Burnt Offerings Clarifications (GM Reference)


Rise of the Runelords

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@;"Ah. I was unaware that capitalization was an English language invention"

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ahh that rule. i read it as going through a crack in the wall or for an excample squeezing through to walls closing in on each other...

i hadnt giving thought to it beeing an active rule all the time, only on the above mentioned occasions. and must admit it seems a bit over the top having to use escape artist to move along, say the wall in the hall behind the classworking room.

but thanks for your thoughts... i think ive been making it into a bigger thing than it was , in my head.

all the best


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

To be honest, there are places where the different angles does come into play. For instance, the final battle in the Catacombs prior to Thistletop. And there is a simple-enough method of dealing with it: drawing the map separate for that room as someone else suggested. In fact, when it comes to running this game again through roll20.net, I may very well take those rooms, rotate them, and have them on a separate "map" for those encounters.

Ultimately, you as the GM can and should change things to make things easier for you. You can redraw maps, remake enemies, and so forth. Far too many GMs think of the APs as written in stone. They're not. They're guidelines from which the GM can and should craft his or her own adventure.

For instance, if your players are walking through encounters like the foes aren't there? Feel free to increase the power of the enemies. If the foes are too tough? Have the foes make stupid errors, like trying to run through the group to reach spellcasters at the rear (and thus triggering Attacks of Opportunity). You are the storyteller of your own adventure. The dice and the modules are just tools you use in telling the story... and can and should be ignored when they take the story down a path you don't like.

Scarab Sages

Do we need to add the penalties to Nualia's attacks when she attacks with her bastard sword (one handed) and her claw? She does not have two-weapon fighting feat, so it is -4 bastard sword and -8 claw?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Her stat block gives +1 bastard sword +10 (1d10+4/19–20), claw +3 (1d6+1), meaning on a full attack she attacks at +10 with the sword and can try to land another hit with her claws at +3--it's all there.

From the PRD:

Quote:
You can make attacks with natural weapons in combination with attacks made with a melee weapon and unarmed strikes, so long as a different limb is used for each attack. [...] When you make additional attacks in this way, all of your natural attacks are treated as secondary natural attacks, using your base attack bonus minus 5 and adding only 1/2 of your Strength modifier on damage rolls.

Ruyan.


Stiletto wrote:
Do we need to add the penalties to Nualia's attacks when she attacks with her bastard sword (one handed) and her claw? She does not have two-weapon fighting feat, so it is -4 bastard sword and -8 claw?

Yeah, what Ruyan said, Natural attacks follow different rules than regular melee attacks with weapons.


Game in a couple of hours, and the party will fight Gogmurt,Tangletooth
and a summon monster. Party is lvl 4 (fighter, wizard, cleric and a rogue), so I´ve upped Gogmurt to a lvl 5 druid.
Now to the question: Am I correct that Tangletooth and the summon monster don´t generate any xp if killed?


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens Subscriber
Asmo wrote:


Now to the question: Am I correct that Tangletooth and the summon monster don´t generate any xp if killed?

Yes. Tangletooth and the summoned creatures are subsumed under Gogmurts xp.


My group fought Gogmurt last night, ninja used his Ki to get two attacks and gutted him after he ran through the nettles. Advanced template is going on all my named NPCs from here!


It was a very long, drawn out fight with Entangle and zillions of failed saves, but in the end they defeated Gogmurt and Tangletooth.


So I am looking for ideas, the CN Fighter doesn't give a rip about taking care of the Runewell in the Catacombs, and I kind of want that to come back to bite them a little.

Any ideas on how to use the Sinspawn? Does someone need to go down and use the well, or could it somehow spontaeous create them?

I'm thinking of Brodert getting curious and playing with it since they told him about it. Or possibly some mischievious children.

I'm thinking of adding Wrath points for enemies they've klilled, but I don't know what the range for the well absorbing souls would be...


Oh, you can have all kinds of fun with this, depending on how evil you want to be.

I played up Brodert's curiosity/obsession with Thassilon so much that the party actively avoided telling him anything until it was "safe" for him to go there, so right off the bat I see:
- Brodert goes to investigate
- Sinspawn grapples Brodert and uses his blood to create more sinspawn
- Group of sinspawn ties up Brodert to use as a permanent blood supply and goes out to start killing wrathful town members to feed the well. Ven Vinder, anyone?

Could make it as epically bad as you wanted to!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I added points for wrathful critters killed - thus the Sinspawn, our mutant goblin, and a certain quasit. If you really wanted to be evil, you could also include Tsuto (if he died) and the eight goblins in the Glassworks as well, but it could also be claimed that their souls were a part of the tally leading up to the PCs going into the Catacombs.

