EIGHTH-GRADE TOURNAMENT: Our First Round Characters!

Characters are below! And remember for the Tournament:

Here are our characters for the First Round. All matches are scheduled for Wednesday, January 17:

GMs’ “cheat sheet” summarizing the characters

PAUL (hunter and wizard) (#1) VS. ZACHARY (bloodrager and wizard) (#6)
Paul’s spells, Zachary’s spells

AIDAN (2 samurais) (#2) VS. SIMON (2 summoners) (#5)
Simon’s spells

MAX (shadowdancer and wizard) (#3) VS. BRUNO (barbarian and swashbuckler) (#4)
Max’s spells

-The Grandmaster

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Posted by on January 16, 2018 in Announcements, Tournament


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Twilight Imperium – After-Game Report!

The first Berkeley Guild game of TWILIGHT IMPERIUM was AWESOME. Vying for the title of Galactic Emperor were (going clockwise around the galaxy):

  • Ronald, leader of the human Federation of Sol (the Starship Trooper-like humans pictured on the game box) Their greatest strength is that there are so many of them, you can spam ground forces on your planets, bring large armies and fighter fleets around the board, and their infantry are the best in the game.
  • Torin, leader of the Universities of Jol-Nar. (They’re the bug-eyed race with the green space helmets.) Their strength is Science, Science, Science. They get all the starting techs for free, can consistently research 2 techs per round (in a 4-player game at least), and can ignore 1 technology prerequisite when researching a new technology. They always get the science lead and are dangerous in the hands of a player who knows how to leverage it. Their weakness is that they are weak in a fight, with -1 on all combat rolls.
  • Ricardo, leader of the Emirates of Hacan. The space lions that dominate the cover of the game box are the merchants and wheelers and dealers of the game. They consider all factions neighbors from the get-go, they get the most commodities to trade, and they are the only faction who can trade away action cards. They can dominate the political aspect of the game.
  • Nate, leader of the Xxcha Kingdom. The space turtles are able to spread their territory without sending forces, their flagship can shoot 3 space cannons into adjacent systems, and one of their racial techs lets them shut down invasions into their territory. A solid race.

I opened the game by predicting Torin’s victory and saying that we all needed to ally against him. We would soon see how this prediction played out.

Our game during Round 5. Red – Federation of Sol, Yellow – Universities of Jol-Nar, Black – Emirates of Hacan, Green – Xxcha. (Sorry about the picture quality – don’t know why it came out kind of crappy.)

The game started with a period of peaceful expansion, Ronald (Sol) and Ricardo (Hacan) starting with an early friendship being on opposite sides of the galaxy and not in direct competition for resources. The space lions (Hacan) leveraged their merchant abilities and got a wealth of trade goods (11!) at the start of the game.

But soon Nate (Xxcha) saw an expansion by the Hacan in their direction as an assault on their living space, and there was an early battle as the space turtles took the planet by force. Meanwhile the Federation of Sol maneuvered into the center of the galaxy and took the center prize of Mecatol Rex and had a lead on territory as well, air-dropping ground reinforcements where necessary. Torin and the space nerds, the Universities of Jol-Nar, sat quietly in their corner of the galaxy and researched their way up the tech tree, soon grabbing technologies that let them send their dreadnoughts throughout the galaxy, even being able to teleport them where needed.

The Federation of Sol’s expansionism was soon seen as a threat to all other races, and Ronald in the powerful Speaker position was able to use his considerable influence to swing all votes in the Galactic Council in his favor at the end of Round 3. Ronald held an early lead of 4 points, with all the other factions at 1 or 2, which painted a big target on his back. The Evil Axis of Torin, Ricardo, and Nate openly conspired to take down the peaceful Sol who had obtained so many planets through their hard work and merit. I reminded Ricardo and Nate not to be played by Torin’s political machinations and that he would win the game if they threw their support his way. The scheming Torin of the Jol-Nar openly claimed territories deep in Sol’s territory and during Round 4 advanced his dreadnoughts at the urgings of Ricardo. Nate turtled his way forward and telegraphed a large invasion of Mecatol Rex. Ronald, spread thin throughout the galaxy, reinforced points that were under direct threat, but the suffocating blanket of the Axis of Evil was too much for one faction to fend off.

