Zachary W Anderson's page

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Regarding the interactive maps, the

trying to hide things on the maps:
secret doors in Lower Moonstone Hall
are still visible after hitting the "Map Tags Off" button. I've downloaded it twice, and they're still there. Was this done on the wrong layer? Is there a replacement anywhere?

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Totally agree about the scale of the campground, will be doubling it.

My first run of the dream pollen pods was a disaster - I let some rules differences slide because I was seriously concerned about a TPK.
I re-read it because it seemed way too overpowered, and looked under the "reset" section. It's a trap that resets in an hour. So now I'm convinced that it should only have gotten five shots and then dropped out of initiative. (I'm letting the players get back a spell and a heal.)

Nemmia has a "Spontaneous Primal Spell" list, but not how many spell slots she gets. Granted, I don't expect her to last more than three rounds, but it'd be nice to know on the off chance...

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Big thumbs up to the mapping! Specifically, little details about where smaller things are (I had been sketching these in myself and often guessing) and the door openings (I've been rolling 1d4 to decide left/right/in/out, then forgetting which one I had for which direction and having to roll again...)

I also have a general approval for what seems to be a greater availability and better integration of non-combat XP. Not that there's anything wrong with slaughtering hordes of evil mooks, mind you... but I appreciate the textual support for a non-hack-and-slash play mode.
1) Specific details and rewards for pieces of plot advancement, and bonuses when done "well".
2) Redeemable (and not always "Evil") antagonists. There are still some "made out of evil in a pot full of evil" villains and "you can't reason with this rabid wolf" scenarios, and there is space for most or all of the baddies being played as mustache-twirling black hats if you so choose. But between several of the antagonists being at odds at each other, and having goals that seem laudable or at least understandable, even a few of the Evil aligned characters seem less like bags of XP to pop with your sword and more like someone to work around (or with). This depends on your table's play style, of course. But I'm glad we were given enough bones with which to build.
(Of course, going too far in this direction, you end up with your PCs trying to befriend everyone they meet and bring them along everywhere and having a cast of thousands...)

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More questions trying to reverse-engineer the sea serpent: Is it always assumed to be using Power Attack? That's the only way I can figure the printed stats; but all the base creature stats I've seen so far with Power Attack have them attacking without it, and leave you to add it in, rather than vice-versa.

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Lamp Blighter: Art has wings, ecology describes flying, and skills include fly +20. But it doesn't have a fly speed!
I'm assuming an oversight and including Fly 30', but open to other explanations: Lost their flight because of a curse, bound through the air, train fly skill in anticipation of getting tiny winged boots or sorcerer levels...

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Seeing that one can only review a product one time, I'll have to wait until I run (or play?) this before officially putting in a review. That being said, this was both a splendid introduction to social rules with a dynamic playing field and a frustrating exercise for anyone not yet familiar with them firsthand. Some potentially-contradictory notes about the Grand Prince, will probably have to wait a few months to find out what happened. All in all, an enjoyable read with an excellent job matching the formatting with the "florid" feel of Taldor. Excited to try this book!

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Possible typo detected!
Ogre Mage weapons:
Greatsword should get 19-20 threat range.
Composite longbow should get iterative attack and X3 critical.

(I was entering attacks into a template and realized the crits didn't make sense.)

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Dear James Jacobs,
Fellow dinosaur fan here - went to Dinosaur National Monument for my birthday! Have you read or seen stuff a few years ago about changing understanding of juvenile dinosaurs? I feel like it's a mixed bag - getting a better picture of the family is great, but it simultaneously means fewer names in the family tree.
Here's a talk about the concepts I'm referring, it's about 18 minutes and change: =social&utm_medium=referral& =talk&utm_term=science
And in game-related stuff, it looks like we already do something in the same vein: Some adventures use the "young" template, while some say, "use monster X instead".

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So I was running an adventure where the baddies demand human(oid) sacrifice. Much to my surprise (because DMs really should expect the unexpected by now), one of the heroes volunteered as tribute. A Samsaran Druid, in this case.

I'm not sure off-the-top if there's any published material about sacrifice specifics (probably for the best), but my impression was that demons get to keep the souls sacrificed to them. Or maybe they just delight in the act of murder?

I'm still planning to let the druid come back, since I feel like it would be punishing a very interesting choice, both narratively and tactically. But I think some kind of DOOM is going to follow the character for the rest of the campaign.

References? Suggestions? Thoughts?

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I think I'm leaning towards the interpretation of "no road to universal truth", and "falsehood" being dependent on intentional communication. But then there's a few weird details in around the edges with that assumption:
- If one sees a mirage, and fails its "Knowledge (Nature)" roll, it could say there's water up ahead when there isn't.
- On the other hand, if it sees Mirage Arcana, it tries to tell someone there's water up ahead, it fails because it's an intentional deception and knows something's up.
- If it's traveling the First World, whether or not that puddle ahead is real "water" depends on one's point of view; it could be a dream or illusion or a being that is "sort of" water. It tries to say "There's water ahead." and can't decide whether to say it because whether it's real water is open to interpretation. I'm assuming they hate things that can't be reduced to binary facts, and this kind of riddle would drive them to distraction.

- If two people genuinely believe conflicting accounts, and tell a Kyton their "truth", it could say both sentences. "The boy is Brandy's. The boy is Monica's. Congratulations on your new trio!"

- If the Nidalese convinced an agent of a falsehood, and the agent truly believes it, and they tell the Kyton, the Kyton could repeat an untrue sentence as "true". I'm struggling with whether this structure works because there would be something "false" about the method of conveyance. Layers of separation, and only used very sparingly because the possibility of cracking the process would destroy the trust for all the other <b>true</b> messages conveyed.

- There's still a very small window for subterfuge for the players in the adventure: If they convince a human it's a valid document, and find a way to subvert SOP so the officer reports validity to the Kyton rather than letting it read such directly, the Kyton believes it.

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Just finished read-through. I have to say, it's more subtle than it looks! I'm looking forward to the potential for 3-dimensional interaction... if the players ever remember to look up.

Regarding plotting:

Dungeon plot spoiler:
The faction interaction was more complicated than I was expecting from a dungeon crawl. Hackmaster parties should have no problems slaughtering everything they meet, but diplomancers have an interesting challenge ahead of them as well. It doesn't cover everything, but if there's another political adventure with heavy use of Ultimate Intrigue, this is a good skeleton. Groups or individuals with potentially-conflicting goals.

And the Bestiary:

Alghollthu culture:
I was thrown by the description of the Plizeazoth, given the previous discussion about how Alghollthu aren't supposed to be a servitor race (and explicitly described as how the Enisysians were taboo), this seems contradictory.

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Adam Daigle wrote:
Zachary W Anderson wrote:

Bonus points if we can get word from Robert Brookes or Robert Lazzaretti to chime in on this:

The stairs in the observatory map left me scratching my head. The room descriptions don't say what leads to where, the stairwells aren't tagged (I greatly appreciated this feature in Vault of the Onyx Citadel), and the shading doesn't seem to indicate up or down. I'm making the following assumptions:
L3 leads to L7.
L4 northeast <=> L8 southeast.
L4 northwest <=> L9 southwest.
L9 southeast <=> L13 northeast.
... and none of the smaller steps lead to a different level.

Your assumptions are totally correct. Sorry I didn't make that more clear and hope it wasn't too much of a hassle.