But honestly, it doesn't matter. The pool is an end-game, and I didn't force the players to fight each Sinspawn - nor would I have awarded them full XPs for them as they knew what to expect and could gang-kill the Sinspawn. The XPs for temporarily shutting down the well very likely factor in these extra spawn dying.

Some GMs have allowed "mass holy water" spells, but as this is a minor artifact, there shouldn't be a cost reduction (of half a million gold) to permanently destroy the Well. And the Well also plays a role in Book 5 (if only as a catalyst) so permanently destroying it is not recommended. (In my game, after the town found out how much it would cost, they just built a wall instead. This will cause problems as Nualia is going to return and use the Well to become a Mythic Half-Fiend, while the Well's surge at this point will provide the PCs with Mythic power as well. But that's just me.)


I know the Runeforge plays a role in Book 5, I'm only about halfway through that one. How does the Minor Runewell play into it?

I don't nessecarily need to be evil about it, just give them some things to worry about. The game has been relatively railroady so far with the AP. So before book 2 kicks in, they'll have time for some side hooks I have planned and have to decide what they're going to do and what they may miss.


The minor runewell only shows up in the beginning of Book 5 to cause a sinkhole to appear in Sandpoint, revealing the "second level" of the catacombs dungeon. The only purpose of that level is to point them to the Runeforge.

So the minor runewell is completely inconsequential in the overall AP, except that if you somehow allow the PCs to destroy it, you have to come up with a different reason for the sinkhole to appear in Sandpoint, or a different hook to the Runeforge.


It is based off the US West Coast, quakes happen all the time!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Yes, but we're ALSO talking about a minor artifact. I do not think such an object should be easily destroyed. Forcing players to gather half a million gold pieces worth of Holy Water to boil in the damn thing is a suitable quest for destroying it. The players can start squirreling away every gold to do so. By the time Chapter 5 comes about, they might even have just about enough gold to do it... at which point it blows up anyway and is a moot point. ;)

Seriously. Why do GMs want to make it easy for players to just eliminate a minor artifact?

Addendum note: Actually double-checked my math. It's 194,350 gold pieces for the 7,774 pints of holy water to initially fill the well (which is 10 feet for each side and 3 feet deep).

Alternatively, building a nice thick wall across the entrance of the area would cost probably a couple hundred gold. ;) And then just have a guard or two check on it periodically.


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I'm entertained because I think I also quoted the "roughly half a million gold" to my players and they immediately just left it alone... nothing like lots of zeroes to get players to let sleeping dogs (er, runewells) lie...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Oh, that's also assuming it comes in pints. If it's 25 gold per half-pint then double my amount above! ^^;; I gave my PCs the total amount. They suggested the town raise taxes to be able to buy the water. The Scarnetti clan then said "build an effing wall instead" and the PCs shrugged and said "we're not responsible for what happens."

Given the PCs hate the Scarnettis, having the later group end up being responsible not only for Nualia slaughtering several guardsmen and almost killing Sheriff Hemlock and then later for the sinkhole that kills another half dozen guardsmen just because they were greedy bastards... well, it'll warm the cockles in their hearts. ;)

Liberty's Edge

Stebehil wrote:


But it really seems that there is not much money to be found - my PCs were not able to afford decent armor so far - best AC is 16 at the moment, a dwarven fighter with a shield. So, the rewards from Aldern are needed.

Don't forget about the gear from the goblins that the PCs just finished murdering. While it isn't convenient to go back and collect the gear and then sell it (considering that first part is fluid and happens quite rapidly), your best bet it to pay the PCs a bounty for each goblin killed that is equal to the sale price of the gear.


I actually had Belor meet with the PCs the morning after the initial goblin raid, and give them their "share" of the goblin loot for assisting in the town defense (which equated to the loot from the goblins they killed). This gave them enough gp to get a few new spells for the wizard, and a wand of cure light (which was a really smart move on their part).

Tangent, I like your stance on not being able to destroy the well completely. Even if my PCs empty the well, I'm going to make sure it still has a lingering aura so that in the back of their mind it could still be a problem.

Knowing them, they will probably not empty it on their first visit, so most likely I'll get at least one sinspawn up into the town to kill a few unnamed NPCs before they investigate it more fully. This could also be a nice red herring for the beginning of book 2 when the murders start happening.


Think I'm going to come up with some system of destroying the Well that will count as ascension for mythic rules, and if they do it (going to require a little investigation and then performing it) great...if not oh well. Some of the NPCs are going to have mythic tiers, like Nualia, Mal, probably Foxglove and Xanisha. Definitely Irion Briar. Just need to read Mythic and come up with it all now :)

Would people be interested in alternate stats for NPCs? I've redone Nualia as an antipaladin, and will be doing Foxglove as a gunslinger and Iron Briar as a magus (very Yoda themed, in that he starts off looking like some little old manelf and then he's jumping off the walls and killing people with his cane).


