Work related posts have been moved.

9 November, 2010

My work and computing related posts are now at

If you have come here from a work-related perspective (computing, semweb, bioinformatics, math). Perhaps you could go there right now and not read the gory personal stuff here.

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Cheese!

24 October, 2014

Ok. Let’s say we retcon Brus and give him the ‘toothy’ racial template. This replaces ‘orc ferocity’, which he has never used. He is also getting Brutal Grappler, Power Attack, and already has Brute (orc).

  1. Humanoids do not have natural attacks from being humanoid.
  2. Brus is a humanoid.
  3. ∴ Brus does not have a natural attack from being humanoid.
  4. Toothy racial template gives a half-orc a 1d4 primary natural attack
  5. If a creature has a primary natural attack, and does not have any other natural attack, and is not using this attack as a secondary attack during a full-round-attack, then the attack gets 1½ strength bonus.
  6. ∴ Brus’s “toothy” attack is at 1½ strength bonus. +6 attack/damage when he is not using it as a secondary attack in a full-round attack.
  7. If power attack is used with a weapon that normally gets 1½ strength damage, then the damage from power attack is also 1½.
  8. ∴ Brus’s “toothy” attack is at 1½ bonus from power attacking. -1 to hit, +3 damage.
  9. Brus is a level 3 inquisitor.
  10. A level 3 inquisitor can use teamwork feats as if his allies had them, even if they do not.
  11. Brus has “Brutal Grappler” feat.
  12. ∴ Brus can attack with a natural attack even when using the aid another action in a grapple. (the primary grappler cannot use the aid another action and do damage, he has to grapple)
  13. When aiding another, if the action you are aiding provokes, then the aid attempt provokes.
  14. Establishing a grappling provokes an AAO from the target of the grapple. Maintaining a grapple does not.
  15. ∴ aiding another to maintain a grapple does not provoke.
  16. A grappler cannot take AAOs.
  17. ∴ even if aiding another to maintain a grapple did provoke, the creature being grappled couldn’t take that attack.

So. Smurf establishes a grapple. Brus stacks on – no AAO because the target is too busy dealing with Smurf. Brus makes an aid another vs AC 10. He’s power attacking (because Aid Another is an attack roll), so it’s at -1 for the power attack, +2 BAB, +4 str, for a total of +5 to hit AC 10. On a hit, he does damage and also gives Smurf +2 on his next maintain grapple on top of the +5 that he normally gets anyway (you get +5 to maintain a grapple on an already-grappled foe).

On a single bite with power attack, he gets 1d4+9. How far can we take this?

Judgment of Profane Destruction – +2 profane bonus.
Divine Favour – +1 luck bonus.
Wrath – +1 morale bonus.
Bard song – +1 competence bonus.

So 1d4+14. A crit threat makes this 1d4+16 from Brute trait, and a confirmed crit makes it 2d4+30 (because the trait bonus is not multiplied) – average 35. While assisting Smurf to do whatever he happens to be doing. At level 3. Off a bite in a grapple.

Mind you, all the stars have to be right for this to happen :) . Wrath only applies to a single target, so it’s one round spent spellcasting instead of attacking, assuming you have divine favour already running. But my God is the Key and the Door, not to mention being The Watcher Behind The Gate.

BTW: I am nowhere near the power gamer that Dave is, or even Andrew. Fun times!


Brus Reckoner #3

22 October, 2014

Yay! Level 3! I grabbed Power Attack, of course! Free teamwork feat at level 3, but you need a BAB of +4 for Outflank, so Escape Route instead. If Andrew intends to do a fair bit of grappling, I may go Brutal Grappler instead – I’ll ask him on game night. Problem is, I would need Improved Grapple to make it worthwhile. Heal, Perception, Sense Motive, and a point in Intimidate. My dude has Cha as a dump stat and does not have the orc trait to use Str, but I grabbed Orc Brute instead – more thematic. Spells are Lend Judgment – three rounds now that we are level 3, so it starts to become useful – and I took a “one extra cantrip” as my racial favoured class bonus. I forget which one was the new one.

