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Forum: Pathfinder
 Topic: Reflections on Pathfinder
Reflections on Pathfinder [message #423] Wed, 21 October 2009 07:03
like_a_god is currently offline like_a_god
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So, our group has been running Pathfinder for a little over a month and I thought it would be a good time to offer a few reflections and to see what you guys have to say about it.

I beleive that Pathfinder continues on where DND 3.5 left off. In this regard, it has a lot going for it. Great customization options and lots of little details that make things interesting. I like the fact that, for the most part, 3.5 resources can be used with Pathfinder (granted some take more tweaking than others.)

I can't really speak to a lot of the ruleset tweaks quite yet. We haven't used a lot of the Combat Maneuver rules. Still, combat is pretty much how I remember it otherwise. I like the newer rules for character death/dying as it gives the players a few more options in combat and more RP options outside of it.

As a DM I love that the XP and encounter creation have taken a page from DND 4th edition and this has really simplified that process. The XP reward scaling is also a quite nice because our group isn't made up of power gamers.

For all its benefits, the system does inherit some major flaws from DND 3.5. For instance, the crafting skill is still broken to the point of uselessness, at least given our campaign. My group is working on a replacement that will probably appear on these boards shortly. And, the way that concealment is written has caused a little ripple in the group, which a house ruling quickly solved.

I've also found that the CR for the 3.5 creatures and the power of the new core classes in Pathfinder are no longer correlate accurately. Hopefully, this problem will solve itself with the release of the new Pathfinder Beastiary (which I believe comes out today LOL...) Granted, I'm also working with a larger group than I've had so it may be me that's having a little trouble adjusting LOL.

Any thoughts from you guys?

like_a_god
 Topic: Cheat Sheets of Gameplay Mechanics
Cheat Sheets of Gameplay Mechanics [message #409] Tue, 25 August 2009 18:42
like_a_god is currently offline like_a_god
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As many of you know I love cheat sheets. As a player I usually have some sort of notes regarding the abilities and powers of the characters I play. As a DM I often provide my players with a cheat sheet of campaign data for easy reference. I've found these sheets valauble because it helps to minimize the need to flip through books or pdf, especially during intense action.

I was wondering if anyone would be willing to create a cheat sheet containing some of the new system mechanics for Pathfinder? The sheet(s) could include things such as the new combat mechanics, information regarding skill usage and the reworked conditions. Basically anything that would be commonly used in game or mechanics that have undergone a significant change between 3.5 and Pathfinder.

If anyone is willing to do this I can print out a copy for each of us.

Thanks in advance,

like_a_god
 Topic: Regarding Nauseated Save for Swarm
Regarding Nauseated Save for Swarm [message #408] Mon, 24 August 2009 06:59
like_a_god is currently offline like_a_god
Messages: 549
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Good Morning,

As some of you were leaving from the character roll up we were in the middle of a mock battle where a swarm had nauseated a character and we were trying to figure out when the save was made for the condition. The confusion resulted from a misunderstanding of how the ability was worded. Initially, most of us thought that the condition resulted from a successful attack and a subsequent failed save. However, upon rereading it, the condition only becomes a threat for characters starting their turn off in the space of the swarm.

Thanks

like_a_god
 Topic: like_a_god's B'Day Wish
like_a_god's B'Day Wish [message #400] Tue, 18 August 2009 18:29
like_a_god is currently offline like_a_god
Messages: 549
Registered: May 2009
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Yes, it's that time of year again where I start to feel old... and I need presents to make me feel better! So, since I'm sure you all want to plan ahead on this, my Birthday most years is Sept 30. What does I need? Well, The Pathfinder Bestiary would be quite the gift!

Better to kill you with my sweeties!

Love,

like_a_god
 Topic: Conversion Guide - Change in a Nutshell
Conversion Guide - Change in a Nutshell [message #396] Fri, 14 August 2009 19:48
like_a_god is currently offline like_a_god
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So, while I was waiting to to download the .pdf, I found the free 3.5 to Pathfinder conversion guide. I decided to give it a once over since Dragonsong wants to play a Warlock in the Baying of the Hounds campaign. While the guide didn't cover Warlock specifically, it did contain a LOT about how the mechanics changed between the two systems. One of the things I like about the guide is its simple straight forward approach and the little insights it offers into why certain changes were made. For instance, when speaking of magic items it states;

Quote:
The Pathfinder RPG changes certain assumptions about purchasing magic items. This is an important change, as it limits the types of items that the PCs can purchase and means that they will use less common items during their adventures. Not every PC should have a ring of protection, cloak of resistance, and belt of giant strength. The game does not assume that every PC has such items, so there is no reason to make them as common as they were in 3.5. The Pathf inder RPG encourages PCs to use some of the more exotic items that they find during their travels, instead of just cashing them in to buy the best item for their character statistically...


If you want to see a quick glimpse of the differences in mechanics and whatnot, I'd highly advise downloading it! It's available at the Paizo site.
 Topic: Pathfinder BETA: Compatible but New
Pathfinder BETA: Compatible but New [message #392] Sun, 09 August 2009 19:30
like_a_god is currently offline like_a_god
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So, I've finally gotten a chance to look through the Pathfinder BETA. I've been wanting to do this for awhile but I've really only gotten a chance to look at it in little snippets. There are still a few sections I need to read, but I've focused on much of the stuff that effects how the game runs. Granted, I haven't gotten my hands on the finalized version yet and I'm waiting with great eagerness.

The one thing that I would offer at this point is a word of caution to gamers moving from DND 3.5 to Pathfinder. Simply,

Don't take anything for granted.

