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The spell in question:

Note: that is the 2nd/3rd level spell, not the more powerful 7th level spell. We're dealing with the wimpy command spell here.

So here is the issue: the players have control of the undead, it is mindless, so the rules say it will even obey suicidal commands. HOWEVER, it also says this: "Any act by you or your apparent allies that threatens the commanded undead (regardless of its Intelligence) breaks the spell."

So is saying "Bite yourself" an act that threatens the commanded undead, in which case the spell is broken? Or is the rule about it mindlessly doing suicidal actions in effect? Which wins? It seems a bit like a race condition where each rule supercedes the other, repeatedly, forever. But what do you all think?

At 3rd level the Shadow Dancer can summon a shadow that can serve as his companion. Some text from the rules for this:

If a shadow companion is destroyed, or the shadowdancer chooses to dismiss it, the shadowdancer must attempt a DC 15 Fortitude save. If the saving throw fails, the shadowdancer gains one permanent negative level. A successful saving throw avoids this negative level. A destroyed or dismissed shadow companion cannot be replaced for 30 days.

So, if the shadow falls victim to the Dismissal spell, what happens? The shadow dancer didn't "choose" to dismiss it, so I guess the penalty outlined doesn't apply, AND the shadow isn't destroyed. Does anything happen? Will the shadow be able to return if the shadow dancer wants it? Will there be a 30 day wait?

How have you guys run this?

Is the alchemist's fire (or a flask of acid, for that matter) "weapon like" enough to qualify for the magic enhancement bonus? And if you think it is, then there is a follow-up question: does the +1 to damage apply only to the main hit, or also to the splash damage?

I understand that this is hugely wasteful, that nobody would bother to spend a Magic Weapon spell on a single thrown flask. But IF I wanted to waste the spell this way, does it work? And is there anything in the rules to prove that it works?

I have a player who wants to take Gorum's divine fighting technique, as described about halfway down the page here:

...and give it to Ragathiel, the god described here:

I agree they are both very "fighty" gods, so in that sense it works. However, that Gorum power is for chaotic creatures using a greatsword. The player will be playing a lawful fighter using a bastard sword.

Especially after seeing in Ragathiel's description that his "agents" use divine fire, they seem more like Sarenrae style dudes than Gorum style dudes.

If your player asked to get Gorum's power transferred over to Ragathiel, would you do it? And if no, would you just stop there, or would you home brew some other divine fighting technique (since Ragathiel doesn't have one yet). What would that divine fighting technique look like? What power is cool, but still realistic for Ragathiel and lawful fighters?

Link to spell, for reference.

So Caustic Blood not only deals acid damage to anyone who attacks you, but it has ongoing damage: for 1 round after, it deals half damage again, complete with a 2nd saving throw to negate it.

So the question: I have a high-level barbarian who just wants to "soak" the damage. The barbarian, not knowing that there will be extra damage on round 2, spends round 1 in full attack on me. He eats 3 Caustic Blood sprays. He lives. HOWEVER, on round 2 he's only going to survive if the residual effect is a one-time group thing. If he has 3 effects (one from each hit), he ded.

What do you think? And do you know of any relevant rules that would make going one way or the other "official"?

Player intends to have Magical Lineage to reduce metamagic penalty. Throughout her career the spell selected for this reduction will change. I note that traits cannot be retrained and the trait itself doesn't have text that allows for it to be revised to work with a new spell.

It's a once-you-pick-it-you're-stuck-with-it sort of thing.

Player says, "But I'm not retraining a trait. I got Magical Lineage via the Additional Traits feat, so I'm retraining that feat using the normal rules for retraining feats." During retraining, her idea is to drop the feat, then repick the same feat with the same traits but with a different spell selected for Magical Lineage.

Seems to me that it's... by the rules at that point. Am I wrong? Is there something I'm missing?

If you have a spell that will knock over an enemy (or cause it to fall), can you combine it with Staggering Fall to make their tumble very mean?

Here's why I wonder: does the timing work? Any spell effect happens at the END of casting, right? If so you'll cast MM, be done casting as the missiles hit their targets, then you swift/immediate cast Staggering Fall as the target is going down and there is no issue with this combination.

However, if targets are getting hit and falling mid-cast then you can't add on Staggering Fall, because you'd be casting that spell in the middle of casting MM itself.

I feel like this is an edge case where we won't have any rules text itself, but I bet someone here can get us real close to what the official intended ruling should be.

I'd love to hear it.

Chell Raighn wrote:
you only roll to maintain the grapple starting on round 2.

OK. Since multiple people are saying this, let's add some context.


With Greater Grapple, making a grapple check is a move action only once you grapple a creature.

So if you take a standard action to grapple a foe, and still have a move action in the round because you haven't moved or taken out a potion or opened a door or something like that, you can indeed make an attempt to pin the foe as that move action.

Greater Grapple turns maintaining into a move action -- a normal not-special move action, like any other move action that can be combined with a standard action in a single round. There is no text in Greater Grapple that qualifies the move action as somehow special and unable to be combined with the standard action that initiates the grapple.

I understand why people here might insist that maintaining as a move action can only be done on round 2 -- because then if the rule about "you get 2 tries to maintain and only 1 has to succeed" comes into play, you can easily apply the rule while avoiding the edge case that I'm in. However, nothing in the rules allows us to avoid the edge case. So I'm embracing the edge case -- the "2 tries to maintain and if either one works then the grapple is maintained" is now being applied in round 1 where there weren't 2 tries to maintain. There was 1 check to initiate the grapple, and then 1 maintain.

Because there were not 2 move-action maintain checks on round 1, I put forward that the single maintain action that failed results in failure, and the grapple is lost. Greater Grapple's "you get 2 tries to maintain and only 1 has to succeed" never kicks in, because there never were 2 maintain attempts.

Having said that, I also believe in getting the temperature of the room and understanding what is happening in the community. And it's clear that the community does not differentiate between the normal standard action to start a grapple and the move action to maintain that was granted by Greater Grapple. Because the community doesn't distinguish between these 2 things, I won't either. If a player initiates with a standard and wins, but then maintains with a move and fails, the net result is that the target/victim is still grappled, but whatever was going to happen with the maintain action (such as damaging the target) doesn't happen.

