Tuesday, December 06, 2016

The Crusty Dragon

As Lummox reclined in his chair at the corner table in the Crusty Dragon, his current "favorite" inn, he reflected on his days as an adventurer.  True, he still had plenty of years to go on new adventures, and it was also true that he had fallen out of contact with his former party members, but his memories still gave him things to ponder in his semi-retirement.

His red dragon scale armor had long since been put into storage as his now more rotund frame no longer fit the leathers.  His magical orbs were gathering dust over the hearth of his fireplace.  In fact, the only piece that he now carried from those days was his war hammer slung across his back and a couple of throwing daggers that Leelu had gifted to him upon their final goodbye.  He had gifted her with one of his favorite hand axes with a fire enchantment upon its edge.

But now that he had been left to his own devices, returning to the caves no longer held much thrill to him.  He soon moved from his comfy hole to a small lodge on the outskirts of the town of Golden Groves, a farming community known for their trade as well as their location that led to many new adventurers meeting and going off to make their fortunes.  He had hoped to join a party or two in his now ample free time, but had only picked up one or two odd jobs that piqued his interest.

He still daydreamed of his "glory" days and hoped that the damn bard had at least included him in a song that chronicled their adventures, though to this day one of the like had not graced his ears.  As he sipped at his ale, he said a small prayer to his friend Hadrian and stared off into the room.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday, January 23, 2015

A Library for the Year of the Tiger

Provided, it would appear, by "BlueVstaff."

The library's main entrance.

Assuming you can make it past the guard.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

History and stuff.

OK.  Geography and history of parts of Golarion.  Current year, 4707 Absalom Reckoning (according to the Inner Sea calendar).  Yes, this is a shorter version.  Yes, I could probably make it shorter.

Early major events, a mixture of myth and history:

Age of Creation: Golarion's creation is indefinite, with different groups telling different stories.  For unknown ages, aboleths ruled the oceans and Vault Dwellers kept the land.  Mortals eventually arose from somewhere, but from where is also debated.  It was during this time Rovagug, The Rough Beast, god of destruction, disaster, and wrath, was trapped deep in the core of the world by an alliance of all the other gods.  Sarenrae, The Dawnflower, goddess of healing, honesty, redemption, and the sun, cleft a rift into the world and thrust Rovagug into a strange dimension therein.  Asmodeus, Prince of Darkness, god of contracts, pride, slavery, and tyranny, provided a lock and a key to Rovagug's prison.

Age of Serpents:  One of the first mortal empires was founded by the serpentfolk, long since defeated by Azlant, the first human civilization.

Age of Legend:  Technological and magical discoveries were made by the Azlanti the likes of which are now unknown.  A second empire, Thassilon, was founded by a group of separatists in the northwest part of the continent of Avistan.  The rulers of both of these empires grew to be proud and haughty, so their aboleth enemies decided to end things on their own terms, with an event now called Earthfall.

Age of Darkness:
     -5293 to -4295:  Earthfall.  The Starstone crashes down across the land bridge connecting Avistan and Garund, carving out the Inner Sea and causing darkness to cover the world (mostly Avistan, Garund, and Casmaron) for a millennium.  Azlant and Thassilon are destroyed, and humans are forced to do they can to survive.  Elves, who had been present but less dominant than the humans, flee through magical gates, cross the Crown of the World, or hide in the Darklands.  Dwarves, living in other areas of the Darklands, undertake their great Quest for the Sky, driving their ancient Orc enemies before them as they push upwards.

Age of Anguish:
     -4294 to -3471:  The darkness passes and humans begin rebuilding civilization.  The gnomes arrive on Golarion, fleeing an unknown terror of the First World.  The pit of Gormuz opens in Casmaron, disgorging the first Spawn of Rovagug.  Old-Mage Jatembe, a powerful mage in the Mwangi expanse of Garund, brings the light of learning back to the world.

Age of Destiny:
     -3470 to -1:  Osirion is founded, ruled by God-Kings and Pharaohs, then falling into decline.  Taldor is founded by descendants of Lost Azlant.

Age of Enthronement:
     1 to 4605:  Aroden, last of the Azlanti, raises the Starstone from the sea, founds the city-state of Absalom, and becomes god of human culture, innovation, and history.  The Taldan empire expands due to the efforts of several Armies of Expansion.  Aroden leads Taldor against the wizard-king Tar-Baphon, who later rises as the most powerful lich ever known, The Whispering Tyrant.  Norgorber, Cayden Cailean, and Iomedae all pass the test of the starstone during this time, ascending to godhood.  Cheliax is founded in western of Taldor, eventually secedes, and gradually supplants the Taldan empire as the preeminent human society.  Chelish forces found Korvosa in southeast Varisia and push the native Shoanti tribes out of the fertile southern lands onto the arid Storval Plateau.  A group of settlers leave Korvosa and found Magnimar in western Varisia.  Baba Yaga conquers the eastern territories of the Land of the Linnorm Kings, founding the country of Irrisen.  Cheliax prepares for the Prophesied return of Aroden to lead the empire in the coming Age of Glory.