Sure, there are some obvious changes, such reworked core character class, as the skill system revamp (for the better)and a new combat mechanic surrounding grapples. Similarly, there are no longer cure minors, sorcerers don't get familiars and turning has been replaced by a way more interesting and more straight forward mechanic (thank the gods). However, there are many more subtle changes that could cause some issues if overlooked. One of the big ones for me was the reworking of the identify spell (I HATED what they did to identifying magic items in 4th Edition DND). It's now a 1st level spell that requires no cost (goodbye 100gp component), is open to failure (based off of arcane knowledge check) and cannot be used to identify artifacts.

The one disappointment I have about the system so far is that it didn't rework how 3.5 used alignments. I was happy to see it becoming a viable mechanic in 4th edition, one that resulted from a character choice rather than representing an innate personality. Oh, well, I'll house rule this... You can't win em all.

Now, just sitting back waiting for the final version... then, we can get down to see what needs to be house ruled!
Forum: At The Table and Behind the Screen
 Topic: Add Some Grit to Your Game
Add Some Grit to Your Game [message #15] Mon, 01 June 2009 13:42
Martini Saint is currently offline Martini Saint
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Add Some Grit to Your Game

One trap I've seen quite a few GMs fall into that I try my best to avoid is having your players feel as though they can get away with anything without serious repercussions. Of course, there are some game systems and genres that lend themselves to this sort of thing and they can be fun; however, most games are crafted and run with the hope that the players will get excited about the game and even feel some anticipation if not actual fear for their characters from time to time. If the GM is bringing in a deux ex machina every time the characters get into some kind of trouble not only are they unlikely to take even the most dire circumstances seriously but they are also quite likely to lose interest in the game. Who is really interested in playing a game where your character is untouchable?

This isn't limited to combat situations, social interactions and other whatnot can also bring up these issues. So, even if a GM is relatively even-handed with combat situations, if the players know that they will get whatever information they require from some NPC or another regardless of how they act or how poorly they roll then interactions become something far less than thrilling--more of a task that has to be performed to further the plot line in lieu of something enjoyable. Imagine if a noblewoman NPC never got offended by the uncouth tribesman in front of her asking her about some religious artifact her family holds even though the tribesman constantly spits and is wearing barely tanned skins for clothing. How ridiculous is that? That sort of thing happens with relative frequency in games. Perhaps it is only a bit of information and the GM doesn't want to deal with it; perhaps s/he doesn't want to restrict a particular player because they chose a class that doesn't fit in a situation very well; maybe the GM didn't consider that the PCs may fail to get the information from an NPC. Whatever the case is, by not dealing with the very real issues surrounding social interactions the GM is really taking something away from the players by doing this. One of the best ways to facilitate character depth is to have them fail from time to time. Of course, don't overdo this.

It is one thing to have a PC fail every so often and quite another to hamstring them and their character concept by constantly throwing up roadblocks or having whatever they are trying fail. One example of this that I was on the receiving end of was when I was playing a character who I developed as a con artist. I would think about a great way to con someone throughout the week and implement it sometime during the game when it was appropriate. Some were decent ideas, others were long shots and two of them I think should have been almost fool-proof. However, regardless of how I worked them into the game or how naive my NPC mark appeared to be, my cons never worked. Throughout the entirety of that game not one of my ideas worked out. The GM just wouldn't have the NPCs fall for it or some kind of event would happen to make it fail. A frustrating situation to say the least for a character approved by the GM beforehand and designed to do that very kind of thing. I'm fairly certain that particular GM fell into the me-vs-them kind of thinking, but I'll deal with that little pitfall sometime down the line.

So, how then do we GMs add grit to our games to keep them exciting without going overboard? Well, as I eluded to earlier, there are two different aspects to this: combat and social interactions. I dealt quite a bit with combat in my last post--Give Players What They Want--and will deal with it more in depth in a future post as well; however, the essence of it is to make combat exciting by keeping character death a very real threat. Does this mean you should never save characters? Of course not, we're GMs, cheating is in the job description. However, you should never save characters if it would be obvious you are doing so nor should you always save them. In the last game I was running in the very first session the sorceress in the party decided to light a room on fire while trying to make their escape. Of course, a fight ensued with the fire constantly spreading and the party trying desperately to get out of the room prior to getting burned to a crisp. They had to climb a very short distance to get to safety and I made it pretty easy to do as I didn't mind them all getting singed a bit while fighting but I didn't want to kill anyone off the first session. It was a pretty safe situation really being the people attacking were weak and the way to safety was easy to access; however, as sometimes happens in games, the fates were against one of the party. The fighter was rolling horribly and couldn't make the really low roll required to get the heck out of the way of the fire even after five attempts. He died still trying to climb up. In that situation I couldn't really save him even if I had wanted to. I told them what roll they needed (I often do this when it doesn't need to by a mystery just to keep the pace of the game up) and when he couldn't roll it it would have been painfully obvious that the GM saved him...let players know this even once and you've lost credibility. Not that I really mind a player dying every now and then; like the red shirts from Star Trek, it makes the players realize that I will not shy away from character death. Of course, I'm not out to get the characters either.

