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Volnagur the End-Singer

Anguish's page

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules Subscriber. 2,453 posts. 1 review. 1 list. No wishlists.

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I get where you're coming from and obviously you can house-rule as you see fit, but confused is already an annoying condition.

Nothing about confusion suggests that a character stops being a valid collective member. If you "do nothing", that's no different from doing nothing voluntarily. Collective membership doesn't require ongoing effort, merely consciousness. If you "babble incoherently", that's what you do. Sure, some or all of that may be telepathic babble, but just as nothing says verbal babble interferes with your party's actions, there's nothing that says telepathic babble would interfere with a collective. If you hurt yourself, it spells out HOW, which doesn't include dropping out of a collective.

In short, these spells - like most things in Pathfinder - say what they do. The collective rules specify how someone gets removed from a collective. That's how.

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I'm not so much going to disagree with you as try to share some perspective with you.

VampByDay wrote:
8)Taking control of characters away from players.

Yeah, it's always annoying when you don't get to do what you want to do. Like how being knocked prone makes it so you can't move. And how being below 0 hit points means you don't get to act at all. Hyperbole, yes, but the premise of the game is adversity. Some rounds you don't get to do what you want to do, and it's no different from any other game that has rules.

VampByDay wrote:
7) "Required items."

The game, for historical reasons, bases its story design on the idea of having a classic party of four, one of which being a wizard and another being a cleric. If you've got those, you don't need wizard-in-a-bottle or cleric-in-a-bottle. The fact that you've got character class options you can take other than wizard and cleric is a good thing. "Required" items enable that to be viable, if difficult.

VampByDay wrote:
6)The perception skill.

A very similar argument could be made for the Knowledge skills. Knowing what your opponents' weaknesses are is immensely, supremely useful. Fact is the skill system is designed so players get to choose who has crucial skills. That there are skills you really, really should have isn't a flaw.

VampByDay wrote:
5)Stuff you can't fix (at your level)

This is by design. Most of the time, the idea is that challenges should actually exist. If you've got the fix for every impediment immediately at hand, that reduces the dramatic storytelling potential of the system. Just as fly coming available changes the game, mooting a lot of Climb checks, the idea is to have a time before that happens, when there is struggle and difficulty. Having cures come around before afflictions would change that, for the worse.

VampByDay wrote:
4)Required magic items

Again, nothing is mandatory. Also, you are given sufficient wealth to acquire recommended-for-balance items. You get to choose if you want to max out those static bonuses or maybe keep them one or two lower than you could, and add variety to your gear. Remember too that you can add magic effects. There's nothing stopping you from having a cloak of resistance +2 and elvenkind. Again, options are good. Building in these bonuses removes choice. Which would be bad.

VampByDay wrote:
3) Monsters with debilitating abilities on every attack.

You know, a lot of this list is turning into "I don't want this game to be hard."

VampByDay wrote:
2)"Save or suck"

Uh. Previous comment applies here too.

VampByDay wrote:
1) Save or die

Well. It turns out that 1, 2, 3, and 8 are all pretty much the same. Sounds to me like you want a game where it's all martials, all the time, and no magic, and you get to always swing a sword, and hitpoints are the only resources that exists. I don't mean this as criticism, but that's kind of what you're describing, when the flaws of Pathfinder are removed.

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Killer Triangle wrote:
I need help on how I should handle this situation

Kind of kidding, but...

Max out your ranks in Sense Motive the next opportunity you get, without telling the wizard's player. Then ask for frequent checks.

Odds are he hasn't bothered with Bluff.

The moment your character gets the idea the wizard is homicidal, one of several things can happen:

1} Your fighter can (try to) gank the wizard preemptively. I do not recommend this.
2} Your fighter can leave the party.
3} You can leave the game.

PVP is very simple. If his wizard kills your fighter, the wizard's player gets to do what he wants to do, and you do not get to do what you want to do. A game where one player's fun is at the cost of another player's fun is not a good game.

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tony gent wrote:
Hello everyone a quick question for you all to think about are players becoming obsessed with extra rule books more classes Feats spells races

Wait a minute wait a minute wait a minute, chum.

Players are obsessed with extra rulebooks? Odd. I find as a DM, I've got that disease. Really weird how eager I am to snap up the latest, greatest monster manual. Odd how gleefully I lay my hands on whatever strange spells or magic items I can. Truly inexplicable how much exultation I experience when I can throw something new at my players.

Would they still play without them ?

They? How about I.

Bluntly, no. Not for more than a one-shot. I've been playing the system for basically fifteen years now. I've played or seen pretty much every meaningful permutation of Core-only and you know, while adventures change, it's still the same player actions available.

Bo. Ring.

Ask yourself this question if you said to your players where starting a new game core rules only would they go ok and just get on with it or would they say can I use books xyz as well and not play if they couldn't

Some of my players might, because they're comparatively new. Others would tell me to go find a new system.

Where are we going with this?

Just because I don't want to watch Iron Chef or B@#&%y Arguing Housewives of Wherever doesn't mean I object to them existing. If you don't want to (bother to) learn new material for the game, don't. Your players will either not care (if they're new), grudgingly agree because getting someone to DM for them is a coup to start with, or balk. One of the three.

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Ross Byers wrote:
Spell resistance is a lame mechanic - essentially AC for spells. But not on all monsters. Just some monsters.

You know Ross, I'm going to go ahead and devil's advocate here, mostly trying to illustrate that there's more a language issue in your thesis than a logical one. So, with respect...

As phrased, you've already lost me as a sympathetic and open-minded reader, and here's why...

"X is [badthing]. It's [something else]. But [doesn't matter]."

You need to actually compare/contrast with established definitions if you want to convince anyone of anything. We (mostly) all agree that death is a bad thing, so it's reasonable to argue that "murder is bad because it imposes death on a living person."

The premise that SR is a lame mechanic because it is "AC for spells" directly asserts that AC is a lame mechanic in and of itself. That's what you're saying.

