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Ashiel's page

RPG Superstar 8 Season Star Voter. 11,909 posts (11,912 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.


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Klara Meison wrote:
Do you find it funny that classic Pathfinder sheets have "Height" and "Weight" cells, but no "Date of birth?"

Not really. Height and Weight are descriptive (and in some ways even mechanical), while date of birth isn't particularly descriptive or indicative of anything about the character, likely best kept in the general notes section of most character sheets.

If you need to know what year the character was born, most have an "Age" section cell, and you can just subtract that number from whatever the date is in the campaign setting (if your GM knows, because seriously, a lot of GMs don't; even with my own setting, I don't always take the time to decide on a specific year to start the events, but I might if the PCs were interested in that).

Quote:
Related to that-have your players ever celebrated a birthday of an in-game character? If yes, how did it go? If no, what about other celebrations-new year, solstice, first day of summer?

I think we've had birthdays come up before, and I know it's been a situation that popped up for some NPCs. Celebrations and such are also fairly commonplace. In fact, in a mostly free-form Pathfinder game I've been playing some NPCs in, the characters were throwing a party for their brother and his betrothed fiance unexpectedly showed up at the party.

They currently can't seem to decide if they want her to join them, or if they want to drown her. She seems somewhat sympathetic or like-minded in some of their goals, but she's also come off to some of the players as at least a little psychopathic (score, they noticed) and she refused to doff her tannuki skin clothes at the request of one of the PCs who is a child tannuki.


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Yes, what Aratrok said. :P


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Klara Meison wrote:
What is your opinion on magic marts in particular and widespread magic in Pathfinder in general?
Tacticslion wrote:
Incoming summary (expected, anyway): "It's cool!"

Tactics hit it pretty closely, but to elaborate...

Summary
In my opinion they make fantasy worlds feel more rich, alive, and sensible. They set a clear distinction between common magic and the good stuff. They facilitate better gameplay and they make the GM's job easier, not harder. They make the lives of the less magically inclined better and allow for more flexibility in party compositions.

I like it for a number of reasons. Some from a narrative perspective, others from a gameplay perspective, and these often go hand in hand. So here are some reasons I think magic marts are a good thing, why I think they should be changed with caution, and some ideas for increasing or decreasing the levels of magic in your campaigns.

1. Firstly, D&D/Pathfinder is a game. It should never be forgotten. The primary reason to play this game is to have fun playing the game. The reason getting things like gold and treasures are fun is so you can do something with the gold and treasures. Without the ability to spend them to buy or create magic items, you might as well just say "The dragon's horde is filled with thirty thousand and fifty two oak leaves", because without something practical you can convert it to, gold has no value.

The simple fact is a big part of the fun for a lot of people is getting lots of treasure to get cool and powerful magical doodads to allow them to do cool stuff. This aspect is in fact so fun for a lot of people that Blizzard essentially made it the focal point for their Diablo series of games which have the "kill stuff and collect loot" refined to its zenith point.

There are good reasons for this too. Being able to use gold and treasures to buy magical equipment means not having to micro-manage every single treasure horde. Instead, you know that the gold can be easily converted back at points of civilization into minor magical items like scrolls, potions, elixirs, and minor arms and armors and such, which in turn means that you can focus on displaying the "special" items in the horde. It's a lot easier for players to get a horde that looks like this...

A +3 shocking short sword
A +2 light fortification armor
3,500 gp
25,000 sp
44,000 cp

Than one that looks like you vomited a 20th level character's inventory sheet onto the table. Players can grab the goodies if they want them, divide the liquid assets up and continue with the story.

2. Secondly, it's good for setting the tone. As Pathfinder presents magic marts, it sets a clear baseline for what's done by common hedge wizards and what is really epic shwag. By default, the most you can be reasonably assured to find for sale is stuff up to 16,000 gp and that's in the largest cities. That makes it very clear that the flame tongue sword you found is a true treasure upon treasures.

It simultaneously explains that yes, magic exists, people know it exists, and there is trade of magic as would be expected in any world where magic exists, while also making certain that there are magic items that are true wonders and to find or create one is a special thing indeed. Even in things like Lord of the Rings, which people often cite as an example of an idealized fantasy world with "low magic", there are so many magic rings in the world that Gandalf didn't even consider that Frodo's could be the ring.

3. It serves a mechanical purpose as well, giving a pretty clear indication on the sorts of things you should be able to expect from players based on what sorts of magical doodads they have. Some see this as a weakness of the system but I see it as a very potent strength of the system.

