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Venture-Agent, Minnesota—Roseville 34 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 4 Organized Play characters.


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Hawkwing wrote:
does the pdf come with separate VTT friendly maps?

Not even close.

How is it at all reasonable with the pandemic pushing the majority of games to VTT that these new scenarios are still not providing VTT friendly maps in the PDFs? This goes beyond being unfriendly, because it's all dungeon tiles, but there's no unmarked single image of the full map, so to do it properly you have to copy all the tiles individually and then line and orient everything by hand. This makes what should be a five minute task into a half hour of drudgework.

* Venture-Agent, Minnesota—Roseville

andreww wrote:


4. The haunt in C1 triggers when someone moves within 10' of an area of the floor from which the choir can rise but no area for the haunt is marked.

I ended up handling this off the map as something the PCs had to get past while moving from section B to section C. Otherwise the map is super crowded, and it becomes a bit much to have the PCs noticing and dealing with such a vicious trap for this level (we were playing subtier 5-6 and that thing is too much for this tier - DC 28 to disarm, Will save DC 24 and it does on average 36 damage) while in a room filled with zombies doing a Thriller dance.

The haunt itself says it occurs "as the PCs approach the hall", but the map is already entering hall itself. Since this encounter is not included in the final boss encounter C2, but is its own prior encounter C1, it shouldn't be happening at the same time. Also, hilariously the C1 haunt is labelled a "Trivial" encounter, despite it being a trap that a level 5 party would have a 20% chance of disarming and that could one-shot such characters (it can deal as much as 50 damage). It actually could massive damage kill a level 5 character since it can do 100 damage on a crit fail on the save. Trivial.

* Venture-Agent, Minnesota—Roseville

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Doug Hahn wrote:

My party also did well, thanks in part to similar hints and prep materials (travel speed handouts), and an understanding of what was at stake.

I am really starting to see a larger pattern in the 2e scene here. Some GMs are able to help their parties succeed by providing handouts and in-story hints about progress or what's at stake (e.g. when to spend hero points or how they’re doing on progress towards a mission goal). Such GMs often do this by doing more than just reading box text, and by giving the players context that helps them manage resources.

This scenario has awkward mechanics and a problematic statement from the VC that might lead players astray if the GM refuses to paraphrase, but a good GM should always try to provide their players with the tools to succeed. Sometimes that takes a little effort, but your players will appreciate it — and if they fail sometimes (which can and should happen), they won't feel cheated.

Some GMs can simply make their party succeed, because they're the GM. I think that's most GMs for the scenario, because otherwise it can be a pretty negative experience and neither players nor GMs really want that.

Just as a note for the party mentioned above where only the <30 speed chars got mounts, they're not in the clear with just 2 successes. That's only a 5-ft increase which would mean 35-ft - only 140 miles in 10 days and not the 150 needed. When they reached Torch, they weren't ahead of schedule - they were at 40ft, which meant 16 miles a day or 160 miles in ten days. A loss of a day spent in Torch and they didn't actually make it unless they got up to 5+ successes afterwards. If they chose to not do the final Find a Shortcut and spent a day in Torch, then they took 11 days and technically failed in the scenario as written, despite 2 successes, a crit success, buying mounts, and then painstakingly planning how to keep those mounts alive the whole way. No GM is going to actually fail the entire scenario on them after all that, but that goes to the point of the scenario as written being fundamentally broken.

From a feedback standpoint, please let's never use this travel system again. There have been other ones already used that worked way better.

* Venture-Agent, Minnesota—Roseville

It's really weird because the Steaming Fields are "a few miles before you reach Torch" but they're considered to be full quarter segment of the overall trip for Shortcut purposes.

It's also extra confusing and a double-down on "mounts aren't needed" since the VC goes out of her way to give the party Boots of Bounding, which only improve walking movement and further imply that walking is the recommended and suitable approach.

If we just assumed the fields were 100 miles in and they'd have 50 miles left to go, I'd average the move speed over the whole journey. 2/3rd at 40 + 1/3 at 25 would be equivalent to a 35 move speed at most (it's a little slower than that since it was more like 95 miles to the fields, then the remaining 55 miles sans mounts after that). Assuming they had successes enough to get the 5ft bonus they'd barely make it. Although if they lost the horses because they failed to navigate the Steaming Fields and had another 20 miles tacked on, they'd also fail the scenario (they'd make 160 miles out of a now 170 mile journey).

Note that if any of the characters (notably the Small ones) have Riding Ponies or Riding Dogs instead, those only have a 35 ft move. Only full horses will do.

I can think of a few things that would "fix" this scenario if any of these were true:

1) The VC makes it clear that ~35ft move speed is needed plus finding a couple shortcuts. This should ensure the party prepares adequately rather than trust that the scenario will provide a reasonable solution since the objective implies it should work out.

2) The Shortcut activity can be performed each day rather than at arbitrary quarter segments. This would provide 9-10 opportunities to get the 5 Exploration Points you'd want instead of 4.

3) Stopping in Torch has an option to hire a Guide for the remainder of the journey, providing extra Exploration Points. The GM could encourage this if the party was clearly not going to make it by that point in the journey, rather than playing out the remaining 1-2 hours knowing the players already failed.

4) Hustle's requirement was rewritten such that it was usable. Make it so they can use it to make up for their slower speed as long as they can sustain it for a half hour at a time (so a 16 Con) or they can still do it but become Fatigued each day as a result.

