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Organized Play Member. 927 posts (928 including aliases). 1 review. No lists. No wishlists. 1 Organized Play character. 1 alias.

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*Inhales Deeply*

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LuniasM wrote:
I'm pretty sure pipedreamsam has a pocket notebook filled with mine.

Suffer slowly.

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It's not just weapons. Martials are more reliant on gear in general.

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Standard wizard feats; spell focus, improved initiative, toughness. Spell specialization if you have a favorite spell, Varisian tattoo for the CL bump. Start looking at metamagic feats 7th level and above. Spell perfection once you hit the end.

Spells just depends on what school you pick.

Spellcraft. Almost all the knowledges are good but go heavy into Arcana, Planes, Local and Nature. Throw at least a few into the others. Escape artist is handy but you have to keep up on it. Give perception a little bit of love but you won't have the best.

Best advice is not to min/max too hard, it won't be fun.

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"LuniasM wrote:

In Kingmaker - Rivers Run Red, my party's Arcanist cast Persistent Create Pit twice and Create Pit once. The golem needed an 18 or higher to pass. I rolled above an 18 five times in a row.

A once-in-a-lifetime experience for sure.

.... It was spiked pit ....

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Next up is the first rebuild of book 4 and what I think is a pretty interesting one; Paeta the phase spider. Monsters with class levels are some of my favorite enemies as you can achieve some truly crazy results with just a few levels.

Paeta CR:10 XP:9,600:

Female phase spider unchained rogue (thug) 8
Init:+11; Senses:Darkvision 60ft, Low-light vision; Perception +19
AC 24, touch 19, Flat-footed 17 (+3 Deflection, +6 Dex, +1 dodge, +5 natural, -1 size)
hp 158 (14 HD; 6d10+8d8+64) (Average 133)
Fort, +11 Ref, +17 Will +8
Defensive abilities Evasion, Improved uncanny dodge, Ethereal jaunt
Speed 40 ft., climb 20 ft.
Melee Bite +18 (2d6+9 plus poison and grab)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Ranged -
Special Attacks Ethereal ambush. poison, sneak attack 4d6, Debilitating injury (bewildered, disoriented, hampered)
Rogue spell-like abilities (CL 8th, concentration +9)
3/day - Message
2/day - Alarm

Before Combat Same as AP. Paeta casts alarm on the tower's main doors and the stairs to area B30 every day.
During Combat Paeta tries to intimidate her foes by using her ethereal ambush to attack, intimidate and poison the apparent strongest intruder. She repeats this tactic until her foes surrender or retreat. Paeta will try to lure her opponents towards any remaining phase spiders within the fort and will grapple and walk up the wall with anyone who becomes incapacitated to use as a bargaining chip. She power attacks unless she misses twice in a row and when sneak attacking always picks the bewildered option on her debilitating injury.
Morale Same as AP. Paeta has no wish to die and will retreat to inform her mistress if reduced to 30 hit points.
Str 20, Dex 22, Con 18, Int 12, Wis 15, Cha 8
Base Atk +12 CMB +18 (+22 grapple) CMD 38 (50 vs trip.)
Feats:Ability focus (poison), Dodge, Improved Initative, Lunge, Skill focus (stealth), Iron Will, Weapon Focus (bite), Weapon Finesse, Power attack, Cornugun Smash
Skills Acrobatics +23 (+27 when jumping), Climb +30, Intimidate +16, Knowledge (Local) +5, Knowledge (Planes) +5, Linguistics +5, Perception +19, Sense motive +11, Sleight of hand +17 Stealth +22
Languages Aklo, Common, Cyclops
Combat Gear Other Gear Ring of Protection +3
SQ Rogue talents (combat trick, minor magic, major magic, weapon training), Frightening, Brutal Beating (give up a sneak attack die to make target sickened), Finesse Training (bite), Rogue's Edge (Intimidate)
Special Abilities=====================================================[i/]
Poison (Ex) Bite-injury
; save Fort DC 19;frequency 1/round for 8 rounds; effect 1d2 Con; cure 2 consecutive saves.

Notes: Paeta receives a +4 on intimidate if she is larger than her target.

Sticking with the theme of the fort I choose to make Paeta an unchained rogue thug archetype, as I felt the abilities matched nicely with the tone of the fort and helped trade off the lackluster trap sense and trap-finding for some more useful abilities. Technically the rogue levels only counted for 1/2 CR each as rogue is not a key class for magical beasts I'm curious to see if 8 levels change much in regards to difficulty. In addition I'm wondering just how much difficulty my party will have with her poison since my players all have double digit fortitude saves. Thankfully the AP is written so that she doesn't just grapple and drag off her first victim to the ethereal plane, which would have made for a cheap death. Not expecting her to be nearly the powerhouse that Giles was, but I've certainly been surprised before so we'll just wait and see what happens.

@JohnHawkins - Nice builds there, I think that I'll steal and likley expand upon the kipper build for when my party confronts the Wormwood in book 5. If they haven't learned to deal with alchemists after Zarskia and the Eel then they deserve whatever happens.

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Your game already seems to be well outside the norm of what most games and GMs would allow since you're a celestial outside at level 6, but ccs has a good start. Once you understand those basics you can start delving into the more 'complex' aspects of the game.

No seriously, take it from a GM; if all you understand about the game is the bare mechanics of how your class works, how the combat system works and how leveling works and show up with a genuine interest to play and learn every session, then you're already ahead of the curve and most people would be kicking in your door to have you at their table.

A couple of free resources to consider using are:

The Pathfinder Reference Document

A source reference document run by a 3rd party. D20pfsrd

Another Reference document run by a 3rd party. Archives of Nethys

The difference between the second two is that one has ads and the other does not, so some of the language differs between them. All of those websites are invaluable for players as they allow quick rules checks without having to carry around a library full of rules books.

