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Goblin Squad Member. RPG Superstar 7 Season Star Voter. Organized Play Member. 1,768 posts (1,773 including aliases). No reviews. 2 lists. No wishlists. 3 aliases.

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Adam Smith wrote:
I'll see if I can get the Black Bard himself to chime in about it, but only if he can get some time away from working on our next build.

Its true, I'm knee deep in several projects and orders, but its all good thanks to the Scotty Principle.

Gauntlight was a fun build, I love pushing my limits and trying new techniques. Much like a good DM pulls inspiration from a variety of sources, I have a wide range of skillsets that contribute to my crafting. Adam can attest to seeing plumbing and woodworking in the past.

The main two goals of all my builds is playability and shipping efficiency. How many awesome terrain setups out there are just a pain to fit minis inside of or to transport anywhere? There's a reason modular tiles like Dwarven Forge or Fat Dragon exist. (Shameless plug, I'm a licensed vendor for Fat Dragon 3d printed tiles! Come get some!)

For Gauntlight, the goal was removable walls using magnets, with the main board being basically a full size version of the map from the adventure. Great 3d representation, great ease of play, in the same box. If the compliments Adam has given me have been any indication, the attempt was a success!

Now, to wrap up a Thistletop build, and then on to one of the dungeon levels of Abomination Vaults! And if anyone else is curious about a build of their very own, let me know!

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I'll take a level of Necromancer and REVIVE THIS THREAD! Guess who's coming back to PaizoCon this year, fabulous 2022! With all new licenses for 3d printed terrain, minis, props, and more!

Environmental terrain, like coral, ruins, trees, ice bridges, caverns, and so on.

Miniatures! From our exclusively monstrous Lusca to Starfinder-compatible ship miniatures!

Amulets, rings, crystals, claws, and other props. Did someone say Ioun or Aeon stones? Yes!

Dice towers, dice boxes, dice jails! Want a decorative can-holding mug in the style of your favorite class?

And lets not forget ships, our persistent best sellers. Sailing ships, airships, from a dinghy to a dirigible! One and done or modular and customizable!

I will also have a couple of printers at the con, able to produce a limited amount of "on the spot" items! Have a heroforge mini you would like to print, but its just a little too expensive? Buy the digital file for it and I'll get it into your hands for far less!

I'm still printing away in preparation, but I'm happy to prep for an expected or confirmed order! Send me a PM here, through my website, or my facebook page! I'm happy to field questions like "I'm looking for X, can you make something like that?"

I absolutely cannot wait to see familiar faces, its been too long! And I also can't wait to meet new people! See you all soon!

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Black Bard of the eponymous studio here! The lusca is actually a custom peice remixed from the demon shark of the eminently talented Evan Carothers of EC3D., made specifically for the Order of the Amber Die with Evan's permission.

Thats right! Only one exists! It's an endangered species!

One thing I really care about when it comes to terrain and minis is that they be accurate to scale. So when the bestiary says a lusca is 80 feet long, I say "Ok, one 16 inch long mini coming up!"

A huge thanks to Adam and the Order for showcasing my work! If anyone is interested in adopting a lusca for themselves or needs any other sort of terrain/minis 3d printed, please check out my (still a work in progress) site and contact me!

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Rules wise? Not that I'm aware of. Fluff/intent wise? No, because having an alignment that far from the deities means your own worldview/nature is basically opposed to theirs. How can you commune with such a force and resonate with it on such an intimate spiritual level that you can receive divine power when you are, in one of the ways that matters very much, exactly what it is not?

A deity of law likely has the law domain, and even if it doesn't, it is lawful because of its own nature, the domains it does oversee, and its choice of planar residence. It favors order, discipline, adhering to rules, making plans as opposed to spur of the moment reactions, rewarding those who act for the benefit of the group rather than the individual, and so on. A chaotic character should bristle at such, because they favor freedom, flexibility, doing what is needed, making quick choices when the unexpected happens, and that everyone is important be they peasant or king. Both worldviews are valid, but not really compatible. As acquaintances, sure, as casual freinds, yeah, as even solid friends who like each other DESPITE their massive ethical diferences, could happen. But for the intense spiritual resonance required of a cleric? An intimacy of soul likely deeper than that between spouses? No.

Two quick points to remember.

1. Most people in a Pathfinder world are religious and do worship a diety, or multiple ones. And they aren't CLERICS. Their faith is strong, but not THAT strong. A cleric has dedicated himself to his god as much as the fighter to his sword or the wizard to his research, if not more.

2. Devils and demons are both evil, but they will also tear each others faces off on sight and almost never work together because of their alignment differences. Even on the celestial side, the gulf between LG and CG is extremely wide, full of polite nods, slightly condescending laughs, and a lot of "Thanks for the advice or offer, but no thanks, we need to do this the right way," from both sides.

tldr: I can't think of a way to get around the cleric alignment restriction and I honestly and personally don't think there should be.

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We are now in the last *checks clock, calendar, and travel itinerary* 60 hours of 3d printer time before unplugging and heading up to PaizoCon2019! If anyone has any requests, any desires, any hopes and 3d printed dreams, let me know! Pre-orders get 10% off!

Check out the links I've previously posted, or just ask if I can make something! Gallows? Yes! Wheelbarrows? Yes! Ruined walls, fisherman's hut, demonic altar, openlock dungeon parts, laser turrets, forklifts, iron drums, LITTLE TINY ORANGE ROAD CONES???

Yes, yes, YES!!!

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Funny you should say that. I DO! BECOME TEMPTED.

Seriously, I do have the Oakenspire license, already have a ship printed. If you have specific parts you want, let me know. Go ahead and send a PM here or through the BlackBardStudios facebook page if you want to talk more about it!

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Someone said wrote:
The problem is that Pathfinder's alignment system is actually two parallel systems: there's a moral alignment and cosmic alignment. Undead are by-definition evil under the cosmic alignment system, because they are literally powered with negative energy.

Not true. Negative energy is neutral, in the non-aligned sense. Its no more evil than fire, earth, water, or air, which are all capable of killing you when applied in excess.

Every living non-immortal creature has negative energy in it, because that entropic force is the cause of aging. Creatures are born, their positive energy overflowing, as they grow and mature, and then the balance begins to tip, and they slow and age and die.

Undead are excesses of such force. They are arguably more like a volcanic eruption, or a tidal wave, or an avalanche: an excessive surge of otherwise normal energy.

The problem is that undead are capable of independent movement, even when they aren't capable of independent thought. A volcano simmers, until the forces at work on it force it to erupt. It can't perceive the town below it, nor can it think "I'd love to burn those puny humans and destroy everything they've made." The lava flow doesn't turn to chase a person. It just sits, erupts, flows, and is done. It doesn't choose its targets. For all the destruction is wreaks, its just a disaster.

But undead, even mindless ones like skeletons, can move on their own. Unless commanded by outside forces, they can still perceive, and react. A skeleton can perceive a creature nearby, and react to it. But while a "mindless" creature like a spider may react with flight or fight based on instinct, the only instinct a skeleton has is to cause entropy. Which is highly destructive to a balanced system. They don't hunt to feed, and even when they do, they do not need to feed to survive (even vampires aren't destroyed by not feeding). Some can even reproduce, but not in a traditional sense of comingled growth, like mother/father, or even host/parasite. The supplant and replace, turning their victims into their fellows.

