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I feel like, on the one hand Pushing Assault targets AC, doesn't care about CMD modifiers, and does a little more damage (base weapon, effects, Str, etc... just no PA damage), but can only push around medium or smaller creatures most of the time, and is only ever pushing 5 ft. On the other hand, Knockback cares about CMD, and deals less damage (only Str mod), but has the potential to push around bigger targets, or push targets back further, and can be used with an unarmed strike.

Pushing Assault is probably better for the smaller damage loss, but it seems like a bit of a toss up.

So the question is which is better, Pushing Assault or Knockback?

*Khan* wrote:
yeti1069 wrote:
*Khan* wrote:
yeti1069 wrote:
Pushing Assault is very interesting. Looks better than the Knockback rage power.
Just beaware, that you can't push adjacent opponents with a two-handed reach with pushing assault. You need to 5ft. step back first.
That's what Improved Unarmed Strike is for
Yes, but improved unarmed strike does not work with pushing assault.

Oh, true. "...two-handed weapon..."

*Khan* wrote:
yeti1069 wrote:
Pushing Assault is very interesting. Looks better than the Knockback rage power.
Just beaware, that you can't push adjacent opponents with a two-handed reach with pushing assault. You need to 5ft. step back first.

That's what Improved Unarmed Strike is for

MrCharisma wrote:

Yeah crits are a worry.

Fortification armour is something you'll probably get eventually, and if you can get some form of reliable concealment (even just 20%) it helps to offset crits.

My bloodrager has light fortification armour (25% crit negation) and a Minor Cloak of Resistance (20% concealment). An enemy has to confirm the crit, pass the concealment and get past the fortification armour. Even though he has ludicrously low AC this all adds up to a 57% chance to confirm a crit against him at best (eg. enemy confirms the crit on a 2+).

You probably don't want to give up your Cloak of Resistance for a Cloak of Concealment though, saves are more important. If you have an ally who can cast Blur, Displacement or even Darkness it'll really help you save those crits.

Unlikely to get buffs like that. Fortification armor is on my wish list, but whether I can acquire it remains to be seen.

strayshift wrote:
I would assume that you are not going to get many occassions where you can but that much magic. Don't want to spoiler it but the more self-sufficient your build the better.

That's the impression I'm getting. No one had a resistance item yet, and other items have been sparse.

Not relying on magic items too much.

Raging Vitality I feel covers the same space as Die Hard mostly. Right now, between the high HP, DR, and Life Link + Lesser Celestial Totem, he's feeling very sturdy. My big worry from a defensive standpoint now is big burst damage, like crits.

Offensively, I feel I could use a little more, but not sure what.

*Khan* wrote:

If you plan on getting enlarge frequently (and you should with a reach weapon) then combat reflexes is less relevant with only 12 in dex. The quick reflexes rage power is better.

Unexpected strike is also great. Consider a fortious enchantment on your bardiche.
Strength Surge is great and fantastic with rage cycling.
Pushing Assault and Lunge is great on reach weapon wielders.
Raging vitality is really good on any barbarian.
Superstition rage powers seems the best.

Doubtful that I'll be enlarged often. None of the casters are giving it out, and we have rarely been able to prep for an encounter.

Pushing Assault is very interesting. Looks better than the Knockback rage power.

I'm playing through a modified Strange Aeons campaign, just hit level 7 and am a little stuck on what direction to go from here.

The party is made up of:
-Life Oracle with channel and Life Link (more on this later)
-Some sort of pouncing, multi-attacking amalgam of stuff that has solid AC, with 5 attacks that do decent damage
-Mesmerist (I think?) that can affect undead, heavily focused on enchantments
-Alchemist bomber

Items have been fairly hard to come by (magical or otherwise), but we're starting to gear up a little.

I'm playing a barbarian w/ a fighter dip focused on being tough as hell to take down, while providing some solid offense.

Half-Orc Invulnerable Rager Barbarian 6/Unarmed Fighter 1
Str 21 (19+2 belt)
Dex 12
Con 16
Int 10
Wis 12
Cha 7

Racial Traits: Sacred Tattoo, Shaman's Apprentice (Endurance feat), Pariah, Skilled
Traits: Fate's Favored, Cautious Warrior, Pugnacious

1. Fighter - Power Attack, Improved Unarmed Strike, Crane Style
2. Barbarian
3. Barbarian - Die Hard; Rage Power: Reckless Abandon
4. Barbarian
5. Barbarian - Stalwart; Rage Power: Celestial Totem, Lesser
6. Barbarian
7. Barbarian - ???; Rage Power: ???

Lesser Celestial Totem has been RIDICULOUS along with Life Link. In the last encounter we had, I must have taken around 120 damage (my raging HP is 76), and never dropped to 0.
When fighting defensively, DR at level 7 will be 8/--, or 11/-- vs nonlethal. That's been big so far, especially when I ended up fighting a gibbering mouther and his burly friend solo...but close enough to still have Life Link up.

My main weapon has been a bardiche for the reach.

So, now I'm weighing not only which feats and rage powers to pick up at 7, but also what the plan will be for the coming levels.

Feats I'm considering:
--Combat Reflexes (although I've only had 2 or 3 instances where I could have taken an AoO but didn't have an extra)
--Fortified Armor Training (would try to buy a wand of Make Whole, but would be more excited for this if there was clarification on negating additional crits before it's repaired)
--Resilient Brute
--Raging Vitality
--Extra Rage Power

--Improved Critical
--One of the lvl 7 options

11: Improved Stalwart

--Raging Brutality
--Dazing Assault

Rage Powers I'm considering:
--Superstition (have failed some big saves, and not actually getting friendly spells with any regularity during combat, so the downside hasn't been the issue I thought it would be)
--Savage Dirty Trick (not sure how this would work with a reach weapon)
--Witch Hunter (assuming Extra Rage Power)
--Ghost Rager (assuming ERP; haven't fought many incorporeal, but expect there will be more, and the touch AC bonus may be useful)
--Elemental Rage, Lesser

--Witch Hunter or Ghost Rager
--Elemental Rage
--Clear Mind
--Unexpected Strike

--One of the lvl 9 options
--Eater of Magic
--Spell Sunder

--Come And Get Me

Could use some advice on what to pick from among those, or if there are some choices I'm missing here that would be worthwhile.


I left out some stuff above. The fighter level was for Unarmed Fighter, to pick up Improved Unarmed Strike and Crane Style, which let's me trade -2 attack for +5 AC (with a trait), vs Combat Expertise, which requires investment in Int, and would have me at a -2 attack for +2 AC at level 5 (possibly -1/+2 or -2/+3 depending on some traits available). The attack penalty never increases, and the AC bonus remains higher than CE's until level 12 (or 8 with a trait).

Traits taken were Fate's Favored (+1 Luck to all saves with the half-orc racial trait Sacred Tattoo), and Cautious Warrior (+1 AC when fighting defensively).

Gear is something I'm looking at, but so far we're a bit behind WBL, and I don't know if we'll be catching up. It looks unlikely that we'll have anyone crafting wondrous items or arms & armor, so there's only so much I can plan for there, and I won't plan to buy a feat based on something granted by an item.

Raging Vitality serves largely the same role as Die Hard, but it's in consideration.

CAGM and Dazing Assault are on the list of things I'd like to pick up, but that's likely 6 months to a year away. The feat I'd pick up in advance of those would be Combat Reflexes, which is at the top of the consideration list for level 7 feat, as I am using a Bardiche as my primary weapon.

