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A mature player can make an evil character very viable.
IMHO the moral alignments come down to this:

    *Good: is ready to sacrifice their own happiness for the sake of others
    *Neutral: is more-or-less just as ready to sacrifice their own happiness for the sake of others as the other way around, depending on the circumstances
    *Evil: is ready to sacrifice the happiness of others for their own sake

If you keep to this, and don't play chaotic characters as random whirlwinds of mayhem (looking at you, cliche CN and CE players), evil characters are not that different from other aligments. The biggest difference is that they won't go out of their way to help others without reward and have little difficulties with stealing or otherwise harming others for the sake of riches.

In my experience, most players play their non-paladin characters rather like this version of evil anyway, regardless of their actual alignments.

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Again, brilliant work!
I love the aesthetics on the booklet!

Some things I've noticed:
1) In the original Dune there was mention of stilltents, as part of the Fremkit, which is a Fremen desert survival kit (including a paracompass, a stilltent, maker hooks, a thumper and a fremkit manual).
Might also be cool to include a ruling on how to extract water from a corpse.

2) In the weapons section, the size of the weapons (light, one-handed, two-handed), the necessary proficiency (simple, martial, exotic, firearm and maybe Fremen) and the weapon group (for fighters' weapon training) are not included. It might also be good to mention which ones are firearms and which ones are not.
Dune is also a mishmash of cultures, are you allowing Eastern weapons?

3) In Dune, the Maula pistol was used to fire poison darts. In the current rules of Pathfinder, you can only apply poison to one 'attack', even in the case of ammunition. In general, it's a bit weird that magic or other enhancements apply to 50 pieces of ammo in one go, while poison applies to only one. This also makes it rather useless to use Maula pistols for poison. Maybe an idea to have them include a poison reservoir or something similar that allows ~10 projectiles to be poisoned at once?
Also, you mentioned that you're using the firearm rules of Pathfinder. The Maula pistol seems more like a crossbow (spring-loaded darts that are reloaded like a crossbow), so the firearm rules (like ignoring armor) might not fit so well.

4) The Stunner and Kindjal are not included in the weapons list, which were used in the original Dune: the Sardaukar used them in the assault on the Atreides on Arrakis. The stunner shoots a ('slow pellet') drug- or poison-tipped dart. I'd probably rule them as either a weapon that deals massive nonlethal damage or something with an inbuilt stunning, paralyzing or sleep-inducing poison-like effect. The kindjal was a large knife with a slightly curved double-blade approximately 20cm long. It was also classed as a short sword, so you could use those rules or maybe use reskinned wakizashis, falcatas or something similar.

5) The Pulse Sword seems rather expensive for what you get. It's the same price as a +4 melee weapon! Since Dune is a human-centric setting with little magic and thus little energy resistances or damage reduction, the partial sonic damage probably won't be that useful. I can't imagine anybody choosing a Pulse Sword over a +4 Falchion or a +4 Rapier (if they wanna use Weapon Finesse). At least the Lasgun gets an almost 5% instant death effect (if you wanna confirm, it'll probably 2.5%, also not sure if that's worth the equivalent of a +2 enhancement).

6) The Gom Jabbar seems massively overpowered (crit 19-20/x4), since damage in PF mostly comes from other bonuses (Str, magic, feats) instead of the damage die. It's especially overpowered if it is a light weapon (which seems logical for needle on a thimble).
Can you imagine a Str 20 fighter with two of those things?
At level 4, a fighter would have at least the TWF and weapon spec feats and +1 weapons. They've got 10% chance of a crit, let's say at least 50% chance of confirming (probably higher with the general low amount of armor in Dune), so in at least 5% of their attacks they'll have a confirmed critical hit.
On the main hand, the damage of a confirmed critical would be 9,5 (1.5 (damage die) + 5 (Str) + 2 (weapon specialization) + 1 (magic)) x4 = 38 damage!
The Falcata is considered the best melee weapon for exactly this reason :)
I'd probably rule the Gom Jabbar as a 1d1 damage weapon that does not allow an ability modifier on damage but increases the DC of a delivered poison by a small amount but a very large amount on a critical hit or called shot (+5 to +10 on the DC).

7) A bit of a side note: poisons are awful in Pathfinder. Overpriced, long crafting times (unless you take one specific feat, even then you can only make like ~20 doses of the weakest poison per week), inconsistently ruled, no ways to make them more effective and generally completely useless for PCs (1 Dex damage over 5 rounds, whoopdeedoo), although they're nice against PCs.
This is a shame since poisons feature very heavily in the Duniverse. Everyone and their grandmother use them for everything.
It'd be cool to include a poison creation system (there are a few out there on the internet) to invent a few new ones (like Chaumurky from Dune), include feats that improve poisons (higher DC with poisons you deliver or increased damage) and maybe even revisit some of the rules of poisons.
Admittedly, this might be a lot of work.

