Scarecrow Golem

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FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 885 posts (988 including aliases). 30 reviews. 1 list. No wishlists. 16 Organized Play characters. 8 aliases.



Dark Archive

I originally ordered 5 modules in 3333035 and then 2 poster maps in 3339181. The orders were auto-merged by the system to be delivered under order 3333035.

No emails received other than the orders. Order 3333035 still showing pending.

Dark Archive ****

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GMs please signup to run more Pathfinder at UK Games Expo. This is the best UK convention for getting new players into the hobby.

UK Games Expo is the biggest general gaming event in the UK. It had 3500 unique attendees last year in its first year at the bigger venue (almost 6000 attendee days over the weekend). It has 8 game slots from 10am Friday until 7pm Sunday with Friday games being free to enter.

Expo has probably the best GM rewards package of any convention with free entry and cash allowances for running any games and free accommodation for GMing 5 games.

The draft RPG schedule is up with many PFS and other Pathfinder games already on the list. Numbers are expected to more than double from the current draft schedule.

Dark Archive ****

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Conception UK 2014 will have a huge PFS presence. With weeks yet to go we already have volunteer GMs signed up to run over 110 tables of PFS over 5 days. With something for everyone from beginners to those with level 11 PCs (and possibly beyond). We already have GMs planning to run at least 39 different adventures:

Every season 5 scenario so far released
The Glass River Rescue (level 1-5)
The Wardstone Patrol (level 3-7)
The Hellknight's Feast (level 5-9)
The Stolen Heir (level 1-5)
The Elven Entanglement (level 7-11)
You Have What You Hold (level 3-7)
Port Godless (level 5-9)
The Confirmation (level 1-2 replayable intro scenario)
The Traitor's Lodge (level 3-7)
Where Mammoths Dare Not Tread (level 7-11)
Library of the Lion (level 1-5)

Modules - 2 or 3 slots each
Murders Mark (level 1-2)
Thornkeep: Forgotten Laboratory (level 2-4)
The Dragons Demand part 1 (level 1-3)
The Dragons Demand part 2 (level 3-5)
Fangwood Keep (level 3-5)
Carrion Hill (level 4-6)

Previous seasons replayable intro scenarios
Master of the Fallen Fortress (level 1)
We Be Goblins! (level 1-2)
We Be Goblins Too! (level 2-4)

Previous seasons scenarios (level 1-5)
Murder on the Silken Caravan
Mists of Mwangi
Penumbral Accords
Throaty Mermaid
Shades of Ice part 1
Shades of Ice part 2
Echoes of the Overwatched
Quest For Perfection 1: The Edge Of Heaven
Quest For Perfection 2: On Hostile Waters
Quest For Perfection 3: Defenders of Nesting Swallow
The Icebound Outpost
Temple of Empyreal Enlightenment

Previous seasons scenarios (level 3-7)
The Midnight Mauler
Gods Market Gamble

Previous seasons scenarios (level 5-9)
Our Lady of Silver
Fortress of the Nail

Previous seasons scenarios (level 7-11)
Below the Silver Tarn
The Flesh Collector
Wrath of the Accursed

Expect the number of tables and scenarios available to rise as we get closer to the event. We ran over 120 tables last year and are already 20 ahead of last years GM sign ups at this point.

Dark Archive ****

Few are as adept at fighting demons as the Riftwardens, an organization of spellcasters dedicated to protecting the boundaries between the planes. Many are already committed to the Fifth Crusade in Mendev and are unable to assist the Pathfinders directly in the society’s upcoming expedition into the Worldwound, but if the Pathfinders assist the Riftwardens elsewhere, perhaps a small number of the mages might be free to return the favor. Unfortunately, this means entering the godless nation Rahadoum, where several Riftwardens have recently disappeared.

Written by Ben McFarland.

Note this is a five hour game. This is a long and detailed scenario. Please do not sign up if you cannot commit to 5 hours. (the first run through at low subtier with 4 players took just over 5.5 hours)

Sign up is on warhorn

Dark Archive ****

Few are as adept at fighting demons as the Riftwardens, an organization of spellcasters dedicated to protecting the boundaries between the planes. Many are already committed to the Fifth Crusade in Mendev and are unable to assist the Pathfinders directly in the society’s upcoming expedition into the Worldwound, but if the Pathfinders assist the Riftwardens elsewhere, perhaps a small number of the mages might be free to return the favor. Unfortunately, this means entering the godless nation Rahadoum, where several Riftwardens have recently disappeared.

