Wildebob's page

RPG Superstar 6 Season Star Voter. Organized Play Member. 478 posts (1,008 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 3 Organized Play characters. 9 aliases.

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1. a cliff (up or down)
2. a hillside (up or down)
3. a stream/river
4. a natural bridge
5. a boulder-strewn field

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Hey! In an effort to level up my GMing, I want to spend some time focusing on using terrain features to make encounters more unique, interesting, and challenging. If you know a great source for ideas, let me know! Otherwise, let's start a list of terrain features that make encounters more fun! I'll give a few obvious ones to start...

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I got my books a few days ago and my feelings are mixed. The layout is terrific, the feat system being the same across many features (i.e. Class feats, skill feats, heritage feats, etc.) is cool, many things I'd houseruled from PF1 came through in PF2, and it looks more solid overall than I'd dared hope. I didn't notice any egregious errors that bothered me, and I'm a stickler for grammar.

That said, I REALLY don't like the art. My first read through of the Bestiary was very disappointing, I just wasn't inspired by any of the representations. It seems they went away from WR's more whimsical art style to a more realistic style that smacks of 5e. I miss the unique feel of PF1.

I also don't love the character sheet. 4 pages?! Sure, you don't necessarily need the 4th page for every character, but that's intimidating. I'm a veteran of RPG's and I really struggled with my first character, especially with the feats section on page 2(?)- I just didn't feel confident I was doing it right.

Anyway, these are just initial impressions, as the title prompts, but at this point I'm gonna take the ideas I like from PF2 and stick with PF1. Maybe after a few chances to play I'll be more converted.

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People HAVE their books already?! Lucky! (And I would have expected the PF2 character sheets by now, too, but I can't find them. How are people gonna be ready to play and, more importantly, RUN for GenCon?)

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Hey, all! I am an eternal student of the art of gamemastering. I love blogs like Johnn Four's Roleplaying Tips and Ryan Costello's Private Sanctuary. I'm looking for a good podcast that is almost a kind of lecture series on gamemastering. I've done some searching but haven't found too much that I've gotten into. Does anyone know of a good one? I'm not interested in actual play, as much, or product review. I'd prefer Pathfinder-focused but I'm open to other systems if the information is transferable. Thanks in advance.

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The IoPC wrote:
I'll likely be getting one of these for review on my YouTube channel. It is frustrating that they aren't including the pdf with physical purchases though.

I don't think they EVER have, unless you're a subscriber. If it's that big of a deal, subscribe.

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I haven't been able to find any mention of the shield piece that detonates being in Roslar's Coffer to begin with. Was it in some museum or on display in the town hall? The way I understand it, there has to be a piece of the shield that Tar-Baphon "overloads" in order to detonate, right? To blow up Roslar's Coffer, there had to be a piece there. Am I misunderstanding? But I also think I remember reading that he sent emissaries to collect them all, so maybe it was planted in Roslar's Coffer for the test?

I thought I'd have the party hired by the people of Roslar's Coffer to recover their shard that was stolen from its display case in the town hall by orcs or thieves. It would have to be a fake piece (since they were all collected) stolen then replaced by a real one for the party to return - the theft was a set-up. They could then return to Roslar's Coffer too late at night to deliver it so they take it to the inn with them to rest. It detonates that night before they can return it, explaining why they were close enough to have the obols stuck in their hearts.

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I'm kinda hoping someone "Paizos" Paizo. I don't mean that as a slight - I love Paizo. Paizo is in the business of selling books. But, just as 3.5 wasn't broken, just messy, out of tune, and fragmented, PF1 isn't broken either. It just needs a good cleaning up. I would much rather continue with this framework if someone else picked up the torch and forged ahead while Paizo takes a sharp turn with PF2.

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Ooh! House rules! One of my favorite topics. I'm a compulsive tinkerer.

9. Clerics spontaneously cast their domain spells, not cure spells. It's more thematic and it makes clerics less of a healbot.

10. Weapon feats (like Weapon Focus) apply to a class of weapons, not an individual weapon. (by "class of weapon" I mean the groups from the fighter entry) It's less restrictive to characters so they don't have to only wield that one weapon forever.

11. Combat Maneuvers only provoke an attack of opportunity if they fail, or if the target has a higher feat in that combat maneuver. I want my players to have dynamic combats, not hackfests. By opening up combat maneuvers as viable options, it makes for much more interesting encounters.

12. Use Evil Lincoln's "strain-injury" hit point variant. It makes most damage "strain" which returns after combat. Injuries are caused by crits, failed saves, or the final hit that drops you below 0 hp. These have to be healed. It reduces the 15 minute work day effect, speeds up play after a combat is over, and makes injuries more of a story element than a mechanical one.

13. I love the Wild Magic table from Pathfinder Unchained. I use that for disrupted spells, like from failed Concentration checks. Just fizzling is lame. These mishaps make it memorable.

14. This one's a bit more out there, but I allow my casters to continue casting after they're out of slots, but each spell cast after they're out causes an injury equal to 5 x spell level. So a sorcerer could cast bull's strenght (2nd) after he's spent, but he takes a 10 hp injury for doing so. It promotes the "yes and..." style of games where players can do cool things, but with consequences. It aligns with magic from literature better, too.

