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97 posts. Alias of DeathQuaker (RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8).

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RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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Just recently got and finished "Pentiment," a fascinating historical fiction game from Obsidian. It came out last November for Windows and XBox. Highly recommend it to history buffs and fans of oldschool "read a lot of text and follow a complex story" adventure games.

The story takes place in 16th century Bavaria and the whole thing is in an "illuminated manuscript" art style, as one of the main characters is a manuscript artist (even though said art is starting to die out in the time period due to the advent of the printing press). The art is utterly gorgeous. The minimalist soundtrack is beautiful if you hear it; I for one appreciate their choice to mostly include music only when it is either internally ambient (i.e., there's a person in the room actually singing) or for key dramatic moments only. I've seen other players express displeasure there is not a score over every scene, and the background noise is instead what you'd be hearing in the town (birds singing when you're outside, scribbling of pens in a scriptorium, etc.). I think the sound design is amazing, IMO.

It's basically a story game, sort of a cross between a non-combat RPG and a visual novel, focusing on the lives of the people in a town housing an Abbey and the town's history, with the theme of how perceptions and tellings of folk history change over time. Several murders occur and you would be forgivable if you thought the game was a detective story as the player has to find a culprit for the crimes, but the focus is really more about the tensions and issues of the day with the murders as plot devices to move the story along. The RPG elements are that you can select certain traits/training the player character has that can impact dialogue, although as it's a story game first, you are put into the role of a specific person with certain defined traits, not creating an original character from scratch. The dialogue choices you make, how you go about exploring the world, and of course who you accuse of murder (among other things) impacts the story's outcome and characters' fates to some degree. I've seen naysayers complain that because you can't really impact the core thread of the story it doesn't matter what choices you make, but I'd say that the consequences, as long as you may attention to them, have enough ramifications on both what information you can access as well as the final fates of all the characters fairly interesting.

I will say that it is disappointing that in the third act, there's a key decision you make (three, actually) that NPCs will go on and on about what trouble may occur based on your decision, and while you see the very immediate result of those choices, you never actually find out whether those three choices caused any trouble or not. Which is a bit of a letdown simply because the story makes such a big deal of it. (The immediate result you do see I will say is very satisfying.)

This said it is one of those games where you have to accept from the start that there is often no right answer and no matter what you do you may not always get the ideal result... it is better to play the game and accept the consequences to see what they are. The game took me only about 17 hours for one playthrough. It is very definitely designed to be replayed so you can see the outcomes of the different choices (plus once you know how everything ends I am finding it is fun to see the subtle clues to things that you didn't pick up on the first time). The game has a very avant garde, indie feel; I'm honestly shocked, but delighted, that Microsoft let Obsidian make it (I'm pretty sure the idea was very much the beloved brainchild of the lead developer Josh Sawyer and not something externally requested). The historical research the devs did to make the story work and reflect the time period is stellar.

It is a very niche game and may not be for everyone. I mean, it very specifically appeals to me as a medieval and early modern history nerd with a master's degree in lit and who is fascinated with the struggle between pagan histories and early Christian history as well as the struggle between mystical faith versus religious authority, and I'm not sure how many other people out there have those traits. Oh of course I also love it as an Obsidian fan (no it is not as buggy as Obsidian is often reputed to be; there are a couple bugs but nothing I found strongly problematic). So please note: YMMV. But if it sounds cool to you, I strongly recommend it.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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I just saw that Annie Wersching, age 45, died of cancer.

Of shows we discussed here, she was the Borg Queen in "Picard" and Leslie Dean in "The Runaways" and absolutely stellar in both roles. She's also been in 24, the Rookie, and other shows, and voiced Tess in the video game "The Last of Us."

She was an amazing talent and I'm very sad to hear of her loss. Prayers to her family.

Speaking as a 46 year old, 45 seems frighteningly young to die. We all don't know what life has in store for us and when we will go. Appreciate what you have while you have it.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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This user (bot) has been posting spam on occasion in the Video Games subforum for over a year. While they have only posted a handful of times (although there are similar posts through different alts that link to similar websites), likely to avoid attention from mods, the posts, such as their latest are clearly attempts to get posts to click on phishy websites and/or other scammy game-related sites. They often necro threads with seeming "replies" to other posts that are clearly really bot-driven responses.

I've reported some similar spam issues via email with no response, and I know I and other posters have flagged these posts, yet there seems to have been no action taken by site admins. I know y'all are buried in work and hampered by working from home. Nonetheless, this bot-poster in particular has had their account allowed to live for over a year (before the pandemic started), and it really should have been banned by now. The sites this and similar spambots link to could be dangerous and it doesn't serve Paizo to leave the posts stand. Thanks.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

This was a hella fun movie. I know it is not doing well at the box office and no one was wanting a new addition to this franchise that is as old as I am, more or less, but I'm a sucker for spy movies and movies with badass female leads and action laced with humor, so I went to go see it. The McG films from 2000? and 2002? (ish?) are favorite guilty pleasures of mine--campy AF but also hella fun. I'd say this movie is definitely better than the McG films in all ways save perhaps pacing; say what you will about him, but McG had a good sense of pace and rhythm of a film. But the action scenes are better (less jerky), the plot twists are fun, and there are less random references to random things that clutter up the flow (like, while I adore the film, I don't know why Full Throttle needed not one but two completely random references to Singin' In the Rain).

The new movie has some good humor beats but doesn't get as over the top silly as the earlier films, while at the same time it does not (for the most part) take itself too seriously (and it should not). It does start a bit slow, but picks up. This a good outing for Banks as a director and I hope she directs other movies, I think she could get quite good. The performances were all great, and Kristen Stewart surprise-blew me away with how good she was. Of course a key importance in Charlie's Angels is the relationship between the Angels and they did a good job here developing that.

The new movie, which like the older movies, carries on the franchise rather than reboots it, and there's some fun cameos and easter eggs in that vein. Here Townsend Agency has grown into an international organization with loads of contacts and resources, which I think was cool. The only downside by connecting it to the past is it seemed weird and incongruous as to who Patrick Stewart's character was supposed to be (I can't tell if he is supposed to be someone from the original TV show or his own character, and they did contradictory stuff as to how to establish that).

The only thing I found REALLY wrong with it is that they didn't use the theme song. Which is I believe a criminal act against fans of Charlie's Angels. The song is credited in the soundtrack, but I didn't hear it.

All this is to say is if you want to see a movie about friendship and blowing shit up, and also hey look, Patrick Stewart! then go see it. Ignore its poor box office take and trailers that don't really do it justice (I just rewatched the trailer and wow, it does NOTHING to properly set up or sell the film).

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes


heck frickin' yeah!!!!!

Welp, I've gone from planning to subscribe only to see That One Episode of What If? and then canceling immediately to subscribing a bit more.

And yes, I know this was mentioned in the movie thread but I wanted to extract the news for some proper fangirling. I may have in fact awakened/frightened/caused my neighbors to call the police with the squee I gave off seeing the She Hulk logo. I know they've announced other shows as well which I'm sure folks can make threads for if they wish. I've read it will be live action. Hope so. Even if it's animated tho, just happy to see these two characters get some visibility.

I note the tags on the Marvel pages specifically tag to Jennifer Walters and Kamala Khan respectively so I am very hopeful we'll get to see these two. Mainly I'm just excited to post about something Marvel related that I'm actually happy about. Woot!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Hi, this order, which was completed on July 5, is still listed pending, and cites the reason as "waiting for items that are on backorder."

However, neither book that I ordered (P2 core rulebook, and AP #144) are listed as on backorder/out of stock on the store. I know you guys are swamped and just back from GenCon, but I'd appreciate your checking on the order when you get a chance. Thanks for your help.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Hi folks,

My latest order, 7921800, is showing Hellknight Hill part 1 on the packing list. Per my prior communication with you, I wanted to unsubscribe from the Adventure Paths to end with Tyrant's Grasp. Weirdly, I also got notification today also that my subscription had indeed been cancelled -- but both my pending orders in my account info and the email confirmation I received still shows Hellknight Hill pending shipment with my other books. I know you did say to be sure the AP got "unstuck" from my subscription orders, but it looks like whatever you did to cancel the subscription did not cancel the order of that particular book. I would rather not pay for a book I didn't want to order, so your prompt attention to this would be appreciated. (Indeed, this sort of problem is why I normally don't use subscription services, and Paizo has been a rare exception for many years. I hope the issue can be resolved so that I feel safe subscribing to other lines in the future.) Thank you very much (especially as I know you've got a LOT to work on shipping right now!).

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Bad and good news... the Warstore, a fantastic source for buying miniatures and related suppies, is going out of business. They are having a big closeout sale, with notable price cuts on a lot of their stock. A lot of stuff is already sold out (I would assume anything out of stock is not coming back in stock), but there's still a lot of stuff for sale and great deals for those interested.


RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

1. Please cancel my Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscription.

2. I plan to end my Pathfinder Adventure Path subscription with part 6/6 of Tyrant's Grasp. Right now it looks like I'm going to get it shipped at the same time as Hellknight Hill, and I do not want Hellknight Hill. Not sure how to separate the order.

Thank you!

(No worries, this (hopefully) will not be an end to me subscribing to things. :) )

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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Here is a thread for your reactions to Avengers: Endgame after you have seen the movie.


For ease of discussion, I will declare in all of my non-authority that you do not need to spoiler tag posts about the movie in this thread.

If you do not want spoilers and or want protected discussion, please go to Baron's spoiler-free review thread or the old trailer discussion. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Last week I got together with a group to play through Doomsday Dawn. We went through char gen and some rules review and got into the first two encounters of The Lost Star. I'm reporting on some initial stuff now because I know apparently they will start ignoring feedback on the Lost Star soon, and I don't know if we're going to finish that scenario in time to be useful.

