My CotCT game started yesterday.
Right now the party makeup is as follows:
Dwarf paladin of Torag: living in Old Korvosa. Makes daily trips down to the Pantheon of the Many to oversee the daily prayers at the shrine there, before returning back to the brass works there where his brother is a foreman so he can bless that day's product.
Elf sorcerer: Spoiled brat living in South Shore, mother is a tutor and lecturer at the Acadamea, youngest sister is a failing student there as well. She is striving to avoid her immanent enrollment into the Acadamea but attaining more skill as a sorcerer, but the young elf has a lot of growing to do.
Chelaxian human cleric of Abadar: young bureaucrat working at the Bank of Abadar. Striving to deal with the moral gray area the party has already entered in with their actions against Lamm.
Half-elf (half-varisian) rogue: Identical twin sister of the proprietor of bait-shop on Erodred's walk. Rather attractive, but also rather androgynous--much like her brother. Was an orphan abused by Lamm until she was found and taken in by her brother, who ultimately saved up enough from dock work to open up the infamous, rumor churning bait shop.
It's a great party, full of roleplaying skill and prudent tactics. They've already been exposed to, and are quite interested in, the risque Arkona cousins as they cavorted down in the Jade Circle.
The most enjoyable part of the first session was when the rogue, already chaffing under the Cleric's strict worldview, got him drunk and brought him back to her house inviting him in for some "fun", where she switched places with her brother, which resulted in the cleric fleeing from the the siblings abode. I don't think any of us have ever laughed so hard--the cleric included. It was priceless.
I'm planning on using the middle-path experience route, maybe even the long one, as I'd like to have the chance to explore in and around Korvosa fully and completely, to let them play around and get attached to the city before the s&%& really goes down, so to speaak.
Can't wait till next Sunday.
Here's another question, though it's one I'm not sure if you'd be willing or able to answer. Not willing because you may be saving it or continuing to work on it, or not able because it's not been decided on yet.
But regardless, what can be said about the local Hellknight Lictor, Severs DiVri? Personality, appearance, background--I'd be happy to get any of it. Hell, I'd be happy to hear how he got the infamous nickname "Boneclaw". I'd like to know this because I think he'd be an extremely interesting character to have interact with the PCs, especially near end-game which I assume (though you'd know better than I) will involve some amount of crazy down Korvosa way.
I can also dream that the final issue of the Crimson Throne has some art of our elusive Lictor, or even just some more Hellknight coolness--but I won't hold my breath.
Wow. All that Hellknight goodness made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I truly appreciate the quick feedback, all that's EXACTLY what I was looking for. Thank you so much!
You know, this is what I love about this company, and why I'll happily buy up any product you guys produce. I can stand before my gaming group tomorrow (technically today, I guess), hold up an issue of Pathfinder and tell them I was able to get feedback from not only a helpful community of players, but also the Managing Editor, the guy who helped produce the damned product, with ideas on how to make your guys' game better.
You just can't beat that.
All right, enough gushing. It's late here too. If I think of anything I'll post it soon enough. This current stuff is amazing, though.
Terok the Sly wrote:
I wasn't sure exactly where to post this, but since the majority of my questions concern the upcoming Crimson Throne campaign I will be running, I thought this as good a place as any.
From the guide to Korvosa, I know how many soldiers are in the Korvosan Guard (700) and was able to infer how many Sable Company Marines there were (300), but I wanted to get an accurate number of how many Hellknights there were operating in Korvosa and its holdings. I would like to know this as a DM so I can portray them properly. I absolutely LOVE these guys, and want to get it right.
As a side question, how does this number compare with the number of Hellknights operating in Magnimar and the rest of Varisia?
I'd also like advice on how to portray their activity in Korvosa. As I began studying the Korvosa guide and extracted what info I could from it on the subject, I inferred a few ideas. They struck me as something akin to a mercenary SWAT team that also worked some of the more dangerous patrols and ruthless investigations. Their relations with most organizations, especially nobility and royalty, are poor, though they seem to have a good, or at least working, relationship with the Korvosan guard.
