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Goblin Squad Member. 1,587 posts (3,792 including aliases). 2 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 8 aliases.


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Ah ha! You are absolutely correct.

minor War for the Crown spoilers:
It's Lieutenant Fanalyx, an important axiomite NPC from book 5 of War for the Crown.

Thank you, Rysky. My curiousity has been satisfied.


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status: -
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

I am amused that taking a whiz on somebody's house is the equivalent of "stooping to anything to achieve his goals."


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

I find this all highly amusing.

In other news, did you hear? Middle Earth Temporarily Bans Fellowships of More Than Five.


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Here is a small adjustment that GMs could make to Tyrant's Grasp in order to offer PCs a more compelling reason for the final suicide mission.

Arazni is a lich; and she was obliterated by the Radiant Fire. Twice, in fact. The first time she re-formed. The second time is unclear. Certainly she hoped to die a true death, but the adventure leaves it open as to whether or not she succeeded.

When she prepared her spells for that final battle against the Whispering Tyrant, Arazni abandoned her protections against divination. It was at that point too late for her graveknight jailors to stand any chance of stopping her; and she would need every spell slot for the fight to come.

Thus, when she went to face the Tyrant, she did so knowing that anyone at all might watch her doing it. Perhaps she even voluntarily failed her Will saves against scrying effects. Let them watch! Let them see that for all their posturing, she was the one taking the fight to the Whispering Tyrant! She was truer to her vows than all those fools who spent these last millennia condemning her for things that were never her choice!

And so, when the Tyrant invoked the Radiant Fire and wiped Arazni away, one of Lastwall's strongest diviners saw it happen. They saw the faint smile of hope cross her face before the white energy washed over her. They saw her dissolve away.

The diviner was struck by a thought: "I am watching the dissolution of a lich. Her phylactery must surely be performing its perverted task at this very instant. But that weapon ... it's so powerful ... I wonder if ..."

And so, in that moment, they cast: Discern Location targeting Arazni's phylactery.

And it worked.

No one has ever been able to find Arazni's phylactery. Arazni herself doesn't know where it is, despite being one of the most powerful wizards in the history of Golarion, and having it bound intimately to her very soul. But the concentrated burst of positive energy resonated along the magic threads binding her tattered soul to her phylactery, and the sheer power of it momentarily disrupted the protections that have for so long shielded it from detection.

The diviner noted down this startling information immediately. When he tried it again, less than a minute later, the spell failed, as it always had before. Perhaps the phylactery was destroyed. Perhaps its protective wards reasserted themselves. Regardless, what that diviner learned was that when the Radiant Fire strikes a lich, it can reveal the location of its phylactery -- even one hidden by extremely powerful magics.

This did not seem terribly important. Arazni was gone from the battlefield. The location of her phylactery -- while certainly of great interest -- seemed moot. And the diviner couldn't really think of a good way to induce the Whispering Tyrant to vaporize himself with the Radiant Fire. Surely he would simply teleport away via a contingency, as he did when destroying Arazni.

But then the PCs return, with the obols gleaming in their hearts, and the assurance that the feedback will turn the Radiant Fire's power back on the Tyrant regardless of whether he has teleported away or not. And suddenly it becomes very relevant indeed ...

That is what the PCs are buying with their souls: information. The location of the Tyrant's phylactery. The hope that some day, someone might be able to destroy it and finally put an end to the vile lich who has warped millennia of Golarion's history.

Now, I don't know a lot about 2e lore so far, but I gather it presumes that the Whispering Tyrant is still around. If continuity with 2e world lore is important to you, then you can't just assume that all the armies in the world converge on the phylactery's location following the PCs' heroic sacrifice. There has to be a reason that can't happen.

Naturally any GM can invent reasons for this; I think, in my case, the reason that it's impossible for people to just go there and destroy it is that it's not on Golarion at all.

It's on Eox, buried deep in the heart of an airless mountain guarded by a ton of powerful constructs and warded by about a thousand layers of spells, including some unique ones of the Tyrant's own devising. When he reforms there, he has to prepare Interplanetary Teleport to get back to Golarion. He thought many times about destroying himself in Gallowspire just to get out, but wasn't sure whether the wards his enemies put in place would trap his soul there and leave him disembodied forever. If he tried it and it failed, what would that do to his connection with his phylactery? Would it even still work? He opted not to find out.

Once they know the location of the phylactery, the leaders of Golarion may not immediately launch an expedition to go deal with it, especially if the Tyrant goes and sulks on his island, as per the default outcome of the AP. A failed attempt on his phylactery would instantly alert the Tyrant that his secret got out somehow, after which he can just relocate the phylactery. He can put up more wards to conceal its location, and this time there's no more Radiant Fire, so their trick for finding out its location won't work again. They get one shot at it, and so they're not going to commit until they've done everything they possibly can to prepare. In the meantime, the Tyrant can continue doing whatever he does in 2e lore, and all is well.

So there you go. This little scenario gives you:


  • A better reason for the PCs to sacrifice themselves.
  • A hook for a high-level campaign to destroy the Tyrant's phylactery.
  • Plausible continuity with 2e world lore.

And it requires minimal adjustment to the AP as written -- basically, the addition of one high-level diviner NPC to cast Discern Location and later brief the PCs on just why it is that they're laying down their souls.

I hope this helps future GMs.


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I have long thought of this as the "too many cooks in the kitchen" phenomenon. Although they have gotten much better at managing it over the years, having as many as six authors working simultaneously on different parts of the adventure frequently leads to some jarring shifts in tone, awkward transitions, or occasionally continuity errors. I believe that the OP is correct in their assertion that such things are an inherent weakness of this production process. They can, and have, done a great deal to minimize it, but there's just no way to eliminate it altogether.

That said, I would point out that the same process also offers some major strengths. For one thing, a single author necessarily thinks in just one way. Having multiple authors adds variety, and makes it more difficult for players to anticipate the plot overmuch. Also, it is invaluable to have other people to bounce ideas off as you are in the process of developing an adventure.

There are other ways to produce adventures. The necessity of producing fresh content every month without fail or delay is a major factor in producing adventures in the way that they do. With a less driven time frame, you could produce an adventure using a process in which development takes a year or more and the entire thing drops all at once as a finished book-length campaign. That would likely make it easier to smooth out the transitions and make for consistent tone and so on. But it would also be risky. If you sink a year into developing a full-length hardback adventure and it sells poorly, well ... that could be a serious problem for the business. To make that model work, the stakes on any one product are a lot higher. You have to be Pixar, not Vogue.

So Paizo has good reasons for using the process that they do. It offers them a more predictable revenue stream. It shields them, to some extent, from mis-steps: if one month's adventure is poorly received, well, there's always next month. For those reasons, it's baked into the core of Paizo's business model. At its heart, Paizo is still publishing a monthly magazine. Just as they were when they published Dungeon Magazine all those years ago.

A tangent:
As an aside, may I just remark that it is deeply weird to be in a hobby where you can't read most of the monthly magazine for fear of spoilers?


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status: -
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

fOR MY PART, THE wARPRIEST LEVEL IS oH GODS MY CAPS LOCK KEY IS ON.

Better?

Better. Let's try that again.

For my part, the Warpriest level is a single-level dip, partly for story, partly to boost Mel's saves (which were woefully inadequate before).

After this it's straight back to Rogue.

Oh, and I've decided what to do about my rogue talents.

The Bullseye Shot that I've never used is staying, because it feels weird and meta-gamish to retrain it. (I've never been a big fan of retraining.)

And as for the other talent, the Weapon Focus (longbow) that has been made redundant, I have decided to leave it unallocated for this level and gain no benefit from it. There is a talent I want to take in its place, but I haven't laid enough groundwork for taking it yet. So I'll just leave it hanging loose for now, and next time we level up I'll take that talent.

EDIT: I've updated the stat lines for all of Mel's aliases. Her full statblock is available in the Melira Elenariel alias, and all of them are linked to one another.


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

There's a brawler in my CotCT campaign who used saps from about level 3 to level 7, and he killed so many people with non-lethal damage that eventually we started asking him to just punch them instead, on the grounds that there was a better chance we'd get a prisoner out of it.

He once punched a gazebo to death in one full attack. Ditto for that weird elephant statue construct thing.

These days his schtick is punching through superior masonry walls in one or two rounds and yelling "Ohhhhhhh, yeahhhhh!" As he emerges on the other side.


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So after the PCs defeat the Hidden Beast, a day or so later their new skulk friends find a hidden shrine and give them a Bag 'o Loot.™

My PCs just defeated the Hidden Beast, and I've decided on a mild twist: the shrine was deliberately hidden by Mesmina, the prophetess who foretold the PCs' coming. She knew that it would be rediscovered when the time came, and so she left a letter for each PC. The letters will contain cryptic hints/warnings about things in Xin-Shalast.

Except for one: our ranger, Micah, is about as shallow as you can possibly get. He has basically decided that everyone in the entire world who's taller than about 6' 5" deserves to die. He has Favored Enemy: Giant, and just cannot get it through his head that some of them are rather nice if you can refrain from eviscerating them. He's firmly in the "kill them all and let Pharasma sort them out" camp, and flirting with an evil alignment as a result.

