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GameMastery Guide Preview: Things Get Weird!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Let me let you in on one of the guiding philosophies of the GameMastery Guide. We didn’t make this book to let you run my game, or a “Paizo-brand” game, or any sort of game anyone here thinks you should run. We created the GameMastery Guide to give you the tools you need to run your game the way you want. For example, let me note a few entries in the index:

  • Airships
  • Evil Characters
  • Extraterrestrials
  • Gambling
  • Magic Shops
  • Parallel Worlds
  • Ship Combat
  • Space Travel
  • Steam Power
  • Space Travel
  • Time Travel
  • Undead Uprising

Definitely some unusual stuff in there, and likely several topics you’ll have no interest in including in your game. But if something on that list does strike your fancy, now you’ve got help on how to make it work. These discussions aren’t all meant to give you in-depth rules on how to do this or that: while several provide a host of new rules content—like ship combat and undead uprisings —others walk you through what you need to consider to include such elements in your game. And even if you’ve never thought about taking your game in an atypical direction, who knows what might inspire you? Maybe it is time to unleash an undead uprising on your campaign, or take your PCs where no one has gone before.

Play what your want: that’s the guiding message of this book. Heck, there’s even a section on personalizing published adventures to make them work better for you and your players. Also, rest assured that the topics presented above are some of the weird stuff—the parts of the book that take the discussions beyond the norm. There’s still plenty for GMs who never get tired of traditional sword and sorcery adventure. But how weird does the weird get? Well, I’ll let these crazy illustrations by Florian Stitz and Eva Widermann show you (at least I think those are the artists… Sarah’s out of town this week).

As for next week’s GameMastery Guide Preview: let’s just say that we’ve got some fantastically interesting toolboxes to open.


F. Wesley Schneider
Managing Editor

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Amiri Anti-Paladins Barbarians Dwarves Eva Widermann Florian Stitz Game Mastering Harsk Iconics Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Rangers Seelah
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A battlecruiser main gun she ripped off from the reamins after she defeated the ship in single combat ;)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Amiri doesn't fire the battleship's main gun at the enemy.

The battleship's main gun fires Amiri at the enemy.


In frigid Iobaria, weapon barbarians you!

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

vagrant-poet wrote:
In frigid Iobaria, weapon barbarians you!

Ha!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber
Epic Meepo wrote:
It's all about Space Amiri. Finally, an Amiri I can get behind.

In that outfit, that's an Amiri I wouldn't mind being behind. ;-0

Yes - I went there.

Gorbacz wrote:


One of my dreams is running a game set in a world of Thief: The Dark Project computer game. A decaying, medieval-meets-Edwardian "early steampunk" setting. Electricity and steam are present, guns are not. No airships, but first submarine is there. I hope that GMG will help me out.

I'm was thinking the same thing! That's a setting I would love to see translated for pure RPG. Hope that's doable. Don't forget to throw in the Trickster's creepy, nature-loving zealots in that mix.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Alex Martin wrote:
Epic Meepo wrote:
It's all about Space Amiri. Finally, an Amiri I can get behind.

In that outfit, that's an Amiri I wouldn't mind being behind. ;-0

Yes - I went there.

Really?

Amiri's normal armor is MUCH more revealing from behind then her Barbarella get-up.
(As Empowered reminds us, the short cape covers up a lot.)


I think I just had a gamergasm.


Lord Fyre wrote:
Alex Martin wrote:
Epic Meepo wrote:
It's all about Space Amiri. Finally, an Amiri I can get behind.

In that outfit, that's an Amiri I wouldn't mind being behind. ;-0

Yes - I went there.

Really?

Amiri's normal armor is MUCH more revealing from behind then her Barbarella get-up.
(As Empowered reminds us, the short cape covers up a lot.)

I love that comic.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber
Lord Fyre wrote:

Amiri's normal armor is MUCH more revealing from behind then her Barbarella get-up.

(As Empowered reminds us, the short cape covers up a lot.)

Good point. I have no compliants with Amiri's Barbarian outfit (killer abs!), but as TV Tropes reminds us - Spandex enhances certain features. ;-)


So I'm wondering if my desire for robots will be fulfilled? Even if it isn't there will probably be a lot of material that will be useful for my sci-fi themed dungeon and the various worlds that it has portals to. I'm also hoping to find some material to help me with my planned "high urban fantasy" campaign.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'd have been happier if one of the bullets had read:

"Epic Rules (or Life After Level 20)"

....but having said that I realize the topic deserves its own book to do it justice, so I can forgive its omission.