I am curious, however, as to how often they are used, and as they are a mercenary organization which only operates in the city as long as its paid, what most limits their use in the city: their cost, their numbers, their poor relations with the city's ruling caste, or some combination of the three?
Another question: Do the Hellknights in Citadel Vraid only take money and do work for Korvosa, or do they accept money for policing/enforcing/investigating work from other authorities or individuals? Does Korvosa have to pay some kind of retaining fee to DeVri to keep him, for example, from sending a group to do investigation work for Ilsurian? Or is the cost of their services high enough to prohibit any but wealthy governments like Magnimar or Korvosa from using their services?
Same here. In my group they captured Tsuto, but didn't tie him up very well, so he escaped. Orik surrendered, but they didn't want his help, so they let him run off. He was eventually picked up in Magnimar and set to Rannick to reform. He ended up being the only Black Arrow to survive the move to retake Fort Rannick (and boy, was Shalelu pissed to see her step dad get killed only a day or two after their reconciliation!). The cleric moved to make him the second in command at the fort, and made Orik his cohort.
Well, he did enslave all of Nidal, and the government set up there ended up pretty rigid. I think that showcases some of Zon-Kuthon's lawful tendancies. He kept his promise to protect the people from the Age of Darkness, but enslaved them for all eternity.
On another note, I got to join up into a lawful neutral/lawful evil campaign as a cleric of Zon-Kuthon yesterday. Talk about a blast! I printed out Zon-Kuthon's picture from the PDF and took it along (no one in the new group had ever looked at any Pathfinder stuff, and I actually spent a good amount of time proselytizing) and without fail the response when I showed it to them was "Dude! That's effin' SICK!" or something similar. People were grabbing the picture and showing it to new arrivals. It was great. Man, I love Paizo.
I agree with you that save-or-sink is probably a better description for these spells other than save-or-die. That said, it might be worthy to remember that the protection spells only suppress the effects of mind-affecting and compulsion spells, they do not end them, nor do they prevent them from taking hold. In the case of the magic circle, when affected characters could be moving in and out of the protected area, they could find themselves still fairly hindered in combat.
Also, as Joel stated, these spells are touch only. This makes the use of these spells a further logistical challenge. I think this, along with the fact that the spells only suppress, and do not end the spells in question, make the spells, for the most part (see below), fair a valid, especially when considering they usually only succeed stalling a spell's effect and not ending it. For example, even the 10 min/level duration of magic circle pales in comparison to the hours/level or days/level of spells like dominate or suggestion, which will take back control over the protected person when the duration expires. They could have the spell cast on them again, I suppose, but then you run into a serious resource depletion issue.
And on another point, since protection from evil protects anyone from having "mental control exerted over them", it does block sleep, fear, and likely even color spray, although the latter would admittedly be debateable.
This was actually talked about extensively by WoTC's sage advice column, although it was more than a little vague, and probably won't make you like the spell any more:
Ultimately, I would say that I think that the protection from alignment spells require a revision, not a nerf. I hope the Paizo team better defines this spell, perhaps narrowing its scope somewhat and making it easier to understand and implement. I think a defense against these save-or-sink spells are needed, but I do not think it should require such a long explanation from the developers themselves just to understand how the spells properly work.
I can understand the sentiment here, but I've always felt that most (not all, mind you) mind affecting spells were about as close to save or die spells without actually being save or die.
What I mean is, if a character or monster fails a save against a mind affecting spell, that person may not be dead, but that person is effectively out of the fight. Charm Person, Suggestion, Dominate, and Fear are all good examples of this. I think the protection from alignment spells are the best early defenses against these spells, especially since, unlike save or die spells, mind affecting spells are available from first level on.
I don't think a nerf of these spells is particularly required, but neither would it be completely uncalled for. If a nerf does happen, I hope it is done in moderation, perhaps scaling the spell back so that it only protects against charms and compulsions.
