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I’ve been trying to establish rules for this before one of my players builds out a bonded animal character for Extinction Curse. He would like his bonded animal to be able to attack enemies that attack it without having to spend an Action to command it to do so. I feel like this is sort of gaming the system based on a single sentence related to minions (as the rules for bonded animals are even less clear). The sentence is:

“If given no commands, minions use no actions except to defend themselves or escape obvious harm”.

What does this sentence mean in terms of actual game mechanics?

If attacked, will a bonded animal use all of its attacks to attack back (or run away), if given no other commands? These are essentially free actions for the player if this is the case, making both minions and bonded animal much more powerful. It also significantly diminishes the value of the Mature Animal class feat of druids and rangers, since the animal could potentially be getting free actions all the time anyway (just send it up to attack unintelligent whatever, and keep it in something similar to a PF1 confusion loop — it’s not quite the same, but I think it gets the idea across).

Or do they take a single action to escape or attack (assuming defend themselves means attack)?

Or do they just not get actions at all if not commanded, except for extenuating circumstances? For example, the animal is beat up badly and will die if hit again.
If it’s not commanded in this case, it will run away from danger.

Any clarity provided is much appreciated. This has turned into a MUCH larger discussion than it should based off of one unexplained sentence. Thank you! :)

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I created a race for an evil campaign I'll soon be participating in and after receiving positive feedback from the other players, I figured I'd share it here for others to use. It's an 11 RP build with advanced racial traits. I attempted to fit it into Golarion as much as possible. Feel free to use it however you'd like. Comments, praise and criticism are always welcome. :)


Drell (11 RP, Advanced)

Standard Racial Traits

  • Ability Score Racial Traits: Drell gain +2 Str, +2 Dex, +2 Con, +4 Int, and -2 Cha.
  • Type: Drell are humanoids.
  • Size: Drell are Medium creatures and thus receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Speed: Drell have a base speed of 40 feet.
  • Languages: Drell begin play speaking Undercommon.

Feat and Skill Racial Traits

  • Stalker: Perception and Stealth are always class skills for a Drell.
  • Skill Training: Bluff and Disguise are always considered class skills for Drell.
  • Bonus Feat Drell receive Skill Focus as a bonus feat.

Senses Racial Traits

  • See in Darkness: Drell can see perfectly in darkness of any kind, including that created by spells such as deeper darkness.

Weakness Racial Traits

  • Light Blindness: Abrupt exposure to bright light blinds a Drell for 1 round; on subsequent rounds, he is dazzled as long as he remains in the affected area.

Physical Description

Drell are hairless humanoids with sharp features. Their nose, chin and ears tend to be pointed to varying degrees. Drellen eyes are catlike in appearance and come in a variety of colors including gold, red, violet and grey. Drell tend to be muscular but lean, although that is likely due to their nomadic lifestyle. The most noteworthy feature of Drell is their skin. Drell have tiger striped skin displaying white, greys and black. While this in itself is not unique, the fact that the tiger like stripes move across the skin, swirl and change shade is. The speed at which colors change and move relates directly to the emotional state of a Drell. An angry, excited or fearful Drell is quite a sight to behold, but is often a source of fear or distrust of Drell in other races. It is certainly not the norm. Drell have a midnight black patch of skin around the eyes. This patch has a unique shape for every member of the race and is the easiest way to identify different individuals. Drell are particularly long lived, assuming their life is not cut short unnaturally, generally living at least 500 years with some particularly hardy and intelligent members earning a death of old age with as many as 800 to 900 years behind them. There are stories of a few elders living past 1,000 years, but none are currently known to exist.


Drell hail from the Darklands and typically do not ever venture to the surface, certainly the cause of their unusually keen sight in darkness and difficulties seeing clearly in areas of bright light. While Drellen settlements have occurred in the past, the majority of their population has been decimated by Drow hunting parties. Drellen flesh continues it's hypnotic movement even when removed from the body, although the speed at which the movement occurs is significantly reduced. This feature has created a demand for Drellen flesh in the upper echelons of Drow society as trophy and symbol of wealth and power. The Drow hunting parties have hunted Drell to near extinction, the remaining members of the species the fastest, most powerful and most intelligent. Drow hunting tactics often relied upon magical darkness to blind the Drell and force them into traps or ambushes. The Drell that survived were often those found they had the ability to see through any darkness the Drow could cast upon them.

Generations of forced selective breeding amongst the survivors, owing to the extermination efforts of the Drow, has led to an extremely versatile race. All have an innate ability to hide and move stealthily, as well as very keen senses. Drell are now solitary creatures and coupling is extremely rare. Their naturally quick minds tend to latch onto a single skill that they almost obsessively develop to pass the time on their lonely journey. They are adept at navigating the Darklands and have learned that the ability to appear as something else through disguise and deception are skills particularly well suited to preserving their own lives.