* Venture-Agent, Minnesota—Roseville

On a side note, I really was disappointed with the final boss fight. This isn't the first time I've encountered this, but I absolutely hate bosses of the "Low HP but has Hardness/DR" because they get absolutely trashed by a crit and go down easy. When I ran this, he crit failed his save against a Level 4 fireball on the first round, and took 74 damage of which 64 got through his Hardness, but with losing more than half his HP he was immediately broken, at which point he dies easily. He was dead halfway through the 2nd round against 4 level 7s (the minimum levels possible and still play SubTier 7-8).

These sorts of boss fights need to have some kind of way to resist crits, at least for a couple times. In another fight kinda like this one (Opal of Bhopan) the boss has a Reaction where he can make the first crit against him miss entirely. He still goes down to the second crit, but at least this was something going for him to live long enough to be a challenge.

* Venture-Agent, Minnesota—Roseville

logsig wrote:
There is still an open question whether only those characters trained in Crafting should get access (which seems to be the implication, otherwise why mention 'PCs who are at least trained' at all in regards to the conversation), or if the party as a whole gets access regardless. That aspect probably isn't such a huge deal though - if a character was going to ever take Crafting it's quite likely they would have done so by this point in their careers, and if not, they probably don't care about the formulas.

How about if they didn't stop in Torch and meet the Blacksmith, which is pretty reasonable to do because why would a party really want to waste a day on an extremely tight timeline to "shop" for items they know they can already trivially buy between scenarios?

Hustle will not work unless it happens that the slowest player has a 22 constitution, which is impossible at this level, since you can hustle for 10 minutes per constitution modifier and thus would need a +6 to hustle for an hour.

The VC literally says and I quote, "You might think that buying horses is a good idea, but I wouldn’t recommend it." The VC goes on to tell the party that if they have a 25ft move speed, they should have little trouble making it, further implying mounts wouldn't be necessary at all. This is not true, as 5+ exploration points has less than a 2% chance of happening, but is necessary for 25ft to reach the destination on time. Did they miss that the scenario specifies that the party only gets 4 chances to Shortcut (and not the ability to do it every day) or that this time around only one party member can Shortcut each time, and not everybody (which is how all prior scenarios have handled accruing Points in skill challenges).

Also, having 5+ exploration points by the time you reach Torch would mean a success and two crit successes. This is extremely, extremely unlikely to occur. A party of level 7s, even assuming one of them is Expert in a relevant skill and another person good enough to consistently aid, would be rolling a +12 and thus would only crit success on a Nat 20. So this 5+ exploration point at Torch situation requires two nat 20s AND not failing the third check. This has a 0.16% chance of happening (that's roughly 1 in 800 games).

If those were the answers given at GenCon, I'm wondering if the scenario changed between then and the released version now, because those responses do not match the text in the scenario as written.

* Venture-Agent, Minnesota—Roseville

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So basically if the PCs actually follow the instructions given in the briefing, they are relying on 3 successes and a crit success out of four skill checks that each only allow one player to roll. Any fails and you lose?

While this is also my read of the scenario as written, this is way, way, way beyond the difficulty of any other scenario by a long shot, and is not satisfying to have the success or failure of the whole thing hinge on one person at the table getting a crit.

Even if the party had 30 base move speed and got just normal successes on the shortcuts (so treated as 40) they still lose if they stop in Torch for a day or if they failed the steaming vents and had to tack an extra 20 miles on. I don't actually see any scenario where I could ever advise a party to stop in Torch even if they seemed to be making good time, since a crit fail on a later shortcut check could retroactively make the party fail the whole objective.

Likewise, if you rule that a single fail on the steaming vents hazard means a dead mount, then you're making anybody failing a single skill check mean a lost scenario. I could maybe see something like that meaning a missed treasure bundle, and even then I think that'd be a bit harsh.

In all seriousness, I don't see any reasonable way to run this scenario if that's the intended mechanics. There shouldn't be a case where if any single character just happens to not have the right skills then the whole party loses. There shouldn't be a situation where the only good course of action would be to leave a party member behind, but if you had a 25ft speed character whose mount died, everybody would be better off under these rules to simply leave them behind to ride with the caravan and stop playing.

* Venture-Agent, Minnesota—Roseville

Based on my understanding of the travel in this scenario, the PCs effectively need to journey 150 miles through difficult terrain within 10 days.

Assuming the slowest PC has a 25ft move speed, that means 10 miles per day. Assuming the most likely scenario that the party gets 3-4 exploration points from the shortcut activity, they'll be considered to move as though they were 35ft, which still only means 14 miles per day. This still doesn't make 150 miles in 10 days.

What am I missing? The primary objective of this scenario requires 5+ successes? The only other option seems to be to buy mounts, but then why have the questgiver explicitly advise the PCs to not get mounts?

I also don't see any case where you could honestly tell the PCs they have time to rest in Torch. If at that point they even had 4 Exploration Points (which meant a crit success and no failures, so not even likely), I'd still be wary since making it on time means not failing the last check, which isn't a guarantee.

* Venture-Agent, Minnesota—Roseville

Actually, scratch that about AoE Heal and Stuff while unconscious, it's clear in the rules for spell targets:

"Some spells restrict you to willing targets. A player can declare their character a willing or unwilling target at any time, regardless of turn order or their character’s condition (such as when a character is paralyzed, unconscious, or even dead)."

