PbP Community MTS II - Blood under Absalom GM Discussion Thread [spoilers]

GM Discussion

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@Shifty - important question:

So what kind of prep are the characters allowed to take before going on stage? The rules say run it like a normal combat. Obviously the characters are aware of what is going to happen as they dress up. Can the PC's cast whatever spells prior to rolling init? I'll assume that if the answer is yes, the NPCs have the same opportunity.

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" Now go and prepare yourselves for the evening’s performance. It starts in 10 minutes!”

They have ten minutes, to undress/dress/prepare etc.


Okay, I'll take that as the party can casts spells right up until the round before Init starts.

What's the situation with Animal Companions in this scene? I suspect they're meant to be left out, even if they could do nonlethal damage, if only because none of the costumes would fit them and none of the roles imply animal companions (although the Crone might be suitable for someone with a Familiar and the Monkey King could no doubt have an ape companion, but neither of those things are to be found at my table).


That's a good question on whether animal companions can participate, especially since it appears that this is just non-lethal combat, with no real acting required.

I did a word search and neither the word animal nor companion even show up in the scenario, so it's clear the authors don't address companions at any point. Kind of surprising that author didn't consider whether a Druid would try and dress up a bear for something like this.

Liberty's Edge 3/5

I'm also of the opinion that companions were not meant to be part of the act, although it is not explicitly written.

But it gets confusing, what if your companion is an eidolon that is biped and can clearly talk and walk and dress up in a costume? Is the companion allowed to participate? What about a companion who is a four legged eidolon?

I've not communicated to my group yet who has one leopard companion, but for simplicity I will likely rule it not able to participate as I don't see how the creature fits into the act.


Yeah, didn't even think about eidolons which are meant to represent fantastical creatures. Probably would be good if Shifty made a call on this so all tables can operate under the same restrictions.

I think it would be kind of cool to prohibit all separate entities: eidolons, companions, and familiars, but it should apply to all games or none of them.


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I'd be more inclined to think of an animal companion as a fancy 'prop' then an actor.

In that context, they could probably be inserted in various positions.

But given the DC 25 handle animal check... bringing one is just begging for disqualification in many tiers.


Just realized I had another question.

Can any character make physical attacks or only those that start with a weapon (General, Warrior Woman, both jing, and both chou)?

Also, what if a weapon is sundered or stolen. Can the person switch to unarmed attacks? In other words, if you're given a weapon are you restricted to only attacking with that weapon?

Sovereign Court 2/5

By the way, if you want to inject some realism in this latest scene, I'll gathered together a number of pictures of the different roles in my latest post. Feel free to use the links.

The scenario as written is actually quite accurate in terms of the different roles in a traditional chinese opera.

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"Don't work with animals or children" is one of the age old bits of wisdom from stage and screen, and I'd suggest it holds true here as well.

There is no explicit exclusion of animals etc, and I am uninclined to arbitrarily nix people out of their class features - it creates more drama than this scene and endless complaining posts in the forum.

If they want to bring on pets, especially AC's, then it's going to be a pile of DC25 HA checks which will probably make it more effort than it's worth. Caveat emptor. If fluffy goes off the chain and mauls someone who hits it then bad things might happen.

If the weapon is sundered or stolen etc, nothing precludes some 'amateur kung-fu', but bear in mind they are unarmed attacks etc with all that entails.

Kuey has got some great images there, and that post is sensational - recommend people steal it as hard as they can. I'm more used to Indonesian plays (Barong, Garuda, Monkey etc).

My PC for this adventure is a Kensei, so it's a little frustrated with the lack of an armed but not armored option - UNLESS we're willing to say the Wizened Crone's cane is a nonlethal weapon for that role, which isn't specified but makes complete sense.

What do we think of that?

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They've specified everything else down to the level of people using random broom handles, I suspect the point of the crone is that she isn't really engaging in melee.


Checking the sorcerer, she's unarmed, but it lists an unarmed strike. So I'm assuming that all characters are free to use unarmed strikes

Oh wow...what about other magic items, rings, wands, staves? You know, at first I was thinking yes, but looking at the gear of the NPCs, they have no magic items. So it's looking like NO?


Shifty wrote:

If they want to bring on pets, especially AC's, then it's going to be a pile of DC25 HA checks which will probably make it more effort than it's worth. Caveat emptor. If fluffy goes off the chain and mauls someone who hits it then bad things might happen.

