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That's along the lines of my thoughts, Grokk.

Can your attack of opportunity trigger an attack of opportunity from your opponents?

Ex. If a goblin takes a move action to leave a threatened square and the character that threatens that square makes an unarmed attack or trip attack, do enemies around that character get attacks of opportunity against that character? What about the goblin being attacked, does it get an attack of opportunity?

I'm sure this has been answered before, but my searching started taking forever. Thanks in advance.

Thanks. Burnt Offerings was the first AP I had run, so I really dug the whole thing (Sandpoint characters, villains, and arc). This was my third attempt to finish it. The first failed because I moved. The second failed because the players really just didn't dig the whole world and game system. This third attempt was just right.

I was very fortunate in this regard, also:

One of the players kept a through-his-eyes journal. It was funny and just a little bit snarky towards the other heroes.

A couple of other players had written chapter summation entries, but would be hard to follow for those not-in-the-know of the campaign's characters and such.

If I have in my group either a ranger or a druid, I would expect either of them to be able to acquire a plant like hemlock with relative ease. But it still costs me 2500 gp in *crafting time* to craft it.

This is the inherent problem. Taking a game mechanic cost loses any association with reality--that is to say, we lose verisimilitude. If you say the cost of the item is based on it's black market value, how do you then use that as the basis for the cost to *craft* it.

You're missing the larger point of the question concerning hemlock. Hemlock poison is relatively easy to make if you know what plant to look for. The price is ridiculous for the real-world analogue it claims to represent. Clearly the price is reflective of game mechanics, but that's tough to explain to a player who wants to craft poisons.

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After the first several attempts at taking on Thistletop resulted in the posse returning to Sandpoint for recuperation (free healing and restorations by the priests), Nualia became more and more frustrated trying to figure out the solution to the secret door.

Our Burnt Offerings Ending:
As the PCs probed the deepest rooms of the ancient Thassilonian relic, Nualia finally figured out where the slots were and what to do with them. She found Malfeshnekor's room, but the door was locked. There were engraved footprint markings on the floor in front of those doors. Plaques to the top and to either side had Thassilonian words written on them; written in bold and attention-grabbing letters -- as if in warning.

Excitedly she searched the other two rooms and found the Sihedron Rune key. Returning to the double doors, she stood on the footprints and joined the star to the door and pulled it open. Delighted to see the end of her search, she called to the empty room, "Come, demon, let us destroy together. Let us bring such ruin upon the world that Lamashtu can't help but hold us in her favor!"

After a moment's pause, during which time Malfeshnekor's non-existent heart rose into his horrible throat, the invisible Barghest spoke in a deep and sonorous voice, "Of course, lady. Free me from this room and I will join you in slaughter."

Nualia paused momentarily, "What do you mean? The door is open. You are free. What else is needed? Come."

Furious that the aasimar didn't know what she was about, it took all of the barghest's control to reply with a measured voice, "It is not wall or door that keeps me here. I am snared within a hedged prison. The trigger for releasing it is unknown to me."

Nualia looked at the footprints on the floor and the plaques on the wall. "Fiend, do you know what these plaques say? They look as if to warn me of something."

"Yes, lady, they each say the same thing, 'To Release The Prisoner, Say His Name'."

Contemplative, Nualia spent the remainder of the day trying to solve the mystery of the prison's trigger. In the meantime, she directed the last remaining residents of Thistletop to stage a last-ditch stand in the statue hall just at the foot of the stairs. At this point, she still had Chief Ripnugget (and his lovely lizard), several goblins and commandos, one warchanter, two Yeth hounds, Lyrie, and Erylium to face the implacable power of the 5 heros of Sandpoint. Should have been enough.

But when the Sandpoint marauders arrived, they basically slaughtered everyone. It didn't help that Erylium had stolen Lyrie's wand but wouldn't use it (she didn't want Lyrie to know she had it--Erylium deserved it anyway). It also didn't help that every spell she cast at the group had no effect (was that a magic sword she tried to Shatter!?!?). As Lyrie was the last to fall, Erylium fled to find Nualia.

Nualia, for her part, ran to the column room from her study the moment the PCs were heard on the stairs. Towards the end of the battle, the PCs heard a grinding noise coming from down the corridor but had no idea what it was or what it meant. They took a few moments to disable the hall trap and to approach cautiously. By this time, Nualia had disappeared into the secret area (the gold coins roll out of slots on the other side of the wall in which they're inserted and their retrieval raises the column - works the same way in reverse).

Once there, Nualia began to panic. It's only her and the psychotic little quasit and the imprisoned fiend. If the adventurers found her, she planned to jump inside the demon's room and with the quasit, the three of them could hopefully lure the PCs into the cell and dispose of them. The barghest at the door was breathing its fetid breath upon her shoulders as she waited.

And as she waited she heard the PCs enter the room on the other side of the gold coins column and proceed down to the double doors. Hope rekindled: maybe the shadows would suck them dry. A few moments later, the adventurers were in full retreat, the double doors slammed closed, and she could hear them pounding pell-mell out of the room. Finally, after what must have been hours she rolled the coins through the slots and lowered the column. The way seemed clear. She ventured out and with Erylium they left Thistletop.

Out in the Nettlewood, where she felt safe for a time, she stopped to think. No allies remained here but one and that one was locked away in a prison with a frustrating and impossible lock. She had not the magical strength to destroy the prison, Lamashtu didn't seem willing to do it for her, and she couldn't figure out the trigger word or words to shut the prison magic down. Those DAMNED THASSILONIAN RUNELORDS! And those damned Sandpoint Nuisances that wouldn't stop coming. Of course they were still coming -- her useless crew hadn't killed even one of them!

That was it, then, she decided. Nothing for it now. Back to Magnimar and back to Justice Ironbriar - a new plan had to be hatched.

She was long gone by the time the PCs arrived back at Thistletop. The heroes cleared out the Shadows; they were prepared this time. They solved the puzzles to open the door to the sunken treasury. And finally returned to the gold coins column. Figuring that out relatively quickly, they searched the north and east rooms before turning their attention to the closed double doors to the south. The room with the plaques apparently warning them away and the engraved footprint markings on the floor and the seven-pointed star "key" leaning against the wall.

