On the topic of cover getting hit:
First, I think this is up to GMs, but I think there are more and less realistic as well as ways to play this out.
Lets consider attacking a monster with an attack roll of 15:
A) Monster AC 10: Hits. Also, get some armor, you dumb monster.
B) Monster AC 10 + Cover: Our monster friend (some friend we are....) hides behind a tree. Also hits. He had cover, but it didn't do the trick. You should really get a shield man.
C) Monster AC 12 + Cover: Monster is really sorry he ate your leftover pizza, please stop attacking him. In order to defend himself, he gets a shield. Now our attack isn't quite good enough to hit him anymore. But does that mean we hit the tree? I mean, that is pretty weird: I can hit someone standing behind a tree, but as soon as they pick up a shield, I hit the tree with the same shot..... hmmm. And what if the thing providing cover is a dragon with an AC of 35? Then I can hit the dragon by aiming at the monster hiding behind it, but I'll never hit the dragon if I'm trying too. This is a pretty big problem as I see it.
When I'm frolfing and trying to avoid an obstacle, I'm less likely to hit what I'm aiming at, but not just because I hit the thing in the way. Sometimes I over-correct in my aim, sometimes I under correct, and sometimes I get confused and end up hitting the thing providing cover head on. So how do we account for that?
D) Monster AC 16 + Cover: So, this guy wasn't going to get hit anyway. But he did have cover. So is did you hit the tree or not?
I've got a couple of proposals to deal with these problems.
Suggestion 1: Apply cover first. That is, I miss because of the monster's armor in both of the above circumstances. If I've got a +1 BAB and roll a 3, I would hit the tree in both circumstances. This seems to be the most real option: if you have a +4 BAB, you are a skilled enough fighter that you aren't going to hit the tree (unless, perhaps, you roll a 1 and the tree is a friend of yours), but missing the tree and hitting the chink in the armor might be too much for you. The advantage of this approach is that it fits with the idea that an attack roll is a measure of how skilled your attack was. If you attack totally sucked, it hit your ally rather than your foe. If it was ok, but just not good enough, you hit armor or the enemy dodges out of the way. This fixes the monster's shield behind the tree problem, but avoids hitting your ally with anything above a 1 at higher levels. This makes it more likely than not at all that you hit your ally, but the chance disappears as you get to higher levels. To fix this flavor problem, I propose.....
Suggestion 2: Roll the to see what got hit. If you miss and there is cover, you roll a 1d(total AC) and you hit the cover on a 1, 2, 3, or 4. This allows for separating the "parts" of AC in a more consistent manner. For example, in C) you would roll a 1d16 and hit the tree on a 1-4. On D) you would roll a 1d20 and hit the tree on a 1-4. This creates the problem that if a monster is wearing awesome armor, you are less likely to hit the tree, but it becomes less likely that you hit the tree. However, it makes it more likely that you hit the cover that Suggestion 1 and still less likely than applying cover last (that is, you hit the tree if the monster picks up the shield.). This option also decreases the odds that you will hit cover the higher your BAB is.
Ok, so lets take example C: AC 12+4 for cover = 16. If we use the "off the top" method, Bill (BAB +3) and Arthur (BAB +7) have the same chance of hitting the tree (roll of 9-12 for Bill, 5-8 for Arthur, 1/5 chance for each) Under suggestion 1, Bill has a 1/20 chance of hitting the tree (but it is a crit fumble, so something else might happen bad instead) and Arthur has no chance of hitting the tree.
For Suggestion 2:
Bill has a BAB of +3.
Hit chance of 8/20 = 2/5, so
Miss chance of 3/5
On a miss, there is a 4/16 or 1/4 chance of hitting the tree.
Miss chance * hit tree chance = Total chance of hitting tree
3/5 * 1/4 = 3/20. This chance is a +1 modifier different for not hitting the tree compared to the off the top method. This seems like an ok modifier for a +3 BAB
Arthur has a BAB of +7.