Brus Reckoner #3
Half-orc inquisitor of Yog-Sothoth 3 (Pathfinder RPG Advanced Player’s Guide 38)
N Medium humanoid (human, orc)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +9


Defense


AC 17, touch 10, flat-footed 17 (+7 armor)
hp 32 (3d8+8)
Fort +5, Ref +1, Will +6
Defensive Abilities orc ferocity


Offense


Speed 40 ft. (30 ft. in armor)
Melee mwk falchion +7 (2d4+6/18-20)
Ranged composite shortbow +2 (1d6/×3)
Special Attacks judgment 1/day
Inquisitor Spell-Like Abilities (CL 3rd; concentration +6)
   At will—detect alignment
Inquisitor Spells Known (CL 3rd; concentration +6)
   1st (4/day)—divine favor, fallback strategy, lend judgmentUM (DC 14), wrathAPG
   0 (at will)—brandAPG (DC 13), create water, detect magic, guidance, read magic, resistance, virtue
   Domain Travel


Statistics


Str 18, Dex 11, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 16, Cha 7
Base Atk +2; CMB +6; CMD 16
Feats Armor Proficiency (heavy), Escape RouteUC, Power Attack
Traits armor expert, brute (orc)
Skills Climb +4, Heal +8, Intimidate +5, Knowledge (arcana) +3, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +3, Knowledge (planes) +3, Knowledge (religion) +3, Perception +9, Sense Motive +9, Stealth +0, Survival +7; Racial Modifiers +2 Intimidate
Languages Common, Orc
SQ agile feet (6/day), monster lore +3, orc blood, solo tactics, stern gaze +1, track +1
Other Gear mwk banded mail, arrows (20), composite shortbow, mwk falchion, backpack, bedroll, belt pouch, flint and steel, iron spike (2), piton (2), hemp rope (100 ft.), torch (10), iron unholy symbol, waterskin, 137 gp, 7 sp, 4 cp


Special Abilities


Agile Feet (6/day) (Su) For 1 rd, you ignore difficult terrain.
Armor Expert -1 Armor check penalty.
Brute (Orc) Whenever you score a critical threat, you add (but not multiply, in the case of a confirmed critical hit) an amount of damage equal to your weapon’s critical modifier.
Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white vision only).
Detect Alignment (At will) (Sp) Detect chaos, evil, good, or law at will.
Escape Route You do not provoke attacks of opportunity when moving through spaces adjacent to allies
Inquisitor Domain (Travel) Granted Powers: You are an explorer and find enlightenment in the simple joy of travel, be it by foot or conveyance or magic. Increase your base speed by 10 feet.
Judgment (1/day) (Su) Variable bonuses increase as the combat continues.
Monster Lore +3 (Ex) +3 to Knowledge checks when identifying the weaknessess of creatures.
Orc Blood Half-orcs count as both humans and orcs for any effect related to race.
Orc Ferocity (1/day) If brought below 0 Hp, can act as though disabled for 1 rd.
Power Attack -1/+2 You can subtract from your attack roll to add to your damage.
Solo Tactics (Ex) Count Teamwork feats as if your allies had the same ones.
Track +1 Add the listed bonus to survival checks made to track.

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Oi! Muscles!

20 October, 2014

The party stepped through the door.

There was a room. It was filled with cats. A hundred or more. One dead one. Beneath it, a note. And two people who, somehow, they knew instinctively that they were not supposed to attack.

Bevis and Morgs were back this week, playing a bard and a rogue.

Introductions were made. A key recovered.

The party stepped through the door.

A small wooden shed, the floor littered with notes on slips of paper, each one a love letter. The shelves lined with empty bottles. Outside, it was clear that they were on some sort of promontory surrounded by sea.

At the end of the promontory, a lighthouse. Within, a man; outside, a hag making protestations of love, while the man vainly warned her away.

The party attacked. The hag and her squid companions eventually were driven back into the sea.