The witch cast See Invisibility, looking for Erylium (knowing the little b+*~& could disappear). Moving in combat time, they opened the door and found the room empty. They stepped inside just as the witch caught sight of the invisible barghest in the corner and screamed a warning. He moved from one side of the room to the other, engaging his Rage power and thundering out, "If you want to live, you will free me!"

They decided, since Mal didn't attack, maybe he could be negotiated with. That was a mistake as the barghest hit the ranger with the full might of all three raging, bull-strength attacks and nearly laid him low. That was when the ranger saw the demonic appearance through a haze of his own red blood. He stumbled back out the door, as did his companions and they slammed it shut.

Malfeshnekor pounded on the door from inside the room and issued a hollow, anguished cry carrying with it all the rage and horror of ten thousand years of solitude and imprisonment and hunger. Everyone made to leave. Everyone except the alchemist.

He stopped.

He turned.

He spoke through the door, "If we let you go, how can we know you won't attack the people of Sandpoint."

The demon paused...

and began the process of convincing a group of people he had the power and motivation to do what they needed done. He would smell out and kill that b$~%@ Nualia who abandoned him.

"Will you swear to not intentionally or willingly kill innocents (or, as one person added, "through inaction allow an innocent come to harm")?"

A pause as if in deliberation, the sonorous voice spoke, "I swear."

He promised he would be good. He promised he would be loyal. Would he, if Nualia returned, be loyal to her? Yes, he was sad to have to tell them. After 10,000 years, he would be loyal to anyone who freed him. But if they freed him first, well, he would kill her and be loyal to them. He would bring her head as proof of her death to the eastern Thistletop tower as they requested. He. Would. Do. Whatever they wanted him to do.

Finally, they made a decision, they would free this demon who promised to "smell out" Nualia and kill her before turning his attention on some race of beings of known evil called "Aboleths", whatever they were.

So they set about trying to unravel the puzzle of the prison.

They figured it out.

They released the barghest.

Ignoring them, he pushed his way out into the hall, squeezing them up against the walls. Then he squeezed out of the gold column "door". Tasting freedom for the first time in 10,000 years was overpowering even his 10,000 year old hunger. But then the ranger called out, "Do you want me to show you where to bring Nualia's head?"

He turned and with a malevolent gaze said, "I will not be bringing you Nualia's head. I will kill her to be sure, because she abandoned me, not because of any promises I made to you. Be glad that you yet live."

He turned and left. The group stood there in disbelief. They thought they had made some sort of infernal contract that the barghast would be bound to follow.

Two weeks later, news came in from Magnimar of a slaughter that had occurred there. The dead were rumored to be members of some secret society known as The Brothers of the Seven. At the scene, they found one demonic arm. Clearly, the murderous demon lost an arm to these Brothers before it finishing them. The demon hadn't been found, but Magnimar was on high alert.

This is great, of course, because I have long term plans now for this NPC to return. Should allow for some cool RP potential.

Jiggy wrote:
jupistar wrote:
I suppose it is a correct judgment that a player is not denied these options (except the buckler) in such a case. I just also happen to think it odd that the buckler is excepted while none others are.

I can concede that it's a little odd. :)

I think it clear, however, if you release your hand as a free action at the end of your turn, it's not available for attacking for AoOs.
Uh... what's being referenced by the bolded "it"? The hand? The weapon it let go of (and if this, do you mean a one-handed or two-handed weapon)?

"It" references the hand in relationship to the weapon with which it (the hand) was previously associated. If an AoO is performed some time between the PC's end-of-turn action of releasing his grip on the weapon and the start of his next turn, he may not use the hand to perform an attack action with that weapon.

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Jiggy wrote:
jupistar wrote:
Both are derived conclusions from RAW, but you seem to categorically assume the former is accurate and the latter is not.
I see where you're coming from, but your description of my position is just a tad off.

I thought better of the rhetorical "categorically" and changed it to "arbitrarily", because that's more to the point, I think. But 'eh.

Jiggy wrote:

Now, my stance of letting go as a free action is based in part on being able to drop an item as a free action. So far, that leaves it on equal footing with the buckler argument that (you and I believe) Jodokai is making. But the free action stance is also supported by James Jacobs. Definitive? No. But it now has two pieces of support instead of just one.

Now, I notice you described my stance as "If I can drop a weapon as a free action, then I can let go of a weapon with one hand as a free action *and gain Deflect Arrows benefits*." and emphasized the Deflect Arrows bit.

Let's be careful not to roll DA in with the free action thing. Letting go as a free action may or may not be correct. However, Deflect Arrows is far more explicit. The ONLY requirement it lists for being able to use it is that your hand be holding nothing. It doesn't say you can't have attacked with that hand, just that it can't be holding anything.

But it's important to roll them together (which is why I emphasized it). See, I don't think I or Jodokai have a problem with "removing a hand as a free action" or "returning the hand as a free action" inherently. I think that is finely conceived. The problem only occurs when so doing provides an exploitive benefit. My plain understanding of the rules implies that it might be exploitive to use an attack action with a two-handed weapon (or one handed wielded with two hands) and then to drop a hand to gain the kind of advantage provided by Deflect Arrows.

But I also see your point that you can get a similar advantage by dropping (throwing) a weapon entirely or being disarmed.

I suppose it is a correct judgment that a player is not denied these options (except the buckler) in such a case. I just also happen to think it odd that the buckler is excepted while none others are.

I think it clear, however, if you release your hand as a free action at the end of your turn, it's not available for attacking for AoOs.

You and me both, friend!

Jiggy wrote:
Jodokai wrote:
You can't "re-grip" on a buckler to get the benefits of it, so why would you think you can "re-grip" on 2-handed weapon and get the benefits of it?

A very legitimate question (rather refreshing, in this thread).

My answer is "Because in Pathfinder rules, not everything that looks similar is handled the same way."

For instance, if I attack with a sword and a bite on my turn, my bite is secondary and takes a -5 on the attack roll. But if I attack with a sword on my turn and take an AoO with a bite, the bite remains primary (if it was to begin with). Very similar-looking circumstances (still a sword and bite in the same round), but handled differently.

