Dr Davaulus

Sean Mahoney's page

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Overall I agree with the benchmarking systems you are using, Mark Hoover 330. However, that is left out in your description is the definition of 'beat.'

Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
At level 1 a PC should either be able to beat a 12 AC and deal 3.75 damage,

Does 'beat' here mean that you hit a 12 on anything other than a natural 1? Does it mean you hit it on a roll of a 10? Would a roll needing to be a 15 still count as good enough?

In my mind, I would say on a roll of 10. Same with the other bench marks mentioned. If spellcasting is my main thing and a creatures good save will be a +9 for a CR equivalent enemy, then my DC should be around a 19. (That one is a bit debatable as I shouldn't be shooting at their good save).

All that said, I agree that reasonable benchmarks like this can be made just fine with a 15-PB. People seem to make a much bigger than necessary fit when their PB isn't at least 20.

To me... a game with 25-PB and gestalt rules would just seem CRAZY powerful very quickly.

I just finished a run through Rise of the Runelords with a group of players new to role-playing and/or pathfinder (with one exception). We did 20 point buy and universally the group decided one of the changes for our next campaign was dropping down to 15. They felt quite powerful.

AwesomenessDog wrote:
Mage Armor/BoA isn't an object, its force,
AwesomenessDog wrote:
Ice Armor has is an object (with minimal representation)

This is where you are losing me. Why is Mage Armor NOT an object despite being tangible, but Ice Armor IS an object? I am not seeing what is leading you to make this distinction.

AwesomenessDog wrote:
Even if you style it to be the latter where you aren't "wearing" it, its still a physical object getting in the way just like a dancing shield would, and therefore a monk wouldn't benefit from either.

Again, Mage Armor is tangible. It can be touched. It can get in the way. But we all agree it isn't armor. I am not seeing why you are making this distinction.

AwesomenessDog wrote:
The only part of magic armor that specifies needing armor, is just in reference to needing the thing to be enchanted. Sure, it can be implied it is saying the item needs to be armor before it can be enchanted as armor, but it is at a much more basic level saying "crafting magic things does not conjure the object out of this air and it can't be cheap junk."

If it was just the later interpretation would you rule that I can start putting armor enchants onto my weapons? How about a masterwork fork enchanted with fortification?

There is the line: "All magic armor is also masterwork armor" which would just bring us right back around to the definition of armor as discussed earlier in the thread.

All that said, like I said, I like there being enchantable clothes and I have a house rule that allows for masterwork clothes to be enchanted as if they were armor. But... they aren't actually armor by the rules of the game, right? If they were, then monks wearing clothes would lose their AC bonuses.

So I just recently had a player who is working on a build for my upcoming Curse game (we just finished Rise last Friday). I am soooo proud of him in that he is going through and coming up with a complete build and thinking about things he wants to do, and to his huge credit when he runs into an ambiguous situation he researches it to see if there is an answer and bring it up to me for ruling if it is still ambiguous.

In this case, he is looking at making a skald that uses a reach weapon and trying to see if he could use a grease spell under his opponent to 'lock' them down (thinking that they couldn't 5 ft step). He wanted to check how this work and found the following thread: https://paizo.com/threads/rzs2t4uk?FAQ-Can-you-5-step-out-of-Grease

I read through the full thread and it got soooo close to how things actually worked but missed the mark (the rules actually work really well in this case and can cover most of the corner cases that came up in that thread). Rather than thread-necro, I figured I would post a new thread with my understanding of how this works. So it would be there for others in the future or to hear from others who might disagree.

5-Foot Step:

Take a 5-foot step:
You can move 5 feet in any round when you don’t perform any other kind of movement. Taking this 5-foot step never provokes an attack of opportunity. You can’t take more than one 5-foot step in a round, and you can’t take a 5-foot step in the same round that you move any distance.

You can take a 5-foot step before, during, or after your other actions in the round.

You can only take a 5-foot-step if your movement isn’t hampered by difficult terrain or darkness. Any creature with a speed of 5 feet or less can’t take a 5-foot step, since moving even 5 feet requires a move action for such a slow creature.

You may not take a 5-foot step using a form of movement for which you do not have a listed speed.

The full text is in the spoiler, but the relevant part is: You can only take a 5-foot-step if your movement isn’t hampered by difficult terrain or darkness. Any creature with a speed of 5 feet or less can’t take a 5-foot step

I bolded the words in that description that have definitions. (Hampered is the one missed in that discussion.)


Hampered Movement:
Hampered Movement
Difficult terrain, obstacles, and poor visibility can hamper movement (see Table: Hampered Movement for details). When movement is hampered, each square moved into usually counts as two squares, effectively reducing the distance that a character can cover in a move.

If more than one hampering condition applies, multiply all additional costs that apply. This is a specific exception to the normal rule for doubling.

In some situations, your movement may be so hampered that you don’t have sufficient speed even to move 5 feet (1 square). In such a case, you may use a full-round action to move 5 feet (1 square) in any direction, even diagonally. Even though this looks like a 5-foot step, it’s not, and thus it provokes attacks of opportunity normally. (You can’t take advantage of this rule to move through impassable terrain or to move when all movement is prohibited to you.)

You can’t run or charge through any square that would hamper your movement.

Table: Hampered Movement
Condition Additional Movement Cost
Difficult Terrain 2
Obstacle* 2
Poor Visibility 2
Impassable —
*May require a skill check

The operative part here is: When movement is hampered, each square moved into usually counts as two squares, effectively reducing the distance that a character can cover in a move.

This is where people got confused and wanted to say anything that slowed movement is difficult terrain and therefor not available for a 5 ft step. Difficult Terrain causes hampered movement but all hampered movement is not difficult terrain.

Likewise, darkness is called out in the 5-ft step description. That is because darkness (lighting condition) is a condition of poor visibility and therefore has hampered movement. But not all situations that have poor visibility are caused by darkness.

This means that you have a pretty simple flow chart you can follow to see if someone can 5-ft step.

1) Do they have a movement speed of 10 or higher? If not, they can't 5 ft step.

2) Is the square they are moving into affected by hampered movement? If no, you are golden. If yes, continue.

2a) Is the hampered movement caused by difficult terrain? If not, proceed to 2b. If yes, no 5-ft step.

2b) Is the hampered movement caused by darkness? If not, then you are good. If yes, no 5-ft step.

So then let's look at some use cases before we move on to grease.

The whole map is dim light conditions (moon light), can I 5-foot step? It is a condition of poor visibility, so there would be hampered movement, but it is not darkness (a specific light condition). Yes, you can 5-foot step.

The whole map is in darkness, but my character has dark vision, can I 5-foot step? Is your movement hampered? No, darkvision alleviates the hampering affect, even though there is darkness. So yes, you can 5 ft step.

I am on a hill and my GM has defined all squares as difficult terrain, but I want to go down hill which has to be easier, can I five foot step? Difficult Terrain causes hampered movement and it is from difficult terrain, so no.

My GM made a strange rule in that same situation that moving up hill is 2x movement but moving down hill is not, but it is all still classified as difficult terrain? Moving down hill is not hampered, even though it is difficult terrain (in this particular situation), so yes you can 5-foot step.

So... let's apply this to the grease spell. Can we 5-foot step in grease? Can we 5-foot step out of grease?

Grease Spell

A grease spell covers a solid surface with a layer of slippery grease. Any creature in the area when the spell is cast must make a successful Reflex save or fall. A creature can walk within or through the area of grease at half normal speed with a DC 10 Acrobatics check. Failure means it can’t move that round (and must then make a Reflex save or fall), while failure by 5 or more means it falls (see the Acrobatics skill for details). Creatures that do not move on their turn do not need to make this check and are not considered flat-footed.

The spell can also be used to create a greasy coating on an item. Material objects not in use are always affected by this spell, while an object wielded or employed by a creature requires its bearer to make a Reflex saving throw to avoid the effect. If the initial saving throw fails, the creature immediately drops the item. A saving throw must be made in each round that the creature attempts to pick up or use the greased item. A creature wearing greased armor or clothing gains a +10 circumstance bonus on Escape Artist checks and combat maneuver checks made to escape a grapple, and to their CMD to avoid being grappled.

So... using our flow chart, is movement hampered? No, hampered movement has that (usually) x2 modifier on movement into a square. Grease does not do that. It only says you can't move unless you make an acrobatics check. If you do make that check your Speed is halved (not the same as a square having a modifier).

As long as you make the acrobatics check and the halving of your speed doesn't make your speed fall below 10 ft, then you can 5-foot step.

You can 5-foot step from a greased square to a greased square. You can 5-foot step from a grease square to a non-greased square. Grease doesn't prevent a 5-foot step in anyway (unless it pulls your speed down low enough when you make the acrobatics check).