The lighthouse-keeper told his story: sending out messages in a bootle, until one day they were answered. The party rested the night in the lighthouse, the keeper returning to his shed. The looted the place thoroughly, the rogue visiting the shed and robbing the keeper. In the morning, they found that a key fitted the inside of the lighthouse door.

The party stepped through the door.

Beyond was another underground structure. Through a door, a kitchen staffed with goblins. The party attacked. All we killed, except one. Before he died, the alchemist goblin called out in orcish, “Muscles! Help!”. The half-orc inquisitor flung open the door. Beyond, a mess or feasting hall full of orcs. “Oi! Muscles!”, he challenged, “Come here and get fucked up!”

I suppose it was inevitable that Brus would wind up channeling Korgul. Maybe Brus has a bit of a split personality – talking orc brings out the happy-go-lucky headkicker and temporarily leaves the emo human inquisitor of Yog-Sothoth to mope in the corner. Could work.

Chaos Begins

11 October, 2014

C͞h҉a̴os͢ ̶̷͝b͜ȩ҉gi̕͠͠n̴͝s̨̛͢.̛̕
̸C̶̶͟h̢́a͜o͘͟s a͞҉l͏͝wa̷̴͟y͝s̴͝ ̢h̸̡̀a҉ş̨ ҉͢b̧̛e͏̴e̡͡͏ǹ̸.
̧C̴̵h̷̛a̧os͠͞ ͠í̧̕s̸͠ ̕a̷͘l̵l̀́͢ ̶t͡͠h̢e̷̶r̸̀e͝ ͞͏҉į̕s.̧͘҉
͡

If you stare long enough into the void, something stares back. I learned this, one spring evening long ago. Staring up, staring out, staring down into the void. I clutched the ground to keep myself from falling, but it was too late.

The tapestry is deep. Deeper than comprehension. There is no life, or place, or home. There is only limitless, bottomless dark. The world is nothing. The gods are nothing. We, we are less than nothing.

All I can do is witness the truth of it, and then one day be gone.

Goddammit – I have made yet another dark character. This is becoming a habit. I’ll have to inject a little more YOLO – the elder gods will consume us all, so let’s have another beer! I’ll rethink this intro.

All ends in decay. One day, dread Cthulhu will rise from the deep and consume all, but even that is not the end. The end is the boundless, immeasurable heaven drawn in to become part of the Great Attractor. All shall be one.

Until then, there is the word to spread. All must know that all is futile. Vanity of vanity, all is vanity.

Mixing my metaphors there. This – this just ain’t working. Oh well. Science joke, also, for those that missed it.

Today the chaos has taken me along a new direction. It happened quickly, as disaster tends to do. A marketplace, a priest of Azathoth, the first. Angelborn and a congenial soul, I hoped – most of the crowd stepping around, avoiding facing the truth as they always do. With him, a deep gnome. A convert? Perhaps.

Brett told us that this would be an infinite dungeon game, so we have all picked races with darkvision. An assimar cleric of Azathoth, a snerflebin brawler, and my half-orc inquisitor. The other players are away this week for various reasons, so Brett introed the game with just the three players.

We had barely begun talking, when the plaza was attacked by a fearsome dragon. It scattered the people, it tor down one of the towers. This concerned neither myself nor the priest, as that tower was always destined to fall, anyway.

A figure called us, beckoned us into a doorway. We followed, because – why not? Today was not our day to die. He gave us a key on a keyring, and sent us below, into a wine cellar. Beyond, the cellar opened out into a room with a fine view of the void in which these islands float. But again, we had barely a moment. Three people teleported in – not understanding the danger to their souls and their sanity, for my god is the key and the door. We attempted peaceful contact, but one sounded a horn, and the old woman went for her spell component pouch, so naturally I attacked. At the sound of the horn, the dragon outside began to attack – the roof began to buckle. We killed one, two, three of them – then over a bridge.