Worse, you're saying that it's lame because not every creature has it. You actually repeat yourself, to underline how lame that is. Strangely, bite attacks, grab, energy resistance, and darkvision are also features not all monsters share. As you've written your premise, those are also implicated in the lame-mechanic accusation.

See how this works?

It's an extra hurdle - Saves are already like AC for spells.

This lacks any exploration of what that's a bad thing, really. In a game where you've got DR, incorporeality, and concealment on top of DR, one starts to suspect that extra hurdles aren't some weird design flaw; they're a central premise of the system. It's completely, utterly by design that as levels increase, additional layers of defense - of all sorts - come into play.

Pathfinder is all about an arms-race. But you know that.

It's often attached to creatures that have elemental resistances, making damage spells even worse options.

Again, this doesn't explain why this is a bad thing. Just as it is an established baseline that some weapons are a better choice than others, some spells and spell types will be better choices than others. There's a reason why there aren't a bunch of options to ensure that a guy with a dagger in his hand deals as much damage as a guy with a greatsword. Greatswords are (generally) more lethal than daggers. So... dominate monster is (generally) more lethal than fireball.

So be it. If you choose suboptimal ways of winning a battle, those ways will be suboptimal.

It has odd mechanical implications regarding what is real and what is magical (i.e. spell resistance doesn't protect against a magically conjured boulder falling on you, but does against magically created fire exploding around you), largely giving Conjuration spells a pass.

Decent argument, but one I disagree with. It's not difficult to get that conjuration makes something, and that something is permanent, with no ongoing requirement for magic to sustain its existence. A fireball on the other hand only exists for the duration of the spell, and consists of inherently magical fire, not real fire.

Once you accept that the game provides a mechanism to make ongoing magical effects and to make non-magical objects by use of magic, it becomes kind of... obvious... that something called "spell resistance" wouldn't conjured items.

Related, it is often overlooked when developing new spells. Sometimes Spell Resistance is thought of as a balancing spell feature, sometimes it gets a 'No' because that leads to physical impossibilities*, and sometimes because the spell author just wrote something based on the school and it was never revisited.

Uh... so... authors writing for RPGs need to know things and Do It Right?

It has no flavorful hooks, making to give responses to knowledge checks other than 'is resistant to magic!', which ceases to be an interesting tidbit after the 80th time.

What? Come on Ross, you're stretching here. You can't present this as if it were fact without simultaneously deriding almost every other attribute in the game. Fey have DR/cold iron because... reasons. Dragons get blindsense because... reasons. It gets really tired to discover that undead are immune to anything with a Fort save because... uh... a Knowledge check said so.

It's up to the DM to micro-manage flavor if they and their players want it. We all try to describe natural armor... "the creature has a chitinous segmented shell, looks like getting at the tender bits is going to be tough." We describe dragons as being so canny, so attuned to the world they predate in that even invisible creatures can't totally hind from them. Apex indeed!

So... "after generations of wizard-wars, the drow have evolved an odd trait where their bodies literally absorb weak magic, absorbing it harmlessly. Sometimes, when they resist an enemy's spell, they hear mental echoes of their long-lost ancestors' suffering from mutilating war-magic."

DMs make flavor. AC, saves, fast healing, all of the game's mechanics... our job to make interesting. And this one is not at all more difficult to define, describe, or justify than most others.

It isn't immunity, so monsters cannot really say 'I am above your mortal magic'.

And this is bad why? Resist cold 5 isn't immunity, so monsters that have it can't say 'I am above your chilly cold stuff.' Yeah, the game has ablative and reductive layers of defense as well as negation layers. This is not news, and it's not lame.

It applies to spells uniformly, making it less a puzzle (the way elemental resistances are), and more an exercise in finding which spells say 'Spell Resistance: No'.

Wait. You started by doubly stating that it's lame that only some monsters get it (ignoring that you can just as easily imagine an omitted SR 0), and now it's bad because it applies to spells uniformly? You want consistency, or not?

But really, casting is book-keeping. You're already memorizing which spells require Reflex saves, Will saves, Fort saves. You're already worrying about which ones are mind-affecting, which ones are charms, compulsions, fear-effects, and which ones are within the right range. As a player of spell-casters, you know up front that your job is going to involve KNOWING THINGS. Your job isn't to say "I swing my sword this round".

This is a feature, not a bug. This is another beautiful, awesome way in which advanced players have another thing to play with, both offensively and defensively. It's another tool in a DM's arsenal to try to design the ideal four-round combat once their players have obtained spells like win the game. It introduces another value that casters have to pump in order to try to reach the munchkin holy grail of unstoppability. Leaving things at saving throws and resistances isn't the answer because it's really not hard to focus your max-min efforts on your save DCs, and to pick up a few different spells to address different resistances.

No. SR is a mechanic that levels the playing field. It widens the footprint a caster needs to burden himself with so that randomness remains in the system, just like a high-level barbarian missing on his lower iteratives.

Sometimes you succeed, sometimes you don't, and we NEED these layers as players level up.

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Actually, for a moment last year it went up, once.

I was missing it all along, and an enterprising Paizo employee went out of her way to do some digging and discover I was legit. Pleasant surprise all around.

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So... he doesn't like it much, then?


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Okay, Mr. Player, before we start this game, I need you to roll oh... twenty Fort saves against disease, because odds are good that your 1st-level character was dead long before they started adventuring.

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Archae wrote:
btw what oracle dip nets you blind sense?

Clouded Vision

Source Advanced Player's Guide
Your eyes are obscured, making it difficult for you to see.

You cannot see anything beyond 30 feet, but you can see as if you had darkvision.

At 5th level, this distance increases to 60 feet.
At 10th level, you gain blindsense out to a range of 30 feet.
At 15th level, you gain blindsight out to a range of 15 feet.

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Archae wrote:
I understand it is powerful but are'nt the classic gm things kind of boring?

Boring? Hmmm.

