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I am ultra late here and probably any decisions regarding what to include have already been made... but I'm going to add my two cents anyway.

1) As others have said, the prologue was a godsend. I don't actually care for the exact scenario used in the prologue, but it works. But any sort of prologue getting your heroes started in brevoy and given a chance to meet and interact with the major players before being sent off to start clearing the Greenbelt would be well received.

2) While I don't mind the idea of filling in the blank map space and giving some more short descriptions of each hex... as far as actual content I prefer the CRPG's method where random encounter areas with just one encounter are the exception (and usually bypassable). Any important encounter area has at least 3-4 encounters to go through. For example the updated Temple of the Elk, so instead of just facing the bear, you've also got a pack of wolves, a boar, and one other encounter I can't recall offhand. I'd like to see more of this sort of thing, because the 1 thing that really drags in this AP is the one encounter workdays that really are the norm. This goes double past part 2.

By part 3/4 your PCs really shouldn't be bothering to clear hex by hex and deal with local wildlife, they have scouts for that. Their scouts should be calling the PCs in for an assist when encountering something more meaningful (whether that be a tribe of lizardfolk, an island with spooky lightning balls, or a roving tribe of centaurs). Basically direct the PCs to areas that can offer a challenge, don't waste time with exploring hex by hex and dealing with speed bump encounters that are more annoying than threatening.

3) The region based kingdom management. Especially if you're making this as a PF2 product and have a chance to redesign from the ground up, claiming and upgrading hex by hex turns kingdom management into a spreadsheet simulator. Instead of claiming 50 hexes 1 at a time for 1 bp each I'd rather see claiming a region for 50bp. The CRPG's kingdom management system isn't perfect, but at least this aspect of it is on the right track.

4) The motivations of Nyrissa and the possibility of teaming up with her to take on the Eldest if meeting certain goals. Nyrissa appearing earlier and her story being brought in much earlier is also good. I have no way to be sure but from discussions on this forum I feel like Nyrissa coming into play earlier is probably one of the most frequent changes made to the AP.

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So I posted... wow was that 4 years ago? About my reshuffling of Kingmaker (here Between delays and my group swapping campaigns/DMs fairly regularly, as well as my modifications fluffing out what we've played... we're currently done with Book 2.

Which means we're hitting the point where I plan to make more serious changes.

Short version of what I am planning here is:

-Rushlight tournament invites go out.This usually comes in part 5, but I am wanting to use this as a way to introduce the players to local politics, and show them getting recognition as a real kingdom following the defeat of Hargulka.

-Since we are at start of book 3 technically, the Rushlight tournament will not be tied to the attack of Pitax (this time at least). After returning home there'll be a time skip, and a few months later players get a call for help from Varn (who has not vanished!)

-Varnhold Vanishing is going to be pushed all the way to 5, right before or possibly simultaneously with Nyrissa's Blooms. However, I do want the players to take over Varnhold. So at this point, Varn is being raided by Centaurs in response to his settlers heading south and coming too close to Vordrakai's tomb. At this point the PCs being called in to help can choose to ignore Varn (then go take up the ruins of the town afterwards), or go to help (in which case after successfully helping Varn swears fealty to the PCs and they can annex his kingdom). In either case the PCs will need to deal with the Centaurs either to gain Varn's fealty or to successfully claim the remains of his kingdom.

-Once the Centaurs have been dealt with (or possibly simultaneously with it, depending on how evil I feel), the battle of Tatzlford kicks off, starting the events of Book 4. It will then go to Book 5, then eventually loop back to someone crossing a line, waking up Big V, and Varnhold vanishing and all of the fun associated with that starting.

So my major points of concern right now are:
1) Is the Rushlight Tournament enough to hold a whole session by itself? I am planning on doing it as a one shot in the relatively near future even though it's not my turn to DM again yet. Since it's kind of disconnected from the Minotaurs and Book 4 issues, it seems like a good way to set up that political landscape before diving in. I am just not sure it will be enough to fill a 6-8 hour session on its own.

2) In the event that it is not, I am interested in hearing about things to help pad it out. I have so far decided to add at least one new minigame event (Extreme Juggling. I can provide my current write up for it if anyone is interested), though there was a Thief Tower event someone had posted here some time ago and it may get added as well. Looking for any other events that people have created that fit in well (especially interested in anything Mage themed, though I have also considered something tied to Ride/Handle Animal with the menagerie at the tournament), or any encounters (social or otherwise) that would make sense to include before/during/after the tournament.

3) How much am I potentially shooting myself in the foot with the reshuffling of big V? I really feel like he is a bigger more menacing threat than anything we see in stages 3/4, and feels like a more appropriate high level challenge. I am more concerned about storyline setup. Particularly ramifications of the players allying with the Nomen centaurs potentially years before Big V starts doing his thing.

I agree that the range of bonus from proficiencies is too low. That said, as long as the non-numerical benefits of proficiency are borne out, I am fine with it. This is one of those cases where incomplete information really hurts us, so I am looking forward to the full playtest being released.

Just from a general numeric scaling standpoint I would personally rather see the different proficiency levels give at least a +2-3 bonus over the previous level, as a +1 generally just isn't impactful enough to be noticed in most situations. That being said, the general argument is the critical success/failure system makes a +1 in 2e as +2 is in 1e, so is worthwhile. I am willing to give it a shot to see how it works in practice.

I'll be honest, in the current system I see absolutely no reason to differentiate between Wands and Staves.

In 3.X/PF1 Wands were defined by being batteries for low level spells, while Staves were batteries for high level spells. In PF2 we're already seeing low level spell staves... so what's the point of Wands? Especially since all of the talk about resonance has been about ending CLW Wand Spam, I don't expect we are going to see Wands showing up as big batteries with 50 charges, I have a hard time picturing what a Wand will do that is significantly different from a Staff.

I'd rather just lump Wands/Orbs/Staves/Tomes/Whatever into a single "Implement" category, and let them work more or less how Staves were described in the blog (preferably without the limited charges though. Having Resonance and items with limited charges simultaneously I feel like is one of the worst decisions of the playtest)

Thanks everyone for the ideas! Finally got to get our starting session in last night (previous planned session got disrupted by Hurricane Irma stopping in for a visit), and it went better than I had really hoped for.

I am adopting/modifying Hargulka's monster kingdom into the group, but started the session about 3 months prior to the players meeting Hargulka, so we have some kingdom building time.

In Month 1, they start hearing lots of rumors, primarily running around about the Ruler, Oleg, and a character who got turned into a Monkey by way of curse following the end of Part 1. They see a sudden uptick of divorce and annulment requests, it feels as though anything relating to a relationship in the kingdom has started going sour quickly. The players try doing some investigation, but had positioned their skill focus a bit too much on outdoorsy stuff, nobody has any real gather information to turn up more clues.

The monkey character decides to go out and beat up on the first person he hears spreading rumors. After hearing them from an unarmed woman, he decides to wait for somebody else. Eventually he finds some unsavory types in a bar laughing about it, and eventually ends up having to knock out a whole bar worth of patrons to stop the laughter. Some unrest is incurred, and Grigori is going to have a field day when he shows up.

In Month 2, they fail another set of checks to try to figure out what is causing these rumors or how to stop them, but things mostly continue on as they have been. A few other events unfold this month, but mostly unrelated.

In Month 3, things start escalating. While the rumors are still an underlying persistent irritant, crops are now starting to fail, and the players are made aware consumption will start increasing in the following turns. Finally the Cleric remembers he has spells that make the party's skill shortcomings less relevant, and they at least become aware of the relatively small group of women (coincidentally one being the one the monkey ignored at the start) spreading the rumors.

Players start surveillance, and also finally make the connection between this and the uptick in annulments/divorces. One player decides the best way to counteract the effort is to hire a bard to start spreading stories throughout the Kingdom to remind people that loyalty and faithfulness. He finds a Bard named Grigori who is happy to take his gold and spread these tales.

During the surveilance, one player manages to spot an unholy symbol on one of the cultists, and identifies it with the help of Jhod. So we finally now know it is a cult of Gyronna, and have also managed to identify the leader of the cult.

Upon finding out she's a midwife, they suddenly decide moving against her overtly would turn the population against them, as they are well respected among women. I just smile and nod as they try to figure out what to do. One player tries sneaking into her house to look for evidence, but failed the DC20 search check to turn up anything, so comes away empty handed. Eventually one player remembers a friendly NPC they had met during the first part of the adventure, a ranger by the name of "Gwendolyn, Hunter of Men", who they decide would be a perfect recruit for the cultists, and they decide to try to get her recruited to infiltrate and gather evidence for them.

