Fire Snakes

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Pathfinder 2E is restricted. But it's more balanced. And has finally taken the axe to the sacred cows, and ground them into meatloaf.

It's also a lot 'smaller'. Think about what we were used to with PF1 - was many years of released, and in a setup where "Hey, it's a feat!" meant that it was (potentially) available to just about everyone.

2E hasn't had the time to release as much as 1E, and each feat is only for a given class or archetype - so it doesn't widen everyone's options as much. I think they're also being more careful with what they release, power levels - so they don't release the Summoner, then have to scale it back with Unchained.

The downside? If you're a wildshape focused druid, there's basically one set of options - there's not breadth there, yet at least. Maybe in time.

They've also gone harder with something the writers had said they thought of as a core thing in 1E - but couldn't write in then. They want people to stay in one class from level 1 to level 20. Now you do - you can archetype for some extra bits, but you're still 'in' your main class.

There's a bunch of places where you could build something weird, cool and wonderful in 1E, but you can't in 2E. However, that also means those five totally overpowered builds that people made far more often are out - so I see why they did it.

2E ties everything closer to proficiency, and thus it's much harder to get that +1 bonus, because it makes such a difference. Compared to 1E where one of my players (Rogue) has saves of +5/+13/+7 and an AC of 21 at level 9, my level 11 Witch had +19/+20/+18 and an AC of 28.

I would actually say that PF2 and 5E have gone quite different ways compared to the starting point of 3rd edition - 5th is the 'awesome hero' where the default is that you're pretty damn strong, chopping your way through enemeies - not never troubled by them, but a more 'Avengers working their way through the mooks some of the times, facing the big bad some of the time'

Whereas unless you're facing stuff a quite a lot below your level, they can still be troubling in Pathfinder - I'd call it a grittier system now.

Bosses are harder, because their saves - even their weak ones, are really tough, because if there's four of you and one of them, then they're higher level than you. So they're hard to hit, near impossible to crit, and hitting you pretty easily.


Gortle wrote:
draxar wrote:

I want to build a character who's good at doing a thing, but have choice in doing so. In Pathfinder 2E, it feels like I don't really have that - there's the 'right' choice.

To a certain level you are correct but it is always more complex than that. There are limited number of actions in an encounter. Once you get to higher levels spell slots aren't the most important limit especially if you can have a few items.

PF2 is one of the better balanced systems out there with this level of richness. It is a lot better balanced that it competitors.

If you aren't prepared to give away 10% of effectiveness and you have to build the most optimal rather than the most fun. Then you are in a trap of your own making. Get yourself out of it.

10% drop is doable. 10% is fine.

The problem is, that Paizo have gone, lets make these cool 'Evolution' spells, one for each type of casting, that scale with your level, and open up other powerful effects later on - but you have to have that casting. Unlike most other types, there's no feat to go "Hey, you started as Wild order, but want some Storm order feats? Sure why not!"

So those Evolution feats kinda blow the rest out of the water.

Gortle wrote:


Take a Staff and spend the spell slot that you get from Primal Evolution. Then instead of casting a Summon spell, cast a Fireball.
How do people feel about that rules wise?

Fireball's a bit of an awful use of it at level 14. But Cone of Cold or something higher level seems more useful, and viable. That's an actual use for it I can see (and means I can actually go "Take it, mostly use it for that, use it for a simple summon if I really need to")


I suppose I find it annoying when the difference is that stark; when you can take Primal Evolution that gives you a spell of your highest level, and leads to other powerful feats… or you can go for other, much weaker options.

Pushes primal casters towards summoning even if it doesn't fit their style - they don't have to go that way, but they're weakening themselves if they don't!

I think it feels especially stark to me as I'm playing this character having given up on the thought of playing a Wild Order druid - because of how prescriptive the feat choices were for a wildshape focused character.

I want to build a character who's good at doing a thing, but have choice in doing so. In Pathfinder 2E, it feels like I don't really have that - there's the 'right' choice.

In terms of what to actually take, I'm currently actually leaning towards Talisman Dabbler for a couple of Talismans a day - as at my current level (14) I can make use of a couple of level 7 armour Talismans.


YuriP wrote:

You may take a familiar.

Although the abilities of the familiars themselves are not remarkable. The abilities they provide to the caster can be quite interesting. You can take things like Cantrip Connection, Spell Battery adnd Familiar Focus that's very useful for a blast focused sorcerer.

In terms of 'best' option, this is the way I'm leaning, as it takes me up to an effective 3 + 2 focus points, regenerating 2 (later 3) after a fight, and two more for when I really need them.

But it'll be a furball that's just a power battery and never actually sees play as itself, and I feel slightly bad about that. And I could take it with a General Feat I've got going spare now anyway.

Given how lacklusture all the options are below, it may well be where I go. (Primal Evolution would likely be the best option, especially given the later "Get two more casts a day" coming from it - it's just... I don't want to do the book-keeping or inflict "Hey, random high level Animal/Plant!" on my GM.

Dragonchess Player wrote:

A blaster sorcerer might find Reach Spell, Widen Spell, or Split Shot useful.

Given what I've seen so far in our game, Reach and widen spell will be mostly not needed, occasionally useful, but given I'll be so heavily blasty, mostly I'll just be able to go "Use a different spell!" - so it doesn't really seem worth the effort.

Split Shot seems rarely worth the effort for just about anyone, unless you're very commonly fighting things with Weaknesses that you've been informed of, have the right spell for, and can't hit with an AoE or multi-target spell. I just don't see the use of it, for an Action.

Dragonchess Player wrote:


Alternately, the Psychic Dedication (Cha-based) with The Oscillating Wave conscious mind might make sense to gain some extra oomph and a spell amp for either produce flame or ray of frost. You may want to consider working in Basic, Expert, and Master Psychic Spellcasting in as well for the extra spell slots and to keep the occult/psychic spell attack bonus and DC close to the primal ones.

Nah. Too much complexity to try and track 'Am I giving or receiving?' - and I don't want to throw lots of extra feats when I've got a good set of Sorcerer feats that'll do me quite well enough.

Ventnor wrote:
What about the Spell Trickster archetype? It includes some fun ways to modify fireball if you are so inclined.

Spell trickster offers awful options for primal spells at starting. So that's two feats in to get Fireball alterations that are not bad, but not worth the effort.


So, I'm wanting to make a fairly simple blaster character in a game I'm in, as that's what feels what'll fit the game - I'm retiring my bard as no one can remember what buffs I've given them, and the tactics needed to make Occult spells useful just aren't working.

I can't really be bothered with the book-keeping of summons (despite the fact I can see it's the best option), so I don't want Greater Primal Evolution at 4th level - but I'm stuck with what else to take there

Current feats:
2: Dangerous Sorcery
4: ????
6: Advanced Bloodline
8: Crossblooded Evolution
10: Greater Bloodline
12: Bloodline Focus
14: Signature Spell Expansion

And Ancestry Feats are:

1: Unexpected Shift
5: Energised Font
9: Fortituous Shift
13: Invisible Trickster (Sprite - Adopted Ancestry)

Element is air. Skills are Intimidation, Stealth and Nature. I'm going mostly blasty with a side order of "Whoops, missed me!"

Geomancer Dedication seems a possibilty, for Fatigue when I hit people with fire, etc. But I'm trying to think of anything else and drawing a blank - any suggestions?


Souls At War wrote:
Dealing with Deka An-Keret and the Sacrosanct Order of the Blue Feather feel way more wall'ish than it should be, one would think that with some info and the Mask they might be a bit more willing to "help" (as long as the PCs are the ones taking the risks).

From a pure simulation point of view? Perhaps, though I can see it both ways - that their priority is keeping their secret over everything else. (Also, are your players likely to give up the Mask? Mine wouldn't be!)

But from a game point of view, it makes fills the task of spreading out the adventure, giving you some chat, politics, and "Go do this!" encounters like the Chariot Race between the dungeon-crawls and reasearch-roll-repetition of the libraries.

And it makes enough sense. Stories need variety, different beats at different moments.

It's like the point in the film 1917, where the main character stumbles exhaustedly through the forest, having been through utter hell, almost to his goal. And sees a bunch of soldiers of the force he's there to bring a message to, all sitting round in a circle as one of them sings a calming song with a beautiful voice for a minute or two.

You can argue that he's driven enough, been through enough that he should keep going, should demand of one of the people there the info he needs.