Thank you all for the advice. Much appreciated.

I agree that you don't need to maintain in round 1. The question is: the player chooses to maintain in round 1, so can this fail? Or is the GG rule about "only 1 of the 2 attempts needs to succeed" going to cover up a failure in round 1?

Greater Grapple says this:

Once you have grappled a creature, maintaining the grapple is a move action. This feat allows you to make two grapple checks each round (to move, harm, or pin your opponent), but you are not required to make two checks. You only need to succeed at one of these checks to maintain the grapple.

The bolded parts are the parts I have questions about.

So first, the lead sentence implies that this kicks in only after the creature is already grappled. This seems to mean that the initial attempt is still done as a standard action. It is only the maintain attempts that are move actions. Correct so far?

The problem comes with the last sentence, suggesting that success at either check in a round will maintain. Because what if one of the checks was the initial attempt, not to maintain but just to start the grapple?

In other words, a creature with Greater Grapple does a 5' step toward a target, does the initial grapple attempt as a standard action and succeeds, and then uses a move action to maintain but fails. At this point, Greater Grapple is invoked, because success at one of two attempts means the creature remains grappled.

(My issue, if it's not obvious, is that the cool "maintain as a move action" grapple checks are only happening once during the initial round. So if you fail to maintain in the initial round, you cannot do a 2nd maintain attempt in order to cover up the failure and keep the grapple. I would say that the grapple ends. However, what if a player focuses on the line "This feat allows you to make two grapple checks each round" and couples that with "You only need to succeed at one of these checks" to argue that even on the initial round, failing to maintain will not release the grapple, because the initial set up roll also counts and therefore the grapple is maintained. Basically, I need to know if "one of two rolls" means 1 of any 2 grapple rolls, or if it means 1 of the 2 special move-action attempts.)

Yes! Muhahaha!

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So the lich had a big revision, because I had a big realization.

Here's the realization: the module nerfs the lich, even though it's the standard lich. Here's how: the standard D&D 3.5 lich's best spell is Circle of Death, but it only kills those with 8 HD or lower. Since the fight is intended for level 9 characters, the module expects that the lich's Circle of Death is completely useless. At least, that's pretty clearly how it worked back in the days when this module was written.

Knowing this, I decided to do a few things. First, I used the Pathfinder stat block (because it's a Pathfinder game, and we've been using PF stat blocks all the way through) and got rid of Circle of Death, because while it could work on these PCs (they're level 8), the module author clearly didn't expect that to happen. I put Flesh Wall in its place -- weaker spell, but thematic, plus it's necromancy, and good battlefield control.

I gave the lich an unfettered shirt so that it wouldn't be ruined by the monk grapples. To give it this item, I had to remove some of the other magic items, but it also means my players would get that cool anti-grapple shirt if they could beat the lich.

I also swapped the maximized Fireball for quickened Magic Missile -- a bad trade, but the 3.5 lich doesn't have a maximized Fireball, and I wanted the ability to get 2 spells off each round, for more rounds. To compensate for this loss, I gave the lich max HP + max False Life.

R1: Quickened MM, Globe of Invulnerability

R2: Trigger the unfettered shirt because yes he got grappled, then quickened MM

R3: Quickened MM + Cone of Cold

R4: ded

So I made some big miscalculations for this group. The Cone of Cold should have done great damage, but the rogue + monks all have Evasion and all saved. I should have known, but maybe it's for the best because the lich wouldn't have known. The Globe of Invulnerability is foolish because the main damage dealers are... the rogue and 2 monks. So the globe doesn't protect against them at all.

And the monks are literally exactly what is needed to bypass the lich's DR -- magic fists, bludgeoning, and used ki & haste to get a ridiculous number of attacks.

If the lich had survived to round 4, he would have Dimension Door'd away.

Between all the bad guys, I'd guess I probably only managed to deal about 150 points of damage -- enough to take down 2 of them, but the shaman was using quickened channel to do 12d6 healing in any round that needed it. My damage couldn't outpace her healing.

In the end, they fought a lich and won -- a lich that wasn't as mean as it could have been, but it was pretty close to what the module wanted, and I gave the lich a couple of advantages (such as the anti-monk shirt) so it seemed like it turned out OK.

Thank you all for the help!

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I really need to thank everyone. The sheer number of ideas you've provided is amazing. I think I have a much better idea of what to do now and the game is going to be great! Thank you again.

TxSam88 wrote:
taking a glace through the module it says something about going through the second level before that encounter.

Yeah, but they didn't.

That's the module author hoping they'd do something that seemed good in his head, even though he put no logical reason to do that in the game itself. Predictably, the PCs are doing what any adventuring group would do: clear the level they're on before hitting the lower dungeon levels; never leave monsters to come at your back when you head deeper into the dungeon.

The lich is just "unknown bad guy behind the next door" -- so the PCs have no indication that it would be wise to save the room for later.

I did try to scare them off, but it didn't take.

Having said that, it does seem like the verdict here is that I will TPK the party, indeed. So maybe I should just accept that it's a TPK, and what I might do is open with Circle of Death immediately, kill 2 or 3 PCs, and then have the lich laugh and let them run away.

If they run back to town they might do some town quests and get better equipped. That's definitely an option.

Scavion wrote:
My players would probably strangle me if they went 15 encounters without leveling up

I'm not sure... what is the context for this comment? I feel like you're referring to my game, but that never happened in my game.

My group is right on target for XP/fights -- they just skipped a bunch of encounters.

Scavion wrote:
The lich listed in the book also has much less optimal selections.

Well, yes, but that's also the stat block for a lich from D&D 3.5 -- back when wizards had a d4 for hit points and people got feats every third level instead of every other level, and so on. The module was just providing a CR 11 fight that matched for D&D 3.5 character power. This is pathfinder, so the Pathfinder CR 11 lich matches Pathfinder character power.