They are a cancer upon the system, a cosmically hemmoragic aberration destroying a self-sustaining cycle piece by relatively insignificant piece. True, Golarion lore justifies this by having Urgathoa be the source of undead, as the first human to, wait for it, break out of the cycle. She caused a system glitch that might never be recovered from.

Lets not forgot how many undead kill with death effects. And while, yes, 3rd is not Pathfinder, its notable as the foundation. In 3rd, dying from negative levels not affiliated with some form of undead replication would STILL turn you into a wight! No longer the case in Pathfinder, at least as a hard and universal rule, but interesting to consider nonetheless.

Undead are evil because their very instincts drive them towards "hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master."

Even ghosts are consumed with the horror of their existance and the trauma that created them. Given enough time, and barring exceptional circumstance, I would personally wager that all ghosts eventually become evil as well.

So yeah, while I would like a slightly more definitive statement from Paizo on the why's of mindless undead being evil, I can still get behind the blanket idea because of how the cosmic system "should" be working in their absence.

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I heartily recommend anyone looking into a Venom/symbiote concept check out N.Jolly's Symbiotic Slayer in Legenday Games' Villains: Vigilantes book.

Short summary: Vigilante archetype, the symbiote is a familiar with the [symbiote] archetype that functions similar to a synthesist eidolon, gaining extra powers (and Ego!) from taking symbiote vigilante talents to improve its abilities.

One of the best executions of the concept, and even if vigilante isn't your thing, its still worth it for the sheer concept. I'm using it as an independant creature divorced from the class, that gains power based on its hosts (aka level). Just use the familiar and vigilante talent slots like a sort of quasi-gestalt. Works great!

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Completely up to you and your players. But it certainly does afford a fair amount of plot potential.

Some things I did/had happened.

A monk was killed by the memory kineticist. Madness on waking was specifically phobic of the kineticist.

I had done full rebuilds on the idea their past selves were very different people, including different classes. So I allowed those who "beat" their memories to gain a minor ability from their "old" selves. Basically either a feat or a feat's worth of class ability.

Certainly you could swing all sorts of fun things. You could have the old memories hitch a ride in the defeated person, acting as a possessing force or laying low and then animating the next corpse they come across/make by force. Let that PC get flashes of insight and memory in the adventures to come, but red herring him occasionally with other irrelevant memories (OH CRAP, I owe that food vendor money!)

Could even allow a character retrain if you were going with the "very different past selves" approach. If death does happen, talk to your players, lay it out there. Some will be on board for shenanigans, others will just want their percentile roll on the madness table so they can move on.

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A huge thank you to the Order for letting us at Black Bard Studios be a part of this! Making the coral dungeon pieces for the Lionfish Gallery was a wonderful challenge, and a real treat to see come together on the table!

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I always keep in mind a fairly overlooked part of the detect spells: "Creatures with actively evil intents count as evil creatures for the purpose of this spell." Same for the other alignment detectors.

And then there's the spell Magic Aura for Detect Magic. Nondetection for both. Mislead. Basically, these spells can be fooled. The information you receive from them can be manipulated.

That evil vizier they just killed? He was lawful good and trying to counter the influence of the power hungry prince who's secretly pledged himself to Asmodeus. Mislead spell.

A person who's appearance screams "thug" runs past the PCs in a street, holding a suspicious package. PCs intervene, detecting the package as magical, and attempt to identify the item within, which appears to be an ordinary wineskin. Meanwhile, during the 3+ rounds that they (and likely any local guardsmen) have their attention focused, other crimes are comitted (pickpocketing the PCs, sneaking into the guardpost to liberate a comrade/confiscated illegal goods, etc). Magic Aura.

PCs tasked with guarding a person or site in the city see many people pass the location. One of them (a washerwoman, beggar, town guardsman, prostitute) is more than they seem, via nondetection, magic aura, glamoured armor, and a hat of disguise.

Finally, PCs scanning the tavern/townsquare/street with detect evil note a man who registers as evil. The man stares at another man some distance away. The first man is a grieving father fantasizing about revenge, the other a deceitful and murderous pimp with enough connections to avoid reprisal.

And of course all of this is disregarding the inherent limits of the spells, and the social ramifications of openly and blatantly using them. Best case scenario, its the equivalent of someone walking up to you and running a metal detector over you. If the person wears a symbol of a lawful diety, or the badge of the town guard, it will likely be tolerated, but overall its an invasion of privacy few will appreciate because of the possibility of misunderstandings as listed above. And that is assuming its known that the spell being cast is simply a detect spell, and not charm, suggestion, bestow curse, contagion, or any other hostile or harmful spell that has no obvious effects (like fireball).

tldr: If the spells (and their counterspells) are run correctly on a mechanical and in-game social level, its self correcting. In my experience of course.

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As someone who has gone through the experience of losing a daughter (although not in a manner quite so gruesome or prompted by the ill will of another) I want to voice a possibility that goes against the general grain:

Live for her.

Certainly, you can pursue the raise dead option, or the righteous quest to not let such tragedy happen to others, those are all fine. But those are actions. I'm talking about the mental state. You can spiral down into depression and madness, I won't argue that. I remember my tears, my desire to go dig a hole next to her grave and lay in it.

Or, after your grief, you can rise up as I have and take it upon yourself to live for her. Work twice as hard, to live your own life, and the one she will miss. Take the first step forward when you might hesitate, to honor her stolen first steps. However strong you believe she could have been, be that strong, because she would have gotten that strength from you.

She is a part of you, and you are a part of her. Let her life remind you that you are stronger than her death.

tldr: You can find focus without going grimdark.

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I gave Hakotep a series of boosts, but in my group the one that had the biggest impact was one they learned about through their own investigations.

I gave him Sacred Geometry.

If you look at the lore, so much of Hakotep's power and resources are things he used his then-current power and resources to cajole, swindle, or steal from others. The flying tech. Some of his artifacts. Etc. Hakotep is basically a high CR conman. So, I took it one further.

In my games, due to a unanimous player vote, Sacred Geometry was deemed "unbalanced". So, I had my players find snippets of lore as they researched their for that implied a hermitage of Nethysian scholars had discovered the "secret underpinning geometry of reality and magic". Which Hakotep promptly stole from them, under some BS cause. The lore they were researching couldn't even keep the story straight, it waffled between "retribution of the gods", "insulting the Pharoah by refusing to share" (they taught him willingly), and "eliminated subversive threats to the country".

So yeah, my players gave me playful glares of "oh you cheeky bugger" and their characters had one more reason to loathe the Sky Pharaoh. And when he started tossing free metamagic around later? Still gets called out as the worst AP boss. Maybe not hardest, but worst, with all the loathing that can be packed in the word. Job done.

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Personally, I'm hoping the narrative device used to make goblins feasible as a core race is NOT time travel. Count me in the camp that believes such a "twist" will have very little emotional impact to counter a decade of established emotions from the player base. If it were shown to be radically foreshadowed in other materials and we all just somehow missed the writing on the wall up until now, well, that might work, but I kind of doubt that;s a possibility at this point.

