Take away the caster's certainty about how many encounters per day. Instead of taking days to do the dungeon, room by room, give them time pressure; they've got to do it in one go, otherwise...
When the players aren't certain how many rooms/combats there'll be in the dungeon, and if they can stretch a buff spell between two encounters, casters need to be much more stingy with the amount of spells. A few spells to turn the encounter in the right direction, but they can't afford to dominate the entire encounter, because then they might be out of juice in the next combat.
Very evil: decoy BBEGs. An enemy appears that looks like it might be the BBEG, the casters unload their alpha spells, and then it turns out he was only the sub-boss. Do it once or twice and the casters will not be so quick to unload in the first round of combat.
That's funny, I'm actually gonna run the negotiations between the party and a Dirge Bard tomorrow. The bard is a half-villain; obsessed with learning the secrets of a past civilization. So he breaks into tombs, and tries to use Fox's Cunning to re-awaken the intellect of undead residents so that he can question them. But he's also discovered that he can gain power from eating humanoid flesh, and he's gathered a large posse of ghouls and festrogs; they see him as kin and good at leading them to feasts.
Orfamay Quest wrote:
That's pushing my argument rather beyond my original meaning, particularly the Ready Action.
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Huh? How do you figure that? You're expecting PC1 to go blind during his own turn? That's a pretty niche case.
Otherwise, I don't see the problem;
If PC1 got hit with blindness by the other people, PC2 is already in position to help him without any further delay required. It's only a problem in the rare case where PC1 goes blind in his own turn.
Delaying doesn't necessarily cost you an action. Often a couple of PCs end up back to back in the initiative order, so if the first one delays until just after the second one, no actions are lost. But if that means PC1 is now benefiting from PC2's buff spell before making his attack, something was gained.
There are quite a few situations where this might come up;
The general theme here is, that you're waiting on a PC that's after you, but before the relevant enemy's turn; so you're not really losing any actions, but improving the ones you do take.
It's funny that players often get really panicky when you mention that Delaying will alter their Initiative count - the number doesn't matter, it's only your relative position in the sequence that matters.
Yeah, if you want to make items feel more special (which many people want), I think items intelligent (with opinions and stories) could go a long way.
Turning the slot system on its head, allowing the concentration of many powers in one item, but discouraging having many items, could also help.
Note that in my proposal, it's still possible to find items way beyond your own level - like the staff used by an archmage, that's going to be a powerful (and possibly opinionated) item.
I suspect that some of them thought that Charisma was a free dumpstat during CharGen, while all of a sudden it does a little bit more. However, they were kind of fooling themselves with that; if people had been planning to take the Leadership feat the same situation would've come up when calculating Leadership score.
If you implemented fame/honor now, as base starting numbers, then the Charisma might show up as a hefty influence; having 18 vs 8 feels like a lot. But if you also give people some more fame/honor for past adventures, then the difference might be 38/28, and that's not quite as hefty anymore. You could offer that as a compromise.
Depends on the honor code. And if people are choosing wildly different honor codes, is this merely exposing some hidden conflict between the characters? Also, are those codes really all that contradictory?
They've got more options, and might to better on the checks. But they've got an equal amount of time on their hands.
This is certainly true. Are your players interested in actual adventuring, or in "kingdom building" as well?
I think retraining is a great thing, and something PF needed dearly. It's much nicer to RP taking whatever class/feat/power is currently sensible to take, rather than having to worry about build prerequisites five levels along the road. Retraining allows you to live in the now without suffering for it later, because you can retrain towards the build that'll be fun then.
Notice also the teaching requirements: finding a level 2 druid to retrain a level into Druid 2 is easy, but finding a level 13 wizard to retrain a level into Wizard 13 may be harder.
Overall, I think your players might just be experiencing culture shock - they might like the options if given some time to get used to them, but they're a bit overwhelmed. Retraining certainly kicks over some old assumptions, and honor/fame do too. Maybe you need to let them read the book, let the new stuff sink in a bit, and then discuss adoption again.
The other part is that you should talk with them to figure out how much of the "building your own organization" part they like; do they want to do that actively and in detail, or is it more of a backdrop to legitimize going on adventures?