I could just use the 3.5 lich anyway, that's certainly a solution. I think before going that route, I'd try to stick with the Pathfinder stat block and just modify it, maybe remove the save-or-die spells, like Circle of Death?

Lelomenia wrote:
What spell is on the Unhallow?

No spell is on the Unhallow -- it was put in place hundreds of years ago, so that spell ran out. Only the other effects are in place.

Lelomenia wrote:
is there reason for them to expect a lich may be waiting for them?

Absolutely no reason. There isn't any hint of a lich. I have tried to hint that they shouldn't go there -- the "doorkeeper" to the lich was a bodak that they barely defeated, and the bodak was muttering about keeping them away. So I'm trying to scare them off, but it didn't work.

That area is for level 9s, so they got to it 1 level before the module expects.

In Trouble At Durbenford, there is a fight in an area under an Unhallow effect, with the following monsters: 24 skeletons, 1 ghost, and 1 lich. I'm using standard Pathfinder v1 stat blocks for them, but I'm OK to change them. In fact I think I need to.

The players are all level 8, and they will be fresh for this fight (well rested, full spells, and so on). They are: tetori monk, drunken monk, shadowdancer rogue with a shadow companion, shaman with life link, quickened channel energy, and so on with a cassissian angel familiar, and an arcane bloodline sorcerer with a faerie dragon familiar.

I linked to most stat blocks or class rules so you could reference it, but I left out a link to the skeletons because I assume they're irrelevant at this level. The sorcerer will Fireball them as an opener, and kill every single one. So this is a fight against a ghost and a lich.

My problem: this lich will kill 'em, right? The lich can open with the maximized Fireball, and that's 60 points of damage against PCs that have about 40-50 HP (for the sorcerer and shaman and familiars). At that point, the fight is just 2 monks and a rogue against a lich and a ghost. The tetori monk can grapple & pin in a single round, so that seems amazing. The rogue can then stab over & over again until the lich dies. If that ends the fight, great, but also anti-climactic. I assume the lich will Dim Door away (if he passes the concentration check) and then come back with Circle of Death -- which likely kills at least 1 of them. At that point, it's maybe 2 level 8 PCs vs. a lich and ghost.

I have to admit, without even playtesting this, I assume this is a TPK. Do you agree? Am I accurate?

If so, what can change? I was thinking about ways to make the fight seem scary & unwinnable without killing them instantly, thus giving them a chance to run away, or else maybe changing spells to make the fight seem damn hard & scary but while avoiding high-damage save-or-die stuff, so they at least have a chance to win.

What do you guys think? How would you tweak this? Does it even need tweaking?

Thanks everyone. We actually found a solution that wasn't any of the suggestions here. The reason I wanted the spell was to get around the time involved in putting on armor -- if we sleep in armor, we are fatigued in the morning, but if we don't sleep in armor, we get ambushed and die because it takes 10-40 rounds to put on armor mid-combat. Using Keep Watch to have someone stand fully armored all night was my ideal solution to the problem.

Instead, we swapped the wand to Serren's Swift Girding. Now I can get the tank into full AC with a sweep of the wand, no problem. Everyone sleeps without armor and is fully rested by morning with no fatigue imposed. If we are ambushed, the tank can tank while the rest of us do ranged support.

Thank you for the discussion of the issue! I guess I'll be more careful reading the rules about this stuff in the future.

I have the Keep Watch spell on a wand. My GM has laughed at this and said the money was wasted. This is because of this line in the spell:

Target one creature touched/2 levels

His argument: if you are 1st level, this 1st level spell is useless, as you need to have TWO caster levels before this will target even one creature.

I assumed minimum one target, otherwise the spell is indeed useless, a "trap" spell that wastes your money.

Is that true? If so, anyone with a normally-priced scroll, potion, or wand of this spell is outta luck. Correct?

My first edition bard archaeologist is going to do a lot of diplomacy checks in an upcoming game, and I'm trying to figure out how my luck powers can affect it. The reason I ask is because the diplomacy skill says you must talk for at least one minute (10 rounds) before you can make a check. So the big question: does the archaeologist's luck power trigger on the roll, burning 1 use? Or do I need to expend many uses, so that luck is on constantly during the entire 10 rounds?

Here's a link to the archaeologist, for reference.

Is your thinking that because they're immune to spells & spell-like effects, that maybe Slow should also be something they're immune to, even though it's a Supernatural effect in this case? So, nothing to do with monsters being immune to their own attacks, instead it's just that their immunity to magic might be extended to shut down Supernatural effects?

Or were you thinking something else, some other reason? Thanks for the tips/advice.

Let's say I have 5 stone golems, all crowded around the party tank. These golems badly want to slow the tank, because he's high level and getting TONS of attacks per round. So the golems all turn on their supernatural slow effect. The hero/tank character must make a DC 17 will save now. That's low & easy for a high-level dude, but with 5 saves to make, we're pulling for the hero to roll a natural 1, maybe.

But what about the stone golems themselves? Do they each make 4 saving throws (1 per each of the other 4 golems)? Do they each make 5 saving throws (versus the other golems AND vs. their OWN effect)? Or do they make no saves as if they are immune to the slow effect of golems?

Any advice much appreciated!

My players have already done the low-level imp vs. PC fights in 2 other adventure paths. They are sick of imps. I suspect that if I throw yet another imp at them from the Dragon's Demand module, I will end up with a table full of players groaning and saying, "We leave."

So, I need to find a substitute monster that is about the same difficulty, and fits in with the story about the imp (that is, it was a familiar that went crazy after the death of its master). The imp in this module tries to convince the PCs to take some damage from a blood-sucking device in exchange for info about the dungeon. So it would be nice if the substitute monster could have the same motivation (so at least it needs to be "roughly" intelligent and able to speak Common).

What do you guys think? Can you give me any pointers to a good/fun alternative to the imp?

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To answer my own question, after going out to research this, I found 3 things that seem to be relevant and/or apply.