The next big point of contention was if a creature that is leaving a greased square to 5-foot step into a non-greased square would need to make an acrobatics check or not. This is specifically looking at this part of the spell: "A creature can walk within or through the area of grease"

The discussion focused on the words "within and through" with people going back and forth. A common point was that in movement, the conditions of the square only apply when you move into the square... and while this is true (you can 5-ft step out of a difficult terrain square into one that is not hampered, example), it isn't relevant here. Why? Because of the next part of that sentence: "the area of grease." That is to say the are of the spell. The are of a spell does not follow the movement rules, it follows the magic rules.

"The point of origin of a spell is always a grid intersection. When determining whether a given creature is within the area of a spell, count out the distance from the point of origin in squares just as you do when moving a character or when determining the range for a ranged attack. The only difference is that instead of counting from the center of one square to the center of the next, you count from intersection to intersection."

All this is to say the boundary for the area of the spell is the edges of a square not the square itself. If you pass through that edge you are passing through the area of the spell.

In the case of 5-foot step from a greased square to a non-greased square, you are passing through the boundary of the spell area, so yes, you need to make the acrobatics check prior to moving. If successful, you speed is halved and you can then move about as normal. If you fail, no movement is allowed and you must make a reflex save or go prone.

Keep in mind that most saves are going to be 10 + 1/2 creatures HD + applicable stat. So you will want to keep those proportionate as well.

For the Winter Wolf its breath weapon seems to be 1 die per HD, so drop to 3. The Save appears CON based, so it would drop from 17 (10 + 6/2 HD + 4 CON) to 15 (10 + 3/2 HD + 4 CON). I would consider changing it to only once per encounter or day or whatever as well... frequency of breath weapons seems to increase with the creatures power.

Do creatures get a +1 stat boost every 4 HD? Probably... I would drop STR by 1 as well.

All that said, I like Trokarr's idea of the Simply Young Template. It actually reduces stats as well. At low level how high your STR and CON are can make more difference than a single HD. I would consider reducing to 4 HD but applying the Simple Young Template for the difference.

AwesomenessDog wrote:
Or, it's simply anything that provides a physical armor bonus, not enchantment or force, which might require a little mental gymnastics for special wonderous items but means when you are conjuring armor made of ice, therefore real and physical, you are in fact wearing armor. It still doesn't stop you from enchanting regular clothes, doesn't impeded BoA or Mage Armor, and accounts for other strange and esoteric armor bonuses where this or that special item gives armor or shield on top of some other more important, main ability.

But as 'physical' armor bonus is not defined that doesn't really clear much up. Force effects, for example, are very physical.

Mage Armor: An invisible but tangible field of force surrounds the subject

Tangible means you can touch and feel it.

A wall of force certainly is very physical as well, even having hardness and HP assigned to it.

We kind of just break down into arguments over how people imagine the spells to be manifesting. Would mage armor be more like a bubble of force that is a foot or so away? Would it be like an actual suit of armor and fit just as closely and only show when struck? One of those sounds like 'armor' and one doesn't... but either works with the description.

Likewise, is the armor created by ice armor hugging the body like platemail that is made of frozen water or is floating hunks of ice that rotate around the user and get in the way of strikes? Again, both work.

What I like about defining it as armor type is that it leaves people's imaginations free to describe the effects however they want.

I don't think regular clothes can be enchanted with armor enchants by the rules... since armor enchants go on armor. I have introduced a houserule where masterwork clothes can be enchanted as I like this solution myself, but it isn't in the base game.

VoodistMonk wrote:
Thank you, Sean Mahoney... I like the 2nd option, and will use that if this ever happens to happen at my table.

I think I will use the same for my table. I like solutions that are simple and straight forward as possible while still being broadly applicable.

If I were making this game from scratch I would have likely defined armor as anything that gives an armor bonus to AC. Monks would not have been able to use these various ways of getting an armor bonus but that would have been baked in from the beginning.

But I am not making this game from scratch, nor did even the Pathfinder 1e designers who were essentially just updating 3.5, itself an update from 3.0.

If someone can find an actual definition of armor in the rules it would make me quite happy.

In the meantime, I think the best answer is that if it has an armor type (light, medium, heavy) it is armor, if not, it isn't armor.

soulnova wrote:
Regarding Malfeshnekor. He cannot move out of the room, but can he attack (bite/claws) people standing just outside the door? I know he can cast spells on people beyond the threshold so I was wondering if he could do this as well as long as he doesn't leave the room.

I don't think you will find a clear ruling on this.

My suggestion would be that he can not... but he would sure try. He would be throwing himself against the barrier and trying desperately to get through it.

This would give clever PCs some time to act and understand what is going on. Of course, he is intelligent and as soon as they started using that to his advantage would hide and/or go invisible.

This is what happened in my game. We just finished the full campaign on Friday night and one of the post game questions was what happened to him? (He was used in the background of a newly introduced character in chapter three who slew him with an adventuring party... that player was not sharing about his background.)

So I was hoping to find somewhere what talked about what armor is in any of the books.

There is an armor slot but that is specifically for magic items, non-magical armor would still be armor and so I don't really think this is relevant. There are not other wearable (non-magical) slots in the game.

I went to the equipment section to look at armor and there is not a specific definition of armor to rely on. The closest I could find in this section was:

Armor/Shield Bonus:
Armor/Shield Bonus: Each type of armor grants an armor bonus to AC, while shields grant a shield bonus to AC. The armor bonus from a suit of armor doesn’t stack with other effects or items that grant an armor bonus. Similarly, the shield bonus from a shield doesn’t stack with other effects that grant a shield bonus.

Emphasis mine. "Each type of armor grants an armor bonus to AC"

However, if that is true than anything that provides an armor bonus would turn off the monks AC bonus, including mage armor (which was not my understanding either). Do we know where the actual ruling for the monk armor bonus stacking with Mage Armor came from? Is this just something that continued over from 3.5?

Honestly, this is as closed to a RAW as I have seen so far. The argument against it would that it is just describing the parts of the armor table that are coming up after it... but it includes other rules texts in these sections too (sleeping in armor, non-proficiency in armor, etc.).

I feel like the two options here are:

- Armor is anything that provides an armor bonus to AC: It is consistent with text found in the CRB and is an elegant and simple solution. It also flies in the face of a thousand Paizo stat blocks and the general knowledge of the community prior to this... which is not a good thing.

- Armor is anything that has an armor type (light, medium, heavy). This would keep things as we have known them and open up things like these Oracle class features for a multiclass character. It retains the simplicity. I like it best for all of those reasons, but that isn't the same as it is the rule... I don't see a rule saying that.

bbangerter wrote:
Solipsim does not ... hamper the target (except in the loosest sense that being invisible to the target puts the target at a disadvantage).

I think getting a minus to my will saves with no save to prevent it is pretty hampering!

bbangerter wrote:
We should problably assume the ability is written to actually work, and not be self-defeating.

I would agree, when determining RAI this is a great place to start... but RAW is RAW and needs some cookin'!

bbangerter wrote:
Though in that case it would break an invisiblity spell/potion, etc that had been applied prior to using solipsism.

I actually think you hit on why it might work by RAW. On the first round, when the 'hampering' bold stare improvement is applied, there is no invisibility to be broken as that doesn't come in until the second round. Maintaining the ability wouldn't break the invisibility as it is not an attack.

I suppose one could also argue that any negative to ANY saving throw is not applied the first round since it says, "instead of applying a penalty on the creature’s saving throws" as long as you only took Bold Stare Improvements that were minuses to saving throws they wouldn't be applied and thus no hampering.

Still, I think the best solution at the table is pretty clearly, "it doesn't count as an attack for the purposes of breaking itself as abilities need to actually work."

Yeah... I can see the issue. While Hypnotic Star with Solipsism and a Bold Stare Improvement is not requiring a saving throw, it is 'otherwise harm[ing] or hamper[ing] a subject.'

I guess there would be a couple arguments here...

Yep, it would break itself as it is a hindering effect. There is no reason to ever take a third level in this class/archetype combo... maybe it is good for dipping.

Because the Hypnotic Stare ability says, "The creature doesn't remember it was affected (nor does it realize that it is currently being affected) unless the mesmerist allows it." then it doesn't count as an attack unless the mesmerist allows them to be aware.

I think as a GM I would clearly rule the later, but there is the RAW for you.

Book 1 really sets a lot of the foundations for the rest of the campaign. With the above you will be missing several very important pieces.

The biggest thing that book one does is give you players a chance to connect with Sandpoint and its citizens. If they come out of it caring about what happens to the city and having connections there, you did a good job. This comes back in book 2, book 4, and book 5. If you skip this, books 4 and 5 are far less impactful. My suggestion in your case would be to try and make sure that the PCs all have connections in their backgrounds to Sandpoint, family there, businesses they run there, etc.