Not at all, and thank you very much for responding (and a cool adventure path so far... I have some players fascinated with Azlant)! It just ended up being one of those weird "on second thought..." puzzles, or a practical demonstration of different people having different learning styles. It totally flew over my head the first time. But when I started trying to connect outer stairs in this post to describe which ones I meant, all of a sudden it made sense... like a corkscrew!

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Bonus points if we can get word from Robert Brookes or Robert Lazzaretti to chime in on this:

The stairs in the observatory map left me scratching my head. The room descriptions don't say what leads to where, the stairwells aren't tagged (I greatly appreciated this feature in Vault of the Onyx Citadel), and the shading doesn't seem to indicate up or down. I'm making the following assumptions:
L3 leads to L7.
L4 northeast <=> L8 southeast.
L4 northwest <=> L9 southwest.
L9 southeast <=> L13 northeast.
... and none of the smaller steps lead to a different level.

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James Jacobs wrote:
In fact, Chambers and Bierce and Derleth and Petersen are much more responsible for setting up what gamers regard as the "Hastur Mythology" today. Lovecraft's actual contribution to Hastur is in fact miniscule; he mentioned the name once or twice but that's about it.

Good thing he never went to saying it three times! Or wait, is that Bloody Mary? Or the Candyman? Or Candlejack? That's ridiculous, what kind of a name is

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Further plot fuel:

There is an organization dedicated to uncovering all the answers, but Pharasmins tell the heroes that if they aren't stopped, The Dark Tapestry leaks through.

Two Apocrisiarii disagree. (Related to Age of Lost Omens?)

Something similar to Genie Wishwarping happens when used too often, so one warlord has been using an Apocrisiarius Oracle to great success, but reality is rewriting itself in the process.

The physics canard of it being impossible to know both the energy of location of a particle is in play. The closer our devil-binding sage comes to finding out the truth, the less "the truth" makes sense.

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Full disclosure, I'm not planning on exploiting it myself. I'm a GM, running through the adventure paths, and we're still back in Crimson Throne, so it'll be years before any are encountered on the given track, and I expect the heroes will dutifully eliminate it before anyone even asks what its name is. As it is, I don't expect this type of situation to come up; and having seen the possibility of such, we can recognize if players start poking their noses around that direction.

I'm also just interested in the ramifications of "The Nature of Truth", and how it interacts with the fact that James has said there will be some unanswered questions in the universe. As for why they haven't conquered the universe, it seems like they're not that interested in conquest so much as secrets.

- Subtle influence: Every time you trap one, some tiny thing goes wrong that lets it escape after a few weeks; and your questioning makes such incremental dents in the wall of unknown knowledge that it's still effectively impossible.
- Inevitables popping up.
- Kyton heads exploding.
- My favorite, maybe it only works when repeating a Truth known by someone they're "interrogating" or touching. So they still couldn't play 20 questions about the imponderables unless they're touching someone who knows the Truth about such.

Deadbeat Doom: Part of the idea is either they want to find something out, or are magically compelled to do so.

Boomerang Nebula: Assuming the "can tell infinite truths" option, the first statement would be "π has a finite number of digits." If they can't say that, then they similarly couldn't say, "The last digit of π...", because it contains a false premise.

Pharasma, Lady of Graves: You gave me a fantastic mental image of a dinosaur driving a mecha-dinosaur tearing strappy Kytons into chewy bits. Comes with its own skewer!

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James Jacobs wrote:
Zachary W Anderson wrote:

Regarding the Apocrisiarius:

Was the intention for them to be unable to utter anything untrue, regardless of its own interpretation of the matter, or is it more dependent on the its beliefs?

If an Apocrisiarius has never met Lee before in its life, could it try to tell someone, "Lee hates you."? And then, whether it is able to or not, thereby determine Lee's feeling towards that person?

They can't speak untruths. If they'd never met Lee, it wouldn't say "Lee hates you" because the apocrisiarius doesn't even know about Lee. Likewise, they can't make up entirely fictitious things, since fiction is a lie by definition. If someone were to ask a apocrisiarius "Does Lee hate me?" then the apocrisiarius would reply with the truth, which would likely be "I don't know."

As described, it seems like it can try to speak something it doesn't know, and fails if the statement is false... given examples of repeating the confessions of the people they torture, to determine the veracity thereof.

"I don't know" is the most obvious answer, but suppose it wanted to know about Lee's feelings, or was magically compelled to try to say such, or thought it would a great way to psychologically torture someone. (If the Kyton says it, then they know that Lee really does hate them.)

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Dasrak, thanks for finding that link! I wasn't fond of the idea of having to type everything out or waiting until I got home with the book in my hands every time I wanted to talk about it.

Daw wrote:

Thanks for the quote, it answered everything.

The Kyton cannot repeat a LIE, a deliberate falsehood. The Kyton has no access to any Greater Truth, he just knows that the speaker believed differently than what he said. It would have no way of even determining whether the speaker actually believed something that wasn't right.

What you have here is a very good lie detector, not a path to the ultimate truth.
If the Nidalese believe differently, we now totally own them, mwahahaha.

Looking at the description, they also have the following "ability":

Truthspeaker (Ex) An apocrisiarius kyton is incapable of lying; it can withhold the truth by refusing to answer a question, but can’t utter or telepathically communicate a falsehood. Any attempts to do so (including attempts to obey commands to do so while the kyton is mind controlled) simply fail, as if the kyton had chosen not to communicate.

It is obviously incapable of lying, right there in black-and-white (thanks, Nethys!), but the second part of that first sentence reads rather curiously - it doesn't say a deliberate falsehood, just any kind of falsehood. One of the interpretations of falsehood is anything untrue, regardless of intention.

Reading further, into "Habitat and society", we also see that "these kytons have no additional insights as to why such phrases are lies", and "The Chelish government accepts whatever the kyton says as truth, knowing that it can’t utter falsehoods even if the Nidalese diplomat somehow tricked the kyton."

I've asked in the [u]Turn of the Torrent[/u] product description what the intention was, but as written it's leaning toward universal truth, since you're not supposed to be able to trick them. (Or at least the Chelish think so.)
Interesting idea, having seriously creepy oracles filled with knives, too. "The Fifth Runelord will rise after the Swallowtail Festival." "It's going to rain tomorrow." "Tonight's lotto numbers are..."

As an aside, I also like how they are written as being able to manipulate politics by choosing not to speak, although diplomats who are aware of this potential for duplicity could immediately after a missing answer ask them a question in the vein of, "If you chose to do so, would you be able to say the sentence, 'Five battalions will march to the Western border?'" (or whatever the skipped sentence was).

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Regarding the Apocrisiarius:
Was the intention for them to be unable to utter anything untrue, regardless of its own interpretation of the matter, or is it more dependent on the its beliefs?

If an Apocrisiarius has never met Lee before in its life, could it try to tell someone, "Lee hates you."? And then, whether it is able to or not, thereby determine Lee's feeling towards that person?

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The Guy With A Face wrote:
If they know the answer sure. However, from what I've read, they don't just naturally know every single piece of information in the universe. So, "I don't know" is pretty much all you're ever going to find out.

They don't know it previously, but they're also unable to speak something untrue. Hence their use in Nidalese diplomacy: Mortal messengers can say things that are not true (even if they don't know it), but this species of Kyton can not.

So you play a game of 20 zillion questions with them, and give them divisive statements to speak, and if they can't say it, they (and you) know it to be false.

