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I think the current system of "precious replay" is pretty decent.
"Precious" because of limited star replays, means you'll be saving them up for scenarios you'll really relish replaying. I think that prevents the grind Drogon warns about.
Re-GMing is an interesting issue. On the one hand, thoroughly preparing a scenario is a serious investment (money, props, time, effort), and running a scenario more than once can make you better at it.
On the other hand, I've occasionally been frustrated when one GM "hogs" a scenario even without credit, running it so often that everyone's played it, and I have a hard time finding people to run it for credit myself.
For irregular stuff like forests, printing is far superior to drawing, because that's really a pain.
For more regular stuff like dungeons, drawing isn't too hard.
The ruler and compass are big friends to make stuff come out neatly.
I understand the issue, but I don't think it is really an issue. She has a legal source for the weapon in question. Just as long as that weapon's most recent stats are used, it's all fine.
This gets brought up now and then, and I'd like to know.
Is there actually a written rule somewhere that says that you use the most recent version? Or is this "common sense" that's imported because it's normal in a lot of other games?
Thing is, you're supposed to bring a text as both 1) proof of ownership, and 2) as rules source. Now suppose your text is older but still legal according to Additional Resources. But you don't own the newer version. How are you supposed to do that then? You can't be asked to bring a text you don't own, and according to AR the old source is sufficient.
Your point 1 doesn't need to apply to watermarked PDFs, since you're already allowed to use printouts of those. So that's good news.
Apart from that, I would probably also require your name to be signed in the book, so that the same book can't be used by multiple people to get a sign-off. It's a bit petty but if you want any chance of getting this idea accepted, it's probably necessary. Side benefit: if you lose your book people know who to contact if they find it.
I prefer to have no more than three teams of enemies, to reduce confusion on my part. So I do group them in initiative, particularly mooks. But then I execute their turns separately.
Side note: interleaving sounds like the term for a GM doing this the correct way; compare to interleaving the context of database transactions. When enemies start using readied actions to work together, interleaving is exactly the right term.
I think the "playing WAY up" method is the most lucrative, but also risky. It works like this:
You play a character that falls into the low tier for the scenario, but due to the math involved, the party ends up playing high tier. So now you earn out of tier gold, which is higher than what you'd normally get.
For example, suppose you're level 4 and you're playing a 3-7 adventure which ends up being played at high tier (6-7). Now you earn out of subtier gold (say, 2,248 gp), which is meant for level 5 characters. That's significantly more than your in-tier reward, which is the average between a L3 and L4 award (1,280gp).
Another method is using modules. Modules have only one tier, and three allowed levels. For example, Masks of the Living God is a level 2-4 module. It's gold reward is typical for three L3 adventures (because modules count as three adventures). If you played it at L2, you'd be earning more than you'd be earning in a 1-3 module.
A variant of this is credit for APs. If the chronicle sheet for an AP has a level range of X-1 to X+1, it's got a gold reward normal for level X. So if you attach it to a level X-1 character, you're getting ahead. Without the risk!
The flip side is danger. Playing up so far is a lot more dangerous than playing in-tier. You may be relying on other people to basically do the heavy lifting, or you might be using some OP build. Or, perhaps you're contributing decently, but from the rear. It's a lot easier to play up as a caster or archer, than as a frontline warrior.
I encourage you not to make a character that is "carried". It's not a lot of fun to play, and it's not fair towards the other players. If you can come up with a character that makes a significant contribution from the back row though, that's much more acceptable.
A final option is to be super picky in what you play. The way gold rewards are treated, at any level, there is an optimal set of scenarios to play (money-wise).
The gold reward for a two-level tier is the average between the gold rewards of those levels. So if you're currently the low level of those two, it's above-normal. If you're on the high level of the tier, it's below-normal.
So in an X/X+4 adventure, try to avoid bringing an X+1 or X+4 character. Try to bring an X+2 character (normal) or preferably X or X+3 (above-normal).