* Venture-Agent, Minnesota—Roseville

I've had this come up a couple times now, especially as these later scenarios are fairly full of difficult-to-obtain treasure bundles where in some it's near impossible to get all ten - for example, in 1-19 there's a bundle that's tied to having someone at the table get a critical success on a Society check - this will be a missed bundle over 50% of the time.

However, what troubles me is the Grand Archive Meticulous Appraisal Service Boon where a GA player can spend 2 Fame to get an extra TB if some were missed. I've had it come up twice now, and it's almost impossible for the GA player to refuse this to everybody else at the table without feeling bad, but it's also the case that, especially at low levels, a single TB is hardly worth 2 Fame.

I feel like this is intended to create situations where the GA player gets to feel great that they're saving the day for the party, but that hasn't happened yet. In practice the cost of this Service often isn't worth it, and both times the player kinda begrudgingly spent the Fame. Everybody at the table can say "No hard feelings if you choose not to" but in reality nobody likes to feel like they're being the bad guy.

I don't like this - it either shouldn't have a cost or should work like a slottable Faction boon - the GA player could choose to slot this at the start of the session and the extra TB will be gained at the end if needed. That, I think, would have the intended effect - if you slotted this boon you are a hero at the end of the scenario if it was necessary, and if you didn't slot it, there's no pressure.

* Venture-Agent, Minnesota—Roseville

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Hey all, I really appreciate the responses. Thinking about it, this really seems to me like it falls closest to how Barbarian anathema works - another anathema that doesn't involve a deity or magical power that would require actual Atonement. With Barbarians, they simply lose their instinct ability until they spend 1 day of downtime re-centering themselves. This seems pretty easy to work with as it wouldn't be overly punishing and feels like it would be rather fitting from a RP perspective - I imagine a day spent rationalizing and mentally focusing back on your disdain for divinity. I would be upfront and clear to the player about this - it's not a gotcha but a choice. I wouldn't consider a player being stabilized or 3-action Healed to be in violation of this, just specifically if they making a conscious choice to be Willing to receive Divine aid.

I never realized how crippling a Barbarian committing anathema to Giant Instinct would be - you'd lose your ability to wield your own weapon for the rest of the session.


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This is the first time I've run into one of these PDFs where it doesn't bother including non-marked-up versions of the maps. Kinda ridiculous given that we're all having to run this stuff digitally. Hope this is an anomaly and doesn't become a regular thing.

* Venture-Agent, Minnesota—Roseville

*I'd originally posted this in the PFS2e Rules forum, but my particular question on this is more applicable to how to manage this in Organized Play rather than home games (where of course every GM can do what they like at their table). Even then I got quite a few differences of opinion.*

So I've had this come up in multiple sessions now as people are catching on that the Mortal Healing feat is incredibly powerful for a Skill Feat (turns all regular Successes on Treat Wounds into Crits).

The drawback in theory is that you must be a follower of the Laws of Mortality, which for all intents and purposes acts like a deity with Edicts, Anathema, Alignment requirements... the works. As I understand from the GM Basics guide for organized play that if a player "actively and personally commits an anathemic act in Society play" there are consequences, but it's not entirely clear what those would be. There's one very specific anathema that to me seems like a balancing factor - you must not solicit or receive divine or religious aid. My interpretation is that functionally you can never choose to be a willing target for divine spells, so a divine Heal or Lay on Hands that specifies a "willing target" will not work on you.

However, I have had players skirt this because they really like the feat but don't like the consequences, and in practice there are no specified consequences to violating the anathema. It's awkward because as the GM I'm careful about taking away player agency and telling them they cannot do something, so if they just proceed anyway fully knowing they're breaking the anathema and not caring, I'm not sure how best to proceed.

I mean, if a player brought a Druid that was clearly wearing metal armor and an steel shield and tried to claim their character truly believed rocks were living things so it was okay, I'd not let that pass.

From everything I've read for Organized Play it just seems to be taken as a given that players will choose to not commit anathema. Like the example given is that a Champion of Sarenae could not lie to a guard. That seems pretty clear cut. But there's nothing on whether that means you'd prevent them if they went ahead and tried to lie anyways, or what would happen afterwards if they did so. Do you take away their focus pool for the rest of the session? Do you make note of this on the Chronicle sheet like you would for Infamy?

Mostly I'm finding the Laws of Mortality one to be the most awkward to work with, and a lot of players I've found don't actually even realize what the requirement for Mortal Healing means or that there even is an Anathema associated with it beyond "look disapprovingly at divine healers".

So what's the best way to handle it? Disallow the character from counting as a "Willing target" for divine spells? Allow them to choose to break the Anathema and then disable Mortal Healing for the rest of the session (although this winds up not meaning much since often the need for such healing almost always would come during the final encounter where the feat no longer is a factor)?

Just curious if this has come up for anybody else and how they've handled it, or whether there's been some prior official guidance on the topic and how it should be handled. Thanks!


So yeah, the discussion here is basically the core issue I'm running into. If it's purely an RP distinction, then I should be able to create a Druid who uses metal shields if I can provide a sufficient RP reason why this is okay for my character. However, I know of no GM that would allow this. Why is this anathema different?

If you're playing a Druid you follow the rules for being a Druid. If you follow the Laws of Mortality then you follow the rules for the Laws of Mortality. It seems pretty straightforward.

Similar to a cleric of Sarenae not being able to lie themselves, but not needing to actively prevent another party member from lying on their behalf, it seems reasonable that a Laws of Mortality follower could not willingly accept divine aid, but would be able to begrudgingly accept other party members being divine and using divine magics. And there's a mechanical set of rules around the concept of being a willing recipient of divine aid, the same as there are rules defining what constitutes a shield and armor made of metal.