Instead, he slumps against a tree and listens, and asks his question when the song ends. Because you, the audience, need that moment to catch your breath, before he plunges into the next bit. (And because there's enough justification - if there are people here, then that means the attack hasn't started, he's just so exhausted he needs at least a brief rest, etc.


Opinions on how I'm leaning towards running my group taking on Jamirah for the second time requested!

Short version - pretty much the rest of the canyon bar the Pyramid cleared out by the party, so she's found in between the two golems rather than waiting at the top of the bridges (when the party will likely just all fly up).

So, due to a combination of excessive caution from their caster and others after her summon fizzled against Jamirah's anti-summoning shield, and their paladin flying in against the last pair of cultists alone, whilst the rest of the party was slowly clambering around the crawl, the party ended up separated, strung out and not doing well when Jamirah attacked as the last cultist fell (literally!)

With one party member down, another hard-pressed, the paladin on single-digit hitpoints, and the Arcanist having only just reached the range of her most damaging spells, between sessions the Paladin asked me if he could self-sacrifice to let the party get out.

I noted to him that it wasn't a "You're definitely all going to die here" but accepted that it really wasn't going well for them. And allowed him it.

He's made a soulbound summoner (to not tread on the Arcanist's toes, as she's an Occultist, big on Summon X), and I've allowed him to be found close by - seeking the wisdom of the Sphinx.

But there's two things. Firstly, they seem to be working on the assumption that they'll find Jamirah in basically the 'same place' as they found her last time, in terms of their tactics. (To be fair, they can't know more of the canyon than they've seen - but if she's out of minions, and knows they can fly, will she stay there?

Secondly, since every other time the party has lost someone, they've taken their time, licked their wounds, gone back to town, bought stuff, etc, etc - taken quite a while - I think she'd go "I need to hurry up and solve this puzzle!" - head into the pyramid, Vanish past the Golem, and be studying the Clockwork Golem in its wall state (and the room its in) when they arrive the next day.

She still would rather someone else does the killing for her - so she'll let the Stone Golem fight the party. But she'll join in either after it falls, or when the party opens the secret door.

Is that being too mean? Is there a better place approach to this one?

I've already rolled out the Stone Golem getting one punch in on her whilst invisible - it hit, she took some damage. The party will see blood on its fist, if I go with that.

Ben Ehrets wrote:

I'm curious how this played out for other groups.

The heroes head out from Tephu for the Parched Lands. They're most likely on the river 12 days.
Then it's about 45 miles from Ipeq to get to the starting point on the map. It might be shorter from where they get off the boat and follow the tributary, but I'm guessing it's close to the same distance. That's about 4 hexes. Granting it to be the fastest-to-traverse terrain of plains, travel at average movement 30, that will be 20 hours. Would you call that two days of travel? A little faster if everyone has a camel or other mount, say a day and a half.

You've arrived in the Parched Lands!

Most likely they immediately fight the slaver gnolls and free the slaves. It seems like those people are really going to need an escort to Ipeq, unless the characters just point and say, "Good luck". The freed slaves are on foot, so it's at least two days in ideal conditions to Ipeq, then turn around again taking another 1.5 to 2 days to get back to the starting point.

There's not *really* a time crunch here, but the players have clues that the Cult is ahead of them in Chisisek's Tomb; it will feel like they are pressed for time. I'm guessing my group's characters will suck up the cost of being good and do right by the freed slaves, but it's probably going to be a pacing/morale hit to the players. This will add to them trying to explore as little of the exploration area as possible. Divinations will flow. They'll guess that the tomb is on the far side of the map (so I'll probably give them a larger hex page).

I'm curious 1) If I've missed anything major in understanding the timing and 2) whether other groups escorted the slaves and how that went. And 3) any suggestions about pacing the exploration. Thanks in advance.

The one relevant thing for timing here was retraining. Because she knew details about the party from Khabekh-shu passing her information, I had her actually retrain some of her spells to ones relevant to the party. Some then became irrelevant due to a later death, but the anti-summoning shield was, and the Protection from Good might have been, if the Occultist hadn't sent an Air Elemental (and might be again inside).

So the party taking a reasonable whilst to explore some places, and having two relativelyt slow folks (heavy armour) meant she definitely had the time to retrain a few spells.


Where does it say that? Currently I see one person saying that you can make a higher DC roll even when moving 10 or 15 feet, and one person saying you can't.

So there's no clear consensus; I'm currently leaning towards "You can roll DC15 for it if you want to not be flat footed.

With regards the 'they should be flat-footed anyway' - there's a few possibilities.

The writer of this module has transcribed the rules across badly, but did intend it to be as tough as the full rules for acrobatics, complete with 'always flatfooted' and 'roll to not fall over when hit'

The writer used those rules as a starting point, but toned them down, went their own way, in order to have a situation where a party with people that aren't so great at acrobatics don't just ignore the Epic Bridge Crossing and Combat and fly up.

The writer probably should have written something different.


Diego Rossi wrote:

Sadly, other rules make what you want unfeasible:

Quote:
You can only take a 5-foot-step if your movement isn’t hampered by difficult terrain or darkness.
A surface so narrow that it requires a skill check to navigate it should be considered difficult terrain, so it isn't possible to take a 5' step.

If it's difficult terrain, how are you able to move at full speed? The most you should be able to manage is half.

Diego Rossi wrote:


"Allows you to move at half speed" doesn't force you into moving exactly half of your movement. You could move whatever distance you want. The check simply allows you move without falling.
You can take the check applying the +5, have a full move available, and instead move only 5' or 10'.

So, yep, this is my feeling - this says that someone can go for the higher skill check and get that, and apply all the effects of that higher skill check to their 5 foot step. But Ryze Kuja disagrees, is of the opinion that if you're taking a 5 foot step you're definitionally taking the easier check.

Diego Rossi wrote:


Then:
CRB-Acrobatics wrote:
While you are using Acrobatics in this way, you are considered flat-footed and lose your Dexterity bonus to your AC (if any). If you take damage while using Acrobatics, you must immediately make another Acrobatics check at the same DC to avoid falling or being knocked prone.

Being flat-footed is linked to the need to take the check, not to its difficulty.

The increased DC for moving at a higher speed doesn't say that it removes being flat-footed. So, it doesn't remove the penalty. It simply allows you to move faster.

At the moment, the Rules I'm running with aren't the general rules, they're the ones from this specific module.

Module text:

Specific Challenge my players are up against:
The bridge is incredibly narrow, barely a foot across, and smoothed by winds and sand. Moving across the bridge requires a successful DC 10 Acrobatics to move at half speed without falling, or DC 15 to move at full speed. [blah blah, reflex saves]. Characters moving at half speed across the bridge are considered flat-footed and lose their Dexterity bonus to AC.

Now, I'm not sure whether the writer for this section failed to get the rules right, or decided to apply them differently, so as to not punish quite so heavily low acrobatics characters in a situation where the PCs don't have much choice but to cross. (There's other stuff they got wrong, so quite possibly them messing up - but that still includesthem failing to understand the difficulty of the situation).

I'm also wanting there to actually be this cool fight on the high bridges, or at least some prospect thereof, rather than just everyone down on the ground, or ignoring it via flight.

But it does create the situation where if they go for the higher check, they ain't flatfooted. And I'm thinking about how that interacts with 5 foot steps.


You're not the only person who'll read a response here.

So, you might not be helped by these responses, but the next person who has roughly the same question might not be so fixed upon "Only the official word of Paizo will do!" - and thus they might be helped by all these responses that didn't help you.


For clarity, I'm the GM, not a player.

Ryze Kuja wrote:
draxar wrote:
You're traversing a long narrow surface. It is not difficult terrain beyond its narrowness. If you're in combat, can you take a 5 foot step?
Yes, but once you've 5ft-stepped onto the Narrow Surface, you would need to make an Acrobatics Check and you'd be considered Flat-footed and lose your Dex to AC. You would continue to make Acrobatics checks every round and each time you take damage.

In this instance, they won't be taking the rolls when they take damage.

It's a specific space described in a module; from a practicality point of view, all the players need to get up there, and I don't want them to immediately jump to "Lets just fly!" as the first option (though they may give up and do that anyway) or have the combat very quickly switch to the ground below. (They're doing this mid-combat)

From a fluff point PoV, I'm going with "The thing they're crossing is actually a bit wider, but also smooth and ascending - it needs the balance to cross it, but there's slightly less risk of being knocked off" - I've also nixxed the idea of them falling off if they fall unconsious, because that'd lead to Dead PCs very, very easily.