The party makeup is a shifter(?) with 4 or 5 natural attacks, who will have pounce in a few levels, but the damage/hit is fairly low. Not entirely sure what she's going to look like otherwise in a few levels, but right now has decent AC in the mid-20s; an alchemist, doing alchemist things, an oracle with fire spells, channel energy, and the lifelink(?) ability, so a fair amount of in-combat healing; and a Mesmerist.

I view my role as damage sponge and big hitter. Obviously, barbarian offense falls off a bit as levels progress and other abilities begin to eclipse simply having a high Str, a 2-hander, and Power Attack, but I imagine I'll remain either the primary or secondary damage dealer, and intend to be the hardiest of the group to soak damage.

I'd considered Superstitious, but so far the character has failed maybe 2 saves vs magic (and both fairly minor), while benefiting from several healing and buff spells during combat, so it doesn't look like it makes sense from the character's perspective to have that ability right now, and not a ton of sense from a gameplay perspective, especially with the possibility of fighting at negative HP and needing some healing. That said, the group has a fair amount of supernatural healing available, so it's not necessarily off the table.

I'm looking for which rage powers (and to a lesser degree, feats) to pick up to improve survivability first and offense second.

Derklord wrote:
What do you want Ferocious Tenacity for? Is there something that builds upon it that I'm missing?

Building a tough-as-nails barb. At level 5 I have DR 7/- while fighting defensively, and that increases by 1 every odd level until I get Improved Stalwart at 11, when that jumps by another 5. My AC is going to suck, so one of the biggest risks, especially with the Die Hard feat, is a critical hit that can just outright kill the character after he's taken some damage already. FT allows for ignoring 5xrage rounds spent in damage, which seems good, but I'm not sure it's good enough to eat 2 rage powers in addition to the feat.

Thanks Firebug! Super helpful!

Flagellant is interesting. Having to worship Zan-Kuthon may be untenable, though. Playing through Strange Aeons, and while there are plenty of worshipers, our experience with them has not been positive, per se.

Looks like the Atavism Totem is the only reliable way to get that. Hmm...Do I want to spend 2 rage powers in order to pick up Ferocious Tenacity?

Just turned level 5, currently Fighter 1/Barbarian 4.
Have Power Attack, Endurance, Diehard, and Stalwart
First rage power was Reckless Abandon

If a half-orc trades away the ferocity racial trait, is there any way to pick it up again later? I have a horc barbarian that could use Ferocious Tenacity, but gave up ferocity.

Meirril wrote:
yeti1069 wrote:
What DID they hear? Questions from minions to leader on which items to take? Whether a particular book is good? The leader berating the minions on not taking certain items? A reminder to grab the candles? A question about their next location, or allusion to something else?

Kobold Underling: So we after books again?

Boss: No, not books. List says copper pan.

Underling: Only one copper pan boss. We take food? Wine?

Boss: Umm... you take that cheese. You take wine. Rest of you grab candles. Keep it light. Got to be sneaky sneaky.

Yeah, I was starting down this route.

"no look over there
that leaf word is useless
we have no use for shiny pretty as may be
take these eats? no! eat later
Where we go next?
Bastilla list has some maybe"

Also, using this: to generate the transcribed conversation in draconic to give to the PCs.

VoodistMonk wrote:

To keep the minions in the dark, the BBEG has also hired a splinter faction of the local thieves guild to work in parallel to the Kobolds. Differing targets and times for each group. This will make the items stolen appear even more random to someone on the outside looking in.

The BBEG uses different disguises to talk to each group of minions... so anyone gathering information on or from both groups may actually think there is two different BBEG's.

The BBEG does, in fact, target completely random and unrelated objects to further hide their true intentions.

The local private investigator for hire and/or bounty hunter are on the BBEG's payroll. Possibly even a sheriff's deputy, as well. Enough to disrupt official investigstions.

If you want any help with NPC's... I have a Kobold Arcane Trickster and a pair of Tengu that could probably work well with such a campaign. The Kobold goes all the way to level 18, but can be used at any point past level 9. One Tengu is a Rogue/Bard of little combat utility but an absolutely awesome pathological liar. The other Tengu is the first one's bodyguard... a strength-based core Rogue with a greatsword.

In this case, the BBEG is fairly removed from the picture, and these thefts are on his behalf through an intermediary who is also not exactly present.

Certainly, though, some of these people could be on the payroll of one guild or another, tasked with funneling information to those parties.

Meirril wrote:

My first idea is to replace the snake transformation with a Were-Kobold. Were-rat is typical for this situation, but making a Kobold a were-lizard instead seems appropriate. Use the stats of a were-rat and just reskin it to be a lizard. You might even make the transformation into a tiny lizard that is combat ineffective.

If you go that route, have one of the clues be a drunk who witnessed the transformation in a dark moonlit alley. The drunk could see 3 small figures wearing cloaks, when a rat (or something) changed into one of them! The drunk couldn't see colors or details, and he ran away. The warning about a transforming rat should be enough of a clue to pack some silver weapons.

Lets make the kobolds kind of cleaver, not smart. They know what kind of item they are suppose to steal, but have no ability to identify it other than the vague description. So they bring a group to each robbery, and each one of them steals 1 item. If it is something like a book, each one grabs a book till there are no more books or until they stole one each. If they run out of items to steal before they run out of hands to carry, they steal food and light sources. They need the light sources to read books, and they need to read books to try and figure out which books they can eliminate and which ones get sent back.

Lets make the kobolds kind of dumb. They are mostly living off of rats, and any food they can steal. Have a baker near their actual hideout show up and complain about having his day-old bread stolen in the middle of the night! A grocer that lives next door had his store broken into and is missing several small boxes of fruit. If anyone investigates the alley between the two buildings they will find a sewer grate with a broken lock. Anyone with tracking will notice a large number of small creatures have been traveling in and out of this grate.

Also have their be a random rat head or tail found at some of the robbery locations. Maybe a few inside, and more locations where you can find a head close to where...

A rat-sized lizard makes sense. I won't be going with a were-whatever for some reasons, but I like a lot of these other ideas.

Them stealing multiple items, because they aren't sure will hide their real goal a bit. And thefts of food stuffs in a localized area will also help point the way. I feel like I'd want this clue to come later on, along with the one about finding feces at the scene of the crime, since I don't want them turning to the sewers too early.

The drunkard clue is a good one!

So, the PCs and some NPCs in the beginning are missing a variety of items. Their value is not apparent, but, oddly, several books are among the missing, along with few actually valuable items. PCs can get a partial list of stolen items, which will include a variety of book titles, and some seemingly mundane items that are either unknown to be magical, or not revealed to be to them, as well as a few definitely magic items.

First location, they find that some light sources are missing (candles and a lamp), as well as an assortment of items of little value while leaving behind more valuable items. Person there may reveal they were home during the robbery, but didn't speak up because they were having an affair at the time. Reveal they heard strange voices, and wrote down what they had heard in the kobolds' language (some errors will arise in translation).

What DID they hear? Questions from minions to leader on which items to take? Whether a particular book is good? The leader berating the minions on not taking certain items? A reminder to grab the candles? A question about their next location, or allusion to something else?

Need a couple clues here that point to a next location. Now, the multiple book titles might point to a bookseller. The unknown language might point to a translator (same person as bookseller). If PCs can discern meaning of the words, that could point elsewhere. Ideas here?
Thinking maybe they refer to a list with a name on it--that of the head of the mage's guild, who had kept an account of the known magical items around the city, which was stolen. So that could point them there.

