Author Archives: phillypfs

News for 1/1/15

Philly-Specific News

January/February is a slow time for Philly PFS. Our next major convention will be in the spring, and I hope to have more information about that soon. However, while we aren’t having another convention for a couple months, our neighbors in New Jersey will be. They have DREAMATION 2015 coming up in February. Sign-ups will be open soon!

But of course, while we may not have conventions coming up in the immediate future, we’ll still be running PFS at all of our locations as usual. Also, there might be some modules or other events scheduled on the side – pay attention to the Redcap’s PFS mailing list for these opportunities if they come up! (I know I’m going to be working on getting a group together for the Seeker Arc version of Wardens.)

Pathfinder Society General News

Two new 64-page modules have been sanctioned. The brand new module Plunder & Peril has been sanctioned, along with the long-awaited Wardens of the Reborn Forge. Plunder & Peril is split into 3 parts with a bonus chronicle sheet if you apply all 3 sheets to the same character, and you can play it both in sanctioned module mode and campaign mode, much like Dragon’s Demand and Tears at Bitter Manor. Wardens of the Reborn Forge is also split up into 3 sections and can also be played in sanctioned module mode or campaign mode, but there’s a third way that you can play it – Seeker Arc mode. If everyone is 12th level, then you can play straight through the module, earning chronicle sheets as you go and leveling up mid-module. This is the way you get the bonus chronicle sheet for Wardens.

Plunder & Peril‘s sections are levels 3-5, 4-6, and 5-7, with the bonus chronicle sheet being levels 6-8. Wardens’ sections are levels 11-13. 12-14. and 13-15, with the bonus chronicle sheet being levels 14-16.

Pathfinder General News

RPG Superstar is in full swing! We are currently in the middle of voting, and I would encourage everyone to vote. Voting on items is a definite learning experience about what makes or doesn’t make a good item, and while Philly certainly had a good turnout of entries this year, I would love to see an even bigger Philly turnout next year.


Now that Mark Seifter has gotten the reins on the Pathfinder Design Team messageboard account, he’s been issuing a new ruling every Friday for the past couple months. What follows below are the ruling that the account has made since the last news post. If you want to stay up to date, check in with the Pathfinder Design Team’s Paizo messageboard account.

Skalds have perform(wind) as a class skill and can use it as a versatile performance. Nothing was broken here, just that it was super unthematic that these were missing. (FAQ)

The skill bonuses that a slayer gains with favored target increase by level along with the hit/damage bonus. This wasn’t written clearly enough in the slayer writeup. (FAQ)

Pummeling Style only works with unarmed strikes. The intent was to give monks something nice for a change, not to give every weapon user pounce. (FAQ)

Untyped ability bonuses don’t stack. Compared to the previous three, this one is a little more complicated. What this means is if two sources add an ability modifier to something, and neither of those sources specifies a type, then they don’t work together. The clearest example of this is a multiclassed Lore Oracle/Paladin that has taken the sidestep secret revelation. When calculating his Reflex save, sidestep secret is replacing his Dexterity modifier with his Charisma modifier, and the paladin’s divine grace adds his Charisma modifier to all saving throws. Neither of these specify a typed bonus, so they don’t stack and the paladin’s Charisma modifier only gets added once. On the other hand, when you look at the paladin’s AC, sidestep secret also replaces the Dexterity modifier for Charisma, but this time smite evil adds a deflection bonus equal to the paladin’s Charisma modifier. Since one is untyped and one is a deflection bonus, they stack. (FAQ)

Dragon Ferocity and Tiger Claws work. Both of these feats were intended to add a stat more than once to something, but thanks to the previous FAQ they broke. The PDT promptly fixed that. (FAQ)

Grab, pull, push, rock catching and trip all work off of your turn. As written, these are free actions and therefore only work on your turn, but rock catching makes no sense if you read it like that, and the others should really be able to trigger off of attacks of opportunity. Now they do. (FAQ)

A reach weapon can be used as an improvised weapon without reach. Can you physically hit someone with the butt of a longspear? Yes. Is it designed to do that? No. But just because that the longspear is a weapon doesn’t mean that you can’t use it as an improvised weapon. (FAQ)

If an attack can bypass magic DR, then it can also harm incorporeal creatures as if it was magic. This was the bane of monks. Thanks to their ki pool, their fists counted as magic for the purpose of bypassing DR, but thanks to the wording not actually making the fists magic and amulets of mighty fists often getting special abilities before getting enhancement bonuses, the monk was often really sad against incorporeal creatures. Now they don’t have to be! (FAQ)

Sleeves of many garments are illusory. The sleeves of many garments state that they “transform her current garments,” but it was unclear whether it would physically transform the current garments or just the appearance. Many people were using these to transform into a swarmsuit whenever a swarm came up under the assumption that the sleeves transformed the clothes physically. This clarification says that it is not the case. It just transforms the appearance. (FAQ)