It also seems pretty straightforward to me what breaking the anathema would mean - you've lost faith in the capability of mortals to manage on their own without divine aid, and thus you've lost faith in your own ability to provide incredible non-magical medical treatment (losing the benefit of things requiring being a follower). It doesn't require the Rahadoum police to come beat you up. In this instance your superhuman capabilities come from within.


So I've had this come up in multiple sessions now as people are catching on that the Mortal Healing feat is incredibly powerful for a Skill Feat (turn all regular Successes on Treat Wounds into Crits).

The drawback in theory is that you must be a follower of the Laws of Mortality, which for all intents and purposes acts like a deity with Edicts, Anathema, Alignment requirements... the works. There's one very specific anathema that to me seems like the balancing factor - you must not solicit or receive divine or religious aid. My interpretation is that functionally you can never choose to be a willing target for divine spells, so a divine Heal or Lay on Hands that specifies a "willing target" will not work on you.

However, I have had players skirt this because they really like the feat but don't like the consequences, and in practice there are no consequences to violating the anathema. It's awkward because as the GM I'm careful about taking away player agency and telling them they cannot do something, so if they just proceed anyway fully knowing they're breaking the anathema and not caring, I'm not sure how best to proceed.

I mean, if a player brought a Druid that was clearly wearing metal armor and an steel shield and tried to claim their character truly believed rocks were living things so it was okay, I'd not let that pass. Beyond the RP bits, there's a functional balancing reason to give the Druid class this drawback.

From everything I've read for Organized Play it just seems to be taken as a given that players will choose to not commit anathema. Like the example they give is that a Champion of Sarenae could not lie to a guard. That seems pretty clear cut. But there's nothing on whether that means you'd prevent them if they went ahead and tried to lie anyways, or what would happen afterwards if they did so.

Mostly I'm finding the Laws of Mortality one to be the most awkward to work with, since there's no actual "Deity" or primal forces behind it to enforce the rules, and a lot of players I've found don't actually even realize what the requirement for Mortal Healing means or that there even is an Anathema associated with it.

So what's the best way to handle it? Simply disallow the character from ever counting as a "Willing target" for divine spells? Allow them to choose to break the Anathema and then disable Mortal Healing for the rest of the session (although this winds up not meaning much since often the need for such healing would come during the final encounter where the feat no longer is a factor)?

Just curious if this has come up for anybody else and how they've handled it, or whether there's been some prior official guidance on the topic and how it should be handled. Thanks!


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I wouldn't allow it at my table. By that logic I could use a level 9 Summon Animal to summon a bunny that just happens to one-shot anything it touches. That's how you get a Monty Python Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog. Summoning is about manifesting something that actually exists to assist you.

I think you could instead summon something that's actually level 7 and then use some other magic to disguise it as something more innocuous, or make it invisible, or summon something that can disguise itself. There's rules for what checks the person coming up the road could employ to possibly perceive or detect such a deception (such as True Seeing or the like).

Now, an Illusory Creature would work fine for this. Heightened to level 7 it'd have the stat block of a level 7 creature but could appear to be literally anything you want it to be.


Captain Morgan wrote:

So by RAW, I think Battle Cry only works at a 30 foot range and if you have Glare it would remove the -4 language penalty. Personally, I think that is kind of silly and would probably reverse those. It is a BATTLE CRY. And I think that's a better trade: what's the point of ignoring the -4 penalty if you rarely get to roll in the first place?

thenobledrake wrote:
Aratorin wrote:
Is anyone really taking Battle Cry without first taking Intimidating Prowess anyway?
Probably. Why shouldn't they?

Yeah, lots of characters have high charisma but low strength an can't take Prowess. Prowess is also in a really weird place for barbarians because they need to spend a class feat to utilize Demoralize in the first place, but doing so gets you Glare and not Prowess. And Prowess basically makes Glare into a dead feat... They should probably still get Prowess but I can see it leaving a bad taste in the mouth.

I think Glare still has a place - there's a lot of creatures you cannot arguably "physically menace" where Prowess wouldn't remove the language penalty but Glare would. A lot of the creatures you couldn't share a language with are probably things like large animals or elementals that it'd be questionable if you'd physically menace them without being under the effect of an Enlarge or something of the sort.

Personally I think Prowess should have bumped the range of Demoralize up, making it a logical chain of skills into Battle Cry. As it stands I love the idea of Battle Cry but as written it's not fun to invest so much to get an ability that can never trigger. I really wish they'd worded this more like Battle Medicine where instead of saying to take the specific action, it said to treat the DC like you were taking a Demoralize action.

What kind of wimpy battle cry is only effective from 10 yards away?


I feel like Battle Cry ends up being a really difficult feat to actually use - it happens when you roll initiative and doesn't say anything about extending the range of the Demoralize - so as written it would appear that it would only work if you happened to be rolling initiative against an enemy that was already within 30 feet of you at the very start of the battle. This almost never happens. Also as written a battle cry wouldn't involve you speaking anything coherent, so you'd take the -4 penalty for not speaking in a language with the demoralize action.

However, I feel like the intention was probably to allow you to make an attempt on any observed foe (that presumably can hear you) without the language penalty given that this is the "Master in Intimidation" feat. Honestly that's how I'd treat it, but it's probably going to be GM interpretation. Otherwise I can't even remember the last time the group and enemies were already within 30ft when initiative was being rolled - pretty much none of the scenario encounters ever are set up that way.


