Schadenfreude's page

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Perpdepog wrote:
Another monster I just realized we will probably lose is the demilich, at least as it stands now. Liches pop up all over the place but the only place I recall ever seeing a demilich was in D&D.

It's (the look at least) actually based on a Ffahrd and the Grey Mouser/Fritz Leiber story, so... maybe OK?

We played the end of Ruins of Azlant (levels 10-15ish) in PF2 with a bard with Soothe and Medicine as our only healing, and it worked fine.

I didn't have to pull any punches as GM.

There's nothing to say you can't directly attack items. It's just not called "sunder" anymore.

In the section you've quoted, if I try to attack you, it won't do anything to your items. But my reading of the passage supports that you can directly attack an item, even a held item.

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In terms of balance though, *would* it make much difference if shields had the shove trait (and the feats and critical specialisations still worked normally, usually to provide better action economy)?

Would that be different if shields only had the shove trait if they didn't have spikes or bosses?

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As a GM, I'd be delighted to see Goblin Interpretive Dance.

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I think any sane understanding of what is happening in that situation means that you lose the benefits of raising the shield.

RAW may allow you to see things differently for the reasons you describe.

Apart from Assurance (when you add your proficiency bonus but no other modifiers), are there any checks when you don't add your ability modifiers?

Are there any times at all that you don't add your proficiency bonus? (Given that if you're untrained, your proficiency bonus is +0)

Direction of the wind
Wind strength (so the 90' speed may not apply over large distances)
Ship make (a pirate ship is likely lighter and faster than a merchant ship)
Distance (may not be in a straight or direct line)
Poor navigation
Hazards (including things like kraken or sahuagin that Columbus didn't have to worry about)
Time taken to restock/undergo minor repairs in port; shore leave; etc
Other downtime when not directly travelling between ports

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Yes, it's part of (at least some versions of) the original myth.

Perhaps, although not necessarily. Perhaps harpy culture values substance over appearance, so they're completely unconcerned with cleanliness? After all, their description says they know how creatures acts and feel, and they can see how easily people are lead astray by a captivating song, but what they really value is what people are like beneath the superficial.

I think that would be an interesting change from the usual good = pretty/clean; evil = dirty/ugly.

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Forgot to say: I like your ideas, and I'd encourage you to give them a go and see how they work. At worst, you can always change back.

I'm not sure whether the feedback you get here will be as useful as actually playtesting your changes. You can always change back (and maybe let your players know you're going to be putting in place these house rules for 3 sessions, and then talk as a group about whether they're achieving what you wanted or not).

The change to touch AC is mostly going to affect arcane spellcasters and gunslingers. A frequent complaint about gunslingers is that their target numbers more or less stays constant or slightly decreases (starts at 12, drops to 5 by CR 20), but their attack bonus keeps increasing, which allows them to benefit from Deadly Aim etc far more than most other characters, and churn out colossal amounts of damage. You'd expect a gunslinger without Deadly Aim etc to hit most targets on a 2+ from about level 5, and maybe from level 3 (again, using the average touch AC by CR) on their first attacks, and on their subsequent attacks about a level after they get them. Under this system, they'll hit on a 2+ on their primary attack from level 6, but their subsequent attacks won't be as effective from the moment they're available. So the difference at low levels would be minimal, but it'll have increasing effect (reducing damage output) from mid to high levels.

This is less of a complaint for arcane spellcasters, except maybe around rays of enervation, which can have very large effects on single targets like boss fights. Under normal BAB rules, they'll hit more often at low levels, have equal chance about level 8, and at level 15, a wizard will only hit with a ray on a 15+, as opposed to on a 2+. With your modification to using CL instead of BAB, they'll work more or less like the gunslingers, but benefit more strongly at low levels.

I'm not sure your change will affect buff recalculating, or make things go faster in combat, but if you're concerned about high-level wizards or gunslingers overshadowing other players, and/or if you intend to use a lot of single target combat encounters, then your change should address that. Or if you want low-level wizards to hit more reliably at low levels.

The change to flatfooted has the biggest effect when characters can hit 50% of the time, in which case it's equivalent to about a +5 bonus. If they can only hit on a 20, it'll still double the chance of a hit, but that's only worth a +1 bonus.

The effects will be biggest here if you've got rogues or other characters who have reliable ways to make people flatfooted, and if they have some special effect that comes into play against flatfooted enemies (like sneak attack).

Secondarily, it'll more or less double the frequency people get crits against flatfooted enemies, but, again, this is only going to have an effect on the first round of combat, or if they've got some reliable way to make people flatfooted.