Written by Ben McFarland.

Note this is a five hour game. This is a long and detailed scenario. Please do not sign up if you cannot commit to 5 hours.

Preference is for characters in the 5-6 level range.

Sign up is on warhorn

Grand Lodge

Do monster special abilities default to CON if no ability stat is mentioned? And therefore increase when they are summoned with the augment summoning feat?

For example the Babau protective slime (Su) special ability does 1d8 damage and has a reflex DC 18. It doesn't mention an ability stat, though the DC number suggests it is con based (DC10 + HD/2 + con bonus).

It looks like the sort of ability that should be Constitution based. Is it? Is the fact it is a Supernatural ability relevant?

Does that become 2d6 damage and DC20 with the +4 con bonus from augment summoning?

Dark Archive ****

There is confusing mention of "bears" on p4 and p10, when it should likely just say "pets", as there aren't any bears in the scenario.

Dark Archive ****

Is it intentional that there is no encounter scaling for encounter 1?

I am a little concerned about this encounter as I will be running it at a con where there are likely to be new players, who might not do the appropriate thing, and might not be able to afford to bribe. Then they are facing a boss level monster out of the gate. I suspect I need to be prepared to start another pregen or three at that point!

I note that there are a several creatures with reach 0ft including the one in the optional encounter at high subtier with the young template applied - which makes it less of a challenge.

Dark Archive ****

Conception UK 2013 will have a huge PFS presence. With weeks yet to go we already have GMs available to run 90 tables of PFS over 5 days. With something for everyone from beginners to those with level 12 PCs. We already have GMs planning the following:

Intro scenarios
First Steps parts 1-3 (new level 1 only)
We Be Goblins (level 1-2)

Modules
Thornkeep (Low level)
Feast of Ravenmoor (level 2-4)
The Harrowing (level 8-10)

Level 12
Eyes of the Ten parts 1-4

Every season 4 scenario so far released
Rise of the Goblin Guild (1-5)
Severing Ties (1-5)
The Disappeared (1-5)

In Wrath's Shadow (3-7)
The Sanos Abduction (3-7)
The Blackros Matrimony (3-7)

The Golemworks Incident (5-9)
The Green Market (5-9)

King of the Storval Stairs (7-11)
The Cultist's Kiss (7-11)
Feast of Sigils (7-11)
The Refuge of Time (7-11)

Previous season scenarios
Delirium's Tangle (1-5)
Frostfur Captives (1-5)
Cyphermage Dilemma (1-5)
Perils of the Pirate Pact (1-7)

Sewer Dragons (3-7)
Storming The Diamond Gate (3-7)

Wonders in the weave part 1 and 2 (5-9)

Fury of the Fiend (7-11)
Below the Silver Tarn (7-11)
The Chasm of Screams (7-11)

Dark Archive

Desecrate: "Every undead creature entering a desecrated area gains a +1 profane bonus on all attack rolls, damage rolls, and saving throws."

Does this damage bonus apply to ability damage or only to hit point damage?

For example if a Shadow enters the area of a Desecrate does it now do 1d6+1 strength damage on a hit?

Dark Archive

The graveknight has the ability to summon a phantom mount which is a slightly improved Phantom Steed. However I don't see anwhere specified that the mount is combat trained. Which seems to make it a rather poor mount for a mounted knight.

Is this correct (am I missing something)?

Grand Lodge

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Several of our brethren have temporarily fallen under the silver tongued message of the so called “true pathfinders”.

Don’t be fooled. The paraphrased “glory once more” message they are spreading is not even original, but borrowed from the Taldans. The politically overused “true” moniker a contrivance to deflect attention from their message of elitism. Their apparently high entry requirements are an obvious attempt to prey on the proud or weak willed who are seduced by flattery. Their call to mediocrity and their disparagement of specialists an affront to pathfinder values.

Strip away the Taldan weasel words and their message is clear: “don’t change with the times” and “hold yourself above your fellow pathfinders”

Is this what “true” Pathfinders aspire to? An insular elitist clique who are afraid of change?

Eyes wide open Pathfinders.

I understand that there are powerful new enemies of the pathfinder society, and in fear we tend to seek comfort in the “good old days” that never were. Rise above it!

Now more than ever is the time for pragmatism and to embrace change.

Now is not the time to form a Pathfinder supremacist group and risk splitting the society. Now is the time for unity.

