Giant Gecko

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Organized Play Member. 347 posts (348 including aliases). No reviews. 2 lists. 1 wishlist. 3 Organized Play characters.


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I've always assumed that the printing press has spread to most cosmopolitan cities, and a newspaper of sorts could be found. This would be a folded single page, with a sensational (if not completely fictional) headline and illustration, then more mundane daily information below the fold. In major cities, there's anywhere from two to a dozen competing papers, each trying to outsell the competitor with increasingly fantastic tails and filthy scandals. Fantasy newspapers might include adventuring tips, tales of heroism, and mercenary classifieds (both offering and hiring).

An adventuring party might earn a gp wage digging up stories for a local paper - if not actively causing calamities for the paper to report on ("You supply the woodcarvings, I'll supply the adventurers"). They might be targeted by those in power, or by a rival paper. Secret organizations might not take too kindly to their published reveal. The editor-in-chief could turn out to be a two-fisted lich.

There's some ideas here. I like.

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James Jacobs wrote:
Gozreh is inspired in part by Werner Herzog's views

Gozreh.

Herzog.

Wait a second.

...

ARRRRG!

CAN'T UNKNOW!

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Why does everyone recommend Death Ward?

Because they don't want to die!

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Something to keep in mind is that the home plane of a god does not necessarily apply to it's alignment. There's CN gods on the CG plane, NE gods on the LN plane, etc. With that said, I feel like most of the gods of the Dragon Empire either reside in Heaven or in the myriad complexities of Hell. Those who reside in neither reside in Nirvana, when they are not wandering the material plane.

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Crypt of the Everflame: Level 1. Easily modified to take place in Sandpoint, somewhat of a throwback to old-school adventures, very well designed. Has two "sequel" adventures (Masks of the Living God and City of Golden Death) that form sort of a mini-Adventure Path, that as a whole is one of my favorite adventures to run for new players. Each focuses on a different aspect of classic play (dungeon crawling, urban adventuring and infiltration, exploration).

Feast of Ravenmoor: Level 3. Takes place in a nearby isolated village, is creepy and fun.

We Be Goblins!: Level 1, comes with pre-made goblin characters. Very fun, and takes place around Sandpoint (and is actually designed to kick off the Jade Regent Adventure Path).

For that matter, many of the Adventure Paths take place in (or at least start near) Sandpoint. Even if you don't feel like running the whole AP, the material inside can easily be adapted.

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thejeff wrote:
Are there still pockets of Orcs down there?

There's an idea that I really liked, that I saw on the boards many months ago.

What if the orcs are not an innately evil race? What if the dwarves, in their mad crusade to reach the surface, drove them from their lands in an act of prideful genocide? What if the displacement of the Darkland orc tribes devastated their shamanistic civilization, and gave rise to cults of the Destroyer? What if they're a civilization in decline, forced into barbarism and never given a chance to regain their former standing due to the influence of the constantly expanding and highly territorial humans?

There's some meat to this idea. Even in a highly-stylized setting like Pathfinder, there's no mortal race that is "born" evil. The earlier revised books show this for goblins (raised in cages), hobgoblins (raised in a militaristic society), and bugbears (ok, they're pretty evil, but they get a physiological high out of other's fear - they're fear junkies).

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What is the point of hiding plot behind monster encounters?

The answer is the same - to give the players a sense of accomplishment. Pathfinder rewards players who place ranks in knowledge skills by rewarding them with interesting information or clues, just as it rewards players who put their high ability scores into strength with an improved ability to hack n' slash, or rewards a wizard by allowing them to bend the rules of in-game reality with magic.

The trouble is, the flavorful background imparted by knowledge skills (ESPECIALLY in adventure modules and PFS scenarios) is usually interesting stuff that's not terribly helpful from a mechanical level. The player may still get a sense of satisfaction about knowing various campaign secrets, but they're still secrets that (if using pre-published information) any player can look up in a Pazio book.

I don't have a really good solution here, but I think it warrants looking at individual campaigns to understand if this parceling of knowledge is useful or not. Personally, if players fail a knowledge check that would have revealed something interesting about the setting, I tell them what their characters know, and then what the astonishing truth is (that their characters do not know)! Most of them are good enough players that they can handle the separation between player and character knowledge (and a few are great, walking right into the lion's den while roleplaying the hapless naivety of their character). I feel like information that gets the players interested in the campaign setting is never a bad thing, and that the best-kept secrets in the game are the ones you come up with yourself.

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Forewarning, I am not a linguist. I do, however, find the development of languages over history SUPER INTERESTING. Golarion's simplistic languages are highly unrealistic (because a world with the complicated languages and dialects of the real world would require far a more complicated language rule system), but it's an unrealistic world.

Examining Golarion's languages means we can add color and connections to what is already a highly diverse and fascinating setting. We can take a look at a few of the books (I've got the Inner Sea World Guide and Humans of Golarion open right now) and made a bunch of assumptions, all in the name of fun!