Blind sense doesn't sense mechanical traps, poison, doesn't help you fight an ogre, there are other ways to handle character with abilities. Its just the current balance prevents a lot of cool things from happening

Okay, please understand I'm NOT trying to argue with you. I'm honestly trying to explain the philosophy behind THIS game. Doesn't mean a} I'm right or b} this game is right for you. So I'm NOT saying "you're wrong". I'm just exploring the things you say, to sound them out. As in, my tone here is intended to be friendly. We're chatting.

That said...

Classic GM things are boring... yet by including blindsense on a PC, I've REDUCED myself to mechanical traps because optical illusions or magical illusions are off the table. I've REDUCED my playbook to poison because I can't have an assassin sneak up. I've REDUCED fighting-an-ogre to "he swings at you", "he swings at you", and "he swings at you" because I can't use "he slides back into the misty fog somewhere and starts peppering you and your friends with thrown daggers", can't use "he throws a bag of sand in your face, temporarily blinding you", can't use "he's also a cleric and casts blindness on you!" and so on.

What I'm saying is that current balance doesn't PREVENT cool things from happening. It ENABLES cool things to happen.

Yes, specific cool things are prevented. Got it. Guy-who-can't-be-snuck-up-on is prevented when you don't let a PC have blindsense. That's true. But guy-who-can't-be-killed is just as awesome, but I think we'd both agree that's just... not fun.

One more example... typically low-level PCs aren't "allowed" to get flight. Flying changes the game. It takes away Climbing, for instance. So forget the scene where your character is dangling by one arm while trying to fend of a crazed harpy. Forget the scene where the rope bridge is cut by the enemy while you're only halfway across. Forget the scene were the princess sticks her head out of the window at the top of the tower and calls for help and you know you need to fight your way in the long way.

Some abilities change the game. Because of that some people prefer to only play 1st-level to about 5th-level, before fly becomes a thing. There are game-changer abilities, and that's about it.

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Sadly this is the only Pathfinder RPG product that needs ongoing product releases. It's okay to "support" the gunslinger by simply having a couple feats/traits/grit-thingies in other books. It's okay to "support" the magus the same way; bits and bites here and there.

Mythic is a playstyle/system, and needs published modules and adventures to make it shine.

I agree that as published we can tack it onto bad guys here and there, but that's a terrible waste of a whole system. We have a total of one AP as an example of what mythic play should look like, so it's not like homebrew GMs have a lot to go on for guidelines of what works and what doesn't.

I'd personally love to see (and purchase) say two modules a year (in addition to the current ones) published specifically designed for mythic use.

But I don't think it's going to happen that way. I think Mythic is Paizo's Psionics/Incarnum/Bo9S... it'll get only light mention here and there moving forward.

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Opuk0, you could recommend they play psionic manifesters... then they wouldn't have somatic or verbal components. Of course, every time they manifest, it snows dead butterflies around their heads for a moment, or smells intensely of mastadon farts, or everyone within a few feet thinks they've acquired tinnitus, but hey... you can't win 'em all.

But seriously, the rule is that you can't conceal casting/manifesting. So you can't. Even with Silent and/or Still Spell, you're simply removing those specific requirements for spell-casting. You still can't hide that you're casting. The caster still rolls his eyes back, or pops into a deep concentration-sweat or something, because neither of those feats says that it overrides the fundamental can't-conceal rule.

Your players can try to explain their PCs' actions after the fact, but generally casting is always* evident.

*Barring certain circumstances, such as casting a bunch of buffs outside line-of-sight while in silence or something. As in, if the casting cannot be observed at all, it is by definition concealed. Perhaps being invisible while using Silent Spell, for instance.

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Sigh. Sucked in yet again.

Personally I think I'm actually glad these aren't statted out. I disagree* with the whole 3.Xe trap system in general, so if anything, this will encourage me to just wing it.

* Specifically the system is binary in nature. Either you spot a trap or you don't. If you don't spot it, it's just random results in which case why do you even have a rogue? If you do spot it, either you disarm it or you don't. If you succeed, there's zero result, so the entire cool factor of the trap is invisible. It's sort of like being at the top of initiative and one-shotting a BBEG before he gets to act. You literally never get to see WHY the monster is a badass. Personally I think I'd prefer a system where trapfinding is more about getting OUT of traps after they're triggered, or reducing their impact if detected before triggered, never negating them. Shrug.

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Couple of thoughts. As always with these threads, it's complicated.

One is that this may not be one of those things where parity is ever going to happen. I simply don't know, but I do think that there are hobbies, careers, and interests that - on average - are more appealing to one sex or the other. There'll be inevitable arguments about nature vs nurture, but I'd rather avoid rewinding the causality chain back to early childhood since frankly it gets into questioning if equality means uniformity. So I'll just point out that tabletop RPG playing may be a hobby that appeals most to males - as we know them today.

The more important point though - I think - is that we shouldn't treat anyone different. What I mean is that when I have a female player at my table, which is a rarity but not unheard-of, I try to make a point of not treating her any differently from my male players except that she is new. All I mean is that my male players are my regulars, and we're very comfortable with one another, and fart, and burp and swear, and make lewd jokes at one another. When anyone new, male or female, is at my table, that gets toned down until the person becomes a regular and we figure out what their sense of humour is like. Other than that newbie consideration, I don't go out of my way to girl-ify my game any more than I tailor it to any other player.

That said, I don't tolerate abuse at the table of any sort.

Anyway, some things are couples activities and some aren't. My wife and I watch Doctor Who together (though she's bailed since we lost our Doctor), but we don't RPG together. She has no interest. And she parties with her friends (boozy girls' nights), which I have no interest in. So we have together activities and apart activities. Nothing wrong with that... it's worked for 14 years so far. She'd be welcome at my gaming table and I'd be welcome at her drunken outings, but it's safe to predict neither will ever happen.

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Reebo Kesh wrote:

I've grown tired of players who have every skill and feat planned to 20th level. It leaves no scope for the character to grow and develop because of the encounters and experiences they face.