Social interactions are a bit more tricky. Death isn't usually a possibility when simply talking to some NPCs (though sometimes it is) so that isn't a viable threat. However, there are still repercussions to actions even when talking to people. The tribesman from the first example could have easily ended up stewing in jail for a while or, at the very least, being thrown out of the estate. Even those without any kind of political sway will still refuse to talk with PCs if they aren't treated with respect. Try to keep the outward appearance and history of the characters in mind when they interact with NPCs as well. If a warlock tries to speak with people who know he is a warlock, regardless of the different kinds of pacts in D&D, they may be viewed with a healthy dose of suspicion. Barbarians, tribesmen, savages and such are likely to be viewed as uncouth and uncivilized by pretty much everyone in a city environment so aren't likely to get much out of people except snide remarks. Also, if the game system has something like appearance or charisma, play it up. If a character with a low social score starts talking to someone have the NPC seem obviously uncomfortable or uninterested.

Remember, there is no fun in being untouchable, so make your players decidedly uncomfortable in situations and bring in some repercussions for failing.
 Topic: Give Players What They Want
Give Players What They Want [message #14] Mon, 01 June 2009 13:41
Martini Saint is currently offline Martini Saint
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Give Players What They Want

I really wish I could claim originality here, however, I read this in a gaming magazine some time ago. Be that as it may, it is certainly worth repeating over and over and over again: give the players what they want.

Most players, if asked, would say things like "+34 Bastard Sword of Instant Baddie Destruction" or "100 billion dollars" or other whatnot to boost their power. The reality of the situation is that players don't want those. Sure, it may be fun to be an indestructible juggernaut of destruction for a session or two but it gets to be pretty boring pretty quick when nothing is a challenge. What players really want is almost the exact opposite of this.

Players want to be roughed up, beaten down, bloodied, battered and bruised but then win. They want to win but they don't want to do so easily. They want to win only after it looks like they may not be able to do so and after their GM has drug them through the fire...twice, just to make sure they got burned the first time. Players want to emerge triumphant by the skin of their teeth.

There is a fine line here, however, as if you constantly beat down the players they will soon get frustrated with the game and this is a poor place for a game to be. So, you have to let them have their victories now and then to keep them excited about the game, but let only very few of them come easily. The rest of them should make them cringe at the memory of what they had to go through to get there. And, don't be afraid to do whatever is necessary to accomplish this. Fudge rolls; add more beasties halfway through the battle; throw some resistances to things they use frequently; do whatever it takes to bloody them up, but give them their victory in the end. Of course, you want to keep your screen up during all of this so they don't actually see you "cheating"...it's no fun if they know what you are doing. Along the same lines, you can't use the same kind of tricks all the time or players will come to know what you're doing. You also have to mix it up, let them have a small victory with relative ease from time to time and don't make every battle epic.

Players want epic battles where they aren't assured of victory and they want to be smacked down to just above death, but they still want to be heroes and heroes ultimately win. So, pull out all the nastiness you can muster and start making some players cry!
 Topic: The Pregame: New Game Tips
The Pregame: New Game Tips [message #13] Mon, 01 June 2009 13:40
Martini Saint is currently offline Martini Saint
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The Pregame: New Game Tips

Starting off a new game is a pretty exciting time for both players and GMs alike. Players get to roll up some new persona to adopt and the GM gets to actually build a new story or even a world...good times all around. However, after the initial excitement wears off in a game or two you have to have something good for the players or your game is going to start bogging down. Here are some tips to keep this from happening before your group even begins to start playing your game.

1) Theme! Have some kind of a theme or genre for your game. Whether it is high adventure, comic, horror or whatever, having an idea of what feel or mood you want for your game makes it far easier for you to make decisions about it. We'll talk about how to create a mood for your particular genre later, but just deciding on what you want out of your game is an excellent first step.

2) Story arcs. I've played in many games that just kind of meandered around without a serious purpose or goal--one side adventure after another. While this is fine for a session or two, players really want to be moving toward something. There's nothing wrong with having an overarching goal that is the ultimate direction the game is going toward (throwing a magic ring into a volcano, for example); however, there is a lot of ground to cover prior to getting there and simply floating along this general storyline isn't going to stay very exciting. So, storyarcs are a great way to go even from the get-go. Smaller goals that take somewhere between three and five sessions to accomplish keep the players moving toward your overall goal while still giving them a sense of accomplishment somewhat frequently.

3) Too much work. I once had a GM who calculated the exact altitude of the landscape in the world he put us in, decided what kind of gems were located in which set of mountains determined by the geology of the area, figured out what the wind patterns and ocean currents were and other minute details...nope, not kidding. The amount of detail he would put into games was incredible to say the least. Of course, the real issue came in when he decided that we all would actually need to know any of this to play. As a player, I was completely uninterested in what kind of rocks a mountain range on the other side of the world primarily consisted of and all of that kind of thing was included in the reams of information he would give us prior to playing.

Keep things simple. Just focus on where your players will begin play, what they would know and what you need to know in order to run the game--figure out the rest on the fly. Coming up with things off the cuff has some hidden benefits: it tends to be more organic and often leads you in directions you didn't think to go down. So, certainly, do the work you need to do but don't go too much beyond that as it tends to bog down your game.

4) Not enough work. The reverse of the above is that you don't do enough background work and end up with a game in which you don't know what is going on in the grand scheme of things or even right where your players are. So, figure out enough to keep yourself from floundering around and trying to figure out every single detail as you go along. This does the exact same thing that you wanted to avoid by not overly detailing things.

Although these are pretty self-evident tips, they are certainly still worth keeping in mind before you start crafting your new game.
 Topic: It's the GM's Fault!
It's the GM's Fault! [message #12] Mon, 01 June 2009 13:39
Martini Saint is currently offline Martini Saint
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Like_a asked me to throw the stuff I currently have in my new blog over here. So, here's my first installment!