Personally, here is my "hopeful theory":

The Polymorph Plague mentioned in part 3 of Return of the Runelords. If a significant portion of Varisia's population is exposed to a magical effect that turns them into monsters, its possible that some or many of them become goblins. If the effect is in any way like baleful polymorph, some might be left with their human intellects (but still have to deal with the instinctual urges of the new body). This could easily lead to new "clans" of semi-civilized goblins, especially after a decade or two (which would be like 4-6 goblin generations).

This would create an emotional impact that would help counter the established opinion. A gate guard knowing that the goblin who comes up to the gate peacefully might be the grandson of his own brother who fell victim to the Polymorph Plague fifteen years back is much more sympathetic than a simple "fixed it in post" time travel bit. Imagine, an adventuring party of the gate guard's rebellious daughter, his brother-turned-goblin's grandson, and his sister in law's twin children that arrived 8 months after the plague took her husband (perhaps he chose to never return and put his wife through such emotional burden, telling only his gate-guard brother of what happened before dissapearing into the wilderness).

Ok, I got rambling there, but still. I like this better than time travel.

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Personally, I would love it if all bestiary entries listed the height/length and weight of a creature. Most entries do, but some omit these details. I find the data quite valuable given the single sentance needed to relay it.

While an ogre and a hill giant are both large, they have very different heights and weights, which can matter for the purposes of reaching objects or moving corpses or whether the surface can hold their weight. Yeah, I can just say "10' reach, it can reach up to 20'", but sometimes I'd like a little more granularity.

And I would love a scale reference in the illustrations. Many bestiary illustrations give no sense of scale relative to the subject besides the size entry. I frequently simply show the bestiary image to my players after describing the monster, and having a built in comparison to give a sense of how large or small the creature is would be extremely useful.

I'm unsure if it would be better to include a figure in the illustration for direct scale, or to perhaps have an appropriately scaled soft-colored silhouette adjacent to the image. I'm personally in favor of the silhouette, due to a wonderful prehistoric animal book from my childhood years at the public library. I think it would be unobtrusive and useful, easy to add to existing art (it could be zoomed in to the head or hand for smaller creatures), and likely free of the extra cost of adding a fully drawn figure to each piece.

So yeah, I guess this is the less rules based Bestiary request thread? Chime in or call me out, feel free!

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I have a 5 man group, and the action economy difference is notable there, with 6, you will definitely need to adjust things, unless they are running 10 point buy with other handicaps. At level 9, the two monks in my party were dishing out about 160 damage a round together, which makes most solo monster encounters trivial.

I would reccomend giving each creature the advanced template. The extra boost to AC from it (dex up plus nat armor) might be a bit much, so just go with a mental "+2 to everything". Simple, and should hold up. Otherwise, don't be afraid to increase the number of monsters; they have a 50% numbers advantage, so its fair if the monsters get that too!

Definitely reward players who have the stuff together and can spin their math out ahead of time. One of my monks routinely makes 9-10 attacks a round, and has a full on flowchart of how her attack progression works. I give her monster AC and CMD, she pays attention during the round for anything that changes it (witch hex), and then when her turn comes up, she can give me the results of her attacks (with the die rolls visible on her rolling app). A wonderful courtesy to me and the rest of the group.

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Regarding taking loot from the dreamlands, I made a way available, but made it a "hidden quest" of sorts. Here's what I did.


When they first got lore on the Mad Poet, I made sure to finish the lore with: and to those who please him greatly and quench his eternal thirst, the Mad Poet grants knowledge of how to make dreams real.

I then created 8 "proto-dreamscapes" they could go to. Think of them like demiplanes: generally inaccessible because they weren't full dreamscapes and thus part of the dreamlands, but likewise were too strong and permanent to be stumbled into on the Dimension of Dreams.

I can post more info if people care, but the basic gist of them was that they were all "pending resolution" and when one was "cleared" by the PCs, they could either allow it to become part of the Dreamlands or dissolve back into the Dimension of Dreams.

Some of the proto-dreams were:
The Grave of the Tarrasque (Paladin of Sarenrae in my group liked that one. She got a hit in! And then died for it. But it bought the rest time to kill cultists and get away, so success!)
A mage's tower caught in a groundhog day loop.
The dreams of the Yethzamari when Lamashtu stole the domain of beasts.
Two naval armies locked in a decades long civil war, each side led by a celestial.

So, to reach these proto-dreams, they had to find alternate keywords in Lowls books. My group was hitting check DCs out of the park, so I just told them they were finding alternate keywords in other book combinations. The end result was the discovery that there were three of the eight realms they couldn't reach due to missing a trio of books. One book they found in Caliphas, one they found within the time-looping mages tower, and the last they acquired in Cassomir. This allowed them to find the last set of keywords for the final "true" dreamscape.


Paradise was simple. It was an idyllic countryside. Everything needed to survive or flourish was there or easily craftable (effectively allowing retraining for free, at triple normal time). Traveling to paradise meant being slightly out of phase with your group. All would arrive in paradise, but in their own versions of it, each slightly different. They could hear each other speak as if on the other side of a door, but not interact.

The only commonality was the well. A constantly full well with crystal clear water in it. Water so pure it would degrade quickly in any but the most perfect vessel (go go craft checks!)

But Paradise was a trap. Every day you stayed, you lost the will to leave. DC 15 charisma check to leave, increase by 1 each day. Once you could no longer make the check DC, stuck until you died of old age (and thus wake up back in real world.) The party monk elected to stay behind to craft a vessel, but he got stuck. So he spent the rest of his life crafting a perfect vessel (retraining to max ranks, taking 20 to make masterwork tools, 20 for the vessel, the retrained ranks back.)

The water of Paradise as a final gift to the Mad Poet wins the group a ritual that can be used in the dreamlands when both the real world and the dreamlands moon is full (restricting it to once a month), and allows each participant to manifest a dreamlands object (or creature) in the waking world, at a cost of 1 permanent negative level. Performing the ritual obviously draws the attention of dreamlands natives, so there was always an encounter to go along with it.

Its worked well enough, my party isn't really overgeared, and by the time they can get everything out, its nearly endgame anyway. Biggest thing my party did with the ritual was sell most of the dreamlands gear to buy a staff of healing in Celphais, which has proven smart.

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Agreed that boosting their power will only take away from the horror game atmosphere. I have a group of 5 players at 15 point buy, with solid system mastery, and while there have been some close calls (and a few Dreamlands deaths) so far nobody has dirt-napped for real.

Do note that Winter can easily become a NPC cleric along for the ride, as she ultimately is the last of the government and church sanctioned group come looking into the Count's indiscretions. So she has reason to follow along until his fate is fully sealed. While she takes a more passive role during the first adventure, this might work well. In my opinion, the greatest strength of the first adventure is the feeling of being caged in by all the threats, up to and including food supply and the weather itself. Strong parties can burn through the Asylum in a couple of days if smart/lucky, which takes a lot of the feeling of pressure and hopelessness away.

If you have a 3 person party making brief forays into the asylum, returning to Winter for healing, that might actually stretch things out nicely.