We are already beginning to sort out how we do combat. Andrew’s brawler is probably a better fighter, but he has a move of 20′. My dude has 40′ move thanks to having travel domain (All hail Yog-Sothoth! Not that he cares.). In one fun moment of rules-lawyering, Andrew’s character was between me and a dude I wanted to charge. Not a problem! I overran the snerflebin – the rules state that you can overrun as part of a charge, and that a creature being overrun can always opt to just step aside and not attempt a combat manoeuvre check to halt the movement.

Anyway. My half-orc inquisitor with a falchion totally murdered two – possibly all three. Top of the list for Andrew’s character is some boots of striding and springing.

On the bridge was a figure made of metal. I forget what the deal was. Then we faced a door. Naturally, we went through.

On the other side, was a mine tunnel. Clearly a mine tunnel. The snerflebin (Say! Can the snerlflebin be blue? I have a couple of minis of a “blue”, which is a goblinoid, but we can say it’s a deep gnome and shorten it to “smurf”). We noticed that the keyring we were given seemed to indicate a direction, and so we followed.

A trifle Deus Ex Machina, but we can roll with it.

There were doors. We investigated. This was a sealed-off mine – some sort of collapse or cave-in. No exit, no hope for escape. The stone was unsuitable for mining, but dwarves are greedy. We met and fought their undead remains.

The key took us to one of the doors. On the other side, a small indentation. The key fit. I turned it and we stepped through …

So.

  • Dave is still working on his character concept a bit. Azathoth is the blind idiot god. The cleric’s thing is that he has no knowledge religion at all – he is simply making it up. His character’s domains are madness and chaos.
  • Writing this has clarified my dude’s motivations. He worships Yog-Sothoth – the key and the door – and has travel domain, so a dungeon crawl where we teleport from one place to another via magic doors suits him down to the ground. He wants to find the next door and open it. Brett won’t have any trouble supplying motivation for my character :)
  • Andrew’s character didn’t get to do a lot in the first combat because I beat him to the punch. This will become less the case going forward, as my character will be spending time casting spells. Being an inquisitor, he will also be stacking on the teamwork feats. If Andrew wants go go there, there could be some synergy. In the zombie combat, he was the main damage-dealer – which is as it should be.

We have three other guys playing – it’s a big group and six is a big table. It was good to introduce things with a smaller group, but it will be cool to se what the other guys have built and how it will work.

DM’s page is here.

Shout-out to http://www.eeemo.net/

Brus Reckoner

10 October, 2014

Ok! Brett’s game is happenning. I have built an inquisitor, using Bhodi’s Guide. We have a cleric of Azathoth, so in keeping with the theme I have made Brus an inquisitor of Yog-Sothoth – the space between the stars. Inquisitor because I haven’t played one yet. We have one front-line fighter, and I believe an inquisitor makes a good second fighter. Although I picked Yog-Sothoth to be thematic, it turns out that this gives you access to the Travel domain, which is awesome. +10 base speed, ignore difficult terrain 6rds/day, and a minor teleport ability at 8th level. What’s not to like?

Brus Reckoner
Half-orc inquisitor of Yog-Sothoth 2 (Pathfinder RPG Advanced Player’s Guide 38)
N Medium humanoid (human, orc)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +7


Defense


AC 17, touch 10, flat-footed 17 (+7 armor)
hp 22 (2d8+6)
Fort +5, Ref +0, Will +6
Defensive Abilities orc ferocity


Offense


Speed 30 ft.
Melee mwk falchion +6 (2d4+6/18-20)
Ranged composite shortbow +1 (1d6/×3)
Special Attacks judgment 1/day
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 2nd; concentration +0)
   At will—detect alignment
Inquisitor Spells Known (CL 2nd; concentration +5):
   1st (3/day)—divine favor, fallback strategy, wrathAPG
   0 (at will)—brandAPG (DC 13), create water, detect magic, guidance, read magic
   Domain Travel