8) Since there is no magic and the only healing comes from doctors (5 hp/hour) or Suk doctors (20 hp/hour), PCs have no way of healing in combat or in the middle of adventures. Maybe an idea to include discounts on healing potions or wands of healing (reskinned as hypodermic injectors or something)?

9) Rangers can cast spells but there is no magic in the setting. Are their spells reskinned as special skills or equipment? If so, you could easily include some spellcasting classes (not primary casters of course). Alchemists, bards, inquisitors, ninjas (especially since some abilities resemble the Weirding Way) and maybe even maguses/magi could be used after some adjustments (no summoning spells for instance).

Whew, sorry for the long post. I had some time to mill over your setting in public transport yesterday.

Ok, thanks for the answers guys. I wasn't aware there was a specific order of phases in levelling.

Something I just realized yesterday is that in my 3.0-3.5-PF experience, there was a huge inconsistency in the way my parties and I ruled requirements for prestige classes or for feats.

For feats we always ruled that you could take a feat the moment you reached the requirements. For example weapon focus has a requirement of BAB 1. A fighter could take the feat at level 1 while a rogue could do so at level 2, the moment he reached BAB 1.

For prestige classes we always ruled that you could enter the class the level after you reached the requirements. So if a prestige class requires 5 ranks in Stealth, you could enter it at level 6 at the earliest.

This seems rather inconsistent and a bit illogical. Did we interpret these rules correctly or were/are we wrong on this?

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Another two quick ideas (after watching Dune yesterday :P)

Feat: Fast on Defense, Slow on Attack
Prerequisite: Weapon Finesse
The character has been trained in the art of shield dueling as practiced by the Swordmasters of Ginaz. As long as the character wields one or two melee weapons that qualify for the Weapon Finesse feat, he or she receives a +1 Dodge bonus to AC and only takes a -2 penalty when making 'slow' attacks against shielded foes.

House: House Ginaz
House Ginaz was a Great House of the Landsraad during the time of the Faufreluches. House Ginaz was renowned throughout the Imperium for its Swordmaster School. Anyone who graduated from the Ginaz School was awarded the title Swordmaster of the Ginaz.
• +2 Dex: Members of House Ginaz possess good reflexes and are dexterous, agile and limber. They have a natural talent for athletics and receive vigorous physical training. This replaces the typical human ability score racial trait.
• Trained in the Arts of War and Dueling: Members of House Ginaz are trained in the ways of the Swordmasters of Ginaz, which are said to be more than mere soldiers. They are capable duelists, warmasters and tutors. Members of House Ginaz gain a +2 racial bonus on Acrobatics and Knowledge (Warfare) and always treat these skills as class skills. This replaces the typical bonus skill point of a human.
• Swordmastery: Members of House Ginaz gain the Fast on Defense, Slow on Attack feat as a bonus feat at level 1, even if they do not meet the prerequisites. Additionally, they are proficient with all simple and martial dagger- and sword-like melee weapons that qualify for the Weapon Finesse feat. This replaces the typical bonus feat of a human.
• Physical Characteristics: ...?
• Alignment: ...?

Hahahaha... I know the feeling of seeing a cool idea get completely out of hand. It's so easy to just spend hours expanding on this one simple idea that popped into your head.

Cool that you put Richese and Guildsmen in :)

Concerning the Sardaukar: their heritage, harsh environment and intense training from young age are a big part of their combat abilities, just like the Fremen. They'd probably be a separate ethnicity with enhanced physical characteristics and willpower. The prestige class could be restricted to their 'race'.

[Edit]: in the original Dune book and the Sci-Fi mini series, smugglers are mentioned. I'm not sure how they operate, since they're dependent on the Guild for interstellar travel (maybe they smuggle spice and contraband with shuttles from the planet to orbiting merchant craft, which dock with Guild highliners for interstellar travel). Anyway, they and other cultures/ethnicities that spend the majority of their time offworld could also use the Guildsman 'race' (although they couldn't take the Guild Spice trait).
This interpretation is not canon of course, it's just that in the long and rather static history of the Duniverse prior to Paul Atreides a lot of organizations and such seem to have become rather entrenched and eventually separated from the rest of society. It seems logical that many professions and other groups have their own ethnicities (like Roma-esque merchants or Ancient Greek-esque philosophers).

Scott_UAT wrote:
Well, to be honest I'm trying really hard to hate Anderson's work... but I don't. Like it's not Frank, but it's not terrible. If his works were to exist outside the original books they would probably not be AS big of a hit, but they are not outright terrible.

