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More specifically, it's something like "If you want to do something cool, it requires1: a feat
2: a spell
3: a class feature
4: a magic item
5: you eating an Attack of Opportunity."
In real world magic systems (not saying I believe they work) from various cultures, you typically don't see things like battle mages.
That's because (as far as I know) no real-world magic system is a working substitute for heavy artillery.
How do you manage to keep the spellcasters from short-circuiting entire plots out of combat?
"Bob's been poisoned! We need to find the antidote before-" "Neutralize poison".
"We need to reach the top of Mount Murder to-" "Fly."
"We have to figure out who killed Dr. Lucky-" "Speak with Dead."
"The princess is cursed, and we need to-" "Remove Curse."
And so on, ad nauseam.
I know a lot of these magic short-cuts can be thwarted... but only by OTHER MAGIC.
I'm talking about fantasy settings as a whole. When's the last time Aang traded his unborn child's life to bend? Where is there any indication of the sanity damage that Merlin took?
Airbending isn't magic. Merlin is the son of a demon. (And Aang is Kung-Fu Jesus - the normal rules don't apply to either of them.)
Magicians are rarely protagonists in classic mythology - they're advisors to the REAL heroes, or the villains.
Anyway... fantasy settings a whole. The Black Company has some severely screwed-up sorcerers in it (Howler comes to mind), and a few who really managed to dance through the minefield successfully (The Lady).
Faust is the classic 'sell your soul' wizard. Along with all those people, guilty or not, who got used as kindling in the late Middle Ages.
Jack Vance's wizards (You know, the ones D&D's spellcasting was inspired by) generally couldn't keep more than three or four spells memorized at once, so they had to be good at swordfighting and running away as well.
Discworld wizards spend a lot of time NOT doing magic, since doing too much of it has a non-trivial risk of causing runs in the fabric of reality.
Plenty of fantasy wizards die when a spell they cast or a creature they summoned gets out of control - that's not impossible in PF, but it's REALLY tough to do.
In fantasy RPGs:
Unknown Armies magic requires insanity in the form of an all-consuming obsession.
Sorcerer's only magic is to summon demons, doing so makes you less human, and you have cajole them into doing what you want.
Exalted's Sorcery is potentially world-changingly powerful, but it's long, time-consuming, exhausting, and occasionally risky rituals (and the Essence-powered tricks the other Exalted can do are just as powerful, and a lot faster).
Shadowrun magic is physically tiring to use, as is GURPS's default system.
Ars Magica has immensely powerful magic... and being able to do it makes most normal people want to run away or kill you. (And every player in that game is expected to make a mage character AND a few mundane sidekicks to play.)
There are plenty of ways to do magic in fantasy and fantasy RPGs besides the Caster Omnipotence that Pathfinder inherited.
Marroar Gellantara wrote:
The idea of adding more consequences could be interesting, but let us not pretend that magic does not already come with heavy cost.
It doesn't, really. "Heavy cost" is things like your soul, your sanity, or your firstborn child. Spending a round and some powered ruby on a spell isn't heavy by any stretch of the imagination.
Very cool, and pretty close to what I was thinking - thanks!
Very true. It just sees to me that D&D/PF tend to give short shrift to Law vs Chaos these days (which is funny, since back in Basic D&D, Law/Neutral/Chaos were the only alignments given - 'good' and 'evil' were only mentioned separately of those in AD&D.)
If you're going to make magic a sub-optimal solution, it helps if the spellcasters have something useful they can do BESIDES spellcasting. (Unlike a D&D wizard who without spells is a glorified Commoner.)
If you're OK not using the Witch spell list & hexes, how about a Juju or Bones Oracle?
They can call themselves a witch just as well as anyone else. They made a deal with.... something... for power, and their Oracle's Curse is the price they paid.
Been there, done that, lost the dice under the sofa.
My recommended fix if it's a problem is to bring a game that comes in a shallow box - all dice must be thrown in the box.
Usual Suspect wrote:
I think this is an inherent problem with level-based games. If you want your character to do something cool and unusual, be prepared to spend the first X levels of your career as an unformed larva that MIGHT manage to pupate into your original idea if you survive long enough.
Arbane are you not able to do 11 points of damage at level 1?
Level one, sure. It's the levels AFTER that where I don't see where all the extra damage is supposed to be coming from.
My group's currently level 6 going on 7, and the GM insists on giving all the enemies bonus HP because he thinks we're 'too strong'. :-P
Okay, edjumacate me, sensei.
Take a character who's NOT a maxxed-out Barbarian with a support buffer, and show me how to get these kind of numbers.
For example, I've got a Battle Oracle who can manage to eke out about 22 DPR (when she hits), going up to about 32 when buffed. This is at LEVEL 6. Obviously, I am a hideous gimp.
(18 strength, power attack, greatsword. Buffs are Enlarge Person, Bull's Strength, Divine Favor, and Prayer.)