HumbleGamer wrote:
Reldan wrote:


I'm not sure what you're suggesting a "heightened" version ought to do. give the party access to 12th level weapons costing thousands of gold at level 4?

What I'd personally like to see this do would be to just provide a +1 status bonus to the weapon (and not the extra damage die). A heightened version would let you cast it on weapons that already have a potency rune (I'd say make it so the existing Item bonus on the weapon has to be less than the level of the spell, so at level 2 it can affect an already +1 weapon, and so on).

Was just considering stuff, but I do agree that at low levels there is hardly confrontation when it comes to a spell which gives you a lvl 4 weapon for the whole fight.

What you proposed is more balanced indeed, but since a +1 weapon is a lvl 2 enchant, I am not sure it could be the perfect idea.

Explaining the spell lvl you have in mind would help discussing on the spell.

I'm thinking it'd provide a +1 status bonus to hit with that weapon. At level 1 it works on mundane weapons. Heightened to level 2 it can work on weapons that already have a +1 item bonus. Level 3 it can work on already +2, and level 4 on already +3 weapons. Since this would be a status bonus it wouldn't stack with other status bonuses, but it would stack with the existing item bonus on the weapon itself. It's somewhat similar to being in a Bless aura, except instead of having to be near the spellcaster the bonus would follow with the weapon itself. I'd be fine if the duration extended with the heightening as well - the level 2 version lasts for 10 minutes, the level 3 for an hour, and at level 4 maybe eight hours.


HumbleGamer wrote:

Do you think would have somehow been bad for the game allowing the caster to prepare and cast a heightened version of the spell?

I can't find a good reason.

After GMing dozens of scenarios of 2e Magic Weapon is one of my least favorite spells in the game for low levels. It trivializes challenges and is more effective than any other 1st level spell by a huge margin. Low-level encounters are not designed assuming that the party has access to weapons that are +1 to hit and do, say, 2d12 base damage. The amount of additional damage this spell does with a single hit rivals what other 1st level spells do as their entire effect, except this one lasts for 10 rounds and applies to every strike made within that time. I've regularly seen this spell deal 30-40 damage over four rounds, as much or more than if the spellcaster just kept casting 3-action Magic Missiles over and over. It basically breaks the challenge rating formula at low levels.

Consider that if this spell had a duration of 1 round, it'd still be worth using and would still outperform most other 1st level spells.

And then by level 4 it becomes basically useless.

So yeah, dumb spell. It's either completely overpowered or useless with no middle ground.

I'm not sure what you're suggesting a "heightened" version ought to do. If it were to increase the duration of the spell (an hour, a day, etc.) then that'd be fine. Might have some use if a party member had a need to use a weapon other than their "regular" that already had runes. But if it's to make it grant, say, Greater Striking instead of Striking, then I think you'd need to have it be really high - like Heightened to level 5 or 6 (so a level 9/11 spellcaster can provide the effect of level 10 and 12 runes). Any earlier and it's just too good.

What I'd personally like to see this do would be to just provide a +1 status bonus to the weapon (and not the extra damage die). A heightened version would let you cast it on weapons that already have a potency rune (I'd say make it so the existing Item bonus on the weapon has to be less than the level of the spell, so at level 2 it can affect an already +1 weapon, and so on).


My reading of this is that there are two versions of Glyphs that trigger differently. If cast on a container it requires a creature to intentionally move, open, or touch the container to trigger (I'd rule this to be similar to the "forced movement doesn't trigger reactions" rule - you can't make somebody trigger the glyph unwillingly). If cast on an area, then it's not mobile but fixed to that area.

It's very loose with the whole password and/or trigger condition. I've seen people argue that it'd be impractical to have to keep using the password if you were carrying it around, but you don't even need to set a password, you could just use a trigger like "somebody not in the party touches this" or "somebody touches this and whistles" to prevent it from going off on accident.

So "glyph grenades" are out as the trigger has to also involve an intentional touch, movement, or opening by a creature, not just tossing out something like it had a proximity sensor. However, there's still a ton of ways to get crazy mileage out of this - have some big pillowcases that you put glyphs on and drop them in squares around you - enemy steps onto it and they trigger it. Toss a bottle into the area near the enemies and then have a summoned minion go pick it up.

Have the Fire Leopard animal companion from Plaguestone carry a Fireball container around that triggers when they're touching it and make a certain sound. Immunity to fire makes this a really good trap to set off away from the party and near the enemies. You could also use an Unseen Servant in the same way, although if you use one to set off a damaging AoE it's not likely the servant would survive. Web might be a candidate for a spell to use in this way.

Anyways, what gets me about this spell is that as it exists right now is that at 5th level you can basically have four of them with you at all times and they don't take up any resources. At 5th level this is basically gives you four additional 2nd level spells, and at 7th it's four 3rd level spells. If you can find situations where this is used to your advantage then it's basically free extra spells, and if not there's practically no cost to have prepared them. I can't think of any reason why any caster wouldn't always have the max number of these prepped as possible even if it's fairly situational how useful they'd be (although the "Fireball Leopard" would be a very consistent usage as a combat trick).

It just seems so good that it feels less like it's just a spell and more like a full-on class ability, and that's even if you're using it in ways that seem intended and not trying to attach a Fireball vial to an arrow or somesuch.

