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


News for 1/13/14

Philly-Specific News

We had a very successful Winter Gameday this past weekend.15 tables went off, including 4 tables of Library of the Lion. Things are back to usual for a while in Philly, with regularly scheduled games at the Strat, 7th Dimension, and Redcap’s.

Pathfinder Society General News

Library of the Lion is finally out! If you haven’t played it yet, grab your Investigators and get ready to infiltrate a secret Taldan library for hints from the past that might help our future. It contains faction missions for Cheliax, Grand Lodge, and Taldor and is a scenario designed for characters from levels 1-5.

Also, Carrion Crown has just been sanctioned for PFS play. Details are available at John Compton’s blog post. Also according to that blog post, Wardens of the Reborn Forge will be sanctioned most likely around the end of the month. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.

Pathfinder General News

There’s only one more day left in voting for round 1 of RPG Superstar. Check out all the cool custom items created by members of the Paizo community and vote to help your favorites advance to the top 32!

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Posted by on January 13, 2014 in News & Updates


Statblock Scavenger Hunt – Sellsword

I’ve been writing a lot of articles recently that focus on the player side of the screen. However, one of the things that I have been thankful about in Philadelphia is the amount of people who also GM as well as play. It’s about time I wrote an article for GMing.

Take a moment and look over this statblock:

Sellsword CR 7
(Edited from Gamemastery Guide 283)
Human fighter 8
N Medium humanoid
Init +6; Senses Perception +8
AC 25, touch 12, flat-footed 23 (+10 armor, +2 Dex, +3 shield)
hp 80 (8d10+36)
Fort +10, Ref +5, Will +6; +2 vs. fear
Defensive Abilities bravery +2
Speed 30 ft.
Melee +1 bastard sword +14/+9 (1d10+8/17–20) or spiked gauntlet +11/+6 (1d4+3)
Ranged javelin +10 (1d6+3)
Special Attacks weapon training (heavy blades +1)
Str 16, Dex 14, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8
Base Atk +8; CMB +11; CMD 23
Feats Cleave, Improved Critical (bastard sword), Improved Initiative, Improved Iron Will, Iron Will, Power Attack, Toughness, Vital Strike, Weapon Focus (bastard sword), Weapon Specialization (bastard sword)
Skills Intimidate +7, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +5, Perception +8, Profession (soldier) +5, Ride +8, Survival +10
Languages Common
SQ armor training 2
Combat Gear potion of align weapon, potion of bull’s strength, potions of cure light wounds (2); Other Gear +1 full plate, +1 heavy steel shield, +1 bastard sword, spiked gauntlet, javelins (5), cloak of resistance +1, 40 gp

Now, answer the following questions. Feel free to look back at the statblock, but first see how much you can answer without looking anything up.

  1. A PC caster targeted you with phantasmal killer with a DC of 17. You rolled a 10 on your first save. Did you pass?
  2. A PC caster targeted you with confusion with a DC of 17. You rolled a 10 on your save. Did you pass?
  3. Modify the attack line to account for Power Attack
  4. Modify the attack line to account for Vital Strike
  5. What’s the Sellsword’s bonus to Trip? Disarm?
  6. What’s the Sellsword’s CMD vs. Trip? CMD vs. Disarm?
  7. What’s the Sellsword’s Perception bonus?
  8. What’s the Sellsword’s Sense Motive bonus?
  9. What’s the Sellsword’s Acrobatics bonus?
  10. Why is this stat block slightly misleading? (The answer is related to at least one of the questions above.)

When you think you have your answers, click here to check your work.

(Special thanks to Alexander Nudd for help with editing this article.)

Feel free to discuss the questions in the comments below. If you’re looking to complete the questions without spoilers, I would recommend not looking in the comments.


Posted by on January 2, 2014 in Articles, Statblock Scavenger Hunt


News for 12/29/13

Philly-Specific News

We have a bunch of conventions/special game days coming up in the near future. On January 11, we have the Winter Gameday, February 20-23 is DREAMATION over in Northern New Jersey, April 4-6 is MEPACON, and April 17-20 is Seelie Court. All the links go to their respective Warhorns for signing up (except MEPACON, which doesn’t have signups available yet). If you’re available those weekends, we’d love to have you.

Pathfinder Society General News

We have new content! Well, at the time of writing this, we have one piece of new content – 5-10 Where Mammoths Dare Not Tread, a 7-11 scenario set in the Realm of the Mammoth Lords with no faction missions. I’ve run it already, and it’s a pretty sweet scenario. Fair warning to GMs though, it’s a lot to prep. I already put my prep for it on the Google Shared Prep Drive, and I would highly recommend you take a look at it. There’s a lot of stat blocks in the scenario.

The other December scenario, 5-11 Library of the Lion, got delayed and is due to come out January 3rd. It has to do with Taldan history, which obviously means it has to be good. There will be faction opportunities for Cheliax, Grand Lodge and Taldor.

Also, Wardens of the Reborn Forge came out this month! It takes place in the mana-dead/primal magic city of Alkenstar with guns! It looks to be pretty sweet, and it looks like it’s going to be sanctioned for PFS play much like Dragon’s Demand was. The most interesting part is that the module is designed for 12th level characters and will take them to 15th, potentially making it a pseudo 2nd retirement arc for PFS characters. The chronicle sheets haven’t come out yet, so if you want to run it for PFS credit don’t start yet. You can, however, certainly pick it up and start preparing if you want to GM it.

Pathfinder General News

The time to submit your RPG Superstar wondrous item is coming to a close. You have until January 1st at 5pm Eastern to submit your item!


Presumably the Pathfinder Design Team has been hard at work on the Advanced Class Guide and hasn’t had much time to address FAQs. There are no new FAQs to report.

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Posted by on December 29, 2013 in News & Updates


The Game Changes at Level 5

As your character gains levels, they will become more specialized. Your character has a couple things that they are really good at, and they will certainly try to spend most combats following that one strategy, whether it be summoning monsters, full attack power attack with a greatsword, or yelling insults at enemies to get them to attack your super high AC instead of squishy party members. The problem is, your enemies also have some things that they are very good at and sometimes their strategy trumps yours. A lot of these are things you can prepare for if you know they exist. However, if this is your first higher level character, you may not be aware of the effects and strategies at these levels. Here are some things you can expect.

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Posted by on December 19, 2013 in Advice, Articles