the Dread Zombie's Command Zombie ability is based on. In other words, you and the Dread Zombie will make opposed charisma checks to see whos orders are followed each round.

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RouneWolf wrote:
Is says that a magus can learn any spells from a wizard's spellbook, even if the mindblade doesn't have a spellbook wouldn't that just mean that the wizard wouldn't be able to review the magus spellbook but the magus would still be able to review and learn the wizards spells as long as the spells are on the magus spell list?

When an archetype says it replaces a class ability, you do what the archetype says. Mindblade replaces the Spell Casting ability of Magus with the one in the Mindblade archetype. The Mindblade's Spell Casting only lets you add spells when you level up, using the Bard's Spell Known chart. It doesn't mention Wizard Spellbooks at all.

Most monsters intended to be single creature encounters have built in methods to threaten an entire party. Usually you'll see a lot of natural attacks, a few abilities that can be used as a free action, Aura and AoE attacks. Study the monsters abilities and look at the terrain and make sure you start off in a position where the monster is making the most of its abilities.

With monsters that mostly rely on physical abilities figure out if it is worth it to stand still or keep moving between attacks. Try to use positioning to limit the number of attackers.

Also when it comes to bosses, have the boss prep a defense against the most common spells used by the party. Resist energy, shield spell, whatever seems appropriate. They are the boss of a dungeon, there should be some method for the boss to get some info on what the party is doing. Don't try to make the boss immune to everything, but spoil the day if your party has a one-trick pony.

Dox of the ParaDox twins wrote:
I was talking with my group about potential solutions and one of them brought up gestalting. I've run a gestalt campaign once before and they seemed to latch onto it. What do y'all think on that? Too good? Still too weak? F***s with everything?

Honestly? Gestalt doesn't solve problems. It actually makes problems here. Gestalt makes you more of an ideal character. Gestalt gives you the choices of the abilities from 2 character classes, but it doesn't give you double the hp, or double the saves, or twice as many attacks.

The AP in question has a lot of moments where the PCs should feel a little overwhelmed. With idealized characters, it is difficult to make them feel overwhelmed without actually crushing them. Especially as the players discover their character histories, having them be super powered beings falling for the main enemies shenanigans becomes more unbearably stupid.

MrCharisma wrote:
You could skip Flagbearer, that'll free up a feat. It won't stack with Heroism anyway, so in the long run you're not really losing anything, and you're gaining a feat.

5 of 6 party members will be melee characters. 4 of them are 3/4 BAB. Giving everyone +1 all of the time is better than giving 1 person +2 for a few fights. Especially considering I can use the spell selection for something else.

Also considering the build, the action economy of not having to cast heroism really helps. Eventually I'll be able to afford a Banner of Kings and then I'll have a permanent +2 moral bonus and 4 extra bard levels worth of Inspire Courage. While that is expensive, I think its well worth the investment for this party.

I'd strongly advise letting each player have 2 characters. This is an AP that is fairly brutal, and has a lot of flavor to it. Running NPCs as part of the party could dampen the experience. Also with 2 characters per player, if one dies the player isn't knocked out immediately.

All right, I really wanted the 20 Cha to start, but I'll listen to the advice and drop it to 19 and pick up str to 14. Unfortunately Swim isn't a class skill for Bards and the traits are stuck if I stick with the Starknife.

While I appreciate the Longspear and reach, I want to try the Desna Shooting Star thing. Admittedly switching from Starknife to Longspear would give me an extra feat and bring on the intimidate build earlier. It also frees up the trait which I could switch around to get Swim as a class skill. But that also means going from +7 to +4 to hit/damage at 1st level. That is a huge downgrade. That extra feat would probably go into WF: Longspear so it boosts to hit to +5. Hmm...

Yeah. Ok. I'll switch things up and use the extra feat to pick up skill focus: Perform(Comedy) around level 7 and bump the feats from before 7 up 2 levels.