Thoughts? Yes, definitely.

There is one ultimate goal in this game: have fun. If your players plan their PCs several levels in advance, you can rest assured they're doing it because that's what they want to do.

There's no need to be a control-freak DM and worry about what's going on at the other side of the table. As long as there's no balance problem forcing excess work on you, as long as there are no social problems with players who make PCs that clash, as long as the players are having fun, you should just focus on the huge toybox of bad guys and plot elements you've got.

You you can't have fun because your players are planning their characters, something somewhere is wrong.

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Wrath of the Righteous.

The older APs don't really need updating as they're pretty easy to up-convert from 3.5e, but from what I've read Wrath is on the easy side. Given wider playtest feedback over the last year, I'd like to see Wrath formally scaled up in deadliness now that Mythic rules are better understood.

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ElterAgo wrote:
The guys I'm talking about only wanted those characters because they don't fit.

Your question answered itself.

Many, many people want to be exceptional. They don't want to be yet-another-human-pirate in a tropical swords, sail, and pistols setting. They don't want to be yet another paladin of Iomedae walking into the worldwound to smite devils. They don't want to play yet another earth elemental druid/summoner gestalt half-drow draconic bloodline construct-hunter in a world full of those.

It is fundamentally easier to roleplay misfits. Peecee the unicorn bard is easy to play in the land of orc barbarians. You can basically do whatever you want, however you want, and you're special.

This is a game about standing out and drawing attention. Most of us want characters that are memorable and special, and being unique little snowflakes will always do that. Even if the snowflake has no business on the elemental plane of fire (where the GM has set the entire game).

There is no fix for this because there is no problem. It's just human nature.

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I allowed liberal crafting in my game but my players weren't going for cheese. Mostly the crafting cleric produced unique items that either filled a roleplay niche or were just cool.

Quick example... I ran a DMPC to give myself an in-character voice. Now, you're thinking "power!" but he was actually a pseudodragon fighter 15 while everyone else was 20th-level and higher. Anyway, the cleric made him sort of a decanter of endless water only it was really a bag of infinite mice. Because... well... snacks.

So, if you encourage creativity and discourage random statboosting, crafting is fine. There is also PLENTY of wealth in Tsar, much of which is stuff PCs won't want. So you really need to have a way to customize things into what the players want.

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I actually finished running Tsar after two and a half years, this summer.

In the end, my PCs were about 24th level with 3 mythic tiers. There's plenty of XP if you do basically all the encounters. Since it went on so long, I threw in mythic towards the end to give the guys something new to play with.

I have to warn, my players are clever and have more than a little system mastery. So there were a lot of circumstances where just-the-right-spell was prepared. banishment for instance makes short work of a lot of encounters later in the game. sunburst also deals with large hordes of undead in one fell swoop. There's also an incredibly dangerous demi-lich at one point in the game and it's amusing to read the statblock to find any ability that works in an antimagic field. Hint: you'll find the only functional ability in the Languages line. So, yeah, my group plowed through things.

The story is entertaining but admittedly very thin. Something happened, and here is this place which is the result of that something. Okay, but there's not actually that much to DO, purpose-wise. This is an exploration adventure, not a creation adventure. You don't influence important figures and shape the future. You kill or be killed.

So, well, it was a bit of a grind that way. I threw in a lot of one-shot bad guys and we did a couple side-modules in the middle. One of which involved literally traveling to the moon. I'd recommend being prepared to inject events into the adventure as really, it's structurally a huge, huge dungeon-crawl. That's fine for the first... seven hundred pages. <Grin>

Also, in my game I added a BBEG after the one that's written. I added the big O. Bought a grey-market WotC mini of him and everything. So O lurked on the mantle for nearly a year, and the players never knew for sure when he was going to show up.

Also... random encounters. I can't imagine running this book as written. It'd be a five year job. I mean, the random encounter tables first of all say something like "roll on this every ten minutes of in-game time" and "if an encounter lasts more than three rounds, roll again and make things worse". Seriously? There's just no time for monotonous rehashes of ghoul wolves. Absolutely, positive no criticism of Greg... this thing is BIG, but there's so much time involved that really, adding the random encounters is brutally soul-sucking.

Oh, and my players basically wandered the wastelands on foot (rope trick takes care of all night-time and random encounters and bone storms, BTW) until they hit the right level to get wind walk and then we turbo-blasted through the book, seeking out only set-piece encounters. That seriously helped us not suicide. For what it's worth, that happened something like halfway through exploring the second quadrant, simply due to XP. So yeah, zip, zip, hurray.

As for minis, once the random stuff outside Tsar is done, it's very, very dungeon-crawl and I wouldn't have considered running without a battlemat.

We enjoyed it, bottom line, but like any multi-year campaign, we tailored it to our personalities.

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Ssalarn wrote:
So awesome to see two of the projects I worked on, Liber Influxus and Akashic Mysteries, getting multiple mentions. Thank you!

Just wanted to drop a comment here... I haven't mentioned AM because (unless I'm on crack) it's not actually done. I'll likely be happy to read the final and add it to a best-of-2015 list next January.

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This is me, pretending my opinion matters.

For what it's worth, I didn't read most of Endz' review because a} I already own PoW, b} I already know what I think about PoW and c} I have a limited amount of time left before I die; I'm 42 already so if I'm lucky I've got maybe three decades left. But I skimmed it. And I've read the various arguments on the forums prior to that review.

That huge disclaimer established, I'd very much like to say that I don't believe Endzeitgeist has any agenda. He's not out to tell anyone how to play their game. Sure, he's got his own preferences, but every human being does. I have never seen Endz be anything but fair, even when heavily critiquing a product.

That he doesn't like certain mechanics in PoW is an established fact and it is absolutely, positively, completely within his rights. Reviewers are people and if they're good at what they do - and I believe Endz is - they know their biases and they identify them as such. "I'm not a fan of fried foods, so I found these french fry things to be little more than crunchy sticks of potatoe-oil and about all they're good for is delivering salt into your mouth."