Tactically, have horrible creatures be, well, horrible. While a ghoul who paralyzes a foe might be tactically smart to then ignore the paralyzed PC and head for the next, have them just start eating. Not a coup de grace or such, just a normal damage bite attack. This gives the other two time to beat on the ghoul without an instant death or total party paralysis happening. If you still want consequences, you could even throw out a DC 10 will save or be shaken for a round, or a point of charisma damage for the one being eaten.

My group has gotten a laugh and some satisfaction when their solid teamwork just destroys monsters in Strange Aeons (the genuinely overpowered nightmare dragon in part 3 was disappointing, killed a round and a half) But they truly enjoy, remember, and talk about the fights where they had to scramble to survive (the formless spawn was a notable foe that they now take very seriously). I would definitely recommend not treating them with kid gloves, but that's ultimately just how my players prefer it. You know your players best.

Hope my rambling helps in some way!

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Saldiven has put it perfectly as far as I'm concerned, so I'll just give my +1 short version.

Its all about context. If I'm walking down the street and see someone cutting open another person and injecting them with dangerous chemicals, I'm going to call the police. If I'm in the surgery room of a hospital and see the same thing, obviously I do nothing because the doctor is doesn't need any distractions. The location gives context. Nobody is surprised by spellcasting in the wizard academy.

If I see a person draw a gun, I'm going to assume I'm the target and react as such until proven otherwise. If the person with the gun is a police officer, I'm going to not assume that but will pay attention to what the officer says, to see if I'm in the middle of a bad situation or just on the side of one. The mage who works for the town guard can cast openly by virtue of his uniform and reputation.

When every spell is a Schrodinger's Cat oscillating between cleaning dirty clothes and dropping an orbital bombardment on the area, any civilization that doesn't exist in total anarchy will have both social and legal consequences for non-contextual spellcasting.

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Magic is capable of:
Physical harm, bodily destruction, immediate death.
Altering objects, structures, and even the landscape.
Impairing, altering or completely controlling mental faculties.
Transporting creatures and objects over great distances.

So, comparitively, magic is like:
Firearms, high explosives, chemical weaponry.
Chainsaws, jackhammers, construction equipment.
Tranquilizers, psychedelics, brainwashing.
Cargo trucks, airplanes.

Most of those are things that require an actual permit to operate. And even the chainsaw is not going to make me any friends if I just pull it out of a bag and rev it up in a public setting.

Sure, there are plenty of "relatively" safe and mundane uses for magic. Detect evil is like an airport security x-ray machine. Curative spells are objectively superior than going to the best doctor in the world. But the fact remains, so much of magic is capable of radically altering or destroying lives, without the permission of those affected.

I would say the best you could hope for is asking people for permission to cast a spell via diplomacy. Unless they have spellcraft, that could likely fall under the "dangerous aid" risk, +10 to DC. And even then, you would want to do it in a controlled enviroment, rather than a crowded market. Just because the guy you are talking to says sure doesn't mean the others within sight and earshot are going to react well to the Pathfinder version of revving a chainsaw/firing a gun/driving a semi truck/poison gas/grenade/lobotomy/nuclear strike/etc.

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walter mcwilliams wrote:
Did I miss where the MIA priestess is / met her doom? I don't recall reading it being mentioned anywhere.

Outside of Adam's quoted message board reply, there isn't anything set in the book. That said....

Mechanically, the penanggalen can only create a manananggal from a 10hd female humanoid. The missing priestess is listed as 9th level, so I figured close enough and when they encountered the manananggal, they noticed the pharasman spiral seared into her chest: her own holy symbol burned her after transformation, the last vestige of her former self. They found the symbol in a corner of the room where he legs were, flung under a cabinet. My players put two and two together.

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Davor Firetusk wrote:
I've got a group together and based on what I've read so far, it seems like the more complicated (things past scribe scroll and brew potion) item creation feats are not going to be practically helpful, is that true?

The first adventure is chronologically short, likely less than a week, with no real downtime. The second adventure can technically take more if the DM doesn't push the assassination attempts and plays up the "slowly decaying town" atmosphere. Still, expect perhaps two weeks at most in the second adventure, with a few days of downtime scattered within.

The third adventure however, has two and a half months of journey, with only random encounters and a few scripted events. Lots of time for crafting. And unless your party goes all in with teleport antics, you could have similar amounts of time in the fourth adventure.

The fifth goes back to a smaller window with less downtime, and the last adventure is a breakneck race to the finish.

So item crafting could be quite useful between levels 7-12. Especially at the early side, its a long time before you get good opportunities to buy gear (and sell it too, technically you leave adventure 2 with a class-locked piece of gear that's too expensive to sell in town!).

I'd consider craft wand or wondrous. Armor and arms will frequently get upgraded unless you are locked into a very particular weapon type. Crafting a few wands of go-to spells with effects that aren't heavily level dependent could be very useful (mage armor, CLW, protection from evil, etc). Wondrous for odd utility items or stat-boosters. Remember, just because the cleric finds a +4 headband doesn't mean the fighter can't wear the old +2 one. You could even select the skills that int headbands boost based on future "hand-me-down" plans. More people rolling knowledge: dungeoneering means more chances of knowing how to not get killed by horrible things!

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I'm running it with the "full reset" interpretation of the amnesia, rather than the "retracing steps" version. The paladin of Sarenrae was a cutthroat slayer in his past life who actually had a personal vendetta against Sarenites for refusing to cure his syphilis. (Aside: they totally would have, if he hadn't cut in line at the temple and then brawled with the guards when they called him on it. Still would have after if he'd just got back in line, but by then he was so pissed he sulked off and got murderous.)

That's why A: the character had drawn Sarerae's attention and B: had a bag full of holy symbols and prayer books in his personal possession. Waking up with no memory, he assumed he was a faithful fellow, put on his armor, and picked up his scimitar (which he stole FROM a paladin of Sarenrae). He's slowly discovered hints about how he wasn't a nice person, but it just gives him more conviction to make amends. Just found out about the scimitar, is making plans to return it to the family of its previous owner.

Other PCs have similar swaps: The monk used to be a skald, the witch was a kineticest, and the psychic used to be a summoner.

Its made for lots of fun scenes with object readings, discovered journals and doctors note, and talking to NPCs.

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Swap Unnatural Lust for Beguiling Gift. Swap Modify Memory for Anonymous Interaction.

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The current coversation reminded me of something, figured I'd post it as a sort of GM tip.

I've noted some people that take issue with how long the research process can take, especially with non-optimized characters in those skills. Heck, I've had some who were so optimized (and lucky) that they tore through a research in a single day still feel it took too long.

I replied with a single word: Handwritten.

Only a few of the countries in Golarion have printing presses, and they certainly aren't in every sage and crackpots basement. Most books on occult things (ie every book you find in this AP) should be handwritten things, ranging from tiny cramped script to messy scrawling often overlapping itself. Spelling should be inconsistent, grammar suspect, typset non-existent. These are journals, not wikis. They are written by madmen, drug addled dreamers, and erudite scholars unconcerned with if the rabble "get it". And that's not even before the assumption that such occult lore might be hidden within codes, poems, metaphore, and other sorts of cryptography.

So yeah, if players complain about it, refer to this.