The first human languages in the Inner Sea region would have been the pre-Azlanti tongues spoken by disparate human tribes. These early tongues may be the ancestors of the Hallit tongue spoken by the Kellid people of the far north.

The ancient Azlanti language is the common ancestor of human language in the modern Inner Sea Region. I have a sneaking suspicion that it may not be the natural tongue of humans, that like the Azlanti culture, it was handed to humanity by their Aboleth masters. Regardless, following the destruction of Azlant, the survivors fled to colonies on the shores of the Inner Sea, where the language diverged into tongues such as Cheliaxian and Taldain (the later so ubiquitous, it's now better known as Common).

Survivors of Azlant also colonized modern-day Varisia, and developed the Thassilonian language. This language would later develop into the Varisian tongue, and mix with the Kellid and Giant tongues to become the language of the Shoanti people.

The Giant language itself is a bit complex. It is derived from the language of the ancient pre-human Cyclopes civilization and contains elements of Thassilonian, from their long period of "service" to that human empire. The Cyclopes language may be derived from various planar tongues (as they, and the giants, are said to be decedents of titans and outsiders who made their home on the the material plane). Perhaps the Cyclopes language may even be the root of the first human tongues, if they taught it to the "small people" in the early days of mankind.

Chelaxian invaders would meet and mix with the northern folk, likely Kellids, and the Cheliaxian and Hallit tongues would merge and develop into the Ulfen language of Skald.

Modern Osiriani is a direct descendent of Ancient Osiriani, which may or may not have Azlanti roots (accounts have the ancient Osirian empire co-existing with Azlant), although the modern version of the language likely incorporates much of the Kelish tongue, given their century-long dominion over Garund. Given the ancient Osirans were obsessed with the Dark Tapestry, it wouldn't surprise me if it contained traces of Aklo.

I'm not sure about the origins of the Kelish tongue, seeing as we have yet to even see a map of the Keleshite empire.

The Vudrani tongue is mix of the Kelesh and Tien languages.

The Polygot languages of the Mwangi tribes likely share a root in whatever was spoken by the mysterious sky-city dwelling civilization that once existed above the Mwangi Expanse. That civilization may or may not have a connection to Azlant, it's just too mysterious for us to know!

Tien and the other languages of the east may have no connection with the Azlanti-based languages of the Inner Sea, seeing as humankind wasn't even recorded in Tien Xia until after Earthfall. I would not be surprised if it was derived from Celestial or Draconic, in much the same way that Azlant may be derived from Abolith.

(One theory states that the people of Tien Xia were formed from the souls of the Azlanti who died during Earthfall. If this is the case, there could indeed be residual elements of the Azlanti language.)

Dwarven and Orc (and Goblin, Gnoll, etc.) may have been granted in their purest form directly from the gods (and may share elements with Celestial, Infernal, or Abyssal), or they may have evolved from various tribal dialects (Given the singular nature of most non-human race's languages, I wonder if they share common myths in which every member of the race started speaking the same language - sort of a reverse Tower of Babel").

Halflings on Golirion evolved alongside humans, and their language is stated to be directly descended from human tongues, despite the wild variety of human tongues. Perhaps the Halfling language is actually derived from the original pre-Azlanti human tongue. If that's so, then Halfling may, oddly enough, bear some similarities with Giant!

The Gnome language has similarities with both Sylvan and Aklo. Sylvan itself is one of the oldest tongues, hailing from the fey of the First World, and Aklo is common among both the more sinister of the First World and the unspeakable terrors of the Dark Tapestry and the other unspeakable terrors of the Darklands. And I just realized that the Unseeile courts and aberrant Denizens of the Black may in fact, share an origin. Worrisome!

A mix of Aklo and Terran makes up the Orvian language, spoken only in the deepest vaults of the Darklands. Undercommon, created by the Drow incorporates several Orvian words. Necril, spoken by ghouls and cultists, is derived from Ancient Osiriani. I theorize that it contains many elements of Aklo, as it is both derived from the Dark Tapestry-obsessed Ancient Osirians and is spoken primarily in Darkland necropolises.

So, now Aklo has connections to evil fey, aberrations, AND undeath.

(And for those more familiar with the Golarion's solar system, you may note that the cult of the Whispering Way already has a unlikely and ominous connection with the dead world of Eox and the philosophy of those who seek undeath!)

Speaking of the Drow, Elves brought their language with them from wherever they came from originally. Which isn't Golarion. And I doubt it's Sovyrian.

Dragons have always spoken draconic, and they've done so for a very, very long time.

Planar languages probably just appeared fully-formed the moment the first sentient being pulled itself free of its homeplane. Abyssal is believed to be the oldest, with Infernal, Celestial, and the elemental languages following close behind.

Woo, that got a little out of hand. Hope that helps?

TL:DR The evil fey and Lovecraftian aberrations are in league, and may be one and the same.