Soon the army of dreadnoughts descended upon Sol’s inner planets, whose spaceships by necessity had to make a hasty retreat to position themselves to reclaim their capital if it was taken. The imperialist Jol-Nar landed on Sol’s planet which had the Propulsion Technology specialty, only adding to Jol-Nar’s monopoly on science. The space nerds then advanced on the Sol capital, Jord, and despite the courageous sacrifice of Sol’s special elite Spec Ops II infantry units, Jord was now under the Jol-Nar flag. However, Sol’s flagship and their own fleet of dreadnoughts stood nearby, ready to counter-attack.

It was already 7:15pm — after a rules overview we had started at 1:15pm. After 6 hours, the battles had only just begun moving from local conflicts to an galaxy-wide war. We would have to end on time alone. The biggest battles were yet to come as we closed off for the night, with no one being able to research war suns (aka death stars) before we ended.

Round 5 opened with the Sol fleet taking back Jord from the Jol-Nar invaders. The Emirates of Hacan made overtures to the Xxcha to have a nonaggression pact. Nate declined, seeing no use with his huge fleet surrounding Mecatol Rex. Ronald was thinking that Ricardo and Nate were figuring out how to split the Sol pie, when Ricardo turned to his right and attacked a Jol-Nar planet! Torin’s conquering of Sol’s homeworld had made Torin the new leader and shifted global alignments. Ricardo laid waste to the Jol-Nar planet (which he had to do in order to nullify Torin’s troublesome teleporting technology).

Meanwhile the people of Sol were assaulted along a second front, as the Xxcha sent in their flagship and main fleet into the Mecatol Rex system, with nearby planets lending their space cannons to the Xxcha flagship’s obscene triple cannons. The Sol’s lone carrier was quickly destroyed, but Mecatol Rex had a considerable ground complement: two Planetary Defense Systems that shielded against Xxcha bombardment and 6 elite ground forces. The space turtles took the planet after taking heavy casualties, and their ground force was reduced from 11 to 2.

Torin, meanwhile, had retreated his fleet to around his homeworlds. With surgical efficiency, he sent a fleet to drive out Hacan’s occupying force, and sent his main fleet toward Mecatol Rex! With his fast teched-up dreadnoughts, Torin was able to concentrate a large force from surprise, and his fleet vanquished Xxcha’s army and evicted their weakened ground force.

The galaxy shook with the Xxcha’s anger, and a couple of green war suns jumped onto the board — a combined effort of all players was needed to set all the hexes right again.

Then we all had to go home at 8:15pm. Torin, as always, was set to win another strategy game. #grrrrr The Universities of Jol-Nar (Torin) led with 5 victory points, the Federation of Sol (Ronald) at 4 victory points, the Xxcha Kingdom (Nate) at 3 victory points, and the Emirates of Hacan (Ricardo) at 2 victory points. Torin was also set to score a public objective and a secret objective which would have put him at 8 points at the end of Round 5, within striking distance of the victory. (I would have reached 6 points.)

If we had continued, probably only a galaxy-wide alliance to seize Torin’s homeworld could have prevented him from winning. Torin had a technological advantage, but the Jol-Nar’s -1 to combat rolls was going to be a crippling disadvantage in the face of Ricardo’s soon-to-be-deployed war suns. Torin would then have been limited to secret objectives (which the game limits players to scoring 3 points from). If Torin’s homeworld fell, who would have won then? Probably Sol with their many hard-to-conquer planets. But Nate could have brought another flagship-led assault on Sol. And if Ricardo had reached his goal of achieving war suns and fought to win, he might have come up with a heroic come-from-behind victory. But not very likely, as a lot of the scoring objectives don’t require all-out war, and Sol with their homeworld reclaimed could have hopped their way to victory. With Torin crippled, Ricardo and Nate would have had to gang up on Ronald — and then one of them backstab the other for the win.

TWILIGHT IMPERIUM was what it promised to be — epic, dramatic, and engaging throughout. It told a story. The game length was a problem, and our group played longer than the average group, as ahemcertainplayersahem deliberated a long time over some of their moves. That’s part of learning the game though. Repeated plays should make make the game go faster.

Definitely will play again and set out more than 8 hours for a 4-player game if those same players are there again. And my ultimate dream of a 6-player game would be an all-day affair.