EDIT: Links edited to make for easier reading with the explanations of 'My Self'.

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LuniasM wrote:
Metagaming is a tool that can be used properly to improve the group's experience or abused to make things unnecessarily difficult. It is not inherently good or bad from a GM perspective.


What does a GM do when the AP features an item that has a specific faith requirement that runs antithetical to all of the PC's traits and personalities? Does he just say 'tough break' and have the party sell it for half? What about the powerful artifact that the PCs spent all book hunting down and claiming? When it turns out to be an exotic weapon that nobody can use and does the GM just let it collect dust or does he change that shotel into a weapon that the party Kensai's signature weapon? Does the GM flat out refuse to let a party take a certain course of action simply because the book doesn't say what to do if the players take that route, or does the GM roll with it to accommodate and even reward the players for their ingenuity to create a better game for everyone?

Meta-gaming is just a character using information that they do not have or would not normally have access to but the player does. By the time that characters reach mid level there's a more than good chance that they've developed a bit of a reputation for themselves and people (including antagonists yes) hear about that. It might become known that the sword swinging lightning calling character is fond of transforming into a being of air and flying around slinging spells and slashing honest hard working henchmen. Its far from unreasonable to say that some villains wouldn't prepare for this. The same goes for a PC fond of utilizing invisibility, or casting fireball, or charging in with a greatsword, etc. Enemies that remain ignorant of the world around them and simply wait in a box for murder-hobos to stroll through, slaughter them and take their treasure are static, boring and pointless.

Should only enemies hear about and plan for the PCs in this capacity? No of course not. The characters (and by extension the players) should feel their growing power not just by their steadily increasing numbers, but through the world they inhabit and the people around them. They could go into a tavern and overhear a bard telling a dirty limerick inspired by the actions of the party barbarian two villages over. They could walk into a shop owned by the father of a young girl that the party saved when they took down the tribe of giants that had been terrorizing the village for years and earn a discount for their courage. The party could be invited to a dinner held in their honor by a local lord looking to curry favor with such a powerful group of heroes. A young woman could approach the party wizard and ask to become his apprentice so that she can grow strong enough to challenge her brother's killer. Similarly, villains should publicly humiliate the PCs, challenge them when they are not prepared, strike when their backs are turned and exploit their weaknesses. The lists go on and on but the end result is that the world becomes interconnected and alive, rather than just a collection of nothings waiting for the PCs to come by and interact with them and no personalities, motivations or goals of their own beyond handing out plot hooks and treasure.

The assertion that deviation from an adventure as it is written is poor GMing is ludicrous, and contrary to both the spirit of the hobby and the characteristics that make this medium of storytelling unlike any other.

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Monstrous Physique II: Minutes'/Level so you're better off shelling out for at least the medium rod of extend or this spell isn't lasting more than half of a dungeon at best. And that's assuming all of the encounters for the day are set up in a nice sequential order.

Polymorphing down to tiny is also not a very good idea. You won't be threatening at all and will be eating at least one AoO just to get within striking distance of your enemy. Getting off a full attack while tiny is not going to happen against any enemy that isn't mindless. Significant combat maneuver penalties as well.

Elemental Body: Any magi that drop fly for elemental body are useless magi. Polymorphing into an elemental takes away your ability to cast and melds all your gear with your body. But its ok because in return you get a fly speed and some natural attacks. Good job magi, maybe you can fly over to the nearest town and bring back someone who can actually contribute.

GM meta-gaming: Meta-gaming is part of the GM's job, and it benefits the players and the game as a whole.

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So its taken quite a long time but my group has finally gotten through book 3 and my lucky player got his third dream. For my group the best place to have this dream take place was the night before the regatta, though I suppose it could also happen during the PCs time in Port Peril since they have a run in with Caulky and would know that Harrigan is in the area.

Third Dream: Paying Your Dues

You are a young man standing in chains in the middle of a circular domed room, situated high atop the boardwalks of a mangrove tree.

If the player has never been to this city before they may make a DC 10 knowledge check to identify it as Bloodcove, otherwise they are able to recognize it automatically.

You have just been found guilty of theft from both the Aspis Consortium and the Government of Bloodcove. The judge, presiding above you, resounds to you with the following,
"Before I pass the sentence for these crimes; do you wish to say anything on your behalf?"

The player may make a DC 15 Diplomacy check to attempt to have the judge go easy on them or a DC 20 Bluff check to appeal that they are innocent. If the player succeeds on Diplomacy, describe the judge pausing briefly, as if in thought. If the player succeeds on the bluff check, have the judge respond that he wishes to believe the player, but the evidence speaks for itself.

If the player succeeds, they gain a +2 on their next check to increase their ship's infamy, if they fail they take a -2.

Regardless of the outcome, the judge responds with,
"Very well, the sentence is two years time in the militia"

If the PC failed his check from before have the judge inform the PC that he's lucky they don't hang him.

You now find yourself down by the docks, the red water of a nearby river pouring from its mouth into the sea. A man stands before you, his diamond earring glinting in the moonlight instructs you with the following,
"Ye get tem crates for me Dwali, and ye can be shure they'll be a place fer ye on me ship when yer stint is dun."

The player must now make either a DC 20 Stealth check, a DC 15 disguise check, or a DC 15 Intimidate check. If the player succeeds on the stealth check describe them slipping into the holding area for the crates and making off with the cargo during the guards shift change. If the Player succeeds on the disguise check describe them disguising themselves as the guards officer and taking advantage of the low light during night time, instructing the guards to move the crates down to the docks for a last minute high priority client. If the player succeeds on the intimidate check, describe them threatening and bribing one of the guards into helping him move the crates to the dock, then killing him with the help of his client once the job is done.