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I've got a party with a witch, a psychic, two monks, and a paladin. They've hit the haste stage via the psychic, and it has shown a massive effect on combat.

They have actively pledged to AVOID NPC bards as allies, specifically because of what it could do.

Bardic music has proven itself over time and across tables: it is that good, even in a "normal" party. In a party that by chance or design can exploit it? It's amazing.

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Awesome to see people using (and liking!) Syrinscape with Strange Aeons! Working on those sets with Ben has been a blast, but its even better when you know people are using it and getting good results!

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I run a 5 man game with only 2 players physically present, the others skyping in (and sometimes one of the first two if he has to stay at home to watch the kids). Here is what I do:

Hardline the living room TV as a dual monitor. Put skype up there, nice and big so faces can be seen.

Position Webcam on top of TV, looking at couch where physical players sit. I specifically bought a webcam with high audio quality and pickup. I did need to use a USB extension cord as webcam cords are rather short.

Use my android phone as a second skype webcam for the battlemat (make sure to use wifi, you can easily drain your data in an evening!), using a second account. I made a "phone spider" out of some insulated wire, basically a multilegged holder than can be bent to either point down from above (for drawn battlemats) or looking from an elevated side position (for three dimensional terrain)

Just invite to a group call everyone including the battlemat camera. Never as good as everyone in the same room, but otherwise works pretty darn well.

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Entirely possible that drift use is evil. Entirely possible that using it is literally sacrificing a portion of some random plane, as in sacrificing it to evil forces. Entirely possible that the Drift is a realm that functions as an altar to Asmodeus, who took advantage of the Gap to turn himself into a sophisticated virus lurking in the back of the mind/databanks of Triune. Entirely possible a deity known for scheming and long term plans would use a literal historical blackout to disappear, subtly corrupt a nascent god, and create a method to slowly and inexorably damn an entire universe. Entirely possible that all those torn off chunks of planes are slowly drifting to Hell, and after eons of drift usage, there will only be a damned material plane, and Hell. Entirely possible the stars will burn with hellfire, and Asmodeus will claim eternal dominion over all of creation.

Entirely possible. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to line my suit with tinfoil to keep drift damnation from sticking.

Tongue in cheek conspiracies aside, the drift may actually be "not good" to use. But, much like in our world, it may simply be too useful to not use. Look at fossil fuels, modern farming, and all the other technologies we use that might be "not good", but outside of a small percentage of rebels, are otherwise used enthusiastically, ambivalently, or at least grudgingly by everyone else.

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If not mental control, what kind of control is Command Undead? Physical? Emotional? Financial?

Its obviously control of some sort. But there's no spiked collar and chain, so its not physical. No exchange of GP, not financial. No diplomacy/bluff/intimidate checks required, so not emotional.

That really only leaves two options: mental control... and just control. Which brings us full circle, so we either go full circular reasoning and willfully get nowhere, or we turn off the roundabout at the only sensible exit: mental control.

Prot from X doesn't ever mention mind effects, just subschools like charm and compulsion, which are specifically examples and not an exhaustive list.

Protection from X would interfere with the Control Construct spell, and it is transmutation. Magic Jar is explicitly stated as control is blocked, and it is necromancy. Command Undead being necromantic is no issue. The issue is whether control is established. Nothing more or less. If the undead fails its save vrs Command undead, they are controlled. Seems clear enough to me. Granted, Prot from X specifically gives a "DM interpretation" clause, but I think this is the reasonable interpretation, and thus usage, of said clause.

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This part of the FAQ might help.

Also this part of the magic item section.

The standard item crafting DC is 5+ caster level of item, +5 for any missing prerequisite.

The Haversack is CL 9, so the base DC is 14. If you don't have the spell (such as by being level 3) then +5 brings it to DC 19. That's it.

I do want to mention that while John Mechalas is correct that the CL is 9, its not a good idea to assume the spell involved sets the CL. Stat boosters are CL 8,12, and 16, but are all based on the 2nd level stat spells (caster level 3 for most).

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Here are my snippets of advice:

In Search of Sanity:
Hype the tatterman, and if you have to, softball a way for them to learn of his connection to Ariadnah, since she is the BBEG of it all at the end. Like Hubaris said, get her name out early and often. The first two adventures should give you enough chances your players wonder why they DON'T hear her name in the next!

Remember the tatterman can actually walk around in Briarstone while Zandalus sleeps. I had him attack the group several times, first to let them know he was serious business (that regen/DR combo is nasty), to let them know the chapel was a genuinely safe place (I made it so he couldn't physically enter or target anyone inside), and to remind them that the refugees would die without their help (Tatterman or starvation would get them if the situation didn't change). Since he dissapears when Zandalus wakes up, if a situation starts going bad for the group with him in these early fights, he can look in the direction of Zandalus's room, scream "Nooooo!" and then dissapear into yellow mist that blows away.

My players did something stupid/awesome in the room with the bird haunt. They opened the door and threw the birdcage outside. So of course I totally had a bird styled hungry flesh burst in through the windows a few rounds later. But with two dead bodies already in the room, it was very easy for the flesh to get its size to huge, which made for a dicey fight. It was fun and kept them on their toes narratively and combat wise, but might not be for everyone.

In my game I had people make characters, knowing they were amnesiac. I then asked each PC to give me a very breif backstory or secret. I told them straight up I would modify the backstories/secrets as needed for the plot, but like a twisted genies wish, the base idea would remain. I then made sealed envelopes with the secrets inside, so my players can't call it made up on the spot when things get revealed. Again, good for my group, maybe not for others. Plenty of ways to run the amnesia.

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Adam Daigle wrote:
If I were to assign any overarching trait to alghollthu that could be construed as a plot, it would be this: control. Controlling others' minds and actions, as well as their flesh and basic biological code. Alghollthu wish to be instruments of control. And, what's better than overt, domination control? Doing it with the controlled believing that they are serving their own sense of free will. Discovery is a failure for an alghollthu, especially a veiled master.

Yay! I was close!

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Haven't read the other thread, so I guess I'm coming in as the quasi-impartial observer. The rules for hits/manuevers states the 20 and 1 are always a hit/success or miss/failure. There is no other text implying a bonus or penalty, like some of the +20/-20 houserules out there.

So to me, if I have a +3 bonus when I bull rush someone, and I get a nat 20, I have both gotten a result of 23, and gotten an auto-success. So, if my target has a CMD of 16, I beat him by 5. If he has a CMD of 19, I beat him, but not by 5. If his CMD is 25, I still beat him, but obviously not by 5. For counter-manuvers like trip/disarm, the manuver was a success, so even if I got a nat 20 result of 21 against a CMD 32, there would be not be a counter.

In reverse, if I have a bonus of +20 and roll a 1, the auto-fail overrides whether his CMD is anything 21 or less. And since the check is automatically a failure, then anything that would meet the conditions for counter-maneuvers (10 or more on failure) would apply. Same for regular attack rolls.

To sum up, as posted in the starting post:

When you make an attack roll, you roll a d20 and add your attack bonus. (Other modifiers may also apply to this roll.)