1. Rules on how Acid Arrow's ongoing damage stacks or does not stack

2. SKR stating that multiple ongoing fire attacks stack

3. The stacking rules themselves. This is adjacent to my question, not spot-on, because it's talking about bonuses & penalties, rather than healing & damage. But it's useful to get an idea. The stacking rules say: "Most bonuses of the same type do not stack. Instead only the highest bonus applies. Most penalties do stack."

So, based upon penalties stacking, Acid Arrow's ongoing damage stacking, and alchemist's fire stacking its ongoing damage too, it appears that a shining child can stack its ongoing burn damage too.

Perhaps this helps anyone else looking to make a DM ruling on this.

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Burning Touch states:

A shining child corrupts the positive energy within a living creature into an unnatural burning light. For the next 5 rounds after a successful touch attack by a shining child, the target takes 2d6 points of fire damage.

The problems I'm trying to resolve are twofold. First, since the shining child can do two such attacks per round, does that mean that it stacks with itself, assuming both hits land? So if one shining child hits a PC twice, the PC now has 4d6 damage per round?

Second question, similar to the first: what if two shining childs attack? Lets say each one hits once, and misses once. So after they attack, the PC has been hit once from shining child #1, and once from shining child #2. Do those stack? Different creatures, same attack?

(A certain module by Paizo has 2 shining childs ganging up on a PC, and I need to know if that 2d6 ongoing damage is rolled into 4d6 ongoing, or if the damage stays stuck at 2d6 but the duration extends similar to how poisons do, or any other weird thing.)

Thank you rule lawyers for your service!

Callum wrote:
Am I missing something, or is there not really any lead to encourage the PCs to go back to Sandpoint after defeating Mokmurian?

The PCs in my game were married to people in Sandpoint, by this point in the campaign. Or they had lovers in town. And they were pretty greedy and loved returning to the Rusty Dragon for the free food & rooms. Also, one of the characters had retired to help restore/run the Glassworks. So I imagine they would have come back anyway. Having said that, I took the rumors/research that is offered on page 233 and 248, and freely gave out that info when they went into the library to research Xin-Shalast and the Runeforge. This helped them to see that the Runeforge was important, and from the handout that you mentioned, they knew that someone in Sandpoint had a key to it.

Based upon the advice on page 232, I also allowed them to research "the traitor Xaliasa" from the handout. The ancient library with it's clockwork librarian wouldn't have any info on Xaliasa turning into the Scribbler, as that's new information. However, we know from module/book 5 that he was a powerful general in the old runelords' armies. So, not a big stretch to at least have the names of some generals and where they served. Of course, when they served, the entire area was landlocked. So it was fun to point that out, and have the players say, "but that's near Sandpoint, and that's not land-locked!"

By this point, I was also trying to make it very clear that the "lighthouse" in Sandpoint was a hellfire flume used by the runelords, which further makes it clear that Sandpoint was a strategic military location. All of this may send them back to see if they can get information or find out what Mockmurian had learned.

However, if all that falls through, don't forget that the module says that delays in returning = Father Zantus gets a Sending spell cast to tell them to return. So at least for this part of the game, they players don't need to be motivated, and don't need to be interested in the notes or the library. If they just blow it all of or go in the wrong direction, they'd have all of a single day to wander or waste time, and then poof, Zantus puts them on the right track.

Thank you Melkiador. This is very convincing. I appreciate the help.

Thank you! I always thought cold immunity just removed hit point damage. I had no idea that it also shut off any other cold-based effects, but I looked it up and you're right.

Follow up question. The blizzard is centered on the dragon. (From the rules: "This creates heavy snow conditions in a 50-foot radius for 1 minute, centered on the dragon.") So does this move with the dragon? It's centered on the dragon for the full 1 minute, as if it were an emanation instead of a burst?

An ancient white dragon has an ability called blizzard. When an ancient white dragon creates a blizzard, it centers on him, and has a fifty-foot radius. The major effect of this blizzard is that it cuts movement down to a quarter speed. Does this slowing also affect the dragon? Also, since we are in the rules forum, can you cite a source one way or the other?

Askar, thanks!

All my players have around +12 to +18 to will saves, so I'll probably skip things like Calm Emotions, as it's very low odds for them to fail their saves. (For example, the yeth hounds have a howl attack with a DC 16 will save -- I made every player roll 6 saves, one per yeth hound, and only the animal companion failed. I watched the rolls, they legit failed only 1 out of 30 rolls, because basically anything except a 1 or 2 was a success for most of them.)

Your item #4 is I think from your own house rules. Your item #2 is really good, and you'll see below I've gone nuts with it.

Revised Scribbler

I didn't want to rebuild into a new character sheet, as the players have already encountered him and I want them to feel that they are indeed still fighting the same dude. However, the Scribbler is a plain old cleric, and that means all new spells on a new day. So I've revised the spell list under what I'd call a desperate last-ditch effort to not die. This involves LOTS of buffs -- half the list will be pre-cast -- and lots of summoned allies.

Normally I wouldn't do this, as I don't think the Scribbler is what I'd call a "boss fight." However, they attacked him and then left him unattended, alone, for 24 hours. Now they're back, have triggered his alarms, and are taking time searching rooms. The Scribbler has TONS of time to get this right, and he should be motivated! So, here is the list, and I'll explain it afterwards:

6th: animate objects, heal, planar ally, stoneskin (D).

5th: caustic blood, flame strike, greater magic weapon (extended), righteous might (D), spell resistance.

4th: freedom of movement, spell immunity (vs. scrying, fireball, magic missile) (D), summon monster IV x3 (1d4+1 earth elementals), tongues.

3rd: blindness/deafness x2 (DC 21), dispel magic, magic vestment (D), protection from energy, stone shape x2.

2nd: bear’s endurance, bull’s strength, grace, invisibility (D), resist energy x3.

1st: cure light wounds, disguise self (DC 19) (D), obscuring mist, protection from good, sanctuary (DC 19), shield of faith x2.

0th: bleed (DC 18), guidance, light, read magic.

EXTRA: Trickery domain, Master’s Illusion (Sp): Cast veil, DC 24!

