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Grey Maiden

Alan_Beven's page

Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Tales Subscriber. 317 posts. 1 review. 1 list. 1 wishlist.


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Well he charms you in Red Box and that spell is on everyone's spell list so that doesn't narrow it down. He kills the cleric with a magic missile which is wizard and sorcerer only.

From "Red Arrow, Black Shield" he is listed as below as a level 15 Magic User. I always have pictured him as a Wizard myself with the robes.

"In addition, the Baron is accompanied by his personal Court Sorcerer, Bargle the Infamous (familiar to all who completed the first adventure in the D&D Basic Set).

Bargle the Infamous: AC 0; M 15; hp 30; MV 120' (40'); #AT1 dagger +2, +3 vs. spell-casters; D 1-4 +2 or +3; Save M15; ML 12; AL C; S 9; I 18; W 9; D 17; Co 12; Ch 15; XP 3,200

Spells:
Level 1: charm person, magic missile (x2), shield, sleep
Level 2: detect invisible, invisibility, levitate, phantasmal force
Level 3: dispel magic, fire ball (x2), protection from normal missiles
Level 4: hallucinatory terrain, ice storm/wall, massmorph, wall of fire
Level 5: cloudkill, conjure elemental, wall of stone
Level 6: anti-magic shell, disintegrate
Level 7: power word stun

Magic Items:
Bracers of defense AC 2, dagger +2 (+3 vs. spell-casters), scroll of protection from magic, ring of regeneration, drums of panic"

As for escape, Cape of the Montebank is always useful.


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Another consideration to the "best vs worst" angle is that it is in the rules for a DM (DMG p 239) to award automatic success. When you figure that into the equation I suspect the 16% chance drops right away.

Also PHB p 174 suggests a roll only when the outcome is uncertain. This is not explained in detail, but there is certainly room to interpret that a 20 strength character has a "certain" outcome in an arm wrestle against a 3 strength character.


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On Twitter it was mentioned they have been through multiple print runs. Other than that I cannot say. It was unclear whether they had folded the errata into the news runs also.

Goblin Squad Member

I actually agree with you two. I personally would love a 3D Golarion. However my experiences in this forum have lead me to believe that many Paizo customers are hugely stuck in the past. Hence why I think isometric would be successful.

Goblin Squad Member

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My problem with this venture was the I enjoy Golarion and the creative team at Paizos work greatly. But somehow the MMO mistranslated that great work into a generic, bland, frankly boring game. Which was a huge shame.

I like many others cannot help but feel that licensing the world and IP to a maker of single player isometric view games would be very successful.


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For what it is worth I give out tons of background like abilities to my players. The key is to avoid combat pluses and generally any other stacking things, and it stays pretty balanced.

Some of the things I have given out:

A barbarians reputation grew so fierce that she got double proficiency on intimidate.
Someone learned to cook really well.
Someone got so good with a particular weapon that they increased their crit range to 19-20 with just that weapon.
Someone got so good with a shield that they can block 3d10 worth of damage per long rest as a reaction.
Someone got medals and a uniform that gives them advantage in social situations in a particular city.
Someone got given a house and food for life in a given village.
The whole party got given mechanical griffons that can fly at 60 feet per round but cannot meaningfully participate in combat.
I gave out the spell sharpshooter feat for free.

None of these things have caused me an issues as a GM. The worst thing for balance so far was a ring that gave the wearer 19 constitution. The party wizard ended up with more hp than anyone else in the party!!!


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I agree about the higher level monsters. However this may be a thematic thing they are going for, not sure. The vast majority of high CR creatures in 5e feel to me like they are powerful but still defeatable, given solid tactics and a sufficient number of opponents. PF monsters, especially high CR ones are essentially invulnerable more from pure math than abilities.


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From my understanding it was the splitting back into Abeir and Toril.