Liberty's Edge

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If you want, you can just copy paste every instance of firearm/rifle/pistol/etc. into crossbow/hand crossbow/etc., and that's all well and good. But to me, class abilities like grit and deeds suggest not so much a class that is "good with guns" as it does the tropes of lone gunmen and cowboys.

If your setting is the kind of setting where a man with a crossbow might strike out on his own, same as a man with no name might pick up a gun, then this works just fine. Heck, you could modify and substitute almost any weapon to use a grit-like system, or even open it up as a general mechanic among all classes.

But if you really want something that emphasizes the aspect that made the crossbow great for hundreds of years, something that raises that to fantasy level, you'll need a different sort of class. Something like the crossbowman archetype for fighter is a good start, but doesn't go nearly far enough, IMO.

I think a mix between the fighter and gunslinger would work best. Something without grit, without heavy armor, but with abilities that improve reload time, increase distance, and penetrates defenses.

Bonus points for developing an archetype that can prop up a shield in the midst of combat to gain cover.

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You've got options.

If you trust this player and like his character, let him heal. The only other healing he could get is with infernal healing or inflict spells, and is that right for a paladin? And if he's not carrying around an evil cleric or a wand an evil cleric made, then he's going to get killed by the second monster to come around.

And that's pretty stupid of the Lawful Good deities.

Justify it by saying the LG gods are not so stupid, and that they've ensured this unlikely champion of light will have the ability to heal himself. It can come with special clauses (must never be healed by negative energy, when not in combat he must offer healing to others first, never drink blood even if you're really really hankering for it, etc.), but if you shut down a character that you and the player enjoy, just because "The Rules" say so, well, what's more important to the game? You or the rules?

Now, if you don't really care for the character concept, and the player wants to playing it anyway, then go ahead and keep to the official ruling. He'll still be able to heal others, and it's not a total wash. But don't go complaining if he starting carrying around ambiguously eeeevil wands and potions just to heal himself. You can't do much paladin-ing if the party has to watch him nap for a week while he gets hp back.

Now, people complain that this some sort of Special Snowflake entitlement. And it does! And if you want him to play something boring, that's your prerogative. But if there's ever a time to break out the dhampire, it's Carrion Crown (especially Ashes at Dawn!). You can get some fantastic RP'ing hooks out of it.

As a last resort, there's this. it's a low-cost magical item from Gods and Magic that allows worshipers of Urgathoa to be healed by cure and inflict spells. The Gods and Magic book mentions that magic items like this, with special properties that function only for specific worshipers, can be attuned to a new deity with a magical ritual costing 200 gp. This will let him use a wand of cure light to heal himself out of battle, giving him a fighting chance. But introduce it soon (as an item found on a cultist, perhaps), as the player may get tired of trying to survive as a dhampire, and give up on the idea, settling for something much blander.

Hope it helps!

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I like that. I feel like the typical dwarf would look at a dwarven monk and think of him as impressive, but indulgent. It's impressive to spend years training your body to be has hard as steel and your fists to strike as hard as hammer blows, but you know what else is as hard as steel and strikes as hard as a hammer? Steel armor and a hammer! All that time spent in stances and meditation could have been spent forging dozens, if not hundreds of tools for your fellow dwarves!

Also, no good can come of a dwarf jumping that high. No good.

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In the scene of national politics, a friendly vassal state is worth much more than a land grab. You can trade with them, you can trade through them, you're not accountable for actions that you may "suggest" to them. Think about why the US (out of a quickly-scrapped 1927 plan) never thought to invade Canada - there's just no advantage in it.

Cheliax has everything they need from Nidal. No need to push it.

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Have the party see the mirror, and the women trapped inside. At this point, they can't tell from her true nature - while in the mirror, she's undetectable.

(Another possibility - perhaps her evil nature can be detected, but while in the mirror it's impossible to tell the source of the evil. Is it an evil woman trapped in a mirror, or an innocent trapped in an evil mirror? If the later is even a possibility, a good party should be strongly motivated to free her from the mirror.)

After she's free, she plays it cool. She does not attack the party. If the Inquisitor calls her out on her evil nature, she begs them to treat her with kindness - she's had plenty of time to repent her evil ways while trapped in the mirror. She's still a demon and detects as such, but her heart, she pleads, has turned away from the path of darkness.

This makes sense. Trapped without physical form or sensation would be a shock for a something as carnal as a succubus. Perhaps it could even redeem such a creature. Angels can fall, demons could rise, right?

...

It's a con, of course. A long con. Maybe the party holds and listens to her tale of woe, and she'll offer any service she can. Well, almost any service. She's a "good girl" now, and needs the party's help on her path to redemption. No charms or dominates, no energy drains or vampiric touchs. No seduction. Maybe the party attacks, in which case she shifts to the ethereal to watch for the next best moment in which to help. To prove herself.