It's the GM's Fault

I figure this should be my first post as it deals with the one thing that everything else in a game hinges upon: it's your fault. Things seldom go perfectly as planned in any table top game and that is one of the wonderful things about this hobby we all enjoy; I love it when my players come up with some creative and ingenuous way to thwart my carefully planned out trap of some kind or another. Just a few weeks ago I had my poor players in the depths of a demonically possessed ship. They had to get to the other side of one of the ballast rooms which, I thought, would mean they would have to swim through the water which I had conveniently placed some nastiness in just to make their lives more interesting. Of course, a bilge room was directly above so they simply pumped out the water in this particular ballast tank and walked through the flopping fish with sharp teeth and sludge. Not quite as interesting as if they had to walk through it, but it was awesome watching them try to figure out something so they didn't have to actually get into the water.

So, of course, things like that happen and you have to be willing to roll with them; however, that isn't really what we're worried about here. The point I'd like to make with this post is if something is going wrong in your game it is your fault. Is a player obviously not paying enough attention to the game? Your fault. Someone bored? Your fault. Game bogged down for some reason? You guessed it, it is your fault. Even when players are being disruptive despite your best efforts it is still your responsibility to cease the disruption. As the GM, you are the captain of the gaming ship and, as such, are ultimately responsible for everything that happens during your game--both the good and the bad. We won't worry about the good being that when stuff like that happens you don't want to change a thing. The steps you should be taking are pretty commonsense, but worth noting anyway.

1) The first thing you need to do is realize when a problem is happening. Although that may sound simplistic ("Of course I'm going to know when something bad is happening in my game!") but sometimes it isn't so easy to detect. In my last game I got caught off guard by a problem that I never even noticed was going on and it very nearly doomed the game. It was the same game I mentioned above; the game had a very dark feel to it and may have even been classified as borderline horror. It was going wonderfully well, I was able to really draw the players into the game and have them concerned about their characters (something every GM looks to do). There were numerous ways they could have gone about tackling the situations I presented them with but their default was to rely heavily upon the cleric in the party and her ties with the divine. This is what I didn't notice and should have. The group was heavily reliant upon the cleric to do quite a bit of the heavy lifting when it came to what was going on with the demons and such. So, when the cleric died the other players played their characters well and simply gave up on the demonic aspects and focused instead on just getting the hell off of this big creepy ship. The feel of the game changed drastically and the hard work I put into the game was ultimately for nothing as we switched gears completely.

The point here is to pay very close attention to what is going on in your game. If the players are having fun, that's great, but are there underlying issues that you should be aware of and dealing with as well? After each game just take a couple of minutes to go over what is happening in the game and try to detect hidden perils that may come up to bite you.

2) Don't ignore the problem in hopes it goes away. Of course, if the issue is a player who is distracted you can--and should--give them a bit of time to correct it themselves; however, if it is continuing then you need to step up and address it. It isn't up to your players to correct problems even if it is them who are creating the problem. Take responsibility for your game and act to make it right.

One of the most difficult things a GM has to deal with is problems with players themselves. It's never comfortable to confront someone about their actions. Several years ago the group I was gaming with moved to one of our player's apartments to play. The problem came about almost immediately after we moved into our new spot. This player's wife doesn't play RPGs but enjoys listening to the game. While this wouldn't bother me at all, the issue was that she was also somewhat vocal about what was going on. If something intense was happening she would let out exclamations of concern and whatnot or if the group was interacting with an NPC she would let out commentary on what the party should do. Not only that but she would also play video games with the sound quite loud and interrupt the game to talk to her husband. It was incredibly distracting both for myself and the players and made it almost impossible to create a mood of any kind. I took the player aside at first and spoke to him about it being I knew him better than his wife. The next session she was better but soon reverted back to disrupting the game so I spoke with her about it after one of our sessions. I suggested putting on earphones for the video games and trying to wait until one of our breaks to speak with her husband (which came at fairly regular intervals being there were a couple of smokers in the group). She got better but then worse again. Finally, I had to talk to the group about finding a different place to play. All in all it took a couple of months to finally work out but I was trying to address the problem in different ways throughout. I should also mention that the player and his wife became very close friends over time and there were no hard feelings--that's important when dealing with things like this, make certain to be polite and take other people's feelings into consideration when addressing tricky situations.

3) Do what needs to be done. I usually start addressing an issue by looking at how I could fix it by changing something about the game itself. If someone isn't as interested as I'd like them to be what do I need to do as a GM to get them into the game? If the game is moving somewhat slowly I'm looking to inject it with some urgency somehow. Of course, it the issue is with a player it isn't really feasible to do this; however, for most issues the GM faces changes in the game can correct the problem. Essentially, try the easiest method and keep escalating the fix until you find something that works. No matter how severe the fix may be, if it has to be done to make the game fun for everyone then it is what needs to happen.

I once had a player who absolutely refused to quit interrupting people and telling them how to play their characters. I'm sure you've all gamed with the same sort of person. They simply must have their voices heard at all times and in all situations regardless of how it interferes with the game. Games usually ended with that player taking off and the others complaining about him. I spoke with him a few times about it but he simply couldn't seem to put any kind of censor on his mouth. Eventually I had to ask him to leave the group.