Edit: handy libk


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Converting monsters on the fly is dead easy, if you play it loose and fast and your players don't mind. Chapter 9 in the DMG gives expected AC, hit points and a damage range per level. Each class had some "trademark" features that you drop in (such as extended crit range for a champion) and you are away. Flavour from there and drop in some monster features from a similar monster, or spell effect. If you are trying to do a math perfect conversion then I can't help you as I don't run my games that way.

I can usually convert the "essence" of a Pathfinder monster in 30 seconds (hint print out the table from the DMG and a collection of the more common monster abilities).


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I am playing in the Realms now, and I agree that one great benefit of bounded accuracy is precisely that even a 20th level wizard is not an invulnerable death machine. Given sufficient mundane soldiers such a wizard would do best to turn tail and run.

I justify the lack of high level interference quite easily as a result. They don't want to die. A 12th level NPC could fairly quickly be taken down by a largish number of orcs, and they know it. Best to use "agents" to take some risks.


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Gorbacz wrote:

The (dis)advantage of Facebook is that most people aren't anonymous there, making posting stuff like "when I read feat X it felt like the designer slept with my mother, why wasn't he fired yet???!!!" slightly less encouraging given that your own mother may read it and your actual real life friends might discover just what kind of jerk you are.

On the other hand, it makes it possible for your mum/husband/boss/kid to see that instead of being a serious adult person, you are a man/girl-child playing with toy soldiers in your basement. Which will likely discourage many people, given the fact that our hobby is full of insecure introverts who don't quite enjoy the inherent extrovert narcissism of social media.

At the same time, Paizo boards allow for PbP, have several features missing from Facebook (spoiler tags, dice rollers) and well, they're Paizo's property, so they can police it the way the see fit and have all those nice boilerplates such as "all things posted here belong to us" or "unsolicited material won't be read" that help you out if you're in this kind of business.

And on the top of it all, there are all those people who kind of wish computers and IT in general never evolved past glorified calculators, and getting them to interact with you using all those newfangled...

I agree with all of your points. I think it is great the Paizo forums exist, however I am quite sure Paizo would keep on trucking without them. I still however don't see this as a major issue for Wizards who to me seem to be on the rise. Good points about the adoption or otherwise of IT amongst tabletop gamers.


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I am going to be a counter view here. I think it is a good decision. The forums were perhaps 10% quality posts to arguments and filler at best. I really feel like wizards has made huge strides with being accessible through Twitter and Facebook, in fact I find them more accessible than the Paizo staff, with a few exceptions. Many companies maintain a social media presence and have no forums, and do just fine.

I actually find that these forums, which granted I take some pleasure in reading, often portray paizo customers, if not Paizo themselves in a negative light. I have taken away more than one negative experience from them, and that experience has coloured the way I feel about Paizo as a brand.


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Thank you so much!!!


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Wizards newest adventure path launches today, and I cannot find it for sale on paizo.com. Is my searchfu broken?


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James Jacobs wrote:
There's no version of the Temple of Elemental Evil in Golarion, but the world is similar enough that you could transplant that site into Golarion really quite easily without much problem. In fact, I did just this for a game I'm running here at the office for the developers, where I'm running the 1st edition version of "Temple of Elemental Evil" for them.

Would you mind sharing where in Golarion you placed it?

On another topic, are you familiar with the Unchained Alternate Action Economy? It appears to me to have a high chance of curbing some of the excesses that Mythic brings with it at high levels. Have you had any experience with this new system that you could share?


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Cat-thulhu wrote:

Well we're using it in a mythic game, wrath of the righteous. Only 2 sessions so no really lengthy test, characters are 12/5 on book 4.

Rounds were far more dynamic, even with all the option available. The inquisitor, monk/paladin, cleric, witch and paladin/ninja all felt the system worked well. The apparent lost action with having to activate smite was more than balanced by the added bonus it grants, they agree the loss of a potential attack (-5 or -10 more likely) was balanced by the added attack and damage. A feature they felt should have been part of the paladin to start with since smite is actually a very good buff to start with. The witch and cleric initially found the lack of mobility a little disconcerting, but settled well into a differenet routine and behaviour. It balanced out spell casting well, the casters found they could still deal out the death, but needed to be very certain of positioning and movement, especially once swift spells hit the table and the caster effectively just sat in one spot, making him much easier to target.

