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Prepping for next week. Looks exciting. Imaginative scenario, lots of moving parts. I do have some questions...
Are there really a hundred beggars in there? How is Tsura the only one getting hit by falling brickwork then?
Also, the rewards for that scene look wrong; the loot found seems worth much more than the beggars' trinkets, but failing to save Tsura is a much bigger fraction of the scene reward.
Flipmats vary quite a bit in how useful they are. On the one hand you have stuff like Arcane Dungeon that are so hyper-specific that you can only use them if you write the adventure around the map. On the other hand you have the quite generic terrain maps such as the Deep Forest and Hill Country maps; they can feature many many many different encounters.
I think some useful characteristics of maps are:
Bargain. You could try to force the Planetar to do some things, but in the long run that's a bad thing. But it knows you could, and that is a bargaining chip. Don't lean on it too heavily of course.
So if you want something done, try to point out any Good aspects of the task. Meanwhile, offer to offset the "inconvenience"; as a high-level wizard you're able to do many things more efficiently than the Planetar. Different spell lists, allies in dubious places, all that. Imply that if you can't come to an agreement, that you'd have to apply force, but that you'd rather solve things amicably.
In the long run, this works better if you're neutral/good, as in, you're neutral, but don't do evil, you just aren't interesting in advancing Good either. As long as the Planetar isn't really scandalized about the tasks you ask of it or the things you offer in return, you can develop a working relation.
And in the real long run, what you're after is perhaps not just the Planetar; after a few levels, you're more powerful than that. But a direct relation to an insider who can get your concerns into the ear of the movers and shakers of the upper planes, that could be very useful.
Another idea: once you know its True Name, if you advance the Planetar's political standing among the heavenly hosts, you're improving the power of your "ally". So don't automatically refuse to do useful favors to it that might advance its standing.
Then again, expect "conversations" with superior heavenly beings that are nonplussed about the hold you have over the Planetar. Be nice.
I just told the players this is one of those Videogame things that you need to accept and get on with. "This is what you get: two normal rounds, followed by one round interacting with puzzles/circles."
It's not horribly immersion-breaking to me, although you can sort of see someone's toes sticking out from under that curtain. Just move on and progress the encounter. Not worth trying to make a big thing out of it. Better to spend your time on scoring than talking about it. Clock is ticking.
Wouldn't you rather play faster and get to brag to other players about how your table got so many successes, than argue with the GM about the reasonableness of a different action split, while he's bound by what the scenario gives him?
(As a GM I was just biding my time until I could run the mercenary leaders with Earthquake as their opening move...)
Shift (Su): At 1st level, you can teleport to a nearby space as a swift action as if using dimension door. This movement does not provoke an attack of opportunity. You must be able to see the space that you are moving into. You cannot take other creatures with you when you use this ability (except for familiars). You can move 5 feet for every two wizard levels you possess (minimum 5 feet). You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Intelligence modifier.
Magical Knack wrote:
You were raised, either wholly or in part, by a magical creature, either after it found you abandoned in the woods or because your parents often left you in the care of a magical minion. This constant exposure to magic has made its mysteries easy for you to understand, even when you turn your mind to other devotions and tasks. Pick a class when you gain this trait—your caster level in that class gains a +2 trait bonus as long as this bonus doesn’t raise your caster level above your current Hit Dice.
Caster Level isn't the same as Wizard Level. The trait won't help your Shift power.
To be frank, I haven't run into many vampires in PFS. Vampires are classic long-term enemies, that tend to have layers of minions protecting them, and even if you beat a vampire in combat, you probably need to race to its coffin to finish it off. An enemy with that many twists and turns is quite difficult to write into a scenario intended to last 4 hours.
Then again, Horror Adventures is new and PFS tends to have a couple of scenarios featuring stuff from new hardcovers every season. So who knows...
I'm real glad I bought the first one. Getting lots of use. Maps with properly-illustrated height differences are a cut above what you can quickly do with a marker.
To put it differently: tactically relevant scenery is hard if you can't draw it in a way players understand. This map broadens the possibilities of encounters. (Yes, some people can draw it themselves, but I'm not that good...)
Thomas Hutchins wrote:
I think this will be important to our local scene. We don't buy a lot of game product these days, but the food and drinks do add up. Might have to involve buying each other drinks to "inoculate" and get a sufficiently large receipt from a single player though ;)
I suspect the least consistent explanation is correct: designers didn't mean to pin down Lesser Restoration potions in the same way that they do usually pin down Resist Energy potions.