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GM 1990 wrote:

PF 2d Edition

Not this year....but next year with 5E OGL.

I hope not a full second edition...but I'm still quite hoping for some kind of sweeping rules clean-up and maybe some "unchained" treatment here and there. I don't believe the system is broken or outdated...just cluttered and inconsistent.

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I had the same DC 10 + 1/2 CL + Ability Mod idea (both for the simplicity and flavor that others have mentioned), and I ran it past James Jacobs once. His answer was a good one and a point I hadn't considered. He said the low level spells are SUPPOSED to be less useful later to reduce option paralysis. High-level casters have tons of spell choices with just 3 or 4 levels of effective spells. Make it 10 levels of effective spells and their noodle is cooked.

I still like the simplicity and flavor of the idea, but I see his point. The free Heighten Spell thing sounds like a decent compromise.

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For my part at least, I intend to remove AoO's provoked by movement only. Casting spells, drinking potions, etc. still provoke. Just not movement. But, Rycaut, numbers 1 and 2 on your list sound like great improvements to me. I would LOVE to see more Combat Maneuvers in my games. They make combat more variable and dynamic. I've house ruled AoO's from Combat Maneuvers away anyway.

Remember, this isn't my thing. Pathfinder already did it with the Beginner's Box and it made combat so much smoother and quicker. I am a fan.

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I really liked Paolini's depiction of caster duels in the Inheritance series. It was based on telepathy and mental defenses. A duel was basically just 2 wizards staring at each other, while internally they were sending "mental lances" at each other's mental defenses. Once one wizard broke through, he could read the opponent's thoughts and out maneuver any counterattacks.

That level of telepathy seems outside the scope of the game, but I like the idea of a mental wrestling match. You could create a Mental Maneuver thing comparable to Combat Maneuvers. Make it a Charisma-based opposed check. Winner gets to cast his spell. It would still have to be a readied action, but if you win, you get to cast YOUR spell instead of him. Maybe a feat could let you use your NEXT standard action instead of your PREVIOUS one (i.e. readied action).

Note: I really like Charisma as a force of will. Personally, I'd like to see ALL casting based on Charisma with maybe spells known or something based on Wis or Int. My point being, that's probably coloring my idea of how cool this would be and why I chose Charisma. Rules being what they are though, I could see an argument to use another ability for the Mental Maneuver bonus than Charisma. Also, There might need to be a Base Casting Bonus (ex. caster level) to replace BAB for a Mental Maneuver bonus.

This hasn't been playtested or anything. Just spitballing...

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You might look at Evil Lincoln's "stress-strain" house rule here on the boards. It's very similar to that, but it's hugely popular and it's been through a lot of playtesting, according to him. I am a big fan, though I've yet to have the chance to try it myself.

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Hope: I don't want a new edition of the game, but I would LOVE a rules clean-up. Several people have suggested a Core Rulebook reprint that includes errata, FAQs, reworked classes/rules (i.e. Unchained), and just a general decluttering and reorganizing. I love the game and see no need for a new one, but it feels very messy and fragmented to me.

Fear: I'm afraid that Paizo has nothing left in the tank that will interest me. To be clear, this is MY problem, not Paizo's. But with each passing year I see less and less released that gets me excited. Clearly my interests are more classic fantasy and Pathfinder has given us terrific content for that. As things move now into more diverse genres, I just don't find as much that interests me.

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I don't like Damage Reduction. It's a pain to track - my group forgets it half the time until halfway through combat. And when we DO remember, the added math slows down the game. It's messy keeping track of what bonuses overcome what. And a vulnerability mechanic already exists to build that theme into a monster. That's my reasoning - you may disagree - but merit isn't the point of the thread.

How do I eliminate it? My first thought is just dump it and give all creatures with DR extra hit points equal to their DR multiplied by 5. Then they have a vulnerability to whatever overcame their DR, like cold iron for example.

Help me think through ramifications, please. How messy would this get in terms of other rules and unforseen consequences?

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Morgrym wrote:
Knowledge (local)

I'm sorry, Morgrym, I'm not entirely sure what you're after. The fare looks pretty normal; a red stew with chunks of meat, meatballs on plates painted like the Moon, steak kabobs on thick, wooden skewers with veggies. There's plenty of beers being served in large, glass steins, too. You do a double-take as you realize that a few of the patrons are drinking a pale ale that is glowing a faint green.

Gibbs and his crew cheer loudly when they see Chellian move toward them. Gibbs shoves the younger man next to him hard out of his chair, sending him to the ground. Everyone laughs loudly, including the victim. Gibbs then pushes the empty mugs and dishes away from the spot and motions to the now-empty seat. Found ya a seat here next to me, girl. We all been dyin' to hear the story that made ya so tough. When Gibbs notices Morgrym, he jerks a thumb at another of his crew and shouts for him to vacate his seat for "the dwarf." Moments after you've sat, Zokar drops large mugs of the glowing pale ale in front of you both. Anything else for the moment, gentlemen? Miss? Master Dwarf? Can I get you any supper? The Corpse Chowder is fresh, the Wolfballs are howlin' good- Gibbs interjects, How many times ya gonna use that line, Zokar? Laughter erupts. Zokar scowls at him. -and the Vampire Steak skewers have fresh squash today.