In the mean time, shortly after getting this little bit of espionage started, the players receive an invitation from Chief Sootscale, who recently got word of a diplomatic Envoy coming, would prefer for the PCs to be there. Meeting with Hargulka goes about as well as could be hoped, successfully swaying the Kobolds away from being interested in what Hargulka is selling, and sending Hargulka off in a huff.

They come back just 3 days later, and find Grigori at the center of town, gathering a big crowd around him as he is wont to do, and as instructed is telling wonderful tales of Loyalty and Faithfulness, and taking every opportunity to point out the ways that the leaders of this burgeoning Kingdom are failing to live up to the ideals of these stories. Right now the players just shrug this off as a bit of lost gold, saying he's the lesser problem given the cultists still out there.... oh how little they know.

Either way, by this point the session had run long (as I mentioned there was a few other events that took up some time as well), so we cut off there. Now I have two weeks to try to pivot and see where we want this infiltration by Gwendolyn to go. I am half tempted to have her join legitimately, just because my players would be furious at having to kill her.

(As an aside, I have decided for my campaign, the cultist leader, Grigori, a Rogue Werewolf, and an as of yet unmet Soldier are all part of a team sent from Drelev to disrupt the PCs Kingdom, coordinating to sow discord and cause it to collapse in on itself so Drelev can start expanding his own holdings into the more profitable Greenbelt. I've decided at this point the PCs are too small to be worth Irovetti's notice, by the end of the AP will be when they start attracting his attention).

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Tarondor wrote:
10 BP is 40,000 gold. Just how major ARE these items and what is your tax rate?

It costs 40,000 gold to buy 10BP, but the BP is an abstraction which is why we have BP instead of just gold costs. I mean if you want to get really technical, where does all of your nations' BP come from when you collect taxes with your tax edict set to "none". It's only a small penalty to economy that most kingdoms won't even notice, where is all of your money coming from?

The point is to give a point to those magic item slots, and make them worth something to the kingdom. Less broken than the original rules but more useful than what UK gives.

The big difference though was that NPCs buying magic items generated BPs for your realm. Once your Economy bonus was high enough that you could reliably sell major items, you could abuse the system to create ridiculous incomes - try searching the forums here for "magic item economy".

Just as an aside, my quick fix houserule for this was that each magic item slot has an X% chance of being sold each month (30% for minor, 10% for Medium, 5% for Major), and if it is sold the kingdom gets the BP boost (I think it was like 1/4/10 or something along those lines) from taxes on the sale, and the item in the shop gets rerolled so the PCs have something new to choose to buy the month after.

So a minor item slot is effectively a .3 income boost, medium item slot is effectively a .4 income boost, and major is a .5 income boost. So less overall income gained than having say a Mine, but most of the city buildings don't have raw +income. Also the chunky nature of it makes it more interesting (occasionally just getting +10 BP at the start of your turn can jumpstart some new options that were previously "I don't want to wait a month for this...").

So I am finally after two years getting back in the DM seat, and getting to run Part 2 of Kingmaker (we finished Part 1 a couple years ago but schedules forced us to put off continuing until now).

So I'm now in the middle of prepping and going through the changes I want to make, and this particular event at home is bugging me. The adventure path doesn't actually give any details on the cultists really doing anything. Sure Malgorzata is recruiting for her cult, but does ignoring this cause any trouble for the PCs? Not per the adventure. It says that it will cause the town to tear itself apart, but unlike with Grigori causing unrest, there's no notes on what happens if the PCs just ignore the cult.

So I am looking for suggestions. What is the cult actually doing that may attract the PCs attention? What sort of consequences come from failing to deal with this in a timely manner?

Name: Jackson Whitehaven
Race: Human
Classes/levels: Warlord 2
Adventure: Stolen Land
Location: Nettle's Crossing
Catalyst: Having a Paladin Complex
The Gory Details: Jackson from the start was a Warlord with a Paladin complex. He picked up the Silver Crane Tradition (including its Oath to protect), and focused heavily on Silver Crane Maneuvers (including the stance that grants detect evil at will like a Paladin and the healing maneuvers), and took the Flaw that required him to stay near any fallen allies, as well as a 3.5 feat that grants immunity to fear effects. Basically he was a Paladin in Attitude, Oath, Deed, and Mechanics, but not in name.

So naturally, when the party encounters Davik's undead spirit, he was not inclined to listen even a little bit to the reasonable request to toss the Stag Lord's body into the river. This was an undead creature, and a powerful one at that, and for its mere existence it deserved to be destroyed. He convinced the rest of the party to attack by virtue of them following as he charged.

...Unfortunately things did not go well for the party. Davik was stronger and faster than they anticipated, dropping a ton of negative status effects on the party very quickly (at some point one party member had been confused and ran something like 300 feet away, another was dazed, and everybody was shaken or confused, both in some cases). When the first party member dropped, Jackson was stuck. He couldn't in good faith leave his fallen comrade's side. He made his stand there, standing over his friend's body while the group's cleric got into position to drop a heal to get him out of there.

Unfortunately, it took a round too long to begin the extraction, and a max damage hit from Nettles dropped our hero too low to be saved. The no-longer-confused character rushed back onto the scene just in time to see Jackson fall, and in a fit of rage landed a powerful splitting blow, disrupting the spirit's presence and allowing the rest of the party the ability to get out... but leaving the spirit still lingering and now directing his fury at the party as well as the Stag Lord.

Worth noting: This was not the standard Davik Nettles encounter. Davik had a few levels of Harbinger added on, making him a far more fearsome opponent with a lot of crowd control that gave him a major edge against the party

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pennywit wrote:
Seerow wrote:
...when the players convert a tooth fairy from Chaotic Evil to Neutral, and convince it to set up shop as a dentist rather than stealing teeth from random people around town

This story I gotta hear.

Well if you insist. Spoilered for length.

This was actually during my "intro to kingmaker" one-shot, where only half the party was present. Party included a Warlord playing it like he was a Paladin, an Aegis, and a Raptoran Summoner with some ties to minor nobility (Warlord and Aegis are DSP material, Raptoran brought over from 3.5).

Long story short, the party starts off in a small town and tracks down a group of fey who had been stealing food by pretending to be bandits, and playing pranks on anyone who failed to cooperate, being led by a tooth fairy (the party unfortunately failed every check to hear any rumors about people missing teeth until they actually encountered her, so it was kind of out of left field. Oh well).

After the party tracks them down to the abandoned building they had taken up residence under, the Warlord decides to talk it out, asking why the fey were stealing in the first place. The fey insist that they weren't doing anything wrong, they were just following human customs. They came from the stolen lands and saw how these transactions were handled all the time. At this point the whole party facepalms and starts explaining that no, banditry is not normal for all humanoids regardless of what they may have seen elsewhere. A few good diplomacy checks and some back and forth arguing later, they've convinced the fey that no, banditry is not normal, and you need to pay for what you take.

At which point the tooth fairy then asks "...does that include paying for teeth?" and the group loses it. They suggest she pay for teeth people have already lost, possibly placing a coin under their pillows (trying to recreate the mythical toothfairy we all know), but she explains that no, the teeth she gets need to be fresh from someone's mouth. They're all adamantly against this until one of them thinks to ask why, and the tooth fairy explains "I need them to make more little tooth fairies!", and now you have the ethical dilemma of hurting someone a little vs propagation of a species at play.

The Summoner suggests that they give the tooth fairy over to the dungeon where she can take teeth from prisoners, but the Warlord stomps down hard on that idea, equating it with torture. A bit of arguing amongst the party later and they come up with the idea of spreading word around to nobles/other affluents that the tooth fairy can remove any sore teeth they have, for a price. This solves the problem of taking teeth unwillingly, and gives the fey access to gold they can spend on food so they no longer have to steal. A few days and some gather information checks to find appropriate clients later, and their friend the tooth fairy has a new business in dentistry in the town.

As for the conversion from Chaotic Evil to neutral, at some point during the conversation the Warlord used detect evil and found out the tooth fairy was chaotic evil (which I was playing up as a complete and utter lack of morals rather than actual malice). During the following days while the other two party members were searching for clients, the Warlord stayed with the tooth fairy at all times imprinting some sort of morals onto it. We pulled out the BoED alignment conversion rules for the purpose, and the transition was pretty smooth.

This whole ordeal of converting the fey into useful contributing members of society was what wound up attracting the attention of the swordlords to the party, since they know there is a lot of fey activity in and around the greenbelt.