Specific to playtest rules as presented IN the Lost Star and how to be sure to test the right things
- Would have been helpful to point out in rooms suggested transitions between Encounter Mode and Exploration Mode, especially since the latter is a brand new, codified way of doing the dungeon crawl.
- Because ooze activates when creature is within 10 feet and/or has an ability that has a 20 foot area, specific placement description would have been very helpful.
- Wasn't clear if some creatures needed to be noticed or not -- i.e., should I have rolled Stealth for the ooze? Rolled the party's Perception vs the ooze's Stealth vs 10.
- Overall I could have used about 80% less background narrative and 80% more GM advice for rules setup and tactics, especially bearing in mind the point of the playtest was to test gameplay--sidebars to remind new GMs to the key system issues (like -- "don't forget to roll Perception for the PCs"). I felt like I was pushed to memorize a big complicated story when I really needed to be using that mental real estate for learning the rules. I can make up the story if we really need one, that's the easy part. What I need help with is actually running the goddamn game, especially since this is the "learning the system" module. I don't expect a lot of handholding in standard modules (although I can always use more help than GMs are given in modules), but this needed far more added to it so it could have been a proper teaching tool. The way in which this module was designed in general highlights a key flaw a lot of Paizo products have for any game -- it assumes all GMs are experienced GMs and have memorized every rule instantly, even when the system is new and half-formed. This makes bringing in new GMs--crucial to make the hobby happen--extraordinarily unlikely.
- One thing 1e modules have that this one desperately needed was specific advice on scaling encounters for different groups (I originally was going to have a group of 3, so was trying to figure out how to best do this). The advice in the playtest Bestiary was all but useless--first of all I had trouble in general comprehending the stereo-instruction-like guidelines (the best I could comprehend them, I determined I had to remove 2/3ds of a goblin in the second encounter, which wasn't helpful); secondly, the Bestiary guidelines apply more to creating encounters from scratch than adjusting pre-designed module encounters. At the end, because my 3rd player had to back out due to an emergency, the remaining two players created 2 characters each so I didn't have to worry about it. I probably however would have mainly winged it otherwise rather than try to follow the rules (which doesn't help test the system itself).

(As an aside, the very idea of having to design and/or adjust every fight according to an XP budget is sufficiently fiddly enough it ensures I will never GM the game once it is finalized, assuming the system remains the same. I'll keep GMing the playtest because I want to finish what I started, but I probably won't run a campaign. And given I'm the only person in our group willing to run Pathfinder, it probably means therefore my RL group won't play 2e [I will probably play it in PBP]).

How the two combats otherwise went
- Sewer ooze was fine, and played off as the "trivial" encounter it was meant to be, although I did reduce its hp by 10 just to get through it faster since it was getting late. It did some damage, but the group largely trounced it. The single creature fight highlights that the new action economy in this system makes single creature fights even more to the PCs' favor than in 1e (where single creature fights were still already often too easy). When you have 1 creature with 3 actions--sure, at least that's potentially 3 attacks--vs a 4 person party with a total of 12 actions, it will usually be a breeze.
- With the +10 equaling critical success, it's easy to crit in this game--too easy perhaps? The ooze is immune to crits (something we almost missed) but it could still crit the party, and crits also happened a lot in the goblin fight. It makes things go faster, but it is SO easy to deal lots of damage in this system, it makes it more likely that whoever wins initiative wins the fight.
- Goblin fight felt extremely easy in spite of multiple creatures--but they also lost initiative (see above).
- Cleric player noted command felt weak because of the action system--he commanded a goblin to drop prone, but then realized that the goblin would be able to stand from prone (without a problem) and still have 2 actions to threaten the party with. 2 is still better than 3 actions (from the party's perspective) but he felt like he didn't really accomplish anything.
- ALL THIS SAID the players really liked the pace of combat and liked how the action system gave them better choices for what to do every round.

Other stuff
- Goblin player did not like, for the purposes of the module, being effectively forced to take only 1 background and be denied all others. He was lucky the ability boosts available suited his build, but it would have sucked if it didn't.
- None of us liked that everyone was forced to have a choice of only 5 campaign backgrounds, and had to ignore the chargen backgrounds in the rulebook. This is a big customization downside compared to the 1e Trait System--because you get 2 traits, you can ask folks to take 1 campaign trait while they still get to pick something else they might like for themselves. I'd suggest honestly for general module design either making campaign backgrounds optional (a good party and GM can figure out how to get everyone together, usually), or forgoing campaign backgrounds entirely, letting PCs use generic backgrounds but then instead giving them a "campaign hook" which is either purely a narrative hook to tie you to a major NPC and/or just a minor boost, like training in a specific lore.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

We sat down to our first playtest session last night, creating characters and just getting started in Doomsday Dawn. I lost TWO players due to family issues (such is life when you're middle aged) so my remaining two players created two characters each (Primus the Human Cleric, Secundus the Human (Half-Elf) Rogue, Tertius the Dwarf Fighter, and Drax the Goblin Sorcerer). On the upside, each player creating two characters gave them some extra experience and ability to experience how different classes were generated.

Overall we liked:
- The number of options characters had between ancestry, background, and classes. The players felt it easy to reflect a clear, specific concept at first level. (With the exception that since we were playing Doomsday Dawn, the choices of Background were extremely limited. _I_ as GM didn't like limiting them to that and it made their choices based on the available ability scores limited.)

- The choices for class feats, that helped define the character's role more.

Overall we struggled with:
- The circular nature of ability score generation. We used the default method in the book, and got very frustrated that you sort of need to know your ability scores before you flesh out your character (especially WRT saves, skills, etc.) and class, but you also can't fully generate your ability scores UNTIL you pick your ancestry, background, and class. This leads to a lot of flipping and rechecking and lengthened the amount of time it takes to create a character. We almost almost skipped the step of choosing four free boosts because we were also flipping around so much to check other abilities, etc. I can see it going faster as you get used to the system, but experience won't make the process any less circular.

- The idea of "ABC." It is pointless because you really do need to pick your class first, take note of your key ability, and then go through the other stuff afterward and pick your ability scores.

- Equipment selection -- all of the new descriptors/traits that weapons have in particular are new and overwhelming. Some of the descriptions were puzzling/confusingly written (my player who picked a glaive--deity's favored weapon--was having trouble understanding what its traits meant at first), and it forced a lot of cross referencing just to generate an equipment list. Ultimately, as we were anxious to get some adventuring in, we actually just picked some typical adventuring equipment we agreed everyone should have without looking too much at cost). We agreed it would be nice to have a pre-assembled "adventurer kit" of a backpack, bedroll, rations, waterskin, light source, and rope. (Not separate class kits like in UE, which felt extraneous and had random stuff like metal pots and a billion candles in them. Just one very simple adventuring package, and then buy specific "class feature items" separately).

- One player complained that his lower-Dex dwarf fighter in Medium armor had the same AC as the human rogue with good Dex in light armor for a much lower equipment cost. I personally don't have a problem with it--it's just different ways different "striker" roles achieve the same level of protection--but he did so I am pointing it out here. I think his main issue is that low Dex=higher equipment costs. (But again, I think that's a tradeoff for other things, and he wasn't accounting for how consistent his damage was compared to the rogue's).

- After a couple characters, the players were expecting EVERY class got a class feat at first level and got thrown when they realized they all didn't. This isn't a complaint, just something to note that they developed a consistent expectation quickly that then needed correcting.

- We all agreed crowbar being level 2 felt unfair, especially since it just provides a +1 bonus to Break attempts.

- The player using the official character sheet struggled a great deal with where to put what on his character sheet, especially as the character sheet sort of isn't in "order of creation" as it were. He was not using the guidelines in the rulebook itself because he had to flip back and forth so much in other sections already. (The other player was vision impaired and was just typing his stats into his laptop.) I think the player using the sheet would have had an easier time writing things down on a plain piece of paper (but he wanted to use the shiny new character sheet). This isn't a character creation problem per se more than it is a comment on sheet layout.

- Coming from decades of D&D/Pathfinder experience, the player making the human with the half-elf feat had trouble still grasping that effectively his character was still human and used human bases for hit points, movement, etc. We also all observed that of the four choices of ability the half-elf gets, two are easily optimal (low-light vision and boosted movement speed) and two are easily suboptimal (elven language and Trained in Diplomacy, which is easy to achieve otherwise, especially since humans get any one free bonus language anyway). I would suggest combining Elven Language and Trained in Diplomacy as ONE single option and adding one additional choice, like perhaps a free training in one elven weapon.

They were happy (so far) with the end results of their characters, but the learning curve, especially for experienced gamers, felt high--and indeed, ironically I think their being experienced PF1 and D&D players made them more prone to being confused, having to try to drop prior assumptions (which is easier said than done) and start from scratch.

Notes on Group Makeup I and the two players are all experienced gamers of at least a couple decades or more each. All of us have played multiple editions of D&D and Pathfinder 1e, among various other systems. I have GMed for about 10 years using 3.x and Pathfinder 1e. I am an experienced 1e player and have edited 1e as an independent contractor. We all had looked at the rules but this was our first time really reading and learning them. This was very much a learn-the-system-as-you-go session.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Hey folks, I sent an email to customerservice@paizo.com on August 16 and I have not yet received a reply. I know you all have been going through a hell of a time, so I just wanted to be sure you received it. Usually you've responded to customer service posts within a few days so I figure either the email didn't get through or it hit right around the other site insanity hit or both. Please let me know if I should resend the message. (Had some attached pictures.)

Long story short it looks like my box containing my order got attacked by a very angry forklift and I wanted to find out if the mangled book could be replaced if at all possible.

If you are just backed up due to all the site insanity, just let me know and I'll check back in a week or so. Thanks for your help.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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The layout/graphics nerd in me loves the idea of making some rules functions in the rules visually dynamic, with special colors and symbols and the like. I like fancy dancy colors and symbols. However...

Two members of my gaming group are completely blind, and rely upon screenreader technology to access rules from .pdfs and the PRD (yes I know there is not a playtest PRD, just noting for general use). So when I read through any new set of rules, especially for testing, one of the first things I check is how easily I think my visually impaired friends will be able to access and learn the rules on their own.

