The Peacock - Harrow Deck

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OmniMage wrote:

Screaming Wand. Somehow this wand is intelligent. It doesn't know what will happen when you use up its last charge; it fears that doing so will lead to its death. Understandable, it does not help you to figure out how to activate it and will scream if used. It otherwise has no special abilities or purpose.

Ring of Dazzling Wizardry. This ring works as a of ring wizardry. Every 24 hours, it can change to function as any one ring of wizardry the wearer wishes (1 to 4). It also increases the wearer's caster level by 2. The side effect; every spell the wearer casts becomes pink with tones of yellow and purple, and is filled with glitter, sparkles, and everything in between. This renders nearly every illusion ruined by a pink sparkling aura (including invisibility). A fireball will leave behind pink paint and glitter. A remote divination sensor will glow pink.

I love the screaming wand (and will have to take something like that for my own campaign), but the Ring of Dazzling Wizardry is practically no curse at all. A ring of wizardry III or IV that adds 2 to your caster level in exchange for colors and sparkles? That fireball will still kill enemies just as well with sparkles attached. As long as you avoid subtle spells, this is a huge boost. :)

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While I realize that these are being applied to fantasy races, do we want to have extended discussion about how to use racial slurs that could be used against players? "Ape" and "monkey" slurs are already used in real life against people of African descent.

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the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
I am strongly of the opinion that high level characters should be able to wade through armies of low-level mooks untouched, and villains who are that tactically lazy/dumb deserve to go out the window (and down fifty metres into the lava moat). Cutting a swathe through an army of low-level mooks is what gives high-level that legendary, Hercules or Cuchulainn feel.

On the other hand, imagine the amazing battle in the Mines of Moria if, upon hearing of the multitudes of approaching goblins, Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas, Boromir and Gandalf had just shrugged, stood their ground and cut down the approaching forces.

True, the sheer number of goblins involved would have meant plenty of natural 20s to cause the occasional hit, but the point stands--the concept of retreating before superior numbers of unskilled enemies is a storytelling (and fantasy) trope. There's valid precedence for either method, and certainly I wouldn't call the occasional villain (or GM) who utilizes a mook swarm to be lazy or dumb given the occurrences of such scenarios in the past.

(See also: Star Wars people running from inferior Stormtroopers, Neo fleeing from a hundred inferior Agent Smiths, most zombie films and literature, real life insect or animal swarms, and so on.)

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Claxon wrote:

I'm okay with the 20th level fighter fighting off an army of low levels Orcs and truly being a master of combat in comparison to them that is only hampered by the luckiest of blows from his enemy. Until the high level leader (if one exists) of the army finally comes and faces the fighter.

To me, that's exactly how it should work.

Ah, the Boromir effect. And he was most assuredly no higher than level five or six.

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Xenocrat wrote:
Mergy wrote:

I'm going to either need these rules to be simplified, or have some sort of flowchart while GMing.

It's also interesting from a magic item shop perspective. If I go into a shop and clear them out of healing it's going to take them anywhere from 2 to 17 days to restock. I'm assuming they want to craft at the lowest cost possible to maximize profits, but 17 days for a few potions seems rather harsh.

Don't apply PC crafting rules to NPCs. Let NPCs be more specialized, they can create stuff you want them to faster and cheaper and at a higher proficiency level that doesn't coincide with their combat ability. PCs can (eventually, and at low efficiency) do everything, including craft everything. NPCs don't have to work the same way, let them do a few things, but those things better than the PCs if it supports your story and world building.

Also, NPCs running a magic shop don't necessarily need to make all their potions themselves. There could be crafters--perhaps hundreds of them throughout the world--creating items merely to resell to stores. They don't have the acumen or desire to run a shop themselves, but they love crafting. A good shopkeep will have contact with probably half a dozen such individuals. They could restock their potions within a few days, or replace other, more significant items in a week.

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Corwin Icewolf wrote:
Mudfoot wrote:

Nitpick: +n weapons aren't actually magical in PF2, just better.
Huh. That particular nitpick changes everything... though still not true of handwraps of mighty fists, it does kind of allow the conan type.

It doesn't allow the Conan type unless they always have their signature weapon on hand. Was there never a story where Conan was captured and disarmed, or had to grab a plain standard sword or axe from a fallen enemy? I think the story would have become far less compelling if he suddenly had to hit everyone 4-5 times as much just because he didn't have his super special sword.