Absolutely nothing in the following sentences precludes/alters/or invalidates that statement. In fact, the literal order of operations in the rule tells us the answer:
1. Roll a dice.
2. Add your bonus (with modifiers).
3. Check if it equals or beats, if so you hit.
3a. A Nat 20 always hits.
3b. A Nat 1 always misses.

I would be honestly surprised if this is officially ruled as any other interpretation. Won't be surprised if this gets the "working as intended" treatment.

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Touch spells do not provoke because you are considered armed. If an attack that is "melee" and "armed" doesn't count as viable for CDG, then I think we are entering an unnecessary level of pedantry.

This direction of ruling automatically means non-proficient unarmed strikes can be used to CDG, because they are listed on the weapon table, but natural attacks can not because, as per the universal monsters rules, they are explicitly "attacks made without a weapon".

I personally find that the rules support allowing melee touch spells to CDG. I likewisehave no issue with untrained unarmed strikes CDGing either, as you can take any number of penalties, such as -4 to do lethal damage, when you auto-hit. And I certainly believe natural attacks can CDG.

I would rule favorably towards guns and ranged touch spells being used to crit, from the same requirements as bow or crossbow, specifically adjacent.

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Ditto what the others have said. Paizo does a great job of implying how bad it is without spelling it out. There have been a few things here and there that got pretty dark, but those were generally Pre-Pathfinder, back in the Dungeon and Dragon magazine days. Looking at you, Scuttlecove, Porphyry House, Savage Tide.

After that, it just boils down to "audience preference". Your DM is just not on the same page, or possibly not willing to be, regarding content levels as you are.

Granted, I'm of the mind that the evil of demons and devils literally begins where mortal evil stops, as they are "pure" evil, untouched by good or even neutrality. Humans might consider an objective, and how it could be good, neutral, or evil, depending on how they go about it. The demon starts at evil and goes worse from there.

Depending on my group, I'll describe it, honestly, unflinchingly, gruesomely. Or I'll just say "You try not to look around, because what you see is just... bad. And the more you look, the worse it gets. And the part of you that's still human is screaming at the part of you that's willing to keep looking."

Its fine to not to want the lurid details. Tell your DM that, and decide where the deal-breaking line is if he doesn't respect it.

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thejeff wrote:
atheral wrote:

Just watched the season finale of RWBY.

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **

Well, to be fair...

RNJR already killed the Geist, the Nuckelavee, and a boatload of other Grimm along the way. And then Qrow killed the ones following them, to say nothing of how much of the trouble was actually BECAUSE of Qrow's Bad Luck semblance.

Plus, Yang has a motorbike, which pretty much lets her outpace anything except for a Nevermore.

Moving five times as fast down a path recently cleared out by the previous travelers? I've used that to explain why bad guys caught up to my PCs, seems reasonable to let the protagonists enjoy it in their own show. Not like that good fortune will last.

Sidenote: I hope the utter lack of Neo this season means a super-surprise appearance next season. Also, Neo McFarlane figure WHEN??

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Unchained Rogue with Vexing Dodger archetype, focus in Dirty Tricks. I'm DMing for one in my own Giantslayer group, likewise at level 9. Dirty Fighting, Surprise Maneuvers, Slow Reactions, Greater Dirty Trick. Player is rocking a +25 on Dirty Tricks and isn't even fully optimized.

Stone Giants are blinded on a roll of 5 (before any buff effects) for 1d4 rounds, standard action to remove. Amongst other things, but man, 1d4 rounds of blind pretty much ruins anything. PC in my game basically picks one giant and says "Mine." and solos it while the rest do whatever they want.

Just pay attention to position of enemies, less for flanking purposes but for the fact your AC is good against the one you're climbing on, but not the rest.

Race is really open to whatever, Dwarf is still solid, anything with either a climb speed or a fly/glide is really good for reaching the top of a giant quickly. If no climb speed, Skill Unlock: Climb to keep dex and Slow Reactions to prevent attacks of opp while climbing the target.

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Cannon Golem wrote:

Melee 2 slams +29 (2d10+10)

Ranged cannon +26/+21 (6d6+7/19–20/×4)


Cannon Golem wrote:
Blasting Critical (Ex) When a cannon golem confirms a critical hit with a slam attack, it can make one cannon attack against that target as a free action (as long as the cannon is loaded).
Universal Monster Rules >Natural Attacks wrote:
Creatures with natural attacks and attacks made with weapons can use both as part of a full attack action (although often a creature must forgo one natural attack for each weapon clutched in that limb, be it a claw, tentacle, or slam). Such creatures attack with their weapons normally but treat all of their natural attacks as secondary attacks during that attack, regardless of the attack's original type.

The cannon attacks are weapons attacks, running off of iteratives. The 3rd and 4th I presume are left off because, as stated, it couldn't reload after the second shot due to action economy.

If a strict reading is drawn, using the "often forgo" clause in Natural Attacks, the cannon golem could attack at Cannon +26/+21, and a single slam at +24 for 2d10+5.

But the ability of Blasting Critical gives me some hesitation, as I envision that crit as being a cannon barrel to the midsection gut-punch followed instantly by a point blank shot. Rule of Cool visualization, etc, etc.

This makes me think the cannon golem could basically Gun-Kata about, firing two cannon shots and making two slams (although still following the rules for secondary attacks during a manufactured attack). After all, the natural attack section says "often", which is not "always".

Checking the expected stat loadouts for a CR 15 in the Monster Creation section, the golem has low Hp, average AC, a high melee to hit, average ranged to hit, melee output of 42 (low), ranged output of 56 (wemi-low, but crits should be considered), saves are miserably low (by this CR, golem defenses are mostly known and bypassed).

So, to sum up, it is lacking in the survivability aspect, and is coming up a little low in the damage department as well. Its melee to-hit is the only strong point...which deserves a complimentary wait what?

But if we add in a natural attack or two to the full attack...

1 secondary slam added to full attack cannon (63 points, with a 5 point accuracy drop for the slams, right on target for both scores)
2 secondary slams added (88 damage, definitely high, but not crazily so. See above regarding to hit values.)

Considering that with miserable saves, magic "I'll just use conjuration spells lol" immunity, and DR that most melee types can either overcome or overwhelm, the golem being stuck with literally HALF as much HP as target for its CR is more than enough compensation for a 25% increase in damage over average.

Besides, its a CANNON golem. This thing is a Michael Bay movie given life and live ammo. Let it be as awesome as it sounds like it should be.

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Magic >Area >Burst,Spread, Emanation wrote:
A spread spell extends out like a burst but can turn corners. You select the point of origin, and the spell spreads out a given distance in all directions. Figure the area the spell effect fills by taking into account any turns the spell effect takes.
Magic >Area >Line of Effect wrote:

A line of effect is a straight, unblocked path that indicates what a spell can affect. A line of effect is canceled by a solid barrier. It's like line of sight for ranged weapons, except that it's not blocked by fog, darkness, and other factors that limit normal sight.

You must have a clear line of effect to any target that you cast a spell on or to any space in which you wish to create an effect. You must have a clear line of effect to the point of origin of any spell you cast.

A burst, cone, cylinder, or emanation spell affects only an area, creature, or object to which it has line of effect from its origin (a spherical burst's center point, a cone-shaped burst's starting point, a cylinder's circle, or an emanation's point of origin).