Boar Style doesn’t try to bleed a bleeding target. Boar Style reads like it does 2d6 bleed damage, but Boar Shred, a feat later up the feat chain, does 1d6 bleed damage, and usually bleed damage doesn’t stack. That’s because the damage that Boar Style deals isn’t supposed to be bleed damage, but rend damage and it was just written badly. (FAQ)

Hats of disguise don’t last forever, but you can reactivate them before the previous duration is done. Items like the hat of disguise and the ring of invisibility are command word items based off of spells that have durations. People play as if you cast it and they’re up all the time, even though technically these spells have durations. Basically, this FAQ says that we haven’t been doing it wrong, just as long as you renew the duration before the previous duration ends. (FAQ)

Despite the fact that a hat of disguise has a duration, when you take the hat off you are no longer disguised. The effect is still tied to the hat, not like if you cast the spell yourself. (FAQ)

Crane Wing now no longer requires you to guess which attack you’re blocking. When they errata’d Crane Wing, they changed it so that you had to declare it before the attack and it just gave you a +4 bonus to your AC against that attack. They’ve determined that they overdid it, and have decided to tweak Crane Wing a little to try to make it a little more powerful. Now you choose one target and you get a +2 bonus to AC versus all attacks made by that creature for 1 round. (FAQ)

A reach weapon can attack something 2 diagonals away. In 3.5, there was the reach exception, which said that something with 10-foot reach could attack something 2 diagonal squares away from it even though that square is 15 feet away. It’s a little ugly, but it’s better than reach weapons getting shut down by diagonal hallways and enemies manipulating the grid to close with a reach weapon user without taking an attack of opportunity. Pathfinder tried to fix that by creating an “invisible square” that the enemies provoked from, but that turned out to be super clunky. This is the PDT putting the 3.5 reach exception into Pathfinder. (FAQ)

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Posted by on January 1, 2015 in News & Updates


Expansions in Philly!

We’re proud to announce two new locations where Pathfinder Society will be taking place in the Philadelphia area!

The first is Allied Hobbies, a game store up in Northeast Philly. They’ll be holding PFS games every third sunday of the month, starting on October 19. You can check out their Warhorn, and their address is up on the Venues page.

If you’ve been following the Paizo site, you know that the RPG is not the only game in town. Paizo is trying to start an Organized Play system for the Adventure Card Game as well. It’s been a little rocky getting off of the ground, but it looks like everything will be available in October, and 7th Dimension will be the first location offering the Adventure Card Game in the Philly area. They’ll be hosting it every Saturday in October – if you’re interested check out our venues page and calendar page for more information.


More information related to the ACGOP will be arriving on this site, so stay tuned!

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Posted by on September 29, 2014 in News & Updates


News for 9/15/14

Philly-Specific News

We have 3 conventions coming up over the next couple months.

The first is Unseelie Court 2014, a 3-day convention hosted by Redcap’s Corner. This will be on October 24th-26th and will feature the first 6 levels of the Emerald Spire along with the big interactive special, Legacy of the Stonelords.

After that. on November 7-9 will be Nerdvemberfest. Events aren’t up yet, but I’ll send out an email when they are. This is not a PFS-only convention, so feel free to come and play a slot or two of PFS while trying out other things as well.

Lastly November 14-16 is MEPACON, a 3-day convention held out in Clark’s Summit, PA. While not technically in our area, there will be a number of Philly people there and Jason Schimmel usually does a good job with PFS. I’d recommend that you take a look!

Pathfinder Society General News

John Compton posted a large amount of clarifications to issues brought up by the Year of the Sky Key. Normally I would try to break them down and explain each one, but John did a good job of that, so I’m going to link to that post and do a quick summary here:

  • The Guide overrules Additional Resources when it comes to Warpriest retraining due to the playtest. (You know, what we all figured was going to happen.)
  • Playtest shaman who took features for summoning can retrain those since the summon spells were stripped off of their list.
  • We have retraining synergies for all the ACG classes now! I made a table for those of you who find that a little confusing. (Although I’m waiting on a couple clarifications, so this may be updated depending on the response from the powers that be.)
  • You hold onto stuff from your previous faction. If you were a Hellknight before, you’re still a Hellknight, even though there is no Cheliax faction.
  • The nation-based factions basically morphed into the ideal-based factions. If you’re a former Andoran, you don’t need to spend that character’s free faction change in order to switch into Liberty’s Edge.
  • If you were a member of the Risen, you don’t get a free faction change, but if you became a member of the Risen before Season 6, then you can pay to switch factions. On the other hand, if you got it afterward the start of Season 6, then you’re stuck.
  • You need the Technologist feat for skill checks involving technology.
  • Creatures with hardness don’t take half damage from energy attacks.
  • Investigators can craft like an Alchemist.
  • The Ratfolk and Samsaran sections from the ARG are legal to play if you have the boon.
  • If a deity grants a domain, it grants that Warpriest blessing as well.
  • You cannot pick any language you want for a ring of eloquence.