This rule makes the weapon far more important important than the warrior. As Thulsa Doom asked, "What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?" In PF2, the answer is, "everything."

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.Georg. wrote:

I think this rule is a good one. For the first time the Bag of Holding feels like a real magic item. Something people think about if they need to open it or not. Something that makes people think about where to put a latern, where a crowbar, where does they store the rope, what is this thing called backpack... They look for alternatives, they improvise and maybe they treat the Bag of Holding more conscious.

I do understand, that if something was for free and suddenly it isn't anymore, people will feel betrayed.

But I think the rule makes it way more interesting where to store your stuff, then just the universal answer: "I just put it in my Bag of Holding."

For the exact same reasons you list, I think this is a bad rule, so bad that I feel it must be a mistake. The Bag of Holding has rarely, if ever, been anything more than a lesser convenience. It doesn't help you win battles, protect you from harmful effects, heal your wounds, solve diplomatic issues, improve your stealth checks, identify dangerous monsters or arcana, and so on. All it does is carry stuff around for you.

This rule makes the Bag of Holding feel like a magic item, since it's being treated like other magic items, but it balances the minor (at best) benefits of the item with a significant drawback in your character performance. 1 resonance to add 1 die to your weapon damage, or improve a skill check roll by +3? Maybe. But to open a bag and put something into it? Come on.

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We will not be moving over to PF2 for some time. While the new system certainly has some good ideas that I might enmesh as house rules into my PF1, there are just too many hard stops for me as GM (resonance, the reportedly-simple-but-getting-more-complicated-all-the-time action economy, the limited skill system) and my players (no Gunslingers or firearms, watering down of magic, the CS/S/F/CF system) for us to adopt it at this time. And that's okay, because it means that my seven or eight hardback books remain valid.

If there's an easy manner of converting over and books are released that have interesting new material, then I may pick up some PF2 stuff to broaden the horizons of (our already quite vast) PF1 stuff. But from everything I've read, the system just isn't for my table.

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Gregg Reece wrote:

My dad kept an abacus, a slide-rule, and 3-4 generations of calculators just to pull out when some other engineer resisted change for the sake of resisting change. Each can be used to make calculations and were used in the past to perform great accomplishments. We put a man in orbit with a slide-rule.

However, just because something isn't broken doesn't mean it's not out of date or in need of an update.

Yes, but in the case of the items you mentioned, you can objectively state that we have superior options now, just as modern computers can trounce my old Commodore 128 (which I still have), or modern cars are faster and more convenient than the horse and buggy.

The delicate balancing act of gameplay mechanics, flavor, realism, class balance and so much else that goes into a game like Pathfinder is going to prevent you from being able to say if something is objectively an improvement or just something that people like better. When you cannot demonstrably show that something is an improvement over something else, it is change for the sake of change. That can be necessary to avoid stagnation, but let's not conflate it with definitive improvement.

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Avoron wrote:
SorrySleeping wrote:
That being said, anything in the below CR 1 range with high AC is annoying and possibly deadly.
An ambush by sixteen young squirrels would be a bizarrely terrifying CR 3 encounter. They've each got +22 Stealth, +6 initiative, +8 Reflex, +14 to hit, and 24 AC. So the question just becomes "can you grapple them to death before you fall unconscious from the bite damage?"

Although I love the image this paints, wouldn't such a large number of tiny- or fine-sized inconsequential enemies be considered a swarm? Not that a squirrel swarm couldn't be potentially lethal, mind you, as they have a surprisingly powerful bite--ten times stronger per square inch than the strongest dog.

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39. The Vanishing Women
Women are going missing within the city. The first three victims were paid little attention because of their lowborn status, and who can tell whether they disappeared or just run off or died of their poverty in a gutter somewhere, as yet undiscovered? You know how it is with these peasant types. But now a member of the minor nobility has fallen victim, arousing the concern of the upper class.

With four presumed victims within a fortnight, danger for the populace seems imminent. The Guard has increased patrols, but the city will remain on edge until the perpetrator is caught. Under the assumption that they are facing a repeat killer, they have used the prior disappearances to narrow down a likely region for the next victim as well as a "type" based on certain characteristics of the past victims. They want to set a snare for the criminal, and need a woman capable of posing and defending herself in a struggle... A fit job for one or more of the PCs.