The cleric actually liked the new system because he felt he had more options. The inquisitor was concerned about the swift action issue, but we all agreed after a few combats that taking an action to use judgement and/or bane was actually a fair trade and a balancing effect. I agree with them since I've played inquisitors before, love the class, and have found both features to be a huge buff. So the use of an action on a class feature designed to equalise the classes effectiveness was no biggy. In reality the inquisitors rounds could be condensed to activate bane>move>attack, same as before, or bane>attack twice if enemy came to him, pretty much same as before. If there was a ranger, barbarian or fighter present would he feel ripped off by the 1 less action? He said no, they should be better at attacking and now they are...a little bit.

The ability to use three swift actions was fantastic for encouraging different strategies and the players...

Good writeup and very much mirrors my now two sessions of playtest of this system. If you want to have more fun, more mobility (generally) and have more options this system delivers. I do concede that it comes at some cost for highly optimized "DPR" builds, but this does not affect my players (we are playing at 16th level). Having their opponents "limited" by the same action economy system seems to pretty much even everything out. My thoughts... playing the game with a different action economy and expecting it to work the same will lead to disappointment.


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To be clear for me, for those who are saying this new system "cripples classes", what you are saying is that say a fighter can attack 3 times in a round with say power attack, and for example a Paladin must spend one action to activate Smite Evil and hence will only attack twice in that round? So the "crippling" is that you essentially can attack one less time per round when you wish to use some of your other powers? I am far from a rules expert but I have not seen anything that is prevented with these new rules, it seems like some things just no longer happen in a single round as they used to? And hence now are less fun?

I am genuinely interested in these responses as I am considering using this system with my players, but I don't want to make the game less fun for them.


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DM_Kumo Gekkou wrote:
I am disappointed in the iterative attack option. Less dice rolls replaced with more math. Frankly, you also end up with a lower DPR when you add in magic. Third and Fourth attacks rarely hit as is. Using the new rules you can only crit on your first attack, and spells like haste or rapid shot basically add a Fifth attack that is never going to hit.

You can get a second crit. How did you work out that the DPR is lower? I have been using the new rules for a few weeks now and the level 16 barbarian is doing pretty much the same damage as previously. Granted I have not run the math.


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So martials that get a third and fourth iterative in the system basically miss out? Not complaining just checking that I am not missing something.


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Zhangar wrote:
Zaister wrote:
Regarding the new action economy: am I missing something here, or does this basically make everyone move 50% faster in the long run?

Yeah, pretty much. Unless I'm missing something, you can move (1 act) and then charge (2 acts). As an example.

You could use 3 moves to zigzag through a battlefield. Or you can use all 3 actions to Run in a straight line at quad speed.

Furthermore a 1st level character can attack 3 times per round albeit at -5 and -10 to hit.


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Shisumo wrote:
Alan_Beven wrote:

Some of the feats in the stamina section begin with wording like:

"You can select this feat even if you don't meet the ability score prerequisite (XXXX). You gain the benefit of this feat only as long as you have at least 1 stamina point in your stamina pool."

I am not clear on what this is intending. Does it mean that you can spend stamina to use (as an example) combat expertise even though you don't have combat expertise as a regular feat?

No, it means that, if you have a stamina pool, you can take the feat without meeting the prereq - but if you do, you have to keep a stamina point in reserve to actually use it. Run out of stamina and you lose access to the feat until your stamina recovers.

So long story short this is a way of getting combat expertise while having an intelligence lower than 13?


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I have read the unchained rogue section and a simple parsing conveyed the intent that only total concealment prevents sneak attacks.


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Some of the feats in the stamina section begin with wording like:

"You can select this feat even if you don't meet the ability score prerequisite (XXXX). You gain the benefit of this feat only as long as you have at least 1 stamina point in your stamina pool."