Note that this process depends on the concept of fixed and linear time; if history is allowed to change, then the Kyton's answers could change.

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Had a weird realization about the Apocrisiarius Kyton ("Turn of the Torrent") - as a consequence of their inability to speak something untrue, they can indirectly answer any question in the universe. Given a dedicated logician (or organization thereof), they can find out all kinds of things - the nature of the Dark Tapestry, Aroden's cause of death, the geography of Sarusan, James Jacob's address, and so on.

There is, of course, the "out" of the creature possibly deciding not to answer a question, but there are still two ways around that - if the creature itself is dedicated to finding the answer to the impossible questions, or if someone summoning such has enchanted it in such a way as to compel it to help find the answer.

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SurrealCruelty: "All dwarfs are bastards in their fathers eyes." - Tyrion Lannister

===== (I know I'm getting late to the party; we're into book 6. Group started 3.5 and moved to Pathfinder with book 2. ) =====

Abnus: This Dwarven child was taken in by the Vault of Abadar after being found badly beaten. He grew up in the tradition of the church, and has proven to be a valuable clerk, having written a treatise about maintaining public order during crisis. Neolandus is currently referring to such as applies to their current situation. Abnus keeps an orderly ledger of all the party's receipts. Joined Karok's Hawk Clan ceremony, now an honorary Shoanti. (Cleric)

Dalton: A Human member of the Guard, had been repeatedly frustrated in attempts to bring drug smugglers to justice. Recently joined the Korvosan Native Inquisitive. A chance hit with Pilts' Rod of Wonder gave him the ability to cast Mark of Justice at will. Dove into Cindermaw. (Started as a Crusader, switched to Inquisitor)

Dox: Was part of a carton of slaves taken from the River Kingdoms and experimented on. The result is children with magical blood with drug-like qualities. Dox was first introduced to the party as a lad named Mac, but has shown up with a few different names and identities before recently revealing (her? him? it?)self as Dox. Seems to absorbs and redirect energy. Fascinated with the idea of fate, has picked up both the Harrow deck and the Rod of Wonder. (3.5 Changeling, Spellthief, Spellfire wielder; kind of ad-hoc campaign conversion)

Elmore: Was an older Human business associate of Gaedren Lamm's, who intended on taking over Lamm's businesses. Vashar discovered that he was stealing from the party, and managed to tip the guard off to investigate his property at [i]just[/] the right time. He's been put away for a nice long time, and definitely won't show up in the campaign again. ;) (Human rogue)

Glandak: Was an dwarven caravan guard between Korvosa and Janderhoff, with an ashen complexion and the magical ability to double in height. His wife was killed during a raid when some of Lamm's thugs tried to shake down the caravan for protection money. He squeezed Cindermaw so hard that it coughed up his friend. (Dwarf with duergar heritage, fighter/barbarian/frenzied berserker)

Karok: Was an animal spirit given human form, adopted into the Hawk Clan. He grew in skill with words and was inducted into the takers of oaths - respected between clans, but still never truly accepted in the clan he thought of as his family. Only when he gained the respect of all clans was he able to take the Trial of Sky, and join the Clan of the Hawk. (Kitsune Bard)

L'harold: Was a excellent mounted archer of the Sable Company who only got played once. (Human Ranger)

Maxoff: Was a half-elven general from the Kinsblood wars. His slain family's spirit surrounded and protected his feeble frame. He sacrificed himself to protect the rest of the party from a descendant demon, was brought back in a shrine of True Resurrection, and headed East to the crusade. (Half-elf Summoner (synthesist))

Trinia: We all know Trinia. She's been chronicling the party's exploits. (Human Bard)

Vashar: Elven archaeologist from the Mordant Spire come to explore the similarities between Azlanti and Thassilonian ruins. Collects orphans, both the Lambs and any spell-blooded that they've found. Has taken the mantle of Blackjack. (3.5 Grey Elf, Magus)

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Diplomacy: 17, rounds down to 15, so I get 3 sentences.
Relevance: 1, stick with the current adventure path.
Topic: 2, engineering-related.
Veracity: 1, 1, 2. Problem with depending on dice, you never know what you're going to get. Okay, let's see what I can make with this.

"The pyramids are clearly enormous stone elementals. They were placed there by the gods. The mouth to the black stone pyramid opens only once a year."

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You spend 1d4 hours gathering information, but what do you find out?
I've come up with a rough framework for how the rumor mill works... I'm open to suggestions.

You can improve the diplomacy modifier by +1 per 5 gp spent in favors (drinks, delivering a letter, watching a horse) (adjusted for local economy; costs less for poor areas, and more for rich), to a maximum of +10.
You can also get a +5 bonus if specifically talking to helpful groups or individuals, or +10 for helpful. (Or -5 for unfriendly; hostile is a lost cause, either not talking or even intentionally giving false information, although the party doesn't need to know that...)

Why does the party care? Roll 1d20:
1-7: Directly related to the adventure. (Could be a subsystem for figuring out past/current/foreshadowing?)
8-13: Relates to one of the character's personal stories; I'd suggest a "distributed randomness" for this and give each character close to even spotlight time (although it doesn't have to be exactly even).
14-18: Something in which the characters are interested, even if it doesn't relate to your current plot(s) (although it could be one tomorrow...). Examples include a party friend, that secret society you know they like, a death in a far-off kingdom...
19-20: Something new. Doesn't relate to any of the previous categories, although if they show interest, you could start to weave it in...

What's the topic?
I found the Knowledge skills to be helpful in this regard. Roll 1d10 and consult the following (and reroll if it doesn't fit the "why does the party care" or the people to whom they're talking; I'm guessing the "Planes" might not come up much).:
1: Arcana (ancient mysteries, magic traditions, arcane symbols, constructs, dragons, magical beasts)
2: Architecture (buildings, aqueducts, bridges, fortifications)
3: Dungeoneering (aberrations, caverns, oozes, spelunking)
4: Geography (lands, terrain, climate, people)
5: History (wars, colonies, migrations, founding of cities)
6: Local (legends, personalities, inhabitants, laws, customs, traditions, humanoids)
7: Nature (animals, fey, monstrous humanoids, plants, seasons and cycles, weather, vermin)
8: Nobility (lineages, heraldry, personalities, royalty)
9: Religion (gods and goddesses, mythic history, ecclesiastic tradition, holy symbols, undead)
10: The Planes (the Inner Planes, the Outer Planes, the Astral Plane, the Ethereal Plane, outsiders, planar magic)

How much do they find out?
They get 1 sentence per 5 rolled, with an increasing level of detail, and each sentence has a ¼ chance of being false (possibly 1/8 if talking to a group with excellent research or a history of honesty, or 1/2 if talking to fickle and/or ignorant groups).

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (12) + 5 = 17
Relevance: 1d20 ⇒ 1
Topic: 1d10 ⇒ 2
Veracity: 1d4 ⇒ 11d4 ⇒ 11d4 ⇒ 21d4 ⇒ 11d4 ⇒ 1(just rolling ahead of time in case I get a 25)

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I'll start at the beginning:

Rise of the Runelords: A greedy wizard gets his greedy minions to kill a bunch of greedy people to release him from the palace of greed in the capital of greed in the forgotten empire of greed, but then he's killed by greedy adventurers.