Hit Chance of 12/20 = 3/5, so
miss Chance of 2/5
On a miss, still 1/4 chance of a miss.
Miss chance * hit tree chance = Total chance of hitting tree
2/5 * 1/4 = 2/20.
This fits with my intuition about what an large BAB actually means i.e. the fighter is more skilled. No matter how good you are (until you auto-hit on everything but a 1) you still have the same chance as everyone else of hitting the tree when you miss. Because you miss less often, you also hit the tree less often. Using the "off the top" method, you hit the tree just as often as everyone else, even if you only ever miss by hitting the tree.
I think both of these optoins are fairly consistent with the probability, our intuitions, and the game and still give the GM some flavor options. I also think both of them are pretty simple to implement, especially with electronic die rollers.
The Thread Redesign
As you've no doubt noticed, Paizo recently made some formatting tweaks to these messageboards. The salient features are that you need only click on the thread title to gain instant access to the IC and OOC threads, and you can also access the campaign pages through your character aliases. All in all, the changes make it a lot easier to locate games in which you have posted.
I will update the campaign information page with recaps and overviews of your overall progress, so it should function as a brief campaign history.
Now that we are at what is probably the halfway point of this introductory adventure (I say "probably" because the halflings were supposed to be the final battle, but we all know how that turned out), let's open this up for discussion about the game, DM style, and other comments.
What do you think has gone well so far? What hasn't? What can I do better as a DM, and what can you do as players?
Other comments always welcome.
First off, thanks for being a dedicated DM! I've really enjoyed the Play-by-post setting for Pathfinder and you've done a great job at keeping me entertained throughout the process.
What has gone well:
-World building and creation has been phenomenal. I can tell that there's a lot of stuff going on between different factions, a lot of interesting characters.
-World description: whenever we enter a new place, you do a good job of giving us a mental image, and the supplementary maps are very useful
-Your availability is pretty solid to answer questions/make maps on request, etc.
-I LOVE the freedom we've been given in our actions and anticipate quite a few ways that this game could progress.
-NPC to PC interaction has been generally solid. You've done a good job setting Sense Motives and DCs to supplement our interactions.
-You're a good writer
What has not gone well:
-The pacing has been a little off for me lately. Things have droned on, and while some breaks in the action have lead to great opportunities for role playing/PC interaction, they haven't always been utilized.
-The pacing for combat also could be adjusted. However, I like what you've been doing so far with rolling everybody's initiative, as this has sped up the process significantly. So overall this has improved.
-The party dynamic has been okay, with some clear personalities developed, but I think we could go a little further in exploring it. I've made some suggestions in the last paragraph.
What can the DM do:
Keep things moving in the lulls, continue keeping things interesting in this very well designed world. I think this whole "escape plan" thing, whether it happens or not, will be fresh/interesting. In either case, I'm excited to enjoy the sandboxy nature of this game after this arc is over.
What can the players do:
Maybe check in with some of the more minor interactions for roleplaying. If 2/6 of the other party members are doing some special mission, maybe you can talk about what your character is doing during some of the downtime. Maybe add some of the thoughts that are racing through your character's head. Or what you're doing to contain your nervousness? Or your general emotions.
Other than that, I know that this isn't realistic always, but if we're in combat, try to check in frequently to try to speed things up.
DM, I'll probably be free to talk tomorrow afternoon/evening if you have any questions for me.
Of all my games, this is the one I think of as my "regular game," partially because it was the first to start but also because I think it's been most consistent in its pacing, which is a really big plus.
The situations we've been in up to this point (I don't know about the goblin group, I guess) have all felt a bit over our league, but maybe that's the feel you're going for, that these little people have been suddenly swept up into some big goings-on.
As for combat, I've got no complaints, though I guess I've really only been in one.
Obviously, it would always be better if players checked in more and posted more, and I'm increasingly guilty of this in the last few weeks (I think my GMing has suffered more than my playing, but still), but that's out of your control unless you actually make in-game punishments for neglect, which I think would be stupid. That said, we might want to put a certain set time at which point you can GMPC someone for a post or two.