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The only answer you need.

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Welcome and good luck submitting characters for this Carrion Crown pbp.

I don’t have tons of experience running or playing in pbp games. I’ve dabbled. I’m very excited about this and I have the very best of intentions, but I do beg a measure of patience from everyone. This is a casual game. I hope and intend to post daily, but may miss a day now and then. I expect players to post 5-6 days per week minimum. If I will ever be offline more than 2 consecutive days, I will try to inform the group. I expect the same courtesy. I know this is a slower pace than is “fashionable.” I’m trying to set realistic expectations. I’d rather underpromise and overdeliver than the reverse.

Carrion Crown is a classic horror adventure set in Golarion’s Ustalav – a Renaissance-era Slavic country analogous to Transylvania with a long history of oppression and suffering. There is some great information for character creation in the Carrion Crown Player’s Guide. I will favor character submissions that fit the setting and theme.

House Rules:

We will use the PFRPG rules with the following house rules:
- Everyone begins play at 1st level with hit points equal to their full Constitution score instead of a hit die, regardless of class, plus favored class and feats and stuff, if chosen. From 2nd level and on, roll your class’ hit die twice and take the better result. No one likes being too squishy.
- Everyone gets a free rank in a Profession skill of choice at 1st level. Give your PC some background and depth.
- We’ll use Evil Lincoln’s Strain-Injury hp variant. It’s easily found on the Paizo boards. It makes magical healing more special and thematic, and it eliminates wasting time and spells healing up after every, single tussle. It lends itself to pbp very well.
- Weapons normally affected by the Weapon Finesse feat (now called “finesse weapons”) simply work off of Dex instead of Str, even if your Str is greater. The Weapon Finesse feat allows you to add Dex to damage rolls, instead of Str, when using a finesse weapon. Some character concepts are just Dex-based, not Str.
- Combat Expertise, Deadly Aim, and Power Attack are no longer feats, but simply combat options. They may be done freely by anyone with the requisite ability scores. Also, Point Blank Shot is no longer a feat. It’s just a natural consequence of being closer to your target. Please, still declare when you’re using one of these options though, for clarity’s sake.
- The Improved [combat maneuver] feats no longer have as prerequisites Combat Expertise (Improved Dirty Trick, Improved Disarm, Improved Feint, Improved Reposition, Improved Steal, and Improved Trip), or Power Attack (Improved Bull Rush, Improved Drag, Improved Overrun, and Improved Sunder) because those feats aren’t feats anymore. I would love for combat to be more dynamic and cinematic than just a hackfest.
- Combat Maneuver attempts only provoke attacks of opportunity if they fail, or if the target of the combat maneuver has a greater feat in that maneuver than you. (no feat < Improved < Greater) Same as above, maneuvers make combat more fun.
- Creatures under a fear effect receive a new save each round to decrease the fear effect by one step. (shaken < frightened < panicked) No one, not even the GM, wants characters taken out for long. Shake it off and get back in the action.
- I will roll initiative for combat using the Combat Manager application and post the order. Everyone can post their action as they are able and then I will string them together into a cohesive narrative. I’ve never tried this before, but I hear it’s the smoothest way of doing it. This may mean I have to make some minor calls on your behalf (you attacked monster 1, but it’s dead now so I’ll just have you attack monster 2). It’s just faster than waiting for everyone to post what they rolled.
- I will use each player’s passive Perception score (10 + bonuses) at all times, UNLESS a player indicates that they are actively searching something or being especially vigilant for something in particular. It just keeps things moving smoother. And I’m not a stingy GM with searching stuff anyway. I’m not going to pull the “You did SAY you look there!” nonsense on you.
- We will use Hero Points from the APG. You’re heroes.
- I realize that this is a fair number of house rules. I have only included rules that I believe will contribute to the style of game that I would like to run. If you have questions/concerns with any of these, please, speak up.

Source material allowed: Core Rulebook and APG only. I’m sorry if that precludes your idea. I’m new to this and nervous about managing the game. I’d just feel better staying core.
The Player’s Guide for the Carrion Crown AP is required reading. It can be downloaded for free from Note: We will NOT be using the optional Harrow points mentioned in the CC Player’s Guide.

I will take 4 players.

Character creation:
- 20 pt buy. Max: 18, min: 6, after racial mods.
- Core races only - maybe I’d let a tiefling or something slide with the understanding that Ustalav is an insular and superstitious place. “Outsiders” are not well received at all. Being “different” will have a major impact on the game for you.
- Core and APG classes only
- 1 trait from CC Player’s Guide required. 1 additional trait from APG also allowed.
- Everyone starts with 150gp (class kits from UE allowed, if you like)


First Letter Received:

Dear friend;

I am reluctant to involve you in anything that may put you in harm’s way, but I fear that I have stumbled into a proverbial hornet’s nest. I haven’t the time to say much, but dark strangers have been seen around Ravengro and it appears that they have some interest in the ruined, old Harrowstone prison. While I can’t fathom what they would want with that creepy, old eyesore, I am deeply suspicious of their intentions. My best (and most feared) estimation is that the strangers are Whispering Way necromancers and that they are here to study whatever fell energies may still cling to that ruin.

