So I am looking for recommendations for game mechanics on using the Drowned Eye to create undead. The reason I ask is that one of my players loves undead and has literally build a crypt/storeroom to hold the bodies of notable NPC spell casters until he can use the spell Create Undead to make intelligent spellcasting juju zombies and skeletal lords. I predict that instead of destroying the rune in the Drowned Eye, he will want to restore the wards that had previously been around the place and try to harness the power of the place to help him make undead. Whats more, since he is a charismatic store-born half-elf with the water breathing spell so I could see him convincing the party to do just that, and returning to the place periodically to make undead. So the question is what kind of game mechanics should I give the place? My first assumption is that I should make it function like an unmoveable scroll of create undead (which I know he would love) that regenerates periodically (like once a month or so). The module has the Aboleth working to create a Sea Bonze, but I worry that giving him anything powerful enough to do that would unbalance the campaign. What do you guys think I should use?
It depends on whether you want him actually doing this or not. If you're fine with him doing it, then just make the thing as powerful as you're comfortable with because you're in the realm of GM fiat regardless.
Just because the aboleth was trying to create a sea bonze doesn't mean that it will work. First, the aboleth has no reason or probably even opportunity to share its plans with the group so they'll probably never really know what it was trying to do. Secondly, just because the aboleth was trying to make it work doesn't mean it was going to work. The monster could've been mistaken in its conclusions. Use this to make the Drowned Eye only as powerful as you're comfortable with, despite the aboleth's grandiose plans.
In my game the pcs fell for Luculla's ruse hook, line and sinker. They escorted her back to her home and even vouched for her to the parents, saying she was magically compelled. She's since flown the coop but they haven't figured it out yet. I cultivated her as a romantic interest for the rogue and they didn't even question the situation. I can't wait to see how they react when they find out she fled...
... encourage the others to keep him in line a bit more.
If I were playing in your game and a party member started acting so aggrieved over this and was plotting tweaking a powerful Chelish captain who knew who we were and was willing to help us, that's what I'd be doing heavily without any GM nudging.
This kind of player reaction always makes me feel like the player is treating NPCs like inflatable clown punching dummies and not like people who can cause their actions to have consequences. It annoys me as a GM every time.
I had a similar thing happen. Three PCs were left for dead a Nox's feet. I didn't want to end it for them there, so I did the following.
The captured PCs were moved to a generic Dottari station in Red Roof. The remaining two party members found out about it and worked with the Silver Ravens to engineer a rescue. The rebellion set fire to the Fair Fortune Livery, causing the majority of the Dottari at the station to deal with it. They then broke into the station to free their allies. For the imprisoned players, I let them run some NPCs temporarily and just applied the XP earned to their PCs.
I used the Watch Station flip mat for this. In the yard of the map was one Dottari guard (used IHBS' stat block) and two dogs. Inside the main hall of the map where two more Dottari and one "investigator wizard" diviner 4 from the NPC Codex. In the basement was four more Dottari guards. In the torture chamber area of the map was a "torturer" expert 5 / fighter 2 from the Gamemastery Guide, who had the captured PCs in her custody. One was on the rack and the other two were in the small cells in that room. Afterwards they were able to escape into the sewers from the passageway on that map.
This worked out alright and allowed me to make up the XP missed for failing to defeat Nox. As a lose end, Nox is still wandering around undefeated in my game and I need to determine what to do with her to restore the standard game state where she returns as a broken soul in the future.
Oh yeah? Because his adventurer had so many more important things to attend to than go on adventures, huh? Some players just wow me with the things that they decide offend them.
Anyway, to answer your question, if he gets found out maybe just getting a sound thwacking from the much higher level captain and mate. Or if you want to make everyone suffer, have the captain declare that the party has just used one of their favors for the captain's showing restraint in dealing with such a boor.
I played Pathfinder for about three years, understanding some very complex rules well, but not understanding at all how point buy worked. I thought 15 point buy was at a 1 for 1 rate, no matter how much you spent on a stat with it.
In my defense I almost exclusively GM and run published material; so I'd made about two characters from scratch that entire time.
I'm really looking forward to this one. I would love to run Hell's Vengeance (maybe even following my current Hell's Rebels game), but that aside, This has a great variety of small and medium humanoid pawns, which are a great trove of options for PCs and NPCs when I run modules without the benefits of pawn sets.
Upon thinking about this further, it's not MMORPG terms I hate, it's reductive phrasing. I don't like "skill monkey" (agreed that it has a prejorative connotation) or "face" any better than the others. I don't like characters being referred to by their class or race either, for the most part.