Ryze Kuja wrote:


draxar wrote:
You're not moving at full speed, so does that mean you're flat footed?
You're considered flat-footed the entire time you're on the Narrow Surface regardless of whether you move 5ft, 10ft, 15ft, or up to whatever half your move speed is.

But if you move your full speed, you're not considered flat-footed. (Certainly in this specific situation; I'm not sure if that's a general rule, but it sounds like it is from what you're saying.)

Ryze Kuja wrote:


draxar wrote:
Or can you choose to take the +5 DC and 5 foot step at 'full speed', step confidently (if riskily) and not be so open to attack?

If you're taking a 5ft step, then you are not moving "Full Speed". Full Speed would be 30ft per round (or 20ft for some races).

Acrobatics Modifiers: Move at full speed on narrow or uneven surfaces +5
^------- This means that you could cross a narrow surface at full speed (30ft), and if the narrow surface is 7-11 inches wide (normally a DC10 check), then it would become a DC15 check to move across this surface 30ft in a single round.

To put it more clearly - if someone has a ton of acrobatics, and can easily make the higher DC, which would make them not flat footed is the fact that they don't have enough 'momentum', or just 'That's how the system works' the reason why they're still flatfooted?

Ryze Kuja wrote:


You can take Ledge Walker if you want to avoid all this nonsense though. If you're planning on being a cat burglar-esque style of character, Ledge Walker is totally worth it.

I'm aware of it. The big bad they're fighting has it. None of the PCs do.


You're traversing a long narrow surface. It is not difficult terrain beyond its narrowness. If you're in combat, can you take a 5 foot step?

You're not moving at full speed, so does that mean you're flat footed? Or can you choose to take the +5 DC and 5 foot step at 'full speed', step confidently (if riskily) and not be so open to attack?

Acrobatics


For clarity; I am talking about the 10 minute/level buff cast on a creature, not the 'draw a line on the ground "I SUMMON THEE FIEND!"' version.

Azothath wrote:
area inside creature gain protection & Evil summoned creatures cannot enter the area (thus no summoning them INTO the circle either barring an SR check and spells that cannot fulfill their casting requirements simply fail and are wasted {aka "fizzles"}),

Essentially what I was after was a combination of (barring the SR check, which I do need to remember) a confirmation that

a) the 'appears there' element of summoning doesn't bypass the 'enters' requirement
b) it fizzles rather than them being gently pushed out to the nearest available space (if it was from someone who cast one summoning spell every few games, I might allow the latter. It won't be) or them being able to mystically tell they can't summon there, so targeting elsewhere.

They'll then have to work out what's going on, and summon something different, or take other actions the next turn. But that's half the fun :D


My impression is the idea behind it was to stop people 'dipping' in one for some of the cool stuff, then go into the other as a bigger thing, or mix and match.

Slayer gets less Sneak Attack than Rogue, because it gets Studied Strike. Combining a bit of Studied Strike with, say, Unchained Rogue Sneak Attack and Debilitating Injury could be pretty painful.

Yes, there are other classes with sources of Sneak Attack, but most aren't a die every two levels, and don't have all the Kewl Toys of Rogue and Slayer talents. Or have prerequisites to enter if they're Pressed Cheese.

If it was in a low optimisation game, and I wasn't worried about it breaking the game, then I'd be fine with it.

But in general? And in the specific instance of a player asking me if he could do exactly that, in my high threat and thus fairly optimised game? I said no.


This has been asked before, but a decade ago, so seems worth asking again, in case there's been a ruling, equivalent situation that can be used as useful precedent, or similar.

If something has a Magic Circle against X up - for this argument, we'll say Good, and someone tries to summon one or more Good creature(s) into that space, does it

1) Suceed
2) Spell fizzles
3) "That's an invalid location to target, would you like to pick another?"
4) Summon(s) are hedged out to the nearest available space. (Randomly if multiple available.)

Previous discussion, from 2011: Summoning good creatures into a Magic Circle

I default to 2, at least in the instance of someone who is summoning things a lot, thus actually running into a countermeasure (even if it's not been deployed specifically against them) and it actually having a cost to them seems reasonable. And because I'm a harsh GM.

But it'd be good to know if there are existing rulings around this.


That was not remotely the question I was asking. The questions were not about his actions, but others. Please look at the questions asked rather than repeating the same things over and over.

Does new people turning up, who hadn't rolled against his stealth when he made it, cause a new roll, or do they go against the existing? (We're going that they go against the existing.)

Does someone (not the stealther) spending a move action to actively look for the stealther - whilst in a position where this is broadly viable - cause a new rolloff? I am going for yes, because of the wording of Perception, and because I like the dynamic it creates.


DeathlessOne wrote:
I'm fairly certain that a stealth check is made once and you keep the result until you break stealth (which could be as simple as leaving cover and not ending your turn behind cover. Once you are out in the open, it doesnt matter how good your stealth is, they will see you if you are visible and the DC is 10 or under, factoring distance). That initial roll sets the DC needed for a creature to perceive you. A creature attempting to spot you again rolls against the same DC until you do something that requires a new stealth check to be made.

The initial roll sets the DC for a passive roll to spot you.

But...

Diego Rossi wrote:
You must remember that making an active perception check is a move action, while you make a passive check in reaction to a new stimulus

So the Active roll has a cost. And an active perception roll against Stealth is described as an opposed check. It's a different cost benefit, and it means that someone is actively looking for that one place you're not hidden.

I've discussed it with the player who's playing the sniper, and we'll be going with that opposed roll. It won't come up that much, and it's probably statistically the same. But it adds a bit more tension, means he can't rest on a 20 meaning he's untouchable for that round, etc.


It's a house rule and I run pretty by the book. I'm running in Roll20 and I can just compare the perception rolls to the DC easily enough, roll en-masse.


So, out of combat stealth/perception, I think I'll be able to handle without worrying.

What I'm more interested in here is in-combat stealth/perception. Where there's lots of rolls, and action economy comes into play.

My player will be rolling every round when he's sniping, and he's building to be sniping as much as possible. The question is, where high Perception enemies may throw an action at rolling again. Thus my particular curiousity around "Is it an opposed reroll of both, or is it the case that they get another Perception roll against the original stealth?

As I say, to me, the way Perception is worded makes me think it's a new opposed roll, but it's not very clear.

AwesomenessDog wrote:
note that there is also a rule that multiple identical participants can add +1 to the roll for each beyond the first

Where is that rule?


AwesomenessDog wrote:

In any case, if you are using a method where you aren't rolling round over round, you should always just use the new perception (with appropriate modifiers say from distance or how distracted the observer is)

against the most recent stealth.

So what you're saying is you think the rule is "Active perception is rolled against the existing stealth, not against a new stealth roll" if I'm reading that correctly?


So, at what points is stealth rolled, or rerolled?

It's certainly rolled when you 'start' stealthing. And when you move somewhere that enemies can see (but start and end where they can't).

My group has generally played that the "I run up to them and stab them!!" approach is also usually a stealth roll. I think we might not always have done so if that's exactly what the initial stealthing was for, but generally it's the idea that they do get that chance to spot you as you're bearing down upon them.

I've now got a player who's planning on doing a sniper, and sniping every round. Looking at that, he'll make his initial stealth roll, roll after each time he snipes, but he won't have to roll before the attack. It makes sense because he's doing it from range, but also to not have a ridiculous number of rolls.

Question is, what (if anything) triggers a new stealth roll other than the next snipe attack?


  • Obviously, moving to new cover but crossing visible space does.
  • If new folk appear on the scene and have a chance to see him - do they roll against his existing stealth roll, or a new one? I'd fairly strongly lean towards 'existing' so that it doesn't get silly as 20 clowns get out of a car one by one and each trigger a new roll ;-) and because it's going against his initial hiding.
  • If someone's actively looking for him (a move action) does that go against the existing roll, or trigger a new roll? The way the Perception skill describes "Notice a creature using Stealth: Opposed by Stealth" to me feels like it's a new opposed roll - but it's not really clear. This is something that will happen less often, and thus I'm less worried about it causing more rolls.


In terms of the actual discussion, I realised there's something missed here that I found somewhere else - Dust of Darkness. Costs you the time to put it on yourself, but it ditches the glitter from Glitterdust (and can potentially provide useful concealment otherwise). The action cost makes it balanced.

