Guns suck when you are a flail snail

Guns are are strange beasts, I haven’t quite figured out all the stuff they change when used in Pathfinder. One thing seems to be sure that they are steady source of damage in close quarter combat.

In last session I ran for the group there was combat against a flail snail in dungeon. It could have been interesting combat with all its magic warping abilities but steady damage from party gunslinger cut it short. The poor flail snail has normal AC of 18 and special ability to raise it to 24. Of course it being a big snail it has touch AC of 8…

Needless to say its huge AC (vs. 2nd level party) didn’t do it much good when the gunslinger got to work. With his attack bonus it was either miss fire or hit. The guns don’t do too high damage since you can’t get ability bonuses to them but they hit much more reliably than for example melee weapons. Of course to balance this out there is a cost to use firearms, bullets and powder cost much more than arrows.

Pathfinder seems to work best in melee range, most monsters have no ranged attack ability and with party that likes to fight at range that tends to get boring when the monsters try to charge to melee while peppered with bullets, arrows and spells. I’m trying to decide if I like the Pathfinder firearms or not but what I have seen so far seems to more about ranged combat being very optimal strategy in Pathfinder if you have ways to slow down the opposition or enough room to maneuver. Guns seem to be working like some spells, only defense is hit points, touch AC is rarely adequately high to be a real defense.

Moral dilemmas

… or underhanded tactics, depending on who you ask.

Today my Pathfinder/Planescape session started with the player characters in dungeon. Due to things that happened in couple last sessions, they’re wanted men. PCs where reading their map and planning where they’re heading next when they heard someone moving in the next room. They prepared themselves and scouted as much as they could but eventually the stranger opened the door to their room. Our trigger happy goblin gunslinger shot him before he could say anything.

The violence didn’t immediately escalate, instead both sides asked what the other wanted. After bit of debate (and the fact that the stranger could detect evil, the ninja PC was evil) it became apparent that Kamier, the hound archon (lawful good) bounty hunter had been looking for the PCs. Things got interesting when the neutral good cleric (who wasn’t wanted) started suggesting that they should surrender and sort the thing out. Team evil/neutral/chaotic wasn’t very excited (to put it mildly) about the whole idea. Continue reading

City adventures

The Eternal Boundary front cover

The Eternal Boundary

I’ve been running The Eternal Boundary in my Pathfinder Planescape campaign and so far I have liked how the adventure has played out even though(or because) I haven’t run it straight out of the book.

I like to do things old school these days which means that TSR adventure from mid 90s just ain’t gonna cut it without some modifications. Basically the adventure has two distinct parts as written, city/investigation adventure which is rather weak and some open ended dungeon exploration (with scripted encounters). The plot is one big evil plan by forces unknown (at the start of the adventure) that are revealed bit by bit and leads to their fortress for final showdown. Continue reading

Tediousness of Pathfinder session prep

I just finished three NPC stat blocks for my upcoming Pathfinder Planescape session. Once again it felt rather tedious, the whole process took couple of hours. So many little details you have to get right and reference from different books.

There is little help in form of d20pfsrd.com where you can search all crunchy stuff in one place but it still takes time. One great time sink is selecting feats for characters, there is simply so many options that you can’t know them all and you have to read through very long lists to find what want. Or then you think you remember feats and pick something but later notice that the feat had requirements your NPCs don’t fulfill. Happened with my Harmonium guys, who didn’t have Dex of 13+ but 12 and I had given them Dodge. Continue reading

Guns!

Or rules for modern firearms for Pathfinder.

It seems that my own rule system is on indefinite hold and I’m switching to Pathfinder to run my own Kingmaker style campaign in the near future. The world I set the campaign will the same I used with my own rules so I need rules for various guns. Paizo has published rules for firearms up to around 19th century tech but I need rules for 20th century and future guns so I wrote my own. These are first version and I’m not entirely sure about these. The damage values and prices are something to carefully think. Not sure how expensive these should be, the idea is that player characters can buy these from certain NPCs if they have the money but they shouldn’t be cheap. On the other hand selling them for huge amounts of cash should not be possible. Also the campaign is supposed to be lower magic (magic item wise) then regular Pathfinder so these should replace some of the magic armaments PCs normally have.

Continue reading

Is it a trap?

I killed two characters today.

I was GMing Pathfinder and Children of the Void, slightly modified by me. On the eastern end of the island there is a ruined lighthouse. With little poking around the PCs managed not to break their necks by falling of the cliff and found the magical sword hidden nearby. What they didn’t find was the wraith lurking in the ground beneath the lighthouse.They think the mostly intact lighthouse is a good campsite on the hostile island. The druid even uses various stone shaping spells to fix the place up.

Come night and the vengeful spirit rises and proceeds to suck life out of two completely surprised PCs. One PCs got away by riding his harpy zombie to safety and the fourth was away from the camp scouting their opposition.

PCs are around 4-5th level and the wraith is about same level. What makes it particularly nasty in this context is that it is incorporeal undead. In fact I think it is the first incorporeal undead in whole Adventure Path so the PCs didn’t know they should prepare for one. PCs of the party’s level have very little effective means against incorporeal undead besides clerics and the party had none. Their oracle almost had enough levels to try to control the creature (he needed one night of rest to ding 5th level) and couple of magical weapons and offensive spell which weren’t very effective.

This encounter got me thinking that although it looks like standard combat encounter with magical sword as price it plays more like trap. The trap might trigger the next night after the PCs have visited the site (the wraith pursues them), during the day the wraith hides because it is powerless in sunlight. The PCs can come and get the magic sword and slip away without ever facing the wraith. Or if they make camp at the lighthouse they invite surprise visit from the restless dead. There is very little warning that there might be nasty undead, besides mentioning that the island is haunted. Of course there is dead body with the magical sword but this D&D, when does dead body mean anything besides loot!

All in all, cruel way to kill of 5th level PCs.

It kind of reminds me of the wizard in the Tower of the Stargazer. The difference is that the wizard can’t do anything without the PCs letting him out, so the PCs have to decide (whether knowingly or not) to let the shit hit the fan. And the PCs can talk with the wizard. In this case, it’s hit or miss. Either they get out without problems with the loot or somebody dies.

The question is, is this good design for adventure?

The cruel bastard in me definitely likes this. Anything to see the PCs in trouble and having to earn their XP and magical loot. On the other hand, it kind of suck to have your PC die on basically “save or die” way. But I’m leaning towards old school gaming so I guess that it is okay.

Yeah, it’s brilliant.

Adder in the manor…

Hello reader

Brave beginning and my first ever blog. It being first is bit surprising since I do web development for a living but here it is. We’ll have to see where it goes.

The real need why I started this blog was to share some though about my gaming hobby (both computer and tabletop) to my friends. Currently that means my Pathfinder RPG Second Darkness campaign and upcoming campaign I’m currently planning.

Posting are probably irregular until I get this blogging thing going and start the habit of posting everything that is suitable content for this blog. Also the theme, layouts, widgets and all visual stuff on the blog are at their default. They are not priority, I’ll fix them when I have time and get enough inspiration.¬† First priority is content, especially the upcoming campaign. I need to get everything online so prospective players can see it.

More to follow…