So his letter is going to be: "To Micah Valian Arneseph: the true measure of a person is not whether they are tall or short, but whether they are small-minded. Be a bigger man. -- Mesmina"


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Hi, player here. My party just reached Castle Scarwall, and my GM has expressed a heartfelt wish for some kind of prop he can use to point out features rather than trying to describe it all. He struggles with description, which has at times in the past has led to some miscommunications and frustration when the players fail to understand the scene.

Some quick googling revealed a YouTube video of a Castle Scarwall model from 2013, probably done in Sketchup. That's already very helpful and we will be using it, but I'm hoping to find the 3D model file itself so that I can print out a copy on a 3D printer (small; say, about 5 inches side-to-side). The creator shared a dropbox link to the model in the comments on the video, but it's long dead.

Does anyone have a copy of that model kicking around? If so, would you mind sharing it with us?


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For a while I've been trying to figure out: how is Karzoug feeding his army of giants? It's been established that it's really hard to get to Xin-Shalast, even by magic, and there's not exactly a lot of arable land, and giants obviously have to eat a lot because they're big. Plus it's cold so they burn a lot of calories just staying warm.

I thought about maybe putting goodberry bushes in the Snarl, or introducing a bunch of giant druids whose job is just to cast goodberry over and over.

I thought about giving them lots of sustaining spoons.

But what I finally settled on was: they're having their food shipped in by Denizens of Leng, who are of course famed as traders (and slavers). When the Rune Giants go out to collect new tribes of giants, they also kidnap any humans/elves/etc that they find, and trade them to the Denizens of Leng in exchange for vast shipments of curious fruits and unsettling meats, all procured in the distant dreamlands and brought to Xin-Shalast in the holds of the black ships sailing the dream-oceans that touch every mortal shore.

This gives me a way to introduce new PCs in the event of permadeath -- they were captured and brought to Xin-Shalast to be traded to the Denizens of Leng.


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

Mel pulls out her journal and jots down notes on the information Count Aral has given them thus far. She taps the pen against her lips, thinking. "I have a theory," she says, then stops with a wry smile. "Or rather, let's say a hypothesis, because my track record on theories is not great. In any case: Baron Cust is an arms dealer who recently came into a lot of money. That suggests a large sale of arms. To whom? And for what purpose?"

"Meanwhile, Count Harcourt is a shipping magnate who does a lot of business with the Bishopric, and for some reason he is pushing very hard for seizing control of the Bishopric. Could he have sent those weapons somewhere? The Bishopric, perhaps?"

"And Duke Beaumont apparently has excellent intelligence on happenings in the Concordat, and is a masterful politician."

"Here's my hypothesis: Duke Beaumont got word of the Concordat operations that were intended to let them move troops into the Bishopric. He decided to turn those plans against them. He found some agents in the Bishopric, and arranged for a large shipment of weapons and supplies to them: enough to arm a rebellion. Cust supplied the weapons, making a tidy profit in the process. Harcourt shipped them. Once the Concordat made their move, Beaumont's agents would assassinate the Bishop and blame the Concordat for it. Then they would reveal that the Concordat was responsible for the raids they were ostensibly saving the Bishopric from, and use the tide of anger from the citizens to raise a rebellion against the elven invaders, arming them with the weapons."

"Even with good weapons, a rebellion of farmers and craftsmen against crack elven troops would most likely fail. But that's the point: as the elves advanced on Helm, lo! The noble forces of Iustia land and charge to the rescue of their fellows in the Bishopric. The war has been kicked off. The Bishopric forces have whittled down the elven opposition a bit, and the Bishopric citizens most likely to resist Iustian rule die in the process. At that point, integrating the Bishopric into Iustia would be comparatively easy; at best, Helm might voluntarily ask to join the kingdom, which is ever so much tidier than conquest. None of it happened on Iustian soil, and now Iustia has a lovely staging area from which to press the attack on the Concordat. Iustia comes out of it looking like heroes, with some new lands added to the kingdom as a bonus."

Mel looks like she wants to spit, but out of deference to the Count's lovely furnishings, opts to content herself with a grimace.

"But it didn't work out that way -- because Brookside didn't fall, and the elven forces never moved in. Now there's a pile of weapons sitting somewhere in the Bishopric, and a bunch of agents who lack a convenient bogeyman to rebel against. Beaumont is fine -- it sounds as though he made sure to work through cutouts, making it hard to trace any blame back to him. Baron Cust is doing fine; all he did was sell some weapons, and didn't ask too many questions about where they were going or for whom. He's got a pile of shiny new coins, and has not even done anything illegal."

"But Count Harcourt -- he's in trouble. If it becomes known that he shipped a bunch of weapons to the Bishopric under false documents, the Bishopric would immediately ban him from conducting business there, and probably seize all his business assets. He stands to lose a lot. He could be ruined. So he's pushing for some other way to get the Bishopric into Iustia. If he can make that happen, then all that goes away. I wonder if he funded Tyron Alabaster's piracy ploy?"

"This is all conjecture," Mel finishes. "It fits the facts as we know them, but that doesn't mean it's right. And it doesn't account for everything. Viscount Turick is definitely the odd one out. It's puzzling that he would advocate for an alliance with people he is known to hate, and I am at a loss to explain how that would fit with the scenario I've laid out."

"But we could start addressing it by finding out the answers to some questions."

"First: Where did Baron Cust's influx of wealth come from? There must be people who know this. His bank might have records with information, for example. Warehouse workers who moved crates around, if it was indeed an arms sale. For that matter, the craftsmen who made the weapons would know what they've been making lately. We might be able to gather a fair bit of information indirectly."

"Second: What trouble is Count Harcourt in that makes him so eager to absorb the Bishopric? It's a pity Brolin chose to remain in Helm, he knows Bishopric shipping in and out. He might be able to point us in a useful direction. I would love to be able to ask him -- or one of our other contacts in Helm," she says, delicately referring to the Bishop without naming him. "Túrion, are you capable of sending a message that far? If Harcourt's business in the Bishopric is in trouble, we can probably find out things from that end."

"Third: How does Duke Beaumont get his intelligence on the Concordat? This one is more difficult; whatever or whoever it is that's getting this information to him, I've no doubt that that secret is closely guarded."

"Fourth: what is Viscount Turick playing at? In that case, I suspect we have an in -- we have an actual Avinoan with us. Perhaps Túrion and I could present ourselves to him as a highly unofficial delegation from Avinoax, and indicate that we wish to explore the idea of an Avinoax-Iustia alliance. Kazador and Fyrtor can be presented as local bodyguards we hired. It's risky, but we might be able to get him to just tell us what he's up to."


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

In the sitting room, Mel admires the gracious appointments.

When Fyrtor hesitates over her name, she smiles and says "Mel Elden; lately of Brookside, in the Bishopric of Helm."

Once Fyrtor has said his piece, she nods and says "That is correct. We believe that both the Concordat and Iustia have undertaken covert operations designed to give each of them a plausible cover for invading the Bishopric of Helm. Each sees it as an opening move in a larger campaign between the Concordat and Iustia."

Reaching into her haversack, she pulls out the receipt they had been given for the capture of Gertrude van Beem, and extends it towards the old Count.

"You may find this of interest, sir," she says. "It is a receipt for the bounty we received upon capturing Gertrude van Beem, captain of the Serpent's Serendipity, a notorious pirate. Over the past few months, she engaged in a series of attacks on Bishopric shipping, unerringly targeted at ships bearing sensitive or confidential cargoes. Her targets were chosen based on information provided to her by the Hand of the Reaper, a criminal organization which gathered intelligence for her."

"It was an elaborate operation, unusually well-executed for a mere pirate. Under questioning, van Beem confessed that she was not operating independently in this matter: she was hired by one Tyron Alabaster, a noble of Iustia. Her attacks on Bishopric shipping were intended to give Iustia an excuse to sweep into the Bishopric and 'rescue' it from her depredations."

She smiles grimly. "Meanwhile, the Concordat has been engaged in an almost identical scheme. Their version involved provoking tribes of orcs and goblins to attack the southern reaches of the Bishopric, so that benevolent elven forces could march into the country to 'save' it from these terrible aggressors. The first bunch of orcs hit Brookside, a small village in the south western reaches of the Bishopric -- where they were repelled thanks to the courage of the villagers, some timely reinforcements from Astin, and a great deal of luck."

"But not without cost." She drops her gaze to the floor for a moment. She thinks of Noln and his son dying in the darkened streets outside their own home; of Jonathan Golightly, who didn't deserve the arrow that took him; of Allen Dorner. She has a sudden, vivid memory of Perrin turning away in shame from Alice Dorner's weeping face as she buried the father Perrin failed to save despite his promises.

She returns her gaze to the Count. "I fought in that battle," she says. "And in others since. Good people died there. Between them, Iustia and the Concordat could make of this continent an altar on which to pile up such sacrifices: to greed; to hubris; to ambition."

"I want to put a stop to that war; before it even begins. My friends here want the same." She waves a hand broadly to indicate the group.

"Can you help us?"

She holds his gaze.


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

Step 2.

Kn (Local): 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (20) + 15 = 35

There you go, Fyrtor. ^_^

EDIT: Man, I got ninja'd twice while I was composing this. XD.