Pathfinder General News

While I don’t highlight every product that Paizo puts out, there is one I would like to highlight, and that is the Iconic Heroes Miniatures. Getting involved with buying miniatures can be a very expensive hobby, but getting a full set of the Iconics can be really useful, especially if you do a lot of GMing and people need minis for the 4th player pregen they’re bringing (or a new player at the table is using a pregen.) They’re coming out in 2015, and you can see the first two sets previewed here and here.

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Posted by on September 15, 2014 in News & Updates


Pharasma’s Revolving Door

Congrats! You’re dead! It happens even to the best of us at some point. I know that I have had 9 character deaths over the course of my Pathfinder Society play time, and even if you build really good characters and play them really well, natural 20’s happen and crits can hurt. It does behoove everyone to learn how raising a dead character works, especially once you start hitting level 5 and above where you can come back from death more often. So, how does coming back from death work?

To start off with, most deaths are going to require you to get a raise dead. Raise dead has some limitations on it though. You need not to have been by a death effect or something with the death descriptor, you need to not have had your body turned into undead, and you need to have your full body available. If your body is potentially recoverable, but your party wasn’t able to bring it back for some reason, then you can pay for a body recovery with 5 Prestige. You can’t pay for this with money, only with favors. If your body is inaccessible for other reasons, or you suffered from one of the earlier problems, you’re going to need to pay for a resurrection instead of a raise dead.

Even with those restrictions, the vast majority of deaths only need raise dead. The problem is that you’re going to have to pay for it. Here’s the ways to pay for a raise dead:

  • Pay with gold. Raise dead is a 5th level cleric spell, which means a spellcasting service costs 5*9*10+5,000 (for the diamond) = 5,450gp.
  • Party member casts it. Any 9th level cleric can prepare raise dead, while 10th level oracles might have it as a spell known and 11th level witches might have it in their familiar. This will save the 450 you would have to pay for getting someone to cast it for you, but still requires you to find a 5,000gp diamond somewhere.
  • Prestige! All those favors you’ve done for people and those times you’ve proven yourself to be an exemplary Pathfinder are finally paying off in the form of a ticket back to the Material Plane. However, unlike the previous two examples, you must spend you’re own prestige and only your prestige. Other people can’t chip in to help you. If you wish to pay this way, it will cost you 16 prestige.

All of these options you can either do in between sessions, or during the session if you have access to a town of greater than 5,000 people (or a high level caster and the 5,000gp diamond for the second option). Either way, your character has suddenly recovered and is back in the land of the living and scot-free!

Well… close. Walking through Pharasma’s revolving door is a harrowing experience. When your character gets raised, he gets 2 negative levels. These can be taken care of with restoration. The choices you have mimic the raise dead choices above. For each negative level, either you pay 1280gp, or a character can cast restoration and you only need to pay 1,000gp, or you pay 4 Prestige. Also, you can only recover from 1 permanent negative level a week, which means that if you die in-game, unless you are doing a massive amount of travel in-game, you’re going to be stuck with a permanent negative level for the rest of the session. If you’re recovering between sessions, then you are assumed to spend enough time recovering that you can remove all your permanent negative levels.

Pharasma in her Boneyard

The last important thing to know about raising is that you can’t leave your character dead at the end of a session and raise him later. You must resolve the dead condition that session or your character is reported as dead and can no longer be played. Negative levels on the other hand you don’t need to worry about paying for right away if you don’t have the money or the prestige to pay for them. (Guide to Society Organized Play 22)

Especially at low levels, if someone dies in your party, considering pitching in to help them out. Raising someone and removing the negative levels at low levels can cost someone most of the money they have, which is incredibly crippling for a character. You are never forced to help someone out, but it is polite, especially if that person’s death is no fault of their own. It’s a lot easier for 5 people to give up 1,000gp than for one person to give up 5,000gp.

Okay, so you’ve just died, been raised and cleared all your negative levels. It was expensive, but you’re still able to play your character. You’re all done, right? Nope. You’ve just done everything that the game requires you to do, but you’re still missing one step. After the game, you need to think about what happened and why your character died. After all, we would like to prevent that experience from happening again, and only with reflection can you figure out what went wrong. Allow me to share you some examples of my own character deaths and how I changed characters based on the deaths:

Komana Higgenstrom is my Master of Many Styles Lore Warden. She wears light armor and uses Crane Style/Wing/Riposte to give her a good AC while she tries to combat maneuver things to death. Her major weakness was revealed when I had to fight a pair of huge fire elementals + a caster on the Ethereal Plane. Both of the fire elementals beat her in initiative, and slammed Komana enough that she died from the burn damage on her turn. Most of the elementals’ attacks wouldn’t have hit me if I had beaten them in initiative, but it turns out that when you get around +9 AC when you fight defensively + combat expertise, your AC is drastically lower than normal before you get to go. The problem is that her Dex wasn’t high and I hadn’t invested anything into initiative. I changed that when I leveled her up. I dipped diviner (foresight) wizard, got her a rabbit familiar, and took Improved Initiative as a feat, giving her a +9 bonus to initiative. While an enemy or two has beaten her in initiative since then, she has never lost initiative to all of the monsters and gotten in the same trouble since then.