As another example, if I have BAB+5 and attack once with a longsword in my left hand and once with a mace in my right hand, I take TWF penalties on those attacks. But if I have BAB+6 and attack once with a longsword at +6 and once with a mace at +1, I don't take TWF penalties at all. Either way I attacked once each with weapons in different hands as a full-attack, but they're not handled the same way.

The list goes on. If you follow enough rules debates through to their resolution/FAQ/whatever, you start to notice that you cannot safely assume that things which look similar are meant to function the same way. In that TWF example I just gave, people were up in arms in the thread leading up to the FAQ, talking about "obvious intent" and pointing out the (very reasonable) issue of "I just attacked with two weapons; how am I not using two-weapon fighting?". But it turned out that the designers' intent was what could be extrapolated from the text rather than what "looked right".


Is it possible that you're not supposed to be able to use things like Deflect Arrows in the same round you attacked two-handed? Yes.
Can we infer that from the buckler? No.

I think Jodokai's point is, you're using the pattern:

If I can drop a weapon as a free action, then I can let go of a weapon with one hand as a free action, do something, and either leave my hand off the weapon to gain Deflect Arrows benefits or return my hand and AoO using both hands.

He's asking why you aren't just as easily assuming the pattern:

If I can't use my buckler by letting go of a weapon in the same round I've attacked with it two-handed, then I can't Deflect Arrows or perform other similar combat actions by letting go of a weapon in the same round I've attacked with it two-handed.

Both are derived conclusions from RAW, but you seem to arbitrarily assume the former is accurate and the latter is not.

Edit: There are certainly things you can do with your hand freed in combat, but using a buckler is not one of them if you used that hand to attack. The questions are:

1) Are the things you can't do with a freed hand after using it for attack explicitly defined or implicitly assumed?
2) Are the things you can do with a freed hand after using it for attack explicitly defined or implicitly assumed?

I think that's the crux of the argument right there.


I would think that halving the dose would halve the effect, but would maintain the same difficulty to overcome (DC). Either it affects you or it doesn't, but if it does, it's not as bad. So, 1/2 the poison would just do 1 CON damage and 1/4 would have no effect other than to make you feel bad momentarily. Or perhaps you lower the DC only after reducing the damage to it's minimum possibility.

Also consider this from a game mechanic POV, which is the basis (supposedly) for the cost of a lot of the poisons. If you can disburse a single dose of poison to multiple targets, then you could theoretically put a table of commoners to sleep with a single dose of poison. Sure, it's not likely, but it's possible. And that sounds like it could be overpowered accordingly.

One dose of Purple Worm distributed 8 ways to 8 3rd level soldiers would give a 18 DC requiring a 2 consecutive rolls of 15+ to save. Chances are you would have at least 7 guards reduced to 0 - 2 Str in just over 30 seconds. All you need is a Rogue Poisoner to convert it from an injury poison to an ingestion poison. That's a lot of effect for 700 gp, I think.

Not arguing against your approach, just throwing out something to consider.

Poisons and traps really do act as a non-magical person's magic. I'm curious if there aren't some ways to create magical poisons like there are ways to make magical traps.

Edit: I just noticed the Green Prismatic Poison. So how do the crafting rules account for this?


Thanks a lot.

Tell me what you think of the conflict of the necessity of game mechanic costs (cost associated with the power of poison) and the common sense cost of supply and demand. "Why exactly does hemlock cost so frakkin' much!?!? I can harvest it from the woods fairly freely!"

So even if the cost reflects a black market cost, it shouldn't really reflect on the length of time to craft. In essence, what we're saying is: poisons are too powerful and useful of an item, so we're not going to not allow it in our games, but we're just going to make you jump through a lot of hoops (cost/time) to make it or buy it. Unfortunately, this flies directly in the face of any attempt at versimillitude (as far as I can see).

I hear you. And for others who might be a little more adventurous (like Shalelu?), how would you handle it, do you think?

I don't like static worlds, I guess. I've always seen it sort of like this:

Advancement is like money, you have to take risks to get it. The more risks, the more advancement/money, and vice versa, the less risk, the less reward.

That said, there has to be a way for people to advance even in the face of low risk. Maybe just slower advancement or advancement in non-warlike classes (expert +2). W/e. APs are a little silly in regard to PCs being able to go from level 1 to practically deific in the space of a few months. I like that this AP has built-in downtime and I like taking the approach of not awarding XP, but levels at appropriate times.

I'm sure this has come up before, but I'm curious how it's typically handled. The PCs go through Burnt Offerings and come out the other side more powerful and capable than they went in. They then move on to the next chapters, but the people in Sandpoint remain static? Shalelu, for example, never improves her skills/levels? Ameiko remains the same?

I'm curious how people typically handle NPC advancement over time.

Specifically, I'm interested because people have posted great stats for NPCs like Hemlock and so forth. But he becomes a rather insignificant NPC in later chapters because he doesn't advance with the times.

I have no idea where to find Dhabba Spittle or Frostspore or any other non-CRB poisons (I never worked with poisons in 3.5). I've pulled everything I could find from the d20pfsrd where they've combined many of the rules. I found a blog post about poisons here on paizo and pulled a lot of information from that post and comments subsequent to that post. In the end, I synthesized all of this into a single set of rules for the use of poison and still found I couldn't answer the questions I initially posted.

Pricing belladonna and hemlock as high as it is based on it's usefulness is not very sensible to me, except in broad terms associated with game mechanics. Under those rules, a druid/ranger should be able to pick up the materials for the making of hemlock with ease and bring it to an alchemist to fashion--the alchemist says, "Well, belladonna I can do, but turning that hemlock plant into a poison - phew! That'll take awhile! Several weeks, in fact. But here, give me that belladonna plant, I can whip you up something in an hour."

Making drow poison cheap because of it's availability makes a lot more sense, because supply and demand makes sense, except that I can't see how drow poison would be highly available. Is Golarion such a world that drow trading is a common practice?

