SanKeshun's page

RPG Superstar 9 Season Star Voter. 133 posts. No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist.

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Another GM who always has to GM here (have played as a PC in 5 sessions over 8 years). Another GM who ignores all lore published by Pathfinder and builds his own world / campaigns / monsters / whatnot. Another GM voting for monster details.

On the "monsters as obstacles or npcs" discussion, I will vote that monsters are better obstacles when they are npcs (it's not an either/or). To this end, I like having more details because it helps me understand the monster. Monster with a climb speed and a sneak attack? Sounds like an ambush predator that leaps from cave ledges or the forest canopy. I do not need a monster description to tell me that.

However, Paizo seems to prefer fewer statistics and stating what the monster does. That's fine - I'll use the monsters where I know they fit well, and write my own monster generation rules if I ever get time. If I wanted a perfect system, I would write my own (and be disappointed and probably end up back at Pathfinder anyway).

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Black Tentacles to find enemies when you know there's an ambush but cannot see the ambushers. Similarly, Weird.

Illusory Wall to prevent students from coming into your office hours. Similarly, Repulsion, Antipathy.
Conversely, using Sympathy to get students to attend lecture.

Fabricate for interior decorating.

Reverse Gravity to reach things on the top shelf.

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Lorewalker wrote:
The Morphling wrote:
This thread reminds me of the fact that there are absolutely no penalties associated with the "dead" condition.

Ugh... every time I hear this it makes me facepalm.

1) For the dead, the soul is no longer attached to the body. This is part of the death condition.

2) Without a soul, a body is a piece of meat.

The undead abominations of the world rage at your casual dismissal of their existence!


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The FAQ does not address this. (At least that I saw)

Core Rulebook wrote:
If you successfully grapple a creature that is not adjacent to you, move that creature to an adjacent open space (if no space is available, your grapple fails).

I'm almost certain you're supposed to have the target of the grapple within your reach, but the Core Rulebook doesn't say. I don't know where it does say.

Can someone please tell me where it says this so I can't teleport random people to my location, no matter where they are (even across planar boundaries), simply by grappling them?

I thought it might say so in the general rules describing combat maneuvers, but it doesn't. It just says that a combat maneuver check is like an "attack roll" not a "melee attack roll". While most maneuvers are stated to take the place of a melee attack in an attack action, full-attack action, or attack of opportunity, let's not forget that the grappling rules say (emphases added)...

Core Rulebook wrote:
As a standard action, you can attempt to grapple a foe, hindering his combat options.

Which I think fairly clearly invokes the second half of...

Core Rulebook wrote:
While many combat maneuvers can be performed as part of an attack action, full-attack action, or attack of opportunity (in place of a melee attack), others require a specific action.

Which means that grappling bypasses the melee requirement.

And before everyone complains about me using RAW to break the game, that's not the point. Please read my post and see that I'm trying to figure out where this is not possible because I really don't think it should be.

Though bull rush is ambiguous, it also has phrasing issues of this kind. Feinting has the exact same issue, though it's kind of moot since you have to be in melee to get the bonus.

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Mortuum, you make some excellent points, and I'm going to try to counter them each in turn.

Firstly, the problem that Orfamay also pointed out - by equalizing damage, greataxes become equal to sharp rocks. My suggestion here is different tiers of effects. A sharp rock might inflict (for want of a better name) Slashing Damage 1, while a greataxe might inflict Slashing Damage 3.
Then, monsters also have a bottommost effective tier - a red dragon would still suffer the effects of Slashing Damage 1, but since that's only a tier 1 effect, Slashing Damage 1 doesn't contribute to taking the dragon out of the fight.
Problem with this system: bookkeeping. It's relatively straightforward once you have little boxes and lines to keep your notes on this organized, but you're doing that for every fight, which is too much. I don't have a solution for this yet.