If they go to bookstore, they can get info that many of the books are concerning magical theory, history, and even some spell research. They can discern the foreign language, and they can also be pointed to the mage's guild.

At the guild, the master is NOT helpful, feeling quite embarrassed at having been burgled, and also hiding the fact that her own agents are scouring the city as well. Social skill checks may reveal some of this, and may cause her to reveal a couple possible locations for the next heist: one is a private library, and the other is a collector of rare items who is known to be out of town currently.

I want some misdirection in here somewhere, either from someone approaching the PCs with an intentionally misleading clue, or from someone having a conversation intended for the PCs to overhear: maybe a member of thieves' guild, looking to make a play, or a member of the mages' looking to divert the PCs. Not sure where this should fall.

One point of conflict during the investigation could occur while the PCs are snooping around somewhere, and a group of guards come to interrogate them, none too gently. Leader of this group may be looking to make a name for himself by catching the thieves responsible for the thefts, or may have been paid off to intercept and hinder them.

If they go to rare collector's home, they will notice a burglary in progress. They intrude upon thieves or mages who are attempting to make off with some obviously valuable loot.

If they go to the private library, they'll find kobolds already there and the owners of the house murdered. They will face resistance as they move up through the house, to a confrontation in the library, with at least one kobold flying out a window. May be a chase scene from here. If they investigate the scene (either instead of chasing, or if they return after the chase), they will discover the feces stains on a window or door where a lock is opened and closed again, and may find tracks back to the toilet. Leaving the residence, they would encounter the drunkard with the tale of transforming creatures.

Capturing any kobold but the leader can reveal the location of their hideout in the sewers...but based on their perspective of comings and goings, and that they are looking for certain items, but not others. If the leader is captured from the heist, they can get some more info.

If they simply venture into the sewers here, they will be met with some dangerous hazards that may drive them back above ground. Asking around can turn up reports of foodstuffs disappearing in a certain area.

TxSam88 wrote:
This reminds me of the Council of Thieves AP

I'm not familiar with it. What part does this remind you of?

Hello all!

In an upcoming campaign I'll be kicking things off with a mystery. I could use some help with what sorts of clues to offer, maybe a couple of additional steps in the solving as well.

Each PC begins with one of the following motivations:
--item of value (monetary, personal, or powerful) stolen from their residence
--item stolen from someone else, and they are either interested in helping, charged with helping (maybe a member of the guard), or hired to help recover the item
--person close to the PC has been murdered during the course of a robbery
--person associated with murder victim has charged them with investigating for one reason or another
--PC is associated in some way with the thieves' guild and is interested in the loot that has been stolen
--PC is associated with a mage's guild and is interested in the loot that has been stolen

--PCs each come across a posting from a local tavern owner calling on people who have been affected by recent burglaries to join him to pool information and hire investigators

--Kobolds have been burglarizing the city in search of magic items, or books about magic on behalf of another creature interested in such things. They aren't necessarily aware of the value of these items, but they are charged with recovering certain types of things, and leaving anything else (so as to not slow them down).
--Burglaries have been strange: sometimes a seemingly worthless dusty old tome goes missing while the obviously valuable jewelry beside it remains untouched.
--One kobold is transforming into a snake or something similar, slithering up the sewage pipe in the home, transforming back then letting the other kobolds in. Part of their operation involves cleaning up after themselves to hide evidence.
--They are secreting away their booty in a lair they have established in the sewers for a brief period of time (1-2 weeks) before returning to their home lair to present their loot

--Some members of the thieves' guild go to the meeting posing as affected parties in the hopes of getting clues to lead them to the stash.
--A member of the local mage's guild is doing the same in the hopes of tracking down the magical items, and magic histories/treatises to add to their collection.

Plot outline:
--PCs go to tavern to learn what they can, maybe as wronged parties themselves.
--Accompany someone (PC or NPC) back to scene of one of the robberies to look for clues.
--Clues point to new location (see below for locations).
--Clues point to new location with more evidence to be had.
--Clues point to possible location with robbery in progress where the PCs stumble upon the kobolds mid-heist. Some combat ensues, and (ideally) at least one kobold escapes.
--Potential chase scene here.
--If PCs capture a kobold, they can wrest from them some info on where the hideout is.
--If PCs don't capture a kobold, they have enough clues to start looking at the sewers possibly.
--Eventually head to sewers to search out lair.
--Final confrontation where some of the loot is discovered (some apparently is still missing; having been sent along back home when they realized their activities might come to an end).

Locations I'd like to hit:
--Residence burglarized
--Mage's guild location
--Local historian/bookseller who has some books that may get stolen/knows of others around city that are potential targets
--Residence mid-robbery, but not by kobolds--thieves using other robberies as a cover for their activites
--Upscale residence with a private library on the 4th floor; robbery in progress here
--Sewer hideout

Potential clues:
--feces stain on window or door latch
--feces stain across floor somewhere in home leading from bathroom
--list of known magical items or books around the city for PCs to investigate
--NPC who was home during robbery, but kept quiet about that because they were having an affair at the time; overheard kobolds speaking and wrote down what they heard, untranslated
--scales from both a kobold, and a transformed kobold
--evidence of valuables not touched while seemingly worthless items stolen (eventually pointing to pattern of magic items, or magically-related items being the only things going missing)
--hostile head of mage's guild, perhaps let's slip than an attempt was made to steal something from vault, but thwarted
--recollection from NPC of strange sounds coming from downstairs that lead to PCs discovering a cap on sewage line to cut down on smell, which kobolds couldn't open from inside

What I need:
--More clue ideas (ideally 3 per location)
--Additional points of conflict (especially in the beginning). Could just do a bar fight to kick things off, but it feels a little out of place.
--Possible additional locations to hit along the way
--Additional NPCs to help or hinder the PCs (such as guards who deny access, or someone who saw something).

Thanks everyone.

The idea had seemed more impactful before I realized I would have defensive fighting up most of the time, but I’m committed so we’ll see how it goes.

As for offense, I definitely have Power Attack. Not giving that up! Will eventually grab Combat Reflexes as I’ll be mostly using a reach weapon. Rage powers still somewhat up in the air, but Reckless Abandon is certainly one I’ll be picking up.

My last question was in regards to actually playing with the character, who would have no bonus AC or DR before acting in combat (low initiative means defenses are down), won't gain the benefit if having to move through AoOs to first attack, and won't gain the benefit if moving through AoOs on subsequent attacks. AC will be rather poor in general probably.

My question really boils down to: is it worth it to focus so much of the character around this strategy?

SO, I'm planning on playing an Invulnerable Rager Barbarian with Crane Wing and Stalwart, but wanted to figure out how this all works in actual play.

My understanding:
-At the start of combat, no stance is active, no fighting defensively is active.
-On first turn, can activate Crane Style as a swift action (functionally does nothing until next step).
-When attacking, can then declare fighting defensively as part of the attack.

My questions are:
-Is there any way to have FD and CW up in combat before taking first action?
-Is there any way to have FD up before making first attack (say, if moving before that attack, and wanting the benefits for any AoOs incurred on the way)?
-What happens at the start of the next turn? Is FD off until I attack again? Can it be maintained round to round?
-Can FD be declared on a charge?
-Can FD be declared on an AoO (say, if I have Combat Reflexes and make an attack before my first turn)?

Can anyone who has actually played this sort of character speak to how effective the strategies is in actual play?

