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Paladins are fuelled by their Righteous Goodness, but alot of their flavour is tied up with a deity (Atonement, Holy Champion, Divine Bond, etc...), even though mechanically they get nothing but a code and atonement from their deity.

Thus, we count Paladins among the roster of LG Deities' tools. The same applies to AntiPaladins in the CE Deities' toolbox.

Why wouldn't CG, NG, NN, LN, CN, NE deities want an equivalent tool?

If Paladins are fuelled by deities, as all their flavour points too, it wouldn't make sense that other deities would handicap themselves by not having these potent tools against their enemies.

If Paladins are instead fuelled by their supreme goodness, how do we not see parallels for supreme Chaos, Supreme Evil, Supreme Neutrality?

Thus, LG (and CE, and LE via archetype) exclusively having access to this potent tool is silly.

Think about how Halflings using Katars would approach a fight when they realize they can't win in a slugging match.

Poison slingstaff volleys from rooftops before closing to melee?
Tanglefoot bags to impair the maneuverability of the party?
Obstacles preventing charges and helping set up flanking attacks?
Oil slick floors, letting the dexterous rogues control the battlefield, and if it goes south, lighting a match and fleeing, leaving the party to escape a burning building?

Or, maybe the assassins skip the fight altogether, have an assassin sneak into the parties stuff and poison the rations, then next time the party eats their meal, the assassins descend. If the assassin is found, the party kills him easily, but they don't know how many other assassins are out there.

If you want a recurring villain, give the party a few non-direct encounters. Someone poisoned their food, but who? Someone stole their fighter's armour, but who? Someone killed a friend of the party, but who? Someone stashed a helm of opposite alignment in the treasure pile, and now the cleric has fallen and we're down a healer, but who- Wait, did you hear that?


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I like the idea of Asmodeus tricking the PCs

He requires a macguffin for his outsider shifting superweapon but its obviously guarded against divines and outsiders, so he can't get it himself. He knows his more potent agents are being watched by the other outsiders, so he dispatches a lower minion to pose as a wealthy employer.

This employer hires some low level mortals who will be unaffected by the outsider/divine protections. The PCs think Old Man Jenkins has hired them to retrieve a family heirloom.

They turn in the macguffin with Old Man Jenkins who has another fetch quest, he gives them the instructions then has business out of town. The party embarks on the next leg of their mission, this time something unrelated to Asmodeus' Plan, but alas, during the caper they provoke the ire of the church of X and find themselves being hunted down by clerics and inquisitors of team good guys,who don't know who the PCs work for but who assume their up to no good based on their involvement with Y.

Meanwhile, Norgorber knows something is up and sends HIS agents after the party. The party is hunted by the good guys, and evil assassins, an associate of Old Man Jenkins offers them help, without giving away whats up, but is of course, a devil. His offers all invariably further hells aims, while obfuscating the real plot.

So the party unwittingly are playing for team villian, and fighting off team good and team neutral, they get the sense big things are in the works, and a cold war spy game sets in.

After having proven their value, Team Jenkins has them put to task capturing specific outsiders for transitioning, but of course, a friend of Old Man Jenkins needs these outsiders for research to fight evil, certainly nothing untoward.

The party kidnaps specific outsiders, and they get some Kickbacks from Hell (but not knowing it's hell). But now things get weird!

The outsiders start marching on the mortals trying to reclaim the captives.

At this point, the party (Team Hell but don't know it) are fighting off outsider incursions, AND Team Good, AND Team Norgorber Assassins. Eventually plot develops and they have a choice:

Old Man Jenkins had a break through that can stop the outsiders in their tracks, but at the same time a representative of Team Good tries to inform them they're being played, the party has a choice and depending on that choice, they help Hell take over the outside planes coming into conflict with everyone else, or they choose a different side, at which point Hell sets it's sights on the PCs...

Wraiths and some type of flesh eating undead.

Undead broke into the dungeon first, they see triggered traps and undead bits that got caught, the party realizes something is weird but see's untouched treasure as the undead don't care about gold.

After some undead slogs, they find disturbed remains, some have been feasted on but others looks untouched- Wraith fight!

For added hilarity, maybe the party encounters a wraith spawn and zombie. Zombie can't kill the Wraith because of DR, the wraith can't kill the zombie because negative energy and con damage don't hurt it. Both are angry and frustrated, but stubborn and ignore the PCs having this back and forth fight ad infinitum. The party sees them fighting as they go in, and at the end of the dungeon delve, the party finds them continuing to fight as they leave.It also helps foreshadow the impending wraith fight so the party can prepare and adds some levity if your party figures out this fight will go on literally until the end of time.

Some traps, some undead slogging, some challenging ghost fights and lots of treasure- Tonnes of fun!

I had an accidentally evil wizard, so lets chart his progression

Rise of the Runelords, came in at level 7 due to PC death.
Backstory: As a child found a page of a spellbook, accidentally summoned a Daemon that killed his family/village.

Conjuration school focus NN Wizard to start, with a loathing of Daemons, would summon allies in combat, but never daemons.

Eventually as the campaign goes on, battles against certain species show they are as destructive as Daemons, but worse, because they are more numerous and rallying into an army and getting organized. It is my job to prevent them from laying waste, just like Daemons would.