In a nutshell, make sure that disruptions or other problems in your game don't go unnoticed or unaddressed. Be polite, be constructive if possible but also be firm. It is your game and don't let anything take away from the fun you all should be having. Remember, if something is going wrong, it is your fault!
Forum: Applications and Tools
 Topic: Greenfish Relief Map Generator
Greenfish Relief Map Generator [message #390] Sun, 09 August 2009 08:49
like_a_god is currently offline like_a_god
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According to its website,

Quote:
This utility generates random images which resemble real relief maps. The randomized maps contain settlements with random names, hills, plains, lakes and seasides. The program can generate random town names (which are fictious and do not exist anywhere), or pick them randomly from a provided text file. The generated images are public domain and can be used anywhere.


It's pretty nifty actually.

http://greenfish.extra.hu/downloads.php
 Topic: Roleplaying Town Map Generator
Roleplaying Town Map Generator [message #389] Sun, 09 August 2009 08:41
like_a_god is currently offline like_a_god
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I found this really nifty town generator. It allows for a very details schematic for the layout of the town. It's rather a complex operation to make use of and the documentation isn't the best, but it appears useful.

This program is Windows based an freeware. The link below is to nother site, since the original creator seems to have gone belly up.

http://www.stargazersworld.com/2009/02/27/roleplaying-city-map-generator/
Forum: Martini Saint's Swashbuckling Campaign
 Topic: Behind the Scenes
Behind the Scenes [message #605] Mon, 28 June 2010 00:30
Martini Saint is currently offline Martini Saint
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This is where I'll be posting bits of the story that the party isn't necessarily privy to yet.
 Topic: Party impressions
Party impressions [message #512] Mon, 22 March 2010 11:36
Dragonsong is currently offline Dragonsong
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I am presenting a party flow chart of how Raul sees the other characters. THIS DOES NOT MEAN ANYONE IS PLAYING THIER CHARACTER WRONG OR POORLY. It is simply an outsiders view of the character if you are seeing that something is not coming across as you wish it great if you see exactly what you are hoping to portray then thats even better.


I encourage others to post these as well to help us all get a better grasp on how we portray what we are trying to get across with our characters. IE Raul is a easy go lucky team player with a serious libido but if the impressions you take away do not match that then I need to drop back and reassess how I convey that in character.

I will try and do one of these after every session so that

A) I have a point of refrence for developments/ changes in the social dynamic: the characters spend a lot of time together we only get to play every two weeks.

B) We can have a record of our game beyond an experience log.

Raul sees his companions as such:

1) Is increasingly liking our new church representative, Padre DeLuca. Because he is proactive, confident and full of bravado. He also claims he will not take forever and a day to process our spoils. <img src=" title="Very Happy" />

2) Still enjoys Carlo's company, as a drinking/gambling companion. Thier mutual joie de vivre is a constant source of cameraderie as well as admiring Carlo's ability to be subtle and discreet when needed.

3) Respects the "old man" for his experience and class when dealing with the bureaucracy and the nobles we have crossed paths with during our work. However he has recently displayed a disturbing trend of being condesending when offering the wisdom of his years. Given the strong personalites I am not sure how this will shake out.

4) Marius is not the sharpest knife in the drawer and thats is acceptable, but he seems to be coming a little more unhinged rather than healing from his ordeal. This is worrisome and could be detrimental in interactions with the social elites for the group.
 Topic: History
History [message #481] Sun, 07 March 2010 19:26
Martini Saint is currently offline Martini Saint
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This is a history I wrote up that I should've posted earlier.

The known world consists of seven nations: Boethahl, Gochrim, Hemland, Letacce, Saville, Thakovia, and Welarouse. Although their relative power and technology were only nominally different for most of recorded history, around two hundred years ago the southern kingdoms radically altered both their lifestyle and method of approaching life. The catalyst for this transformation was, strangely enough, the art and music flowing out of Letacce. Other nations became increasingly interested in these new techniques so required easier methods to travel to Letacce and back home. Through these routes of travel, trade and exchange of ideas naturally increased as well. Through this free exchange of ideas these southern nations of Letacce, Saville and Welarouse grew in both power and refinement. Soon, trade routes are opened up with Hemland and Thakovia as well and these nations followed along with this advancement. Thakovia took these advances far more seriously than most other nations and used new tactics and training techniques to form a fantastically powerful military. This military did not go unnoticed by the other nations, borders were fortified against this threat and forces were sent to secure them—everyone knew that a military like Thakovia’s couldn’t be held idle forever.

Somewhat protected from Thakovia’s might by its neighbors, Letacce was able to focus on building their country in lieu of building armies. With the bulk of the other nations’ economies focused on preventing a Thak invasion, Letacce was able to dominate trade and mass a fortune. To assist them in this endeavor, the monarchy bent to the will of merchant families to declare war against Boethahl as it was only under the conditions of war that slaves could legally be taken. Thus, a very lucrative slave trade developed. As coin flowed to the military of other countries, the Letacce began to mass produce their own coins and distribute them throughout the known world. Thus, Letacce minted coins became the preferred coin of trade, further assisting this country’s economic stranglehold on the other countries. However, this had unintentional side-effects for the Letacce royal family. The merchant families became increasingly powerful and their merchant fleet grew large enough that the royal navy could not protect it adequately making it necessary for the crown to agree to allow the merchants to protect their own investments. This spelled disaster for the monarchy as the merchant families grew so powerful, both financially and militarily, that they rivaled the throne itself. In current times, each of these families vie for power with each other and everyone in the country knows it is merely a matter of time before a coup is attempted.

As Letacce built its economic empire, Saville and Welarouse were busy building their military machines. Saville, somewhat protected from an attack across land due to geography, focused heavily on its navy. Ship after ship was built, armed, and brought into service to patrol Savillian waters. This lead to an immensely powerful navy forming, large enough to easily dominate any other navy in the seas. Situated as it was against Thakovian borders, the Rousians amassed an army. Though nowhere near the size of the Thak forces, Welarouse trained them in the latest tactics and techniques available making the most well-trained troops of any nation—it was hoped that this would be enough to deter the Thak from attacking them.