My friend, I admit that I am fearful. While this may all be nothing more than the imaginings of a bored, old adventurer, what if it isn’t?! I must know. If it is the Way, they must be stopped. Anything that would interest them surely bodes ill for the rest of us. I am sorry to be so brief, but I know almost nothing, as of yet. I just wanted someone I could trust to know what I was investigating should the worst come to pass. I will send word as soon as I have more to tell. I trust you will exercise discretion with what I have told you. The Way are wily enemies. Farewell for now.

Your old friend;

Second Letter Received:

Dear Sir or Madam:

It is with deepest regrets and sincerest sympathies that I must write to inform you of the passing of Doctor Petros Algernon Lorrimor, heretofore “the deceased.” Funeral services are in preparation and interment at the Restlands Cemetery in Ravengro is scheduled to be carried out after the customary ten days of mourning. The honor of your presence has been requested at the funeral services and the deceased’s family has requested your service as a pallbearer.

Additionally, you are named and summoned for the reading of the deceased’s last will and testament. Please come with all haste that this matter may be promptly and appropriately resolved.

Professionally yours,
Councilman Vashian Hearthmount, Esquire, acting executor of law


As you round the small hill skirted by the southward road you’re travelling upon, a battered, grey building comes into play. It appears to have once been a very large, proud home which has since bent to the cold rain and long suffering of the region’s past. A bright, freshly-painted sign swings softly from a post in front of the gate with an optimism that seems very out-of-place in the gloomy dusk and drizzling rain. The sign cheerfully announces the Come On Inn…literally. When you come close enough to read it, the voice of a happy, old man – reminiscent of a sweet grandfather greeting his grandchildren – appears to come from the sign itself. “Welcome! Come On Inn!” Smoke pours from the chimney hinting at a warm fire and the mouthwatering smells of savory food surround the inn like a familiar blanket. Your longing to get out of the drizzle is compounded by the lure of supper and you quickly decide that this is as far you’ll get tonight. Ravengro should only be a couple of hours farther. You’ll still make it. You absentmindedly touch the pocket containing the two letters that brought you here (in spoilers) and feel another twinge of loss at the passing of your friend.

A moment after you knock on the door, a middle-aged woman answers with a welcoming smile. She’s a handsome woman with very kind eyes, though the lines on her face betray a life of toil and hardship. She sizes you up momentarily and then pulls you through the threshold. “Come in. Come in. We must get you warm. You’re hungry, I’ll wager. Should still be plenty of room at the table. This rain… Hope the Grey Lady sees us shivering down here. The Lady knows we suffer. But sit. Sit. Will you have the roast goat or the lamb stew? And we have a wheat beer, a pumpkin ale, or a red wine. What please you? It’s 4 silver for the room and 3 more covers supper and breakfast. You can pay, right?”

The common room is not so large as you’d have guessed from sizing up the exterior of the home, but that makes it seem all the more cozy. There is a large hearth of riverstones filled with a sizeable fire. In front of the hearth is a very large, heavy-looking oak table surrounded by matching chairs. Several of the chairs are already filled with fellow guests at different stages of their meals. Conversations pause as they look over to you.


Your application for the game will be done in-character. Jump in at this point and introduce yourself however you please. Feel free to interact with everyone else – I’m assuming the others at the table are the rest of the applicants, though you may fill in NPCs that might illustrate your PCs character. I will be using your in-character introduction and interactions to get a feel for your character and roleplaying style. I want characters (and players) who can cooperate and communicate. Show me.

In addition to your introduction at the Come On Inn, I would like a brief spoiler about you, as a player. Why do you want to play in THIS game? What’s your favorite part about RPGs? What do you hope for from this game and from me as a GM? There are no wrong answers. I just want to know my players. I look forward to hearing from you.

I hope to have a party chosen by Sunday.

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Well, I for one have always had the very best of experiences in all of my dealings with Paizo. I feel like more than a demographic when they interact and that speaks volumes to me. Obviously they don't have a whole staff at my beck and call, James doesn't call me for approval of AP outlines, and none of them know me as anything but a handle, but it would be unbelievably egotistical to expect that. Among companies with which I deal, they are the gold standard. And that's worth my loyalty.

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Cause I sure do!

Paizo is a company apart. They do business in a way that I wish everybody could or would. They hire great talent. They produce exceptional quality material. They support it very well. Their staff is very approachable and friendly (esp James Jacobs with his "Ask" thread), and they really seem to listen to their fanbase/clientele.

Also, recently I started a RPG club at the junior high where I teach and Paizo has gone above and beyond to support me in the effort...even making a donation that was more than I could ask for.

I feel like Paizo are my friends, though I've yet to have the privilege of meeting any of them in person. They truly are a company of gamers, for gamers. I'm just really grateful and they have my loyalty. [/gush]

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So, here's a thought.