Going into the Skulls & Shackles AP. I don't know anything beyond the Player's guide for the AP. Plan is to be a straight bard that starts front line and become more of a second ranker as we level up. Stats are 20 point buy, and 2 background skill points per level. Two traits.

Race: Human (Varisian)
Str 8 (-2) Dex 13 (3) Con 12 (+2) Int 12 (+2) Wis 8 (-2) Cha 18+2 (17)
Trait: Tattooed Mystic (mostly for Starknife proficiency)
Train: Barroom Talespinner: +1 trait bonus to Diplomacy and Perform(Comedy) (campaign trait)
Feats: Divine Fighting Technique: Desna's Shooting Star, Flagbearer.

skills: perform: comedy, perform: oratory, diplomacy, ks: geography(BG), history(BG), local, linguistics, profession: sailor, stealth, UMD.

(BG) designates a skill paid for as a Background Skill.
Spending the Preferred Class Bonus on picking up an extra 0 level spell.

0 level: prestidigitation, light, summon instrument, message, mage hand.
1st: CLW, Tears to Wine.

advancement choices (preferred class bonus will go to an extra spell every level)
2nd: Comedy for Versatile Performance
3rd: Weapon Focus: Starknife
5th: Dazzling Display
6th: Oratory for Versatile Performance. Retrain ranks in Diplomacy to perform: dance.
7th: Signature Skill: Intimidate
9th: Disheartening Display
10th: trade Versatile Performance for Advanced Divine Fighting Technique.

So quick explanation of tactics: Melee bard with starknife in one hand, buckler and flag in the 'empty' hand. Beginning at 5th level the character will specialize in using Dazzling Display to demoralize enemies, using perform instead of intimidate. Starting at 9th level Dirge of Doom will increase the fear effect by 1 step.

I didn't think of anything after 10th level, and I expect the AP to run to 16th level.

So, anything to improve this? Alternatives?

Two more levels in Weapon Master to get the 'big' payout for a subpar archetype? Also you're 1 fighter level away from qualifying for Weapon Specialization. Considering the archetype forces you into a single weapon anyways you might as well fill out the feats for a single weapon.

(or retrain out of the archetype, I seriously think it is weaker than being a vanilla fighter)

Equipment wise, you've got some expensive stuff. Like you're getting more cash than I'd expect for a 7th level character. Sounds like your equipped like a 12th level character already. If the cash keeps rolling in see if you can afford to get Mind Buttressing on that armor to mitigate your deplorable will save.

Quick and Dirty fix: Give intelligent (as in int 3+) NPCs some form of crowd control. A smoke bomb can screw over a party with a mix of melee and ranged characters. Magical Darkness does the same.

If there are spell casters dropping a Create Pit to alter the terrain can be just as helpful as getting PCs into the pit. Potion of Spider Climb works the same way assuming there is a wall nearby.

Requires a bit more thought: If the NPC has money in their treasure, 'buy' one of the Big 6 items worth double the gold you're subtracting from the encounter. As long as you keep doing this, the party isn't gaining anything. Once everybody has a +1 cloak of resistance any future +1 cloaks are only worth the market value. The party should get a flood of weak items, to the point that before you give them a +2 cloak they probably bought one already. NPCs with more Big 6 items are naturally tougher than giving the same NPC a single expensive item that does the same thing.

Dipping is just the act of taking 1 level of 2 or more classes to gain the 1st level class abilities of multiple classes. While I've never played one, I have theory crafted a (nearly) full BAB character that dips 6 classes to get +12 base Fort save as early as possible to abuse the Equipment feats.

Is a character that never takes more than 1 level in any class really dipping? Since you aren't going to get a classes high level abilities doing this, you have incentive to go into a prestige class and grab its end-level ability to make up for all of the dips.

MrCharisma wrote:

2. They help you overcome DR. Getting to a +3 weapon means you overcome the most common types of DR (besides Slashing/Piercing/Bashing), and getting to +5 means you overcome DR:Alignment (Holy usually does this last part just as well).