Unfortunately, I believe this test has already notably been failed. Because of the ubiquity of the symbols and colors in certain sections, it means many rule descriptions would make no sense to my blind players, and they would not be able to reference them and learn the rules on their own (which they can easily do with most other systems; indeed one of the players is also a great and experienced GM who has taught himself many systems on his own). (I will see if my friends can download and read the pdf and report back. I haven't had time to check yet. Still the colors are going to be a problem if not the symbols.)

I don't have the kind of screenreader software they have, but at least with the limited "read aloud" capabilities of my PC, I note that the software cannot parse at all the action symbols, and of course it is not going to notice colors at all. The color-coding is also unfriendly to colorblind individuals (a red/green blind individual will not be able to differentiate easily the red versus orange, and a blue-blind person will not differentiate the blue).

I ask Paizo, for at least the final document, to please consider either alternate text readouts on their pdfs (and eventual PRD) or scrapping the visual-reliant rules factors completely.

For example, instead of an obscure symbol for "action," use a capital letter A followed by a colon for "Action." "2A" would be for 2 actions, "3A" for 3 actions, etc. Rarities should simply be noted in text (e.g., "common," "unique" etc. rather than or in addition to being color coded; if space is an issue, perhaps simply the initials, e.g., "C" for common, etc.).

I would appreciate Paizo doing whatever it can to be sure learning and playing their game is easily accessible for as many people as possible.

I apologize if this thread is redundant--I saw some of these issues touched upon in other threads, but not the accessibility issue itself brought to the forefront. It's possible, given the speed at which the playtest threads are moving, that I simply missed one, however.

Thank you for your time.

I am looking for a new player, strongly preferably for a tanky divine caster, for my ongoing Skull and Shackles campaign (see appropriate campaign tabs for more info), which has been going on regularly for three years. We are just finishing Book 2 (replacing "Raiders of the Fever Sea" with the "Plunder and Peril" module instead). So you can see we are going at a slowish pace in terms of moving the plot along, but we are moving steadily forward with regular posting.

The current party consists of a tiefling arcane duelist bard (ship's first mate), human unchained rogue (ship's captain), and halfling arcane sorcerer (ship's quartermaster), and they have been in the campaign since the beginning. For a time during book 2, the party also had a casting-focused undine druid.

While I feel like the party has done mostly well as frequently a three person party, they are very fragile, and as we get into higher levels it is getting harder for me to adjust combats and some other challenges for an APL-minus-1 group--not to mention the RNG has been especially and ridiculously unpleasant to the party recently--so I have decided to recruit a fourth player. I've noticed in particular they've hit some challenges that really require divine support or tankier support, and while I try to adjust things where I can to better suit the party, sometimes I either don't have the prep time or am worried I'll unbalance the adventure if I change things too much. I might even recruit two players depending on the nature/quality of applications, though I'd rather manage a party of four.

Disclaimer: I began this campaign as a private recruitment from my IRL gaming group, and the current players are all people I have known personally for many years. Having played in PBPs where there are a mix of people who know each other personally and others who are relatively strangers, I have seen that games can sometimes get awkward with in-jokes or ways in which people communicate (e.g., I may be more willing to "trash talk" my friends with their knowing my tone is joking, but that may come off as nasty or unpleasant to strangers). Plus even when you try hard not to, knowing someone personally can lead to favoritism even if you're not totally conscious of it. So, I've been hesitant to just put out an open recruitment. However, most folks I know personally or well via PBP are fairly busy, and rather than try to keep issuing individual invitations, I figured it was time to try an open recruitment. I will of course do everything I can to be fair and make everyone feel welcome. I just want to be sure applicants are fully aware of the social dynamic coming in, especially as it's difficult in any game to come into an already established party.

About the Campaign:
The players are good-aligned, and my take on this AP has been to focus more on heroic swashbuckly adventure than on grim-n-gritty criminal behavior. Skull and Shackles can really be played either way so I want to be clear that if your idea of a fun S&S campaign is to be raping and pillaging and slaughtering everything in your way, my version is not for you. We're more about diving gracefully from the rigging to skewer the evil slaver-captain and then singing shanties about our victory afterward. While grim things may happen as the narrative/AP necessitates, I do not intend this to be a bogged-down-in-gore-and-misery-sort-of-game.

The three main PCs have the background of being shipmates together on a different ship before being press-ganged by Harrigan.

The party has recently obtained a stronghold in the form of Ghoral-Rey (an ancient Gholgani temple-stronghold-turned-pirate-cove) and are beginning the process of building it up and hiring crew and hirelings to help do so. They are trying to get themselves established before going to Port Peril to petition the Hurricane King to become Free Captains. There will be a "sandbox period" of gameplay while the party explores the Shackles and works on their stronghold, and this will be where the new member joins the party.

The campaign has a one-free-ressurrect rule--the first time your character would die, you survive with a scar (a la the scars described in the Skull and Shackles players guide, with some houserule tweaks). After that if you die, you die (but can be raised/resurrected if you have the resources to do so). One character has "died" and obtained battle scars in this way so far.

About me as a GM:
I like to see good interplay both between PCs and NPCs (which this AP has an abundance of). I reward fun heroic risktaking and extraordinarily well described roleplaying and stunts with hero points, loot, or subtler story rewards (like improved NPC loyalty).

I don't like TPKs and impossible-to-succeed challenges; my players may disagree, but I think I'm a fairly lenient, forgiving, and non-deadly GM, to the point that sometimes I probably handhold a little too much if I fear the party's about to swandive into the point of no return. I can come off as grumpy at times, though I normally yell because I care. :)

I expect feedback from players, and if you see I'm running a mechanic incorrectly, I hope that players feel free to point it out. (My players are deeply honorable folk and have sometimes corrected me to their own detriment.) My number one goal is that everyone is having fun, and if players aren't, I want to hear about it so we can change things for the better.

Posting Expectations:

Frequency: Post at least once every 1-2 days. In combat if you haven't posted in 24 hours, I will bot PCs to keep things moving. If you have nothing to say/are ready to move on, I ask that players say so in the discussion thread so we aren't all waiting for you to post, thinking you're just busy or something.
Commitment: I expect players to be grown-up and responsible enough to be able to inform me ahead of time when they are unable to post for more than a couple days. I will bot disappeared PCs. Players who disappear without warning and remain gone for two weeks will be automatically removed from the game, and will not be invited to return in this or any other game I run. Frequent, lengthy disappearances will also warrant possible removal. While of course I am willing to make reasonable exceptions due to emergencies or other dire circumstances, generally I expect players are able to use their phone/borrow a friend's phone/hit the library within a few days to take 30 seconds to at least post something like, "hey, s&@! hit the fan, I will check in when it's all over."
Courtesy: I expect players to be respectful and civil. I appreciate honest feedback, but "honest" should not be conflated with "cruel." I expect players to play only their own characters (and class-feature-based-allies as appropriate), and not presume other PCs' actions or reactions to them. Consent should never be assumed in or out of character; use common sense and respect for other people to guide you here. If in doubt, ask out of character in the discussion thread or via PM. Acts of affection, intimacy, theft, or violence against another PC/player should be described as attempts or offers (e.g., "Sally offers Bob a hug," NOT "Sally hugs Bob" (because if Bob doesn't want the hug, he gets right of refusal first)). If you struggle to comprehend the general mores of respect and common sense that underlie this guideline, this game is not for you.
Communication: I expect players to make a good-faith effort in writing with reasonable clarity and usage of good spelling/grammar, and likewise a good-faith effort in reading others' posts carefully.
Playing: You don't need to have the Core Rulebook memorized, but I expect reasonable system mastery of the game's rules and most particularly a good grasp of your own character's abilities. If you think a roll might be called for, go ahead and roll it. If you want to try something that isn't an obvious solution, go ahead and try or ask about how it might work. While I don't let mechanics do what they shouldn't, I encourage players to be creative within the game's mechanical restrictions.
Note: I WILL read applicants' community posts in and out of PBP to get a sense of your communication skills, courtesy, ability to commit to a game long-term, and roleplaying ability, and bear that in mind when selecting possible recruits.

What I am Looking for in Builds:
Based on the party's needs, behaviors, and issues that have arisen in the game so far, I believe the best choice to round out the party is a tanky divine caster. I think full caster would be best, so likely a battle-focused cleric, druid, or oracle would be most desirable, but I would also consider inquisitors and rangers and possibly other options as well depending on build. Paladin is not a good idea for the reasons stated in the Skull and Shackles Player's guide--while the party is good-aligned, you're still being pirates and still pretty much expected to cheat, lie, plunder, and trick. You can try to apply with something other than tanky divine caster, but it would have to be a pretty impressive application to sway me away from what I think would help this party the most. The party does have an NPC cleric to assist them that I believe our bard will be taking as a cohort, but especially given the various negative-conditions lots of monsters inflict, the party could use a PC level healer--and I don't want them reliant on an NPC for certain tasks either. Melee or switch-hitters would be useful, weapon-wise.

Other things: the party is well covered in face skills and athletic ability. Between the sorcerer and the bard we have enough arcane ability. The bard and rogue do well in melee, just can be a little fragile. The bard buffs, and the sorcerer is blasty with a side of battlecontrol. We are notably lacking in Survival and many other Wisdom-based skills (though the rogue has Heal and all do ok for Perception), Crafting, as well as a number of Knowledges and Int-based skills (the party bard is not the usual knowledgey bard since Arcane Duelist loses Bardic Knowledge). Knowledge: Nature could especially be useful because of the seafaring nature of the campaign (though some NPC crew have this). The nature of the campaign makes Profession: Sailor a very useful, but not required, skill. Other Professions like Fisher and Siege Engineer (for the onboard ballista) could come in handy.

The existing PC builds are the type that I wouldn't call optimized, but what they do well, they do very well. I don't want to see foolishly ineffective builds, but something that errs on the side of flavor likely fits in better than something that errs on the side of overpowered.