The letter D in parenthesis is denoting the domain spells. Anything with strikethrough lines is pre-cast before the fight even happens.

Pre-combat explained

He's sacrificing some of his original spells -- for example, there is no extended magic vestment -- he needs the 5th level slot, so he's got a normal magic vestment in the 3rd level slot now. It sucks for him if he's caught unawares and the spells are not cast or have run out, but he's gotta rely on his alarm spells to help keep him aware & ready. Desperate times, desperate measures.

SO. Some thinking about these pre-buffs. Planar ally will get him a hezrou demon by: promising riches from Lamashtu, AND agreeing that the demon can ditch the fight when it's down to about 20% of its max HP. Demon can only last 2 rounds against the bloodrager, but that's the best help I can find.

Animate objects will couple with stone shape because Scribbler really has no materials to work with, so we'll have him stone shape a golem-looking monster from the cave walls. The volume of material is normally too great for Stone Shape, but we'll be using stone shape just to separate a golem-shaped outline away from the walls -- essentially using a couple of stone shapes as a cut-out, to keep the volume of stone manipulated low enough for the spell. If I animate 1 huge block of stone, and if I accept some flaws/vulnerabilities in the construct (such as vulnerability to fire or positive energy) I can get enough construction points to give it an adamantine-like shell so that it has DR 20. The bloodrager will still cut this down in about 3 rounds, maybe 2. But again, better than nothing.

Caustic blood doles out 12d6 damage every time the Scribbler is hit -- assuming the bloodrager saves every time it'll only be about 6d6 damage, but since the bloodrager gets 3 or 4 hits per round, that'll be maybe 18d6 damage total, or about 63 points of damage per round. The bloodrager can ignore that damage for about 3 to 5 rounds before needing healing.

We'll give the Scribbler resist energy vs. cold, electricity, and acid. We'll skip fire because we also have spell immunity to fireball.

LASTLY, the part that is wimpy but fun. I'll couple tongues with summon monster IV so that he can summon TONS of small-sized earth elementals while in hiding, and use terran to speak with the elementals, telling them to move through the ground to surprise the PCs and get flanks on as many as possible. These elementals are just cannon fodder. They die in 1 hit from most of the PCs. However, with earth mastery and power attack and flank, I can get them to have a decent attack & damage roll. Maybe a few attacks will even succeed -- the idea is just to harry the party and distract them long enough for the Scribbler to get some hits in. With maybe a dozen elementals, even if they just survive 2 rounds, it's good enough and makes for a chaotic scene as they punch out from the walls and floor and so on.

This Scribbler should be difficult to kill, has decent allies even after losing the glabrezu, and should be interesting because he challenges the bloodrager who is over-powered while giving the lower-powered PCs some more effective options. (For example, the bloodrager will struggle a LOT with the DR of the animated object, but any other players who have healing or fire will be able to beat the crap out of it, so it sorta evens the playing field for the PCs, makes 'em feel like they all get a chance to be effective.)

Also, the fact that the elementals move through the stone/earth means they won't get confused by the mist & guards/wards. If the Scribbler tells them to head in a certain direction and tremorsense the PCs, they won't get turned around. So it even plays well with the story of the dungeon.

If anyone wants to steal any of this, or build upon it, please do. Thanks so much for the help!

The PCs fought the Scribber, the glabrezu, and 2 summoned demons. The PCs trounced the monsters hard and the Scribbler teleported away. So here is what the Scribbler knows about the PCs:

  • ⚫ The bloodrager PC hit him about 10x with reach & AOOs and the Scribbler almost died from this. Meanwhile, when the Scribber hit the bloodrager, it was mostly irrelevant. Somehow (unknown to the Scribbler) the bloodrager is having damage siphoned off. (The bloodrager has a familiar with the protector archetype, so the Scribbler will need to inflict about 284 HP damage before the bloodrager will go down.)
  • ⚫ The druid's animal companion has a nearly impossible-to-hit AC (about AC 36) and his 2 demons wasted their lives trying to hit it.
  • ⚫ The arcanist was blasting the yeth hounds with maximized fireballs.
  • ⚫ The bard shut off any fear effects.

Knowing this, and knowing that the Scribbler has VERY limited mobility and options, what do you think he could do in a rematch? I've tried to limit the party's power by holding them back to level 11 (at this point, they should be level 13). Still, they are game veterans and their builds are so good that I think the Scribbler should see this upcoming fight as essentially suicide. He's lost the glabrezu. He's gonna have to solo this, or have some lame babau demons running interference for a single round before they die.

What can he change/adapt to be better against this party that he KNOWS is coming to kill him?

Oh, and he'll only have 1 day to prepare. The party left, rested overnight, and came back. So he's got 1 night to heal up and do whatever he could to survive.

Thank you guys so much. So, both of us were wrong. I wanted to put the delays in order of who declared them, and the player wanted delays in order of who got the highest in the initiative order. Instead, it looks like ties are resolved the same way they are when you initially set up the initiative; that is, look at the initiative bonus and sort them based on that (falling back to a roll off if needed).

Thanks again!

I have an initiative order like this:

Player A
Enemy 1
Enemy 2
Player B

Player A is at the top of initiative, and goes into delay. Enemy 1 attacks. Enemy 2 goes into delay. Player B's turn begins. Player B fires a quickened Magic Missile at enemy 2, causing enemy 2 to come out of delay. OK, I move enemy 2, so initiative looks like this:

Player A
Enemy 1
Player B
Enemy 2

HOWEVER, enemy 2 can't do anything yet, because player B is still taking his turn. He's only done a swift action spell so far. So now player B continues, does a move action, and then does an attack action. At this point, player A announces, "I come out of delay, I'd like to act." I put him after enemy 2, who previously came out of delay. Initiative now looks like this:

Enemy 1
Player B
Enemy 2
Player A

Enemy 2 and player A are stacked up, both coming out of delay. Player B wraps up his turn with a free action shout to his allies, and I begin to run enemy 2. Player A asks what I'm doing. I say that enemy 2 came out of delay first, so I'm running it. He says "No, my initiative is higher, I go first."