Well...that's disappointing.


When a Teleport is foiled, does the affected character end up somewhere randomly inside the 20ft radius area of Conjuration Foil or somewhere randomly in the range of Teleport (100s of square miles)?

Did I miss anything?

So I was looking over the various intimidate themed feats, and got an idea to put the best together quickly and effectively:

Half-orc Slayer
Str 18
Dex 14
Con 13
Int 10
Wis 10
Cha 12

Traits: Fate's Favored, Bully
Alternate racial traits: Sacred Tattoo and Pariah (or your flavor of racial ability that replaces only weapon familiarity)

Level 1-7 Slayer, Level 8+ Rogue (Thug, Scout)
1.Power Attack
2. Slayer Talent--Ranger Combat Style (menacing): Intimidating Prowess
3. Hurtful
4. Slayer Talent--Rogue Talent (Combat Trick): Combat Reflexes
5. Pushing Assault
6. Slayer Talent--Ranger Combat Style (menacing): Shatter Defenses
7. Cornugon Smash

Level 3 starts to show merit, as you can Intimidate then attack once, giving up essentially nothing.

Level 6 is when this tactic begins paying off, since that second attack will activate Shatter Defenses, and you're still not giving up too much (Move + Intimidate + free attack vs. iterative attacks if you're already in position).

Level 7 is the big payoff, as that's when you get to Intimidate as part of your first attack in a full attack, triggering Shatter Defenses on the Hurtful attack, allowing your iterative attack to be against flat-footed AC.

Sometimes, you'll have to choose between Studied Target and Hurtful, unless you're already within 5 ft Step range, then you can spend your Move action to Study, leaving your Swift for Hurtful, or Study on the following round.

Added to all this, I'm inclined to use a reach weapon, which, along with Combat Reflexes and Pushing Assault, provides and option for battlefield control as well: choosing between Power Attack damage & Cornugon Smash on AoOs, or Pushing Assault to keep enemies at bay.

If the AoO plan isn't your speed, or you don't like Pushing Assault, these could be swapped out for basically anything else. Skill Focus (Intimidate) isn't a bad idea.

The Rogue levels after you've finished with the Slayer stuff provide a few things:
--more Sneak Attack dice to real make Shatter Defenses valuable
--Sneak Attack on a charge, or after moving (so even your first attack will get SA damage before Cornugon)
--more rounds of Shaken, possibly causing Frightened instead
--add Sickened to the debuffing suite

If I already have a Flaming Sphere up, and cast a Wall of Force, can I direct its movement? I’m not targeting anything and not creating an effect. Can I have it roll in a general direction?

That has me thinking that maybe the king will ask the players to go as a way of demonstrating the valor of non-dwarves to his people who still hold ancient grudges. Could also mollify some of the king's nobles who aren't thrilled with him spending so much time with outsiders.

So, the dwarves have a rail heading off...somewhere...and there's been a problem. No one is coming back. Some have been sent to investigate, but no word has returned. The PCs go to find out what's going on.

Trolls, maybe? Something else?

Good call on using old PCs to flesh out an NPC.

I like the trouble on the tracks idea, but...why send the PCs? They're foreigners and they've just returned with the heroic prince. Why not send the prince and his band? Not to say I don't want to use this, just that I want to come up with a solid reason for the PCs to be the ones doing this other than, "It's a game."

Jhaosmire, I love the implementation, but for me...I'm ALREADY planning to do basically that!

Basically, the PCs, along with the prince, killed a dragon, and when looting his hoard came across a map depicting a treasure room of some kind buried within the mountains near the dwarven capital. When they all bring this to the king, he will set miners to excavating to discover what awaits. However, what's actually there is the resting place of a powerful lich. He built himself a chamber in (at the time) isolated mountains, with his phylactery, and his back-up spellbook, but while he was off across the world waging war, an earthquake rocked the region and caused a collapse, which both sealed his chamber and destroyed his spellbook. During the war, he gets killed, and when he awakens back at his phylactery, discovers that he's trapped: he knows only the spells he had when he was killed.

Over the centuries, he has managed to use the spells he DID have still memorized to extend his influence, and he ended up making contact with the aforementioned dragon, whom he charged with recovering any magical knowledge he could, and then sending the spells via some unique divination magic back to the lich so he can get out. The campaign opened with kobolds raiding the city, stealing spellbooks and scrolls. The dragon created a sort of scrying device that SENDS images, instead of receiving them, and the lich began rebuilding his spellbook, but the PCs prevailed before the lich could acquire the spells he needed to escape.

The dwarves uncover this chamber, with its treasures, and are none the wiser to the lurking threat of the lich, who possesses/otherwise takes control of the king, and things devolve similarly to your bardic example: the king makes some incrementally worse decisions/decrees, but his people follow along because initially they seem unusual but not BAD. Eventually, the population is driven insane, and he turns to changing them into undead. The entire civilization collapses, and one of the great cities of the world becomes essentially a ghost town...inhabited by swarms of undead dwarves.

What I want to happen from the players' side of things, is they visit the dwarves, and have some time among them to grow a little attached, to develop some fondness for the place, and some of the NPCs. Then they're sent on some task that takes a few weeks to a few months.

When they return, things are different: the king isn't so happy to see them, and has been doing some strange stuff. I want things to be JUST off enough that the players start to make some waves, but don't immediately leap to trying to kill the king, or exorcise a possessing spirit. Basically, they end up the enemy of the state, and ideally, are force to leave.

They go on some other adventure that takes a few weeks to a month or so, and then for some reason, are sent back to the dwarves. Maybe the king of the neighboring kingdom is concerned about the complete lack of communication and trade and fears they may be mobilizing for war.

The players return to find a dead city. Horrors abound. And the impact is all the greater, because they KNEW some of the people here.

The PCs (level 6) departed from the city in which they had met and performed acts of valor in pursuit of a kobold army, thinking they may be led by a dragon. Eventually, they reached the dragon, but were joined on the way by a team of dwarves who had been told of the players' intentions and set out to aid them. Together, they defeated the dragon.

The leader of the dwarven band is Prince Qhildir, son of the king of the neighboring dwarven kingdon, leader of an elite combat squad. He's a paladin, and is a member of a religious sub-sect devoted to repelling evil, generally, and undead specifically, that one of my PCs also belongs to. He also is wearing the armor made from the father of the dragon they all just killed, and wielding the weapon that slayed him hundreds of years ago.

Several of the members of the dwarven strike force perished in the confrontation with the dragon and his kobold minions.

What I'd like is an adventure that does the following:
-gives the players a chance (and some reasons) to grow attached to the prince, to get to know him, and form a bond
-gives the players a chance to explore some of the dwarven kingdom
-involves some social encounters, and some combat encounters that the prince will join them for

The ultimate goal are for the players to spend some time (a couple of weeks to a month) living and adventuring with the dwarves, and to develop an affinity for them, so that, later, when some problems begin to arise in the dwarven capital, the players will have a genuine interest in wishing to aid their friend.

This can include meeting some interesting NPCs, getting into some tough scrapes (combat, traps, environmental hazards, weather, political intrigue) with the prince and a number of dwarven NPCs (the latter won't be traveling with them).

Regional details:

The dwarven kingdom of Ferrumgaard lies within and around a maintain range to the north of the land the PCs have adventured within. The two kingdoms are on friendly terms after declaring a truce to a war between them waged a few hundred years ago. Dwarves have established settlements of various sizes in the high plains and foothills before the mountains, consisting mostly of low stone buildings with multiple basement levels, while the region's major cities are carved out within the mountains themselves.