Of course, changes don’t have to be as drastic. Getting hit by 2 shadow evocations revealed that my witch’s saves weren’t great and I prioritized cloaks of resistance after that. Getting a bunch of giant scorpions surrounding me helped me realize that my skill monkey’s AC wasn’t that great, so I bought him better armor with the leftover money from that scenario. And of course, sometimes you run across situations that you’re not prepared for. Deeper darkness and flight are 2 problems that frequently come up and that can be really deadly if you aren’t prepared for them, but can be solved with a simple consumable.

And sometimes, the dice just aren’t with you or you’re in a really bad situation. My halfling cavalier went up and tanked a bunch of thugs who needed an 18 on the die to hit him, and proceed to fall unconscious from multiple attacks, despite good hit points and healing him in the middle. My skill monkey got hit by a slay living and failed his save. My bard went into Bonekeep 2. Sometimes your death isn’t your fault, and that’s okay. Just as long as you recognize that and don’t let it discourage you.

After all, what’s the fun if there’s not a little risk?


Posted by on August 4, 2014 in Advice, Articles


News for 7/15/14

Philly-Specific News

Redcap’s Summer Game Day is coming soon!

Pathfinder Society General News

The Official PFS Blog has been teeming with news over the past couple weeks about Season 6 (which will be starting August 14th – the first day of Gencon!).

Let’s start with Harrow cards. Harrow is Golarion’s version of tarot, and ever since the Inner Sea World Guide has been out, there have been Harrow-related character options, including the Harrower prestige class. However, inaccessibility to the Harrow deck and no clear guidelines on the use of the deck in PFS play caused these options to be banned in PFS. Now that The Harrow Handbook and a new version of the Harrow deck have been released, these options are legal in Society. Prospective Harrow users should read this blog post detailing the limitations of using the Harrow in PFS play. GMs should glance at the post in case they come across Harrow-based characters at their table. (Not that I already have a Harrow bloodline sorcerer with thoughts towards the Harrower prestige class… *whistles innocently*)

Next up is faction changes! The blog has been abuzz for a couple weeks with how factions will be changing in Season 6. This blog tells people how factions have been evolving over Season 6 based off player choices, while these three blog articles discuss how individual factions will be changing in both name and scope. They are summarized below:

  • Grand Lodge and Silver Crusade will be the same.
  • Andoran will become Liberty’s Edge, a faction devoted to hunting corruption both in and out of Andoran, and bringing freedom to those oppressed by the nobility.
  • Cheliax will become the Dark Archive, the faction in charge of those evil artifacts that no one else in the Society is capable of taking care of. (You don’t want to stick paladins down there – the items like corrupting them!)
  • Osirion will become the Scarab Sages, a faction devoted to unlocking ancient secrets and passing that info to the people who can best use that information. (Also, it sounds like they are going to objectively have the best faction leader. Spoilers for 5-16: Destiny of the Sands, Part 3: Sanctum of the Sages!)
  • Qadira & Sczarni merge to become the Exchange, a faction all about money, whether legal or not. You’re in the faction because you want to be a business partner, not because you believe in some silly ideals.
  • Taldor will become the Sovereign Court, empowering the lower nobles of various countries to help shape national policy to benefit them all, much like a fantasy United Nations. Any similarities to the Illuminati are entirely coincidental and are of no value. *shifty eyes*

Since factions are changing, some factions no longer apply to characters that were once good fits to them. I know that while most of my Taldan characters are going to be right at home in the Sovereign Court, there is one Taldan I have who is way more at home in the Exchange than the Sovereign Court. Fortunately, at the beginning of Season 6, every character gets a free faction change! All you have to do is tell the GM the first time you play the character after Season 6 starts that you want to change factions, mark it off on your chronicle at the end of the scenario, and you’re good to go!

Over the past couple years, the PFS metaplot has aligned somewhat with the adventure path that gets released at GenCon that year. Season 3 brought us adventures in Tian Xia which aligned with Jade Regent, Season 4 brought us adventures in Varisia to align with Shattered Star, and Season 5 brought us adventures in and around the Worldwound to align with Wrath of the Righteous. Since the next adventure path is Iron Gods, it looks like Season 6 is going to be Year of the PEW PEW LASER PISTOLS!

Well, not really.