In terms of the more general idea, I think it depends on if a bad guy has time and information to prepare and players over(or at least heavily) use a technique to the point of "You use this one thing to shut down all approaches!" - I know players who glitterdust everything for the blindness more than the anti-stealth.

A Ring of Counterspells (if it worked, which it doesn't) could be kinda okay, because it's "I got this specific thing, I got it set up knowing you'd cast this, and it's a one-shot." Certainly having a caster on-hand to counter the Glitterdust would work and is a big enough 'investment' to be viable (if they're inclued in the CR, balanced encounter, yadda yadda). Lesser Globe of Invulnerability doesn't move with you, that's quite a restriction, so again that's enough of a downside/setup.

It's definitely not something I'd pull regularly. But if the antagonists have been specifically gathering information about the party? e.g. if the party has an Alchemist, then some Resist/Protection from Energy makes sense. This is certainly a step beyond that, but it can be a "Hey, pick up a new trick maybe?" suggestion to a player.


Gisher wrote:
A Ring of Counterspells might be an option.

I'm aware this is a massive necro, but as someone googling for options on this, whose eyes lit up at this option, I was sad to then see it was not in fact an option. And I figure best to update the thread for anyone else looking for how to deal with Glitterdust.

FAQ ruling

The ring only affects spells that target you, not spells that include you in the area. One possible interpretation is that the ring would make you immune to that casting of the spell (and the rest of the area would be affected normally), but that would require additional exlplanatory language and create strange situations where you'd be immune to control water or guards and wards and able to wander freely through such effects. Instead, it is clearer to adjudicate if the ring only affects spells targeting you.
(The wording of the magic item may be clarified in future errata.)

As far as I'm aware, no future errata (they seemed quite... optimistic about that in the early days).


Pizza Lord wrote:

I think the main issue is that a larger creature is inherently a bigger target and is easier to see. That's just how things are. A larger creature is not inherently less acrobatic, agile, or balanced (despite a Dexterity penalty assessed to all such creatures, which you've already stated you aren't considering).

There are too many vastly different physiologies in large creatures in the real world, let alone a fantasy game to base everything on such an ambiguous rating (a Large snake has vastly different dimensions than a Large-size horse or a Large-size gelatinous cube).

Pizza Lord wrote:

(Continuing, since site crashed and I couldn't edit)

Just being Large isn't an indication of clumsiness. Any individual creature would be better served by having a racial penalty to Dex (above any size changes) or a penalty to Acrobatics to account for such things, rather than just being based on something as subjective or anomalous as the space it takes up on a grid-map.

Not unlike a GM ruling that a Large or Huge-sized serpent doesn't have a Squeezing penalty to movement to slip down a narrow corridor. It's a fair ruling based on creature specifics instead of a generality.

And yet, Fly inflicts such a penalty based on creature size alone - ignoring the specifics of its physiology. Albeit, it does so at half the rate that Stealth does.

Thus I'm inclined to believe that the rules-writers were willing to put in size based changes for entire skills, but not for relatively niche sub-uses of that skill.

Were I inclined to house-rule, I'd use the table from fly (+/- 2 per size category, rather than the 4 from stealth), and at that point a well-trained elephant could still walk a tightrope. (I believe it's rather cruel and painful for them, however!)

But I tend to run a pretty 'by the book' game where I set a difficulty and the PCs have to rise to it - I make rulings (and discuss them with the players) where there's actual gaps in the rules. But this? It's just, no, there's not a modifier. And given the situation won't be a collosal creature atop a 5cm beam, I don't need to make a "That's ridiculous!" call.


It does. What feels a bit weird to me is that a large creature has a specific penalty to hiding - beyond any dexterity penalty it might suffer. But none to this particular bit of acrobatics.

I'd say a larger creature shouldn't suffer extra penalties than a smaller creature for uneven terrain or slippery ice - because it can still spread itself. The tendency for bigger creatures to be more ponderous is covered by the dexterity penalty.

However if the check is to get across specifically narrow terrain (the table with 1–3 feet/7–11/2–6/Less than 2 inches wide) then it feels like firstly, there's definitely a point a Tiny creature doesn't make a check, a Huge or Gargantuan creature can't do it… but that point isn't stated.

But also there's a point beyond that "Nah, that's just ridiculous!" where it should be quite a bit harder (like it's harder to Stealth whilst large) without being impossible.

I suppose it's probably one of those rules that falls between the cracks - stealth comes up a lot, so "Size affects stealth" comes up. Balancing on narrow bridges, ledges or similar comes up much less often, so the ability of a larger creature to do so is less important for the rules to be able to model accurately.


There's good rules for large creatures Squeezing if they need to fit into a corridor that's only designed for a medium creature. But what about if on a thin bridge?

6 inches wide is a bit of an effort for a laden medium creature to walk down, but large? Feels quite a bit more of an effort.Yes, larger creatures tend to have lower dex, but the actual reduction is fairly small.

I'm less after "Here's how I'd house rule this..." and more after whether there are any existing rules or guidelines that I've missed?

About the only one I can think of is an that an argument could be made that a large creature has to squeeze into medium wide in order to make a try at the thin bridge?


I want to make some adjustments to Jamirah (the Lamia Matriarch Rogue at the Tomb of Chisek) without completely restatting her.

Partly this is because as written she's got an ability that doesn't make sense - she's supposed to use Stand Still to stop people getting inside her longspear reach, but it doesn't work like that! My vague plan there is to have her swap that for something that makes more use of her Intimidate.

But also, to keep the threat up on a reasonably optimised group, and because she did get a reasonable amount of information from her spy in Tephu, so she's had some time to prepare. The simplest way to do preparations seems to me to be to swap some of her spells around - she's done some retraining.

WHAT SHE KNOWS:

She's facing a mostly goodly party. Two heavily armoured types - a Paladin and a Cleric (neither that casting focused). A Arcanist-Occultist (summons - some other casting, but more focused on the summons) and an Alchemist (actually dead and replaced by a Slayer, but she doesn't know that).

SPELLS

Spell-wise, I was thinking that she might go for:

  • Protection from Good - more AC/saves, and a chunk of the summons can't hit her. Not totally devastating as elementals and weapon-users still can. The slayer ain't good either
  • Anti-summoning shield - because being outnumbered and having flying stuff around her will suck, and because the Occultist having one trick means it's good to make 'em think of another.
  • Resist Energy Acid (as that's what the Alchemist used) - probably in potion form rather than retraining though, as it last a good time. I like the idea that she prepares for at least one thing she doesn't actually face.

    Any other suggestions? Wasn't sure if there's much to go for vs the heavy armour types, but their slowness and armour check will give them difficulties on the bridge anyway.

    FEATS/INTIMIDATION

    On the feat side, I don't want to do a heavy/full restat of her. I also don't want to try too heavily to work out what I should and shouldn't take out and exactly what she would have taken when - I can see some stuff like 'Silent spell' likely wouldn't be used in this, but makes sense given her background/style. However, she's got a Cruel Weapon, Shatter Defences and... the only way she can trigger that is a full round action Dazzling Display- which seems a bit limited for a CR12 boss given what's available at her level. Options...

  • Cornugon Smash: Free Action Intimidate on people I Power Attack. However, if I'm using Stunning Assault, that's a lot of penalty.

  • Violent Display: Immediate Action Dazzling Display on Sneak or Critical with Focus weapons - and I'd hope to be Sneaking a chunk. Downside is that it's listed as 'available to weretigers, weretiger-kin and those who associate with these creatures.' Yeah, I'm the GM, but I run a fairly harsh and 'by the book' game. I'm thinking I could possibly allow this because she's a violent shapeshifter in a way that kinda fits. But it makes me waver on being unfair - it is simple though, and I'm fixing the book getting something actually wrong.

  • Hero's Display: Another 'Dazzling display-alike' but more complicated (at the cost of more prereqs). Take Hero's Display (Performance Combat Check, and then essentially a Dazzling Display-esque AoE intimidate, for a Swift Action. Requires another feat (Performing Combatant) - give up Rogue Talent Reslience ('cause 8 HP ain't going to change much...) for Combat Trick for that, and 11 ranks of Fly for 11 Ranks of Fly for Performance. Complicated, but feels kinda appropriate?

  • Frightening Ambush: Single target Intimidate as a free action. Downside that I don't get to scare the rest of the party whilst I'm whacking one, and get them ready to be hit harder later. Upside - simple, one feat, no extra prereqs or anything else like that.