Verdict? With 17 different factions (including psychic snakes, wormhole-hopping ghosts, and a virus!), the game promises infinite replayability. So yes: I want to play it again. And again, and again…

The Grandmaster (Ronald)

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Posted by on January 15, 2018 in Twilight Imperium


Dead Suns #9: Jungle Fever

The party braves the dangers of Ukulam and find… the other explorers?? (-GM)

27th Day of Rova, 317 AG

Jungle. That one word describes the last 48 hours of hard trekking through the wilderness. We were constantly pushing through ferns and large trees covered in vines. The journey today had been uneventful but suddenly an ugly creature barged out and ruined everybody’s day.

(Purple as well as other colors, as pictured. -GM)

It was too early in the morning to be whipping out your guns and shooting some strange purple creature. Now don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against the color purple. But this thing was purple and dangerous and it being purple was not enough of a reason for us to be friendly. We shot it a couple of times but it ran away.

It would have been better if it had just tried to fight us. Because it ran off now we were constantly on edge. Having your gun out, scanning the surrounding wilderness for purple monsters, and pushing through dense jungle can slow the party down a bit. The creature appeared two more times before finally picking a fight with us. It shot some weird dart thing at us from far away, but this time when it tried to run Chee Kee chased it down and killed it. XI told us that the spikes it shot at us had a kind of poison that if we died it would make more of them. He made sure that everybody who got hit was very careful with cleaning and taking care of the wounds they received.

The rest of the day was fairly boring. We killed a dinosaur. No biggie. The good news about killing a dino was that we could cook its meat to have more food. We made camp at sundown and had people rotate through shifts keeping lookout.

Everybody was up by sunrise and had finished eating and packing up camp by the time the sun was peeking over the treetops. The day up through lunch was boring. Nothing came at us to fight. But at around 2 o’clock we found a body. The body was recent and was an insect… I mean Lashunta. We gathered that it was one of the ones we were following. XI noted that it had one of those thorns in its leg and that its stomach had exploded. He informed us that this was what happened if you did not clean your wound properly. We looted the body and moved on.

Toward sundown we came into a very large clearing:

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Posted by on January 12, 2018 in Campaign, Pathfinder Chronicles


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Eighth-Grade Tournament: First-Round Arena!

The Prismatic Perplexity

The ceiling is 30 feet high. All walls reach the ceiling.

BARRIER: A flat vertical plane originating from your spawn point bestrides the width of the room and follows your character through, even through portals. It advances 10 feet on Initiative 0. If it surpasses a character, it does 20 points of bludgeoning damage plus a DC 19 Acrobatics check to avoid being knocked prone. (Although it does a physical damage, a character can walk through it.


Roll a 1d8:

1: Red. 20 fire damage (DC 19 Reflex halves)
2: Green. 20 acid damage (DC 19 Reflex halves)
3: White. 20 cold damage (DC 19 Fort halves)
4: Black. 20 negative energy damage (DC 19 Fort halves)
5-6: Yellow. 20 psychic damage (DC 19 Will halves)
7. Brown. +18 vs. AC. 20 bludgeoning damage
8. Grey. +18 vs. AC. 20 piercing damage

ADDITIONALLY, the walls in the center section are walls of colors: you can go through them but they block all ranged attacks.

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Posted by on January 9, 2018 in Announcements, Tournament


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The Eighth-Grade Tournament!

Some of the eighth-graders* have wanted to kill each other for ages, and now I’m finally giving them a chance.

In a break from tradition, we have one-person teams and each player will create TWO characters. There are six people competing. Each makes two Level 10 Pathfinder RPG characters. Two players face off; the winner advances to the next round with leveled-up Level 12 characters.The Championship will be a 1v1v1 match (probably in the form of 1 player challenging another player. If that player accepts the challenge that forms the first match. If that player declines, the 3rd player challenges a player and that forms the first match. The survivor of that first match the remaining player play in a 2nd match at full health.) Keep in mind that the tournament matches run on Wednesdays. For some folks, making a new character on paper can be bit intimidating — I will help each of you via e-mail (during class I’m too busy). Know that all deadlines to make your characters are strict — it’s a lot of work to manage so many teams and character sheets, and so I make NO EXCEPTIONS to the deadlines. If you miss a deadline to level-up your character, this permanently handicaps you for the whole tournament. (See Rule #1 below.)

