Sunday, 9 July 2017

Keep on the Borderlands - The Path of Evil - Session 52c


Lucian says, “Alas, if time were on our side, we could set up a trap on this side of the door. I am of the mind to explore out the remainder of this cave to ensure no surprises, then take a vote on returning here or entering a new complex entrance.”

Talmark responds, “I’m in complete agreeance. I wonder who is doing all of the clean up of the cave system. Is it just common scavengers or something more insidious?”

Malandir considers the arguments but is concerned that having managed to approach the door without being engaged by the hobgoblin archers wouldn’t it be better to seize the moment rather than risk having to fight back down the narrow corridor again at some future point. He asks, “Why have we elected to come down this way if only to turn back now when we had originally suggested the other direction but decided to come this way?”

He thinks more on it. He doesn't care much either way, but next time it will be one of the tough men at arms who will lead the party down this corridor.

Lucien appreciates much the aggressive nature of the Rogue. “Malandir I take your point but I prefer that we take time to consider our enemy and be more methodical. Hobgoblins are militant, cunning tacticians. Taking advantage of our placement here and now could result in falling into their hands via a second front through another secret entrance or the main entrance. 

If I were them, it is what I would do. A holding action here at the door while a flanking force comes in from another direction. I suggest we see if the rest of this particular complex is clear, if we could detect another secret door, and then make a decision together weighing the options.

I can leave my oft forgotten and nameless familiar to stay at one place hidden, such as the entrance to the cave or here at the door, while we check out the rest of the cave so we have forewarning if any creatures come through the area where the viper is stationed.”

Leaning on his glaive Per says, “Lucian, that suggestion is most excellent and should be implemented.”

[DM’s note: Ok guys I feel the pace of the story is slowing down a bit here so I’ll make a random call on whether the party leaves the viper at the door or the cave entrance. 1-3 = door, 4-6 = cave entrance. Roll = 3 = door.] 

Lucien starts to instruct his oft forgotten and nameless viper to stay by the door and to warn them of any danger. Everyone looks on as the viper and Lucien exchange various looks and Lucien makes hand gestures and the viper hisses but neither party speak any words. 

As the party turns to leave the viper follows, not really understanding what Lucien wants. Lucien turns back to the viper and stamps his foot on the ground and points back to the door. The untrained viper (see page 97-98 of the Core Rule Book), who only understands the general emotions of his master (see page 83 of the Core Rule Book) is confused. It now feels that it’s master is frustrated that with it. If feels sad and lonely. It doesn’t know what to do. The hand gesture means nothing to it as it isn’t trained. None the less it stays in place. If it could weep a tear it would as it watches its master leave. 

As the party and Lucien round the corner, Lucien feels that the viper is very afraid, very scared but Lucien doesn’t know why. He comes back around the corner to check on the viper. It’s still there, trying to hide in the dark, lonely corridor, all by itself, abandoned. 

Lucien feels frustrated with the oft forgotten and nameless viper again and the viper picks up on this emotion and feels even more sad and confused. 

Lucien gathers the party and starts off again. “Ha,” he thinks to himself, “If I leave him there he’ll just be scared but if anything comes he’ll be terrified and I’ll still know that something is coming.” The heartless cleric rationalises “That’s good enough warning.”

He motions the party forward, safe in the knowledge that his maltreated viper will act as an early warning system for them. 

As they get further and further away from the viper it gets more scared, but not terrified.
Then, suddenly, Lucien’s Empathetic Link to his familiar is gone (see page 83 of the Core Rule Book for rules on Empathetic Link).

They rush back to the area to see what danger has emerged but there is nothing there. The door is still closed. There are no monsters. The viper has disappeared. 

Then Lucien remembers. The familiar is only a recurring dream, a figment of his mind. Once he gets outside of a 100 feet of it, it disappears.  It won’t be back till tomorrow when he prepares his spells (see page 10 of Familiar Folio).



  1. Dirty pool old man. Making your poor old DM look up all those fancy rules for familiars that are just a figment of your imagination. The poor little blighter doesn't even have infravision. Mind you he's pretty good at Stealth.

  2. Malandir thinks, so much for the snake... perhaps one day he should acquire an animal companion, an extra set of eyes in the dark ..... but that will have to wait... better get ahead and use his own senses to stop the party running into any trouble .....