There is a trade center at the head of a river that eventually runs by the capital of the southern kingdom, and the major trading port city the players are familiar with. The place exists as a market to sell and trade the goods the dwarves fashion (jewelry, metal- and stonecraft, including both mithral and adamantine items, all of both mundane and magical varieties) and to purchase wares of the varieties that they do not produce (wood, cloth, fur, parchment, etc...). Dwarven farmers also use this as a place to distribute their crops and meats. The entrance lies two days from a small seaport.

Traveling to the seat of the king involves going by foot, or something between a mine cart and a locomotive, from the market city to the capital. Both cities are multi-leveled.

The kingdom is lawfully inclined, and just on the good sign of neutral. The king is a lawful neutral cleric and the society is based largely upon merit, but has a touch of socialism--there are no beggars or homeless, but there are definite gradients in wealth and influence.

On the other side of the mountains are nigh-endless frozen plains...a dangerous place, but somewhere that some dwarves have settled in small numbers. Somewhat to the west, there is a small trollish nation that has largely remained aloof from the goings-on of the dwarves, but has started to expand recently. There may be any number of savage races in or around the mountains (mostly either high up among the peaks, or off to the west) away from the major settlements of the area. Drow may exist somewhere underground nearby.

I'd appreciate any suggestions you may have. Thanks in advance!

Didn't see Violent Display, which allows you to use Dazzling Display as an immediate action upon confirming a critical hit (or dealing sneak attack damage). Seems like it should be among the intimidation feats.

Reading through this guide has me wanting to play a fighter for the first time! Thank you for all the hard work you have, and will, put into this, M_M!

There's also the Seaswain monk archetype in Super Genius Games' "Advanced OPtions: Fight Like A Pirate," which has Cha to AC.

So, I'm looking hard at Corsair Swashbuckler (in-flavor, especially if I'm the captain of the ship), maybe Freebooter Ranger for probably 2 levels (also in-flavor as captain, and lets me pick up something like Cleave without needing Power Attack, and maybe Pirate Rogue (Swinging Reposition seems cool!).

May also just stay single-classed Corsair Swash.

Anyone want to convince me one way or the other?

Still trying to figure out some feats.

Skulking Slayer looks interesting.

Was on the fence between Iron Will and Steadfast Personality.

Looks like we will have a Drunken Master or Drunken Brute, a bard of some kind, and a "healer" of some kind.

Have a game coming up, and have decided to play a Swashbuckler, but am kind of on the fence about exactly what direction I want to take him in. He will be a pirate, hired by Taldor to do some spying/underhanded stuff, it sounds like.

Build stuff:
25 point buy, no stat above 17 AFTER racial modifiers
Character options (traits, feats, etc...) from non-core material have to be flavor-justified (ie, Cornugon Smash would mean I was an ex-Hell Knight probably).

Definitely Dex-based, using a cutlass and Slashing Grace.
Probably going half-orc with Sacred Tattoo and City-Raised, but open to suggestions on this.

Was considering going the Intimidate route with things like Shatter Defenses and Violent Display, but the swift action for the built-in Demoralize attack seems like it will be tough to get reliably, so I was thinking Cornugon Smash, but not sure I really want Power Attack (it's good, but I'd rather keep my to-hit high for Parry, and that would allow me to not put points in Str).

Was thinking about taking 2-4 levels of rogue for trapfinding, sneak attack (seems like a poor trade vs. more levels on Precise Strike and Weapon Training), earlier Evasion, and a bonus feat or talent.

Was thinking maybe 2 levels of Corsair Fighter for free (no Power Attack) Cleave with no AC penalty to boot.

Considering getting a combat maneuver (Dirty Trick makes the most sense I think), but waiting to hear back on whether we will be mostly fighting humanoids.

Looking for any suggestions on where to go with this character.

Lawrence DuBois wrote:

Also, quick question: Do you know how Mythic Adventures might play with E6? My guess is not well, and I haven't had an opportunity to try it out in my regular games yet, but I really like the concept, and think it could be worked really well into my campaign.

Also, where can I find a good source for E6 rules? I did try Google, but nothing definitive leapt out at me.

I added Mythic abilities to my E6 game, but in a limited way. Basically, as a reward for completing a "mythic challenge" (ie., the aforementioned dragon), the characters received 3 mythic abilities that I felt were appropriate to their character's concept and playstyle, with a very limitied mythic pool. I tweaked some of the abilities downward (mostly reducing duration, especially from an always-on ability/option to a limited number of times per day--I think all required a mythic point to activate).

This gave characters some interesting rewards that could occasionally yield exciting gameplay moments without altering the feel of the game dramatically.

I also had E6 capstone feats that essentially bring characters up to level 8 in terms of class features.

We also used some of Kolokotroni's magic item replacement rules (he's a RL friend).

Overall, most of the players really enjoyed the game, and it maintained the feel that I prefer: heroes aren't THAT far ahead of everyone in the world, and have to be scared still of some lowish-level threats, rather than transitioning to god-like status.

The only reason the game ended is everyone was so busy it became impossible to schedule anything, and I got frustrated trying to pin down dates.

Lawrence DuBois wrote:
I'd like to ask a quick question concerning E6 since in some ways I like it and some ways I don't, but this is all conceptual since I've never actually tried it. One of my greatest reservations is how it would seem to drastically cut in to the sorts of encounters you can have. Wouldn't iconic encounters like an ancient red dragon or pit fiend forever be outside the abilities of such characters to deal with? If not, how do they manage? If so, about what is the cap to encounter difficulty?

Ran an E6 game for a couple of years to great effect.

I included a few epic encounters that went over very well with the players. For a black dragon, I used the basic stats of a CR 7 dragon, then added most of the abilities the black dragon receives as it ages, and increased the size (this is off the top of my head, so the starting CR may have been different). May have also added a template. Basically, the dragon ended up at roughly CR 10, but had the abilities of a CR 17+ dragon. The players prepared, had a tough fight, and just barely made it through the encounter. Honestly, I think I could have beefed him up a bit more.

One thing about E6 is the players should go in prepared to die. Not to say I killed anyone, but that was actually a complaint I received from a couple of the players, so sometimes facing off against a threat that seriously outmatches them will be appropriate.

Valantrix1 wrote:
Hmm... if you are going strictly by the costs in the book, it’s essentially almost the same thing as the large ability, but with less downside, so I’d price it a bit higher than 4 RP. At least the same as Large (7). Although, I also think that the race builder is a bit off on the point costs, so take that with a grain of salt.

Not sure on the pricing, but I disagree with your assessment. For most characters, the number 1 advantage of being large is increasing your reach, which Powerful Build does not do.

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Some things I used in my kobold game with a similar theme:

Players tracked kobolds to a library. The shelves held large tomes on them (over a foot tall, some books almost 24 inches), and it's dark inside. Some kobolds are hiding on the shelves, between books. Some are low to the ground, while others are a little above, getting higher ground to-hit bonuses. They have cover against attacks, and would scramble around on the shelves to hide, or surprise players elsewhere. Some would be atop the stacks with alchemical items to hurl down at them, and crossbows

Their leader was a kobold ninja, Namtab, with Vanishing Trick and the feat that grants kobolds gliding wings. The kobolds had set up a couple of traps in the shelves, while a few hid somewhere else in the room, waiting for the PCs to get into the aisles before flanking them.