It turns out that not everyone likes Sci-Fi mixed in with Fantasy. While there will be elements of Sci-Fi in some Season 6 scenarios, the season will be focusing more on revisiting areas that we’ve neglected over the past couple years. See the link above for more information.

Lastly, with the focus turned away from the Worldwound for the time being, it’s time to say goodbye to two of our wonderful friends. Aasimars and tieflings have had a good run, but with the focus being taken away from planar adventures, aasimars and tieflings are being rotated out of the Always Available races. However, as they are being rotated out, new races are being rotated in! Kitsune, nagaji and wayangs are now Always Available! See this blog post for more information, but here’s the info you need to know:

  • If you already have an aasimar or a tiefling, he’s still legal. You won’t be forced to rebuild that character you’ve spent months working on.
  • If you want to create a new aasimar or tiefling, he needs to have 1XP by the start of Gencon (August 14th).
  • Aasimars and tieflings will be rotated into boons at some point so that players can make them again, but not right away. (Next year will be the elemental races again.)

Pathfinder General News

Paizocon happened! Paizocon is a 3 day convention that Paizo puts on over in Seattle with lots of Pathfinder games to play, seminars to attend, and industry personalities to meet. The wonderful guys at Know Direction set up microphones at all the seminars they could to record them for our listening pleasure at home. You can check out their recordings here.

Probably the most important recording to listen to is the recording of the Paizo banquet. At the banquet, Paizo makes a bunch of announcements about future products. The biggest announcement from the banquet is Pathfinder Unchained, a book that shows what the designers can do when freed from backwards compatibility. Now, I’m sure the big question is, will this be legal in PFS? The answer is, who knows? We’ll find out more closer to it being released. You can read about that announcement, along with the other Paizo announcements at this link.

Lastly in this section, the designer role that Sean K. Reynolds left open has been filled by Mark Seifter, a former Boston Venture-Lieutenant. And with that comes…

FAQs and Updates

With the design team mostly working on new rules while a man down, they haven’t had much of a chance to update and errata existing stuff. Now that Mark has been added to the team, he’s been fixing rules while the design team finishes up the Monster Codex.

If an ability tries to add a spell to your spells known that isn’t on your spell list without also adding it to your spell list, then it doesn’t work. The exploit for this came from oracles trying to use Improved Eldritch Heritage to add arcane spells to their spell list by selecting the 9th level power of the arcane bloodline. This FAQ clarifies that since the bloodline power only adds spells to your spells known and not your spell list, it will only add spells know if those sorcerer/wizard spells are also oracle spells. (Link)

If you have levels of spontaneous casting classes, you cannot use spell slots from one of your classes to cast the spells known of the other class. Basically, if you decide to try to mystic theurge sorcerer and oracle, you need to make sure to keep your spell slots for the two classes separate. (Until, of course, as a mystic theurge you gain the combined spells ability, which lets you do exactly that.) (Link)

If you temporarily gain uses of a limited ability multiple times in a day, the later ones don’t add extra uses unless they give more extra uses than the first ones. This is one that’s really easier to give an example for that to write down. Imagine that you’re a cleric that has a way of temporarily gaining a feat multiple times per day. You normally have 5 uses of channel energy per day, but you use them up, so you decide to gain Extra Channel for a couple minutes, giving you two extra uses. During that time, you use channel energy twice more, meaning that you have now used 7 uses of channel energy out of your maximum of 7. After a couple minutes, you lose the feat, which means you have used 7 out of your maximum of 5. Later on you decide to gain Extra Channel again, but you have used 7 out of your 7 uses of channel energy, which means you’re still out of channeling.  (Link)

Speaking about paragon surge, you can no longer use paragon surge and Expanded Arcana to gain all the spells known you want. Spontaneous casters with paragon surge on their spell list could spend a standard action and a 3rd level spell to gain whatever spell known they wanted by choosing Expanded Arcana as their bonus feat. This was limited only by the number of 3rd level spell slots they wanted to spend on it. Paizo determined that this is a little too far above acceptable power levels for sorcerers, so they nerfed paragon surge. Now, when you cast it the first time you pick a feat. You are locked into that feat choice for the rest of the day. You can use paragon surge + Expanded Arcana to give you a new spell known, but you are locked into that spell(s) for the rest of the day now. No spontaneously gaining all spells as spells known. You’ll have to wait until limited wish + blood money for that. (And no, Emergency Attunement doesn’t work because once you choose the first time, you no longer have a choice to make.) (Link) (Link to Emergency Attunement clarification)

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Posted by on July 15, 2014 in Uncategorized


News for 5/13/14

Philly-Specific News

DEXCON is looking for GMs from July 2nd to July 6th. Right now their warhorn is empty, but if you want to GM, you can email David Santana at VLTRokktor (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Redcap’s Summer Game Day has been announced. It is a one day event happening at Redcap’s Corner on July 26th, much like the winter gameday. Signups are open for both GMs and players!