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Rob McCreary wrote:
Zachary W Anderson wrote:

Ridiculous question about terms from the book: What is a Vaneo? By context I have to assume it's some kind of garden house, but I can't find a definition in English, Spanish has "Vane", and most other searches pop up some kind of minivan.

As if the Pathfinder vehicle didn't cause enough trouble...

I tried to make sure the text provided enough context to define words like that, but I guess it wasn't clear enough. :)

In any case, a vaneo is a Chelish manor house (think big mansion), the type of place a wealthy noble would have in a city. A vira is a Chelish estate, usually located outside cities, with a lot more land attached to them.

Ah, these terms both showed up in the guide to Egorian later in the book, so no problem there. I like the idea of new language adding flavor to the world - Gygax invented "dweomer", after all. But other than context (which did help), I didn't have a clue, and it pulled me out of the adventure.

Just don't end up like this guy:

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Ridiculous question about terms from the book: What is a Vaneo? By context I have to assume it's some kind of garden house, but I can't find a definition in English, Spanish has "Vane", and most other searches pop up some kind of minivan.

As if the Pathfinder vehicle didn't cause enough trouble...

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(I'm not sure if an adjective has been created yet, I'm using "Golarian" to mean "from Golarion".)
Reading through "Hell's Rebels" got me thinking about how the Dottari would salute each other (and how the heroes would act if trying to infiltrate). I'm thinking since the rise of Thrune the Chelish military cross their arms over their head, symbolic of being in thrall to their superiors. As an added game rule it could detect as a minor evil act when done in the presence of a diabolic aura: A devil, a bishop of Asmodeus, an infernal shrine, and so on. Nothing horrible, but a death of a thousand needles if done over a dozen years.
Despite the chaining, I see Nidal as completely different: Maybe they bare their throat or chest, speaking to both their primitive forebears and the Prince in Chains.
Any other ideas for military salutes?

Not-Asia and not-Vikings could very well use their analogs for greetings, and we have snippets here and there about what's said, but what do they physically do to greet each other? Spit on the ground? Kiss both cheeks? Bodyslam?
If there are specific references, I'd love to see source material as well. As JJ keeps mentioning, there's a LOT to keep in one's head.

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I cast Versatile Weapon.

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Aedh Dubh returned to Wolf’s Ear to be appointed Warden, and became a feared giant hunter through central Varisia. After several violent clashes, she came to an understanding with the giants of the mountains.
Curiously, the number of reported werewolf sightings have dropped in the area.

Allishanda gladly returned to Lamatar’s Keep, but wanderlust struck soon after Ruby left, and she followed, leaving the mission in the hands of more capable administrators. Eventually she found her way back to Tian Xia, and even the First World.
She disappeared completely after finding a plant with fruit that tasted like both cinnamon and ginger, although the stories are still coming in.

After checking in with her father in Sandpoint, Dallypin “Rubyspark” Knottknee traveled hither and yon to avoid pursuit by greedy suitors. Familiarity, help, and shininess all played a role in travelling along with Alli, but it deepened into a fully-encompassing friendship.
She still has that ruby.

Ingjrt returned with Jarvin to help him build a study near Lamatar’s Keep. On their last night as husband and wife, she finally convinced him to fulfill his husbandly duties. Shortly thereafter she started a torrid hot-and-cold affair with Thassilonian scholar, Brodert Quink. After their last argument about theory vs. practice, she stormed out to return to Xin Shalast to look at the real thing for herself.
Roper tentacles are mostly gristle, and need a lot of pickling to be remotely edible.

With Ingjrt’s help, Jarvin of the Wood created a tower in the Kreegwood, near his friends at Lamatar’s Keep. He created a place to safely study conjuration without negatively affecting others, while being in the midst of the woodlands he was so passionate about restoring… soon renamed as “Jarvin’s Wood”. He eventually started a family with a Black Arrow applicant who arrived too late for Fort Rannick, but who yet became a fierce defender of the area’s nature.
He’s summoned so many creatures that at this point, he recognizes some of them.

Leoan Dandy still got around for a while, but after having one too many attempts on his life by jealous men, he decided to lay low. He eventually founded the Peerless Archery Academy in Turtleback Ferry, and sometimes visited his compatriots’ war college for demonstrations.
Seeing his own arrows in Kain’s back still haunts him.

Maivin Ansrolcashnal was married to Ayruzi in Heaven, although the unwavering order of the celestial mount took a toll on his psyche. He found solace in using his keen military mind to orchestrate several countermeasures to abyssal invasions, and found a great partnership with Ayruzi in doing so. He regularly met with Zaalok in the teaching of their war college, and was delighted to meet his daughter, but was unable to stay on the material plane for long periods. His blade guide has since inspired her.
Even though it doesn’t matter at this point, he’s still keeping score.

Seth Anubi had several more successful infiltration operations before returning to his drinking buddies in Riddleport. Several local fighters have asked him to teach his fighting style, but he refuses; his fans are all self-taught. One reason he gives is that none of them are worthy, while the secret reason is he doesn’t fully understand it himself.
On a dare, he dove through the shadow in the sky above Riddleport, only to have it disappear entirely.

Zaalok Two-Souls rode back to his home village atop Q, causing a brief panic in the local horses. He demonstrated his impeccable equestrian acumen, as well as the depth of his understanding. Once they finally accepted his greatness, he was fully accepted into the clan… and he rode off again, returning to Darianna. With much greater confidence, he pressed his suit and she accepted her son’s father as a longtime lover, if not a husband. He also organized a militia for the defense of the otherwise-helpless colony at Lamatar’s Keep, only to have it blossom into a military academy.
He has not yet ridden a fire elemental, but not for a lack of trying.

Supporting Cast:
Abstalar Zantus faithfully tended to the spiritual needs of Sandpoint, but had to deal with goblins and fire once again.

Ameiko Kaijitsu discovered that her family history was so much more than glass.

Arser Nimenor landed the full support of Ordellia’s artistic hopefuls, leading to a fruitful exchange program.

Ayruzi was exceptionally uncomfortable when her lord informed her that Maivin had any history with women, let alone a child-bearing one. She determined the union would be the best for all involved, and found herself loving him despite herself in their shared eagerness to hunt evil.

Brun Talbor invited Alli to his temple’s first drink-mixing competition. He was disappointed that none of them had any effect on her, but she was happy to return to his room regardless.

Conna Truehome brought the remnants of her tribe back out of Jorgenfist, and collapsed it as best they could. Thence they gathered other giants misled or scattered by Karzoug’s campaign, settling near the sacred site of Minderhal’s Anvil.

Darianna Windfall had a human son, followed six months later by a half-elven daughter. With Alli’s repeated absences, she found herself growing from champion into the role of de-facto ruler of Lamatar’s Keep. Managing and protecting an artist’s colony seemed a natural extension of her motherhood.

Findchan gets all the b$~$~es.

Galicia Toremo led an effort to eliminate corruption in the Magnimar Hellknights. It was successful in individual chapterhouses, hard to tell higher up.

Haldmeer Grobaras was run out of Magnimar for his apparent incompetence in dealing with the Skinsaw Murders, on top of the waste issue.

Jubrayl Vhiski eventually met a bad end in Korvosa after trying to cheat the crimelord The Spider.

Madame Mvashti died peacefully, finally leaving her estate to the community of SandPoint.

Lamatar regularly visited Jarvin to share tea, but never said anything.

