Galnorag's Second Darkness Campaign -Xuttah's playtest commentary


Playtest Reports

Liberty's Edge

The following are my ongoing comments on Galnorag’s Second Darkness play test campaign. It’s mostly observations about whatever game mechanics come into play at any given session and won’t contain a lot of fluff. That’s kept to the campaign thread and any character journal entries/comics I decide to post.  I play the bard; so much of the commentary will be on that character’s rules and stuff he does. I’ll try to avoid spoilers, but some things about the campaign will be disclosed as a matter of course.

Commentary from other players and the DM on rules and game play should go here too.

We generated our characters using the PF 25 point buy system and coordinated our efforts to get a reasonably balanced party. We actually ended up with the classic 5 character mix:

Human Fighter –sword and shield
Elf Wizard –Generalist
Human Cleric of Desna
Human Rogue –finesse melee/traps
Kobold Bard – interaction specialist/spy

About character traits: Do the rules for researching the blot change using PFRPG? Any other changes to traits we should consider?

There was only one combat in the first game and the fighter and bard were blinded for 4 of the 5 rounds of combat due to a pyrotechnics spell. It ran smoothly with the hired goons going down easily. I noticed that hand of the apprentice made the wizard extremely proficient in melee with a +4 to hit and damage with his longsword (elf weapon familiarity).

The party bard was blinded, so he wasn’t able to fight until the final round, but still attempted some actions:

First was moving while blind. You have to move at half speed when blind (no blind fight) and the terrain counted as difficult (covered in prone bystanders), so my question is does that count as triple cost (using the same doubling system for critical hits), or do you count it as quadruple cost (2 squares per rough ground, doubled again for blinded)?

Second was using a bardic performance. I can’t seem to find a reference to using countersong to disrupt the bardic performance of another bard. That would seem like a great application of the ability. Maybe opposed perform checks or something, I dunno. Since we couldn’t find a rule for that, the character just bolstered the efforts of the non-blinded party members with inspire courage.

Third was using arcane strike with his small light crossbow when the blindness wore off. That made a satisfying hole in a hired thug when combined with the inspiration!

The rest of the session was spent in role play and making various diplomacy/gather information and knowledge checks.

That’s always nice when you get into the interaction with the campaign world a bit. The bard has to remember to take 10 more often to avoid the plague of 1’s rolled! More skill points for knowledge and perform would be a good thing since those things eat up most of the basic skill points. Something like 2 skills get bonus skill points and/or you add your bard level to checks (instead of half). A free rank per level in one perform skill would also go a long way.

On the subject of skill points, I think it’d be great if there was an allowance for hobbies and professions. Each character should get one free skill point in either a profession or craft skill to represent either hobbies or non-adventurer training they had. The limited number of points in the new system (which I like, don’t get me wrong) makes this kind of character background impossible.

That’s it for now! Thanks for reading.


Well we are quite far along in the second darkness adventure path (about to end armegeddon echo).
But shadow in the sky was not that long ago for us.

Curious a kobold bard? How does that work in roleplaying , the bard being a face man and all? Do you suffer any penalties when dealing with say, elves or dwarves or other races that have specific reason to hate/destroy kobolds?

What type of perform does the kobold do? Insults?

I cant even dream of a kobold singing.

do you find using a small character with already gimped stats on str (negatives to hit and damage) really hard to DO damage in melee with small weapons? 1-4 on a short sword with -2 on damage? Thats lame. 1-2 damage? I can get pixies to draw more blood!

I liked it in 1e when small races where restricted to short swords and hand axes etc(which did normal medium damage) and honestly I never played a gnome or halfling type again until really recently!
And I hate it!
I won't be bothering to play the small races pretty much because of that.

Ill keep my small folks to dwarves thanks!

Our group for shadow in the sky started out as:
Half elf rogue (fineese melee and traps)
Elf Sorceress (dragon blood line)
Human Cleric of Calistria (Chaotic Neutral)
Human fighter (sword and board)

We actually began play in falcons hollow and did D0 and D1, so we started Shadow in the sky as 2nd level.
After shadow in the sky we did D1.5 and D4 (rolled into one) before going on to do Children of the Void.
After Void we did the set peice adventure in void, then right on to Armegeddon Echo.