I'm still salivating at the thought of getting my grubby paws on the Gamemastery Guide, epic nod or not.

Good gaming to all

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Dr. Johnny Fever wrote:

I'd have been happier if one of the bullets had read:

"Epic Rules (or Life After Level 20)"

....but having said that I realize the topic deserves its own book to do it justice, so I can forgive its omission.

I'm still salivating at the thought of getting my grubby paws on the Gamemastery Guide, epic nod or not.

Good gaming to all

The sections for things like aliens and space travel in the GameMastery Guide aren't really rules but short discussions on those topics. That type of discussion already exists for Epic characters/post 20th level—it's in the Core Rulebook on pages 406–407. That's likely to be all we're going to say about Epic level stuff for a while—when we DO turn our attention to this topic again, we want to do it right. And that requires it's own hardcover book, not part of another book.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:


That type of discussion already exists for Epic characters/post 20th level—it's in the Core Rulebook on pages 406–407. That's likely to be all we're going to say about Epic level stuff for a while—when we DO turn our attention to this topic again, we want to do it right. And that requires it's own hardcover book, not part of another book.

It would be helpful to know if you are planning to use the guildlines as basis for the new rules, if any, or if your are likely to do something completely different.

I understand your position, and appreciate your desire to do it right, but it also very frustrating ;D

Cheliax

i will point out that this is not weird enough! we demand it to be mind rendingly weird! either that or to have nice pictures...

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

James Jacobs wrote:
The sections for things like aliens and space travel in the GameMastery Guide aren't really rules but short discussions on those topics.

As a fan of the Fantasy Flight's short lived Dragonstar, the science fiction/fantasy bash also exists.

... or used to. :*(

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

Snotlord wrote:

It would be helpful to know if you are planning to use the guidelines as basis for the new rules, if any, or if your are likely to do something completely different.

I understand your position, and appreciate your desire to do it right, but it also very frustrating ;D

Our currently plans for epic level rules are exactly as follows: We should do epic level rules down the line, but after we do X, Y, and/or Z.

We've got several message board threads going right now where folks can voice their opinions on what they'd like to see out of an epic rules set and we'll surely be looking at those when such a project rolls around. So if you have any preferences or ideas, do post to one of the ongoing epic threads or start a new one.


F. Wesley Schneider wrote:

If you're looking for pages of content on space ship movements and maneuverability, effects of 0 gravity on combat, and the dangers of being exposed to space, don't get your hopes up. This is isn't Pathfinder: Space, or Pathfinder: Pirates, or Pathfinder: Charlemagne's Knights. It's a book about considerations and tools for Game Masters, not a catch-all of wacky rules content. What there is, though - as far as space goes - is a lengthy discussion on creating planets, elements of alien worlds, space travel (via portals, vessels, spells, and such), and extraterrestrials, providing details and advice on what GMs who want to run such games should consider and include should they want to take their games in whatever directions they please. While there are tons of new rules in this book, rather then making its a scatter shot of 50 off the wall topics, the rules in the GameMastery Guide focus on utility and flexibility rather than getting weirdly specific (sorry, no slug chariots and radiation magic herein).

All that being said, if you want to use the space travel section as a springboard, and consider the new ship statistics and combat rules through the lens of space travel, a cagey GM could easily create some pretty interesting (even Spelljammer-like) rules. That's not the specific intention, of course, but then again, the book easily provides a launchpad to build exactly what a GM needs, which, after all, is exactly what the GMG is all about.

Well, you certainly have attracted the interest of the Spelljammer fan community with this product. There is a discussion about GameMastery Guide over at The Piazza's Spelljammer forum.

From your above comments, I would say that this book is not going to be an instant conversion of Spelljamer to PFRPG rules, but it still might be useful to 3rd edition fans (or even 2nd edition fans) who want to raid Pathfinder products for the fluffy bits.

I would personally like to know if the GameMastery Guide's Parallel Worlds section expands upon the existing space canon (found in Children of the Void) and give SJ fans another look at The Sun, Aballon, Castrovel, Akiton, Verces, The Dispora, Eox, Triaxus, Liavara, Bretheda, Apostae and Aucturn. I think that some content that adds to that, could be very useful in aiding the fans that want to create "Golarionspace" and add it to their existing Spelljammer game.