Ask yourselves, who benefits most if there is internal strife in the Pathfinder Society? Look again at those spreading the lamplighter message.

Another "shadow lodge" style splinter group could be disastrous for the society right now.

Vigilance.

Dark Archive ****

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After GMing PFS at conventions for 2 years and 50 tables I have built up a long mental list of things I do to prep a scenario for convention play. This list has remained relatively stable throughout this year so I decided to write the list down for 2 purposes:

  • to see if I could optimise and streamline it for faster and easier prep
  • to create a formal checklist

I am posting it here in the hope that it is useful to others and that there are suggestions for improvements in the process or tools to use.

Getting started:

  • Print out scenario text pages, and put in a lightweight binder.
  • Use a highlighter or colored underline to highlight all skill checks in scenario text
  • Use another color to highlight all faction mission notes in scenario text
  • Use another color to highlight all notable scenario text, plus reference information such as terrain, ceiling height, light level.
  • Using Combat Manager/PRD/PFSRD - Save and print out all stat blocks that are not fully listed in scenario


Encounters:

  • Lookup all monster special abilities and traits. Make notes and print out large text blocks.
  • Highlight all key features of creatures and make notes for things you may miss. For example note power attack bonuses next to attacks, and flag other combat maneuvers such as step up or lunge. Note defensive abilities and items prominently next to defensive stats, such as DR, SR, ring of Force Shield, Ring of Counterspells.
  • Review tactics and work out what you will do and what you need to know for round one.
  • Note any items they have that affects combat.
  • Using PRD/PFSRD/combat manager: lookup all feats you aren't sure of.
  • Using PRD/PFSRD/combat manager: lookup all abilities/spells you aren't sure of and make notes. Noting in short: range, radius, effect, non-standard casting time
  • Note any build errors you find and work out what you will do about them. For example an NPC has a feat he doesn't qualify for or the tactics mention a spell that can’t be used. (Assume if you don’t find any build errors that you missed them. It is nigh impossible to create multiple NPC characters without making mistakes, especially higher level ones.)
  • Note any environment conditions that affect the encounter: obstacles, terrain, lighting, ceiling height, etc.
  • Once you have reviewed the above and know the constraints you are working under then work out what leeway you have to make the encounter more intelligent, fun, harder, softer.
  • If any elements are new to you or it looks too weak or too deadly then do a dummy run of round one of combat to look for issues or options.
  • Think about any PC abilities or PC types that might sideline an encounter, e.g. Sleep Hex.


Story and RP:

  • Read entire scenario to identify story elements, any potential holes, any stall points or any story thread weaving required. Note any elements that need to be brought out or hinted at.
  • Identify every NPC and give them a basic personality, typically by aligning them to someone you know either from real life or fiction. Though it may be bad form to base it on someone actually sitting at the table ;-)
  • Read every faction mission and work out where and how to surface it in the scenario and any potential issues with it.
  • Try and spot any assumptions that might break the story if they don’t come true and how to work around them. For example does any outcome depend on encounters being resolved the traditional way rather than via enchantment spells or social skills.


Admin:

  • Print 3 copies of faction missions and any handouts, cut out and file
  • Print out 6 chronicle sheets per session planned plus one for GM credit.
  • Print out reporting/tracking sheet if required.
  • Print and fill out initiative cards for all creatures (location, subtier, number, name, init, AC, HP)
  • Print blank initiative cards for PCs (fields: name, level, classes, HP, AC, Perception, specials)
  • Create event/scenario on Paizo or get event number from coordinator
  • Create and print out sign-up sheet where required for that particular convention
  • Pre-fill chronicle sheets with event name, event ID and GM ID to save table time
  • Print out images from the scenario for scene setting (using print screen and Paint.Net).
  • Complete any enemy spellbook spell lists and print off as handouts
  • If it is to be run in a short slot, prepare a handout of mission goals and key NPC names.
  • Print or pre-draw any complex maps or key parts of maps
  • Identify any flip mats or alternative maps you can use (and any you want to buy)
  • Identify the minis required and find them. Find proxies or print paper tokens for any you don’t have.


Beyond the scenario:

  • Read the wiki for all locations and people listed in the module
  • Print any scene setting images from the wiki
  • Identify any scenery or props you could use to add some depth and fun. Particularly where it is necessary to identify who is carrying a particular item. For example an important key, scroll, wayfinder or other scenario maguffin.
  • Read and contribute to the GM thread any errors, concerns, questions, or notable table points that came up.
  • Write a review of the scenario. Do this before you run it as it forces you to think through the scenarios strengths and weaknesses. Then update after you run it. This is the primary way you can influence authors to write the kind of scenarios you want to run or play. Be constructive and use spoiler tags.