The party is now half-elf rogue 9/ shadowdancer 1; sorceress 5/dragon disciple 4; cleric 8, fighter 8 and a wizard 5/fighter 1/ eldritch knight 2 (he jumped in around D4)

Given what we've been through, Im really, really going to be interested in how a kobold bard does with the same things.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber

So far, the fact that he's a kobold has not impacted the game in the least, as Xuttah has a pretty good grip on what would constitute a believeable "fantasy reality."

Thus, the party has no clue he's a kobold, as he has used the disguise skill and disguise self spell to hide his racial traits (hard for a kobold, I know, but hey... you can let your imagination run wild in finding a way he would hide his tail! :) ) He most frequently appears as a gnome or small child (my Int 13 fighter has noticed the differences in appearance, but due to his Wis 9 and Cha 7, shrugged it off and took the "whatever" attitude towards it; no problems so far, so no cause for worry... plus, he believes that you should never, as a rule, toss away or disregard magically inclined folk, especially when they throw free spellcasting services your way... from what he has observed hanging around the little guy and seeing how he handles himself in a fight, he has issued a silent nod of approval his way, and plans to keep the little guy alive if some undeserved crap comes his way...)

Xuttah is not the typical "I'm an ogre and deal with it" kinda player. From what I've seen so far, he's really careful how he approaches this kobold thing. He's not sloppy or lazy about his koboldness, and has provided a kickass background to the DM (one that even ties with the "Crown of the Kobold King" adventure Golarion-lore!)


Disguise self only lasts 10 min per level and would eat up a 1st level spell (something a bard doesnt have alot of to start with)

Are you saying no one in the party knows he is a kobold? That would be really hard to maintain, especially over time.

What about changing from a gnome to s small child? The party doesn't think its weird sometimes he's one thing and sometimes he's another?

Hanging out in riddleport, being a kobold is probably not a big issue, it is after all an evilly aligned town.

Curious that he's hiding it from the rest of the party.

Something makes me think that disguise thing cant last forever. Especially with high level NPCs.

Id think It would be easier to hitch hike in the fighters back pack and spend more time hiding/sneaking or pretending to be the clerics baby wrapped up in swaddling clothes (maybe even lying in a manger) than wandering around disguised in open view.

by the way, I always thought 10 min/level for disguise self was a little weak. Seems like its a good spell to get by one set of guards at a gate or something, but nothing more.

Liberty's Edge

Pendagast wrote:

Are you saying no one in the party knows he is a kobold? That would be really hard to maintain, especially over time.

The character is not openly a kobold most of the time; only at night and in the comics. :) The character has a +7 to disguise without the use of the spell, so most people won't notice him under casual observation (ie taking 10 with an average spot of +0). He will reveal/slip up with his true nature in the fullness of time, but only when the party trusts him and values him for his worth as a person, not just a reptilian monster. Sound like any other dark hero? :)

I'm also playtesting the PF kobold race I posted in the Races section of the Beta feedback forums. Please refer to that for details about the racial abilities.

I'm trying to restrict this thread to the rules aspects of the game and any story aspects to the SD forum. Can we please move that discussion to that thread from this point on?

edit: PS character stat blocks and background information are there too! :)

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber

Liberty's Edge

Playtest Session #2

Well, here’s the second playtest report for Second Darkness.

We had a couple of combat situations this session and we used the grapple rules, poison and arcane strike multiple times.

Grapple: Seems to work fine at low levels. Human thugs vs. PC’s in a brawl made for a flavourful encounter at low level and the characters had no modifiers to their touch AC’s. If there were ongoing deflection, cover or concealment effects involved, then I believe they should affect the target CMB. Force fields, stuff in the way and poor visibility should make it harder to perform a combat maneuver IMO.