For the changes to movement, there's a risk that (by increasing another decision point), you may slow things down. If you play using miniatures, it'll slow slightly there as well. I can't imagine it'll slow things down too much though.

A potential negative is that meatshields will feel less useful, because their ability to block is slightly reduced. On the other hand, there's more opportunity for attacks of opportunity as people move past (which will slow things down again). People used to standing back and using spells/missiles may find themselves threatened more quickly. But these provisos work as much for the PCs as against them.

On sacrificing an attack for movement: spellcasters won't benefit at all, whereas higher BAB characters will. A fighter with lots of attacks is probably better off attacking once (or twice at high levels) and moving rather than trying to hit with their last attack, in a wide range of situations. Rogues definitely would.

Adding in a maximum number of spell buff will most affect clerics, and those who rely on self-buffing to make themselves effective in combat. As noted above, some bosses may be less durable as well. But if you and your players really enjoy tactical decisions around opportunity costs, it might be worth it. Again, that'll slow things down rather than speed things up.

Having opponents that shut their eyes so they aren't distracted by mirror image, and are more proactive to limit buffing time, or (out of the game), asking players to sort themselves out and stop wasting time, might all prove to be better solutions.

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My character, after a long and traumatic life, was finally able to let go of his anger and give up on adventuring, having realised that it was killing him morally and emotionally. He went back to a village where he'd had a romance a couple of adventures ago, settled down, had two children, and got fat and happy.

We picked it up after a few years has passed for him, only to discover that he'd been trapped in a dreamscape, and his wife, his children, and all of the quiet, peaceful life he'd built was nothing but a dream built on his wish for a quiet, meaningful life.

I didn't cry, but I felt weirdly and obscurely sad for him that the only happiness in his life had been stolen from him.

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It occurs to me that changing a d20 to 2d10 would actually be a good use for something like the Assurance feat.

Sure, you're less likely to do something stellar (reduced chances of getting a 20), but much more likely to do something middle of the range, and no chance of rolling a 1 and bombing out completely.

Plus, every time you use that skill, you'll get a visceral sense of the difference spending that feat has made for you.

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My main opposition to Players Roll Everything is that, as GM, I'm also playing the game, and I like rolling dice too.

Sorry, misread the first post - I thought the complaint was that *all* the time was used up, not half the time.

As you were...

Don't they have 2 months, not 1?

Broken items don't work at all (except armour), unlike in PF1e when they worked badly.

I had ruled otherwise, which made the sword and board fighters happier, since it meant they could Shield Block an extra time per fight.

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If Twitter is a more positive environment than the Paizo messageboards, something terrible has gone wrong somewhere.

Should the camels be encumbered by carrying the Bulk of their rider?

It doesn't make much difference, since they still end up with a Speed of 25, but it means my PCs got to B1 after 5 days, rather than 4.

I ruled that if you've grappled someone, you can drag them along with you as an item of 16 Bulk for medium creatures and 8 for small (half that if they're restrained). So unless you're extremely strong, dragging someone along behind you who is unwilling to go slows you down and gives you a penalty to most physical actions. And if you're already loaded down, you won't be able to move them at all.

The Bulk amounts came from the petrified condition.

I would presume you attack as normal, but target weapons or armour instead of your opponent's body.

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I think new players would benefit from having a very broad-brush approach to how a roleplaying game works before (or as the earliest section of) the "Basic Concepts" section.

You start by explaining the basic interaction in every scene of the game: the GM describes a scene that has opportunities for the players to make decisions. The player tells the GM what they want to do, and the GM decides whether it's trivial, impossible or the outcome is uncertain. If it's trivial ("I walk across the ballroom to the drinks table and help myself), it happens; it's it's impossible, it doesn't; if it's uncertain, the GM asks for more information or one of you rolls dice to see how successful the action is. The GM describes the outcome, and we start again at the top.

Then you have some of the basic mechanics stuff from the "Playing the Game" chapter, and probably an example of play.

The type of scenes (and therefore decisions being made) depend on the mode of play (so you can talk about that now). In the most high stakes scenes, decisions usually occur in a set order and take turns, and how much you can achieve on your turn depends on actions (so you can talk about that now). Then you say some actions, particularly common ones, have specific terms attached to them, like attack rolls or AC, and specific effects, which can be measured by things like hit points (and go into the key terms etc sections).

And there are probably examples of play in there too.

I think (a) this would make the whole process more transparent to new players, and (b) be more exciting to actually read, both of which would help bring new people into the hobby and keep them there.