Character Creation:

20 point buy
Races: Core plus planarkin (e.g., tielflings, sylphs, etc.)
Classes: Core (excepting paladin), Advanced Player's Guide (except Summoner). Brawler and Slayer from (ACG), but note preferences for desired character type. Unchained versions of allowed classes are fine.
Traits: Two. You may use a Campaign Trait from the S&S player's guide, but do not have to (especially since you are not going to be anywhere near the Formidibly Maid).
Source Materials: For spells, feats, archetypes, etc.: anything for allowed classes/races from the Official PRD/core RPG line is fine; but do NOT confuse that with or use d20pfsrd. You may also use items and abilities listed in the Skull and Shackles Player's Guide or Pirates of the Inner Sea. Do not use classes, races, or abilities related to classes or races not already listed as allowed above. Do not use other campaign setting materials. Do not ask about using other campaign setting materials or third party products.

If firearms appear in the AP, I'm not writing them out, but I don't believe I allowed firearms during the initial character creation, so I'd rather avoid them in starting PCs. I.e., do not take feats/abilities/archetypes related to firearm usage.

Options/Exceptions: We are using Hero Points (from Advanced Player's Guide), but not feats/spells that increase hero points. You earn hero points through great deeds, great roleplaying, and great risk taking. You will begin play with 3 points.

Starting Equipment: I will send you a list of starting equipment so you're on par with the rest of the party. Feel free, for statblock creation, to presume you have at least a +1 weapon and +1 armor, and either a +1 cloak of resistance or a +1 shield, and of course any items necessary for your class to function (e.g., a holy symbol). If there's something you need for your character/character concept, you can include it in your proposal.
Background: I would like a brief character description and a background story of a few paragraphs. If you would like to be a thought-lost member of the crew of the Aurora's Kiss, the PCs' first ship, that's a great way for the PCs to know and recognize you--but it isn't requisite. As the party is in a "downtime" phase of recruiting crew and other employees, it is very easy to have them meet you at a port or show up as hired help at their stronghold, so feel free to come up with something suitable for how you might run into the party.

Recruitment Applications and Timetable:
If you're interested, post your character either as an alias or with the statblock in a post (either is fine, and if you don't want to create an alias until you might be accepted, that's fine). Recruitment will close one week from today at 4:30 p.m. Eastern (yes, that's the 4th of July). I know that's a short period, but I'm only looking for one player (or maaaaaybe two), after all, and I don't want the group to have to wait too long to proceed. After closing, I will select a "short list" of players/PCs that seem the best fit for the game, and ask the current players to vote from that list.

Finally: Feel free to ask any questions. And of course scan through the gameplay and discussion thread and see if the group and my GM style works for you.

Thank you for considering this game.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

1 person marked this as a favorite.

This is a newish city-building/survival sim that takes place in a Steampunk world that is experiencing an ice age. Anyone else playing it?

I picked it up off GOG. The game's aesthetics are gorgeous without being overdone. Pretty good mechanics, with a unique and well realized setting.

It is rather challenging, and it kind of throws you in feet first, so it took me a few restarts to realize what I needed to be doing from the get go. It's one of those games where the ramifications of your early choices can hit you in the ass well after you stopped thinking about that choice. But I appreciate that it makes you think hard about your choices, and the difficulty is indeed in the events of the game itself, not false meta-gameplay crap that just makes things frustrating--i.e., it's hard because you have a lot to manage and keep track of, not because it stops you from saving the game at certain times or something.

What I really like is the focus on the people/workers you are controlling. People aren't just resources, they have opinions and feelings and it's a big deal when people get sick or die or whathaveyou. While it has all the usual stuff you have to manage in terms of resources--food, building materials, fuel, etc.--the main thing you have to keep an eye on is hope vs discontent. The one gets too low and the other gets too high, the result is the workers you've been managing exile or kill you. (What I like is there's nuances in that. If you just managed things poorly but tried to make compassionate decisions, they exile you. If you're a megalomaniacal jerk they execute you in the worst way possible, and so on.) You have to make some hard decisions, and know that a) you can't please everyone, and b) something that may make people happy in the short term may cause problems in the long and vice versa.

There are several ways of doing things and there's no one right way to do it (though I think there's probably definitely some choices that make things harder than others in some ways--it's all about balancing pros and cons).

In addition to the city building there's also an exploration mechanic that feeds into the gameplay, offers some variability in what happens, and adds story elements to the game.

My only complaint is that it is a HEAVILY micromanagey game that yet does not give you enough feedback on movements of workers and the feedback of where they go and what they do could be better (i.e., if someone dies, you have to click around a bit to figure where you need to reassign a new worker). You assign jobs by clicking on each individual work site (mine, food production site, etc.) and the total population counter doesn't show you how many free workers vs engineers you have, which is really frustrating. I wish it had something like Banished's system where you can assign people on a single control panel rather than via each individual building (which gets overwhelming when your city gts bigger)---so say, you want 30 people to be resource gatherers, if a resource area depletes, the people working there will automatically move to the next area to be mined rather than having to reassign them. And ergo, when you need more hunters rather than resource gatherers, you could just mark that on the control panel rather than each building, and the new hunters would just report straight to a hunting hut rather than having to transfer back and forth. I'd like it that you could still reassign them more specifically as needed (e.g., okay, so let's put more people on coal vs steel), but I hate constantly having to move and re-move people around as your facility gets bigger and you need to constantly shift your priorities to different developments.

Still I highly recommend it, especially if you like management/simulation stuff with a twist, and you want a challenge.

I'm still trying the first scenario (which you have to progress through a bit before you can unlock other ones). There's several scenarios apparently with some different focuses on what you're trying to do. I believe they are adding additional scenario and gameplay modes in free updates.

If you do get the game, three pieces of advice:
- Build a workshop immediately
- And otherwise, do NOT wait for the tutorial or in-game events to guide you as to what you need to build or do. Click around on the interface and see what you can build, research, and enact regarding laws. Outside of some obvious quest/story or similar events, if the game is prompting you to do a thing, you're probably being too slow on the uptake and should have already had that thing handled. There is going to be stuff you miss, but much of the challenge of the game is anticipating problems before they arise rather than having to patch a problem after it's occurred.
- Pay attention to the timeline/calendar of days on the top of the screen. It will tell you when temperature increases and drops are going to happen.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Hi there,

Order 4775684 has supposedly not only shipped, but also reached the post office in my city on March 27. It still has not arrived. I have my packages shipped to my office, and our office building's post office has not seen it yet. I did receive a different order from around the same time about a week ago.

Is there anything you can do on your end to check its status?

If I never get it, is there any recourse I can take?

Your assistance is appreciated. Thanks.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Also getting contributor copies of Planar Adventures, so please cancel my RPG line subscription.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

7 people marked this as a favorite.

So, I’m bored and I want to do some world building. Why not do it here? No point in doing anything these days unless you can open yourself to people on the Internet telling you you’re doing it wrong. Ah, but in seriousness, this way I can use the dieroller and keep myself a bit accountable. Maybe.

I am in part inspired by all the random generation threads here, so I am liberally and blatantly stealing from them. Some of those threads were all nice and collaborative and group-creative and I’m here largely to selfishly play in my own sandbox. In public. Did I mention I was bored?

So, I’m going to make a randomly generated campaign setting for Pathfinder.

I’ll generate the world starting off with Mikaze’s rules here:
http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2ng5v?Worldbuilding-Exercise-Get-5-Random-Races #1

(Oddly enough that 5-year-old thread just got necromancied recently.)

Aim is probably a smallish setting. It may not be the whole planet, but a continent, a “known world of.” That allows for growth later.

I’ll then develop the setting’s pantheon, in part using Silent Saturn’s method here:

After that, I’ll get to the setting’s most prominent settlement, using Dasrak’s guide as a place to start (though obviously limiting races to the races from the world):

Time and interest permitting I might generate more than one settlement.

For the most part I’ll be rolling dice and developing here on this thread, to keep myself honest. However, when it comes to nitty gritty details, I might run over to Seventh Sanctum to get some weird randomly generated gewgaws, and or Archives of Nethys’s random item generator, or a random NPC generator from any number of the ones on the web to get prominent NPCs for the settlement. It’ll probably be awhile before I get there anyway. Depending on how long this interests me, I might even get to generating prestige classes or some such.


  • While I intend largely to stick with what I get the first time, I reserve the right to reroll in the case of unnecessary duplicates or impossible contradictions I don’t want to deal with. I may also reroll in the case of specific complications; e.g., the setting generator includes IP-protected races; if I roll an IP-protected race I’ll probably reroll or chose a suitable OGL alternative.
  • This is my project. I am open to feedback, but I’m, selfish though it may be, not looking for collaboration. I reserve the right to accept or ignore suggestions as I see fit. If I do use someone else’s idea, I’ll give credit where it’s due. Pointing out mistakes and inconsistencies is fully welcome. Pointing out what I do well/get right is also of course welcome. MOREOVER: you’re welcome to offer additional challenges (“randomly generate allowed classes!”) or whatever; I may choose to take them or not. Random questions, comments, etc. welcome as long as it’s not terrifically derailing or unpleasant.
  • I reserve the right of creative license to adjust races, histories, etc. and also to add additional random die rolls to determine various things as needed. If something isn’t working out or making sense even though it did initially, I’m allowed to change it.
  • This’ll last as long as I’m interested in it, which could be till tomorrow, or several years from now.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

I hadn't realized Book of the Damned was in RPG Subscriptions, and got auto ordered without my realizing it a couple days ago. I'm going to get contributor copies of this, so I don't need a third one!

The order's been placed, but because my bank conveniently swapped out my credit card because of a dodgy online vendor, the payment information failed because the number in the system is the old card. Is it possible to cancel the order since I haven't paid for it yet?

I do want to keep the subscription for Ultimate Wilderness.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

9 people marked this as a favorite.

Well, this is a nice reason to come out from hiding/the PBP boards, if briefly.

So if you see this, anon: thank you for the gift certificate. So very kind and a nice surprise! I didn't see the notification about it until today. (And if I've somehow misunderstood what the gift was for... ah well.)