What am I doing wrong, aside from not playing a barbarian whith a buffbot?
(And the other members of the party are a witch, a rogue, a ranger, and a monk who tends to be our best hitter. YES, WE ARE SCREWED.)
And nope, nobody in the group can cast Haste. I am counting the XP 'til Blessing of Fervor. :-P
Bear in mind that BigDTBone's chart is high average damage. Like for a full BAB Class focused on it. For a whole round, not just one attack.
Okay, that makes slightly more sense, but still... Okay, at level 1, a barbarian can manage about 15 damage on average. That makes sense. Where's the next +5 coming from at level 2?
Objection. The builds given here are not 'average'.
Either that, or every single person I've ever played Pathfinder with is ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE at optimization. (Which is admittedly not out of the question.)
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Lily, Rose, Iris, and their brother, Herb.
Orfamay Quest wrote:
A horror game?
You might want to up the rating on Toppling Spell metamagic a bit - Spiritual Weapon and Spiritual Ally are both [force] spells, and if the GM will allow you to use Charisma instead of Wisdom (Seriously, why has this not been updated yet?) to hit with them, they could be quite nice with Toppling Spell.
Auren "Rin" Cloudstrider wrote:
here are the list of problem abilities i have seen, whether they are spells or passive abilities or whatever, spells offer access more reliably to more people
Witness the TVTropes (WARNING: Do not follow link without lots of spare time) list of Story Breaker Powers. There's a spell for almost EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. (In D&D3.5, take out the 'almost'.)
In an actual story, if a wizard is a major character, there's usually SOME reason they can't just use their magic to solve every problem.
I watched a bunch of first episodes with a group. We managed to get about five minutes into that one, and unanimously decided "nah". So we watched something else.
I went back later and watched the rest, and in retrospect, I SHOULD'VE STUCK WITH "NAH".
Trigger Loaded wrote:
On RPGnet, Jurgen Hubert came up with a setting specifically to justify the small bands of wandering adventurers: Doomed Slayers. I think it's pretty good.
Trigger Loaded wrote:
Strangely, I don't recall a lot of setting where adventurers are treated like heroes and celebrities. I've seen quite a few where adventurers are treated like they're two steps removed from dirty criminals and tomb robbers. (Or treated like they are dirty criminals and tomb robbers.)
I guess your players like having their characters shat on from a great height at every opportunity?
Logically speaking, in a 'really' quasi-medieval world, anyone allowed to carry weapons and wear armor on a regular basis would either be nobility, or work for nobles. [sarcasm]And we all know how player-characters LOVE getting ordered around by their social superiors.[/sarcasm]
[sarcasm]Blasphemy. Don't you know the rules? ANYTHING cool a character wants to do must be either a feat, a skill-check, or a spell. NO EXCEPTIONS.
It might be amusing if the Paizo staff started applying the same logic to magic spells that they do to non-magical elements of the game. Save some page count too, when Jason Burlman took out all the spells that he's not able to cast in real life.
:D Hopefully, he'll follow the same methodology as this guy.
As someone pointed out another time the Caster Supremacy Issue came up, another way fighters got screwed in the changeover from AD&D to 3rd ed was saving throws - at least in 1st ed, Fighters either had the best or second-best saves against _everything_. Since 1st ed just had straight save rolls for most things, this meant that high-level fighters might not cast spells, but they were very hard to affect with magic if they didn't want it. Not so in 3rd/PF....
But yes, having built a gonzo magic system, it really behooves the designers to build the society that exists in conjunction with it from the ground up. Which is going to be hard, considering. So, we totally agree. :-)
It should probably resemble Eberron more than Merrie Olde England, I think we can all agree...
Sean FitzSimon wrote:
It's the only Oracle guide I'm aware of, so I'm happy to see you're updating it. Thanks!
I have to fervently disagree with this. The strength of RPGs over other pastimes is the degree to which the players get to change the shape of the story. If the PCs can't affect the narrative except by grinding along on the treadmill, I might as well go play Final Fantasy XXI or watch a movie instead.
APs are understandably somewhat on rails, but they're not the be-all and end-all of RPGs.
Best solution I've heard for this: Let the sidelined PCs' players take the parts of important NPCs.
The problem with magic in PF is that spells are designed to be superior to the whatever other options. It is the way it was designed and the way is still done with every new book.
YES. I can think of no places in PF (except possibly straight weapon damage) where Muggles Do it Better. The devs seems to have thought that limited spell slots per day would be enough to reign in the spellcasters, and I see no evidence that that is the case.
Cerberus Seven wrote:
Eh, more like magic was designed to be balanced in the game but by different standards. It has its own unique set of restrictions and laws meant to curtail ridiculous power inflation.
What are those? Aside from 'Wizards can't heal', I'm having a hard time thinking of ANY limits to sufficiently high-level magic.