There are plenty of possible complications to solving the mystery, not the least of which is that there are multiple murderers: the simulacra of a wizard who is abducting the women for necromantic purposes. These may be simulacra of the wizard himself (ordered only to abduct when the wizard is solidly in public for an alibi) or of other beings. The public may not even know of the wizard's magical nature. If a simulacrum is unable to escape, it has orders to dispatch itself via coup de grace, which will likely leave no more than a pile of ice and snow to apprehend. And just what are the women being abducted for? Their ultimate fates will vary according to the tolerances of your table.

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ENHenry wrote:
We just started using Platinum in our groups - You might have a hope of carrying 1,000 platinum, but 10,000 gp is insane. (Not to comment on the insanity of carrying around 1,000 platinum for paying for things...)

I thought the accepted solution to this has always been for the characters to convert their excess coinage beyond a reasonable amount into smaller, more valuable items. Gems are the primary ones, though fine jewelry and other commodities which have more value to the ounce than gold or platinum also work. But that may be too much work for some campaigns to carry through. (In some adventures, a banking system may also exist, which would allow the amassing of wealth without having to carry infeasible amounts around directly on one's person.)

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There are no RAW guidelines for how to handle dentistry that I know of, but the answer I think... Is both.

The actual diagnosing of tooth problems and potential remedies, to incude extractions, amalgam fillings and surgery (all of which were performed with varying degrees of crudeness prior to 1200 AD) would be a profession--albeit one which should be used by a character with ranks in heal, since as with anything involving surgery/cutting/etc. there would be other potential effects on the body that would benefit from an understanding of the biology and complications.

Someone with ranks in heal could, however, help to treat tooth pain, bleeding or even potentially infection with known medical techniques such as hot and cold, herbal remedies, and other first aid. That is, they could treat the symptoms but not the actual problem.

I don't feel that Heal should be a catch-all for every problem a body could have. That having been said, the actual description of Heal includes treating diseases, which gingivitis and tooth decay could arguably be seen as. I would assign them high DCs for Heal in general, such as 20-25 for extractions, or even 30-35 for abcesses or impacted wisdom teeth, given the relative understanding for what we would see as Golarion (it wasn't until the 1700s that "modern dentistry" existed in our world.) For someone specializing in the profession itself, the DCs would likely be lower by perhaps 10. Still difficult, but much easier for a person whose focus is just on teeth.

Magic, as always, complicates things when we try to draw comparisons with the real world and Pathfinder. Polypurpose Panacea and Delay Pain can do wonders for a patient's ability to endure the practices. Magic like Shrink Object might make removal of teeth a snap if you ruled the tooth as an object and not an extension of the creature. Bleeding and other complications of the open wounds of extractions can be taken care of with a simple Cure Light Wounds following the extraction. (Would Virtue's 1 temporary hp allow the recipient to essentially ignore the wound incurred from pulling out a single tooth? I don't know.) Though obviously on the higher price end, Regenerate could regrow entire sets of teeth lost to injury or neglect.

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Biztak wrote:
If crossbows need an action to load then Id like to see them adding strength to damage from the get go, specially if composite bows are gone

This makes no sense and I would houserule it out if the crossbow simply requires an action to load. Now, I would consider it if the crossbow required a certain strength to load, essentially turning them into the equivalent of a composite bow. Your crossbow takes 16 strength to load? Alright, after your action to load it, I'll accept that the tension on the thing is so great that it deals the commensurate amount of bonus damage for strength. That's reasonable.

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Rysky wrote:
Gregg Reece wrote:
If they don't have their Amulet of Natural Armor figured into their sheet already that's their issue. It's not like an "I'm only going to wear my amulet for this fight and not the next one" type item. So very likely not an issue except for the fight after they've first acquired it.
Agreed, this is the same situation as it is in 1st Edition, the person needs to keep in mind their modifiers, the >10< rule doesn't change that.

The >10< rule does change that. There are a lot of cases where a minor modifier is immaterial to being hit or not. If the enemy's AC is 21 and I rolled a 9 with my BAB, I missed. There's no real need to check and factor in my Bless. But now it's not as simple as that. I have to add in every modifier on pretty much every roll because missing (or hitting) by 10 could be the difference between survival and death.

It will slow the game down, especially for groups where the players get bogged down with math. For many tables it might not be an issue. For others, I expect it will be and they will likely houserule out the >10< rule in favor of the old 1s and 20s...