I don't like characters being reduced to their attributes because I think it honestly is a sign of, or leads to, a lack of immersion in the character and I think it detracts from a good atmosphere for role playing. When I hear these it makes me think that people aren't trying to get into their characters and don't care to. I find that a missed opportunity.
Cole Deschain wrote:
Yes, because for the most part they're wholly inaccurate for the tabletop medium. Tanks: There is very little way in this game to force something to fight you and ignore others. "Tanking" has to be accomplished through role play and/or positioning. DPS: Is absolutely meaningless in an RPG. What they mean is "damage per round", at best.
I like to play when I can but I almost exclusively GM. The main reason is that I'm the only one in my circle of players who has the dedication and work ethic to run a game for longer than a few sessions without get bored of the grunt work involved, truth be told.
Funny thing, I GM'd before I had ever played a PC. I had always wanted to try RPGs growing up, but didn't know anyone who was into them in the 90s so never had the chance. I started college in 2000 and made friends with a group of guys who had the 3.0 D&D books and who said they had all played growing up together in rural Kentucky. I would ask them to run games (which they all ostensibly had done and liked to do) but no one was ever really interested in putting in the work. So, one day I just said "Let me read your books and I'll run a game." Using borrowed books, I ran a homebrew game for about a full school year at their house having never been a player. Since then, I've continued to play with at least one of these same guys and am considered a pretty good GM. To this day I've played a hand full of characters in one-offs, but have only ever played 3 PCs for longer than a month or two in 16 years!
I don't like it when people call paladins "pallys", clerics "healbots", melee focused classes "beat sticks", "meat shields" or "tanks". I guess the pattern is that I don't care for most MMORPG terms. The first one I just think is annoying and the last four are unnecessarily pigeon-holing and usually inaccurate to what the character does.
On the other hand, "caster" gets a pass from me. It just seems like a more concise way to refer to "magic-users" in general.
The comic "Knights of the Dinner Table" gave me a list of RPG-related jargon that I hate that would be too long to list. It's like Jolly Blackburn has never actually heard people talk to each other before...
When I read Inner Sea Races, I was rather disappointed with the Taldan chapter. It seemed that the book made an effort to portray every human ethnicity in a positive light except Taldans. It seemed there was very little written positively about them.
Interesting cultures have positives and negatives and especially conflicts. It seemed like the poor Taldans got the short end of the stick in that regard.
I didn't think that one could perform a combat maneuver as an attack of opportunity.
Core Rule Book wrote:
Making an Attack of Opportunity: An attack of opportunity is a single melee attack, and most characters can only make one per round. You don't have to make an attack of opportunity if you don't want to. You make your attack of opportunity at your normal attack bonus, even if you've already attacked in the round.
An attack of opportunity is defined here as a single melee attack, which isn't a combat maneuver. The only way something could get a chance to trip on an attack of opportunity is if it had the Trip monster ability that causes its standard melee attacks to also result in a trip attempt.
Since all the good old devilish tricks are gone (illusions and invisibility), his best bet is to sit in the dark (beggar's invisibility) and wait till he spots a glimmer of light somewhere in the area. Then he can decide to spend a round and summon his minion, but in combat it is a bit too late.
Thanks! The one thing about this devil that the AP kinda ties my hands on is that it explicitly says that it doesn't attack unless they attack it or they try to go through its door. It'll even shoot the breeze with them if neither of those two criteria are met. I think that is to keep it from getting the drop on them and making things too hard. It is CR 7 and the party is APL 5 when this is slated to occur.
So, it isn't supposed to summon as soon as it sees them. My concern then is if doing so once a fight begins is a waste of its action.
I thought it was a full round action because of this from the Bestiary:
Summon monster spells require full round actions. But if the SLA itself should say that it's a full round and I should not infer from the spell it's mimicking, then that makes sense.
I am getting ready to run an encounter that involves an advanced Bearded Devil in the Hell's Rebels AP. I want to run down a couple questions I had to make sure I run this encounter correctly because it could be a tough one.
Regarding its summon ability, if it uses it to summon another bearded devil, this is a full round action. Every time it gets hit during that round, it has to make a concentration check (DC 10+spell level +dmg dealt) or lose the spell. Once the spell is done it only has a 50% chance of working. For its concentration check, I'm rolling 1d20+12(CL)+2(for advanced).
If it's holding its glaive while casting the spell, does it get an attack of opportunity against anyone who comes within 10 feet, or does being in the middle of casting a spell negate that?
It might be smarter for the devil to teleport away (but still nearby) and then summon, then return for them with its ally if successful. The book doesn't say he'd use that kind of tactic, and he's supposed to be guarding a door. Does that seem like too much or just good use of a monster's abilities?
