Thursday, January 30, 2014

Gaming Background Music


Normal Fight/Skirmish
Boarding a ship, a fight with trolls, skirmishes, meant for increasing energy.
Skirmish (Midnight Syndicate) - Has a few sounds of swords clashing.
Deep Trouble (Midnight Syndicate) - Darker feel
How Strange (Midnight Syndicate)
All Drums go to Hell (Two Steps from Hell) - Focus on Drums, over an hour.
Order Battles (The Witcher)
Last Battle (Ocarina of Time, ZREO)
Fuse (Xenogears)
Awakening (Xenogears)
Grahf Emperor of Darkness (Xenogears)
Skyworld (Two Steps from Hell) - Positive and inspirational
The Fire Dragon (The 13th Warrior)
Stalwarts Unite (Fire Emblem:RD)
Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn Soundtrack - An hour and a half of a mix of great stuff


Epic Fight/Boss Fight
The epic conclusion, last hope of humanity, facing the god of death, meant for really increasing energy!
Lair of the Great Worm (Midnight Syndicate) - A bit of chanting midway through.
Final Confrontation (Midnight Syndicate) - Swords clashing and battle cries halfway through.
Poseidon's Wrath (God of War III)
War (Avatar/James Horner)
Black Blade (Two Steps from Hell)
Moving Mountains (Two Steps from Hell)
To Glory (Two Steps from Hell) - More positive
Archangel (Two Steps from Hell)
Epic10 (The Prime Cronus) - A mix of epic songs with darker and lighter tones


Mystical
Abandoned ruins, ancient cities, strange artifacts, cliff top temples, meant for evoking wonder.
Prelude (Midnight Syndicate)
Eternal Mystery (Midnight Syndicate)
Relic Uncovered (Midnight Syndicate) - Angelic choir feel
Ancient Temple (Midnight Syndicate) - Darker, more mysterious.
The Dike (The Witcher)
Dead City (The Witcher)
Garden of God (Chrono Cross)
The Bioluminescence of the Night (Avatar/James Horner)


Mysterious
Dark places, unknown horrors, strange events, creepy dungeons, meant for evoking tension.
Craft of the Wizard (Midnight Syndicate)
Fens of Sargath (Midnight Syndicate) - Has natural sounds, best used outdoors.
Stealth and Cunning (Midnight Syndicate)
Craft of the Wizard (Midnight Syndicate) - A little chanting mid-way through.
The Secret Chamber (Midnight Syndicate)
The Runis of Bone Hill (Midnight Syndicate) - More positive.


Dungeon Crawling/Dark Set Up
Enemy armies marching, dragons far the the east, exploring dangerous places, lost in dangerous tombs, meant for evoking fear.
Troubled Times (Midnight Syndicate)
Decent into depths (Midnight Syndicate)
Beast of the Borderlands (Midnight Syndicate)
The Army of the Dead (Midnight Syndicate) - Some crinkly sounds, bones.
Stone Tower Temple (Majora's Mask)
Dungeon Music Compilation One and Two - A bit more relaxing.
Evil Overlord (Erdenstern) - Choir, evil, could be used for combat.
Dracula Soundtrack (Bram Stoker's Dracula) - Playlist, mix of energetic and calming, all dark.
The Dune Soundtrack - Darker, 1+ hour song, can mostly be used for Dungeon crawl.



Normal Travel/General Ambience
Overland travel, movement, arrivals, meant for evoking general ambience.
Ride to Destiny (Midnight Syndicate) - A bit on the darker and tenser side.
Forest of the Black Moon (Xenogears)
Emotions (Xenogears) - Very positive, but active
Overworld (Terranigma) - MIDI sounding.
Gothic 2 Soundtrack - 1.5 hours, subdued and dark.
The Celestial Aeon Project - A range of mostly chill songs.
Reel Around the Sun (Bill Whelan)


Epic Travel
Cresting the Mountain Ridge, first time on the road, last time on the road, setting sail, meant for evoking inspiration.
City of Sails (Midnight Syndicate)
Leftovers From Dreams of the Strong (Xenogears)
The Blue Traveler (Xenogears)
Wings (Xenogears)
Iknimaya - The Path to Heaven (Avatar/James Horner)
Jake's First Flight (Avatar/James Horner) - Has peaks and valleys.
New Beginnings (Audiomachine)
Ice of Phoenix (Audiomachine) - A bit uneven in tone though, peaks and valleys
Epilogue, Into the Green (Erdenstern)
Quest for Glory (Soul Calibur II)


Town/Inn
Relaxed evening at home, sitting around the campfire, sleepy little town, relaxed city square, meant for evoking calm and reflection.
Peaceful Moments (The Witcher)
Dusk of a Northern Kingdom (The Witcher)
RPG Chillout Music - A dozen hours of calm, pleasant atmospheric music.  Playlist.


Lively Tavern/Busting City
Crowded market, drinking songs, arrival in an exotic city, banners streaming from towers, meant for evoking interest and excitement.
Deku Palace (Majora's Mask, ZREO) - Slight middle eastern theme
Outset Island (Wind Waker, ZREO) - A bit more calm
Dazil, City of Burning Sand (Xenogears) - Strong middle eastern theme.
Solaris, Eden of Heaven (Xenogears)
RPG Tavern Music Compilations One, Two, Three, Four
Samai Al Salam (Salim Al Nur) - Extremely strong middle eastern theme
Taverns (Baldur's Gate)


Varied
Longer and more varied songs, used in the background over extended periods.
Nemisis (Two steps from Hell) - Hour+ playlist, mix of lighter and darker tracks but all energetic.  Can use broadly for battle.
Invincible (Two Steps from Hell) - 1 hour song, lots of epic mildly positive.  Can use broadly for epic travel or battle.
Conan the Barbarian, Full Soundtrack - 1 hour song, mix, starts of with some narration.
Assassin's Creed 2, Full Soundtrack - 2 hour song
The Last Temptation of Christ - 1 hour
Vagrant Story OST - 2+ hour playlist.
Epic Weekly (The Prime Cronus) - Very long playlist with mostly epics, both positive and negative.
The Braveheart Soundtrack - 2+ hour song.
Gladiator Soundtrack - 2 hour song, generally high energy.
Best of Inception - 45 Minutes, generally darker high energy.

No Music, Just Ambience
Nobilia Marketplace (Secret of Evermore) - No music, just background crowd noises.

Feel free to post more in the comments!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dazzling Inquisitor (Inquisitor Build)

Dazzling Inquisitor
Half-Orc Inquisitor with the Conversion Inquisition 17/Cavalier(Gendarme) with the order of the Cockatrice 2/Rouge(Thug) 1
Fear me!

The Primary Purpose of the Dazzling Inquisitor is to intimidate his foes, both in and outside of combat. His main method is dazzling display, but he gets a few other tricks down the road. He is also a decent front line fighter.  Your first two levels are Cavalier (Gendarme) with the Order of the Cockatrice. Next you dip one level of Rogue (Thug). The rest is Inquisitor with the Conversion Inquisition.


Attributes

Str>Wis>Con>Dex>Int>Cha

Put your increases into strength. If your wisdom is under 16, make sure that is maintains pace with the spells you can cast. With the Conversion Inquisition, Charisma does nothing for this build.

Also, choose the half-orc favored bonus, by adding ½ to intimidate checks every level.

15 Point Buy
STR: 18 (16+2)
DEX: 13
CON: 14
INT: 7
WIS: 14
CHA: 7

20 Point Buy
STR: 18 (12+2)
DEX: 13
CON: 14
INT: 7
WIS: 16
CHA: 7

25 Point Buy
STR: 18 (14+2)
DEX: 13
CON: 16
INT: 7
WIS: 16
CHA: 7


Traits

Unnatural Presence: This allows you to demoralize animals and vermin. Very useful!
Bully or Brute: +1 To intimidate


Feats

1: Cavalier: Power attack, Weapon Focus: Falchion
2: Cavalier: Dazzling Display
3: Rogue: Furious Focus
4:
5: Intimidating Prowess
6:
7: Cornugon Smash
8:
9: Shatter Defenses
10:
11: Antagonize
12:
13: Persuasive
14:
15: Dreadful Carnage
16:
17: Dodge
18:
19: Gory Finish
20:


Suggested Gear

Standard weapon enchantment (keen helps) and armor enchantments. Grab a falchion for some sweet 18-20 crit range. You want the heaviest armor you can get - full plate? Nothing too special besides that. Ominous and Cruel weapon enchantments will help your cause.