Arcane Strike: Nice bonus for arcane casters to do some extra damage (very good for my weakling bard as it offsets his low Str). Questions though:
i) The feat description says it counts as magic with a +x bonus to hit and damage. Is this an enhancement bonus? If not, does it stack with one?
ii) Does this apply to grenade like weapons? They are a weapon, although a consumable one. Does the bonus apply to the splash damage too?
iii) Can you apply this feat to a weapon wielded using Hand of the Apprentice?

Poison: Worked just fine. I like the duration of poison instead of the immediate and one minute later saves. An online supplement that lists the common monster poisons with the new rules would be handy until the bestiary comes out (I know there’s a partial list in the glossary, but we need a comprehensive list to convert to).

During the role-playing portion of the session, two characters have seen through the kobold’s disguise. One major NPC succeeded with what I assume is an insane Perception skill (Clegg Zincher) saw through a DC of 27 (Disguise Self plus character skill of 7 plus roll of 10). The other was a PC who treated the character for poison (there should be a note that close/intimate interaction automatically bypasses disguises). No real in-game effect since the PC is open minded and the NPC is a now a known enemy anyways (assassination attempt with a medium viper against a small character is really frightening).

PS the party had advanced to the middle of level 2 at the end of the session.


Xuttah wrote:

Playtest Session #2

Well, here’s the second playtest report for Second Darkness.

We had a couple of combat situations this session and we used the grapple rules, poison and arcane strike multiple times.

Grapple: Seems to work fine at low levels. Human thugs vs. PC’s in a brawl made for a flavourful encounter at low level and the characters had no modifiers to their touch AC’s. If there were ongoing deflection, cover or concealment effects involved, then I believe they should affect the target CMB. Force fields, stuff in the way and poor visibility should make it harder to perform a combat maneuver IMO.

Arcane Strike: Nice bonus for arcane casters to do some extra damage (very good for my weakling bard as it offsets his low Str). Questions though:
i) The feat description says it counts as magic with a +x bonus to hit and damage. Is this an enhancement bonus? If not, does it stack with one?
ii) Does this apply to grenade like weapons? They are a weapon, although a consumable one. Does the bonus apply to the splash damage too?
iii) Can you apply this feat to a weapon wielded using Hand of the Apprentice?

Poison: Worked just fine. I like the duration of poison instead of the immediate and one minute later saves. An online supplement that lists the common monster poisons with the new rules would be handy until the bestiary comes out (I know there’s a partial list in the glossary, but we need a comprehensive list to convert to).

During the role-playing portion of the session, two characters have seen through the kobold’s disguise. One major NPC succeeded with what I assume is an insane Perception skill (Clegg Zincher) saw through a DC of 27 (Disguise Self plus character skill of 7 plus roll of 10). The other was a PC who treated the character for poison (there should be a note that close/intimate interaction automatically bypasses disguises). No real in-game effect since the PC is open minded and the NPC is a now a known enemy anyways (assassination attempt with a...

Warning : Clegg Zincher Spoiler

Spoiler:
can't wait until you get revenge on clegg in the next module! that will be sweet!


Xuttah wrote:

Playtest Session #2

Well, here’s the second playtest report for Second Darkness.

We had a couple of combat situations this session and we used the grapple rules, poison and arcane strike multiple times.

Grapple: Seems to work fine at low levels. Human thugs vs. PC’s in a brawl made for a flavourful encounter at low level and the characters had no modifiers to their touch AC’s. If there were ongoing deflection, cover or concealment effects involved, then I believe they should affect the target CMB. Force fields, stuff in the way and poor visibility should make it harder to perform a combat maneuver IMO.

Arcane Strike: Nice bonus for arcane casters to do some extra damage (very good for my weakling bard as it offsets his low Str). Questions though:
i) The feat description says it counts as magic with a +x bonus to hit and damage. Is this an enhancement bonus? If not, does it stack with one?
ii) Does this apply to grenade like weapons? They are a weapon, although a consumable one. Does the bonus apply to the splash damage too?
iii) Can you apply this feat to a weapon wielded using Hand of the Apprentice?