After slaying a vicious general, I saw a tool and put him to use. Having a Skeletal Champion on hand is handy, necromancy isn't so bad, besides I'm allowing a warrior a second chance to win glory on the battlefield, so I was doing him a favour.

Eventually, I was OP, so the DM had Pharasma come down and lecture me on Necromancy, but lo and behold, she takes away my Skeletal Champion, my tool to save the world, I have a job to do here!

I'm Pragmatic, I won't pick a fight with a god, yet, so now I turn to other tools that will help me save the world... devils who won't mind helping me save the world for a price, I can trap souls, I may as well trade them, AND I prevent those enemies from being resurrected, making the world even safer!

I didn't end the campaign True Neutral.

I was a villain because I had a cause, limits and justifications- Sure, I was a necromanctic Genocider BUT it was to save the world AND I never summoned a Daemon, so how bad could I really be?

Did I cackle when I eliminated a whole family? Of course, but that was only a hobby: I had a job to save the world, and I did, using every tool available, except for Daemons.

To me, I was a hero, to others I was a terror, to some I was a villain. To my party I was an asset. And thats how you be accidentally evil.

Ring of Invisibility will give you unlimited invisibility, so you're invisible until you break it, then on your next turn, go invisible again.

I liked picking up elemental body, turn into an earth elemental and burrow/earth glide into the ground or walls, then cast from there.

Tactics, of course. If they can't get to you stabbing becomes very difficult. As a necromancer you have beatsticks and speedbumps so that should be fine. If leadership were an option, pick up a synth summoner and use him as your personal bodyguard.

Keep some short-range teleportations on hand, if the enemy ever broke my frontliners, as a teleportation specialist, I could just bloop to the other side of the map and be clear of danger, then just use long-range blasts or summons to put out damage.

Battlefield control also helps, I liked to use Tiny Hut, that way enemies were less likely to attack the bubble than they were the monk or fighter, and it gave our ranged characters some cover. And of course walls and pits help keep charge lanes obstructed, and make it difficult to get to you.

May I introduce you to the Gunslinger (pistolero) 7, Monk (Far Strike Monk) 4, Paladin 3.

At 14th:
Revolver +17/12/+7 on touch, for 1d8+15

AC is a solid 30, Touch 22, Flatfooted 23

Fort: +19
Ref: +21

Between Grit, Ki, massive saves, flexibility, a paladin's immunities, a monks flurry, etc... I have respectable damage output and great survivability, plus feats galore. I'm kind of awesome.

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Better question would be to ask who in the world thinks they're pirates. For the nation that have effectively had their warships raided whilst doing their official duties, this group would likely be seen as a pirate menace.

For other salvagers who know what the sketchy nation is upto, the crew may be seen as just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

For the other nations that hear their rival nation is being attacked by this crew, they may think the enemy of my enemy is my friend and seek to work out a privateer arrangement.

For the villagers in the coastal towns who've heard the news about the crew's exploits, some may support the idea of sticking it to the sketchy nation, but if those villagers don't know the whole story, maybe they believe the "official reports".

Conspiracies can be fun!

We were running a 2-man team through a campaign: My CN Aasimar Swashbuckler and buddies Tiefling Devil-Blooded Sorc. Their divergent personalities, playstyles, and general approaches have led to many occasions where there was interparty turmoil. On the whole though, he'd "accidentally" catch me in the blast radius of his spells, and I'd "Accidentally" fall behind in combat leaving him as the frontliner. It was all in good fun, and provided a fun dynamic between the two. It got to the point where we were building around being able to take each other out, which as a byproduct came in handy against some of our biggest threats (Him v. Martials, Me v. Casters).

We've outright threatened each other IC, but kept the OOC jovial. If you can walk the same line, go for it, but don't get the party killed. It would make sense if given the choice of healing the cute pony, or healing the jerk wizard who stole your engagement ring, maybe the pony comes out ahead. Deprioritization can get the point across without compromising party efficacy to a point.


My party has struggled throughout, and the GM has apologized for the high lethality. We're on book two and have 6 PC deaths so far, but my count may be wrong as there's literally been some characters who don't last a session. Some have been because of poor decision making on a PC's part, but we're routinely fighting CR+2 and CR+3 encounters, in rapid succession, back-to-back. Not to mention, at second level, you have swarms, incorporeal enemies, and diseases that can take a PC down pretty easily. We're a party with collectively 10+ years of playing, and moderately optimized characters (though GMs asked us to scale it back a bit, so we're not all ubermensch), and we all feel the pain.

I don't know how much of that is due to to GM adjustments, or by the book, but honestly, if you want a campaign that will up the ante combat wise, I think Giantslayer is a good place to start.

Sounds like they'll bulldoze beatstick encounters, but if they walk into a prepared ambush by spellcasters... an antimagic field to negate their magical items and their spellcasting, Silence cast on a bolt fired into the party to further hinder spells, ranged attackers ignoring the frontliners while the controllers focus less on hitting the frontliner and more on isolating them...