When the tide turned against the kobolds, Namtab went to a window, spread his wings, and made his escape.

In this case, I had the kobolds using a trapmaker's sack, which the players ended up claiming as a reward (though they haven't used it much). It's a cool item in any case.

I liked a couple of kobold sorcerer's with the kobold-archetype/bloodline? Where they can set traps of their chosen element (acid, since they're blackscale). Lay a few of those down, then ambush the players.

Use tiny traps that are a nuisance in the midst of fights (thunderstone, blinding powder, trip line...).

I like kobolds lancers or archers mounted on giant geckos.

Similar to the first scenario, the players followed the kobolds to their lair, and discovered that the entryway's rock was very porous (lava rock), some of the holes large enough for kobolds to stand in without squeezing. Some of THOSE they dug out into a network of connecting, small, tunnels, which they used to get above, behind, or ahead of the PCs to harry them with crossbows.

For one of the major fights, I used a synthesist summoner kobold done up as a dragon. This was a serious boss fight for when the players got to level 3 or 4, so it's a bit higher than CR 2, but it was amazing.

• Pyripnon, Avatar of Rhindvuthak (the black dragon), Synthesist 6, CR 5
In draconic “Fall before the mighty Pyripnon, Avatar of Rhindvuthak!”
If anyone speaks in a language he knows, repeat in that language
When using acid breath “I melt you like great Rhindvuthak!”
When attacking near a pit “Watch step! Big fall for big ones.”
If hitting hard “Kobold no wimp! Kobold DRAGON! Kobold kill!”
“Look! Kobold fly! Kobold smash and bite!”
When hurt enough to go heal “You wait, Pyripnon back soon. Make better,”
Then “Dragon kobold back for soft ones!”
“Rarrrr! IRK! Pyripnon go now. Eat nasty ones later!”
Init: +7; Perception +10
Speed: 40 ft., Fly 40 ft. (good)
AC 21; 13 touch ; 18 flat-footed (+3 Dex, +6 NA, +2 shield)
Acid Resist 5
HP 33+46 temporary (e)
Fort +6, Refl +7, Will +7; Evasion; +2 vs. poison/paralysis; +4 morale vs. enchant
Melee: bite +9 (1d6+4) 10 ft. reach, 2 claws +8 (1d4+3), tail +3 (1d6+1) push 5 ft. w/ CMB
Draconic Breath: 30 ft. line of acid (2d6), Refl DC 18 for half
Str 16, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 11, Cha 13
BAB: +5; CMB +8; CMD 21
Feats: Improved Initiative, Draconic Aspect, Draconic Breath
Skills: Acrobatics +3 (+5 Balance), Know (Arcana) +10, Linguistics +10, Spellcraft +9, UMD +9, Stealth +11, Perception +10, Fly +13, Craft (Traps) +4, Profession (miner) +2
Fused Link (sacrifice HP to prevent damage to eidolon’s temp HP)
Devotion, Dragon-scaled (acid)
Spell-like abilities (CL 6): Maker’s Jump (Dimension Door 1/day); Summon Monster III 4/day
Spells (CL 6): 0 – Acid Splash, Daze, Detect Magic, Message, Read Magic, Resistance
1st – (5) Grease (Refl DC 12), Infernal Healing (1 round cast, 1 min., fast healing 1, can’t heal damage from silver or Good weapons/spells/effects), Magic Fang, Rejuvenate Eidolon, Lesser (1d10+5)
2nd – (3) Evolution Surge, Lesser (gain Trip on bite); Create Pit (Refl DC 13; 30 ft. deep, 160 ft. range, 7 rounds), Protection from Arrows (DR 10/magic vs. ranged, until 60 damage)

Languages: Common, Draconic, Dwarven, Giant, Gnome, Undercommon, Elven, Orc, Halfling
Fly checks: Fly half speed or make check; Hover 15, turn up to 45 degrees and spend 5 ft., ascend 45 degrees at half speed, descend at any angle at normal speed, turn more than 45 degrees and spend 5 ft. DC 15, turn 180 and spend 10 DC 20, fly up at more than 45 degrees DC 20; collision while flying DC 25 to remain airborne; if fail any check by 5+ fall to ground
Before combat:
1st – summon eidolon (before showing up)
2nd – Protection from Arrows (moderate abjuration)
3rd – Magic Fang (bite) (moderate transmutation)
4th – Fly to combat area
Once combat begins:
Always -- If at any time 3+ creatures are lined up for a breath attack, swoop down and blast
Always – Substitute HP damage for eidolon’s health at 1 HP for every 2 temp HP
Always – If eidolon goes below 20 HP, or real HP goes below 5 and eidolon has more than 15 HP damage, fly up out of range and cast Rejuvenate
On following round – if not hit that round, cast Infernal Healing; if hit, fly higher, and cast next turn
Always -- If spells are a problem, fly up and cast Resistance
1st – Charge down at a random creature and pounce while in the air still (if two creatures are near each other, bite farther creature, tail slap an adjacent creature away)
2nd – Fly up and Create Pit under anyone that looks/has been particularly troublesome
3rd – Fly-pounce at someone near pit and tail-slap them in
4th – Cast Grease on edge of pit or on weapon of anyone doing a lot of damage a round
5th – If not taking much damage, fly up, cast Evolution Surge
6th – Land and go toe-to-toe with anyone near edge of pit
If eidolon and caster are below 5 HP, and there’s more than 2 people still standing on the battlefield, use Dimension Door to flee.

Avoron wrote:
Your entire argument is based off of one quote from a contributor's post that implies something similar to your ideas by saying, "Let your players Take 10 unless they're in combat or they're distracted by something other than the task at hand."

I'm not basing my argument JUST on that post by SKR, but it's certainly relevant.

And classifying SKR as simply "a contributor" is selling him short: (from his wikipedia entry) "Paizo hired Reynolds as a developer on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Jason Bulmahn has described him as a "critical part of the design team"

Your assertion that the magnitude of the consequences of failure is somehow a distinction from simply failing and suffering consequences of any sort is overly complicated, highly subjective, and has no support anywhere in Pathfinder. It depends upon numerous tiny variations of perspective and interpretation, and all to do what? Dictate how a player's character should feel and act?

If you think something should be scary, have the player roll a Will save against fear, otherwise, use the rules we have. Or, do whatever you like at your table, but don't make an claim that your way fits the RAW when discussing the rules in the Rules forum.

CWheezy wrote:

Luckily I am not beholden to class names when I roleplay, so i don't mind using a bow on a gunslinger. Similarly, I don't mind using diplomacy on a fighter, working as a team while being a rogue, and stealthing as a barbarian.

Having a feat only be useful in a niche situation, and a lot of horrible prerequisites is the definition of being bad. Comparably, initiative comes up every single combat and is important to win, and will saves are bad for gunslinger and also important to make, as they are often save or dies or save or be out of the fight.

I didn't mean playing someone according to your class, I meant playing someone that should be using firearms. For instance, you're playing a cowboy from the Old West. When was the last time you saw Clint Eastwood or The Duke in the same SCENE as a bow, let alone use one?

Provoking AoOs for shooting and reloading when you have to be fairly close to your opponents to use a firearm effectively (or burn through grit) means that you're going to be in situations where 5-foot stepping isn't going to get you out of harm's way.

And while Dodge and Mobility aren't GOOD, they're at least not worthless feats.

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CWheezy wrote:

deft shootist is really really bad, because it takes up useful feat slots, that could be going to improved initiative, iron will, improved critical, etc.