Spells

Litanies are great, grab some of those. Besides that, Persuasive Goad and Instrument of Agony will be helpful.


What the Build Looks Like at...

This assumes a 20 point buy and only mundane equipment (not even masterwork)

Level 1: We are just a cavalier right now. Might as well grab a horse animal companion for a flanking buddy, as we won’t be riding for too long. We don’t have dazzling display yet, but we do have an intimidate +5. Other than that, we attack at +6 (18-20) for 2d4+6. 12 HP, 20 AC.

Level 4: We have dazzling display with +14 and all the usual inquisitor tricks, plus a few rogue and cavalier tricks. Other than that, we attack at +7 (+9 against shaken) (18-20) for 2d4+9. 34 HP, 20 AC.

Level 8: We intimidating at +26. With Judgement of Destruction, and power attack, we are attacking at +10 (18-20) for 2d4+15. 62 HP, 20 AC.

Level 12: We are intimidating at +34. With Judgement of Destruction and Justice, and power attack, we are attacking at +14/+8 (18-20) for 2d4+20.   90 HP, 20 AC. (Against Shaken opponents, DPR 23)

Level 16: We are intimidating at, um. +47, which means even if you roll a one on your intimidate check, you demoralize a CR 20 Red Dragon Wyrm for 2 rounds. With Judgement of Destruction and Justice, and power attack, we are attacking at +21/+13/+8 (18-20) for 2d4+23, which isn’t too shabby. We’ve got 118 HP, 24 AC.

Level 20: We are intimidating at +55, which means you have a 30% chance of demoralizing the CR 39 Lucifer for two rounds. With a decent ominous weapon and a good roll, you have a chance of making him flee! With Judgement of Destruction and Justice, and power attack, we are attacking at +25/+16/+11 (18-20) for 2d4+27, which isn’t too shabby. We can also have protection up, yielding 146 HP, 25 AC.


Tactics

First round, dazzling display as a standard action, then charge in. Cause about half of the enemies to be frightened through your rogue archetype so that you only need to fight half at a time.  You can completely destroy enemies groups by having many or most of them flee, then picking off the remainder and killing the rest.  Cornugon smash and dreadful carnage will allow you to continue demoralizing in combat. Then, your level 9 shatter defenses will allow you to treat demoralized enemies as flat footed!

The rogue thug archetype allows you to increase the length of demoralize by one round, or change it to frightened if it would go for 4 rounds or longer. You also get sneak attack against all those flat footed enemies! Your Order of the Cockatrice Cavalier dip gives you +2 to hit demoralized enemies - which should be everybody.

If up against guys who can’t be demoralized, you still hit with an alright amount of punch, so get in there swinging. You also have a number of spells up your sleeves, and a decent wisdom score to back it up.

Your intimidate will also be very, very useful outside of combat.


Guide to the Builds
Comprehensive Guide to the Guides

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Natural Killer (Ranger Build)

Natural Killer
Human Ranger (Two Weapon Combat Style, Guide/Skirmisher)
Shwing-swhing!

The Natural Killer is all about dealing damage and de-buffing his enemies, in that order. He achieves both of those objectives by getting critical hits through a high threat range and multiple attacks. To this end, the Natural Killer uses dual wakazashis, weapons with d6 damage and a threat range of 18-20. After the threat range is doubled to 15-20 at level 9, the Natural Killer is virtually guaranteed at least one critical on his multiple attacks when using his full round action to slice away. At higher levels, these criticals blind, stun, and stagger his enemies.

The Guide archetype allows the Ranger to choose a single enemy to designate as his favored enemy on the fly.  At level 12, this allows for a +6 to damage and attack rolls against 4 different enemies a day.


Feats

 1:   Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Wakizashi, Weapon Focus: Wakizashi
 2:   Bonus Feat: Two Weapon Fighting
 3:   Double Slice
 4:
 5:   Hunter's Trick (Vengeance Strike), Dodge
 6:   Bonus Feat: Improved Two weapon Fighting
 7:   Hunter's Trick (Second Chance Strike), Two-Weapon Defense
 8:
 9:   Hunter's Trick (Chameleon Step), Improved Critical (Wakizashi)
10:  Bonus Feat: Greater Two-Weapon Fighting
11:  Hunter's Trick (Deft Stand), Critical Focus
12:
13:  Hunter's Trick (Surprise Shift), Lunge
14:  Bonus Feat: Two-Weapon Rend
15:  Hunter's Trick (Rattling Strike), Blinding Critical
16:
17:  Hunter's Trick (Distracting Attack), Staggering Critical
18:  Bonus Feat: Quick Draw
19:  Hunter's Trick (Tangling Attack), Stunning Critical
20:


Attributes


Str>Con>Dex>Wis>Int>Cha, but Dex should hit 15 for some feats.

Point Buy 15
STR:18 (16+2)
DEX: 16
CON: 12
INT: 7
WIS:11
CHA: 7

Point Buy 20
STR:19 (17+2)
DEX: 16
CON: 14
INT: 7
WIS:10
CHA: 7

Point Buy 25
STR:20 (18+2)
DEX: 16
CON: 14
INT: 7
WIS:11
CHA: 7

Attribute advancement:  Strength all the way!

Skills

Even with dumping int, 5 skills a level is alright.  Make use of that strength modifier with climb and swim, and grab survival (or people will yell at you) and perception (or you will yell at yourself).  Other than that, it's up to you.


How to Play

The Natural Killer should always be using full round actions to attack with both his weapons. Because of this, moving around the battlefield will be a challenge - make sure to use your five foot steps strategically. If you have to enter combat adjactent to one enemy, try to step around him during combat to get ready to attack a second enemy when the first one falls.

Full round actions means less mobility around the battlefield. Try to reposition yourself with five foot steps - make sure that when you kill one enemy, you can tear into another enemy without using a move action.

The Natural Killer is overly reliant on his specific fighting style - Dual wielding, with wakizashis. Because most of his feats either boost dual wielding or the wakizashi specifically, getting disarmed or fighting with alternate weapons poses more of a problem for the Crit Fiend then it does other fighters.

Obviously, the Natural Killer will be significantly less effective against enemies that are immune to critical hits.

Note that the Natural Killer is pretty much a ranger version of the Crit Fiend.  Essential differences are he gets more skills and utility bonuses, is weaker against the average enemy but really strong against a handful of enemies a day with Ranger's Focus.

Traits

Reactionary: +2 to initiative.  Everybody loves initiative.
Carefully Hidden: +1 to Will saves (and a minor additional bonus)


What He Looks Like Each Level
(assuming no magic gear, 20pt buy)

Level 1: Attacks with one Wakizashi at +6 (15-20/x2) for d6+4. +8 (15-20/x2) for d6+6 against one enemy a day.  5 Skills, 13hp, 19/13/16AC.  Saves 4/5/1.

Level 4: Attacks at +8/+8 (15-20/x2) for d6+5. +10/+10 (15-20/x2) for d6+7 against one enemy a day.  20 skills, 40hp, 19/13/16AC.  Saves 6/7/2.

Level 8: Attacks at +12/+12/+7/+7 (15-20/x2) for d6+5.  +16/+16/+11/+11 (15-20/x2) for d6+9 against 3 enemies a day. 40 skills, 76 hit points, 21/14/17AC.  Saves 8/9/3.

Level 12:  Attacks at +17/+17/+12/+12/+7/+7 (15-20/x2) for d6+6. +23/+23/+18/+18/+13/+13 (15-20/x2) for d6+12 against 4 enemies a day. 60 skill points, 112hp.  21/14/17AC.  Saves 10/11/5. (DPR: 78 against 4 average CR 12 enemies per day).

Level 16:  Attacks at +21/+21/+16/+16/+11/+11/+6 (15-20/x2) for d6+6, and a pretty good chance of a rend at d10+9.  Against 6 enemies a day, that's +29/+29/+24/+24/+19/+19/+14 (15-20/x2) for d6+14. Blinds on a critical.  80 skill points, 148hp, 21/14/17AC.  Saves 12/13/6.