If the player succeeds on this portion, it is discovered the next day that some of the plunder on their ship is worth more than originally thought, granting the players an extra point of plunder to spend. If the player fails, a leak in the ship causes seawater to seep in and ruin one point of plunder.

Late in the dead of night the gnawing pangs of hunger keep you from sleeping while you lie in your hammock, swinging slightly back and forth, dim light filtering in just enough to see the lines between the boards above your head. Exhausted and sore, you do not think that you will last another day without eating. Holding a rock hard wafer of ship's biscuit in your hand, you think back to just a few hours when the cook's mate handed it to you, and the weevil larvae you could see crawling through it like diseased worms. With no other option, you decide to eat.

Have the PC make followed by a DC 10 constitution check followed by a DC 15 fortitude save. Regardless on whether or not the PC succeeds, describe them gagging on the tasteless pablum as they choke it down.

As you swallow the last bit of ship's biscuit you experience a single forcefully intense heartbeat, pounding louder than the sea beneath you with a noise identical to that of a ticking clock.

If the PC succeeded on their checks describe them peacefully falling asleep (+1 on their next fortitude save or permanent +1 to Constitution if you're that kind of DM). If they failed then describe them rushing above-deck to vomit into the sea before anyone sees them (nauseated for the next day).

This dream was a difficult one for me to write, mainly because I had the challenge of not wanting to make it too long, but at the same time wishing to include as much as I could. There's scrapped scene where I had the player go through Dwali's first interaction with real pirates, where they gang up on and mug him of everything he owns (including the ragged shirt off his back) at knife-point.

Really I do think that this dream is probably too long and the final third could be worked into the fourth dream instead. However, since I haven't written the fourth dream yet, I decided to include it here just in case I come up with a really good idea between now and then. Aside from that I've always had a fascination with hardtack and the fact that people's diets used to consist of nothing but the stuff for months on end. I have been determined to do something regarding the universally reviled "Tooth-dullers" at some point in the AP and to me this seemed like the best place for it. If you decide to cut this part simply add a scene at the end of the second part where Dwali shakes hands with the diamond stud man and feels the same heartbeat from the third part as the ship sails away.

Overall this dream was a lot more linear and straight-forward than the last two, because in addition to my weak metaphor skills I don't want my player to end up too confused by these dreams. For the next dream I plan on a few scenes; Dwali changing his name to Harrigan, Harrigan losing his eye, and Harrigan becoming the first mate. Honestly, I haven't decided on whether or not I want to include the fact that Harrigan served time on Sea Wasp before the Wormwood as it seems like a superfluous detail I could spend somewhere else or at the very least omit.

Alternatively the gradually lengthening dreams could be interpreted as the growing desperation of Harrigan's trapped soul and the PCs deepening connection with it.

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My group took a break around the beginning of December, started up again in mid-January.Thus far I've been fairly satisfied with the enemy builds in book 3, but Giles was definitely an NPC that could benefit from a rebuild with the material that's come out since S&S's release. This is my take on Executioner Slayer that Rynjin mentioned above.

Giles Halmis CR:10 XP:6,400:

Male Slayer (Executioner) 11
NE Medium Humanoid (Human)
Init:;+4 Senses: Perception +14
AC 18, touch 14, Flat-footed 14 (+4 Armor, +4 Dex)
hp 110 (11d10 + 33)Average is 94
Fort, +9 Ref, +11 Will+5
Defensive abilities -
Speed 30 ft.
Melee SharpShooter's Blade +15/+10/+5 (1d6+5/19-20 x2)
Ranged +1 Human Bane Heavy Crossbow +17/+12/+7 (1d10+1/17-20 x2)
Special Attacks Studied Target (swift action +3), Painful Strike (Fort DC 16 Sickened 1d4 rounds) Assassinate (Fort DC 16 dies), Sneak Attack +3d6, Dedicated Adversary (Humans +2), Seething Hatred (+3 damage to human studied targets)
Before Combat Poisons his bolts with Deathblade, no need to drink antitoxin as he has poison use.
During Combat Same as AP. Shoots one more bolt at Corlan, along with more bolts at anyone that tries to help him or is of Mwangi descent. Saves a second poisoned bolt if he's wounded. Uses deadly aim, takes a move action to affix his sharpshooter's blade if needed.
Morale Same as AP. Once he's sure the Tengu is dead he retreats, if cornered fights to the death.
Str 14, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 8
Base Atk +11/+6 CMB CMD
Feats: Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Reload*, Weapon Focus (Crossbow), Crossbow Mastery, Deadly Aim*, Iron Will, Imropoved Critical (Heavy Crossbow), Seething Hatred (Humans)*, Dedicated Adversary (Humans)
Skills Acrobatics +13, Bluff +7, Climb +10, Intimidate +7, Knowledge (Geography) +10, Knowledge (Local) +15, Perception +14, Sense Motive +9, Stealth +23, Survival +14, Swim +16
Languages Common, Polyglot
Combat Gear Potions of Cure Light Wounds (2), Deathblade Poison (2 doses) Other Gear+1 Shadow Studded Leather, +1 Human-bane Heavy Crossbow with 20 bolts, Sharpshooter's blade, backpack, climber's kit, spyglass, 50 ft silk rope with grappling hook
SQBloodstained Hands, Studied Target, Track, Focused Killer, Painful Strike, Stalker, Slayer Talents (Ranger Combat Style*, Poison Use, Ranger Combat Style*, Combat Trick* Assassinate)

I went ahead and bumped him to level 11 just like Rynjin did, my group is always above average when it comes to combat so I doubt that the extra attack will do much if anything, more HP is always welcome though.