Age of Lost Omens:
     4606 to now:  Rather than Aroden appearing, three storms wracked Golarion, one remaining as the eye of Abendago.  Aroden's clerics found themselves disconnected from their god, who is now assumed dead.  Cheliax falls into civil war, resulting in the Asmodeus-worshipping House Thrune taking the throne.  Thousands of disaffected citizens leave Korvosa for Magnimar.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Monday, February 24, 2014

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Rules Review: Intimidate

As I've mentioned in earlier posts, I'm spending a lot of time with the rules, and posting about them in an attempt to up my game as a dungeon master.  If I know the rules better, it will be a better gaming experience for everyone. On Saturday, I was a little off my game mentally, and I felt the game suffered. I still need to figure out the best way for me personally to manage combat.

Anyway, intimidate...  Well, Grace likes to intimidate, so this one has come up a lot in the current campaign.  My adjudication of this rule has been inconsistent at best, completely wrong at worst (to the party's advantage though, in the latter case).  So, the reason Grace's ability to successfully intimidate foes has varied over time is that I haven't been applying the rule correctly.  So let's look at it in detail. Here is the text from the Pathfinder System Reference Document.



You can use this skill to frighten an opponent or to get them to act in a way that benefits you. This skill includes verbal threats and displays of prowess.
Check: You can use Intimidate to force an opponent to act friendly toward you for 1d6 × 10 minutes with a successful check. The DC of this check is equal to 10 + the target's Hit Dice + the target's Wisdom modifier. If successful, the target gives you the information you desire, takes actions that do not endanger it, or otherwise offers limited assistance. After the Intimidate expires, the target treats you as unfriendly and may report you to local authorities. If you fail this check by 5 or more, the target attempts to deceive you or otherwise hinder your activities.
Demoralize: You can use this skill to cause an opponent to become shaken for a number of rounds. The DC of this check is equal to 10 + the target's Hit Dice + the target's Wisdom modifier. If you are successful, the target is shaken for 1 round. This duration increases by 1 round for every 5 by which you beat the DC. You can only threaten an opponent in this way if they are within 30 feet and can clearly see and hear you. Using demoralize on the same creature only extends the duration; it does not create a stronger fear condition.
Action: Using Intimidate to change an opponent's attitude requires 1 minute of conversation. Demoralizing an opponent is a standard action.
Try Again: You can attempt to Intimidate an opponent again, but each additional check increases the DC by +5. This increase resets after 1 hour has passed.
Special: You also gain a +4 bonus on Intimidate checks if you are larger than your target and a –4 penalty on Intimidate checks if you are smaller than your target.
If you have the Persuasive feat, you get a bonus on Intimidate checks (see Feats).
A half-orc gets a +2 bonus on Intimidate checks.

So... Intimidate isn't really a combat skill.  Once the initiative dice come out, the time to intimidate is over.  Unless you want to spend an entire minute (10 combat rounds) to attempt it.  So, basically, if you walk into a situation where you're likely to be attacked on sight, or where you have already initiated combat, intimidate isn't going to allow you to change a foe's attitude towards you.

But, it is going to remain a useful skill in non-combat situations.  It will also remain useful in combat situations, as the Demoralize action makes clear.  Adding a shaken status to your opponents, even if just for a round, can certainly come in handy.  So, that's how intimidate should work (sorry for the earlier confusion), and how it will work in the future... if I can keep my rules straight. 

Ptolus Campaign Journal Episode Whatever

The party fought their way through the Temple of the Ebon Hand, but not without cost.  Harumi was caught in some sort of magical trap that was beyond the ability of the party to rescue her from.  The party continued on and managed to rescue several hostages, but were not able to kill or capture all of the Ebon Hand cultists.  While the party holed up in what appeared to be the office of the high priest to rest and recuperate, the remaining cultists fled into the night.  When the party emerged, they found the few hostages that had been left behind.  They engaged in combat with a fearsome transformed "Child of the Hand," which appeared to be much like a troll.  They triumphed, and easily dispatched a grick that was kept by the cultists.

The party took the rescued prisoners and the one victim that had been half-transformed by ritual into a Child of the Hand, to the Cathedral of St. Valian, and left them in the care of the Lothian priesthood. Brother Fabitor was unable to help the party recover Harumi, but directed the party to consult Kaira Swanwing, a prominent mage and leader of the Knights of the Golden Cross.  Swanwing decided to help the party.  She told the party that she would research what spell might possibly have trapped Harumi and go to the Temple.

While there, Draygon questioned Swanwing about the references to the "Galchutt."  Swanwing told him that the Galchutt were ancient gods of chaos, revered by many of the cults in the city.

Later on, while walking in Midtown, the party were delayed by a random herd of sheep.  The party was stopped in front of a shop that they had never noticed before, a shop that sells dice and other gaming implements.  Of course, this intrigued Tzakarac, who went in to browse the merchants wares. The owner of the shop, Prontius Callisto, invited the gnome cleric to a game of chance. Tzakarac easily won, and left with a few extra gold pieces, and a set of carved pearl dice (which he purchased rather than won). Callisto invited Tzakarac to join him for gambling in some of Ptolus' finer establishments at some indeterminate time in the future.