Nerill Greenwood capitalized on Grobaras’ absence to find a way for Lamatar’s Keep to be deeded to the church of Shelyn. He continued in his role as Castellan.

Pugmalian Knottknee continued his improvements to Sandpoint at a pace that concerned some, given their recent history with “The Chopper”. This fear amplified when he moved to Chopper’s Isle to set up a workshop, completely oblivious to the area’s history. However, when a small gang of drunken thugs gathered to do something about him, they could find no sign of the inventor. They did knock down the shack and scatter his equipment.

Q was thrilled in his new role as apex predator, scaring wildlife and people alike on his trip with Zaalok. After a few rampages, Jarvin had to have a long talk with him about protecting the natural cycles and maintaining the prey population, and he has since accepted an ascetic diet including magic and fasting, only hunting overpopulated animals.

Relic became a master singer and storyteller, digging deep into the history of Thassilon and bringing it to life with a dramatic flair. She started teaching at Lamatar’s Keep, while regularly visiting Magnimar to scout and perform.

Romelo Moravia acted as an escort any time artists from Lamatar’s Keep needed to travel. To his surprise, he found songs popping into his head during these journeys, and started taking songwriting classes.

Rune finally found and fought Robin as undead, rescued him from an Urgathoan enclave, and returned him to Pharasma’s court for proper assignment.

Despite all the chaos, Mary kept Lamatar’s Keep clean, and created art in her own way.

Kaven Windstrike harassed the people of Turtleback Ferry as a bandit for a few years before being felled by a Black Arrow.

Shalelu Andosana led several covert missions into abandoned elven cities, and eventually traveled over the crown of the world.

Tarqin of the Twelve Strings enjoyed sharing stories with Seth, but concern for Alli led him to continue to try to follow wherever she went. He did make it to Tian Xia, and became a court performer there after he couldn’t figure out where she went next.

Empty of revenge, Xaan spent the rest of his life becoming various animals, and contemplating existence and form. He was able to achieve physical perfection and purge the aberrant influence that had plagued him.

Dearly Departed:
Despite clearly being heretical, the psychopomps could find no logical way to indict Sir Antonin Scaleman’s beliefs. He became a Pillar of Justice in Abador’s Vault.

Bane became a warrior on Gorum’s battlefield.

Bobo was, in some way, returned to nature.

Bree Isaro joined Nirvana and eventually melded entirely with positive energy.

His death being a completely foreign concept to him, Dee was returned to The First World.

Gilthur Akiak was honored by Torag’s host for successfully protecting his family. He was forged into a piece of The Grand Defender’s armor.

Kain Weiss was interred in the Boneyard and lost in the void until he came to understand what had happened. Then he followed the stars to become a mote of light around celestial travelers.

Kalia readily took the place of Darianna’s twins, and was transformed into the first celestial hellwasp.

Having no children of his own, Kole was asked to keep an eye out for another promising Shoanti, and was thrilled to find his new charge the companion of his old friends.

Meoric tried being Urgathoan Undead for a while alongside Robin, but eventually decided he didn’t like it. He flew/ran to join Desna.

Mina of the Green was reincarnated as a horse.

Nichodemus Galwain rejoined his brother in the twilight between worlds, but was never able to fully manifest.

After his initial heresy, Robin Manderly was held in custody for consideration. During this time, an Urgathoan incursion into the Boneyard infected several souls, including his. After Rune’s rescue, when he continued to declare his loyalty to both goddesses, he was made a celestial emissary.

Violet was purged of her fear of male presence and, while she still prefers female company, she can occasional appreciate the artistic creations of male souls.

Willowfrost harassed Alli and Ruby in The First World before deciding to find something new.

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Seth and Ruby both disappeared, dashing to hidden corners on different sides of the room. Jarvin summoned a pair of enormous serpents in acrid clouds of smoke, one of which immediately wrapped around the lamia atop the staircase. Ingjrt fidgeted through the various trinkets tied to her, and eventually pulled out an amber rod. She rubbed it and a thunderbolt leapt out of it to destroy the unclad torso of the first monstrous woman just as she pounced forward.
Both the remaining lamia were snarling, harangued by snakes and arrows. By incredible chance, both the hidden attackers got into position at the same time, and Seth's shadows held another harridan helpless as Ruby's crossbow found her heart.
Shrieking, the last enemy wrenched the enormous snake from herself and snapped it against the staircase. As Zaalok charged her, she held out her hands cried, "Flame take you all!" And so erupted the inferno.

A few hours later, they had finished applying the last of their healing salves. Their unnerving allies informed them that here was the "eye between worlds". The mages among the heroes determined there was a ceremony of sorts to be performed atop the orb, but like so many things in this Pinnacle of Greed, their weapons were the key. They solemnly prepared themselves for what they knew would be the most difficult challenge they would ever face, and to guard against what horrors they could not know lay ahead.
The needle's eye opened.

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Ruby crept forward. She smelled something "wrong" and tried to scurry away. All at once she was held aloft in the claws of some horrifying amalgam of bear and praying mantis, shimmering into view. It lifted her over a disturbingly segmented maw filled with gleaming ribbons of hunger, almost scraping her against the sixty-foot high ceiling.
Her shrieks brought the rest running down the hallway. Jarvin pelted it with fire, Ingjrt cursed it, Alli and Dandy shot it, Seth entangled it with shadows. The new allies swept around it, completely ignoring the places where it stabbed them, and began chanting. Aedh leapt over their heads and laid into it with fang and kukris slicing off sections of leg. Zaalok charged and ran it through with a lance made of blistering brightness. Unlike most outsiders they defeated, this one’s corpse remained, although it immediately began to shrivel and creak.
A door cloaked in shimmering energy stood in their way. Ruby warned them that there was a sort of magical trap, and Ingjrt confirmed that it was Greed-related. All six of the members with ensorcelled weapons nodded to each other and plunged blade and bolt into the wall. It shattered like glass, dissolving into golden sparks and then nothingness before it could touch the floor. They swung the doors open.
The room was dominated by a massive golden sphere, floating in precisely the way that gold does not. As if enhancing the wrongness of the scene, flames languidly rolled across the surface like cresting waves. A wide staircase led up to it, topped by a huge woman with a lion’s body in place of her legs. She grinned in anticipation as two more like her prowled down the stairs. “Now we play!” she whisper-roared.

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Ruby bounded through the creature’s legs and out of the prison doors. The crystalline claws that snapped just over the gnome’s head seemed to fade in and out from reality. Astral tentacles drifted behind it, as though it was swimming through the air. Just as the party braced themselves to deal with the threat, it stopped short and seemed to sniff the air. A dozen heavily-clothed figures suddenly surrounded it, and chanting as they did so. A dozen daggers rose, a dozen of wounds blossomed shiny black gel, and in a dozen seconds it fell still.
“It is of no consequence. We stopped it.” Most of the heroes winced at both the rasping voice and the example of occult cruelty, while Ingjrt rushed to collect the daemon’s ichor before it evaporated.