Level 20:  Attacks at +26/+26/+21/+21/+16/+16/+11 (15-20/x2) for d6+7, and a pretty good chance for a rend at d10+10.  Against 7 enemies a day, that's +36/+36/+31/+31/+26/+26/+21 (15-20/x2) for d6+17. Blinds, stuns or staggers on a critical.  100 skill points, 184hp, 21/14/17AC.  Saves 14/15/7


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Mad Bomber (Alchemist Build)

Mad Bomber
Half-Orc Alchemist (Grenadier)


Bombs, bombs, and more bombs. Bombs to kill enemies, bombs to stun enemies, bombs to make enemies fall down. The Mad Bombers focuses on throwing as many bombs as effectively as possible, and will take the half-orc favored class bonus of ½ more bomb damage per level.


Feats/Discoveries

1: Point Blank Shot
2: Precise Bombs from Grenadier Archetype, Smoke Bomb
3: Precise Shot
4: Stink Bomb
5: Rapid Shot
6: Tanglefoot Bomb
7: Two-Weapon Fighting
8: Fast Bombs
9: Weapon Focus: Bombs
10: Confusion Bomb
11: Improved Critical: Bombs
12: Infusion
13: Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
14: Blinding Bomb
15: Greater Two-Weapon Fighting
16: Greater Mutagen
17: Extra Bombs
18: Grand Mutagen
19: Extra Bombs
20: Elemental Mutagen, Explosive Bomb, True Mutagen


Attributes

Intelligence is important for bombs and alchemist goodies, Dex is important for throwing.  Con is important for staying alive, while Strength and Charisma are two clear dump stats. Int>Dex>Con>Wis>Str>Cha

15 Point Buy
STR: 7
DEX: 16
CON: 12
INT: 18 (16+2)
WIS: 11
CHA: 7

20 Point Buy
STR: 7
DEX: 17
CON: 12
INT: 19 (17+2)
WIS: 10
CHA: 7

25 Point Buy
STR: 7
DEX: 17
CON: 12
INT: 20 (18+2)
WIS: 11
CHA: 7

Attribute increases:  Get Dex and Int to even numbers, then boost Int.  If you are going for greater two weapon fighting, you want 19 Dex by level 15.


Traits
Reactionary: +2 Initiative
Fate's Favored: +1 Luck bonuses.  In combination with Sacred Tattoo, this trait equals an additional +1 to all saves!
Take the alternate racial trait “Sacred Tattoo” to get +1 luck bonus to all saving throws at the expense of orcish ferocity.  With Fate's Favored, it's awesome!


Suggested Gear

Obviously we want items that will boost intelligence and dexterity.  We can save money by not spending too much money on weapons.

Anything with a luck bonus, such as jingasa of the fortunate soldier, is also going to be golden due to the Fate's Favored trait.

Spells

When you run out of bombs, buff your allies! Haste, barkskin and the like should do fine.



What the Build Looks Like at...

This assumes a 20 point buy and no magic items. I’m going to assume point blank shot and dexterity mutagen.

Level 1: HP: 9, AC 17. Throws one bomb at +5 touch for d6+4 damage.

Level 4: HP: 27, AC 19. Throws one bomb at +11 touch for 2d6+7 damage. 9 bombs a day

Level 8: HP: 51, AC 20. Throws four bombs at +9/+9/+9/+4 touch for 4d6+9 damage. 13 bombs a day, DC 19. Can make bombs entangle and glue, or have a radius of 10 feet.

Level 12: HP: 75, AC 20. Throws four bombs at +14/+14/+14/+9 touch for 6d6+11 damage (19-20/x2). 17 bombs a day, DC 22. Can make bombs entangle and glue, confuse, blind or have a radius of 10 feet. (DPR 88 against average CR 12 creature)

Level 16: HP: 131, AC 22. Throws seven bombs at +18/+18/+18/+13/+13/+8/+8 touch for 8d6+14 damage (19-20/x2). 22 bombs a day, DC 24. Can make bombs entangle and glue, confuse, blind, deal extra damage to undead and other creepsters, or have a radius of 10 feet.

Level 20: HP: 203, AC 27. Throws seven bombs at +22/+22/+22/+17/+17/+15/+5 touch for 10d6+15 damage (19-20/x2). 25 bombs a day, DC 25. Can make bombs entangle and glue, confuse, blind, deal extra damage to undead and other creepsters, nauseate, or have a radius of 10 feet.


Tactics

Get in there and Bomb! Use a variety of different kinds of bomb to drop different status ailments on dudes.  Try not to blow your load all at once, don't go nova until boss fights.



Guide to the Builds

Comprehensive Guide to the Guides

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Shanker (Rogue Build)

Shanker
Human Rogue (Knife Master/Scout Archetype)

The Shanker is a dual knife wielding maniac who focuses on damage output. He is surprisingly tough for a rogue, he can match the damage output of most fighters when flanking and has far more skills. He feints or charges when he cannot flank for sneak attack damage, and uses a litany of special abilities to save his skin.


Feats/Rogue Talents

Take the Favored Class bonus to add 1/6 of a rogue talent every level.

1:  Combat Expertise, Two-Weapon Fighting
2:  Finesse Rogue
3:  Dodge
4:  Weapon Training -> Weapon Focus Dagger
5:  Toughness
6:  Resiliency / Offensive Defense
7:  Two Weapon Defense
8:  Combat Trick -> Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
9:   Improved Two Weapon Feint
10: Crippling Attack
11: Step Up
12: Another Day / Feat -> Following Step
13: Step Up and Strike
14: Opportunist
15: Greater Two-Weapon Fighting
16: Redirect Attack
17: Iron Will
18:  Knockout Blow / Feint Expert
19: Great Fortitude
20: Fast Tumble

Attributes

Dexterity>Constitution>Intelligence>Strength>Wisdom/Charisma. The only wrinkle here is that Intelligence should be 13. It doesn't need to be any higher, but it shouldn't be any lower.

Point Buy 15
Str: 10
Dex: 18 (16+2)
Con: 12
Int: 13
Wis: 10
Cha: 10

Point Buy 20
Str: 10
Dex: 18 (16+2)
Con: 14
Int: 14
Wis: 10
Cha: 10

Point Buy 25
Str: 10
Dex: 18
Con: 16
Int: 14
Wis: 10
Cha: 10

As you can seem we haven't really tanked any attributes. Constitution is nice and high, as is intelligence. Strength doesn't need to be too high - an extra one point of damage on each hit is not a big deal. If you can pick up an agile dagger, than Strength doesn't matter at all!

Attribute increases should go into Dex, favored class bonuses should go into hit points.

Skills

Max bluff, as it will allow you to feint. Acrobatics is useful for tumbling and maneuvering. You won't need sneak for in combat stuff, but it is still very useful out of combat. Besides that, just get the usual - perception, disarm device, climbing, anything else you want. We are getting 10 skill points each level, so go nuts!

Traits

Convincing Liar (+1 to Bluff), useful for feinting
Reactionary (+2 Initiative) or Dirty Fighter (+1 Damage when Flanking).


How to Play

Charge right in there. Make sure to get sneak attack every turn. From level 4 on, this shouldn't be a problem: You can feint, flank, or charge. From level 8 on, if you move more than 10 and attack, you get sneak attack. Flanking is still the best though, because it gives you your full-round-attack action.

At level 12 Step Up and Strike (move 10 feet and attack in response to enemy movement) in conjunction with the Scout ability (sneak attack when you move 10 feet) will let you sneak attack on enemy turns.

Still have to watch out for Fortitude and Will saves though!

What He Looks Like at Level...
(20 pt buy, no magic or masterwork items)

Level 2: Attacks at +3/+3, dealing d4 (+d8 on a sneak attack) for each hit.  AC: 18/14/14, 17HP, Saves: 2/7/0.  22 Skill points.

Level 4:  Attacks at +6/+6, dealing d4 (+2d8 on a sneak attack) for each hit.  Sneak attack on a charge.  AC 19/15/14, 31HP, saves: 3/8/1. 44 Skill points.

Level 8:  Attacks at +10/+10/+5/+5, dealing d4 (+4d8 on a sneak attack) for each hit. Sneak attack on a charge or when moving 10 feet.  Step up.  AC 20/15/15 (23/18/15 after sneak attacking), 67HP (75 with resiliency), Saves 4/11/2. 88 Skill Points.