Looking forward to seeing where this goes next. I haven't escaped from a prison in years!
The overarching scenario is not out of our league I don't think. The only think which I think was out of our league was the last encounter; however I think that that feeling might have been part of the point and I am fine with that as long as it is used sparingly.
I'm wondering when we level, particularly the goblin group. We've had a clear diplomatic encounter, three successful combat encounters, ran away from a forest fire, lost a battle to the halfling hoard, and are now facing one bad mo'fo' of a monster. In addition, Jamros is the first character I've made in a long time and I didn't do as much research as I should have, so until we get into some higher levels, he is going to be pretty underpowered (not to mention that the oracle is not the strongest of classes combine with the linear-fighter/quadratic caster effect). I don't want to penalize the vista group for taking forever, but I'm kinda getting tired of level three; I've really done all I can with Jamros as he is now.
That said, I think that the story is a really interesting one and that the world is fantastic. The encounters have been good. I'm hoping we can join in the upcoming battle/siege, either from the inside or the outside. I'm really curious about what is going to happen next and what this thing is/what it wants with me (I assume with me...). Keep up the great work.
On the last encounter:
Encounters (as you well know, but I am just discovering) are hard to gauge: if you lose one, it has pretty big consequences (such as losing all our gear or dieing) but underpowered encounters aren't as exciting. I think that leaving a way of escape for encounters such as the last one would make the "all or nothing" problem of encounters diminish some. Part of the reason that this encounter was so tough is that we were ambushed with our backs to a burning forest. We had nowhere to run, we couldn't coordinate, and they could just pick us off one by one. With 18 or so attacks each round, they could take one of us out each round, so unless we all left the forest at exactly the same time, we were toast. But if there was a safe place to hide and attack from, the encounter may have been a better match. They could come get us, flank us, use those great feats of theirs and we could pick some of them off before they got to us and avoid the devastating number of attacks/round.
You'll all level up at the same time. That time will come when this adventure ends and you have time to rest up in a safe environment (after the battle/siege, basically). Level 3 is always tough for sorcerers/oracles because the prepared casters (wizards/witches/clerics/druids) all have 2nd level spells while you just have 1st level spells. It gets better.
Goblin Group: Your combat encounters during the party split went fairly well, I thought. The goblins went down easily enough, and the snakes were no match for you. Due to the sheer damage output of the Barghest, he came in at two-thirds hit points, although Gareth did enough damage to kill him outright even at full. Apart from the occasional critical, I don’t think you had any real problems in combat. The fact that you had very nearly all of the group’s healing ability didn’t hurt either, I suspect.
Vista Group: The first Vista battle was tough. The Goldcrest captain was a Ranger 2/Scout 1 with a focus on archery, and he really did a number on you guys. Given that you had two sneaky characters and one with charm magic, I expected you guys to sneak in/infiltrate the camp, which would have made it a lot easier for you than your frontal assault was. I tried to hint at this expectation when I asked about your approach back on page 6 of the game thread. I think that this encounter was pretty well balanced, as a frontal assault should be difficult.
The Halflings: Without giving away too many details (after all, you might encounter them again), the halfling battle was intended to be the final battle of this adventure. Had you won, you could have safely detonated the charges and forced the army to turn back. As such, it was supposed to be a tough encounter, but a winnable one. The halflings were smart, tactically minded foes. They cut off one avenue of escape (forest fire #2) and spread out to try to cover a wide area of forest. I deliberately had them ignore the horses, so that if you did want to escape you could ride off on those. As for the mechanics of early firearms, yes, they target touch AC within the first range increment. This was nasty, but on the flip side, the halflings could only fire once every other round each. This seriously limited their sustained damage output, and I put the halflings into nice groups and lines for the AoE folks to wreak havoc on.
I think you lost the fight with them because of 3 things:
Lack of coordination: I didn’t see much teamwork or follow-up on the openings created by your fellow party members. While in-character I understand that this makes sense, as this was the first time the vista and goblin groups really had to work together in combat and they don’t know each other very well, out of character I was a little surprised by this.