The players will be revisiting the Ruins of Wrath in a later adventure in book 5. My players just hit that and it was a lot of fun for the three players who had characters from the original group walking the two newer players through one of their old adventure sites. When they finished the library in book 4, it was really fun when they researched more and more and found out what both the Ruins of Wrath and Thistletop actually were and then immediately started piecing together hints they had been getting since the beginning of the AP.

Garion Beckett wrote:
Is there any other suggestions right now? We are in the shackles and we under the flag of a pirate lord so i have access to a bunch of humans and other humanoids for now... Is there anything there you could help out with?

Brewer's guide that was linked earlier is fantastic and describes the concept of buckets. There is another 'bucket' that would be particularly appropriate for you and that is the bucket for a 'Skeleton Crew.'

The spell Skeleton Crew will allow you control a crew that can do nothing but crew your ship. Normally you can control 2xCL in HD, or 4xCL in HD if cast with desecrate active.

This allows you to get your own ship and crew (or just replace the crew but keep the party as officers). It would particularly appropriate if you took a ship in a raid with your party, then slaughtered everyone on that ship, animated them as crew and added this ship (YOUR ship) to the fleet that the party is now commanding.

So I was excited when the next AP was announced to be set in Isger. I have always wanted to play a war veteran and the Goblinblood Wars are one of the few that have happened in fairly recent memory (there is a serious lack of wars going on in this world).

Looking at the history, it looks like the goblin tribes of the nearby forest were lead by hobgoblins against the region in a very bloody war known for all the deaths that occurred on both sides. Hell Knights, Eagle Knights, and Mercenaries (as well as what is left of Isgers forces) all banded together to put down the threat (and burned much of the forest).

This happened just 22 years ago, the orphans created in this war are young adults. War veterans are still around. There was not a Marshall plan like in Europe to rebuild the area after the war... it was devastated and the powers that be, Cheliax and Druma, just care about keeping the profitable trade route open and protected... not the rest of the country. This event would shape the lives of everyone living in the area. Most people would have known people or had relatives killed in the war by the goblin hordes.

But... this is kicking off PF2, goblins are now a playable race and presumably more accepted into society. The Free RPG Day adventure this year was We Be Heroes and tells the story of a goblin tribe that was nearly wiped out in the Goblinblood war but who now live in southern Fangwood (so not really near the area anymore) helping save a group of Lastwall Knights and leading them all the way down to Absalom. Those heroics are what is helping get them accepted as a race by the rest of society... but in Isger? I don't know how much that would matter, the wounds would still be very raw.

Now, I don't want to argue about if it is a good idea for Goblins to be a playable and accepted race in Pathfinder now... they are. What I am really interested in is all the RP opportunities that this now presents.

I just downloaded and started reading the Player's Guide to the Age of Ashes... the very first paragraph seems to introduce the start of the campaign as a goblin looking for help when it sees what it thinks is a Hell Knight castle coming back into life and what it could mean for his goblin tribe. This could get REAL interesting... because I think the default of many of the residents and even PCs from the area might be to not feel to bad for those goblins.

So... How do you intend to bring all this into your game? Will you as a GM play this kind of social conflict up or will you just accept the new status quo that goblins are good guys and the world is cool with that?

Historically guns made ranged combat more accessible to the untrained folk not the ones already highly trained. So a lever action rifle would likely make reloading faster and he has likely already spent the feats, class abilities, etc. on getting free reload.

If he built a lever action rifle it would be undeniably a better weapon than the currently available muskets. But we all know he wouldn't be happy with it since it wouldn't make his character any better.

Soo... my advice is not thinking in terms of what is best next historically. Either look at his character or ask him about what would be a gun that would make his character better. The answer is normally going to be some mechanical advantage that is replicating a magic ability of some kind. That's good. Base the improved weapon off that... prototype weapons SHOULD be expensive and keeping it inline with magic effects helps keep some semblance of balance in place.

Make sure you think about how you want it to stack (or not) with magic effects as well. Weapons are required to be masterwork to be made magical but the +1 to hit from being masterwork doesn't stack with the +1 to hit from being a +1 weapon. I would try to follow that same vein.

Anyway... that is my advice on it.

Thread necro, but I was looking into this issue as I am looking at potentially running this for my son who would like to play a Ranger.

My suggestion after looking into it:

1st - Animal +2

5th - Animal +4, Humanoid (human) +2

10th - Aberration +4, Animal +4, Humanoid (human) +2

15th - Outsider (evil) +4, Aberration +4, Animal +4, Humoid (human) +2

My criteria was to look for any encounters that had a creature with a CR higher than CL+1 for the expected CL at any given point in the adventure.

This got a little hard in some of the large sandbox areas, but I did my best to estimate...

Random encounters with animals really pushed that animals was a good choice for the first two books.

I was a little disappointed that Monstrous Humanoid never really hit the list high enough to make it, but they often had more numbers but not the big CR single creature fights.

I would also say that it was a lot more spread out than I expected for what a 'good' choice was. It would be hard to go wrong (with Animal lvls 1-9 or so being the clear choice).

I would certainly rule that you are locked in. At least unless you wanted to lose the archetype.

My gut reaction would be to let the PCs figure out how they want to deal with the situation, though I would point out that Infernal Healing is on the magus spell list and would suggest that they make a wand of it a high priority purchase.

I strongly feel that there are ways around anything in the game and part of the fun is figuring out how to make it work for your group.

I would suggest using XP rather than just leveling up at story points (my favorite method) as they should get a bit ahead in levels so you don't have to do as much adjusting of encounters.

If you do decide to have a GMPC I would have the players take turns each session with who controls it in combat. You have enough to do in combat. But that would leave you with a mouthpiece you could use. Something like a Life Oracle would be great. Not only do you have a great healer who you could make not a great combatant, but you have a mouthpiece for strange prophecies and info dumps.

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I recently started running this campaign (again, got about halfway through years ago with another group), and have been pulling together as much extra content as I can.

The customer adventure "The Pit" still eludes me but I have found things here to be extremely useful.

I just followed up on the fact that the back of the early Pathfinder comics have additional info in them. I was able to get a Comixology account and check them out and there is good info and some relevant small encounters that can easily added to this campaign to add more depth.

(note, I was able to sign up for the free trial of comixology to check these out and will likely cancel now that I have the info... but a month at ~$6 is well worth the additional content. I will see if my 9yo son is interested in reading some comics before I cancel.)

It's not really community-created content, but it is additional material that can be readily added.

Issue #1 - Sandpoint Gazetteer:
This has the info you wish was in the player's guide. In fact, if I hadn't already started the campaign I would create my own traits that make the players locals from Sandpoint, the surrounding farms/hinterlands, or Magnimar and foreshadow some of the NPCs in the campaign. With this, it would make the perfect player's guide.

The encounter is with goblins down on Junk Beach and fits beautifully into the encounters the PCs have in town while the Sherriff is down in Magnimar.

Issue #2 - Shank's Wood:
A short history of Shank's Wood and the local legend of how they got their name. The encounter is with what is now Shank and keeping the legend alive.

My plan is to have the PCs do some scouting against various goblin tribes after Belor returns with guards and run into this encounter. The upside is it is an encounter with a faceless stalker which will be MUCH tougher at level 1-2 than it will be in chapter 2 which should make them more afraid of them when they meet them later.

Issue #3 - Pauper's Grave:
A graveyard just outside of Sandpoint filled with ancient travelers who died alongside the road and the poor workers who died during the construction of Sandpoint.

I haven't decided exactly where to put this one. It has ghouls and the main boss is CR6... so probably good for a level 3 party... but that isn't a great place to add something as the PCs are likely part way through Thistletop at that point. In front of Chapter 2 and you probably want to buff it up a little... but I don't know that I want to add more ghouls and take away from the mystery in that chapter. Hrmm... we'll see if I use it.

Issue #4 - Mosswood Gazetteer:
Just what it says. The encounter is with ettercaps... Again, this would be good for level 2 or so, I will try and add it in before the PCs get hellbent on heading to Thistletop.

Issue #5 - Waters of Lamashtu:
Gives a description of the Waters of Lamashtu and how to create more as well as the effects of drinking it. Will be good if the PCs skip the catacombs and I insert something causing trouble from below with more mutants and sinspawn coming up and causing trouble.

The encounter is with the Bloodfang Goblin family of the Mosswood Goblins and will be perfect to insert into my plan on having them in the Hinterlands before the glassworks.

Issue #6 - History of the Lost Coast:
Great recap of ancient histoy on the lost coast. I dig this kind of thing and it should provide great fodder if you want to create your own adventures in the ruins of the area.