Level 12:  Attacks at +13/+13/+8/+8, dealing d4 (+6d8 and 2 strength damage on sneak attack) for each hit.  Sneak attack on a charge or when moving 10 feet. Step up and strike for a surprise sneak attack on the enemies turn. Another Day to avoid a hit.  AC 20/16/14 (25/21/14 after sneak attacking), 99HP (111 with Resiliency), Saves: 6/13/4.  132 skill points. (DPR: 26 with sneak attack and 1.8 strength damage)

Level 16:  Attacks at +17/+17/+12/+12/+7/+7, dealing d4 (8d8 and 2 strength damage on sneak attack) for each hit. Sneak attack on a charge or when moving 10 feet. Step up and strike for a surprise sneak attack on the enemies turn. Another Day to avoid a hit.  Opportunist to attack on ally's turns. Redirect attack to avoid hits.  131 Hit points (147 with Resiliency), AC 20/17/13 (27/24/13 after sneak attacking), saves 7/16/5. 181 skill points.

Level 20:  Attacks at +20/+20/+15/+15/+10/+10, dealing d4 (10d8 and 2 strength damage on sneak attack) for each hit.  Sneak attack on a charge or when moving 10 feet. Step up and strike for a surprise sneak attack on the enemies turn. Another Day to avoid a hit.  Opportunist to attack on ally's turns. Redirect attack to avoid hits. Can knock out opponents, gains a bonus to feint and a bonus to tumble. 163 Hit points (183 with resiliency), AC 20/17/13 (29/26/13 after sneak attacking), Saves 10/18/8.  220 skill points

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Why the Rogue is Not Underpowered (Comparing the Rogue to the Fighter)

I believe that rogues are undervalued in pathfinder.  Lets compare them to melee fighters.  I'll be breaking each class down into roughly equivalent class features and directly comparing them.

Fighters get an extra feat every other level.  Rogues get +d6 sneak attack every other level.
Is sneak attack worth a feat?

To best compare these two class features, let's convert sneak attack into a feat called "Smack Attack."  If a fighter would be benefitted by taking Smack Attack with his extra feats, then sneak attack is worth that class feature.

Smack Attack:  You deal an extra 3.5 damage on all attacks when your target is denied his Dexterity bonus to AC or being flanked by you.  This damage is not multiplied on a critical hit.  You may take this feat multiple times, and its effects stack.

3.5 damage is a huge amount of damage when it comes to feat given bonuses.  In my games at least, melee fighters are attacking with one of the Smack Attack conditions at least half the time.  To give Rogues a disadvantage in this comparison, let's round it down to an even 50%.  If they got the Smack Attack bonus half of the time, then Smack attack would add an average of 1.75 damage per swing.

A feat that does an average of 1.75 additional damage to every hit.  Would I take that feat?  Yes, yes I would.  I'd take it till the cows come home.

Smack Attack activates more frequently than Precise Strike and isn't a teamwork feat.
Smack Attack deals just .25 less than Power Attack, but without the -1 penalty to attack.

Granted, with more feats fighters can make more flexible builds.  But it usually doesn't take more than four or five interesting feats to make the a build concept.  After that, I'd add on Smack Attacks any day.

Verdict: Tie at the very least, but my personal advantage goes to the Rogue.  A feat that gives 3.5 damage to each hit when flanking?  Give it to me.


By Level 20, Fighters get 5 more Bab and 20 more HP.  Rogues get 120 more skill points.
Is a point of BAB and 4 health worth 24 skill points?

Or, per level, is .25 BAB and 1 HP worth 6 skill points?

I'd gladly trade a single point of BAB and 4 HP for 24 skill points, and I'd be hard pressed to think of a fighter build that wouldn't be benefitted by doing this at least a couple of times.  Skills are useful in combat - perception, acrobatics, climb, stealth, handle animal, even intimidate and bluff can all add significantly to the combat abilities of a melee character.

Consider all of those times you are deciding between 1 HP or 1 Skill Point for your favored class bonus.  What if that were 1 HP and 1/4 BAB or 6 Skill Points?

Looked at another way, if 1 HP and 1 Skill Point are roughly equivalent (both potential favored class bonuses), then is .25 BAB worth 5 Skill Points?

Over four levels, a +5% to hit and 4 HP VS a +5% to succeed at 24 different skills (or a +10% to succeed at 12 different skills, or a +20% to succeed at 6 different skills, or a +40% to succeed at 3 different skills)?  That seems obvious.

As a cherry on top, Rogues have 22 class skills, while Fighters only have 10. That's a difference of 36 potential skill points.

Verdict: Tie for those who simply cannot figure out how to use skills in combat, and do not care about anything outside of combat.  For everybody else the Rogue has a significant advantage.


Fighters get heavy armor and marital weapon proficiency, armor training, and weapon training. Rogues get 4 rogue talents, 6 advanced rogue talents, evasion and uncanny dodge.
Are the Rogue's miscellaneous features equal to the Fighter's miscellaneous features?

Let's run through them.  I'll convert them to an approximate value of feats based on similar existing feats if possible.

Heavy Armor Proficiency is great, but Rogues can get it with two feats.  They wouldn't want to, but for the sake of argument I'll list this as 2 Feats.

Martial Weapon Proficiency is good, but if you want to use a specific weapon you can take proficiency as a feat. 1 Feat.

Armor Training is good, but can usually only gain an additional AC or two given a normal Fighter Dexterity. 2 Feats (such as dodge)

Weapon Training is great, granting an additional +4 to attack and damage with your primary weapon by level 17.  No arguing with that. 6 Feats (4 weapon focus, 2 weapon specialization)

That's about 11 Feats worth of bonuses for the Fighter, give or take a handful.

Rogue Talents are notably underwhelming, but remember that all four of them can be converted to feats that the rogue needs (Combat Trick, Finesse Rogue, Weapon Focus, and Ninja Trick>Combat Trick). If you don't like any talents, simply make them feats.   4 Feats.

Advanced Rogue Talents are much better.  One is equivalent to a feat (Feat), several others are at least as strong as feats (Crippling Strike, Improved Evasion,), and many of the rest are about equivalent (Stand Up,  Armor Mastery, Terrain Mastery, Trap Spotter).  6 Feats.

Evasion is fantastic, and has saved the skin of many a Rogue.  However, I'll call it one feat for the sake of argument. 1 Feat.

Uncanny Dodge is super situational but worth mentioning.  However, its not strong enough to give it a full feat. 0 Feats.

That's about 11 Feats worth of bonuses for the Rogue, give or take a handful.

Verdict:  Tie (well the fighter is one down, but that is close enough).  Weapon training is really floating the Fighter here, but it's hard to compete with all of the talents.  Given that all four rogue talents can be converted directly into feats, and there are many excellent advanced rogue talents, I feel that the talents class feature gets an unnecessarily bad reputation.

Conclusion

Overall we have a tie, although for each individual comparison I would favor the rogue.  I'd rather have Sneak Attack than the extra feats.  I'd rather have 6 skill points per level than a quarter BAB and a single hit point.  And I'd rather have 5 feats from rogue talents, 5 rogue talents, evasion and uncanny dodge than heavy armor proficient, martial weapon proficiency, armor training, and weapon training.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Crit Fiend (Fighter Build)

Crit Fiend
Human Fighter (Weapon Master Archetype)

The Crit Fiend is all about dealing damage and de-buffing his enemies, in that order. He achieves both of those objectives by getting critical hits through a high threat range and multiple attacks. To this end, the Crit Fiend uses dual wakazashis, weapons with d6 damage and a threat range of 18-20. After the threat range is doubled to 15-20 at level 8, the Crit Fiend is virtually guaranteed at least one critical on his multiple attacks when using his full round action to slice away. At higher levels, these criticals blind, stun, stagger, and bleed his enemies.


Feats

 1:   Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Wakizashi, Two-Weapon Fighting, Double Slice
 2:   Weapon Focus: Wakizashi  
 3:   Dodge
 4:   Weapon Specialization
 5:   Two-Weapon Defense
 6:   Improved Two weapon Fighting
 7:   Lunge
 8:   Improved Critical
 9:   Critical Focus
10:  Greater Weapon Focus: Wakizashi
11:  Bleeding Critical
12:  Greater Two Weapon Fighting
13:  Two-Weapon Rend
14:  Greater Weapon Specialization
15:  Blinding Critical
16:  Critical Mastery
17:  Staggering Critical
18:  Stunning Critical
19:  Iron Will
20:  Improved Iron Will


Attributes

The Crit Fiend is a specialist, but he requires both a high strength and a high dexterity to get moving. A high constitution will also help keep him alive. Charisma, Inteligence, and Wisdom are all potential dump stats, with Charisma being the dumpiest of them all.

Str>Dex>Con>Wis>Int>Cha. The only wrinkle here is that Dexterity must be at least 16, and must hit 19 by level 12.