This is actually the first thing ever that makes me reconsider reading their works.

I read the first one-and-a-half books of Anderson's Saga of the Seven Suns. There were some interesting and original ideas in there but they were so..... cheaply done (four uber-races that somehow exactly and inexplicably correspond to the mythological elements??).

Heh... something I remember vividly was my facepalm when some archeologist had a groundbreaking realization (she deduced that an extinct alien race could fly based on the fact that they built towers with 'windows' on each level that were wider than the ground entrance). This was supposed to be a revolutionary and brilliant insight.
Of course this was the first thing that popped into my head as rather obvious when Anderson described the structure, 10 pages previously...

The whole book just felt like junk food. Vaguely enjoyable and easily 'chewable' but derivative, unappetizing and rather artificial.
I might pick up one of the prequels at your recommendation, they might be better.

Fair enough, these are just suggestions since I simply enjoy brainstorming. Throw them away if you don't like them, I just like thinking about it :)

On the prequels: I'm close to being a Dune purist. From what I've heard about the Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson novels I suspect that almost everything I loved about Frank Herbert (the depth of the philosophical, mystical and cultural themes) was not conserved by them. I read one unrelated book by Kevin J. Anderson and that was enough to convince me that the prequels were not worth it (to me he feels like the McDonalds of writing).

Anyway, here's my concept of the Spacing Guild. Apparently Guild Navigators are an incredibly small minority of the Guild. Which makes sense, as a highliner has only one navigator and enough crew to man a ship that could transport the entire Atreides household in one trip. The organization structure was apparently detailed quite thoroughly in the 1984's Dune Encyclopedia (sanctioned by Frank Herbert as the 'official' reference text, although he later contradicted some of the stuff in it and the BH/KJA duo declared them non-canon). According to the Dune Encyclopedia, the Guild seems to include several branches, including bureaucracy, operations and security. The following stats could refer to non-Navigator Guildsmen, such as covert operatives, negotiators, scholars, crewhands etc...

Spacing Guild
The Spacing Guild, also known as the Guild of Navigators, or more simply the Guild, was an organization which held exclusive rights to faster than light space travel. The Guild monopoly on space travel and transport and upon interstellar banking is taken as the beginning point of the Imperial Calendar. The Spacing Guild is split up into several different branches, of which shipping was but one. While the (in)famous Guild Navigators have been mutated beyond recognition by continuous exposure to the spice mélange, most Spacing Guildsmen remain recognizably human. Nevertheless, millennia of inhabiting space vessels have resulted in physical changes.

• +2 Dex, -2 Con, +2 Wis: Members of the Spacing Guild have become physically frail due to the varying but generally low gravity in space vessels. On the other hand, they are quite dexterous and possess good reflexes. They also have formidable willpower, awareness and almost supernatural intuition.
• Limited Prescience: Once per day a Guidsman can re-roll a dice roll and take the better result. This replaces the typical bonus skill point of a human.
• Spice-Fueled Foresight: Not all members of the Spacing Guild have access to the spice mélange. This valuable substance is generally restricted to those in training to become Guild Navigators or those who fulfill specific functions (examples include planners, directors and spymasters), although there are exceptions. This is an optional racial trait. Characters that possess this trait begin play with stage 3 spice addiction but gain 3 higher spice tolerance than typical humans. Additionally, they gain Improved Initiative as a bonus feat as long as they have at least 1 spice point.
• Natural Pilots: Guildsmen always treat the Fly and Perception skills as class skills
• Physical Characteristics: Spacing Guildsmen are universally pale, thin and tall. They often have a vaguely unhealthy pallor and seem rather fragile.
• Alignment: Members of the Spacing Guild tend towards the neutral and lawful alignments. They are highly conservative, fearful of change and are almost always completely neutral in all political matters, as long as the spice keeps flowing.

Not sure if you also want other kinds of input but anyway:

Ixians/House Richese (both use the same statistics)

The Ixians were a society that specialized in the production of complex machinery that often flouted the proscriptions of the Butlerian Jihad which led to a taboo on the constructions of machines that bore the exact human mind's image. Its name was derived from the fact that their home planet that was the ninth planet of the Alkalurops system. Their society was a technocratic confederacy that was a separate entity from the Great Houses of the Landsraad. Their culture originated or was influenced by some oriental culture, probably Chinese. Their symbol was a metallic disc overlaid with a horizontally and vertically symmetrical circuit board-like pattern.