In total, it works out in your favour with an animal companion when you look at the total number of actions you can take on your turn.

1. PC with pet shop animal = Handle animal action, Command animal action, Command animal action = 2 useful actions out of that turn (both taken by the animal in this case)
2. PC with animal companion = Handle animal action, Command animal action, Command animal action = 4 useful actions out of that turn (all taken by the animal)
3. PC with Ride feat, mounted on pet shop animal = Command animal action x 3 = 3 useful actions (all taken by the animal)
4. PC with Ride feat, mounted on animal companion with mount quality = Command animal action x 3 = 6 useful actions (all taken by the animal)

So the weirdness around mounts and the Ride feat remains, but each time, you're better off with the animal companion.

As far as I can understand from the encounter design guidelines in the Bestiary, a group of 4 PCs should be able to deal with 160 XP per adventuring day.

I'm drawing this conclusion based on the description for Extreme encounters, which says "An extreme-threat encounter might be appropriate for a fully rested group of characters that can go all out" - so I suppose that means that Extreme/160 XP is the maximum a group of PCs should be reasonably able to deal with without resting. Which is consistent with previous guidelines that PCs would mostly be able to deal with 4 encounters of their CR/level (40 XP in the new system) per day.

Spoilers for the Lost Star:
The Lost Star encounters go:
A1: Trivial (40 XP)
A2: High (80 XP) --- {A3: Severe (120 XP) + A4: Low (60 XP) - avoidable encounters}
{A6: High (80 XP) - avoidable encounter}
A7/A8/A9: Severe (120 XP)/Trivial (40 XP)/Severe (120 XP) [you could go through these encounters in any order, and the trap is avoidable]
A10: High (80 XP)
A12: Trivial (40 XP)

So, if your party goes straight from the goblins to the centipedes, you'd expect them to get pasted. The quasits are really tough if you have to fight them. If your party avoids the centipedes and the quasits and goes straight to the boss, they'll get pasted.

As far as I can see from the playtest reports, this is exactly what's happening.

My question is, assuming this is correct, does it explain the pattern of TPKs and near-TPKs people have reported in the playtest so far? Conversely, if parties have coped better with the Lost Star encounters than this suggests, should some aspect of the encounter design guidelines be reworked (to e.g. cope with 200 XP per day)?

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Given they don't have stats at all, you could call them any type of tiny animal you wanted, rather than sticking to the two in the playtest bestiary?

Elegos wrote:
Its mostly us brits younger then... like 50? that get screwed by imperial units, cause we dont get conversions, and whipe we hablve a vague concept of distance measurements, we just dont use them for weight, volume etc.

As an Australian, I feel your pain.

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The NPC wrote:
Hythlodeus wrote:
The NPC wrote:

Also, Fahrenheit fits the setting better.
how so? there is nothing particularly archaic about it, it is just impractical to use
Older than metric. Its the messier more organic nature that makes it fit with a fantasy better. Also, since you're not actually traveling nor sharing results between different groups scientists, how does its impracticality actually affect you?

Only older by 18 years.

Its impracticality affects us because it's completely unintuitive to anyone outside of the US.

Can anyone explain to me how damage (or expected damage output) changes from level to level now?

I understand that, with stamina and hit points, PCs have about double the hit points they do in Pathfinder.

I believe that NPCs and monsters have hit points but not stamina, and so would have about the same number of hp as in PF.

With the new full attack rules, everyone can make up to 2 attacks per round (or operatives and soldiers, up to 4 if they're high enough level). There's no Power Attack or anything to add to damage output, but everyone now gets Weapon Specialisation, and weapons themselves scale with level (or at least, you can always go out and buy a more high-powered weapon).

I just don't have a good sense of how damage by level works in SF compared to PF. Does a soldier put out about the same as a fighter or paladin of equivalent level? An operative and a rogue?

Is 3 rounds still the average length of a combat?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Have you considered working in something like Deific Obediences? As prayers, for example, or instead of the domain-based prayers?

I find these capture the flavour of individual gods better than domains in many cases.

Although it's talking about a somewhat different system, this article addresses a few of the complaints Cyrad raises, so you may find it useful to think about.

The short version is, declaring you action beforehand doesn't mean you can't still choose where to move and whom to target, so tactical teamwork is still possible.

Feats like Improved Initiative might retain their value by having that player declare their action last, so they can act on slightly better information than the others.

I'd also support the idea of light weapons rolling a smaller dice, and larger weapons rolling a larger one.

Are you able to say anything more about your experiences with counterspelling?