I'll probably have the tooth fairy and her coterie show up again later after the players establish their kingdom, just because it was a fairly memorable event.

RobRendell wrote:
Seerow wrote:
Update: Finished my prep-work, and am running the first group through tomorrow. <snip>

I really like what you're doing there. How did the session go?

It went fairly well. I wound up having about twice as much material prepped as needed, due to more time than expected going towards character building and backgrounds.

The Characters:
Nilthena-A Raptoran Summoner with a Serpent Eidolon.
Jackson-A Human Warlord (Dreamscarred Press class) with a Paladin Complex (ie acts like a Paladin, not really a Paladin)
Axelle-A Human Aegis (another Dreamscarred Press Class) whose focus is on bashing stuff with a greataxe.

The first groups' backstories led to them being more likely to be in a town or city than a small podunk village, so I cut out the first part entirely, starting out with them living and working together in a small town a few days away from Restov. The group of fey was there, and the characters had started hearing rumors of strange happenings and decided to investigate. They eventually figure out what's going on, track down the fey to the abandoned house they are hiding out in, and strike up a deal with them basically boiling down to "no stealing stuff isn't acceptable. Yes pranking is acceptable. No, stealing teeth is doubly not acceptable" though that last point led to on the fly inventing the concept of dentistry for the tooth fairy to be able to still collect her teeth.

From there, a group of fey intermingling with society in a positive manner and generally behaving themselves attracted attention from Lodovka, who came to town to recruit the PCs (figuring someone who can broker deals with the fey will be useful to him). PCs get introduced, recruited, and brought back to Restov where they are introduced to Garess and Varn. They get some chit-chat time with the three of them, and get told the basics of the Brevoy political situation (from Restov's side of course) and about the plans to colonize the stolen lands and the reasoning behind it.

At this point I am realizing that they probably won't get much further than Drelev's and back in one session, so the PCs get sent to Drelev's fort-in-progress, and are told to assist in dealing with any problem elements, and upon their return how they proceed will be based on Drelev's report. The boat gets ambushed by a few boggards (remember my PCs are a bit tougher than usual).

They get to Drelev a day or two later and get to meet him (an overblown peacock of a man who considers his placement here to be a major slight against him rather than an honor in being sent to secure the most important area of the Stolen Lands). They take an immediate dislike to the guy, and do what he asks grudgingly at best. His requests basically boil down to "There's this thing in the area causing trouble and I don't want to deal with that, so go take care of it". The last case of this was a Young Wyvern in the area.

This time when he tells the PCs to "take care of the problem" they decide that doesn't necessarily actually mean killing the creature. So they go and damn near get themselves killed trying to knock the Wyvern unconscious. But they are successful in bringing it down, and the Summoner casts Ant Haul so the two other party members can lug this wyvern back to Drelev (with them taking an occasional break to smack it with some more nonlethal damage so it won't wake up). They get back to Drelev and manage to diplomance/intimidate a 500 gold payment in exchange for the still-living Wyvern he never really wanted.

Drelev sends them back with a rather scathing report about their manners, but Lodovka reads between the lines to see the PCs were merely strong willed enough to stand up to Drelev, and admires their chutzpa in capturing the wyvern alive. He declares these PCs are just the right kind of crazy for this sort of work, and gives them the initial charter. Along with the charter he gives the explanation that the more good they are capable of accomplishing in the Greenbelt the more help he will be able to justify (to the Throne) providing their colonization efforts. He also mentions he has two others who will be following shortly behind them, and they will meet at Oleg's.

So now I figure I'll run the entire other half of the stuff I had prepared for the other two players (start out with the Bandit Raid, get a chance to meet with Lodovka/Garess, and set out guarding a supply caravan to Varn, and then deal with the mess involving Varn's daughter/turncoat mercenaries).

I'm also really happy that the PCs sold Drelev the Wyvern. I really look forward to having that show up again all grown up with a competent rider down the line. And possibly some assassins armed with Wyvern poison.

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lemeres wrote:
Gaberlunzie wrote:

Uhm... Kobolds live in huge colonies, are great miners andcommunaly-minded. They are mechanically skilledand of average intelligence. As generally lawful creatures with well-organized communities theres really no reason for them to have worse weapon imdustry than say, goblins or lizardfolk. Now, theres been good arguments here for why their resources are limited and equipment mediocre, some i a gree with and some not, but "humans dont allow them in their shops" is a really crappy one.

It works for ogres or bugbears, not for kobolds.

I will say that might limit some of the weapon options.

I mostly mean the lucerne hammer, the Bardiche, the Glaive-glaive-glaive-guisarme-glaive- that long list of martial reach weapons that came about due to large scale production for weapons of war and advancements in metallurgy in the medieval period. Those were born from centuries of experimentation with a rather large amount of resources. So unless you spend time getting up close look at human weapons (and for kobolds, that is a euphemism for 'death'), then it might be hard to justify the breadth of unique and sometimes specialized reach weapons.

But that certainly doesn't exclude long spears or glaives, which are fairly simple and and carry obvious advantages.

Reach weapons are actually something I can understand not being big for kobolds. Particularly for defense of their homes, which tend to have a lot of twisting and turning passageways, reach weapons are going to run into problems that you just can't use them very effectively. (And of course that's probably why the lairs are designed that way, to nulify enemy reach as often as possible). They might have a few reach weapons to defend any communal spaces that are more open, or if they are caught above ground... but that's not really particularly standard.

That said, kobolds absolutely should have access to crossbows instead of slings for ranged weapons, and almost any close weapon should be within their capabilities of designing. The real problem is that the spear is a simple 2-handed weapon that is just awful all around.

A Light Pick, Light Hammer, or Shortsword would all be acceptable substitutes, letting them maintain similar damage but letting them use weapon finesse to take advantage of their decent dex (and mitigate that strength penalty), and opening up the offhand for a buckler or light shield for an extra 1 AC. These aren't changes that are really going to push kobolds up a CR, but will make them less pathetic seeming.

...when the players convert a tooth fairy from Chaotic Evil to Neutral, and convince it to set up shop as a dentist rather than stealing teeth from random people around town

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Update: Finished my prep-work, and am running the first group through tomorrow. I'm really bad at knowing how long a given session will run or how long PCs will take to get through content, so I deliberately left room to pad things out if things are going by too fast, and lots of places where I can cut if it's going too slow. The idea is to hit each major beat during an 8-10 hour session, giving the PCs a taste of the stolen lands, a bit of the politics that are spawning the adventure, and introducing them to the setting and the major players.

Start: PCs are helping defend a village along the south Brevoy border until Restov can send relieve. Bandit activity in the area is reaching an all time high.

PCs end up repelling an attack led by Kressle that is an attempt to destroy the village as a message to others who would resist them. The PCs heroics in repelling the attack attracts the notice of Lord Lodovka who arrives a day or two later with a squad of soldiers to find the bandit problem already resolved.

Restov, impressed by the PC's resourcefulness invites them to travel with him back to Restov. Here the PCs will get introduced to Varn and Kesten Garess (this takes place before his public shaming and disinheritance), and get to discuss a lot of the politics of what's going on and generally get to know these three characters better.

Next Ledovka asks the PCs to go take care of reports of banditry at another nearby small town. Some investigation later indicates no bandits at all, but a group of fey who decided impersonating bandits was a fun prank. PCs need to deal with it one way or another.

After PCs deal with the fey issue in town, they head back to Restov and after some praise for their decisive action in handling the fey are told about the colony Drelev will be establishing in the Slough. This is the first colony to be established in the Stolen lands, and Lodovka asks the PCs to go along as 'general problem solvers'.

This section is primarily to let the PCs get to know Drelev, his personality and motivations, and pad out the adventure depending on how time is looking. If everything thus far is going quickly, Drelev will ask them to do some hex crawling around his capitol site, working in a number of random encounters. otherwise things go relatively uneventfully, with no combat really necessary, though at least one encounter is probably desired unless the session is already running really slow.

Upon arriving back at Restov, they hear that Varn has hired a bunch of mercenaries and is striking out to form his own colony. Lodovka seems skeptical, and wants the PCs to check in on how things are developing there. To have an excuse to go, he sends them with a small supply caravan. Traveling to the fledgeling Varnhold is another place where extra encounters can be added for padding, or ignored entirely.

At Varnhold, they find Maegar Varn is paralyzed with a combination of rage and fear as one of his mercenary companies (made up of about 10 soldiers) betrayed him and kidnapped his daughter, demanding to be paid the incoming shipment of supplies the PCs were bringing in exchange for her safe return. Varn is vehemently against giving them anything, but is also terrified his remaining mercenaries are similarly compromised. He will beg the PCs for their aid in the matter.