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"Bitter brew, how many more of these fake Rune-losers do we have to kill?"
"They aren't fake, they're all the same one... how do I explain this... like different windows? We haven't actually killed the RuneLord yet."
"Whatever. No traps here."
The second they opened the door, whistling wind whipped through the gap to push them back. A few blinked into the boreal assault to see a large angelic figure outlined by the opening to the outside.
"Umm... hello?" Alli ventured in Celestial. And then again in Infernal. And Taldane. And Tiani. As she tried a half dozen greetings, the invisible gnome crept away. Seeing the grief on its face, she reached out a hand in succor, only to have the angel wrench its face even tighter and draw its sword. Alli withdrew to discus things with her friends.
"Is not supposed to be here. Not meant for the winter land or mountain. Spell trapped it here - is cursed," Ingjrt said decisively. "I can break curse." Unfortunately, she was unable to dispel the magic binding it to this plane.
Maivin prayed to Shelyn received a brief vision of a pastoral landscape. He relayed it to Alli, who said, "Well, I'm sure she would be happier at home than here, right?" The figure still glowered in the distance. "Let's see what we can do." They gathered up symbols they assumed would be anathema to the angel, including a golden sword and a Sihedron symbol. Allishanda brandished them while singing, "To where your god dwells, my goddess sends you, from gold-plated hells, to Heaven anew." The angel burst into a light that disappeared through the ceiling, dropping behind an old elk-horn bow.
They followed the hallway down to the end, where Rubyspark suddenly appeared. "Don't look! Or... more like, don't read." She walked over to a pair of massive doors crawling with runes - some seeming to do so literally, out of the corners of their watering eyes. "What about you, Ruby? You're looking at the words..." "Ah, no, I'm looking between the words, that's totally different. Here we are." She had been tracing lines along the edges of the runes, and tapped twice at the point she found.
The doors swung open to reveal a room festooned with metal boxes sprouting tentacles. A dozen robed figures with oddly-twitching turbans jerkily turned to face the heroes at entrance. Behind them, an active scene like a misty waterfall showed a fantastic golden city with unfamiliar voices and clothes as humans rode howdahs on the shoulders of giants through the streets.

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He floated at the edge of an unimaginably beautiful vista. Six differently-colored lights washed the landscape with fading sunset rays, dancing across lapping waves and rolling hills. Forests, canyons, cities and stranger landscapes filled his sight, interrupted only by the occasional pattern of birds or beasts. Love held his hands and leaned a on his shoulders.
A blot appeared.
His lovers whispered in his ear, “Alli’s calling.”
He sighed, watching demon-infused giants pour forth from the blot. “I have to go, don’t I?” His companions nodded, tears sliding down their faces.
He took their chins and pulled them in for kisses, salt tickling their lips, and then leapt out towards the fissure, around which marauders were defiling the scene.
He floated slowly at first, but began to accelerate. He drew his sword and flame erupted from it– red, then green, then purple. He pointed his sword and blurred into a polychromatic meteor, slamming through the center.
Maivin's body jumped three feet from the table, and he ran into Alli as she hovered over him. He fell back to the table, and Alli drifted down to settle on top of him. “That’s very sweet, but you could just ask…”

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Maivin headed down the hallway opposite the pending breakthrough. Alli followed him with the question, "Where are you going?" "Those other giants had to come from somewhere. I'm scouting the rear." "Oh. You mean like that one?"
A purple-robed figure floated in through the door and started chanting a summon. As Maivin raced to reach the mage, Alli intoned, "If such be the will of Shelyn, I return your soul to its rightful place." A rainbow flash surrounded the Thassilonian, and it collapsed to the ground. "Oops..." whispered Alli.
The steady cracking of the conjured walls was replaced by the growls of angry giants. Captain Dandy shot through the gap as opportunities presented themselves, while Ingjrt silently floated to the ceiling. When they had opened enough space for her to see the floor in the throne room, she uttered a vile hex. Black, rubbery tentacles sprang up to seize the giants where they stood.
A woman in incredible armor floated through the hole, cursing the giants as useless. She pointed her sword to Jarvin, who swiftly brought forth three of the massive swamp beasts of Mwangi. As one opened its mouth to devour the golden woman, she spun under it and neatly severed its barrel-like neck.
Previously unseen, Rubyspark blinked into view as her crossbow loosed arrows into the joint in the armor at the woman's neck. Simultaneously, Seth leapt from the wall to entangle the enemy in shadows. The other two elasmosauri lumbered forward to bite the golden woman. Behind and above them, Ingjrt muttered another spell and then cackled evilly as a cloud of green poison enveloped the entangled giants.
As the screaming giants tore themselves free and scattered, Dandy moved forward to fire a dozen arrows at the woman. Finally she fell dead.
Inexplicably, it started raining in the hallway, with the smell of a storm playing about their noses. A ball of lightning drove through the heroes and struck Ingjrt in the chest. She fell as well. Having returned from the other hallway, Alli flew to Ingjrt's side and asked for Shelyn's mercy.
After a few more blocks of ice fell from the wall, a blubbery beast of molten flesh floated through the enlarged opening. "Flesh golem, immune to fire!" shouted Alli. "What you are saying, grandmother? Is cursed lamia, resist lightning and majeek," responded Ingjrt. As each swamp beast waddled forward and tried to snap at it, the monstrosity's maw opened wide enough to devour a horse, and it handily tore off the summoned creatures' heads. Zaalok charged from behind them, lanced the disgusting beast like a boil, and wheeled away on the griffin.
Lightning started striking throughout the hall, arcing unnaturally towards the intruders. Eventually the flesh beast fell to arrow, bolt, spell, and stone, and the heroes stormed the throne room. As Maivin stepped through he was bisected by a sword the size of a tree. The murderous rune giant stepped out from behind a pillar and laughed, shaking its bloody sword.
Jarvin called on Gozreh's wild spirit again, and four more swamp beasts appeared, noxious clouds surrounding the remaining giants. As Aedh bounded into the room, her mouth grew into a muzzle, fur sprouted from her neck, and her legs twisted and lengthened. The startled rune giant tried to stab at the frightening wolf-woman but missed, sending sparks and gems flying. Aedh dove between the giant's legs and seized one with her now-enormous teeth, tearing loose flesh as though peeling string cheese. As it fell to the ground, the slavering beasts (Aedh included) fell upon it.
One last giant floated in the hall, storm whipping its cloak as it directed the lightning. The heroes struck it down and looked around. What once could be called a cold, beautiful vault had become a steaming charnel house.

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While his companions reacted with alarm, Zaalok felt his twin souls awaken in a wave of cold hatred. His instinct knew this monster had hurt him and he wanted to stop it, while his tactical acumen knew that stopping Karzoug was the only way to save his friends and homeland from the return of the overlords. He spurred the griffin forward, spun past a sizzling green bolt of death, and stabbed his lance through the wizard’s chest. The image shattered, and everyone heard a distant yell of rage.
“Block them off,” commanded Maivin. “Got it!” shouted Jarvin, throwing his arms out to the walls, as a sheet of rock erupted from the floor.
A platoon of giants ran into the hallway from the opposite end of the corridor. They hesitated when they saw the wall of stone preventing their flanking maneuver, which Ingjrt then encased in ice. But the promise of greed drove them on, and they charged again only to fall to lance, sword, arrow, and even bloody teeth.
The witch ignored the fray entirely and prepared herself. The regular CRUNCH from the conjured walls told her the giants from the throne room, and the champion of Karzoug, were breaking through.