* Venture-Agent, Minnesota—Roseville

Ran this last night. As had been mentioned above, the high-tier version of this is a mess. I'm really glad I read this thread before I ran it, as I was able to address a few of the things ahead of time to try and keep everything running smoothly.

The initial fight on the boat was a breeze. The enemies just have such low AC and HP for this level that they get crit to death super fast.

The second fight with the sod hounds I went ahead and followed the encounter as written in the back, which put them up against 5 of the things (they were a 24 CP party). Honestly this was one of the most fun and epic fights I've run - I only wish the hounds had a few more fun abilities to play with than they do. My general gameplan was to see if this was legit or a typo (if it seemed ridiculously unfair, I wasn't going to tpk them), but the party won anyways. I just put the party on the map and had the sod hounds burst out of the ground around them, since that seemed to be the obvious benefit of their burrow powers.

The journey to the Observatory was beyond trivial. I beefed up the river crossing encounter as discussed above, but the party simply used a ladder one of them had and that was that.

Since they brought Lumki along (who says no to this?) the exploration section is simply removed and you just arrive there. The Observatory itself is not well designed, as it has five separate rooms but the most obvious path just leads you right into the boss encounter, and once the boss is defeated there's no reason to bother having the party search room by room as there are no other encounters (Paravaax's minions all flee if he falls).

The Paravaax encounter was pretty trivial. He has almost no interesting abilities and his attacks hit for less damage than the Sod Hounds did. It's one of those gimmick fights where if your party gets around the Resistance he just melts because he doesn't have that many HP for this level. Basically he just got bombarded with magic and it was over. On the flip side, I could see this being a terribly difficult fight if a party didn't have a lot of magic damage and had a bunch of melee types - Paravaax could just swoop down, bite someone, then fly back up. Non-magical ranged attacks would do very little to him. This would almost certainly be a NPE though, although I'm tempted to say that by this level if your only gameplan was that you beat everything by running at it and swinging a pick then maybe you ought to sometimes fight something that flies 15 feet above you and doesn't just let you beat down on it, and maybe consider having a backup plan to fight such things.

Overall, nearly half the pages of this scenario are devoted to handle situations that will occur in roughly 0.1% of sessions running this. The river crossing spends way too much time discussing players falling into the river and what happens then, but doesn't stop to consider if players even stand a chance of falling in and making the encounter interesting in the first place. Finding the Observatory has a full page devoted to covering the details of an Exploration that doesn't happen. I would be honestly blown away if any party ever sacrificed Lumki - a blatantly evil act when evil characters aren't allowed in the first place. There's more written to describe what happens if you follow that branch (which again, will never happen) than is put into the aftermath of the 99.9% solution of killing Paravaax.

How I'd recommend improving this scenario:

Apply the effect of Paravaax's aura as written for the gargoyle for the entirety of the scenario. As long as he's in stone form it affects everything in 100 miles, so metal users get penalties, and this sets Paravaax up to be a major threat right from the start.

Sea Devils could be beefed up slightly for 5-6, I'd buff their ACs by 2 and give them 10 more HP each.

Sod hound encounter simply needs a bit more guidance on how the encounter is intended to go. I wish the sod hounds had a bit more they could do than just a single melee attack and Knockdown. The burrowing makes for some interesting tactical options.

Have the village offer to lend party members non-metal weapons and armor if they want it.

Get rid of Lumki, and get rid of the River Crossing. Have the party do the exploration.

In the observatory, there should be something the party needs to do before Paravaax engages with them - something that involves exploring the building first. Perhaps there's some text about how to shut down the summoning pool in the corner room on the other side from where the summoning pool room is. When the party goes to shut down the summoning pool, the gargoyle descends to stop them.

The gargoyle should have more HP and less resistance. It'd be nice if he had a few interesting abilities befitting a boss fight beyond just a passive aura, an AOO, and some relatively weak melee attacks (this level 7 creature hits for less than many level 5 creatures). He's on the weaker end of level 7, and based on the encounter budgeting rules, as written this winds up being a Low-to-Moderate encounter when it's intended to be Moderate-to-Severe as would befit a final boss that has had this much buildup. I'll grant that if this was run with a four-person party it'd be Moderate, but I think the issue has to do with the scaling rules simply not working very well as adjusting difficulty. There needs to be more than just "boss gets a few extra HP and throw in some fodder".

EX: For six level 5s you'd have a 120 XP budget to make this moderate, or 180 XP for severe. As written Paravaax is 80 XP and the extra level 4 you throw in through scaling is another 30 XP, making this not even a Moderate encounter.

It gets worse if this was six level 6s running, as even with the scaling this shifts down to a Low encounter.

* Venture-Agent, Minnesota—Roseville

I like the idea of having the river crossing map represent 10-ft squares! As printed the entire thing is trivialized - a character with 30-ft speed, which is going to be common in groups of 3rd level or higher because Fleet, can standard Leap 15-ft without a check which just jumps the river. At that point, this isn't an encounter, it's just one of the assumed-to-be-done things happening in the background of Exploration mode.

I still think even at 10-ft though the challenge is trivial if PCs that can simply Leap 15-ft just jump to the island and then to the other side and skip the whole log thing. I'm going to combine this with saying the shore of the middle island and other side of the river is slightly elevated - not impossible to jump but it would require an Athletics check regardless.

Without modifying this, I would be loathe to bother running my players through it. They're playing to overcome heroic challenges, not to risk falling into a river dependent on whether they remember the Leap rules, and I'd have a hard time believing the characters would not be aware of how far they can jump and simply know they could easily jump across (at which point, why lay down a map and waste time running through this?)