She can offer quite a bit, outside of her obvious succubi talents. She's a master negotiator who can shapeshift and speak any tongue - perfect for getting out of trouble with the city guard, or scoring a great deal from the magic weapon shop. She can transport items through the ethereal, assist in battle, and use her telepathy to keep the party connected. Once the party trusts her, she may even offer her profane gift (she'll warn them of the danger, of course. "Do you trust me? I understand if you don't. Who would trust a monster like me...". Woe be it for a PC to decline a free, stackable +2 bonus to any ability score of their choosing!

She begs the party not to reveal her to authorities, especially those of the church ("They won't understand me like you do!"). If someone wants to try zone of truth or other such magics, roll the saves or spell resistance privately, and bend the truth freely. "No" is an acceptable answer to "Are you planning to betray us?" - she's not planning on doing anything, just following her true nature. If the party asks "Have you given up your evil ways for good?", she can respond "I don't know. Certainly not without your help."

Show her devotion to the party - she'll risk death to save them. Play up the humor as she gets use to a non-evil mortal lifestyle. Throw in humanizing moments. Make the players like her.

Then.

Then you start to twist the knife.

For a time, she is an unusual, if helpful, NPC. Soon she starts to give them information. She once worked for an evil cult with access to dangerous magic items. We should take care of that. There's a nobleman in town who's secretly studying to become a lich. Stop him before it's too late. There's a band of marauders here, or a street gang there, and before too long, she's become the mission hub. Gathering power and info, with the PCs at her disposal. Vanquishing evil, and opening up a nice, big power vacuum.

...

I don't know how far this goes, to be honest. I've gone a bit further than I expected. Maybe she takes control of the city, bit by bit, while the party is away. Maybe they get powerful enough that she asks them to help depose a demon lord, only to take his place at the eleventh hour. Maybe she really comes to care for the party (in the way one might care for a pet). It's up to you, really. Maybe she's found out, and the party rebukes her, and she flies away, swearing revenge.

But there's something to be said for the femme fatale.

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I ran RPT in-between Forest of Spirits and Tide of Honor. I ran it pretty much as written, and had the players design new characters and come up with a group backstory. The only things I changed were to make the "ettin" a gift to the tournament from the standing Regent of Minkai (wink wink), and to change Marthysan's motivation (and his race - to samsaran).

Mild spoilers!

Ten years ago, Marthysan was allowed to take one item from the vaults. Within the vault were both the seal and sacred weapon of one of the five families of Minkai, both long through lost to the Jade Regent. He received visions of heroes from the north, who would bring with them the last scion of house Amatatsu, and vowed to aid them in restoring honor to Minkai. As there were two items of importance in the vault, and only one could be taken by Marthysan, he would have to find and convince another group of heroes to retrieve the second (he chose the weapon, leaving the seal safe in the vault) during the next RPT.

During the adventure itself, Marthysan suggested to the heroes that their might be an unassuming item in the vault that would grant them "an entire kingdom" (sort of true!). When the PCs acquired the seal, they realized that it had made them a target of the Five Storms as well.

All in all, it worked very well, and gave the players a chance to experience a new PC after playing the same character for (relative to our group) a very long time. Some people chose to make stupifyingly broken builds, others made characters that could join the regular party should their character fall in battle (one player, who joined us during RPT, has now joined the regular party with his paladin).

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There's a few ways you can go about this. The easiest way to to make the captain not-evil. Mind-control has been mentioned, but he could also just be greedy or easily mislead by a more nefarious party. This has the advantage story-wise of allowing for a double twist - the party is betrayed by the captain, then assisted by him when he realizes he's bit off more than he can chew.

However, if you want him to be Evil, the top of the chain, the guy in charge, you still have options. Instead of a sudden reveal, go for the slow boil. Maybe the captain brings the PCs in to find a traitor in the watch, and after they find the traitor (i.e. the captain's patsy), he is killed in jail by his "cellmate". Later, the PCs raid a villain's lair, only to find a cache of alignment-concealing scrolls or oils, to be sold to an unknown party. Slowly, the party begins to realize that they've been used to wipe out any criminal organizations not answering to the captain. When they confront him, he issues warrants for their arrest and bounties on their heads.

Without their support structure, the party must fend off both well-meaning watchmen (the captain sends fanatical, but neutral and good-aligned men after the party, knowing they'll be at a disadvantage), and vicious bounty hunters and hit-men. Only one man can prove their innocents and show how far the captain's corruption goes - but he's a man the party arrested while working for the captain, and he too has a bounty on his head. The party must prove themselves to this witness, and defend his life while they escort him to a higher authority. Will they manage to survive? Will they forever be hunted? WHO KNOWS!

Thanks. I think I have my next campaign outlined now.

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This post kind of got away from me.

First of all, rules. I second using E6- if you haven't hear of it, it's rescaling the game so that anything beyond 6th is "epic" (PCs that continue past 6th gain only feats, etc). This does a great job at creating a low-magic atmosphere, as there's not much magic at these levels. These early levels are also some of the most balanced in the Pathfinder system, so PCs rarely become overwhelming overpowered.