Call me a Scumbag but I don't see any reason that Seething Hatred and Dedicated Adversary wouldn't stack. Giles damage might look low at first glance but when attacking a human while deadly aiming his damage jumps to 1d10+11+2d6. If he bothered to use one of his unlimited swift action studied target abilities and the target is still a human it jumps to 1d10+17+2d6, not bad at all. Running the encounter as written makes it unlikely that he'll ever land a sneak attack or get to use his assassinate ability but you never know how a chase scene will go. I could have reworked the stats to get a 19 dex so Giles could take Improved Precise shot at level 11 but it seemed unnecessary. Excited to see how this one goes as I have another slayer (vanguard) for the party to face off against after the end of book 3.

@Wintersky, those are some nice builds. They would definitely make for a much more difficult fight to finish off book 1.

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Anzyr wrote:
Protection from Evil/Good/Chaos/Law won't help you if the caster of the Geas is Neutral...

The crux of any good villain.

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Kinda funny that protection from evil will prevent a geas from working, but does nothing if it is already in place.

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Not much of a problem until you hit wish/limited wish and miracle.

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It's a product of the business model.

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I do it all the time. Works out well, tends to be better if you already have the feat reward pre-selected or from a select list that you let the players pick from. Far less game-breaking than its made out to be.

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Can we talk about what a nightmare it is to actually sift through the FAQ for a moment? I like that the devs are able to make reasonably fast corrections to rules via FAQ however the lack of any real organization and sheer number of FAQs makes finding the ruling you are looking for nigh impossible, even if you know exactly what question you are looking for. The only way that I've ever been able to find a FAQ on purpose is by getting lucky with a messageboard search to find a person who made a post with a link to the specific FAQ.

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Mix up the encounters a bit. The golden wolf guardians sound really cool but nothing is more stale than fighting the same enemy for multiple encounters. Having the rough statues give each set of wolves unique abilities (think stuff like breath weapons, spider climb, etc) that work in tandem with the environments would be awesome. For example if one set of wolves has a breath weapon that is a 30ft line of acid, then have the room contain lots of statues lined up to make 5' wide "aisles". Wolves usually have a superior ground speed, which they can use to outmaneuver the party and position themselves for breath weapons when the party bunches up or to gang up flanking attacks on one party member if they split up. Another set of wolves has spider climb in a room with a lot of vertical barriers which they can use to attack and flank the party from unusual angles. Maybe that set of wolves also have the feat spring attack making them even more difficult to combat.

Depending on the tone you are going for you could focus on the tradgety that happened to the other party that went in before. Maybe one of the slain members dies in a way horrific enough to turn into an undead like a ghost or a wraith (perhaps with a few of those class levels they had in life?). There could be an encounter where the energy from the psionic item "reanimates" or "possesses" this party so to speak and the two groups have to face off in some classic party vs party action.

Does the temple itself have a story behind it? How about the high priestess and the psionic item? If not that's a good place to start. The challenge comes in getting that information to the players in a way that is exciting and fun.

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Cleric and bard both make good GMPCs. Though the out of combat challenges become basically formalities if the bard ends up as the only member with decent skills.

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I don't think that he meant his Dex is capped at 18, just that 18 is his starting value. A hard cap of 18 would be ridiculous.

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Are the PC's even supposed to know about notoriety points? Giving the PC's a general idea of what's going on is good but straying into the realm of specifics (i.e. numbers) is just going to result in the players trying to maximize their numbers to be the most favorable to them and justifying the actions to achieve those numbers as an afterthought. This makes sense because for almost every other part of the game this is what the PC's are supposed to be doing, tweaking their numbers to get the best results. So naturally when they are given a number, their first instinct is to immediately focus on and attempt to control that number, treating the scenery, characters and story as secondary features.

It sounds like you've already tried diplomatically approaching the situation without much success. There are a lot of ways to justify the actions of the ninjas in game, many of which you already mentioned, but in game answers are rarely satisfying and don't address underlying issues. Your player(s) made very powerful PC's, in their minds they should be rewarded for that and right now its the opposite, they feel like they are being punished. Explaining to them that that isn't the case might help, but doesn't go about offering any solutions. If your players have a single role-playing bone in their body you could try it from that angle. Something along the lines of,

Ameiko: "I guess sometimes there are no solutions to the problems we face and no matter what we do we're destined to fail. Maybe my family was right to run when they had the chance, leaving Sandpoint was a mistake."

Hopefully, the players will pick up on that and try to convince her otherwise. Then in the near future they just so happen to make a big breakthrough on the task at hand and everyone's faith is renewed.

Errant_Epoch wrote:
Seriously they're 4th level and one of them has a 34 AC ...

I'd like to see the numbers behind that, it would hugely surprise me if a player is able to manage that legitimately at level 4. While I'm reticent to throw around the term powergamers, it sounds like you might have a few. At the very least they are heavy optimizers and at the absolute upper end of the power scale for their level. Like 2 standard deviations away, 95th percentile end. Honestly, this is a product of system. A PC is very likely to be killed because a tough monster passed his save against a spell or is left standing with just a couple of hit points. However a player is rarely if ever going to die for failing a diplomacy check or knowledge roll. Even if this were the case a GM is going to be very hesitant to kill that PC in that circumstance because it isn't satisfying for most groups and in many cases feels "cheap". So when it comes down to selecting feats, stats, gear, etc. a PC is more often than not going to cover the combat portions first because that is what is going to kill them 99.9% of the time. Players for the most part work hard on their characters, they care about them, spend hours comparing the various options and combinations and you can bet everything you have that players will do whatever it takes to keep their characters from being killed.

For many people, character death isn't a role-play opportunity, it isn't the result of some freak coincidence of lucky/unlucky rolls and it isn't just "part of the game", to them it's a failure. A lot of times the response that you'll see in response to a character death is that the players crunch numbers harder and optimize more so that they never "fail" again.