The problem with this strategy is that some scenarios actually have abnormal gold awards. This is more common in seasons 0-3; after that more controls were put in place to prevent this. I know of at least one scenario that at lowest tier is at 150% normal treasure, and there's another 1-5 scenario for which the high tier receives 3-4th level gold instead of 4-5th.
In the end, you may find that the practical issues of scheduling exactly the optimal adventure at the optimal moment, are far too much hassle. At some point you're no longer playing the game, but only playing towards the game.
Personally, I do team up similar monsters and roll initiative for them all at once. But then I do execute them one by one, so that any interplay of readied actions/flanks is transparent to everyone.
I do think executing these things serially matters. It reduces the odds of mistakes, and it also reduces the perception of the players that such mistakes are being made (even if the GM is doing everything correctly). A GM who's being mysterious about how the monsters do what they do, doesn't increase trust.
Also, a player might want to do something between the actions of monster #1 and #2, like use an AoO or Immediate ability to change the situation.
Sometimes you want to do something like delay until one of the enemies has acted, but before the others do. Maybe you want to corner the enemy that moved into the room first. That's not possible if the GM is grouping enemies together too rigidly.
So I'll use teams as a convenience, but I'm willing to split them up if that becomes desirable.
Our specials have been 5-9 tables so far, so someone stepping over to fix a nasty condition has been an acceptable though uncommon event. I think it happens once or twice per special at most.
At some point it seemed like we were going to join a table that hadn't finished a combat yet, but that idea made everyone uneasy and it didn't happen in the end. Which is good, I think.
When we play specials this usually happens 1-2 times, because some scenes do take place with all tables of PCs in the same area. Typically, this only happens for buffs, never for area attacks by enemies that might also hit other (lower-level!) tables. Environment-altering stuff like someone blowing a hole in the wall as an exit is also sometimes communicated to other tables.
It's usually stuff like Bless, Channel Energy or Bardic Performance. In the case of Performance it's also kind of expected that the bard player actually gives a speech or something like that.
I've been pondering making a Churchill-esque bard for those things. It would be kinda cool to deliver speeches like that and there. But you have to really be up to it as a player. You have to make an impression.
I think this is a decent versatile character. You come to a table and check out what everyone else is playing.
If the party already has frontliners, but lacks a serious wizard, you can do that well enough. Just select some different spells prepared for that day.
If the party has a wizard but is a bit light on the front line, you're a decent melee warrior as well. Switch your spell selection to self-buffs, particularly the ones with 10min/level and longer durations.
If the party is somewhere in the middle, go frontliner. I've found that a lot of adventures area quite easy if you can overwhelm them with frontliners, AND you can actually counter a lot of the things people do to keep frontliners at bay (like, fly after them).
You can even prep a few ranged touch spells, your BAB is better than average for a wizard.
The point is that you can contribute to a table by adjusting your daily spell selection to the party composition.
Well, you can't really try to claim credit for recruiting people you then kill before the session is over.
As a GM I think you have to either veto certain recruitments - you can't always just "press recruit" on the BBEG to win the adventure - but sometimes recruiting an NPC can be a creative solution that wins you an encounter.
Inner Sea Gods wrote:
For all her patience and gentleness, however, she is no victim: if it becomes clear that her efforts are wasted, she responds to violence and predations upon the innocent with cleansing fire and scorching light.
ISG, Paladin Code wrote:
Paladins of Sarenrae aren't just peace-loving. They're completely prepared to fight if necessary. I'd say they should try to capture/redeem enemies where possible, but they're no victims and if that's not possible or if it would endanger innocents, then enemies will die.
CdG to prevent an enemy from rising and continuing to fight are fine. There's a clear tactical need there. Executions after combat are a different matter. It depends on the severity of crimes of course; execution for jaywalking is absurd. But assuming these are seriously bad people, they should still get one chance to repent. Tie them up, wake them up with smelling salts. If they take the offer, jail them or bring them to a temple (we have only a 4-hour game after all). If they refuse, redemption by the sword it is.
So yeah, when I play my Sarenite paladin, I do generally start out nonlethal or at least shouting at people to surrender. Remember, people can talk out of turn, so you don't have to give up your turn or anything. If they don't surrender when capable, violence is legitimate. At that point live capture becomes "sincere effort", rather than "at any price".