If you do go down the E6 route, I strongly suggest using James Jacobs variant leveling homebrew rules. Hopefully someone more adapt at the forums than I can provide the link (In brief: No XP. Characters advance when the GM says so. Each level consists of four sub-levels. Each sub-level gains the PC an advancement of their choice in BAB, Saves, Skills and Feats, or Class Abilities). This way players get the rush of advancement, despite the low-level cap.

Feel free to modify both to your taste. Your campaign could be E7 or E12, or that each level could consist of two to five sublevels. Whatever works for you and your group!

Second of all, the world. You don't need to change as much as you think. The trick is to make the fantastic lore of Golarion just that - lore. I.E.

People say that Cheliax is ruled by devils, but we know they really mean sociopath bureaucrats (except that if you go high enough, you'll find the strings are pulled by something from Hell).

People say that Ustalav was ruled by an undead tyrant and now his minions stalk the night, but we know that the tyrant was just an old warlord and his minions ruthless mercenaries from the west (except for the horrible things that do lurk in the shadows).

People say that Irrisen is ruled by a witch-queen and populated by ice trolls, but we know their ruler is a xenophobic aristocrat, and those "trolls" are just very large, burly, fur-draped humans (except when those clothes conceal blue molted skin).

People say that the Worldwound is plagued with demons, but we know that it's actually serious seismic activity releasing underground caverns of toxic gas (except when those underground pockets erupt in a sentient pyroclasm of claws and death).

Magic exists, of course! But it's a rare thing. Everyone knows someone who knows someone who saw it once. The village probably knows of a few "witches" on the outskirts (hermits), or a local traveling wizard (charlatans), and maybe they even have a cleric (expert with ranks in alchemy and heal).

The gods exist, of course! Some followers gain supernatural powers (most don't), given quests from on high (never directly), and battle great evil (I think?). Oddly enough, two powerful priests may have claim to the same deity, but follow contradictory dogma - and both may ignore the dogma to pursue other goals.

Dragons? Those exist too! Well, they did once. There's hasn't been a confirmed sighting for decades. Perhaps dragons were never as smart as the legends say, and were driven to extinction by mages, for use as a source of magical material. Or perhaps they slumber in lairs deep and dark...

(This can be a good way to explain the great magical works of previous generations - perhaps it is common knowledge that magic is a diminishing resource. Whether or not that's true, it might be impossible to say)

The "facts" about Golarion that we know (as players) become the lost lore and legends of the world, and the "learned" civilized folks will tell you that they're just that. But that old guy, sitting in the corner of the tavern, they say he use to be a knight under the old king. Go on, buy him his next few rounds, and a tongue loosened by ale, might let slip of that time the archduke took the form of a wolf, or the caravan destroyed by malicious pixies, or of the crimson-scaled dragon that took flight and filled the sky with fire.

I could go on!

But, let's continue with the campaign. I like what you've said so far, The key is build up to the fantastic slowly. I'm going to make up three steps and say that's a good way to do it.

First, rumors and falsehoods: The players hear of monsters and strange forces, but never seem to encounter any (outside of themselves). The "manticore" lurking near the woods is a rabid bear. The necromancer in the tower is a a grave-robber who's taken up refuge in an abandoned lighthouse. A dragon-killing knight is a sellsword with several alligator pelts.

Second, pieces and remnants: Soon, the players encounter little bits of wonder. They chase bandits across the blasted landscape of a wizard's duel. Someone supplies the thieves guild with elixirs that turn men to mist and back again. Scrolls showing clockwork automatons in the shape of men found in a sealed chamber.

Third, the big stuff: When they least expect it, the truly awesome and awful of the world makes an appearance. An ally is devoured by a creature not from this world. The sky turns to fire and the city falls into a mad panic. Monsters and magic and dragons like they've never seen and gone before they have a chance to register as "normal".

A few final thoughts before I realize it's my bedtime:

You may want to remove alignment from the characters. It should still exist, but it should be known only to the GM (for mortals, it's almost always Neutral).

On that note, you may want to remove or up the level of the various Detect spells (evil, good, magic, etc.) - nothing makes magic more mundane than being able to ping for it at will.

n fact, if you check out the Gamemastery Guide, there's a whole section on what spells create a massive change to any campaign (Fly, Locate Object, etc).

Is this the link you were asking for?
http://paizo.com/forums/dmtz2tv5?Conspiracy-Theories-of-Golarion

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I could see enjoying an Order of the Cockatrice musketeer in a S&S campaign...

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I've been thinking about the many combat feats available in Pathfinder. It seems that many (especially the "necessary" combat feats) don't give advantages so much as they allow for trade-offs (Power Attack, Combat Expertise), while others are a tax on characters who would like to be competent in battle but didn't put everything into strength (Agile Maneuvers, Weapon Finesse).