Petty Alchemy wrote:
An idea I've picked up from someone on this forum, is to link it to Weapon Training. When you gain Weapon Training, all weapon-specific feats you possess that apply to one weapon in that group, now apply to all weapons in that group.
Doesn't really solve the problem for rangers, barbarians and paladins, but on the other hand, they already have class abilities they can apply to all weapons (favored enemy, rage, smite) while the fighter tends to specialize in feats; and those feats should be just a little broader. I'm thinking this house rule might be just enough for that.
@Coriat: that's a pretty cool expose. You make a convincing point that emphasizing the importance of a magic weapon isn't wrong - but I don't think it should always be the case.
For example, when playing a monk, it's annoying that when playing a class that looks like it should not be interested in equipment at all, it is actually at least as needy as other classes.
Blueluck's idea sounds exciting. Sure, it's metagamey, but I agree that WBL was already kind of metagamey. All those adventurers looking to make a fortune, but when they do, instead of enjoying it, they invest it into more gear because the players know there's bigger stuff yet to come.
I think the biggest thing I dislike about WBL is how poorly it works if the PCs get their hands on vast wealth, like the finances of a kingdom. Sure, there may be an uprising when people figure out they've diverted the entire treasury and fiscal year into their pockets, but with the power they can get from it, they'll be like gods. Likewise, WBL groans if one (but not all!) of the PCs should set up a lucrative business.
Divorcing magic items from WBL makes you freeer as the GM to go to extremes of wealth and poverty.
I've been pondering my own take on magic items, which would work roughly like this:
1) consumable items not changed; those are basically a single spell stored for later consumption.
Point 3 implies that carrying lots of different items means spreading the item XP widely, instead of advancing one item thoroughly.
Point 3 also means that family heirlooms will tend to be more powerful than newly made items, but point 2 also means that looting magic items from enemies entails some risks; is your will stronger than the will of (The One Ring, The Palantir)?
Point 2 and 3 would also tend to guarantee that any significantly powerful magic item would have lots of history associated with it, and that the relics of powerful heroes would be much sought-after.
Point 2 also gives you good motive to destroy some items because they're just too aligned.
I'm hoping for an opportunity to try the following:
1) there are no ability-enhancing items.
Things I like about this:
MtG colors each have multiple things in their portfolio, and there's some overlap or outright stealing from other colours *coughbluecough*, so any attempt at a precise analogy is doomed. That being said;
I would describe white as "damage control": stopping and preventing status effects that would hinder your action economy. This is mostly a clerical job, with both healing (which prevents being disabled by hit point loss), Freedom of Movement (not moving is baaaaaad for your action economy) and by curing conditions such as Blinded that would make most of your actions worthless.
Another aspect of White might me making your PCs immune to certain things the enemies might do, therefore reducing the scope of useful actions they can choose from. Resist Energy and Death Ward can turn a hard encounter into an easy one; some creatures have only one attack available. But having a really high AC also fits here.
I've always had a soft spot for a Swashbuckler style of play; hero gets captured and his gear taken, he picks the lock on his handcuffs, beats the guard on the back of the head and takes the guard's sabre. And then proceeds to rescue people.
Yes, he's using tools; I don't object to that. But he's not dependent on having his own tools - he can pick up whatever he finds and be just as effective.
Now contrast to PF: your own magic weapons are so far superior to random weapons taken from a guard, that losing equipment is on the level of ability drain. And feats like Weapon Focus/Specialization lock you in to certain weapons.
Also, monks, druids; classes that are supposed to be nonmaterialist, that don't need to clutter their lives with possessions; but can you really ask them to ignore that vast power?
So I guess I'm gonna do some reading on that ascetic PF article and on Iron Heroes :)
I've always thought the Golf Bag was a good, flavourful thing. Like the way an experienced monster hunter would use a different weapon to hunt vampires than he would use against werewolves.
If anything needs to change, it's the feats that encourage you to try to put all your specialization into one weapon only.
Manufacturing mundane items isn't as much of a power-economic problem because the mundane craft rules happen to be broken; it takes FOREVER to make mundane items of any real value.
If your craft Take 10 is 30, and you make a DC 30 item, then your weekly production is 30 X 30 X (0.5 sale price - 0.33 materials = 0.17) = 153 silver pieces. At full sale value, 30 X 30 X 0.33 = 297 silver pieces. Per week.