The faith of Sarenrae mandates that you give people at least one chance to repent/surrender. It doesn't demand that you keep on offering after people turn it down.
Also, there's a Lawful Good Empyreal Lord of proper executions (Dammerich). Premeditated killing, in PF, isn't necessarily evil. Some people have it coming.
I was hoping to use it for PFS, and I do want to be able to whack people with it from time to time. It's okay if it's not super-optimal, I'll make up the slack somewhere else :P
The Lute could work, but I was hoping for something that's a weapon and an instrument at the same time, so that I can keep up a bardic performance while hitting people with it.
I want that guitar for a bard. Or something like that, really. I figured I'd just go with a flaming/flaming burst weapon. But it has to be a musical instrument.
Now I know about the totem spear, but that one doesn't really do it for me. I can't imagine playing that weird flute and poking people with it at the same time.
I have this nagging feeling that there's at least one other weaponizeable musical instrument out there - or musicalizeable weapon.
The casting time on Silence surprises just about everyone. It's fair though, otherwise it makes things rather trivial.
I just played this yesterday. We all felt kinda nervous about awareness because the GM played things rather close to the chest. After we set some fires we did notice people talking, so we thought we had to get out fast. Turned out we'd only just tripped the first threshold.
The final battle wasn't hard, but mainly because I was playing down with a level 6 investigator. I won initiative, drank Invisibility and was halfway across the bridge before a stinking cloud appeared just behind me. I then spent some time harassing the wizard / tanking the robot while everyone else recovered from the cloud.
I find it a bit odd to classify pearls as gems, but that seems to be the way the game is written.
From a flavour perspective, I don't see any obstacles though. Pearls can be enchanted in several ways. So they might certainly be of interest for research into making new sage jewels.
Likewise for all the other magical gems. The Scarab Sages are clearly involved in a massive research project into making new sage jewels. Any magical gem might be valuable to a thorough study of all the ways that gems can be enchanted. Which in turn might lead to the Sage Jewel 2.0
I played the Investigator in Monkhound's game and I had a great time. My compliments; rarely has a 4-player adjustment felt so exactly spot-on.
The fight with the draugr was my favourite. That mat lands on the table, you look at the river, and you just go "this is going to be bad, and that's exactly right. Before you even see any enemies.
We killed the fossegrim because really, something whose literary function is to drown people, and who decides to side with level-draining undead against you "because it's defending its territory from both you and them" - what basis for trust us that? My investigator worships the Pallid Princess, but there are limits.
I liked the fight at the temple entrance. Monkhoud put minis on the table for all the statues, so we didn't know in advance which ones might animate and come after us. Had us proper nervous. But we did well on initiative, Hasted, and ran up the stairs before any statues got into the action. The duergar folded surprisingly easily.
I think in this fight, if as a GM you set the scene properly, players are likely to pull out all the stops. We start combat at the edge of a long drop down, that makes us twitchy.
By this point, we were going "Aram Zey told us not try not to murder people", but it's been well-established that the Society and Duergar are enemies (Legacy of the Stonelords). Given that they opened fire on us, it's probably okay to respond in kind.
Then they fold like a house of cards. Based on what the Eidolon said, we were entertaining the possibility that they might not be real Duergar, just "dwarves that had their youth stolen" by some curse. But when a L8 barbarian goes to deal nonlethal damage to the last remaining enemy who's teetering on low HP, and gets a crit, well, that's a painted-red temple for you.
The navigation in the fortress... well, so far it was the only damage I'd taken. (My build is specialized in attacking from behind other PCs.) I liked the idea of the oni guiding us through. Maybe add a bit more descriptive text though?
We'd squashed the dueargar at the entrance, so it kinda made sense that random patrols could be dispensed with in this way, rather than play them out as full encounters. I'm okay with this design.
The encounter at the forge was a bit weird. Here come these people wielding lots of weaponry. And you happily address them as slaves?