Drell tend to birth several children from a single pregnancy, typically at least 3 but no more than 6. However, the harsh realities of the Darklands generally take the lives of the majority of offspring before their first 100 years. The 100 years mark is generally when a Drell is considered an adult, although they are capable of reproduction somewhere around 50 years of age. Drellen females are generally responsible for raising children to adulthood, but the males have been known to take on the responsibility of raising orphaned or lone children.


Drell show little concern for other races outside of their hatred for the Drow. However, Drell will usually avoid Drow rather than directly confront them, even if it appears they have a direct advantage. As all Drell pass along the dangers of Drow traps and ambushes to their offspring, this tendency is likely deeply ingrained in their psyche.

Drell almost never harm other Drell as the dire situation of the species is known to all members of the race. There are rare instances of violence between Drell throughout Drell history, but they will generally work with one another to accomplish short term goals and then part ways. Most violence between Drell occurs when a member's mind has fallen into insanity, but only when peaceful options have been exhausted and there is a real threat to the sane Drell in the encounter.

Alignment and Religion

Owing to the harshness of the Darklands and the particularly difficult history of the Drell, most members of this race are primarily concerned with their own survival and well-being. They tend towards Neutral Evil alignments, willing to do whatever is necessary to ensure their own future. While this may simply result in continued survival in the Darklands, a Drell that finds their way to the surface finds a much safer land and will likely concern themselves with their own prosperity. A comfortable life is something that Drell hardly would consider dreaming about, but separation from the everyday dangers of the Darklands frees considerable time to dream and scheme.

Drell have little need or want for religion and are more concerned with their own ability to deliver themselves from danger than prayers offered to a divine being. Drell do, however, have great respect for their ancestors and have even been known to draw divine powers from the spirits of members of their bloodline that have passed. Most Drell are able to recount tales of their direct ancestors that are passed from generation to generation by word of mouth, although this is considered a very private matter in Drellen society and is closely guarded from anyone not part of the bloodline.


Drell have an innate desire to obtain knowledge of anything and everything and wanderlust that helps facilitate this personal growth. Knowledge and experience are considered particularly valuable to survival, which is always at the forefront of a Drellen mind. Drell make excellent wizards, magus and alchemists, but are extremely versatile and capable of fitting almost any role.

Male Names

D'meer, K'thek, A'theem, V'rand, Z'kuhr

Female Names

K'ayris, S'tahy, L'vaan, P'treen, M'steel


I recently heard the tale of a group of PFS players that entered a difficult high tier adventure. Within 15-20 minutes of play, one of the players had failed a save or die roll (DC 24) and was out of the game. Does that really add to the fun?

I know that if I had made time in my schedule to play, drove out to the location, bought snacks and drinks for the game, all looking forward to a good time, then was removed from the game 15 minutes in by an unlucky dice roll (or two... rerolls), I would be less than happy with the experience. I'm fine with save or dies in my home game because I don't impose a death penalty on my players. If you die, you roll up a new character at the same character level and average wealth level as everyone else. This has kept the game fun for everyone, encouraged "heroic" acts (that may result in an untimely death) and significantly reduces that stress that surrounds character deaths for some players. In PFS, dying hurts... a lot. Not only are you out for the rest of that game, there's a significant expense involved with recovering from that death. You also don't ever get to play that scenario again, barring GM star expenditure or a Core character. Personally, I think the cost is WAY too high for rolling two 1's in a row.

I'm curious what everyone else thinks. Do save or die spells add to Pathfinder Society play specifically? Do you think they have the potential to drive players away? Do you think they are fun? Do you tone them down some way in your own home games? Do you feel good about killing players with save or dies as a PFS GM? How do you feel about being killed by one as a PFS player?


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All those fancy alchemical items, yeah... not so legal anymore. Core gives up TONS of amazing consumables, which is part of the fun imo.

I was flipping through the Core book and I came across the Feather Token, the Fan variant in particular. That is now on my "must have" list to counter fogs and clouds, as well as other creative uses. ken

That said, what would you consider the new Core-only "must have" items? Additionally, what would you bring into a Core Bonekeep run? The answers to these two questions will probably be the same.

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I just finished running Chap 1 of RotRL and I figured I'd go ahead and share my prep work. I ended up putting quite a bit of time into the prep, but it really helped keep the pace of the campaign fairly quick and I believe it made it more fun for everyone. I have included links to both the ODT and PDF versions within this post.

The Swallowtail Festival portion contains my own festival games along with the (significant) rewards I provided for my players. I am running a group of 6 with a few experienced players, so these early rewards actually helped individual player wealth without having to tweak combat rewards. The Cure Light Wounds wands also were very appreciated by the group. One of my players was even extremely lucky and ended up winning the grand prize in Gorvi's Goblin Fishing Extravaganza!