The encounter is with shrine of Lamashtu and takes a big jump to CR 6, 12 and 14 creatures. I would probably put this in around the assault on Sandpoint? Not sure... it's a ways off still for me

Issue #7 - Trouble on the Road:
A list of various dangers on the road around Sandpoint... independant highwaymen, goblin bandits, sczarni highwaymen, and the Rushlight Society. It has a CR12 NPC bandit instead of an encounter. Might be good ideas, but nothing to add directly

Issue #8 - Dragons of the Sandpoint Hinterlands:
List a couple of dragons and stats out one that I think is the sibling of the one in the starter box? CR14, might add in around the attack on Sandpoint

Issue #9 - The Rusty Dragon:
No encounter, but really good reading before the campaign to flesh out the Rusty Dragon Inn. Also stats out Ameiko at level 5 (aristocrat 1/Bard 3/Rogue (rake) 1)

Issue #10 - Magic of the Cult of Lamashtu:
A little info on the cult itself (read the various faiths of books for more), some spells (lvl 3, 4, & 6) useful to clerics of Lamashtu and then a couple of stat blocks that could be used to make a good ambush of revenge on the PCs as they leave Magnimar at the beginning of chapter 3

Issue #11 - Dungeons of the Lost Coast:
Descriptions of the Bleaklow Warrens, the Pit, Raven's Watch and Wisher's Well for GMs wanting to flesh out the area with small dungeons of their own. Stats for a CR3 undead that could make a good encounter between Chapter 1 and 2 perhaps?

Issue #12 - Instruments of Madness:
Magic items and a CR 6 Lamashtu cleric. Probably good to add to that encounter I was thinking of adding as they leave magnimar in chapter 3?

Issue #13 - Gangs of Magnimar:
Good info to add in for PCs from Magnimars background as well as a cultist of Norgorber that could be of use in Chapter 2 or just after

Anyway... those are my thoughts on what is there and when it might be used in this campaign. YMMV.

I am not far away (Covington), also in my 30s and have a little kid (6 year old boy). I have been out of playing for a while as the result of a move to the area and would be interested in getting back into it.

Shoot me a PM or respond and we can set up a meeting of some kind to get to know each other (assuming you are still looking).

Sean Mahoney

Hrmm... I would love to meet people and have been meaning to go check out AFK for a while now. I will try and jet over there after work that day.

Improved Scroll Casting was the entire reason I took this prestige class... I actually felt scroll blade and scroll shield were just silly, it just wasn't a flavor I found that interesting. On the one hand, it was completely worth it for that one ability. Improved Scroll Casting is that good.

On the other hand, I was more impressed with Scroll Blade and Scroll Shield than I thought I would be. So... even better.

Since I was playing the classic controller style wizard I had no interest in heading into melee. I primarily used defending with Scroll Blade. Combined with the AC from Scroll Shield,a regular casting of Mage Armor and a pretty high dex, I inadvertently had the highest AC in the group (it wasn't the highest of bars to reach, but still).

Anyway... did I mention how worth it Improved Scroll Casting is?

Apropos of nothing, but a wizard who gets scribe scroll feat can make scrolls for the same amount that he sells them for... so there is no reason to not have all non-liquid funds turned into scrolls. Once you have this ability as well you have access to a very effective array of spells at any time... far more spells than any other class.

Almost always the racial favored class options

I am interested in finding a group in the area.

I am fairly open to which game, but do have a fondness for Pathfinder and Call of Cthulhu.

If you are interested in my style of playing/running a game you can check out the podcast I co-hosted, the Gamers' Guide to Pathfinder at www.35privatesanctuary.com.

Nemitri wrote:
martinaj wrote:
...Inner Sea Magic provides an arcane college in the Mwangi expanse that can allow students to add a druid spell to their spell list as an arcane spell, albeit at two levels above its usual level.
Yikes, as a 3rd level spell, they only get at most 2 at level 7, maybe that can help, best way early on would be a wand and UMD, for sure :S

Sometimes it is just about adding something to your spell list. Once that is done then using the wand works just fine.

Sean Mahoney

Animal and Terrain Domains wrote:
Other nature-themed classes with access to domains may select an animal or terrain domain in place of a regular domain.


The only trick is making sure that the GM is ok with you taking it in relation to whatever god you are worshipping. If it is a nature god of any sort you should be fine, but if it is a sun god, then the frog domain becomes odd. Should be just fine with Gozrah i would think.

Sean Mahoney

Stabbald wrote:

Sean do you play in the Golarion setting as written? Because it seems a little silly to complain about World War I tech in a Pathfinder game where there is a whole country full of robots and laser guns. Oh and confirmed space travel to other planets...

Silly indeed.

Bearded Ben is correct. The tech level didn't bother me at all, it was indeed the inclusion of earth.

To answer your question, I ignore Numeria. It doesn't offend me and I am glad it is in the campaign setting because there are people who like it, but it isn't a flavor I particularly enjoy.

But honestly how much have you seen the presence of Numeria affect most games? There isn't robot shops in other parts of Golarion and a player has never asked me to let him make a gun slinger with a laser pistol. The vast majority of published material for the setting has a pretty standard fantasy feel to it (well, with mashed in horror or whatever).

The upcoming Numeria AP (Iron Gods?) is not something that offends my senses, but it isn't my cup of tea either. It's more along the lines of Shattered Star which was intentionally dungeon heavy and therefor not particularly to my tastes (pretty much everything else is to my taste... seems like I am getting out all the stuff I don't like rather than the majority of stuff that I do like).

Anyway, that is my personal preference. I think there is a fair number of gamers who would agree they don't want sci-fi in their Pathfinder. They aren't silly, they just have different preferences. If you do... more power to you. I am sure there are things that I enjoy in a game that you don't see worth the time of day... it's all good.

Tangent, you can't excuse yourself completely from allowing the discussion to become civilized and reasoned. For instance, I responded to one of your posts with, "gotchya." By which I meant, "Oh, okay. I see where you are coming from." but with out the verbal inflections that we use naturally in everyday conversation, that could have easily been taken as "I have you now!" which wasn't the intent at all.

But did you rise to the unintended bait? Nope.

That said, it was hard at points to not just throw up my hands in frustration that I felt I was being misunderstood and I am glad that people allowed me the chance to explain myself.


Tangent101 wrote:
Sean, you seem to be running under the assumption that if there is combat, there is no roleplay.

Not at all. In fact I could envision a cool system of sword-play in the game that lets duelists throw witty ripostes back and forth and receive mechanical benefits for them during the fight and I would happily call it Role-playing. (Challenge to 3rd party publishers: create me such a system!)

Rather, the point I was trying to get across is that the PCs actions in the interchange have to have some impact on the campaign or the adventure or the encounter before I would consider it role-playing.

If the characters get more information if the treat someone one way than they do otherwise than I would consider it roleplaying. If the creature gives out the same information (as written, not GM fiat) regardless of the PCs actions and then a fight starts I would not call it role-playing. I then would label it exposition.

My example of mullifying a hungry opponent to stop the fight would just be one way that role-playing could influence the situation, but shouldn't be taken to mean that is the only way the Role-playing can influence a situation.

Again, I realize this is nit-picking over the definition of RP. But I don't think my definition is an unreasonable one... your mileage may vary.

Sean Mahoney

“Brandon Hodge” wrote:
Sean, you are, of course, welcome to whatever opinion of Rasputin Must Die! you wish, and I'll leave it to others to defend whether or not my work is a "stain" on the game

I don't think YOUR work is a stain on the game, other than I think that you took up an assignment of a task that was, by it's nature, something I wish were not a part of the game.

For what it is worth, given the introduction you wrote in the forward and the adventure itself, I would be MORE likely to buy a product with your name on it than I was previously (though you do good stuff, so I would have been likely to anyway). I just don't like the subject that you worked on in this case. It was the assignment and you could have turned it down. You didn't and did the best you could with it (you, like a lot of others, probably were excited by the prospect... which is fine, just not how I feel).

However, that said, let's talk about the RP in this adventure.

First, my intention, and I admit that I did a poor job of conveying this on rereading my posts, was to say that there was not a significant amount of RP in this adventure that moves the story of the AP as whole forward. That should make it easier to replace in pretty much it's entirety if you choose to just grab a couple of points and fit them into another adventure (remember the point of the original post was to ask how to remove this adventure from the AP). If someone wanted to pick another pre-published adventure to use in it's place they would only need to include a few points to make it work just fine. Really I should have just said, 'the adventure is fairly self contained and only a few points would need to be ported into another adventure to fit the same slot.'

I would also like to point out that I think you did an EXTRAORDINARY job of taking what had to be lower level NPCs and making them very good adversaries to higher level characters. You also did a great job of identifying and bringing out those points of combat that would help highlight what modern (WWI at least) combat would be like in a Pathfinder context. The combats, especially as the PCs exit the hut, do a fantastic job of conveying flavor and that is a hard bar to reach.