Public Google Docs version

Grand Lodge ****

As a GM I liked this scenario a lot. It was easy and fun to prep as it had a nice level of believable detail and background story. The NPCs for the two sub-tiers were also levelled in such a way to make them easier than usual to switch between them - so less prep required.

I had no issues at all with the flow of the scenario and the faction missions were good, fun even.

Handling the boon was tricky. They didn't trash the place and they saved injured customers, but didn't do anything particularly noteworthy and weren't particularly into the role-playing with Sendeli at least at first, so I originally only gave them a temporary boon bonus (one of the PCs would have failed their faction mission but for their restraint in the combat). I wasn't planning on giving them the full boon at that time. However they returned after the scenario to get the promised free meal and discussed the outcome with her to gain the full boon.

I also liked the artwork used in the scenario which I cut out and used for scene setting. This also avoided the issue I have with some creatures from the non-core assumption Bestiarys in other scenarios - where I know everything about the creature except what it looks like...

The opening scenario is going to be a pig to draw if you don't have a suitable tavern/restaurant flip mat. Any tavern floor plan should do the job well enough with some improvisation.

The other floor plans are much easier to draw, though would have benefitted from being fully predrawn or printed.

For the initial social encounter I handed out menus with the note attached to one of them (I used the Ghostly Minstrel menu handout from Ptolus). This seemed to go down well.

A difficulty I had was nailing down who took the (ahem) item after the first encounter without tipping them off that something was up. And the fact it was stored in a backpack rather than used made it a further problem later.

In general I found the combat tactics weak throughout which meant I was trying to eke out every bit of their build (while sticking to base tactics) to make them a proportional challenge, without much success, This was against a group that were playing up and so the NPCs should have been a challenge without trying. My group avoided the optional encounter which might have been a challenge. A PC caster took a full ranged attack from the big bad without too much inconvenience. Then the BB went down quickly - so didn't get a chance to get away.

I note that the thugs in the first encounter have the Vital Strike feat when I don't believe they can legally have it.

Dark Archive ****

Pathfinder society will have a strong presence at the UK's largest game convention UK Games Expo Birmingham.

Pathfinder Society scenarios are being posted to the booking system games page and include upcoming season 3 scenarios such as:

Note the booking system will go live to accept player bookings in early April.

Dark Archive ****

Pathfinder Society is at Con-quest UK Derby on Saturday 14th April 2012

Scenarios include:

with more on the way

Check out the games page closer to the event

Dark Archive ****

Say you buy a vanity property like a tavern in Organised Play. How specific are you meant to be about it? Which of the folowing apply, You:

1 Have a tavern
2 On the Isle of Kortos
3 In Absalom
4 In the Wise Quarter
5 Opposite the Blakros Museum
6 Where the Decimvirate pop in for a drink every Friday night

Does it matter how specific you are in your vanity background as long as it doesn't have any material effect upon a scenario?

Dark Archive ****

There will be a strong PFS presence at Indiecon runnning the latest season 3 scenarios and several old favorites.

Dark Archive

We recently had a character who had an active fly spell on him grabbed while standing and then dropped by a Roc from near his nest a couple of thousand feet up. He kept failing his fly rolls to pull out of the fall.

Fly speed of 60ft suggests 120ft a round, however unable to fly suggests falling at speed of gravity = 600ft in round one and 1200ft in each subsequent round? (at terminal velocity)

So how fast does he fall?

Dark Archive

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My first attempt at a guide is to explain kingdom building choices and how to make reasonable decisions.

I won't be able to edit this post so here is the Google docs version which I will try and keep updated: The Overlords Guide to Kingdom Building

Introduction

Pinky: "Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight"
Brain: "The same thing we do every night, Pinky - try to take over the world!"

To be successful at kingdom building you must understand the fundamental building blocks and the interrelationships of all the component parts. To do that properly means doing a mathematical analysis of all the components and performing multiple experiments in kingdom building. Or, you could just follow this guide.

This guide tries to answer many questions about kingdom building, for example:

  • What is a good expansion strategy?
  • When should I establish farms?
  • Where should I build roads?
  • Are edicts worthwhile or a waste of resources?
  • What are the most cost effective buildings to use?