Is that the sort of thing you are doing? Or are you showing people how to create new worlds in new solar systems?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Well... our hardcover books generally shy away from expanding Golarion-specific content. We do try to keep from crossing the pure rulebooks with world flavor streams.

There's nothing about the other planets in the book as a result. That'll have to be it's own book.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:

Well... our hardcover books generally shy away from expanding Golarion-specific content. We do try to keep from crossing the pure rulebooks with world flavor streams.

There's nothing about the other planets in the book as a result. That'll have to be it's own book.

It's Sunday and while this is one of the reasons I love Paizo... shouldn't you be spending time with the family? And if you don't have a family shouldn't you be cruising the laundromat for single women? :D


Dark_Mistress wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

Well... our hardcover books generally shy away from expanding Golarion-specific content. We do try to keep from crossing the pure rulebooks with world flavor streams.

There's nothing about the other planets in the book as a result. That'll have to be it's own book.

It's Sunday and while this is one of the reasons I love Paizo... shouldn't you be spending time with the family? And if you don't have a family shouldn't you be cruising the laundromat for single women? :D

why are you trying to spoil this attention we get?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:


The sections for things like aliens and space travel in the GameMastery Guide aren't really rules but short discussions on those topics. That type of discussion already exists for Epic characters/post 20th level—it's in the Core Rulebook on pages 406–407. That's likely to be all we're going to say about Epic level stuff for a while—when we DO turn our attention to this topic again, we want to do it right. And that requires it's own hardcover book, not part of another book.

How about a section for streamlining high level play (levels 13-20)? Tricks and tips for easing the pain of GMing a high level campaign would be a godsend. I would love to think that this made it into the GM guide.

I still think that it is a nearly criminal shame that 40% of the game (levels 13-20) sits (relatively) untouched because a) it is difficult for designers to design adventures for these levels, b) financially risky for publishers to publish adventures for these levels and c) difficult for GMs to GM adventures for these levels.

A complete discussion of this topic is outside the scope of this thread but I will tie it to the GM Guide by stating that helping GMs run adventures for levels 13-20 has a huge return on investment for Paizo because, as mentioned above, it opens up literally 40% of the game for further development.

So here's to hoping the GM Guide adds some more insight to the bare bones information in the Pathfinder Core Rulebook on the subject of running high level games.

Good gaming to all

DJF

Cheliax

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
MerrikCale wrote:
Dark_Mistress wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

Well... our hardcover books generally shy away from expanding Golarion-specific content. We do try to keep from crossing the pure rulebooks with world flavor streams.

There's nothing about the other planets in the book as a result. That'll have to be it's own book.

It's Sunday and while this is one of the reasons I love Paizo... shouldn't you be spending time with the family? And if you don't have a family shouldn't you be cruising the laundromat for single women? :D
why are you trying to spoil this attention we get?

Cause a happy James is a productive James?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Wait... there are single women at the laundromat? (ninjasmoke!)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Dr. Johnny Fever wrote:
I still think that it is a nearly criminal shame that 40% of the game (levels 13-20) sits (relatively) untouched because a) it is difficult for designers to design adventures for these levels, b) financially risky for publishers to publish adventures for these levels and c) difficult for GMs to GM adventures for these levels.

I would hardly say levels 13-20 are untouched. With the exception of Council of Thieves, every one of our Adventure Paths went to 16th-18th level. I'll grant you that 18th-20th level is pretty unrepresented, though.

Cheliax

James Jacobs wrote:
I would hardly say levels 13-20 are untouched. With the exception of Council of Thieves, every one of our Adventure Paths went to 16th-18th level. I'll grant you that 18th-20th level is pretty unrepresented, though.

In all fairness though, since Paizo hasn't decided on how to handle beyond level 20 not having modules published for that area isn't really a bad thing since they would need to serve as a bridge or a foundation for something later. Though I am looking forward to seeing this area of levels eventually filled.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

dm4hire wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
I would hardly say levels 13-20 are untouched. With the exception of Council of Thieves, every one of our Adventure Paths went to 16th-18th level. I'll grant you that 18th-20th level is pretty unrepresented, though.
In all fairness though, since Paizo hasn't decided on how to handle beyond level 20 not having modules published for that area isn't really a bad thing since they would need to serve as a bridge or a foundation for something later. Though I am looking forward to seeing this area of levels eventually filled.

Honestly... I think that the reason that the game gets weird as it nears 20th level is the fact that in order to challenge PCs, you really need rules and challenges that go 5 or so CR points higher than the PCs can go. Since the game kinda tops at 20th level right now, the closer the PCs get to it, the fewer solid challenges remain to confront them.