I should also note that the combats all maximize the monster health. After seeing this in action, I believe that even a 4 player group with experienced players would benefit from maximized monster health. I then scaled the monster hp up (in my head) by 50% for each player beyond 4, since not everyone always showed up. This was a pretty quick and easy way to scale and worked for everything except the Shadow encounter in part IV (which I just used maximized health for... shadows are really scary at level 3).

I didn't use XP, rather I just told them when they leveled. Level 2 was hit after defeating Tsuto, level 3 after the Catacombs of Wrath (2 and 3 were right on top of each other) and level 4 at the end of the chapter. If I were to do it again, I would award level 4 either after Nualia or just before Nualia after clearing floor 2 of the Thistletop dungeon. The shadows, giant crab and greater barghest encounters would be better with a group of level 4 PCs I think. They dragged a bit with level 3 PCs.

So, here is the prep work. Any comments are welcome.

RotRL Chap 1 ODT Documents
Swallowtail Festival
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Spell Reference

RotRL Chap 1 PDF Documents
Swallowtail Festival
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Spell Reference

These should provide just about everything you need to run Chapter 1 of Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition. I would still recommend reading the parts (and ideally the whole chapter) before running it, but you probably don't need to do much more than that if you use these prep sheets. Oh, fair warning, it's quite a few pages to print it all out.

I plan on continuing with the same type of prep work for the rest of the campaign and will post additional chapters in this thread as they are completed.

In an effort to avoid potential rules disagreements, I want to get some opinions on the Channel Energy feats from Inner Sea Gods and multiple Channel Energy pools. Here's the situation:

Aasimar Life Oracle lvl 6, Cleric lvl 1 of Desna

Life Oracle provides 6 positive energy channels daily at lvl 9 (+1/2 lvl to one revelation favored class bonus) for 5d6. Phylactery of Positive Channeling brings this up to 7d6. Cleric level provides 8 channels at 1d6 or 3d6 with Phylactery.

The feat Protective Channel is selected. It reads:

Prerequisite(s): Channel energy 7d6, worshiper of a good deity

Benefit(s): When you channel positive energy to heal living creatures, you can choose to affect healed creatures with a protection from evil spell (caster level equal to your effective cleric level).

Two Questions
1) Is this selection legal, with the Phylactery of Positive Energy +2d6 allowing for qualification?
2) If so, would the 3d6 cleric channels also provide protection from evil (at caster lvl 1) or only the channels that qualify for the feat?

A follow up question is then,
3) If Liberation Channel were selected at character level 9, could you apply the effects of both Liberation Channel and Protective Channel simultaneously to all of your channels?

Liberation Channel
Prerequisite(s): Channel energy 7d6, worshiper of a god of freedom or celebrations.

Benefit(s): When you channel positive energy, any creature healed by the channel also gains the effect of freedom of movement for a number of rounds equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum 1 round). This effect has a caster level equal to your effective cleric level.

Per RAW, it seems like ALL channels you have are empowered by the feats, but you need at least one channel pool to meet the requirements of the feat to be able to take the feat. At least this is my understanding and the way I believe it works. However, I can see the potential argument that the feats only apply to channels that meet the requirements of the feat. What do you think?

To frame the question, here is the wording for both the trait Magic is Life and the spell Shield Other:

Magic is Life - Your faith in magic allows you to reflexively use the energy of any spell effect currently on you to save you from death. As long as you are under the effects of a spell, you gain a +2 trait bonus on saving throws against death effects. If you are reduced to negative hit points while you are under the effects of any spell, you automatically confirm stabilization checks to stop bleeding.

Shield Other - This spell wards the subject and creates a mystic connection between you and the subject so that some of its wounds are transferred to you. The subject gains a +1 deflection bonus to AC and a +1 resistance bonus on saves. Additionally, the subject takes only half damage from all wounds and attacks (including those dealt by special abilities) that deal hit point damage. The amount of damage not taken by the warded creature is taken by you. Forms of harm that do not involve hit points, such as charm effects, temporary ability damage, level draining, and death effects, are not affected. If the subject suffers a reduction of hit points from a lowered Constitution score, the reduction is not split with you because it is not hit point damage. When the spell ends, subsequent damage is no longer divided between the subject and you, but damage already split is not reassigned to the subject.

If you and the subject of the spell move out of range of each other, the spell ends.

Now the question is:

As the caster of the Shield Other, am I considered "under the effects of a spell" due to the mystic connection created with Shield Other? If "yes", I would auto stabilize if Shield Other went horribly wrong and I were knocked unconscious by the damage and I would have the +2 vs death effects as long as I was shielding someone (either the tank or a squishy). Or is only the target considered to be "under the effects" of the spell? In which case, Magic is Life loses it's appeal in this situation.

Thanks for any input!