These and other questions are answered. The recommendations are backed up by both practical campaign experience and mathematical analysis. So hopefully you will be able to create a sustainable and highly successful kingdom from the outset.

Kingdom Basics

Your kingdom has three primary characteristics:

  • Economy - generates income to power your kingdom
  • Stability - holds your kingdom together
  • Loyalty - tests you kingdom's spirit when the going gets tough

Economy and Stability you need every month. Loyalty you need infrequently unless you are at war. Ideally we want them all within 2 of our Command DC and never fail a roll (except on a natural one which is always a fail). You likely won't have that luxury until you enter the middle game. The kingdom building rules and initial BP set up are designed so that you have to take some risks and thereby generate adventure. You may not want to totally eliminate risk, just reduce it to your required level of fun.

So how should we prioritise:

  • Economy is the most important at first - without income you can't expand, build or do anything to offset bad things happening. Later this will become your least important characteristic.
  • Stability is the second most important - it is worth 1 BP per month and offsets minor events. You can afford the fun events that come from failing this occasionally. You cannot afford to fail this consistently. The importance of this characteristic stays the same throughout the game.
  • Loyalty is the one you can least afford to invest in at first as you don't need it very often, though you can't ignore it. In times of war this will rise to be your most important characteristic.

At the outset aim to get Loyalty within 10 of you Command DC and the other two stats within 5, or as near as you can get to that, with Economy first and Stability second. Adjust leader bonuses accordingly to achieve this. At this level you will fail roughly one in four Economy or Stability rolls and one in two Loyalty rolls. This is about the best you can do at the outset.

Build up Economy to 33 initially to support medium magic item sales and then to 48 to support major magic item sales. Once it reaches 48 Economy switches to your lowest priority. Your main source of income should now be magic items and income from Economy will be less critical.

  • Note that a roll of a one is always a fail so you only need to raise Economy to within 2 of the target number for selling magic items. The magic item Economy DC is 35 for medium items and 50 for major items.

Try and raise both Stability and Loyalty to within 5 of your Command DC, the closer the better. You probably won't achieve that for a while unless you expand really slowly.

Build Points, Farms and Consumption

Build Points or BP are not a direct measure of cash rather it is measure of economic activity similar in concept to GDP in our world. Despite the initial set up you are not investing cash, you are guiding economic activity.

Note there are two kinds of BP:

  • Farm BP: which are created continuously by farms and can only be used to pay for kingdom consumption. Any excess Farm BP is lost.
  • Economy BP: which are created by buildings and other events and can be used to pay for both consumption and buildings. These are automatically carried over for future use.

Key fact: The exchange rate between Economy and BPs are 5 Economy = 1 BP. Understanding this relationship implicitly is the key to making good kingdom building decisions.

Always keep net consumption at zero. Paying for consumption with Economy BP is not sensible.

Edicts

"You will obey", Dalek Khan

Raise Promotion and Festivals edicts to level 3 as long as you have the farms to pay for the consumption.

Raise Promotion and Festivals edicts to level 4 only if you have the building that reduces the appropriate consumption cost for that edict (Cathedral and Arena).

  • Edicts are a great way to raise your Stability, and Loyalty ratings by a small amount relatively cheaply. They can be paid for by Farm BP or Economy BP. Farms continuously generate BP without further investment. Whereas Economy BP must be paid every month (and noting our key fact above - it took 5 Economy to generate each BP). So the moral is never pay for Edicts with Economy BP, only ever pay with Farm BP and don't pay at all unless you have the spare Farms to back it up.
  • The Promotion and Festivals Edicts are good deals up to level 3. Generally the first level is fantastic value for money, the second level is very good value for money, the third level is good value for money and the fourth is poor value for money unless you have many grassland farms to spare. It is not worth going to level 4 if you have to use hill farms to do so. So always produce surplus farms to get the edicts up to level 3.
  • Edicts don't count towards build limits so you can vary these every month without restriction.

Always keep the Taxation edict at 'none'.

  • The Taxation Edict is a very poor deal and I would always leave this as 'none'. It adds to Economy at the expense of Loyalty. Remembering that 5 Economy = 1 BP, then using the Taxation edict is rating Loyalty at a cost of 7.5-11.25 BP per point (depending on level of Taxation used). This is clearly a poor deal compared to common buildings such as a Dump, Monument or Library. It is also completely different to the other edicts in structure. It would need to generate BP rather than Economy to be worth considering.