If you can sell magic items for full value but craft for half, then your weekly output is 2000 (hurried crafting) X 7 (days) X 0.5 (materials) = 7000 gold pieces per week.
You should be wary of the bender/nonbender disparity. It's something that's actually mentioned a lot in both series - Soka has a tough time finding ways to be awesome amidst all the benders.
And while this is not so much a problem for animated characters, for PCs it matters a lot more that every player feels relevant and important.
The crafting rules aren't very difficult actually, but they do have a big problem. It basically goes like this:
1) take the item's GP price and multiply by 10. This is your Target.
The problem with this system is that items with really easy DCs actually take more time to make than items with a high DC (that you can actually succeed on), and that expensive items, no matter how trivial, can take FOREVER to make.
There's a good 3rd-party pamphlet that fixes this though, written by Spes Magna games: Making Crafts Work. It costs about $1. I highly recommend it; their solution is simple and effective.
I just noticed that there's no half-aberrant template or PC race... or there is?
Not that I know of. Aberrations aren't all one of a kind, they're more a lump category of all the things that were to weird to fit in the other categories - the stuff nature doesn't want.
Nagas are quite different from mind flayers are quite different from beholders are quite different from flumphs.
I think you need more than one template, separate templates for all of these alien species. That said, I wouldn't mind having a few of those.
Wildshape works like Beast Shape, which gives you a natural armor bonus. Barkskin gives an enhancement bonus to the natural armor bonus. Those are different types of bonuses, so they stack. Enjoy :)
Note that Barkskin won't stack with a lot of other things, such as the Amulet of Natural Armor (which is actually powered by a Barkskin spell prerequisite, duh).
Yeah, I think it's just a bad corner of the game design. They're supposed to be bad, but they're actually better than regular items, especially if you look at the prices of "good" items that might turn out cursed.
Is it cool to have cursed items in the game now and then? Yes.
Is the current game system to generate cursed items good? No. The Take 10 system and the low-ish item creation DCs basically guarantee that they're not going to happen unless someone is monumentally stupid.
Are the cursed items as currently listed a good idea? No.
I'd rather go with cursed items that do something right, like a cursed weapon being quite effective; but also having dangerous side effects. Maybe a creator reached beyond his grasp and basically the item is lacking safety protocols, so it does a little more than it's supposed to.
Downsides could be stuff like a weapon also causing bloodlust and a tendency to respond violently to (near) instances of friendly fire; like attacking the wizard because the fireball landed a bit too close and you don't like that.
Or downsides could be very slow to manifest, a creeping corruption.
But the current cursed items are mostly booby traps, that tend to have mostly bad effects and quickly, so they can be weaponized; and the saving throws and such against their effects are too hard (if the exist at all) compared to actual weapons.
You get a cursed item if you fail by more than 5, and you can artificially jack up the difficulty by increasing the item's caster level.
As for delivery, a summoned creature will also do the trick. Or an Unseen Servant.
The point is, many cursed items have completely disproportionate saving throw DCs if they even allow saving throws at all. They'd be totally unbalanced if you could make them on purpose. They don't have a listed market price, but if you could buy them you might, because they're really powerful. I'd say that assassins would want a Scarab of Death for example; slip it in someone's pocket and one minute later it eats his heart unless he makes a DC 25 reflex save. That's pretty rough.
I think it's a side effect of porting them over from 2nd edition; 2nd edition spells were also written as if only players were using them, never monsters against the players; and therefore they had ridiculously heavy-handed effects. Just the same, cursed items are written as if they're supposed to be used against PCs, never used by them.
Well, a +13 DC because the GM misunderstood a rule, and then rules that you can't possibly succeed - that's pretty relevant.
If the market will swallow random magic item crap dredged up from dungeons, it'll also swallow magic items specifically crafted to meet current demand - logically, an "adventurer" manufacturing magic items would actually match the market's demands much better than shaking down a random dungeon would.
So if you sell found magic items for full value, crafting should also be for full value to prevent magic money making. In which case the crafting feat's real value is in guaranteeing you access to the item you want, rather than the vagaries of what's currently available and within a settlement's purchase limits.