Point Buy 15
STR:18 (16+2)
DEX: 16
CON: 14
INT: 7
WIS:8
CHA: 7

Point Buy 20
STR:18 (16+2)
DEX: 17
CON: 14
INT: 7
WIS:10
CHA: 7

Point Buy 25
STR:20 (18+2)
DEX: 17
CON: 14
INT: 7
WIS:8
CHA: 7

Attribute advancement:  Make sure you hit 19 dexterity by level 12, which means you must start with at least 16 dexterity.  You may want to bump that up to 20 at level 16.  Otherwise, just boost strength.

If you cannot start with at least 17 dexterity and 18 strength, then the Crit fiend is still a valid option. Favor strength over dexterity, and make sure that your dexterity is at least 15. You will be unable to qualify for some of the higher two weapon fighting feats, but take what you can, and replace what you can't. This is another approach to the Crit Fiend and almost as deadly.

Skills

To put it lightly, skills are not the Crit Fiend's specialty.  He will have a low intelligence score, and his 2 skills a level for being a fighter isn't really helping.  With 7 intelligence you get 2 skills.  Perception anybody?


How to Play

The Crit Fiend should always be using full round actions to attack with both his weapons. Because of this, moving around the battlefield will be a challenge - make sure to use your five foot steps strategically. If you have to enter combat adjactent to one enemy, try to step around him during combat to get ready to attack a second enemy when the first one falls.

Full round actions means less mobility around the battlefield. Try to reposition yourself with five foot steps - make sure that when you kill one enemy, you can tear into another enemy without using a move action.

The Crit Fiend is overly reliant on his specific fighting style - Dual wielding, with wakizashis. Because most of his feats either boost dual wielding or the wakizashi specifically, getting disarmed or fighting with alternate weapons poses more of a problem for the Crit Fiend then it does other fighters.

Obviously, the Crit Fiend will be significantly less effective against enemies that are immune to critical hits.

Traits

Reactionary: +2 to initiative.  Everybody loves initiative.
Carefully Hidden: +1 to Will saves (and a minor additional bonus)


What He Looks Like Each Level
(assuming no magic gear, 20pt buy)

Level 1: At Level 1, the Crit Fiend is already impressive.  He attacks at +3/+3, dealing d6+4 and critting on 18-20.  He has a 28% of scoring at least one threat each round.  He's got 13 hit points and 19/13/16 AC. +4 Fort, +3 Ref, +1 Will.  +5 Initiative.

Level 4: Attacks at +8/+8, dealing d6+7 damage and critting on an 18-20.  He has a 28% of scoring at least one threat each round.  He's got 40 hit points, and 20/15/15 AC.  Saves: 6/5/2

Level 8: Attacks at +13/+13/+8/+8, dealing d6+8 and critting on a 15-20. Has a 76% chance of scoring at least one threat each round.  76 hit points, 21/15/16AC.  Saves: 8/6/3.

Level 12: Attacks at +19+19/+14/+14/+9/+9 for d6+9 and critting on a 15-20.  Has a 88% chance of scoring at least one threat each round.  Each crit does 2d6 bleed damage.  112 hit points, 21/15/16 AC.  Saves: 10/8/5. (Against average AC, DPR: 44)

Level 16:  Attacks at +25/+25/+20/+20/+15/+15/+10 for d6+13 and critting on a 15-20.  If both hands hit, an additional d10+7 damage.  Has a 91% chance of at least one threat, and each crit blinds and does 2d6 bleed damage.  148HP, 21/15/16AC, 12/9/6 saves.

Level 20:  Attacks at +30/+30/+25/+25/+20/+20/+15 for d6+14 and critting on a 15-20.  If both hands hit, an additional d10+7 damage.  Has a 91% chance of at least one threat, and each crit does 2 of: blinds, stun, stagger 2d6 bleed damage.  184HP, 21/15/16AC, 14/11/9 saves.


Rationale

If we are dual wielding, why not use the Ranger? The simple explanation is feats. The Crit-fiend is going to eat up a lot of feats: Crit feats, Weapon specific feats such as focus and speicalization, and Two-Weapon fighting feats. Rangers simply cannot get that number of feats.

Why Humans? This build does not depend on a human to play it. However, gaining the extra feat right off the bat is nice, and the +2 to strength is key.

Why Two of the Same Weapon? There are many feats and abilities that will only effect one specific weapon, such as Weapon focus and the entire Weapon Master Archetype. By specializing in one weapon for both hands, we can double the effectiveness of those feats. Also the wakizashi is awesome.

Why the Wakizashi? Because it's awesome? Yes. The wakizashiis a light, d6 weapon with a crit range of 18-20/2. The fact that it is light makes it easier to dual wield, and the crit range is key. d6 damage isn't half bad either.

But the Wakizashi only has a x2 critical multiplier. Why not use something with x4? The important thing about this build is the critical range, not the critical multiplier. The wakizashi has a critical range of 18-20, and when that is doubled by improved critical it becomes 15-20. Scoring criticals allows the Crit Fiend to stagger, blind, stun, and bleed his opponent at higher levels. We have to favor scoring criticals over the damage they deal.

Okay, these feats mostly make sense. But Lunge? The Crit Fiend is going to have some trouble moving around the battlefield, given that he should use full round actions to make his attacks. Lunge helps make sure that he can make attacks without using move actions.

Jacob's Tower, Level 7: Gothic

Jacob’s Tower, Level 7: Gothic
46,000xp total, approx 35,000gp, 5 - 6 hours


Gothic has a distinct horror vibe, so feel free to dim the lights, put on some mood music and use your creepy voice. It takes place in a twice cursed Cathedral, first home to a Vampire Lord, then home to a cult of Zon-Kuthon, God of Pain. Jacob has physically transported this church from Golarion for use in his tower.

This level will focus on the collection of ingredients to be placed into a Chalice to aid in the resurrection of a vampire lord.

You may want to read up on running a horror game.

When looking out the various windows and going outside, Hellbrooke Cathedral appears to be on a slight hill overlooking dark and dreary forest at the darkest of twilight. However, any attempts to venture off the map will prove fruitless, as this view is simply an extremely high level illusion.

Virtually every room in Gothic is separated with heavy wooden doors. Each of these doors starts out closed, although none are locked. They are marked with double lines on the map.

There are a number of donation boxes scattered around the level. Items and gold put into these boxes are immediately destroyed, and cannot be retrieved. Excess worth or change is not returned.


Room 1: Cathedral, Chalice, and Tomb

The passage way from Gauntlet narrows into a small tunnel which emerges from the ground at 1i. When the last hero exits, the hole closes back over and disappears.

Our heroes have emerged into an immense Cathedral. Dim stone column soar 200 feet into the air to hold up a wickedly slanted roof. Weak and sickly red light seeps in from immense stained glass windows depicting demons, torture, and slaughter (1c, 1d, 1e, 1f, 1g, and 1h). The stained glass window against the farthest wall (1c) depict a hooded figure with white skin, red eyes, and splayed bat wings. The floor in the Cathedral is barren, and freezing cold to the touch.

A grey marble tomb (1a) is the obvious centerpiece of the cavernous Cathedral. The tomb is a raised rectangle, with complex carvings of vines, roses, and skulls inlaid along the edges. A smiling steel skull with two long fangs is partially sunk face up into the tomb’s top slab, and the words “Barbaneth Hellbrooke” are carved into the tomb’s southern face. Any attempts to open or scry into the tomb prove fruitless.

Atop the tomb is a steel chalice inlaid with large, blood red rubies. This chalice seems to be magically held in place and cannot be moved.

Next to the chalice is a large book, it’s ancient pages worn and cracked. Thick leather binding are split and frayed, and dark blotches and burn marks mar the edges. The entire book is written in a strange and otherworldly cipher (which cannot be pierced even with magic), and any character who stares at the letters for too long feels a sharp pain in his temples and jaw, as well as a giddy sense of madness.

On the front cover, someone has written “The Sanguine Resurrection” in dripping red letters. Underneath, in smaller words and underlined several times, is written “Hellbrooke Cathedral.” These letters are still wet if touched, and will smear and spread across everything they touch. These smears cannot be removed short of dispel magic.