Secondly, the durability problem. This ties into my tier suggestion: a creature can have more "maneuver points," but it also can have a higher bottommost effective tier. The BET corresponds loosely to damage reduction, so oozes probably have a low BET but a high MP. Thus, a Black Pudding (CR 7) might have 7 MP and 0 BET, while a Dracolisk (also CR 7) might have 4 MP but 1 BET.

Another thing that tiers solves: the value of attack spells. Fireball might inflict Ignite 1 (again, I'm numbering things for simplicity. Better names are needed). But Burning Hands would also inflict Ignite 1. So what if a Fireball inflicted Ignite 1, or on targets already suffering Ignite 1, inflicts Ignite 2? Now casting multiple spells has more value, and being able to cast higher level spells is important, since it lets you overcome an opponent's BET.

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How did this thread fall of the front page!? Dinosaur Ben is sad.

177: An ethereal, 6th-level bard follows the planter around for the next 1d6 minutes, playing obnoxious music that functions as inspire courage (+2).
178: The planter's skin (or other main body covering) turns irrevocably neon pink.
179: All areas of dim light or darkness are treated as supernatural darkness for 1d6 minutes. All areas of normal light or bright light are treated as bright light (natural sunlight) for the same duration.
180: The bean casts create water at CL 20th every round, on the surface directly above it.
181: Mirage Arcana is cast, centered on the bean, making the surrounding terrain look like the planter's childhood (CL 20th).
182: The next time the planter misses on an attack roll, he is healed an amount equal to the damage he would have dealt.
183: Coconuts rain from the sky within a 40-ft spread, dealing 2d6 bludgeoning damage, and providing food.
184: A mystical being appears and offers the planter any one artifact they desire. If the planter asks for anything, they immediately take 100 damage (as harm, CL 10th). If they ask for nothing, they are given a random bean.
185: The bean becomes a dragon egg. It hatches in 2d4 weeks.
186: The bean burrows at 500 ft. per round to the nearest settlement, where the side of every building is papered with a wanted poster for the planter, offering 200 gp for his or her (or its) capture.
187: An antimagic field is centered on the planter for one day per HD of the planter.

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121. The next 1d6 times the planter takes damage, they are immediately affected by a heal spell with a caster level equal to their HD.

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116. The bean grows into a beautiful flower in 1d4 rounds. This flower is a single-use magic item that grants you a +10 bonus to a single Diplomacy check. After this check is made, the flower wilts normally.

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j b 200 wrote:

Remember, Summoned Monsters are not just for melee attacks.

Or even just attacks in general.

SM1: An eagle can act as your scout (requires Handle Animal), or a dolphin can aid another on your Swim checks.
SM2: Worker ants can aid another on Climb checks and help drag your loot, and a lemure devil can use its many defenses to break line-of-sight to you while soaking up damage. Small Earth elementals can hide in the ground with earth glide and watch for opponents with tremorsense.
SM3: Cheetahs are good stealthy scouts, lantern archons can serve as your party's face, provide light with continual flame, and take your loot to your home with greater teleport.
SM4: A dire ape can probably carry you while Climbing itself, and mephits get you all elemental languages without needing to know them yourself.
SM5: Babaus are the ultimate scouts, bralanis can take care of your Handle Animal checks for other summoned monsters, and kytons can make your Craft (blacksmithing) checks, along with Intimidate.
SM6: Shadow demons are perfect for taking hostages, while Huge Air Elementals can probably carry you while flying.
SM7: Bone Devils are skill monkeys - Bluff, Intimidate, Knowledge (planes), Sense Motive, and Spellcraft. I'm sure harvesting ink from giant squids could have amusing side effects as well.
SM8: Hezrous are also fairly good damage-soakers, especially in amphibious situations.
SM9: Get lucky with a glabrezu and you get a wish. Ice devils have a +21 to any 3 Knowledge skills, and a +23 to Survival (useless until you need it). Get your nalfeshnees to use their Use Magic Device on new magic items that might be cursed. Astral Devas have a +22 to a random Craft skill. Trumpet Archons can plane shift you and your allies.