My group brought in something very similar using the normal action economy. In our house rules, a counterspell worked the same way as yours, but cost an immediate action and the following standard action.

We found this was a complete fun killer. Opponents (who are usually ganged up on, and therefore behind in terms of the overall action economy) really suffered - particularly things like outsiders, who lost a lot of their interest by not being able to teleport. Also, rather than the exciting cut-and-thrust of magical duelling, it devolved mostly to two sides just looking at each other, having counterspelled each others' actions away.

You point out that it makes the game fairer in comparison to martials at high levels, but was it still fun for everyone?

It's a real word (beyond roleplaying, I mean). The emphasis is on the first syllable.


In contrast to everyone else, I see nothing wrong with working with him to make the class something more fun for everyone at the table. Provided that you think about any effects that may arise from the changes and are OK with the repercussions, go for it. That's what house rules are for.

I'd suggest you make some effort to balance the changes you make (like archetypes swap abilities in and out), but as you say, the goal here is to have fun.

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Divissa wrote:

1) Losandro is found kneeling in a pool of her own blood, but where is she bleeding from? Maybe I missed it, but I couldn't find a specific injury listed, and the book makes it sound like a lot of blood.

I said she was bleeding from her pores and mucous membranes. My interpretation was that the planar energies which are hollowing her out are corroding her flesh from the inside, and the residue is just... leaking out where it can.

Divissa wrote:

2) My players are really interested in curing Losandro. After having them roll some checks (so I could think of something) I told them that they would first need to help sever the Tatterman from coming into the Material Plane, as well as find the specific spell that she originally attempted in order to reverse engineer some kind of cure. Is there anything more specific in the book I might have missed? Did anyone else's players do this?

That sounds reasonable.

Divissa wrote:

3) With the grandma in the wheelchair haunt (I've forgotten her name), how do the players learn that she needs her medicine to cure the haunt? I couldn't find any context clues for the players, so I had one of them notice a medical bracelet on her that states she needs her heart medication every day.

She stirred slightly when one of the players mentioned healing or medicine. I thought they needed to be thrown a bone, so that seemed fair.

Sorry, I completely misread the original question somehow. My mistake.

I'd just tell them, personally, because it adds unnecessary bookkeeping if you don't.

Otherwise, I'd use any of Appraise, Craft (whatever's relevant), or Profession (whatever's relevant).

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DMNickiT wrote:
Has anyone encountered b13 with the 3 prisoners yet? My group did last night and they found the weird eye wrapped in a handkerchief on the body of the middle prisoner. Does anyone know what the heck that is? All of the PCs were really intrigued (especially with the other prisoner yelling "Zandalus sees!") but all the book says is its a minor curiosity that can be sold. Which seems a little underwhelming given its cool description.

One of my players ate it. That was unexpected.

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Steve Hicks wrote:
I'm more concerned about the unique encounters involving the dopplegangers, the nightgaunt and the Tatterman. Do I tweak their stats or do I include additional mobs as a distraction? What do you guys advise?

I'd add minions or duplicates for the boss fights.

If you just leave it as 1 opponent, the PCs have got 7 actions to your 1 each round, so even if you've tampered with the stats, you won't get a satisfactory use out of them.

Adding other (probably weak) opponents avoids that problem without being overpowering.

Another option is tampering with the stats *and* giving the monster 2 actions per round (in which case, they're basically 2 monsters anyway). It might add to the nightmare/broken reality feel.

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Have you considered conversation and counselling rather than mind control?

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Not a conversion of Castle Ravenloft/House of Strahd/Expedition to Castle Ravenloft/Curse of Strahd (it's had a lot of different versions it seems), but very comprehensive Pathfinder rules for Ravenloft from one of the 3e authors here, here and here.

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I appreciate the Ravenloft references, I must say.

Throw Anything and Improvised Weapon Mastery would be must haves, you'd think.

Feats for throwing things generally include Close Quarters Thrower, Charging Hurler, Distance Thrower, Quick Draw, and Two Handed Thrower.

Disposable Weapon and Splintering Weapon might work too - those paper cuts can be nasty.

Which exotic weapons are worth having to spend a feat on them?

I'm excluding those that you don't have to spend a feat for proficiency, because of race (elven curve blade) or class (monk weapons, bards and whips, etc) - that's a different question.

A bastard sword, for example, is possibly worth it if you want to wield an oversized weapon, and particularly if you have easy access to lead blades, so you can deal 3d8 base damage.

Getting proficiency in the falcata, as another example, is like getting the Improved Critical feat on a battle axe, which isn't too shabby.