House Richese
House Richese was a Great House during the time of the Faufreluches. They were onetime allies of House Atreides. House Richese was known throughout the Imperium for the manufacture of machines. A rivalry existed between House Richese and the Ixians for the honour of being a major supplier of technology to the Imperium. The symbol of House Richese is the Lamp of Knowledge. It is based on the world of Richese and is headed by a Count. In the original Dune novel, House Richese is mentioned in passing as a technological house, similar to Ix.

• +2 Int: Ixians and members of House Richese are highly intelligent. They are analytic and critical thinkers with a knack for science, technology and artifice. Although their natural talents rarely extend beyond those used in laboratories and workshops, they are quite capable of expanding their skillset. This replaces the typical human ability score racial trait.
• Technologically Talented: Ixians and members of House Richese receive Skill Focus: Use Magic (Technological) Device device as a bonus feat at level 1. This replaces the typical human bonus feat racial trait.
• Artificers: Ixians and members of House Richese always treat the Appraise, Craft and Use Magic (Technological) Device as class skills.
• Physical Characteristics: ...? (Ixians probably have Asian heritage and both would probably be pale from spending a lot of time inside)
• Alignment: Ixians tend towards neutral alignments while members of House Richese do not lean any particular way.

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Well done!

My compliments to your writing style btw!

Maybe an idea to add a pre-Duncan Idaho Ghola template that can be used to resurrect characters?

Quick idea: the Ghola template can be applied to any dead character whose cells have been harvested after death. For a (high) fee, the Tleilaxu can clone the character, train and imprint him or her to resemble the original as much as possible. Apply this template and one negative level (representing the loss of memories).

Ability scores +2 Int and -2 Wis: the Tleilaxu have engineered Gholas to be quick learners to make them more easily trainable. Unfortunately, Gholas also have no true memories or experiences (only imprinted ones) and their will is rather malleable due to the mental programming.

Skill bonuses: Gholas receive a +20 bonus to Disguise checks to impersonate the original character.

Skill penalties: Gholas receive a -2 penalty to all social skills involving people who knew the original and are aware of the Ghola's true nature. This penalty is increased to -4 if these people are particularly suspicious of the Tleilaxu.

Mental programming: some Gholas have secretly been imprinted with hidden programming by the Tleilaxu (possibly at the behest of their clients). This programming varies in nature but usually comes down to a certain set of preset commands that become active in response to a specific trigger. If triggered, the Ghola becomes subject to an effect that emulates Dominate Person, in which the Ghola will take any actions necessary to fulfill his goal. This is unknown to the Ghola.

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Scott_UAT wrote:
I am not planning on listing many examples of technology, only what is needed to play in the setting. The first line of the system changes reads: "Magic doesn’t exist. Some technology mimics the effect of magic items. Weapon enhancements able to be taken, but represent various forms of technology."

Crap, sorry missed that. Dealing with some sleep deprivation.

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Great work on the houses by the way! Is the House Fenring ability completely restricted to prevent the House Atreides ability? It should probably apply to all prescience. A house wouldn't breed an ability specifically to counter another house's ability, especially if the opposing house's ability is unknown to themselves (which raises the question how house Fenring would know about it).

In the shields section, you mention that melee and ranged attacks that aren't made "slow" are completely negated. How do you visualize a ranged attack that has been made "slow"?

Do you use the Pathfinder firearm rules for ranged weapons? Is their damage modified by an ability score? Otherwise the ranged weapons are kinda useless.

Are you planning to feature magic items? In a lot of cases these could be represented by technological gear. You could style +1/+2 etc... weapons as a form of mastercrafted (or Ix-crafted) weapons.

Generally, I'd worry less about being faithful to the books and more about the playability of your rules.
Please don't think I'm just being negative, I love the work you're doing and I'm definitely keeping an eye on this thread. I really, really, really wanna play a Dune universe campaign now :)
And I'm definitely gonna rewatch the Sci-Fi channel miniseries this weekend :P

I like how you ruled spice but I'm a bit concerned about the prices. 100 gp a day is rather prohibitive, it makes Fremen, Bene Gesserit and Mentats impossible to play if you use anything close to standard WBL. This is especially true at low levels. Off world, it's even worse with 10.000 gp per dose!
Consider the price of playing or employing a Mentat or Bene Gesserit, each one would cost a yearly 3,65 million gp off-world or 36.500 on Arrakis (even at level 1)!

I'd either lower those prices by a huge amount or give Fremen (and other people living on Arrakis), Bene Gesserit and Mentats a way to get their daily dose for free. For Fremen and other people on Arrakis it could be just their regular diet and Bene Gesserit might receive spice from the greater organization. Mentats are probably completely restricted to the Houses and other large organizations due to the price of training and dosing them, so they could receive a daily spice allowance from their benefactors.