Here is the other thing I see in our campaigns: People don't normally enchant +5 or better weapons. A +4 weapon has a market price of 32k. +5 is 50k, +6 is 72k. In situations where we've had the money to upgrade such weapons...the money usually goes to buying other cheaper items that do something more interesting than +1 to hit and damage.

As a matter of fact, the only time I've seen players at my table upgrade a weapon past +4 was when I created a circumstance where the Temple of Torag in Janderhoff owed the PCs a major favor for returning the King's Crown to the dwarven fortress. As such, the temple's Forgemasters were willing to cooperate to enchant items quickly, and they passed their discount on to the heroes. With the discounts one of the heroes made a +9 weapon. I can't remember what other items were created.

MrCharisma wrote:
People usually go for the straight +x enhancements first because the bonus to hit is worth more than a slightly bigger bonus to damage (if you don't hit your damage doesn't matter). If you hit very reliably then bonus damage may be better - eg a Gunslinger targets Touch AC and has a full BAB so they can afford to just stack on damage.

I find the opposite is true. It seems most players get their main weapon a +1 bonus just to overcome DR:Magic and then cherry pick the most beneficial special abilities they can afford. Holly is very popular because more than half of your enemies will probably be evil unless you are in an evil campaign. Bane is popular in APs where you know there is a stock villain type. Like Giants in RotRL, or Constructs in Iron Gods.

Well, I should say its true for full BAB classes. 3/4 BAB classes that focus on melee attempting to stay relevant in the late game will be more attracted to hit bonuses. In our current campaign we just ended the campaign at level 17 and nobody has a weapon with a weapon enhancement bonus beyond +1 that they paid for (1 player is using an intelligent +3 weapon we found). The 3 full BAB classes have no trouble hitting, and the 2 3/4 BAB classes one never tried doing melee, and I transitioned from melee at early level to full caster around level 8. Oh, and the only 1/2 BAB class avoids melee like a mouse avoids wild cats.

VoodistMonk wrote:

Do Dhampir naturally heal in any way? If yes, you accelerate that healing... it works on Dhampir.

If Dhampir do not heal naturally over time, then there is nothing to accelerate, and it wouldn't work.

This is a strange case. Natural Healing is Personal, but Communal Healing allows the Vitalist to move the healing to others. Since natural healing doesn't specify that it harms undead, it doesn't. Dhampirs do benefit from natural healing so there is no conflict there.

There could be an argument made that creatures that don't benefit from natural healing like actual undead and constructs shouldn't benefit from the Vitalist's natural healing, but its not absolutely clear in my mind that it shouldn't work.

Healing abilities generally say what effect they have if they target undead. Dhampir are treated as undead for healing spells. The Vitalist's Collective Healing ability says the healing you divert retains all of its properties from the original source. Which means if you use Collective Healing to share a Cure Light Wounds with your Dhampir, it takes damage from your Collective Healing.

If you want to ask about a different psionic healing, mention the specific ability. The more specific you are the easier it is to answer questions.

rorek55 wrote:

Or I could focus on barbarian levels more, and just take a couple level dip into cleric for 2nd level spells, channel and spell completion.

What level character are you talking about here?

Ok, so the goal is to make a non-caster support build. In my mind, Alchemists are full caters. Sure extracts aren't spells, but they are also spells. Argue semantics all you want.

The first thing that comes to mind is Dazzling Display and the line of feats based on it. Being able to give lots of opponents the Shaken condition isn't bad for a control effect. It is even better if you can give them the Frightened condition... which is possible if you take the Signature Skill: Intimidate feat. Depending on the nature of the campaign this could be very effective, or a dud.

I think Barbarian is a good fit for an intimidation build. Though you might want to consider a ranger as well.

Rangers have spells? Well normally yes, but you can pick an archetype that gets rid of that. If you choose to be a trapper archetype, you get Trapfinding and you get to make Ranger Traps. Eventually you can attach a ranger trap to an arrow and launch it. Give up the Animal Companion and you'll be able to share your Favored Enemy bonus as another support skill. And you'll be an out of combat support type too with outdoor skills.