Regardless of how the PCs handle this (even just saying "Nope" and leaving) they end up getting their charter, and are told a few other similar groups are being sent, one other should meet them near Oleg's when they arrive (the remaining groups form the party that attempts to start the 4th colony). End of session.

Behind the scenes I am going with Varn has an intent to befriend the centaurs, something that Lodovka is adamantly against for reasons little better than Xenophobia. Lodovka actually paid off this group of mercenaries, with the goal of destabilizing Varn's colonization attempt, in hopes of demoralizing him and convincing him to come back home.

If the PCs fail to intervene in the matter successfully, Lodovka will act distraught but is pleased (sense motive checks can reveal this), and offer the PCs their charter giving the reason of "as a backup" in case Varn fails.

If the PCs successfully intercede, Varn will provide a glowing letter of recommendation, which Lodovka will acknowledge, acting pleased at their success, while privately being upset at the setback (again sense motive will reveal this).

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Neal Litherland wrote:

Just wanted to let folks know that, in light of comments left, edits have been made. Hopefully the editor's note at the beginning of the piece now provides the proper information everyone has wanted included, and clarifies the point the article was shooting for.

To those who were helpful and polite, thank you. To those who were abrasive but helpful, I suppose I'll say thanks to you as well.

Your editors note basically just makes your entire article worthless.

"I hate discussion of power tiers, and I'm going to tell you why tiers are useless by arguing against a definition that nobody else who talks about tiers actually uses"

Like someone else said, you did a great job of knocking down the straw man you set up. Unfortunately for you, nobody cares.

Petty Alchemy wrote:

One of the things I notice in most games I play in (and sometimes the ones I run) is that sometimes there'll be a thieves guild (usually to antagonize the PCs), a church (for the divine PCs to have meaningful interactions, provide restorative spells), often times a mage's guild (for the arcane PCs to have meaningful interactions, copy spells from). But it's hard to write in some sort of martial guild.

You can put in a mercenary group, but the PCs usually aren't looking to hire, they're the heroes of the story after all.

So what kind of organization would you like to encounter when you're playing a martial character (or have enjoyed encountering in games)? What quests could this guild/dojo offer?

What if you could broaden your skill at this organization, like Wizards can copy spells, a character with all martial weapons could spend some time (and gold) to learn an exotic weapon, or expand Weapon Focus to another weapon?

If you use 3rd Party, Path of War has martial traditions that exist as organizations that give you some benefit in exchange for taking an Oath. I think some of the traditions might even actually already be guilds, but making them all into guilds (or one big "Martial Masters" guild with a bunch of subfactions) should be a really easy conversion.

No it ADDS Int to damage in addition to Str (Or Dex), otherwise it would say Int in place of Str.

I am pretty sure there was a lot of hubbub a few months ago about an FAQ ruling that said +stat was a bonus type, and you can only add one +stat to any given thing. Some abilities get around it by saying "Add int bonus as an insight bonus" or whatnot, but in this case you are just adding int modifier, which would fall under that FAQ ruling.

That said I could be misremembering entirely, and don't even know how to navigate the FAQ if I wanted to go searching for it. I was just asking based on what I remember being talked about a while ago.

I agree it does, so it would be 48+33+Str+Int

Okay so why is it only 48 and not 60? Vital Strike specifies on a crit that your extra weapon dice from vital strike are not multiplied, but the base weapon dice should still be multiplied. So you have 2d6(normal weapon dice) + 6d6(greater vital strike), on a crit the normal weapon dice get multiplied then added to greater vital strike (for 10d6 total), when then gets maximized, unless there's something I am missing.

Also interestingly the way the archetype reads, if you managed to get Sneak Attack or some other form of bonus damage, that should get maximized as well. Same for any +d6 weapon enhancements. After all it doesn't say that only some specific part of your damage is maximized, but your attack's damage is maximized. All of those other variable damage mods should be included if base weapon damage is.

So if I'm understanding the way these effects stack correctly:

Estoc with Lead Blades deals 2d6 damage.

Given the numbers the OP provided, base damage is 2d6+33+str

Greater Vital Strike makes that 8d6+33+str

A normal Greater Vital Strike crit would be 4d6(base weapon crit)+6d6(greater vital strike)+33+str+

And a Greater Vital Strike crit with the Archetype that all maximizes, to 93+str+int damage.

Actually with the FAQ ruling on stat stacking, wouldn't Int replace Strength? And if so isn't that a huge nerf since strength gets multiplied on a crit and the int does not?

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2. There are a small subset of weapons that are actually good. Look over fifty PFS character sheets who have proficiency with "all martial weapons". I'd bet you'll find greatswords, nodachis, rapiers, scimitars, kukris, longbows, bardiches, and the occasional high-power exotic weapon... and very little else as primary weapons. Maybe a longsword or two from people who haven't run numbers, some spiked gauntlets/armor spikes/cesti as secondary pieces, but that's still not broadening the pool much.

This seems like a weird form of circular design.

I've always heard the existence of crappy weapons being excused by claiming you need to have crappy weapons for the NPCs to wear, and smart players will only pick the PC-appropriate weapons to use.

Yet here we have the other side of the coin indicating that NPCs have to use the crappy equipment, or else everyone in the world would be using the same half dozen weapon types and ignoring all of the other weapons the game has.

Personally I think I'd be a lot happier if weapons were just balanced within a reasonable degree, so that each weapon has a purpose.

DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

Kingmaker Origin Stories

These are short adventures supposed to be played in conjunction with character creation.

Then you can just do some hex travel on the Road between Restov and Oleg's.

I like this. I think I might string together a couple of them somehow.

Right now, I am thinking something like start out with the Pioneers (average folks on guard manage to impress a local noble), and the PCs rather than immediately being granted a charter sign on to her service. Enter a montage of flash forwards where the PCs get introduced to a few other significant people in the area (a few Brevoy nobles who may show up/be important later, and more notably getting some face time with Varn, Drelev, and the Iron Wraiths.

Mixed in with the flash forwards would be a few notable encounters taking place during their time in service where they continue to handle exceptional situations, culminating with The Crusaders' encounter (save a noble woman from some traitors besieging a building they are holed up in, and escape back to Restov), which earns them their charter. Finish up the session with them arriving at Oleg's.

Works out well since I can prep a dozen encounters and just cut as needed based on how much time things are taking. Rather than being a single act that earns them their charter, it is instead a culmination of extended service as reliable experts, earning the trust of the Swordlords and a reputation as individuals who can get things done.

The Indescribable wrote:
I don't think there's anything physically impressive enough to receive the charter. I think you need to look at something more political. Find the murderer of a nobleman or something.

That would probably be a more plausible scenario, but I have rarely seen a good mystery like that play out in game (especially one that has to be solved in one session), they usually end up feeling hollow. Though if you know of any good resources for running that type of a session, I'd be interested in it. It'd be a nice change of pace at least.

So I've been posting around here for the last month or so, but due to conflicting schedules first actual session date keeps getting pushed back. Normally I don't mind playing down a player or two, but for the first session of the campaign I prefer everybody to be there.

But at this point, rather than pushing everything back another two weeks, I thought maybe I could instead run a one-shot adventure with half the party that works as a lead-in to the two groups meeting up at Oleg's and the adventure proper starting. Problem is, I am drawing a blank as to what do with that lead-in session.

I figure the most logical thing would be something that results in the PCs earning the attention of the Restovi government and being given their initial charter, and possibly including the road to Oleg's. But what could 2-3 low level PCs get up to in the middle of Brevoy that attracts that attention, and what if anything could be done to make those interactions more interesting/entertaining?

Hoping for any inspiration you guys might be able to provide. I figure worst case I can throw together something involving a bandit raid on the border of Brevoy, to make the Stag Lord seem like a more present threat and get the PCs into things early... but I know there's a lot of creative people here, and am hoping someone can provide a more interesting/unique idea.

(Note if you want to suggest specific monsters: the group tends to be mid-op and I have some house rules in play to make starting characters a bit more durable. This is already being accounted for in the main AP, but it boils down to most monsters up to CR3 or 4 being able to be used without a serious chance of TPK even with a small group.)

Like the Oracle suggestion. Alternatively I like the idea of Alchemist, or any high skill class (Rogue, Ninja, Investigator). If you have no problem with a Gestalt gestalting with its own hybrid, I'd probably consider Sorcerer, to get the expanded spells known/utility.

