Advice for Pathfinders, Old and New Alike


Liberty's Edge

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To: Major Colsin Maldris
From: Lance Corporal Bishop Shepherd

In my time with the Pathfinders I have learned much. Some through my education at the Grand Lodge, much from my trial by fire in the field. I hope the missive included makes its way to you, and perhaps even into the Chronicles. These are the rules that I live by on each and every mission. They have served me well. May they inspire free men everywhere.

0. Act. Always Act. Doing nothing is just as dangerous as doing the wrong thing. Might as well tempt fate while in action.
1. Never share a hiding spot with someone more foolish than thyself.
2. The easy way is trapped. The hard way is an ambush. The right way is hidden.
3. Levers are placed to be pulled.
4. Evil henchmen are often more potent combatants than their bosses. Be ready.
5. If the wizard dies with an uncast Fireball, he deserved it.
6. There is NEVER enough curative power.
7. Doors without traps lead to doors with them.
8. A fountain in a dungeon is a crapshoot.
9. Never trust a dead end.
10. Kill it first. That's what Raise Dead is for
11. Whenever possible, do not be the slowest team member.
12. Posting a strong rear guard can deter foes you don't know about. If you are not attacked, this is not a waste. This is proper.
13. Try to look unimportant, it might be low on ammo.

14. If it’s stupid and it works, it isn’t stupid.

15. Never lower your guard.

16. So what if you met in a bar 10 minutes ago, and the Society is sending you to the sewers below. Learn about your comrades’ strengths and weaknesses ASAP.

17. A comrade that stutters, hems, or haws trying to pinpoint their weaknesses can add “Doesn’t know when they’re screwed” to the list.

18. The thief doesn’t complain when the I doesn’t help pick the lock, the I shouldn’t complain when the thief doesn’t enter melee.

19. Gang up on bad guys. 5 wounded wizards can cast 5 fireballs. 4 healthy wizards can only cast 4 fireballs. That matters.

20. Trust your experts. Don’t get mad at the thief if he misses a trap, and he won’t get made when the demon resists your spell or the paladin gets mowed down.

21. You don’t need a body for resurrection, so don’t worry about leaving it behind.

22. Someone who ditches a group plan has signed up for whatever happens to them. Pay to have them raised, but don’t risk your neck for them.

23. When someone is getting themselves killed for something you screwed up on, suck it up and risk yours to get them out of it.

24. Never EVER EVER waste time in combat. Do SOMETHING, even if it's keeping a look out for reinforcements.

25. When the cleric says it’s time to stop, it’s time to stop. If the warrior says it’s time to stop, look at the healer for confirmation.

26. Situational Meritocracy gets you fortune and glory. Listen when you’re not in charge, and lead when you are.

27. What the paladin doesn’t know can’t hurt him.

28. What the thief doesn’t know CAN hurt you.

29. Melee get first dibs on tactical placement.

30. Never lie during triage.

31. If you decide to rest after you’ve run out of spells, you’re too late.

32. When the fighter yells for you to cast the fireball, listen. When the wizard tells you you’re going to get yourself killed, you listen. When the cleric flees you follow. When the thief gets killed by a trap, go get another thief before continuing.

33. Fighters are a wizard’s second best armor. Clerics are the best.

34. Spells should neither be whored nor hoarded.

35. What good is the reward if you aren’t around to use it?

36. Just because your cover is blown, charging isn’t plan B.

37. Portable Hole plus ballista equals success.

38. Always know which side the hinges are on.

39. ALWAYS listen after tampering with the door.

40. People can miss obvious sights, or shrug off noise, but scent is never missed.

41. Battle Code. Have one.

42. Treasure can be used right away.

43. It costs five copper pieces to shoot an exploratory arrow into the darkness, and five
44. hundred thousand copper pieces to get your Troubleshooter raised from the dead.

45. Never have relations with an important person.

46. It’s always an inside job.

47. “Rush In and Act Accordingly” only works when you trust your teammates.

48. Always have enough to get your sorry butt raised, and make sure your party-mates know where that stash is.

49. Always know how many charges are left in the wand of curing, even if you’re not the cleric.

50. If the thief introduces himself with an alias, go along with it!

51. Unless you’re a paladin, when the thief introduces YOU with an alias, go along with it.

52. When stocking up, assume every dungeon has a troll, a doppelganger, an incorporeal creature, and SWARMS.

53. Double doors guard things with more power than singe doors. As a corollary, the square footage of a door is directly proportional to the treasure behind the door.