I had a question, and I hope this is the correct forum to search for an answer.
I received my copy of the Gazetteer, and as expected I am greatly satisfied with it. I was particularly pleased with the map of Golaron (or at least a sizable portion of it).
So pleased am I with this map and its aesthetic value that I'd like to frame it and put it up on my wall to keep. I did something similar with the poster in the final issue of Dragon, with the Githyanki army. The only issue I've ever had with doing this, however, is that the poster comes folded, and thus has noticeable creases.
With the map of Golaran, I face a similar concern. I thought I would come here and ask two questions to help with my decision.
1. Is it allowable to print out the map of Golaron out at a local copy/photo shop? I know little of copyright issues beyond the fact that this seems like this would be one. I certainly don't want to violate any rules or laws here, so I wanted to ask first.
2. Assuming the answer to 1. is no, is there another means available to me to obtain a version of the Golaron map without it being folded? I understand it wouldn't likely be cheap, but neither would option 1, as I imagine I'd be spending $100 or more on printing and framing.
If both these questions return a negative, I will likely resign myself to having a slightly creased version of my framed Golaron map. I might have to purchase another copy of the gazetteer to get another copy of the map, as my group has already deepened the creases from folding and unfolding the map (I had to do the same with the above mentioned Githyanki poster), and, of course, I'd like to maintain a copy to unfold on the gaming table when needed.
Thank you for your time, and moreover, thank you for your excellent product.
I received order #947548 and was missing the Gazetteer as well. Please put me on the list. I would prefer to have mine shipped to me as soon as possible, as I would like to make it available to my group and don't have the printer power to get it out to everyone, but I understand if it must be delayed till the next shipment. The service I've received from Paizo thus far has been nothing short of upstanding, so I find it difficult to get angry one way or another.
Thank you for your time,
I personally think (and I think someone else said this a while ago) that jumping should be taken out of acrobatics all together and rolled into some single skill called "athletics" or some such with climb and swim. It seems strange to me that a fighter can no longer jump well (despite being able to do other physical feats like swimming and climbing) because jump now is associated with two other actions with which a fighter should not be proficient (tumbling and balancing).
I can back this up with some limited playtesting, the two guys I've had play fighters were a bit confused that they could no longer jump near as well as they could with previous fighter builds without becoming proficient in tumbling and balancing also.
It was a minor point, of course, just something one guy mentioned in character creation and another mentioned when everyone was trying to jump across a pit. Still, I think it would be a better refinement of the skill system to differentiate between these skills of physical strength of skills of physical dexterity.
I'm inclined to agree with this. I rather liked Alpha 1's method of handling skills, although it did bring up a few skillmonkey issues that would have required fixing. Of course, I understand the concerns they laid out in Alpha 2 for reverting from the system.
I think Roman's fix would go a ways towards making class skills more significant, which might help balance out the issue.
Another concern I have is that humans seem noticeably weaker under the new skill system. It seems strange to me that a Half-Elf gets a free +3 to any skill at first level, while a Human will only effectively get a +1. I know the Human will ultimately have a higher bonus than the half-elf as levels accrue, but the human just feels weaker to me for some reason.
Perhaps that should still get the deal they received in Alpha 1, where they get to pick a free permanent class skill at first level? This seems in line with their other abilities (free +2 stat, free weapon proficiency) I think this, along with Roman's fix above, would help put the human back up where he needs to be.
I like the changes made to the sorcerer, but I still think it needs to be made a touch more powerful by removing the staggered spell progression and increased metamagic casting time. To me, these seem fundamental, simple fixes to bring the sorcerer in line with the 3.5 wizard. The added bloodlines are better to bring the sorcerer up to the 3.P wizard.
Regardless, I look forward to testing this out through some Gamemastery modules. I understand this is all a work in progress and constructive feedback (backed with playtesting) from the community is the name of the game. Thanks be to Jason Bulmahn his tireless work and for dealing with our impassioned arguments on all sides of the various debates here.