Statistics


Str 18, Dex 11, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 16, Cha 7
Base Atk +1; CMB +5; CMD 15
Feats Armor Proficiency (heavy)
Traits armor expert, brute (orc)
Skills Climb +4, Heal +7, Intimidate +1, Knowledge (arcana) +3, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +3, Knowledge (planes) +3, Knowledge (religion) +3, Perception +7, Sense Motive +8, Stealth +0, Survival +7; Racial Modifiers +2 Intimidate
Languages Common, Orc
SQ agile feet (6/day), monster lore +3, orc blood, weapon familiarity, stern gaze +1, track +1
Other Gear mwk banded mail, arrows (20), composite shortbow, mwk falchion, backpack, bedroll, belt pouch, flint and steel, iron spike (2), piton (2), hemp rope (100 ft.), torch (10), iron unholy symbol, waterskin, 137 gp, 7 sp, 4 cp


Special Abilities


Agile Feet (6/day) (Su) For 1 rd, you ignore difficult terrain.
Armor Expert -1 Armor check penalty.
Brute (Orc) Whenever you score a critical threat, you add (but not multiply, in the case of a confirmed critical hit) an amount of damage equal to your weapon’s critical modifier.
Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white vision only).
Detect Alignment (At will) (Sp) Detect chaos, evil, good, or law at will.
Inquisitor Domain (Travel) Granted Powers: You are an explorer and find enlightenment in the simple joy of travel, be it by foot or conveyance or magic. Increase your base speed by 10 feet.
Judgment (1/day) (Su) Variable bonuses increase as the combat continues.
Monster Lore +3 (Ex) +3 to Knowledge checks when identifying the weaknessess of creatures.
Orc Blood Half-orcs count as both humans and orcs for any effect related to race.
Orc Ferocity (1/day) If brought below 0 Hp, can act as though disabled for 1 rd.
Track +1 Add the listed bonus to survival checks made to track.

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Pathfinder® and associated marks and logos are trademarks of Paizo Publishing, LLC®, and are used under license.


Something for everyone!

24 September, 2014

Meh – not writing in-character this time.

Something for everyone this week! A fight that was a complete clusterfuck – fun for the DM; and a boss fight that did not go at all well for the BBEG – fun for the players.

We fought our way through the giants, Xavier was low on spells – as was everyone. Oh, and he’s been socked by some sort of permanent Reduce Person effect which actually does not gimp a sorcerer at all. If anything, it works out quite nicely thank you very much. Extra AC, extra to-hit. What’s not to like? Slower speed, but Xavier packs Expeditious Retreat so it’s not really a thing.

I tried to make Xavier a blasty sort of caster, but it’s simply not how I play. For the boss fight, my moves were:

  1. Dispelling a Solid Fog
  2. Bringing down a Wall of Force with a Disintegrate
  3. Counterspelling a Dimension Door
  4. Counterspelling a Disintegrate

And that’s all he did. The rest of the work was our ranger lobbing several grand worth of giant-bane arrows and the barbarian doing the usual with the axe. Healing from Aeona; triceratops from Vik; and Zoran, sadly, spent much of his time retching from a Stinking Cloud but came good at the end.

Countering the Dimension Door was key. It kept the dude in pounding range of the barbarian and stopped him dropping more AoE spells. Xavier packs a Headband of Counterspelling and Improved Counterspell.

The game forces you to make a choice, because Charisma-boosting items may only be in the headband slot. Using that prime real-estate for that headband is quite a commitment as to how you are going to play. But it was a good choice – having Xavier there completely gimped the high-level caster we were up against. The big thing about that headband is the once-per-day power:

Furthermore, once per day the wearer can attempt to counter a spell by casting the appropriate spell as an immediate action instead of doing so with a readied action.

It puts you in “caster duel” mode, effectively winning that first initiative roll.

Anyway. The DM is off for a while, so we’ll be playing something else for a bit. When we come back, we will be level 14. Xavier will be rocking – ohh, I dunno. Limited Wish, perhaps? It’s the ultimate in versatility. Pathfinder doesn’t have that pesky XP price, and arguably Limited Wish+Improved Counterspell will let you counterspell anything 6th level and below, at the cost of burning a 7th level spell slot. Heck – even without the feat, arguably, but with the feat probably definitely.