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Ilina Aniri wrote:
most World Records on Earth can be broken by a character who is 5th level. takr a 5th level character with an 18 dexterity, acrobatics as a class skill with 5 ranks and Skill Focus. they can clear the World Long Jump Record 30% of the time which is a lot more reliable than real world olympic leapers.

And let's not forget that, assuming they have a mildly above average Strength score of 12, they can break that world record while wearing leather armor and carrying a 25 pound pack. Let's see Olympians do that. The correlation between D&D/Pathfinder characters and real world athletes is shaky at best.

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KingOfAnything wrote:
Seems like an application of the Bike Shed Effect, only the committee is made up of the entire forum.

Except that there has also been a significant amount of blowback on other topics brought up, such as Resonance, Proficiencies, the Critical Hit system, and others. It would only be the Bike Shed Effect if this was pretty much the only thing people were focusing on as needing a solution.

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bookrat wrote:

Therefore, we should ban humans from the core rules, because of the atrocities humans are capable of.

No human should ever be allowed to be played, as they encourage bad players or borderline players to play badly. Humans should he banned from all towns in every RPG, because you never quite know if *this* particular human is "one of the good ones."

Although your point is well-made, the statements from others here are not about what goblins are capable of as you put it, but what is the norm. You are picking selected periods of time in which selected portions of humanity have committed atrocities, while the many issues brought up in this thread are about the normal, expected canonical behaviors of goblins as a culture. In your historical study of humanity, was there ever a time when 98%+ of the population was believed to be vicious, murderous, destructive, cruel and hostile as goblins are believed to be? And if so, how long ago was that? Are we talking the Cro Magnon epoch?

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Mark Seifter wrote:
If you're coming from PF1, I don't think you have much to worry about in terms of the non-damage critical failure effects causing TPKs more than you're used to, in that even regular failures in PF1 are often just as TPKtastic. If you're coming from a game more like 4e, which solved the problem of save or out of the fight by removing many of those effects and allowing a probable recovery from negative effects every round (4e's saving throws), it might indeed be more dangerous.

That's a fair response (and I come from PF1.) The damage part still concerns me, though. Employing this system makes anything dealing damage that deals with a save more dangerous than it was in PF1.

In PF1, if your damage effect allowed a save, you had two results: 50% damage and 100% damage (the average of the two results is 75% damage, even though you probably didn't have a 50/50 chance of saving.)

In PF2, you have four results: 0%, 50%, 100%, 200%, and the average of those results is 87.5%. Again, your likelihood is not going to be 25/25/25/25 on those. But if you're reasonably as likely to perform a critical failure as a critical save, then overall this system is going to result in more damage, and the times in which it results in that damage (the 200% damage on a critical failure) are going to be the most significant. A 0/50/100/150 scale would maintain the 75% average that existed in PF1.

Of course, the entire system could be based around more damage being thrown around, with better options for damage prevention or recovery, who knows. We'll see how this plays out when people start getting their feet wet with it, I suppose.

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Ckorik wrote:

Has anyone considered that perhaps the real issue is the 'number of encounters per day' mechanic?

I mean at 4 'encounters per day' I'm leveling up by the rules every 4 days, - or 5 levels every 19 days. I mean - if you want to talk verisimilitude - a character going from schlub to world ender in 95 days (3 months!) does that.

That's playing it safe btw - throw in APL+anything and you shorten that curve.

An interesting sidenote to keep in mind is that while Frodo hardly went from level 1 to level 20, his tale of leaving the Shire to destroying the One Ring was only six months long, and Lord of the Rings was one of the greatest influences on original D&D. It's not unbelievable for a character's entire development to be completed in a matter of months.

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graystone wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
If there was no expensive material component for resurrection spells, what do you think would be a good or effective cost/consequence for death?
You can have good old resurrection sickness. Even something as simple as reducing your level for resonance can act as a cost/consequence or a reduction in combat actions or something else. Personally, I don't really see a need to have a cost past the spell slot/item used.

I still prefer the old 1E Raise Dead and Resurrection restrictions to give it a real weight. "System Shock" saving throw to survive (or forever perish), being brought back from the dead incurs a permanent loss of 1 Constitution, and you can never be raised more times than your initial Constitution score, even if you manage to raise it later. Being brought back from the dead should be a major event from the character, with real risks and consequences.

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ulgulanoth wrote:
I don't know why there is so much hate on the idea of resonance, especially for potions. I think it is an elegant system that changes up the game enough to make it interesting again.