And while I'm here, a sweet solstice, happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, joyous Kwanzaa, wonderful last half of December, and happy New Year to all. *hugs*

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

As the subject line, please cancel my subscription (I think I'm getting the next one as a contributor copy). Thank you!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

I'm looking at the voting page, and it says (copy pasting directly from the page):

Chris Lambertz wrote:
Vote for your favorite RPG Superstar contestants–you can select up to two candidates. You can change your mind anytime until voting closes Sunday, October 18 at 11:59 PM Pacific time.

Copy pasting the time stamp, it says the current time is:

The current time is Sun, Oct 18, 2015, 06:26 PM US/Pacific

Which means the votes should still be open for something like five and a half hours.

But the poll says it closed six hours ago (meaning it closed at 11:59 AM instead of PM.

Am I missing something? (Besides my chance to vote?)

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I know I'm being a fuddy duddy, but I've been finding I want to vote less this year in Superstar because I've got this long string of "star voter" tags and don't want to make my title any longer than it is. It already feels cluttery to me. (The season 9 glitch just makes it worse.)

I am also proud enough--perhaps overly, I warrant--that I'd rather just have my Top 8 tag show up without any other things next to it to distract from it (save perhaps my subscriber tag, which got eaten by my top 8 tag due to some other forum glitch).

I know many RPGSS voters are very proud of their voting accomplishments, especially those who've reached champion and marathon, and this is not intended to diss those who've put so much time into the contest and want to wear their badges proudly. I'd just personally not rather have the voter tags.

Can they be removed? (Without borking anyone else's up?)


Ghoral-Rey + Land Battle Map + Ship Battle Map + Loot+ The Fearsome Tide and her Crew

From any number of ports in the world, whether fleeing from or toward something, you found your way to a life on the sea, on the privateer sailing ship Aurora’s Kiss. Your captain was a man named Golly Fleetfoot, whose jovial demeanor belied shrewd sailing skills. While you mainly carried cargo and fought the occasional sea monster, you battled pirates as well, although as the youngest members of the crew you had yet to see a good deal of action. Still, as mercenary mariners, many saw you as little more than pirates yourself.

Headed to Port Peril to turn in a monster bounty—only to find your ship accidentally caught in the middle of a battle between the Chelish Navy and the Free Captains of the Shackles—Cheliax had been trying to wrest control of the Shackles, and the Free Captains were successfully fighting them off. Flying no colors of your own, your ship was quickly presumed by both sides to be the enemy’s hired help (nor were you especially keen to assist, however accidentally, the Pirate Lords or the devil-loving Chelish). While Captain Golly skillfully steered the ship to the edge of the fray, avoiding the worst of the great battle, your ship was rocked by fireball blast from a formidable pirate ship with a dragon-shaped mastheard: the Wormwood. While your fellow crew scrambled to evade the ship, Captain Golly jumped to fire your ship’s one ballista and managed to seriously damage a chunk of the Wormwood’s deck, knocking at least four pirates overboard in the process. However, a huge Garundi man manually tossed a whaling harpoon at your Captain. The harpoon cleanly pierced him through the middle and nailed him to the mast behind. The mast shattered moments later, and as it toppled, your ship became unbalanced enough to capsize. Only you few made it safely to the ship’s lifeboat.

You managed to get to Port Peril, but with no Captain and no ship, you were stuck in the dangerous city with few trustworthy prospects and little plan of how to start over. Your letters of marque were damaged or lost in the scuffle. After a week of looking for reliable work—and failing—you’d sought solace in some grog and gambling at the Formidibly Maid Tavern. One evening, before heading back to your boarding house while tired, disheartened, and probably a little drunk, you were caught unawares by the five thugs appearing out of nowhere in the alleyway. While you fought as best as you could, you had little useful gear on you and were unable to gain advantage. The leader of the five, you recall, was notably fast and hit hard. Overwhelmed by your foes, unidentifiable due to bandanna-masks and the shadows around you, the last you remember is more sap-blows to the head and darkness.

Ghoral-Rey + Land Battle Map + Ship Battle Map + Loot+ The Fearsome Tide and her Crew

From any number of ports in the world, whether fleeing from or toward something, you found your way to a life on the sea, on the privateer sailing ship Aurora’s Kiss. Your captain was a man named Golly Fleetfoot, whose jovial demeanor belied shrewd sailing skills. While you mainly carried cargo and fought the occasional sea monster, you battled pirates as well, although as the youngest members of the crew you had yet to see a good deal of action. Still, as mercenary mariners, many saw you as little more than pirates yourself.

Headed to Port Peril to turn in a monster bounty—only to find your ship accidentally caught in the middle of a battle between the Chelish Navy and the Free Captains of the Shackles—Cheliax had been trying to wrest control of the Shackles, and the Free Captains were successfully fighting them off. Flying no colors of your own, your ship was quickly presumed by both sides to be the enemy’s hired help (nor were you especially keen to assist, however accidentally, the Pirate Lords or the devil-loving Chelish). While Captain Golly skillfully steered the ship to the edge of the fray, avoiding the worst of the great battle, your ship was rocked by fireball blast from a formidable pirate ship with a dragon-shaped mastheard: the Wormwood. While your fellow crew scrambled to evade the ship, Captain Golly jumped to fire your ship’s one ballista and managed to seriously damage a chunk of the Wormwood’s deck, knocking at least four pirates overboard in the process. However, a huge Garundi man manually tossed a whaling harpoon at your Captain. The harpoon cleanly pierced him through the middle and nailed him to the mast behind. The mast shattered moments later, and as it toppled, your ship became unbalanced enough to capsize. Only you few made it safely to the ship’s lifeboat.

You managed to get to Port Peril, but with no Captain and no ship, you were stuck in the dangerous city with few trustworthy prospects and little plan of how to start over. Your letters of marque were damaged or lost in the scuffle. After a week of looking for reliable work—and failing—you’d sought solace in some grog and gambling at the Formidibly Maid Tavern. One evening, before heading back to your boarding house while tired, disheartened, and probably a little drunk, you were caught unawares by the five thugs appearing out of nowhere in the alleyway. While you fought as best as you could, you had little useful gear on you and were unable to gain advantage. The leader of the five, you recall, was notably fast and hit hard. Overwhelmed by your foes, unidentifiable due to bandanna-masks and the shadows around you, the last you remember is more sap-blows to the head and darkness.

Visitors and Players alike: please do not post anything in this thread yet. Thank you.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Hi, I ordered a Seedy Tavern Flipmat on order 3489306. It was put into my sidecart to ship with my next subscription shipment.

I've gotten notice that my subscription order (Pathfinder Unchained) shipped on order 3496406 --- but the notification sent to my email says the shipment ONLY contains Pathfinder Unchained and nothing else. If I click on order 3496406 it likewise says it shipped by itself.

But if I click on order -306, it says that the flip mat DID in fact ship with Unchained.

I realize it may make sense to wait until the order arrives and see what's actually in it, but I wanted to point out that this is both uncertain and confusing. If you could please verify what HAS indeed shipped, I would appreciate it. I would also like to be sure that if the flip mat has NOT shipped that it does escape the sidecart eventually. :) Any help you can offer is much appreciated. Thanks.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

The Crystallized Shrine
As the earth slowly shifts and mystic forces twist the Darklands, a subterranean river in northwestern Nar-Voth has gradually drifted and drained, evacuating caverns and leaving behind new places to explore. Recently, in an area a few miles from the troglodyte complex of Kuhvoshik, the river has lowered enough to reveal a scintillating crystal cavern—and a xulgath ruin, a relic of the troglodytes’ progenitors. The ruin is a sacrificial shrine to an ancient Abyssal creature. This shrine is only the top of a ziggurat, but the rest of the temple remains buried. The crystal deposits that have grown upon it while it was submerged stretch and distort the ancient, horrific image of the beast etched upon the altar, ominously emphasizing that the ancient power once served here is not, perhaps, entirely put to rest; indeed, cavern is rapidly filling with a strange, magic-distorting energy. Troglodytes scout the area in hopes of reclaiming their ancestors’ property. Deadly predators also seek out the shrine, intending to devour the curious and gain power from the shrine’s corrupt energies.

The Crystal Maw (CR 10)
Acting on the reports of traumatized and severely battered Pathfinder Society scout, the PCs are seeking out the shrine to investigate and to destroy the altar before its corruptive energies grow. What the PCs learned from the scout is only that teleportation seems to fail, that other magic in the area gets “twisted” and that this effect is spreading, and that “the crystals will eat you.” They enter at area A.

The damp tunnel you have been following finally widens into a broad, echoing cavern filled with a faint stench of river slime. The eerie glow of red crystals dominate much of the cavern and reflect dazzlingly off the river. Ahead, past a stone column, the silhouette of a stone terrace topped by the altar you are seeking rises up, encased in more glowing red crystals that uncannily reflect the shape of a giant, fanged mouth carved into the stone eons ago.

The area is unlit save by the red crystals, which emit dim light out to 10 feet.

The tunnel and cavern’s gray stone floor is considered a natural stone floor (Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook 412). Beyond, the shrine’s brown floor is considered ordinary dungeon floor. All the cavern’s floors, walls, and ceilings are wet and coated in slimy flora (+5 to all Acrobatics and Climb DCs).

Red crystals on the floor cost four squares of movement to move into and deal 1 point of slashing damage per square moved through. If a creature is bull rushed or otherwise thrown into the crystals along the wall, it takes 1d6 slashing damage. The crystals are too numerous to effectively remove from a square by non-magical means, though small pieces may be broken off (10 hardness, 15 hp/inch of thickness). Broken red crystal becomes a chunk of oddly colored quartz; its glow fades within the hour.

The edge of the nearby river is five feet wide and, while the water is only one foot deep, it is very slippery, requiring creatures who move through the area to attempt a DC 13 Reflex save or fall into the deeper part of the river. Beyond the edge, the river drops off to a 30 foot depth, which is undiscernible from the surface. The slow waters conceal unpredictable currents. Should a creature enter the deep water, it must attempt DC 20 Swim checks to stay afloat and maneuver.