It's a bit harsh that those with a stage 3 addiction would die within a day or so of being denied their resources (like on an expedition, after being robbed or after being captured).

[Edit]: with the basic costs of survival in water rings and spice, you'd have to give players huge amounts of money to just survive.
Additionally, players who're less dependent on a certain resource, like the non-addicted, are either gonna be immensely annoyed that 99% of the party cash is going into the Fremen/Bene Gesserit/Mentat/other addict, or are gonna have incredibly overpowered gear if you award wealth per person.

Scott_UAT wrote:

Actually that touches a bit close to home, I recently had an old friend from uni die from that. :-(

I can tweak that to make it a little less punishing.

I'm sorry for your loss.

If your GM is really fond of this kind of behavior, invest in a wand of mending or weapons of living steel or whatever self-healing material is available these days (or switch to a different GM, ruining a player's abilities and resources permanently/for a long period of time is a sign of a bad GM).

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Brilliant! Very good work!

I'm just a bit concerned about the water ring rule. In our world (non-desert), not wearing a still suit and not performing strenuous activities, we'd expend on average 12*3 = 36 water rings during the day and 12*2 = 24 water rings during the night, for a total of 60 water rings! We'd have to drink 30 liters of water daily!
An average person (Con 10), wouldn't survive 5 hours of sleep during the night!

Even if 'non-desert' only concerns Arrakis, it seems a bit harsh. In fact, you'd probably die of water intoxication!
People have been known to die from drinking 4 liters of water in 2 hours. You wouldn't survive an attempt to refill your water rings after half a night's sleep.

I've never had a GM who screwed his players over by abusing sunder.

It's just bad form to destroy player's magical weapons.

I highly disagree with Stealth no longer being relevant. It's possibly one of the best skills out there, especially at higher levels, where everything has see invisibility or true seeing anyway.

Rogues are hard to play and rather squishy but still immensely fun to play. I do agree with the posters above that they're contradictory: they're both a highly teamwork dependent class, since they will lose 1v1 in most cases and need allies for SAing, but also a solo class, since allies screw up their stealth. The problem is that they can only take out much weaker foes solo, since they need to kill them in one shot with SA.

I'm actually planning to play a reach-based rogue with the Gang Up feat in a large enough party. I think it could be pretty powerful and still quite survivable with a whip or even a pair of whips.

Btw, if your GM allows you to take the 3.5 Telling Blow feat (sneak attack also gets multiplied on critical hits), rogues become quite monstrous ;)
In one high-level game I played a dual kukri-wielding rogue with this feat that I nicknamed 'Buzzsaw'. He was squishy (partially due to bad luck with acquiring magical gear) but when he got to an enemy, it died messily every time.

Vod Canockers wrote:
Then you become a dog.

Even better!

All alignments/religions are foolish. Eternal existence is hell. You either get bored and stuck in your ways or you continually/periodically forget everything you experienced.
Like a choice of being in a retirement home for all eternity or having dementia for all eternity.

Me? I'm gonna arrange some way to destroy my soul or find rest some time after death.

Or items like Gloves of Dueling.

I also use a bonded object instead of a familiar and I was also a bit disappointed in the lack of further options.

That being said, a bonded object does get better with each level since it allows you to use higher and higher level spells. It has been invaluable to me at all levels.
Additionally, you can enchant it as if you had the appropriate item crafting feat. If you're gonna be really munchkinny about it, you can enchant your bonded object, switch it for another, and then enchant that while the original keeps the enchantment.

Anyway, I think a bonded object is powerful enough as it is and doesn't need to be improved but there should be feats to improve it further.

Feat ideas:
1) Higher CL on your arcane school's special abilities
2) Recast spent the spell you've cast with it
3) Refill the bonded object slot with a prepared spell up once or twice a day
4) Higher CL on the spell(s) you cast with the bonded object
5) Allows metamagic feats to be used on bonded object spell(s)
6) Reduced increase in SL when using metamagic feats on bonded object spell(s)

I'm not sure if you can actually cast spells when using TWF (there were specific feats and class abilities to allow that in 3.5).

The Arcane Duelist archetype sounds like a fit with what you want.

As for virtues of Magician and Sandman: they're both strong in magical interference but the Magician combines that with his own spellcasting while the Sandman combines it with stealth.

Not much more to say about that as far as I know.