At around this same time Saville forged the first trade routes with Gochrim and found a nation under threat from strange and savage beasts—according to the Gochan, these creatures had just begun to appear within the last several years. Concerned with the emergence of these vicious creatures and with this influx of new influences, the people of Gochrim broke into two camps: those wishing to embrace the changes these new trade routes brought which would, according to them, give them a stronger nation which could both fight off these creatures and prevent possible attacks from others and those wishing to stay true to their traditions which had served them well enough for challenges in the past. This disagreement soon developed into outright conflict and war between these two factions—a war that carries on even into modern times. Gochrim’s problems were just beginning; however, as only a few years after this civil war began, the Thakovian army flooded into Gochan lands. Faced with the mighty forces of the Thak and split in two from internal conflict, Gochrim didn’t stand a chance. Although they fought valiantly, the Thakovian war machine was simply too powerful to stand against so, the Gochrim made a proverbial pact with the devil. A group of traditionalist and revisionist leaders came together to discuss their options, both knowing full well that even if they could bring all of the Gocham people together the Thak would still overpower them easily. Thus, they made a deal with the orcish tribes in the north of Thakovia. No one knows what these people agreed to or what was said; what is known that shortly thereafter the orcs rallied together and struck while the Thak army was on Gochan soil. This spelled disaster for the Thak as the orcs burned their country while the fighting force raced back. Of course, severe damage had already been done to Gochrim and a good portion of the country has yet to recover from the ordeal.

With the Thakovian threat dealt with, the nations soon turned to other interests. In Welarouse, a new kind of pursuit was becoming popular wherein ancient sites were unearthed in an attempt to learn more about them. This archeology soon uncovered something that would change the very nature of Ephis: the Unseen. Within one particularly old ruin, a Rousian archaeological party discovered several artifacts that had strange inscriptions carved into them. When examined and studied it became clear that these strange markings were actually words of power—capable of warping reality in such a way as to produce desired effects. With this discovery of magic within such ruins, interest in the Unseen spread like wildfire and, soon enough, most countries were digging up their land in hopes of uncovering more such artifacts. However, the Temple of Pelor soon stepped in to exert its own power over these relics. Finding that these “Unseen” were, indeed powerful and had discovered a Pelor-given ability unknown to the current times, they sanctioned the use of these abilities; however, these Unseen were also interested in theology and other pursuits—and these things the Temple could not sanction. It was not the fault of the Unseen that they were heretical—they were simply a product of their time after all—however, the races had come to understand truths since then that this ancient race obviously did not. So, to protect people from themselves, the Temple has declared that all excavations within the righteous countries must have a Temple representative with them to examine the artifacts and writings; only those items that the Temple deems acceptable are allowed to disseminate among the nations.

Then the gnomes came. Five strange ships landed upon the coast of Saville. These gnomes shared strange new technologies with the inhabitants of that kingdom—an open exchange of goods and ideas existed for several years and these innovations spread quickly outside of Savillian borders. These inventions improved the quality of life throughout the nations: ground glass lenses allowed sight for those who were considered blind, mechanical cranes allowed for grander and more efficiently built structures and steam-powered rotisserie did much to save aching backs. This cooperative relationship was further deepened by a Savillian prince bestowing a large tract of coastal land to the gnomes for them to develop in any way they chose. The gnomes proceeded to build a city with the profits gained from trading their technologies. Then, something happened that caused the gnomes to become far more defensive about their technologies. Someone managed to sneak into a gnomish laboratory and steal the plans for an experimental weapon which was then built by Welarouse engineers and, very soon after, by many other nations; the gnomish plans labeled it a “crash-bang” but most other races simply call it a cannon. This soured the relations with the gnomes and within months a huge wall surrounded their city and no further visitors to it were allowed inside. Since that point the gnomes have taken a radically different stance with relation to other peoples around them. Instead of a nearly free exchange of ideas, the gnomes now charge extreme prices for even the most minor of inventions; however, these inventions shared are no longer all dedicated to the betterment of quality of life, instead, they sell everything from farming contraptions to weapons of war. It seems strange to many that the gnomes would have only offered those innovations focused upon improving quality of life and now they openly present weapons of war.

Always skeptical of gnomish intentions, when this race began to present the nations with weapons, the Temple acted. The gnomes themselves were declared heretics that must be brought the knowledge of Pelor peacefully, but their engineering brought war where peace should be and conflict where there should be only godliness so it was declare wholly wicked and the practice of it considered anathema—not a pursuit for the righteous. When the powerful king of Hemland died unexpectedly leaving this nation under the rule of a boy king, the Temple went further to purge evil from the world and demanded that this nation abandon its acceptance of witchcraft. When this child monarch refused, the Temple pulled all support away from this country, even to the extent of forbidding the ceremony of reconciliation for any who would not swear an oath never to affiliate with those practicing this noxious custom.

Almost at the same moment that the Temple was making Hemland an outcast, three Rousian ships were denying all allegiance to this nation. They went on to create a small fleet of buccaneer ships called the Grey Sails due to the dye used to stain their canvas. They remain a very real threat to trade among the nations.