The stone altar is on a platform 10 feet above the floor. Outside the stairs, climbing the platform requires a DC 20 Climb check.

In area B, blood is spattered on the floor. A DC 20 Survival check reveals there was a fight roughly a day ago between several reptilian humanoids and a large, oddly shaped creature. There are no signs of any bodies.

Creatures: Drawn to both the crystal environment and the shrine’s dark, corruptive energies, a geomaw has recently settled in. The red crystals grant the geomaw a +5 circumstance bonus to Stealth checks and the geomaw can move through the crystals unhindered. While the geomaw is adjacent to the crystal, its blood lantern ability extends to a 40 ft. radius and the Will save DC increases by +2. While the geomaw recently enjoyed a meal of troglodyte scouts, the altar’s influence has enhanced the geomaw’s hunger and it is ready to feed again. It hides amidst the crystals in area C (DC 40 Perception check to notice), ready to ambush anything that comes near. It is aware a troglodyte scale-rider and its mount retreated and saw that troglodyte lay its trap, but the geomaw had been too busy digesting its comrades to stop it. It has since lost track of the scale-rider and prefers to wait for new prey.

Geomaw CR 7
XP 3,200
hp 85 (R3)
Tactics: It will ambush the first PC it perceives, hoping to swallow it and activate its blood lantern ability. If surrounded, will try to position itself or use combat maneuvers to drive foes into crystals or toward the exploding crystal trap.

The surviving troglodyte, along with its giant chameleon mount, hides just west of the main cavern (area D). It cannot be tracked back to its position because of its favored terrain ability. Afraid of both the geomaw and returning to his clan-priest to report failure, he has remained in hopes something else may come along and kill the geomaw. The scale-rider laid a trap near the altar to cover his retreat and use against intruders.

Troglodyte Scale-Rider CR 6
XP 2,400
hp 69 (Pathfinder RPG Monster Codex 216)
Tactics: The troglodyte will attack only if the PCs or geomaw--or both--appear sufficiently weakened. He most likely will attack the PCs as soon as they dispatch the geomaw, before they have a chance to regroup. If the trap has not yet been discharged, he will try to draw the PCs toward his trap with taunts. The troglodyte can also set off the trap by throwing a javelin at it (versus AC 5), which he will do if the PCs appear to notice and try to disarm the trap. If the tide turns quickly against him, he may surrender, preferring to beg the PCs’ mercy over his clan-priest’s.

Lizard, Giant Chameleon CR 3
XP 800
hp 20 (34 maximum) (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 3 186)

Hazard: The shrine emits corruptive energies that twist and obstruct magic, and this power is slowly growing.

The Blood Altar’s Blight (CR 3): The evil energies emanating from the altar have turned the entire cavern into an area of minor spellblight (Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Magic 94). Also, throughout the cavern, all conjuration spells have a 50% chance of failing, except for conjuration (summoning) spells with the evil subtype, which function normally. This failure chance also affects creatures trying to teleport into the area; they are bounced to their starting location if they fail, taking 1d6 bludgeoning damage. Checking for spell failure happens after the caster attempts a save against spellblight.
Ending the blood altar’s blight requires destroying the altar—fortunately, the altar is hollow because of the monster’s maw. The altar, including the crystals encasing it, has 10 hardness and 500 hit points. Magical effects such as soften earth and stone are effective. Once the altar is destroyed, conjuration magic immediately no longer fails, but the area of minor spellblight takes three days to dissipate.

Trap: The scale-rider has rigged this trap (trigger area marked T on the map) to blow if any creature nears the altar’s platform or if the scale-rider triggers it, spraying dislodged crystals into the targets.

Exploding Crystal Trap CR 6
Type mechanical; Perception DC 25; Disable Device DC 29
----- Effects -----
Trigger location; Reset none
Effect explosion (1d6 fire damage plus 2d6 slashing damage), DC 20 Reflex save for half damage; multiple targets (all creatures in a 5-foot-radius burst)

Development: If the PCs destroy the altar, a passage is revealed that, if cleared out, leads to the temple below. If the troglodyte scale-rider surrendered to the PCs, he refuses to lead them to his clan and prefers death before revealing this information. He may negotiate for his services as a guide and provide what little he knows about the altar: that it is an ancient shrine to a qlippoth lord--and that destroying the altar has likely aroused its ire.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

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The rear limbs of this elk-sized insectoid loop into a large chitinous sphere. The creature swiftly propels itself forward on this “wheel” while scanning the area with glittering eyes for new prey.

Spiroskek CR 6XP 2,400
NE Medium magical beast
Init +8; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, tremorsense 60 ft.; Perception +12

----- Defense -----
AC 19, touch 14, flat-footed 15 (+4 Dex, +5 natural)
hp 69 (8d10+24)
Fort +9, Ref +10, Will +6
Defensive Abilities wheel barbs; Immune poison, disease

----- Offense -----
Speed 40 ft., Climb 10 ft.
Melee bite +12 (1d6+4 plus bleed), 2 claws +12 (1d4+4)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks bleed (1d6), monstrous momentum
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 8th; concentration +11)
At will—silent image (DC 14)

----- Statistics -----
Str 18, Dex 19, Con 16, Int 9, Wis 14, Cha 17
Base Atk +8; CMB +12; CMD 26 (30 vs. bull rush, drag, reposition, and trip)
Feats Combat Reflexes, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Nimble Moves
Skills Climb +12, Perception +12, Stealth +10, Survival +4 (+12 when tracking); Racial Modifiers +4 Perception, +8 Survival when tracking
Languages Aklo (cannot speak), Spiroskek (clicks and gestures)

----- Ecology -----
Environment underground (Darklands, Nar-Voth)
Organization solitary, pair, or nest (3–6)
Treasure standard

----- Special Abilities -----
Monstrous Momentum (Ex) While a spiroskek’s wheel-limb can push the creature forward on its own, the spiroskek can push off with its forelimbs, giving it extra momentum while running or charging. If it activates this ability when charging, it can move up to triple its base speed. If the spiroskek successfully hits during this charge, it can immediately attempt either a bull rush or an overrun combat maneuver at a +4 bonus to the check; this does not provoke an attack of opportunity. If using monstrous momentum while running, the spiroskek moves up to six times its base speed and does not provoke attacks of opportunity. This effort renders the spiroskek staggered during the following round.
Wheel Barbs (Ex) The spiroskek’s wheel-limb is covered in tiny barbs that lay flat while it moves but spring out reflexively in order to help keep the creature upright. These grant the spiroskek a +4 bonus to CMD versus bull rush, drag, reposition, and trip maneuvers, and to Acrobatics checks to avoid falling on slippery terrain.

Wise Darklands-dwellers learn to listen for—and flee from—the faint, eerie “skek-kek-kek” noise that a spiroskek's “wheel” makes when turning rapidly. These purplish-black carnivores of Nar-Voth prefer hunting intelligent prey for the challenge such creatures provide. Certainly, generations of devouring derro, fey, and duergar has caused the spiroskeks to develop improved stamina and a little mystic skill. Spiroskeks enjoy hunting through tricks and ambushes, using their silent image ability to change terrain slightly to confuse a chased target, conceal ambushes, and steamroll prey onto hidden jagged rocks or pits. Many spiroskeks dwell in tunnels near slaver paths to target slaver sorties, as some meat arrives pre-captured. Other spiroskeks have developed a taste for fey and patrol treacherously close to the Endless Gulf in hopes of catching a denizen of the Court of Ether. Such fey-eating spiroskeks sometimes gain bizarre colorations or mutations due to their unusual diet. Spiroskeks are intelligent but have little culture; they communicate in a language of mandible clicks and bodily gestures, which they use to give warnings and exchange tales of successful hunts. Normally loyal to their nest, spiroskeks consider other creatures, even other rival spiroskeks, either enemies or prey.
Spiroskeks are 5–6 feet tall and weigh approximately 170 pounds.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

I am a roleplaying game line subscriber. Two issues:

1- I do not want the Strategy Guide. In fact I thought RPG line subscribers weren't going to get that one? Someone told me the last time it was supposed to have been released. But I see it in my queue of items to be shipped in future. Can I skip this without unsubscribing or do I have to unsubscribe and resubscribe again? (If so, please unsubscribe me and I'll resubscribe later to get Unchained.)

2- A much smaller matter: My "roleplaying game subscriber" title seems to have disappeared (but my account does show that my subscription is active).

Thank you!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

6 people marked this as a favorite.

Town of Griffon Falls

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Aura moderate transmutation; CL 10th
Slot none; Price 36,630 gp; Weight 2 lbs.
This +1 keen sickle’s blade is always clean to the point of gleaming: no soil, blood, or other material ever stains it. The shining blade bypasses the hardness of any wood or vegetable matter, even that which is alchemically treated, a special material, or magical in nature. The wielder can use harvestweal as a standard action to automatically break free from the entangled condition, provided the condition is caused by plants, such as via the entangle spell or an assassin vine’s entangle special attack. If the effect causing the entanglement covers an area, this action does not dismiss the effect, but the wielder cannot be re-entangled unless she enters another square covered by the entangling effect. If the wielder is not entangled herself, she may free an adjacent, entangled ally under the same conditions.
While the wielder stands in a garden, barn, pasture, or farm fields, harvestweal cannot be sundered, nor can the wielder be disarmed of it.
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, diminish plants, keen edge, creator must have at least 1 rank in Knowledge (nature) or Profession (farmer); Cost 18,315 gp

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

I received a message the payment did not go through, so I double-checked my payment info and have corrected the entry.

However, when I went to enter the CCIV to confirm the card -- I got a message that, okay, payment is authorized, good to go--but then the window that asked for the CCIV showed up again, and I couldn't make it go away. I also want to note that the first time I put in the order, I wasn't asked to verify CCIV but kept getting asked to confirm my billing address -- (and I wonder if the declination was because I wasn't asked for my CCIV).