Step 3.

Mel looks around with curiosity at the dwarven clanhold as they walk through it. The hallways run straight and clean through the stone, laid out in an orderly fashion. Every surface is decorated with elaborate carvings depicting dwarves at work, in battle, at home; a few, Mel recognizes as scenes from dwarven folk tales.

While Kazador speaks, Mel drifts a bit to the side, studying one panel showing a dwarven woman hand-in-hand with a human man. Crowns adorn the heads of the stiff, formal figures. Beneath their feet, carven labels identify them as Brean Stonespinner, Queen Under Stone, and Henrik Lengacre, King Over Stone. Crowds of people stand behind them, humans and dwarves all mixed in together.

Poor Kazador, she thinks. Poor Algric. Their home is gone. And though these are their people, Revan and Kazad Gravr had very different histories. I hope Algric can find a place here, despite its differences.

She extends a hand and gently brushes her fingertips against the cold, rocky surface of Brean Stonespinner's shoulder.

I hope I can find a place again, too.


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

Done! Finally.

In the last few days I re-read the entire campaign from beginning to end, and brought the Brookside NPCs spreadsheet up to date. It now lists every named NPC, giving their first and last names, gender, race, class, and notes on who they are. Unknown values are left blank, though in many cases I made an educated guess on things like race and gender.

It's split into a whole bunch of different sheets: one for each major location (Brookside, Astin, Helm, The Sonder, The Serpent Isles, Kazad Gravr, and Bannerhold) plus one for PCs, the original Brookside NPCs sheet, and one for Miscellaneous NPCs.

The Miscellaneous NPCs didn't fit elsewhere. Some are only mentioned and have not appeared "on screen", such as Lady Janvier Otranto, the Iustian noble who did the cartography for Mel's Geography of the World. Some are not strongly associated with a single place, such as the orcs who came from Kazad Gravr to Helm with us. Others are associated with PC backstories, such as Brolin's spirits or Túrion's dryad friend Balanos.

There's also a sheet (the first one) called "Index of NPCs" which lists everyone from all locations (except the original Brookside notes, which don't follow the same format as all the other sheets). It's automatically updated. If you make a change in one of the other sheets, the Index will be updated to reflect that. Currently it's sorted alphabetically by last name. If you change the sort, it has a tendency to add a bunch of empty rows at the top for some reason; it's safe to delete those.

I omitted "Duke Alton", Fyrtor's mistaken reference to Count Aral.

Do we know if "Aral" is the Count's first or last name?

Lastly, I noticed that when Kelian asked after his father and the Bishop scryed on Vors, the Bishop said that Vors was raising a barn with a couple of his dwarven friends. Kelian then sighed in relief and identified the dwarves as probably Hirda and Noln. This cannot be correct: Kelian would know that Hirda never returned to Brookside following our capture of Elrin Weh: she went into the hills to live alone (or possibly commit suicide, that was left ambiguous). And Noln died in the Battle of Brookside. So presumably they're two other dwarves, perhaps Hirda's nameless daughter-in-law (now widowed) and grandchild.

Anyway, this has been a ton of work, but we really, really needed it. The first gameplay post dates to December 20th 2017, so we're coming up on its two year anniversary. In that time, we've invented quite a lot of imaginary people to keep track of! Specifically, 180 as of this writing.

I think I got everyone, but it's possible I missed someone. If you can't find an NPC you know exists, please feel free to add them. Also feel free to update entries as we go along. Having good notes on who's who will make life easier for everyone, particularly now that we're headed for a more intrigue-like campaign where relationships between NPCs may be very important.


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

Mel purses her lips. "Whew! That's a lot of gold just to avoid some scrubbing. Maybe when I unexpectedly inherit a vast fortune from an uncle I never knew I had, hey? Anyway, now that you two know where to find Pippi, I'll leave you to it. I've got some other errands to run." Mel nods at everyone, and steps out the door.

The streets of Helm: cobbled, spacious, and full of people. Mel makes her way through the area, stopping briefly at the potion shop run by Whisken de la Monega. "Your potions stood me in good stead, lately," she tells him. "Especially that one that lets you see in the dark for a few hours. Can't say I'm especially fond of the flavor, but there's no arguing with results!" She purchases another of those, plus one that wards off malign influences, and loads both of the tiny bottles into her wrist sheathes before even leaving the store.

Her next stop is The Bravest Soul. The sign is unchanged; Mel pushes the door open and steps inside to find Laine Windfall sitting in front of a piece of tough leather lain flat across the wood counter. A variety of tools lie neatly lined up beside it, and Laine has many small pieces of metal spread across the scored surface of the leather. The tapping of her hammer echoes slightly as she puts rivets in place and checks her work.

"Hello," Mel says.

Laine looks up, a smile crossing her blunt, square face. "Oh! My pardon for not noticing you there. I was caught up in my work," she says.

Mel looks curiously at the items on the table. "What are you making?" she asks.

"Gauntlet," Laine says. "The joints take careful work. Many small pieces, and they all have to articulate perfectly, or it could bind up." She picks up the half-finished gauntlet and puts it on one hand, demonstrating how the tiny plates of metal smoothly slide past one another. "I remember you," Laine adds as she takes the gauntlet off again. "Sold you some leathers, what, a month ago or so?"

"That's right," Mel says. "And they served me well."

"But you're not wearing them now, I see," Laine observes.

Mel shakes her head. "No. I ... had another altercation with orcs, and one of them had this." She shrugs out of her chain shirt and hands it over. "I don't think it's originially orcish work. It's not much like the last one I got from them."

Laine inspects. "Indeed not," Laine agrees, inspecting the links. "My, this is fine work! Mithral, and ..." she pulls the chain up close to her eye for inspection. "... every link's been welded shut. Makes for excellent mail, but it takes a damned long time. That's elven work, or I'll eat my hammer. Nobody else has the time -- except maybe the dwarves. But if it were dwarven work the shirt would be much broader across the shoulders."

"I thought so," Mel says. "Anyway, it's clearly also been enchanted, and although the leathers you made are excellent, I thought this might offer just a bit more protection."

"You're right at that," Laine acknowledges without rancor. She sets it down again. "So, have you come to sell back the leathers, then? We'll buy 'em, provided they're in good condition, but don't imagine you'll get a full refund just because came across a nicer set a couple weeks later."

Mel shakes her head. "No, actually," she says. "I plan to keep those. Partly to have a spare set, just in case; but really it's ... well ... here's my very first set of armor. See?" She reaches into her haversack and extracts a somewhat battered lamellar cuirass. "I bought it just for the journey to Brookside, in case of bandits. And then it stood me in good stead there, when the orcs came. Selling it would feel ... disloyal. So I kept it. And the same with your leathers. Perhaps I'll need them again some day; or perhaps I'll find someone else who needs them. Maybe it's foolish of me, but ..."

Laine smiles broadly. "Nah, I can see it," she says. "You take care of the armor because it took care of you. So what if it's just a bunch of leather and metal? It's kept your back like a friend, for all that."

"Exactly!" Mel says.

"So what brings you here, then?" Laine asks as Mel puts the cuirass away once again.

"I've two jobs for you," Mel says. "First, I want you to enchant this chain shirt further. Specifically, I was wondering if you could make it do what this cloak does." She lays out the Cloak of Elvenkind on the counter. "It tugs the shadows closer for me ... makes it easier to slip by unseen."

Laine frowns. "You're not one of them Reaps, are you? We don't hold with that."

Mel laughs. "Nothing like that, I assure you," she says. "In fact, I'm pretty sure the Reaps would be happy to see me dead. We've tangled a couple of times. No, I just ... I'd rather avoid battle, if I can. General Tullian wrote that the best fight is the one you win without fighting. And if it does come to a fight, I'd rather that I saw them coming before they saw me."

Laine relaxes. "A fair answer. Yes, I think I can arrange that." They dicker over prices, settling on 3,750. Mel hands over the armor and the money. "Good then," Laine says. "Now, what's this other job?"

"More leathers; but not for me. Hold on, let me get them out." She extracts Nelly's barding from her haversack.

"What on earth?" Laine says, as the leather piles up further and further on the counter. "Barding, but ... there's no horse in the world that these would fit."

"Not a horse at all. One of my travelling companions has a rather large wolf. She's very attached to him; and more intelligent than most wolves, I think. In any case, he outfitted her with this barding, and wants it enhanced to protect her better." She has a sudden, vivid memory of Túrion burning as he perished in the Magister's fire. "Though honestly he could do with some protection himself. But armor isn't really his thing."

"Well! A wolf, you say?" Laine shakes her head in bemusement. "That's a new one. But sure, armor is armor. I can make this tougher -- lay threads of magic through the construction to let it absorb blows better. Should be the same as working on any piece of armor."

They settle on a price, and Mel passes over the coin that Túrion gave her for the purpose.

"All right then, this may take a bit," Laine says. "I'd guess four days for each of the two projects. So eight overall. I'll do yours first -- I want some time to study this barding before I start working on it. You're lucky, I'm between big projects at the moment."

"I hope I'm not slowing down your gauntlet," Mel says.