I am not clear on what this is intending. Does it mean that you can spend stamina to use (as an example) combat expertise even though you don't have combat expertise as a regular feat?


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I will just also echo the fact that it is a very well written book and incredibly easy to read. Even given the difficulties that Vic has presented I would urge Paizo to consider coming up with some form of core book written in a similar fashion.


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James Jacobs wrote:
Alan_Beven wrote:
The Pathfinder rules call for various environmental effects to do non scaling by level hit point damage. For example extreme cold and suffocation do 1d6 damage per time unit of exposure (in the case of suffocation 15 minutes). I am interested in your thoughts as to how in game this works when PCs have around 100 hit points vs 1st level characters with say 10hp. The survival difference is 45 minutes compared to 420 minutes which seems to be quite variable.
It's working entirely as intended. Something that would be a great danger to a low level PC isn't something that should be a danger at all to high level. It's part of how the game works. If everything in the game scaled according to level, then in-game there'd be no difference between being low and high level, and the whole point of leveling goes away. When you get higher level and things like heat stroke or frostbite aren't as frightening and are just nuisances... that's when you go to adventure places like the Plane of Fire or inside a volcano where things are so deadly that the only reason you CAN adventure there is because you're high level.

Thanks James, used your advice to great effect in tonight's game. In doing so I had some creatures wrest a PCs +4 axe from his grasp and toss it into lava destroying it. My players took it well enough, but I am interested in your position on destroying PCs items. I don't make a habit of it, but I feel at high level (this is a level 16 game) the GM gets to play hardball as the PCs have some pretty amazing powers at hand. What is your position on this?


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The Pathfinder rules call for various environmental effects to do non scaling by level hit point damage. For example extreme cold and suffocation do 1d6 damage per time unit of exposure (in the case of suffocation 15 minutes). I am interested in your thoughts as to how in game this works when PCs have around 100 hit points vs 1st level characters with say 10hp. The survival difference is 45 minutes compared to 420 minutes which seems to be quite variable.


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Hi James, I do not recall seeing much mention of spellblight areas (UM) in any Campaign setting books. Are there any such areas in the inner sea region?


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Breaking the thread rules a touch by just throwing my positive vibes in about Mythic as well. I really love mythic I think you guys did a great job. Not perfect, but very very good, and importantly created a new niche in the game for those of us who enjoy that sort of stuff. I also really enjoyed WotR for what it is worth, awesome storyline.

So I hope you can take some encouragement from those folks like me and my group who just quietly enjoy your work immensely. My current campaign has me "mythicing" up Horranth!!


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Just wordering how other GMs decide when to use these monster feats.


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Is this a back order, never going to be back in stock, or back order waiting for a new print run?


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So if I were to get a role playing game subscription right now and order this book would I still get the PDF or has that ship sailed???


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I don't agree with all eight, but the system has ground me down with 1000 cuts so I no longer have any desire to play. The meta game of character optimisation combined with the weight of rules sapped the fun out of my gaming sessions. Too many campaigns sank for me due to game rule issues.

I like Paizo and can appreciate Pathfinder for what it is.


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Doing this AP myself in 5e right now. Pretty much I am doing this on the fly with zero preparation, using the MM monsters, or reskinning them as required. What is neat is that the finely balanced CR ratings of Pathfinder are FAR broader in 5E. Basically you can get away with monsters that are "out of challenge band" and would be a walkover in Pathfinder and still have a very decent challenge in 5E.

Having a blast!


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Oh no the completionist in me cannot handle this news. Thanks Liz I will now retreat to my lair to dwell upon this matter.


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This is showing as back order for December. Any updates available from Paizo logistics folks??


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thenovalord wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
Alan_Beven wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
In my homebrew especially, cloaks (or whatever slot I want) of resistance +5 become commonplace for enemies eventually.
And in my homebrew a +5 item would be an epic thing, rare as hens teeth, with an extensive backstory and deep ties to the campaign world. Not a parlour trick to challenge PCs.
To each their own. A 25K item is not really epic at all, though.