Background: After running the Beginner's Box 3 times now, I can't say how much I love not having attacks of opportunity provoked by movement. The game is just smoother and faster and much less meta. (I hate watching someone take 5 minutes to plan out every, single square their PC will pass through to be sure they avoid any AoO's. So time-consuming and silly.) That said, I know there are people who enjoy that tactical movement aspect and the concept of a fighter so dangerous he threatens everyone who comes near him.

Suggestion: Only fighters can take attacks of opportunity provoked by movement. Otherwise, attacks of opportunity are no longer provoked by any kind of movement. Drinking potions and casting spells and all of that still provokes, but not movement.

This makes fighters slightly more dangerous in battle than a typical character. I originally thought of making AoO's provoked by movement a feat in my game, but this might be a justified class feature special to fighters. Thoughts?

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I like to think of lawful as logical and chaotic as emotional. Kirk and Spock are great examples, especially in Into Darkness. That was a textbook demonstration of Law (Spock) and Chaos (Kirk). Spock thinks things through to the most logical end, considering all relevant rules and regulations, and does what seems most appropriate and correct. Kirk loves, cries, lives for passion, risks everything for a friend, and acts almost purely on instinct. He still follows Starfleet code and the Prime long as it doesn't conflict with what he thinks must be done. Then it's of secondary importance.

This is not to say that all paladins must be emotionless automatons, like Spock, but when taking the oath of the paladin order, an individual accepts that there is a right way for things to be done and things must be done that right way. I would imagine that there ARE some paladins who are naturally chaotic, but they respect the oath and the order enough to overlay their nature with a lawful veneer. See, that's just a cool, rich character.

That said, I view alignment as actually being two separate systems that are crammed into one rule. Alignment for characterization and alignment for mechanics are completely separate topics. This, in my opinion, is why we see so much conflict. Some people see one side of the coin, other people see the other side. Alignment for characterization is vague and convoluted and a vast expanse of shades of gray. A character should be a character first and an alignment second.

Alignment for mechanics is very cut-and-dry. If you're good, the spell affects you. If not, it doesn't. That's where the immutable natures of the universe are brought in.

This is why, in my own games, the vast majority of creatures and characters are unaligned - they are free to develop their character however sounds most fun. If they want an alignment to help guide their thoughts and actions, then great...but there is no mechanical consequence or effect of that alignment. Creatures and character who are inherently associated with an aligned power (i.e. clerics, paladins, outsiders, undead) DO actually have an alignment for mechanical purposes.

For example, Steve the elf ranger fights against the local lord. Any chance he gets, he captures and tortures the lord's guards brutally and mercilessly. Steve is a bad, bad dude. However, detect evil brings up nothing on Steve. He is unaligned. Even a great red dragon is unaligned, unless it's also a cleric of Tiamat or something.

Bob the dwarf cleric of [insert good deity] is right up there with Mother Teresa. However, his character is irrelevant. It is because he is inherently associated with the powerful force of good and derives his power from that source that protection from good is going to work perfectly against him.

That's my 2cp on all of this. I doubt it's worth even that.

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The honest (but unhelpful) answer is: However many it takes to tell the story you want to tell.

I have been working on a setting that I sure hope to get to use one of these days in which there are a huge number of "gods." (The current number that I think sounds like a good number being 144.) I chose to do it this way because I wanted my players to get to make up exactly the deity they envisioned following. I'd much rather have the setting serve my players than vice versa.

When I actually set out to write my own pantheon for other homebrew settings though, I tend to favor smaller pantheons. I don't want to design a deity that I'm not excited about just to reach an arbitrary quota. A deity should be compelling for storytelling and inspiring for players. If it's gonna be lackluster, why have it? There's no rule that you need a deity for every alignment. Or every element. Etc. Write what makes you excited.

Since you asked for a number, I would say that I, personally, would aim for a number that has significance, like 7 or 13. These are numbers commonly associated with mystical ideas. Good luck. If you wanted to post your deities, I'd certainly read them.

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I'm gearing up to start a pbp campaign and one thing I want to do is establish the relationship with Petros better so that there's more intrinsic buy in there. I've written this letter as a teaser the players will get just a few days before the funeral invitations. I was hoping you GMs who have run HoH would read this and tell me if I may have given away too much. Thanks!

Letter from Petros:

Dear friend;

I am reluctant to involve you in anything that may put you in harm’s way, but I fear that I have stumbled into a proverbial hornet’s nest. Dark strangers have been seen around Ravengro and it appears that they have some interest in the Harrowstone prison. While I can’t fathom what they would want with that haunted, old eyesore, I am deeply suspicious of their intentions. I followed them up to the prison last night and, while they were nowhere to be seen, I discovered necromantic glyphs and sigils etched into the foundation. I dared not investigate further knowing the dark strangers could be anywhere on the premises. I will return tomorrow and attempt to divine their motives when they are gone. My best (and most feared) estimation is that the strangers are of the Whispering Way and that they are here to study whatever fell energies may still cling to that ruin.