That link you provided is a gold mine. Thank you. It specifically addresses my concerns here. For one thing, it fixed a huge problem in my mind: the Master Alchemist feat is available to all classes, not just the Alchemist class (no class-specific requirements, which I assumed it had). But secondly, it provides guidelines for the crafting of new poisons. Unfortunately, you say that some of these end up being exploitive. Unfortunately, it's hard for me to judge exploitiveness. I've tried houseruling things before thinking I was making something more "workable" and not realizing that it could lead to breakage of the rules down the road. Do you have a better set of guidelines to suggest on how to determine pricing or suggestions on how to modify his approach to work better? I sense that you've studied the issue of poisons far more than I.

You say that "Oil of Taggit" is useless in combat due to the slow 1 minute onset time. I agree that in round-to-round combat time with a lot of give and take, such poisons can be useless, but not all combats need to be that way. Knowing how poisons work, characters can work to delay the onset of direct combat action with RP and tactics, to allow poisons to be effective. I think the "effectiveness" of most poisons are directly tied to how they are to be used and while I know that we tend to see things from a direct combat-only, round-to-round effectiveness POV, that's really only an appropriate POV for *some* groups.

Joesi wrote:

Lastly, you shouldn't have to worry about a character being less useful than another. The GM should easily be able to make some sort of arrangement to make your character balanced with the rest. An example would be to either change the crafting rules, or give a feat for free (like master alchemist), or make a more affordable poison without overdoing things.

I think it even says the following in the pathfinder book(s): Rules are just guidelines. (unless you're playing PFS)

This is an easy thing to say, but not always an easy thing to do. It's very easy to break things when you don't know what you're doing. By way of example, I mentioned above that things don't make sense when they're priced for game mechanics and not for a "supply/demand" economy. I broke things in a game when I house-ruled that shurikans didn't break on impact/miss. It seemed silly. But now I read a thread about holy returning +1 shurikans in the hands of a ninja throwing 8 at a time and I realize, "Ok, well, that makes sense, then. They should lose their component value somehow."

Further, some players come from a "rules are rules - even the DM *has* to follow the rules" mentality. Which makes sense. If the DM doesn't follow the rules, then things can easily get out of control. Keeping these types of players happy requires that DMs maintain as strict of an adherence to the rules as possible.

For example, I was playing around with the idea that poisons should work like weapon blanches (you're right, I think, to say that they don't by the rules). But then it occurred to me how crazy powerful that could be: all party members set an ambush with 10 poisoned arrows from a single dose of poison. Could be crazy powerful for the price.

Joesi wrote:
I don't know what you mean by this. It's time-consuming for the character if they don't have the skills, yes very much so; however a specialized character can do a years work of poison crafting in just one day. Poison crafting isn't complicated though, at least not any more than many other rules in pathfinder.

It is my opinion that it is time-consuming to make simple poisons like Hemlock even if you're a 5th level Alchemist with the Master Alchemist feat. And even then, you only get a certain number of doses for the time you spend. It is my opinion that my job as a GM getting at all of the rules for the crafting of poisons is complicated. The fact that I don't have a clear set of official guidelines on how to adjudicate the cost and power aspect of poisons is what creates the greatest complication to the crafting of poisons in general and the crafting of poisons not listed in the sample list in particular.

Either way, this is a reasonable and subjective opinion, I believe. What is your goal with arguing this specific point?

In the end, I appreciate that link greatly and would love to hear your views on what should be changed in his method to prevent exploitation of poison crafting.

Ok, so far:

1) The Alchemist class is better at crafting poisons and applying poisons in combat than a Rogue Poisoner simply because it is.
2) The determination of poison costs for determining crafting requirements is not yet answered.
3) The crafting of poisons is, by extension, uncertain, but on the surface does look to be this complicated and time-consuming.
4) Poisons don't work like weapon blanches. That is the cost for one dose and one dose is treated exactly the same for a weapon or ammunition (source?).

So, this makes it sound very much like the Rogue Poisoner archetype is a rather broken archetype (no real good reason to choose the archetype) - would anyone disagree?

Edit: This is frustrating to find out for a player after 5 levels have passed and the hope that things are going to get better for the player in terms of poisons. Can't make it easily? Fine. How about buying it? Can't do that easily, either (prices are wildly variant).

Even so, as an alchemist, one should still find a way of determining cost and rarity of poisons (probably somehow that concept is combined). Why is drow poison cheaper than belladonna? Why is, by a factor of 10, belladonna cheaper than hemlock?

The Rogue archetype Poisoner has a vested interest in poisoning, however I'm having a hard time understanding how things are supposed to work and why other things work as they do.

Starting with confusion

There is a Swift Poison rogue talent in the APG that allows the Rogue to poison a weapon as a move action. At 6th level, the alchemist automatically gets the Swift Poisoning feature that allows him to do it as a swift action. Admittedly, one is 6th level and the other would occur sometime after the 3rd level. But there's no way for the rogue to upgrade this. Why must the specialist poisoner be slower in combat than the generalist in combat?

How are the costs of poisons determined?

This is very important, because all we have to work with are the "sample poison" list available in the CRB. If we want to craft a new poison, we have no way to determine costs and there doesn't seem to be a consistent pattern in the sample list (e.g. the Insanity Mist poison is just as difficult to resist as the Oil of Taggit, but seems much less powerful [in most cases], yet is also a great deal more expensive [by a factor of 15]).

This is important because the crafting of poisons seems off and confusing, both.

One of the cheapest poisons (Oil of Taggit) in the sample list is 90gp to buy. This is for one application of a single poison. Without doing the math right here, my initial estimate is that for an average 4th level poisoner rogue with access to an alchemical lab, crafting this poison is going to take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a full month - for one dose for one attack for one of the cheapest poisons. And it doesn't get much faster very quickly as the rogue increases in level, either.

And if the rogue doesn't make the poisons themselves, they are generally cost prohibitive, with the exception of just a few.

This means that the 4th level rogue can spend a couple of weeks to make a single dose of a poison that has a 50% chance of resistance, but can knock someone out (after a minute) for 1 to 3 hours. Or can spend several months making a poison that is likely to do no more than 2d3 wisdom damage to any opponent of note (6 consecutive save opportunities).