An introductory exposition for the tenth proclamation.
Noon has recently passed and the streets outside Citadel Vaull, located in the Castle District, are crowded. A detachment of armigers surrounds something under a great tarp in the middle of the intersection of the streets, halting the normal flow of traffic. Curious onlookers stand around as peddlers move through the crowd, hawking food and other wares. Men in hideous armor stand vigil upon the rampart of the Citadel and can be seen peering through its arrow slits.
It has been said through word of mouth that the Order of the Rack shall be giving some manner of announcement today, possibly regarding the Order of the Torrent. Many are curious about what has been going on since the Hellknights were declared outlaws. Rumors, hearsay and half-truths are all anyone has had to go on. Suddenly, he Devil’s Bells can be heard peeling across the cityscape, taking people by surprise.
The great winch above the entrance to Citadel Vaull begins cranking and the great cold iron portcullis begins to rise. Then, the massive oaken doors behind it are thrown open. An honor guard bearing an icon reminiscent of a spiked wheel heads a procession of warriors encased in hideous armor resembling flayed bodies and trailing tattered cloaks march into the plaza. Ultimately, a similarly armored individual emerges from the citadel, astride a dark, strikingly colored horse. The Hellknights form a circle around the tarp and push outward, while the mounted knight reins up before it. The figure removes its helm, revealing a woman’s stony face with sunken, dark-rimmed eyes and tangled blonde hair. A man in a strange helm with no apparent eye slits approaches her, as she brushes her hair out of her face. She looks down to the man and gives a nod of her head. The man waves his hand and intones some magic syllables.
The woman speaks, her voice a hoarse rasp. You wouldn’t think that he voice would even be audible in these conditions, except that it sounds like it has been supernaturally amplified. “Good day, Kintargans. I am Kyrre Ekodyre, paralictor of the Order of the Rack and commander of this contigent of Hellknights. In light of the betrayal of the Order of the Torrent, it falls to us to help the Lord-Mayor keep order in the name of our Queen. I have spent the past month here amongst you and have come to the conclusion that you are a willful people, on the verge of falling into anarchy. Action must be taken before you destroy yourselves. As those of my Order say: ‘The venoms of the mind poison the body’. With the authority vested in us by the Lord-Mayor, we shall draw the venom from you.”
She motions to a Hellknight nearby. That Hellknight draws forth a parchment, unfurls it and reads: “Possession of poetry or prose written by the following authors is hearby forbidden and punishable by a fine of 100 gold pieces of imprisonment: Boswyth the Bard, Charletta d’Vanep, Ghenrail of Vyre, and the anonymous coward who calls him or herself the Poison Pen of Kintargo. All documents bearing the writings of these miscreants must be turned over to the dottari for destruction by sundown.”
The Paralictor then points to the tarp, which the armigers pull away, revealing a pile of books, scrolls and parchments. The man in the eyeless helm strides forward, gestures towards the pile and intones three words. A cone of flame bursts forth from his hand igniting the books. Kyrre Ekodyre speaks once more: “This pyre shall remain alight day and night until the venom of libel has been burned from the mind of Kintargo.” People begin rushing off to their homes while others surge forward offering paper to the blaze as a plume a black smoke begins to rise in the sky.
Something like this already exists in the game: The Lday Docur's Lacunafex. Although, you probably don't want to tip this hand to early regarding this group.
Just a Mort wrote:
I.e if you write you hate all orcs, and you're playing a paladin, the villagers tell you that some orcs have been killing their cattle, you burn down the entire orc village and your GM declares you fall.
Why not role play the character coming around to understand his own prejudices? Why not role play the conflict? Too often people see their character as immutable granite from the time of creation. Why not have his life experiences shape him further once the game starts?
I think too often, people assume that PCs have to go full nuclear assault against everything in their path. Why would they act like that?
My beef with Reign of winter is that you necessarily built your character in a void, because nobody could know in advance the assumptions of that AP, and the gross railroading involved pretty much rankled on my nerves... because, yeah, it involved meddling with people that my character knew about and wanted to avoid like the plague.
Well, the GM knows. That's why I recommend that the GM be a part of character creation. If a player is going in a direction that the GM knows will be an issue later, he can steer the player in a different direction.
To answer the OP, no a backstory isn't crucial to running an AP, but it helps.