Brian Lefebvre will be hosting a gameday at All Things Fun on the weekend on August 1st to 3rd. Details will be coming soon, but if you don’t mind the trip to southern jersey, you should keep the weekend open!

Pathfinder Society General News launched yesterday. The website is created by a group of Venture Officers to help highlight play opportunities throughout the globe and to be a resource to help run and play Pathfinder Society games more smoothly. As of time of writing, they have 4 blog posts up (mostly about running Season 0 games in today’s society)

There was also an FAQ for PFS that clarifies what it means to be a worshiper of a deity and what it takes to switch deities. Basic rules are: anyone can worship as long as they are within one alignment of their deity. You can switch deities between sessions for free, but you need an atonement if you need to change alignments and you need to pay to retain for any thing your character has that is incompatible with your new deity.

Pathfinder General News

Inner Sea Gods was released at the end of April. It is a hardcover book detailing the main 20 faiths of Golarion with additional information on the other minor deities, The book has lots of good content, both crunch and fluff, and most of it is legal for PFS. As a friendly heads up for PFS, you’ll need to pick up the book if you have characters that fall under one of two categories:

  • You want feats from Faiths of Purity, in particular Butterfly Sting. Those feats originally didn’t have worshiper requirements, but since they got reprinted in Faiths of Purity, they do now. From now on you need to worship Desna if you want Butterfly’s Sting.
  • You want to worship an empyreal lord (from Chronicles of the Righteous) and you want subdomains. Chronicles of the Righteous originally said that empyreal lords grant all subdomains of their domains, but that’s not how subdomains work. Inner Sea Gods brings them back in line with where they are supposed to be.
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Posted by on May 12, 2014 in Uncategorized


Secondary Success Conditions

One thing I’ve noticed recently is that we’ve had a streak of scenarios where the players have failed at getting the secondary success condition. While us old geezers in the campaign know what the in-game society expects out of its agents, this isn’t always clear to new players to the campaign. So if you’re lost as to how to complete your secondary success conditions, here’s some tips as to what the society expects of its agents.

The Society defends its own. Agents are more useful to the Society alive than dead. If you have the opportunity to keep an agent alive over the course of the adventure, keeping them alive helps the Society a great deal. Dead agents aren’t useless to the Society though. Recovering dead bodies and bringing them back to the Society to be raised or at least given a proper burial makes you great within the Society. Even recovering keepsakes of agents for their next of kin means a lot emotionally to other agents – especially if that keepsake is a wayfinder.

Is the Society supposed to be here? As much as the Society is a knowledge-gathering and an adventurous organization, it is also a political organization. As an agent, you aren’t just expected to navigate vast swaths of wilderness or localized dungeons, but also political climates. One thing to ask yourself before every mission is if the Pathfinder Society is allowed go where you’re going. If yes, be on your best behavior and help to improve and maintain the reputation and good name of the Society. If no, then be as sneaky as possible so that they won’t know that you’re there. And if they do find out – try to blame it on the Aspis Consortium. Speaking about the Aspis Consortium…

Try to discover intelligence about the Society’s enemies. You don’t get to be an organization as big as the Society without making a few enemies. There are a number of enemies out there, the most famous of which is the Aspis Consortium. Any information you happen to gain about our enemies as you do your missions for the Society will be helpful to the organization. We’d rather strike before these agents lash out than clean up the mess they leave. Any information you can gain helps us do that.

Preserve and record the environment you’re in. As an agent of the Society, you’re going to explore many exotic and interesting locales. The Society would prefer if you weren’t the only group to explore that locale. Maintaining the environment so that other people can study it and find things you missed would be most advantageous. Of course, we would also prefer that it was safe for our sages and other scholarly types to explore and catalog. You may be well-adjusted to jumping head-first into danger, but not everyone in our Society shares those same traits. It’s not good, for instance, if there are traps lying around that you didn’t find or at least trigger. That said, you may come across locales where it will be impossible for anyone besides yourselves to explore due to magical or extraordinary circumstances. In that case, accurate and detailed notes will be key if the Society is to learn anything from your exploration.

Do the job you’ve been sent to do in a more heroic fashion. One of the wonderful products of our Society is the Pathfinder Chronicles, a collection of journals, notes and essays by various members of our field agents detailing the work they have done in the Society’s name. Getting published in the Chronicles is an easy way of earning fame in our Society, but not every story can qualify to be published. The more heroic your story, the better chances it has of getting published. Sure, you could try to bypass that door by pulling out your adamantine pick and hacking through, but wouldn’t learning the secret behind how that arcane door works and publishing that riddle and the genius of how you bypassed it be a much more entertaining read?