I think we're overlooking an interesting concept here. For those who've played Magic the Gathering, this should sound more familiar. Let's start with a basic formula for success:
[our # of actions] X [effectiveness of our actions] > [their # of actions] X [effectiveness of their actions]
Altering any of these variables in your favor will improve the overall result; not just increasing our own action count.
Now, the various Magic colors would each tend to fiddle with different variables in this equation;
* "Red" would be increasing your action count; Hasting the barbarian to attack more often.
But there's also the "unsportsmanlike" approach:
* "Black" debuffs enemies and makes them weaker with for example Enervation, reducing all of an enemy's attack rolls.
Since the topic of the thread is on action advantage, I'll focus on the Blue stratagem. Rather than focussing on adding more actions to your own, instead try to reduce their actions or making their actions less useful.
An example would be to try kiting; if your (mounted) archer moves fast enough to evade enemies with a single move, he could move and shoot every round while enemies rarely get to make an attack. This is quite different from the conventional strategy where the whole party engages in all-out assault; it may take ten times as many combat rounds, but at a lower risk and at a lower resource rate. The big issue with this stratagem is that all PCs and players need to be on board with it; a barbarian going full-frontal doesn't do this all that well. It might be a way for rogues to do much better though, if they can spend minutes or hours harrying an opponent, making surprise sneak attacks every time one of the opponents steps out of formation, after which the rogue hides again.
More conventionally, tripping is a good example; it'll break an opponent's full attack routine unless he's willing to stay on the ground. It'll certainly slow his speed.
@Orfamay: while I agree with most of your comments, I think you don't give Bull Rush enough credit. It's hard to know beforehand how you'll be using it, but in dungeons with pits, lava flows, narrow ledges, rope bridges and all that, or Create Pit, Stinking Cloud and Black Tentacle spells, it's got all sorts of ad-hoc applications. I think that Bull Rush is one of those maneuvers you're often wishing you had during the actual game, but when making a character you can't foresee those circumstances.
No, you quoted a passage about scrolls/wands/potions, which have a specific rule. But you should look at the general rules for crafting magic items, because those are the ones that apply to belts:
While item creation costs are handled in detail below, note that normally the two primary factors are the caster level of the creator and the level of the spell or spells put into the item. A creator can create an item at a lower caster level than her own, but never lower than the minimum level needed to cast the needed spell. Using metamagic feats, a caster can place spells in items at a higher level than normal.
At some point my druid was sitting on way-above WBL cash, and I was looking to see what I could make. It turns out that the spellcraft check is not always guaranteed for non-Intelligence casters making above-WBL stuff.
Anyway. By the time you get CWI, you'll have 3-5 ranks in Spellcraft, which is more theoretical skill than most people pick up during their lifetime. You've also gotten a feat invested, which suggests significant professional knowledge. So a crafter has a good idea of how good he is. He's also got some idea of how hard it is to do what he's trying to do, what prerequisites he's missing, a feeling of the CL he's going for and so forth.
In fact, CL being more or less up to the crafter, a crafter could say "... and finally, I'll put in as much spare power as I'm comfortable with", making it an even Take 10-able DC.
You have to be in a comfortable, calm area to Craft. In fact, the necessary conditions for Crafting are basically the conditions necessary to Take 10.
And this isn't the only one. Take a look at Sleight of Hand + Scarab of Death, or the Mace of Blood tied to a captured paladin, or the Robe of Powerlessness as a way of weakening prisoners (they all get to wear it for a minute, but that's enough to enfeeble nearly anyone).
Regarding cursed items. This is bad design and you would do well to just tear out those pages from your book and burn them.
So this is basically a nuke. On a successful save the victims are at least 4 rounds stunned. Don't care who you are, you're dead.
How shall we make this? Let's take an incompetent CWI wizard, and ask him to make Dust of Tracelessness (he doesn't have the Pass Without Trace spell so +5 DC). Just to make it worse we'll keep him drunk most of the time to further lower his Intelligence and make sure he fails the Spellcraft check. We'll ask him to give it caster level 20 just to make sure he fails the Spellcraft check at more than 5 even if he Takes 10.
So now we've spent 125 gold to make this allegedly "cursed" weapon and we're ready to commit war crimes.
I'm not saying the current magic item system is exciting; it isn't. But please don't be fooled into the whole cursed items part, because that's far worse.