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After detonating a dozen orbs of fire amidst the giant patrol, Rubyspark crept away while her friends handily took care of the rest. Clearly the largest doors were the way to the greatest treasure. And there she found a room with diamond chandeliers, a massive golden throne, a carpet of rubies, titanic mosaics... and three more giants, their skin blazing with arcane runes.
An imperious-looking woman strode past their calves and started walking towards the mysteriously-opened door. She was arrayed in ornate yet outlandish battle dress and bearing a golden scimitar. The giants seemed to flinch as she passed, then followed behind her.
Ruby closed the door. "Guys..." she whispered to the others.
"So, these are the famed heroes of New Thassilon." They wheeled to see a familiar figure dressed in incredible robes, wielding a flaming glaive. "You pitiful vermin are barely worth my time. My ascension has been inevitable for millenia." A sneer slid across his cruel face, under the glittering stones embedded in his skin. "I suppose you might make an entertaining diversion before I turn your corpses into trophies..."

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In what seemed a casual cliche, the guards were distracted with gaming. The difference was literally monumental; rather than squabbling goblins, these giants stood as tall as the mammoth left in the fen below, and the trinkets with which they gambled were enough to buy a city.
The unseen thief's breath caught in her throat when she saw it - a ruby almost the size of her head. She crept forward imperceptibly, somehow simultaneously retaining all her caution while being dragged forward to the ultimate prize. It was only when the captain's eyes snapped to where she and the ruby now hid at the door that she truly realized her danger.
Time dragged as the thunder-voiced guard rose and started to draw a sword crackling with magic. Rubyspark lifted the crossbow to her lips, kissed it, leveled it, and pulled the trigger. Knowing her mark to be true, she whirled away to start running as the bolt slid through a giant eyelid.
She took one last pause at the edge of the spiral ramp, in front of the empty space between. The shouts behind grew louder. She knew there was some magic that was supposed to protect her from this sort of situation, but didn't know how far it worked. Ah well... if it worked, she got away with it; if it didn't, she had a great story to tell the other Caileanites in the Eternal Pub (or wherever... she wasn't entirely clear how the gods or even hers in particular handled gnomish souls after death).
She turned again to face her pursuers, waved her gleaming red trophy in triumph, and then stepped backward.

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Has it been days? Hours? Months? How long has the underneath been our world? Someone skilled at survival finds food, and we eat. Someone clever with spells makes beds, and we sleep. The hungry darkness sprouts tentacles to drag us into stony maws that whisper oblivion, and we fight to stay alive. This is all we know.
The glow begins almost too slowly to perceive, but soon the glimmer is obvious. Like the dwarf-kings of old, we chase the light. Panting we push and run and squeeze in places, until we burst forth onto the face of Golarion.
We blink, dazed, at the vista before us. We stand above all of Varisia, and possibly the world. All the buildings below us, large enough to house titans, look like toys. The massive reach of the Cinderlands, an ashtray. The keenest among us says he sees the ocean.
Turning, we face the citadel. Karzoug's countenance, full of stony menace, leers at us; perhaps the mountain carving is calculating how to add us to his cruel collection? We shield ourselves from the blinding light and freezing wind, and prepare ourselves for the battle ahead.

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Hello imaginary friends,
Golembane scarabs say (X bonuses vs. golems, detect golems).
Aluum stat block doesn't have golem subtype - but such doesn't exist; clay/flesh/iron/stone golems don't have golem subtype either. Stat block does include "Invulnerability to Magic".
Flavor text in "Dark Markets" mentions golems indirectly.

Would you rule that Golembane "pings" on and works against Aluum? I'm leaning towards "yes" due to species similarity, but I'm interested in reading alternate views.

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Dazzled by the marvels that surrounded them, they skulked from one building to the next. Between Jarvin's overview map and what they could overhear from passing giants, they clearly outlined the important zones of the city. The titanic structure ahead of them housed an ally of the Runelord - which also meant it was off-limits to all others.
The halls within were huge and ornate, obviously making the giantish users comfortable but simultaneously astounding with the gaudy display of wealth and uncomfortable for the band's smallness in comparison. Near-silence shrouded them, painfully counterpointed with the evidence of the roar that must have previously filled the structure. Rows of hundreds of cages (some broken) and even a few liquid-filled basins, steps and corners worn smooth by millions of feet and hands, the quiet threnody of millennia-old bloodstains, and then they found the sand.
They gazed out on a pit hundreds of feet across, with only one obvious purpose. Above them, immense crystal sheets spanned the whole arena, somehow fading the blinding mountain sun to near-twilight. Pillars that dwarfed dragons supported the ceiling. With all this they almost didn't notice the figure at the opposite end.
With an arcane gesture, the fiend was upon them. Its icy spear caused even their most steadfast warriors to grow sluggish, its tail whipped away sword and wand, its impossible hide ignored arrow and spell. Two undead shades joined it and swept through the heroes, draining their souls bit by bit.
Jarvin saw everything: The arcane architecture supporting the panels; the spellstained glass protecting the shades; where they would all be in two seconds. He stretched out his hand, and a thin green ray shot forth to obliterate a section of column. The now-unsupported section of skylight shattered under its own weight and showered down. While the heroes were able to dodge away from powder and shards with minimal damage, their antagonist was thoroughly fenestrated by horse-sized sheets of crystal. The unhindered sunlight blew the shrieking undead apart. It was over almost as soon as it began.
As they picked through the rubble, a clattering caught their attention. Spell and bow leapt to hands as they saw a pale, cowering figure emerge from the darkness. "Please," it said, "we need your help."
Again, edited for artistic license. Wizard rolled a crit on touch attack with disintegrate. In the round-by-round combat, the enemy survived the saving throw, the 172 damage, and the save for massive damage. Despite all that, I feel like it's worth commemorating by telling the story this way instead because I don't think I've ever seen 172 damage in one shot before.

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4708, Pharast the 22nd
Zaalok returned with the report that he spotted something unmistakably evil, with a rune giant by its side. The band foraged on to meet the evil, to the sound of rushing water and the cool of a clinging, frigid fog. They mustered to one side of the rapids, with their foes across the way. It brought a message from the mother of monsters: Oblivion. They refused to accept, and a skirmish ensued.
A serpent hidden in the water was driven away by several water creatures summoned by Jarvin. The giant fared poorly against Zaalok this time, and fled for its life after being struck blind. The herald of Lamashtu bayed out despair, and several heroes fled. Its snaky tail spat a caustic venom, poisoning the horrified Allishanda. It very well could have scattered them to the winds had it noticed its own death in the shadows. A hidden Osirioni man rolled out behind it and summoned tendrils of darkness to bind it and choke it to death.
After cleaning herself up, the fey drew a makeshift symbol in the dirt and anointed her stomach with the creature’s blood. “Umm… Alli? What are you doing?” “Just making things right with the gods.” “Alli? You know she’s a demon, right?” “Uh-huh, but I still have to make it right with her.” “She’s not going to listen, Seth just killed her favorite monster!” Looking into the mists, Alli said, “I still have to try.”

They climbed the small rise to see a mist-shrouded fen filled with floating lilies. In most cases, the lilies were floating in water, but a dozen or so they could clearly see floating in air and glowing. More lights beckoned them in the distance.

Having established a beachhead, two miles away from the city of Xin-Shalast, they passed through the weirding land between one plane and the next, and made it to the highway. They quickly dispatched a patrol of cloud giants and soon found themselves at the foot of the city...

