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I rather like Drogon's idea. I think it could work, especially for the "after work" crowd.
I also think these shorter by design adventures give an opportunity to write slightly different combats. They'll tend to 15-minute workdays, which can shift which classes work well.
I've noticed that Ezren is perfectly effective in the quest format for example, bringing a lot of strong skills. His relatively few prepared spells aren't such a problem given the short workday.
The same holds for quests with actual PCs instead of pregens; low level tends to be a bit dreary for casters that need to divide a handful of spells among four encounters. With the number of encounters halved, they can cut loose a bit more.
Seen from another perspective: since PCs expect to go nova in quests, you can write the combats with novas in mind. (Although, carefully; beware of newbie-friendliness and fragile L1 PCs as well.)
It's a different genre with different possibilities and challenges.
Now and then - and sometimes quite often - bad guys have poor tactics so that the scenario can use an above-average nasty monster while giving the PCs a sporting chance.
Before deviating from "invalidated" tactics, it's very important to look at the scenario to see if this is one of those scenarios; then if you still need to deviate, you know you should be softballing your deviation.
Andrew Christian wrote:
I think the story should be devoid of faction and seasonal meta plot stuff, so that 7 years from now it still is a viable story.
That's the big puzzle isn't it? How to do something that is truly about the society, while not being about the society as it happens to be in this season?
Jack Brown wrote:
I think this is a nice idea actually. At least for the Sovereign Court, eventually there's going to have to be a story arc where they go from gathering pawns to making a play with them...
I think that's a cool story to read, but I think it might be really hard to turn into a good scenario for playing.
To make all the necessary things happen would require some serious railroading - stopping the high-level PCs from spotting the threat earlier in any of a dozen ways, keeping them from trying entirely different things to fix things.
It's going to be a b%&h to choose my sacrificial offering once I finally get to play this. I remember running Rebel's Ransom way back when, turning two characters to dust in the process, and then wringing my mitts over what to pick once the scenario was on offer next Ropecon. Ended up not metagaming and boy did we take a beating.
Between the earlier faerie assault and Henbane waiting in the room, this scenario is looking like the demon lovechild of the Sanos Abduction and My Enemy's Enemy.
That said, I rather enjoyed running the first of those, twice so far, with no casualties but players sufficiently nervous about it.
And I just noticed one of our VLs has signed up for my table as a level 70 bard, so I guess it's gonna be high tier :P
I think another explanation is that some boons are so specific that there are a lot of niche boons floating around that will only benefit a small % of characters, so it makes perfect sense to trade them.
I think there's a very, very wide range between sorely underpowered and too powerful to be fun. There's a lot of room for "well-built" and "can still cope" characters.
And any single scenario is a bad test of that, since difficulty can be quite swingy. And there's environmental effects, too (luck of the dice, group synergy, hangovers).
I was hoping to get the chance to try that during my second playthrough, but it didn't work out that way. Instead I used a longspear and a swarmbane clasp to "investigate" its HP.
I usually buy adamantine weapons so I'm not that worried about the golem. But the swarmbane clasp's big virtue is indeed "unchaining" the martial PCs.
Swarms tend to provoke a lot of AoOs from moving through your square, and then you're in a position to full-attack. Meanwhile, at higher levels they start to carry fairly vicious rider effects on their swarm damage.
Swarms' touch AC tends to be 17 and up. Getting in that alchemist's fire hit isn't a sure thing for half the party. But if the barbarian can full-attack the swarm it'll be dead in 1-2 rounds.
I do like the idea of quests as short adventures, ideal to fill in a long break or another adventure that ran unexpectedly short. With that in mind, I'm throwing the following idea out there:
- Quests with one or more subtiers. Probably one subtier of no more than three levels wide is most practical.
For example, if you had a L1-3 arc, and you were at 8 XP, you could cash it in, gaining 1 XP and going to L4. If you instead played something else and reached 9XP, you'd also have to cash it in, again for 1 XP.
So, you could play these quest arcs interleaved with your regular scenarios, allowing you to pick up some gameplay in odd time slots, with your own PCs and without awkward scheduling.
I've toyed with the quests a bit now, but one stumbling block for me is actually completing a quest suite. I don't like getting "locked down" halfway into Phantom Phenomena or Silverhex without knowing whether I'll get an opportunity too complete it, or if I should cut my losses and play the PC in the next regular scenario.
I've seen it go both ways, many times either way.
If you completely trivialize the challenges of a scenario, well, anticlimax can be disappointing. If the GM was looking forward to providing stimulating challenge and the NPC never ever got to show off his cool thing, expect some cold looks.
On the other hand, if it's a hard scenario and you need to pull out all the stops to keep people alive and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, people will cheer you on. When I sit down down with a notably bloodthirsty GM and one of my fellow powergamers pulls out one of his creations, I breathe a sigh of relief because I'm sure we'll eventually make it out okay.
And of course, the same character can be "just right" in one scenario and "way over the top" in the next. If you're worried though, I think it's safer to aim for PCs that can survive punishment than for PCs that destroy BBEGs before the BBEG even gets to show off.
Finally, I refer you to panel 7 of Heaven.
If you follow her tactics and use her buffs in the order they specify, you don't get a chance to bane until like round three.
I'm looking for this but not seeing it. All I see is that she animates an object at the beginning of combat.