Farms

Establish farms to pay for consumption and to pay for Promotion and Festivals edicts to level 3. They are several times better at paying for consumption than any alternative. Essentially this means that initially you should always establish a farm every month that you expand. Raise edict levels as new farms are established keeping net consumption at zero.

  • Farms generate the equivalent of one net BP per month for a cost of 2 or 4 BP (for grassland and hill hexes). Note one of the two BP it generates pays for the farm hex itself so is not counted. (Though astute observers may note that each excess farm that is not being used to sustain hexes or city districts generates the full 2 BP so perhaps we should say they generate up to 1.5 BP.)
  • One Farm BP is the equivalent of having at least an extra 5 Economy which would cost around 15 BP to purchase using roads or buildings. One farm BP (half a farm) cost either 1 or 2 BP to establish. There is no contest, always use Farm BP where you can.
  • Therefore on the first month of kingdom building establish a farm - it pays for the base consumption for the city hex and the farm hex. Next month establish another farm to pay for the city and the farm hex.
  • Obviously establish a farm for every two hexes you have as the first of the two hexes claimed to pay for both hexes consumption.
  • Obviously establish farms on grassland first as this is cheaper. Claim hexes in a sequence to get to grasslands as quickly as possible from your cities. So you might for example have a narrow line of hill hexes leading from your capital city to a large grassland area.
  • Farms are an extra build that you can make in addition to your monthly building limit which is valuable.
  • Using additional farms to boost Edict levels is the only cost effective method to do so. Establish additional farms to boost your Promotion and Festivals edicts to level 3.

Roads

Always build maximum roads on all available grassland and hills

  • They generate 2 Economy and 1 Stability for 8BP (on grassland or hills). This is slightly cheaper in cost than the cheapest buildings. Though with the occasional bridge required this will work out roughly the same cost as the cheaper buildings.
  • You need roads to get your farms going anyway, and they make travel faster.
  • Roads are an extra build that you can make in addition to your monthly building limit which is valuable.

Don't build roads on other types of terrain unless you have to. The cost of building roads on other terrain types is uneconomical compared to buildings.

Buildings

Build the cheapest buildings to raise your Economy, Stability and Loyalty to the target levels. You should initially focus on buildings that combine Economy and one other bonus, either Stability or Loyalty. Once Economy reaches 48 you can stop focussing on Economy and be more flexible.

Use buildings to keep your Economy, Stability and Loyalty within target ranges so you can keep expanding. However, use magic item generating buildings for your main source of income.

  • The best way of generating income with buildings is with those that generate magic items. For example it takes at least 30 months to pay for a Mill from the income it generates from Economy. It takes only 4 months to pay for a Black Market. A black Market is the cheapest source of Major magic items provided you have enough Economy to consistently make your major item selling role of 50.
  • Note: You are limited to one magic item sale per district per month. So never build more than one magic item generating building per district. You are better off BP wise building a new city than trying to fill districts. So when you can afford to buy the next Black Market - start a new city.
  • The one per district limit means you need to maximise the output of the magic item creation building in that district. Therefore always use a Major Magic item building, usually a Black Market, as this is the cheapest.

The core build list, including non-buildings to show your best buy choices, most economical first:

  • Grassland Farm: the cheapest build to support consumption and to support level 1-3 Promotion and Festivals Edicts
  • Hill Farm: still great value though not as good as Grassland farms
  • Caster's Tower (1 off): build one at the start of the game to get the BP flowing
  • Black Market and 2 houses (1 per city district): the income generator of choice
  • Edicts level 1-3: Promotion and Festivals - supported by farms
  • Monument: the cheapest build to get Loyalty fast' use in the middle game to support expansion
  • Dump: the cheapest build to get both Loyalty and Stability. Use in the middle game to support expansion, especially if you have a Town Hall which halves the price of Dumps
  • Roads: the cheapest build to get Economy and Stability
  • Brothel and House: the cheapest build to get Economy and Loyalty
  • Library: cheap Economy and Loyalty
  • Mill/Smith/Tannery: cheap Economy and Stability

Defence

In the middle game consolidate your defences and build a defensive structure every month or so. Generally you only build defensive structures in the middle and late game once you have multiple cities, unless you are threatened or need a quick unrest fix. The buildings to use, in decreasing order of preference, are:

  • City Wall: use to reduce large unrest quickly and cheaply
  • Castle: only buy these in the middle game when you have lots of BP to spare. They are a quick way to quell unrest, boost defence and support expansion in one package.
  • Watchtower: once you have a castle and still want to increase defence this is one choice
  • Barracks: and this is the other

Variety

This isn't just a resource planning exercise but a simulation of a kingdom and cities. Once you have three or four cities/districts churning out major magic items consistently then you have critical mass of income and can build practically anything you want. The list above is still the most cost effective. Though you probably want to add variety to your city and not focus as much on cost efficiency.