Magic items are meant to be created off-screen; it's not exciting, it's just shopping. It should be routine, shouldn't go wrong, and we should be getting on with the real adventure as soon as possible.
I think some of you are way overstating how much people will realize their feelings weren't natural.
People tend to believe they're in control of themselves. That they're not total dupes, easily influenced by everyone. That while they may be following orders, their bosses haven't broken their mind.
People will go quite for to rationalize why they did what they did, and that they were in control doing it. That's the basis of a lot of unhealthy relationships ("No, I'm really not unhappy, he's just having a hard time, he's not abusing me") and lots of confidence games.
And in fact, do you personally know people who tend to believe that their desires are not under their control? Probably you think they're not very healthy - addicts, paranoids and religious nutcases. Because it's pretty hard to live a normal life if you're not firmly convinced that you have some form of self-control.
If this guard suddenly pipes up "but he mind-controlled me!", how many times is that going to happen before the warden decides he's had it with people who blame everything on mind control and hires actual responsible people?
Mind control is revolting precisely because it shakes people's fundamental assumptions about themselves. People go far to deny they've been duped, but if faced with indisputable proof, they feel violated.
Also, people often feel ashamed. Not being in control makes you weak and undependable. People often don't report being conned because they're ashamed.
So, with good Bluff and Diplomacy, you might be able to convince people that what they were doing was really their own idea. Yes, you need to come up with a convincing lie about what you were doing with the weird gestures, but after that if you don't do too weird stuff, people will often put up with it.
Finding out that someone was subject of mind control would actually take serious interrogation and investigation work.
CRB FAQ wrote:
So why didn't the witch? Anyone who's going to spend thousands of GP on a magic item should be playing it safe.
Then, the DC of the item: 5 (base) + 3 (minimum CL) + 15 (three missing prerequisites) = DC 23.
Let's say a level 5 Witch (assuming normal Leadership score for a level 7 character) with Intelligence 16, and Spellcraft 5: 3 (int) + 3 (class) + 5 (ranks) = +11. So Take 10 isn't going to cut it. Although when Taking 10 she's guaranteed never to create a cursed item, either.
But we're talking about someone seriously trained in this job (having Spellcraft 5 and CWI would qualify is a trained professional) so they'd know that this isn't something they can do through routine. So the witch should have piped up that she needs a bit of help. She needs to get a +2 from somewhere.
She could hire another spellcaster to cast the spell once per day, since the item creation rules permit this.
Note that all items have prerequisites in their descriptions. These prerequisites must be met for the item to be created. Most of the time, they take the form of spells that must be known by the item's creator (although access through another magic item or spellcaster is allowed).
Now she's got the DC down to 18 and with Take 10, success is guaranteed.
Yeah, you screwed your player. His cohort was "unable", under false rule assumptions to make the item. And you knew that, and concealed it from a player, punishing him for having less rules knowledge.
Regarding cursed items: they're a vestigial, antiquated remnant from the distant past. Most of them are horribly broken. I strongly feel that players should not even be able to make them, because most of them are the equivalent of a tactical nuke; inflicting horrible conditions with no saving throw. If you've got an incompetent cohort you might force him to botch regular items just to mine for cursed items. This is bizarrely abusable.
I think Criik's advice is actually among the best. I've seen a lot of times that mediocre melee fighters will hog the flanking positions (leaving no spot for the rogue to get SA), block the charging lanes (delaying the fighter from joining the melee for another round) and place themselves so that the wizard's AoE spell would hit them.
When you're talking about getting action advantage, I think that avoiding such mistakes is a crucial step.
Coaching people to understand how Delay and Ready work is crucial. I've seen people get all panicky at the thought of lowering their initiative order, because they think it's a huge disadvantage. Understanding that you're giving up just a little bit of speed to maybe get a much better position, let other people get out of the way, or to receive a buff, is really worth waiting for.
Getting more actions through haste is obvious. Getting it through teamwork is trickier but more important; you can profit from it 4 levels sooner!
Yeah, I think you have that mixed up--since this is a bad advice thread, the bad advice is that Vital Strike is ever worth taking for anyone that isn't able to take the form of creature with a huge natural attack, like a T-Rex or that weird megafauna rhino thing whose damage is probably a typo.
It's not a typo, it's the normal damage but doubled, because it's got two horns.