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I love it when the dice write the story so jumped on the critical hit/fumble deck soon as it came out. Back in 4e I also used the encounter card packs for the same reasons. (this was back when they was trying turn it into magic the gathering...)

I figure if they draw a death card that is why they have hero points... What combination of critical success/failure and the critical hit/fumble deck just wrote its own story?

This is the hellknight hell first level boss so mild spoilers.

So the goblin dog gets a triple max damage crit hit card on the mud drake leaving it sinking into the muck. The muck itself was more dangerous leaving everyone retching as was the goblin pox...

But this card leaves me thinking if the upcoming boss does that it would drop a player....I doubt this arrest can happen.

They climb up with only the halfling cleric taking the fall (the dwarf monk is the only strong one). Then I read that the boss is written to lose his hostage/dagger at initiative so there goes my idea of surprise attack killing the party leader...

Round 1

Dwarf monk moves in with a flurry of blows that all miss, then desperately trips the boss as he attempts to nimbly dodge. The boss quick draws up his dagger as he stands up, but off balance so he misses the dwarf monk. The goblin bard inspires courage, then telekinesis a stone free from the crenelations which crithits the boss - the card says it dents his armor enough to break off!. The gnome cleric hits the boss with fear then offers guidance to the goblin bard. Halfling druid tanglefoots the boss.

Round 2

Dwarf monk gets a hit with flurry of blows, but then gets overconfident and trips himself. The boss drinks a lesser healing potion as that stone really hurt (missed that some crithit cards are normal not double damage), then critically stabs the prone dwarf monk despite his fear (not a nat20 so no card drawn, but I forgot the sneak attack so not dying but that will happen next turn for sure). The brave goblin bard sings a nasty goblin song, then tries to appeal to the boss to stand down or she will sing some more. The boss is not willing to surrender but decides not to kill the prone dwarf monk as he just wanted to frighten people into staying away, gnome cleric range heals the prone dwarf monk. The Halfling druid morphs claws in case the boss attacks.

Round 3

The dwarf monk is mad, stands up and critically shoves the boss over the crenelation rather than grab him for arrest, but the boss critically grabs an edge preventing the fall. The dwarf monk trys to shove again but instead loses ground to the loose rock and falls prone himself. The boss climbs back up and over on the second try, but loses his dagger in doing so. The goblin bard sings a goblin fight song, then the boss stands down upon further consideration that it is foolish to face the party and a goblin tribe that are now picking up stones themselves, he starts saying wait maybe we can make a deal...

The dwarf monk probably should have used mountain stance, but I think tripping yourself should not apply. Guess we will find out if they take the boss up on his offer.

This was a non-lethal combat by design so rather than just attacks it was made way more fun with tactics, combined with critical success/failures interacting with some critical hits/fumbles draws

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I enjoy making semi-random characters and the Ancestry, Background, Class, Details (ABCD) method makes them viable yet still creative.

A) Pick a random Ancestry and Heritage with a random bonus

B) Pick a random Background and take both its bonuses.

C) Pick a Class that does not need your dump stats and whose key bonus matches your max bonus so far.

D) Reinforce your top bonuses and Detail skills and feats that make sense for what you see the character becoming.

Restricting to CRB ancestries with AoA backgrounds, rolled an Enigma Bard Dragon Scholar Snow Goblin resulting in CHA key with INT/WIS dump.

Dragon Scholar trained in Intimidation and Dragon Lore with an Intimidating Glare. Bard trained in Occultism, Performance, Deception, Diplomacy, Acrobatics, Athletics and Bardic lore. Sings Goblin Songs. This is giving me an idea....

What if a Skyrim Reikling was the dragonborn? Uses young white dragon jaw (a megaphone instrument) for mimicking dragon 'shouts' (no INT to learn Draconic...) and goblin songs while being 'very' intimidating flapping arms like wings. The 'scholar' part is learning shouts by observing dragons in the wild when leaving them gifts. Take the occult spells in common with what white dragons typically cast,

A whip formed from a dragon tail, a dagger formed from a dragon claw, a rapier formed from a dragon spike. (it was a baby dragon so it is sized for a goblin) Throw on a noisy chain shirt until can learn medium armor and quest to get some dragon scale.

I have no idea if white dragons are involved in Age of Ashes, but still sounds fun. The enigma mystery is those arcane elements elude them, no cold attack/spells, is there anywhere in the universe that can make arcane compositions? In the meantime telekinetically throw snowballs (maybe house rule they do cold dmg)

Anyone else want to try this? Please post your random creations!

D&D 5e devs did this with D&D Beyond as a short stream every week going full random for some really nonviable sillyness. I like PF2e ABCD character creation for this as it makes things viable - maybe the devs can ripoff that stream idea to promote how creative character creation can be.

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Using Matlab I simulated bakers dozen lvl2 moderate encounters over level 2 for 1000 tables for various stat changes

average party lvl2 baseline

four PCs STR+3, WIS+2, HP30, AC18, Attack [7 2], Perception 8, melee d8+STR

average lvl2 enemy (medium humanoid)

two NPCs STR+3, WIS+1, HP30, AC18, Attack [10 5], Perception 7, melee d8+STR

Area charts varied for PC stats show average percentage of encounters with zero to four killed players.

mixed initiative, focus fire only at living, death saves for PC, dead for NPC, post encounter one hour Treat Wound each PC, no combat healing, no hero points.

AC chart can be used to get risk improvement for shielding rather than moving. You want to match your opponents AC


HP is realistic range for all ancestry/classes


STR is used for attacks and damage bonus, this is most important because of constant critical damage. Being weaker than your opponent is dangerous.