While the rest of these nations were facing grand changes and turmoil, the peoples of Boethahl, isolated on their frozen islands, remained fairly unchanged and undisturbed by the chaos around them. Other than a few islands frequented by Letacce slavers and the occasional Gochan merchant looking to trade for the prized black steel found only on these islands, the Boeth have had very little contact with the other nations. However, there is something that happened in this archipelago just eight years ago that is slowly changing Ephis.

Eight winters ago the weak tribe of Wodim was being attacked by a Lettace slaving force and were nearly all enslaved before Thera, an elder of the tribe, did something in desperation that would have a far-reaching impact that has only just begun to be felt by the rest of Ephis. Thera attempted to utilize the power of the rune of Ruin to surround her tribe's isle in a circle of death. However, the power she unleashed was too strong and instead of a circle surrounding her isle, it encompassed it. The Lettace slavers and the entirety of the tribe were caught in its effects. Many on the isle died instantly, others survived without realizing what horror followed behind. The Lettace set off immediately for home when half of their number were killed in an instant. By the time they arrived back on Lettace shores, there were only a handful of the slavers left and they all died within a week but not before coming into contact with others. Whatever it was that happened to the sailors in the Boethian isles, it was contagious and reports of a wasting disease have been reported from the Southern areas in Lettace.

A very different fate was in store for those who remained upon the isle. They also developed this wasting disease; however, it seems that the Boethians are somehow more resistant to it as they don't die. A side-effect from this is that they are also able to call upon the rune of Ruin's power at will.

This is where things stand currently.
Forum: The Baying of the Hounds
 Topic: The Curtain Has Closed
The Curtain Has Closed [message #607] Tue, 29 June 2010 20:30
like_a_god is currently offline like_a_god
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This last Saturday the campaign has come to a close. The end started with the death of Ratchen during the parties' raid on a town overrun with Hacksun. The end came with a suicide mission of vengeance for the majority of the party. With sadness, Cara watched her childhood friends, Julia and Pho (plus the warrior Ernst) depart. During the combat that ensued, the three lost their lives as they valiantly took out the Hacksun captain who commanded the invasion of their valley.

Thanks to all the players that took part over the length of the campaign!
 Topic: On Languages
On Languages [message #386] Thu, 06 August 2009 07:08
like_a_god is currently offline like_a_god
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I'm surprised I haven't thought of this before...

All characters will start off with knowledge of Common. Characters will have access to other languages according to their ability (INT Bonus), background and acquired class(s). At the beginning of the campaign, characters will have access to those languages that fit the context of the setting, as well as, their background. For instance, half-elves may have access to elvish if their family pays particular attention to their heritage and make it a family tradition to be schooled in the language. Likewise, those training to be priests probably have access to celestial and/or infernal (or is that abyssal.. hmm) As the game progresses, characters will have access to to learning new languages through a variety of means, but it will usually take some time if not accompanied by magical assistance.

Please Note: Generally speaking, common will be treated as just that, a common language. Generally, this will be spoken by the Hacksun (various exceptions), Eastern Nomads, and the Leru.
 Topic: Regarding Core Classes
Regarding Core Classes [message #375] Fri, 31 July 2009 07:04
like_a_god is currently offline like_a_god
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Just thought I'd drop a quick note of encouragement. I like a lot of the stuff I'm seeing so far. I just wanted to drop a quick note regarding classes for those that haven't gotten a chance to look at the Pathfinder Beta. Core classes have been reworked in some very interesting ways from their 3.5 counterparts, so you may want to look closely a these before deciding.

Also, you want to take a gander at Dragonsong's take on the Beta for some tidbits about the enhancements to the system.

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=14
 Topic: Non-Leruian Peoples - Last Updated 7/6/2009
Non-Leruian Peoples - Last Updated 7/6/2009 [message #261] Mon, 06 July 2009 15:39
like_a_god is currently offline like_a_god
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Non-Leruian Peoples
While the people of Birchrest are not well traveled, rumors do come into the community via traders and empirical messengers. Here is what is commonly known of the peoples living outside of the Kingdom of Leru.

The Hacksun
The Hacksun are a brutal, savage and uncivilized people that make their way in life by raiding their neighbors. They follow a triune of warlike deities who call upon them to enslave and destroy. They raise half-orc slave/fighters and large war hounds which they use to spread strife and terror.

(The names of the Hacksun deities are not known.)

The Eastern Nomads
The eastern nomads are an uncivilized people who have had to suffer at the hands of Hacksun raiders. Those living along the eastern border of Leru are peaceful and often trade with citizens of the kingdom. Land ownership seems unimportant to them

Dwarves
Dwarven culture is isolationistic in nature and today, while items of dwarven make may still be found amongst the surface dwelling humanoids, relations with them are close to non-existent. Legends tell of a time, in the early days of the kingdom, when dwarves interacted freely with their neighbors. The reason for the dwarves retreating underground is unclear but those adventures foolish enough explore deep below ground in areas historically known for dwarven activity don’t often return.