Poison: Worked just fine. I like the duration of poison instead of the immediate and one minute later saves. An online supplement that lists the common monster poisons with the new rules would be handy until the bestiary comes out (I know there’s a partial list in the glossary, but we need a comprehensive list to convert to).

During the role-playing portion of the session, two characters have seen through the kobold’s disguise. One major NPC succeeded with what I assume is an insane Perception skill (Clegg Zincher) saw through a DC of 27 (Disguise Self plus character skill of 7 plus roll of 10). The other was a PC who treated the character for poison (there should be a note that close/intimate interaction automatically bypasses disguises). No real in-game effect since the PC is open minded and the NPC is a now a known enemy anyways (assassination attempt with a...

what is the minimum DC you are using to disguise a kobold (with a snout) as something like a gnome?

Im assuming, say if you rolled a 5 and your disguise skill was 7, so you're result was a 12, even you would know you werent disguised enough?

Are you allowing say casting disguise self, and allowing the option to take 20 with the skill, to disguise yourself for the day? (ie taking a really long time to get it right)

What exactly did clegg zincher see (as the dm described it)did he see a kobold dressed like a gnome? or just know something weird about the disguise was off (like recognized the fact you were wearing a fake mustache?)

How much do you think he'd have to beat your DC by to just simply know your a kobold?

Liberty's Edge

Pendagast wrote:

what is the minimum DC you are using to disguise a kobold (with a snout) as something like a gnome?

Im assuming, say if you rolled a 5 and your disguise skill was 7, so you're result was a 12, even you would know you werent disguised enough?

Are you allowing say casting disguise self, and allowing the option to take 20 with the skill, to disguise yourself for the day? (ie taking a really long time to get it right)

What exactly did clegg zincher see (as the dm described it)did he see a kobold dressed like a gnome? or just know something weird about the disguise was off (like recognized the fact you were wearing a fake mustache?)

How much do you think he'd have to beat your DC by to just simply know your a kobold?

There's a built in -2 for disguising yourself as another species. For non-strenuous situations, I was allowed to take 10 on my disguise check, which gives a 15 total (10 + 1 rank + 3 class skill + 3 Cha -2 different species). The disguise self spell adds 10 and I had a total of 25 (27 without the modifier). That's a pretty high roll and most people won't see through that.

Clegg probably has a few class levels in rogue, so he'd got a good perception modifier. Although I don't know exactly what the DM ruled on what he saw, I think there should be a rule similar to that of beating other skill DC's. Beat or tie the DC and you know there's a disguise, beat it by 5 or even 10 and you see past the disguise.

Please don't post spoilers in this thread. I'm a player and I'm trying to keep blinders on about the future plot. Besides, I plan on killing Clegg a lot sooner than that.

I've already intimated to him that I only kill what I intend to eat, and I've happily roasted and eaten the medium viper he sent to kill me (at least part of it, I'm just wee). Even sent him a note thanking him for breakfast! The cheek, eh? You can imagine my plans for Clegg. Probably start sending him cooking herbs with notes on how to apply them to himself. >:D


Xuttah wrote:
Pendagast wrote:

what is the minimum DC you are using to disguise a kobold (with a snout) as something like a gnome?

Im assuming, say if you rolled a 5 and your disguise skill was 7, so you're result was a 12, even you would know you werent disguised enough?

Are you allowing say casting disguise self, and allowing the option to take 20 with the skill, to disguise yourself for the day? (ie taking a really long time to get it right)

What exactly did clegg zincher see (as the dm described it)did he see a kobold dressed like a gnome? or just know something weird about the disguise was off (like recognized the fact you were wearing a fake mustache?)

How much do you think he'd have to beat your DC by to just simply know your a kobold?

There's a built in -2 for disguising yourself as another species. For non-strenuous situations, I was allowed to take 10 on my disguise check, which gives a 15 total (10 + 1 rank + 3 class skill + 3 Cha -2 different species). The disguise self spell adds 10 and I had a total of 25 (27 without the modifier). That's a pretty high roll and most people won't see through that.