"Nah. Don't worry about that -- that's not a paid job anyway. Da told me to make a pair because he's not satisfied that I've really mastered the technique yet. I think he's just being persnickety at this point; but hey, practice never hurts."

"How is your father?" Mel asks. "He was working the counter when I last came."

"Healthy as a horse," Laine says. "He's visiting my sister today -- she's just had her third child, and everyone's gone gaga over the tike."

"Well!" Mel exclaims. "Congratulations to her. And please tell Master Windfall I said hello."

"Aye, I'll do that," Laine says.

They chat a bit more, and then wrap it up. Mel takes a moment to duck into a fitting room and don her leathers before leaving.

Her eye falls on the fat fox on the interior of the door as she leaves. The painted eyes seem to glitter at her. "Not today, Mr. Fox," Mel mutters. "And I hope, never."

She pushes out through door and returns to the Cozy Badger. There, she reports to Túrion that his errand has been accomplished, and should be ready in eight days.


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

After bidding farewell to Kazador and Fyrtor for the moment, Mel resumes the same room she stayed in previously, on the second floor of the Cozy Badger. She sets her bag down on the bedside table and sits on the edge of the bed, facing the window.

For a moment, she simply stares out the window, which provides little enough for a view, facing another building opposite. The bustle of the street filters in: horses clopping their way along the cobblestone streets, the occasional call of a street vendor selling food. She can't make out any conversations, but undoubtedly there are people walking the streets on this fine day of early summer: parents remonstrating children, friends chatting, lovers holding hands.

She flops backward onto the bed and stares at the ceiling instead.

It seems unreal.

"Tätä rakastat, Ostara." Mel whispers. "Pehmeät vuoteet ja rauha ja lämmin sää. Ihmiset kaikenlaisessa muodossaan. Eläminen ja haluaminen ja tekeminen ja ajattelu ja rakastava. Jokainen voi tehdä niin kuin haluaa, kunhan se ei vahingoita ketään muuta."

"Ja puolustan sitä koko sydämestäni. Mutta se ei tunne ..." her voice trails off.

"Minulla oli paikka Lywelasissa. Ja tein paikan yliopistossa, Etsi Paljonissa. Olin jopa alkanut löytää sellaista Brooksidesta."

"Mutta täällä? Minulla ei ole todellista paikkaa täällä. Minusta tuntuu ... juurtumaton."

She pauses a moment, marshalling her thoughts.

"En ole kukka, joka voi kasvaa siemenistä kukkii muutamassa viikossa. Tarvitsen aikaa kasvaa paikkakunnalle."

"Mutta en saa sitä tänne. Muutaman päivän kuluttua lähdemme Iustiaan, ja minä tulen taas siemenen tuuleen."

Elven:
"This is what you love, Ostara." Mel whispers. "Soft beds and peace and warm weather. People, in all their variety. Living and wanting and doing and thinking and loving. Everyone free to do as they please, as long as they don't hurt anyone else."

"And I will defend it with all my heart. But it doesn't feel ..." her voice trails off.

"I had a place in Lywelas. And I made a place at the university, in Etsi Paljon. I was even beginning to find one in Brookside."

"But here? I have no real place here. I feel ... rootless."

She pauses a moment, marshalling her thoughts.

"I am no flower who can grow from seed to bloom in a few weeks. I need time to grow into a place."

"But I will not get that here. In a few days we leave for Iustia, and I will be a seed on the wind once more."

She goes quiet. The bed is comfortable -- so much more so than sleeping on bare dirt in the barrens, or the floor of the smithy in Brookside, or a hammock slung belowdecks on a ship. Thoughts of their recent expedition swirl through her head.

Muse offering a meal of people to the sea serpent.

Van Beem's ship exploding, a blossom of boards and nails and death.

The pain of being shot in the darkened hallways of Kazad Gravr.

Kazador, vanishing under a pile of orcs, his prized hammer taken from him.

Túrion, lying so still and pale amongst thrashing tentacles while the Magister of Conjuration rained spells and curses upon them.

Fyrtor, heedless of danger -- driven by guilt.

The cloud of dust rising from Kazad Gravr to mark its grave.

"Haluan vain, että tiedät hyväksyväni sen," she says. "Luotan sinuun. Jonain päivänä ohjaat jalkani johonkin paikkaan, jota voin kutsua uudelleen kotiin. Mutta toistaiseksi teen sen, mikä on tehtävä, jotta muut voivat pitää kotinsa."

Elven:
"I just want you to know that I accept that," she says. "I trust you. Some day, you will steer my feet to some place I can call a home again. But for now, I will do what needs to be done so that others can keep their homes."

And with that, she heaves a sigh, sits up, and begins penning a note requesting an audience with the Bishop to report their activities, and noting the importance of clearing Fyrtor Smithson and Túrion Alagostor to participate, due to their important information and unstinting assistance.


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

Mel heals Fyrtor and the orc -- Grukkan -- after their sparring match, with no commentary.

During the days, as the orcish hands become more familiar with the ins and outs of running the ship, she takes to spending long hours in the crow's nest, keeping watch for other ships. She tries not to look down too often; every time she does, she winces anew at the sight of one of her people's finest ships being crewed by orcs. Yet they have hurt me less, in some ways, than my own people, she thinks. Ostara -- may the sea wash away their hatreds. They too have suffered. Under their own hands, as well as those of other races. Not to mention their harsh land.

But even as she prays for them, she knows that changing the culture of an entire race takes far, far longer than a few weeks aboard ship; and she doubts that such will come to pass even in her lifetime even should she live to see the rise and fall of kingdoms.

When not aloft, she socializes with the rest of her group. She does not seek out the orcs; but in their inevitable encounters, she works to avoid showing any signs of weakness.

In the late afternoons, or the long evenings when the sun sinks slowly into the amber sea, she works on her long-neglected journal: recording all of the events since Brookside, in as much detail as she can recall.

She adds observations on her companions.

Kazador and Algric:
"I have known him less than a year -- no more than a couple months, in fact. He can be impetuous, brash, unforgiving -- of himself, more than any other. The same goes for Algric. They are hard. Hardened by the necessities of the secrecy that protected their home, so deep in hostile terrain. It seems to me that perhaps their people made a virtue of necessity for so long that they became inured to it, and slowly began to lose the capacity to distinguish between necessity and cruelty."

"I have to wonder what the final destruction of their home will do to them. Their secrecy failed. The necessity -- and the cruelty it brought -- in the end, neither one accomplished what they were meant to. Kazad Gravr fell. Their families and friends lie dead; and buried, now, in a grave the size of a city. Of what use, then, were all their harsh measures?"

"Yet, I believe Kazador has begun to have some new thoughts. I have caught him gazing out at the ocean a few times, evidently deep in thought. And though his temper can at times be fragile, I believe there is a core of strength there that will stand him in good stead in whatever lies ahead. His life in Kazad Gravr made him hard; but brittle, in some ways. May Torag grant that his trials leave him not hardened, but tempered: strong enough to bend when necessary, and not break."

"I wonder what I would become, if in the end everything I strove for turned to death and ashes? I pray I never have to find out."

Brolin:
"Our captain, Brolin Muse. Gregarious; willing to assume the best of absolutely everyone; a passionate idealist. He reminds me of myself in some ways. Or at least ... he reminds me of myself as I was ... before."

Mel pauses and stares at that phrase on the sheet for a while.

"Well, bless him. I hope he can keep that idealism even when the world throws his ideals back in his teeth. It surely has a bad habit of doing that."

Her lips twist and she stares at the entry again, then crosses out the last line with a quick, definitive slash.

"Enough of that; this entry is about him, not me. Besides his personal qualities, his ability to conjure spirits ... well, according to him, not so much spirits as abandoned memories? I still find it disquieting in some ways, while intriguing in others. On the one hand, his disembodied ... friends?"

She considers her conversation with Savvy.

"His disembodied allies grant him amazingly broad abilities. On a moment's notice, he can be a warrior, a scholar, a magician or ... I don't even know what else he's capable of. It's really rather astounding. Part of me desperately wants to sit down just ask Legacy questions for weeks on end. There is so much history he knows from first-hand experience! I feel as though with a few minutes' conversation Legacy could clear up all kinds of historical questions that have occupied the attention of scholars for generations. Where did the various races originate? When did they first meet? What was the initial cause of the First Blackthorn War? It's so long ago now that none of our surviving records actually explain what they were initially fighting over. But I'll bet Legacy knows. He was probably there when it broke out."

"Alas, Legacy seems to be rather close-mouthed. Perhaps I'll get a chance to ask him some questions some day, but I suspect the answers may just raise more questions. And that there is a distinct limit to how much Legacy might be willing to answer. Pity."

"And on the other hand, it seems ... a decidedly uncomfortable existence, sharing your head with other people from other times who have agendas of their own. It's ... a risky path, despite the great rewards."

"I wonder if there might be some other way to get the same information, though? Brolin said that there are fragments of memory all over: drifting through the air, ingrained into objects. I wonder if anyone else could learn to draw on that knowledge. Perhaps. Perhaps not. In any case, there are much higher priorities at the moment."

"I haven't noticed any particular change in Brolin since Kazad Gravr. Perhaps he has, and is hiding it; or perhaps it all rolled off him, like water off an oilcloth. Time will tell."