I too have found something I agree with Dave on.

in PF a +5 cloak isn't epic, its a right/essential of all 10th or so level pcs, and is but one of many shiny baubles on any Christmas tree

You are of course by the rules correct. But I hate the Christmas tree with a passion and my home brew insists that magic items are wondrous things rather than stat boosters. Which is one of the things that 5e does better for me!!!


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David Bowles wrote:
In my homebrew especially, cloaks (or whatever slot I want) of resistance +5 become commonplace for enemies eventually.

And in my homebrew a +5 item would be an epic thing, rare as hens teeth, with an extensive backstory and deep ties to the campaign world. Not a parlour trick to challenge PCs.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
Monsters built like PCs level the playing field for both the players and GM. It also gives the GM opportunity to build some really cool monsters!

I was wrong about this before, by the way having now got the DMG.

Contrary to what I said earlier, although many monsters are not built using PC rules, it is expected that DMs will sometimes use the players handbook rules to construct enemies. (So you can beef up the Orc that way, if you wish, though you don't have to - you can just use a monster ability from the monster manual, all of which are listed in the DMG).

Although even when adding in class levels the monster still builds by different rules. For example you don't use the class hit point dice.


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I purchased Rise of Tiamat and have completed a read through. I recall some folks not being happy with how Tiamat's stats were presented, I believe that they thought that her combat abilities were boring. Personally I was pleased with the way that she was presented, and I believe that her stats bring in some of the sensibilities of both 1e and 4e. Monster creation in 1e as some have mentioned is not structured with the same subsystem as PC character building, and I always found that to be a feature and not a bug. Why would a giant centipede or wyvern use the same rules as a small humanoid creature? Just like in nature species are different and not evenly distributed. I also think the 4e sensibilities that a monster is only "on screen" for a short while so it only needs to do what it can do is a good thing. I know as a GM I have been pretty intimidated by high level spell casting monsters with 20-25 spells in their spell lists, but also is that monster really going to cast magic missile or faerie fire?

So, yeah, colour me pleased by how the 5e monsters are turning out so far.


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Werecorpse wrote:

I haven't played much 5e but to me what looks like a difference in style of game between 5e & pathfinder is that pathfinder seems to suit the epic adventure path style of game and 5e a more sandbox style.

A pathfinder adventure path often involves events which are essentially a way to gain levels to allow you to trouble a BBEG. The difference between a 3rd and a 15th level character is enormous. So adventure design tends to lean towards a linear adventure progression. You don't want the 4th level characters stumbling into the 9th level adventure because that's a TPK waiting to happen. So you fight goblins, then ghouls, then ogres, then giants etc you don't want to meet a couple of giants when you should be fighting ghouls!

5e seems to have a less steep improvement curve, meaning that at 4th level if you wander into the 9th level dungeon you can survive ( probably only long enough to get out). So this means you can make the world a bit more sandboxy, let the players find their own way. Now maybe this will just lead to the players having a false sense of their ability to defeat a big threat.

Now that I look back on it when 3.0 came out I started running essentially much more linear adventure path style campaigns. I like the story element of the game anyway. Maybe now I will try a bit more sandbox.

Like I said I admit I haven't had much experience with 5e but that's my thoughts .

Some really good observations. My games are (unconsciously) forming in exactly the way that you mention. You can throw "unbalanced" encounters at the PCs and they have a fairly decent chance to at least escape!


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David Bowles wrote:

I really don't understand the campaigns the posters are playing in. My combats rarely end in two rounds and I have seen many many blown SR rolls in my time. I'm beginning to think we don't even have a common frame of reference on pathfinder.

Well here is a link to me asking the Paizo creative director about the very thing a couple years back: http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2l7ns&page=318?Ask-James-Jacobs-ALL-your-Qu estions-Here#15876

Seems that it has happened for a few of us.