Basically either a High Skills class or a full casting class with cha based casting seems ideal.

I'm curious, if you're wanting to favor polearms, why so many broken blade maneuvers instead of Piercing Thunder? The current maneuver selection feels more like a brawler than a combat maneuver master, or any sort of polearm favoring character. Not saying it's bad, just not what I expected when reading your initial blurb. I do love that you are including a couple of ranged stances/maneuvers, makes the character feel much more like a general all around badass.

As for Lore Warden, it's plenty effective just for the big scaling bonus to CMB/CMD and other goodies. It's definitely a step up above the baseline fighter, and the only other archetype I can think of that would fit in with Myrmidon and Martial Master is Mutation Warrior... which is awesome but totally changes your flavor (though I might consider it on your Evil Fighter, and fluffing it instead as gifts of the devils he is allied with).

That said, I'd totally invest some ranks in Kn(Planes) and Kn(Local), which will get you the Know Thy Enemy bonus against opposed outsiders and humanoids, which fits the character (in either iteration) quite well.

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Fake Healer wrote:
Seerow wrote:

I dislike GMPCs. If there's a legitimate need for an extra party member, I prefer to give the players the ability to run a second character to fill out the gaps.

For my upcoming campaign, since we have 3 players, what I'm doing is starting out with just those 3, but working in a stable of PC-caliber allies, that the party can call in to help out as needed/desired (I have about 7 prepared so far that they will meet on their way to level 4). These allies all fade to the background when the PCs don't want their help, and play minimal to no part in the story after their introduction. The players will control all of their actions within certain bounds while they are within the party (those bounds will basically be "Don't make them act wildly out of character").

I also plan to let the players introduce any potential backup characters they want in case of PC death to add to this roster, so it feels a little less out of nowhere when a PC dies and his replacement automatically shows up. And of course if a PC who dies wants to take over one of the NPCs, they're welcome to adopt it as their new PC, at which point any restrictions I did have on them are gone.

"I dislike DMPCs but I created a slew of them for the party, but wait it's different, THEY control the DMPC...."

Yeah, glad to hear that your flavor is the right one but almost the same flavor is bad/wrong.

So you genuinely don't see the difference between making a personal PC that the DM takes control of and has personal vested interest in vs giving your players the ability to call upon allies made in game to work with them on their own terms?

Because the former only works if the DM is really, really, good at avoiding personal bias. In my experience a lot of them aren't. I'm conscious of it being a problem, and still would rather avoid it by putting most of the power there into player hands rather than maintaining direct control. Games where the DM insists on running their DMPC isn't an immediate "Yeah I'm going to walk" issue, but it is a big warning sign, and it is exceedingly rare that it is handled well.

Samasboy1 wrote:

No love for Mobile Fighter?

Like most characters, multiple builds are possible to represent him.

Yeah given access to third party I'd probably make him a Myrmidon Mobile Fighter.

Myrmidon is from PoW:E, currently still in playtesting. But trades out about half your fighter bonus feats (and thus is compatible with most other archetypes, like Mobile Fighter) to gain 6th level maneuver progression and Grit.

For the maneuvers, focus on Steel Serpent (poison use and ability score damage, plus general debuffing/bleed damage) and Piercing Thunder (polearm discipline with a focus on charging and acrobatics, and an associated style feat to make polearms finessible). Maybe with one or two maneuvers cherry picked from Scarlet Throne (mobility/duelist type discipline).

I dislike GMPCs. If there's a legitimate need for an extra party member, I prefer to give the players the ability to run a second character to fill out the gaps.

For my upcoming campaign, since we have 3 players, what I'm doing is starting out with just those 3, but working in a stable of PC-caliber allies, that the party can call in to help out as needed/desired (I have about 7 prepared so far that they will meet on their way to level 4). These allies all fade to the background when the PCs don't want their help, and play minimal to no part in the story after their introduction. The players will control all of their actions within certain bounds while they are within the party (those bounds will basically be "Don't make them act wildly out of character").

I also plan to let the players introduce any potential backup characters they want in case of PC death to add to this roster, so it feels a little less out of nowhere when a PC dies and his replacement automatically shows up. And of course if a PC who dies wants to take over one of the NPCs, they're welcome to adopt it as their new PC, at which point any restrictions I did have on them are gone.

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You make a valid point,

But is it not true that in D&D 4e the damage was much lower, so in turn they had more hit points on a 1:1 ratio compared to other systems like 3.75. And correct me if I am mistaken the reason was to get rid of 1 round kills in the game, and to provide a more teamwork driven and tactical experience.

Not sure on exact damage comparisons, I played 4e for a while (enough to know some of the major differences and get a feel for some of the mechanics I liked and have since adapted to my home games), but never did any complex analysis on damage per round.

While HP is an easy number to compare, average damage is much harder, especially when you factor in stuff like 4e shifting towards only a single attack per round, but having a higher emphasis on limited use powers, so your average damage is going to heavily depend on how long the enemy lives (and thus how many rounds you are stuck spamming at-wills).

If I had to guess, I'd say that 4e had higher damage per hit, especially at high levels, and lower damage per round. It seemed the intent was that characters (including non-minion NPCs) don't get one shotted, and you have more give and take in combat (including mid-combat healing that is worth the actions it takes), but my experience was that if all players were blowing their dailies (including Action Points) right off the bat, it would end even a higher level encounter in the first round or two, not so far off from how it works in 3.PF when characters nova their resources.

Edit: It's also worth noting that Monsters simply followed different rules from players. While players had much lower HP across the board, monsters, especially solos, regularly were much higher. I think that's where a lot of the hp bloat misconception comes from. Someone flipping through the monster manual finding a dragon with over 1000hp and going "what the heck?", not realizing that 1000hp dragon is fighting a bunch of 150hp characters. Monster HP bloat in 4e was a thing, and one that caused the game to drag a fair bit, especially at later levels since the math seemed to be off and cause HP to go up faster than average damage. Possibly due to the HP values being based off the aforementioned nova damage, and then once the nova is over the monster still has a ~30% HP left and the players are down to nothing but their lame at-wills causing the fight to drag while they take as long to finish the last 20-30% as they did to deal the first 70-80%.

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Because in D&D (4e) hit points is vastly increased compared to other systems, and in that system, actions for parrying and defence are harder to come by. You can't raise your AC like you can in Pathfinder and don't have access to the type of defensive feats that define what is an adequate defence. Defence is covered by additional hit points.

This is a common misconception, but not really true. 4e hp is actually lower by mid levels than 3.5/PF HP, because instead of adding con mod to every hit die, you only add con score to HP once.

Just for quick comparison, a level 20 PF Fighter with 22 con is running ~235hp. 255 with favored class bonus. A level 20 Barbarian will be raging with an extra +8 con and higher hit die, jumping their hp all the way up to 355. By comparison, a level 20 4e Fighter has 129+constitution score HP. The Barbarian has the same. Even if you assume Con is your secondary ability score (so start with a 16, boost at every opportunity), that's going to end with 24 con, for a total of 153hp. We're talking close to half that of a PF Fighter. Heck even a PF Wizard who starts with only 12 con and grabs a +6 item with no favored class bonus is going to have 152 hp, almost identical to the same level Fighter focused much more heavily on con in 4e. The level 20 4e Wizard using the same constraints is sitting at ~98 hp.

I get that 4e characters have more HP at low level, but the implication of your post is that 4e reduced the availability of AC boosts and made up for that with higher HP values. That's really not the case. The goal with the HP shift was to make low level characters less swingy, and make the overall hp curve much smoother and more predictable. It had nothing to do with reimagining how the defenses worked or shifting the defense from AC to HP the way you are saying.

Atarlost wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Given I have heard in this one thread that magus is the best VMC and one of the worst, I think it's safe to say that in total, we haven't had these to play with for long enough to come up with a conclusive judgment. One thing that takes a little while to kick in (for instance in the case of the magus, which I agree is a very powerful one) is the ability to look past one ability that is less useful for that many characters (spellstrike) and toward the abilities that are worth an extreme amount more than a feat but only sub out one feat (arcane pool) or just generally more than a feat, if not by an extreme amount (arcana). The same is true for wizard, another of the ones I've seen said to be both quite strong (I agree with that side) and weak, the latter judgments due to fixation on the 11th level ability being not as useful.

Even if every ability for every class were better than a feat (they're not) the system would be bad because there's no flexibility.