Fyrtor:
"Of all my recent acquaintances, I feel as though I have the best understanding of Fyrtor. We are alike in our deep faith in our respective goddesses. He has a deeper reverence for nature than I do, I believe, as is only to be expected in a practitioner of the druidic arts. I sometimes wonder how he reconciles that with his blindingly pure faith in the Dawnflower; for it is an indisputable fact that nature is both beautiful and cruel. Sometimes more one than the other; sometimes in equal measure. The lion sheds no tears for the lamb -- yet the sun will rise just as beautifully over a scene of carnage."

"The one thing about him that really puzzled me was his intense over-protectiveness. But now that he has shared his past with me, it makes a great deal of sense. From a certain point of view. I pray that he will find the redemption for himself that he so eagerly offers to others."

Túrion:
"As for Túrion, our Avinoan mage, well ... I barely know him. Two days in the madness of Kazad Gravr, followed by this sea voyage surrounded by orcs, has not afforded us a great deal of time to get to know one another."

"He is clearly highly intelligent, and exceptionally well read, which I can only approve of. In the ordinary course of things, I would take him simply for a typical Avinoan mage. Yet ... there are strange things about him."

"How, exactly, did he come by the undying loyalty of Laeg nél, the great wolf who follows him? Wizards' academies are not known for keeping large predatory animals around. When did they meet?"

"Similarly, this token from his dryad friend ... my impression is that the fey do not lightly bestow such gifts. What was there between them, and how did that come to pass?"

"Make no mistake, there are mysteries yet to come from Túrion."

Perrin:
"I hope Perrin is all right. Ostara, give him the strength to find a better path. It would break my heart to see his essential kindness broken and sullied by his foul master."

Mel stares at the page and sighs. Carefully, she traces the symbol of Halcamora on the page, as if the act of drawing it there might direct that kindly deity's attention to Perrin, wherever he might be.

Kelian:
"Kelian is turning into a fine, upstanding young man. But he actually worries me in some ways. It's not ... normal to be so fearless! Fear is a terrible master, but a good servant. It can keep you from taking foolish chances. Yet he is totally fearless. I'm not sure when it happened -- sometime after Brookside, I believe. I must remember to point out to him that being free of fear is not always a good thing. He will have to be careful to bear in mind that without fear, he has no internal voice to tell him when he's in over his head."

It takes time to adjust to the motion of the ship, and her handwriting is not so clear in the early entries; but by the end, she has learned to anticipate the shift of plank and water. In calm weather, at least. By the time they reach Helm once more, the journal is up to date.


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

Ah yes, gestalt -- a wonderful way to make yourself MAD. MAD, I say!


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

Mel allows the silence to stretch for a moment as Fyrtor puts away his powdered herbs. She leans both elbows on the railing, peering out into the night.

"... and if by leaping to a friend's defense you give up your own life, that will atone for your failure. Is that it?" she says at last.

She turns to face him, catches his eyes with hers.

"Priest of Sarenrae, that is not a path the Dawnflower would bless. You have held this darkness in your heart; and it has brought you nothing but needless suffering. Take your sword and lay it at Brolin's feet. Ask him to conjure your father's spirit, that you may speak with him. Ask your father's pardon for this imagined sin; for it is clear to me that only your father can grant you the forgiveness you seek."

She lays a hand on his shoulder. "This I ask you to do, in the Dawnflower's name, even though I am not of her faith."

And with that, she gives his shoulder a squeeze and walks softly away, leaving him standing in the dark of night and looking for the dawn -- as he has ever been.


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

Well! That looks like us. Nice job, Brolin!


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

And I've finished painting a mini for Mel that I'll probably never need because she's a PbP character.

She turned out pretty well. I call this pose "Mel appeals to Perrin."


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

As soon as the tentacles slither back to whatever horrific pocket dimension they call home, Mel emerges cautiously once again.

The wizard's body lies on the floor, covered with the wounds of their fight: burns, cuts, arrow wounds, and finally the constriction of the tentacles he himself conjured. That was Greater Invisibility, as he used burning arc and remained invisible. It was cast 1 round before the black tentacles, so he should become visible again moments before they vanish.

She looks down upon him, feelings tumbling through her head and heart:

Relief, to be alive.

Sorrow, at Túrion's fate.

Thankfulness, for Ostara's blessing during the fight.

And that is all. She puzzles over this. It feels as though she is missing something. Something she should be feeling and is not; but it evades her, and after a moment she shakes her head, dismissing the concern.

"Kelian, help me take him into the null magic zone, please," Mel says, gesturing to the wizard. "If the Council checks in on him with divination magics, I want those to fail. Let them wonder what became of him. Or even better, let them waste resources on an expedition to discover his fate, after we are long gone."

Together, they haul him into the hallway where magic holds no sway, and leave him there for later inspection.

Returning to the main chamber, Mel says "Laeg nél,Throid tú go cróga. Lig dom tú a leigheas ..."

Sylvan:
"Nelly, you fought bravely. Let me heal you ..."

Approaching the great wolf, she takes out her healing supplies and begins binding her wounds, chanting a quiet prayer of thanks to Ostara under breath as she works, hands aglow with pale green foxfire.

Heal: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (3) + 18 = 21

Nelly regains 5*HD hit point (25, I believe) and heals 4 ability score damage if any.

The wolf keeps nudging at her as she works. "What's this?" Mel asks. She finishes, and reaches for the satchel Nelly was so persistently nudging at, opening it and examining its contents.


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

Don't worry. It's not the suspense that kills you; it's the wizard.


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There's mainly one guy who just would not let go of 3.5.

Well, and the other guy who still pines for the good old days (which he defines as AD&D). But he bowed out and has been running games for his family. I kind of pity their boy being raised on THAC0 ...


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I am pleased to report that I finally persuaded my group to convert to Pathfinder!

Specifically, to Pathfinder 1e from 3.5. Now I can finally quit converting between grappling systems in my head on the fly when running PF1 content for 3.5 PCs!

... Eh heh.

The timing may be a bit ironic. See you all in another decade or so! ^_^


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I am very glad to see the 1e bestiary added. I think that will smooth a good many ruffled feathers.

Question: if you get the 1e bestiary, will it include stats for the companions detailed in the Companion Guide?


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I'd just like to add a voice of support for incorporating Dudemeister's changes. They improve the adventure substantially.

My Kingmaker experience lasted seven years. I started as a player in 2010, and the GM did not have the benefit of much added community material, because precious of it had been invented at that point. We made it to the end of Book 3 before the campaign fizzled (the GM developed a severe case of Real Life).

About a year after that, one of the other alumni of that group decided to start a fresh Kingmaker with a new group, and I joined in. By that time, Dudemeister had invented the Monster Kingdom and a couple other modifications, which the new GM integrated, and they made the play experience much better (even though I was going through stuff I'd already done for the first half of the second playthrough).

Later, I circled back and played out the remainder of the original Kingmaker campaign as the GM, for one of the other original players, finishing it as a part of a solo campaign -- though honestly, by that time it was so heavily modified as to only vaguely resemble the original campaign. I cherry-picked bits of Book 5, notably the Rushlight Festival; and ran a good bit of Book 6, but the plotting was drastically different.

Lately, I've been listening to Sugar Fuelled Gamers' Kingmaker, an actual play podcast by a GM running the AP for a solo PC played his wife. He integrated a lot of Dudemeister's additions, as well as some of his own; it's far and away the best run Kingmaker I've seen.

Anyway! Please consider integrating Dudemeister's modifications. They make the entire thing much better.


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A really modular approach would be to remove the stat blocks from the main text of the adventure entirely and issue separate bestiaries for each supported system.

Advantages:

- The main text would be easier to read when it's not split up by stat blocks.

- Having the stat blocks in a separate book would reduce flipping back and forth while running the adventure, because you could keep the adventure open to the encounter area, and the bestiary open to the relevant stat blocks.

- You could have PF 1e, PF 2e, and D&D 5e bestiaries.

Disadvantages:

- It would definitely increase the costs of production and printing.

- It might increase shipping costs, due to extra weight.


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

Well, it also says things like "The god of cities is stern, but rewards those who work hard and whose actions benefit others as well as themselves, though his morally ambiguous enough to recognize that not every person can benefit from every decision" and that his temples also serve "as a bank, currency exchange, and moneylender, which helps keep interest rates reasonable and consistent [...] The banker in charge of the temple watches the local economy and adjusts interest to stimulate growth, encourage investment, or help recover from a disaster."

So they're less like Wall Street and more like the Fed. ^_^

it'd be an interesting character development if Savvy turned out not to be a cleric of Abadar after all. Maybe Savvy has been lying to Brolin all this time, and actually serves someone else.

Or -- and I think this would fit better -- Savvy genuinely believes she serves Abadar, but is actually self-deluded, and Savvy serves no one but Savvy, drawing her power from the one faith she holds above all else: her limitless, unwavering faith in her self.

Oh, and Brolin -- I think you are very mistaken about one thing! You do have a copy of Inner Sea Gods. I'm quite sure if you double check your digital assets you'll find it's listed right there.