* Venture-Agent, Minnesota—Roseville

Fenriyx, I think that's just a mistake in the printing. I'm going with DC 20 for Tier 1-2 and bumping it up for 3-4.

Beyond that, there's also mention at the start about brokering a deal as a potential outcome, and then no mention of it after that. In my view, Keff kinda does have some rights to the area that the Goblins are infringing on - if they want to build a bridge and set up a trade caravan through the lion/leopard territory, simply killing or displacing the animals already living there just so you can make money is pretty crap. In another scenario, you could have the flipped side where the "Lion King" is the one hiring the pathfinders to deal with a group of goblins encroaching and building an encampment on their territory with the intention of bringing a lot more of their kind through the area (which would endanger the local wildlife). That wouldn't actually be all that different than the time you had to murder one Kobold tribe for building on another Kobold tribe's land.

A lot of the enemy stat blocks are missing what languages they can speak, which is relevant in this case given that it kinda matters whether or not Keff can speak Common as to how plausible the "broker a deal" conclusion would be. It also doesn't say that Kip or the Bandits can speak any languages either, which makes no sense (but Kobolds do list languages), so again I can only assume some misprinting or accidents that is up to GM discretion to resolve(like in 1-13 where it's still using Bluff and referencing spells that no longer exist).


I'm running this tonight. From going over what's involved this feels like it could be one of the shortest scenarios yet. I guess we'll see.


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Here's how I handle Illusory Creature, which I think is in line with both the flavor and power level of the spell, and still allows for interesting, creative use.

-The illusion can use any stride actions it has access to. If it is a flying creature with a fly speed, then it can of course fly that speed.

-Illusions can do social skills using the skill of the caster (Diplomacy, Intimidate, Deception). Other skills shouldn't matter much since illusions aren't really Climbing or Tumbling - it just might give viewers free Disbelieve checks if the illusion did something that was completely implausible (a Zombie tumbling through a square, for example).

-In general, nothing the illusion does can cause any targets to need to make saving throws.

-The illusion can use any strike actions it has access to. These strikes can be ranged, melee, or spell attacks. To deal damage the attack must make an attack roll.

-The effect of getting hit by such a strike can only do the stated illusory damage (d4+mod) to one target per strike, modified by resistance/weakness. To be affected by the resistance/weakness the target has to believe the attack is doing that certain type of damage - an illusory archer with "good" arrows would only do bonus "good" damage if the enemy has concrete reason to think that's what they were. If something would cleave or hit multiple targets, it can only hit and damage one of them.

-Spells cast by the illusion cannot affect anything beside the illusion itself. For example it could "cast" invisibility, enlarge, or shrink on itself as all that does is modify the illusion in a believable way. The spell casting itself is just an illusion after all and not actual additional magic.

Everything above is, of course, at the discretion of the GM, since there could be some extremely specific circumstances or extremely creative uses of the spell that should be rewarded. Like if a character was deathly afraid of spiders and you "summoned" a giant spider to jump out behind them I might consider it reasonable for them to have to save against being Frightened, not because the illusion has that power but because the circumstance might warrant it.

An illusory creature could not cast a magic missile that did damage, but could appear to cast a cantrip like "Produce Flame" to do an attack roll to hit a target with "fire" damage. They could use something like "Acid Splash" as well but there'd be no splash damage - just the d4+mod damage like any other illusory attack.

In terms of disbelieving the illusion, the enemy either needs to spend an action attempting to do so (some kinda Seek action against it) or the illusion has to do something completely implausible which would allow for a free action Disbelieve (like a dragon illusion hitting for just 3 points of damage). If the enemy, say, got hit by an illusory arrow attack and the damage was plausible, they could spend an action Seeking for the arrow or arrow hole in themselves and get a Disbelieve check off that, but it wouldn't be free of them to do so.

This spell does require a good bit of GM consideration though. I do wish the spell as written had a little bit more clarity - not because I want things set in absolute stone but because when running organized play it's nicer to be at least somewhat consistent in lining up GM rulings with player expectations.

* Venture-Agent, Minnesota—Roseville

Ran this last night, had a table of two level 2's and two level 3's, making it CP 14 which is still in subtier 1-2.

I have to say that the built-in challenge point adjustments were quite lackluster at making this scenario an actual challenge for this party, which is funny since it sounds like if we'd had one more first level in the group we'd be running 3-4 and might have been on track for a TPK. As it was, this was a cakewalk.

I did the Amulet version, and in the first fight with the foxes the only change from what a 4-member 1st level part would face was an extra fox and 10 more hp per fox. A single 2nd level spell basically shut down two of the foxes and the third was downed in two hits. Easy peasy.

The second encounter against human bandits was even more of a joke. The only adjustment as written was fighting 7 instead of 4. Seriously, these guys have 8hp and hit for only ~3-4 damage. Absolutely trivial for a party of 2's and 3's and barely worth the time setting up the map. These needed a serious stat and HP boost to be relevant rather than just having 3 more fodder guys in the mix.

The final fight was much harder and I could see it being a real challenge for a 4-person 1st level party as the boss hits like a truck. However, the scaling here was to just add three fodder foxes - again 8hp, and these hit for ~3hp on average and this was pretty easy - nobody was in any real danger at any point and nobody even got downed.