Also AC is only one defense, something like Combat Maneuvers will likely hurt a magus plenty, so a tetori monk or stealing pirates could hit them in a hurtful way, even if it doesn't kill or cripple them, stolen items could lead to more challenging encounters as a kind of set-up for down the road. I assume by level 10 they have some renown, and thus people who know of them will have an idea as to abilities or tactics and counters.

31: Nobles are particularly taken with exotic fancies, the reasoning for which are known only to themselves. On a weekly basis roll Percentile Dice on a Table such as:

1-5%- Peacock feathers are all the rage, the more ostentatious, the better!
6-10%- Obesity is a sign of wealth and affluence, the nobility gorge themselves on fattening foods during a brief stint in isolation, so they may reveal their fuller form to an audience.
11-14%- Red has become associated with bloody conflict and the nobility wish to rise above such savagery, anyone wearing red is assumed a pleb or a barbarian, and immediately set upon by a violent mob of sophisticated, enlightened peacemongers.

32: Inspired by the noble Manticores that roam the land, the nobility eschew common eating utensils to master the use of a Scorpion's tail to skewer and serrate their food. Rumours persist that the elite nobility find the scorpion's poison a potent aphrodisiac, however, soup still poses a challenge no matter how aroused they may be.

33: An ancient tome had reportedly been found from a bygone age outlining the diet of the first men to discover culture. Such a diet calls for ancient grains, extinct fish, and dirt. Various nobles have proposed their own substitutes for the unobtainable grains and fish, though all nobles agree on the importance of authentic soil, ideally taken from a wild field untouched by toiling hands. As civilization spread, such soils have become hotly contested and many a Great House as been toppled for their empire of dirt.

34: Taking the saying "You reap what you sow" to heart, the nobility have been known to seed fallow fields with coin, hoping to grow a fortune. Rumous persist of Currency Cows that will then flock to the fields and provide an influx of wealth. One would think such deposits of coin would be heavily guarded, but the shamans and psychics warn this will disturb the bovines, and so such fields are largely left unguarded and given a wide berth by the sowing House. Some struggling houses have been known to avoid their fields for years, desperate for the intervention of cash cows. Time will tell whether or not such superstitions will work, though early indicators show a rise in the commoner's economies relatively quickly after a House has sown their cash crop.

I agree with not taking rich parents, I took it for my ZA monk and within about 3 sessions, we had gold for days.

If you took Irori as your deity (a common enough one for a monk) there's a religion trait called "Wisdom in the Flesh" that lets you use your WIS mod rather than STR/CON/DEX for any skill, and makes that a class skill for you, odds are you're WIS will be significantly better than the others so you can give yourself some more flexibility. For example, maybe pick-up Disable Device, or Slight of Hand.

Anatomist gives a small bonus to confirming crits, and with Flurry+Perfect strike you'll have good odds of critting, so it's a good way to help make them stick, especially considering the penalties we face.

Killer gives your crit modifier as extra damage on a crit, so it's a handy +3 damage to you're crits (which should be common).

Statuesque for Oreads could be fun and open up some tactical options if you invest in disguise, we wrapped RotRL a few weeks ago and let's just say some people have very tacky decor tastes, so a marble statue wouldn't be so out of place, then, PEW PEW PEW PEW PEW PEW, that statue of an archer is actually an archer and you're enemy is now a pin cushion.

None of these will be particularly game breaking but offer their own flexibility. As for your hook to be in the area, maybe you're just out to explore the world and heard tales of the Swallow tail festival. The House of Blue Stones is a monk temple dedicated to Irori in Sandpoint, maybe you're there for instruction, or as an honoured guest from the distant land of Jalmeray to demonstrate Zen Archery for Varisian pupils who may be unfamilliar.

The Hamfist New Players Into a Session

The session where someone has invited a new inexperienced player into an existing (usually high-level)game.

This game comes in many sub-varieties

A)Hi Bob, have you played Pathfinder before? No? How about any table top RPG? No again? Ok, well have you heard of Skyrim? Cool, it's kind of like that. So John isn't here, you can play his character, he's a 14th level Barbarian, so you basically just hit things. *20 Minutes later* "Well he didn't declare he was Power Attack, Greater Vital Strike attacking with his +5 Adamantine Greatsword, he declared he was going to punch it, maybe next time you should explain things better...so Bob, as you punch the flaming, acid dripping void monster...

B) See A) but apply to a boss fight at the end of the dungeon/book/CAMPAIGN.

Strap a few siege weapons on it- damage problem solved
Strap MANY siege weapons on it- damage problem SOLVED

I have a bard cohort, if you Perform Oratory you can Inspire Courage in combat (so your friend's appreciate the bonus to hit and damage), and you can still fight in melee a little bit. A buddy based his off a well-known film character and just says quotes from them as his "performances".

Mine focuses on intimidation, so when it's fight time he rolls to demoralize the enemy, then buffs the party, hits my main PC with some spells, and then throws nets or Falchion's (he's a half-orc)enemies in half. He's fun, but low-key, think an inspirational Clint Eastwood.

Bards come in all shapes and sizes, if you have an idea that could be fun, there are plenty of ways to give it a go. If if fills you with dread, then maybe play as something else that firts you a bit better.