In practice I'd say that any found potion without an explicit ability tag is "flexible". Does that mean players can buy flexible potions? I dunno. They appear on quite a few chronicle sheets...
Actually, I rarely see LR potions bought. Which is weird cuz the speedup is a real asset. Most of the time when I see LR consumables that people bought, it's partially charged wands. Money over speed? Flexibility over speed?
As for 15 minute adventuring day, that's something players do, not something the class forces players to do. PFS scenarios tend to be good at maintaining tempo, not giving players a chance to hit snooze and regain spells. Most of the time you have to do 3-4 encounters of meaningful CR per day. But after level 3 you rarely if ever really run out of spells.
Clubs are pretty lame weapons, and you'll always be behind someone who picked a better weapon and otherwise did all the same optimizations as you did.
But just because you're not as powerful as you possibly could, doesn't mean you're too weak to be viable or useful. Depending on what you're playing, the exact type of weapon is usually only a small part of your overall effectiveness.
For a magus, the difference between a club and a scimitar with a long crit range is enormous. For a 2H style barbarian with high strength who does [weapon]+12 at level 1 (strength 18, rage, power attack), the difference between a club and an earthbreaker is much less important.
Where it gets rough for a while is DR. Clubs tend to be nonmetallic, which means cold iron, silver and adamantine DR are a problem. At least until you get enchanted to +3/+4, but that's fairly expensive. Well-chosen Bane or Furious enchantments can provide a shortcut.
There's no true way to know, really. This is totally not the orthodox way to do it, so the normal rules for deriving the CR effects of adding levels don't apply.
If you take a monster with various abilities, switch out it's HD, and give it an equal amount of class levels along with all the class abilities, the monster is going to end up more powerful and versatile, so it's CR should go up up up.
It's better on classes that don't need to use a standard action to cast it. So, good for a magus, warpriest and bloodrager.
I guess. I couldn't get any mileage out of it as a bomber alchemist. It'll be interesting for my future magus though, I was gonna make that one different from the usual shocking grasp build anyway.
It's not a long-lasting spell, so you kind of need to cast it in combat, not before. Which means you're losing at least one standard action, on the hope that people will hit you with the right kind of weapons and not be resistant to acid. And not hit you too hard in the process. That's a lot of Ifs.
If it all works it's hilarious of course. But I've always been skeptical of spells and abilities that require enemies to hurt you first, because that's not actually something you should be allowing to happen. You'd have an ability that you were trying to prevent from triggering.
Caustic Blood is intense enough that it just might be worth it, but it's still rowing against the current.
So, now that I've done all that post-mortem, how would I construct a Special? Without diving too deep into story, here are structural components:
So I said I'd cover my experiences as a GM and player separately. That was a few days back, let me continue now. This one'll be shorter.
Well, some of the specials were intended to close off a season. Some were meant to kickstart the next one. And some both.
You can probably guess this just from the scenario blurbs...:
Year of the Shadow Lodge
Blood Under Absalom
Race for the Runecarved Key
Siege of the Diamond City
Siege of Serpents
The Cosmic Captive
In my home game I think I might handle manifestations in a way inspired by Scent;
Velcro Zipper wrote:
You're correct that it does that as written, but it's sooooo weird... I strongly suspect the idea of the spell was that it makes any water around you calm, not that it creates water out of nowhere. It's an abjuration spell, not conjuration (creation).
*fails saving throw, posts*
Can I try to summarize what we'd like an FAQ on this to sort out?
This is part of the irony of people moaning about "year of the skill check" which has been going on for a couple of years now.
Once upon a time scenarios were quite dumb and all you needed was to be a combat monster. People "learned" that dumping Intelligence was fine, it got put in a lot of build guides too.
You might even say, at that time 15 build points would have been enough, because scenarios were easier because they only challenge your PC on a few points instead of requiring more well-rounded abilities.
Then the scenario-writing style changed to include more challenges beyond combat. Which I think is good - there's a lot more to Indiana Jones than the fights - but everything people had learned about it being OK to dump Int became false. And it's very painful if the stuff you have learned ceases to be true. Unlearning things is hard.
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Good for you. Honestly.
It was one of the more heinous statblocks I've seen. In the end I decided as GM that I'd push my players away from it because I believed it would most likely push half of the table into a state where they'd be unable to play on, due to
being sent to another plane, petrified, have their souls eaten...
I like that the option was there, and that I didn't have to use it if it wasn't appropriate.
I'm glad I did get to run the special enemy towards the end;
The oni opened up with Earthquake, burying the entire party. It took three rounds before the PCs had rallied enough to even deal any damage to their enemies.