It makes it very clear what sort of items are appropriate for the game and at what levels, so you know that if you drop a +5 sword into a treasure horde at 3rd level, don't whine because the wielder suddenly starts roflstomping everything, or can't be hit by enemies in their +5 breastplate. Likewise, it sets a clear understanding that if you're bouncing around at 15th level and the best you've got is some +2 items, then the GM knows that enemies and challenges need to be pulled back a bit because you're not ready for them yet.

4. It makes it easy for the players to have some say in the way they want to build and play their characters. Same with item creation (which is indirectly tied to the idea of magic marts in that it's a system where wealth is transformed into power). It's much easier to be able to tell players what the purchase limit within a community is and let them pick things that they want with their treasures, which frees the GM up to work on things that matter like roleplaying NPCs, creating stories, and building encounters. Because, frankly, whether or not a town has a potion of bless weapon really doesn't matter as much as those other things do.

5. It actually helps game balance. Classes who aren't particularly good at creating magic items, and those who aren't particularly magical, NEED magic items and magic marts to function. You need to be able to purchase things like potions of lesser restoration, wands of cure light wounds, and magic items that let you do things like fly or water breathing.

I have seen, very frequently, GMs who tried to make the world more low-magic, remove "magic marts", and otherwise make the game like they insisted it was "supposed to be" and all it does is open up a cloud and sh** all over players. The less magical you are, the bigger the sh**storm.

In a game without magic marts, a party consisting of a Bard, Cleric, Druid, and Wizard will do just fine. They may even dominate because if the GM is being consistent, most of their foes will be poorly equipped to deal with them. Everyone else is screwed though. Paladins & Rangers can be less screwed at 7th level when they can start hammering out their own magic shwag, but it's not ideal.

6. Magic marts don't actually have to be some sort of single store or emporium that carries all the goodies. That works fine in things like Baldur's Gate where developers can't be bothered to drop tons of NPCs and such around the world with a million little shops or specialized dealers, so instead you get stuff like the "Adventurer's Mart" in Waukeens Promenade. But in D&D/Pathfinder, the community GP limits and such represent the entire community.

To put that into perspective, that means that while you're rummaging about in the grandest cities in the world, a metropolis, you're looking at everything that city has to offer. You're not walking into a shop and just picking a +2 sword off the shelf unless the GM explicitly frames it that way. Just that finding a +2 sword in said city is something that you can reasonable do without anything special going on, and interestingly, there's only an average of about 3 of those swords for sale in the whole city. A city of thousands of inhabitants and you'll find 3 swords of that kind on average between restocks. So you might go to a major magic dealer, or you might go to some sort of broker, like buying a house but for magic items, or you might have to go to a powerful church or wizard's college and make a "donation".

Get it? :)


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I wonder if you opened a thread in two different tabs, if you could reply to the same thread at the same time with your own account, quickly enough to make it bounce two of your own messages back and forth. (O.o)


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Humorously, the fighter's class feature of allowing them to replace the combat feats they selected at early levels is almost useless since you cannot replace a feat that's a prerequisite and you can only replace a feat every 4 levels. This means you can only retrain up to 5 feats over the course of 20 levels, and you have to retrain backwards, making them near useless as you take off the highest block of your pyramid to begin laying the lowest block of another. It is so hard to actually make use of the Fighter's ability to repick feats, its only real function is a false sense of security.

The Fighter should just be scrubbed and feats make more accessible to the real martial classes. Or redesigned from the ground up. But there's no point in bothering, because the Fighter doesn't represent anything. It has no direction or purpose aside from a mechanical allure of "feats, lots of feats". Everything else is just a class feature that improves some generic numerical bonus in an exceedingly minor way (for an example of what I mean by exceedingly minor, it takes you NINE levels to get to +2/+2 in hit and damage by virtue of weapon training, and that only functions for 1 weapon group, whereas classes like the barbarian have been doing that since 1st level; it takes them ELEVEN levels to get +3 to their maximum Dexterity allowance in armor and they have to have the Dex to support it, but it takes a Barbarian only EIGHT levels to get a +3 natural armor whenever they're raging and it stacks with everything).


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Nah, they're fairly linked, but the Fighter's and sins with the system extend beyond the fighter class itself. I would argue that the fighter's very existence is part of the reason we have these long feat trees. Back in 3.x, Fighters were considered more "special" because they could achieve certain feats in a sort-of-timely fashion, especially when feats were only gained once every 3 levels.

Problem is, the existence of the Fighter and feats being designed around how fast a Fighter could potentially acquire them, rather than what levels they are actually appropriate as their own abilities, makes other classes actively worse. Barbarian, Paladin, and Ranger are good classes from the core rulebook, and fit pretty well in a party with the rest of the core classes (even wizards), but many feats will be more or less ignored because of their prerequisites. There's little incentive for them to bother with the majority of combat feats because of the crazy feat trees.