Path of War is what it is. It will NEVER be anything but a divisive and highly contested book. Tome of Battle in 3.5e was hugely argued because many, many people strongly disliked it while many, many people found it refreshing and fun. Reviewers were - unsurprisingly - split in their reviews.

Martial initiation, much like psionics, are different and they are something that requires a certain attitude. Yes, there are specific examples in the system that are comparatively more powerful than core abilities. Also there are specific examples of core abilities that outshine most PoW abilities. Stuff is situational.

Endz is NOT wrong. But we have these ongoing arguments over martial/caster disparity within the core rules. To not have such over such a radically different ruleset would be astonishing.

Overall PoW is reasonably balanced. That's the truth. It's balanced towards - as Ssalarn said - the high-end of things, so you won't find as many dud abilities as some other classes, but it's absolutely, positively playable.

So hey. I think it's time to rethink Endz' delivery. He was trying to convey what he believes of the product, which is ALL you can ever ask for in a reviewer. We are lucky to have him, even if it's not all sunshine and unicorns shooting out his butt.

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Dreamscarred Press: Ultimate Psionics
Dreamscarred Press: Path of War
Green Ronin: Advanced Bestiary
Kobold Press: Deep Magic

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Y'know, I just had a thought related to the topic of balance, 3rd-party products, and human perception.

I expect there's some serious confirmation bias involved when people accuse 3rd-party materials of being overpowered. Certainly not every time, but there's a very real assumption that 3PPs have to deal with.

Here's why: new stuff steals the show.

It's that simple. When someone rolls up a core-only Power Attacking two-handed monster and deals butt-tonnes of damage each round, everyone "knows" it's balanced because they've seen it a million times. High-crit build? Yeah, yeah, old news. Mind-controlling wizard? Meh.

But when you pull out the new class with the new rules and the new feats with the new equipment that uses new rules and new mechanics it blows people's minds. You can do half the damage but if it's flashy, if it's visible, if it's memorable it's going to fire up balance-alarms. It's just like when a DM describes a room/NPC/item differently, players perk up and get paranoid.

Now is cool and cool must be imbalanced. If it's new and cool by Paizo, well, people whack the alarm cut-off because they'll give it the benefit of the doubt (by and large). But if it's 3PP... "I knew it couldn't be Paizo... that's so broken!"

Confirmation bias. You interpret evidence to confirm your existing bias and discard evidence that doesn't.

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Chengar Qordath wrote:
And really, Paizo just seems to hate introducing any new mechanics. Everything is either Vancian casting or # uses/day.

Yeah, and that's the one Paizo-ism I'm not a fan of. I get it that other people have other experiences and other needs, but as someone who's played this ruleset since 3.0 I'm more than hungry for compatible-but-different. That's a huge part of why my groups like psionics and martial initiators. It's fresh Lego in the box, letting us make new things instead of old things with a fresh coat of paint.

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LazarX wrote:
It's not surprising that there are folks less than happy. There are those who won't be happy with anything other than a regurgitation of the 3.5 psi system tweaked to Pathfinder status. That ship sailed with Dreamscarred and Paizo clearly has no interest in reinventing the wheel.

Now now, that's not being fair. Very slyly saying that those who didn't like what the OA playtest revealed are some sort of inflexible don't-like-new-things get-off-my-damned-lawn biased individuals. Not cool.

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"Both sets will include a type of figure we've also never done before, and these special figures will be in addition to the normal number of figures per set (45)."

For the record I'm guessing either modular or articulated.

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We use a (large) Chessex battlemat and Lego. Basically, I build each room using Lego bits, then as the players move from room to room I add more and subtract rooms behind them, kind of like a physical fog-of-war.

FYI, six "bumps" is two inches long, so the Lego math works really well.

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Vic Wertz wrote:
Her outfit relies heavily on magic. Also, this.

Vic, you have no idea how much (bonus) respect you just earned. The number of executives in your position who would break silence on (potentially) divisive topics like this one is a small one. The number who would show their humanity and be funny*... asymptotically approaches zero.

I just wanted to take a moment to say that I really appreciate the fact that Paizo staff from the bottom to the top are allowed to be people first.

* While simultaneously saying "I get it".

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Mark Seifter wrote:
Given the threads about that complexity being high, I think we made the right choice.

Agreed, but in more way than one...

It was right to not include every option in the playtest, to keep complexity down, especially given that much change may be following.

It was also right to have the complexity high in the first place.

I'd just like to point out that the most complex of the new classes are the ones that are drawing the most interest. The psychic, which is - let's be honest - a sorcerer with renamed bloodlines is the least popular. Go figure. Do something new, and the piranha players snap it up.

Frankly I've long realized that Paizo puts out products for different markets, and different playstyles. Not everything is for me. So, while I'm beyond bored by the ACG's rehash and light tweak of existing material, and while I'm very, very comfortable with DSP's psionics material at my table, I'm interested in this book because it's complex and new. The people who wanted simple got their book... ACG. Now it's our turn.

So crank up the fiddly bits and experimental mechanics. As long as a class does the job, the more funky it is the better.

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blackbloodtroll wrote:
As noted with this FAQ, you can now, without a doubt, use normal weapons in improvised fashion.

Interestingly - and I admit to being a regular participant in the thread that spawned this FAQ - in the end this FAQ does say you can use weapons in improvised fashion, but expressly excludes the reason and method that thread was shooting for.

In the end I'm quite comfortable with the FAQ result as it codifies the sensible.

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Anguish wrote:
Liz Courts wrote:
Color print editions now available for preorder!
Thank you. And by "you" I mean to indicate the plural usage of said pronoun. In my cart. I'll pull the trigger in a day or two. Woot!

Never mind. My money is where my mouth is. Ordered.

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Liz Courts wrote:
Color print editions now available for preorder!