  • Dreadful Carnage: Too many prereqs, too high a BAB so I'd have to work out when she takes it compared to other stuff - the other things are all fairly low level, so I'm much less worried about them.

    Thoughts/suggestions? Other stuff I can do that's appropriate to the party, and to the amount of time she's had?

    (A fair few weeks, as the party takes 3 days to explore a hex, as well as taking a while around Tephu, and getting out to here) for preparation.


  • Failing to Stand Still

    So, the 'Slayer Assasins' worked well - pretty effective, especially with full BAB + studied target, the ability to make their Sneak Attacks within their first Range Increment, buff the poison DCs. But also it was quite nice to have 'Lots of threat' without 'Save or die'

    Thus I'm going to do another restat where the book has got it wrong, this time on Jamirah because of "she uses her Stand Still feat to prevent opponents from getting within her longspear’s reach" - when it doesn't work that way!

    I don't want to do a heavy restat of her. I also don't want to try too heavily to work out what I should and shouldn't take out - I can see some stuff like 'Silent spell' likely wouldn't be used in this, but makes sense given her background/style. However, she's got a Cruel Weapon, Shatter Defences and... the only way she can trigger that is a full round action Dazzling Display- which seems a bit limited for a CR12 boss given what's available at her level. Options...

    [u]Cornugon Smash:[/u] Free Action Intimidate on people I Power Attack. However, if I'm using Stunning Assault, that's a lot of penalty.

    [u]Violent Display:[/u] Immediate Action Dazzling Display on Sneak or Critical with Focus weapons - and I'd hope to be Sneaking a chunk. Downside is that it's listed as 'available to weretigers, weretiger-kin and those who associate with these creatures.' Yeah, I'm the GM, but I run a fairly harsh and 'by the book' game. I'm thinking I could possibly allow this because she's a violent shapeshifter in a way that kinda fits. But I'm unsure if it's the best - it is simple though.

    [u]Hero's Display:[/u] Another 'Dazzling display-alike' but more complicated (at the cost of more prereqs). Take Hero's Display (Performance Combat Check, and then essentially a Dazzling Display-esque AoE intimidate, for a Swift Action. Requires another feat (Performing Combatant) - give up Rogue Talent Reslience ('cause 8 HP ain't going to change much...) for Combat Trick for that, and 11 ranks of Fly for 11 Ranks of Fly for Performance. Complicated, but feels kinda appropriate?

    [u]Frightening Ambush:[/u] Single target Intimidate as a free action. Downside that I don't get to scare the rest of the party whilst I'm whacking one, and get them ready to be hit harder later. Upside - simple, one feat, no extra prereqs or anything else like that.

    [u]Dreadful Carnage:[/u] Too many prereqs, too high a BAB so I'd have to work out when she takes it compared to other stuff - the other things are all fairly low level, so I'm much less worried about them.

    Thoughts/suggestions?


    So, this was actually me as the GM, doing it to my players. Which, yes, means I can do whatever I want, but what I want is to be fair.

    Originally, I went for this rather than a more normal approach due to expecting the players to be exiting a city at breakneck speed on a Phantom Chariot, having just acquired one - and needing a way to have an ambush go off despite that. In that instance I'm slightly more willing to allow a baddie a one-off bending of the rules so that the encounter can happen - it turned out that wasn't needed, but as that was what I was prepared for, I didn't work out another plan in time and ran with it anyway, and it was a rather hair-raising encounter for my players.

    One where they felt I was being unfair with what was possible for their enemies to do. And I'm wanting to get a sense of both what is in the rules and what people consider reasonable (and I'm aware those two things might be quite separate.)

    In terms of pure rules and the action to stop yourself, the key things appear to be:

    "Negate Falling Damage

    If you are falling and have the ability to fly, you can make a DC 10 Fly check to negate the damage. You cannot make this check if you are falling due to a failed Fly check or a collision. See Falling Damage if you fail this check."

    and

    "Action
    None. A Fly check doesn’t require an action; it is made as part of another action or as a reaction to a situation."

    Which suggest no cost as the Negate Falling Damage is in reaction to falling.

    Probably because it's more designed to account for "You're able to fly but find yourself unexpectedly falling" - essentially Feather Fall - than for a superhero landing as a prelude to combat.

    So the questions becomes more 'What's the action to drop?' (and does 'stepping off a platform'/dismounting another flying creature/similar change that?), and is it a sufficiently powerful ability that it requires a GM nerf?

    (I'm vaguely thinking the answer on the last might be "If overused" - for fairness' sake, my players can use it against me at least once, but they can't become the HALO Drop ambush party.)

    But also still interested to get others perspectives, both on the RAW rules, and the general reasonableness.


    What action is it to fall?
    (Asked the angel)

    Both in terms of the drop, but also in terms of 'You're flying by some means, but particularly if magical, and you choose to let yourself drop - with the plan to stop at the last moment'. Particularly in the context of a surprise round, where you'd want to drop down from above, and it'd be nice to then be able to do something after dropping.

    Ways you might be doing this:

    • Magical flight (e.g. Fly)and just 'I let myself drop, then stop at the last moment'
    • Having magical flight active, and stepping off a convenient platform (with a 5 foot step, a free action) to drop.
    • Dismounting another flying creature (which is its own thing to do as a free action)
    • The action 'drop to the ground' (free action).

    Fly skill explictly states that fly checks don't require an action, they're reactive, so the 'negate falling damage' doesn't take an action.

    What's less clear is the 'drop' - does either the act of 'dropping', or the time taken to drop cost you an action? (And if it's the former, does standing on a platform/cliff/whatever and stepping off as a 5 foot step allow you to, well, sidestep that issue?)


    Question - how did people find the 'Leaving Tephu' encounter, and how many Cultists did you have present? Am worried that Khabekh-shu + 6 Cultists + hieracosphinx is a bit much, but the PCs haven't looked into the Cult in the city at all.

    My players have had the encounter with the cultists on the Chariot Race, but not done any follow up on that at all.

    They've not particularly interacted with Khabekh-shu - he's in disguise on the boat when they are and listening in a bit, but from a distance. They're not actively socialising/investigating there (but also to be fair to them, I'm not really playing up those encounters; mostly informational/'cutscene').

    This plus the fact the only scripted encounters with the Cultists are in the Chariot Race, at the moment they're going to face all of 'em - am wondering if that's going to be a bit much, or if it'll be fine?

    Think they'll need one more 'permission slip' to get in, rather than have them do some entertaining, get them to go hunt something and have some of the cultists join in there? With a 'They'll run away' thing, but both if some of them drop, that makes the final fight fairer, and might prompt active investigation from the PCs before that.

    KingGramJohnson wrote:

    I'm the GM, and we're about to finish Book 2, and I'm excited for Shifting Sands.

    I have a party of all alchemists (various archetypes to hit all the party niches). They're all playing brothers of the same family. This has posed some fun and interesting challenges. Many fights have been a breeze (because of bombs), and other fights have been challenges (also because of bombs). It's crazy, but we're all having fun.

    What are some of the challenges you faced with Shifting Sands regarding encounters or situations in the book? Like the race, and the libraries and all that? Any good tips?

    Thanks!

    Rewriting Muminofrah into being less of a "Here's yet another fat character who's lusty as an extension of their inability to control themselves." fatphobic stereotype. Went for having her fat but strong and powerful, removing the elements that seemed gratuitous and concentrating on her as a politician - she sees the PCs as some celebrities who are a useful means to extra visibility for herself; romance might happen if a PC either initiated or suggested interest in such, but still would be a political move - I basically ignored all the elements where she has a particular paramour.

    My players lost the Chariot race; they played it too safe (but also rolled quite badly; not sure they'd have done better going risky). Suspect that one may be partly based on if you have someone with enough points in enough of the different skills.

    Beyond that... there's more details in some other posts, but there's a few places where there's attacks that depend on specific rules that don't apply - sniper assasins with Death Attacks that are Melee. Stand Still being used to keep someone from getting inside spear reach... when actually it only works within 5 foot.

    And for more on one example on this:

    draxar wrote:
    gamerdork wrote:
    @draxar - Mine are almost there too, and Slayer seems like a good idea! Although with little extra time to prep I will probably run it as "They just get ranged death attacks' method.