The trickle-in effect: Much as with Shanliss’s last stand, only a few party members arrived in the combat area at a time. This allowed the halflings to focus fire, which (as I think you now realize) is a BAD thing. Having more of the party burst onto the scene at once would have forced them to split up their attacks and likely enter melee, where they would have been torn apart. Further, an early breakout by the AoE people would have made this battle a cakewalk as they could have eliminated or weakened a good number of halflings per turn. Fewer enemies means receiving fewer attacks.
Dice hatred: The dice were not on your side. I rolled a lot of critical hits. There were several points where I was certain that you had turned the tide of battle and would win, only for the halflings to all make their saves or to score a lucky crit or two. There isn’t a lot you can do to prevent this sort of thing happening other than to kill them all quickly and to try to prevent the focused fire they managed, but it is definitely one of the main reasons you lost.
Summation: The fight with the halflings was tough. It was supposed to be. I don’t think it was out of your league, however. It was one of those fights where I was absolutely certain that you could win, or at least easily escape from (your horses were right there, while the birds had flown off and their turning radius sucks). If the halflings hadn’t rolled so well on their saves against Eleri and Jamros, their southern flank would have collapsed utterly and given you time to regroup and annihilate the northern group. These guys work best in formation, and you had a lot of trouble breaking those. Having Martin and Pygrado taken out of the fight right away was a problem, but a manageable one. Caladrius and Gareth contributed very little offensively, despite Gareth’s healing ability. To win this fight, you needed to adopt a fairly offensive strategy – when dealing with formations, the best defense is a good offense.
These are my thoughts, but please feel free to argue with or comment on them.
Re: Vista encounter: I think we didn't infiltrate because we didn't make our perception checks, and so we just stumbled in. Also, the party split meant that, as you mentioned, we really didn't have much combat potential.
Re: Halflings: We didn't know, either in or out of character that the halflings could only fire every other round (at least, we didn't know that until it was too late) which made the idea of mounting the horses under a withering hail of bullets seem less than appealing. Also, I don't think that anyone (at least from the vista group) was coming in at anything close to full health, which drastically decreases our ECL, and the forest fire meant that those of us who are sneaky didn't have any chance to maneuver tactically.
Also, man, that has to be one of the worst crits you can get.
Fair point about the health - I was surprised that Jamros didn't use that wand of his to bring you up to full.
For a dex-based character, it is. There are some other nasty ones, though - Aside from the insta-kills and plane shift, some of the high-power bleed and con damage ones can kill low-level characters damn fast.
I think the halflings were brutal considering at low levels very few classes outside of the monk actually have a way of effectively pumping their touch AC. I think that we could have won if we had acted coordinated, but the fact of the matter was, that we should have surrenderd from the get go, or attacked as a coordinated unit. Having DMed for this group before I know that this has been a consistent problem.... (illusionary CR 4 polar bears TPK lvl 8 party...)
Taking another level in Paladin of Freedom (we'll do the switch to holy gun at a time where it makes sense with continuity)
HP Gained: (10/2)+1+1con = 7 +1 favored class bonus = 8
New Total HP: 32/32
Ability Score Gain: Dexterity
New Dexterity: 18(+4)
AC now 16, touch 14
Initiative now +4
BAB now +4
CMB now 6
CMD now 20
Base Saves now: 4/1/4 and updated saves now 8/7/5.
Skill Ranks:(3 to assign)
Bluff now has 4 ranks from 3, at +11
Diplomacy now has 4 ranks from 2, at +10
No new feats this level
New Class Features:
Smite Evil 2/day, Channel Positive Energy
Base:0 1st lvl/day Bonus: 1 1st lvl/day
I think that is everything. My profile will be updated accordingly. Please let me know if you have any questions or if I missed anything/miscalculated anything.
Yay, 3rd level is a good one for Dragonfire Adepts.