I know a lot of this stuff is up in the air, especially as we're still so far off from the Beta release and all, but I was wondering if I could get some opinions on how to alter the level adjustment and/or hit dice of the Bugbear to work with the new rules. When my group finishes our current ROTL campaign, we'll be shifting into play-test mode, and one of my players is keen on playing one. I personally love the little furry murder machines, so I'm inclined to to let him do it, but I think the level adjustment and/or the hit dice needs to be reduced to make it in line with the new beefed up classes.
It's still a long way off, so I definitely have some time, but I thought it'd be interesting to hear someone else's thoughts other than those of my players and my own -- both biased in their own ways.
Thanks for everyone's time!
Interesting write up, though the pyschoportative and seer 20th level powers might be a bit much, but then my initial reactions almost unfailingly fall on the side of conservatism with these things.
You might want to consider looking at the Mind's Eye official alt class abilities for the different schools. Some of those might work well instead of just some of these power/day type things.
You could replace every occurrence of "studio" with "web site where he sells his super-awesome adventures", and my post would still contain the same amount of jubilation. ^_^
Wow. Opened up this post to find out about PRPG stuff and learn that my favorite adventure author, Nicolas Logue has his OWN studio... Almost fell out of my damn chair from sheer joy. Best birthday present a guy could ask for, Nick.
Heh. I've got my group at the tail end of HMM right now, and I've already conditioned my hapless players to pee themselves at the mere mention of Nicholas Logue, especially after I told them they were wading through a *censored* version of his work. Now a Logue with his own studio... his own rules... Oh, my poor, poor players. There shall be much weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Long live Dread Lord Logue! Long live Sinister Adventures! Long live Paizo!
I love the Hellknights, and can't wait till we get some more stuff on them.
I've always seen them as fighters with a few alternate class abilities. I'm still fine tuning the specifics (the Hellknight in my party got killed before I could get anything final, and I've imposed a strong enough impression of the Order of the Nail on my group that they haven't tried to mess with them... yet.) but I see them getting sense motive as a class skill, some abilities tied to the intimidate skill (interrogation and something to tie in to the plain scary Hellknight persona), an altered version of the smite ability (Smite Lawbreaker, or something of that nature), and round it out with some abilities tied their organization's close ties with the infernal realms.
The way I see the Hellknights, I can't envision them as spellcasters. They're a heavy martial organization who have a reputation due to their frightening persona, dogged relentlessness, and great military skill than anything else. Having them as clerics, paladins, or blackguards just doesn't seem right to me. I suppose you could argue they worship law, or even hell, but I don't think their pursuit of law a matter of faith to them. They don't worship law any more than they worship the devils they sometimes work with in the pursuit of law. I imagine they would see worship as almost getting in the way of what they do.
Of course, as we don't have just a whole hell of a lot of info on these guys yet, I could very well be wrong here. Just my take on it.
I think every system (my experience is limited to 3.0 and above) requires suspension of disbelief in various levels over various things. The issue is what aspects require this suspension, and how effectively groups and individuals reconcile these aspects with their intellectual need for logic and consistency in their games.
Some people have no issue suspending their belief, and don't really care one way or another as long as the rules provide for fun gaming. Others, however, derive a good deal of their enjoyment from a realistic imagining of the game world they are interacting with. For these people, the harder it is for them to realistically picture what is going on and the less logical their leaps of faith have to be, the more mentally frustrating it is for them to play with those rules.
I can see how strange it might seem for those in the former group to here those in the latter complaining about things that seem pretty trivial, but depending on your gameplay style, trivial might be the last thing you'd describe these as.
From what little I have seen and read, I think 4e requires a lot more suspension of disbelief than 3.5e. 4e also seems to require a different type of thinking logic wise that can, in some cases, run contrary to the logic built up by previous editions. To those whose basis of enjoyment stems from some of this logic, 4e might very well be a hard sell.
At the very least, this seems to be the sentiment of my group and with some whom I've spoken with.