Thank you. And by "you" I mean to indicate the plural usage of said pronoun. In my cart. I'll pull the trigger in a day or two. Woot!

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bit of luck isn't for you. It's for your allies. It's exceptionally useful when someone really needs to make a save, or hit something, or, or, or. But most cleric domain powers aren't really for the cleric.

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Christina Stiles wrote:
I'd honestly love to work for Paizo as an employee--it would truly be my dream job--but I don't think they would hire someone as opinionated as myself.

Look. I disagree pretty strongly with the way the OP of this thread went down. Obviously. But as a conversation it's moved beyond that. So I've got two things to say here...

1} With deepest respect, shut up and apply. <Grin> As is my viewpoint, Paizo is good at detecting and hiring talent. You shouldn't be denied a dream job opportunity, and we shouldn't be denied a good option for a writer because one thread went sideways. If you want this, try for it. Maybe it happens, maybe it doesn't. But I wouldn't have the wife I do if I had been afraid of taking a long shot. (This from a timid guy who never took such an out-of-character gamble before or after.)

2} SKR. Seriously, I'm pretty much a huge Sean fanboy. I like his work a lot, and I tend to agree with most of the posts he's made that were violently debated. He's a guy who backs his arguments up with factual firepower and while you don't have to agree with him, he's always got really good reason for his posts. But. Some people were very put off by him. Not Mr. Popular. And yet he was a Paizo employee forever and a day. I don't think being universally liked is a requirement at Paizo. You just have to be good at what you do, and get along with Paizo.

I happen to think there's zero chance that this thread - as it exists - would ever count against you in a hiring process that involves people like Lisa, Vic, James and Erik.

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Kolokotroni wrote:
I don't think anyone believes there is gender bias in the hiring practices. That isnt the point. The state of the gaming world, and the industry itself requires specific action to become more inclusive. As I mentioned, it isnt about hiring someone less qualified. It is about valuing the idea of diversity itself and deliberately seeking it out.

Sorry, but that's not what the OP says. At all. It specifically calls out Paizo has Doing It Wrong. Paizo needs to lead the way, Paizo has forgotten, and "add some diversity". That's what it says.

What I'm saying is that there's every reason to believe that Paizo is hiring the most qualified applicants. If the desire is that the most qualified applicants be female, then what needs be done is the female applicants need to become more qualified than the male applicants, or more qualified females need to actually apply.

That's not under Paizo's control. That's my point.

I work in IT, where almost all of us are male, so this is far from the first time I've been through this discussion. Everything from "the industry needs to do more to make itself interesting and accessible to women" to discussions of in-workplace practices and habits. I totally get it that some workplaces are woman-unfriendly, and that shouldn't be tolerated. But Paizo isn't that.

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jalroy wrote:
How can we get on the pkaytest for these new classes???

Step 1: wait.

Step 2: download it when it's released.
Step 3: playtest it.


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I have no reason to believe that a small business whose CEO is a} demonstrably progressive and b} a woman is in any way gender-biased against women. Quite the opposite.

With deepest respect to Christina who has put out a fair amount of excellent product, I'm going to have to decline the premise being presented. Paizo should continue to hire the candidates that they evaluate as being the most qualified of those who apply for positions.

I can wrap my head around discussions of beefcake/cheesecake quotients, NPC love-interest demographics, and gender-stereotypes within published fiction, but the idea that a company Lisa owns isn't hiring the right people isn't one I can get.

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Just an addendum... puzzles. I encourage my players to try to solve them on their own, but once stumped, I absolutely, positively allow them to make an Intelligence check to solve them.

I don't expect a player who's got a mensa-level PC to be one.

It's fun to give something a try, but it sucks to be required to be as charismatic, intelligent, or wise as your PC.

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Thinking aloud...

Challenge comes from having a possibility of failure. The higher the probability of failure, the more challenging an encounter is. In Pathfinder, resources are what stands between success and failure. The DM's job is to burn resources (remember when we used to say a typical encounter should burn 25% of PC resources?) to create that challenge.

When you've got a party of 6 or 7, you've got 50% to 75% more resources to burn through. When you've got one encounter per day, you've got less time to do it in that "normal".

This problem isn't really about the vitalist. It's not any different from a paladin being able to smite every target. You just recognize the paladin is going to be significantly more powerful all the time than he should be. Same as a monk who can make every attack a stunning fist attempt. Or a wizard who can use his mightiest spells every round. Those are the offensive side of the coin, where the vitalist ensuring the party is healed every round is the defensive side of that coin. The coin is simply "the PCs are always at their best".

I have some experience with this. My Runelords group is currently 6 PCs and I've had 7 before. I've also run campaigns where the players had full control over how many encounters per day they faced. I also allow (and encourage) all of the psionic content at my table.

Scaling things is a challenge for you, but that's really where the solution lies.

You're going to need to jack up monsters' hitpoints by a good 100% to get anywhere, to absorb the PCs' optimal offense. You're also going to need to find ways to grant monsters more offense, in the form of additional attacks, area-of-effect attacks, and higher odds-to-hit. Once save-or-die spells come into play, you'll need to jack up saves too.

Again, don't get distracted by the math... as Ssalarn has pointed out it's not actually scaled inappropriately. It's just that you're not used to the defensive side of the "optimal" coin.

Your campaign is already broken in several ways. You're just seeing one set of numbers that make you panic. They're the least of your worries.

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Andreas Rönnqvist wrote:
We have an upcoming color version, which will initially be available from DriveThruRPG - however full color is more expensive, so it'll be a higher cost.

Poop. Well, I've only got the hardcover in my shopping cart, so the trigger isn't pulled. I get it that number-of-orders helps justify "enhanced" versions such as colour releases, but, well, I'm not really interested in a B&W version on my shelf. More expensive colour release... fine.

So this is me, sitting on my hands. Which are holding my credit card. Waiting.

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I just wanted to throw out that I was really skeptical about this when Andreas asked me to edit it. As I passed through the table of contents, it struck me "this has got to be silly". I mean, some of the combinations here are really off-the-wall.