An otherwise solid barrier with a hole of at least 1 square foot through it does not block a spell's line of effect. Such an opening means that the 5-foot length of wall containing the hole is no longer considered a barrier for purposes of a spell's line of effect.

Bolded for emphasis. People are drastically misinterpreting how line of effect is figured regarding the fireball bead. If this was a lightning bolt, they would be correct. But the bead from a fireball has more in common with a ray, hence the ranged touch aspect. When it detonates, THEN it is a spread and subject to the line of effect rules as stated.

So, since Fireball specifically allows the ranged touch scenario, the following would happen:

A successful ranged touch fires a fireball bead through the small gap, where it impacts something, likely the hallway wall. It explodes. The gap, being an opening NOT equal to a square foot, prevents the fireball from backwashing into the cell. While perhaps a bit warm, the caster is fine, and the hallway is otherwise filled with fire and pain for anyone within 20' of the origin/detonation point, even if that happens to be just around a corner 15' away, because fireball is a spread. (My group thought it was a burst for, basically, ever. After realizing a decade of mistaken fireballs, we took great pains to re-learn the magic section and it's intricacies.)

As for the arm through the hole, that is a different issue entirely and I feel it is fully in DM territory. The unknown variables to me are:
1. Must a fireball bead/spell effect come from the hand making the gestures? (Magus don't, but they have special training, although much of that is to channel it through a weapon.)
2. Would my arm through a small opening completely prevent the gestures or impose arcane spell failure? (Important for if a cleric tries to do the same with flamestrike, no ASF).
3. What are the consequences to the caster for trying to "avoid" the ranged touch attack? (Important because EVERYTHING HAS CONSEQUENCES (tm)).

As the DM of my group, with the relationship developed over the years and the expected playstyle, I would rule as such.

1. Spellcraft DC 15+spell level to cast with 1 hand and release with other. (About as hard as casting underwater.)
2. If not wanting to risk a spellcraft check, (maybe its a sorceror) I would apply a concentration check of 15+spell level, as per the entangled entry under Concentration.
3. My main consequence would be the character looses the benefits improved evasion via improved cover. The +4 reflex bonus stands (most is still behind cover), but I find a good chance of a singed arm is present.

But thats just how I would run it, others will interpret differently.

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I'll toss out my own houserule regarding point buy that seems to solve a lot of MAD issues: point buy ability increases. Instead of the usual +1 to a stat at 4/8/12/16/20, characters get 1 point buy point at every level up, and an additional point buy point at the 4/8/12/16/20s. So a 5th level character has 5 (4 level +1 from level 4) extra points. A 10th has 11 (9 level +2 from level 4 and 8).

These can be spent to increase a score just like as if you were increasing the score at character creation. The point buy costs for scores above 18 can be easily extrapolated, and of course you subtract racial modifiers before calculating costs.

Mathematically, this lets anyone who would spike up a stat do so at very close to the same rate, ususally only off by 1 level sooner or later than usual. But it allows MAD characters to spread the ability up love around. It also lets ability score improvement happen more often, especially in the low levels prior to getting permanent stat boosters.

Only real criticism I've had from playing with this is that it allows spike statted characters like casters to sacrifice 1 point of primary stat to get equivalently 3-4 points spread around in dexterity and constitution. I think thats a fair trade though, especially since it lets the monks and paladins get a fair shake of things.

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Summoning has had a LOT of different "fluff" interpretations of the various mechanics, occasionally multiple times during a single edition, when it wasn't fully ignored entirely.

I recall in 3.5 the loosely general idea was that you summoned an echo of a planar creature, hence the lack of harm to the original. There were optional rules for summoning the same specific creature each time (good for information gathering, justified the 24 hour rule), upgrading via calling the creature to give it items for later summonings, and such.

Pathfinder, last I remember seeing, runs on the idea that a summoned creature is literally created from the spell energy rather than transported or echoed from elsewhere, a sort of hard light hologram of the intended creature. I could be wrong, of course.

Personally, I think this devalues the flavor of summon monster. I prefer the interpretation of the spell energy being an offering, a bribe for a favor from a creature who can send a fragment of itself through the summoner's request. More powerful creatures require more attractive offerings. I think it just gives so much more complexity to the way the outer planes and such work.

Hound archons can gather information from summoned lantern archos, updating their understanding of the mortal world piece by half-minute piece. Devils use lemures as bait for foolish summoners, hauling back catches of spell energy and names of those willing to risk damnation for power. All sorts of fun stuff.

But yeah, tldr: Summoned creatures can use all their abilities outside of those specifically restricted/forbidden by the summon spell/school of magic (like teleport, durations, etc). Knowledge skills aren't restricted, so they can use them. I had a player use a summoned earth mephit to diplomacy down an elder earth elemental, since no one in the group spoke Terran!

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I make sure that everyone is pissed off.

In the game world, not at the table (although that does happen, but its a good sort of pissed).

Basically I make sure that every non-random encounter (frequently generated from the random encounter tables if I'm working in a published setting) and make sure the creature/npc in question is either the target or source of another conflict. This creates a web of angry people who start moving when one is killed off or plans foiled.

Examples from the new game I'll be running for some brand new players.

Players start as indentured mine workers with no memory of how they GOT in the mine! Automatically mad.

The BBEG Baron (a doppleganger) is skimming off the coal mine profits. He is pissed at a chupacabra thats been killing farm workers (told it to stick to animals, wont last long). He's using a goblin tribe as bait, pinning false charges on visiting adventurers then working them in the mines to death. Goblins get the bodies, as long as they don't do much beyond harass people and kill a few animals.

A festrog has taken over the body dumping ground, so the goblins are pissed, think the Baron is betraying them.

The chupacabra is pissed as the baron for obvious reasons.

A cockatrice near the chupacabra is pissed because it wants the bloodsucker's lair.

The baron's old butler is pissed (drunk) because he thinks something has taken over his lord's body due to behavior changes.

Etc, etc.

My chain of angry creatures now gives me easy responses when something happens. Chupacabra dies? Cockatrice moves in, closer to town, starts attacking. Goblins left alone for two long? They tunnel into the mine and accidentally blow it up. Mine shut down? Festrog starts looking for new prey. And so on.

tldr: Roll up a bunch of monsters and npcs and start figuring out how to make a house of cards standoff between them for the PCs to blindly knock over. Your players are going to try to set the world on fire, why scramble for water when you can bring fireworks and popcorn?

PS Also, steal from everything liberally. Do it long enough and people start to not even notice. Had a half-orc brawler with a shield end up with a clockwork arm. Nobody even noticed he was Winter Soldier/Captain America in one until four sessions later.

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First, a playstyle question: Does it matter? The realities of transporting large loads of coins, statues, tapestries, and other cargo can be simply left in the background. Many groups do it with things like daily dietary needs, daily dietary excretion needs, physical encumbrance, romantic encumbrance, and so on.

So, if it doesn't really matter to you as a DM, you can always wash your hands of it and say "between carts, lockboxes, and local temples of Abadar, your money is basically always accessible".

