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Thanks everyone for the suggestions.

Yes, we do have a very experienced crew of players, with at least three of us having played for around forty years.

Luckily for our newer GM, everyone is very supportive in general and we all help out by looking up rule issues and so forth to keep games moving.


As the title suggests, one of our gaming group members is contemplating taking on GM duties for the first time ever. Several of us have suggested that an AP may be just the prescription for his fever.

Our group finished Shackled City and I am currently running Kingmaker, so those two are out of the running.

I know there are other threads out there on this topic, but some of them were created before the publication of many newer APs.

First and foremost the AP should be fun for the players. Of secondary concern is an AP that is fairly easy to run, without too many complex mini-games, alternate rules, or complex encounters to make it really difficult for a novice GM.

Any suggestions are much-appreciated and will be shared with our prospective GM. Thanks in advance for your suggestions and reasoning.


The issues you describe in your posts are frighteningly similar to tactics used by my six year-old to try and get his way: "If you don't let me do X, I will do Y". The difference is that I call his bluff, while it appears that you have been backing down to his threats, so he has very little reason to end his approach.

So what if he does quit? Would you rather continue emasculating yourself? (And I mean "emasculate" in the non-gender sense as in, "I emasculated myself by caving in to the unreasonable demands of a player who uses brinksmanship to get his way, thereby encouraging the behavior to continue, and diminishing any leverage I had as GM").

Yeah, yeah, we have all heard you say that if you don't let him have his way, he will quit. So what? He is ruining a game. Why play at all if it is simply not fun?


Thanks everyone for the really good ideas. Some great food for thought for certain.


Those are some really good ideas. Anyone else have any thoughts? (And thanks much for the input.)


So our Lord of Darkness Antipaladin fell to the smiting blows of a Paladin and now he is deciding what to play next.

Our party consists of the following other classes (we are fifth level):

Cleric- fire/trickery domain. Focuses on channels, deception, calling undead to serve him, only real healer also. Good with bluffing and diplomacy. Good channels with high charisma.

Wizard Conjurer- focused mostly on being a controller with a bit of damage thrown in.

Rogue- skill monkey and backstabber moving towards assassin.

Bard (archaeologist) 1/Cavalier (daring champion) 4- dexterity fighter who is finally doing some really good damage with his cutlass due to slashing grace and precise strike deed. Uses antagonize for some control as well as being a good intimidator (order of cockatrice).

So the question is obviously, what build would you do were you in his position and given the current party make-up? Right now, the Daring Champion and the Rogue (sometimes) do the most damage, with the Cleric and Wizard throwing in a bit. Formerly, the antipaladin and daring champion were the main sources of damage.

Obviously given the adventure, we have created some pretty sneaky and deceptive characters. That is pretty well covered by the daring champion, the cleric and the rogue.

Thanks in advance for the ideas everyone.


Oh and do review the slashing grace and fencing grace feats. You may even consider a swashbuckler dip, but two weapon fighting can adversely affect them. Agile weapons would also be your friend along with Piranha strike. Double strike does not add dex to damage for offhand. Haven't seen whether it works with Agile or slashing grace (though it ought to imho).


Consider using a pet, riding it, and using a lance... Small characters can do a lot of damage that way. Feats include spirited charge and the like. Your character as described can work but will probably be sub-optimal (and I know you aren't trying to have the most OP build ever). Even with dex-based combatants getting some more love in recent years, it takes quite a few feats to make great. With that being said, if that is what you want go for it, as there is no rule requiring that you be optimized if you are having fun. Halfling would be the better small choice (Goblin even better) for a dex-based Ranger, but Gnomes are probably more characterful for the humor side.


As others have said, ancient lorekeeper oracle archetype gives access to a few sorc/wizard spells of your choice which is nice. Mine is a Time Oracle Half elf as it fits thematically with the ancient lorekeeper and it has some really nice abilities, including rolling 2xd20 for initiative. I will use paragon surge also and I took eldritch heritage to get a familiar, which really builds on the wizard aspects of the archetype. She also has a pretty melee heavy party like yours and contributes well without stepping on the toes of our damage dealers by healing and buffing instead of wading into combat too much. Really have enjoyed the character.