You also might look into the Cavalier Grappler build. Being able to disable an opponent each around (but not kill them) is like crowd control...

Opinion on the build: Cool concept, but it doesn't carry out the goal.

Being able to help 2 players per round isn't what I'd call 'Battlefield control'. Depending on what special ammo you have you might be able to accomplish that, but it forces you to be proactive instead of reactive.

Which is my second problem with the build. If your main combat tactic is to set up 2 readied actions it means you are reactive to bad things, and you need either the monsters or your fellow players to do what you want to happen or you're actions are wasted. Being reactive means waiting until something happens and then reacting to it. Being proactive means bringing the hurt before the monster gets to decide what to do.

The concept sounds cool, but I think it won't work unless you're group (and GM) are very accommodating of this character. If they like the schtick, they will listen and do what triggers your actions. If they don't pay attention or circumstances change you waste a round.

And compared to a standard archery build which is better: Causing the BBG to take 1 debilitating effect and possibly waste an action, or killing him? A well build archery build can very often 1 round a boss.

I'll offer at least 2 alternative ideas in the next post.

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Don't leave glaring holes that will get you one shotted. Like try to make your will save not absolutely suck. And maybe don't buy down your Con without a good reason to.

If you are a one-trick pony, have a reasonable backup plan. That backup plan could be as little as a dagger and a club but at least you put in a little effort, and the rest of the PCs will get a chuckle out of the notion of your perfectly tuned monstrosity desperately trying to defend his life decisions with a club.

Other than that, lean heavy into your strengths. Have fun with the character. Follow your heart, not your head.

Ok, so bandit campaign needs to be open enough that most characters can excuse their actions. So lets have the campaign start off with the players working for a 'good' bandit chief in a broken land where there are many bandit bands and some legitimate lords with bigger problems to deal with.

For a setting, being in the Riverlands just north of Galt somewhere in the Southern Hymerian Forest between Isarn (capital of Galt), and Riverton is a good setting. Galt's endless revolutions produces lots of refugees that would flee into these woods attempting to escape the grasp of the current Revolutionary Council. Most of the 'major' groups in the forest are trying to recruit enough soldiers to reclaim their 'rightful' spot on the Council. Considering the poor conditions for farming, none of the 'Lords' want to invest into making proper villages and farms to produce the food they need. So their 'taxes' are basically strong arming farmers into giving them crops instead of being raided.

And lots of farms get burnt to the ground for not paying enough. It is very clear the revolutionaries aren't fighting for these people.

Occasionally one of the Bandit Lords gets big enough that the Revolutionary Council notices them and sends a force to end their existence. There are several burnt down ruins of bandit forts and villages from all of the fighting.

Still more desperate people come following the river, just looking for a place to live.

A few of the bandit lords are river pirates. River pirates get rich fast, but within a few years they all die out. Either from monster attack, other pirates, Gault's navy, and in at least one occasion a Daggermark assassin.

The 'Lord' that recruits the PCs has been building forces for 5 years now. He has a reputation of being 'Bold, Cruel but Fair, and Just'. Let call him 'The Lion' Leon Albar. One of his lackies runs a town called 'Stump' that has a few small businesses with the main claim to fame being a large tavern. Lets call this lacky Ron 'The Badger'.

Ron is the contact for the bandit group that pulls the adventurers together as hopeful new recruits. He sends them around to shake down the various hamlets around the town collecting food as tribute.

Several of the hamlets make excuses for being short. Goblin raid (optional clearing out a goblin nest, results in recovered food and some treasure), Wild Boars (possible hunt for meat, raises future crops and rep), Kidnapping (exposes a cult, treasure from cult), and a raid from a rival bandit lord (possible to chase them and recover food plus prisoners).