A DC 11 Knowledge (history) or (religion) check will reveal that Hellbrooke Cathedral was a real Cathedral in Golarion. It was famously built by the vampire Barbaneth Hellbrooke to headquarter a cult devoted to his worship. After being purged by holy warriors it was used as a temple for Abadar, which was then corrupted into a church of Zon-Kuthon, god of pain. After being purged for a second time by the forces of good it mysteriously disappeared from Golarion, seemingly kidnapped by Jacob for his tower.

Throughout the margins of the book, the madman has written a range of scrawled notes. Most of these are illegible or incomprehensible: For example “These words burn” or “Sliced from nape to nape” or “To translate this means madness.” However, there are two places where the red markings could be helpful.

On a blank page in back of “The Sanguine Resurrection,” the mysterious writer has written this rhyme over a drawing of a chalice:

Mix stony blood with cursed ring,
Crown of a saint, bones of a king,
Eye of a blind man, Tongue of a mute,
Heart where evil once took root,
Then down into the water deep,
To kill the mind that does not sleep,
Last, a priest, burned for his crimes,
Then ring the church bell thirteen times,
And finally, your blood:…” And here the mad author has scribbled the names of the PCs present.  It may be worthwhile to print out this rhyme and physically hand it to the players.

If you feel your players won't want to bring back a vampire lord, below the riddle is written "The only way to kill him for good is to bring him back."

A footnote on the next page states. “25,000gp worth of magical items may substitute for any ingredient.”  Thus if the players are having a really tough time, they may sacrifice a fortune in gold to replace a single ingredient.  They may do this for multiple ingredients.

Incorrect ingredients cannot be placed into the chalice, as if some force field protects it.  Except for the church bells and PC's blood, the ingredients may be placed in the chalice in any order.

On the next page is scrawled a map of the Cathedral. When our heroes discover this, feel free to draw the map for the players and label each room in a way that won't give anything away (for example Library, Peter Bellow's Tomb, Room of Statues, Bishop's Mausoleum).  Include the secret treasure room, but give no indication as to where the entrance to the treasure room is.

A massive steel church organ sits against the north wall of the Cathedral (1b). Playing it with a DC 25 Perform (keyboard) check will result in a +2 morale bonus to attack, damage, and will saves for 24 hours.


Room 2: Graveyard

A pale mist sits over the Graveyard, chilling our heroes to the bone. A single huge oak tree (2a) stands sentry over the tombs, a hundred frayed nooses hanging loosely from its gnarled branches. Gravestones and marble sculptures are scattered throughout the graveyard.

The gravestones are too weatherworn to be read, but, if examined closely, the sculptures seem to be of adventurers mid battle. Our heroes will not know this yet, but those sculptures are actually adventurers turned to stone by the Basilisk in Room 3.

There is one sculpture in the Graveyard that is not part of northwest cluster. A large stone statue of a young elf, crow on his shoulder, is partially encompassed by the tree (2a.b). An engraving is just visible from the entrance to the graveyard.  If they approach it, the engraving on the statue reads:

Here lies the Druid Gaius Gallows Willowhand and his Crow companion Blackfoot,
Once a heroic adventurer, Willowhand was corrupted by the foul vampire Barbaneth Hellbrooke and murdered during the first cleansing of Hellbrooke Cathedral.

Upon reading the inscription, our heroes will be startled by the sudden cawing of a crow. Up in the oak tree, an unnaturally large crow bears a striking resemblance to the Blackfoot, the crow in the sculpture. He caws loudly and stares with burning red eyes at the adventurers, as the tree suddenly rumbles to life.

The tree is actually a Hangman Tree, corrupted by Willowhand’s dark power over nature. It will attack at this point, carrying the demented crow along with it. If nobody suspected the tree, he will get a surprise round and use his Hallucinatory Spores Ability.  Any who fail the save will believe that the Hangman Tree represents Willowhand’s good aspects and should not be attacked.

If our heroes kill the crow, the Hangman Tree will be staggered for d4 rounds.

Normally, maintaining a grapple is a standard action.  However, this Hangman Tree may maintain a grapple by sacrificing one of his vine attacks during a full round action.  Thus, if the Hangman Tree is currently grappling two heroes, he may take a full round action (normally three attacks) to maintain one grapple with one vine, the second grapple with the second vine, then attack with the third vine.  He will not attack already grappled opponents with extra vine attacks.

The Hangman Tree's general strategy will be to attack and grab opponents (dealing them normal damage then constricting them), attempt to pin them on the next turn with another successful grapple check (constricting them again, and gaining a +5 on the CMB check due to being the aggressor), then attempt to swallow them whole on the next turn with another successful grapple check (constricting them again, and gaining a +5 on the CMB check due to being the aggressor)

When the Hangman Tree is killed, it will fall and crush the crow. Its roots will be pulled from the ground, and in them will be found a dark, decaying heart. This heart is Willowhand’s heart, and it is the ingredient: “Heart where evil once took root.”

A decrepit wooden fence lines the south and west borders of the Graveyard. However, our heroes will find themselves completely unable to pass it, as if stopped by a stone wall.


Room 3: Bishop’s Mausoleum

The Bishop’s Mausoleum is a large marble structure with Corinthian columns and a slanted roof. Our heroes might be clued in to the danger when they see the statues of people littered outside – or, they may think the statues are simply part of the Graveyard.

There are no doors in the Mausoleum, and the 15 foot wide entrance is completely open.

Inside the Mausoleum is a marble tomb (3a) with a marble statue of a squat, eight legged alligator on top. A DC 15 Knowledge (Arcana) check will identify that this is a statue of a Basilisk.

However, a DC 30 Perception check or DC 30 Knowledge (Arcana) check will realize that the Basilisk is actually alive. If he is attacked, or if any enemy enters the Mausoleum, he will open his eyes and attack. He will focus almost exclusively on his gaze attack in combat. Note that the Basilisk is actually a Slime Infected Basilisk instead of the standard version.

When killed, the Basilisk will drop enough blood to un-petrify two party members.  If any blood is left over, they may think to un-petrify any of the dozens of statues in the graveyard.  Any statue they un-petrify is turned back into a hero, who thanks them and gives them a single +1 weapon or armor.  They may choose to look for a statue with a particular weapon or armor they like.  If they choose statues randomly, the first will give a +1 Light Steel Shield of Arrow Catching, and the second will give his gold pouch, filled with 5,000gp.  After giving his prize, the hero will thank them and fade away.

A donation box sits along the back wall of the Mausoleum (3b). On the donation box is written:

To Soften Skin, donate 5,000gp.

If a player donates the required amount, a party member of his choice will become un-petrified.  If none are petrified, the donation is not accepted.  They may not use this to un-petrify the marble statues in the graveyard.

The Basilisk's blood is one of the ingredient’s for Barbaneth’s Resurrection, “Stony blood.” Just a few drops will do, and will not count against the total amount of Basilisk blood harvested.

The Mausoleum houses a marble tomb (3a) with the following engraving:

Here lies Pious Anticus,
Bishop of Abadar, burned at the stake for his collusion with Zon-Kuthon.
He is enshrined here so all may know his fate.”

The tomb is not locked, but it is heavy. A DC 20 Strength check will lift the slab, while destroying it will also do the trick (60hp, 10 hardness).

Once the tomb is opened, a haunt manifests. Flames and screams rush forward from the tomb, enveloping the Mausoleum in a sudden inferno. All those inside the Mausoleum must make a DC 20 Will save to recognize the flames as illusion or take 10d6 fire damage.

Inside the tomb is a cracked ceramic urn containing Anticus’ ashes. A pinch of these ashes are an ingredient for Barbaneth’s Resurrection: “Last, a priest, burned for his crimes.”


Room 4: Library

Tall bookcases, fluttering papers, and large stacks of tomes suggest a library much greater than the space allows. Inside are a wide range of rare books, and any bibliophiles in the group may be sorely tempted to explore. However, one things should catch the eyes of our adventurers pretty quickly.

A small open box about the size and shape of a book sits on the floor (4a). One of its sides has been disguised to look like the bindings of a book, and, if placed into a bookshelf, it would be indistinguishable from any other tome. The “title” of this fake book is “Spirits and Good Humor.” The box is empty except for a note which reads:

Brother Fallius,
If I catch you smuggling in any more brandy, I will have you flogged. The other brothers inform me that you have an entire collection false books in here, and that each false book’s title is “Spirits and Good Humor” in a different language. The books may be protected from “Comprehend Languages” and the like, but, rest assured, I will find these books and destroy them.
- Bishop Pious Anticus

Our heroes may attempt to find other copies of “Spirits and Good Humor” by simply looking around the library. For each different language that our heroes know (excepting Common), they find one book and one bottle of Westminson Brandy Reserve. These brandies are exceedingly rare, and may be sold for 750gp each.  Or drunk for good times.