*Plus one honorary eighth-grader!



WINNING A FIGHT IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND (see Championship Format above): 12 XP


We already have arenas for this Tournament, but if you would like to make an arena (and win XP!) for a future Tournament, submit an entry! See the rules from an old Design Contest — the same rules still apply


Tournament Seeds determine who your matchup will be. Higher-ranked players are paired against lower-ranked players. Ranking is determined by looking at the following factors in order:

  1. All who won a match in the last tournament are placed first (ranked by how high you advanced)
  2. All who competed in the last tournament are placed second
  3. All who made characters but didn’t fight in the last tournament are placed third
  4. People who didn’t make characters for the last tournament are placed last
  5. Tiebreaker #1 is: Your seed in the last tournament
  6. Tiebreaker #2 is: your current Guild XP

The first seeds for the Eighth-Grade Tournament is:

  1. Paul
  2. Aidan
  3. Max
  4. Bruno
  5. Simon
  6. Zachary


Paul (#1) v. Zachary (#6)
Aidan (#2) v. Simon (#5)
Max (#3) v. Bruno (#4)

Friday, January 12 10:00 PM (3 XP): SUBMIT DRAFT CHARACTERS TO GRANDMASTER by Friday, January 12, 10:00PM. *Characters should be submitted with an official Pathfinder character sheet or ALL choices must be typed out in an email if you use Hero Lab, you earn 2XP less for every Tournament victory, AND earn 2XP less for your very next Tournament victory (so instead of 12XP you would earn 8XP for winning in the First Round).*  To create your character sheet, get the character sheet and the Character Creation Guide PDF I’ve made up.

I then send you back feedback on your characters.

Monday, January 15 10:00 PM: FINALIZE YOUR CHARACTERS WITH ME by Monday, January 15, 10:00PM. (Remember that this is a holiday.) The Grandmaster then posts all Level 10 character sheets on the Guild website the next morning; you get to scope out the competition!



  1. Not finishing your character before the STRICT deadline has sucky, PERMANENT consequences on your character! There are NO EXCEPTIONS to my deadlines. If you fail to level-up your character in time, then I will just add hit points to your character — you lose all things that had to be chosen permanently (such as Feats, skill ranks, class special abilities, spells) — you can’t choose them when you level-up later.
  2. You can only use the 7 core races. Kineticists, guns, slaying arrows, and Technology Guide items are NOT allowed. You may not use Traits. Besides these restrictions, nearly all options are allowed from the Pathfinder Core Rulebook, Advanced Class Guide, Advanced Player’s Guide, Horror Adventures, Occult Adventures, Ultimate Magic, Ultimate Combat, Ultimate Equipment, Ultimate Wilderness, and Advanced Race Guide. All the classes and the prestige classes in those books are available. And, just like for Guild characters, we use Pathfinder Unchained‘s versions of some classes (the original Summoner is not allowed) and that book’s revised barbarian rage rules. Finally, the aegis, marksman, and soulknife, and the Autohypnosis skill from Ultimate Psionics are allowed.
  3. You will use 15 POINT BUY. No score lower than 8 or higher than 15 before applying racial modifiers. After 1st level, your character takes average hit points (i.e. for a d6 class like a wizard, it is 3, 4, 3…)
  4. Your two characters start at Level 10, with 62,000gp in equipment (this includes up to 5,000gp in expendable items). In the next round, they become Level 12, with 108,000gp in equipment (this includes up to 7,200gp in expendable items). Between battles, you trade in ALL your gear before spending your new GP total. In contrast, your ability scores, race, class levels, feats, and skill ranks are permanent.
  5. IMPORTANT: For spellcasting, and for special abilities and magic items that have a limit per day, these are limited to using one-third, rounded up, in any given battle. (For spellcasters, add up spell levels to find out your limit.) Search (Ctrl + F) for the “1/3 Rule” at this page.
  6. Any other creatures you have must come from class features (i.e., animal companions, bonded mounts, familiars, eidolons). After a battle begins, you may use magic to summon extra creatures.
  7. Magic Items: You must buy wands with a full (50) set of charges. You may NOT buy a wand, rod, or staff with a caster level higher than your character’s caster level. You may NOT buy scrolls with caster level higher than your character’s Caster level +2. (So if you are a Level 4 sorcerer, you may only buy scrolls up to Level 6. Remember that you might fail in using the scroll as well!)
  8. You may pool your gold between your two characters. But the limit on expendables applies against each character separately.
  9. There is NO crafting.
  10. You may “buff” yourself, your teammate, and your Allies before a battle, but AFTER you do so, 1d6 hours pass before the battle begins. (So the effects might wear off.)
  11. When time for a match runs out, if more than one player’s characters are left standing, victory is determined by percentage of hit points remaining AFTER taking away temporary changes (rage, bull’s strength, temporary hit points, polymorphing, etc.)