My friend, I admit that I am fearful. While this may all be nothing more than the imaginings of a bored, old adventurer, what if I am correct?! I must know. If it is the Way, they must be stopped. Anything that would interest them surely bodes ill for the rest of us. I am sorry to be so brief, but time is short. I just wanted someone I could trust to know what I was investigating should the worst come to pass. I will send word as soon as I have more to tell. I trust you will exercise discretion with what I have told you. The Way are wily enemies. Farewell for now.

Your old friend;

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I've been kicking around an idea for my homebrew setting that gives wizards a spell that can mend flesh, but not actually restore life or anything. It would require a Heal check to mend the wounded organs, muscles, bones, and flesh correctly. It would basically be like surgery, but with magic knitting the flesh, not stitches. It could never be as good as a cleric's healing though because the wizard can't actually restore life energy, only mend the wound, and the victim must still recover from the procedure. And it would take a lot longer to knit the rent flesh layer by layer.

Mechanically, I don't know how I'd represent that though. Restoration of hit points tends to mean that some life energy was restored. You could argue that the spell stabilize already does something like this. Like I said, it's still a work-in-progress.

But, as to the OP, this is one way you could give wizards some healing without breaking the arcane-divine divide.

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In episode 157 of the Private Sanctuary podcast, Ryan points out a number of reasons why it makes more sense to have numerical enhancement bonuses to weapons and armor be a result of superior craftsmanship, not magic. This happens to fit very nicely into the vision of my homebrew setting. The purpose of this thread is NOT to discuss the validity of this idea, but its implementation. If you don't agree with doing this, great. I do. That's not the topic at hand here...

My question is this, if +x numerical enhancement bonuses were to come from superior craftsmanship ship instead of magical enchantment, how would you say that should affect the item value and, by extension, the crafting cost? Half the current cost? Leave it the same?

This would mean that a +1 longsword no longer overcomes DR/magic because it's not a magical weapon, just a superbly crafted one. Also, a +3 longsword will not overcome DR/cold iron because it's still not a magical sword...just an exceptionally well-made one. What is the ability of magical weapons to overcomes DR's worth in gold pieces? Also, any other ramifications that I'm overlooking?

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A lawful character believes there is a proper way to go about things, in this case involve the authorities, and that the manner in which something is done does matter. I would imagine a lawful character bringing the authorities with her on the "mission" or seeking to become deputized before going in. I could still buy lawful if the character had exhausted every conceivable avenue to get the authorities involved but they wouldn't budge, but at that point I might even say that the character realized the flaw in lawful thinking and shifted to neutral.

A good character could have done this and just not killed the thugs, but only subdued them for the authorities to come and collect them. Or maybe she could have drawn them out and then begged them to see the harm they were causing, effectively offering the chance for redemption. If the character had just happened to be passing through the alley and ended up killing her assailants in self-defense, then I'd call it neutral. But where she intentionally went in there with the intent to kill whatever riff-raff that took the bait, I'd call that evil.

Summary: I'd call it neutral evil. Regardless of her motivation, she wanted something done, something dark, and she did it. Not on a lark. Not to be disruptive. Just because she wanted it done.

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Skeld wrote:
By the end of Book 2 of WotR, I was beginning to feel like the homosexual relationships were forced for that AP.

I agree, Skeld. I personally have no strong feelings about other people's sexual orientations. What people do with whom is their business, so long as its consensual. Whatever.

But I couldn't help but roll my eyes a little as I read through WotR. Commendable effort, but a little heavy-handed.

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I know of an artifact in an AP that can cleanse an evil object, but I don't know if you want the spoiler.

Otherwise...wet/dry sandpaper?

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Bummer. Good luck, SKR. I hope the best for you.

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I like the idea and I agree with the premise. You've got some good ideas here that I'll likely assimilate into my own system, but it seems bigger and more complicated that I'd be interested in playing with, personally.

I use a three-rank system.

My System:
New languages are mastered in steps, not an entire language for each rank.

I. When you put the first skill point into Linguistics for a new language, you gain a rudimentary understanding of that language, meaning you must make a DC10 Intelligence check in order to understand spoken/written forms of that language and you can only speak the simplest phrases, and probably with a pretty rough accent.

II. When a second skill point is applied to Linguistics for that same language, you have learned the language and you can speak, understand, and read it without difficulty, but with a foreign accent noticeable by native speakers. Technical text and exceptionally flowery language (such as poetry) may still require a DC10 Intelligence check, according to GM discretion.

III. A third skill point may be put into Linguistics toward a specific language to attain complete fluency (even the most technical writing/speaking is understood) and to adopt a flawless native accent in that language granting a +2 circumstance bonus to Bluff and Diplomacy checks against native speakers when you speak to them in that language. This does not apply to “common.”

All characters start with “common” at rank II (there is no rank III for common) and their racial languages at rank III. Bonus languages taken at first level due to a positive Intelligence modifier start at rank II; however, a character can start at rank III by using up 2 bonus language choices. Linguistics still applies to attempts to make sense of script written in an unknown language, as explained in the Linguistics skill entry.

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Just last week, my party and I are in a dungeon filled with demonic apes and clerics of Demogorgon. We finish an encounter and then decide to move on. My party leader tells us all to move very quietly and carefully (Stealth checks). I immediately call out, "I start singing to 'inspire competence, +4 everyone.' My whole group just stared at me for like 10 seconds waiting for some sign that I'm joking. Sadly...I'm not. Then it hits me.