Do the obvious secondary success condition. Sometimes, there’s literally a second objective you can do as you go. Sure, you were sent into the Tomb of the Ferrous Nagaji to recover the Iron Snake Tail, but when you get in there you find that not only does the Tomb contain the Iron Snake Tail but also the Ring of Parseltongue Speaking. You should get that too if you can. No reason to send a second team of Pathfinders out to get what you could’ve easily retrieved while you were out there.

There might be multiple secondary success conditions. There may not be just one thing that helps the Society in any given circumstance. In some cases, there are multiple things you can do. The Society understands that not all agents are equal, and some teams are going to be left with holes in their capabilities. Be on the lookout for multiple things you can do. Many of the recent secondary success conditions involve doing X of a list of items.

Hopefully, this provides more context as to what the Society expects of its agents and what to be on the look out for as you complete your missions. And remember, you shouldn’t expect to get your secondary success every time. They are supposed to be hard, and if you manage to get 6 prestige points a level, you will have earned it!

Did I miss something? Got any (spoiler-free) suggestions related to the above? Feel-free to share it in the comments below!

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Posted by on April 25, 2014 in Advice, Articles


News for 4/12/14

Due to personal reasons, maintaining the news fell by the wayside. However, that just means that we need a big news recap! Let’s see what’s new in PFS for the past couple months. For those of you who follow Paizo’s site, some of this may be old news, but here’s everything that happened since my last news post (at the end of January)

Philly-Specific News

We have a convention coming up next weekend. If you haven’t signed up for Seelie Court yet, you should. It’s 4 days of module and new scenario goodness! Also, if this is your first time going to a convention, you should check out this post written for our last convention to get what we expect.

Also, DEXCON 17 has been announced for 4th of July weekend. There are no games to sign up for yet, but keep the date free (if you’re not doing anything else 4th of July weekend).

Pathfinder Society General News

John Compton released a new reward for GMs. It is a chronicle sheet that you can attach to one of your characters to give them various bonuses depending on how many stars you have and what level your character is. You can get it from the product page for the sheet, or check out this blog post and discussion thread on Paizo’s site for more discussion on how to use them and what they do.

Carrion Crown has been sanctioned for AP play. No word yet on when Warriors of the Reborn Forge or Tears at Bitter Manor will be sanctioned.

We’ve received the names and factions for all of the scenarios for the rest of the season. Our Factions page has been updated with the appropriate information and links to the new faction letters for the appropriate scenarios. As a reminder, if you are running a scenario from Season 5, then you should be taking a look at the appropriate faction letters beforehand so you understand what the faction missions are for that scenario.

The call for GMs for GenCon arrived about a month ago. There may or may not be spots left, but I wouldn’t be hopeful. However, there is one interesting piece of information there. We now know that there will be 2 specials released at GenCon along with Bonkeep 3 – but we also got a spoiler of the name of the first 3 scenarios in Season 6. Looks like we’ll be headed to Numeria!

Pathfinder General News

Sean K Reynolds, one of the three people on the Design Team of Pathfinder, left Paizo back in February. His presence helped to shape Pathfinder in many ways and it is sad to see him go. Paizo is still in the process of finding a replacement for him.

We’ve found out our first information about the Iron Gods adventure path! It’s looking really sweet so far, and I’m hoping to either play or run it when it comes out! Robots! Gods! Sci-fi in fantasy! Woo!

We also know the name and cover of the Free RPG Day adventure – Risen from the Sands. It looks like the adventure will contain pregens of 4 Advanced Class Guide classes, so that will be our first opportunity to see how those classes have changed since the playtest that we participated in. This module will be likely to be PFS Sanctioned, and we will certainly be running it in various places throughout the region, so keep your eyes open when we announce when and where we will be running it.


Animal Shaman Druids Get Wildshape at Lvl 6 – Due to how the wild shape ability of the various shamans was worded, it wasn’t clear whether or not a druid with an animal shaman archetype (saurian shaman being one of the most famous) could actually wildshape at level 4 or not. The answer is no, you need to wait until level 6. But then you can start wildshaping into your specific animal early. (FAQ)

It Only Takes a Standard Action to Throw a Splash Weapon – This may seem obvious, but it stems from an entry in the action table in the combat chapter in the Core Rulebook. People saw that entry and freaked over whether or not we have been playing splash weapons wrong. The Pathfinder Design Team clarified that the “prepare a splash weapon” entry in the combat chapter is there for items like a flask of oil, which aren’t usually splash weapons to be made into a splash weapon. Your alchemist fire still only takes a standard action to throw (plus whatever action it took to get it out in the first place). (FAQ)

The Ice Tomb Hex Got Clarified – Ultimate Magic introduced a major hex called ice tomb, which didn’t give a range, duration or really any details besides the fact that there was a tomb made of ice around the target. The Pathfinder Design Team came in and clarified the restrictions on the ability. (FAQ)