By the time she was done speeching the arcane duelist had invisibly crept up behind her. It was a rather unremarkable fight.
The final fight was a good one. We came at the guy with a fairly heavy offensive and he held out for a bit. He pulled off a couple of impressively nasty spells. But against him he was facing a Greater/Spell Sunder barbarian and a (Disruptive!) Arcane Duelist bard with a Improved Whip Mastery, Greater Trip and a Holy Whip.
I think the whole fight took about three rounds, but by then he'd taken about 300 damage, most of it adamantine, and he was quite dead. But he'd managed to put quite a hurt on the barbarian and arcane duelist too. (I was in the back, mopping up after them. My investigator's fairly effective, but that barbarian is a monster.)
Freeing the Wayang clan was kinda weird. I think here's where you bump up against the limits of the abstract mountain navigation - abstractly liberating a group of prisoners just feels a bit weird. But on the other hand, you just turned the high priest into a Jackson Pollock painting. Seeing the Wayang boon on the Chronicle sheet also looks kinda weird, like an oblique threat that soon Wayang won't be a generally available PC race anymore. This just feels strange to me.
Re: the trap on the Sky Key piece. We triggered this because we were in "okay, we killed the boss, scenario's over now" mode as players, but that trap can be really nasty. If the level 8 barbarian next to you get Confused and goes for Attack Nearest Creature that could be a TPK out of nowhere. Fortunately for us, that didn't happen.
I personally have a strong tendency after the final boss fight, to lose a lot of focus. I'm not so sure it's good writing to put in a super-clever bit right after that; I think a lot of players might not be in the right mind-state for it then. We just want to loot and brag a bit at that point.
Sure, it makes sense for a trap to be there. But I wouldn't want to write any critically important pieces of the scenario into that moment right after the final fight against a seriously dangerous boss.
As for the chronicle sheet,
The Grand Lodge boon is pretty cool. I imagine it will see some use in the upcoming Special to show people who's boss.
I quite like the boon to take the oni as a familiar, especially the bit about LG casters turning him LN. That makes good sense with his background as a kami. Nice work on making the boon more inclusive there in a way that doesn't feel forces.
On the whole I thoroughly enjoyed this scenario. Playing up in this was kinda scary but I was able to pull my weight. It felt like "tough but fair", which I personally think is the ideal difficulty for a scenario.
Investigator with firearms on an android... don't. It's gonna be too feat-starved to really work well. It's cool in theory until you really crunch the numbers. Then you're just disappointed.
Firearms on an android is surprisingly tricky actually. Almost all of the classes have issues;
Since you need to own the book (physically or electronically) to use the Thing anyway, this is only somewhat of a problem.
If your workflow is "buy book, see something you like, check additional resources" you're fine.
Of course, for many of us it's the other way around. We find a Thing, and then want to know if it's legal and if so we might buy the book it's in.
In those cases I recommend getting access to the book to check things out before you buy it. By borrowing from a friend for example, or looking through it in the FLGS. Because another thing to watch out is 3rd party sites making mistakes that matter. So you should always check out the primary source anyway.
Doing it with a Pearl of Power feels kinda easy, but that doesn't mean that's wrong. The goals aren't sorted in order of intended-easy to intended-hard.
And some of the other goals on the Scarab Sages card will not come up often; possession is super-rare, haunts aren't all that common, and Sky Key pieces aren't to be found in many adventures either.
So maybe this goal was meant to be flavourful but easy? The other factions also have a couple of those.
If the item says "Gemstone of Awesomeness" then by definition it's a gemstone.
Does the faction only want nonmagical gemstones? Doesn't say so on the faction card. They're interested in all expensive gemstones. When in doubt, the "err on the side of leniency" clause says to allow it.
Is a pearl a gem? This is the tricky one, because
I'd still allow it, because "err on the side of liencency", and all the places that list pearls as gems raise sufficient doubt to make it a possibility.
I'd be more inclined to keep the high CMD on the elephant, but remove the size limit. If you really are that good at bull rush, okay, fine. The elephant is just really hard to move, as it should be.