It can be exceedingly frustrating to have a PC that shows up who can solo encounters, intended or otherwise. But if the player can't see that sometimes he is going to clean house with enemies and other times he occasionally might be presented with a challenge of some kind and isn't really responding to your attempts to balance those two situations to craft a game that everyone can enjoy, then well ... maybe this isn't the game for him.

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Chess Pwn wrote:

So one thing about your guide, in the Stats section, A higher charisma has the difference of being boosted later to get more. Example, if you have a 13 you can put a lv4 point to make it a 14 getting you an extra consume where a 7 wouldn't Also buying an ioun stone for charisma or a super headband of mental stats.

Basically, if they're going to get lots of money, or go for higher levels having a better cha is better than a low one. So I'd change the wording to be something like "there's hardly any difference between a 7 and 13 and unless you'll be rich or high leveled I recommend dumping it."

This. I had an Arcanist who started with a 14 Cha and ended up with a 20 by level 12 or 13 with a +4 headband (2 stats), +1 from leveling and +1 from hitting middle-aged. That higher Cha made the difference later on.

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Due to my players creating fairly optimized characters and possessing an above average level of system mastery I often find myself changing ... if not entirely rebuilding entire enemies and encounters throughout the course of published adventures. This time around I thought that I would post my changes for others to adjudicate and use themselves if they were so inclined. Feedback is welcome.

A large focus of the rebuilds will be biased towards classes and archetypes that did not exist when the AP was first published. Especially in those instances where I feel that the new class or archetype better represents my own perceived flavor of the enemy. Many of the enemies with levels in rogue will be converted to the unchained version of the class as I prefer it to the original. However, since many of these enemies use archetypes the conversions will be straying into home-brew territory as the unchained variants are not compatible with archetypes. Disclaimer aside, I do not expect this to be much of an issue. Due to the swingy nature of the lower levels, I choose not to alter any of the enemies of the first book and only a few from the second book. If they go over well, I may post some of the home-brew NPC villains and monsters that turn up at various points throughout the AP.

First up is the villain that initially piqued my interest in undertaking this project, the first mate Captain of the Thresher, Knuckles Grype.

Knuckles Grype CR:6 XP:2,400:

Male Human Brawler 7
CE Medium Humanoid (Human)
Init:+2; Senses: Perception +9
AC 20, touch 13, Flat-footed 17 (+7 Armor, +2 Dex, +1 Dodge)
hp 80 (7d10 + 28) Average is 71
Fort +7, Ref +7, Will +1
Defensive abilities AC Bonus +1
Speed 20 ft.
Melee +1 Spiked Gauntlet +13/+8 (1d6+7 plus poison) or Brawler's Flurry +1 Spiked Gauntlets +11/+11/+6 (1d6+7 plus poison)
Special Attacks Knockout (DC 17 1d6 rounds)
Before Combat Same as AP. Knuckles applies bloodroot poison to both of his spiked gauntlets.
During Combat Knuckles starts combat by charging the enemy captain and activating his knockout ability. If any other creatures are in his way he uses a swift action use of his martial flexibility to gain the benefits of Greater Overrun before charging. On subsequent rounds he activates another use of his martial flexibility, choosing feats specific to whatever opponent he is currently facing; common choices for him would be improved trip, step up, furious focus and disruptive. Knuckles full attacks using brawler's flurry whenever possible and always attacks with whichever spiked gauntlet has yet to deliver its poison.
Morale Same as AP. Knuckles attempts to parley by surrendering the Thresher if reduced to 25hp or fewer.
Str 18, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 12
Base Atk +7/+2 CMB +11 (+15 Overrun, +12 trip) CMD 23 (27 Overrun, 24 trip)
Feats: Toughness, Medium Armor Proficiency, Power attack, Charge through, Improved Overrun, Weapon Focus (Spiked Gauntlet), Weapon Specialization (Spiked Gauntlet)
Skills Acrobatics +10, Climb +12 Intimidate +11, Knowledge (local) +5, Perception +9, Profession (sailor) +9, Swim +10
Languages Common
Combat Gear Bloodroot poison (4 doses) Other Gear +1 Brestplate, +1 Spiked Gauntlets (2), Belt of Giant Strength (+2)
SQ Brawler's Cunning, Martial Flexibility, Martial Training, Close Weapon Mastery, Brawler's strike, Maneuver Training 2 (Overrun/Trip)

The only villain statblock that I know of was a little unwieldy for me as it required a lot of deleting to properly use so I made my own makeshift one. I hope to polish it up over time Link Here.

Knuckles was converted from the Fighter Brawler archetype from Ultimate Combat to a straight up Brawler from the Advanced class guide. The conversion represents a decrease in combat effectiveness in terms of attack and damage but gives him a healthy amount of flexibility in how he fights the PC's. I also wanted him to have a better out of combat presence as I suspect that my PC's might actually accept his surrender. The increase in skills and skill points serve to make him a more competent toadie and martial flexibility makes him much more interesting for me to run as a GM. Side note: I was this close to making him a strangler archetype but decided against it as it would have required me to significantly alter his gear.

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Use the legendary monster and lair rules from 5e. Cannot recommend this highly enough.

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There's a fair number of weapon abilities that say, "This ability can only be placed a ranged weapon." If the weapon can't convey those abilities to the ammunition, their existence is meaningless and contradictory.

The text you've highlighted could simply be referring to intelligent items or artifacts which have alignments without necessarily possessing enhancements like holy or archaic.

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I know that I'm a little late to the party but I've been using a lot of these changes as well and have to thank you on how well its gone to improving the game for me and my players. Since my players tend to write pretty comprehensive backstories I'm never short on potential villains and I also wanted to make Harrigan more of a sympathetic villan and maybe even potential ally if all the pieces fall in place.