”Brandon Hodge” wrote:
I'm afraid I can't let you get away with telling potential readers that my adventure contains no roleplaying encounters, or "no RP" or "precious little RP." Particularly when the adventure can't be completed without some serious roleplaying and investigation.

I will start by conceding that there is more RP in the adventure than I made it sound like above, again I was trying to get across that the RP in the adventure was not necessary for moving the plot of the AP as a whole on (and I did a bad job of getting that point across). I also accept that it is not fair of me (since I wasn't looking at it from your point of view) that I give the impression to potential readers or players of your adventure that there would be NO chance of RP. There *IS* absolutely RP potential in this adventure, if a reader gets nothing else out of my response, please walk away with that.

That said, I don't know that I am good with accepting all the examples you give below as RP examples. I think for the vast majority of groups many of these examples will simply not occur because they didn't take the exact right (and unknown) steps to make them happen, or will feel that they are really more of an exposition than RP since they can't really affect the outcome with how they RP.

Let me explain... (since you used spoilers I will do the same, though I would contend if a player who doesn't want spoilers is reading the sub-board dedicated to their adventure path that they aren't really being true to not wanting spoilers)


”Brandon Hodge” wrote:
1. The Domovoi Gulag: the adventure's *very first encounter* involves a room of imprisoned domovoi who, when interacted with, provide clues to the PCs' whereabouts, answer questions, and give advance warnings to the hut's other inhabitants.

So two things here:

First, I will admit that I kind of wrote this part (the hut encounters) off in my head when I was thinking about your adventure in the response. Not because it was bad (or good), but because I dislike that there is an included crazy dungeon at the beginning of each adventure. It means that the first part of any adventure is dungeon and there is that much less room for the adventure itself. Not fair, perhaps, but that was my prejudice. The result, for me, is that I don't really get the 'feel' of your adventure (or the others in the AP) until after the PCs exit the hut. It was something you had to include in order to keep consistency with the rest of the AP but it is not something I have enjoyed about the AP.


”Rasputin Must Die!” wrote:
they are completely uninterested in the PCs, failing to engage them in conversation no matter what the PCs may try to gain their attention.

To me that is exposition not role-playing. For me, the PCs must have a chance to both (a) interact with the encounter and (b) affect the outcome of that encounter with their role-playing in order for me to think of it as an RP encounter. This encounter didn't do either. It was a flavorful encounter and I had no problem with it, but I wouldn't consider it a RP opportunity... it was a flavor opportunity (and a creative one).

”Brandon Hodge” wrote:

2. Little Otik: Baba Yaga's "first son" is more than willing to engage PCs in conversation, and hungry though he may be, the text explains how he can be tempted/distracted with food in exchange for information, which he manages to let slip anyway while hungrily licking his chops.

Remember, just because a creature is willing to fight or eventually attack does not disqualify it as a roleplaying encounter.

Had there been a way for the PCs to avoid the combat here through other actions I would agree with you. However, as written there is no other alternative in the encounter to combat. All it would have taken (yes, I know a GM could just make it happen in their game) would be for there to be options for how to avoid combat and therefor have different outcomes to the RP portion of the encounter and I would be on board. (i.e. put (4) sustaining spoons in the previous room to be found and if they are given to him they will keep him satisfied. Then there is a choice and the choice matters for the outcome... even better have a throw in line later with Baba Yaga with her reaction on if they let Little Otik live or not).

Again, I would call this an information dump or exposition rather than an RP encounter.

”Brandon Hodge” wrote:
3. The Crucified Doll: Vasilisa's doll, if rescued from her sad state, is a willing and able companion that is informative, "friendly, loyal, and helpful."

I will agree that this one is an RP encounter... although any group that misses a single perception check and fails to remove the trap will miss out on this encounter.

”Brandon Hodge” wrote:

4. The Coffin Man: The hut's overseer, the thanadaemon known as the Coffin Man, engages in a nearly-completely roleplaying encounter, and he's one of the most powerful villains in the book. He'll even let you off, easy, and out if you can beat him at cards, and you get a whole PAGE of diplomatic interaction with him.

At this point, the PCs haven't even left the hut, and 4 of 7 encounter areas (the loft is empty) provide ample roleplay opportunities.

This is definitely an RP encounter... and a good one.

”Brandon Hodge” wrote:
5. The Burning Corpses: Here, the PCs engage AT LENGTH with the primary antagonist of the adventure--Rasputin himself--in what is ONE of THREE roleplaying encounters they will have with the Mad Monk before the final encounter. How many other adventures allow this sort of escalating interplay and in-depth exchanges between PCs and the main villain?

This is one of the encounters that I was specifically thinking of when I said there wasn't much RP. There is nothing the PCs can do in this part of the encounter that will affect how the adventure plays out. I can't call it a monologue because they can actually talk back and get responses, but that's about it. The encounter is intentionally set up in such a way that the PCs can not yet interact with the villain but get a glimpse into who he is.

I do applaud you for the foreshadowing and allowing the players to get the opportunity to know (and hate) their opponent and the big bad of the adventure, your spot on that it is something that very few advenutures hit, but If the PCs can't change anything with how they interact with the story, it is still exposition.

Maybe if there was something they could say or do in these encounters that gave them bonuses or minuses in later interactions with someone the monastery or the final battle itself or something... but it reads as pretty non-interactive.

I guess I should caveat all my comments with the fact that I have not actually ran or played this adventure (though I don't think I gave the impression that I had), only read through it (though it seems not everyone believes that to be true since I came to different conclusions than them). I fully recognize and accept that it could play out very differently than I am picturing and give the appearance of interactivity, but as written there isn't really any affect the PCs can have.

”Brandon Hodge” wrote:
6. Interrogating Soldiers: Note that the individual statblock for soldiers was technically unnecessary with the inclusion of the troop statblock, but I *insisted* developers keep this in for when PCs have a chance to interact one-on-one with individual soldiers throughout the adventure. And though there will always be survivors and chances to interact with these men at the GM's discretion, I'm still only counting it as one encounter. Note page 28 has a quarter-page statblock detailing these ongoing roleplaying interactions and opportunities with soldiers.

If that was really the reason for leaving in the stat-block that took up ~33% of pg 19's text, it seems like some kind of abbreviated stat-block could have been used. But that isn't really important and is a small point.

I would agree that this counts as a role-playing encounter though. They can either get nothing or a very small bit of information about their opponent if they successfully interrogate one of the soldiers. Having a larger list of information they could obtain but only so much from each soldier interrogated would have made repeat encounters of this kind more valuable and interesting as well (and rewarded players for taking social skills like diplomacy and intimidate, or just reward them for role-playing out the encounter).

”Brandon Hodge” wrote:
7. Monastic Cemetery: Not only is the tombstone fairy present as a source of information, a sideline ally, and intriguing roleplaying opportunity, but Polina is also *vitally important* to clues regarding Viktor, and without *roleplaying* with her, you can't complete the adventure. Your PCs can engage in "one big fight" after another until there's not a single soldier left, but without roleplaying, they'll *still lose*, since they can't even get to Rasputin without engaging in roleplayed encounters.

I am not sure I understand why they wouldn't be able to complete the adventure with out her. It's good that you put in an alternate way to raise Viktor from the dead because not all adventuring parties will have access to the spell, but many will (5th level spell in an 13th lvl adventure). It's also a great way to help parties that are stuck since it gives the GM a dispensary of needed info to the PCs.

She is a fine RP encounter, but seems an optional one at best. It wouldn't surprise me if plenty of parties wiped her out prior to even talking to her (yeah, not really conducive to RP if the PCs act that way, but she IS an evil creature and some people take exception to that in a world in which the very laws of nature show if someone is good or evil in response to spells... but I guess this is our world, right... so now it is shades of grey again? Oh nevermind... I shouldn't go there).

Finally, if an RP encounter HAS to end up one way for the adventure to move on, it wouldn't be a good encounter. I suppose it would be the equivelant of a social TPK? Sorry you made this one NPC mad at you so now the adventure is over, let's roll up new characters? (fortunately I don't see that as the case here).

”Brandon Hodge” wrote:
8. Prison Barracks: The nosferatu-bled soldier Dmitri survives among the ruins to provide PCs with information and vital clues to the Brothers Three, Anastasia, Rasputin, Viktor, and that monastery the PCs can't get to unless they roleplay to figure out what's going on.

Assuming he isn't turned into a trench zombie first, yes it is a good RP encounter. I like it.

”Brandon Hodge” wrote:
9. Rusalka Spring: PCs encounter Rasputin's jilted and bloodthirsty lover who is more than willing to engage them in conversation, spill Rasputin's secrets if properly coerced, and provide information if it can gain her some revenge against Rasputin's new fling (see #16).

This is probably my favorite encounter in the entire adventure. It is dripping with flavor and would unimaginably fun to run. Definitely an RP encounter.