Oh, and of course if you have a mount or animal companion, or even just a luxurious pet, you also need a Dandy brush to comb it and make it pretty, bonus luxury points if you have a stylist and groomer specifically hired to care for your rare white tigersaurus rex (a unique crossbreed mixing a tiger, polar bear and T-rex). Bonus bonus points if they were a gift from the Shah/King/Emperor of a nearby kingdom, Bonus bonus bonus points if you bought it off of said Shah/King/Emperor after it had been gifted to them by another Shah/King/Emperor.

And of course, it has a name, and honourary title.

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Mage's Magnificent Mansion is my go-to camping spell, it has a a feast for something like x ppl for CL, private rooms, is extra-dimensional with an invisible non-existent door on the material plane after you walk in, with a couple dozen unseen servants dressed in full-livery. No trail rations, tents, or mud for MY wizard.

Servants can be cheap and handy too. Sure, it's not an Instant pavilion, but a pavilion with 50 lackeys setting it up is RELATIVELY instant for you, and then you get to lord over the masses.

Wagons are handy investments for carrying your loot, but nothing says you can't splurge and get an RV!

Secure Shelter is another spell that uses the surrounding environment to make a cottage with some magical defenses, but it's still an actual shelter that enemies can attack.

Shame you're not the Heavens Oracle, they have a revelation that allows them to float over the ground. I had one who hadn't touched the ground for weeks.

When in doubt, I generally go with the one that gives me the most bang for my buck. For example, you only get your relevant modifier to a skill after you have a rank in it, right? So if I have a Dex of 20 or a STR of 10, and I have a skill rank left, I'll be more likely to put it into DEX relevant skills, like Acrobatics, since that 1 rank is now getting me +3 from a class skill and +5 from my attribute for a net +9 after one rank, where as Swim would be a +3 class skill, so one rank in that is getting me a +4 bonus total.

I find generally if I have skills in something, I'll use it, so don't worry about how you're going to use acrobatics if it's not your shtick, you'll often find yourself solving the problems with what you have, rather than trying to have what you think will solve the problems.

Or Linguistics always helps, take a language so you can intimidate them no matter what they speak :)

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If bad guys won, I think you need a deeper fleshing out of the bad guys. A cunning tyrant may make access to weapons, and martial traditions extinct to eliminate threats of armed revolt or sedition. Good luck finding a chivalrous cavalier order in his kingdom!

Likewise, a "Might makes right" Barbarian king may actively encourage all to be as martial as possible, as being overthrown by a superior combattant is the way they think the world should work. Good luck finding arcane scholars in a land ruled by jocks.

How grimdark can your party handle? Will there be cannibalism and rape festivals, or is it a fascist state that just denies freedom and liberty rather than thriving on cruelty, etc...

I'd consider things like slavery to be commonplace, have butchers selling elf meat, maybe have heroes marched through the streets and suffer... depravities. Visiting emmisaries from House Thrune, or Nidal bring tributes, because you know it's bad when Hell and Kuthites acknowledge you're super evilness.

But again, evil comes in all shapes and sizes, so flesh that out, and the rest will fall into place :)

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A monkey Butler to assist,
Storage to hold relevant resources
A weapon of some sort to beat unruly players
Maybe a secondary surface to put other non-game related things that are still nice to have at hand (pizza, donuts, piles of pesh, whatever floats your boat).

Oh, and if your group uses lots of tablets or devices at the table, an easily accessible powerbar or something so charging doesn't require awkward gymnastics over each other (Acrobatics DC 30)

We have dice that are notoriously bad rollers, but they all vary in age. Generally we just confiscate the dice from the player who's rolled three 1s back-to-back and banish the dice far far away from our other dice so they can't peer-pressure them into bad performance.

I've heard that sometimes after enough use with "softer" materials the dice may develop rounded corners, but I don't see how something like that would lead to a higher rate of certain rolls, unless of course the dice had been specifically sculpted, but I think that would require engineering and stuff, not just day-to-day use.

How about the Anti-pally brings him gifts, that are either scrying devices or other somehow subtley bad for the party to have, just knick-knacks or items stolen from the BBEG. And of course, if they get a certain distance from the paladin have them go boom!

So paladin can decide to trust his GF, and accept the gifts, then the devices can work compromising the party and that sort of thing. If Pally notices they are bad things to keep around and decides to get rid of them, a few days later that village is filled by a poisonous gas. Ta-da! Now the party can investigate the cause of this. And depending on how astute the paladin is, this could happen two or three times before it all becomes clear what is at play. Of course, is the gf involved in the plot? Maybe she is, or maybe she's being played by the BBEG, maybe she offers further assistance but is her help REALLY helpful, or is it part of the broader plan? Basically by this point, you have a whole sub-plot you can shape however you'd like :)

Pick up the improvised weapon and other "shady combat" tricks, it fits with the cleaner vibe (The man seems to have been killed by his own chairleg, untraceable murder weapon...)and could spice things up a bit when needing to intimidate or engage in "Hostile Negotations".

Then, even if the bard is doing the sweet talking, you ram a coffee cup into the bodyguard's face with frightening efficacy rendering him blind for a few rounds, and suddenly the bard is sweet talking with a much more attentive crowd, and if you guys still have an abundance of combat encounters, you can introduce novelty and exercise some creativity while not compromising your combat ability.