    The main thing with Slayer is they don't get their death attacks until 10th level. The three nameless assasins are level 7, a CR10 encounter total. So it could either be a single level 10 Slayer with something else to bump him up.. but his total sneak will be much lower, and isn't the 'bunch of attackers' thing, it feels more personal, less assasins for hire.

    So I might go with 'they just get it ranged' or I might stat up a simple Unchained Rogue build that's assassination focused, and have three of those.

    I spotted there's actually a few Slayer things that work, and at a lower level. No Death Attack, partly because it needs a higher level for a Slayer, but also because the minimum DC would be 18 (Level / 2, plus 3 for studied target) compared to the 13 of the 'as written' Assasins, and that kind of 'Save or die!' seems a bit too cruel.

    So I've decided to go for something still pretty nasty, pretty dangerous, quite 'assassin' approach, but which works at range, and is potentially deadly without being 'thud, dead' - the assassins have Wyvern poison, Slayers can make their poison more deadly by 'concentrating' on a studied target, and Sniper slayers can do Sneak Attack and other bonus damage on anyone unaware of them within their 1st range increment. So that means that the attack won't start at 40ft, it'll start further out, with a pair of poisoned crosbow bolts thudding into a PC, whilst the slayer scurries away down to join the other two.


    Tracking through doors is fine; that's a scent tracking roll that happens at a different speed, and is subject to a great deal more vaguery - it'll get a mishmash of whether people were in the next room as well as whether they are depending on what he rolls. And other factors will feed in.

    As opposed to the Scent "There is someone within 30/15 feet. Done."


    I've got a player who seems to think he should get full effectiveness of Scent through doors unless they're specifically. Or at very least the 'downwind' effect of 15 feet. To me, it feels like an expansion of what the ability allows - there's rules for listening at a door (or even through walls) to hear people, but nothing similar for scent.

    I'd let Scent apply as normal through, say, a cell door made of bars, and likely 'downwind' through one with a barred opening, a well made closed door? I might give you 5 feet through it - so you can be aware of someone standing right the other side of it, but not really otherwise.

    Has anyone else run into this? I do tend more towards "If it doesn't say you can, then you probably can't." than a more permissive approach, and the player is already playing a paranoid character who slows things down with the number of perception rolls he makes checking for traps (despite having trap spotter), so giving him something more to do that with? I'm not fond of.


    I'd offer a retcon or something like that if I realised it pretty quickly. I might well offer a free resurrection, and either swapping them back in, or them being the player's next character if I realised later (I run a relatively high character-turnover game).

    But sometimes people are happy to run with it; in a 'to dropped but not death' duel/sorta trial by combat, I managed to crit with a Scythe on a Power Attacked Vital Strike. And the PC was already wounded...

    The module said that the present High Priestess would Breath of Life people that died. But given the player's [u]immediate[/u] response was to go "Right, I have Summoner ideas..." I did a quick private message to check whether he'd like the Breath of Life, or whether he'd rather the new character. And he was pretty into the new character idea already. So despite the fact that was actually IC action by the High Priestess, I let the death stand, and adjusted what happened next around it.

    I also once rolled 4 shadows as a Random Encounter on a level 5 party, and (probably because I was a bit tired?) went for the epic looking, but very nasty thing of them rising up out of the water on 4 sides of the party, as the party was moving between linked barges. TPK; the party didn't have a lot of anti-incoporeal, and couldn't move faster than the party.

    After a bit of reflection, later that evening, I offered a retcon, as it was a self-contained encounter. But whilst the players had been pretty bummed by the deaths, they had also realised that the party didn't have enough anti-undead for an Adventure Path with a lot of that, and also weren't working together all that cohesively. So they came up with a party that were more 'together', and we carried on.

    So it depends what happened, and what works for the players and the game.


    Hugo Rune wrote:
    I think the scenario is making an invalid assumption because the door cannot be closed between the two grapplers. Doors open and close in an arc. So assuming the door is on the party's side of the wall (and therefore reachable), closing it will push the character into another square, either along the corridor or into the room with the monster.

    But do I keep track of which side all the doors open? Not even slightly!

    And the characters don't take up the full five foot square; neither does the monster. So there's 'room'

    Hugo Rune wrote:
    I would model it as a series of opposed grapple checks with the door pushers aiding another. The end result will either be a broken grapple and the door closed or the door closed with the character inside the room grappling the monster.

    Hmm, it feels like "Things stay where they are" should be an option as well as breaking the grapple or pushing them in.

    Melkiador wrote:
    It's the sort of thing that happens in movies fairly often, so it makes sense it'd come up. Not sure how to rule it. Technically, I guess the door just closes unopposed, since there's no rule to stop that from happening, but that obviously isn't the "intent" as much as a deficiency in the rules we have.

    Aye. I think it was the combination off what the monster was (a Tekenu, grabbing onto one of them with its intestines...) meaning that it felt like the part doing the grappling was less imposing than something's arm in the way.

    And as you say, the fact that the rules don't say you can't close the door, so one of them went "Can we close the door?"

    Fortunately the way I'd been rolling for it made them thing it was pretty nasty, so when I said "Uhh... that'd be some kind of opposed roll?" they just greased the paladin instead.


    Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
    I go with opposed Strength, simply because all your combat technique means squat when trying to move (or stop from moving) a fixed object like a door.

    Mmm, I think I was also thinking that it wasn't that high on technique.

    ErichAD wrote:
    Between the players and the monster, I think the door is the most likely thing to give. Have the monster take a crack at the break DC of the door when the players try to close it.

    It wasn't a super-strong or 'built' monster, so I don't think the door would just come apart. And yet it doesn't feel like "Yeah, you close the door unless the monster is strong enough to BREAK THROUGH IT IN ONE GO!" is really fitting, when actually all the monster is resisting is the door closing across its outstretched limbs.

    ErichAD wrote:
    The players are attacking the creature with an improvised weapon, and doing so is introducing improved cover. I suppose I'd resolve the door attack, if it hits, it deals 1d4+str damage and creates improved cover making it harder for the creature to maintain the grapple on its next turn.

    Can see with 'attacking with an improvised weapon' but I'd say more that you're attempting to introduce improved cover. Not necessarily succeeding.

    Reading these, and thinking about it some more, I think what I'll probably go for is that it's effectively a form of Aid Another on breaking the grapple, but one I might well allow from someone who could get at the door to move it, but who might not be positioned to normally Aid Another (should that be the layout somehow).


    One of those unexpected things that popped and lacked an easy answer at the table.

    Scary monster is grappling a PC, it's on one side of an open door, players are on another. Players decide they want to run away, so they're discussing closing the door on it.

    Especially given it's somewhat tentacley, so it's not just a single hand, but also because it is 'crossing' that space into the the grappled PC's space, and "Move action, I irresistibly break the grapple!" seems a bit easy.

    When I said "That'll take some sort of resisted roll!" they decided not to do it, and went for the forever favourite, the Wand of Grease, and did manage to get out.

    Doors are a bit 'weird' in general, in that unless you go to some effort, they don't 'take up space' when open so they open all the way, unless you pick which way they open, then you (or I at least) end up treating them all as swinging both ways, so it's not harder to shut some in combat because they're 'in' the other space. But that seems relatively balanced against the 'always a move action to open or close', and thus being unable to move-open-move or ditto shut.

    How would you have ruled? What sort of resisted roll would it have been, if that? I was originally thinking straight opposed strength, but I'm now thinking either opposed CMB vs CMB, or 'normal' CMB versus CMD.


    gamerdork wrote:
    @draxar - Mine are almost there too, and Slayer seems like a good idea! Although with little extra time to prep I will probably run it as "They just get ranged death attacks' method.

    The main thing with Slayer is they don't get their death attacks until 10th level. The three nameless assasins are level 7, a CR10 encounter total. So it could either be a single level 10 Slayer with something else to bump him up.. but his total sneak will be much lower, and isn't the 'bunch of attackers' thing, it feels more personal, less assasins for hire.

    So I might go with 'they just get it ranged' or I might stat up a simple Unchained Rogue build that's assassination focused, and have three of those.


    So, the assasins with their ranged death attacks, what have people run with, how has it gone?

    I'm split between "They just get ranged death attacks because that's obviously how they're statted", them giving up a feat or something to 'qualify' for it in a balanced way, or seeing if I can stat out a balanced way to swap them for a single Slayer which does have the ranged Death Attack.


    I will ponder, but I vaguely lean towards free action to be aware that yes, there's someone making noise and a rough direction, but move action to pinpoint (barring likely 'You're right next to them').