I'm almost certain there are no rules or even FAQs to handle this edge case of 2 delays stacking up, but I'd love it if the forum members could give me their best shot. Is there any info that might help us make an educated guess about the correct ordering?

Thank you all so much. I think that my player and I we're envisioning the weapon cord similar to the book lariat. We expected it to be attached to a belt or something. And longer than 2 feet if needed. I was more skeptical about the "rope dangling out of an extradimensional space" aspect. But I guess the logistical issues you guys described are also relevant. You've come up with some great solutions, so I thank you for that. I've mentioned to them to the player, hopefully there's something good there.

I have a player, who is playing arcanist, and I'm curious about the level of "optimization vs. reality" that is happening. Would you guys allow this if you were the GM?

So this arcanist has the quick study exploit. This allows him to swap spells as a full round action. However, quick study also states that you must have a Spellbook available for use during the quick study action. In order to do that, a player must pull a spell book. This presents 3 problems. First this eats a move action. second, this provokes an AOO, since spell books are not drawn as weapons. And third, spellbooks might need to be dropped or otherwise put away afterwards. That is either using more actions, or leaving valuables on the ground. So what this player proposes, in order to get rid of as many issues as possible, is to wander around with spell books in hand ready to go. When I pointed out that she has multiple spell books, he has decided to put them all on weapon cords, and then in order to not provoke, put them in a handy haversack. I stated that I do not understand how an item could be inside a handy haversack yet also have a cord extended out and attached to his body somewhere.

What do you think about all of that? I think it would be fine if the books were stored in real physical space with a real physical cord attached to his body, or if they were not corded, and were stored inside of a haversack's extradimensional space. What decisions would you make?

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So I had a very late night over the weekend, because of a surprising bit of text that I found at the end of module #4. I knew that Mokmurian was supposed to retreat after the PCs' first attack, and I thought I read that he gathers maybe a dozen stone giants (generic stone giant stat block) and then re-assaults the PCs.

But that's wrong.

From the module:

Mokmurian fights until reduced to 40 hit points or fewer, at which point he uses dimension doors to retreat to area B13, hoping to get healing from his lamia minions. If they’re dead, he flees up to the surface and gathers a group of a dozen stone giants and any of the named giants who still live to mount an attack on the library to finish off the PCs.

There is a named leader for each of the 7 tribes, PLUS Conna. PLUS the dozen generic stone giants. It's a HUGE fight. I noticed this a few hours before my game, and spent the entire time creating stat sheets for ALL of the named giants.

So not wanting all that effort to go to waste, here are the giant character sheets, both in PDF and POR (Hero Lab).

A couple of important notes. First, Halvara is important. If the lamias are dead, Halvara is probably the only giant left with any healing powers. Also, she's the only giant that has a way to counter invisibility (via Faerie Fire), aside from Mokmurian.

Also, I tried to avoid decreasing the giant's movement speed, so most giants are in light armor (except for Drogart, because his fighter training lets him keep his full movement even in medium armor). Of course feel free to swap or remove armor as you see fit. After all, the module doesn't actually build these giants out, so it's all unofficial and should be whatever works for you.

Also, some of these giants have the Fortified Armor Training feat -- this allows the giant to sacrifice armor in order to convert a critical hit back to normal damage. I did that because we have a crit-fisher in our group who delivers about 150 points of damage on any round that he crits, which one-shots most of these giant bosses. If you aren't concerned about that, you could replace the feat with something else.

Q & A
Why did you give a giant a certain class? Why so low level?

The module specifies the following details about each giant: name, alignment, sex, class, level. So I took that as a base, stuck to it, and made up all the other details. So I didn't choose for Halvara to be an oracle, for example. That's just what the module told me to do.

Have fun!

Since it's almost 2 months past the roll out, and it appears that they abandoned the build-out for this system, my guess is that you just play and go on the honor system. If you have 30 replay points, replay 30 games and hope the system just auto-deducts the points. Let the person reporting the game know.

I think they don't have any bandwidth to care about 1st edition stuff anymore.

EDIT: Huh. Why does my name now have NO stars? It should have 3. Weird.

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mike299 wrote:

It seems that Hero339 closed his deviantart page and his beautiful maps are not available there any more.

Does anyone know if they are available elsewhere?

Well... a Google search for that name shows all his artwork, it's just that it now appears on pinterest pages.

Here is one of the Pinterest map collections that contains some of his work. And here is another collection that contains some of his work.

I imagine that eventually even these Pinterest collections will fall by the wayside. It would be VERY nice of someone to gather up all the hero339 artwork while it still survives and put it into an album or something of that nature.

Ah. I didn't understand how it worked. MrCharisma had made it perfectly clear. Thank you everyone.

Here is the relevant text from the Greater Animal Aspect spell:


You gain some of the beneficial qualities of an animal. Your base form is largely unchanged and your size is unaltered, but some of your body parts are altered. Armor or gear you are wearing adjusts to your new shape for the duration of the spell. When you cast animal aspect, choose one of the following animals to gain the associated benefits. You can only have one animal aspect or greater animal aspect spell active on you at a time.

Frog: You gain a Swim speed equal to half your normal speed, and all the benefits of having a swim speed.

Otter: Your swim speed increases to your full normal speed, and you need not make concentration checks to cast spells underwater.

So... why ever take the frog option, if the otter option is clearly better? Is there some reading of this that makes frog useful in some circumstance?

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I'm running Rise of the Runelords. Team is having a rematch against Xanesha, a lamia matriarch (shapechanger).

They cast Baleful Polymorph on her. She fails both saves, and is now a harmless chicken or something.

HOWEVER, the spell text:

...says that a shapechanger can revert back to normal as a standard action!!! How does this work? She failed both saves, so she's a pretty dumb chicken now. Does reverting make her a dumb chicken in a lamia body? Or does it give her everything back? I'm interested in RAI more than RAW, but I'll take anything you can give me right now.

Thanks so much! That explains it.