Play a discrete witch, something like Evil Eye and Misfortune could be fun applied to diplomatic talks and have just as much utility as combat. Two nobles are pleading their cases in front of the king, and you're just standing there giving Sir Badguy of Eviltude the stink eye, and he's blundering his arguments sounding like a fool leading to Sir Goodguy of Yay!dom winning the day.

But honestly, play what you think would be the most fun, sounds like the DM wants Characters, not statblocks, so think up the story you want to play and what works best for that :)

Hey gang!

My party and I are THIS close to finishing our first campaign together, spanning 2+years and many+ PCs. As the dust has settled, we've got a core group of 5 (including the DM) and on account of it being our first campaign completion AND being right around christmas time, I'm wondering if you fine folks have any traditional or good gift ideas to commemorate such an occassion.

I had considered something like a set of new dice for everyone, but I'd like something uniform for all of us, as part of the team aspect, and I feel like 6 sets of identical dice would be problematic.

Generally we mark occassions with booze, a bottle of something always being well recieved at the table, but just like most virigins, I want our first time to be special. A bottle is largely forgotten about once it's emptied, and I'd like something with a bit more staying power, that makes an impression. I'd like to keep the total ideally under $100 so matching leather jackets would be a bit over budget.

I assume some of you have been in similar situations, any ideas you feel like sharing?

Have some fun with it, a fire elemental rogue who laments never being able to sneak and who keeps getting caught by the authorities because he's leaving a burn trail everywhere he goes.

An air elemental wizard frustrated because every time he tries to memorize spells he can't keep the pages still enough to read, or he blows spell components everywhere and bungles his spell. To the party he looks like an average air elemental until they pass a spellcraft or knowledge arcana check to notice he's speaking verbal components.

An earth Elemental duelist who struggles to be graceful and can't find work at the local dockyards because captains won't let thousands of pounds of stone on the boat, and the few who do let him on board quickly find their ship sinking. The earth Elemental has gotten very good at swimming.

An invisible stalker bard who can't land any acting gigs on account of his invisibility.

Don't let rules get in the way of fun characters :)

I have a synth summoner (which I made at the DM's urging, so don't lambaste me for op brokeness munchkinism) who's largely a defensive build, he has an AC of around 34, immunity to fire, and acid, and flight.

We're running RoTRL, which doesn't particularly fit into one or two easy elements, but I've found immunity has been very useful and at the cost of some evolution points, I have no complaints.

There are some sections where he's nigh untouchable, and there's a great feeling when the DM says you just took 75 Fire damage, and you get to ignore it all. That said, in the later campaign, there's alot of cold weather, and cold based monsters...I hurt a bit after that, but at the same time, I could stand toe-to-toe with the ice monsters while my casters exploded fire at it without wasting spell levels on things like "Selective", this meant more show-stopping firepower and it makes everyone happy. Had some particularly handy surivability against some Runeforge denizens too, so all in all, I think it's great,but that's for a synth summoner who has easy access to it. I don't think I'd spend 230k on it.

Alignment is overrated, you do what you have to to do what you need to. If a party member is wounded, we cast a good heal spell. If a party member is dead, we cast an evil animate dead spell. In the end, both spells keep the ally in the fight. I have no need of morality, I have a job to do.

It doesn't matter, I don't have time for ideology, I'm too pragmatic to care.

Could give them a homebrewed version of leadership, that way the 2 players can have 2 characters each and a more well-rounded party of 4.

I'd also caution against a DMnpc party tag along, you'll be busy enough as is and it may not be a big problem now, but keeping track of all the various moving parts, and character/player knowledge could be challenging.

If you're going with this plan anyway though, I think the reach cleric is a good idea, or someone capable of summoning, that way if you need a skillmonkey you call in a skill monkey, if you need a fighter, call in a T-rex, if you need a heal, call in angel, etc...

It's fun when Synth summoners get to change their evolutions when they level up, it's always nice surprising your DM with immunity to the currently predominant energy type the enemies rely on...

Or when the guy who's newly immune to fire is being used as a human shield by the villain, the magus (known for loving fireball) knows the synth is immune to fire, but the villain does not. Figuring the grappled synth is an easier target, rather than firing at the villain who has cover and buffs and such, the magus proudly declares "I cast FIREBALL" the DM smirks and points out my synth is right there too, and then smugly points out his health isn't in the best shape. The magus response? "I know, he's the one I'm targeting."

GM: "So you're going to kill him?" *gesturing at me*
Magus: "No, I'm going to kill HIM" *pointing at the villain mini*
Me: "I smoosh in cozy like with the gropey villain."
GM: *Sigh* You're immune to fire, aren't you?
Me: "I'm immune to fire, but mr handsy isn't is he?"
GM: "...no" *Cue dejected sad DM look.

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Ally grappled by a tentacled monstrosity grappling him, ally near dead. CMB check is crazy high, so of course he's maintaining the grapple on my dear old buddy. Wizard strokes his beard, "I cast Maze."

"What does that do?" asks the DM

I read him the description.

DM Swears and, since it affects only one creature, no save, the grappler doesn't get to take his snack with him. Meanwhile, the creature, who we later find out has an int of 10, spends 4 minutes trying to escape while the party heals, buffs, battlefield controls, and waits with readied actions. When creature rolls a 20 on his Int check, he reappears... triggering 10 readied actions, which consist of our biggest blasts (naturally).