Then I got to the meat of it. And did a very solid 180.

Every one of these races is cool. The authors were very careful about building up plausible and sensible origins for each of the crazy mixes and their abilities are extremely fitting for what they are.

Bottom line is that I went from mentally dismissing this as a silly book for silly people to being thoroughly impressed by the creativity of the authors. This is allowed at my table, which wasn't going to be the case when I started reading it.

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Seriously? This horse isn't dead yet?

When the 3.5e Psionics Handbook introduced swift and immediate action, the developers had the opportunity to codify those as able to be substituted in place of more "lengthy" actions. They didn't. They instead went out of their way to explicitly state that they cannot.


Because the developers wanted to create a type of free action that they could count on being performed a maximum of once per round. They wanted to enhance the action economy in a unique way, allowing a character to take all of its normal actions, and still have a fairly powerful action set aside for things that cannot happen more than once per round.

That's it.

The most obvious example off the top of my head being an inquisitor's judgment. You can't have it set to give you a bonus to AC, then swift it to a bonus to damage, make your attacks, then swift it back to AC. That's cheesy, regardless of if you're using your move action to perform the second shift.

Another example is lay on hands, wherein the developers balanced a certain amount of healing per round, not expecting a paladin to potentially heal himself three times (at the cost of his other actions). Normally, without any houserule, a paladin could heal himself a maximum of once per round. That's the developers' expectation, and while houseruling this won't overtly break the game, it isn't what's intended.

So. We know the answer: no, you cannot substitute swifts for other actions. We know the origin and the history. What you do is up to you, as with all rules.

Did I miss something productive?

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Mumrah wrote:

We have a rules dilemma in our group.........

Traditionally we've never allowed attacking before AND after a 5ft shift, but having revisited the rules description of the 5ft shift we now believe it might be possible, but not 100% sure.

Please advise on the "Official" ruling on this subject.

What brought all of this on was.....
Our DM also ref's a game in CT @ a gaming store and someone used that tactic of attacking before, 5ft shifting, then attacking after.

The individual in question quoted, "You can take a 5-foot step before, during, or after your other actions in the round." as the reason for being able to do so.

If it's true........we've been doing it wrong for sooooo long, haha.


Thx for any input on this matter.

You absolutely can. The quote is accurate.

Read here.

"The only movement you can take during a full attack is a 5-foot step. You may take the step before, after, or between your attacks."

The Core Rulebook specifically tells you that it's allowed. Remember that bad guys can do it too!

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Athaleon wrote:
Everyone in a 20' radius includes allies and yourself.

I had realized that allies were subject to this but it hadn't clicked that the feat-owner is as well. Still not terribly amused... but then... I tend to DM a lot so I'll just go ahead and slip this onto a bunch of monsters who are lurking in dungeons, waiting for adventurers to check doors for traps.

Problem solved. What a great feat! I can have my players stunned before each encounter begins, if I pick monsters with lots of Hit Dice. Yay!

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snickersimba wrote:

Comic book stores that sell RPG books? In Rhode Island? Preposterous! That's what I thought until I literally went to every last one of them.

I'm going to just start using my local library to see if they stock them. I may have accidentally found a loophole in PFS..... Well, I'm going to just tell my grandmother to go into Game On with a list and ask them to order my books.

Fixed a few things because... reasons.

That said, fact is that Paizo sells their products to the largest RPG/book distributors in (at least) North America. You can walk into normal brick & mortar book stores here in Canada and find at least the essentials (Core, Bestiaries) on the shelves. The only reason the complete line isn't present is because mainline bookstores only devote a certain amount of shelf-space to gaming books. They could stock whatever they want.

If you're being told by a small store owner that they can't order Paizo products because their distributor's don't carry them, one of two things is happening:

1} The store doesn't deal with major distributors. They can't get a LOT of things because of this. It's their choice, not Paizo's.

2} The store owner is deflecting the discussion, because they'd don't want to carry Paizo's products. There's some friction because Paizo does sell direct, and small stores know that. They see Paizo as a competitor, and some of them may choose to not carry Paizo product because they don't want to encourage the company. This was a bigger issue years ago, when Pathfinder and it setting were new, and not as clearly dominant. Some stores hoped they could just ignore Pathfinder and it might go away. These days this is less common.

Point is that Paizo isn't really at fault here. Yes, they could sell to Joe's Lame Distribution Of Two Products And One Of Them Is Sold Out so that the books end up on the shelves in RI, but there's a flip side to that coin: JLDOTPAOOTISO has to actually ask to buy from Paizo.

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VampByDay wrote:
To all that are calling me a whiner or a sub-par optimizer: fine, okay, I am, you win, I suck, I shouldn't have even mentioned my character.

Not to disagree with you again but, no. You don't suck. And people who are not on-side with your premise aren't saying you do. It's possible to have a problem and be mistaken about the nature of the problem. I believe that's what's happening here.

See, your problem is "I'm not good enough at saves". Your conclusion is "the system is broken". While yes, at high levels there is a wider disparity between good saves and bad saves, the game is actually playable at least to 20th.

The question becomes how? The answer(s) include planning, and character build. That's not criticism, it's people answering the question.

By 13th level, you've got a recommended 140,000gp of character wealth. You chose to spend 4,000gp of that on boosting your saves. I don't know where the other 136,000gp went, but even if part of it was a belt of physical perfection +4, you've still got 72,000gp left to explain. Just saying... 21,000gp would have bought you (another) +3 to all your saves by making your cloak +5 instead of +2.

That kind of stuff is the build answer. Had you actually optimized for saving throws, you could have been making those saves against poison on anything but a natural one. Same thing with the negative levels. So... the answer isn't "the system is broken". A build optimized to make its saves will.