Where I do think the system isn't quite working it is the maneuvers that aren't really about brute force, like Steal, Dirty Trick, and perhaps using Acrobatics to tumble through threatened areas. Those DCs shouldn't necessarily scale up when opponents get bigger, and they should be more Dex-based than Strength-based.
Maybe D&D4 was onto something when they turned the saving throws into a variant form of AC that you could aim melee attacks against. A steal maneuver could go against Reflex, a bull rush against something Strength/Size based.
However, care should be taken not to make maneuvers too complicated; not introduce five new different scores against which you target.
I disagree with your idea of what should be possible/easy. Enemies should be diverse, requiring different approaches. It's not okay if tripping the elephant is the go-to tactic at level=CR. Elephants are supposed to be hard enemies if you try to brute-force them like that in melee.
You're using the wrong tool for the job and then complaining that it doesn't work well.
Not all of them make sense to be done with weapons. Some make sense to be possible with some specific weapons, and those exceptions to exist in the rules.
2. Related to the first point, a lot of posters seem to be bringing up campaigns with a lot of humanoid enemies as proof the system is fine. Yeah, sure, if you ignore the majority of the bestiary, the system improves, but what does that say about the system?
It says that you need more than one trick up your sleeve, and you need to select tricks appropriate to your enemies.
You could make the same points about enchanters. They're great in one campaign, terrible in another. But most savvy players who roll up an enchanter will make sure they have some other tricks that aren't mind-affecting, too.
3. Of course I discount the lore warden, because if only one or two archetypes of one or two classes can do something even competently, the system is broken. Can only one or two archetypes of a couple classes even try to be two handed weapon combatants?
Various monk archetypes are extremely good at maneuvers (tetori, flowing). A kensai with a whip and wand arcana (true strike) is just nasty. Druids can wildshape into a big beast with built-in maneuver abilities to take on big enemies. Abyssal bloodragers grow Large when they rage and get significant strength + size bonuses as well as expanded reach, AND they can leverage Longarm, Blade Lash and True Strike where needed. A ranger or slayer can wreak havoc with shield bash/bull rush/prone against the wall from level 2. Barbarians who are going after Spell Sunder anyway can just Greater Sunder their way through humanoids, attacking fragile possessions to basically roll to-hit against CMD instead of against AC if the enemy's armor type warrants.
The weapon based maneuvers are great when they work. The problem is, they require HUGE feat investments, and the higher level you go (if you use average stuff from the beastiaries) the less likely they are to work. The non weapon maneuvers won't even work. Notice how most of the examples of strong maneuver characters are trippers? There's a reason for that.
Personally I'm most enamored of grappling, because it shuts down both 2H builds and casters, which rank among the enemies most likely to cause major trouble.
It doesn't solve natural attackers, although going for a fast pin does. Even so, I'm quite happy if I have a tactic that's devastating against half my enemies, instead of holding out for something that works perfectly every time. That would just be dull.
Maneuvers scale just fine against humanoids, and pretty much all maneuvers apply to them. Also, there's often the most to gain by using maneuvers on them (especially on casters).
You can't decide to play a maneuver-build specializing in a single maneuver, without taking into account the long-term campaign you're going to play. If you pick a preferred playbook for combat without knowing what you're gonna fight, odds are it's gonna disappoint. (This is true for lots of things besides maneuvers as well.)
My recommendation would be to dip brawler for Brawler's Cunning (qualify for Combat Expertise), and to make a lot of use of Martial Versatility. That gets you around the situational-ness of a lot of maneuvers.
Furthermore, maneuvers are better going Strength-based than Dex-based. Because becoming Large+ is a thing. It'll increase CMB/D because of size, because of Strength. With increased reach, lacking feats doesn't always provoke AoOs anymore. Finally, by being bigger you get to use more maneuvers on big enemies.
I don't really get why the OP dismisses the Lore Warden. People don't dismiss the barbarian when we're talking about inflicting massive 2H trauma. It's an archetype focused on maneuvers, it's good at it. Which is not to say that there aren't a lot of other builds that also do well on maneuvers.