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Invest in bluff so even if he DOES notice, you can explain things away.

"Sorry, did I wake you? I think I stuttered that last time around the spell didn't take, looks like I need to try again, just ignore me, I can't focus when I'm being watched..."

"What do you mean it's too comfortable on top of this mountain? Clearly you're just too tough to notice the cold. In fact, I think you're as tough as you are brave. Who's a brave man? You are!"

Get a metamagic rod of Silent Spell. I'm sure if you ask your DM nicely and only use it for these hijinx, maybe it'll be included in the next loot drop :)

Also, maybe instead of casting it while he's sleeping, arrange other things to cover the sound. "Hey BSF how's your battle cry go again *abracadabra* no, no, the other one *hocus pocus*, thanks, I'm just going to do some dishes *clang clang clatter clangalakazamclang."

Perhaps some guests are beset upon by bandits on their way to the wedding from far off, the bride insists her uncle Benja Minsrice be present for the wedding, and tasks her beloved husband to get him back.

Someone has been spreading rumours about the bride's... promiscuity. She's clearly upset about such slander, can the PCs track down the source and make the slanderer reneg? Maybe the slanderer happens to turn out to be her cousin, and the PCs can't rough him up, requiring a more... subtle approach.

An arcane trickster has opted to use the event to highlight her skills, chaos ensues.

The star performer has been held up in Sandpoint, and is kind of a jerk, the PCs need to recover him and tear him away from his fans/drinking/fly leaf.

Naturally at the party, I imagine there'll be drinking, and thus drunkeness, and maybe the party needs to make gradually increasingly difficult fort saves, or risk becoming drunken fools.

The wedding rings/altar are Mimics. The bride's eccentric aunt is a follower of Lamashtu and keeps trying to make "improvements" to the cake/dress, the party needs to stop her without risking alienating her.

In the lead up to the wedding, the priest seems a bit off, during the ball,a cacophony arises, what's going on out on the pati- OH NO! THE PRIEST WAS A HUECUVA AND ATE COUSIN JIMMY!

Play a monk, have the party caster cast "Rage", it's a level 2 bard spell, get it in a wand, all set!

If the Pally tries using his robe for future grapple attempts again and you don't have environmental hazards, you could give a circumstantial bonus to the CMB attempt to grapple, or apply non-proficiency penalties unless he has things like Catch off-Guard, Rough and Ready, or Equipment Trick: Cloak. Or, penalize the CMD of the target by a circumstantial -2 because she wasn't expecting that. Of course, then you get into whether or not stripping your cloak is a swift/immediate/standard/free action, and whether it provokes, and then there goes the element of surprise...

It really depends on how complicated you'd like to make things, sounds like your doing fine though, and you'll get better with experience. No DM is confident AND capable straight out of the box :)

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I didn't realize soldiers had to be celibate. Temperate behaviour and moderate actions doesn't neccessarily mean he can't have consensual one-night stands, so long as they aren't full-blown orgies of depravity.

Iomedae is the warrior goddess, concerned with her soldiers winning the battle. Those same soldiers, on occassion, need stress relief, and if doing so involves having consensual one-night stands, I see nothing wrong.

I find it funny that you'd be ok with it if, instead of having one-night stands with consenting partners, he went to the pixies kitten and paid for services. What's more noble sounding?

"There's Paladin Bob, I here he and Shayliss are awfully close..."


"Hey look, there's Paladin Bob, I hear he's a regular with the ladies at the brothel..."

He's Lawful Good, not Dead.

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Is it all happening in the prison or is the prison just the jumping off point?

Guards could be lawful good to the extreme, have them beating inmates and that sort of thing under the guise of "punishing evil". Nothing like a disciplinarian lecuring someone for being a sadistic monster while they themselves are torturing someone "for the greater good". Maybe have one of the guards know something vital to the plot, they may need to torture him, naturally if they let him live, he could report their activities, so they need to kill him because being Good would get them caught/killed. Maybe have there be some sort of infamy within the prison. If they're gentle flowers, other inmates are hostile, but if the PCs are the big fish proven through acts of heinous cruelty, other inmates fear/respect them. Maybe theres a cavalier or two locked up on trumped up charges, chivalrous heroes who try to resolve things through duels, meanwhile they're nearly killed because they're the only ones following the rules.

I imagine the prison would be carefully monitoring magical items to prevent shenannigans, but there's probably a reliance on divination to keep track of people and events. Abjuration items would probably be handy too, something like Immovable Rods used to keep inmates in place.

For a nice twist, have the guards using Helms of Opposite Alignment on inmates. CE becomes LG, so it's the ultimate form of rehabilitation, but at the same time you're brainwashing someone removing their free-will.

As for the decadence, maybe have nobles visit the prison and treat it like a zoo. Maybe the nobles are buying up prisoners like cattle for various purposes (some have bad-boy fantasies, others hunt them for sport), or maybe a lord is exploring necormancy using his wealth and access to the prison to retrieve fresh specimens, or an alchemist looking for spare parts. Make the rich so incredibly out of touch with everyday concerns.