After the adventurers advance to 2nd level Ron hands the group to another lacky as their new boss. The new boss is an 'earnest' bandit. She leads them to shake down a peddler (she only takes some valuables, they don't fight), raid another bandit plantation that has slave labor (there are here to steal food, not free slaves), rob some merchants (guards + adventurers decide to fight, merchant will surrender, she lets merchant go with his purse), escort a group of 12 refugees to the town, fight another group of bandits invading territory.

Around 5th level handed off to another Boss. This one is a 'trusted lieutenant'. He's nasty and cruel. He sends the adventurers to scout a hamlet, then has them attack a bandit camp while he and his men raid the town. They burn the town and bring captives. He sends the party out to scout another target. Captives disappear before they return. The Pc are sent to fight a fresh group of defeated revolutionaries. The lacky and his men stay back until the fight is almost done, then claim the leader's gear and tent. They send the PCs to clear out a Troll's nest. Then send the PCs to pick up a group of 50 refugees from the Town, then told to take them into the woods and kill them all. After this they are 'rewarded' with courtier outfits and told to 'dress up, no weapons or armor' to meet The Chief. Obvious trap is a trap. No chief, just this boss trying to backstab the PCs. Have lots of signs including a warning from one of the Lieutenant's men.

Guess what? Now the Chief thinks the PCs are against him, and he thinks the PCs will blab about his orders to kill the refugees (yes, the Chief ordered it, he can't afford to feed useless people). Several other bosses are sent to kill the PCs as traitors. The ones the PCs worked with are friendly still and won't turn them in. Hamlets that they did optional work for will willingly shelter them.

The Chief's fort is another dungeon. After that they can strike against other Bandit Lords, other Bandit Lords will try to invade. Look at Downtime rules for Settlements. 'The Badger' will work for the PCs with no questions asked.

Eventually the Revolutionary Council sends assassins, inquisitors, and then a series of monsters to crush the upstart Bandits. Sprinkle in a Dragon attack, Pirate raiders, a lamashtu cult attack, and a necromancer raising an army for variety.

1. By its very nature magic items handed to the party are already cutting down the amount of gold received by 50%. The players only get full value from that treasure if they use every item you hand them, or you count magic items as the sales value when you calculate the value of treasure.

All crafting does is un-nerf magic items. So if you are really concerned with crafting feats unbalancing things, give the players less gold and more magic items. If they sell a magic item to make a magic item, it results in no gain.

Also make sure you have the players paying for living costs. 10g a week isn't much, but it adds up if the players are performing crafting and retraining.

2. Not because of magic items. You up the challenge because the party cake-walks your encounters. Not because you handed them something nice.

Let me give an example. Our party received a +1 Vorpal Scimitar. Sounds nice, doesn't it? Except all of the fighters in the group were specialized in other weapons. The +1 Vorpal Scimitar... ended up in the hands of a druid. And the druid? The druid was more combat effective morphing into an Animal for melee than swinging the scimitar. An equivalent +6 weapon did diddly squat for this party.

3. Yes, and no. No as in there are item creation rules and I feel they are easily abused because they aren't intended for players to apply as they see fit. Especially in corner cases like using Craft Construct to make wish-granting painting. Really incredibly stupid corner cases.

4. Take notes of how things generally went during a session. Occasionally ask players outside of game how they feel the campaign is going. Reflect on things to see if everyone is having fun (yourself included). Try changing things if it isn't fun. Communicate why you are changing things, don't try to surprise your players with rules changes. Surprise encounter? Sure. Suddenly changing rules with no explanation? Bad.

5. The greatest control over item crafting is the pacing of the campaign. If the players are constantly adventuring, they don't have time to craft. The GM controls the pacing, though the players can affect that a bit. Like denying the other players a chance to craft by always advancing immediately towards any clue.