Mark Hoover wrote:
Also @ Big But: I've actually never read Gaiman. Did I come close to his style? If so, I'm going to have to bite the bullet and go pick something up. Any suggestions? (sorry to threadjack)

(sorry about the off topic bit)

It's just that the name and some of the elements of your dungeon really reminded me of A Study in Emerald
A Study in Emerald:

Which features a Victorian London conquered by Lovecraftian Eldritch Abominations, including a Great Old One Queen of England

But seriously, pick up some stuff by Neil Gaiman. He is one of my favorite writers. He's got a lot of stuff in different genres but I could especially recommend American Gods, which is about the old (pagan) deities in modern day America.

Martial Artist Monk / Urban Barbarian. Maybe 1 level of Empyrial Sorcerer to get Mage Armor and Enlarge Person and maybe 1 level of Shadow Dancer to get Hide in Plain Sight).
-Full BAB
-Very high damage melee attacks (especially with Finesse and Agile AoMF)
-Very good AC
-Incredible saves
-High HP
-Crane Style for insane defense
-Very good combat maneuvers
-Incredible movement speed (100 ft base speed at level 18 just from class abilities!)
-Full flurry on charge with Greater Beast Totem
-Incredible magic resistance with monk saves + monk SR + Superstition + Eater of Magic
-Movement + acrobatics + abundant step (+ dimensional dervish chain) = dead casters

... I honestly wouldn't know how to begin tackling this guy as a PC

Druid/Monk. Maybe a Maneuver Master monk
-Self-buff spells
-Wild shape shenanigans
-Very high damage melee attacks due to size increase
-High AC
-High Saves
-Incredible CMB and CMD due to monk and size increase from wild shaping
-Very high speeds (base speed of shaped form +60 ft)
-Earth glide from earth elemental form + high speed = dead casters
-Less MAD than either class solo

...god I love gestalt monks

ZanThrax wrote:
The idea of clearing four or five encounters per session seems unbelievably efficient to me. Our sessions last between four and five hours and on a really good night we'll have two encounters. Most nights we get one and occasionally we do none. With the slow advancement on top of that, we're running around two months to a level. (Mid May to mid November should see the entire party hit fourth.)

Depends of course on how much time each session takes, much game mastery the GM and the players have and how big the party is.

In the group I currently play with, only me and the GM have a large amount of game mastery, the party consists of 4 PCs, 1 cohort and 2 animal companions and we play about 4 hours per session. If we're lucky, we get about two encounters done.

In my previous groups, all the players were very well versed in the rules and their characters (so no looking up spells or game mechanics and much less backpedaling when they misunderstood the rules), those parties didn't have both a ranger and a druid (so usually 4-5 PCs with 1 other NPC at most) and we played at least 6-8 hours per session. These sessions went quickly enough to occasionally clear an entire dungeon in one go!

A much easier solution would be to discourage or simply not allow splitting the party.
You can then much more easily orchestrate appropriate limelights and avoid him going off on his own tangents. Don't forget that most skillmonkey characters (which he seems to be) are incredibly vulnerable if they're caught while soloing. Personally, I see very few PCs that successfully pull off pull off solo scouting or even adventuring without getting into serious trouble (in one of my campaigns one of the PCs, playing an Assassin of course, went rogue in the first session, getting himself executed in the process when the rest of the PCs refused to help him after he tried to assassinate some guy who slighted him).

This could also extend to non-stealthy solo activities. If the party is for example hounded by an organization, bounty hunters or whatever, it would be quite dangerous for any PC to be on their own. If the PCs are together, it's harder for any single PC to grab the spotlight.

As a semi-side note it is very important that you do not allow players to use Diplomacy, Bluff and Intimidate against one-another. This player sounds like he might try to manipulate the party to get his own way.

Most importantly, as has been suggested before, take him aside to talk to him like an adult. Just ask him if he'd appreciate it as a player (and/or as a GM) that someone else would constantly try to grab the attention and try to outshine him.

[edit]: To be honest, your player sounds kinda petty. Not sure if I'd like to have him in my group. He sounds a bit like a self-involved teenager. Seriously, don't allow him to play CN!
[edit2]: maybe an idea to have a conversation with the group as a whole before you start playing so you can explain that it's your plan to give everyone equal time in the spotlight. You could also have player feedback moments at the end of sessions or adventures in which the players can give feedback to one-another and you. (there are many guides for giving feedback within a team on the internet, some are excellent and I might use them in my next group)

Shoes of Smelllessness: these shoes have been enchanted with a Prestidigitation-like effect that negates the odor of smelly feet. This is purely a cosmetic effect and has no in game bonuses.

Dagger of Swagger: this knife and its sheath are richly but gaudily decorated and inlaid with gold and minor gemstones. When a wielder openly displays the sheathed dagger (for example by wearing it on his or her belt) and walks with a leisurely, slightly exaggerated stroll of no more than 30 ft per round, he or she gets a +2 bonus on Intimidate checks.