Could you please confirm payment is good -- and NOT, say, entered in twice or anything. If you need to reconfirm again, can I call you with my info instead? The store is definitely acting weird for me. What are your business hours? Thanks.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Just thinking about something for people who, for whatever reason, find themselves wanting to use unarmed strike (or fist weapons) as part of their combat schtick, if only as backup -- but do not want to level as/dip into monk or the upcoming brawler. I find a lot of people avoid unarmed strikes entirely because it's annoying to roll 1d3, but of course people often throw punches, kicks, etc. in a variety of situations and I wanted to make it be a more attractive option for those who wanted it, while still leaving monks and brawlers their niche.

This would be nice for the unarmed fighter archetype.

You pack a notable punch.
Prerequisites: Improved Unarmed Strike, BAB +1
When attacking with unarmed strikes, you deal 1d4 instead of 1d3 damage (if you are Large you deal 1d6 damage, if Small, 1d3). When attacking with an unarmed strike during a grapple, you add +1 to your damage (this damage multiplies on a critical hit).
Furthermore, when you attack with brass knuckles or cesti, these weapons also deal 1d4 damage instead of 1d3 (scaling appropriately for size).
Special: Monks and brawlers or other characters with an improved damage die with use their normal damage for unarmed strike, but gain the other benefits of this feat if they take it, including dealing 1d4 damage with brass knuckles and cesti.

I don't think it's too powerful, still lets the unarmed specialist classes do their thing (and can benefit them as well). It's not meant to be optimal or for optimizers (the boost of the die I realize statistically improves damage very minimally). It's just for people who want to feel more confident about getting into a good brawl without needing certain class levels.


Thanks in advance for reading.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Since I see Munchkin being plugged on the store blog today... as a heads up for International Tabletop Day this Saturday, I'll have a table at Amazing Spiral in Baltimore, MD, where we will be playing Pathfinder Munchkin. Great chance to try the game if you haven't before!

On the highly unlikely probability someone reads this AND is in the area AND wants to play board games on Saturday, Amazing Spiral is in Govanstowne on York Road across the street from the Senator. Look for Spider-Man. I'll be there roughly from 11-4. Their tabletop day event is 11-8. (And since it's across the street from one of the coolest movie theaters in town, you can also catch Captain America while you're there.)

Paizo, hope you don't mind the plug.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Please cancel my roleplaying game line subscription. Thanks.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

For the time crunched, would be a big help to have some pregen first level or so builds of the different classes.

ETA: And I just realized this should have been put in General Discussion. Sorry.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

1 person marked this as a favorite.

One of my on-and-off pet projects is making a revised, Pathfinderized d20 Modern.

I've expanded and renamed the base classes, and in a few cases split the classes into two (and/or made new classes). One case is the Fast hero, which I felt was quite broad.

One of the "fast hero" split offs is a class focusing on movement/mobility and has a sort of extreme sports theme. Members of this class would include (but are not limited to) excellent athletes, extreme sports enthusiasts (think mountain climbers, sky divers), free runners, and racecar drivers. I'm still tweaking the abilities, but they'd get extra movement, evasion/bonuses to saves versus certain kinds of damage (like from avoiding explosions and the like), and such. Talent trees would focus on acrobatics tricks, stunt driving tricks, and combat abilities pinging off of things like attacks of opportunity and bonuses to initiative.

I can't think of a good name for the class (and I think a good name would help me focus its abilities and theme further). I started off with "Athlete" or "Acrobat" but I feel like those are too broad and too generic. An earlier draft was called "speedster" but it was too narrowly focused on fast movement and it's also a dumb name.


Thank you.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Too often the crap going on in the world makes me feel jaded, so I'm really happy to see stories like this:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/127602-Batman-and-Captain-America -Rescue-Cat-From-Burning-Building

In a nutshell, two men who do superhero shows to help teach children about positive behavior happened to be nearby when a house caught fire. The one dressed as Batman was an ex fire fighter; they both ran to the scene to see if they could help, while the authorities were on their way. The only occupant currently in the house was the family's cat which they managed to rescue and save its life.

Costumed or no, it's nice to know there are people who will still selflessly think of others and try to help when opportunity arises.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

I JUST placed this. But -- and forgive me if I am misremembering -- I thought we could select an option to combine orders, so that, for example this would get sent out with my next subscription order. That didn't come up.

I would like this to be packed with my next subscription (which comes in October, IIRC) if possible.

If it is not possible, can I change my shipping option to UPS? I think it was like 8 cents more which I may as well be charged for the better tracking option. (And if it can't be changed that's fine.)

Sorry if I missed something obvious. Thanks!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

This may seem silly, but I just got my latest order, which was of three quite different-shaped things. Time was clearly taken to secure everything really well. I used to ship books so I appreciate the effort taken to package everything so well. Maybe it's small but I wanted to say thanks. :)

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Don't want to jump the gun with hopes and fears just yet myself, so for now I'm just gonna leave this here:


RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Got a lovely surprise with an anonymously gifted gift certificate on 1/29.

But oddly, took a look today and it says it's "already redeemed." But I only found out about it this morning (I didn't see the notification email until today) and haven't redeemed it yet.

I assume it might have already applied to my subscription/sidecart, but I can't find documentation of that anywhere. If so, it can stay applied to those things, but I'd just like confirmation that's what happened and that it didn't just poof away somewhere.

Let me know if you need more info. Thanks!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

1 person marked this as a favorite.

So, after reading some suggestions in this forum about how Mythic rules might be used as a substitute for "epic" rules -- i.e., a way of advancing "past" 20th level -- I decided to test a little and see how that worked and felt.

-- Yes, I know some people feel, including some designers, that levels 15+ are not intended for PC play. Others, however, feel the opposite and that if there are rules for it, one should be able to try to play it if the group is amenable, and do enjoy a very high level game. This post is for the latter folks' interest. It is not to suggest that folks should have to play very high level games or that this is the best way to use mythic rules, it's just something I wanted to try out, and I do not expect this to be of interest or use to all comers. For those who might be interested, I hope it is useful.

-- We started late and had a couple distractions (some of which were aged 3 and 5) so we didn't get to finish the playtest --- the final fight got missed. We got through two big high level combats and some other description, roleplaying, and general gaming stuff in a few hours which is pretty good, though, considering the massively high play level.

-- I am tired and thus rambly and apologize sincerely for any incoherent thoughts.

Adventure Notes:
-- Party was 5 20th level characters, a dwarf monk 20, human cleric (theologian) 20, human paladin (warrior of the holy light) 20, dwarf barbarian 20, and a halfling fighter 2/rogue 10/shadowdancer 8. Books used were Core, APG, UC, UM. 20 point buy, standard WBL (880,000 gp). Some of the characters had been used in previous campaigns and while they needed to be tweaked to get rid of some old house ruling (I didn't want to use house rules for a playtest), some of them do reflect a character built up from lower levels rather than one built for 20th play. We would have had an elf arcane archer but the player couldn't make it. Players were a wide variety of veteran to very new to Pathinder, though everyone had played some version of D&D before.

-- I structured the adventure based off the suggestions for adventure design/scaling the adventure in the Mythic playtest pdf. The story was different, but I even kept the downed sacred tree and the driving deific force being the god of nature (but in this case the god of nature was the one who gave the PCs mythic power, in order to fight the minions of a god of destruction). So it went like this:
--- 1st encounter: Mythic leader + Ordinary minions (Mythic fire giant from book plus sards from Bestiary 2)
--- 2nd encounter: Moment of ascension (communing with nature god)
--- 3rd encounter: Ordinary leader + Mythic minions (20th level cleric--from NPC Codex with different domains--plus several Agile Mariliths with some augmented stats)
--- 4th encounter: Skill challenge/hazard (big earthquakes and fissures and debris flying and such)
--- 5th encounter: Mythic big bad (Tempest Behemoth with 4 mythic ranks) (the fight that didn't get finished)

--- Adventure was outdoors in a sacred forest. A mythic fog limited some visibility and there would have been a bunch of weather hazards in 5th encounter.

-- Characters gained 1 mythic tier at 2nd encounter. They should have gained 2nd after 4th encounter but time prevented that from happening. Monk and Barbarian went champion, paladin went guardian, cleric went theologian, and shadowdancer went trickster.

-- We opted to ignore lesser trials, per one of the rules updates (which is good as honestly a 20th level character could meet most listed lesser trials without much effort and with no mythic abilities whatsoever).

Stuff of note that happened during play (spoilering the rest to keep this sane):


-- In the 1st encounter, the shadowdancer attacked the mythic fire giant on the surprise round with a vorpal kukri, rolled a 20, and beheaded it. Seems like a mythic creature should somehow not be so easily one-shotted -- at least not by a magic item rather than the awesome might of the attacking character. So ironically 1st fight was just a fight between non-mythic PCs and monsters, tried to get through it quickly to get to other stuff to actually playtest rule (I actually should have cut the fight short), the mythic monster was largely a non-entity. I don't mind creatures getting one-shotted--it's bound to be expected at high level especially, but not quite what any of us expected.

-- Agile mariliths held their own okay but had trouble hitting (hard to find creatures that I wanted for the scenario at the right CR). The second attack for the agile template is really useful and while an agile marilith would be brutal for a lower level party it was a moderate challenge for these guys, and actually MADE them a challenge since they could always try to move and still ultimately get a full attack. One thing is Paladin's allied defense ability forced one marilith to roll two dice for each attack -- that's 20 dice I had to roll for a full attack! Really not fond of mythic abilities (or any game mechanic) that make the GM have to do more work, especially in a higher level game where a lot has to be tracked and rolled to begin with.

-- Players used 1-4 uses of mythic power, all to activate abilities and not to modify die rolls. At 20th level they're definitely more "boosts" than massive bursts of power they might be for a lower level character on a mythic path.

-- In my opinion, best abilities I saw in action were the monk's champion fleet attack ability (I may be misremembering the name) and the shadowdancer trickster's surprise attack ability, which was of incredible use. These were great boosts but still reasonable for their level. I wonder if it is the same for lower level mythic PCs or if this "scales" okay regardless of level.