Just to be clear, you only need to succeed once on a HA check to push an animal. It's not every attack.

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*Concur - unarmed are legit.

*The players are only limited as stated, ie they have to contend with limited weapons/armour per their roles. Everything else is fine.

*HA is reqiuired each time the animal is commanded to carry out an action. Once it is attacking an opponent it stays on that command/opponent, but switching opponents etc will require checks to be made.

The point is not to forget what tricks and DC's are applicable (and if the animal is injured the check is +2DC). For Druids and Rangers, pushing an animal is a move action. They should be ok, unless people have been dump statting or only invested minimal amounts in handle animal.

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*Table GM's will be added as reporters to the event.
This means you will be able to simply upload your own table data for reporting.
Please issue your players their chronicles however you normally would.

*Back-up GM's, I will input your data.

*Vouchers etc. Any vouchers/prizes (aside from boons) will be distributed via an open roll of all participants (player and GM) that I will post at the end of the event. I will be using your table data at: Table composition Please let me know of any MIA players.

*GM Boons will be emailed to you directly at the conclusion of the event.

I updated the sheet (still missing 1 PFS #), and did a strikethrough on an MIA player. Does that work?

4/5 5/55/55/55/5

All good thanks mate :)

5/5 5/5 *

Hi Shifty

Unfortunately I'm quite sick and unable to follows my game here.
I hope to be better soon, but meanwhile I wouldn't like to stop my players to be rip from one of the fun part of the scenario. I someone could take over my game while I'm not well it will be great.


I can fill in.
And by that I mean... on it!


When is the curtain going up?

Due to Ilmakis' illness, the table just got their costume options 3 hours ago... so they've not all had time to respond yet.

4/5 5/5

On Hmm's table the curtain went up some 14 hours ago.

4/5 5/55/55/55/5

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Hi all,

Back-up GM's are all now gainfully employed, some may be engaged for an indeterminate period. I'm sourcing an additional one now :)

Grand Lodge 2/5 5/5

One of my players and I were out at a con over the weekend, so over the weekend we only got through costume selection and curtain call. We're in the thick of the first round of combat now, and my table is pretty good about posting, so we should have no problem moving forward with good time.

Also, on the spreadsheet I deleted a pair of no-shows and replaced them with the guys who hopped in. We have a full table of 6, just not quite the table that was originally registered.

Sovereign Court 4/5

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I think I've been sourced.

Sovereign Court 2/5

Just to check for time, we have up to Sunday morning (Shifty's time) to finish this scene?


Wait, the show is supposed to be started? Isn't there supposed to be an announcement?

Sovereign Court 2/5

Oh, and is there an error with the Ronin's AC for tier 1-2? He is garbed as the General, so i.e. wearing splint mail, but AC is listed as 18 (+7 AC, +1 Dex).


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GM kuey wrote:
Just to check for time, we have up to Sunday morning (Shifty's time) to finish this scene?

That's what I thought.

Dark Archive 3/5

I'm back and on top of things for my table, so GM Kashka is available for sourcing Shifty. Also, when are we supposed to report all of this? Are we filling out the info form like the last special?

Is there a backup DM still available? I'd like to tag out.

Here's my thread.


Shifty wrote:
Looks to be the case, as the Ronin stat block firmly appears later. The party just won't connect it is all.

Shifty, let me rephrase the question. My table did not do the Ronin encounter. Does that mean they fight the Ronin, or they do not fight the Ronin since they never got a chance to befriend him?

Maybe my wording was a little opaque last post: I would like one of the backup DMs to take over for me, at least for a while, please and thank you.

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Overseer yells curtains on day 8, with the scene ending on day 9.

@NN - If the PCs failed to befriend the ronin from the interlude encounter, he now accompanies the Consortium team. If instead the PCs befriended the ronin, the Consortium is accompanied by a new fighter, who uses the original
fighter’s stat block. If the ronin is on the Aspis Consortium team, he chooses The General; otherwise, the Aspis fighter portrays the Warrior Woman. So in this case the Ronin would be there I assume, its just that the PC's haven't really met him before, so it won't have a lot of meaning

@IDiYC, I will ask Granta to take over your table until further notice, hope all is ok mate :)

@Granta, could you kindly look after the above table.