To that end I was very interested in the Wormwood dream you posted and I didn't have anyone as tied to Harrigan as your juju oracle but I do have one player who has a history of visions in his backstory and this gave me enough to justify giving him the dreams.

We just started book two last night and while I don't consider myself to be as adept at this as you are here is what I came up with:

Second Dream: Winds of Change

You are a young adolescent on the cusp of manhood, kneeling with your four brothers and sisters inside of your mud and straw hut, the summer heat and humidity filling the room with an uncomfortable mugginess. The five of you are all looking down at your mother, a Mwangi woman lying on the dirt floor of the hut with her eyelids only halfway open, in between deep breaths she says to you,
"Dwali, go on, be free liek de fish."

After this the group begins to lowly hum,
"I am not a pirate but I long to be...."

Once again the PC must rhyme with this line, and a DC 10 perform check reveals a feeling of intuition that this is what must be done. For example the PC could sing, "I drink my rum and like it that's the life for me!"

If the PC manages to come up with a rhyme read the following to them:
After you finish this line you feel a massive heartbeat from within your own chest and suddenly find yourself on the deck of merchant schooner. An authoritarian man in front of you gives you orders to climb the mainmast and take watch from the crows nest for the day.

The PC must succeed on a DC 15 climb check or a DC 10 profession (sailor) check to climb the mainmast and take up their position in the crows nest. Once they get to the top, describe the fair skies and refreshing breeze in their face as they can see for miles out into the open sea.
After this have the PC make a DC 20 Perception, Survival or Sense Motive check. If the PC succeeds tell them that as they are scanning the horizon they see a ship approaching from the North. Then the PC must make a DC 15 Profession (sailor) (describe them quickly shimmying to a better position in the rigging and waving to an officer), DC 20 Bluff (describe them using the ropes and rigging to gain a swab's attention) or DC 20 Intelligence check (describe them yelling in a way that the wind carries their voice) to alert the crew below. If the PC succeeds give them a +2 to their next profession sailor check.
The first thing that the PC notices about the approaching ship is its figurehead, a menacing dragon. Then as the ship nears either have the PC notice the nameplate or overhear other crew members talking about the name of the ship, the Wormwood. Describe that when the PC sees/hears the word Wormwood they feel their heart beat massively again as they suddenly wake up.

If the PC fails to climb the mast or see the ship on the horizon they receive lashes for a poor job (dazzled for the next day)
If the PC fails to alert the crew about the oncoming ship say that they lose their footing and fall from the crow's nest, waking up just before hitting the deck (Seasick the next day if at sea, fatigued if on land).

I am running the dreams as a manifestation of Harrigan's soul attempting to communicate with one of the PC's. His soul is only able to communicate through emotion and memories, many of which become jumbled up and mixed together. Not all of the dreams will have singing segments but I liked it so much the first time that I chose to use it again. It's a little longer than the first dream that you wrote, but I want to pack in as much information as I can and since my players tend to need the extra exposition.

Full Disclosure: The first line of the song in the beginning of this dream was shamefully stolen from here.

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Assign levels of Meta-Knight instead of their chosen class.

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1. This is a bit of a gray area for some, but most agree that sundering can be performed as part of a full-attack. Using secondary natural attacks (such as wings) would incur the normal penalty.

2. Natural attacks are different from normal attacks with weapons in that they never allow multiple attacks per round no matter how high the creature'so base attack bonus is (can you imagine if a dragon got to use all of its natural attacks multiple times!).

3. Similarly natural weapons do not require the use of two weapon fighting feat(s) and are treated separately from two weapon fighting alltogether. This is why you never see this feat listed in these creatures' statblocks.

EDIT: Claws for dragons are primary attacks. Secondary attacks are wings and tail slaps.

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Thanks that's exactly what I was looking for, it hadn't occurred to me that there might be a player companion on the subject. If there were just a little more info it would be perfect.

mourge40k wrote:
OK, I'm going to be that guy for a moment here: What the hell kind of game are you playing that you actually need to know this?


LazarX wrote:
And again, what kind of campaign are you playing where any of your questions would come up?

It's a Hail Mary and I likely won't even attempted it, but after thinking about the hypotheticals I at least wanted to see how it would work out in theoryland.

Its been heavily implied that we're going to be up against a powerful and likely at least ancient dragon. While looking for a way to shut down its blindsight I saw the line about blindsight not working in a vacuum and the mental image was too cool not to at least try and bring to reality. However, there isn't really a reliable way to make it happen and so the upper atmospheric dragon battle will only live on in my head. Thanks for the replies everyone, maybe I'll try the Hail Mary and hope for a 1.

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A few times the game mentions how abilities, items and effects function (or don't) in a vacuum. After looking around for awhile and not finding anymore information I was wondering if anybody knew if there are any rules for fighting in a vacuum or space.

Though specifically I would like to know:

1) Does being in space cause you to take cold damage?

2) Seeing as there is no air I am assuming creatures that need to breathe risk suffocation?

3) Same as above, no air means no spells with verbal components unless cast with silent spell? No command words either?

4) No air ... do breath weapons function?

6) ... So since there isn't any air ... can you imbibe things like potions or alchemical items?

7) Last time (yeah right) does non-magical flight function in a vacuum?

8) Does being in space impose any negative effects from things like radiation, pressure, or the orbits of planets?

I'm not looking to know how this would work in real life, just some quick play rules in case it comes up.

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Find a way to roleplay something less destructive?

Talk your other party members out of game and explain X, Y, Z?

Make a new character, hand your old sheet to the DM and become a villain?

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The Emerald Spire module begins with the PC's arriving at a fort near the ruin, Fort Inevitable. The fort is incredibly detailed with over 40 named locations and even more NPC's each with its own history, description personality and goals. However, right after this the adventure jumps into the dungeon without much integration between the two. I understand Paizo's premium on page space and leaving the information on the fort for individual groups to utilize or ignore as they see fit seems like the way to accommodate a variety of gaming groups ...

buuuuttt ....