There's a reason that Elminster rarely uses his magic directly; the raw power of higher level magic is just as likely to be turned against the caster as it is to solve the problem the way the caster expects, with a myriad of possible results in between those two extremes as well.
Actually, the REAL reason he rarely uses his magic directly is because if he did, the story would be over on page 3.
In another system you might be right, but D&D3.x/PF magic (aside from Wishes,) is usually VERY safe and controlled.
That's what you get for making a BBEG with a Constitution penalty.
And you are completely mistaken. I just told you how to make martial characters and magic character have equal potential within the framework of dnd. Give the rogue a theives guild. Automatically. At x level, he gets the 'henchmen' ability. (SNIP)
Which isn't bad, but not every rogue player wants to be Don Corleone. Some would rather be Carmen Sandiego, and steal mountains, or the thoughts out of their opponents heads.
So there's also the 'crank a mundane ability to fairy-tale levels' approach, but that offends the people who want REALISM in their game about elves and fireball-flinging wizards.
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Lawful Good people can use legalistic screwage if they think their target deserves it.
Right up until the DM throws you into a situation where highly specialized spells are required, and you don't have them.
If highly specialized spells are needed, odds are good that the non-casters are just as screwed as the sorcerers.
Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
I'm kind of boggled at the thought that a character who makes a save on a 6 or higher is thought of by his player as being bad at making saving throws.
Eh, that's still a 25% chance of failing.
If an architect has 25% of their buildings fall down....
DPR is not the only measure of character ability. A halfway-smart caster can completely short-circuit a LOT of plots in a way that no mundane character ever could.
Murder plot? "Speak with dead" (And possibly Raise Dead, if anyone cares enough.)
Consider a succubus. The save DC on their Dominate Person is 23. A 7th level fighter has a mighty +2 for their base will save. If they don't have sky-high wisdom, a good cloak of resistance AND some luck, the rest of the party now has TWO huge problems to deal with.
What's bizarre is that
And VampByDay: My sympathies. What kind of jackass GM lets someone makes up a character just to kill them, instead of just saying 'play something else'?
Human (or Halfling, maybe?) Druid
Human Warlord (From Path of War) - just because it looks like fun.
Ninja social skillmonkey who wears bright colored clothes and works as a musician in their day-job. "I'm a bard."
Dwarf wizard who wants to make magic weaponry, and who wants to personally field-test their creations. (So they'd need armor proficiency)
People have survived falls from miles in the air in real life.
As for the whole Caster Supremacy Argument, there are ways a fantasy RPG can rein in the spellcasters - the problem is that D&D 3.X used NONE of them except finite spell slots. D&D-style magic is, for the most part, fast, convenient, cheap, and safe. Heck, at least in AD&D, some spells could backfire badly. (Haste aged you, Polymorph could kill you, Teleport had a small risk of teleporting into solid rock...) So we're stuck with wizards with no limitations, and non-casters with no useful abilities because REEEEEAAAALISM.
So, if we actually want the
1: Beat spellcasters with the nerfbat until they scream for mercy, then beat them some more.
If you go with summoner (I've seen them in play, they can be quite good), ask the GM if your summons can be 'toy' versions of the normal creatures, maybe? (Same stats, they just looks like dolls.)
A custom feat to give summons some construct-like immunities would be nice later on, but that might be pretty powerful.
Personally, I don't know many settings well enough to come up with a backstory that'll be easy to fit into the setting - and if it's a homebrew world, I won't know it at all. So I generally find it easier to come up with very broad strokes, and fill in details later.
Then my current GM dropped a five-page questionnaire of backstory & personality questions on me. Sheesh! So much filling-in I had to do... but it did give me some ideas to use later. Him too, I suspect...
Anyway, terrible backstory stories. I'm happy to say that this one isn't mine, and I never played with it:
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
Interestingly, there's been studies done on transgender people in academics.
Hmm, I still always have one in my games...does that mean I am "Old-school" or a "crazy $#i7"? ;-)
That's not an 'or' question.
A good bit of graffiti I heard of from an 1st ed AD&D game:
The walls in this corridor are covered in soot. Someone used their finger to write something in Common: "Adventurers who follow us, take heed: The room ahead is too small for a fireball."
A reversed potion of invisibility. Everything ELSE effectively becomes invisible to the imbiber.
I think that condition is commonly known as 'blindness'.
Bugs Bunny did that once.
There's a comic in one of the Exalted splatbooks where a necromancer is showing off by having a roast ox march around the dining room so that his guests can cut off their slices.
Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
Ahh, that brings back happy memories of my elementary school days... trying to create the perfect letter for use in tests, halfway between a 'T' and an "F"....
It's the same with the Paladin. A cleric who goes out of favor with his deity can ingratiate himself with a new one, and bang! He's good. The Paladin however has this big red self destruct button that turns him into a fighter without class features or feats, and there are those who want to know when that button can be pressed.
And some people just can't resist pushing the bright shiny, CANDY-LIKE BUTTON.