Meanwhile, the crazy feat trees aren't actually helping the fighter either, because they force the fighter to waste tons of their class features (which are supposed to be making up for their lack of all those sexy class features the other classes have) in an attempt to do things like "make 1 attack against each foe in reach" or "get +2 to hit and +4 to damage with one weapon" (costs 4/10 feats, is "fighter only", and is outright inferior to the boosters of other martial classes like Quarry, or even divine favor, a 1st level Paladin spell).

In essence, there are fairly deep issues for martials that only exist because the fighter exists. At its roots, the system was designed around the idea that the Fighter was THE martial guy, and the Fighter was the baseline by which all other martial things were compared. And that's a pretty low bar to be anchored to.


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Yeah that's gotta be a one in a million sort of thing. :o


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Klara Meison wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Klara Meison wrote:
What do you like most about being a GM?

There's a lot of things that I enjoy about being a GM, but I think giving my players a good time is probably #1. A general list of things that I enjoy about GMing, in no particular order.

1. It's fun telling stories.
2. It's fun entertaining players.
3. It's fun to build encounters and stuff.
4. It's fun to get to make so many different characters.
5. It's fun to see what the players will come up with.
6. It's fun to see players get attached to NPCs, or care about IC things.
7. It's fun being the one who introduces new people to the game.
8. It's fun building treasure hordes.

>1,2,3,5,8

So, essentially, you like being an immortal dragon with nothing to pass the time?

Crap, I've been found out. O//O


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Klara Meison wrote:
What do you like most about being a GM?

There's a lot of things that I enjoy about being a GM, but I think giving my players a good time is probably #1. A general list of things that I enjoy about GMing, in no particular order.

1. It's fun telling stories.
2. It's fun entertaining players.
3. It's fun to build encounters and stuff.
4. It's fun to get to make so many different characters.
5. It's fun to see what the players will come up with.
6. It's fun to see players get attached to NPCs, or care about IC things.
7. It's fun being the one who introduces new people to the game.
8. It's fun building treasure hordes.


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Klara Meison wrote:
Actually, I might have asked this already before...

Sometimes framing the same question slightly differently gets a slightly different answer. Sometimes asking the same question at a later date gets a different answer, as new thoughts, ideas, and wisdom emerge.


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Klara Meison wrote:
Do you use DMPCs? If yes, how frequently? If no, why not?

I have a few times by request of my group. I tend to run GMPCs like NPCs who happen to have the same sorts of gear and ongoing attachment to things as the rest of the PCs. To me there's not really a whole lot of difference between a GMPC and an NPC that tags along regularly with the party (and this seems to happen frequently enough since it gives faces to bounce roleplay off of when you're away from civilization an such).

I think where people typically go wrong with GMPCs is they think of them as their own character too much, or become too attached, or whatever. When you have some sort of bias concerning the character and their success, you're pretty much asking for trouble.


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Klara Meison wrote:

>who was his right hand dude until the vampire betrayed him and cut off his hand

Heh, nice one. "I am no longer your hand", get it?

Haha, wow, I didn't even think about that. XD


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Eh, possibly then. The reason I asked is because BBEG often implies who's running the show, yet their sub-minions may actually be powerful characters themselves who are worthy mentions as epic villains.

From D&D, the lich-god Vecna had a vampire underling named Kas, who was his right hand dude until the vampire betrayed him and cut off his hand and gouged out his eye (though Vecna destroyed him, as I recall).

In a similar vein, Darth Sideous the Emperor would probably be the BBEG of the original Star Wars trilogy, but Darth Vader is definitely prime villain material (even more important than the BBEG himself).


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I'm also a big fan of dropping NPC and prestige class levels on monstrous NPCs as well to quickly distinguish them from their peers. For example, if we're running a low-mid level game, grab a few garden variety lizardfolk to be the normal lizardfolk dudes, but for the some of the elite lizardfolk, dropping a couple levels of warrior or adept on them can tweak 'em just enough to make them seem different enough at the table.

Some monsters can qualify for prestige classes without even trying. For example, any monster that casts spells as a particular class (such as azata casting bard spells, or drider and rakshasa casting as sorcerers) are likely to qualify for things like Eldritch Knight or Arcane Archer immediately. Asssassin is a prestige class that monsters and NPCs can easily qualify for as well since it's primarily behind skill-ranks as a wall (this also means monsters and NPC-classed characters can qualify for it in earlier CR brackets because they have more HD and thus skill ranks than PCs of the same CR).