You might for example found a new city or district with a Magic Shop or a Waterfront instead of a Black Market. This is the time to start to indulge the creative side and build a large and varied capital city. Perhaps adopt some realism limit into your city planning. A simple reality house rule adopted in our campaign is: never build more of any building type than the number of houses in that city. This encourages variety and avoids cities filled for example with Dumps and Monuments.

Building Discounts

"It's a trap!" Admiral Ackbar

Don't get suckered into getting discounts with building chains in the early game. Keep it simple and just use a core list of cheap buildings. Buying an expensive building that gives you discounts early on will use all your BP and you will likely never catch up with the delay incurred.

Of course once you have BP to spare and start to add variety then take full advantage of all the discount chains. For example once you have a Castle then certainly build a Town Hall as this opens up cheaper Dumps, Barracks and Watchtowers, which you will be buying a lot of.

Size Matters

In the middle game with the BP flowing thick and fast you will want to fill city districts as fast as possible to get to the next district and to use your BP to best advantage. The obvious way to do this is with buildings that occupy more than one block. Buildings such as the Town Hall and Noble Villa are obvious choices, but all the size 2 buildings are OK choices once they are discounted.

All the size 4 buildings are one per city and you should plan to build one of each in the middle game in your capital city at least.

Magic Items

Buildings that sell Magic Items are critical for generating sufficient income to run your kingdom. This is because these buildings typically have a much shorter payback period than other Economy based buildings. Return on investment in medium and major magic item buildings is measured in months not years. Such buildings sell minor, medium or major magic items.

Once per district per month you can attempt to sell one, and only one, magic item from that district with different target numbers for each type of item. Each item sold generates BP as follows:

  • Minor 1 BP (but only if the item costs 4000gp or more)
  • 8 BP
  • Major 15 BP

As you can see buildings that sell minor magic items are unreliable sources of income, because only items that cost 4000gp or more can be sold this way to generate BP and many minor items cost less than this. The item slot can therefore become blocked by an item of less than this value unless the PCs buy it themselves.

Buildings that sell major items are clearly the best choice as they maximise the use of scarce resources, in this case city districts.

However at the start of the game you may have insufficient BP to buy a major magic item building. It takes 56 BP to build the cheapest one a Black Market (including the two required houses). Therefore you should build the cheapest medium item generator first to kick start your Economy. This is the Caster's Tower.

Expansion

"Baby Bears Porridge, just right"

The rules are set up so that expansion benefits your kingdom. You just need to expand at the right rate. Too fast and unrest can surge leading to your kingdom breaking apart. Too slow and your kingdom will never be a major player.

Only expand when you can afford the consumption using farms.

As mentioned before paying for consumption using Economy BP requires you to spend BP every month. Paying for consumption using Farm BP requires you to spend BP once.

Only expand if you can keep all your statistics in target ranges.

  • At the beginning, only expand when your Economy and Stability are within five of your Command DC and your Stability is within 10.
  • You want to build this up to having your Economy roll within 2 of the Command DC and both the other two within 5 of Command DC as soon as you can.
  • Keeping your statistics within reach of the Command DC may be your limiting factor on expansion for most of the game.

Otherwise expand as fast as you can.

New Cities and Districts

Build a new city whenever you can afford to pay the 60 to establish a farm, clear the land and build 2 houses and a Black Market. It's as simple as that. Though don't abuse this with cities that contain only 3 buildings scattered across the landscape.

Put the buildings that support expansion mostly in one city so that you will fill up a city grid and be able to boost income by building another major magic item generating building there.

Coming of Age

There are several events that mark the successful foundation of a solid kingdom, and the transition from the early game into the middle game, that all tend to occur around the same time. These are:

  • Magic item income is available from three city districts. Once BP income starts really taking off then you will find you have much more freedom to do what you want.
  • Economy reaches 48: before this point Economy was your primary focus. You wanted to guarantee your major magic item sales. Now it is virtually guaranteed it becomes relegated to an afterthought.
  • Claimed hexes reaches 26: before this point you may well find yourself constrained by the per-month build limits. This shouldn't be as constrained now, though you still won't be able to do everything you want.
  • All statistics are within 2 of Command DC, if not higher.