Zen Archer 4 the win-- good saves, built in feats, unarmed aofos, early built in feats without prerequisites, etc.


I stick with the idea of not permitting any items to be purchased that are worth more than half the wealth per level guidelines. For ease of bookkeeping, I don't change the price for buying and selling items, and seldom use diplomacy for purposes of haggling unless it affects the plot rather than just the cost of an item. I also try not to be too restrictive about item availability so long as it is level appropriate. Usually if they are trying to get something unbalancing I will just tell them they don't know the right people yet to find the item.


Doomed Hero wrote:
Because a character's reasons for doing things in game are the only things that make the story meaningful?

Think of it as acting. Would you consider it evil to play an evil role if you were an actor?


I agree that role playing and min-maxing aren't mutually exclusive most of the time and that it is a fallacy to assume that they are. However, occasionally I have seen some builds, especially with respect to choice of deities, that really stretch things to such an extent that they seem quite contrived just in order to try to make a character that beats the game.

With that being said, I have occasionally seen players put so little thought into their builds as to make them completely ineffective in the name of not caring about "winning". That just results in a meh character.

I also have a competitive personality, so I really cannot help myself in trying to win against the enemies and don't have fun not making tactical and strategic choices. Everyone has a particular style and particular preferences so there aren't any rights and wrongs, except for players that constantly refuse to be a part of a team and insist on always swimming upstream in a manner that ruins the fun for everyone else.


Pounce wrote:
If doing the above, could you not just use a cestus or spiked gauntlet for an always-on weapon? That should let you use it when something is close to you, and you can shift your longspear over into your buckler hand. Mind, using a buckler with a 2h weapon gives you a -1 to attack rolls.

I wish that I had thought of that! ;)


Use a cestus and you don't need QuickDraw and are always armed...


Kingmaker is also my recommendation. Players most definitely have more sway over the story they want to create. If you are worried about bogging down with rules, go over kingdom building with them and ask if they want to either do the kingdom in the background option or else do kingdom building on off days with those players who want to actively build the kingdom and learn the rules. My players have absolutely loved Kingmaker and not being railroaded.


I am running a Kingmaker campaign and can tell you also that a party face is very important in this AP. Good diplomacy and social interaction is highly useful. Your group is missing that unless one of the melee types upped these skills for some reason.


It seems mistaken to think that every evil character deems it necessary to kill every good person they meet. I don't think you have to attack your teammates, if you do it is your choice, not "what your character would do" because that is you choosing that path for him. A lawful evil guy may instead plot to use the naive good guys to his own ends.


TBH, sometimes the discussions are no longer really about the OP and become more of an abstract question of what you/me/anyone would do with that money and people do find it useful to read such discussions. So in that sense, whether the OP has or has not spent the money is immaterial.


Roll a bard Archaeologist, take the fate's favored trait, and then take lingering performance. Not comprehensive, mind you, but one way to get a lot out of luck.


Bard archaeologist- luck with fate's favored trait and later lingering performance is great. Plus 2 to most checks and rolls.
Monk Zen Archer- It makes the original class look that much weaker than it is (was if we count unchained).
Cavalier Daring Champion-Better than Swashbuckler class on which it is based. Gets rid of deeds that aren't good, keeps challenge, hard not to like.


I do believe that you may have stumped the boards. Though I would like to know if there are other means...


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Stealing and/or hiding treasure to me is the biggest red flag. That kind of behavior just needs to stop. Tell him that directly and don't permit the canned response that he is "just playing his character". If you allow that, the rest of your group will probably quit.


It doesn't matter. Threads such as these are good for reference, even if the original poster long ago created the character.


Without having read the entire thread, has she considered a grapple build?

Also, I played a pacifist cleric in 3.5 and really had fun with him. He also took a vow of poverty. The other players loved him as well. The trouble in Pathfinder is that I don't know if you derive any bonuses for taking this most difficult path. In 3.5 being a pacifist had specific benefits, as did taking a vow of poverty. I guess your GM could always provide those bonuses to this player.


Moles, worms, sightless fish, mushrooms, assorted other fungi and endive, lots and lots of endive...