Aw shucks, thanks :)

1) Smogstick: a smokestick that has been treated with slightly toxic chemicals, resulting in a cloud of noxious fumes. The effect is identical to that of a smokestick although characters that breathe in the smoke must make a DC 14 (?) Fortitude save or become nauseated for 1d3 rounds. Multiple smogsticks in the same square will not increase the concealment but each additional stick raises the Fortitude save by 1.
Craft DC: 25, cost: 100 gp

2) Shocking Bolas: a shocking bolas is essentially a pair of specifically treated bottles of bottled lightning, connected by a flexible copper wire. When thrown, the shocking bolas is treated like a bolas, although it immediately breaks after the first use. If it hits a target, the wire wraps around the limbs of the target and the bottles break, sending a strong current through the wire and the target. As a result, the target is subjected to the same effect as bottled lightning (1d8 points of electricity damage and 1 point of sonic damage). In addition, the target must make a DC 14 (?) Fortitude save or become paralyzed for 1d3 rounds. A critical miss with the Shocking Bolas will result in the user himself being subjected to these effects.
Craft DC 30, cost: 120 gp

(costs and DCs are kinda random, didn't really know how to determine them)

You could start a thread in the homebrew forum with a name like "1001 Ideas for Non-Magical Alchemical Items" for inspiration.

It'd be the easiest thing in the world to just homebrew some stronger alchemical stuff. Flasks that have two compartments that combust when they mix could be stronger than regular alchemists fire, napalm-like clinging fire could deal more damage over time, ditto for more concentrated acid.

Try to find ways in which alchemical items could logically imitate certain spell effects (like bottled lightning that paralyzes like Hold Person or vertigo-inducing fumes that imitate Confusion). Just keep in mind that they're nonmagical and should be (much) less powerful than spells that are available at the same level.

It'd be nice to have some more non-magical alternative ways of damage and battlefield control. That being said, nondamaging stuff like smokesticks remains useful well into the endgame, and even beyond level 20.

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Not to mention the arms race that magic crafters have conned us into!

They sell the bad guys +1 armor, so we have to get +1 weapons, they then sell the bad guys +2 armor, so we have to get +2 weapons etcetera ad nauseam!

Bwang wrote:

I stock run a Kobold tribe with 1/10 Fighters and Rogues, trap making etc. Then I leaven the dough with a like number of Sorcerers and about 1 Cleric per 20-30.

When I ran the last 'Dragon' encounter with guardian Kobolds, it was in a glacier filled with crevasses. Mass waves of grappling Kobolds was the order of the day. Only when the party was up to their eyes in screaming Kobolds did the Dragon appear. They can be quite deadly if the party depends too much on Dex and dodge. And half way through the BBEG fight, the Dragon retreats onto a shelf of ice where the Kobold cleric pops a couple of healing spells on her. Back over 50%, while the party was still grappled and couldn't heal themselves, it was a dirty trick.

I treated the kobold army as a separate monster for exp. Only when the dust settled did the party find they had just beaten equivalent of two CR 15 encounters.

You played nice. The kobolds could have been using flasks of alchemist's fire, which could have melted parts of the glacier ;)

Neil Gaiman fan?

Moro wrote:
Here is the other.

I... don't understand that site. It doesn't seem to be a random generator, just a wiki with rather short lists of things.

His lair guardians probably should not be too far below his CR, if only to provide an interesting challenge to your PCs.

What level are your PCs?

Why not use kobold warriors with the half-dragon template and some kobold shamans (witches/clerics/oracles) that have a CR of ~10 each (or something else appropriate for your PCs).
Maybe with some tamed dragon-themed beasts, such as drakes, wyverns, reptiles or dinosaurs?

A gold-inlaid golem would also be a nice addition to the dragon's hoard, as well as some extra protection.

Adjule wrote:
Can a 3rd level wizard who obtained a spellbook with a 3rd level spell written in it have his bonded item cast that 3rd level spell despite the fact the wizard can't cast it himself for 2 levels

Nope, because that is specifically noted in the wizard's arcane bond ability.

Wizard's Arcane Bond wrote:
A bonded object can be used once per day to cast any one spell that the wizard has in his spellbook and is capable of casting

Personally I'd also rule against it of course. I'm just asking for RAW interpretation out of curiosity.

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Sorcerer's Arcane Bond wrote:

Arcane Bond (Su): At 1st level, you gain an arcane bond, as a wizard equal to your sorcerer level. Your sorcerer levels stack with any wizard levels you possess when determining the powers of your familiar or bonded object. Once per day, your bonded item allows you to cast any one of your spells known (unlike a wizard’s bonded item, which allows him to cast any one spell in his spellbook). This ability does not allow you to have both a familiar and a bonded item.