Because when you think about it, the resonance system for potions doesn't make any sense unless we overhaul all of Pathfinder's magic.

One could say, "There's only so much magical accoutrements a character can handle at once." Mandarin be damned, you can't have ten magical rings at a time. Perhaps the mortal body isn't suited to handle two rings, a necklace, a hat, a cloak, some armor, gloves, belt, boots, and a pair of weapons, all enchanted to constantly give you powers and abilities. Is that healthy? Could all that effectively have downsides such as draining your spirit? Maybe.

But potions are essentially spells being cast upon you, in a small (~1 oz. of fluid if I recall correctly) form, by you with no expenditure of effort or will. Is resonance going to limit how many spells can be cast upon you in a day? Will party buffs stop working if you've already exceeded your magical limits? Will you automatically save against hold person spells at a certain point because your body refuses to accept any more magic? If the answer to those is yes, well, it's stupid but consistent. If the answer is no, then there's no reason to limit potion usage, because that is just someone--anyone, even the commoner on the street--popping a cork and swilling some liquid. It doesn't take a command word, it doesn't take even the effort that activating a wand would.

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ryric wrote:
For some reason nobody here has problems with 2 liter bottles of soda pop, but if you tried to switch milk over to liters instead of gallons there would be rioting in the streets.

Liter bottles are conveniently sized for travel, parties and the like. Few people have reason to bring an extra liter of milk on the road or to a get-together, and if they do, we invented half-gallons for that.

The other reason people wouldn't want this change is that I can guarantee you that $3.29 gallon of milk would end up costing at least $0.99 a liter. Buying things in smaller sizes is a value-loss proposition. It's why most people buy bread by the loaf and not the slice, and the household staple of milk, by the gallon instead of the liter. Better for the environment, too, as there is less packing in one gallon container than 3.75 one-liter containers.

But this is all really tertiary to the real reason, which is stubbornness to change and the considerable financial and disruptive impact of switching the country's processes and signage over to metric.

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dragonhunterq wrote:

Total cover for tiny familiars will keep them safe from most threats.

You can always allow a small sized version that can be carried by something a little stronger than your average witch

How did I miss this in the equipment before? I'll definitely make sure she has this on hand. Her strength is pathetic, but most of her equipment is in the haversack, so she's still got plenty of weight available to carry this and her ten pound cat. Thanks!

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voska66 wrote:
I think the real issue here is not the teamwork going on but the actual feat. Is a feat that allows you to use a weapon with high critical threat range to person with low critical multiplier. So if you critical on 18, 19 or 20 with x2 multiplier but have feat that allows the next hit by the fighter with weapon that has critical range on 20 with x4 multiplier, is that feat cheese? That's more the question here.

Can the characters operate on their own? That would be my question. If they were built in such a way that separately they were considerably less viable, then as a GM, I would occasionally exploit that, using some method or another, such as separating the characters for setting up scenarios where they are forced to fight different enemies. Every character design choice a player makes in this game has consequences, good and bad (even if the bad just means not getting to take a different ability instead.) In this case, the players are making a choice that can grant their characters considerable advantages in combat. That choice has to come with disadvantages from time to time for a sense of game balance to exist.

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Rite Publishing wrote:
I ask for is your random thoughts on cartography.

Not even angling for a prize here, but Cartography is probably the single most underestimated skill for players going into D&D/Pathfinder type games. GMs need it in order to design effective maps (or even control established ones from adventures); players need them in order to keep track of where they've been and not (woe be to the party who has neglected to keep a good map and suddenly needs to beat a hasty retreat in the middle of the dungeon.) I forget what the magic item is that automatically draws a map for PCs (or is it a spell), but whatever wizard invented that needs a raise.

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Kirth Gersen wrote:
Judging by this post, you and are in 100% agreement on every aspect of the issue. Thank you!

I believe so. I'm okay with fudging, both as a player and as a GM. But if a player tells me as GM they don't want me to fudge and I do it anyway, I'm a bad GM and I am cheating the player -- perhaps not based on the Deus Clause of the CRB, but at least cheating them out of the experience that they want or deserve (even if what they deserve is harsh, cold death at the figurative fickle hands of the dice.)

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Cartigan wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:
Personally I find the 'How does he get the book out of my trapped/magically warded/etc bookbag'? argument kind of funny since it comes from the person who asks 'who would have ever invest gold in a backup spell book?'
It doesn't even have to be trapped magically warded. It just has to be a pack. Retrieving an item you want takes notable time and effort but a snatch and grab can pick our your spellbook with minimal sneaky effort?