    Derklord wrote:
    Diego Rossi wrote:
    As the effect "ends immediately" when the bard is "killed, paralyzed, stunned, knocked unconscious, or otherwise prevented from taking a free action to maintain it each round." I would say that the bard is performing the whole time.
    Seconded - stopping the performance instantaneously ends it, which in reverse means the Bard has to keep actively performing to provide any bonus. Also, the performance "can be maintained each round as a free action" - "maintain" means you keep doing it, not that you repeat it. Contrast a Witch's Cackle, which inflicts a one-term-effect each time you use it, but has the cost of requiring the same original action each round to maintain a hex on a target.

    Aye, that works for me. Agreed that the Witch's Cackle is clearer that you're 'topping up', but the whole 'immediately ends when they're dropped' makes it a lot clearer to me that they're making noise throughout the round, not just on their bit of it.

    Oli Ironbar wrote:

    Ventriloquism.

    https://aonprd.com/SpellDisplay.aspx?ItemName=Ventriloquism

    Also, if you have lost your phone and had to call it to find it, it takes a move action at least to pin point it’s location.

    Aye; I'm aware of that spell, but I'm running a module and that bard doesn't have it. And, TBH, the situation she's in is strong enough that I'm not inclined to give her it. I just wanted to get an idea of, and be fair with, her Performance to buff her allies.


    Invisible bard is going to be buffing their friends with auditory (oratory) Bardic Performance. I'm aware there's questions/arguments about how detectable/pinpointable they are at the exact moment they're doing that; not wishing to rake that over again.

    However what I am curious about is the combination of bardic performance and movement. Does bardic performance involve constant sound, thus rolls to pinpoint them can be made throughout, or can the bard start in place X, call out "Oh friends, you're so great, you're so great they can't def(e)ate! So great!!" and then move?

    Meaning enemies know where they were at point X when they said that, but it's then opposed Stealth vs Perception to get where they went from X to Y?

    The key thing is whether the bardic performance being maintained is a constant backing track or a regular repetition of that support...

    I'm the GM in this instance, so it essentially comes down to my call. But I want to get a sense of if there are any exist rulings, or bits of the rules I've missed which make it clearer.


    Roonfizzle Garnackle wrote:
    I suggest things like, Ghoul, Ghast, Skeletal Champion, and Zombie Lord.

    Since they were so low level, and because I want to bring out their archetypical qualities more than replicate their character sheet, I'm tempted to go for more specific things that bring that out archetypical qualities - so the Bloodrager would be something of claws, rage, potentially feline/bestial, etc.

    Floodslain is interesting, though having looked through non-templated similar things, I'm tempted by a Corpse Candle if I can find the right moment...

    Quote:
    For the Pharasmin? How about a non-combat encounter with a ghost? It's very ... antithetical for a Pharasmin Cleric of all things to rise as an undead, but a brief warning from beyond, with a heavy dose of foreshadowing of what's to come? Particularly about someone trying to avoid Pharasma's Judgement? Iconic.

    OTOH, in a city where everything is rising from the dead despite the best efforts of the Grand Mausoleum of Pharasma? It'll show the power of what they're up against. But agree it's something that needs care...


    Hey Paul? In the unlikely event you're reading this, don't ;-) Spoilers! Also applies to anyone else who doesn't want one broad conceptual spoiler for Empty Graves and one specific early encounter one for Half Dead City

    Right, now that's out of the way, I want three interesting undead to drop on my party across the events of Empty Graves.

    Specifically, the three characters that have already died in this game :D

    I don't want them to be hideously nasty or overpowered... it just feels appropriate that when so many undead are rising, and some in fairly specific fashions, for the PCs that died in an early encounter (the Animated Sarcophagus in the first tomb) to do so too.

    I also have 'previous' in this; in another game I ran, when players had a 'all bar one' die at a rather higher level, and that one survivor run from the powerful caster baddie in the penultimate book of Rein of Winter, I had those party members come back over the last book in different specific high level undead forms.

    Not wanting to be quite so OTT or nasty with it now. But something I can slot in as a 'random' encounter, put somewhere otherwise empty, or add to an existing encounter carefully without breaking things.

    Party will be 4th to 6th level, briefly 7th at the end of the book. Something that's not an "Oh gods we're all going to die!" but that's more than a speedbump.

    Their previous existences were:

    Name: Sekhmet (named for the god whose bloodline flows distantly in her veins)
    Race: Half Orc
    Classes/levels: Bloodrager 1 (Abyssal refluffed to be Sekmet 'Rage + Leonine' themed)
    Vague thoughts: Something with beastial and/or divine elements.

    Name: Sarema
    Race: Human
    Classes/levels: Alchemist 1 (Crypt Breaker + Trap Breaker)
    Vague thoughts: Something weird that resulted from her reagents mixing with the water that drowned her?

    Name: Akhen
    Race: Human
    Classes/levels: Cleric 1 (Pharasma, Healing + Repose Domains)
    Vague thoughts: Unsure. Hitty. Likely armoured. Not going for "gave up on faith" as that's shitty to the player.


    Quote:
    As a fail-safe in case of rebellion, a mummified creature is subtly marked during the ritual process with a hieroglyph someplace inconspicuous on its body or wrappings that identifies the particular energy type to which it is vulnerable

    The mummified creature template describes its targets as having been created as guardians, and having their vulnerability added as a failsafe... but in the flavour of many presentations of them the Mummification is part of their burial, and their undead nature came later, is secondary or a reaction to their tombs being invaded.

    So, for the game I'm running, a built in weakness so that their makers can take them down feels a bit weird. Or is there another justification in the description for it that I've missed?

    However, I can see the argument that 'throw different magic at it until you get the right one' would be too challenging for players.

    So, I'm tempted to change it so that it's more a matter of the bindings, magical use of hieroglyphs, and suchlike hold it together in a certain way that give it lots of benefits, but a weakness that's inherent to the particular 'style' or way that binding was done. (Which can be identified in exactly the same way as normal, as its a function of the sacred/magical hieroglyphs.)

    Lastly... the first time the PCs see a mummified creature, it'll be the usual Knowledge roll and the variable weakness will be one of their questions. Will the perception and linguistics rolls take their own actions? (Probably I'd be nice and make them move), or are they 'reflexive'?

    I'm quite tempted to make it a Move action, that way it takes place in the combat, if you've got one good spotter, one good linguistics they need to co-ordinate, and making it a move action doesn't mean someone's lost an entire round to do it, but makes it a non-zero cost to find out something useful.

    Thoughts?


    Quote:
    As a fail-safe in case of rebellion, a mummified creature is subtly marked during the ritual process with a hieroglyph someplace inconspicuous on its body or wrappings that identifies the particular energy type to which it is vulnerable

    The mummified creature template describes its targets as having been created as guardians, and having their vulnerability added as a failsafe... but a lot of the mummified creatures in Mummy's Mask it's part of their burial, and their undead nature came later, is secondary.

    So a built in weakness so that their makers can take them down feels a bit weird. Or is there another justification for it that I've missed?

    I'm tempted to change it so that it's more a matter of the bindings, magical use of hieroglyphs, and suchlike hold it together in a certain way that give it lots of benefits, but a weakness that's inherent to the particular 'style' or way that binding was done. (Which can be identified in exactly the same way as normal, as its a function of the sacred/magical hieroglyphs.)

    Lastly... the first time the PCs see a mummified creature, it'll be the usual Knowledge roll and the variable weakness will be one of their questions. Will the perception and linguistics rolls take their own actions? (Probably I'd be nice and make them move), or are they 'reflexive'?

    I'm quite tempted to make it a Move action, that way it takes place in the combat, if you've got one good spotter, one good linguistics they need to co-ordinate, and making it a move action doesn't mean someone's lost an entire round to do it, but makes it a non-zero cost to find out something useful.

    Thoughts?


    Morhek wrote:
    draxar wrote:
    But I wasn't expecting a Most-of-Party-Kill quite so early. Looking at it, it's a CR4 encounter, so it is 'the tough one'. And they went in with half the party at or under half health, their paranoid/staying back split the party, and they had a fair bit of bad luck.

    I took one look at the trap and decided the animated sarcophagus and the water trap was enough, and my party STILL almost couldn't take it. Again, one party member was stuck outside and the rest struggled to deal with it. The only thing that saved them was me deciding it didn't make sense for a construct caller's eidolon to need to breathe, so it got swallowed and bludgeoned it apart over maybe ten minutes while the rest of the party nervously peered down from the shaft after breaking their way out. I can't imagine what would have happened if I hadn't decided the lightning trap was faulty, everything else still nearly wiped them.