I really liked the room to scale challenge to group while running the high tier.
@Ravingdork: it goes like that every time some aspect of the rules that was previously vague gets nailed down; then suddenly it turns out that quite a few writers held other interpretations and got stuff published based on those (and often contradicting each other, too).
Just imagine trying to nail down what "wielding" means.
Maybe it'll be useful to look at specials from a GM and a player perspective separately, to identify problems and possible solutions.
Perhaps because the GMG chase mechanics weren't really popular. Part of that may be because they look like they were made in theory and published without a lot of testing. But also because if you apply them really rigidly they're both frustrating if you haven't got the exact skill required, and really immersion-breaking.
Modern chases have been much more flexible and also better about not leaving PCs behind against a barrier they're never going to be able to cross.
So there's the "Standard" way of generating ability scores:
CRB > Getting Started > Generating Ability Score wrote:
Standard: Roll 4d6, discard the lowest die result, and add the three remaining results together.
Vs. "Standard Fantasy" purchase of scores. Which are NOT equivalent.
And then there's the practice of 20pts which has become standardized through PFS.
That's a lot of different standards you can cling to.
Like any system with parameters, some value choices generate unpleasant or outright degenerate results, regardless of whether they're called a particular name like "standard". It's a matter of figuring out which values generate the nicest balance.
I think the best balance is probably around 20pts;
The games assumes 15 point buy, but most people I know use 20.
The game lists roll 4d6, drop lowest as it's base assumption, then goes on to suggest point buy as an alternative and guesses that 15 points is equivalent to 4d6 drop lowest.
But is that true? I'm assuming the following point cost for stats below 7: 6->-6, 5->-9, 4->-12, 3->-16, based on the way the point costs increase for high scores. If you then enumerate all possible results of 4d6_DL, multiply by 6 and average the results, you get the exact expected point value of rolling. Which is 18.8287037037.
So, rounded, that means rolling is worth 19 built points. You do risk more uneven (suboptimal) ability scores, on the other hand you're likely to get some rerolls for especially bad rolls.
So altogether, 20 points looks quite reasonable. It strikes a decent balance between MAD and SAD classes, and companions that don't roll for stats.
If the GM is green, he may have been deceived by the note in the CRB that "10 pts is low fantasy". In that case, take a moment to educate him. Explain the following:
- That there exist MAD and SAD classes. MAD classes suffer more from low point arrays.
The paradox of trying to achieve "low fantasy" with a 10pt buy is that you get more wizards, witches, clerics and summoners.
If that doesn't work, consider running away.
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
It's interesting that's how it came across to you. Unfortunate, too. In truth that's not how it works under the hood.
It's true that some routes were more brutal than others, but it was done the same at every tier. Regardless of what tier you were playing, if your table felt like challenging combat, go this way, and if you want to talk and tinker, go that other way. The same path was harder at every tier.
The successes earned were also worth the same at every tier; a L1 party can contribute just as much in the Earth path as a L10 party. Every encounter is worth the same amount of points if won.
There were a couple of "extra credit" encounters that were only available at one route and only intended for top-tier, but those were really HEAVY things. Quite likely to TPK-unrecoverable top-tier parties who attempt them. You get a big reward if you manage them, but it's not expected that you'll even try. We're talking CR 17 "eat your soul" monsters against a level 10-11 party; strictly optional.
I really liked the way The Cosmic Captive handled encounter difficulty; by letting tables choose their difficulty setting I was able to take a bunch of our local meta's notorious powergamers (bless their black little hearts) and give them a challenging run where it's okay to be that powerful because the enemies can match it. This was so much more fun to GM than Siege of Serpents where most enemies were defeated before getting a second turn. I really liked the room for the GM and table to adapt to a desired difficulty level.
More on improving specials later. This is a subject dear to my heart.
It's pretty clear it's supposed to be Less Than 20 for objects, like it's always been. The most straightforward defence against adamantine is adamantine (hardness 20).
As for creatures, it would also matter because creatures tend to gain hardness and DR in increments of 5. It's quite important to a DR 20 creature; either his ability is negated entirely or not at all.
Also, do we really need "different by 1 point" rule differences just to make everything more complicated?
I... really have trouble trying to make out what you mean here. Is it A or B?
A) Arcane Spell Failure only affects arcane spellcasting.
I'm pretty sure A is the correct interpretation;
CRB > Equipment wrote:
Psychic and divine casters don't need a specific exemption, because it only ever applies to arcane casters.