But you can't really provide rules for 25 levels of game and then say only the NPCs get the top 5 levels, cause then the players revolt and throw dice!

Kind of a Catch 22.


At level 20 I put away the 3.5 books and bring out Exalted ;p

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Slime wrote:
Gene wrote:
Epic Meepo wrote:
Nah. It's all about Space Amiri. Finally, an Amiri I can get behind.
See, I like the normal Amiri. I find her cute in a "Did you just call me cute?! You're a dead man!" kinda way. :p

IMHO, the problem is that the weapon-size-ratio isn't "Amiri-type". Make that gun 3x bigger it would cover the proper Amiri basic principle!

;)

I think you're missing the point.

The gun is a purse pistol she took off of a space giant. :-)

Andoran

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I can't lie, I loved the Basic edition answer for levels after 36 :-)

A hybrid of epic and Demigod type rules with radically different mechanics, motivations, goals, etc. I don't remember who said it, but this came up at one of the first PAthfinder seminars at GenCon a couple years back.

If you build it, I will play.


As I said in a mysteriously lost thread: the flying sharks of Sogo* is gonna have to look out, Barbamiri's in town. (Or should that be Amirella?)

Evil Seelah looks cool, and Harsk is steaming. Can't wait for this to show up on Bokus, but seeing as I'm still waiting for Pathfinder 32, I guess I won't have much choice. :(

*Comic-book Barbarella is way weirder than movie-version Barbarella. But the movie's got, ahem, nicer costumes, so...


Dr. Johnny Fever wrote:
a) it is difficult for designers to design adventures for these levels

Really? I find it easier to design for higher-level characters. It gives me more options, and I have less need to reign in my crazy ideas.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I suppose I was only speaking from my own experience, having designed several high level adventures for my own gaming group, spanning 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 3.5 and now PF editions of the game.

Stat blocks that run almost an entire page of typed text (sometimes more if you include tactics and fully fleshed out treasure lists), the need to account for high level divination and other adventure-altering spells and trying to come up with interesting rewards for adventures who likely 'have everything' by this point in their careers (without wrecking the remaining campaign)....these are just some of the challenges I have when designing high level adventures.

Now as far as the 'fluff', purely story-driven aspect of creating high level adventure...oh yeah I truely do love that aspect of it. Complete freedom to take the governor off and really see what's possible.


Shadewest wrote:

Ships = Pirates!

Steampunk!
Space Travel!

Steampunk Space Pirates!

Now I know I gotta get this book!

Space 1889?


Airships + Steam power + other GM goodness = SOLD!!

Cheliax

James Jacobs wrote:

Honestly... I think that the reason that the game gets weird as it nears 20th level is the fact that in order to challenge PCs, you really need rules and challenges that go 5 or so CR points higher than the PCs can go. Since the game kinda tops at 20th level right now, the closer the PCs get to it, the fewer solid challenges remain to confront them.

But you can't really provide rules for 25 levels of game and then say only the NPCs get the top 5 levels, cause then the players revolt and throw dice!

Kind of a Catch 22.

Hm, you make a valid point sir. Though I'm wondering why wouldn't epic type templates make up for that shortcoming? Granted that starts to become a game of Munchkin if all the GM is doing is stacking templates to overpower the party. Then again the party could always... STOP KICKING THE DOOR IN! :-P

Spoiler:
Watch out for the Basilisk! Oops, too late.


I'm so looking forward to this product. The options are and have always been limitless in this game, though the mind struggles to imagine them, but it's awesome to have a tome such as this to get the wheels turning.

Can't wait to get my copy!


James Jacobs wrote:

Well... our hardcover books generally shy away from expanding Golarion-specific content. We do try to keep from crossing the pure rulebooks with world flavor streams.

There's nothing about the other planets in the book as a result. That'll have to be it's own book.

Thanks James.

Just so you know, if Paizo ever puts out that planet book, I will buy it!

I might even read it in the laundromat on a Sunday. ;-)

Cheliax

F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Jagyr Ebonwood wrote:
Apparently there's a large emphasis on "Space Travel" in the GameMastery Guide, since it's featured in the index twice. ;)
There's several redundancies in the index for ease of reference. Just as you'll see "space travel" under both its own heading and under "travel," you'll see other topics appear by themselves and grouped along with related topics as appropriate.

I love when a company decided to make an index actually worthwhile! Thank you for that.

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