Maybe a silly question but anyway.

Note the wording of the sorcerer's arcane bond. If you pick a bonded item, it allows you to cast one of your known spells once per day. The ability does not specify that it is restricted to sorcerer spells.
As clerics and druids have access to their whole spell list, all their spells are effectively 'known'.
So... if a cleric or druid uses Eldritch Heritage to get a bonded item, could they use it to cast a level 9 spell once per day?

[edit]: this is of course not RAI and I'm not asking this out of a desire to use it or whatever. Just asking for RAW interpretations out of curiosity.
Personally I wouldn't allow it as a GM or use it as a PC of course.

Chaotic Fighter wrote:
There's a section that defines hair as dead?

If it was, could you... could you resurrect or animate dead it?

I just hate the brilliant energy ability in general. It's a blatant star wars ripoff, the explanation makes no sense and it kinda breaks the game in some ways (the AoMF is good example).
I had one GM that put our party in labyrinth against a throwing-focused fighter with some sort of x-ray vision and a returning brilliant energy chakram. Incredibly boring and one-sided fight.

I'd go for 3 or 4 gestalt characters, just to minimize the pains of managing 6 PCs at the same time.

As for composition, one thing I really took away from 4E was the way they organized parties: tank, striker (high damage to single target), blaster (area of effect), controller and leader (support)

These are the way I'd fill those rolls in a 6 man party
1 fighter/barbarian/paladin/cavalier/: melee tank, if you use a paladin he can assist in healing as well
1 ranger switch hitter (both melee and ranged): melee tank and striker hybrid, as well as some skills and scouting
1 rogue: striker, skill monkey and scouting. If you use a Vivisectionist alchemist he could assist in buffing and debuffing as well
1 bard: leader and controller as well as skillmonkey
1 wizard/sorcerer: blaster and controller
1 cleric/oracle: leader, controller and healing as well as some melee if necessary

Umbral Reaver wrote:
So if you completely destroy a being with brilliant energy, do you leave behind a pile of hair and detritus?

That and chunks of meat. Brilliant energy is not a disintegration effect or anything, it's just a blade made of energy. The energy itself has no effects beyond passing through nonliving material. You couldn't completely destroy a being with regular steel either, just dice it up really fine.

...actually you couldn't do that either, the moment you slice a piece of a living person, that piece becomes dead (aka 'nonliving') and brilliant energy couldn't touch it anymore.

So.. what happens if you strike a person in greenwood or living steel armor with brilliant energy?

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rgrove0172 wrote:
Any links to your favorite generators Moro?

Here is an incredible random generator

If it's a new gaming group, you really have to make sure that their alignments and priorities are in line. The social dynamic within the party, both in and out of character, makes or breaks a gaming group.

For example, putting a Paladin and an evil monster race in the same party is gonna create a lot of friction, which could be fatal to a new group. It's also gonna be massively annoying to other players if they constantly have to deal with the NPC reactions to the monster race guy, as well as the problems with his reactions to those NPCs.

For a new group, I'd argue for Core races only and CRB, UC, UM and APG classes only.

Also regular and blast punch attacks should probably include the misfire chance of firearms. It can not be good for a firearm to be subjected to repeated blows.

Alternatively, just interpret the pistol whip of a shotgun, wielded as a two-handed melee weapon, in concert with a buckler as a shotgun cestus.

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Coyote_Ragtime wrote:
Making love is like a boss fight. It takes all your skills and just a little faith, and 9 times out of 10 it ends in a TPK.

And it takes at least a four man party to do it effectively.

Additionally, tactical positioning and flanking can be a huge help!

Coyote_Ragtime wrote:
Arikiel wrote:
I remember when I was a teenager the guys sometimes rolled to see how um... well endowed their character's were.
+ CHA because its not the size of the boat, but the motion of the ocean, baby.

Wouldn't DEX feature in then? And CON for stamina?

Kinda off topic but the thread name kinda drew me in: I love the idea of a Summoner-based police force. Makes total sense, you've got customizable, expendable shock troops that can fulfill a variety of roles!
Combined with the grab and scent abilities you get excellent crook catchers!

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Heh... and then escort missions.

PCs: "OK, it's gonna be a pain to escort you around so we're gonna kill you, stuff your corpse in a Bag of Holding, and resurrect you when we reach our destination."
NPC: "Wait, what?!? arghghgshdgd....."

Can you imagine how much this will screw up the story line?

GM: "NPC X was violently murdered. It is up to you to find out who did it"
PCs: "OK!"
*False priest casts Raise Dead*
PCs: "Welcome back. Did you see who killed you?"

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