Warforged Goblin wrote:
I believe the question is a non-starter, as it states in the spell description that it can only be cast on willing, living creatures (emphasis on living) and that any creature killed automatically reverts back to their normal form, though they remain dead. I don't think the rules as written would ever allow the situation you describe to arise.
Of course, if its something you'd think would be cool for your game, as a DM I suppose it's your right, neigh, your responsibility to have whichever would be the most interesting for your game to happen. ^_^
Toss me in with the pro-mythos crowd. I totally nerded out when I downloaded J3 and found an official Golarion Shoggoth awaiting me. It felt like Christmas, Thanksgiving and my birthday all rolled up into one... if they were all gobbled up by a nightmare inducing madness monster.
I can understand why some may not be comfortable with mythos creatures in their game, but I feel that its ultimately a matter of taste. Which parts of our mythological culture do you most want to see in your game? While I don't want the entirety of the Lovecraftian feel in my campaign, of course, when its handled properly it can serve to make things feel just different and alien enough at just the right times to really keep to keep my players totally hooked.
It's certainly a good feeling when one's personal tastes are so well sated, when a campaign setting comes so close to what one could want in a DND product without writing that product oneself. And it's why Paizo's going to keep getting my money.
Here's an example I was discussing in another thread dealing with a paladin in my group:
They're investigating the Hanbey(sp?) farm and dealing with the various ghouls strung up and disguised as scarecrows. The Paladin made a habit of detecting evil on the little nasties as they approached, not too bad of an idea... until he decides it's easier to just run up on one they see moving and stab it in the stomach without a second thought.
The one he stabbed? One of the as-yet-unturned-and-now-dead farmers.
So let's count up here... He was so angry at the ghouls for giving him grief they he up and kills whoever he thinks even might be a ghoul. That's some serious wrath.
Too lazy to even take the time to check and see if it was a innocent or a villian? That's sloth if I ever seen it.
Trusting in his own judgment over the tools given to him by his goddess? That'd be Pride.
Any or all of those would be fair game, I think.
Thanks for all the great feedback, guys. It definitely helps to give some perspective, as well as some inspiration.
Our game goes down Wednesday, so I'm glad to get some ideas.
I try to enforce the idea that the divine classes have a very individual link with the deities so as to better justify the slight roleplaying restrictions they have. I usually do this through dreams, visions, and feelings given to them to let them know they're in touch with their higher-power.
I'll probably use something like this to communicate to my PC what he needs to do to get himself back on track. Perhaps a passing conversation with a dark-skinned stranger who only he can see--something like that. I think facing Foxglove Manor without his powers will be a decent lesson in courage and humility, and I'm going to try and fit something extra in there to send home a lesson about better judgment and prudence as well.
I like this approach because it isn't impossible for the PC to accomplish (although he'll certainly be feeling the hurt in Foxglove Manor without his abilities) and won't punish him for too long. I want this to be an early lesson that he has be smart about his character.
It's also good that I can use this as a dual lesson, as the player running the paladin's brother, the Aasimar cleric, almost had the same thing happen to him when he came real close to killing the unarmed diseased man (I forget his name) in the straight jacket at Habe's Sanitarium because he went into a rage and attacked him. Hopefully he'll also learn from the paladin's mistake.
As a side note, does I know we have Desna and Lamashtu covered, but have the devs posted any general ideas as to what the other deities look like? I'd be nice to know so I know a general idea of how to present them in visions, dreams, imagery and such. It might be misguided, but my first impression of how Iomedea looked was something close to the paladin iconic... but that might be just because she just looks so damn awesome...
Also, thanks for the link CHarles, I'll definitely look over that post. I had also not thought of his mistake as one of sloth. That's actually a good fit, maybe better than pride. Maybe all three? I dunno. I still need to work on it a bit.
Here's the gist. I'm running my group through the Skinsaw Murders, and the player in question is a Human Paladin of Iomedea, himself the brother of the an aasimar cleric of the same goddess.