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

Knowledge (religion): 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (17) + 13 = 30

Mel's eyebrows rise further and further up as she listens to this declaration.

"Well. All right then. Let me see if I've got everything straight." She ticks off on her fingers.

"First, you were so terrified of death that you spent your entire life pursuing deliberately unattainable goals in the hopes of incurring so much regret that your spirit would be incapable of moving on, thus cheating the law of death."

"Second, just so you wouldn't regret your pursuit of regret, you used magic to blind yourself to your own plan, thus living almost an entire lifetime in a state thwarted ambition born of self-deceit."

"Third, having succeeded in your plan, you view Captain Brolin as convenient proxy for pursuing your own ends."

"Fourth, your ultimate goal is world domination because you seek utter freedom from compulsion. You believe that you cannot trust anyone but yourself; and if you ever attain the power you seek, you have no plan to use it for anything beyond what seems like a good idea at the time."

"Finally, you claim to be a cleric of Abadar, Master of the First Vault, a well-known deity who values justice, truth, and law above all else, and who expects his followers not merely to honor the law both in spirit and by the letter, but to actively seek out and destroy agents of chaos in the world."

She lets her hand fall.

"Brolin," she says. "You know she's quite mad, don't you? And if she's a cleric of Abadar, I'll eat my scarf."


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

My personal to-do list:

- Mel and Kazador -- topic redacted
- Mel and Brolin -- interview with his cleric spirit
- Mel and Túrion -- general getting-to-know-you stuff really, he hasn't been around long

And of course I'm open to anyone who wants to have a conversation with Mel.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

@Túrion - Nelly got healing from Kelian's channel energy, so I think the half-speed thing is fixed.

The Spike Growth says "This speed penalty lasts for 24 hours or until the injured creature receives a cure spell (which also restores lost hit points)." So, technically, nothing will fix it but a Cure spell or that 10 minute Heal check it mentions in the next sentence.

But that phrasing dates back to 3.5 and wasn't updated for PF, so it predates the existence of Channel Energy. So I think it should be treated as "receives magical healing" kind of thing, rather than specifically and only a cure spell working.


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

Sometime before the campaign began, far away from Kazad Gravr, Mel's mother Ariala makes a discovery ...

"What's this?" Ariala says to herself, pulling a sheaf of slightly browned papers out of the chest. She sits back on her heels, knee deep in the detritus of spring cleaning.

"Ah!" she says. "It's one of those papers Melira wrote in college. Let's see ... yes, sophomore decade. What's this one about?" She settles more comfortably and starts reading.

A Novel Theory on the Nature of the Arcane:
[larger]A Novel Theory on the Nature of the Arcane[/larger]

By Melira Elenariel

Submitted in partial fulfillment of the course requirements for Elementary Arcana, part the Third.

Since the dawn of time, magic, the arcane, has coursed through our world, and through us. It is many long millennia since our ancient ancestors first mastered the arts that allow us -- or at least, a properly trained practitioner -- to produce specific magical effects on demand. Any new apprentice learns to conjure light. Any journeyman can walk unseen. Any master can cross the span of a continent in the blink of an eye. And every one of them is confident in their ability. If they make the same gestures, and speak the same words, then they produce the same effect. Every time.

But they are wrong. Or, at least, not as right as they believe themselves to be. As I intend to show in the remainder of this paper, the nature of the arcane in our world is mutable. The apprentice can indeed conjure light; the journeyman can spin a cloak of invisibility, and the master can carry them all three from Lywelas to the capitol of Iustia in the blink of an eye. Those spells work reliably -- for now.

It is not in the moment that spells, or the arcane, change; it is over vast stretches of time. Let us take, for example, the spell commonly known as glitterdust. Under current practice, the mage casts a handful of mica into the air with one hand, while gesturing with the other to indicate the target area, and speaks the invocation that conjures glittering specks of dust imbued with the might of the arcane throughout the indicated space. These settle and cling to anything in the area, and often render the targets temporarily blind, though it is possible that a strong-willed individual may shake off the effect before the spell naturally expires.

However, the spell has not always worked in quite the same way. It may not even have been known in the First Age; or if it was, then no record of its existence then has come down to us. Glitterdust didn't exist in D&D 1e.

It is only in the Second Age that we can be sure that glitterdust was known amongst our ancestors. The ancient master Niryn, of the early Third Age, reports in Ars Invisibilitatem et Contrariae that:

Quote:

Yea, and during the Second Age it became known amongst the learned that an admixture of mica, laid upon by the Art and cast unto a space, might cling upon the forms of those therein, and by that means reveal their presence. The walkers thus afflicted do often find that the bright and sparkling motes darkeneth the sight of their eyren; and this becometh a great calamity unto them, for that they standeth shewn to all and sundry, while that their own eyren seeth not the light of Sarenrae, and thus blindness maketh all the world invisible unto them. My own master, Gariveth the Golden, imparted this spell unto me, and spake wisely saying 'Thus do the tables turn upon those who would cheat the sight of their fellows.'

Yet it is strange, for my master did teach unto me that the dimness of sight should last a variable passage of time, from 12 to 30 heartbeats; that few but other practitioners of the art could resist the blindness; and that no creature stands immune to the particles. But in my experience, it lasteth a set span of time which groweth in proportion to the skill of the caster, the servants of the gods more easily resist the blindness, and some powerful creatures may win free of the effect altogether.

In D&D 2e, the blindness lasted 1d4+1 rounds, required a save vs spells to negate (which was easiest for wizards), and everyone is subject to the glittery-nes.

In D&D 3e, the blindness lasted 1 round/level, and required a Will save; but the spell allows SR, so if the caster fails a spell penetration check some creatures are entirely unaffected.

Later in the Third Age, it is well documented -- and numerous surviving grimoires attest -- that none can resist the basic effect, and that any creature of strong will may resist the blindness entirely, but that once subject to it there is no remedy but to endure the blindness until the spell expires or is dispelled. But Master Niryn's claim that the blindness lasts for the full duration of the spell seems to have raised no comment among his contemporaries; which is very peculiar, for current practitioners can well attest that a strong-willed individual may often throw off the blindness well before the motes of dust fade out.

In D&D 3.5e, the blindness lasted the full duration of the spell and only allowed an initial save. Spell resistance no longer applied.

In PF 1e, Glitterdust is the same as 3.5e except that it allows a save against the blindness at the end of every round.

What can account for these discrepancies? It seems clear: the magic changed its nature. Although it may be stable for long periods time, magic is not static and unchanging. How could it be? The arcane, by its nature, changes the nature of the world. Is it then so surprising that it can change its own nature, as well? Perhaps the only real surprise is its mutability is so little remarked.

"Oh, Melira," Ariala says fondly. "Always so confident."

At the end of the essay she finds some notes from the professor.

The "since the dawn of time" opening is seriously overused, and makes implicit claims of universality about the subsequent paper. Avoid that rhetorical gambit at all costs; it's trite and overplayed. Although you've clearly done some serious research, your evidence is much too thin to support your conclusion. For starters, to seriously support such a large claim you would need to show a pattern of change affecting far more than just one spell. For another, you would need to account for alternative explanations for the discrepancies you have found. For example, perhaps Master Niryn misremembered things his master told him -- Ars Invisibilitatem et Contrariae was composed in his dotage, after all. And particularly in older texts, we are reliant not just upon the words of the author, but on the fidelity of the transcription. The more times a text has been copied, the greater the chance that the scribe may slip and introduce an error -- then faithfully transcribed by subsequent scribes, who may introduce errors of their own. I advise narrowing your claims to something more readily defensible. Also, bear in mind that as you are not a trained practitioner of the arts -- nor show any particular facility for them -- publishing a paper along these lines would likely gain you nothing but derision from our wizardly colleagues. See me during my office hours if you wish to discuss the matter. B."

Several words in a language Ariala doesn't know have been scribbled at the end. "Melira! Really," Ariala says, knowing they must be something rude in some dead tongue. She smiles fondly. "I hope you're well, out there in Brookside."

She packs the essay away again and continues with her spring cleaning.


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

As arrows flash past or rattle off the battlement, Mel spares a cool glance for Túrion. Then she turns her gaze back to Kazador even as she reaches for her next arrow; and she speaks in an old dialect of Dwarven:

Þær wæs stið gemot. Stodon fæste
wigan on gewinne. Wigend cruncon,
wyndum werige; wæl feol on eorðan.
Oswold and Eadwold ealle hwile,
begen þa gebroþru, beornas trymedon,
hyra winemagas wordon bædon
þæt hi þær æt ðearfe þolian sceoldon,
unwaclice wæpna neotan.

Dwarven:

There was fierce fighting. Stood fast
the warriors in battle. Warriors died,
overcome by wounds; the slain fell to earth.
Oswold and Eadwold all the while,
the two brothers, rallied the warriors,
their cup-brothers they bade with words
that they should endure in this time of need,
use their weapons unceasingly.

Her voice starts low, but rises in volume as she speaks, growing louder and louder. Orcish orders and responses echo from the hard-carven walls of the fallen city. Arrows fly and are answered as Mel speaks on.

Byrhtwold maþelode, bord hafenode,
se wæs eald geneat, æsc acwehte;
he ful baldlice beornas lærde:
'Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre,
mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað!'