”Brandon Hodge” wrote:
10. Anastasia & Alexie: Among the ruins, PCs eventually find an amnesiac Anastasia, who may very well be the savior of Irrisen, and her overly-protective brother Alexie. You get a page and a half of detailed interactions regarding the two, their actions, the role she ultimately plays, and the mystery of exactly what's up with her little brother and the continuing part he plays in Rasputin's schemes.

This is one of those places where I found the inclusion of the real world grating. Putting that aside, if you are going to do a Rasputin adventure you are pretty much required to put Anastasia in it and so you did. It's a fine encounter. My prejudice makes it hard for me on this one though. Still... it's an RP encounter, it's in.

More points in your favor; you included how these two would affect other encounters in the adventure and their presence is brought up over and over in other encounters. The only downside is that there is no discussion of what happens if the PCs decide to NOT keep Anastasia with them.

If you are going with the Anastasia thing, I would have also included a way for her to end up with amnesia at the end of the adventure and roaming our real-world as one of the many Anastasia wanna-be's that came after the true events of Anastasia's life.

”Brandon Hodge” wrote:
11. Rasputin Again: Encounter TWO of THREE roleplaying encounters with the main protagonist, Rasputin, as he escalates his verbal war and taunts with the PCs and gives a dire warning about their meddling further in his affairs.

Again, I see this as exposition, and damn good exposition... far better than just boxed text. Seriously, I applaud you for coming up with creative ways to get the stories to the PCs. However, again the PCs can't actually influence the encounter (with out the GM changing things up).

”Brandon Hodge” wrote:
12. Seance Chamber: The PCs can fight to free the ghost of the Tsarina, and the presence or absence of Anastasia and/or Alexie make this a rich and evocative roleplaying encounter with a variety of possible outcomes, including the PCs learning the true nature of Anastasia and the possibility that she may be Baba Yaga's heir, and the real identity of sneaky little Alexie.

Fair enough. This is a good and varied RP encounter that has a lot of interaction with other elements of the story and how the PCs interact with it changes what information they gain. Good one.

”Brandon Hodge” wrote:
13. Cellarium: Another possible trigger (along with the tsarina) for the culmination of Alexie's schemes and the ultimate unraveling of his infiltration into the party, when his personality overcomes his instructions and perpetuated ruse when PCs start plundering that which doesn't belong to them.

I think this is a great encounter, but I wouldn't say that a trigger for Alexie would count as another RP encounter. Seems like double dipping with #10 above.

”Brandon Hodge” wrote:
14. Rasputin yet AGAIN: The THIRD of THREE roleplaying encounters with Rasputin, where the Mad Monk verbally engages PCs, acts as a possible third trigger for Alexie's unraveling scheme, and a continuation of his mocking engagement that reveals subtle clues to the ultimate importance of Anastasia to the game afoot.

Yep... again, the same response. I *LOVE* that you found other ways to incorporate the big bad into the game and build the PCs reaction to him. But we differ on definition of RP in these cases.

”Brandon Hodge” wrote:
15. Viktor Miloslav: The PCs simply *cannot* complete the adventure without reaching Rasputin's extra-dimensional lair, and they can't do *that* without rescuing the corpse (and later soul) of Viktor Miloslav, resurrecting him (perhaps after convincing the tombstone fairy to help through more roleplaying), convincing him to share the secrets of the World Anchors, or extracting enough information from him to do it themselves before he commits suicide. The entire *crux* of the adventure hinges on this roleplaying encounter.

The chances of the PCs not being able to activate the World Anchors on their own is pretty high. It is indeed pretty close to the case that they can not complete this adventure with out his help. Setting aside the obvious prejudices I have displayed so far, I do think this is something of a weak point. It seems very easy for the adventure to get derailed with this encounter. Characters who think that their adamantine axe is the answer and go to town (yeah, the adventure addresses this, but sometimes PCs are not easily dissuaded or misinterpret ancient evil witches screaming as signs of success), or a clever wizard assume that because he has such darn high skill checks and INT bonus that he HAS to be able to get this darn thing to work. I personally think having multiple ways that success can be achieved enhances things. Otherwise it feels a little rail-roady in those parts.

All that aside... the encounter with Viktor Miloslave is an RP encounter.

”Brandon Hodge” wrote:
16. Serafina: Rasputin's new lover that has his rusalka girlfriend all in a tissy engages the PCs in a roleplaying capacity, appearing in disguise as Baba Yaga herself while attempting to trick them and lead the party from the monastery to thwart their plans and buy Rasputin more time to drain his mother's power. Given her magic and Bluff skills, PCs are going to have a hard time not being fooled by her ruse, and will have to react accordingly.

This is another one of the better RP encounters in the adventure. I like it and I can see groups falling for the ruse... well done.

”Brandon Hodge” wrote:
Of approximately 44 unique encounter areas in Rasputin Must Die, 16 have significant roleplaying elements. That's OVER A THIRD of the book's unique encounters, and while the chapter contains some deep tactical and obvious combat elements, to dismiss it as "one big fight" is just not factual.

I get 10 of 44, so a little over 1/5? A good portion of that difference is nit-picking on my part and a difference in what we would consider RP encounters. For me it has to include the ability both to interact and for those interactions to make a difference in the outcome of the adventure or encounter.

I also have to repeat my praise for coming up with other ways to do exposition and information dumps. It is impressive and I applaud you for it.

That said, in reviewing each of your examples I do see that my prejudices against the adventure probably set me in such a mood that each of the times I read it I came away with the feeling of one big fight and missed the nuances of some pretty good RP encounters. There is FAR more RP in this adventure than what I made it sound like in my post above and more than I gave it credit for or got the impression of in my read through. (Did I mention the inclusion of the real-world rubbed me the wrong way and made me not give a fair chance? Might have been subtle, but there it is).

I will repeat what I said above for anyone reading the thread but not this whole response. If you walk away with one thing from this post let it be that there is indeed RP in this adventure.

In fact I will go further and say if you like the flavor of the real-world in your game you are very likely to enjoy this adventure.

To make up for my misrepresenting your adventure I would even be willing to go give it a thorough and fair review (including my biases upfront but trying to separate them from the rest), if that would be helpful to you (and if it gets me "off the hook" for my earlier comments).

I still don't like the real-world being included in the game though... ;-)

Sean Mahoney

Brandon Hodge wrote:

I appreciate that, Sean.

But you're still on the hook about the "no RP" comments. =-)


You have been nothing but a class act through out this entire discussion and you would be one of the people most justified at taking offense. I truly and deeply appreciate that.

I know I am on the hook for the RP comments and you deserve as in-depth a response as the well thought out and thorough accounting that you gave. I am prepared to give that to you and am a bit over half way on typing up my response.

Unfortunately my four year old has been having nothing of his Daddy spending his time writing on the computer instead of playing with him on his day off. I will try to get you that tonight.


Tangent101 wrote:
Do note, that by stating "this module is a stain" you are also indirectly stating that anyone who enjoys this module is in fact defective in some way. And do note this definition of the word: a cause of reproach; stigma; blemish: a stain on one's reputation.

My feelings about the module and it's inclusion of real world earth no more reflect on you than the reverse is true. If I don't like it (however strongly) it does NOT infer there is something wrong with you. No more than you liking the module a lot infers there is something wrong with me.

A fan of something should not take others dislike of that thing personally. It just means someone else does not like it.

I can understand how it would be offensive to someone who worked on it, like Brandon, which is why I have tried to explain myself and offered my apologies if I hurt his feeling with my comments.

Let me first address the outrage over my use of the word 'stain' when describing my feelings about this adventure. (I will respond to Brandon's response about RP in a separate post)

A stain is a discoloration that can be clearly distinguished from the surface, material, or medium it is found upon. They are caused by the chemical or physical interaction of two dissimilar materials.

In my opinion (and I think even the supporters of this adventure agree), having an adventure that is set in the real world is a distinct departure from the norm of anything that has been presented in Pathfinder to date. That is what some of the people love about this! It is so different and revolutionary. It stands out... it's different. That, in and of itself, does not make it good or bad, but it does likely make it contentious.

The second part, describing as the interaction of two dissimilar materials is where my specific use of the word comes in and where my feeling of the inclusion of the real world into the game as a bad thing merit the use of the word. It's jarring to me to see the two superimposed, and if you are someone who doesn't like that particular flavor of peanut butter and chocolate being mixed (recognizing that others do indeed love it) then it something that is distasteful.

Finally stain implies that it is something that can not be removed (sure technically many stains can be removed, but I think using the word to refer to something like this implies that it can not). Once an adventure or book references the real world as something in it's cannon (yes, I know this was not the first time this happened in the Pathfinder universe) then anything I run in the universe that excludes this is a house rule. In some cases it is just basically ignoring it. In other cases it is not running it and having spent $120+ on the product (the entire AP).