54. Two bards is a waste. I don’t care how different their feat selection is.
55. Two fighters are never a waste, but always use different primary weapons.
56. All other things being equal, enhance your strengths before plugging up your weaknesses.
57. Assuming people are basically good is asking for it.
58. Dragons are dangerous from the day they hatch.
59. A wizard who resorts to melee does so because that’s how they want people to remember how they died.
60. Assuming that every monster in the dungeon is killable is suicide. Sometimes you’re supposed to run away.
61. The party’s strategist may not be the party’s tactician. Anyone can handle these jobs, don’t be cliché about this.
62. The time to fall back for healing is never lower than 1/3 power. Don’t wait until you’re almost dead, as it’ll become a cycle; heal, get hit, heal, get hit.
63. No matter your training, always have a light slashing weapon ready for use.
64. Use expendables. Summoned creatures don't really die.
65. If you can’t sum up your skill set in a single breath, something's wrong.
66. Everyone in the party should have a common language beyond simply Taldane.
67. If you tell the party to “trust you”, then don’t let them down. If you do let them down, don’t be surprised if they don’t go with it next time you ask.
68. Do not look down upon a partymate whose motivation is fortune and glory.
69. If there are multiple magic users on the team, communicate during combat, do not let one waste a spell when you just used on.
70. Do not hide your spell preparation from your teammates.
71. ALWAYS keep a map. Keep two in case that person gets eaten by a dragon.
72. Read things to yourself, never out loud.
73. When you meet someone on a mission, be courteous and learn their name.
74. If the same person appears in another mission, be smart and learn as much as you can about them.
75. If the same NPC appears in a very different environment after a long time, be wise and prepare to fight him to the death.
76. Female contacts exhibit a parabolic relationship between their comeliness and their importance. If very ugly or exceptionally beautiful, pay attention to what she says.
77. Assume every dungeon has an underground lake and a river of lava.
78. Unless you’re pressed for time, look for its lair, even if it’s a random event.
79. Sometimes treasure is hidden in the stomach.
80. There’s no such thing as an underground lake without a carnivorous creature in it.
81. Plan C should never be “Every man for himself.”
82. Assume the enemy will kill you without a poetic soliloquy, unless they're a bard. If they are a bard, assume their soliloquy will kill you.
83. Practice replacing statues with bags of sand filled to equal weight.
84. A lone kobold is either a powerful sorcerer, or bait.
85. If you can’t solve the puzzle in 5 minutes, break it.
86. If attacked by ninjas, remember the power of a ninja is inversely proportionate to the number of ninjas involved in the fight. Ten ninjas are fodder, but a lone ninja will kick your butt.
87. Default template for single file marching order is, in order of front to back, Troubleshooter, fighter, wizard, cleric. Always leave 5' of space between
88. There’s nothing wrong with making requests of the spell-casters for what spells to prepare for the day. Just like there’s nothing wrong with saying “no” to those requests.
89. Always carry a missile weapon. Unless your code prohibits you from using it, use it.
90. Burned out Ioun Stone + Continual Flame = best torch ever.
91. If your training isn't strictly martial, then do not be the first to run into a fight. Use that magic of yours first. Otherwise, you'll suck up curative power that could have been put to better use.
92. Monk + Silence = premier anti-caster tactic.
93. Know when to retreat, and know which characters in the party would rather die than do so.
94. Once fireballs are added to the mix, the city watch doesn’t care who started it.
95. Behold the power of the Cantrip: Ghost Sound can save your butt against dumb giants, and Mending can redo the seal on the royal letter you stole.
96. If the reward seems too good to be true, be prepared for a double cross. This doesn’t mean don’t take the contract, it just means be ready to fight the person who gave it to you.
97. Whenever possible, use cover and concealment.
98. Flanking is key. Do it, and don’t let it happen to you. When moving to flank, the armored ally should arrive before the back-stabber.
99. Decide to be aggressive enough, quickly enough. Better to have overkill than be killed.
100. Unless the details of your mission and/or allegiance require you to honor last requests, don’t.
101. When entering combat with a truly dangerous foe, don’t save your most powerful spells for “just in case”. Use them first.
102. Unless you have some kind of trump card, resist any and all urges to do melee battle with anyone on a ledge.
103. If you wipe the floor with the first wave of the enemy, assume the next wave is going to be the toughest. The instant you have determined the level of toughness, first hand, of the next wave, be ready with your most powerful skills.
104. The moral implications concerning bribery are relevant to the mark, not the Pathfinder. Bribery is as valid a tactic as intimidation.
105. If your mission involves a relic whose name contains the word "of" MORE than once. Do not listen to the Venture-Captain. This is NOT an easy mission and there WILL be Consortium competition.