I was inspired by the advanced rules for Microlite20 (a super-stripped down d20 ruleset), how they folded options like Two-Weapon Fighting and Weapon Finesse into the weapons themselves (in M20, anyone can weapon finesse a light or finesse-able blade, and anyone can two-weapon fight as if they had the feat - I know that the PF rules allow for anyone to do so, but at such a penalty that I've never seen a player go for it).

Why not, I figure, give these feats as bonus feats so that players don't need to worry about the basics, and can get on with interesting combat?

Under this house rule, the following feats are free to any character who meets the prereqs. If they don't meet the prereqs (in brackets), then they don't gain the feat. They may still gain the feat later if the meet the prereqs, or if they gain the feat as a bonus feat from a class ability (So a monk who discards Int can still take Combat Expertise). If a class ability grants a character one of these bonus feats that they already qualify for, they may instead pick one feat of that type that they qualify for instead.

The Bonus Feat List:
-Agile Maneuvers (n/a)
-Combat Expertise (Int 13)
-Deadly Aim (Dex 13, BAB +1)
-Power Attack (Str 13, BAB +1)
-Two-Weapon Fighting (Dex 15)
-Weapon Finesse (n/a)

I'm considering doing the same for several metamagic feats, mostly those that change the area of the spell. It seems to me that players rarely take them, and sacrificing a higher spell slot is already taxing to a spellcaster:

The Bonus Metamagic Feat List:
-Empower Spell (+1 spell level)
-Enlarge Spell (+1 spell level)
-Extend Spell (+1 spell level)
-Heighten Spell (+X spell level)
-Widen Spell (+3 spell level)

Some considerations:
-Should NPCs and Monsters also gain these feats as bonus feats?
-Would this increase the APL of the party, and if so, by how much?
-Do special considerations need to be made for any classes/archetypes?
-Will it matter more or less to a party at higher or lower levels?
-Should I discard the prereqs altogether, and just give the bonus feats to every character? Or add additional prereqs?
-Are there feats I should add, or feats I should remove from the list?

I'm interested in your input/comments/condemnations!

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The Whispering Tyrant, if I'm not mistaken, used armies of orcs in his conquest over the lands of Ustalav. The black gate of Belkzen they marched through remains, even though the walls surrounding it have long since fallen. When the time comes for the Whispering Tyrant to rise again, the gate will open...

With the events of Carrion Crown, it may be a good time for the gate to open in your own campaign!

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Phase spiders. Super-deadly poison, ability to phase in, attack, and phase out in a single round. I've had players very upset at me for using these in a swamp, where their mobility was limited.

It was great.

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There's a good bit of information in the free module "Revenge of the Kobold King"

-The Azlanti had crypts as far inland as present-day's Falcon's Hollow

-These crypts were marked by massive stone calenders (some of which ceased to function on the date of Aroden's death)

-The prince entombed in this crypt held a scepter (rod of lesser empower metamagic) and a stone tablet with the words "Zelfin Cova"

-The Azlanti has magically created huge vermin called Chariot Beetles:
"These mighty beetles once served the Azlanti war machine. They darkened the skies on their now-withered vestigial wings with a dozen war wizards on their back. These powerful specimens possessed strange abilities that allowed them to deflect magic with ease and hurl down eldritch fire to reduce enemies to ash. After thousands of years without purpose and their masters long dead, these beetles have degenerated to barely remarkable vermin, whose once army-blasting carapace now merely sparkles weakly to befuddle the minds of those nearby. They bury nearly every creature they meet, sending their victims to join their Azlanti masters below the ground."
I wonder if that "below the ground" bit refers to the morlocks?

-A minor artifact, the Azlanti Sealstone, granted passage past Azlanti wards and guardians, and alien insight into all kinds of lore (all the knowledge checks). Under Destruction, the following is noted: "If there is an easy way to destroy an Azlanti artifact, it has long since been forgotten."

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I am shocked, shocked that people are under the impression that Ravenloft (original recipe or new flavor) is a low-fantasy setting. It took place on a magical demi-plane inhabited by most evil people from the most evil planes, contrived and controlled by powers unknown. It was a kitchen sink of fantasy tropes separated by a thin wall of mist, each with little or no connection to each other, containing everything from Transylvaniaish terror to blasted Lovecraftian wastelands to industrial hell-holes to Egyptian necropoli to near-duplicate of Victorian earth.

I suppose the biggest difference is that all of that high-magic is working against you...

Anyway, to me, Ustalav is as appropriate a setting for a grounded low-magic campaign as Barovia. So long as you isolate both from the greater weirdness, they'll work just fine. I've played Ravenloft since the 2nd Box set and I'm playing Carrion Crown now, and both are great.

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Pathfinder #45 (Broken Moon) has an article that expands on lycanthropy, including clarified rules for curing one who has contracted the disease. To sum it up, you can be only be cured by a remove disease or heal spell cast by a 12th level caster* within the first three days of contracting lycanthropy - any longer and the disease can only be cured while the curse is active. Wolfsbane allows a new save, provided you survive the effects of the poison.