This makes obvious sense. Next time the party is in a jam and you need something at the bottom of your closed and filled pack right away, have the rogue sleight of hand it out for you.

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We finished the first book of the Kingmaker AP on Saturday night at 3:30 in the morning after a near-five-hour attack on the Stag Lord's fort; the book overall was a blast and certainly the finale carried that through. I figured I would share the results here for posterity. It goes without saying that there are spoilers involved, so read on at your peril. This is a LONG read, my apologies.

The party consisted of four characters, all level 3: female human fighter, female half-elf ranger (archery focus), female human sorceror (Destined bloodline), and male dwarf rogue.

The party discovered the fort just shortly after entering its hex for exploration (they had by this point cleared every other notable hex and a few empty ones) and, upon seeing the fort and looking at their map, deduced this was likely the big confrontation they'd been awaiting. They decided to scout around on all four sides with the ranger and rogue, who kept far enough way to be out of sight but close enough to locate where the gate was and roughly where the towers were located, how many guards they could spot, etc. They did make a check and determined where the guards were "looking," discovering the open-hill area where the zombie ambush lay. Unfortunately, the zombie encounter never happened as after conferring, the party decided to send the sorceror (with high charisma, bluff and disguise skills) alone to the gate in straight view of the guards, making herself look a little more unsavory and beaten up through disguise and wearing one of the captured silver Stag Lord necklaces to help out.

Yup, the most sane plan devised involved sending the nearly-defenseless sorceror whose adjusted attack bonus was +1, up to the guards alone to bluff her way in while the ranger went around to scale the walls in secret, the rogue stayed in hiding right outside the front fort walls (about 100 feet away) in case something went wrong, and the fighter held back out of viewing range of the fort for an opportunity to do... something. Incredibly, the sorceror was able to bluff her way inside the building past the initial guards, telling them her group had been ambushed and scattered by adventurers while they slept. I let the guards slip that "Akiros won't be happy to hear about this," and the sorceror latched onto the name (it later came out that she thought "Akiros" was the Stag Lord's name.) She told the guards she didn't know how many of her group were still coming back, since they had been so scattered from the attack, which made the guards pause in closing up the gate. Feigning fatigue from her escape, she meandered off to a slightly isolated part in the northeast of the fort and used Ghost Sound to make the sound of the fighter outside the gate, calling to "Akiros" and saying she (the fighter) needed to speak with him, presumably to give the fighter more bandit cred. I might have fudged this by allowing Ghost Sound to be cast outside of the fort's walls, but I let it slide a little in appreciation of creative thinking.

The fighter took this as a cue, hastily put on the other Stag Lord necklace (the fighter carries around all the trinkets the party finds that they think might be quest-related), and rushed up to the gate (again in the normal sight range of the guards, bypassing the zombies.) This also meant that one of the bandits in the fort ran off to fetch Akiros.

In the meantime, the rogue rendezvoused with the ranger, filled her in on the situation, and they scaled the east outside wall of the fort. While the ranger (not acrobatic) took a little poke from the fortifications, neither was spotted by any of the bandits that I had determined would be around. They moved to hug the outside of the east inner wall, split up north and south and stayed put for the next development.

The fighter, nowhere near as charasmatic or good at bluffing, was still able to get the guards on her side with a lucky roll (despite a player slip indicating that "We came from west of the bandi--west of the old camp") and said she wasn't aware of anyone else who made it out. The guards closed the gate behind the two of them. The fighter asked the gate guard about the fort's defenses and the guard told her that everyone was in for the night, including all the lieutenants and, of course, the Stag Lord, and if the adventurers came looking for a fight, they'd regret it. When asked about the Stag Lord, the guard grumbled, "sleeping it off, like usual."

The fighter was planning to help the odds with a surprise attack on the front tower guard and actually getting ready to head up the tower under the guise of having something important to show him, when Akiros emerged from his location, asked what was going on and engaged the fighter and sorceror in conversation. The sorceror, already feeling a bit uneasy in the tiger's jaws, left all the talking to the fighter, which didn't work out so well. Akiros saw right through the bluff, especially since the fighter was wearing a Stag Lord necklace but said Akiros didn't recognize her because she was "new" (only experienced members of the Stag Lord's crew get the amulets, I decided) and then tried (unsuccessfully) to convince him that she had just decided to put on the necklace that one of the other bandits in their group dropped. He told her to follow him.