To take your magus example, the soul of the magus is the spell combat spellstrike combo. If you were using magus with normal multiclassing that would be the important thing. The VMC magus gets some peripheral stuff that isn't really important. Arcane Pool is a BAB compensator and not a very good one. It's not enough to make a wizard-magus work and it's redundant for a bard-magus or bloodrager-magus. The arcana is still not what makes a magus a magus. At level 11 the magus VMC finally gets one of the things the multiclasser actually wants from magus, but it's the one that doesn't work alone because it's only useful in melee, but it's not the one that lets you safely cast in melee. It doesn't matter how great you think arcane pool or arcana are. That's not doing the job.

In general the actual abilities people might want from a multiclass are too frequently delayed until level 11 in a game where the reality is that most campaigns fall apart before level 10. That does not a useful system make.

It's the old...

This post sums up the problems perfectly IMO. Features granted are too unfocused and come online too late, resulting in characters feeling like they are just wasting feats for the half of the game they are likely to play, to get the effect they actually want in the half of the game they are unlikely to see. And even when they do get it, in many cases it is diluted or limited in some way to make it less useful.

Arthur Barren wrote:

Here is my iron man,

He's Tony Stark and Rex (of Generator Rex) all rolled up into one
He is however very 3rd party

My next choice would be synthesist/warlock or alchemist or pyro kenetisist

Since that's out ageis/pyrokenetist is your best bet
Your next best bet is ageis/soulknife (soul bolt)/pyrokentisist.

Just a reminder that psionics is 3rd party, no matter how well respected/liked DSP is.

This actually became "a thing" for my group.

A few years ago we were playing a kingdom building campaign reliant largely on a mix of homebrew and SBG (we were playing 3.5 and it was before Ultimate Campaign even if we were using PF material), and the DM gave us a lot of population statistics for the kingdom, surrounding area, and the unclaimed area we were taking over.

The problem was, once we ran the population numbers he gave us compared to the size of the areas he had mapped out... and we determined the kingdom he had mapped out was roughly the size of Asia, while the population was somewhere around the size of massachusets. Basically it was completely unbelievable as a coherent country, and some of the players flipped out over how unbelievable it was.

This led into a good deal of research and a half dozen suggestions on how to fix things, ranging from adjusting the map scale (so that the kingdom's size was more appropriate to its population) to increasing the size of the average noble's feifdom, to changing the structure of how noble feifs work. In the end the DM told us all to shut up and play, and ignored the complaints, but since then I've made a conscious effort to try to keep population numbers at least plausible when I DM, to avoid the same issues. enter me starting a Kingmaker campaign, where the average population density of a hex is around 2 per mile, any settlement with 3 buildings is a small town of 750 people, and settlements displayed as villages in the adventure turn into small cities once the PCs gain control of them.

...yeah lots of houserules going into effect there to make population figures more sensible. The basic gist of the changes is that buildings grant different amounts of population depending on the size of the settlement, so you have about 10 buildings before population totals hit enough to give you a small town, which I changed to the minimum tracked settlement. Everything below that is part of just the base hex population. Settlements increase base hex population of its own hex plus nearby hexes, as more villages spring up around large population centers. So you have a metropolis in an area with rivers and roads it's not hard to end up with ~4000 population in each of the surrounding hexes, leading to a much higher density around that city.

thejeff wrote:
Jiggy wrote:

My understanding of Pathfinder is that HP is meat, and there's no stat representing increased evasive ability. (I consider this a flaw of the system.)

Injury and Death wrote:
What Hit Points Represent: Hit points mean two things in the game world: the ability to take physical punishment and keep going, and the ability to turn a serious blow into a less serious one.
It seems to be both to me. Though I suppose you could read the second half of that as "My meat is tougher and thus makes the blow less serious" rather than "My skill and training let me make the blow less serious".

Yeah that's basically how you have to read it for hp = meat points to work at all.

Because if your toughness isn't making blows less serious for you, you end up with really silly stuff.

Just as an example, 16 damage is enough damage to take your typical 1st NPC from full health to dead dead. 18-20 will take out even a pretty tough 1st level warrior.

So it's not unreasonable to say that dealing 20 damage to such a character is effectively a coup-de-grace type of hit. That's where you'r getting the character cleaved in half, an arrow straight through the heart, heads cut off, etc.

If you use that as the basis for scale though, high level characters are getting their heads chopped off multiple times per round and keep trucking like it's nothing. That's obviously completely nonsensical, and nobody actually plays it such that a 20hp wound is the same to the 1st level commoner and a 20th level fighter.

It's just that while people who don't want HP to be meat say that the 20hp attack was actually a less effective attack (due to a last minute dodge/parry, rolling with the blow, whatever), those who say HP is meat say the blow is exactly as effective, the higher level character is just tough enough that it didn't cause the same damage. So rather than getting his head chopped off, the enemy slammed the axe into their neck with the same force and only left a minor scratch.

How exactly that is reconciled with cure the cure wounds spells being less effective against higher level characters I'm not sure. Then again, cure wounds spells don't make a lot of sense for either interpretation of HP, and I tend to favor percentage based healing on the whole personally.

I just want to point out the stuff you have quoted is from Roanark, not me.


When a Wizard casts a Fireball spell, does the spell DC drop after the first opponent? No, then why should martial characters be penalised for attacking multiple opponents.There is no valid reason why they are being penalised.

Bad comparison. Most full attacks are being taken against the same opponent, not multiple opponents.

That said, there is a super easy comparison point: Natural Attacks. Nearly every monster in the game has multiple natural attacks, and they get to use them all at full attack bonus, or attack bonus -5. Yet the game hasn't fallen apart from that. The iterative attack penalty for PCs makes no sense at all when held up next to how natural attacks work. And it only gets sillier when you consider PF's two-weapon-fighting rulings that prevent PCs from using all of their weapons available... why don't those rules apply to natural attacks?


Melee characters don't need extra mobility (it homogenises melee/ranged combat), they just need the Vital Strike feat tree (or something similar) to be baked into their class or into the combat system itself. So that you do slightly less damage when you move.

The unchained system doesn't even grant extra mobility. You only have an attack cap higher than 1 when taking a full attack. There's an optional rule to the optional rule to give higher caps on standard actions... with a huge penalty to hit for every 5ft you move, meaning except against mooks you're still only hitting once on a full attack anyway.

That said I strongly disagree with you that melee characters don't need extra mobility. A Range/Melee divergence where the ranged classes have all of the mobility makes no sense at all. Ranged characters start out with a gap where they can attack and melee cannot. The melee characters need to close that gap in order to do anything at all. If we're going to have divergence over who gets mobility along melee/ranged lines, that divergence should favor melee with higher mobility every time in a balanced game.

Shame third party is out, my number one suggestion for this archetype is always Aegis. Aegis//Pyrokineticist with crafting feats would be awesome.

Honestly I can't think of anything in PF that is particularly well suited for it. Iron Man is a guy who crafts his own magical gear despite without his magical gear being basically an NPC class. I'd probably go with one side of the gestalt as an arcane caster with spell selections picked to be things that could be refluffed as tech capabilities. Best bet here is Magus. You get Heavy Armor proficiency and casting in it (at an unfortunately late level, but what can you do?), and the spell list fits pretty well, focus spells you learn on buffing and ranged attack spells. Refuse to cast any magic when not in your armor, fluffing all of the spells as stuff your armor is doing, and spells per day is your power source/energy.

On the other side of the gestalt, I would probably go with an Investigator. Good skill points, int focused, and studied combat gives a "smart" fighting style. I think extracts are a little out of flavor here (harder to fluff a potion as tech, and alchemy/chemistry was never really Stark's focus), and are a bit much to manage on top of casting... so I would go with the Sleuth Archetype, dropping off the extracts in exchange for a Grit equivalent. It is unfortunately cha based rather than int, but a decent cha is hardly out of character for recreating Tony.

From there, focus feats/traits on crafting where you can. Tony Stark is the guy who can build anything. That is what makes him who a hero, not his suit (see: War Machine for the guy who has a fancy suit but none of the actual capabilities Iron Man brings to the table). So lots of crafting feats, and any reduced cost crafting you can find (I've heard people around here say you can get crafting costs down to 1/8th base item price or lower. If there's any truth to that, that is exactly what you should be aiming for). Then build your armor. Load it up with special properties. Load it up with off slot enchantments you pay 50% extra for. Build Wand Chambers into it and load a handful of wands of useful low level spells.

Oh you probably also want Improved Unarmed Strike, just so you can actually fly up and punch people in the face effectively. Or maybe just make that a monk's robe effect built into your armor (giving you a 1d8 unarmed strike).