Also, you don't need rapid reload until you will be actually using a gun, like 5th level. until that time, use a bow. guns are really really bad until you get dex to damage, and all your feats work for a bow as well (deadly aim, rapid shot, etc.) It is also much cheaper until you can comfortably afford alchemical cartridges.

And if your character is being played as someone who is a gunslinger, and not simply as a pile of stats, do you hang up your guns for a while and use a bow instead?

Also, being able to avoid AoOs can be VERY important, especially when you're provoking 2 per shot. Not saying Deft Shootist is a great feat, or that taking two mediocre prerequisites doesn't hurt, just that dismissing it as really bad, when there isn't really anything that accomplishes the same goal, is kind of overstating things.

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Avoron wrote:

Yes, we have rules for fear. We also have rules for distraction, which can be a result of fear. One of those rules involves not being able to take 10.

Yes, it is simple and objective to say that none of the consequences of failure can be a distraction. It just ignores all facts of reality. People get distracted when they have more at stake. This is a fact. People can fail more because of this distraction. This is a fact. People tend to be less consistent in their results when they have more at stake. This is a fact. There have been scientific studies to this effect, and claiming that you can't be distracted by what might happen if you fail is just wrong.

And all of your "what ifs" just prove my point. If you don't claim that nothing about possible failure can distract someone, then you have to acknowledge the need for a GM to decide when someone is distracted and when they aren't. Like I've said, it depends on the circumstances, and making broad rulings can't help anything.

Well, this IS the Rules forum, so making broad rulings is kind of the point...

How can distraction result in fear? I think you have that backwards.

Don't claim nebulous "studies" in support of a point. First, this game is necessarily an abstraction of reality, so there's some degree to which going into the psychology of things is well beyond the scope of what the game rules should be doing.

Second, you can look at tons of examples where that's simply not correct--there are people who rock climb ALL THE TIME and don't die, even when doing something incredibly difficult. The parallel here is that they're taking 10, and their 10 is high enough to succeed. Those people who fail, I'd say, didn't notice something was amiss (a loose rock), or had other challenges that pushed the DC higher (the wind picked up--might rule that as a distraction--or the rocks were icy, or their hands were getting cold), or they were distracted by something else like a bird flying nearby, or someone shouting to them, or they became fatigued or exhausted, or they were trying to rush things, and were rolling hoping to get a high roll to do something quick/more efficiently, figuring the odds of their succeeding would be good, and instead rolled poorly.

The very nature of many professions requires that the professionals NOT allow fear to affect how they perform, or they simply don't acknowledge the fear, or don't think about the consequences. Have you ever gone climbing? You don't think about the two thousand foot drop below you, you think about your next handhold and your next foothold--there IS no drop below you. Haven't you ever heard of "crunch time"? That's when the stakes are high and you buckle down and kick ass. Now, perhaps you could say that's getting OFF of taking 10 and going for rolling hoping to keep rolling well, but sometimes it's simply casting aside distractions and taking the time to make sure you do something RIGHT. Maybe that's take 20, but it can't be if there is a consequence for failure. For those situations, we have take 10.

If we couldn't take 10 when there was some negative consequence for failure, why would there be take 10 rules? After all, if we want to guarantee success when there is no penalty on a failed roll, we have take 20, which we expressly cannot use in such circumstances.

Why is a GM deciding when my character is distracted? How does he know if my character's 5 ranks, and Skill Focus, and +2/+2 feat, and high ability score and +5 magic item ALL improving my capability with a skill haven't left me feeling confident even in the most dire of circumstances? Or cocky even? What if he feels like he can waltz past any hazard? Are YOU going to interject and tell me how to play my character? Tell me that he's distracted by the pit yawning below him, even though he's done that 100 times? Or that he can't take 10 to sneak by the dragon at level 10, even though he COULD sneak by the 2 orcs at level taking 10, even though they were just as likely (or even more so) to kill him?

On the one hand, we have your position, where you need to weigh every single action the character has taken, every trial they have endured, every decision they've made, AND every obvious or semi-obvious outcome of their failed check to decide whether they are permitted to take 10. Has he bested this challenge in the past? Has he done so often? Has he done something more difficult objectively (higher CR)? Has he done so subjectively (higher CR compared to the level he was at the time vs. the current CR against his current level)? Is he the sort to laugh in the face of danger (whether bravely or foolishly)? Is he immune to fear? Does he have a death wish? Does killing 2 hydras single-handedly equate to sneaking by a dragon when you have backup? Was he distracted by the sleeping hydras? That's either arduous, hard, or you're not being fair and relying on GM fiat (what you want to see happen) rather than on what makes sense for the game and characters therein.

On the other hand, you say, "Is he trying to do two things at once (2 skill checks), being attacked, rushing, or focused on something else (like a conversation)?" No? Then he isn't distracted and can take 10. Yes? Then he can't take 10. That's easy.

Is your issue with SUCCEEDING at these difficult/dangerous tasks, or with not having to roll for them?

Personally, I LOVE take 10 as a GM, because every now and then I can lull the PCs into thinking they can get by taking 10 and then they run into something with a higher DC for some reason, and they fail, sometimes spectacularly. As a player, it means that I don't have to zero out a skill in order for me to be able to do something consistently.

After all, the INTENT of take 10, is that a person should be able to make a standing jump of 5 feet every time unless there are outside mitigating factors, and it really shouldn't matter whether the intervening 5 feet is ground, water, snakes, a 10 foot pit, a 100 foot pit, a pit with spikes, or a precious mirror you don't want to step on and break.

If nothing else, just remember this: D&D and Pathfinder are about HEROES, and heroes don't fail stuff like that without good cause. Also, MAGIC! The wizard gets to skip most of these challenges by casting a spell...are you going to penalize the fighter who has invested heavily in his skills to succeed at something the wizard is doing effortlessly because somehow the fighter is distracted by the danger of failing, even after all the practice and training he has had, and all the times he has succeeded?

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Avoron wrote:
In response to thorin001, Cevah, and yeti1069, the reason it's harder to sneak past a dragon than a castle guard is the same reason some people fail tests even when they know all of the material: we are imperfect creatures. If you are trying to sneak past a dragon, chances are you are going to be terrified, or at least extremely nervous. This causes people to be less able to calmly carry out their task. That is a fact. It doesn't make the task impossible, it doesn't make the task more difficult per se, it makes the character distracted. If the character is distracted, they cannot take 10. That comes directly from the rules. And worrying about being eaten if you get caught is something completely different than "the task at hand" which is trying to move stealthily. In much the same way, thinking about the difficulty of climbing a wall doesn't distract you from climbing it, but thinking about the possibility of falling into lava might, because that is something other than the task at hand. Another separate factor is time constraints. These are most often not an issue, but, especially when combined with dangers resulting from failure, might be distracting because they distract the character from simply completing the task in the best manner possible. The person Cevah quoted specifically mentions being in a rush as something that could prevent someone from taking 10. And finally, yeti, a person could sneak past a guard and a polymorphed dragon in the same way because it's not about the danger. It's about the character's perception of danger, which affects their nerves and their ability to act without being distracted.

That's being needlessly inconsistent with how the rules work.

If you're scared because you're trying to sneak past a dragon...we have rules for fear; use them! Add the Shaken condition, maybe, or a circumstance penalty. Maybe activate the dragon's frightful presence and have the player roll a Will save.

What if the adventurer has killed a dragon before? Is he still too distracted to take 10? What if he's kill 5? What if he killed the last dragon he encountered in one swing? What if he's bigger than the dragon?