We destroyed the artifact and didn't spend 200,000 gp. We spent 6 days and less than 3000 gold.

We just had a magic fountain for Sandpoint made that produced continuous holy water.

1) We pulled the well back to town (Horse and Wagon, Well only weighs 900 lbs). 2) Filled it full of bricks (we thought that the spawn couldn't crawl out that way). 3) Then we guarded it night and day while we found out how to destroy it. 4) Found out how to destroy it. 5) We traded the +1 returning dagger to pay for fountain. 6) Destroyed well.

The city information (anniversary edition pg 371)gives the following information "Purchase Limit 7,500 gp; Spellcasting 4th". Which means you can buy the item in town (or have it made).

Fountain of Infinite Holy Water
Use Activated
- By using a pump handle you can fill up a small fountain with holy water. The fountain can hold a maximum of 5 gallons and the pump produces one pint per round.
Slot: None
Requirements: Create Water, Bless Water, Craft Wondrous Item
Spell Level(s): 0, 1
Caster Level: 1
Cost: 5650 (((1*.5*1800)*1.5) + 1*1*1800 + 25*100))
Cost to create: 2825 gp
Note: Pump cannot be moved

Create Water
1*.5*1800*1.5 = 1350gp
1st level caster * zero level spell * use activated * multiple different abilities

Bless Water
1*1*1800 + 25*100= 4300gp
1st level caster * 1st level spell * use activated + material component * 100

We didn't have to play the x2 cost for "no space limitation" because the item can't move (realistically) from where it is. (We put it inside the cathedral).


Undead and fiends are going to hate visiting Sandpoint after that fountain’s installation. }:)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Splendor, that defeats the entire purpose of both the difficulty of destroying minor and major artifacts, and the reason for holy water being expensive and not an everyday item for anyone who happens to come across an Undead. In addition, you are "mechanizing" the Divine itself. I would rule as GM that the moment the pump was created, one of the Gods (either Good or Evil) would cause a minor disaster in the region (lightning strike or the like) and destroy it. And I'm a lenient and roll-with-the-punches sort of GM.

The well serves a purpose later in the story. The fact that it costs so much to destroy it normally suggests that GMs shouldn't just "let" the players destroy it out of hand.

Seriously. It's like going up to Baba Yaga's Hut and hitting it with a Rod of Cancellation to destroy it. Or taking the Eye of Vecna (for a D&D artifact) and just squishing it with the heel of your foot.


The creators of the module don't seem to have a problem with magical devices that produce holy water. Room B12 of the same module contains a Shrine to Lamashtu that does it. Let me quote it for you.
"Treasure: The basin on the altar constantly generates 4 doses of the waters of Lamashtu. It was by drinking this vile fluid that the
goblin Koruvus became the mutant he is today. If harvested from the altar, the waters degrade to normal unholy water after 1 hour-the altar replenishes itself at the rate of 1 vial's worth per day."

This may be intended as a way to show the PCs a cost effective way of destroying the minor runewell.

Further more, every divine magical in the game is "mechanizing" the divine. If gods in your game involve themselves and cause minor disasters to destroy a magical item, how can PCs ever hope to beat any servant of a god, much less one of their favored.

The idea that you as a DM involve the gods to stop smart PCs isn't a sign of being lenient; its a sign of being a poor DM. If the PCs out think you, you shouldn't punish them for it. Punishing them or *hand-waving* their ideas away will make them not try any "out of the box" thinking and, perhaps, will just make then not want to play your games.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

The basin is not a magic item. It is not described as a magic item. There is no information on how to create one, or a resale value for it. It is, however, a 10,000 year or older relic to a dark goddess (and one that is defective seeing that Waters of Lamashtu are clear, and this puts out dirty water which is less likely to lure someone into drinking it). It was constructed in an Age of High Magic that is beyond anyone in Golarion at this time.

So. Do you honestly think that you could create a holy relic that mimics in part a unholy relic for only 3,000 GP?

Also, recall this: the Basin of Lamashtu replenished itself for one VIAL of Waters of Lamashtu per day. Not even a pint. A vial.

Now let's pretend your fancy game-breaking fountain can ONLY put out one pint of Holy Water a day. You're looking at a number of years before it generates enough Holy Water to fill that Runewell. Or are you saying you have a magic item that can generate hundreds of gallons of holy water a day without any extra cost outside of the initial investment?

That's Monty Haul gaming.

Oh, and for much less than 3,000 gold, you could have a nice extra-thick wall built walling off the entrance to the Catacombs. Add in some magic cantrips to age the wall and the surrounding wall, and for a tenth of the amount you could have sealed off the area, left no one knowing about its precise location, and pocketed the change. Oh, and then you don't have to handwave about a destroyed artifact reactivating at the end of Book 4 to cause the Sinkhole for the start of Book 5.