Quick math here using sample poisons list:

Oil of Taggit (900sp) - Assuming DC 10 (typical item) and average Craft: Alchemy roll of 25. This is equivalent to almost 4 weeks worth of work.

Oil of Taggit (900sp) - Assuming DC 15 (high quality item) and average Craft: Alchemy roll of 25. This is equivalent to almost 2 weeks worth of work.

So, it's quicker for the Poisoner Rogue to create a high quality item than a typical item of equivalent coin value.

Finally, if the Rogue takes the challenge to "work fast", the DC increases by 10, for the following results.

Oil of Taggit (900sp) - Assuming DC 20 (typical item) and average Craft: Alchemy roll of 25. This is equivalent to almost 2 weeks worth of work, but will fail a quarter of the time, increasing the overall time to completion.

Oil of Taggit (900sp) - Assuming DC 25 (high quality item) and average Craft: Alchemy roll of 25. This is equivalent to just over 1 week worth of work, but is going to fail half the time, thus doubling the time to completion.

So, I think it's clear that I have no idea how to properly institute poison crafting correctly. But all of the options above fairly stink for a single dose of poison to be used for a single attack somewhere far into the future for a very cheap type of poison.

Does poison application work like weapon blanches?

In other words, do you get 1 application to a weapon and 10 applications to ammunition? If so, that makes the ammunition mighty powerful, but if not... 1 dose? for 1 month's worth of work? for 1 attack? for a cheap poison? Ouch.

Of course, and now I even remember that rule. Thanks.

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I'm just curious, how does a weasel ever hurt anyone and not heal them with a bite that does 1d3-4 dmg. I'm sure this question has been asked before, but I kept getting lost in all the Negative Damage posts.

Keep in mind that this not a mono-spaced font being used in the rulebook. Word count is not all that has to be considered.

Unless they intend to add the magic item to the CRB, I don't endorse the plan as "the fix". As others have said, the Monk's problems are systemic and I don't like having to use UM or UC or other "additional books" to fix what's broken in Core.

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Celestial Healer wrote:
Indeed. And never underestimate the ability of the human mind to rationalize unethical behavior.

And never underestimate the human mind's desire and capacity to classify as rationalization that which goes against their own opinions. I experience a lot of that around here.

As for me, I'm pretty certain that I'm NG -> CG.

This concept of trust is listed nowhere in the rules. I can see, as a DM, using "trust" as a determining factor when judging what checks are needed, but it certainly isn't RAW. Which sounds like you're a convert. :)

setzer, big thanks for picking up the torch while I was away.

I think I'm caught up and it seems that Big M is missing the larger point. The issue between you and he isn't definition, but about whether the rules should be applied to the PC/NPC's objectively or subjectively. When the phrase "aware of your opponents" is read, it's read either in the objective sense (they are opponents whether they realize it or not and thus awareness must apply only to perception of presence) or in the subjective sense (he's my opponent, but he doesn't think I'm his opponent, and thus awareness applies not just to the perception of presence but also perception of opposition). It is because we're discussing "awareness" that setzer, I, and others have been reading it as a subjective ruling (from the perspective of the observing [N]PC) and not in the objective sense (third person, omniscient).

Using setzer's earlier example:

"An old man is standing on the side of the road. A young man walks up next to him. The old man sees the young man standing there. They stand in silence."

From the objective viewpoint, if either of them intends harm to the other and the other intends to contest that outcome, then they are both opponents. We also have many possible subjective viewpoints, but the two we're primarily interested in are of those who would be participants in such a contest. In that case, if the young man intends harm to the old man, he clearly perceives the old man as his opponent (he is aware of the opposition). But unless he makes the old man aware of his intention (by attacking or taking an action that indicates he is about to attack), the old man is not aware of any opposition. Those of us reading the rules about "being aware" understand that to be an inherently subjective concept and interpret the rest of the sentences in that context.

That said, if you don't wish to see the rules as being subjectively applicable to each PC and NPC as seems obvious to me, I won't begrudge that position. It's your choice, clearly. It is just my opinion that your reading is poorer in both judgment and realism, and is inconsistent with the notion of surprise.

For example, according to your reading, no group is likely to ever get a surprise ambush on another group. Let me try to explain. Let's say two groups (A and B) have been meeting together for years making a trade of contraband for gold. It is always the same. Both sides bring 10 men. Both sides always come armed with swords and crossbows (to protect themselves and the meeting from third parties). Neither side has a weapon "at the ready", because they don't like that level of tension. Only this time, one of those two groups of 10 decides they want to take everything at the meeting for themselves. So, they have a pre-arranged signal. As soon as the money changes hands, all of the men in group A are going to pull up their crossbows and shoot the men in group B. According to your reading, everyone rolls for intitiative. In most cases, this should lead to a fairly average diffusion of results with half of each group going before the other half of each group.

Now, obviously, this can be explained as Group A giving it away - one guy is a little twitchy or the guys in Group B just responded really fast. Whatever. The point is, for a group to truly suprise another group and to get the drop on them by prearranged signal or prearranged time is out of the question. Someone in the ambushing group will almost always "give it away" and cause an early actor in Group B. I don't like the result of that reading of the rules.

james maissen wrote:
I'll still stand with the no surprise round when you are aware of all the participants. I see it as exactly what's written and no more disturbing than full round actions on one's initiative.

Alright. I understand your complaint about full round attack actions. I'm just not in favor of making things less realistic rather than more realistic. My opinion has always been, the greater the realism, the greater the immersion.

james maissen wrote:
Moreover I see problems from a game play perspective with allowing a house rule to 'suddenly surprise someone' right in front of you. I think that initiative settles this, and in fact is the point of it.

I think initiative simply sets a speed of action, but doesn't necessarily cover the issue of expectation of combat (just as it doesn't when the opponents are invisible). Either way, I have your view. Thanks. I flatly reject your constant description of what I and so many others are saying as a "house rule". It is the rules of the book and they makes sense.

Weables wrote:

I do want to make a comment that I feel some people are missing here.

Rounds of combat where people attack are not one punch. We understand that there's a large portion of dodging, weaving, parrying, etc.

So isnt it entirely realistic that the guy who declared he was attacking DID throw the first punch, but it was caught on the arm of the guy who won initiative, who punched him in the face?