Clegg probably has a few class levels in rogue, so he'd got a good perception modifier. Although I don't know exactly what the DM ruled on what he saw, I think there should be a rule similar to that of beating other skill DC's. Beat or tie the DC and you know there's a disguise, beat it by 5 or even 10 and you see past the disguise.

Please don't post spoilers in this thread. I'm a player and I'm trying to keep blinders on about the future plot. Besides, I plan on killing Clegg a lot sooner than that.

I've already intimated to him that I only kill what I intend to eat, and I've happily roasted and eaten the medium viper he sent to kill me (at least part of it, I'm just wee). Even sent him a note thanking him for breakfast! The cheek, eh? You can imagine my plans for Clegg. Probably start sending him cooking herbs with notes on how to apply them to himself. >:D

I like that touch, foreshadowing/ implications.... maybe you could start referring to him as pink skin?

Liberty's Edge

moved to campaign thread...

Liberty's Edge

One final thought from this session regarding vermin (roaches in this case -EWWWW!) and sleep spells:

Why doesn't Sleep affect vermin? Bugs are animals and AFAIK then enter dormant periods too, don't they? I think that the vermin subtype should be adjusted to say that they can be affected by sleep.

Liberty's Edge

Well, we had another session and here's another feedback post:

This session was pretty combat heavy, and I used Diguise Self/Disguise to avoid harming an innocent.

Combat wise, it was mostly straight forward melee, but we had a couple of great uses (by the DM) of bull rush. One forced our fighter out of a second story window (falling damage was mercifully low), and the second was off the dock into the water.

The first took 2 tries because the attacker wasn't that strong and didn't have improved bull rush (and the figher has a CMB of 7). The second was much easier because the bull rusher was strong, had the improved bull rush feat, and the target had a low CMB (2).

The CMB mechanic seems to work pretty well now that I've seen it in use. That being said, both instances were in relatively open areas and neither had situational complications (daylight, solid ground, nobody was concealed or had cover).

On a tanget to improved CMB feats, what about improved grap and trip (ie monster ex. abilities)? Should they get a bonus to CMB for those special actions too?

Disguise self combined with Perform:Acting is a pretty useful combo. Too bad there's no synergy bonuses anymore.

Also, I've got summon monster 1 on my spell list and have a roster sheet of some summoning options (to keep game play fast and so the DM won't hurt me). Is there a formula for converting poisons from 3.5 to PF?

Liberty's Edge

This week was the night of the million-zillion ninjas. They died, we didn't, so it worked out well for us.

As part of an effort to increase security at the GG, my character made some traps. I used the old 3.5 rules to make'em and kept the costs very low by making them one-shot jobbies and the poison was free (acquired some monstrous scorpions last session and I didn't manage to poison myself either).

Will the final rules include a better system for trap making? The existing rules are clunky and the prices (and resulting times to craft) are ridiculous, especially for mechanical ones. It does not cost 1000 gp (and 25 days) to dig and conceal a pit trap! Magical traps are already covered since they're wondrous items, but the mundane traps should be faaaar cheaper.

e.g. in Rrevenge of the Kobold King

Spoiler:
The kobold raiders have one night to put together all of their traps at the cutting yard. If they were using the craft rules and the current pricing, they'd still be surveying the area for their traps' locations.

Other than that, the combat went smoothly and nothing wierd happened rules wise.

Liberty's Edge

Hey folks!

We just wrapped up Shadow in the Sky last night, and boy what a meat grinder towards the end! My character was down to cantrips and pocket lint by the end of the last climactic encounter! Of course, if I hadn’t missed 10 rounds due to unconsciousness, I would have been down to the cantrips; having thrown the pocket lint as an improvised weapon. :)

A couple of things came up during the adventure that need examination; primarily with swimming. Our fighter, who must be part jet ski or dolphin, did a fair amount of swimming to dive for treasure and chase down a sailboat (which he did, the freak). There was some confusion about how swimming and drowning works because the two rules entries didn’t seem to jive. One said that you could hold your breath for Con rounds and the other said 2(Con) rounds. Which is correct? Also, I think the distance traveled by creatures without a swim speed is too low. A full round action to move half your base speed is pathetic. Something more akin to the jump rules might be appropriate, where you move the number of feet equal to your swim check.