I don't know where you get your information at? Its not a magic item? Its a relic and is beyond anyone's ability to create? You're just making stuff up. Just because something is old doesn't mean it can't be recreated, or can't people make ioun stones or wayfinders in your game either? Since this room is a "Small Shrine" (Ann. RoTRL pg 37) I would think it would only contain a minor magical item and Large Shrine (or say cathedral) would contain much better versions (like the one currently in our version of Sandpoint that we made).

My fountain uses the rules. Its what our characters thought of in game after we learned how to destroy the fountain that radiated overwhelming magical power and was immune to damage from our picks and hammers. We weren't going to sit around and let some monster spewing magical item lay under our home town. Our second choice was to ship it to Magnimar and let the high clerics there deal with it. But no matter what, the evil monster spewing magic item wasn't going to sit under our homes.

If the game designers didn't want the PCs to move it, they wouldn't have given it a weight, they would of said it couldn't be moved. If they didn't want the PCs to destroy it, they wouldn't have given an easy way to do so.

The game gives actual rules for creating magical items with costly components. They increase the initial investment cost. Its in Core rules book on pg 550; they increase the base cost by the cost of the expensive material component times 100. If the game designers didn't want you to be able to make magical items with costly components they wouldn't have included rules for it.

The item we made isn't "game breaking". Even the, as you call it relic, can be made using the rules. The Basin of Lamashtu costs 18500gp, most likely a little less because the waters turn into simple unholy water after 24 hours. It costs alot more because it uses a 3rd level spell and a more costly component (250 gp). The game has literally HUNDREDS of magical items made from 1st level spells, and no one calls those game breaking. This one spell, solves one problem and you throw a fit? Do you disallow all the other ones if they also solve a problem?

Our DM wouldn't *hand-wave* any later problems, he would solve them. We haven't got to the sinkhole in the game but I'm going to look ahead to help answer your question.... The game says that this isn't the only minor runewell in existence. The others are under the sea or under ground. Once the existence of minor runewells is known any bad guy could use divination and teleport spells to get another (the one under sandpoint wasn't really protected, so who says the others are).
But really you wouldn't have to do that. There could be some residual connection since this runewell has sat there for 10,000 years and it was this connection that flared up causing the sink hole. Heck you could even tell the PCs that the sinkhole wouldn't have happened if they didn't move the runewell. Or if the sinkhole just happened how would we as the PCs have any clue how it happened? Even a well placed 'soften earth and stone' spell could cause a sinkhole.

Speaking of minor runewells, why are these wrath and the main bad guy is greed? Shouldn't these be minor runewells of greed?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

You're lacking data because you're not GMing this. I will not go into further detail about the sinkhole because it will ruin the fun for you. However, "another" Runewell won't work.

Also, the Runewell cannot be moved. It was built there. It is also a minor artifact. You cannot build another Runewell. This is lost magic. Think of it as akin to discovering a smartphone 500 years after the fall of civilization, when the highest technology you possess is along the lines of magnifying glasses, early printing presses, and nothing with electricity. How could you, with the tools you had then, build another smartphone?

You couldn't.

Likewise, it is impossible to build another Runewell without building up the fundamentals of magic to that which the Thassilonians possessed. And their civilization was based off of an existing civilization that was thousands of years old AND Uplifted by the Aboleth.

As for your Basin of Lamashtu? Where did you get information on how much it costs? It's not in the rules. There is nothing in the books I've read on building a Basin of Lamashtu. So your GM must have handwaved it and created a houserule to explain it. This houserule of his failed to account for the fact it will only create one Vial (not one Pint, one Vial) of Waters of Lamashtu a day.

Basing a Fountain of Endless Holy Water off of this model, and only having it cost 3,000 gold, should thus only have a Fountain that creates one pint of Holy Water a day. Your GM handwaved THAT away as well. And don't forget: when making normal holy water, it takes 5 pounds of silver to create one pint of holy water. The silver is consumed in the creation of the holy water.

Where does the silver come from in your magic item?

When my players found it would cost a couple hundred thousand gold to destroy the well, they brought it to the town. There was a brief debate about raising taxes to create that much holy water... and the Scarnetti family said "heck with that" and said "build a wall" (which is what was done). They deactivated the well (which is all that is required to get the XP reward) (by the way, did you get rewarded extra XPs for permanently destroying a minor artifact?) and it was all sealed up.

As for why this was a Runewell of Wrath? There are Seven Runelords. I won't tell you more because you're not cleared for that security level. :P


Let me quote you real quick "Also, the Runewell cannot be moved." & "then my players found it would cost a couple hundred thousand gold to destroy the well, they brought it to the town."
I am not going to argue the point that it can be moved. You said your players "brought it to the town". The game gives the well a weight, which means it can be moved. They wouldn't have said how much it weighs if it couldn't be moved.