Ultimately, downtime is given by the GM. Try to strike a balance you are comfortable with.

vhok wrote:

lots of ways to give your companion more attacks, so even if the gore and thorn can't be used at the same time which is odd and the first time i have ever seen it, then you can use these other ways to get claws or bite etc and use them with thorn

Gore is listed among Natural Attacks. Thorn isn't. If Thorn was a natural attack, it should be just listed as a second attack. The way it is formatted, you can't do both. Following the Universal Monster Rules... that implies that Thorn is not a natural attack but an EX or SU ability that requires an (standard) attack action. This would of been cleared up if the creature was stated out as a monster, but unfortunately the only entry for it is as a plant companion.

gnoams wrote:
Which I should recommend that you check out Dragon Mountain if you can get your hands on a copy of it. I expect you should be able to find a pdf of it if you search around. It was written for level 10-15 and featured kobolds, normal 1d4hp kobolds as the main adversaries, and it begins with an intro saying that this is a deadly adventure and the pcs are expected to die.

If this is the adventure I think it is, it only works in the old versions of D&D back when the area of effect of Fireball was based on volume. It featured high level adventurers fleeing from d4 creatures and the taunting of a highly amused dragon.

stormborn125 wrote:
Mudfoot wrote:

Rules for Drugs.

But don't do drugs, m'kay? Drugs are bad...

i saw that but it doesn't have anything for costing new drugs or calculating their DC

Look through the drugs. Cheap drugs give very minor bonuses, do minor stat damage, and have other minor downsides that last longer than the bonuses. Expensive drugs have some fairly nice effects, and the downsides are all much worse.

A drug that gives +10 to perception is more powerful than all of the examples on the list. So if it gives +10 or more, it should also have huge downsides and do a lot of stat damage. It should be expensive, but compared to the potion cheaper.

My example: Rush - the user feels a sense of euphoria as their senses of hearing and sight are accelerated, while their sense of touch is numbed. While under the effect of Rush the user has a difficult time matching their actions with their heightened perceptions.
Price: 100gp
Details: drug ingested, addiction: moderate. Fortitude DC 20
Effect: for 1d4x10 minutes the user gains +10 to perception.
Effect: for 1d4 hours the user can not take full round actions. Anytime the user attempts a dex or cha (skill) check the user rolls 1d4 and subtracts this from the result.
Damage: 1d4 Dex damage.

Mark Hoover 330 wrote:

Even better, if you want truly one-of-a-kind items, suggest to your players they use formulae that they make up. Like, what if you have a PC take 5 ranks in Profession: Tanner, makes a unique masterwork winter blanket from some rare hide, then picks up Craft Wondrous? Maybe they throw the Cleric spell Ice Armor on it so when they wrap the blanket around themselves they get a +2 Armor bonus, or if they lay out the blanket over water it goes rigid and becomes buoyant so they can use it like a raft?

I don't know, it just seems like we GMs drive ourselves crazy trying to either please our players or alternatively keep verisimilitude in our games, when really if the players handle their own fun it could potentially kill both Blood Hawks with one Magic Stone. this is a bad idea. Let me give examples.

So a player in one of our games really wants to use the Magic Item Creation rules, as a player. His very first idea was he wanted a permanent Cure Light Wounds Rock. Not a wand, he didn't want to take the feat. Permanent as in he could cast an unlimited amount of 1d8+1 CLW spells for a one time cost. According to the formula it would be 1,800gp. Oh, and since it was a wonderous item anyone could use it with a command word.

The answer was no. Honestly, such an item eliminates the need for a healer. Also its excessively cheap in comparison to using wands. The item is worth more than the formula would indicate. How much exactly? Honestly its hard to say, but just the idea of allowing an unlimited amount of healing unbalances the game.

Something else the same player really wanted was to be able to make one-shot talismans that would let anyone use them to cast low level buffs.

So essentially he wanted to re-invent the potion, except as a Wonderous Magical Item and without any of the restrictions associated with potions. Like being able to cast the spell in question (it was from a different class that nobody there had access to), or any consideration of being a personal spell.

Giving players cart blanch to design their own magic items should create more problems than its worth. Unless you really don't care about that game balance notion.