Fits the system as described, fits completely, imo.

Is that still the way combat is described or is that a relic from 3.0/3.5? I did consider that, but kind of dismissed it, I admit. I don't think that kind of language is still in the description. If it is, I have the following objection (there may be more, but I'm exhausted):

What if the guy's initial triggering action is to throw something (say a pewter mug of beer)? That something couldn't still be in his hand later in the round for him to "really" throw it.

Jiggy wrote:
Are you sure Grick's and my interpretations are actually in conflict?

Well, I'm not exactly sure. I read his and james as taking the same position and *that* would definitely conflict.

Edit: Yeah, I think so. He doesn't consider the possibility of a surprise round in his explanation of the rules. He doesn't consider the need for a perception/sense motive check for the bar scenario, instead he just grants that the higher init rolls represent a successful perception of the impending attack. Though he rightly sees one for the hostile tribe scenario. But he hasn't said much throughout the remainder of this thread, so his position may be evolving or just not fully elucidated. I don't mean to speak for him.

Jiggy wrote:
I go to all that trouble to lay stuff out, and jupistar skipped right by it. :(

No, I didn't, jiggy. If you read what I wrote to james, you see I credited you. I'm sorry I didn't take the time to say more directly: your interpretation is I think the general consensus among those not named "james maissen" and "grick". There is a surprise round and that is the time when the combat starter would act. The others can act in the surprise round if they get a perception and/or sense motive check (in some cases, both are needed) to see the attack coming (thus becoming aware of their opponent). And if they do act in that surprise round, then they can preemptively respond to the attack.

So, yes, I think this is the right way to read the rules. I'm happy with the outcome of this thread. Thanks, jiggy.

Your "math" is presuming that he's "dicing off" against each other (N)PC individually. That's not at all what's happening. He has one die roll and it is being placed in a ranking of die rolls. Trust me, my "gamer math" is working ok right now. The only fallacy in my math is not accounting for the possibility for ties.

james, about half the respondents in this thread agree that you can't be "aware of your opponents", even if you see them standing before you, if you don't know they're your opponent. I would say that my interpretation is not "house ruling", but rather just that... an interpretation. I have no motive to change anything, I merely have a motive to understand the rules as written in a scenario for which they're not clearly defined.

And your statistics are silly. 1 in 30 people are going to be last to go. So the NPC's chances are 1 in 30 to be the that person, not 1 in 8000. His chances to be one of the last two is less than that and one of the last three is even less than that. 3 in 30 is not likely, but at 10% it's a heckuva lot more likely than it should be. And I just chose the arbitrary number of 3. If he acted among the last 6 of 30 and 24 people acted before he could take that swing, it's just as ludicrous. That's just a 1 in 5 chance with all initiative modifiers being equal.

This argument about "we believe in fire breathing dragons, so we can just believe anything" is so tired. By that reasoning, anything can be justified, including the GM ruling that you don't fall when you walk off a cliff. There are rules about taking falling damage, but there are no rules about having to fall. So when the kobold runs off the cliff and doesn't fall and the PC chases him and does, like Elmer Fudd chasing Bugs, we can just say, "No more ridiculous than fire breathing dragons."

Suspension of disbelief.

I'll repeat myself. It being even remotely possible that a whole bar full of people without divination or time traveling or magical twisting of reality can act in a fight before the fight starts is simply ludicrous. It is ridiculous. And I think the rules support my position. But even if you don't think so, our argument would be RAW vs. RAI, because I don't believe what you suggest is intended. I personally think that I'm supported by RAW, too. I think jiggy and others who suggest much the same as him have it right. You can read the rules the way you wish, but if you think that you're reading it plain and that it is not a nuanced rule and you don't mind that your interpretation can lead to ridiculous scenarios like we've discussed, well that's your choice.

I'm not asking to houserule anything. I'm not trying to change anything. I'm with all of you guys in everything you're saying. The issue isn't one of whether or not people can preempt another person's attack. I agree that it's possible. The issue is if, by the rules, we can:

a) Define and know when combat starts
b) Provide a reasonable understanding/explanation of the mechanism used to determine the order in which events occur

For example, right after lecturing me on what the rules are (and I agree with), tell me about making Perception checks and Sense Motive checks. Why? Because common sense says that people have to be aware of the combat taking place before they can respond. It's not just about being aware of an opponent's presence, but also the fact that they are, in fact, now combat opponents--that combat is taking place. As such, the rules state, "Determining awareness may call for Perception checks or other checks."

The rules for a surprise round state, "When a combat starts, if you are not aware of your opponents and they are aware of you, you're surprised. Sometimes all the combatants on a side are aware of their opponents, sometimes none are, and sometimes only some of them are. Sometimes a few combatants on each side are aware and the other combatants on each side are unaware."

The rules do not directly stipulate the use of any check for any reason other than to "be aware of your opponent". So the rules interpretation I'm suggesting is that "being aware of your opponent" also should include being aware of the change of state from non-combatant NPC to combatant NPC.

There is one clear point of contention I want to address:

Komoda wrote:
Waiting for the conscious realization that you are under attack, rather than following the instincts of the situation, will lead you directly to your grave.

Whether you think it is smart or stupid, right or wrong, for someone to wait to be attacked before retaliating, clearly some people might take a different view. But that's not the real question, just something I wish to address. Your preemptive strike belief is a value judgment that may be countered by a moral or ethical one.

But in either case, I understand that it's possible for preemptive action to occur and I'm not against it, though, by default, it should not be likely that everyone is able to act preemptively. What I'm against is a whole bar full of people rolling initiative and acting prior to the person who throws the punch that starts the fight.

It. Is. Ridiculous.

VRMH wrote:
Han shot first.

Exactly what I was considering! Han made a successful Sense Motive and shot first! But, now imagine the whole bar doing that before Greedo shoots. The approach james maissen seems to endorse would allow for that, especially if Greedo is a little on the slower side.

james maissen wrote:
jupistar wrote:
The real problem with that approach, Grick, is
Nothing whatsoever..

Your "nothing whatsoever" is contradicted by common sense.

james maissen wrote:
it's the RAW.