I don't know why you're arguing about not being able to build another runewell. I never said anything about building one.

The DM didn't tell me how to make the basin, you just have to follow the rules. There is no hand-waving, there is following the rules. The Basin of Lamashtu uses the spell "waters of Lamashtu" (inner sea world guide page 297). The core rules book gives costs on construction of magical items (pg 550). (5th level caster * 3rd level spell * 2000 gp) * 1/5 (because its usable 1/day) + (250gp * 50) = 18500gp

I am not basing the fountain of holy water off anything. I am using the rules printed in the core rule book for figuring it our yourself. I gave detailed step by step instructions on how the fountain was built following the rules as outlined in the core rule book (again pg 550).

Pathfinder does not need a XP reward system, and our games don't use it. We go up levels when our DM tells us we do, not because we killed or destroyed things.

You keep arguing things that I don't mention. You argue about costs without ever looking up the rules. The rules cover everything you keep arguing about. I am following the rules as printed in the game. If you don't like the rules, you don't have to follow them. Thats your choice as the DM of your game. I simply pointed out a way to destroy the minor runewell that didn't cost hundreds of thousands of gold and I followed the rules in the books. If you can point out in rules where I am mistaken, ok!

In fact if you look at other minor artifacts in the game, alot of them are not hard to destroy. The bonehouse can be destroyed with cure spells. The book of infinite spells can be destroyed when the current page contains the erase spell, by casting the spell on the book itself. The crown of the simurgh's is destroyed if it is taken onto the Plane of Shadow. - NONE of these are hard to destroy.

You seem to not like that someone figure out an easier way to destroy the well, I'm sorry that you feel that way. I am done arguing this point. Following rules you can destroy this minor artifact without too much difficulty or cost. (two weeks and just under 3000 gp)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

They didn't bring the well to the town. They brought the subject of dealing with the well to the town. The well is located BELOW the town. Specifically it's in the same area as the jail and the Old Light as that's where the Catacombs are located.

As for your Holy Water Fountain? If it has one charge a day, it makes one pint of holy water a day. You would need years to fill the Runewell.

As for the XP Reward System? Actually yes, there are Story Rewards for dealing with certain items. Deactivating the Well (not destroying it, deactivating it) garners you so many XPs. In addition, the game uses XPs. Your GM choosing to level you up by fiat? It's an alternative rule that he has chosen to use. If you look in any OTHER AP (I'm not telling you to look in Runelords, but trust me it's the same there) it shows XP rewards for killing things and for performing specific actions.

Now on to destroying minor artifacts. Try to find the Erase spell in the Book of Infinite Spells. Each spell found is random. There's a 50/50 chance of a Divine or Arcane spell, of all levels, with a huge selection of spells. And once you get to the end of the book, the book vanishes. If you didn't find the Erase spell in that time? You're out of luck! (Not to mention needing to research how to destroy the Book of Infinite Spells.)

Taking the Crown of the Simurgh to the Plane of Shadow is easy! If you have planar travel spells. Oh, and you also need to have researched to determine how to destroy it. That's starting to sound NOT to easy.

Look. I've been playing this game since it was 1st edition, 1st print Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. I've been a GM for the last 20 years. I'm not some 14 year old kid claiming to know what I'm talking about. Stop assuming I am.


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Splendor, I believe what Tangent101 is trying to say is the choice to allow that, in the rules or not, may have robbed your party of some fantastic tension, role-playing opportunities, and moral conundrums.

Characters thinking hard and coming up with inventive ideas is awesome, and I always encourage it. However, it does not guarantee success. My players love failing as much as succeeding, because they never know how their actions will affect the world in the future. I always bring it back...for good or evil. It comes down to the story you want to tell.

Great job coming up with a cool, unique solution. It'd never fly at my table, lol, but there's nothing wrong with that. I'd never let the well out of the dungeon, because I want it there. It's more threatening, more sinister, more...ancient. It serves a purpose later on, and I can use it as a macguffin anytime I want to mess with the story, or drive a bus through the wall of the tavern my characters are quietly having a pint in, and shake things up.

Your DM was apparently fine with this solution, and allowed it. Tangent101, as a DM, would not, or is a player who's had DM's who would not. Neither way is wrong, and really, the biggest point here is an argument of rules, which leads me to just one thought:

Burn the rules.

This is a story. If the rules say otherwise, break them. Tell the best story you can. If the rules say you can destroy it with a 3,000 gp item, and your cool allowing that as a DM, do it. If the rules say you can destroy it with a 3,000 gp item, and you don't want that, have it fail, no matter what the rules say. If the rules say it's impossible to do with out epic magic, but you want the players to be able to...allow it.

But the last thing I think this game needs...oddly enough...is arguments over rules. It's the story that brings us all to the table.

Live it. Adventure. Die gloriously. :)


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mittean wrote:


Burn the rules.