When our heroes look around the library a bit more, they will notice a note pinned to one of the bookshelves (4b). It reads:

Brother Fallius,
I’ve noticed you have quite a love for reading recently. I’ve left you a present inside the most expensive book in the library.  Can you find it?
- Bookkeeper Avius

A DC 20 Appraise or Profession (librarian) check will discover the incredibly rare and valuable memoir “Trips to the Southern Isles” by Gilfred Halvern. Each character may attempt this check once. Simply looking for the book among the thousands of others without these skills is impossible. The book alone is worth 1,000gp, and hidden inside is a Scroll of Slay Living (CL 7), a Scroll of True Seeing (CL9), and a Scroll of Restoration (CL 7).

You may generate random books here: Seventh Sanctum - Bookspinner


Room 5: The Four Sinners

This barren stone room has four upright sarcophagi along the northern wall. A large engraving on the floor reads:

Four sinners are interred here for their crimes: A beggar, a blind man, mute and a thief."

A note on the ground has the following written on it it, surrounded by numerous question marks.  The note is written in the same near gibberish red writing as the footnotes in "The Sanguine Resurrection."

"There is one coffin between the mute and the blind man
There is one coffin between the thief and Elf. The Elf is on the right.
The Halfling rests in the right most coffin.
The Orc rests directly to the right of the human.
The Thief is directly to the left of the Mute.

If 5a is opened, a Revenant who use to be a Human thief leaps out and immediately attacks.

If 5b is opened, the decomposing corpse of a mute Orc falls out. His tongue can be easily harvested, and is the ingredient “tongue of a mute.”

If 5c is opened, a Revenant who used to be an elf beggar leaps out and immediately attacks.

If 5d is opened, the corpse of a blind Halfling falls out. His eyes can be easily harvested, and are the ingredient “eyes of a blind man.”


Room 6: Hall of Monsters

This stone room is dark, dusty, and entirely enclosed without any windows or source of light. Spiders scurry out of the way as our heroes pass. A note tacked along the wall (6a) reads “Destroy them with what they fear.

With this tantalizing clue in mind, our heroes may be too distracted to notice the Shocking Floor Trap, Perception DC 26, Disable Device DC 26 (6b).

Along the northern wall of this room are 6 painted stone statues of monsters. Each of these monsters must be identified with a relevant DC 16 knowledge check, which may only be attempted once per character per monster. This check gives the monster’s name and weakness. If the monster is subjected to this weakness, he crumbles into a pile of gems worth 1,000gm. If the monster is subjected to an attack he is not weak to, he explodes into rock shards, dealing 7d6 damage to any within 30 feet (Reflex 21 halves).

The information in quotes should be read to the players, and the italicized information should be given if the knowledge check is made.

6c: “This blue-furred creature sports an elephantine trunk and a camel-like body.” A DC 16 Knowledge (arcana) check will determine this is a Disenchanter, and it is vulnerable to dispel magic.

6d: “This massive crimson blob reaches out amorphous pseudopods in all directions.” A DC 16 Knowledge (dungeoneering) check will reveal this as a Carnivorous Blob, and thus vulnerable to cold.

6e: “This stooped creature has powerful limbs, a mane of gritty brown fur and a ferocious, tusked underbite.” A DC 16 Knowledge (local) check will determine this is a Mountain Troll, and thus vulnerable to sonic.

6f: “This creature looks like a hairless elf, with long arms that end in sharp claws. Its skin is brown and resembles tree bark.” A DC 16 Knowledge (nature) check will determine this is a Grimstalker fey, and it is weak to cold iron.

6g: “Four arms grace the torso of this towering humanoid, a wicked grin painted across his face.” A DC 16 Knowledge (planes) check will determine this is a Glabrezu Demon, and he is weak to Good. Attacking with “good” means either casting “align weapon,” attacking with a magic weapon that explicitly states it is “good,” or using a creature with the good subtype. Simply attacking with a good aligned character is not good enough!

6h: “This horror’s upper body is twisted and malformed, his hands ending in tangles of blunt, electric-blue tendrils.” A DC 16 Knowledge (religion) check will reveal this creature to be the undead Spellscar Fext and he is vulnerable to glass. As an undead creature, he is also vulnerable to channeled energy and healing spells.


Room 7: Saint’s Tomb

This small but ornate room houses a raised stone tomb (7a) surrounded by murals of farmers, blacksmiths, and sailors. The side of the tomb reads:

St. Kailon Runard

Next to the tomb is a plaque and donation box. The tomb, donation box, and plaque are all protected by a strong magic and cannot be broken.

The plaque reads:

St. Kailon Runard was a patron Saint of the Working Man before he turned to Zon-Kuthon. He was discovered a traitor when his blasphemous worship led to the growth of a ring of horns emerging from the top of his head. Despite his nefarious involvement St. Runard was never officially accused of his crime, and was thus interred following his death in the second cleansing.

On the donation box is written “To pay your respects to St. Runard, either show him the capabilities he cares for or donate 5,000gp worth of gold or items.

A DC 26 Profession Check will avoid the donation. Character should feel free to take 20 on this check.

After the check or donation the tomb will open, revealing the skeleton of St. Runard. The skull has thirteen small horns growing from the top, and this is the ingredient “crown of a saint.” The entire skull, crown of the skull, or broken off horns will suffice.

If a Profession check was used to open the tomb, a Masterwork tool of the relevant Profession skill lies interred with the skeleton.


Room 8: To Basement

A spiral staircase (8a) leads down into wet and humid darkness. The staircase descends 50 feet before coming out in the basement (9a)


Room 9: Basement

This room is dark and damp. The stone walls, which extend 30 feet up, are covered with moss and dripping black grime. A small +1 Rapier is lodged in the ground at 9d.

Two large stone columns emerge from a murky pool of water. Visibility in this water is only 15 feet, and the putrid pool radiates evil.

A donation box (9b) sits next to a small statue of a female pirate waving the jolly roger. On the donation box is written:

Besmara will accept donations of 1,000gp or more to provide safe passage to the depths.

If a player donates to Besmara, he receives her blessing. He will become the target of a Water Breathing (CL7) spell and a Freedom of Movement (CL 11) spell. These will both help immensely in the fight ahead.

The pool of water is surprisingly deep, reaching fully 100 feet down. It is also obviously very dark, and with a visibility of only 15 feet our heroes will need to be careful with how they proceed.

At the bottom of the pit is an Aboleth (9c) who will attack if somebody lands on him (A DC 15 perception check will see the Aboleth instead of mistaking him for ground, and the Aboleth will get a perception check to see the heroes). If only a small part of the party goes underwater, the Aboleth will use dominate monster, then use the character in conjunction with illusions to try and lure the rest of the party into the water.

If the Aboleth is damaged while he is in the pool, but cannot attack his aggressors, he will rise up out of the water and attack. When roused, he will lead with dominate monster, then resort to lashing out with his tentacles.

When the Aboleth is killed, a ghostly miniature image of his head will float from his corpse slowly upwards. If our heroes choose to follow it, it will go up the stairs and get sucked into the chalice. This is the ingredient “the mind that does not sleep.”

Be sure to review the underwater combat rules for this fight.  They ain't easy, but we have to address them sometime.


Room 10: Cloister

A covered stone pathway runs along the outside of a small courtyard of dead grass.  A silent image of a wooden chest (10a) sits in the center of the cloister over a 10 deep foot pit.  If this chest is interacted with, a DC 17 Will save reveals it to be an illusion.

Surrounding this chest is a separate silent image of solid ground (10b&10c) where there is actually a 10 foot pit.  Any who step into squares 10b or 10c must make a DC 17 Will save.  If the character succeeds at this Will save he recognizes the pit in front of him and ends his move before the pit (though he still sees the chest).  If the character fails his Will save he falls prone into the pit where a Ghast (10c) awaits.  The Ghast will be unable to climb out of the pit under any circumstances.  Note that the pit-bound Ghast's stench ability is confined to the pit.

Once the first Will save against either silent image has been made, roll initiative with two sets of Ghasts.  On the first set, the two Ghasts on the 10d's will burst out of the ground as a full round action that provokes, and end their turns standing.  On the second set, the the two Ghasts on the 10e's will burst out of the ground as a full round action that provokes, and end their turns standing.  The Ghast in the pit will act on the second set.