Up until the now it is possible that at times it felt like a treadmill to keep expanding and building your statistics to keep pace with expansion. Once you satisfy all the above criteria then you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done. It is time to start adding a larger variety of buildings and to put your personal stamp on the kingdom.

In this guide I refer to the time before this point as the 'early game' and after this point as the 'middle game'.

Withdrawals

"It's a justifiable business expense, I swear"

An option that may appeal to characters is to make withdrawals from the kingdom to support their lifestyle and buy magic items. In a well-run kingdom with a significant BP reserve it is a viable tactic to withdraw a handful of BP per month, perhaps 5. In the middle game when you have a good source of income you will build any unrest away quickly, make the required Stability and Loyalty rolls consistently and even if you fail will recover quickly.

So the limiting factor here is not whether you can withdraw cash from the kingdom, but whether you should. This could unbalance a campaign quickly by adding 10,000 GP to character's gear every month.

Discretionary Leader bonuses

There isn't really much to be said about where best to put leader bonuses. Just follow the recommendations above around the target levels for your statistics.

At first you will likely put one or two of the discretionary bonuses into Economy. These can be adjusted every month to suit any current shortfall. Once Economy reaches 48 without discretionary bonuses, you will switch discretionary bonuses to the statistics that need it most, as they need it.

Leader Death

The vacancy penalties when a leader dies are severe and you are likely looking at a ten point reduction in that leader's contribution to one of the kingdom statistics for that month. If two leaders die or you get a TPK then your kingdom could be in serious trouble. In the early game you likely have to just accept this. In the middle game you can provide some insurance against this by raising kingdom statistics above the Command DC.

Outliers

Two areas are obvious outliers in the system: the Taxation edict and magic item BP income. The Taxation edict is underpowered and won't get used. The Magic Item income BP is high for the required investment and will always get used though this does not break the system. The Magic Item rules can be abused by having many very small cities or districts, each containing just a magic item generating building. Keep it real.

It is also possible using Magic Item income to have kingdoms with no farms at all as you can pay for consumption with Economy BP. You could find yourself with Golarion's first mega-city with no obvious source of food if you let it. Though that would take a very long time.

Conclusion

The kingdom rules hang together well providing the capability to keep on expanding at a rate consistent with your maximum income. Expansion is rewarded if done at the right pace and it can be very satisfying to build your kingdom. Beware of trying to force it or of chasing kingdom XP rather than doing it right. Building realistic cities, in sensible places, with a large variety of buildings and solid defence are the mark of a believable and mature kingdom. Have fun with it.

Dark Archive

As extraplanar spaces do not exist in any dimension and suppress other extraplanar spaces within them (p501) - is it possible to use extraplanar travel to get out of them? Such as using dimension door to get out of a Create Pit spell?

Dark Archive ****

Five scenarios were run at Indiecon 2010 UK:

  • Master of the Fallen Fortress
  • The Infernal Vault
  • Before the dawn part 1: The Bloodcove Disguise
  • Before the dawn part 2: Rescue at Azlant Ridge
  • The Citadel of Flame

For a total of 13 new players

Dark Archive

I was building a Magus and looking with horror at the casting defensively roll for spell combat - and so looked for zero level touch spells. Which led to a train of though about arcane mark and arcane connections.

Arcane Mark would make him a Zorro like character. He scribes his visible mark on a target as part of a weapon attack. Sounds fun from an RP perspective but rather pointless from a combat point of view. Also seems like something you could allow at will for free on every hit with his weapon.

Then it occurred that once an arcane mark is scribed on a target then the Magus has an arcane connection to the target. So that could be used as a link for other powers? Say something like once marked then future hits on that target allow you to channel a spell for free.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

The APG 1st level Break spell allows you to break an object at a distance.

This looks like an incredibly powerful debuff that will have the party running away if it is used against them. Two castings and two failed Fort saves and the most powerful magic item in the party could be destroyed or the wizards bonded item gone.

This seems like a spell for a low level group to take down a much higher level group if they get surprise. You could certainly nerf many characters with it.

This doesn't feel right. What am I missing?

Dark Archive

Clerics with the travel domain can fly at 8th level: Flight (su).

Shouldn't fly be a class skill for clerics?

Or is the 8th level supernatural ability considered a natural ability and therefore they have the fly skill as a class skill anyway?