    I don't mind having stakes and losing characters, but a.) I like to be invested in characters and level 1 is not enough time, and b.) doing it at levels 1-3 feels more than a bit unfair.

    Eh, I'm a mean enough GM and it was enough their fault that I'm not too worried about it. It sets the tone for the rest of the campaign - I don't expect many other MPK/TPKs, but I do expect a fair number of deaths.

    They saw the big impressive chamber with obvious tomb and statues and other decorations, but didn't stop to fix the fact that a couple of party members were on roughly half health (which is even more of an issue at 1 hit die) and whilst I can understand the "It'll be the sarcophagus that's trapped' perspective that resulted in the trapfinder wandering up to it and triggering by stepping on the dais.

    And then the party being so strung out that the cleric couldn't get the healer up (and didn't prioritise doing so), that the wizard was locked out of the room (leaving the human cleric with no light, as well as one less person to fight). And so forth.

    There was also a chunk of bad luck on their part, and it is an unusually nasty early encounter... but I'm okay with that. There was some initial unhappiness, but I think most of that was at specific edges - annoyance at the death combined with someone finding suffocation rules unreasonable, plus communication being that bit harder over voice-chat.

    People have rolled with it, made new characters, and in the next session come back, defeated the sarcophagus, and found the true tomb, defeated the cobra. They seem happy enough, just that bit more wary.


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    Name: Sekhmet (named for the god whose bloodline flows distantly in her veins)
    Race: Half Orc
    Classes/levels: Bloodrager 1

    Name: Sarema
    Race: Human
    Classes/levels: Alchemist 1 (Crypt Breaker + Trap Breaker)

    Name: Akhen
    Race: Human
    Classes/levels: Cleric 1 (Pharasma, Healing + Repose Domains)

    Adventure: The Half Dead City
    Location: Tomb of Penrethu - False Burial Chambber
    Catalyst: Malfunctioning Deathtrap proved surprisingly effective!
    Survivor (singular): Sunja, level 1 Diviner Wizard.

    The Gory Details:

    Short version? One member split off, them all spread out, and two of them already rather wounded, plus some bad luck meant it did not go well for them.

    Spoiler:
    So, after two PCs took a lot of damage from the first volley in the trapped corridor, and I almost dropped them when the Wizard didn't order his Unseen Servant to stop pushing down on the (auto-resetting) dart trap - he said 'I move back' just as I was making the second attack rolls, and I said "And the servant?" "Oh, it has to follow me because of the range..."

    After that, they were all very paranoid of traps, sending their trap-finding Alchemist forwards to check things, sending their Bloodrager to open doors. Took a bit more damage from the Giant Solifugid and the Sandling, did enough healing to get people back on their feet, but several were still quite dented.

    In the False Burial Chamber, the Bloodrager opened the door and went in, the alchemist went up to the sarcophagus to check it for traps, whilst the cleric lurked at the door, and the Wizard further back.

    So when it turned out the trap trigger was stepping onto the raised area at all, not the sarcophagus itself, the shock trap was enough to immediately drop the Alchemist, as the doors slammed shut, the Bloodrager stayed inside, the Cleric dashed inside... but the Wizard was too far back, and trapped outside. With the only light spell, meaning the Cleric couldn't see whilst the Sarcophagus animated and leapt into combat

    As the water rose, the unconsious Alchemist started having to make rolls not to suffocate from inhaling water. The Bloodrager could not roll for toffee, and kept on missing the sarcophagus. The Cleric lit a torch so he could see... just in time to be grappled, fail to escape, and then swallowed by the Sarcophagus. Because of the aforementioned dentedness, the 'chew' it got as it swallowed him dropped his hitpoints negative.

    The Bloodrager lasted a while and did some damage, but when she ran out of Bloodrage rounds, the Fatigue penalty plus continuing poor rolls against something with Hardness meant she couldn't drop it before it dropped her. At which point she's rolling not to drownn too...

    This was about 6 rounds into the combat - about when the Alchemist failed the roll not to drown. So, drowned Alchemist, drowning Bloodrager, and suffocating Cleric. We could've tried to work out their chance of still being alive after 14 rounds of increasing DC checks when the doors unlocked, but given when the Wizard saw the bodies, saw the still-active sarcophagus... he not unreasonably turned and ran, it was rather academic. Technically the Sarcophagus should've pursued him, and he should've faced the Ghost Scorpion on the way out, but having not been able to find a way to fudge it to save lives earlier, I cheerfully had the sarcophagus stay in its room and the scorpion be a treat for the new returning party.

    And now that Wizard is looking for said new party to help him finish exploring the tomb. Hope they'll have better luck!

    I was expecting there to be a level of death in my game - when I ran Reign of Winter the whole way through over a couple of years, alll bar one of my players lost something like 3-5 characters over those 17 levels, and the last died once (also a 'stay at the back' wizard, who also survived a 'everyone else dies' encounter, albeit at a higher level and by not making that particular game).

    But I wasn't expecting a Most-of-Party-Kill quite so early. Looking at it, it's a CR4 encounter, so it is 'the tough one'. And they went in with half the party at or under half health, their paranoid/staying back split the party, and they had a fair bit of bad luck.

    So, it is what it is.


    So, I make and update the Polymorphamory guide on good forms for shapeshifting. And I'm pretty happy with it. But I'm aware that there are cool forms I'm missing from it.

    Part of this will be normal human incompetence; I don't have a Headband of Intellect, so I miss things. However, there's also the issue that I used to build it using the Pathfinder Community spreadsheet, which had all the Bestiaries, all the APs, as well as a few other things like Tome of Horrors*. And that was really useful, as you can filter by type, size, source. Search for specific abilities. Etc, etc.

    Unfortunately, sometime around 2014 (IIRC), that stopped updating. I've gone through Beastiaries 5 & 6 more manually, and grabbed'n'added everything useful I could find from there.

    But it's just not practical, nor something I'm interested in, to go through every single monster in every AP and Campaign setting book.

    So, if you've spotted any good forms I've not got in my guide, let me know. Links to them on d20pfsrd preferred, but just the name'n'why it's so great and I'll google myself.

    Don't through any and everything my way - whilst some areas of the guide have quite a few options, I'm trying to always keep it distinct - maybe a couple of options for 'lots of attacks' and 'one big attack' at each level, but not a dozen where it's clear that one has actually better damage dice or other abilities.

    * I've generally left the various versions of Tome of Horrors out, as they're third party, even though they often get used in APs. I'm unsure whether in our out is the best for them, so would be open to hearing some thoughts on that.


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    *Climbs off a massive pile of neatly arranged Fey*

    It's nice to be loved!! Updated with Fey, though I've not yet compared them to all the other forms - I may well leave that 'till after I've done the Oozes and two new dragon form spells.

    Which I'll be working on whilst I wait for people to come up with a list of cool forms I've missed (I'll make a separate post for that).

    But all that can wait until later, as I need a snooze.

    Let me know if you spot any mistakes in my listings; been quite busy recently, so stuff may have slipped through.


    Gray Warden wrote:
    You can cast Charm Person on an enemy without making it obvious to its allies. It's essentially a way to stealthily cast Enchantment spells.

    Afraid not, though with Cunning Caster/other similar things, it could make it easier.

    The FAQ wrote:
    Although this isn’t directly stated in the Core Rulebook, many elements of the game system work assuming that all spells have their own manifestations, regardless of whether or not they also produce an obvious visual effect, like fireball. You can see some examples to give you ideas of how to describe a spell’s manifestation in various pieces of art from Pathfinder products, but ultimately, the choice is up to your group, or perhaps even to the aesthetics of an individual spellcaster, to decide the exact details. Whatever the case, these manifestations are obviously magic of some kind, even to the uninitiated; this prevents spellcasters that use spell-like abilities, psychic magic, and the like from running completely amok against non-spellcasters in a non-combat situation. Special abilities exist (and more are likely to appear in Ultimate Intrigue) that specifically facilitate a spellcaster using chicanery to misdirect people from those manifestations and allow them to go unnoticed, but they will always provide an onlooker some sort of chance to detect the ruse.

    http://paizo.com/paizo/faq/v5748nruor1fm#v5748eaic9tza

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