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Klara Meison wrote:

>I can't recall any off the top of my head because the Warrior NPC class does all I need from Fighters and they're faster to build.

Does that mean that you had Warrior villains?

Yep. Sure have. Now, when you say villain, do you necessarily mean BBEG or any villain? As it turns out, CR for CR, if you're going to create a humanoid brute that's going to be challenging, the warrior class has your back, while being pretty simple to build. Like a fighter they can be very gear or buddy-reliant to avoid being dismantled by CC and such, but they're physically powerful enough that they demand a certain level of respect for their threat, and when supported by minions can be quite formidable.

NPC-class gishes, such as multiclassed warrior/adepts are also very simple to build quickly and can be pretty versatile as well. For example, if we began with a level in a heroic class, like say barbarian (setting our base CR at 1/2 w/ heroic point buy), adding NPC levels until up to CR 10, a warrior/adept (assuming an even split of levels) would get 90+(ConModx2) Hp , +15 BAB, +10 Fort, +6 Ref, +10 Will, 40+(IntModx2) skill points, +10 feats, a familiar, and would cast up to 3rd level spells at CL 10th, which include such beauties as see invisibility, animate dead, resist energy, mirror image, protection from *alignment, invisibility, darkness, deeper darkness, scorching ray (mixed with a high BAB = super accurate). They cast them as divine spells so they ignore arcane spell failure as well.

They also have access to some surprisingly great spells at later or levels or via magic items like scrolls/wands. For example, they get spells like polymorph (which looks pretty good on a chassis with so much BAB), stoneskin, wall of fire, break enchantment, heal, true seeing, and wall of stone.

Little in the way of class features but you really don't need them.


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Klara Meison wrote:
Have you ever played a fighter?

Yes, absolutely. In fact, one of the characters I played during the Pathfinder Beta was a Fighter. I'd like to remake her as a Ranger one day.

Quote:
Have you ever tried to make a villain in one of your campaigns a fighter?

Maybe a long time ago. I can't recall any off the top of my head because the Warrior NPC class does all I need from Fighters and they're faster to build.


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alexanderb wrote:
Does anyone have a set of sensible house rules for making sword & board more effective? If you can offer a mini-treatise on why you don't think this is necessary, that would be acceptable too. :)

I'd recommend looking into World of Warcraft for some ideas for creating good sword & board options for characters. In World of Warcraft, warriors use their shields to...

Shield Block (with abilities that let them block an incoming attack with 100% certainty).

Spell Reflect (a high-level warrior in WoW can spank an incoming targeted spell back at a caster similar to a spell turning).

Shield bash (interrupt a spell or concentrated ability, staggers the opponent making it hard for them to move for a few moments).

Shield slam (basically a super hard hit with your shield, can literally knock buffs off your target).

Shield Wall (shield provides a large % of damage mitigation, such as reducing all incoming damage by 50% for 3 rounds or something).

Meanwhile, Paladins got abilities like...

Sacred Shield (makes it so when enemies strike you, they take some damage, kind of like fire shield except holy damage).

Shield of Righteousness (a lot like Shield Bash but it's holy damage, doesn't dispel, but more spammy).

Avenger's Shield (think captain America, your shield becomes a thrown weapon that arcs between enemies before returning to you. Enemies hit with the shield suffer heavy damage and are staggered and potentially silenced/interrupted).

You don't have to tie these to classes like in WoW. They would make great high level martial options.


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Kryzbyn wrote:
Heh, I figured such a bad guy is either crazy, or has a place to be after.

Yep. The point is "end of the world" should probably not be the reason so much as the ends to the reason. Find a reason and you can begin making a character who feels believable, even if they are themselves fairly unreasonable in their extremism.

For example, even if they decided that the whole of the material plane was a bad thing and that these mistakes of imperfect gods needed to be erased, in a sort of extreme proactive nihilism, you've got a foundation for motivation and mindset of the bad guy. This means that you won't run into the classic cartoon villainy where someguy is like "Now I will destroy the world!", "But...why?", "Um...that's what villains do, right?" scenario.

I'd personally advise less against destroying the world in a literal sense and downplay it a bit. Frame "destroying the world" as undoing the status quo, especially the good bits, for some reason and it immediately seems super believable. For example, if your campaign has a country or center of power that acts as the ruling body for the known civilized world, a villain who intended to bring it to ruin could throw everyone back countless years in prosperity, culture, and knowledge.

And something like that can be predicated on vices as simple as greed.