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Karlosuno wrote:
Meirril wrote:
Karlosuno wrote:

As you say, my character is conscient of the tadpole but as my DM says "if anyone do anything against the tadpole you will defend it as it were you". so by my own i can't do much... and actually we're in the mindflayer's facilities so our resources are pretty limited... We are a 5-6 lvl party (arcanist(me), paladin, barbarian, monk, fighter and the last i dont remember...)

I like your plan to polymorph into a jellyfich and became a separate entity from the tadpole. As i just lvld up to 6 i can learn some 3lvl spells this could come very well to make the polymorph.

Hold up. You're 6th level? The party is 6th level? And you're up against a MINDFLAYER?!?

Yeah. Ok, new plan. Get a druid, at least 5th level. Kill all of the infected players, reincarnate them. While there is a huge chance that you'll reincarnate as a different race, you won't come back with a tadpole in your head as it is an entirely new body.

Mindflayers were serious bad news in D&D. You really shouldn't be seeing even a single Mindflayer until you're party is 9th level or higher. Well, your GM is converting it to Pathfinder so it could be much weaker than I'd expect, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Yeah, i'd be a great alternative... but in "our" homebrew lore there are no diamonds to bring people back from death,so i'ts pretty impossible to do the druid stuff and so...

Yeah we are aware thet mindflayer is a little big for us. (this weekend we had a game sesion and two familiars were killed and one party member was almost one-shoted by one mindflayer). Now we have the final fight against 3 mindflayers (we assume one of those is the leader). Any tip to bypass the confusion spell or similar (like dominate person)?

Technically speaking, Druids use 1000 gp in ointments to reincarnate someone. However, its obvious that your GM just doesn't want people to be raised from the dead.

Maybe convince the GM that you can kill the tadpole by drinking enough alcohol to knock yourself unconscious ... which should be enough to kill smaller creatures that get your blood.

Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
Rooms and Teams wrote:
For a room, the Earnings amount already subtracts the cost of having unskilled employees to do the basic work for you. For example, the Earnings listed for having a Bar already account for the wages of a bartender and servers. For a team, the Earnings amount assumes they are working at a building you own. If you don’t provide a building for the team to work in or from, halve the Earnings for that team.

So a Building is made up of Rooms. You build your own Building piecemeal or buy it outright, or whatever. If your PC doesn't have an actual Building, just a pit in the ground they control, it's assumed that there's unskilled laborers working at it but you get half the GP it earns every day.

A pit gets GP +1, or it adds 1 to a skilled check to earn GP. It's assumed that you take 10 most of the time, so let's say that your pit with no building earns you 1.1 GP/day. You end up getting 5 SP, 5 CP/day for just having a Pit room.

A pit is a room. A building is a collection of 1 or more rooms. Teams get half income if you don't assign them to a building. The pit all by itself makes full income. If you build a 'Knights Order' and you want to earn full income from their activities, you could assign them to a pit... well, no. I'd have them rebel but it conforms with the rules.

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I'd be interesting in books that flesh out Golorian. There are lots of areas that get a very vague treatment without really giving playable detail.

I'd prefer avoiding things that introduce new rules, spells or magic items. Also avoid new races. New what is right for each book. I'd prefer if new material stuck to existing monsters, but if some creature got a mention fleshing it out would be expected.

Of course some new items/rules and other things would be needed, for instance trying to explain the Steampunk setting of Arkenstar without introducing anything new wouldn't work. I'd just prefer to see the focus be on describing the local politics and relationships plus the history that formed it.

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Karlosuno wrote:

As you say, my character is conscient of the tadpole but as my DM says "if anyone do anything against the tadpole you will defend it as it were you". so by my own i can't do much... and actually we're in the mindflayer's facilities so our resources are pretty limited... We are a 5-6 lvl party (arcanist(me), paladin, barbarian, monk, fighter and the last i dont remember...)