Fake Edit: Refreshed before posting and saw someone else point out that Arcane Armor Training is a thing in Pathfinder. In that case I would actually suggest looking into Arcanist or Wizard instead of Magus. You lose some BAB, and you need to get the proficiency elsewhere (either burning feats or dipping a level into Fighter on the investigator side), but in exchange you get a much stronger casting progression and a wider array of "technical feats" you can accomplish.

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Wakefield we already had the discussion a few pages ago about how what you are describing is not in fact bounded accuracy. Your continued insistence on using terminology that describes a system radically different than what you want to see implemented is a large part of what is causing this ongoing argument. Come up with some other term for your capped RNG, and watch as people miraculously begin just ignoring you instead of talking about how awful 5e is.

Albatoonoe wrote:

Yeah, the d20 is iconic. It's kinda something that can't be removed. It's liking taking the heart of something.

With that said, if we were to do something really out there, I'm a fan of roll-to-keep like L5R. Basically, you roll so many dice, but you can only use a certain amount of dice (which is usually less than what you rolled). It plays both with the odds of completion while also still limiting what you can do. It's my favorite roll system.

But, as I just said, d20 is kinda the core of the experience.

Honestly, I hate L5R's system.

But if we were looking at changing the core RNG mechanic, I'd actually have two separate mechanics. The d20 for combat (combat is an area where a certain degree of swinginess is both accepted and to a certain degree expected. d20 system has remained popular for a long time for a reason), and dice pool, roll and count successes, for handling skills/non-combat.

Or if a real dicepool is too out there, more d20s. Like baseline 3d20 take middle result. Have the equivalent of taking 10 where you can go up to 5d20 take middle result. Have 5e style advantage/disadvantage, except implemented in a way that isn't total ass (read: add up advantages and disadvantages earned, rather than saying "I have 10 disadvantages and 1 advantage. Roll normally"). The more net advantages you have the more dice you get to roll and pick your top result from. Each additional die gets diminishing returns and past a certain point you're nearly guaranteed a 20, but it's relatively simple, identifiable as D&D, and keeps the RNG in an overall more predictable place.


3. After a very rocky start, they've had very little incentive to EXPAND their kingdom and instead are turtling to save up BP to build more buildings in their capital. How do I force them to expand quickly? (Though I've thought that varnhold will tell them that they'll join their kingdom only once it's big enough)

One hotfix I'm applying to Kingdom building making larger cities get much more expensive build to maintain. Rough numbers I'm using:

Large Town: +1 Consumption, +10% building cost, +5% economy
Small City: +3 Consumption, +20% building cost, +10% economy
Large City: +6 Consumption, +30% building cost, +15% economy
Metropolis: +10 Consumption, +50% building cost, +25% economy

The consumption numbers are per district. So a metropolis with >72 buildings could easily have a 33 consumption overall, and is really expensive to build.

This helps explain in-world why these megacities are so rare, and encourages players to spread out and establish more numerous small towns.

The economy bonus applies only to economy generated by buildings in that city. The consumption increase is high enough that you would need a ridiculous economy to really make the bigger city worthwhile on its own... but if you have a well spread Kingdom utilizing farms/lumber mills to reduce the consumption, it turns into a net profit. So goes further towards encouraging the players to spread out and grab up/develop lots of land as they build up their capitol.

I also provide incentives for starting new settlements, like giving discounts on the first 6-10 buildings you make in a new small town (not counting the first when establishing a Kingdom from scratch a la Kingmaker). This represents the saved costs from converting an already established village into a small town (We just don't track any settlements below the size of small town, assuming that all falls under the base population of the hex).

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Milo v3 wrote:
It basically makes whatever they roll for the attack roll, the same as what they would've rolled for the next two rolls. Damage is not necessarily lowered.

It does however make things a lot more swingy. Where with the normal rules rolling 3-4 times results in a more bell curved damage output where you trend towards average, with the no iteratives rule you end up with a bad roll meaning you don't hit at all (where normally missing your first attack still gives you a good chance of hitting on other attacks. Especially if you have bonus full BAB attacks like from haste, rapid shot, two weapon fighting), which is going to be super noticable to a player, even if the overall damage averages out to the same.

Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
I would not follow that percentage advice. For instance wizards do not need to spend 25% of their cash on weapons. I am generally of the mind that characters should do whatever they want with money; if they want to forgo some traditional purchases for one big purchase, that's their prerogative.

For most casters you replace "Weapon" with "Rods/Staves", and for a Wizard specifically you probably can even extend that to "learning new spells". Those things are a Wizard's weapons.

Probably the most 'fair' way of handling it would be finding out how much gold it would cost to get a casting of the two spells, and get that gold piece value contributed to your building, up to a maximum of 1/4th the building's cost (since you do still need to buy furnishings and equipment for the building that the walls won't cover. Optionally for simpler buildings/rooms you could let the walls contribute a larger portion of the value).

Edit: Having read the rest of your post, I think just going with a flat 20% reduction is a fine option. Pretty much the same effect without tracking how many days you are spending casting Wall of Stone.

Yeah, if you have at least one experienced player who can handle it, running multiple PCs can make your life a lot easier. I've had stretches where we only had 2 players at the table, usually playing 2 characters each (or a character + cohort for mid-high level games), and even with 3 players I tend to just let one player run an NPC I create.

If that's not an option or not something the players are interested in, dropping CRs by ~1-2 points across the board is generally how it is intended to be handled. I tend to dislike running that way just because it really does limit what you can throw at the party, especially at low levels.

You could also consider having the players use Gestalt characters, though the biggest problem with small parties tends to be action economy and durability, which Gestalt won't solve, but it will let them plug gaps in the party's capabilities.

...actually just an off the cuff thought, with action economy being one of the major things holding back a small party, you could probably do something like let each player roll initiative twice, acting on both initiatives. Basically turn a 2 person party into a 4 person party, but with fewer resources and only 2 characters worth of HP.

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Dale McCoy Jr wrote:

Since we're on the wish list of think we want in a new edition:

I want masterwork to really mean something. I don't want every Tom, Dick, and Harry that is 3rd level and above to have a masterwork weapon. I want, "Six-fingered man commissioned a special sword. My father slaved a year on it." I want masterwork to be something that no one short of 10th level gets. Sure you have your flaming sword at 4th level, but it is not "masterwork." A masterwork sword can have twice as many magical properties as a regular old sword. The same magical properties are more powerful on a masterwork sword. And there should be a table of quirks and/or backstories stories for masterwork weapons. I want them RARE!

This is something I've been doing for years. I have a homebrew system I originally designed for 3.5, but have used every time I've DMed since. An early version can be found here, to get a general idea, but I really do need to get around to formatting/posting the version I am using today.

If you don't want to read through that whole thing, the basic premise is that instead of just "normal" and "masterwork" you have four qualities (normal, exceptional, superior, masterwork). For each category above normal, you gain an upgrade point that can be used to add extra properties to your weapon. While this can be boring things like "+1 to hit", it can also add properties like "increase threat range", "treat this weapon as a monk weapon", "treat this weapon as a throwing weapon", "make this weapon finessible" and so on.

So masterwork weapons are not just much more rare and expensive (a masterwork weapon is +4300gp instead of +300, not coming online until around 6th-7th level, or later if you are using a magical weapon), but each masterwork weapon is unique, crafted to their intended wielder's specifications and needs. I've had players make their masterwork weapons into some really unique/interesting things that I never would have dreamed of when writing the system, and really love it.

And of course it's super easy to make extensible if you want higher level mundane weapons/armor. I liked it topping off at 6-7,since that lines up well with the implicit E6 = where mundanes level off deal, but it can of course go higher. Every 3 slots is worth slightly less than a +2, so you could scale it upwards to 6 quality categories with the top quality costing somewhere around 25,000-30,000gp.

Also possible to make it scale the other way if you want poor quality weapons/broken equipment, just take away one slot worth of properties or apply the equivalent penalties, and bam, instant poor quality gear. (This would actually probably be good for a quick handling of improvised weapons now that I think about it).

Note: If you do go check out that old thread, ignore the armor system entirely. I wound up scrapping and reworking the whole thing because it was clunky, annoying, and generated convergent results. Most recent version pretty much just gives the choice between +1 AC or +1 Max Dex and reduce ACP by 1 with each quality upgrade. It's not as intricate as what is posted, but has the same net effect but without all of the fiddliness.

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ryric wrote:

I wouldn't suggest going down in point buy if your players believe they need high stats to have fun. Most of the perceptions about dump stats and so forth are based on playstyle.