I'd like to see Fort Inevitable play a more meaningful part in the adventure path and have started utilizing some of the information from the Fort's write-up into the story when the PC's return there to rest and re-supply. I'll list some of my changes and ideas below but I'd like to see how others have chosen to run the module.

- As the PC's arrived they were questioned by the Kiera Wirt and given a three day pass to stay within the fort.

- The party spends some time in the Helmed Lady (a tavern) and overhears mention of the seven foxes, a group working to undermine and eventually overthrow the Hellknight regime. After the patrons quickly silence talk of the foxes the PC's chose to remain silent as well.

- After agreeing to explore the dungeon and provide descriptions and maps of its various levels (along with the sigil for each floor) Abernard Royst offers to provide the PC's with food and lodging in between their expeditions into the spire.

- The PC's forget about their three day permit and are nearly arrested by the Hellknights. Abernard is able to talk his way out of it but the PC's will have to adopt real jobs while they stay inside the city walls. One player choose to join the Salamander company, she had her initiation test out on the Bailey in full view of the Hellknights. The other began to work in the potion and reagent shop for Londor Sefurd.

- Upon return to Abernard's house after a dungeon delve the party sees a young half elf woman named Taeserle leaving Abernard's study. He says that she works with her father on a vineyard outside of town and was dropping off some bottles of wine that he ordered. This is true but the true purpose of this drop off was to arrange a short meeting. Taeserle is secretly a spy for the seven foxes and was meeting with Abernard to request spellcasting in order to help a member from their organization escape the city (a service that he will occasionally provide).

- Before entering floor 3 one of the PCs was approached by an unnamed hellknight and asked to follow him. He took the PC to Dandru Wolfhelm, a Maralictor for the order of the nail. Dandru told the PC that he believes there is a group of with a base located near or within the spire and solicited him to locate the bandits and return their location to him or rout them himself. For this he provided a warrant and offered a reward should the PC's provide proof of their deed and stated that this would make them allies of the Fort. Dandru is attempting to gather enough evidence of bandit activity to lead a campaign against the bandit stronghold of Thornkeep.

- Upon reaching the end of floor three the group chose to forge an alliance with the bandits in the dungeon to take down Klarkosh, a Numerian wizard who controls much of the upper floors and resides in floor 6. Tarrin Dars, the leader of the bandits is hoping to learn as much about the PCs as possible and will attempt to keep the alliance going after Klarkosh's defeat. She intends to use the PC's connections to the fort for her own nefarious purposes and will blackmail/threaten the group if need be. She has connections to individuals in both Daggermark and Thornkeep which she can use to benefit or hinder the PCs as necessary. They inform Abernard of this alliance and while he isn't against it, he warns the PCs not to trust the bandits.

- The group chooses to sell some of the poison that they acquired in the bandit hideout to Londor Sefurd. Later on in the game I am planning to have someone in the city killed with poison that can be traced back the this transaction. The PC's, depending on their standing with the hellknights at that point, may face a variety of repercussions.

- The group asks Abernard about the seven foxes, who provides minimal information and cautions them not to ask many questions about them around town or appear as sympathizers to their cause.

- As the group returns to the spire they hear noises and notice objects moved out of place. Upon investigation they discover a young boy rummaging through the remains of the first floor. He is Davon Stonde and lives outside of town with his mother and siblings. They have fallen on hard times after the Hellknights hung his father for alleged (but never proven) crimes. He had heard that there was treasure in the ruins and was looking for a way to help his family.

- One day when the group returns to the fort they hear that a local man is being put on trial. Drurn a half-orc who runs the tannery outside of town is accussed of beating a slave to death, lying to the hellknights about it and attempting to illicitly dispose of the body. He has been in trouble with the hellknights for mistreating slaves before and while his ultimate sentence is uncertain his tannery has been seized and will be auctioned off publicly the following week (slaves included).

- Before going to face Klarkosh (who the PC's have learned much of by now through their coversations with the various dungeon denizens) Abernard informs the PCs that he wishes to see the spire for himself and will accompany them as they clear floor 6. He does this mostly to protect the party, as he believes that the bandits will betray them once they deal with Klarkosh.

- One of the PC's expressed an interest in traveling to Daggermark in order to commission construction of a magical item outside the capabilities of those within Fort Inevitable. Depending on their behavior within Daggermark the PCs may involve themselves with more bandits. If things escalate with Thornkeep as Maralictor Wolfhelm is attempting to arrange then there could eventually be a siege of the fort, a bad situation for the Hellknights as they would be grossly outnumbered.

- As the PC's clear more floors important NPC's will approach the PC's with their own agendas up to and including the Lady Commander. Interest is especially high regarding the disappearance of a hellknight expedition into the tower.

That's about what I've had so far, my group has finished floor 5 and I've read all the way through floor 10. I know a little bit about the ending and it seems lacking. I'm planning on heavily re-writing the last three floors to give it a more satisfying finale. One possible idea right now is the have Nhur Atemon's phylactery meld with the emerald spire and the only way to destroy it is to defeat the vault keep at the emerald root. More as the story progresses.

Tldr; I've come up with some ways to integrate the plot hooks presented for Fort Inevitable to provide more depth to the module. If you've run the emerald spire before or have ideas on how to enhance the adventure I'd love to hear about them.

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Student of philosophy gets you Int instead of Cha on some diplomacy and some bluff checks. That might be what you were thinking of.

Clever wordplay let's you use Int instead of Cha on one skill outright.

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Ring of Feather falling: Go on, jump.

Goblin fire drum: give it to your hireling/cohort, has hilarious side effects.