I had determined at this point since it was the middle of the night, several bandits would be asleep, including Dovan and Auchs (possibly even Akiros before they woke him up) and of course, per the AP, the Stag Lord was passed out from a binge. The fighter and sorceror hadn't caused a significant disturbance at the gate and no alarm had been sounded, so I figured those bandits asleep either didn't wake up or did, but saw that nothing was going on and rolled back over.

Sensing that something was going wrong with Akiros, the fighter managed to use bluff to send a pre-arranged hand signal to the sorceror for her to try knocking some folks out with sleep. The bandits that were awake in the common room weren't particularly observant and the sorceror was some distance away when she cast sleep on them. Both got lucky rolls and stayed awake. I don't think the books tell you how to adjucate how someone feels and reacts when they successfully save against an unseen mental compulsion, but I at least put them on their guard. Meanwhile the fighter went back with Akiros to just outside the Stag Lord's door where Akiros demanded to know who the fighter really was and called out the bluff. With (at least honorary) balls of steel, the fighter stuck to the story, which Akiros didn't believe at all. At this point, knowing that Akiros would throw in his lot with the party eventually anyway, I decided to have him come clean and offer to join them in cleaning out the fort. Although the player was suspicious, the fighter's sense motive check said she could trust him, so she went along with it.

They started with Auchs, who was asleep on his own and, when the fighter asked if anyone would come running if he yelled out, was told that he was "prone to fits" and it seemed unlikely. Although he was asleep clutching his club, noise wasn't a concern as between Akiros and the fighter making good rolls, he was cut down in a single round.

The two emerged from his room, went to the sorceror and told her to use sleep again. This time, the folks in the common room were wary and became hostile when she started casting the spell. Before they could fully react, one was out cold while the other yelled out about intruders and attacked. He was swiftly cut down, but Dovan and the other bandits awoke and a general melee ensued. Hearing that it was hitting the fan, the rogue, from his position at the north side of the east inner wall, shot at the gate guard and front tower guard, while the ranger started exchanging shots with bandits coming down the southern walkways from the other two watchtowers.

Dovan, while not in danger of destroying the party, was surprisingly difficult for them to put down, dying on the round right before the Stag Lord appeared outside his door. He (the Stag Lord, not Dovan) stepped to the 10' wide entryway and took a shot at the fighter with his bow, just missing thanks to her new +1 scale mail from the tatzylwyrm den. The sorceror recited a scroll of grease on the 10' area the Stag Lord was in and he failed his reflex save, falling prone. The rogue, who had by this point circled around to inside the fort, threw an alchemical fire into the area and I, having never seen a form of grease that doesn't burn, let it catch fire, doing damage to the Stag Lord. He got up on his next turn, tried to move beyond the area, and took a 5' step forward before (lacking any acrobatics skill) falling down again, still on fire. He fell a third time before he finally managed to get out of the grease location. This had the effect of basically turning the Stag Lord into WCW's 1993 debacle, the Shockmaster.

During the Stag Lord's last bout of falling down in shame, the fighter ran up to make a dramatic blow on him (taking a swipe from the Stag Lord's AoO attack in the process), only to roll a natural 1 followed by a natural 2. She jarred her hands from striking the ground with her sword (fumble deck card said that the fighter would do non-lethal damage for the next three rounds), which didn't please her at all. With all the other bandits cleaned up by this point, the party converged on the Stag Lord, with Akiros and the fighter attacking in melee, the rogue closing in to flank and sneak attack with his battle axe, the ranger shooting from a distance, and the sorceror utilizing the rapidly-depleting wand of magic missile picked up earlier in the campaign. The battle was suitably dramatic, and the Stag Lord eventually fell.

Afterwards, conversation with Akiros was then possible, where he related some of his story to the party. He wasn't sure what he was going to do at this point, but hearing that he had once been a paladin of Erastil, the fighter suggested he go to help Jhod Kavken at the Temple of Erastil, which he agreed he would check out and bid the team farewell, leaving the spoils of the fort to them, as he didn't want any more to do with it.

In the end, more time was spent just planning and getting into the Stag Lord's fort than actually fighting battles, which I think made for a more satisfying conclusion to the adventure. We're now in the process of levelling up the party to Level 4 and I've already been reviewing the next book so that it can be started soon.