|James Martin RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32|
|Lisa Stevens CEO|
|F. Wesley Schneider Editor-in-Chief|
|James Martin RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32|
|Crystal Frasier Digital Products Assistant|
|Rob McCreary Developer|
More Paizo Blog. Link. Tags: Darklands, Drow, Exiles of Zirnakaynin, Miniatures, Minotaurs, Monsters, Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Plants, Playtest
James Martin wrote:
What is that huge mini near the lizard stable? I can't quite make it out from the angle...
My question exactly (2-4 inches in from the left side, 6-8 inches up from the right). Looks huge, but I think it's just large.
I will be exceptionally keen on following this playtest and making notes as to the observations made.
I have DM'd a campaign in 3.5 (and PF Beta) up to about 15th level and found the preparation time for running sessions at the end almost unbearable. Mind you I strongly dislike re-using canned content from other sources as some suggest and prefer to make custom content, which of course adds overhead, but the planning of sessions was extremely time consuming and running combats was a herculean challenge. Not that I didn't enjoy it, I did, but eventually I ran out of gas and couldn't find the energy to continue to prepare high level sessions any longer.
I am very anxious to hear from those who are now, or will be in the future, running high level games. I'd like to hear things like:
1) How much time you typically spend preparing for a session
Sean, if you want to keep this thread narrowly focused on just the playtest notes from this game I'll understand and we could discuss on a different thread, but I thought since they're sort of all the same subject, and this thread seems oriented towards discussion on how PFRPG has changed some of these things it my be appropriate to discuss here.
Hi! Nice to meet ya!
Now imagine all of the exact same stuff (I never use canned content either) once they reach levels 45-55 :)
People are down on templates, but MAN do I find them useful.
I'm probably going to do the exact same thing as Sean, except at local conventions and a bit higher level (plus I don't like running evil games).
I've been running 40th-level 3.5 games; I'm curious how a 40th level Pathfinder game would feel. Of course, I'd have to allow lots more feats than whats in the PFRPG core (i.e. ELH feats), and I'm really not keen on the core suggestion to keep BAB and save progressions the same, but who knows, maybe it'll work out.
I think at the high levels the save progressions will just give every character class except monk a tremendous Achilles' heel.
Highest we've ever gotten was level 23, post STAP. Stat blocks are the biggest pain in the rear at that level. The sheer abilities a uber high level PC or villain can bring to bear is ridiculous. I literally needed almost 2 weeks to stat up a sufficiently powerful BBEG to take on my players.
King of Vrock wrote:
Yes, building interesting custom NPC's was a massive time sink for me. I found myself reading through very many source books for just the right combination of classes and prestige classes, then picking interesting magic items for them from core + splat books + magic item compendium, then choosing spells from core + splat books + spell compendium, then working out a personality and background for the NPC... one high level NPC took me *days* to prepare. Mind you I was only able to commit a few hours per night in preparation... so had I sat down for one 8 hour stretch I could probably knock it out faster but... man was that a lot of work. Add in then that I was building several custom dungeons and adventure areas and trying to plan in advance for the PC's abilities... PC's which were played by very experienced and smart players... sometimes I found encounters I had *planned* to be epic and very challenging to be cake-walks because I didn't plan carefully enough. Not that I want to plan perfectly for every contingency but when I am planning a session I have in my head which encounters will likely be speed bumps and which I am focusing on to be "spotlight" encounters, ie, encounters to remember... ones that should play out over several hours and deeply engage the players tactically. Unfortunately, sometimes the players would pull a spell out of the Spell Compendium (or an item from the MIC) that completely nuked an entire session and I had to scramble in order to be able to carry on the remainder of the night... I'm hoping the GMG has a lot of tools in it that help address these "oh sh** what am I going to do for the next 6 hours of this session!?!?!?"
The game just starting running this week. And it isn't really a playtest as much as getting some experience with high-level play for PFRPG. Sean figured that if he started them at 12th level, the campaign would have a much higher chance of hitting 20th than a campaign started from scratch. Personally, my home campaigns tend to end around 15th level, so I think Sean is doing a good thing.
While I certainly recognize that detailing NPCs can be time consuming (depending on the level of detail a GM wishes to apply), since I tend to avoid EPIC-level high fantasy like the plague, I'm genuinely curious about the following:
How does one stat out an opponent that is supposed to be "epic" in a few moments and lines of text? I'm not even focusing solely on game mechanics here. ANY opponent that hangs at the epic-end of the scale shouldn't be a throwaway NPC/monster/character (or to use the foul-tasting 4e term: minion). The idea of an "epic-grunt", "epic-minion", or "epic-chump" makes no sense.
If you're going to embrace the high-level & epic-level ends of the D&D/PF power curve, I'd view time-consuming stat blocks and NPC descriptions as part of the cost of admission.
Just another reason I wished D&D & Pathfinder embraced the "zero to master-of-one's-craft" power scale rather than "zero to super-hero" power scale. If all you're ever doing is raise the power-level, eventually you're going to reach the arena of diminishing returns. In 3.x & PF (and most games), that means NPC's and monsters are going to require more time to stat out.
If PF helps smooth that out, that's great. If it doesn't, it's not a flaw of the system. It's a flaw of the power scale.
You can focus your energies on the power scale and simplicity but at the cost of character detail/options (see 4e).
Just my 2 cents.
How to stat high-level opponents quickly?
A CR 30ish caster? figure out the average HP, saves and whatnot for that level challenge, keep in mind they'll have layers and layers of defenses, and start dropping quickened wiltings and meteor swarms on the PCs while gating in Balors.