You can finish an AP just fine with no one in the party having any initial stat bonus greater than +2. A 15 at character creation is just fine for your best stat, and once you demonstrate that to yourself, no low amount of point buy is really much of an issue. Try it out for a short mini-campaign and see if it works for you. I did and now 15 point buy feels like an extravagant feast of points.

Obviously YMMV but in my experience playing standard(15) point buy does not have to lead to dumping of stats. heck I've been thinking about seeing if my group is up for a game using the default heroic NPC array of 15 14 13 12 10 8.

Last few campaigns I've been in have used that array with either +1 or +2 to all stats, depending on how high power the DM wanted it to be. It ends up being a ridiculous number of points if you were to make it a point buy, but since the stats are forced to be spread out rather than just taking 2 18s and dumping the rest, it ends up pretty well balanced and gives MAD heavy characters like Monks a leg up that they tend to need anyway. I've also noticed it resulting in an uptick in Gishes and Theurge builds, which I consider a plus personally.


Yeah, I wouldn't want to convert to the 5e range since it would invalidate running 3.x adventures without additional work.

I'm going off the intentions that the 5e designers laid out for bounded accuracy, and your examples are spot-on. For example, a PC would end up with a to-hit bonus with a ceiling of (10+character level) and an AC bonus of (20+character level).

Just going to requote the quote Morzadian provided on Bounded Accuracy:

Rodney Thomas wrote:

The basic premise behind the bounded accuracy system is simple: we make no assumptions on the DM's side of the game that the player's attack and spell accuracy, or their defenses, increase as a result of gaining levels.

Instead, we represent the difference in characters of various levels primarily through their hit points, the amount of damage they deal, and the various new abilities they have gained.

Furthermore, gaining levels grants the characters new capabilities, which go much farther toward making your character feel different than simple numerical increases.

If there's a more recent article that claims Bounded Accuracy is something different, then sure, we can work with that. But this is a quote from a designer saying that what you and I agreed on as a needed improvement to the system is explicitly not bounded accuracy (since we are still making assumptions of these values increasing as the player levels). And the quote being referenced here does accurately describe the 5e bounded accuracy system.

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Anzyr wrote:
Seerow wrote:

Mutagen lasts for 10 minutes, and takes an hour to brew up a new one. Rage use is also limited number of rounds (at this level with multiclassing you've got around 10 rounds. So about 2 encounters), as is the bardic music. Your 5th level bard has 2-3 2nd level spells, so that's about how many bull's strengths you are getting as well.
Mutagen only lasts for 10 minutes at level 1. As a level 6 alchemist it lasts for an entire hour. You can clear an incredible number of encounters in a single hour. And since the Alchemist is unlikely to pop the mutagen until just before they investigate "potential combat site A134", they'll have a large amount of time to work through that site, then they can prep another mutagen before they head to "potential combat site A135"". Furthermore, if you try and force the alchemist to go from one location to another, they are just going to select the Infuse Mutagen Discovery so they can have 1-2 emergency mutagens.

Except the example was pretty clearly a multiclassed Alchemist/Barbarian, with it being heavily implied it's a 1 level dip into alchemist for a Barbarian. So you don't have a discovery, or extended duration.

I guess it's possible that you are doing Alchemist 4/Barb 1 instead, so you can have multiple 40 minute mutagens plus rage, but now you only have about 6 rounds of rage, which is a much harsher limitation, in exchange.

Either way the main point was it is taking a lot of resources and you are going to run out of one resource or another well before the one hour of time specified to clear out a dungeon. Keeping all of those bonuses running for the entire dungeon is not really feasible, it is a nova/burst tactic. (Though clever use of alternating between different bonuses as some fall off will probably be enough to keep your to-hit bonus in the high teens through the entire duration).

edit: Also, Infuse Mutagen requires 1000gp per extra mutagen you make. That's a pretty significant chunk of change to be blowing on a consumable, though if you're playing one-shot dungeons it probably is the best bang for your buck, in actual campaigns I generally don't see players investing 10-20% of their total wealth on combat consumables.

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Duiker wrote:
Seerow wrote:

First I just want to point out that Heroism is a Morale bonus and overlaps with Bardic Music, not stacks. That cuts 2 points off your to-hit bonus.

Not arguing with your overall point necessarily, but to tape the hair back together that you split: the bard's Inspire Courage is a competence bonus to to attack/damage, so it stacks just fine.

You know, I even specifically went to the Bard in the pfsrd to double check and make sure that wasn't something that got changed on me when I wasn't looking, but stopped reading when I saw the morale bonus. Never would have guessed the bonus to saves and bonus to attacks/damage were different types. I stand corrected on that point.

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Around 5th level, they are rocking:


+4 : BAB +4
+5 : 20 Str
+2 : Raging
+2 : Bull's Strength
+2 : Alchemist mutagen
+2 : Heroism
+2 : Bard inspire courage (5th level bard)
+1 : Weapon is +1
+1 : Weapon Focus
-0 : Power Attack (w/Furious Focus)
+22 to hit

There are more egregious 5th level characters than this as well.

Now if we pop open the Bestiary and look at CR6 monsters, which if you pit one of them against the above character, you'd hope it would be a challenge...

ankylosaurus AC22
babau AC19
bralani AC20
ettin AC18
girallon AC18
half-fiend minotaur
kyton AC17
lamia AC20
salamander AC18
shambling mound AC19

However, our 5th level character wading through a dungeon of CR6 monsters only needs to avoid rolling a natural 1 in order to connect with every swing.

Added spoilers to the quote just to not super-stretch the page.

First I just want to point out that Heroism is a Morale bonus and overlaps with Bardic Music, not stacks. That cuts 2 points off your to-hit bonus.

Mutagen lasts for 10 minutes, and takes an hour to brew up a new one. Rage use is also limited number of rounds (at this level with multiclassing you've got around 10 rounds. So about 2 encounters), as is the bardic music. Your 5th level bard has 2-3 2nd level spells, so that's about how many bull's strengths you are getting as well.

So yeah you can walk into a dungeon and for ~two encounters basically hit anything you want, once those resources are gone, your hit bonus tanks all the way down from a +19 to a +11. That is a fairly reasonable number, with a moderate miss chance against all of the CR appropriate foes you provided. And since you specified that the dungeon will take about an hour of in game time to complete, the character in question is spending about 2/3rds of the time in said dungeon without those buffs, which his whole character has been built around obtaining.

But that's really besides the point because:


Pathfinder 2e can set up bounded target numbers. Hypothetically for a level 5 PC, your to hit bonus should lie somewhere between +0 and +15. You can still employ a system where a martial character gains a full +1 BAB per level and employ bounded accuracy.

Judging by this, it seems like we are in agreement. But the point that has been made many times in this thread is that if you have that +1 BAB per level and constrain everything else, it is not bounded accuracy. Because 5e's definition of bounded accuracy isn't constraining the RNG on a level by level basis (a goal I very much support), but constraining the RNG across the entirety of the game, so regardless of level everyone is on that same +0 to +15 RNG (a goal I detest and resent).

If you are okay with the idea that a 1st level character is going to be somewhere between +0 and +12, a 5th level character is somewhere between +3 and +15, while a 20th level character is between a +20 and +35, or something along those lines, then we are in complete agreement. The only real disagreement is over whether or not that is bounded accuracy as 5e defines it, or just intelligent application of constraining the RNG.

The conversation has moved on the the HP debate thing, so I'm just going to let that drop. I will concede that in Pathfinder at least it seems pretty clear that hp is a very direct correlation to toughness; but stand by my belief that the game would be better off on the whole with a separation between health and wounds so that restoring HP is not restricted to magic only.

Morzadian wrote:

I don't necessarily disagree with you. But I do think how you treat magic items plays a big part in their importance.

Players have limited money and they can make a decision on how they want to upgrade or customise their character. Take that freedom of customisation away and everything becomes very sameish.

** spoiler omitted **

One thing I am experimenting with right now with my group is cutting wealth down dramatically (in practice more limiting the purchasing of custom magic items, encouraging the players to work with what they find and invest extra money into non-magical stuff), but allowing the players to buy the effects of the "big 6" plus some assorted other more low-key effects with their experience.

So players still get choices in how to upgrade (rather than just automatically gaining passive bonuses to all of the major +X categories), just on a track that's separate from magic items. Most of the +X items just cease existing entirely (if they show up on a loot table or on an enemy in an AP, they become the equivalent amount of gold instead), and any remaining magic items tend to be of the more interesting utility variety.

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