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"Is not funny. I am telling you, make trash this thing."
"What?" Jarvin looked up from the papers in front of him, only to have another shoved in his face.
Ingjrt waved the scroll at him. "Make it trash. I need concentrate, make new house."
"Okay..." he hesitantly took it from her as she stormed off, and started to look at it. As he turned it over, his sleeve caught the inkwell and spilled it. "NO!" He leapt to scoop up the ink and papers with each hand, and succeeded and pulling them apart with only a few droplets marring his work.
"WHAT I AM TELLING YOU? Make it trash! I am needing concentrate!" She stomped over and threw the same scroll on the table. "Stop giving me!"
She started casting again, and the scroll appeared in her hands again. They both looked at each other. "Curses!"
And that's when the great mountain bear decided to see if the horses or mammoth were edible. The mammoth disagreed violently.

An hour later, they stood before a swirling pool of snow. A roughly humanoid figure rose from it. A limb stretch out and snow dripped away to reveal an icy hand, indicating the visitors. The blob atop the form resolved into a rugged face intoning the words, "The monstrous third eye's voice seeks your silence."
"What about our journey?"
"Only those marked by greed can enter the eye of the needle."
"Marked by greed? What does that mean? What needle?"
It remained motionless, snow still dripping to reveal a blocky feminine form.
"What is Karzoug's greatest strength?"
Lips formed: "Greed's fingers touch across all ages to exist, and a diamond mind contains the thoughts of greed."
"What is Karzoug's greatest weakness?"
"Claiming contains the seeds of its own dismissal."
"What is the most telling secret that you know?"
Something akin to a smile played off glittering ice teeth. "That which is told is no longer secret. Many claimers dwell in the city at the top of the world."

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Goth Guru wrote:
A potion of feather fall would only be practicle in a false tooth or something. Maybe you could chug it and then jump.

... or if you're so high that the fall takes more than a round?

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The war-scarred orc curled his lips in a sneer. He was tired of seeing the careless treatment of his tribe. He had escaped with only a bruise where an ogre had kicked him by rolling with it, but last moon he watched the bored giant-kin suddenly seize Chaltak and tear his arms off. The greater giants barely kept their savage cousins under control, but every few days the ogres thought up new tortures, and the orcs were the bottom of the pile.
There! He saw movement in the distance, and grinned. The pinkskins they sought were finally here, and would have to come up the narrows. Maybe the ogres would do their bad things to the enemies instead. He would like to watch that. He hiked back to the rest of the patrol.

The heroes almost casually defeated every war-band sent against them. Almost every day they faced ogres, orcs, and the occasional enslaved monstrosities or unhallowed allies, and every time their expert use of spell and tactics wiped away the obstacle between them and the nemesis. Karzoug the Claimer prepared his reign atop the peak of the world.
The only difference this day was the terrain. An ice flow made a path uphill between two canyon walls. It would have been the obvious choice to travel upward were it not for the hostile group charging down towards them. Once again, they readied to sweep away the opposition, when a grinding sound came from the snow. Both the druid and the ranger backed away, and warned their allies, “Watch out, there might be an avalanche. Wait, the noise is continuing...” A massive maw exploded from the snow beneath the lead orc, swallowing it before it even had a chance to cry out. A segmented body followed, borne along by dozens of crackling legs. Steam escaped from around a glowing red section of shell on its back.
Chaos ensued with some villains trying to escape, some trying to kill the arctic crawler, and some trying to kill the heroes. The heroes aimed to kill the crawler and the villains. The crawler greedily writhed and burrowed through the snow and snatched up every succulent meat it could find.
After it finished tearing the arms off an ogre, the arctic crawler slowed down to savor the blood rolling down its gullet. An unseen Rubyspark leveled her crossbow, waited for its eyes to open again, and fired into its brain. Its death throes whipped the snow into a rocky stew that swept forth to catch all the remaining enemies as well as the hidden gnome.
“Ruby, no!” The heroes ran forth to dig out their small friend. She popped out on her own, atop a crest that was still moving. She squeaked, “I'm okay, guys!” Then three more arctic crawlers emerged from the snow around her...

Nestled in the Kodar Mountains, the Kazaron river held what scarce greenery one could find in these unforgiving rocks. In many places, the rushing water had carved steep banks in the stone. In one such place above the river sat a cabin, looking distinctly out-of-place for its bastion of comfort and domesticity amidst such treacherous wilderness. It had never been there before, and it would never be there again.
It had been a hectic day, but they were all alive. The witch added unnamable things to her cauldron, promising everyone good stew. There was enough room for all of them to sleep, prepare spells, tend to their gear, and otherwise relax with their friends.
Outside, a gigantic humanoid shape split itself from the vast blackness. It raised hands the size of coffins, and a pair of large shades appeared, floating in midair. They advanced to blot out the offending light.

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So... how does one go about finding 300-foot Caulborn?

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I have to admit, this one was me:

I gave four wizard simulacra (in Runeforge) the same initiative. Somewhat justified by the box text, they all talk at the same time.
They started off invisible, so the first half of the party's actions were moving into place.
When the wizards came up, all four of them cast fireballs at the bulk of the party. Downed about half of them.
Only one of the copies managed to survive beyond the second round (and died in the third), but I have to admit I considered running the "it was all an oracular dream, use your vision wisely" scene and letting them try again because of how brutal it was. I probably would have if it were a TPK.

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They knew where they needed to go, but everything was taking so long. He was getting sick of the ambushes, the threat of frostbite and starvation, and all the other comforts offered by the Kodar mountains. When they came across an army patrol hunting lynxes for fun, he eagerly greeted the opportunity to express himself, and snapped his fingers.
The battered wyvern flapped away screaming, its wings swiveling oddly. The gnome immediately leaped forward to start checking the rider's corpse for gems. Everyone else visually traced the line of the destructive spell from the midair point where the explosion happened to Jarvin's still-outstretched hand.
Ingjrt tightened her grip on her husband. "We are to making the babies now, yes?"

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Almost all the people of Lamatar's Keep were in one place, whispering excitedly. The already-small drummer felt swallowed by the stage. She knew they were all friends, but she still had never performed for this many people before.
Remembering what the Shoanti storyteller had taught her, she closed her eyes started with the skin drum. Fist-palm fist-palm fist-palm fist-palm in time with her heartbeat, until she was keeping a steady pace and bringing the rapt and now-silent audience along with her into the place of story.
"Now I sing you the words that have been sung to me,
from the land and the people, all wild and free,
who were chained by the outlands with magic and greed,
and the dragons and giants whose hearts held the seed.
How the young ones were purchased with glittering gold,
and the old ones played schemes 'til their heritage sold.
But the stars were not right for those in castle yon,
and the falling of sky ended rich Thassilon.
Oh, the wind and the waves, these are things you can't keep,
or the stars or true love, or the dreams in your sleep.
If you value the parts of life money can't buy,
there is none who can keep you, though surely they'll try.
After ages of darkness, the sun smiled again,
and we thought we were done with the Empire of Sin.
When the pale-faced strangers sought to claim our mud,
and they bound us again and we poured out our blood.
But those devils were deviled by sins of their own,
they forgot about us while they fought for the throne.
Let me tell you one thing about this land we roam,
if you steal it, you never can call it your home.
Oh, the wind and the waves, these are things you can't keep,
or the stars or true love, or the dreams in your sleep.
If you value the parts of life money can't buy,
there is none who can keep you, though surely they'll try."

She was lost in time, and barely noticed the applause and her friend hugging her. It was a rough translation from the original Shoanti, but it worked fairly well.

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