Let the player know that the skin and flesh of the corpses bulge violently, as if something inside is struggling to get free. A dull buzzing noise can be heard over the sound of combat.

When any Ghast is slain, a Wasp Swarm bursts from his corpse.  These Wasp Swarms act on the initiative of the Ghast from which they were birthed.

Characters may check the north wall of this room for an entrance to the secret treasure room.  A DC 20 Perception check will note a lever at 10f.  However, a DC 25 Perception check will note that the lever does not open up any doors.  Instead, it activates a trap which emits a blast of freezing air, dealing 6d6 cold damage (DC 18 reflex halves) to all within 30 feet.  A DC 25 Disable Device check disables the trap.  There are no doors leading to the treasure room here.


Room 11: King’s Tomb

This small room houses a raised stone tomb (11a & 11b) surrounded by murals of minstrels and bards. On the side of the tomb reads:

Henry Bellows

Next to the tomb is a plaque and donation box. The tomb, donation box, and plaque are all protected by a strong magic and cannot be broken.

The plaque reads:

Henry Bellows was a traveling bard well known for his dirges of blood and glory. Raised an orphan, he came to discover his true lineage traced back to the rulers of Cheliax. Instead of claiming the throne as his right, Henry chose to become personal bard to Barbaneth Hellbrooke, who interred him here upon his death. He was never transformed into a vampire, and thus no attempts have been made to remove him.

On the donation box is written: “To pay your respects to Henry Bellows, either show him the capabilities he cares for or donate 5,000gp worth of gold or items.”

A DC 26 Perform check will avoid the donation. Character should feel free to take 20 on this check.

After the check or donation the tomb will open, revealing the skeleton of Henry Bellows. Any one of his bones will suffice for the ingredient “Bones of a King,” as Henry was rightful heir to the throne of Cheliax.

If a Perform check was used to open the tomb, a masterwork instrument of the relevant Perform skill lies interred with the skeleton.

A DC 24 Perception check will reveal a hidden panel behind the tomb (11b) leading to the treasure room.


Room 12: Hidden Treasure Room

A scattering of ancient coins and minor religious artifacts are spread around what clearly used to be a treasure room. These trinkets sum a mere 100gp. However, the real prize is Shadowslayer, a +1 Undead Bane Light Crossbow (12a). All bolts fired from Shadowslayer are considered to be silvered in addition to any other material, and Shadowslayer is worth 10,250gp. Shadowslayer sits on a pedestal at 12a, and seems to glow slightly with light.

A golden ring sits on the pedestal next to Shadowslayer.  This ornate piece of jewelry is the "Cursed Ring" ingredient, and around its length is written "Touch Me to Move Me."  While not in direct contact with a living creature's skin, it acts as an immovable rod, and cannot be moved by normal means. Any round that it physically touches any creature's skin, that creature's move speed is halved and he takes 6d6 damage, DC 21 Fortitude save halves.  However, as long as the ring touches a creature's skin, the ring ceases to act as an immovable rod and may be carried as normal.  Note that if the ring is dropped, it will hover in place until touched again.

When a character moves within five feet of the pedestal, or if any attempts are made to remove Shadowslayer from the pedestal, there is a sudden flash of light. All characters adjacent to pedestal may make a DC 12 Reflex save to leap five feet away from it. Those who fail this check are automatically grappled by the Black Pudding who suddenly appears in 12b and completely engulfs the pedestal. As the Black Pudding moves around the Battlefield, Shadowslayer and the Cursed Golden Ring moves with him (the curse does not affect him). When the Black Pudding is killed, Shadowslayer and the Cursed Golden Ring may be found in his remains.

A DC 26 Perception check will notice a loose piece of cobblestone which can be pried up to reveal a chest (12c). The chest is trapped with Frost Fangs Trap (Perception 25, Disable Device 25), and inside the chest is a Ring of Jumping.


Room 13: To Belfry

Spiral stairs (13a) in this room lead up into the belfry. The stairs rise 200 feet into the air and come out at 14a, and they take the equivalent of 800 feet of forward movement to climb.


Room 14: Belfry

The belfry sits at the top of an immense tower at the peak of the Cathedral. The surrounding landscape, brown and dreary forest, seems to bend away at the horizon and shimmer as if it is an illusion (which it is).  The stairs end at 14a.

A massive steel bell hangs from a rope at 14b. It may be rung by hitting it with a large item, such as any two handed weapon that deals bludgeoning damage.

On the floor next to the bell is a cruel looking black mace dripping with blood (14c) . A DC 23 Spellcraft check will reveal the item as a +3 Mace, while a DC 33 Spellcraft check will reveal the item for what it really is: the cursed Mace of Blood. In any case, the mace may be used to ring the bell instead of a two-handed bludgeoning weapon.

Each time the bell is rung, any in the room or within 100 feet of the room must make a DC 13 Fortitude save or be deafened for one hour and dealt 2d6 sonic damage. These hours of deafness stack.

In order to meet the requirements of the ritual, the bell must be rung thirteen times after all ingredients (save the PCs’ blood) have been placed in the chalice.  Get ready to make 13 fortitude checks!


Boss: Barbaneth Hellbrooke, Vampire Lord

This fight has multiple factors and can be very hard – if your players do not buff before putting their blood into the chalice, you might want to hint that they should do so. They should also have a pretty good idea of what they will be fighting, and should take that into account if possible.

Once all ingredients have been placed into the chalice (including the heroes’ blood), the concoction will begin to swirl. The mixture turns into a dark red liquid, which drains as if somebody is drinking it, and the rubies on the chalice begin to glow. Moments later, the massive church organ at 1b begins to play.  A crack appears across the tomb and widens with every chord.  Suddenly, the stone slab covering the tomb launches hundreds of feet into the air, thousands of bats shatter through the stained glass windows, and Barbaneth Hellbrooke floats up from his tomb. Before our heroes have a chance to react, he opens his blood red eyes and attacks.

Barbaneth is everything you’d expect in a Vampire Lord. Tall, pale, gaunt, with white skin stretched tight over sharp features. His thin fangs, pointed ears, and bat-like nose are not subtle. Neither are his catlike red eyes or long, black flowing cape.

Remove Change shape, Children of the Night, and Spider Climb from Barbaneth’s Abilities. Remove Greater invisibility from his spell list. Instead, Barbaneth has Quickened Dimensional Door (3/day). Barbaneth will enter combat as if he had mage armor (giving AC 25/19/18) and expeditious retreat (giving him a move speed of 60). He will appear to hover several inches off the ground as he stands and moves around the battlefield.

In combat, as long as Barbaneth has bat companions he will seek to put some distance between himself and the heroes by either moving normally or using dimensional door. At range he will use fireball and scorching ray. If given the opportunity, he will teleport to a straggling non-melee hero and use either vampiric touch or simply slam him.

Once his bat companions are dead, Barbaneth will become more aggressive, using domination, vampiric touch or slam. If he has opportunity, he will attempt blood drain.

As Barbaneth explodes from his tomb, 3 bat swarms burst through the stained glass at 1c, 1d and 1e.

The second turn of play, 2 dire bats burst through the stained glass at 1f and 1g.

The third turn of play, a single bat swarm bursts in from the stained glass at 1h.

When Barbaneth is brought to 0 or less health, he becomes engulfed in a sudden, screaming white inferno. Within one turn he and all his gear are reduced to nothing but ashes, and any remaining bats dissipate and flee.

Our heroes may find the steps down the to next level within Barbaneth’s Tomb.

If our heroes are playing only in Jacob’s tower and ranking up to Level 8 then distribute 3,000gp amongst them evenly.


Sleeping in Gothic

Each night that our heroes sleep, they are each visited by a vision of Barbaneth Hellbrooke. In the dream, he chases them through dark and twisting hallways before finally catching and slaying them. Upon waking, our heroes feel a great unease and fear whenever they think of the Vampire Lord.

When our heroes actually face Barbaneth and combat begins, each character should make a DC 21 Will save for each each night they slept.  For every failed save, that character is panicked for one round.  This is a fear effect. Thus, if the heroes have slept for three nights and a hero fails all three will saves, he is panicked for a whopping three rounds at the start of the fight with Barbaneth.




Maps from Redclaw:





You may purchase printable PDFs of the entire dungeon, including the secret final level available only with the package, here:

Jacob's Tower, Levels 1 - 13 ($9.99)