    1. The Handle Animal rules are pretty good for helping to dictate how they work too.

  3. You gits! I can't believe I felt sorry for an illusory snake!

    1. Hahaha yeah, how callous it Lucien? Then again, he is evil. As are we.

  4. His name is Phyllo. Oft-forgotten only while adventuring, Lucien whispers to Phyllo in the dark each night (mentioned previously VERY early in our gathering as a group.)

    Forgot about that 100ft rule for the Figment archetype, guys... normally we'd have a link for 1 mile.

    And this would be the first time I've seen a DM use the, "untrained animal," rules on a familiar, but I guess I will adjust.

  5. (First time since started playing in 1984 for perspective.)

  6. For more perspective, the only way train animals RAW is using the Handle Animal skill. The most stereotypical class to get a familiar (Wizard) does not get Handle Animal as a class skill. Under the familiar entry for Wizards, it says familiars can deliver touch spells (at 3rd level), but says nothing about the need to train them to do so.

    Also, familiars start with an effective INT score of 6 (small child.) It COULD be interpreted that familiars and their owners(?) can speak the same language, as they share Skills, and Linguistics (which grants languages) is a Skill.

    I will stop beating this horse and let you make a decision.

  7. Just doing the best I can. Never had a player have a familiar before in Pathfinder. They all take Arcane Bond with an Object. Certainly never had a cleric have a familiar before and I doubt you would have in the 80’s either. Had four books open and an hour or reading trying to work out how it could work.

    It is a bit ambiguous isn’t it? On page 83 it says at 5th level that the familiar and the master can communicate verbally as if they were using a common language using the Speak with Master rule. That combined with page 17 which says that if the creature has a penalty then it can still read and speak its racial language (which I figured wasn’t Common for a viper). Collectively I took these two rules to mean that until 5th level you could only communicate using the Empathic Link rule (which is a pretty limited form of communication). But I take your point. How could the familiar deliver a touch spell if it doesn’t understand the intent of it’s master?

    Perhaps the interpretation should be that the master can speak to the familiar and the familiar can understand what the master says but the familiar cannot speak to the master until 5th level.

    In terms of the end outcome, the limit of separation is 100ft and Phyllo is gone for the day but will be back tomorrow.

  8. Check out this link on familiar's. Lots of good information there.

  9. These are from the link about for pathfinder. Under viper there is a link to a summoned viper. Hope this help.

    Summoned Viper stats.

    N Tiny celestial/fiendish animal
    Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, scent; Perception +9


    AC 16, touch 15, flat-footed 13 (+3 Dex, +1 natural, +2 size)
    hp 3 [5] (1d8–1) [1d8+1]
    Fort +1 [+3], Ref +5, Will +1
    SR 5
    Celestial – Resist cold 5, acid 5, electricity 5
    Fiendish – Resist cold 5, fire 5


    Speed 20 ft., climb 20 ft., swim 20 ft.
    Melee bite +5 (1d2–2 [1d2] plus poison)
    Space 2-1/2 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
    Special Attacks smite evil/good


    Str 4 [8], Dex 17, Con 8 [12], Int 1, Wis 13, Cha 2
    Base Atk +0; CMB +1 [+3]; CMD 8 [10] (can’t be tripped)
    Feats Weapon Finesse
    Skills Climb +11 [+13], Perception +9, Stealth +15, Swim +11 [+13]; Racial Modifiers +4 Perception, +4 Stealth


    Smite Evil/Good 1/day as a swift action (adds CHA bonus (+0) to attack rolls and damage bonus equal to HD (+1) against evil/good foes; smite persists until target is dead or the celestial/fiendish creature rests).

    Poison (Ex) Bite—injury; save Fort DC 9 [11]; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d2 Con damage; cure 1 save.

    Note: Numbers and modifiers in brackets [] apply if the spell is modified by the Augment Summoning feat.

  10. Thanks Gary. Most appreciated mate.


    1. Anything yo help out.. Great adventure!

  11. "Well then... Perhaps we continue our search to the east, and leave a pair of the men at the entrance intersection with instructions to run to us if they see ANYTHING coming, rather than trying to fight?"