An Amulet of Mighty Fists Doesn’t Add to Grapple – There was a big question about whether or not bonuses to unarmed strikes added to grapple maneuvers or not, especially since a lot of bonuses to unarmed strikes also said in the text of the bonus that it also applied to grappling. The PDT came in and made a post clarifying that they did not because grapple is not a weapon-based maneuver, and the amulet of mighty fists only applies when using unarmed strikes in a weapon-based maneuver. (Forum Post)

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Posted by on April 12, 2014 in News & Updates


You Are Not Omniscient

Running a home Pathfinder game and running a Pathfinder Society game are two completely different things. In a home game, the GM can control what rules items are legal and can become intimately familiar with the options that his characters are using. This means that the GM only needs to know the rules for the characters and the particular NPCs that are involved with the current session. For most sessions, this is all you need, and therefore a prepared home game GM can appear to be the stereotypical all-knowing rules arbiter with a sufficient amount of preparedness. This is impossible in Pathfinder Society. There are currently 34 Campaign Setting books, 38 Player Companions, and 12 hardcover books with material legal in them for Pathfinder Society. While a lot of the books only have a couple of items legal in them, there is still a lot of material available out there – it’s impossible to know it all. And that’s not even counting the massive amount of crunch that’s coming out in the Advanced Class Guide this August. The 6 players at your table could be using any of that crunch for their characters, and they could be using completely different crunch than the 6 players from the last time you GM’d. Some GMs are better at knowing fringe material than others, but nobody’s perfect. No matter who you are, there will be some PFS game where a player pulls out some random build that you’ve never seen before.

The point is, as a PFS GM, the perception of omniscience is overrated because someone will play something that breaks it eventually. It is okay to admit “I don’t know.” In fact, you should admit it every single time you don’t know something. Taking this approach will have a couple good effects on your games.

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Posted by on February 8, 2014 in Articles, James' Soapbox


News for 1/31/14

Philly-Specific News

Just another reminder about DREAMATION. Also Seelie Court and Mepacon.

Pathfinder Society General News

Two new scenarios are out! The first is 5-12: Destiny of Sands, Part I – A Bitter Bargain. Amenopheus and the Society want to gain information regarding other Jeweled Sages, but there’s only one person with that information. If you have an Osirion, Sczarni, or Qadiran character, they should be interested with this scenario, especially the person who has that information… Note that this is the first scenario of a 3-part series with different level ranges. The first 2 parts are 1-5, and the third part is 3-7. These will be coming out 1/month until March, so get ready for an interesting delve into Osirion!

The second scenario is 5-13: Weapon in the Rift. There’s an old tower with a really big weapon in the Worldwound. All you have to do is go in and reactivate it. Sounds easy? Think again. The worldwound never makes things easy, especially since not everything seems to have gone as planned the last time it was activated. Also, this scenario has a hard mode much like 4-26: Waking Rune (minus a certain 9th level spell we all know and love…), so bring your most ferocious 5-9 characters and get ready for a tough challenge. Silver Crusade characters are encouraged to play this scenario.

Pathfinder General News

Ultimate Combat has been reprinted! As is the case when any book is reprinted, Paizo takes the time to errata a bunch of things that need fixing. You can download the errata from this page.

If you have something on one of your characters that needs to be changed, pg. 27 of the Guide to Society Organized Play can help you out as to figuring what needs to happen. Most of the UC errata results in minor changes at best, but there is one big change to note.

Crane Wing. The single best style in the game has been deemed by Paizo to be too good and has been nerfed heavily. When you are using Total Defense, the feat works the same, but if you are only fighting defensively, then instead 1/rd you may apply a +4 to your AC vs. any one attack before the dice is rolled. If this breaks your PFS character, then you may retrain the feat as allowed by pg 27 of the GtSOP. Normally this wouldn’t allow you a free retrain of any higher style feats, but John Compton has decided that if you have Crane Riposte, you can trade that for free as well. However, make sure to note this FAQ to Crane Riposte before you do so – the FAQ changes the Crane Style feats from almost entirely defensive to an interesting balance.

Also of note – People of the Sands came out, and with it brought a new version of the Living Monolith* prestige class. The Living Monolith was already a solid prestige class, and the update brings with it more versatility and a wider range of PCs who might want to take it. It also bring with it stricter requirements for qualifying for the class. According to Additional Resources, if you already have levels in Living Monolith from the old Osirion book, you can keep it. Otherwise, you must now use the one from People of the Sands.

Also, Round 2 of RPG Superstar voting is up! Be sure to check out Brian Lefebvre’s Waterway Mistress! It looks awesome – let’s hope he makes it to round 3!**

* Note that at time of writing this goes to the old version of the Living Monolith prestige class. As far as I can tell, the new version isn’t up online anywhere. Trust me, it’s sweet. I’m heavily thinking of making a magus living monolith now…
** This message paid for by the Friends of Brian Lefebvre and is not endorsed by him in anyway.
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Posted by on January 31, 2014 in News & Updates