Elves Once elves lived amongst humans and freely mingled with them in many endeavors, including love. Today, elves live in deeply wooded, hidden valleys and interaction with them is extremely limited. Folklore claims that their settlements are masked by powerful magic and one may walk directly through their settlements without even being aware of it. Travelers sometimes come upon a lone elf far from her home and tales of such encounters are cherish but often lacking in detail.
Forum: &quot;That Which Can Eternal Lie&quot;
 Topic: Religion in Karlan
Religion in Karlan [message #440] Sat, 20 February 2010 20:49
Ahnkar_Derzahla is currently offline Ahnkar_Derzahla
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The main religion of the Empire, and by extension, the settlements of Karlan, is based upon worship of the four elements. Existing in a balanced harmony the Four Churches have become a pillar of strength for the people of the Empire. In every village there is a temple for all four of the Churches, or at least an altar. These places of worship are most frequently placed equidistant from the town center at the four points of the compass. Though the Churches are founded upon an ideal of balance between the four, many people come to old one of the elements over the others. Each element has its own areas of influence and even personality traits.
fire
the Church of Fire is associated with passion and strong emotions. It's temples are also a place where people can learn self defense. In most communities, the leaders of the Church of Fire are in charge of the militia. Those that dedicate themselves to this Church are usually people of either a martial bent, or extremely emotional.
water
the Church of Water is associated with compassion, sensitivity, and mystery. Its temples usually serve a dual purpose as both a house of worship and a place of healing. In addition, the Church of Water is often a place were people can come to contemplate the mysteries of magic and it workings. Those that align themselves with the Church of Water are usually kind hearted, empathetic, and contemplative
air
the Church of Air is strongly associated with knowledge and learning. It's temples are well known as places of learning, in fact the Church is famous for the Sky Academy, a floating university. Many of the people associated with this Church are scholars and teachers. Those that associate themselves with the Church of Air are usually studious, reserved, and sometimes absent minded.
earth
the Church of Earth is known for its industrious, no nonsense attitude. It's temples are frequently surrounded by small gardens grown by its followers. In addition, the Church of Earth is known for its banking system, and patronage of craftsmen. It is an institution founded on business and hard work. The members of the Church of Earth are loyal, serious, but lighthearted individuals.
Forum: Spiritus Caelestis
 Topic: Character Background/Creation
Character Background/Creation [message #370] Tue, 28 July 2009 09:34
Martini Saint is currently offline Martini Saint
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So, I've already gotten character concepts from most people; however, I figured I would throw this out just to give people a heads-up being it is rapidly closing in on the time we'll all actually sit down at a table together to game.

Even if we've discussed your character in-depth I would still like a character writeup prior to the game starting. Essentially, the format given in the book is great. However, I would like a short history/background section just giving a thumbnail view of the character in that section so I don't have a bunch of 12 page character sheets; I would also like a breakdown of points spent.

This is what you will be getting awarded HPs for with regards to background. My criteria will line up with that given in the book (pg 26) though I do not promise nor anticipate giving out full points to everyone for these. Basically, if you put time into it and give me a real feel for what your character is all about you can expect those points.

Even if you've sent me something like this before, please do put it in this format for me. It just makes it easier on me to go through sheets quickly if I know where everything is.
 Topic: Rules and such...read first
Rules and such...read first [message #119] Thu, 18 June 2009 20:27
Martini Saint is currently offline Martini Saint
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So, you got a mysterious email complete with password and that directed you here--Congrads! This means that I have introduced your character into the game and can take the reins whenever you are ready to. The game?! Isn't that not starting until school starts again? Nope. It starts now. I wanted to start off the game with the group knowing each other without using some cliche to do so; that's why this is here. This is going to be a kind of pbp (play by post) deal until we start up officially with Lt's arrival back in the land of milk and honey. If you've never played a pbp before, it's easy. You simply read through what's been going on and write down what your character is going to do (keeping firmly in mind not to control other people's characters in any way in your posts). I'm hoping it will be fun and serve as a good springboard for the game this Fall. However, there are some things you should know about how this is going to work.

1) I'm not going to post 1/day or 1/week or wait for everyone to post before proceeding. Whenever the whim strikes, I'll post something. It will likely be around once a day, but I make no promises.

2) This is going to be somewhat fast-paced so I'll likely have to give actions to your characters sometimes to move things forward. I'm not trying to dominate your character or whatever, just keeping things progressing.

3) If you have an ability, it works. No rolling, no charts...it just works. Want to animate a chair to move out from under another character? Okay, you do. Believe the best course of action is to draw your weapon and shoot the demon in front of you? Okay, you kill it. There will be no drawn-out combat or rolling of dice as it simply takes too long for our purposes. We're trying to get the game rolling and have everyone comfortable with the party and their own characters before we sit down at a table not play an actual pbp. However, there are a couple restrictions on this: any omni abilities will still cost HPs that I will ensure are deducted from your character before we begin in Fall...I can't have you guys omni-ing through everything and if you are using one of the skills I indicated may not be instant in my emails (you can find those in this game's threads) don't act like it already happened in your post.

4) Yes, you will get some HPs for this. How many completely depends upon how often you post and what the quality of those posts are. Someone that takes time and gives a nice sized post that is well thought out and furthers the game will get more points than someone who posts 2 sentences every day that really don't do much.

5) I need a character sheet before you start posting. Not that I think anyone would do this...except Lt...but I just want to take the temptation of changing your character to suit a particular circumstance in this away. Also, I want to know what you all can do and such for GMing purposes.

6) Please put any abilities you are using and any questions/comments you want to make about what's going on in the game in brackets and in a different color at the end of your post so I can quickly reference it. Something like this:
[Military Science: Cryptology--trying to decipher the strange script on the parchment.]
[Exorcism--attempting to pull a demon I believe is in the little girl out.]
[Do I actually know this Mr. Stilton they are talking about? I do have a low connection to their agency]

7) Try to do more long-term actions than short-term in your posts. I mean, I may talk about how you wake up in the morning in mine simply because I don't have a lot to work with at the time, but please don't tell specifics about how you got ready for the day. Rather, write out what you are doing beyond the trivial stuff.

Any questions or comments, feel free to make them in here. So, go forth and catch up on what others have been doing behind your back.
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