Dwarven:

Byrhtwold spoke, shield in hand,
he was an old retainer, shaking his ash-spear;
'Mind shall be the harder -- heart shall be keener,
bravery shall be greater -- as our might fails!'

Her voice rises to a full-bore scream as she comes to the end, crying out the bitter wisdom of the ancient dwarves: that there is honor in endurance, that there is redemption in the faith of comrades -- and that blood washes away folly more cleanly than ever water could.

"ᚦᛖᚱᛖ ᚨᚱᛖ ᛖᚾᛖᛗᛠᛋ ᚨᛏ ᚦᛖ ᚷᚨᛏᛖ᛬ᚹᚨᚱᚱᛁᛟᚱ᛬ ᚱᛁᛋᛖ! [larger]ᚱᛁᛋᛖ -- ᚨᚾᛞ -- ᚠᛁᚷᚺᛏ![/larger]"

Dwarven:
"There are enemies at the gate, warrior. Rise! [larger]RISE -- AND -- FIGHT!"[/larger]


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

Solid RP from Kazador. Who is not named Kassie despite what my phone thinks.

Does the axe become size large when Kazador takes it, because of the Enlarge Person spell? Or is he wielding a weapon one size category too small?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

The absence of the ladder tipping them off hadn't occurred to me. But you know? I think I'd rather risk it and not leave a ladder they could use to get to us.

Also, I ... uh ... did a thing. It's a very different style from the last one, but it is in a 4:3 aspect ratio, so hopefully it woudn't get squished too much in Google Slides. I sure hope not, anyway, that axonometric grid would look weird if it got squished.


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

I have deep reservations about the current plan, which as I understand consists of:

1. Melee types use Dimension Door to get behind the barrier.
2. Fyrtor casts Obscuring Mist.

I'm inclined to think this is a grave tactical error which could easily result in a TPK, particularly the Obscuring Mist.

[larger][larger]Analysis[/larger][/larger]

1. Once they're in place, the melee types have no way to fall back. They're on the wrong side of the barrier for it. Reinforcments are likely to come from that direction if any, and, as Kazador pointed out, he can't extract them.

2. Obscuring Mist would shut down the archers. All of them. Including Mel, who will not be able to target any enemies in the area of effect.

3. Túrion won't be able to see the foes to target spells. That makes his life a lot harder. Many spells he won't be able to use at all; and other ones he would run the risk of injuring party members because he can't see where they are.

4. Obscuring Mist will impose miss chances on all the melee combatants. That goes both ways, of course -- it reduces their effectiveness, but also ours.

5. In particular, the mist will diminish the effectiveness of the surprise round. Kazador will have no action that round, because Dimension Door ends his turn. Fyrtor will burn his action casting Obscuring Mist as soon as they arrive; and then anyone who came with them has miss chances while the orcs are surprised and easier to hit, which is the worst possible time to give yourself a miss chance.

Effectively, it splits the party, leaving our ranged types unable to support the melee types. Meanwhile, the orc archers undoubtedly have melee weapons. After they recover from their surprise, the ones who have adjacent foes will probably drop their bows, pull their melee weapons and start stabbing people. They can still see creatures in adjacent squares -- it only cuts off sight further away.

The other orcs -- who don't have adjacent foes -- will probably try to get out of the mist. The way to where the sounds of melee would be coming from is blocked by the barrier and their allies; so they'll probably back up into the corridor: directly into Mel, Nelly, and Túrion.

So then everything devolves into two separate fights -- one inside the the mist behind the barrier, and the other in the hallway between the squishies and whoever walks out of the mist, probably starting with those two axemen who are standing at the front of their formation, supported by any archers who emerge from the mist behind them.

Part of me wants to let this play out because Mel doesn't know that Fyrtor is planning to cast Obscuring Mist. He hasn't mentioned it in character. The other part of me wants to live.

I have two alternate plans.

[larger][larger]The Trojan Orc[/larger][/larger]

I do not want to fight a battle on this map. The terrain favors them. Therefore, we take away the terrain.

We are currently somewhere around a corner from them, out of sight and a out of easy hearing range. Here's what I propose:

1. We cast buffs we're going to use (if any).

2. Brolin and Kelian assume a position well away from the intersection leading to the choke point, with Kelian in front and Brolin behind.

3. The others assume positions close to the intersection, with Kazador, Fyrtor and possibly Nelly in front, Mel and Algric behind them, and Túrion safely in the back.

4. When everyone's in position, Túrion signals to Kelian and Brolin -- could be a hand wave, uncovering a pebble with the Light cantrip, whatever.

5. Brolin and Kelian begin booking it up to our position at top speed, making as much noise as possible, with Kelian yelling "Stand and fight" or similar in Common.

6. As they get to our position, Brolin starts yelling in orcish something along the lines of "Invaders! To me, warriors! TO ME!" and the two of them "fight" by clashing their swords together and such. They do not emerge into the intersection. They remain out of sight, around the corner with us: Kelian stops in with the rest of the melee front line, with Brolin right behind him in between Mel and Algric where he can either join melee or fall back and cast as the situation demands.

7. They pop around the corner and we gank them as they come, well away from their stupid barrier. If even one or two of them come, chances are good we'll get most of them to follow once the fight breaks out in earnest. They will be eager not to give up a share in the glory -- or perhaps want to support their clan-mates. Either way, they come say "hi" and we say "hammer to the face".

Now, this plan has upsides and downsides.

Upsides:

1. It doesn't use any spell slots (unless we want buffs).

2. It works around Kelian's abysmal Stealth score, but still gets everyone into position for an ambush.

3. It lets us engage on our terms, not theirs.

4. It makes the enemy come to us, probably in ones and twos as they can get away from their own terrain.

Downsides:

1. The orcs will immediately sound the alarm. I don't think there's any way to avoid that anyway. We're out of silence spells. If we fight them at all, in any way, at least one of them is going to blow a signal horn and every orc in Kazad Gravr will know that something is up. This is not a stealth operation any more.

2. We won't get all of them. Chances are good that some will slip away to report in to whoever is in charge here. Again, I think that's likely to happen no matter how we approach this.

3. If the commander on that side has his head on straight, he won't let all his warriors charge in. So we may wind up assaulting the barricade from this side after all -- hopefully after getting rid of at least a few of them. In this case, Fyrtor lays down that Obscuring Mist over the barrier. As long as they are in it and we are not, that's fine.

Once the mist is in place, they have limited options: come out and fight us; fall back and let us through; wait it out; or find a way to clear it.

If they come out and fight us, good -- they've given up their terrain advantage and the ones in the rear won't be able to fight us effectively.

If they fall back and let us through, well, then we press the attack. As soon as we have a clear path to leave, we book it for the vaults as fast as we can.

If they try to wait us out, we go to Plan Fluffernutter, discussed below.

If they have a way to clear it, well, we just assault the damn barrier as best we can.

[larger][larger]Plan Fluffernutter[/larger][/larger]

We have a keg of black powder. I see two ways to use it here.

If we have already tried The Trojan Orc and they're waiting us out, we light the keg, throw it into the mist, plug our ears and hope the roof doesn't come down. That should either force them to emerge and fight us or else fall back.

[larger][larger]Plan Fluffernutter (Alpha Strike variant)[/larger][/larger]

The other option would be to skip The Trojan Orc and proceed directly to Fluffernutter Alpha Strike, like so:

1. We assume our positions in the hallway around the corridor.

2. Kazador gets on Nelly, holding the keg of black powder behind him with one hand. It may be easiest if he's mounted backwards.

3. We light the fuse.

4. Kazador uses Dimension Door, dropping himself, Nelly, and the keg directly in front of the barrier.

5. Nelly runs back to us at top speed, carrying Kazador, who lets the keg roll off onto the floor as Nelly flees. There will be no AoOs because it's the surprise round -- and really, what's more surprising than a dwarf with a lit keg of black powder riding a giant wolf backwards suddenly appearing out of thin air?

6. We hold our ears and hope the roof doesn't come down.

Ideally, the survivors will charge after Nelly, straight into the readied strikes of our other melee types. If not, we take the fight to them.

Thoughts?


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

Think of it instead as an opportunity to make a stand, both feet firmly on the ground, unmoving in the face of the enemy's onslaught. You are the wall, and any who wish to pass must bash you down first.

This message brought to you by Noble Self-Sacrifice Flakes, the best breakfast for the doomed defender!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

Said the fly to the spider ...


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

Combat log so far. Because Brolin charged during the surprise round, he can't have cast Silence the same round. Therefore I'm assuming he cast Silence one round before the surprise round.