What are your thoughts?

4 skill points per level.

Give them a Stamina ability at level 1, which is functionally equivalent to the feat, but gives you a stamina pool equal to your fighter level + Con instead of BAB + Con. This is to stop fighter just being a 1 level dip for everyone else. The feat is still available for those who want stamina running off their BAB instead.

I've also been toying with the idea of building in some of the Unbreakable abilities at higher level. For example:

At level 11, bravery applies to all mind-affecting effects.

At level 14, the fighter recovers from fatigue after 15 min or when magically healed.

At level 17, the fighter gains Heroic Defiance as a feat, whether or not they meet the prerequisites.

The Unbreakable archetype still has value, because it gets those abilities earlier, and you can swap back the abilities it swapped out (at the later level).

I believe that makes it more evenly notched against the barbarian, while leaving it distinctive and covering a few of the common complaints people have about high level fighters.

Even simpler for the grown up version:

X12 The Leng Device (CR 17)
Dim light (eldritch light from the Leng Device)
12 advanced denizens of Leng
Development:Killing the denizens disturbs the Device, which summons the Thing from Beyond Time (unique hound of Tindalos) 2d6 rounds later

Blah blah blah

The development line is potentially optional here. It's just a convenient quick reference.

I'd probably put the Device under its own subhead in the description (which it isn't at the moment), but that's just me.

This is how I'd do it:

C19 Throne Room (CR 6)
If alarm has been raised: All doors locked (Disable Device DC 20)
Normal light (4 torches)*
Warchief Ripnugget (goblin fighter); Stickfoot (giant gecko). If alarm has been raised: 3 goblin commandos hidden on top of pillars near throne (Perception DC 23); 1 goblin warchanter hidden behind throne (Perception DC 25). Without alarm: As above, unhidden.

"This large throne room is decorated with hanging furs blah blah blah"

As usual from there, except you could possibly cut down the first paragraph of "Creatures" a little, since it's mostly dealt with above - you'd keep the colour text about the reenactment though obviously.

You could flag each line before the read aloud box with an icon (lock, light, creature respectively - you might also have temperature, trap, whatever else you need) if you wanted.

Overall, I think this is quite space efficient and preserves both the gaming quick reference requirements with the reading flow (so it serves both ends).

* I made this up. I can't actually find a description of the lighting conditions in Thistletop (which possibly indicates the problem). But goblins love flame, so...

Urath DM wrote:
A long time ago in Dungeon magazine, there were icons used for the sections.

I had thought of that (but sadly, thought it was an original idea - there's nothing new under the sun).

The problem with icons is that they're potentially too brief to be helpful.

e.g. If you've got a sun for fully lit, a half sun for dim light and a black sun for darkness, what do you do to indicate that half the room is lit and half is in dim light?

For that reason, I prefer short descriptive text as a quick reference rather than an icon.

Of course, 90% of the time, they'll be fine.

Dale McCoy Jr wrote:

This way it makes no statement about what kind of spiders they are, the 4th spider that is hiding among the webs, whether or not the skeleton will come to live, exactly what kind of axe it is, whether the axe is magical, whether or not there is any more treasure hiding in the webs, and how many gold coins are in the corner.

Plus you know that that the spiders crawled through a hole in the wall and met the PCs 3 rooms ago, so you can just cross them off the obvious list.

All this is followed by the room description that does not mention the above, so that the room description is still the same, even after the spiders leave for the previously mentioned fight.


I would think you'd be better off saying, "4 spiders (1 hidden - Perception DC 25)" in your stat block, rather than not mentioning the last spider at all.

I know when I've come across apparent discrepancies like that in the past (particularly if I'm pressed for time), it's been confusing rather than helpful, which I think is what we're looking for here.

To go back to your example then:

Example wrote:

4 spiders in webs (1 hidden - Perception DC 25)
Human skeleton on altar (broken chainmail, axe [see Treasure])
Gold coins in corner

As Urath DM suggested, instead of the "See Treasure" tag, you could have an icon (even an asterisk) indicating there's more to be read below.

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I more or less agree, although I'd add lighting conditions before monsters. It's the sort of thing that's easily forgotten, but really ruins things if you get it wrong.

If you wanted a light touch approach, the rest of the text could more or less go as usual, if you needed to, once you've got the reminders as the first thing you see.


5 skeletons

This room is a library. Leather bound tomes fill the oak shelves that line the room. 4 unlit lanterns hang from the ceiling.
More stuff
Creatures: More stuff
Treasure: More stuff

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The Alexandrian has a room key layout I've found useful:


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