Yeah, if you hit them with the whole thorn river camp and the druid and the stag lord, it will of course be a tpk. If you divide it into two differnt encounters, they will each still be pretty tough for a second level group.

Perhaps have them meet the thorn River crew in the open field if they head north to Oleg's, and get ambushed by stag lord and his daddy the next time they head out?


All one-handed slashing weapons via slashing grace also are eligible...


You may also want to get combat reflexes here whatever you go with given how well that will work with opportune parry/riposte, which plays off your AofO's. Definitely take that as your signature deed since it is the one you will probably use the most. Also, don't forget to take the feat chain challenge once you qualify if you do go daring champion.


Inspired blade IS good, but you have to focus on using the rapier, and that doesn't appear to fit with this concept.


Have you considered cavalier daring champion instead? After a long review, that was my choice over Swashbuckler for the way of the wicked campaign. I have not quite reached fourth level so I don't have deeds yet, but I do not regret it.

By the way, have fun with Kingmaker it is really fun!


Aren't most restrictions on free actions up to the GM? As in, "no you may not take a fourth free action this round".


Agree with the above analysis about the daring champion being better. And two words: chain challenge.


Reactionary is a great trait choice... Always good to go first.


Eldritch Heritage Sylvan grants it- no?


Agreed you are giving up too much damage potential. Other Martials twf better.


A good GM should be ok with immediately agreeing to change a ruling if it is just wrong per the rules. Otherwise, ego is getting in the way of fairness.

A good player needs to know when it doesn't matter and when a ruling is wrong and it matters, to bring it up.

Our group is very collaborative on rules and willing to quickly look up things, and as many others have mentioned, move on to keep up pace when a ruling isn't importanat or game-changing. We pretty much respect the GM but there is an expectation that rules will be followed, and GM's don't mind being called on mistakes.

A happy medium.


Also an idea I am using on a daring champion: a one level dip in Bard (Archaeologist). Add the fate's favored trait and pick up lingering performance so you get more rounds of the luck bonus at +2 to almost everything. I am already really noticing the pump in damage and to hit at only second level and while I lose one in BAB the luck will be on most of the time and it exceeds the loss of one on BAB.


Don't forget also that in raising his strength to qualify for power attack he will probably need to pull back on dexterity some (or charisma) and those are much more critical to building a dex swash than strength (he has also apparently dumped Con pretty darn low, but I digress).


Oracle is a good choice. Archaeologist Bard may also help fulfill your stated fondness for "trickster" characters while still offering some healing and being able to help with traps.


A bard would also be great. You've got a lot of melee and could get UMD to be able to use all arcane devices you find. Haste plus Bard song would help your melee go through the roof!


Ooze licker wrote:
What about dirty trick manoeuvres? Don't you need dex for them?

If you use a weapon for the maneuvers and the weapon is subject to weapon finesse you would be able to use dexterity instead of strength, but it is not necessary as your question suggests. probably you would want to though, unless you are building a strength based Swashbuckler or Daring Champion Cavalier.


You gotta have precise strike if you are going to be throwing daggers as much as meleeing with them, no? This must have been an oversight.


Auspicious tattoo is another trait that gives a bump of +1 to will saves (human only).


x x 342 wrote:
How do you get 3 Feats at Level 1? The online ARG says Focused Study replaces Bonus Feat.

Bonus feat from being human, regular first level feat, and bonus feat for (presumably) taking lore warden fighter at first level.


Risky striker is a great feat for any Halfling melee-oriented character.


Thanks all for the words of wisdom -- very helpful!


Tengu has free proficiency with all swords and sword-like weapons. Half-elf can swap out skill focus for proficiency in any one weapon as a racial trait (though that is using a feat for another feat).


Vahanian 89 wrote:
If you are going to do a rapier then you need fenching grace! It adds dex to damage.

Agreed can't do without this or slashing grace with cutlass, scimitar or something else. I don't see how there is much difference besides weight and damage type as between the above given they all threaten crits in the same range and do the same damage ( and perhaps for the "feel" of the character).


Secret Wizard wrote:
Is 3pp allowed?

3pp? Do you mean third party publications? Not likely. Haven't checked with the GM but our crew generally has not used these.

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