*A scroll prepared at 12th level (not just by a 12th level caster) will also suffice.

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I'm both a fan of the detail put into Paizo's AP maps, and I'm a GM who doesn't have a lot of time for game night setup.

I've taken to extracting the images from the pdfs with Some PDF Image Extractor (freeware), and then importing them into Paint.NET (although GIMP should work just as well). From there, I re-size the maps (so one square = one inch) and do some editing (cutting out empty space, separating levels, sharpening the image, and removing secret doors with the clone tool), and import those images into Excel (the only program I could find to not keep resizing my images when I try to print them). After playing around with the printer settings there for a while, I end up with a serviceable, detailed map for my players to enjoy. Hopefully.

Another thing to consider, if you've got tiles or terra-clips, and you've read the module carefully, you don't really need to worry about re-creating the exact map. You can restructure things so long as you keep the same 'beats', and don't forget to include anything that the PCs need to succeed. Lastly, be prepared to improvise, as the PCs may interact with their new environment that the AP designers (and GM) didn't expect.

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As much as I love Beholders and Mind Flayers, that they are so iconic has led to overuse. I was really starting to get tired of Mind Flayer plots and the odd Beholder guarding some hallway. There was little shock or surprise among my players when they encountered a squid-faced fellow or a bloated eye-sphere. The lack of such creatures in Pathfinder has given much-neglected creatures, like the Aboleth, to really shine!

And by shine, I mean terrorize the nightmares of players anew.

On a side note, I find it strange and interesting that the Pathfinder world contains neoillithids, yet no illithids proper! But it all makes twisted sense if you've read anything about illithid reproductive cycle (possibly from James Jacobs in a little book called Lords of Madness, or maybe going further back to The Illithid).

Light spoilers for the reproductive taboos of mind flayers: In mind flayer communities, there are giant brains (Elder Brains, even), in massive pools of brain juice. Swimming around in this brain juice, are baby illithids, evil little tadpole creatures. When it's time to create another illithid, a humanoid is submerged in the pool, and one of these tadpoles swims into its ear, then devours the brain (slowly, while the creature is super-aware of everything). After replacing the brain with its own genetic mass, it converts the rest of the creature as well. And you've got yourself an illithid!

But sometimes, things go wrong. Adventurers (or Drow, or who-knows-what) destroy a mind flayer city, leaving a pool of illithid tadpoles festering alone in a pool of brain juice. And with no brains to eat, they turn on each other, devouring their siblings until only a single massive neoillithid remains. The mere topic of such a abomination is considered taboo among a race of creatures who are typically into dominating all life and eating it's brains.

So I've always thought that the neoillithid is the true, "natural" form of the illithid race, one created without the supplementation of a humanoid race. Long ago, the illithids who arrived on Golirion failed (or never bothered) to develop their species in this manner. Maybe they liked the shear power of the neoillithid form, maybe they forgot how to create an elder brain, or maybe the Aboleths were sick of playing second fiddle in so many universes.

Whatever the case, illithids were content to remain neoillithids, and to wait even deeper in the dark than their Wizard breathren, with plans far more wicked and alien...

Oh man, what were we talking about?

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Toadkiller Dog wrote:
So, the AP states that guardsmen arrived and overpowered the Beast. How...?

I might assume that the Beast stops itself as soon as it ceases to beserk, and full of shame at the realization of the destruction it's caused, allows the guards to take it it. The guards, of course, will tell of their epic battle against the beast for decades to come, how they narrowly escaped death to bring the foul creature down...

I have also considered introducing a party of three Order of the Pike Hellknights visiting town (on their way to the Worldwound), who defeated the creature.

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Chef's Slaad wrote:
for extra silliness, try a "giant halfling"on for size

They're the worst of the lot! They get into everything, and are constantly trashing the territory of more enlightened races. Plus they keep taking everyone's stuff!

I hear they have some weird name in their own tongue, something like "Hoo-Mon."

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Kthulhu wrote:
If you can take it drunk and still pass, I don't see being "mythic" being an absolute requirement.

Why does everyone assume he passed the Test of the Starstone in spite of being drunk? Doesn't anyone realize that he passed because he was drunk!

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Numeria, to me, is METAL. Not, like, copper, but like a dude in a loincloth swinging a technoaxe at a murder-bot cyborg bear, and he's got a sexy metal lady clinging to one leg while firing eye lasers at a pterodactyl covered in skull holograms. Wait, what were we taking about?

Anyway, I like the tech in DoG, and I would love to see more Numerian science. I think that making it similar (Use Magic Device to operate, ray guns that work like wands of scorching ray, etc.) or sub-systems of (excellent work with the robot subtype!) is a lot better than trying to integrate a whole new mechanics (such as creating new skills, or creature types).

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If Rovagug really is that powerful, he might be the only thing that could stand up full-out Old One assault on the Golarion pantheon. Which may very well be why they've kept him locked up, nice and tight, waiting for the first salvo to breach the walls of Outer Sphere.