You still have to provide material components, but Xavier is packing Blood Money. In an emergency, Xavier has most things covered – particularly since Limited Wish lets you duplicate metamagiced spells up to 6th-level equivalent. Protection from Evil (Communal), for instance.

Yep – it’s the way to go.


Friendly fire

1 September, 2014

A halfling walks into a bar …

Well – maybe not a bar. Certainly, beverages are being served. But the bill of fare was a trifle more varied than that. Perhaps the best word would be “establishment”. A halfling walks into an establishment. He walks painfully, chewing on something medicinal-smelling. A blood-soaked pad of cloth around a broken-off arrow shaft protruded from his shoulder. Human sized. And for those observant types with a bit of an interest in the subject (and there were a few such at this particular establishment), a tell-tale white and blue chequered band near the head.

He steps up to the counter (literally – steps put there for the purpose). The – shall we say – barman looks at the shaft, and asks “Well then! What would you be looking for today?” The halfling replies in the time-worn phrase, “I’m just looking for a friend” and drops two large heptagonal copper coins in the tip jar. After a beat, the barman says “Well, you’d be looking for Old Bob then. Over there in the corner. Hands shake like the devil when he’s on the sauce, but he’s only just got started today. You’re in luck.”

Old Bob looks up from his rum and water and sees a customer – no! A patient! It’s important to remember these things. He sees a patient approach. They do not exchange words. Old Bob glances briefly at the arrow shaft, and motions the halfling upstairs. A flight of steps, an unmarked door, and they arrive at a cramped but functional surgery and office.

Once in private, the halfling breaks the silence first. “Got it two hours ago doc. How much to fix it?” “It’s pretty deep”, replies Old Bob, “extraction, stitches, you’ll need some painkillers – say 15 silver the lot. If you can’t afford the lot now, you can borrow down at the bar.

“Right”, says the halfling, and the glamer altering his features ripples away, leaving in it’s place – well – a slightly different halfling. “Practising medicine without a license are we, Doctor Old Bob? Tsk tsk.”

Doctor Old Bob says nothing, although his face says a great deal. Mainly “Shit.” After a second, he asks – “And you would be?” “Flatfoot”, replies the halfling, “that’s Officer Flatfoot to you. EIS.”, and flips open some ID. “EIS? What the hell does EIS want with me?”

“You know, doc, I have nothing against you. Not a problem. Sure it’s illegal, you being an old drunk and all, but even if the locals found out about you – I reckon they’d be good enough accept a bribe. In fact, I reckon they’d insist on it. A pretty considerable one. Frequently.” He let that sink in for a second. “I’m looking for a human or elf. Wizard. Powerful. Old. Probably wearing nice duds, too. One Acid Arrow to the head – right side, I think, and a real beauty right on the liver. About two hours ago. He’ll want to keep it quiet.”

“Sorry Officer, I can’t help you.”

“Sure, doc. Wasn’t expecting it right away. If he does come in, take his money, overcharge him as much as you usually would, patch him up and then call it it. Oh – and even if you don’t normally take advice from the likes of me, you should take this: I think he’s the kind to tie up loose ends. Call it in, and don’t mention me. If we don’t catch him, he’ll take care of you at some point in the future.”

“Sure officer. No problem. Anything else? I could extract that arrow on the house.”

The halfling barked a laugh. “Not a chance, doc. But I do need a sign of you bona fides. I need two second opinions. Two names, doc, or I’ll arrest you right now.”

Old Bob considered his options for a second. “Jeff Cutter, Arm and hammer; and there’s a pox doc out back of the Bearded Clam, does some surgery. Ladies things, mostly. Ex-Gyno, got himself in a bit of trouble. Lost his balls and his license.”

“Thanks doc. Already know about one of them, but good enough. Take my advice about the wizard.”

And with that, the halfling recast his glamer and let himself out.

Old Bob went downstairs. Ordered a mug and two gallon jugs of watered rum. “Guess you won’t be seeing any more patients today, doc”, said the barman with a smirk. “That’s the idea”, thought Old Bob to himself. He sat down at his usual table, and began drinking like a man whose life might depend on it.


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