Ranks Added To:
New Invocation: Endure Exposure Now 100% less friendly fire!
Breath Weapon +1d6 damage (DC 16)
Now to update Profile...
Taking another level in Ranger
HP Gained: (10/2)+1+2con = 8 +1 favored class bonus = 9
New Total HP: 32/35
Ability Score Gain: Int
New Con: 8(-1)
New Total HP: 36/39
Skill Ranks:(5 to assign))
Knowledge Nature x2: (3 ranks)
Diplomacy: (3 ranks)
Sense Motive: (1 rank)
Survival: (2 ranks)
New Class Features:
Favored Terrain: Forest
I'm assuming the areas we've been in have been considered Mountains + Forest terrain (yes, one area can be multiple types, but the bonuses don't stack)
Updating profile soon
HP Gained: (8/2)+1+2con+1favored = 8
New Total HP: 35/35
Note: The listed stats will be correct AFTER I recover fully from the ability damage.
Ability Score Gain: Charisma
New Charisma: 11(+0)
BAB now +3
CMB now 4
CMD now 18
Base Saves now: 3/3/1 and updated saves now 5/7/0.
Skill Ranks:(10 to assign)
Acrobatics 2->3, Bluff 1->2, EscapeArtist 1->2, Intimidate 3->4, Kn(Local) 1->2, Perception 3->4, Ride 0->1, SleightOfHand 1->2, Stealth 3->4, Survival 0->1
No new feats this level
New Class Features:
Sneak Attack +2d6, Trap Sense +1
Stats will also be updated to include new gear.
Any of you who are not in my Bronze Age game already, there are 2 spots open in one of the groups and I have put up a (re)recruitment thread.
I thought I should give you a head start if you want to join in. This is the group that JC is in, so ask him about it if you want any impressions. The recruitment is set up as a sort of audition process, not first-come-first-served but if I know you you will probably have an advantage.
PS: Sorry for taking up space in your OOC thread, CD
YAY!!!! I'M USEFUL AGAIN!!!
HP Gained: (8/2)+1+1con = 6 +1 favored class bonus = 7
New Total HP: 27/27
Ability Score Gain: Charisma!
New Cha: 18(+4)
Silken Ceremonial armor: +1, 2 lb
AC = 10 + 3dex + 1size + 1 armor = 15, Touch=14, FF=12
Initiative now +3
BAB now +3
CMB now 3-1 = 2
CMD now 10+3+3-1 = 15
Base Saves now: 1/1/4, +1/1/1 for luck, 1/3/1 for skills = 3/5/6.
Skill Ranks:(5 to assign, 20 total)
I found some errors in how I assigned skill points last time, so I'm reconstructing my skills here and providing for all my skill points.
Class skill (Ranks+Class+Stat+race):
Acrobatics 10 (2+3+3+2), Climb 9(1+3+3+2), Craft, Diplomacy 8(1+4+3), Intimidate 8(1+3+4), K(history), K(planes) 5 (1+3+1), Knowledge (religion)(3+3+1), Perform: Oratory 8(1+4+3), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive 5 (1+3+1), Slight of Hand 9 (1+2+3+3) and Spellcraft 7 (3+3+1)
Steath 9 (2+3+4(size))
UMD 5 (1+4)
New Class Features:
Spells/Day = 6/3 (+4 each)
Spells known = 6/3/1 (new 0th, 2nd) + resist energy
Spirtiual weapon (using Cha for attack)
Replace Deathwatch with Command
Total extra spells:
EQUIPMNET TO DISTRIBUTE:
Three well-made suits of leather armor, one small robe made from reinforced silk (Silken Ceremonial Armor), and a damaged but well-made breastplate. (are these masterwork?)
A well-crafted greatsword, 3 superb longswords, two well-balanced daggers and a nice longbow (all masterwork). You also find two wands, a bag, and one small metal tube with three strange little packets.
Mithral chain shirt, a red cloak (+1 of resistance), a guard badge, a finely wrought short sword, and a powerful-looking composite longbow(+1 with +2str). He also had 25 gold pieces.