Basically, summoning is your swiss army knife.

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This wouldn't really bother me, either. If anything, I would find it amusing.

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110. The creature that planted the bean is under the effects of shapechange for the duration that it is planted. They are unaware that they gain this power.

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95. If any of your close allies have died in the past week and have not been resurrected, the bean grows into an exact replica of them at the time of their death, but at 1 hp. This growth process takes an hour. Otherwise, nothing happens.

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58. 1d6 rounds after planting, the bean detonates, as a delayed blast fireball, at CL 15th.
59. The bean creates a 20-foot-diameter iron ring in the ground, which is filled with a gate leading to a random Outer Plane. If the planter has at least a +5 to Acrobatics, they may attempt a DC 15 Reflex save and a DC 15 Acrobatics check to jump to safety; otherwise they fall in.
60. The planter utters a wail of the banshee, and then is subject to implosion, both at CL 20th.
61. A tree grows. If asked to craft an item and given appropriate materials, the tree will make a Craft check (+15 bonus).
62. A 5-ft radius depression forms, filled with pale green, faintly glowing liquid. All creatures in the liquid gain regeneration (cold iron) 5. If put into a container, this liquid loses all magical properties, and becomes pure water.
63. All loose, unattended objects within 30 feet are pulled towards the spot the bean was planted, where they assemble into a statue of the planter.
64. The planter is subject to a heal spell (CL 16th), and a daylight spell (DCL 16th) is centered on them for 2d6 rounds.
65. Nothing happens. All creatures within 30 feet must make a Will save, as though against basidirond hallucinations, except at DC 22.
66. 4d4 trolls are summoned, each with 6 ranks in Perform (dance). They dance for 2d6 rounds, and then vanish.
67. Until the bean is dug up, whoever planted the bean ages one year every day (no save).
68. Until the bean is dug up, whoever planted the bean becomes one year younger every day (no save).

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2. A 20-foot tall gout of flame erupts from the spot the bean was planted. It deals no fire damage, but sheds bright light within 60 feet. This flame lasts for 3d6 rounds.

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I agree with CampinCarl.

Only difference I would give is that incorporeal creatures can make Perception checks to hear, so you could argue they have super-sensitive hearing to a very specific frequency, and so have a ridiculously high Perception bonus, but only to hearing people walking/burrowing. That at least gives you a physical excuse for allowing tremorsense.

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Yesterday it was a bag of pretzels. I was distracted and forgot to eat.

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So I believe I strongly in homebrew, meaning my players have many classes available not normally available in Pathfinder, namely Small God. You guessed it - you can play as a god that has lost his/her/its religion, and has to restart from scratch. Next thing I knew, my sister was playing a semi-drunk god of festivals who believed that pockets were communal property (losing several key plot items in passerby's pockets in the process), had a cantrip for summoning food on a stick, and whose favored weapon was a shiv.

I considered this an improvement on the half-minotaur sorcerer who was the party's tank and repeatedly killed enemies by flipping tables into them.

These were both quite enjoyable characters to try and manage.

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Grond wrote:
There is a gaping hole in the "fantasy tropes" for Pathfinder classes that does not include a life drain melee class. I would love to see that addressed.

Like this?:

Death Knight
BAB full; Fort Good; Ref Bad; Will Bad
Proficiencies: Full, as the fighter
HD d10; Skills: As the fighter
Key Class Abilities:

  • Consume Death: At 5th level, you can steal the life energy from a creature's passing. Whenever you confirm a critical hit in melee or kill a creature in melee, you heal 1d8 hit points. At 10th level, and every 5 levels thereafter, this amount increases by an additional 1d8 hit points, to a maximum of 4d8 at 20th level.
  • Absorb Pain: At 10th level, your pain stimulates you to greater achievements. Up to a number of times per day equal to your Charisma modifier, when you fail a Fortitude or Reflex save, your Strength and Constitution increase by 4 for 3 rounds. This grants you temporary hit points, as the barbarian's rage ability. You can choose whether or not to activate this ability when you fail a save.
  • Retribution: At 15th level, when you take damage in melee, you can use an attack of opportunity to make a counterattack as an immediate action. You can only attempt this counterattack a number of times per day equal to your Charisma modifier. You must make an attack roll, except that you treat the die as though it landed on a number one higher. This allows you to roll "natural 21s". These function as a natural 20.
  • Living Death: At 20th level, dealing out death revitalizes you. A number of rounds per day equal to your Charisma score, you can activate this ability. Whenever you deal melee damage while this ability is active, you heal yourself of 1/2 the damage your deal.

Secondary Class Abilities: The fighter's secondary class abilities; bravery, bonus feats, and armor training. In addition, a Death Knight treats 1/2 their level as fighter levels for the purpose of qualifying for feats.

As for wizards, I once tried to work out a point-based system. You gain spells known as per a sorcerer, have school powers as per a wizard, and casting a spell costs a number of points from your spell pool equal to the spell's level. I never playtested this, but if someone wants to try, feedback would be lovely.

Spell Pool by Level:
Pairs are of the format (character level, points in spell pool).
(1, 2); (2, 3); (3, 4); (4, 6); (5, 8); (6, 10); (7, 12); (8, 15); (9, 18); (10, 21); (11, 24); (12, 28); (13, 32); (14, 36); (15, 40); (16, 45); (17, 50); (18, 55); (19, 60); (20, 65)

This is roughly balanced so that, as has been mentioned, you can pour out several 9th level spells and be terrifying, or you can choose to use many many 1st level spells. Interesting calculations I never looked at either: are 7 meteor swarms or 63 magic missiles more powerful?

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So at one point my friend and I made 40th-level wizards just to duel them.

It took two rounds.

The issue is that once you can start throwing around Maximized Time Stops, or summon multiple solar angels with a single casting of Gate, the battle really speeds up. In the end, I expect most high-level casters can deal so much damage, and have so little health, that any given fight will take no more than about half a minute in-game.

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A tank. Someone who can outlive everyone. Their attacks might suck, yes, but they are impossible to kill. Eventually, everyone gets a crit, right?

I even drafted a class for you:


1/2 BAB, with all good saves and d10 hit die.
Proficient with simple and martial weapons, all armor, and shields (including tower shields).
Indestructible (Ex) At first level, a tank gains a pool of points representing his endurance. This pool has a number of points equal to 1/2 his tank level + his Constitution modifier.
As a swift action, he can spend one point from this pool to grant himself a +1 bonus to AC for 1 minute. This bonus increases by +1 for every four levels beyond first (+2 at fifth, +3 at ninth, etc). This bonus does not stack with itself.
This pool regenerates after 8 hours of rest.
Endurance All tanks gain Endurance as a bonus feat at 1st level.
Perseverance (Ex) At 2nd level, the tank becomes even harder to kill. Whenever he would fall below 0 hit points, he can spend one or more points from his indestructible pool as an immediate action. Each point spent heals him by an amount equal to his level.
Diehard All tanks gain Diehard as a bonus feat at 3rd level.
Armor Training Starting at 3rd level, a tank learns to be more maneuverable while wearing armor. Whenever he is wearing armor, he reduces the armor check penalty by 1 (to a minimum of 0) and increases the maximum Dexterity bonus allowed by his armor by 1. Every four levels thereafter (7th, 11th, and 15th), these bonuses increase by +1 each time, to a maximum –4 reduction of the armor check penalty and a +4 increase of the maximum Dexterity bonus allowed.
Evasion (Ex) At 4th level, a tank can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If he makes a successful Reflex save against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, he instead takes no damage. A helpless tank does not gain the benefit of evasion.
Shrug It Off (Ex) At 4th level, a tank can spend a number of points up to his Constitution modifier from his indestructible pool when making a save as an immediate action. He gains a bonus on his save equal to the number of points spent.
Unstoppable (Ex) At 5th level, a tank gains immunity to any effect that would reduce his speed. He is no longer slowed by his armor or endurance.
Damage Reduction (Ex) At 6th level, a tank gains damage reduction. Subtract 1 from the damage the tank takes each time he is dealt damage from a weapon or a natural attack. At 9th level, and every three barbarian levels thereafter (12th, 15th, and 18th level), this damage reduction rises by 1 point. Damage reduction can reduce damage to 0 but not below 0.
Mighty Perseverance (Ex) At 8th level, a tank can heal himself at any time. He can spend a number of points from his indestructible pool up to his Constitution modifier as a standard action to heal himself by 1d10 hit points per point spent.
Stalwart (Ex) At 10th level, a tank can use mental and physical resiliency to avoid certain attacks. If he makes a Fortitude or Will saving throw against an attack that has a reduced effect on a successful save, he instead avoids the effect entirely. A helpless tank does not gain the benefit of the stalwart ability.
Improved Evasion (Ex) At 13th level, a tank's evasion ability improves. He still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw, but henceforth he takes only half damage on a failed save. A helpless tank does not gain the benefit of improved evasion.
Shatterhide (Ex) By 14th level, a tank is strong enough to damage those who attack him. Weapons that strike him while he has increased AC from his indestructible pool ability take damage equal to his AC bonus. This can destroy the weapon. Creatures that strike with natural weapons also take this damage.
Mirrorhide (Ex) At 16th level, a tank can even reflect spells. By spending two points from his indestructible pool, he gains SR until his next turn equal to 10 + his tank level + his Con modifier.
Irongut (Ex) At 17th level, even the tank's organs are becoming endurant. All critical hits and sneak attacks against the tank have a 50% chance of resolving as ordinary attacks.
Armor Mastery (Ex) At 19th level, a tank increases his Damage Reduction by 5 whenever he is wearing armor or using a shield.
Without Death (Ex) At 20th level, a tank can even stave off the Reaper Man. Upon dying, if he has at least 10 points left in his indestructible pool, a tank can cast the raise dead spell on himself as an immediate action by expending 10 points from his indestructible pool.

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How to hide claws in combat: wear some type of fingerless glove. Blame the glove. Use the fact that changeling claws are literally just fingernails to make this a plausible lie.
Depending on your alignment, you can also offer to hit someone to 'provide convince proof' for +10 to your Bluff check.

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So it didn't turn out as pretty as it sounded, but here's the stat block for the monster I suggested. I was bored, so I went ahead and built it.
I built this as though it were an actual monster. I don't know if there are any strange adjustments because of your circumstances, but if there are, they are not included here. Just so you know.

Stat Block:

The Wormy Dragon Spider CR 8
XP 4,800

N Medium Vermin (augmented)
Init: +3; Senses: low-light vision, darkvision 60 ft., blindsight 30 ft.; Perception +5
AC 16, touch 16, flat-footed 10 (+3 Dex, +2 insight, +1 dodge)
hp 81 (6d8+54), fast healing 8
Fort: +13; Ref: +5; Will: +2
DR 15/--; Defensive Abilities: worm that walks traits;
Immune: sleep, paralysis, cold, disease, poison;
Speed: 50 ft., climb 30 ft., fly 100 ft. (average)
Melee: slam +11 (1d4+7 + grab), or greatsword +11 (2d6+7)
Space: 5 ft.; Reach: 5 ft.
Special Attacks: pounce, breath weapon (30-ft cone, 6d6 cold, Reflex DC 21 half), discorporate, squirming embrace
Str 24; Dex 17; Con 27; Int 2; Wis 11; Cha 4
BAB +4; CMB +11 (+19 grapple); CMD 22 (26 vs grapple)
Feats: Diehard, Dodge, Toughness, Martial Weapon Proficiency (greatsword)
Skills: Climb +11, Perception +15, Sense Motive +8, Stealth +16; Racial Modifiers: +12 Perception, +12 Stealth, +8 Sense Motive
Languages: Common
SQ: tenacious
Environment: any underground
Organization: solitary, pair, or colony (3-6)
Treasure: none
Discorporate (Su): A Wormy Dragon Spider can collapse into a shapeless swarm of worms as a free action. All held, worn, and carried items fall and its Strength score drops to 1. The Wormy Dragon Spider functions as a swarm while discorporated, with a reach of 0 feet (size stays at 5 feet). It loses its slam attack and all special abilities and special attacks, but can make a swarm attack that deals damage equal to its engulf attack (2d6+10). It can reform as a full-round action.
Squirming Embrace (Ex): If a Wormy Dragon Spider grapples a foe, as a swift action, it can cause a swarm of worms to squirm over the grappled creature. These worms deal automatic swarm damage (2d6+10) with no attack roll needed. If a creature takes damage, it is also subject to the swarm’s distraction ability, and must make a Fortitude save (DC 21) or be nauseated for 1 round.
Only one target may be embraced at a time, but it does not have to be grappled to maintain the embrace. If the Wormy Dragon Spider moves more than 5 feet from the swarm or dismisses the swarm (a free action), the swarm dies. Any area attack that damages the swarm or any severe or stronger wind effect that affects the swarm’s target kills the swarm.
Worm that Walks Traits: A Wormy Dragon Spider is immune to critical hits and flanking. Reducing it to 0 hit points forces it to discorporate and staggers the Wormy Dragon Spider until it gets above 0 hit points. Negative hit points mean it’s dying. It is immune to any physical spell of effect that targets a specific number of creatures. Mind-affecting effects that target single creatures work normally. The Wormy Dragon Spider is also vulnerable (+50%) to area attacks, such as fireball. A Wormy Dragon Spider is also treated as a Fine creature for wind effects.

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First thing I'd suggest is to max out Charisma instead of Wisdom. Not only does this represent leadership potential, it also makes her good at channeling energy (and therefore useful), despite spells being 'confusing' (which they are). Wisdom should start at (at least) 16, though.
After that, a high Dexterity would probably be good idea. It's a good all-around stat, especially if she uses ranged weapons.

As for spells, focus on what you'd prepare if you had your own skin to save. Things like shield of faith, or bull's endurance. Depending on her personality, spells like animate dead and animate objects are great (read as flavorful) support spells at later levels, and summon monster spells are good at any level.

For equipment, a ranged weapon could be nice (see above), or maybe a nice traditional cleric weapon, like a mace. For some reason I'm feeling like she should use light armor rather that medium, but that is up to you/her player/her.

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So at fourth level in a homemade campaign, I marooned my PCs on a small island chain in the middle of nowhere. I saw no real problem with this.

Ten levels later, they can now safely, reliably, cheaply, and quickly get on or off of the islands. Plot is delayed for about an in-game month, so they've decided to build an island resort (mostly using wall of stone, and stone shape/hiring masons). Then they're only going to open it up to super-rich retired adventurers, so they can have lots of 20-th level ex-adventurers running around.

I'm fine with this plan. I'll deal with the high-level NPCs later. What I want advice on is (a) how to help them go about building the resort, (b) how to make it entertaining but also challenging, and (c) any random amusing ideas about things that should happen.

Thanks in advance for any and all ideas!

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Are you firmly against designing your own?
Because if you have a clear idea of what you want, it might be faster to just create your own XP plan, and improvise the rest as you go, rather than looking for an accurate pre-existing adventure.

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Available materials need to be mentioned.
Since I learned to GM by myself, it took me about five years to figure out Paizo published anything besides rulebooks (3 before I even thought to check if there was a website).

A corollary to that: designing your own content. This should probably go later, though, since it depends highly on a good instinctual feel for your particular system.

Oh, and I agree with your most important tip. Why play a game if it isn't fun?