Maybe corrupt bureaucrats are extending inmates prison terms due to bribes or minor slights. "You dare look me in the eyes? You whelp! 5 more years for you!" And thus the man locked up for vagrancy is serving his 60th year because he refuses to cave in.

Best of all, have someone routinely abuse their power to stick it to the PCs. Oh, and of course, nice guys finish last, gang issues arise in prison and scarcity of supplies leads to further conflict. Have the gangs coming up at them, with the gloves off.

Any mercy is punished, kindness is weakness and the weak end up dead or worse.

Maybe aside from using the illusions to kill people, he uses illusions to stage the crime scene dramatically for eventual discovery. This way, he can taunt the authorities, scare witnesses, and foreshadow for the PCs.

The murder weapon was the victim's own sword, the investigators say "Why would he do this?", Programmed Image is set to trigger on anyone saying "Why". As the words leave the detective's mouth, the victim steps out from the kitchen sharpening his sword and introduces himself

"Hello, I'm Victim 574, do you think my sword is sharp enough?" Then he stabs himself enthusiastically while saying *something relevant to the plot* Now the guy is a prolific serial killer (We've only found 4 bodies...) but aside from the

Or maybe the PCs get word that a notable noble is to be assassinated tonight, they rush to his aid but he seems perfectly unharmed. Then, a figure clad in black is seen perched on the rooftop, the PCs give chase, but that was just an illusion. As the PCs leave the noble, the killer breaks invisibility and goes for the kill. The PCs return after their goose hunt and find the noble dead. Now the killer follows the party and taunts them with images of their failure.

Before progressing, why is the killer killing? Is he part of some plot, is he just a sadist, does he have a cause?

3000 goblin warriors, standing in densely packed formation.

Let the blasters blast, the archers rain arrows, the fighter cleave 12 in half at once, the rogue play frontline badass, the monk gets to one hit kill everything, the Wizard's horrid wilting turns them to dust, let the PCs feel like gods! Have fun with AoE spells that often get neglected at higher levels.

thejeff wrote:

]Given the pace of fights, I often find by that time, say round 2 of an unwinnable fight, we've got a couple of people down or trapped but not dead. That gives those standing motivation to either try once more to win or at least to not leave their friends behind - generally leading to a TPK or near TPK.

If you actually get into a fight with overpowering opponents, things go south fast. How long does that APL-3 encounter last against your party. How many would get away if they ran on round 2?

My group has an aversion to knowledge checks, so usually first round is the positioning or our go-to things like buffing, blasting, summoning etc. Round 1 for the enemy is positioning and prep. Round 2 is the "Crap, that didn't work, try plan B". Round 3 is the "Crap, plan C? What's plan C? Who's closest to dying, how close?" By fourth round the party generally knows which way the combat is going and reacts appropriately. What sort of heroes retreat after they swing and miss the guy once?

Now playerwise, we may know "I've seen that thing deal 30 dmg, on a low roll..." but in character it's more like "That jerk had the gall to hit me!" My characters are usually also very mission oriented. One or two casualties is insignificant so long as we can accomplish X, so I generally don't call the retreat till things are baaaaad.

Maybe the first encounter of this sort, the DM could give a "Glowing Red Button". For example, the pary may be unable to kill the enemy, but a button at the far end of the room will help even the odds. Kind of like dropping a big chandelier on the mass of bodyguards around the cruel noble. Or they could try engaging 30 highly trained combattants in hand to hand...

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We generally figure it out when we're calling the tactical retreat, our spells are bouncing off them and our fighters are too busy cutting themselves free of entanglement/trying to escape grapples/bleeding out/looking for their missing limbs. We're slow learners but it makes things exciting!

Lets say your a hero, you've had quite the career and are level 14. You've infiltrated the BBEG's capital city and know that within the next two-weeks, you'll do battle and only one person will walk away.

While you're impressive and all, the BBEG is a legendary kingpin of power, he's like you, but stronger, faster, and more potent, and when you consider the odds, you find them not to really be in your favour.

That said, you're too proud to let nearly certain death stop you. You're prepared to die, but not ready to stop. Brave enough to do your duty, but not so stupid as to want to cut your life short.

You'd usually have Contingency: "When I cast Feather Fall, Dimension Door to the entrance of the castle" or somesuch, but here you're completely cut off from any "safe places" and home is a long way away. Assuming 7th level arcane spellcasting, and about 2 weeks with nothing but 50,000 gold, with no friendly cleric or church in sight,how would you ensure that death need not be the end?

I considered clone, but the lab and time requirements make it unfeasible for our hero behind enemy lines.

Simulacrum as a way to "continue the legacy" would allow for a less effective "you" that would be going nowhere in life.

When someone offends my wizard by daring to attack them: "You did WHAT?!" (Finger of death, disintegrate)

"Bags of XP!"

"You're day just got worse."

"Save the corpse!" (from the necromanctically inclined)


"Roll for murder... Natural 20, you're dead."

Maybe the paladins were investigating the merchant prince too or one of them is his brother, so the party has to speak to them, but their adventure finds them coming across the scene of a recent scuffle. Aside from the broken corpse of one of the paladins they've been tracking down to find, there's a scrap of paper about a meeting with...*torn paper obscures the name." Now the PCs need to try to save the Paladins before they're turned/eaten/have a bad day to find out their next source of intel on this wayward prince.