The next adjustment needed is how Drow sleep poison works. I think that 10 rounds of unconsciousness is too high for the GP value of the poison. For a similar cost (minor item worth less than 150 gp), it far exceeds the ability of sleep arrow or scroll of sleep. There also needs to be clarification on whether or not someone affected by the poison can be woken up and if elves are immune to the sleep effect.

Next, what is the final wording on Arcane Strike going to be like? Is it going to be an enhancement bonus like regular magic weapons, or is it going to be untyped, and therefore stack with enhancement bonuses?

Finally, I was wondering about attacks of opportunity and frightened creatures. If a creature has been affected by the frightened condition, but has not had the opportunity to flee yet (not their turn yet) or unable to flee, can they make attacks of opportunity? My gut instinct is yes, given that the condition says that creatures unable to flee may fight. If you have not had a turn to flee, you are unable to run away, and if you are cornered, you cannot flee and therefore may fight. Is that confusing enough for you?

Thanks for reading. I enjoyed the module immensely. It had lots of different challenges and interesting tactical situations to cope with (my favourites were fighting on the catwalk at the GG, and role playing opportunities centered around running a business). Great adventure. Great rules. Great fun. Thanks Paizo!

X.


To chime in on the Frightened/AoO thing, I think they probably SHOULDN'T take AoO's. You mention that attacking is allowed when "unable to escape", but simply not having had their (abstract) Initiative count come up yet is very different than, say, being trapped in a locked room or cornered by enemies on all sides. "Unable to escape" is after all a pretty rules-vague meaning... It's a general appraisal of the situation, as opposed to a game mechanic-literal rule (such as ability to successfully execute a Move Action).

To me, the rules clearly mean a Frightened character will focus only on escaping the situation, UNTIL their actions can't possibly achieve that goal. A potential AoO situation occuring doesn't really change the "general appraisal of the possibility of escape" merely because of the additional attack opportunity offered. Likewise, I would not allow a Caster character with a Quickened Spell to Withdraw and cast that spell while still otherwise subject to the Frightened condition. Just because they don't have any Move Actions available at a given instant doesn't "negate" the over-all effect of being Frightened.

If Quickened Spells and Combat-Reflex flurries of AoO's (assuming multiple provocations) are deemed to be compatable with the Frightened Condition, the line between normal combat options seems substantially dimmed, IMHO.

Anyhow... Xuttah wrote:
Grapple: Seems to work fine at low levels. Human thugs vs. PC’s in a brawl made for a flavourful encounter at low level and the characters had no modifiers to their touch AC’s. If there were ongoing deflection, cover or concealment effects involved, then I believe they should affect the target CMB. Force fields, stuff in the way and poor visibility should make it harder to perform a combat maneuver IMO.

I was curious what attack/defense modifiers you were using...

Are you familiar with "Maneuver AC"? (search the boards for it)
It addresses all those Touch AC modifiers, which is balanced out by allowing all attack modifiers as well.
(Fingers crossed for making it into final :-)

Liberty's Edge

Quandary wrote:

I was curious what attack/defense modifiers you were using...

Are you familiar with "Maneuver AC"? (search the boards for it)
It addresses all those Touch AC modifiers, which is balanced out by allowing all attack modifiers as well.
(Fingers crossed for making it into final :-)

As it stands, we're using the Beta RAW. The only things we've changed is the ability score increases to 1 point to 2 stats every 3 levels to compensate for the fact that we're not allowing attribute increasing wondrous items. Galnorag is even using encounters converted to Beta rules to keep things on the level. This way it stands to be a relatively "pure" test of the rules without any outside sources clouding the results (including proposed changes to the Beta).

I've been a big proponent of adding attack modifiers to CMB since it came out, but we're probably not going to mess around with it until the final product hits the shelves.

I suppose that with the rules in their final edit, playtest reports have limited usefulness for the developers at this point. Perhaps I could turn my efforts to begging for rules teasers instead? ;)

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