Thanks. I can and did read the rules. I'm also fairly adept at interpreting rules. If you have nothing better to add, why bother responding in the first place?

james maissen wrote:
If someone gets the drop on another so be it, but the first person to declare 'and I attack' does not get a surprise round all to themselves...

None of what I said makes any sense to you? If the initiating trigger of a fight is an NPC throwing a punch, but everyone acts before that action, then how did the fight start? You could have 20 people going in the round before the guy throws the first punch. RAW supports, and legitimately so, such ridiculousness by your estimation.

james maissen wrote:
If you want to houserule something, that's your business, but I'd suggest that you put more thought into what exactly you want to avoid and at what cost,

Well, uh, yes. That's why I started this thread. I've shown what I want to avoid and the cost seems relatively obvious... someone, whether that's the PC or the NPC, gets the first combat action. This whole thread was about assessing this situation. If you wanted to dismiss it, you didn't even need to bother responding. Instead of doing that, how about answering the basic question I asked of Grick:

How is "When combat starts" defined?
- or -
How is "At the start of a battle" defined?
- or -
How is "When combat begins" defined?

What is the trigger telling me to tell the players, "Alright, roll for initiative"?

I think this is getting rather silly, now. 22/7 is a well-known substitution for pi, even if it's a poor or seldom-used substitution. So, it's a perfectly fine object for riddling and puzzling.

It's just a matter of getting people to think in that direction--giving them enough of a hint. I think the notion of breaking weights in half or forcing them to create multiples of this fraction to achieve the answer just puts it out of the reach of being determinable.

I think, to solve my problem, that I'm going to interpret the words, "When a combat starts, if you are not aware of your opponents and they are aware of you, you're surprised." to also refer to when you are not aware that the person in front of you is now a combat opponent. Meaning, the PC may know he is a verbal opponent (the PC is arguing with him), but not a combat opponent.

Using that interpretation I would do as SlimGauge suggests, as that has been my best interpretation, as well. The perception check to see if someone is aiming their arrows at you from a distance (as in Scenario 2) is good and easy to see. The sense motive isn't so obvious as the DC isn't clear. Should it be an opposed roll? So, if the NPC tries to sucker punch the PC, he's actively trying to bluff the PC or just trying to catch him off-guard or both?

In scenario 2, how would you allow the possibility for the (N)PC(s) to go in the surprise round along with the NPC initiating the attack? Anyone who would roll initiative in the surprise round before the attacker would be presumed to have readied their standard action and then resolving it just before the attacker in the order of their initiative rolls.

That's my current thinking, anyway.

Hawktitan wrote:

To the original poster

While 22/7 is a simplification of Pi, I would never use it as a fraction in a riddle. Additionally if you want to make shapes a clue use a triangle, circle, square (3.14).

You also said you can't express 3 or 5 as a fraction? 6/2 10/2. There - fractions representing the numbers.

Your suggested puzzle is terrible and confusing, as a player I'd hate it.

Holy smokes, Hawk. That 3.14 idea is great. Everything else is just rude trash.

With that idea and MC Templar's, you could turn that puzzle into a pretty decent one. Doors in the order you suggest. Paintings on the wall in the shape of creatures such as the centaur, minotaur, and manticore. Anything that can represent the idea of a fraction. Have the paintings all placed inside round beveled framing in the stone.

I think that hints at it all rather nicely without giving anything away. I think it would still be difficult for someone who didn't already know the answer. Fun and fiendish - the way all puzzles should be. But I don't know for sure, since I do know the answer and I'm guessing at what a new viewer would see.

ROFL - that's pretty good.

Of course, all the halfs might throw them off on the wrong trail. But the idea is funny.

MC Templar wrote:
You might be able to hint at it without being too direct by adding a great deal of circle themed visuals around the room (have the pedestal that the statue is standing upon be circular, and etched into the stone floor around it are a series of concentric rings, or a 'spirogyral' glyph. Make circles thematically ubiquitous, without have a pie slice painted on the wall in blood.

I'm thinking you need something to imply "fraction". You know? The whole thing revolves around coming up with a fraction, so that's what the hint has to point at. In the form of a riddle or with clues like you're doing here.

Your suggestion is a good one, in that it tells the person which door is the right one, if they figure out the hint. I just think we need to also consider the other part of it.

The real problem with that approach, Grick, is that you can have the incredibly nonsensical situation of the whole party acting prior to the person who is starting the fight actually starts the fight. I don't want to repost this in the Advice forums and have two threads of the same thing. Here's the real problem, as I see it. From a rules perspective, which you've kindly repeated, we have the following phrases:

"At the start of a battle", "When combat begins", "When a combat starts"

But nowhere is the start of combat defined. Is it after the first punch is thrown? Is it before any hostile action is taken, but declaration of hostility has been made or people are taking menacing actions?

It seems to me that the real problem lies in the question: how is combat "triggered"? That's where things get unreal for me and I'm having to handwave things.

Well, thanks for the correction. You've really cleared things up!

So, I'm trying to figure out how surprise rounds work when the parties are aware of each other, but not certain that combat will take place. The problem in my mind is that combat, in these cases, is not triggered until a hostile action actually occurs. So, I can't very well start the combat by saying, "everyone roll initiative". Because, then when a player rolls higher than the opposition, he knows combat is coming.

Sure, if he's good at not meta-gaming, then no problem, he would just first wait to be attacked. But if he's not good at it, then he knows he gets the flat-footed restriction and all of that.

On the other hand, perhaps a sense-motive to know that his opponent(s) intend(s) to attack (with situational penalties for distance and ambient noise)?

Of course, the reversal of this situation is relevant to. How about the NPCs if they don't know the PCs are going to attack? It could work either way.

A couple of scenarios are listed below. I would appreciate your suggestions on how combat might reasonably occur.

Scenario 1:

A PC and NPC are in a bar. The NPC has clumsily (maybe not?) spilled a beer on the PC and the PC demands an apology. An argument ensues and they are face-to-face yelling at each other. The NPC is riled up enough that he takes the first swing. Is that a surprise round? Or does everyone roll initiative and he just happens to go first? Keep in mind that only an idiot PC, at this point, would not consider that violence is possible and not be ready.