I wanted to reply to the above however. in my opinion a backstory is ever only problematic if a player makes his character in a vacuum or actively tries to go against the AP's assumptions. Paizo publishes Player's Guides for all APs. You should always have a session before the game begins for character creation in which all players and the GM participate. The players should ideally tie their characters to each other and the GM should work to tie them to the setting. If you do that, you should come up with PCs with proper motivation who fit into the setting well with backstories that the GM can actually use to everyone's advantage. Also, making the PCs together means that the GM can nip problem conepts in the bud.
My only other thing to add is that I do prefer backstories to not be overwrought and appropriate for level 1 PCs. Keep in mind the character is at the beginning of his adventuring career and not at the end of it. Most of his major life events lie ahead of him not behind him. In most cases, it's not that believable to claim that he is the Dragon Knight of Legend at level 1, haha!
Interference from my mothertongue, in which words ending in consonant + i add apostrophe s for plural. My bad, in English it now looks like Arabasti IS in Cheliax, sorry. It should have been Arabastis.
In fairness, it seems like most Americans have no idea how to use the apostrophe anyway, so most will never notice.
I think that this is a silly thing to argue over. People have spent 3 pages basically talking past each other in circles. You either think that anthropomorphics and so on are cool or you think they're lame. It's based on personal taste and there's no real substantive argument that either side can put forth to convince the other.
So live and let live. The GM is the final arbiter. GMs should be upfront about their preferences and as the ones doing the majority of the heavy lifting for any game, their preferences should be respected. If the GM doesn't want to run a game for anthropomorphics, save your concept for another game. You'll have other chances to play.
Personally, I like core races only when I make PCs and I also prefer to run games for the cores. That aside, I have run games with ratfolk, catfolk and tengu PCs and it's fine. The world won't end. As long as the race isn't more powerful than the cores, I let it ride and it's always been fine.
On the other hand, refusing to grant mythic power means that the story really is one of Mephistopheles's pawns on both sides, that the image of a new world kindled by the Silver Ravens was never more than a figment, because some powers will remain forever out of reach.
You don't think the personification of the plane of Hell itself is worthy of that?
By most accounts, Mythic rules were a game-breaker in a game written to handle them. I don't think this AP would fair any better.
Here is a little bit of exposition for the beginning of Turn of the Torrent.
It is the first day of Pharast, and the air is beginning to warm, ever so slightly. In the streets outside of the Kintargo Opera House, people gather to hear what the Lord-Mayor has to say. People speculate whether he will address the news of the Glorious Reclamation’s victory to the south. To the east, the sound of carpenters at work in Veritas Plaza may be heard. Upon the steps of the Opera House, the Lord-Mayor’s majordomo, Nox, stands guard with a number of arimgers of the Order of the Rack, scanning the crowd.
When the now familiar sound of The March of the House Thrune Triumphant can be heard, Barzillai Thrune emerges from the interior of the Opera House to take his customary position on the baroque balcony. He wears a grave expression as he surveys the people below him.
“My dear countrymen, I address you today, with a heavy heart. Although we have taken care to shepherd you down a path of loyalty to your Queen, we have been stymied by the chaos endemic to the hearts of men. Ne’er-do-wells have attacked us in our work, flaunting the curfew. Arsonists have attempted to set fire to the neighborhood of Red Roof. As the wolves of the Glorious Reclamation howl at our very door, what are we to do?
I must have those by my side who will keep my charges safe and under control! I have no time for those who will not pull their weight in the defense of our Kintargo! While the dottari patrol our streets with the guidance of the Church of Asmodeus and the support of the Order of the Rack, where is the Order of the Torrent? I say to you, if these Hellknights shall not commit their resources, limited as they might be, to our efforts, then they shall have no resources! Lady Nox, if you please…”
Nox, standing upon the steps, unfurls a large scroll and reads the following: “By order of Lord-Mayor Barzillai Thrune, the congress of Hellknights known as the Order of the Torrent is from this day forward stripped of charter! All of its holdings and possessions are confiscated, its privileges and entitlements revoked and its members declared outlaws. Steadfast citizens are commanded to turn over those members who have slipped the net of justice!”
With that she rolls of the scroll. Barzillai Thrune, looking particularly pleased with himself scans the crowd before seemingly remembering something that he had forgotten. “Thank you, Lady Nox. And one more thing: Her Infernal Majestrix requires a steady stream of gold from her arch-baronies in order to properly chastise these Glorious Reclamation upstarts. Three copper pinches per crossing will no longer suffice. .Therefore I am forced to raise the Bleakbridge toll. From this point forward, the toll for crossing shall be five silver shields. Asmodeus keep the Queen!”
With that, Barzillai Thrune turns and disappears into the Opera House. The hammering and sawing a block away continues.