I like your plan to polymorph into a jellyfich and became a separate entity from the tadpole. As i just lvld up to 6 i can learn some 3lvl spells this could come very well to make the polymorph.

Hold up. You're 6th level? The party is 6th level? And you're up against a MINDFLAYER?!?

Yeah. Ok, new plan. Get a druid, at least 5th level. Kill all of the infected players, reincarnate them. While there is a huge chance that you'll reincarnate as a different race, you won't come back with a tadpole in your head as it is an entirely new body.

Mindflayers were serious bad news in D&D. You really shouldn't be seeing even a single Mindflayer until you're party is 9th level or higher. Well, your GM is converting it to Pathfinder so it could be much weaker than I'd expect, but I wouldn't bet on it.

JiaYou wrote:
But it also looks like the wrappings around swords like Amiri's...would belts or cables around a chipped sword prevent it from further damage?

Like a real sword? Straps would be able to absorb a bit of the stress placed on the blade, but I wouldn't say it would prevent further damage. With a weld it could act as a shoddy repair job and maybe make the blade a bit more stable but it isn't a good repair job.

Even a good repair job won't return a faulted blade to its new condition. Swords break. The better the swords material and the better the construction the more stress they can put up with. The softer the things you use the sword against the less damage the blade will accumulate. The better the angle and swing the less damage you will do to your own sword. But no matter how much maintenance you do to a sword, it will eventually shatter. Well, assuming you make a sword out of good steel it will shatter. If you use soft steel it will just break.

BTW, a good sword make a beautiful sound when it shatters. A very distinctive ringing while the tip flies through the air. I always get this guilty pleasure from the sound. I know something bad just happened, but I want to enjoy that moment.

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If you want to drop a cool weapon for the party, make sure it fits into the character rather than has cool abilities.

An example is I created a side-adventure in an AP where a group of wererats lured religious outcasts into the sewers by promising to guide them to a 'hidden temple'. The treasure consisted of the kind of things you'd imagine a bunch of cultists and heretics would be carrying around. There was a pile of wood, iron and silver holy symbols worth 1000gp belonging to lots of different religions. There was also a collection of priestly magic items including iconic magic weapons for 6 different religions. 2 of them were intended for the party, 4 were intended to be sold for cash or traded for favors. The ones intended for the party was a two-handed flail where the ball was a holy symbol of Groetus (giant moon face), and the other was a light mace where the head was a statue of Pharasma sitting on a throne in Judgement... which is not one of her standard aspects. The person that made it was a heratic follower of Pharasma. Even though it was a heratical item, it isn't disrespectful so the PC used it.

It isn't what the weapon does, its how much it completes the character.

MrCharisma wrote:
SheepishEidolon wrote:
Would be interesting to know whether a wizard gets emotionally attached to a wand of magic missile as an actively used item, assuming they carry it for many levels, it gets stronger over time and maybe it regains some charges.
Yeah I fairly quickly discovered that there are barely any tech items that are useful for a Bloodrager in Iron Gods (unless you go DEX-based), so dispite the fact that I haven't enhanced it at all my Chainsaw is my most prized posesseion. I've spent more on armour (and a huge amount on a cloak of Displacement), but the weapon is about the only campaign specific thing I own, so it's more important to me ... even if I don't use it in some fights.

When I was playing Iron Gods I was an archer fighter that doubled as our entire front line. The entire party was ranged.

I ended up with the chainsaw because a fighter with no feats supporting a chainsaw is still decent with it. I talked the GM into letting me change it to Adamantine. Honestly, Chainsaws should start being made of adamantine, after all the people who make them are also the ones that mastered starmetals! I also had it enchanted to +1 just because. Didn't waste any extra money on it because it has just enough to be useful and dependable and the rest can go into gear I actually use.

I pulled out the Chainsaw when we needed to bypass a barrier, open locks, or I couldn't use a bow. Actually a lot of the time I couldn't use a bow I couldn't use any other 2 handed weapon so it wasn't particularly effective.

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