Traveler's any-tool: fire your rogue.

Campfire bead: If your GM likes to be nit-picky about setting up camp. Instant fire is a nice ability to have too.

Armbands of the brawler: +1 to grapple, get if for the low levels or grabby animal companion.

Anatomy doll: unlimited healing if you can be healed by negative energy.

Metamagic rod familiar spell, lesser: Not exactly cheap but when you compare the cost to that of the metamagic quicken rod this is crazy good. Most caster's with a familiar end up taking one that can speak and manipulate wands anyway, might as well slap a component pouch on them too.

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Any decent party is going to totally gimp a planned encounter against unprepared enemies. If those goblins had one fireball that summoner would have blown all his summons for nothing and would've been swinging his long-spear in vain while goblins ate him.

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Inkwell wrote:
I can't tell what you're being sarcastic about, honestly. Elaborate?

Apologies. As someone who almost never run a campaign with a full party (the most players that we have ever had is 3) I just find it funny that the other players are nudging you into playing something so that they can fill all the "roles".

The little dig at trapfinding is just that it really is far from vital. The main feature is just the ability to disarm magical traps but disarming them is far from the only (and often times not even the best) way to get around them.

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You may not NEED another front-line fighter but in my experience you can never have enough meat-shields (synthesists have a habit of going down at the most inopportune times). The party has all the important stuff covered with a little hole in full-diving casting but that shouldn't be too big of a deal.

If I were you I would pick something that can just go full nova. Two of the more fun options to me would be a magus or a STR alchemist (oooh maybe something based around nat attacks). A gish wouldn't be out of place either and you can make some surprisingly solid ones with the divine classes.

And if you have access to the advanced class guide playtest I definitely recommend taking a look at the Warpriest.

Screw trapfinding. That's way too boring a lifestyle for the 5th man of the party. Everyone knows that's the guy who gets to have all the fun.

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The knowledge check needed to identify a monster's abilities and weaknesses is 10 + the Cr of the creature in this case a Cr 9 so the DC was 19 for abilites and weaknesses which is up to interpretation, but the plural forms of those words are used. So you were wrong there.

More importantly I would like to know the levels of the characters in the party, that would convey a greater sense of whether or not you were in the wrong.

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The thing about DMing for the first time is that there is pretty much no way to be completely ready, its a learn as you go kind of thing. One tip is to keep the games low level because I've been DMing for a few years and I still have trouble controlling high leveled players.

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The problem with playing an alchemist thrower is your limited resources which begin to quickly run out with rapid shot (or TWF) haste and fast bombs. Bombing is a great build and your DPR with bombs can be down right sickening at times, but you need to have a backup weapon.

A buddy of mine played an Elven alchemist and so he had the good fortune of being able to use a longbow. You really don't want to pay a feat to get a better weapon so it looks like your stuck with simple weapons.

To which I would have to recommend alchemist fire, acid flasks and holy water, as pointed out by rkraus. Remember that you get to add your intelligence modifier on these rolls, but that is just about all you do get to roll so you really have to pump your Int. Use your formulae to boost your Int and your mutagen, but wait until after you have expended all of your bombs before you resort to that (or if the current enemy isn't worth a bomb).

As an alchemist you can nuke enemies, and nuke them hard, but whats important isn't how hard you can hit with your bombs, but rather how hard you can hit without them.

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Ringtail wrote:

Dr. Mr. President...

DM President...

You just won America.

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Undead dragon mount.

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I mean dealing with people is a hot topic all together, companies spend millions on HR training and research and despite all of the advances humanity has made, conflict resolution is still something that baffles generation after generation.

Here is an article from, a comedy site that sometimes has some surprisingly insightful topics. It is a comedy site, but this article has a more serious overtone, just give it a quick scan.

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If it is a vanilla witch, change nothing, nothing. The witch spell list is severely lacking battlefield control spells, it gets a few evocations and all the summons, but unless these are something the character really wants to pursue then the witch is all about hexing and debuffing. When I played a witch I usually threw out three or four hexes before I considered throwing out a spell and I was the only full caster. The one exception was if we got a surprise round I would sometimes throw a BC spell out.

Do not change a thing.

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Prestidigitation, near unlimited uses, lots of fun too.


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As far as summoner archetypes go the synthesist pales in comparison to the master summoner.

I find that the action economy is a much bigger factor in how combat plays out rather than how uber one particular character or monster is.

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I'm subscribed to a Role-playing newsletter full of short little articles about nearly every aspect of tabletop gaming from general to specific.

Anything I could say would be dwarfed by these articles. Here's a link;

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Toadkiller Dog wrote:
I'd be glad if things like Aroden's death and Eye of Abendego remained secrets for ever. Kinda like the lost Primarchs in Warhammer 40K universe.

+1 I just think it should vary from game to game depending on the story and the GM, kinda like the way to kill the tarrasque.

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Every time a potential player I have thinks they have a game breaking build one of the following usually happens:

A) A misunderstanding or misuse of the rules (I am looking at you Synthesist)

B) The build is actually not game breaking because the player didn't understand what the average power level of a character is to an encounter and grossly overestimated just how good there were going to be

C) Is using "Compatible" material from another source or 3rd party material

Reactions usually go somewhere along these lines:

A) "No it isn't against the rules look here!" Then I show the the errata, then they get mad. Another fairly common reaction is for the player to just leave after a few sessions or just never show up, blaming me or whoever is GMing for "Being a loser".

B) As soon as the player realizes they didn't do anything spectacular they ask, "Can I rebuild my character?" or "Can I make a new character?" If you do not let them, they will usually try to find a way to retire or kill the current character, cycle starts again at B.

C) "What do you mean 'X' isn't allowed?" Begs furiously to get material approved, pouts then quits if it isn't.

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