A paladin is easy to justify. Thrune's regime is unjust and its laws shouldn't be followed by just people. In fact, a central aspect of the game is getting a LG Hellknight to side with the rebellion.
As far as god to revere, I wouldn't recommend Irori or Sarenrae because their faiths are all but absent from the city in an organized sense. On the other hand, Abadar and Shelyn are great choices because they have churches in the city. Paladins are better off with support from a church and your character could be a great "in" with either church for the Silver Ravens.
The heart of your problem is going to be other players, especially if they're hostile to the idea. If that's the case, I don't know what to tell you, you probably need to play this PC with another group. On the other hand, if you're all comfortable with roleplaying disagreements between PCs and not assuming they must be solved by fights to the death, it could be a good chance for moral questions and compromises which would make interesting roleplaying.
I wouldn't do this. You're not going to succeed in scaring your players (which is pretty much impossible in RPGs), you're really just going to end up annoying them if the adventure isn't written around this limitation such as Skull & Shackles was.
You're already saying you won't take things like spell books and holy symbols that the classes "need to function" but when you come right down to it, martial classes need their weapons "to function" just as much. I don't think this aspect of your game will be remembered positively if you do this.
I don't like monstrous races in games I run, but I'd say "no" on the outset, not let a player do it and then make the experience miserable for everyone, which is what you're tacitly doing by victimizing any player. If the player couldn't accept my "no" on his idea, then he's free to not play my game.
I would also point out that beyond the role play angle everyone's squabbling over, the hobgoblin is an extra powerful race with +2 to two abilities and no negatives, darkvision and a +4 to stealth as a medium race. It's going to start with advantages over the cores and I don't find that acceptable either.
Should holy water harm Nox? I didn't think so because she is neither undead nor an outsider, despite being devil-bound. Does being devil-bound make her susceptible? It kinda makes sense if it does, but I found no mention of this in the write up of the template in Bestiary 4.
If it could hurt Nox, should its damage count as good? This is also unclear in the holy water write up in the CRB, but once again, would make some logical sense. Thanks!
Unless shown otherwise, my stance would be no to both questions, RAW.
The hobgoblins might not be looking for revenge so much as a place to escape Molthune, making the neighboring country they've campaigned through a decent choice.
In my game, my players have done all of their street fighting wearing scarves over their faces. Once they found out the identities of the past Silver Ravens from Rexus' research, they all began to like the idea of assuming the previous Silver Ravens' names as nom-de-guerres.
They don't seem as concerned with deep secrecy as you are (although I believe that is the focus they chose), but I am planning to have them approach the quest givers in "Turn of the Torrent" instead of vice versa because it just seems more natural.
and a cast of really detestable NPCs that you seem to be expected to love unconditionally is just making Hell's Rebels a massive disappointment.
Don't forget that there is nothing saying that you need to present the NPCs exactly as written. If they have personality traits that you foresee rubbing your PCs the wrong way, remove them and present them in a way your PCs will find compelling. If you're the one who doesn't like the NPC, you're in an even better position to re-imagine them in ways you'd prefer.
I don't know why, but lots of players with stealthy characters (even experienced ones) think there is a lot to be gained by sneaking around solo when there seldom is. And if you get seen by yourself, you're usually hosed.
What's a bigger advantage once a fight starts? Four move and standard actions per round or one move OR standard action in a surprise round?
THOU SHALT NOT SPLIT THE PARTY!
First, I built up Octavio Sabinus in "Hell's Bright Shadow" as a potential ally and the PCs are fairly well disposed towards him at this point. Also, one of the PCs has a brother who is an armiger in the order. If it's too late for that in your game, I would suggest having someone the PCs alreayd know and trust approach the PCs.
For instance have Laria say she knows that Setrona is looking for her brother and that Laria knows her and vouches for her and recommends the PCs approach her to see if there is anything that can be gained form helping her. She offers an in with the Order of the Torrent, so that should be a motivator.
Can you have someone they trust like Laria or Rexus be their sounding board? Not so much have other NPCs approach them, but reverse it. They'd recommend the players make contact with the other NPCs based on their read on them. Let the players approach those NPCs on their terms. For example, Laria recommends they make contact with Hetamon to establish relations with the tieflings, etc. Let the contacting be done on the players' terms so they don't feel compromised.
Yes, I always roll treasure for random encounters (depending on the monster's treasure stat) and also in cases where an NPC is listed as a fight with no treasure. I'm actually quite scrupulous about it. But at level 1-4 most of what you find for given encounters is going to be consumables. And sometimes I have the NPCs drink the potions if they'd be helpful.
We're working through Hell's Rebels, BTW.