Pre-combat: Brolin casts Silence (7/7 rounds remain)

Round 0 (Surprise)
Fyrtor charges
Mel moves and shoots
Kazador charges
Algric falls prone and gets up
Brolin charges
Kelian charges
Nelly moves for position
Túrion casts Spiked Pit
---
Silence: 6/7 rounds remain
Spiked Pit: 7/7 rounds remain

Round 1:
Orcs do stuff, mostly falling in pits or hitting people
Kazador full attacks
Algric full attacks
Fyrtor attacks
Mel moves and shoots
Túrion readies to cast Grease
Brolin attacks
Kelian attacks
---
Silence: 5/7 rounds remain
Spiked Pit: 6/7 rounds remain

Round 2:
Orcs do stuff
Túrion's readied action goes off, casting Grease
Mel shoots twice
Fyrtor studies and readies an attack when target flanked
Algric pulls axe, charges into flank position
Kazador full attacks
Túrion casts Magic Missile to tickle boss
Brolin casts Haste
Kelian attacks with smite
---
Silence: 4/7 rounds remain
Spiked Pit: 5/7 rounds remain
Grease: 7/7 round remain
Haste: 7/7 rounds remain

Round 3:
Orcs do stuff
Mel attacks twice
Kazador full attacks
Algric full attacks
Fyrtor full attacks
Túrion casts scorching ray
Brolin rushes into corridor, makes attack
Kelian attacks
---
Silence: 3/7 rounds remain
Spiked Pit: 4/7 rounds remain
Grease: 6/7 round remain
Haste: 6/7 rounds remain

Round 4:
Orcs do stuff
Fyrtor takes AoO on orc's turn
Mel full attacks
Kazador full attacks
Algric coup de grace on orc lieutenant
Brolin falls back, casts Chains of Perdition
Fyrtor moves and casts Winter's Grasp
Túrion readies toppling magic missile
Kelian attacks
---
Silence: 2/7 rounds remain
Spiked Pit: 3/7 rounds remain
Grease: 5/7 round remain
Haste: 5/7 rounds remain
Winter's Grasp: 6/6 rounds remain
Chains of Perdition: 7/7 rounds remain

Round 5:
Orcs do stuff
Algric attacks an orc
Kazador full attacks
Mel looks for target, moves for position
Fyrtor heals Brolin
Brolin directs Chains of Perdition to drag orc
Túrion continues holding readied toppling magic missile
---
Silence: 1/7 rounds remain
Spiked Pit: 2/7 rounds remain
Grease: 4/7 round remain
Haste: 4/7 rounds remain
Winter's Grasp: 5/6 rounds remain
Chains of Perdition: 6/7 rounds remain

Round 6:
Orcs wait
Túrion consumes a 2nd level spell slot
Mel moves and starts Healer's Hands on Kazador
Fyrtor moves and begins Summong Nature's Ally III
Kazador stands still for healing
Algric?
Brolin?
Kelian?
---
Silence: 0/7 effect ends
Spiked Pit: 1/7 rounds remain
Grease: 3/7 round remain
Haste: 3/7 rounds remain
Winter's Grasp: 4/6 rounds remain
Chains of Perdition: 5/7 rounds remain

Round 7:
Mel finishes patching up Kazador
Kazador has to hold still until she's done
---
Spike Pit: 0/7 effect ends
Grease: 2/7 round remain
Haste: 2/7 rounds remain
Winter's Grasp: 3/6 rounds remain
Chains of Perdition: 4/7 rounds remain


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

Depends on the initiative rolls. If it comes up:

- Party
- Orcs

Then it would go:

Surprise round
- Party teleports
- Orcs are surprised!

Round 1
- Party stabs
- Orcs turn out to be piñatas

But if the initiative goes the other way:

- Orcs
- Party

Then it would go:

Surprise round
- Orcs are surprised
- Party teleports

Round 1
- Orcs smash
- Party discovers they look terrible in red


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

This is the part where the Concordat Council and King Stephen decide to settle their differences with a round of mini-golf, right?


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

sleeping:
Mel's armor is light, so she sleeps in it. However, she lacks a bedroll, as it has never before come up. She had one, but it got incinerated in the house she was renting.

Fort save: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25

For the record, that nat 20 is a great big raspberry at the GM from the dice gods. :-Þ

Mel takes first watch, peering out into the darkness while the others find their rest. The waxing moon, half-full, lends a bit of light to the landscape of rolling hills and scrub. The wind seems a constant companion. She is grateful to note that there are few mosquitoes this far from the river -- too dry for them.

Kelian's words from earlier in the day come back to haunt Mel. If that thing eats me because you wouldn't put the ring on, I'll never speak to you again.

She takes the ring from her belt pouch. Holds it up to the pale moonlight. "Olenko itsekäs?" she whispers.

Elven:
"Am I being selfish?"

The wind offers no answer.

She spins the ring slowly between her fingers. "Jos käytän sitä, olen hyvin ja todella petturi."

Elven:
"If I wear it, I am well and truly a traitor."

She looks up at the night sky. "Jos en tee, kumppaneitani voisivat kuolla, koska välitän enemmän mukavuudesta kuin heidän elämästään."

Elven:
"If I do not, my companions could die because I cared more for my comfort than their lives."

She sits a long time, listening to the wind murmuring around the cliff. "Olen petturi jo. Mutta kumppanini elävät."

Elven:
"I am a traitor already. But my companions live."

She closes her eyes a moment and lowers her head. "Voi Ostara, miksi se on, että velvollisuus ja helppous eivät koskaan jaa polkua?"

Elven:
"Oh Ostara, why is it that duty and ease never share a path?"

She slides the ring onto her finger and spends the rest of her shift sitting in silence, pale face peering out into the gloom, solemn, clear-eyed.

The damned don't cry.


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

Listen, it would take a pretty damn cool light saber to get Mel to turn to the Dark Side.

(Purple, please.)


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

Okay! Plan #1: don't die.

Plan #2: Gentle Repose.

Plan #3: TPK and then resurrection isn't an issue?

I like Plan 1.


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

On a note totally unrelated to everything else, my brother introduced me to this game:

Seedship

It's text based and plays pretty quick -- you're the AI on a ship full of frozen colonists fleeing the smoking remains of the earth. You have to find a suitable planet for humanity to make a new home -- before your systems fail. Mildly addictive. Works well on mobile devices.


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

Mel looks at Kelian in surprise. "No," she says. "Of course not. I haven't been okay in some time."


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Zombies would work fine for the dead giants; but zombie alu-demons? Don't waste those high charisma modifiers on basic zombies. Azaven is plenty high enough level to do things like Zombie Lords and Skeletal Champions, which would let them keep a lot more of their abilities.


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I just ran this encounter, and wanted to report back on how it went with my modifications.

The setup I settled on went as follows:

1) I put 12 numbered tokens out on the map to represent the PCs and the Vraxerises (5 PCs, one cohort, and six Vraxerises). Their positions were basically random -- I did not roll for positions or anything, I just sort of spread them around in the available space.

2) Players drew a token from a bag at the beginning of each round, which defined their position on the board and their order in the initiative. The one with the cohort drew two tokens. All the ones remaining in the bag after that were Vraxeris.

I did not re-randomize the positions of the tokens between rounds. After conducting a short experiment on my own, it was immediately clear that that would have been far too complex and slowed things down a ton. Besides, since the PCs were drawing randomly from the bag, that effectively randomized their positions anyway without actually moving any tokens.

3) I did NOT add initiative modifiers to anything; we just counted down from 12 to 1 each round.

4) The source of the effect was the giant peacock statue. I described it as having six gem-encrusted feathers. Each round on Initiatives 8, 4, and 0 two of the feathers lit up, one on each side of the peacock. When all six were lit, we would re-randomize tokens. Each of the six feathers had AC 5 and 15 hit points; once they were all destroyed the effect ended.

5) I used the stock dialog from the book for Vraxeris, but tacked on "Let's dance!" at the end, and described the entire place as flashing bright colors the whole time. I also played "Stayin' Alive" on loop for the whole encounter.

6) I did use a shared pool of hit points for the Vraxerises (600, 100 each) and killed one off each time they crossed a 100 point threshold. The Vraxerises did some damage with scorching rays, and got in a few Phantasmal Killer spells, with no effect (four passed will saves, and the one failed will save was the Barbarian, who got a 40 on the fort save to avoid death). The shared hit point mechanic was odd mechanically, because it effectively prevented the party from focusing fire on one enemy; but the players rolled with it and it worked okay.

It was a fairly complicated combat just because it forced the players to figure out who was who each round. But they quickly adapted. The one complaining about how terrible these robes look was obviously the incredibly vain ranger, while the barbarian had been enlarged earlier and was therefore obvious because he was the only large-sized Vraxeris. I described all of them as holding wands; but when the archer proceeded to fire some shots using her bow, and appeared to be firing small wands from another wand that implausibly bent like a bow, it became pretty obvious that she was the archer.

The PC who had the hardest time with this encounter was the bard, many of whose abilities (Inspire Courage, for example) rely on being able to distinguish between friend and foe. It was the first battle in a very long time when they didn't have Inspire Courage giving them ridiculous attack and damage bonuses.

The PCs very quickly figured out that the peacock was what was shuffling them around, and they destroyed the last feather towards the end of round 3, at which point I had the peacock open it's beak and say "Organic lifeforms have no sense of fun". After that things went pretty quickly.

All in all, I am very pleased with how it went, and the players seemed to enjoy it. So I'm going to account the session a success.


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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 83/83, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+7 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +7, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +19, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +16, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

Just a heads-up -- I'm probably not going to be able to post much today. It's election day, and I volunteered to help get out the vote for a candidate in my area, so I'm going to be out knocking on doors pretty much until the polls close or my feet give out, whichever comes first.

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