Scenario 2:

A group of adventurers are on horseback riding across the plains of a wild, frontier land, populated with many aggressive and non-aggressive tribal natives. In the distance they see, coming towards them, another group of people on horseback--perhaps aggressive tribal nomads, perhaps peaceful tribal nomads, perhaps another band of traveling adventurers, perhaps just traveling merchants. The PCs are waiting to determine hostility level before making any attacks. Turns out that it's a group of hostile raiders from a local tribe of cannibals. As they get within a couple hundred feet, the nomads start shooting longbows. Again, the party would be naive to consider themselves safe from attack and would instead be ready.

Both scenarios are commonplace type of scenarios. My question is, how do you go about initiating combat in these cases--who rolls first? is there a surprise round? etc...

Thanks for this remedial advice.

TriOmegaZero wrote:
jupistar wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Don't be silly Lobo, that would be broken.
You really should use <sarcasm> tags. Too many people would write that and mean it. In fact, half your standard snark could easily be written people on this board. Yep, I highly recommend the some form of indicator.
That would ruin half the fun of my posts.

ROFL - understood

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Don't be silly Lobo, that would be broken.

You really should use <sarcasm> tags. Too many people would write that and mean it. In fact, half your standard snark could easily be written people on this board. Yep, I highly recommend the some form of indicator.

LeDM wrote:

Yeah, I was thinking about that. I think there would be an exploit there since any caster could try and interrupt a scroll being cast so long as they could see at least one word on the scroll. Methinks that this cannot be the case. I'd say then that all the words disappear at once when the spell is cast, but not during reading.

This brings up another interesting question. What if you are scrying on a caster. Can you try to cast his scroll before he does even though you aren't anywhere near it?

A lot of possible exploits and exceptions. I think it would be much easier to rule, and will do so myself, that a person must be physically touching a scroll (what about gloves or gauntlets???) to cast the spell on it. This is would be a prerequisite of the magic inherent in scrolls for them to work. I can only see the issue of "skin" contact being the sticking point here.

Otherwise, we take your approach. We would have all those problems we just discussed, but we could argue that no one would be so irrational and foolhardy to try to gank someone else's scroll use because the scroll holder could move and interrupt the non-holder's casting, resulting in a mishap that could be very harmful. Even just a little jiggling by the holder could end up causing a mishap.

LeDM wrote:
jupistar wrote:
I agree with wraith, though. I'm not sure you can cast a spell from a scroll not being held by you. Maybe you can (I haven't tracked down any rules on the subject), but it implies that someone could cast a scroll you're holding... maybe even an enemy.
Hmm. I'd allow it under the right conditions. It would be hard. You have to have a good view of it (meaning you are right behind the guy and looking over his shoulder, or perhaps a super high concentration check would allow you to read it upside down if you are right in front and the scroll is laid flat so you can see the whole thing. THEN you'd pretty much have to ready an action to pull it off before the scrolls owner manages to get the spell cast since he's probably not wasting much time between getting the scroll out and reading it. Even then, I may call for initiative checks to see who actually finishes casting the spell first.

Yeah, except if you remember, the words of the spell disappear as it's being read. Actually, it says "as the spell is cast". So does "as it is cast" mean "during the reading" or "upon completion of the reading and the spell is resolved/resolving"? If one person starts reading it, what happens when the other person tries to read it, too? Can one person ruin another person's scroll casting by interrupting and reading some of the words on the scroll? Do we get a mishap then?

LeDM wrote:
jupistar wrote:
LeDM wrote:
I feel like you guys have convinced me. I guess if the party wizard wants to cast spells from a scroll while invisible, he's just going to have to ethereal jaunt it.
Ethereal jaunt it? Why not just set it down and let the invisibility fall off and then pick it up again?
Sure, or you could even lay it flat on the ground and read it from there. But in either case the enemy would have a (perhaps small) chance to see a scroll appear out of nowhere, and might guess that someone is nearby.

Oh, I agree. Much like using a light source while invisible or walking through water could make you detectable.

I agree with wraith, though. I'm not sure you can cast a spell from a scroll not being held by you. Maybe you can (I haven't tracked down any rules on the subject), but it implies that someone could cast a scroll you're holding... maybe even an enemy.

LeDM wrote:
I feel like you guys have convinced me. I guess if the party wizard wants to cast spells from a scroll while invisible, he's just going to have to ethereal jaunt it.

Ethereal jaunt it? Why not just set it down and let the invisibility fall off and then pick it up again?

Godwyn wrote:
jupistar wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
Then you tuck it under your coat and it's unable to be seen by others. However when you pull it out again is it visible or invisible? That's my point above.
Pulling it out a second time after it is invisible is no different than pulling it out the first time it was invisible. It would still have to be dropped or put down to be seen by anyone. Pulling it out of the coat does not stop it from being invisible.
I'm not sure that's so clear. It says "disappears" not "becomes invisible". So, it's reasonable to question if the item regains the invisibility state itself or if it's just, sort of, hidden from view within something that is itself invisible. I think it could go either way and I'm ruling in my game that it does.

I would be in the "it stays visible" camp except. . . at that point you have an invisible object blocking visibility to a visible object. What? So. . .your clothing is invisible, but it is opaque to visible things behind it. . .only not visibly opaque.

So if the ground behind you is not invisible also, it cannot be seen? Which I know no one would argue (I hope), but is where that leads to logically.

Personally, I would prefer a non-invisible object stay visible no matter how an invisible creature orients it. Makes more sense, and is interesting. However, I am pretty certain the rules do allow for a regularly viewable object to be hidden by invisible clothing. Hmm, new idea for traps!

Actually, I think you make a great argument for it becoming invisible and not simply disappearing from view. If I draw my sword, while invisible, and drop it, then pick it up again and hold it behind my back, I would expect it to still be visible. Even though it's in my possession and is "blocked" by my invisible body, it doesn't disappear, because it hasn't been "tucked away". Thus, the only rational conclusion is that when something is entirely enveloped within something that is invisible and disappears, it is not because it is blocked, but rather because it takes on the invisibility state.

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