What if he's just the sort of person who simply isn't concerned with such things? Maybe he's got a death wish? Maybe he's a paladin and is immune to fear? Perhaps he has confidence in his friends and feels assured that if he wakes the dragon, one of them will take care of it quickly by pouring molten gold over its head?

You should never be distracted by the task you're performing. That goes against the point of the rules. Differentiating between sneaking by a dragon and sneaking by a guard is subjective. At what point do you disallow someone to take 10 sneaking past that guard?

If you alert the guard he will:
-turn and run away
-sound the alert
-which will bring more, low level guards
-Which will bring a tougher guard
-which will bring a tough enemy wizard
-which will bring a dragon
-which will cause your mission to fail (need to get in and out
without being noticed)
-which will delay your reaching someone being tortured
-which will delay your reaching someone dying that you can save
-which will delay you long enough for your soda to go flat
-turn and attack you with a dagger
-turn and attack you with a longsword
-turn and attack you with a greatsword
-turn and attack you with a pistol
-turn and attack you with a rifle
-turn and attack you with a bazooka

A simply, objective way of looking at the way take 10 works by asking yourself: What happens if I fail? That result, CANNOT BE A DISTRACTION BECAUSE IT IS THE WHOLE POINT OF YOUR USING THE SKILL.

Climbing over lava can't be a distraction, because the only way for that lava to be a danger is if you fail, therefore your whole attention is on NOT falling in the lava, such as by focusing on your task and taking 10, rather than being careless or taking unnecessary risks (rolling a d20 when you know you can scale that wall with ease).

Again, at which point is it distracting?
-10 ft off the ground?
-a mile?
-lava below?
-spikes below?
-Does your answer to the above change when the character is level 5? 10? 15? 20? Does it change if they have 10 HP? 50? 100? 200? 500? 1,000?
-monsters below?
-if you're scaling the wall to avoid falling into something dangerous?
-if you're scaling the wall to reach something dangerous?

What situations that involve you using Perception are distracting enough to not allow taking 10 on Perception because of what you're trying to perceive?

What situations that involve you rolling Appraise are distracting because of what you're trying to judge?

What situations that call for rolling a Knowledge check are distracting because of what you're trying to recall?

Do you see how inconsistent your viewpoint is?

If you want to disallow taking 10 to sneak past a dragon, come up with a better reason:
-maybe he also has to use Acrobatics to balance on all the shifting gold underfoot
-maybe he is also trying to look for traps at the same time

OR, just impose some modifiers: he's scared, so he gets a -2 penalty.

OR, you know, let the person take 10 if they want to, but the dragon notices him anyway, because the dragon has a very high Perception, or was just pretending to be asleep, and even though the character was focused on their task, they simply weren't good enough, without getting lucky, to avoid detection. THAT'S how taking 10 is supposed to go! You think you can accomplish a task with your tried and true level of focus and skill, so you approach the task in that fashion, but sometimes you misjudged, or something unexpected comes up, and you fail.

Take 10 doesn't mean you automatically succeed, it means that you are consistent on the tasks that aren't supposed to be challenging for you. If you're a neophyte weaponsmith, maybe you take 10 on a dagger and succeed, get cocky, and take 10 on a masterwork composite longbow and you fail. Meanwhile, the master smith is taking 10 and succeeding on that bow, but then fails when he tries to do the same with what he thinks is a piece of standard iron, but finds out is actually adamantine.

There are so many ways to deal with these situations WITHOUT neutering the take 10 rules that I can't understand why so many people want to arbitrarily deny players that option.

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Bob Bob Bob wrote:

So what stops people in a world without a proper take 20 from just taking 20 times as long (like normal), rolling 20 times, and hoping they get that nat 20 jackpot? Because that's exactly what the take 20 rules simulate.

On a slightly more relevant note, I'm on the side of "unless you're in combat or something is doing something to you, you can take 10". It's just a time-saving mechanism to give you an "average" result. Lets me ask the trap-spotter for his take 10 and tell him what he sees. At a certain point this makes him able to see all traps. This isn't a problem because he's high level and focused on perception, of course he can see traps really well. And when I say "something is doing something to you" I do mean it has to actually be interacting with you. Having a conversation, throwing things at you, whatever, just something that actually requires your attention. Not "but it's a bigger monster so you have to pay more attention to it".

Then we get into "realism". Can I drive a car daily without causing an accident/running a red light? I certainly hope so. Can I operate an oven without giving myself severe burns? Yes. Do I still screw those up sometimes? Also yes, but I always have an excuse (and it's usually talking to someone). So as a fantasy adventurer, can I jump a 5 foot gap? Yes. Does it matter how deep it is? Not as long as I don't look down. Can I give a room a once over and not miss the plaid elephant? Depends on its stealth.


Taking 10 is also about committing your standard amount of attention/focus/skill to a task. And, generally, we can perform the same relatively simple tasks again repeatedly without risk of failure...until something else changes things, such as our becoming fatigued, or being distracted by something unrelated, or by conditions getting worse.

Drive 10 blocks down a straight road with stop signs. Are you EVER going to fail that check?

Now, do it tired (fatigued for a -2 penalty to Dex).
Now, do it while it's raining (circumstance penalty).
And dark (circumstance penalty).
And the road is rough with potholes (circumstance penalty).
Now, do it VERY tired (exhausted for a -6 penalty to Dex).

Or try taking 10 when some maniac is swerving all over the road (DC goes up for defensive driving).

Similarly, your Perception check while driving should note what other drivers are doing when they signal properly, when you're spaced properly, when everyone is obeying traffic laws, etc..., but the DC may be higher than your Take 10 can achieve for some kid stepping into the street from behind a parked car.

Cevah, thanks for pulling up that quote. I was going to mention it, but was too lazy to go find it myself.

The way I view it is that you can take 10 any time your only concern involves the action you're performing--if you're using Acrobatics to climb or jump, it doesn't matter if you're climbing 10 feet up or 100, and doesn't matter if you're over earth, water, lava, or spikes, since your only concern is succeeding at Acrobatics.

Now, if something else becomes a concern, such as being attacked while climbing, then you can no longer take 10.

Similarly, if you're trying to climb AND be sneaky, then you cannot take 10, since you're focused on two different tasks. Are you trying to avoid falling blocks while climbing? That's distracting. Looking for traps while balancing? Distracting. Pickpocketing while dancing? Distracting. But you can take 10 pickpocketing someone irrespective of the results of your action--whether you're stealing candy from a baby, or trying to scoop some slime off of Cthulu's hide. Ruling it any other way is not only very metagamey, but also paradoxical. You can't change the way you're performing a task based on a possible negative result of failure that you may not be aware of. For example, you don't know if that guard you're trying to sneak past is a mook with a wife and kids who has no interest in doing anything but raising the alarm, but a shapechanged dragon looking for his next meal, so if you can sneak past the first guy taking 10, then you can sneak past the second taking 10 as well.

Helikon wrote:

Start with standard sleight of hand tricks.

Bring NPCs that stir the pot. Maybe the older brother of one of the victims is a inquisitor trying to find out what happened, but is a real loner. Some scapegoat, a miserly father, abusing his children, maybe a cleric of norboger or so who has nothing much to do with the plot, but maybe supplies the BBEG with potions, or scrolls, but is in the fringe and encountered often. This way you can provide little clues, but still lead them to a wrong conclusion for a while.

How would you use these NPCs?

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