But to circle back to my earlier idea: don't focus on just one maneuver. It's not right that any character should use the same trick on every enemy ever.
Instead, add some maneuvers to your toolbox to use against enemies where that maneuver is especially valuable. Grapple the wizard, sunder the negative channeling cleric's holy symbol. Bullrush the golem off the ledge. Grapple the guy that's hyperspecialized in a 2H weapon.
Is it intended for monsters to grab -> constrict -> release -> grab -> constrict in one attack sequence?
Okay, although I couldn't find an explicit definition of "grapple check" to clarify it, the term is (sometimes, though rarely) used as the check to start a grapple. Much more often it's used as the check to maintain a grapple.
I'm still wondering if grab-constrict-release-grab-constrict was intended; I expect not.
This hinges on what it means to "conduct the grapple normally". Strictly, it means only that the monster gets a choice to risk the grappled condition or not. I wonder though if the intent wasn't to make the monster choose between:A) take a -20 penalty and grapple using only that limb; doesn't interrupt a full attack.
B) don't take a penalty, but require all limbs normally used in natural attacks for the grab - and thus interrupt the full attack.
That comes down to a choice between using one tentacle to grab or using all tentacles to grab. I really think something like that might've been intended.
That said, going by RAW, it looks like grab-constrict-release-grab-constrict is legal. I don't think it should be because it looks unnatural, uses a rather oddly written rule, and is I think more vicious than the CR of those monsters takes into account.
Lately I'm trying to build more defensively. Overwhelming offence and/or overwhelming debilitation of the enemy works, but I'm starting to find it a bit anticlimactic.
I want to see what's so special about this monster/NPC. I want them to put on a show. But I also want to survive and win. So I need to be able to take a few rounds of punishment before we beat him up. (I don't mean to give up on offence, just set it to "medium".)
Although, given how authors are reacting to players focusing on overwhelming offence, monsters are often built to hit really really hard because the writer figures he's only going to get one chance to make an impression before he's mushed. So if I want to do this my defences need to be ridiculously good.
I think you're starting the question from the wrong end. The question should be: where did the AoO come from? Because the 5ft step is an integral part of those rules.
IMO the AoO was invented as a way to stop enemies just walking past the PCs (or vice versa) as if they weren't there. AoOs don't happen a lot, but basically they're the "punishment" for doing something that "you shouldn't".
You're just going to walk past a well-armed knight to get to his nerdy wizard friend in the back? That knight isn't going to let it happen, and he's going to hit you over the head. That's the way he stops you from just walking past him.
You're just going to try to punch someone in the face who's wielding a sword? He's gonna cut your hands off - AoO. Well, unless you've got some kind of special martial arts training.
So, there you have the AoO as a mechanic intended to give martial PCs and monsters some way of saying "no, you're not getting past me THAT easy". But if you're trying to edge around them carefully, keeping up your defenses, sacrificing speed for security - that's the 5ft step.
Is it intended for monsters to grab -> constrict -> release -> grab -> constrict in one attack sequence?
Question: what exactly is a "grapple check"? Is the combat maneuver check to start a grapple a grapple check, or only the check to maintain the grapple?
CRB > Combat > Grapple wrote:
Constrict (Ex) A creature with this special attack can crush an opponent, dealing bludgeoning damage, when it makes a successful grapple check (in addition to any other effects caused by a successful check, including additional damage). The amount of damage is given in the creature's entry and is typically equal to the amount of damage caused by the creature's melee attack.
The way I read these texts, the Constrict ability only triggers on successive checks to maintain the grapple, not the initial check to establish it. Both Grab and Constrict refer to the constriction damage happening at the same time as the damage dealt for maintaining a grapple.
I'll throw in another topic. The post seems to suggest the current Faction Journal Cards might be considered for the current season 7 and were just released early. Is this true? Or are season 7 FJCs inbound?
There have been annoucements that S7 will have new cards.
As you have noticed, some of these cards are very strongly tied to the current season, particularly the ones about collecting bits of Sky Key.