This. Yes. This.

I also believe this sentiment is in the spirit of the rules. The rules themselves say... bend us as much as you like to get a better game.

In other words it's utterly at the GM's discretion if something like a self-sustaining holy water fountain is possible. If your GM likes it then fine, it's his instance of Golarion and his 'house rules'. But on the flip side no GM would be 'wrong' for saying that's not possible.

Personally as a GM of a RotRL campaign right now I'd have that magic item creation attempt fail, at least as described. Why? Because it just feels wrong to me to have something so powerful created in such a mundane way. If someone wants to make a spring that creates endless holy water I'd have them work on the role play aspects a great deal more. What makes the spring truly holy, in a game-world sense? Why would a god be willing to invest a part of their energy in this? Has the creator (the PC making it) accumulated enough good graces with their deity to have their ambitions supported and enabled? The gold and mechanics would be very secondary to the bigger question: "have you got what it takes to make this?". That PC is going to have to do something very special indeed to be able to pull this off.

But that's just me and my instance of Varisia and my 'house rules'.

Burn the rules.


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Not to pile it on, but you did come into a GM thread and insist that we must obey the rules. We do.

From the very start of the Core Rulebook, with emphasis mine:

=====
The Most Important Rule

The rules presented are here to help you breathe life into your characters and the world they explore. While they are designed to make your game easy and exciting, you might find that some of them do not suit the style of play that your gaming group enjoys. Remember that these rules are yours. You can change them to fit your needs. Most Game Masters have a number of “house rules” that they use in their games. The Game Master and players should always discuss any rules changes to make sure that everyone understands how the game will be played. Although the Game Master is the final arbiter of the rules, the Pathfinder RPG is a shared experience, and all of the players should contribute their thoughts when the rules are in doubt.
=====
So I don't allow wands with infinite charges in my game; another GM does. I don't allow the "DC + 5" magic item creation to create magic items when you don't have the prerequisite spell (don't like sorcerers creating Boots of Flying without access to a Fly spell, for example). I am neither "right" nor "wrong". I agree with my players as to how MY world works, and we cooperatively tell a story in that world. (And there's another one. I cooperate with my players, rather than compete with them.)

And all in all; that's all it is. Your GM and you as a player have agreed, "This is how we're going to play this game." It's inappropriate to tell another group, "You're wrong in how you do this." If everyone's having fun, it's the right way to play.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This should come as no surprise, but I agree with Tangent, mittean and Yossarian. If I were running your RotRL game, Splendor, I'd have serious problems with a handful of incredibly minor magics destroy a minor artifact. I won't dispute the number crunching you did to find a solution to this problem, so hats off to you on that. From a strictly mechanical standpoint, there may be one small caveat that I'd have, and that would be that creating infinite anything is inherently abusive. What if we created a magical whetstone that sharpened any blade it was used on into masterwork quality, using the masterwork transformation spell as the basis? Why wouldn't you just buy up all the daggers you can, sharpen them, then resell them at incredible profit until you've bankrupted Varisia? Let me in on that IPO, because I want to buy that while it's low and then sell before the economy explodes.

My big problem with it though is the narrative damage it does, and the folks before me have done their level best to explain why the runewell should be left alone. I've got another question, though, one they haven't brought up, and one that I believe is the real crux of the matter. How did you all learn about the method of destruction for the runewell?


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That said, if a Sorcerer had enough scrolls of Fly for each day of making the magic item, I'd allow the Sorcerer in question to build the boots. ;)

Considering, however, that Sorcerers are "instinctive" arcane casters while wizards are "by the book" then it seems more likely, to me, that sorcerers shouldn't be able to make magic items. But that's just a personal opinion. And given that most sorcerers lack the wide range of spells to create a wide range of items (not to mention the extra Feats wizards get), most tend not to in any event.

Oh, and as far as minor artifacts go, it's interesting how the ones that were chosen WERE the ones "easy" to destroy (easy being relative). This is in contrast to such items as the Philosopher's Stone (Titans aren't exactly commonplace and usually aren't hanging out in easily-reached places), the talisman of pure good, or the knucklebone of fickle fortune.

That said, I must admit some curiosity as to why people are so intent on permanently destroying the minor Runewell, when you consider it basically is a "summon monster" well with charges. (That and one of my gamers came up with a cheap and easy way to deal with the well - melt enough iron (or lead!) ingots into it so that it's filled to overflowing. In essence, coating the entire thing with metal and filling it. I get the feeling this is going to be done after my next game when the well is used by Nualia to become a half-fiend.)

Edit: In response to Misroi (though the query was not directed my way specifically), my players actually rolled extremely well for Knowledge (Arcana) to try and determine how to destroy the well. I think they managed a natural 20, though it's been a while.)