So, since I'm sure we all know what class/level/race our characters are at this point, I've decided to do something a little different with my character's "subtitle" that shows up next to my name. Instead, I feel that information such as HP, spell slots, smite evils, or other important tracked conditions would be useful to have displayed right next to the individual characters' names.
If you so choose to follow suit, you should leave your Race and Gender titles blank and write in whatever you want to track under the Class/Levels category. I've decided to keep the pertinent race/gender/class/levels information under the special abilities section, because I track those elsewhere in my profile.
Anyways, just wanted to put this out there as an option to try at your own will. Hope you guys find it useful!
|Michael Logan 54|
I have internet again! But I won't be able to post again on a regular basis until the 17th in the evening. But I just wanted to say it is fun to read about what has happened in the two weeks I have been gone. And that I am looking forward to doing more roleplaying with this character as I hadn't had much of a chance to do that before I left.
I am also looking forward to trying out the new formatting method. I like it.
Taking a 5th level in Paladin of Freedom
HP Gained:(10/2)+1con = 6
New Total HP: 38/38
BAB now +5
CMB now 7
CMD now 21
Skill Ranks:(4 to assign, using favored class bonus here)
Diplomacy now has 5 ranks from 4, at +11
Bluff now has 5 ranks from 4, at +12
UMD now has 3 ranks from 1, at +10 Going to look into buying fun things to use with this soon :)
New Feat: Deadly Aim
New Class Features: Divine Bond
I am choosing to take the weapon form of this ability, not the mounted one.
1st Level: 1/day + 1/day bonus = 2/day
LoH from 5/day to 6/day, channel energy now 3d6 from 2d6.
Going to update my profile to reflect this!
Fighter 1 / Rogue 3 -> Fighter 2 / Rogue 3
HP Gained (10/2)+1con+1FC = 7 (36->43)
BAB now +4
CMB now +5
CMD now 20
New Feats: WFo(Sawtooth Sabre), Alertness
New Class Ability: Bravery +1
Acrobatics 3->4 (11->12)
Intimidate 4->5 (7->8)
Perception 4->5 (8->11)
Stealth 4->5 (12->13)
Sense Motive 1->1 (4->6)
IF YOU'RE NOT DMCD, CLOSE THIS SPOILER NOW!
As you may notice, Pygrado now meets all the requirements for the RMA prestige class except the alignment one. As I see it, he's neutral tending towards chaotic and neutral tending towards evil. The step to full evil is one I can justify in character, but something storywise will have to push him towards lawful. I'd appreciate if this could be worked in before the next level, but if it just doesn't happen I'll delay going that route until I really do meet the prerequisites. (If I find him going in the opposite direction alignment-wise, I'll have him move away from wanting to be a member.)
One way this could happen would be for some senior Red Mantis guys to show up and tell him to get his s%*& in order, which could lead him to a period of soul-searching as he prepares to fully pursue that line. I feel that this would not be totally out of line with the story so far, given that we've killed some RMAs and fought others, so they're definitely around and probably aware of him.
Alternately, any situations that force him to take a stand, particularly on the Law/Chaos axis, would work. Similarly those that would force him to choose between being an legit assassin and being his current fun, goofy self.
I don't want you to rework your plot around this, and I don't want the campaign to become "Pygrado's Journey of Self-Discovery Starring Pygrado (and those other five guys)." But those are the sort of situations I'd like to see Pygrado put under before level 6.
lvl 5 ding:
Taking another lvl in ranger
Fixed earlier hp issues, new hp = 44
BAB now +5
CMB now +9
CMD now 20
Took the no spell substitution from CC.
New feats: Shield focus, Boon Companion (Finally Martin is living up to having more feats than levels like a true JFZ character))
New Class ability: Animal Companion (Wolf) Rawr
Skills: Fixed some issues here, apparently had too many before this
Survival x2 (Rank 3)
knowledge Nature (Rank 4)