What else is she supposed to do before engaging on banefest?
I'm prepping to run this in two weeks for an audience I don't want to let down. I think I understand most of it. If you know what you're looking for, it's sort of there.
1) "Alternate" means doing blue-red-blue-red etc.
The colours on the lines are also a hint about using the portals of the correct colour.
However, my question is this: is there any way for the PCs to know which portals go up and down, without trying the portals? Are they supposed to try each portal on each floor until they've found the vertical ones on that floor?
I think this is an unrealistic proposal. I don't believe that Paizo has adhered to a single standard in writing flavour text for feats; in quite a few cases the flavour text is important in distinguishing exactly what a feat is supposed to do or how it is meant to be read. And in others it really is just fluff.
So if you tried to lay down a single standard on all existing feats, some would adhere while others wouldn't. You'd have to go through all existing feats with a fine-toothed comb to see if they changed because of this FAQ.
Pathfinder's rules language isn't as tight as that of Magic the Gathering. I don't think anyone's rules language is that tight. Maybe some other card games; it's both easier and more urgently needed if you have "units" with less room for text on them.
Pathfinder is mostly written in natural English, not a sort of formal language that looks a lot like English (like MtG). You have to be ready to cope with some ambiguity.
@Quintin: because the Investigator was overpowering the Alchemist?
It's true that most if not all the ACG classes are competitive. So are most of the APG classes, the few from UC and UM. And most of the CRB classes. It's just a handful of CRB classes lagging behind and has been for years.
The Investigator in particular is not a super-powered class. It functions well enough at its job but it's one of the hardest to optimize to the point that it starts to look competitive compared to more regular classes. In our current meta, I think I'm the only one who's stuck with it beyond level 2.
Investigators use the same kind of magic as Alchemists, who are clearly a more extreme class. No explanation was ever given for why Investigators couldn't use wands while Alchemists could. It's not for balance reasons, and no flavor reason is given.
I don't want to insult people, but "stupid" does actually sound like a good description for that decision. If any actual reason had been given for why Investigators shouldn't have wands, that would've been different. Now I find it a bad decision taken in a bad way.
Interesting, but a lot of the questions sound like you've already made up your mind about your PC.
"Do you wear heavy armor" for example might not be the first thing you decide upon. I might decide to wear a heavy armor if it turns out my selected class is good at it, but it won't guide my choice of class (this time). Offering a choice such as "which is more important: speed or defence?" might be more revealing.
I would like to add that I think the current rule for scenarios should not be changed. IMO there are no big downsides to the current rule and it has many benefits. Among which are:
- Players can use pregens to try out new classes (which is even explicitly mentioned as one of their uses in the Guide).
The only things I'd like to see changed are:
Andrew Christian wrote:
You're going to have to dig up that link to convince me, because here is a link to a post of Mike saying the opposite:
Michael Brock wrote:
Since they are boon races now, I think it would be interesting if a boon allowed you to be a Gnome Aasimar (or whatever non-human base), but it is what it is.
There's something to be said for this.
That said, getting all the upsides of being small (to-hit, AC and stealth bonuses) without most of the traditional downsides (20ft speed, Strength penalty) should be looked at too. Probably if you just add the movement penalty it'll be balanced enough (compare Wayang).
EDIT: that's something that can be taken into account on a boon sheet.
John Compton wrote:
This is good to hear. You of course know whether playing 6-98/99 before these scenarios is important. I only have the scenario blurb to go on, which sounds to me like it's important.
Michael Eshleman wrote:
That may be true, although the special armies are also more powerful. I think if you can avoid all the enemies banding together, the greater power of the special armies may trump the increase in enemies.
More importantly, even if it's not strictly an advantage, I don't think it's enough extra enemies to be a disadvantage. You might not be more powerful, but you're also not weaker for fielding a special army; and you get to play with much cooler toys, which you earned.
Content in "Trouble in Tamran" also ties into a special metaplot element from Pathfinder Society Special #6–98: Serpents Rise. Players who have completed that special event are encouraged to bring its Chronicle sheet when playing this adventure.
Content in "The Blakros Connection" also ties into a special metaplot element from Pathfinder Society Special #6-98: Serpents Rise. Players who have completed that special event are encouraged to bring its Chronicle sheet when playing this adventure.
I recently played Assault on the Wound and rather enjoyed seeing all the stuff collected throughout Season 5 coming back to help me.
I'm also fine with the idea of exclusive scenarios. I've played a couple now and liked some more than others; some felt sufficiently "special" to merit the treatment. Others seemed pretty normal except for the exclusivity.
However, I fear the combination of "you should have played X before" and "only some people can run X" is an awkward one.
- The handful of GMs that can run Serpent's Rise may face a queue of people strongly requesting that particular scenario over other scenarios. Even if the GM would prefer a bit more diversity, or just something he/she hasn't got credit for yet. Stars have their limits too...
- Will people who didn't get to play Serpent's Rise, be really disappointed about what they're missing when they play these scenarios?
- Will it cause difficulties scheduling games if players are trying to delay playing these scenarios until they can play Serpents Rise?
- After GenCon I was told that you really shouldn't play Serpents Rise until you've played Siege of Serpents. Isn't the chain of scenario dependencies getting a bit long?