@Kuey the scene began Saturday morning my time, so will hear 'Curtains' on Sunday morning my time. Act 6 will begin my Monday morning.

...Off to source ANOTHER back-up GM...! :)

Sovereign Court 4/5

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I'm on it.

4/5 5/55/55/55/5 ****

So just checking in.

I'll be back to my own table on Wednesday, so you'll be able to get GM G back fairly soon. Between a convention and my kid's college road trip, I've had a very busy five days. Thank goodness for Magabeus and the GM backup system!

Hugs to all,


Grand Lodge 2/5 5/5

At the moment the aspis sorceress is levitating above the battlefield but is permanently blinded. Technically there is no real easy way to force her down, but she's a useless combatant now. I'm thinking that once all of her allies drop I'll have her blast the party with black tentacles or burning hands in anger and get promptly disqualified by the judges. Does that sound like a reasonable solution?

4/5 5/55/55/55/5

LOL whilst it would be funny and probably well deserved, I think even the Aspis would be smart enough to just suck up the loss hoping to pick up a victory later.

So no cranky pants Tentacles or Fireballs, or mana from heaven :)

In some ways, not securing a clear victory makes it interesting, the party either solves a problem or is forced to a coin toss.

Dark Archive 4/5 5/55/5 *** Venture-Lieutenant, Conventions—PaizoCon

I think our combat is about to end very early as the Ronin just crit with his sword.

As per non-lethal rules all non-lethal damage over max hp becomes lethal damage which ends the Opera immediately. If everyone is topped off on health then the first side to have someone go 'unconscious' should end the fight as it will deal at least 1 point of lethal damage.

Just weird timing on everything as the entire fight is dealing with non-lethal damage.

Grand Lodge 2/5 5/5

Yeah, that's a weird subject. When I played this in person the GM indicated that the organizer told them not to use that as grounds for a disqualification as it didn't appear to be the intent of the performance. Obviously that goes against the strictest interpretation of the rules, but seeing as the rules for nonlethal damage attacks and the rules for winning the encounter are at cross purposes to each other, I kinda lean towards letting it go unless a character continues to pummel an already unconscious character.


Let's apply some common sense - the point of ending the fight is to punish the actors who don't follow the rules...

non-lethal damage dealt in excess of hp total is not the trigger intended to end the fight.

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I concur that the intent is to deal non-lethal, and as long as the players are playing in that spirit then we are all good.

So beating someone to negatives using non-lethal is ok, even though the Pathfinder mechanics suggest once the person is down the damage starts becoming lethal.

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How many bad guys?

The PC's always face five combatants.

Either they face off with the Ronin, or they face off with a nameless NPC. If it is the Ronin, he plays one role, if it is the fighter they play another.

Either way it will be five opponents.

Ronin (as General)+4 Aspis


Fighter mercenary (as Warrior Woman) +4 Aspis.

The Ronin interlude was simply there to give further (optional) depth to the encounter.

4/5 5/5

I have put 4 bad guys on stage as I read it as either the Warrior Woman OR the General plus rogue, sorcerer and cleric.

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If it has been committed then I am loathe to retcon it. As NN959 has suggested elsewhere - the writing on this one could do with 'some gentle revision'.

I ran Runecarved Key on Sunday to wrap up a local con, and that has some sorrow-inducing moments of bad writing as well, so team, it doesn't 'get better' :p

My next MTS will be Siege of the Diamond city for another con, I haven't popped that one out for a detailed read yet, but I am now feeling burnt by specials.

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Backup GM's - sitrep

The following are now the current support GM's for the event.

If you need to AFK or step away for a period, please let them know asap.

Attached to GMBatPony until ~25 Feb, then away.

Evil Minion
Attached to Ilmakis table ufn

Andrew Torgerud
Conducting hoto with GMEvil, back in circulation shortly

Attached to IHiYC table ufn

I think I need another back-up, that looks like a full dance card.

4/5 5/5

I am also attached to GM Hmm, until today ;-)

4/5 5/55/55/55/5

Hmmmmmm I will go get another back-up.

Silver Crusade 4/5 *

I am available as requested, Shifty, to be a backup/backup GM. I am playing in GM DevilDoc's table, but otherwise available to help. I go by GM Erich when called into action.

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