It also immediately brings me back to the 'good ol' days' when people were attacking Dungeons & Dragons for it being satanic and having references to demons and devils in the real world. I had to listen to pastors at my parents church rail about my hobby. I was forbidden by my mother from playing it or hanging out with anyone who did. Examples of D&D and real world cross overs were used as ammunition in these battles. Saying, “I don't run with the real world in my game though, I house-ruled that out!” wasn't really a defense from people not using logic in the first place. Those examples became liabilities.

But things are different now, right? Well, in Lisa Stephens' story hour at PaizoCon she mentions in passing that D&D will never be carried in Walmart where as Pathfinder can. Any guesses as to why a publicly religious organization would make that decision?

This type of adventure adds, ever-so-slightly, to the chance of that happening to Pathfinder. I am not saying it is likely, but it is there and it can't be taken back later if the public opinion does turn against Pathfinder like it did D&D. So yeah... I do think the can't be removed part matters.

Which brings me to whether or not I should have used the term in the first place. While I am sorry if it hurt someones feelings that I feel that way about the inclusion of the real world in the game. It was not my intent to make people feel bad. This is particularly true for Brandon Hodge who I think did admirably with the task he was given (again, I will address the RP part later), but the task he was given was the thing I had a problem with in the first place. I do feel that my use of the word reflects my feelings though for all the above reasons. It is a strong word for strong feelings.

It has been pointed out that the best way to protest content that you don't like is to not buy it, but I have to take some exception to that. If I didn't buy it (and read it), would it really be valid that I didn't like it? Would anyone have accepted that?

Further, Paizo has repeatedly made it clear that they listen to their customers on the message boards. I like to think that they listened all the myriad of time when I liked what they came up with and I would like to think that they take the dislike into consideration now. At the same time I would expect that they would consider the adventure and the inclusion a success, not be no one disliked it but because more seemed to have liked it. That's not to say my opinion will matter more than anyone elses, nor should it, but to suggest that people who do not like something should not be able voice that just as strongly here to help shape the products they love is to take away an important sounding board for Paizo. They need to hear the good... and the bad. And they need to be able to place it is context.

What this tells me is the BEST way to be heard is to be a customer (no real reason to listen to the people not buying your stuff) and post what you like and don't like on the boards.

On the other hand, I kind of wish I hadn't used the word because the reaction to it seems to have derailed the thread, and required that I post a huge diatribe in the hopes that people will understand and accept that I have this point of view (not agree with it necessarily, but respect that I have it).


I am sorry if my calling it a stain on the game offended you. I have strong feelings about the inclusion of the real world in my D&D and this hits those. Strong statement to reflect the strong feelings.

Don't worry, I don't have delusions that my view is universally true for everyone... quite the opposite as I understand it. But as you point out, I can make the game the way I like it. The only real way I can vote is with my dollar and I decided to trust Paizo in this case to see what they could do... and I personally was disappointed. It was an insanely (perhaps unfairly) high bar for it to have been good for me, and this didn't hit it.

I would also point out that it has nothing to do with the technology aspects of the adventure. I am fine with that in the game. Could even be fun to use those and the troop rules in a future of Golarion romp at some point. My problem is with the inclusion of the magic of the rest of the game into earth. That is the part I find doesn't work for me.

And again... all those other examples (heck, throw in the D&D cartoon) are things I equally dislike for the same reason. Again... technology fine (if not my taste in the case of sword and laser, but that's a preference as opposed to a flat out can't stand it.).

Anyway... I digress...

Back to the original post. Flavoring it as gnomes or whatever probably does make it the easiest to just scrub the earth part and keep the rest. Reskin the tech if that isn't your thing.

In my opinion the fights in this adventure are great, but there is precious little RP and I was sorely wanting some at this point... but the whole reason it disappoints me it isn't there is because it is a lot of work to make up that much of the adventure itself, so recommending you do so as a substitute kind of defeats the purpose of buying the APs in the first place.

Sean Mahoney

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Because he signed up for a fantasy game and it went into a VERY loose historical fiction game.

The problem isn't technology in the game, the problem for me is adding magic and every other part of the game that requires a suspension of disbelief into earth.

But that may not be the case for the original poster. Regardless, his question was not "should I actually like this even though I don't?" It was, "I don't like this, how can I remove it since I like the rest of the AP?"

Telling him he should like it or that it was done in an old Dragon or Expedition to the Barrier Peaks doesn't really help him with that.

It is clear that Paizo feels he and I are in the minority and feel this was a well received adventure and that the demand is there for a Numeria campaign... and heck, they are probably right. But for me personally it isn't an area I am interested in.

So come on! Any ideas that do help him? I bet you can come up with some good ones.

What do you see as the important things that would need to be in place for a replacement adventure. What is important in both fulfilling what came earlier in the campaign (and what needs to get changed earlier) and what needs to be in place to lead into the next adventure?

Sean Mahoney

I feel the same way about the adventure itself. The addition of real world earth is a stain on the game. It would take an AMAZING adventure to have sold me otherwise... and this was not it.

Don't get me wrong, the designer had a huge uphill battle to try and make this work and on some fronts he definitely made it. The adventure would be an interesting tactical simulation, he did great with troops for example. That said, the adventure itself is basically one big fight. There is little to no RP that is needed... in my mind that is a the easiest way for an adventure to be marked as not good in my book. No RP AND in the real world... yeah, not much chance this will ever see the light in a game I am in.

The good news is that this adventure has almost no RP (I know, I just said that was bad). The reason this is good is because it means it should be super easy to replace.

Here is a list of pretty much everything salient to the plot of the AP in the adventure.

- Baba Yaga's long lost son help the current queen capture her and is taking over one of her other lands
- There is another possible heir to Irresin present who the PCs can manipulate
- Rescue Baba Yaga from her trap

that's really about it. Hit all those points in a replacement and all you lost was some horrible flavor on top of some pretty cool combats.

Really you could even scrap the above, come up with a new way that Baba Yaga was captured by the current queen and you would be good. This adventure just needs to save Baba Yaga and set up the revenge.

Sean Mahoney

Okay... so if the Witch Hunter archetype isn't really a draw, what it is about the Inquisitor you are being drawn to for this character idea. Any class can wear the large brimmed hat and have a bad attitude, so your good no matter what there.

What I would really suggest you do is decide if you are more attracted to the gun / sniper aspect of things or if you like the judgements and buffing spells you are getting from the inquisitor.

There isn't a wrong or right answer, but remember that the Inquisitor doesn't multiclass real well. Levels in inquisitor matter a LOT as it determines how effective just about everything they do is.

Gunslinger, as mentioned above, is pretty much the only way to get that full attack with the two-handed firearm though.

Would an Inquisitor with the black powder Inquisition you uses a crazy looking hand cannon fit your ideal? It's an option. But if you are just sold on that rifle, I would probably steer you toward just going Gunslinger.

Sean Mahoney

If you are thinking about using a two-handed firearm it is really hard to make any choice other than 3 levels in Gunslinger (Musket Master). It is really the only viable way you are going to get to be able to make full attacks with a two-handed fire arm.

I would also caution you about mixing up the idea of a witch hunter profession in gameplay and a class or archetype that says witch hunter.

Let's take a look at the Witch Hunter archetype and see if it really helps you hunt you some witches.

Spell Sage: You lose Monster Lore and can identify spells being cast better. Here's the thing though, you don't care what the spell is. You just care that they are casting. Ready an action against the suspected witch spellcasting and drop a huge hit on them and they will have a tough time getting that spell off (and you did a bunch of damage). This is generally a bad trade for you.

Knowledgeable Defense: Here is the payoff for the extra ability to identify spells... sometime you get a small bonus to resist that spell. As above, if you disrupt the spell with a crap ton of damage, I guarantee you will make a save against it (as they weren't able to cast it). Very small benefit and you lose some of the abilities I would think would make you most iconic as a witch hunting inquisitor... Discern Lies for example... I can see you using that in a village to help ferret out witches.

Spell Scent: This is pretty thematic, I actually like it. But I can't think of too many times it will make a big difference in the game. Typically you are going to find the witches you are facing. At least in the Reign of Winter.

Witch's Bane Judgement: This seems really thematic until you start looking at how it actually plays out. You can use it to make arcane casters within 30 feet (remember wanting to use the long range weapon?) get a -2 AC and -2 on saves vs you. But you probably aren't casting spells on them, so the saves don't help. And if you just use the +3 to hit you get to ALL creatures from the Justice Judgement (+4 at the next level). So it doesn't really make you any better at hunting witches than you were with out it.

On balance, I would stear clear of the Witch Hunter archetype if you want to be a Witch Hunter in gameplay. It won't make you any better at your job of hunting witches... it is pretty much just a name tag.

Completely agree. This is spot on my favorite type of book. Fine work.