If it does matter, then yes, get into details. Coins have weight, statues have weight (you would be surprised how heavy even a small statue can get), carts have weight capacities, locks have DCs, etc etc. Give your players rewards for smart thinking, like "because you cast alarm on your FilthyRichWagon(tm), you are able to sneak up on the theives attempting to pick the lock. What are your surprise round actions?"

I frequently use the Church of Abadar as a bank. A signed letter from the high priest of one can serve as a transfer of funds from one city to the next. Just because the "Discern Account Balance" spell isn't published in a book doesn't mean it doesn't exist and isn't used frequently by the clergy of the God of Commerce.

Finally, extradimensional spaces like Portable Holes, Handy Haversacks, or Bags of Holding render most of these issues completely moot. Just grab the push-broom and sweep that dragon-hoard into the portable hole!

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But if you use create undead with a dash of enervate in the mix, you can get a bloody skeletal champion awakened tiger. Which gets two extra HD to boot, stacking with the two from awaken! Make sure to maximize/empower the awaken spell to get a good Cha boost!

That said, the baseline Cha of 6 for the tiger makes them glass cannons since barring a lucky roll with Empower on awaken, they have a Cha of 7-9. Expect a charging pounce or two then wait for bloody to get it back together.

A solid choice for skeletonizing is actually the heavy horse. Since pathfinder just applies the advanced template, they have a baseline Cha of 11. Better than almost any other cheap and easily accessible creature.

Regarding the OP, I've seen a houserule (which I had no problem with personally) of spending a week of training and a small fee to grant a pet an extra HD. I would probably use the retraining rules from Ult.Campaign as a price baseline, and likewise implement a cap on how high you could train the HD (like Character level -2 or such, no level 1 animal handlers with 10hd dogs).

We can't "see" the mechanics here in the real world, but I'd beleive police dogs are effectively "higher HD" than regular dogs due to their training. I don't think tricks alone can justify the difference between a "civilian" german shepherd and a police trained one.

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Day in the life of a city guardsman:

Three people walk up to the gate. Each is followed by a creature: a lion, a medium scorpion, and regular rat.

The guy with the lion looks respectable enough, a bit of a woodsman, but he hasn't got any sticks in his hair. He asks if he can come in; the guard eyeballs the lion and asks if it is trained. The man tells it to come, to sit, to roll over, and asks if the guard wants to rub his belly. The guard smiles, gives the big cat a pat, and lets them in.

The next man, with the scorpion, comes up. The guard asks him if he can control it. The man, a sun-weathered fellow with a wild look in his eyes, blinks at the guard like he doesn't understand, then says, "Control it? No. But I can get him to follow me, to defend me, and to back down in case of a misunderstanding."

The guard reaches into a box by the gate and hands a wooden medal to the man. "Its behavior is your responsibility. Keep this on it at all times, it lets the other guards know its not a summoned beast or such. If an incident occurs, they'll try not to kill it. Emphasis on try. Lets not let an incident happen, shall we?" The man nods, takes the medal and ties it to the scorpions tail, and they go through.

The last man, with the rat, is let through without even a comment, because the guard has no way of knowing the rat is a shapechanged imp familiar.

tldr: A D&D world that isn't incredibly new to things like animal companions and such will have come to understand and expect basic issues like this.

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Yes, figments are not real and can't be affected by mirror image. They do not need to be. The caster can be, obviously, and that appearance is reflected by the mirror images. If this was not the case, any persistent effect capable of being noticed on a creature would completely negate Mirror Image.

Such as:
Bleed effects. Alchemist Fire. Burning Gaze. Brand. A bucket of paint. A bag of flour.

The interactions of figments with "real" effects like evocation [light] spells has utterly no bearing on the debate. Either mirror image MIRRORS the IMAGE of it's caster, or it does not. All answers flow logically from that primary decision.

You have chosen that it does not. Others have chosen that it does. If you are comfortable with your choice, thats fine, but it makes Mirror Image weaker. Also fine.

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It's true that some arcane magic (wizardry) can be accomplished with "just" training and a desire to learn. And a decent amount of inborn talent (intelligence). The rest of arcane magic is either inborn (sorcerors), gained through pacts with strange entities (summoner, witch), or from handwavium (bards, I love the class, but the justification for their magic is odd).

It takes years to learn even basic magic. Years. Conversely, a basic trade that will put food in your mouth and a roof over your head can be learned in weeks. Even a journeyman apprentice will be on his way to founding his own business before the wizardling is let loose from his training.

Now lets add in catastrophe, divine mandates, and danger. Most fantasy worlds have at least one major and often a few minor catastrophes that halt, destroy, undo, or even rewind the progress of a region. Golarion has Earthfall, which shattered the Azlant empire, which was likely exactly the sort of society you are referring to. They terraformed the moon with a magic laser for crying out loud. A numerian artifact detonation set the shoanti tribesmen on an anti-technology crusade for generations. A plague in Osirion devastated the population. Etc.

Divine entities might mandate certain limits. Nethys, in his all knowing puissance, might be actually capable of seeing the results of over-use of magic and puts a limit on it. Maybe Abadar wants civilization to advance at a controllable rate, and not repeat the Azlant boom-collapse.

And then simple danger. When you have to invest hundreds of thousands of gold into your army to keep enemy nations, dragons, demons, aboleth, more demons, pathfinders, and so on from causing chaos and destruction in your lands, you likely don't have much left for advancing society to a new plateau of magical industrialization.

Just my thoughts, typed fast and loose. YYMV.

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I've got good players, access to just about every 3.5 WotC book, and a load of 2nd edition stuff as well. And then there's the internet.

I always give a shout-out to the incantation section of the d20srd. Under Variant Rules - magic. Magical rituals accomplished by skill checks. So good. I've even expanded them out to work for games more like the Supernatural TV series, where magic is really hard or time consuming (for mortals at least).

As an example of how liberal I am with RAW, I recently ran Carrion Crown for a group of two. One was a Dhampir Magus, the other a Half-Elf Ranger. To give the group some staying power, I used an NPC from Ulustav, Talvien the Revenant, played up as the great-great-great-grandfather of the half-elf.

As the game progressed though, it became apparent that, especially considering the amount of undead in Carrion Crown, the party was not well suited for keeping up with healing/removing the damage/conditions dealt to them.

So, when they hit the Shrine of Desna in the third adventure, the Dhampir received a vision after being infected with lycanthropy. He had to perform a ritual at the shrine, but in doing so could "take the first step on a new journey". The ritual required several powerful components, including the Packlord's heart. After collecting a load of ingredients (several of which I never mentioned but the player felt would boost his chances) several high DC skill checks and an entire day of wracking pain, the dhampir became a full lycanthrope.

He then immediately worked up a version that would allow him to repeat the transformation in others. And from there to understand how to infuse creature essences into other creatures. By the end of it, the half-elf was also a wear-bear, and the revenant was infused with the power of a Peri celestial.

Was any of this RAW? Nope. Was it fun, solved in-game problems, and made for a more memorable story? Yep, yep, and yep. That's all that matters.

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I dodged the Pokemon aspects of childhood, so Summoners for me feel more like Yuna from Final Fantazy X. The relatively unimpressive spellcaster who can bring in a seriously big gun.

Interesting anecdotes in this thread. I think I'll keep watch.

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