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Artistically: Meh. Who cares.

My opinion: I think Seoni's outfit is downright gratuitous, but that really only bothers me because I run an RPG club at the middle school in my VERY conservative community. I'm dreading a parent giving me a lashing for promoting that art. Again, I don't mind it...I just don't want to get yelled at for promoting it. It's a shame. I don't think the others are a big deal. Amiri has more clothes on than Pocahontas.

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Same reason America is always the morally sound hero in every Hollywood movie. No one wants to be on the losing team. No one wants to be the "bad guy." We may like playing an evil guy sometimes, but we still see our evil characters as the protagonists. Our evil actions are justified in our minds and we want to win. Like it or not, we're human and, on some level, we want humans to be important because WE want to be important.

Moreover, we've never, ever encountered a single sentient species beyond our own. We have no idea how to think like anything but a human. We can get as creative as we want, but no matter what race we concoct, it will be anthropomorphized to some extent.

I used to be on the high-fantasy side of the debate. I actually asked James Jacobs this same question a couple of years ago; why go humanocentric when ANYTHING is possible? Why would I want to play ME when I could play ANYTHING? He said something about relatability, if I recall. However, the more characters I make, the more I find myself choosing humans. I get humans. And, like many others, I'm not a fan of a "human with a funny monster mask on."

I would love to play an elf, but I have some serious breaks in believability when a 150 year old elf wizard has fewer skill points, no more experience, and no more power than a 15 year old half-orc rogue. I just don't think I could role-play the alien nature of an entirely different species as anything but a human with different stat bonuses. Though this isn't to say that a more talented role-player couldn't do it well.

Anyway, I feel like I've rambled and actually contributed very little. But that's my paltry addition to the discussion.

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There are lots of things that make me more uncomfortable at a table than an appropriately concealed gun does. Smelly, smelly dudes. Unwashed hands after the bathroom break. Someone who drags the stench of cigarettes in from the parking lot. Someone who brings kids with them to the game and then struggles with them the whole night. When's THAT gonna be in the PFS rules?

All Paizo should have to say is "be cool."

If someone at your table is unsettled by your gun, leave it in the car for a few hours. If someone at the table is going to be unsettled by your unshowered body, or your kids, or whatever, be considerate. Just everyone "be cool."

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I see elven government as having a figurehead ruler, like Queen Elizabeth of Britain. Yeah, she's the ruler and stuff, but really she's more of a symbol than the person managing and guiding the nation. I'm not a sociologist, poli sci major, or Brit I may be off here.

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I'll be honest with you, stutzj, I agree. I ran the BB for some friends who were wanting to try it out and I was amazed at how smooth and simple the game is when you take out attacks of opportunity. I would much rather play in a game without them now, or at least without AoO's from movement.

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Will should be tied to Charisma. James Jacobs agrees and argued to have that change made, but it "didn't stick." A strong, confident leader-type is going to be much harder to dominate and deter with charm spells, illusions, etc. than a low-charisma character.

That said, the best definition of Wisdom that I've been able to come up with is FOCUS, and that also makes sense when tied to Will saves. A focused character is going to recognize more details than an unfocused one (perception, sense motive, survival skills), be less distracted by illusions, charms, and fear effects (Will saves), be better at all monk abilities (Wis to AC, etc.), and be less tempted to wander from his deity's tenets (clerics). Thinking of it this way cleans things up nicely in my mind.

At home and in my mind, I actually call Wisdom "Focus" and Charisma "Spirit." These are more tangible, descriptive terms to me and I like thinking of my high-Wisdom character as "focused" as opposed to "wise"...which is different to me. And I like to think of high-Charisma characters as "spirited" more than "charismatic." YMMV.

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I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "beginning and recurring traits."

I've agonized over what charisma means and what kinds of characters it translates to, and influence is, indeed, the best definition or description I've seen or come up with.

A high Cha character can influence others. People need/want to follow him, to obey him, to please him - out of fear or admiration. The character just carries the confidence and air of knowing what's up and that draws people in.

A low Cha character cannot easily influence others. People brush him off as being too unimpressive, too pessimistic, too timid, or too whatever. People simply don't look to this person for direction.

My 2 cents...

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Paizo gets a few gems of wisdom from playtests, a few tweaks that need tweaking, I'm sure, but I'd wager the most valuable outcome of playtesting is player ownership. Let the player base - the clientele - take the new toy for a spin so that, when the time comes to purchase that toy, they already believe it is theirs. Purchasing is a forgone conclusion because we've already experienced owning it and we can't very well LOSE something we already had. No company is more open to their customer base than Paizo, and I love them dearly for it, but I believe that playtesting is 90% a business decision.

(No criticism intended. I do love me a good test-drive. And I hope Paizo's smart business decisions keep many more playtests coming in the future.)

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While I like "Berserker" best instead of "Bloodrager" (of which I, too, am not a fan), I think "Tempest" sounds like a name that might evoke more supernatural images as a raging caster should.

"Templar" would be way cooler than "Warpriest." Way cooler.