How does Barl Breakbones (p. 180 of the revised AP) have so many spells? He has extras that go beyond the rules (at least from my limited understanding). For example, we all know that 0-level spells don't get extra spells for high spellcasting stat. And specializing in a school gets you 1 extra spell per level, but only from 1st level up. So how does a 7th level necromancer (wizard) have 5 cantrips, when the wizard progression table shows he only gets 4?

For that matter, he seems to have too many spells at every level. His intelligence of 16 gets him 1 bonus spell of levels 1-3. His necromancy specialty gets him 1 bonus spell of levels 1-4. So at 7th level:

  • • Base # of spells is: 4, 4, 3, 2, 1 spells (level 0 to 4, in order)
  • • With bonus spells it should be: 4, 6, 5, 4, 2 spells (levels 0-4 in order)

However, Barl has 5, 7, 6, 5, 3 spells total, exactly 1 extra spell at every level. This makes me think that there is a flat +1 to all spell levels that I'm missing, but I cannot think of anything that gives extra 0-levels like that, so I'm stumped. How's he doing it?

EDIT: Never mind, kinda. I found old posts from 2013 that explain how Thassalonian specialists work. Still doesn't explain getting extra cantrips, as far as I can tell, but it explains the other stuff.

Dracovar wrote:
Let's just focus on one example - breaking into the Academy, beating up Ilsoari and then tossing him 5-10 gp "for his troubles"? Are you kidding me? No consequences from the Sheriff/town guard? Ilsoari did what? Eat his lumps and not even lodge a complaint? Not even remotely realistic.

LOL. None of what you're describing happened. It didn't occur to you that I'd gloss over the details of an encounter to keep my 14 paragraphs from billowing up to 25 paragraphs?

There were plenty of consequences. I didn't go over them because I wasn't posting to get a review of that. I had other questions, so I asked the other questions.

And thankfully, some other people were considerate enough to actually answer them. So thanks everyone else, for that.

Bellona wrote:
Ransom? Surely you mean a fine or something like that?

I think I used the correct word. There used to be a process whereby a criminal could be held for ransom instead of killed. The idea was that some criminals were special or powerful somehow, and someone might want them back safely. So if a messenger for a lord was found in another city doing something criminal, the guards may not hack his/her hand off, or behead the criminal, or anything like that. Instead, they would put word out to the lord in that other location, saying, "Your guy is getting put down, unless you have some way to restore his/her honor."

I do not remember what that system was actually called (there is a word for it), but that sounds a lot like holding someone for ransom, so it's the best word I've got until I can recall or find the original article that talked about this system.

Bellona wrote:
Will Ironbriar still be in the Seven's Sawmill?

Yeah, he's there in the sense that mechanically everything works the same, but I just crossed out his name and put "Titus" in its place.


Phntm888 wrote:
How is their relationship with Ven Vinder, anyway?

Weirdly, really good, considering he's dead. They completely thwarted the initial encounter with Ven, because Shayliss seduced a female PC. The player of that PC then did some amazing bluffs to suggest to Ven that he was weird/creepy for stalking his daughter's "innocent" friendships. I sorta had Ven recoil from this and while he may suspect something gay, he certainly doesn't want any women of Sandpoint flagging him as a creep. So he's decided to stay far away from interfering with the relationship.

Then Katrine was murdered, and Ven couldn't console Shayliss. So the player retired her PC so that she could be in a full-time relationship with Shayliss and give her emotional support.

Then Ven was killed in the random rolls when the derro attacked town. So now Shayliss is desperately clinging to the retired PC as her only stable relationship left.

Ven never got to be a bad guy in my campaign.

Phntm888 wrote:
If the PCs continue using the townhouse as a base of operations, they should sometimes notice people lurking outside, keeping an eye on it - undercover guards. The neighbors will also likely want to move out of the area, resulting in more abandoned buildings with unsavory types living in them.

I like all of this. Thanks!

Phntm888 wrote:
The magistrate, by the way, should be Justice Ironbriar, so he can take steps to arrange for their crime to be discovered.


Ironbriar isn't in my campaign. I mean, he exists, but almost all references to him have been dropped. The PCs got into a huge fight in the Fatman's Feedbag, and ended up murder-hoboing a few of the crime bosses in Sandpoint, without even knowing that they were crime bosses. They just did it for fun. The Scarnetti family has been after them ever since. So everything in module 2 that points to Magnimar is just a lure to get the PCs into the Seven's Sawmill, where all the bad guys are the surviving crime bosses from Sandpoint, including Titus Scarnetti.

The players may inadvertently clear Sandpoint of all crime, without even realizing it. Or the PCs may be ambushed and die. Not sure how that'll go yet.

(A side-note about this. The players have exhibited NO curiosity about what's happening in regards to the saw mills or the Scarnettis. For example, when they killed the two faceless stalkers, I had a moment where the faceless stalker saw the fake PC Foxglove... and the stalker was confused -- not like "what the hell is going on" but more like "Hey Aldern why are you attacking us when you're in on the plan?" AND THE STALKER SAID AS MUCH, mid-combat. The players? "Huh. Guess we'll never know what that's about. We kill him." They could have stopped combat and bluffed, "Yeah, I'm the real Aldern Foxglove. Remind me about the plan and who's in charge?" But nope. Oh well. The revenge moment in the mill may be completely lost on them, or totally take them by surprise. We'll see.)

Phntm888 wrote:
Zed needs more than an alignment change - he needs a talking to out of character. That kind of aggression will disrupt the table, and it will make later challenges more difficult for them. Zed needs to tone it down.

Thanks! I've decided that after the guards take statements from all the witnesses, they are going to believe the PC impersonating Foxglove, BUT they are going to flag Zed as a thug and demand that Foxglove turn him in. If the PCs refuse, then I'll handwave a huge guard battle that ends with their expulsion from the city. If the PCs comply, then only Zed will be banished, which essentially forces the character and player out of the next couple of game days. I'd imagine that the player will just roll up something new, but who knows? If the players try anything diplomatic, the guards will note that situations like this are sometimes also resolved by paying a ransom. So I'll take a little bit of funds from them and let Zed stay, which might change behavior a little bit, but I cannot say for sure.