See posts from previous Guild Tournaments


Posted by on January 9, 2018 in Announcements, Tournament


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New “Pathfinder Duels” CCG!

What is this? A new card battling game available for iOS and Android? Color me intrigued:

From Paizo:

37Games in collaboration with Paizo Inc. has launched the highly anticipated mobile CCG Pathfinder Duels to gamers worldwide on both iOS & Android! Adventurers can enjoy the fast-paced action of a traditional CCG while using their wits to outthink their opponent in unique simultaneous turn-style battles.

Featuring an in-depth combat system, players are able to “push” cards around the battlefield to plan their offensive, beat their friends in ranked duels, and challenge others in the Arena! Players also have the ability to craft their own cards, join immense guilds, and take part in massive campaigns!

Has anyone tried this? What do people think?


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Posted by on January 6, 2018 in Announcements


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Rappan Athuk #65: Loose Ends

The party ascends the dungeon to enter some unexplored passages… (-GM)

7th day of Desnus, 4720 AR

After sorting through the maps and finding that there were a few places that we had not explored, we decided to start from the highest level with an unexplored area and work our way down. As it turned out, the highest unexplored level mas a maze.

On our way to the maze we ran into some goblins who ambushed us. After a short fight which is really just a few instinctive fireballs we realized they were from Greznek, the goblin city we are allied with, so we had a conversation with them after which we showed them how to get back to Greznek from where we were.

After sending the goblins on their way, we continued into the maze. As we mapped the unexplored part of the maze, we noticed lots of rat tunnels going off in various directions, so I cast arcane eye to scout the rat tunnels to see if there was anything worth exploring. As it turned out, there were two small caverns, one of which was home to a blind wererat named Damien.

Damien told us that he was exiled by the Spider Queen. In exchange for killing the Spider Queen and curing his blindness, he would give us information about Rappan Athuk. So we set out to kill the Spider Queen.

When we got to where Damien said the Spider Queen’s lair was, we were attacked by a bunch of giant spiders which we dispatched with ease. There was also a large spider-like construct that I believe was a Retriever, however it did not last for very long.

When we finally reached the Spider Queen’s lair, there were a few wererats and a large amount of giant spiders waiting for us. Upon vanquishing the Spider Queen I took her spellbook and scribed the spells into my spellbook. Yay more spells!!

After returning to Damien the wererat, we cured his blindness and he gave us information about Rappan Athuk. He told us about caverns inhabited by living statues that were once explorers and were transformed by evil that ambush unsuspecting travelers, skeletons that explode when they are killed, and zombies that dissolve into a greenish goo that will eat your flesh and make you one of them. He told us about the tomb of a fallen paladin that is hidden near the goblin city. The paladin was corrupted by the sorceress Deserach. Also, a level of flooded passages ruled by evil fishlike things who can take over your mind. He said that they were the secret rulers of the dungeon. He also told us of a hidden library once used by the followers of Orcus that contains a great evil.

In my opinion sounds like money and more spells!!

Signing off,
Madrik the Spell Thief (Torin)


Death from Somewhere Irrelevantly Far Away, tiefling slayer 15
Deckard Cain, aasimar flame oracle 14
Jackie Chan, oread flowing monk 13
Kung Fury, sylph martial artist monk 14
Madrik the Spell Thief, wizard 14
Shia Labeouf, merfolk bard 14
Valestar Ekhart, aasimar paladin 15

Previous post in this campaign

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Posted by on January 5, 2018 in Campaign, Pathfinder Chronicles, Rappan Athuk


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