What happened is this:
The group was exploring the Hanbey Farm, having a pretty rough time of it. They ended up taking the long way around and getting hit with the three ghoul patrol amidst the the area with the four ghouls strung up--a nasty fight all around.
The paladin did a decent job, I thought. He knew to use his detect evil on the "scarecrows" he saw moving, and knew to be cautious when he felt their evil aura. It put me at ease, because if they had him there they would have a decent way of telling "Hey, this moving, moaning scarecrow's evil. Might be a baddie." or "Hey, this moving, moaning scarecrow's not evil. Might not be a baddie."
But my Player has a bad habit of making snap decisions, sometimes without the prudence one could hope. And so, after the aforementioned fight with the seven ghouls, they hit the curve heading up to the farmhouse and barn, there's the single strung up farmer who'd yet to be turned. They see it moving, groaning. What does my paladin do? "I'm running up and stabbing it with my sword." No detect evil. No question. Just run up and stab. "It's going to suck if you run up and do that and one of them hasn't turned into a ghoul yet," says another of my players, flooding the room with palpable irony.
And so the group has a paladin with the blood of an innocent, helpless farmer on his hands.
So what to do? I felt I had no recourse but to strip the character of his class abilities, but I'm curious if this was perhaps too harsh a course of action? It is true the paladin did kill an innocent by accident, but I feel it was both a sin of wrath (because in his own anger at being ambushed by the ghouls so often he attacked on without even considering it might be a farmer) and pride (because he felt his judgment of the situation was better than that of his goddess', which would have been given to him via his detect evil).
A further question is how should I go about getting my PC redeemed? I personally think it falls within the line of Iomedea's thinking that having him clear out Foxglove Manor sans his powers would be an acceptable lesson in humility, service, and self-sacrifice for her to make sure a decently high level priest passes by Sandpoint to apply an atonement.
I'm happy to hear some feedback on this. I've a relatively new DM with three to four years of experience under my belt, and am always looking for input on how to improve myself and my games.
I've yet to have the pleasure of running one of your adventures for my group yet, but I'm already counting down the weeks till they mosey their lollygagging asses over to Hook Mountain, and come hell or high water I'll make sure they stumble across Falcon's Hollow in time for the carnival of tears. It'll be a nice experiment on the limits of player sanity, I think.
Anyway, just wanted to say everything of yours I've read I've loved. But more importantly, hearing your support for 4E most certainly helps put this DM's skeptical mind at ease. The decider for me is still likely going to be Paizo's choice on whether or not to make the switch, but your endorsement certainly makes things a noticeably less cringe-worthy process for me.
Now if they can just make the tieflings less silly-looking and angst-filled and the dragonborn completely nonexistent... Ah well, can't have everything, I guess.
Thanks for the great adventures and the thought provoking posts.
A bit late in the game here, I know, but my group of PCs just went up against her last session. It was a five PC group consisting of an aasimar cleric of Iomadea, an elf wizard, a tiefling rogue, a Chelixian fighter, and a Varisian bard. They were still first level when they entered the catacombs and they more or less made a b-line for the big bad boss cathedral.
To offset their level I took away Erylium's familiar. A small thing, but I expected the group to be running in a few rounds anyway. The battle was rough, made more so by the fact that the fighter got hit with a max damage inflict moderate, taking him down to -7.
It must have made him loopy, because when he got back up he tried leaping up at her and grabbing her... while she was over the Runewell of Wrath. He spashes down into the crazy evil wrath pool, goes insane with rage while simultaneously dropping to -4 hit points.
Thankfully for the party, Erylium's success was making her arrogant. She went after the rogue (the only one consistently hitting her) and took him down with a inflict light wounds. With the bard pulling the fighter out of the pool, the wizard out of spells, and the rogue down, the cleric squares his shoulders, charges Erylium, screams out Iomedea's name, leaps up, and crits the b@~&$ for 24 damage, taking her down to -3. I don't think they stopped till she was paste (probably earned some wrath points for that, but ah well.)