Frankly, there's no _good_ and _clean_ way of quickly getting a high-level opponent. With net access, npcwiki or dmtools is a lifesaver.
There aren't really epic 'minions' - there are however large waves of truly terrible opponents. Even a very high level character will fear a balor rush when they start exploding, or simple smash-grapple-trample golems with flight, magic immunity, attack bonus of "I hit you" and HP of lots.
This campaign is myself as a summoner, Timitius as an inquisitor/assassin, Crystal as a fighter, James Jacobs as a bard/demoniac, Rob as an undead sorcerer, and Jodi as a cleric.
The biggest mini you see on the map there is my eidolon, who is large size and quite potent. Part of the reason why this *is* a playtest is because both Tim and I are running APG classes at high levels and Jacobs is running a prestige class he's re-writing from older source material for future source material.
Lisa Stevens wrote:
I also think this is a good thing! Could it maybe be an informal lead up to some priliminary .... epic experimentation?
baron arem heshvaun wrote:
I think that's a McDonald's Coke you're seeing...
James Martin wrote:
The big red one is Josh's eidolon. The bluish-white one is an ice devil mini representing my animated bone devil skeleton. I hope to have a real osyluth mini by the next game!
Sharp eyes might also pick out my four elven zombie handmaidens surrounding my character!
Sean has done an awesome job on all of the elements he's adding to this game! The terrain he made was cool! If you want to see how he made the terrain check out this video! It's a video of Sean actually cutting the foam that he uses for the terrain. I tried cutting some and I enjoyed shaving down the foam with the hot wire.
I am playing the High Priestess Verandia in this campaign and she's definitely evil! It will be a challenge to play evil for once. I've done it before but never in a long-term campaign like this and never at a high level to which I could actually do some hardcore damage if I wanted to! Drow stats rock! :o)
Jodi Lane wrote:
Is that a cat watching Sean cut foam...?
Callous Jack wrote:
The cat would consider it "supervising the efforts of an inferior life form," if I know anything about cat psychology.
Oh really, when did you get it back up? I've tried to sign in a billion times but I keep getting rejected saying invalid username. It was either primeval or primeval003... I contributed the vampire councilman if that helps.
As soon as you get me rolling I have a few mid level Pathfinder NPC's to drop on ya!!!
--Vrocked out of the house!!!
King of Vrock wrote:
Hold off Pathfinder RPG NPCs...there's a separate site for those. (Still in progress of being reworked and base data added to it.) :D
Yeah, DMTools has been...troubled for a while. I lost a lot of the non-statblock data that had been entered (GRRR) and that kinda broke my heart for a bit. But I used the opportunity to rework some code, made it more efficient, etc etc. Lessons learned, will be adhered to in the new site. :)
Thank you for all the effort you have put into everything, Lilith!!!
No offense to anyone involved but my life as a DM would be a lot easier if all these NPC's were in ONE site not several... and PathfinderDB.com already exists... and has a scoring/rating system etc and is specifically for Pathfinder.... Just saying, and no offense to Lilith of course!
No reason both sites can't exist - I just happen to prefer mine. ;)
Yes, Sean is going all out on this campaign. When he turned on the blacklight, I think I was grinning from ear to ear. But, I think that's the MOST minis I've ever seen on a table for an encounter!
This is a game of firsts for me....first evil character. First Drow character. First time I've played above 10th level. So, when we start the encounter, and roll initiative, I'm excited. When Sean dumps a load of miniatures on the table, I get a little nervous. Wow...is this normal for high-level play? How many of these guys do I get to kill each turn?? Then the astral devas come. Then the weird other-worldly stuff comes. THEN he dumps another dozen of minis on the table. And so far, I've killed ONE chimera. ONE.
Ah. I see...message received: YOU CAN'T WIN. Retreat is in order!
If we start a campaign journal here, you can count on Phyxafein Barriduis to make some comments on the Unfaithful he encounters, as well as the glory of serving the Master, the Whip of Knowledge, Abraxas.
BTW, best part for me was the absolute silliness of James, Rob, and Josh playing up their evil drow characters.
Best quote of the night?
Wait until you get to the level where multiple character deaths per combat becomes the norm :)
(although Pathfinder doesn't yet have the equivalent of revivify ?yet?, so it'd take an addition to the system ...)
My favorite was when I dropped an advanced balor on top of them when they thought they were kicking butt, and it took out 3 of the 6 characters in one round.
The balor only lasted one more round, but their reaction was priceless :)
Too bad you NEED a Cleric (or Oracle) to get that, as it's not on other spell lists.
...For that reason, it'd be nice if Inquisitor's Domains actually gave them the Domain Spells, so if they chose Healing Domain they would get the 5th level Breath of Life at 13th level. Likewise, it would have been nice if Druids had Healing as one of their possible Domain choices.
I get the impression BoL would have gotten on more spell lists if it HAD been classed as a "Cure..." spell. (Cure Urgent?)
...But who would want to escape hot chicks in leather, I mean the church, anyways? ...what!?
I think gbonehead means:
Step 1: Dead PC.
and so on.
We once had a BDF who threw axes, and died. A lot. In one game, he stayed as a Revenant for the entire night, having started the game dead and ending it dead.
Revivify after it's all said and done, and Dead Guy becomes Unconscious Guy, which is easily fixed.
High level games can get weird, the more stuff you throw in. Spell Compendium and Magic Item Compendium were the worst offenders, IMO.
I am very interested in seeing how this plays out. If I am correct, all the PC's are Drow, and starting at 12th level? That sounds like fun to me.