Our second table was the 1st levels and the GM there basically told me he had to intentionally have the boss keep targeting different PCs because otherwise it was going to be a TPK as there'd be a PC downed every single round almost certainly. As we had a brand new player, having their first adventure end with a TPK wasn't really an ideal onboarding situation to organized play.

Again, at my table a single additional 1st level character would have bumped this to subtier 3-4 and I think we'd have had a TPK rather than one of the easiest scenarios I've yet run. Something is amiss with the scaling even on these scenarios that have specific adjustments set up.

Taking a level 1 fight and adding 3 garbage fodder enemies that a level 3 fighter could wipe out in a single round doesn't somehow make things even remotely challenging for a party at these higher levels. Likewise, a level 1, two level 2's, and two level 3's would struggle like crazy against the 3-4 version and probably need the GM to take things easy to avoid a TPK where it would have felt profoundly unfair.

I'm not sure as a GM what best to do in cases like this. Players that have gotten a couple levels want to be challenged and use their new abilities, but it's not that exciting to fight weak fodder any more. But nobody wants to TPK either. This scenario seems to easily hit the extremes one way or the other.


I didn't like the combats in this one at all. The initial fights are all basically trivial encounters that feel like filler content because there is no real threat at all, but then the last fight is quasi-difficult in a way that's also very frustrating due to the special rules that it applies, with no warning, that can render many characters next to useless.

I'd imagine depending on your party makeup that last fight might be trivial if you've got a bunch of buff melee types who can just run in and clobber the guy, or feel next to impossible if your damage is mostly ranged. The ranged players at my table were left with not much to do, but as usual the boss went down in a heap once a melee got into his face and did the whole crit with a magic striking weapon and do 30+ damage.


Great point! I guess Champion at level 3 just gets around all access restrictions for the whole party since by that logic you can simply produce as many copies as you want of any and every melee weapon in existence permanently.

I mean, provided you find a GM that would actually allow that.


Q: Can the Champion's Blade Ally class feature providing the effect of Shifting be used to turn a 1-handed weapon into a shield with a boss or spikes attached? As it merely provides the effect of a property rune but doesn't count as a etched rune itself (doesn't apply against the etched property rune limit, for one thing), this seems both sensible and thematic.


Yeah but the sword would revert back at the end of the day if you were playing by the "shields are a one way shift" rule.

I think that's getting into silliness though that the rune would suppress itself. The point of not putting runes on a shield in the first place is to prevent them from providing more AC that would then stack with magic armor. They do want shields to have runes as weapons, hence the specific allowance for the boss or spikes to have weapon runes.

I mean, if you put your blade ally into you shield boss it what, falls off when you shift it?

But again, the champion ability specifically only provides the effect of a rune, not the actual rune. There is no property rune on such a shield to suppress, and shifting says nothing about suppressing any other magical effects except property runes. I think this provides a sufficient RAW logic to allow for the RAI to function as expected, since the "it gets stuck as a shield because of a technicality" is just silly.


Interesting idea with the Shield. RAW only prohibits etching runes onto shields, while Blade Ally doesn't etch anything, it simply gives the chosen weapon the effect of a small sampling of runes. If it were treated as etched, it would already be breaking the limitation on how many property runes the weapon can have at once if you, say, selected a hammer that already had Returning etched.

It seems that you should be able to shift to and from a shield because the etching-on-shield rule isn't being broken, but any other etched runes that a shield couldn't have would be suppressed while in that form. Personally I would allow a shield with boss or spikes to retain use of weapon runes that would otherwise work with them.

If it were a permanent one-way transform, just think that a Champion could retire by turning a stick into a pristine Tower Shield every day. New best downtime activity - I'll just make 8 tower shields from nothing and sell them for half, thanks.


I think RAW number of hands is what it says in the properties. Some weapons like the Bastard Sword and Lance have traits that allow alternate uses, but the weapon hands is fixed to what it normally would be.

One interesting bit is that Shifting could let you use weapons you otherwise don't have access to because of rarity, but are proficient with. That to me is really its best feature.

* Venture-Agent, Minnesota—Roseville

What's still weird with Rough Rider in RAW is that since it doesn't grant your animal companion the Mount ability, you still can't ride it until it becomes Mature when you take the level 6 feat because without Mount the size restriction would interfere. Taking Rough Rider only really helps you by giving you the Ride feat that winds up being extremely niche if your long-term mount plan is to use an animal companion, in which case there's no need to make any checks ever to command the animal. Actual wolves and goblin dogs don't have anything listed for purchase price or anything that says they are combat trained, so they kinda suck as mounts if you want to ride a non-companion version. Even the animal companion version of a wolf/dog can't move you and support you in the same turn even once it's big enough that you can ride it, because that's restricted to "mount" only (so just horses for now).

Which all seems very counter-intuitive to me since the feat specifically calls out goblin dog and wolf mounts as animal companions that you then can't actually mount, and once you can mount them they're still gimped mounts for lacking the actual mount ability regardless of how common it would be for a goblin to use a wolf or dog mount. The Champion feat to get an animal companion just says that you usually get one with mount but you could get something else in line with your deity or other circumstances instead, so there doesn't seem like there's any point to calling that out in the Rough Rider text at all. Any small size Champion at level 6 could use a mature wolf animal companion as a mount so that part of the Rough Rider feat never actually does anything at all. I mean, unless you had a GM that wanted to argue that, say, a goblin devoted to Calistria has to ride a horse rather than something 1000x more fitting like a Goblin Dog.