To me, the Swashbuckler is all about Inigo from Princess Bride. The only other thing they really called him though was "wizard," and that's taken. Personally, "swashbuckler" sounds more pirate-y than I wish it did, but I have no better suggestion.

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So, there have been threads, and James Jacobs has spoken up about who would play the iconics…but what about the deities?! Here are my picks. What are yours?

Abadar - Aidan Gillen
Asmodeus - Gavin Rossdale (although I confess I was tempted by Dolph Lundgren)
Calistria - Sienna Miller
Cayden Cailean - Nathan Fillion
Desna - Lucy Liu or Liv Tyler
Erastil - Sam Elliott
Gorum - Nathan Jones
Gozreh - Christopher Lee / Olivia Wilde
Iomedae - Kate Beckinsale
Irori - Takeshi Kaneshiro
Lamashtu - Lena Heady
Nethys - David Bowie
Norgorber - Hugo Weaving
Pharasma - Zoe Saldana
Rovagug - n/a...but Kevin Grevioux should do the voice-over for him
Sarenrae - Lucy Lawless (in her prime, a weak choice)
Shelyn - Jaimie Alexander
Torag - Graham McTavish (obvious, but no less valid)
Urgathoa - Anna Torv
Zon-Kuthon - Benedict Cumberbatch (i struggled. this one's a hail mary)

A few of these were really tough, as you can probably tell by less-than-stellar choices. (Asmodeus, Sarenrae, and Zon-Kuthon) Anyway, what do you all think? I'm sure the community can do better on many of these.

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I have nothing to add really except to say that I agree. Especially about:

Power Attack (if you wanna swing recklessly hard, swing recklessly hard)
Weapon Finesse (it's like a golf club - try to muscle it and you'll just look silly)
Combat Expertise (if you wanna fight more cautiously, fight more cautiously)
Deadly Aim (if you wanna target a more sensitive spot, fine, but it's gonna be a harder shot)
Leadership (if a single feat is the only thing stopping you from recruiting a cohort, then you don't really want one - cause that's cheap)
Lunge (seems like it should simply be a combat option?)
Mounted Combat (maybe just make it a Ride check to avoid the damage?)
Natural Spell (this falls into the "only an idiot wouldn't take it" category for druids)
Point-Blank Shot (if you're close, the shot is easier. done.)
Quick Draw (it only matters for one level for some classes)
Selective Channeling (I actually kind of like the RP situation of knowing you can heal your allies...but by healing your enemies, too, but since it IS an option, you are an idiot if your cleric doesn't take this)
Strike Back (plenty of good arguments already given)

I would be perfectly happy to get feats less often, but have them be bigger game changers. My 2 cp...if it's worth even that.

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Attacks of opportunity.

They're clunky. Sure, they help mitigate caster/fighter disparity, but they are also incredibly complex and they slow the game down. I never realized how bad I hated them until I ran the Beginner Box scenario, which doesn't include AoO's, and it was so smooth and easy.

My solution: Make AoO's a fighter feat tree. That way the more advanced and tactically minded players can still use them to great effect and they'll actually be cool because that one guy is slicing up everyone that comes near him while the rest of us can move along smoothly.

Also, skill points per level. I could have a 16 year old human rogue kid (Int 10) with 9 skill ranks at first level, while my 110 year old elf fighter (Int 10) has 2. Yeah, it's the rogue's "thing," but what the crap did that elf DO for 110 years?! Long-lived races need to start with a few bonus ranks, even if they're just limited to Profession, Craft, and Knowledge. I just think skills are great for characterization and I can't see it unbalancing much to bump the picked on races/classes up a bit to represent past experience.

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I think this is a brilliant idea and I would absolutely buy it! I actually prefer Ultimate Villain, too, since not all villains and antagonists are evil. But whatever you call it, I would love a primer on writing better villains and antagonist organizations.

I would add:

-How to set up and carry out villainous plots
What is the baddie trying to accomplish? How could he/she go about accomplishing it? How might he/she react to PC interference? How would the plots and methods of differently aligned villains differ?

Paizo devs, are you reading this? Official request here. :-)

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You'll never end representative government in this country without enormous bloodshed. Taking power away from our federal government would be like giving a starved pack of hyenas a dead zebra and then trying to take it back. And with what would you have it replaced?

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Page 159 of the CRB has hireling costs. 30 gp is very steep. That's 100 days work by a TRAINED laborer. UNTRAINED, that's nearly an entire year! That's 1000 miles in a hired coach! I'd say more like 1-5 gp...if that church's clergy even charges.

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My personal GMing philosophy limits NPCs to 5th level, except for some exceptionally rare extraordinary individuals (like the PCs). However, my philosophy is not the point of this thread.
What I'm hoping to get from you all is a list of ideas for scenarios and circumstances that would make a 4th level rogue crime boss or a 5th level evil wizard a challenge for a 10th level party, for example. I need reasons why the party can't just march in and mow down the boss without breaking a sweat. I'm talking about things like deep mystery plots, huge organizations, impenetrable fortresses, hostages, leverage over the party. Stuff like that. Go nuts. Your creativity and time are greatly appreciated!

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