-- Generally speaking, the players and I agreed that the best abilities seemed to be ones that improved mobility and overcame action economy issues.

-- The paladin did have some swift action overload, as I have noticed others report as well (he managed what to do in what order per turn very well though).

-- No one died. One character got swiftly knocked from near-full to unconsciousness and another got pretty badly hurt. Healer characters kept on top of keeping people in fighting form.

GM Notes on Prep and Results:


-- I really like the idea of the quick mythic templates for quickly adding some mythic oomph to a monster. I DON'T like that most of the templates were for boosting defenses. Honestly, that was useless to me. The monsters I was using actually had pretty decent defenses on their own, and apart from maybe a few more hit points and AC, I had absolutely zero interest in wanting them to have additional immunities or DR or whatever (calculating DR is a huge pain when everybody's got multiple attacks; everyone in this game had +5 weapons meaning all DR was auto-bypassed except DR/epic and that was a godsend for helping combat go faster). What I DID really really want and had no way of getting was boosting my monsters' attack bonuses. The PCs all had very high ACs, as is to be expected, and the only way to get monsters who had high enough attack bonuses would have been to choose monsters whose CR was so high it would not have warranted making them mythic at all.
All the added defensive abilities do is drag out combat longer--a chore at 20th level and I know from past experience in normal games even in lower level combats as well. A few extra hit points, save bonuses, and maybe some magical healing is all that's needed if you really want a monster to survive longer (this is from my observations not just from running this playtest but from running a level 14-20 campaign that lasted 2 and a half years).
I don't honestly care if my enemies get dropped in a couple rounds (that's likely to happen anyway even with the defensive bells and whistles added), I just want them to have given the PCs a good scare and actually hit and damaged them before they die (or the equivalent with spells or supernaturala bilities). I want the PCs to have to use resources to fight the monsters, but I don't want them to just have to sit there and chip away slowly like a sculptor with chisel while the monsters sit there and get hit but can't do anything to harm the PCs in return (in a non one-shot, sensible monsters would just run in a scenario like that).

-- The guidelines for building a mythic creature using the full ranking system weren't very helpful for high levels. If you want to beef up a 22 hd creature, the suggestion to give them half their HD in mythic ranks was not useful as that would have been 11 tiers and there are only 10. Also, it automatically makes any high CR creature WAY higher in CR -- and again, if you want a creature that can HIT a party of a certain APL, you need to START with a creature of the appropriate CR or they won't be able to hit the party under the current rules, as mythic does nothing to boost attack bonuses. And yet adding half again their hit dice in mythic ranks would often make that creature too high a CR to be a suitable challenge.

So I took the "GM's discretion" option, and gave the behemoth 4 ranks, to the CR 26 or so I wanted it to be. It was powerful enough to be able to hit the party and do nasty things but wasn't ridiculous (by 20th level combat standards). And I think it would really just be okay to leave how a mythic creature is leveled to the GM's discretion.

Also, the first time I statted up the creature, I overlooked that I was supposed to give the monster mythic power beyond the boost the die roll. THEN, trying to come up with what the other 5 mythic powers should be was difficult. The suggestion to use the path powers as guidelines wasn't very helpful as they were very PC/humanoid/weapon using oriented. I looked at the sample monsters for ideas instead. I decided to boost some of the behemoth's existing abilities for the most part, including allowing it to maintain its Storm of Vengeance SLA as a swift action for up to 5 rounds and making a concentration check or spending a use of mythic power (storm of vengeance is duration concentration, making it a poor combat SLA for a big bad character--and I can't imagine what kind of fight would feature more than one tempest behemoth! So I thought if it could cast the spell and maintain it while also doing other things, that would make it much more impressively mythic). At the same time, I also felt like especially with such a powerful monster, that adding a mythic rank wasn't necessary except to allow their damage to be considered "epic."

-- I'd like to see some more simple mythic templates that are more offensively oriented but are very simple, and I'd like to see much better ways to boost a creature's mythic power. I also feel like adding mythic rank +1 abilities are too many and a little overwhelming when doing combat prep, at least without an easy list of abilities to choose from.

-- I'll reiterate from above that generally mythic powers that the PCs had that forced ME to have to roll more dice (attack and keep lower, roll miss chances, roll miss chances for crits, etc. etc.) were really irritating -- it's hard enough, especially at the high level we were going at, to keep track of a bunch of creatures and their abilities than have to roll extra stuff on top.

Player Feedback:


-- Many players felt they wanted more interesting "story" elements to mythic play. The mythic rules are heavily combat mechanics oriented with not a lot of stuff to either turn the tide in combat in a more narratively interesting way or use abilities outside combat to influence events. They felt that "mythic" should mean more than "kills something really well" and "hard to kill." More specificially...
---- One player mentioned the GameMastery Plot Twist cards as a cool way Paizo came up with for PCs to have narrative influence on a story. The nice thing about those cards is that they have some mechanical boost but also an option for a way to make the story flow differently. He felt that those had suitable "mythic" flavor and that he'd love to see something like that implemented into mythic play. While I know requiring owning cards for a mechanic would not be a good thing, maybe the ideas behind the plot twist cards could still influence another way in which perhaps a PC could use mythic power -- or they could at least be suggested as an option.
-- We also talked about using perhaps something akin to Fate system's fate points, where you can mildly change the environment or situation with the expenditure of a point. This would be a hard thing to govern--it is a very much a "GM's discretion" thing, but my players and I agreed that mythic works best "at GM's discretion" in general.
---- Another player mentioned Exalted as a good example of "mythic" done right, in her opinion (note: not mine). One thing she really liked from that game was the idea of "Stunts" -- you describe a really cool action, and if you do a good enough job of explaining it, you can get a bonus to rolls during your attempts to doing it. I actually feel myself Exalted has its own problems, but I agreed with her it did have a way of encouraging players to be creative, and that did help the game feel "mythic." I do feel PC creativity is essential to a system like this so that it feels like you are building legends rather than just handing the players a bucket of extra powerful abilities.

-- One player commented that she felt that the mythic abilities were interesting as a boost for high level but, in her words, "I can't imagine using these rules at low level, they seem way too complicated for that purpose. I wouldn't want to play a low level mythic game." This player was one who was less familiar with Pathfinder than others, but is a veteran gamer in general.

-- The players prefered abilities that gave a simple boost--an extra attack or bonus or a special ability that was easily moderated.

-- The players did not like the weaknesses and felt they were very unbalanced. They didn't mind the idea of the fatal flaw, but the implementation they felt was poor. A HUGE issues was -- how do you moderate what is an appropriate weakness based upon what strengths the players have to start with. For example, if a character takes School Aversion (EVocation) but has Improved Evasion, the effects are likely to hit him as often or as horrendously. Or, if you are immune to a certain kind of mind-affecting ability or all mind-affecting abilities, is insanity really an issue? This is especially an issue at high levels of course--20th level characters already have a mess of immunities and resistances, but this can hit even at quite low levels (a dwarf with a bonus to saves versus spells is less likely to be hurt by certain weaknesses than a human with the same weakness, and is that fair?). Can the paladin take hubris even though he is immune to fear?
It's also weird if the PCs take these weaknesses when they are already along in their adventuring career-- if you have spent 5 levels with DR 10/evil or whatever, and suddenly plain wood bypasses your DR, that seems strange unless it's explained well.
I will note the weaknesses that were liked were ones that were hard to avoid, like dependency (even if you don't need sustenance, you need the food to keep your mythic power) and generally ones that didn't contain the phrase "if you fail a saving throw..." or "versus x kind of spell"--those were the ones that brought up all the "but what if I am immune to...?" questions.
I'll also note I think the weaknesses that were taken were dependency, material weakness (3 characters took that), and furious rage.

Final Thoughts:
-- At 20th level, mythic does feel less "mythic" and more a mild set of boosts to an already near godlike character, which is probably of little surprise. I WILL note that I DO like the idea of advancing 20th level with mythic tiers because--as much as I hate adding defensive abilities to monsters--making PCs harder to kill at this level is a GOOD thing. The blessing and curse of such a high level of play is you can have one-shot-kills very easily, and the mythic tiers protect the PCs from that a little, and I think that is good. It also, again, helps PCs and monsters alike with action economy issues which is VERY helpful at high levels.

-- We all thought (I think) this is a good substitute for "epic" in contining the adventures of a 20th level set of heroes. It is less complex than epic, even if some players felt some of it was still too complicated, but adds some neat bonuses. You do still hit a hard edge of how high you can raise your CRs and add mythic ranks, however, because of PC ACs skyrocketing and monster to-hit, well, not. My players who especially like narrative play like the idea of mythic tiers advancing when suitable deeds are done, and I think that is especially good for such very high level play where really, you know you can kill a dragon by sneezing, so the point and goal is more how to build a legend out of it.

-- We all thought there is an important balance to strike between adding some power and cool mechanical options while not making the rules too complicated, and the mythic rules do lean a little too hard towards complicated at the moment.

I'm sure I'll have additional and hopefully more coherent thoughts later, and maybe some of my players will post as well. I hope this is useful to somebody. I can say, in final conclusion, that we did have a lot of fun, so the ultimate goal was achieved.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

This is clearly one of the most important American holidays:


I must find a way to celebrate...

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

I've got an old digital camera that someone gave to me for painting his Grey Knights several years ago. He himself won it in a contest so it wasn't purchased for anything particular in mind. It's an okay camera for everyday use but it's at this point outdated and the autofocus feature is both terrible and impossible to turn off. In combination with the bad autofocus, its macro function is persnickety--even after setting it to macro (the little flower), often pictures of minis I take turn out fuzzy, even when trying to follow all the wisdom for setting up a picture properly. If I take 10 pictures, maybe 3 will turn out okay.

I probably won't be able to get a new camera till Christmas time or so, but it wouldn't hurt to start researching now what would be good to get. I of course will be doing requisite googling and reading of pro reviews, but I wanted to know if any of you had any personal experiences of what works well for you.

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