106. Monks will never be as good at melee as fighters or as sneaky as trapsringers. Monks are “variable support." They make excellent wingman melee fighters, and wingman rogues.
107. If you suspect an ally has been replaced by a doppelganger, ask them to let you cast sleep on them. If it doesn’t work, they’re either elf-blooded or a doppelganger.
108. ALWAYS set watch.
109. Whenever reasonable, make the enemy come to you as you rain missile fire on them.
110. You should always know how each person on the mission would answer the question, “You’re lost in the desert and the water supply is dwindling, how should you split it?”
111. Always bring the tools to take notes. We get sent on a lot of missions to a lot of areas. Write down: names, goals, items, history, and challenges.
112. If you can’t swim because of your gear, then you need a solution that will protect you from drowning. You need this before you approach anything wet.
113. If the flooring in a building suddenly ends a new pattern begins do not advance until the troubleshooter gives the go ahead.
114. Everyone in the party should know who the fastest talker is, the best diplomat, and the most intimating member.
115. The order of operations is always schmooze, lie, then intimidate. Never reverse these.
116. There should never be any excess space in an extra-dimensional storage container. If you’re successful enough to have one, you’re wealthy enough to fill remaining space with food and water (and ammo). As space is needed, ditch the ammo, food, and water.
117. Scouts should always return to the group for planning, never should the group advance to the scout.
118. The place to plan is never close enough that a charge will bring the enemy within their striking distance.
119. Choose your attacks wisely. It might seem like a good idea to hit a raging Ulfen guard with a physically devastating spell, but it likely won’t work. Blast the slow, manipulate the weak, and debilitate the dim.
120. No matter what they say to the contrary, your paladin friends can hide their persona's with a spell.
121. Defense will only protect you, for a time, from defeat. It takes offense to actually conquer a foe.
122. One of the best pieces of equipment is a mundane item with the following abilities: used for nose plugs or earplugs, works as a timer for anything up to an hour, can check for air currents, can be a minor decoy, can make subtle markings on a wall to indicate exploration progress, and sheds a weak light. It weighs virtually nothing, so even the wizard can carry some. It’s called a “candle.”
123. Never split the party. Just don't do it.
124. If you are paired up. Never leave your wingman. Do Not Leave Your Wingman.
125. Know thy escape route.
126. Every team should have a policy on when it's time to make a last stand.
127. If you can pull off an ambush, hold the line until the enemy is within melee range. Shooting a target from far way isn't an ambush.
128. Never ford a river at the ford.
129. When the plan goes wrong, go back to the beginning (or some other clearly designated point.)
130. Never return from the dungeon the way you went in. Foolish is the bandit who attacks the party prepped to kill them all and let Pharasma sort them out. Wise is the bandit who attacks the resource depleted, treasure laden party.
131. Destroy enemy spellcasters first.
132. Do not look down upon mundane equipment. Keep pitons, flour, and empty sacks on hand.
133. Pay attention to ammo.
134. If you are given 5 hours to chop down a tree, spend the first 4 sharpening the axe. Preparation beats talent, always.
135. Never keep a side mission a secret from your party unless ordered to do so.
136. Know thyself. Inside and out. Be familiar with your abilities, equipment, and spells. Prepare.
137. Immerse yourself ahead of time. Read the Pathfinder Chronicles. There is inspiration and lessons to be learned. Tis a boon for all.
138. Beware of symmetrical dungeon levels. These contain Very Bad Things.
139. Beware of almost symmetrical dungeon levels. There's a secret door.
140. When expecting trouble it is not a waste to cast spells ahead of time. A cleric's blessing given too early is better than not having it when a fight breaks out.
141. Knowledge is power. Invest.

This list is an in character cut down version of a list I made in college. The full version is HERE.

Dark Archive

142 - Clerics did not join the Pathfinder Society to be your healing battery.
142b - Smite clerics really did not join the Pathfinder Society to be your healing battery.
143 - You didn't bring your own cure light wounds wand?
144 - You didn't bring your own endure elements wand?
145 - You didn't bring your own mage armor wand?
145b - the mage armor wand (or potion) is the cheapest, lightest, and fastest armor you can don when waking up during a night raid.
146 - You expect the neutral spellcaster to spend their hard earned wealth on you? Please explain your other delusions, some of them may be humorous.

Liberty's Edge

147. Dumpster diving seems like a good idea at the TIME, but when you fail 3 Fort saves it's just stupid.

Dark Archive

147B. Now I understand the need for Constitution by certain classes.

Liberty's Edge

148. Never split the party.

149. If you're an archer, use weapon blanches!

150. Never forget to do it with STYLE!!!

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