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@sunshadow21 agree with your points that most games share responsibility between players and GM. I like that a lot. My point was that those systems do not remove the GM from the equation entirely, and most encourage and allow the GM to engage in world and campaign building by limiting player options to those that make sense to the campaign. Which to my mind is the only approach that makes any real sense.


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Bluenose wrote:
Alan_Beven wrote:
thejeff wrote:
There are also systems that take even more control out of the GM's hands. Usually using some kind of narrative mechanic to place some parts of the GM's control of the world into the player's hands. Very different systems and not really to my taste, but far more effective at limiting GM power than anything 3.x has done.
Interesting, I have never seen one of these that I can recall. Do you recall the name of the system I would be interested in taking a look!
Most varieties of Fate play that way. It's very explicit about making world/campaign building a co-operative process, and there are ways to add Aspects to scenes when the GM hasn't mentioned them. The Heroquest RPG (Robin Laws second edition is my preference) treats magic items as just another Ability or perhaps Keyword, and that means that a character is as entitled to pay the cost to have one as they are to pay the cost to develop/cement any other ability or keyword. The One Ring let's you spend XP/AP to raise your Wisdom or Valour, and the second gives you special items that are the closest thing to magic the system provides.

Awesome thanks!! I have never read any of these systems, keen to learn some more. I hear good things about Fate.


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thejeff wrote:
There are also systems that take even more control out of the GM's hands. Usually using some kind of narrative mechanic to place some parts of the GM's control of the world into the player's hands. Very different systems and not really to my taste, but far more effective at limiting GM power than anything 3.x has done.

Interesting, I have never seen one of these that I can recall. Do you recall the name of the system I would be interested in taking a look!


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Logan1138 wrote:
In the old days of gaming (70's-90's) I think people mostly just gamed with their friends (except for the occasional convention game) and this issue with overbearing DM's wasn't as much of a problem. The advent of organized play which sets a bunch of strangers at a table together probably necessitated the massive codification of rules and giving greater authority to the players.

That is an excellent point. I have only played at one convention, and it was a fairly poor experience, so I can certainly understand the potential need for codification in these circumstances. It is a shame that this codification spills over so much into the home games.


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sunshadow21 wrote:

I agree that 3.5 is the only one that went so far as to be DM neutral, but most non D&D systems acknowledge that while the DM is the final arbitrator, there are significant things, especially when it comes to character progression and development and access to new equipment, that are firmly largely, if not entirely, within the control of the player. D&D has never achieved that kind of balance. Officially, it's always either "DM controls everything" or "DM is just another player that happens to run the monsters and NPCs." And the gaming community surrounding the brand does little to soften that all or nothing approach. To me, it's one of the biggest reasons that I'm starting to get weary of new D&D editions, and even to a certain extent, getting weary of PF.

I like the idea of a system where the DM has final say, but I just don't think that the overall community or company support is there to keep it from going off the deep end into DM controls everything, including a great many things they shouldn't.

I would disagree from my observation that "most" non D&D systems offer progression, development and access to equipment solely in players hands. Vampire? Nope, special equipment is earned via roleplay (aka no unilateral crafting), disciplines out of the standard clan 3 are Storyteller permission. Shadowrun, equipment availability is GM realm, I do not recall a crafting system. Tunnels and Trolls? Same as 1st ed DND for loot and advancement. Pendragon is a strange beast where some "advancement" was even out of the players hands via random winter events. No crafting that I can recall. Numenera, GM literally hands out the cyphers and artifacts as a core part of the game. 13th age has no crafting that I can recall, multiclassing is GM permission. I could go on.

I totally get that a bad GM makes a bad game. Some people should not GM. Vote with your feet. I just personally feel that a system that trys to "even the paying field" ends up hurting the game in ways that I do not enjoy. The symptoms in PF of this that bother me are:

- Expectation of magic items in your stats
- Players have the "right" to exchange gold and time for their choice of magic item
- The CR and wealth by level making just utterly unrealistic scenarios where the solution is to "loosen your blade" because you never face an unbalanced fight

I don't hate the above things about PF, but frankly they stop me telling the types of stories that I enjoy telling. I fell that 5e better allows me to tell stories that are close to my interest, complex roleplay, dangerous, dark, horror laden stories.