The party MAY be able to save some of the paladin's securing the intel, or they may be too late, and encounter the lich with his newly recruited cohorts of anti-paladins, zombie lords, etc...

Then the plot can go from there, maybe the prince and lich are in cahoots, or maybe the prince stole something from the lich and the lich could try suggesting they work together, now your party has a new hook and ally. After all, I doubt most polite society would appreciate shadows and wights strolling into town asking questions.

After the investigation, they find out the lich was the prince, or that the prince and lich were working together all along and the lich was just sending the party on a wild goose chase. Or maybe the prince is locked way in the bowels of the city for some nefarious purpose, etc... it could go many directions.


1 wight and two zombies against a 4 man party overtime became a 2 man party v. 1 wight and two zombies, and a a wight spawn (our battle cleric), then we killed the wight, making the spawn a full wight, and a wight spawn, and 2 zombies, then we killed the wight and zombies as the third wight spawn (our Barbarian) rose.

Wights for a level 2 party... just say no.

Do you game with a regular group? If so, make a character as close to the DM, or his family members as possible. The character itself won't be creepy, but the creep factor comes from only responding to the DM's name, and the fascination and familiarity you have in order to pull it off. Try to play the character as true to life as possible :)

Bonus creep! Take Leadership, make the Cohort yourself, and always insinuate a bizarre relationship dynamic between the two. Whether you be best friends, lovers, etc... it can make the DM very squimish. Plus, they'll one day face the issue of killing themselves, at which point you (the player) look at the DM (the person) and announce you'd like the xp for killing the DM, and thus technically, every person, monster, animal, construct, etc... in the world. Announce you're level 20 now, and leave the room, never to be seen again.

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A very caring support/buffer, played like your standard stereotypical overbearing mother. Make sure the other players are well fed, in tip-top shape. When you're staying in an inn for the night, make sure your party (whom you refer to as your children, of course)have the best rooms. Ensure they get all the rest they need.

Be the most attentive person they've ever met, and shower them with love and affection. So long as they call you Mother, of course. Roll will saves everytime they talk to a woman, if you fail, you're jealous and angry she's trying to take them away from you, be petty and scornful of her. If anyone else provides healing, buffing, or cooks for them, do the same will saves.

Bribe shopkeepers and such to swoon over the PCs, as their self-esteem is very important. Anyone less than friendly to the PCs is immediately on Mother's naughty list. The Naughty list has consequences.

At an appropriate level, they all get homemade jewellery consisting of an Onyx Gem of varying sizes, as a token of your undying affection. Keep them in the best shape you possibly can, so that when they die, you can rebirth them into undeath. Of course, until the first time you raise Johnny, they'll all just think you're an overly attached mother, when in reality, you were just ensuring they'd provide you optimal corpses.

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In the caravan that comes to town every second Thursday of the month, there is a baker. He makes many things but his specialty is pies. They always sell out as his pies are renowned through out the inner sea. He's charming, and always quick with a joke, when he finds a child crying, he gives them 2 pieces of pie, one for themselves and the other to share with a friend. He likes bringing the community together and helping people connect with each other, often sponsoring banquets and feasts.

He's well liked by the townsfolk he meets, but there are stories that even the beasts of the dark forests and craggy mountains love his pies so much, that they allow him free passage, even leading him to secret berry patches and orchards tended by the green spirit itself.

He's a generous individual, he stops at hospitals and shares pie with the plague victims long forgotten in quarantine, bringing some light to their dark existence, a beacon of hope and joy in a cruel, dark world.

He's an Anti-Paladin, his pies delight the humans as they're made with the freshest ingredients. His pies delight the monsters, as they're made with the freshest villagers. He spreads disease through pies, he encourages the gathering en mass of the public so as to spread the disease further and wider. He uses his charitable nature to earn favours that start small, but then grow into bigger and better things. The only ones who know his true nature are those locked away in sanitariums whom he visits regularly so he can witness their suffering. They're assumed insane at their insistence that the pies are poison and that this kind soul is a monster, some even having been moved to rabid assault on this paragon of virtue. He uses his networks of favours to protect his true work.

He'll kill you with disease, or have groomed a lonely child into an angry assassin, he'll have tricked you into murdering your family in a bout of insanity as the pathogens he spreads find their way to your brain. And while doing so, he'll be warmly welcomed into your village, into your home. People will line up for hours for a chance to thank him for his presence. He'll have killed you with a handshake loaded with plague, which you spread to your family at a banquet in his honour, and then he'll depart knowing you'll be dead by the time he returns a month from now. And when he returns, he'll find your child, alone and sobbing, he'll offer your son a pie, and your son will look into your killer's eyes and say "Thank You."

Boost Charisma sky high, Craft: Baking, Profession: Baker/Event Co-Ordinator, Invest in Bluff/Diplomacy, Pose as a follower of Torag (Community and Craftsmanship). Be friendly to everyone, and celebrate every occassion with Pie. Pick up Coward's Mark, Demon Fever and Mindfire to be your disease weapons, and watch as communities unravel in your wake.

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