I think I'll give Zed the option of chaotic neutral or chaotic evil for his new alignment.

So I'd like to spitball with some other GMs and see if there are sensible outcomes to the crazy things happening in my game.

The players have been obsessed about finding the Sandpoint Devil. I put together a HUGE multi-map location on the Devil's Platter for them to explore, and eventually fight/capture the Sandpoint Devil.

To find the Sandpoint Devil, they began asking around town, and heard the rumor that Ilsoari at Turandarok Academy kept the devil in his basement. They came into the academy and asked the orphans, "Who here is keeping the Sandpoint Devil in their basement?" Ilsoari ran, trying to get to the basement & lock the door. The players assumed it meant he was guilty of something, so they chased, broke down the door, and one player, Zed, beat the crap out of Ilsoari. They eventually learned that there was no Sandpoint Devil there; it was a rumor to keep the orphans in line.

They gave him 5 or 10 gold for the trouble, and then walked out past a bunch of cowering orphans, and left.

They eventually found the Sandpoint Devil's lair, but had to fight through a bunch of derro that lived in the cave system. Eventually the derro realized they were going to lose and they ditched their lair, went to Sandpoint, and killed as many citizens as possible before being put down. They chanted, "You raid us, we raid you! You kill us, we kill you!"

The players remained in the derro lair, scoping out the entire layout, scanning for magic items. They were given hints that the derro were headed to town (lots of evidence of last-minute fleeing, hints that an exit in the direction of town was recently used, and so on), but they didn't get the best result on their skill checks and I couldn't really hit them over the head with it.

We did random rolls for a few NPCs to die defending the town in the raid, and poor Father Zantus got his number rolled on a chart of about 60 major NPCs. That was a bummer but it made sense. Of course he'd be the good guy running out to save people, and get caught in the fray.

I think Koya Mvashti (also a cleric of Desna) will take over his position. So first question is, does that sound reasonable to you guys? I was thinking about fleshing out all the other clerics at the mega-church. Has anyone done that already?

When the gang got back to town, and saw the destruction and bodies everywhere, the Zed character ran up to the derro corpses and looted them until a citizen stopped him. Another player went around town saying, "Wow, who could have provoked this? We were busy doing other things. Surely we will help the townsfolk to get revenge!" Unfortunately that character has like a -5 to bluff, and ended up with a total of 8 to bluff checks. I don't know what the fallout of that is, but I did roll and a bunch of citizens saw right through it. How would you handle that?

Before much of that could be resolved, the gang left for Magnimar and took over the Foxglove townhouse. However, it was WEIRD. I used this battlemap for the encounter: 9

...and I liberally sprinkled citizen NPCs near the surrounding houses. Yet the players just opened the front door of the townhouse and started killing the dudes inside. One of them, the fake Iesha, ran outside calling for the guards. A nearby citizen tried to give fake Iesha sanctuary in her home. The PCs ran out after Iesha, killed her in the street, and then our aggressive player, Zed, went after the citizens for giving Iesha sanctuary. I had the citizens lock themselves in their homes, but the PC ran up and began banging on the door, weapon in hand. I didn't know what to do with that. People were screaming; I eventually had some guards arrive. The citizens lived.

The PCs had to bluff like crazy to not be accused of a murderous rampage. It helped that fake Iesha and fake Foxglove turned back into faceless stalkers. (Right? When a faceless stalker dies, its face goes back to its natural blank state, yeah?) They ALSO had a Hat of Disguise, and one of the players assumed the form of Foxglove. They even had Foxglove's repaired noble's outfit. So that player claimed to be the person living there and claimed to have been attacked by the 2 faceless stalkers. The citizens would say otherwise, but damn, having Foxglove himself assert ownership really helped to bluff the guards.

So after searching the townhouse, they found the deed to Foxglove's haunted manor, but it appears that Foxglove's townhouse in Magnimar does not have a deed. They have forged one, and just a day after nearly killing the people next door, they have assumed ownership. The neighbors are FREAKED OUT.

First, is that right? Is it possible for them to forge a deed and assume ownership that quickly/easily? I called the game at that time, as I did not know the correct handling of this. So I am free to come back to the next game with different outcomes. I thought to myself, "If the bluff/story of the PCs is that Foxglove came home after a long absence to find 2 squatters in his house impersonating him, and if Foxglove had some thugs hired to deal with it, then that can make sense to the guards. However, if Foxglove then signs the deed over to the thugs he hired, wouldn't the town officials balk at that? It doesn't seem to make sense. Foxglove hired dudes to reclaim his home, and then immediately gave away his home. Weird?"

Second, does player Zed need an alignment change? What alignment is threatening to beat up or actually beating up multiple citizens but not actually killing them?

I thank you guys for the discussion, but I've decided that the rules are so bad that I'm going to house rule this. The house rule goes like this:

1. You can't try to stealth after taking a shot and being in the open. You're seen.

2. While being seen you can move behind cover, but it won't give you stealth and sneak attack. It gives you cover bonuses. That's it.

3. If you want to gain stealth, use the -20 to hide while sniping rule.

4. Waiting a turn and then hiding does not bypass the sniping rule. You are still plainly visible and thus are under rules #1 and #2.

In other words, you should never be able to hide while detected after an attack, unless you have Hide in Plain Sight or use sniping rules or maybe that Hellcat Stealth mentioned earlier. Without a way to get a chance to hide while being observed, it's just simply impossible. Waiting a round won't negate that.

Thanks everyone.

Magicdealer wrote:

2) In the next round, when it is my initiative I can use a move action to go into concealment (assuming some is available) and stealth. Because I didn't snipe in the surprise round there is no after-sniping penalty to my stealth role.

--This is also fine so far.

It IS? So if you snipe in a round, you re-hide at -20. If instead you shoot in the open completely visible and wait until next turn to try hiding, it's at zero penalty? So being in cover and trying to hide is harder for stealth than being in the open & shooting?

I cannot wrap my head around that.

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