But then there's the preparation topic. This game can be played casually, like a beer & peanuts get-together and throw some dice game. Sure. But then don't be shocked that sometimes bad things happen to your not-taking-it-seriously characters. On the other hand, it's quite possible to delve into the system and recognize that much like a realistic world, there are counters and balances for everything. A character with 140,000gp living in a world where poisonous creatures are common really should own some antivenom. Why not? I mean, you're mega-stupid rich. And an adventurer. You should always have a handy haversack nearby loaded with goodies. You know, it's a move action to get out WHATEVER you want, and a standard action to use it. Even when vacationing.

Potions of invisibility, and fly and protection from evil are just... staple items that you should have a few of. There are a bunch of alchemical "helpers" in the Advanced Player's Guide as well.

I'm not saying you're playing the game wrong. You're playing it the way you want to play. But it's not unlike participating in a marathon and then wondering "how come they make these so long?" when you never conditioned yourself. Because they're balanced for people who take them seriously. So too is Pathfinder.

Again, my goal here isn't to make you feel bad, or wrong, or broken, or stupid or whatever. I'm taking time out of my life - time that could be spent doing lots of fun things - and trying to help you. It is my belief that what you need is perspective. And that's what I'm trying to give you. Not a brow-beating or criticism, just "hey, you know, maybe look at this question of yours... this way."

Good luck.

I mean, my friend invented a build to have a sleep dc of 21 at level 1!what do you do when your DM pulls that on you?

Addendum... what do you do? Get a DM who isn't being a dork. That's not a build... that's an assassination attempt*. Because everyone in an even remotely balanced group will fall asleep, then get coup-de-graced to death. Game over. Not cool. Also very, very likely not even remotely a legal build.

* Or a plot-mechanism for a "you all wake up in someone's basement" moment.

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VampByDay wrote:
At level 13 he had +20 to fort saves, and could reroll a fort save 1/day. A lvl 16 creature with a poison DC 26 (+2 per additional time you've been stung)

Okay, let's take a look. You're going up against a monster that is APL+3, which is meant to be a a challenging fight. This isn't meant to be a cakewalk.

The creature in question has to manage to do two things to impact your fighter. It's got to hit, and then it has to hope its target doesn't make its save. I'd like to point out that your character makes its save on rolling a 5. You had a 80% chance of making your save, assuming you got hit. Which isn't a given. You should have a decent armor class by that point, meaning the monster shouldn't be landing every hit. Each successive hit reduces your chance of making your save by 10%. Even if you got hit four times (which suggests your AC wasn't up to snuff, even for an APL+3), you're 50/50 to make your save.

Next, this is a party game. neutralize poison is a staple spell to have prepared by 13th level. A monster that is all about pumping poison into you should have a bad Will save. Your party cleric would have had a good chance of using the spell offensively and simply shutting down its poison sacs.

or a vampire with a DC 25 save to avoid a permanent negative level (mind you, you are making those save at minus the number of levels you've been drained, in my case, 4 saves at -4).

So you have an 85% chance of success, minus 20% due to the negative levels. You're still two-thirds in the advantage. This ignores that when you make these saves, you should have a caster dumping guidance on you to give you a helpful +1, bringing you to a cozy 70% success. On the first and worst negative level. Each one you remove increases your odds of success by 5%.

Basically, so far the answer to "how am I ever supposed to make saving throws" is "don't roll incredibly crappy rolls" with a side order of "let your party help you make your near-certain saving throws actually certain".

The DC for a 9th level spell as cast by a 17th level caster is 25 The fort save from a 17th level raging barbarian is +17.

That's actually pretty reasonable to start off. Saving throws should be in the general vicinity of 50/50. As in, your good saves should be something you can make more than 50% of the time and your bad saves should be something you can make less than 50% of the time. Say... 70/30 good and bad.

If you don't have that, there's a balance problem. What I mean is that if PCs are making their saves more than roughly half of the time, there's almost no point playing the game. Monsters can't do anything. Why play? There are so many awesome challenges available in this game, but if I as a DM have to pull out monsters six levels - or more - higher than you to scratch the paint on your shield, again, why play?

Player abilities should work roughly 50% of the time. Monster abilities should work roughly 50% of the time. Roughly. Clever targeting and selection of what abilities to use when are what pulls the odds in one direction or the other from time to time. Tactics.

But he constantly went up against fort saves that challenged even him and crippled the rest of the party.

Now this... this suggests that maybe your GM is trying to adjust for an "overpowered" character. In order to impose some suspense, some sense of danger, some sense of challenge, he/she may be pulling some minor tweaks behind the scenes, so as to not be saying "roll for initia... never mind... you win." The lesser-optimized characters are getting creamed because of this adjustment. Maybe. I don't know for sure.

Some of your numbers seem totally legit, and I can't understand the complaint at 80% success figures. So I dunno.

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jimibones83 wrote:
Does anyone remember if you can teleport within the city of Xin-Shalast? My group wants to teleport to the top of Mhar Massif rather than scale it, but I thought I read that teleportation doesn't work within the city. However, I can't find where I read it now, and am questioning if I even read it at all. Thanx in advance.

Since you never know when a player might stumble in here...


Well, from page 340 of the anniversary edition book...

"Magical flight is a much safer option, as is teleportation."

But then, on page 342...

"Teleportation effects simply do not function in this area (with the notable exception of the portal in area X14), and it creates a completely impassable barrier to creatures that are astrally projecting or who attempt to enter the region while ethereal or shadow walking."

So it looks like you can go part way with teleportation, but you can't go straight to the top.

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The problem is scale. If an 4,000 word RPG book/PDF sold 200,000 copies, there'd, the fixed costs of paying the author, the artist(s), the editor, and the layout person would be spread very wide. In theory those people could be paid very well. On the other hand, what happens if a PDF product sells 200 copies at $10 each? There's only $2,000 to spread around between the publisher and all of the individuals involved. There simply isn't room for great pay.

This is a niche hobby, and 3PP products are a nice product within that market, and each 3PP is fighting for their slice of a realistically tiny amount of disposable income.


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