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in my experience 3.5 is the only system that moved seriously towards a "gm as neutral body" stance. Every other role playing game I have played (somewhere in the 20 region) recognises and embraces the fact that the GM is the ultimate arbitrator of the game. Personally I think 3.5 and PF gives a great illusion of player control that just does not exist.

"Ok you enter the first room of the dungeon and there is an ancient red dragon" "But we are second level" "Roll initative.."


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Even though David Bowles will negate or ignore this, in my 6 month long 5e campaign the movement in combat rules have only ever made combats better. I have yet to destroy anyone by moving to them and "full attacking" because the balance of hit points to damage output in 5e does not work that way.


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I am pretty sure the idea of skill challenges originated with an idea that an out of combat mini game could be fun (and why not!) and then an attempt was made to codify a certain amount of difficulty into a certain amount of xp reward. Which at its core is a pretty good idea. The issue however is that the implementation is just nearly impossible to nail in game, requires preparation, and at its worst it stifles player creativity.

I tried to use a version of the SC which amounts to players saying what they are doing and making skill checks. When roughly enough checks succeed to equal the difficulty that I am going for them you get the xp reward. But to be honest it is fairly arbitrary and not particularly engaging. Because at its heart it's about getting lucky with skill rolls to earn xp. Out of combat (or freeform as I described it above) is at its best when it is the players wits and imagination against the obstacle. And this is kinda the opposite of a skill challenge. I know you can bolt on auto successes etc, but in the end you just end up with a fairly unsatisfying experience in my opinion.

I ended up using the encounter building rules for an average skill challenge, at the players level generally, and awarded that amount of xp every half hour of solid roleplay/skill checks. Not scientific at all, but probably the most satisfying solution to me.


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Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:

I agree with your points 1 and 2 but not necessarily with 3 and 4.

I'll start with point #4 because its the easiest. If Skill Challenges don't work for you well then don't use them. If they do well then go right ahead. Game works either way so just go with your preference.

All that said I have found that its pretty easy to get a crappy Skill Challenge and I've found that making good ones often require quite a bit of work as well as some idea as to why it is you want a skill challenge in this spot for them to be good...most of the time. They do work quite well for major trap disarms and the like as well. In this case they are just being used simply as a kind of compromise. Yes the characters can use their skills to say shut down the mechanical monster...which is more variable then simply saying it has to be killed through HP damage but they need to do more then just make a single skill roll (because that would be too easy).

Point #3 is were I'm not all that clear on whether I agree with you or not. I mean I have no idea what you mean by 'Mythic'. OK I would not really want a basic Blacksmith that took up adventuring most of the time mainly because one can do better in the Drama Department. A Blacksmith with 'something' in her background that can be used for character development is fine however. Maybe her Father had some dark secret that will become relevant later in the campaign or maybe she is actually related to the Fey or who knows...but something is better then nothing in this regards for the same reason TV show characters work better if they have interesting elements in their history...its just better drama and story telling.

On the other hand I have found that 4E works best for me when it is essentially 'grounded'. When the PCs are pretty much mortals with some cool combat moves as opposed to fledgling Gods. 4E does a very good job in this department as well. The Dm sets the vast majority of the DCs so one can pretty much chase PCs with target numbers appropriate for their level for a lot...

My "mythic" comment was probably a little off centre, what I was getting at was that the characters in 4e are pretty full on in their power, they have some pretty crazy powers. Being able to push people around with arrows, fire 9 arrows in 6 seconds etc, kind of makes "gritty" harder to pull off. I think what I meant was the you need to embrace the PCs "cool moves" and that PCs are generally portrayed as "superior" to the remainder of the world.

The game also seems to imply that PCs shouldn't suffer too badly from diseases or general hardships. It hints that the NPCs suffering should be what shows the PCs superiority.

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