Leaving behind the concept that the deities we've come to know and enjoy are merely "somewhat more likeable" Outer Gods or servants of: Perhaps the Outer Gods and their ilk are just as alien and unknowable to the gods as they are to mortals. Rovagug might be a weapon that they strain to contain in preparation for that final battle (one that, if prophecy speaks true, would end the world). Big R might also be the first one of the Outer Gods to make planetfall, requiring every deity to step up and bind him. This may well be why the gods have a tentative peace - should they ever engage in true war against one another, the survivors would stand no chance against what would arrive next.

(Except, perhaps, for Asmodeus, who holds the key. Sneaky devil.)

The last act of Groteus may indeed be a merciful one, if the world has fallen to the unspeakable things from beyond. A final blow to eradicate the invaders, cleaning the slate for something new.

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Set wrote:
With Aroden dead, only Iomedae and Norgorber remain cognizant of this danger (Cayden is actually somewhat unclear on the events of that night, as he was mad tripping at the time)

I'm no longer sure we can trust Iomedae (and we could never trust Norgorber). Who's to say that Aroden's plot was beneficial to society, or even mankind? Even if he is the benevolent architect of the human race, perhaps his student knows more about his death than she lets on. Who knows what sinister secrets shatter your mind as you break your mortal bonds and ascend to divinity?

Unless you slept through that presentation.

Cayden might be the only mortal to retain what we would call "sanity". He recalls nothing of his moment of ascension, just a vague feeling that he was somehow improved. Out of all the once-mortals, he alone still thinks and feels like a human does, and knows that horrors beyond imagining lurk outside the gates of reality. Unfortunately, he's completely ill-equipped to deal with such a threat, as his plan boils down to "when it comes through the rift, stab it!" Poor Cayden. Poor us!

Unless it's all an act...

(Or perhaps Calistria really was behind Cayden's ascension, picking a target who embodied both the denseness required to be her perfect pawn and the tenacity to achieve her goals - both traits of the perfect adventurer. As for why, Calistria doesn't seem like the type to share so much as a grain of sand, much less the entire world.)

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Mr. Quick wrote:
Aroden built that cathedral as a place to keep the starstone. But what if he put that rock into that cathedral not to keep it safe, but to imprison it?

The Starstone Cathedral is another soft place in reality. The few that make it out, the few still clinging to sanity, tell of a place where magic and the laws of nature warps and bubbles, where the rooms shift and grow. "Bigger on the inside," they say.

Of course, everyone knows it has to be that way. You couldn't just have some pedestrian labyrinth or maze be the only obstacle to divinity, so Aroden created the cathedral as a means of keeping the unworthy out.

But what if that's not the case? What if the strange realms within are a result of the starstone's influence on reality? Without the cathedral to keep the deviation contained, the non-euclidean angles and paths might overtake all of Abaslom, transforming it into a nightmare city of pseudo-geometry and alien beings (some perhaps, once human)! How far might the starstone's influence reach?

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Given the time limit imposed on the players, this is the first time I've actually mapped the starting month (using the templates here: http://www.wincalendar.com/word-calendar-templates.htm). I had the party arrive in Ravengro on the 2nd of Pharast (March), 4711. Pharast has a few great hooks for starting Carrion Crown:

-Lorrimor's Will is dated Calistril, last month. Adds resonance to know that he was thinking of the PCs just before his untimely demise.

-Holidays. Pharast has two, Pharasma's Day of Bones (in which the recently dead are somberly paraded through town, great time for an Event 4) and Firstbloom (spring ceremony, good time for An event 3 or 4). Both fit very well.

-Weather. I mapped out the weather for the month, and made sure to note movement and combat rules. Early spring means lots of rain and fog, which add to the atmosphere. I've even planned for a little snow, just because I like the image of adventures fighting skeletons or dealing with creepy haunts against a stark white background. You can also have PCs use the snow to track something into the woods, only to be caught in a downpour that erases the tracks of both the party and the pursued.

-Timing. Given six adventure paths (and maybe Carrion Hill), I figure the party will take about 7 or 8 months, with travel, downtime and personal side quests. I like the idea of using Lamashan (October) in Carrion Crown, but I like it even more for the end of the campaign. The players fight against death itself as everything around them withers and dies!

That's my two copper.

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Ok, even better plan. Just buy a bunch of subscriptions, put my address down and your email down. You'll get the pdfs, I'll get the books, and you'll only have to pay US shipping! My plan is foolproof! Foolproof I say!

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I ask because several of the maps are more than I need as a GM, but I can't use as player aids because of the location of secrets. For example, the restlands map is nice, but it says Hidden Crypt right on it...

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Hi! The Crown of the Kobold King series is the first thing I ran in Pathfidner, so I went ahead and converted everything. Hope that helps!

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/fan-conversions/paizo-adventure-paths/game mastery-modules/crown-of-the-kobold-king