Dark Archive

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It wasn't, Tangent, but I thank you for your addition. I haven't told the party how to destroy the runewell just yet. In my game, it will probably require a spell on the order of legend lore. Hardly anybody knows anything substantive about the runewells, and neither detect magic nor identify will be able to tell you anything about the thing, so they'll need to either use some very powerful magic or wait until they get to the library in a later section to find out more.

And I think that's the real problem - DMs let slip the key to destruction a bit too early, and they've got 100% control over handing that crucial piece of info out to players. My party has placed a bunch of rocks and boulders in front of the doors to the Temple to Lamashtu in the Catacombs of Wrath, preventing anyone from getting into it and causing havoc. Which was sort of awkward when I forgot about it, and let the party wizard go do some poking around with it by himself.


I agree, Misroi. I love misdirection, and working with the players to weave your story, as NobodysHome is well aware. I think I've seen enough parties in Burnt offerings chanting "Down with Karzoug the Runelord of evil stuff and bunnies!" to make me weep.

Why should they know about him? Why should they know about Runewalls, or Sin magic? Even the wizard historian of the party, with a +8 Knowledge (history) and a natural 20 should give you knowledge that there were Rulers who ruled with magic in an ancient kingdom. That the kingdom was based around the principles of virtues, and that it fell, possibly in relation to Starfall. Or something. But their goal shouldn't be "we will slay Loki now that we know our village was raided by bandits."

It comes back to that narrative idea several of you have mentioned, and it warms my heart to hear it said so. :)

So many missed moments of narrative. The story should be about the characters, and their goals, and how they achieve them while the universe is so annoyingly throwing everything in their way, and they are compelled to save it.

All Jon Snow wants is respect...to be accepted and recognized for who he is. And along the way he has many adventures and struggles. But his goal never once has changed, no matter if he's a bastard at Winterfell, a recruit at the Wall, a steward when he wants to be a ranger, a turn-coat bedding a wildling with boat-loads of guilt, or a commander leading his superiors and dancing between Kings' demands.

Okay...I've completely tangent-ed. Blame the Chianti, it's a 2007.

Burn the rules. Let's adventure.


A 2007 Chianti? Party at Mittean's! I'll bring the roast and mashed potatoes!

What?!?! It's gone!?!?! D'oh!!!

But yes, I think focusing on the narrative is key. I've made many mistakes along the way (making Aldern so utterly dislikeable; having everyone with a Sihedron rune marking lose their souls), but it's made for an epic tale. And I have to say, the soul-losing thing has given my party such a sense of urgency, and such an unwillingness to needlessly kill Karzoug's followers, that if I run RotRL again I'm keeping it.

It's not in the book, it's against the rules, but boy does it make for a great story!


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It is the mistakes that make the game truly memorable. For instance, I made a mistake in my Night Below campaign a decade back in which I described the Halls of the Dead as having vast lines of people standing single-file in line. But I described one character's parents as standing side-by-side.

That led the player to realize "he's not dead!" And later that his father was in fact an angel, and that was why he wasn't dead. (Do note, there was no benefit in his character being part-angelic - it was a roleplaying aspect that didn't add to die-rolls or the like.) And it helped craft an epic sense to the game, and to that player's character (and actually many characters had an element of epicness to them over the years.)

The rules are a guideline. The dice are guidelines. Never let either of them control the game. If you have ogrekin inside a burning barn and want them to burst out to escape? Do so! Who cares if you rolled 2s and 3s for Strength checks! If the Big Bad gets taken out with one critical strike from an arrow of Human Slaying and rolled a 1 for his Save? Ignore it! What's better, for everyone to walk through the door ready for a huge battle only for one bad die roll to kill him? Or for a grand fight that is not anti-climatic and boring as hell (and ultimately only gives one player bragging rights)?

I know there is a sizable number of players and some GMs here who refuse to see this. The difference is this: I'm a writer. Thus I see the thematic elements of a story which can best design a good story. And while sometimes you need to roll with the punches (and good GMs do!) it is certainly more thematic for the evil Wizard to stare down at his chest, pluck it from his body, and say "I forsook my humanity ages ago, worm. Did you truly think such a pitiful magic as this could kill me? But I applaud your effort. I think I shall have you die last."

And by ignoring the rules and the die-rolls in specific circumstances you can have some truly disturbing moments where the players realize they are fighting something beyond them.

(If any of my players are here, don't look. You don't want tonight's game spoiled.

Spoiler:
For instance, when I made Xanesha Mythic, I forgot to use her Mythic ability to leave an image behind when hit for a blow and teleport elsewhere. They killed her (coup de grace, though I screwed up and didn't roll a Fortitude save - after the fact, I found she lived through it though unconscious). But might it not be more interesting if her Mythic ability instead "rescued" her when unconscious? That it shimmers and vanishes, leaving treasure behind but Xanesha herself is somewhere safe where she can recover... and strike again in the future?