WIS is used for Initiative and Treat Wounds, dumping WIS is just as bad as dumping HP. (33 max dmg vs 30 max hp)


Initiative matters even more with side initiative


and with 10m break, side initiative


and with 10m break, STR4 NPC, side initiative (36 max dmg vs 30 max hp)


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I calculated the encounter damage range (EDR) of LVL 2 ranger builds using ten thousand players over a bakers dozen encounters of four rounds.

% STR+1, DEX+4 flurry ranger agile finesse dagger
% draw, draw, hunt
% move, twin, strike,
% twin, strike, strike
% twin, strike, strike
ATK = [8 6 4 8 6 4 4 8 6 4 4];


% STR+4, DEX+1 outwit ranger longsword
% draw, hunt, move,
% strike, strike, strike
% strike, strike, strike
% strike, strike, strike
ATK = [8 3 -2 8 3 -2 8 3 -2];

What percentage of 1H longsword players are as bad as 2x dagger players?

This can be determined by plotting the encounter damage ranges vs. AC, and determining where the sigma bounds of the two builds intersect.

AC %

12 0.1
15 2.3
17 16
19 50
24 84

Despite the longsword always having the better average damage, fewer rolls of larger die causes more performance variation.

At AC19 encounters the longsword does 23+/-11 while the dagger does 17+/-6

So even though the longsword is third better average, its accuracy is nearly twice as bad. With fewer rolls hitting less you get more performance variation despite the larger die and bonus.

So at very easy AC you can certainly say the dagger is not a choice, but at very hard AC many if not most will find their 'better' longsword is just as bad. So for when I run out of arrows before we get to the big boss - I know my lighter daggers are likely to be doing just as good as your longsword - and it allows me to carry a lot more arrows. So don't talk to me about your 'better' DPR, I am using my more powerful longbow (need to implement deadly to simulate) for the easy warmup fights.

I actually calculated with percentile equivalents of sigma, I verifed histogram is normal gaussian so it rounds to same number for large simulations. But when you start missing badly, then the 0 damage clips the histogram from being normal - so percentile works better.

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To combat players healing for hours between encounters in another thread it was proposed to use a tension die pool to pace the GM's random exploration that would lead to random encounters. Several had issue with this being complicated, this is because dice pools do not fit in with PF2 streamlined dice mechanic of d20 rolls opposed by DC.

If you follow the DM encounter tables in the GM section, you quickly realize serial encounters quickly turn deadly because the system was designed for the 10m breaks between encounters. Someone coming from D&D5e may not realize that serial encounters are more dangerous in PF2e, because D&D5e was designed for multiple encounters before a short rest.

The issue is RAW Medicine Treat Wounds limits you to hourly use (disregarding any feats), which means the GM could throw six encounters at you in the hour, despite people having lost their ability to do 10m Treat Wounds.

I suggest RAI are that hourly Medicine limit is only for that exploration phase, and that it should reset every new exploration after an encounter. The GM can only throw six lacky per hour at you before it turns deadly, and that makes for a very boring slog to death. The crawl can have more interesting encounters in that hour if they are allowed the 10m heals. The fact that no published encounters are doing six lackys an hour pacing suggests that this is RAI.

So allow everyone to Treat Wounds in a 10m break after each encounter, disregarding that they healed in the last 10m break. Instead use a lull DC to add tension to decisions for taking longer breaks. For crawls fictional positioning to make sense you really do not want the players taking hours to heal or even sleep after every encounter.

Someone else suggested that longer than 10m breaks should be called lulls for the lolZ. So I adopted that name for this houserule

The lull DC is a countdown that tracks player healing hours. The DC is set to 20 when a player first spends more than 10m to heal, and is lowered for every heal that takes more than 10m. If they decide to overnite camp during the crawl then that DC is getting cut in half as that is a lot of hours for the NPCs to fictionally reposition. If they decide to push on for serial encounters, that DC can be raised back up.

At the end of a lull GM rolls a d20 against the lull DC, on a success the NPCs will be doing their own exploration during the lull that may result in an encounter. Follow the exploration/encounter rules to see if initiative happens or not - if nobody notices each other than no encounter. Keep in mind if players are healing - they are noisier than if they are stealth hiding. If they decides all four PC needs an hour of heals after every encounter - then they do so with the tension of the lull DC stepping quickly down to 17, 13, ...

If you really want to add the tension to the table, use one of those big Magic d20 spindown die out in the open to track the lull DC. For those that think this idea should be more deadly, start the lull DC spindown with a d12 or worse!

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Scout can boost Wisdom so it is likely they will train in Nature which might be higher than Terrain Lore. While I realize the GM can substitute base ability, this just makes it a Nature Recall Knowledge, with nothing special for their Terrain.

I think it should be ruled like Natural Medicine - you can use Nature with +2 circumstance bonus in place of Lore for Recall Knowledge in your chosen terrain.

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The text says he drinks his mutagen before the fight, does the mutagen effects need to adjust his sheet or has this already been accounted for in his stats?

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my Deity likes a longsword which is common martial, so the buff to gain access to their uncommon weapon or dmg buff to simple weapon does nothing for me.

'zealously bear your deity's favored weapon' - so does that mean I can add zeal domain (in addition to existing domain) and get that extra d8 from the Weapon Surge focus spell in return for using the deity's weapon? Or does it mean if I take zeal it must be used with a longsword?

I think I am just stretching just to get something out of my god...