My experience with the previous one was that mine lasted about 2 Adventure Paths in length. Seems a better unit of time than something else as people play through at different times...

Great read.

Very small nit-pick. You would say that someone is preparing something in advance not advanced.

It does seem to trail off at the end, but I assume this is because you haven't finished? If not, I would suggest writing a conclusion.

Anyway, good food for thought. Thanks.

It depends what you are looking for here. i.e. In game vs out of game peg taking down-ness.

In game, I would let there be a situation in a small area which it is tough to bring the bow to bear, or just have an enemy run around the others to grapple or even sunder his bow. This lets him know he needs other doing their role in order to be great at his.

If you are looking to make the player understand that he is not all powerful, I would re-read the full section on cover and concealment and make sure you are using those. Precise shot only negates the penalty for shooting into melee combat, these other two are still in effect. this will change his hit chance a lot (at low levels... if he planned well he can be getting improved precise shot at 6th and this will be less of an issue).

Sean Mahoney

I am impressed. Good work!

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He's wrong, you are right... but it isn't worth pushing.

Let him know that you followed the rules, but if it is keeping him from having fun, you will revoke the action and let him go back and do something else.

Not a huge deal.

Then ask him if he is okay with the rules as written moving forward or if they will prevent him from having fun in the game.

Make sure you guys come to an agreement and then let it go. In the long term it is a really minor concern for the campaign.

I have no basis for this, but I would rule that urine could be purified into water (since water is there and you are seperating things out). On the other hand solid waste is missing nutrients it needs so I wouldn't allow it.

On the other hand, maybe it would be just killing off bad bacteria so there isn't a chance of getting disease from it but it would still provide some meager nutritional value... not fun, but maybe it would work.

Witch would be a pretty good choice in this situation. She would cover much of the missing arcane ability as well as supplement the non-healing aspects of divine casting that are missing.

Cleric would be great as well. You don't need to focus on healing at all and instead use your spells and abilities for buffing and what not.

Wizard is a solid choice.

Oracle and Sorcerer would both be fine.

I really think you will miss having a heavy spellcaster once you are onto the third adventure or so.

Sean Mahoney

What you have done is a good first step in pricing an item, but can't be the last. As I am sure you noticed, this comes out WAY cheaper than any AC boosting item in the book. Which is exactly where the next step needs to take you.

You need to look for existing items or formulas that already exist and compare them to the effect you are trying to create. In this case, there is one:

According to the table for this type of thing there are a few formulas that would be applicable

Effect: Armor bonus (enhancement)
Base Price: Bonus squared x 1,000 gp
Example: +1 chainmail

Effect: AC bonus (deflection)
Base Price: Bonus squared x 2,000 gp
Example: Ring of protection 3

Effect: AC bonus (other)
Base Price: Bonus squared x 2,500 gp
Example: Ioun stone (dusty rose prism)

Based on those numbers, then you would get 16,000gp for a +4 armor bonus to AC (the equivalent of a continuous effect Mage Armor spell), which is spot on with the costs of Bracers of Armor +4.

If there is an existing method/formula already in place for the effect that you are trying to create then that is the formula that should be followed.

Next step (if necessary, in this case probably not because it is already spelled out) would be to go look at existing items and see if any are replicating what you want to do.

Sean Mahoney

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I would actually advise skinning... but you seem deadset against it.

If you have a race that is very different from humans thematically, but has the same (very generic) mechanics, then you should be good? Right? Your complaint is that the core races are boring, not that you want more power mechanically than the other players get?

But instead you argue that it is just calling something by another name. The roleplaying aspects of a character and the mechanics may inform each other but they do not mirror one another. I would reconsider your GMs offer to skin just about anything you want.

For example: You decide that playing a serpentfolk sorcerer sounds thematic and fits in with the campaign but the GM won't allow the race and does allow skinning. Does it really throw off your character idea that you get to put +2 in any stat, get a free feat, and an extra skill point per level? Not really...

It seems to me he offered you a pretty big concession and is concerned about the power level your present.

He is right that the race builder in the ARG is not balanced for people who are making a character. It wasn't designed to be. It is for making races not tailoring a race to work with a character concept... that allows it to become broken.

I can't speak about how he handled it in the moment but offering the solution to allow you to skin while retaining balance mechanically was a good one on his part.

Sean Mahoney

My first thought is to always determine if there is actually a problem.

How does the player of the cavalier feel about the situation? Is he taking it in stride or is he pissed there was one encounter of the night that he didn't get to participate in?

If he is fine with it and understands that he got some bad rolls against a save or suck spell, and that can happen, then I wouldn't worry too much. If he is taking it poorly I would continue looking.

Next up, I would ask how this is different than someone who gets one-shotted by a critical hit or dies to a save-or-die spell. They are even more out of the game, but most groups accept this as part of the game.

If those are not good enough, and they may not be for your group, then I would consider taking a page from 4th edition and get rid of durations in exchange for continuing to save each round.

Sean Mahoney

Before I pop into my criticisms, I want to point out that the reason I am posting this at all is because this a good Player's Guide... I just want to give some feed back. I also want to take a moment to honestly thank you guys for putting out a free product to support the games I run. It really helps.

My first comment would be that I really miss having the ability to buy a five pack of printed copies of these suckers. It was REALLY nice to be able to hand them out to players. Perhaps just not enough people bought them?

Next. There seems to be an awful lot of time spent on describing why there needs to be spoilers in this type of product and why you as a GM should deal with it or edit your own dang Player's Guide! Interestingly the majority of spoilers in the product are held in this section warning about why this product exists and why there needs to be spoilers. WAY too much time on this. Next time try to edit yourself down to one paragraph on the need and one paragraph of the actual spoilers (if they are actually needed).

Which brings up what spoilers are actually needed. Now, I have to preface this with the fact that I have not read the adventures so I can't know as well as the Paizo folks what is actually needed. However, my guess is that the two points needed are 1) this adventure will not stick around in the town it begins in. You will travel a lot and when you do... 2) It is going to get cold. I am not sure there is a need to tell us of Baba Yaga's involvement or that there is planar travel or even that this takes place in Irresen rather than a vague point in the North.

Next up is character advice. This changed from a list of each class and how they can fit in (Fighters can be found anywhere, etc. etc.) to more generalized but relevant information. I applaud this change. I did see a complaint up thread about the lack of info on what favored enemies should be taken, but it was there... maybe call it out a little more next time? (low: animals, fey & humans; Mid: giants & magical beasts; high: outsiders, undead and a few dragons).

Traits - I really like the ones you have, but they seem a little sparse. I would have liked to see more. They did inspire me though. For example, Players are notoriously contrary and if you tell them this is going to be taking place in the north and make a character that fits there you are likely to have at least one in a group who is fixated on the Qadiran fire mage and doesn't care how they are living in a Taldan town or that it will be in the North. I think that is an opportunity. Another would be for people playing odd races. Perhaps a few for native Taldans who are going for love of country? Anyway... I think there is a lot that can be cut (1 page of warning of spoilers & reprint of material from other sources).

Heldren - This is the other area I felt was pretty sparse. I would have liked to see a little more on the town and it's inhabitants... things that the people who live there would know. I get that you are not trying to get people attached to the location though.

Cold Weather Primer - Perfect. Short and to the point but also hammers home the fact that this is moving north into the cold.

Additional Class Options - This is exactly the type of thing I like to see in a players guide. Until I see how much is just reprints. Point to locations of good choices like the winter witch but unless your goal was to say there needs to be at least one winter witch per party (and I missed that?) then this seemed excessive. Now, if it had been a whole new Prestige Class and/or archetype that would have been exciting. My suggestion in the future would be several new archetypes. Would be fun... but a lot more work, so maybe not the best choice for a free product.

Anyway... overall a good product. Just keep warning down to small snippets, make a short list to yourself of what needs to be conveyed and keep spoilers only to that. Keep down the repeat material from elsewhere (but lists of locations for good stuff would be fine and significantly shorter).

Sean Mahoney

When putting ranks in the perform skill, you do indeed need to note which type of perform (from the 9) that you are choosing.

Interestingly, you do not need any ranks in Perform to use the Bardic Perform ability. That said, it is a good idea to be taking ranks in perform (see the Versatile Performance ability).

Which performance you choose to do will dictate how you can fight. If you are wanting to fight with a rapier, you had probably choose a performance that leaves at least one hand free (act, dance, comedy, oratory and sing are all good choice and you might be able to make a case you can do some of the others one handed).

Regardless of which Perform you go with, you will not be able to fight the first round that you start the performance (since it uses a standard action), but can while maintaining it (since those take free actions).

Choosing a Perform that doesn't take an instrument is a great choice for the Bardic Performance ability. At some point you want the others (again, see Versatile Performance and there are some masterwork and magic items that you could only use with the right performance skill).

Sean Mahoney

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