Which is more thematic? Which is more dramatic? Go for what makes a great story, even if it ignores the rules and ignores the dice? Or letting an unlucky roll turn a final fantastic encounter into an anti-climatic failure leaving all but one player feeling let down?

Ultimately it's up for the GM, the Storyteller, to decide.


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NobodysHome, don't even begin to tempt me with your stories of delicious pastries and delicate lamb and mint, with a zesty lobster bisque.

Okay. Do tempt me.

Getting ready for a writing session with a writer who's coming into town this weekend for a screenplay, and some gaming as well, (first in a bit), so I've picked up some more Chianti, and some fixings for some delicious Irish coffee.

And Tangent101, I agree completely about the dice being a guideline. I can't tell you how often I roll for effect, and nothing else. I've already made the choice as to what would be more fun for the players and the story in my head...rolling just gives them pause for concern. By not being attached to the rolls, I don't ever run the risk of accidentally killing off a player with a falling frog from the sky. The most accidental, anti-climactic, lame ending for a character. (Such as a 10th level fighter dying from a medium spider bite random encounter that just rolled wrong all over the place).

I love the arrow example. I had one of those, 1st shot kill on the BBEG, that I hand-waved away. But then towards the end of the battle, when they were struggling, I gave them back their luck, with a mediocre shot dropping him in a moment of crisis. SOOOO much better for the story, and for how the players felt.

As I mentioned above, I write as well. Or more to the point, I co-write, and manage writers to make their writing better, so I agree with you, understanding those elements of story definitely help.

This article has great examples for writers AND DM's to consider about their stories. Specifically:
- The protagonist is a standard issue hero (for players as well)
- The characters are all stereotypes or indistinguishable from each other
- The conflict is inconsequential, flash-in-the-pan
- The characters back stories are irrelevant/ useless
- The story or characters are stoic to a fault (this is a big one for games. Characters NEVER seem to play wounded, or exhausted, or overwhelmed, or distraught about the fantastic and catastrophic happenings about them and their comrades.)


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LOL@die-rolling.

I frequently have my party make Will or Fortitude saves for no reason other than atmosphere. "Do I make it?"
"Just barely. You're OK."

Lots of fun!


Seriously. Thats honestly half my "saves" I require of them.


Lol, you guys are evil >.<

Well, I come here to resolve a doubt that won't let me sleep: is the Sandpoint Devil real? The legend appears in so many books, but they never tell you if it's for real... And assuming I wanted to make it real, what kind of monster it would be? I really haven't read the bestiaries, so I'm lacking ideas...


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There's a writeup for it in the Inner Sea World Guide. Are we allowed to post Paizo stat blocks not in the PRD on a Paizo messageboard? I really have no idea.

Unfortunately, in my campaign the 16th-level barbarian started dating Shalelu and their 'date' was hunting it down.

One natural 20 on his Survival plus her assist and the devil is now a carpet...


Thanks, NobodysHome. I need to read the guide more carefully, since I read it this morning, and couldn't find it >.<

Also, I'm pretty sure I saw somewhere some sort of graphic comparing sizes among the Sandpoint Devil, an attic whisperer and a couple of monsters. Of course, I can't remember where was this. (The old RotRL player's guide?)


Inner Sea World Guide, p. 311, for the Sandpoint Devil.

I checked the RotRL Player's Guide (both original and AE) and the AE book and didn't find the picture you were looking for, nor was it in the Guides to Varisia or Magnimar. Didn't see it in the Inner Sea World Guide, but didn't go page-by-page through it.

Isn't there an AP that has attic whisperers? Jade Regent? I'd check there.


The size-comparison chart, and 3.5 stats for the Sandpoint Devil and attic whisperers, are in the Bestiary section of AP#1, IIRC. ;)


Yes, you're right, Trace. I wanted to see the differences between the original and the AE, and a friend of mine lended it to me. That's why I couldn't find it, I do not own that book.

Thank you very much to the both of you. =)


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Did anyone else's group use the Sihedron Medallion to preserve the giant hermit crab in the bottom level of Thistletop after they killed it so that they could transport and sell the crabmeat? Yes, I know the crab doesn't really have a head or a neck to hang the medallion around, but the idea is so fun that I had to let it go. So how much meat would a five foot wide hermit crab produce and how much do you think they could sell it for? My initial SWAG is about 150 lbs and they could sell it for maybe 50GP. I might hint broadly to them, however, that their popularity in town would go up tremendously if they donated it and had the Rusty Dragon chefs cook it up for the town for free.

Only my group's first response to this encounter would be: "How much melted butter are we going to need to go with that thing?"


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I just let the group drag it back to town for the largest crab feast around. :D

It's in salt water so I figure it wouldn't decay that quickly. Also, it's in autumn.

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