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6. The character decides to sell out their world. A powerful diabolist or demoniac who intends to unleash hell unto the world in exchange for power and privilege in the new order.


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Klara Meison wrote:
How would you create a believable villain that wanted to destroy the world?

"Very carefully". :P

Joking aside, you'd need a reason the character wanted to destroy the world. Off the top of my head, some decent reasons would be.

1. Religious fanatic trying to bring about an end-time prophecy in servant to what they believe to be the will off the gods.

2. Isn't interested in destroying the world so much as changing it. They may believe that the current state of the world is irrevocably doomed or failed and they intend to "reset" the world to give rise to something new.

3. The world destruction is a side-effect of something else they are trying to achieve. Maybe a planar entity drops the tarrasque into a world, not because they're trying to destroy the world but because they were tired of dealing with it themselves.

4. The character is trying to collect enough soul energy to achieve godhood and sees the sacrifice of billions to be the necessary eggs for this omelet. Maybe they even believe that upon achieving godhood that they will be able to undue the cataclysm they're starting. Maybe they're wrong and it won't make them a god at all.

5. The villain is actually a sentient or semi-sentient being of entropy and destruction, its will is to be properly brought into the world. At places where great tragedies have occurred, a sliver of its being resides in the area. Shadows, the seemingly malevolent monsters that often seem unreasonable and hating of all things living, lurk around these places. These are souls who have glimpsed the being's true form and now guard these places ruthlessly to prevent people from wandering into these places and the seed taking root in their hearts and granting this comsmic entity a vessel in which to walk the earth (so the shadows drive living creatures back with the utmost fervor or force them to join their vigil).

Off the top of my head. I'm sure there could be many others.


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Klara Meison wrote:

>But since I've been at this GMing thing for a long time, a lot of NPCs are generated in my head on the fly. Simply because after a while the general statistics of things become kind of hard-coded into your brain.

I was talking less about combat statistics and more about personality traits and character. Three adjectives that describe an NPC, so to speak, and make them easilly identifiable. For example, a guard party just met near the gates might be [one-legged, grumpy, with a spanish accent]

Ohhh. I usually just make those sorts of things up on the spot for NPCs I didn't build ahead of time. I have an interest in psychology (mostly 'cause I wanted to understand myself better and it escalated from there) which I think helps a number of my NPCs to feel more organic, which also means that I have at least a loose concept or framework to work with if a throwaway NPC becomes a main character.

For example, Victoria, whom I've mentioned a few times on the boards was a sort of throwaway NPC. She was the right hand and assassin of the vampire lord Vandread. She was proud, kind of motherly, and also really harsh when administering discipline to the other vampires, and she also happened to be transgendered. The majority of these things didn't have anything to do with her attempting to off the party and the ensuing beatdown she received, but they were tied to some of her mannerisms, insecurities, and strengths.

For example, the reason she was so harsh on the other vampires she was managing was because if she didn't keep order then she lost favor with Vandread or could be at risk of punishment herself. She was kind of motherly because she's actually a bit of a softy underneath all the bleakness piled onto her life and tried to take care of the others in her coven. She also had a lot of self-esteem issues, particularly as it pertained to holding onto Vandread's favor (being his favorite minion/lover was more or less all she had to hang on to in her unlife, since she was bound to remain in the coven).

One question leads to another and in a couple of minutes you have a rich backstory to just about any character. In fact, after a while, it's not hard to take any random NPC and in a single string of thoughts make a passably rich character out of them.


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Klara Meison wrote:
How do you keep your GMing notes? Do you write them by hand, print them, or just use a laptop?

I don't have a laptop (just my desktop) but I feel it's the superior GM tool if one's available for tabletop note keeping. It allows you to keep piles and piles of notes, statblocks, and even books at your fingertips, and can even have spiffy tools like dice rollers, or generators (treasure generators like the one on Archives of Nethys are especially great).

I, however, use printed notes and such when I'm tabletop GMing, and will make current notes by hand (such as tracking round effects, or making little notes I'd like to remember later).

When I'm GMing online (which is what I do most of the time on MapTools), note-taking will be done on .txt files, or even taken directly on tokens. I created a very short demo for this in pdf format to introduce a few friends to some of the features and things I like to use in MapTools: Maptools Demo.

Quote:
What do you make notes of?

I suck at remembering names, so I'll usually try to make notes of those. I might also make notes of ideas I have while the game is going on, if the PCs give me an idea for a side-event or new direction for the game. If the game has to paused in the middle of something (like combat) I'll make a general note of where the combat left off (like initiative order, current initiative, etc).

I'll also sometimes make notes of throwaway NPCs who seem to be making a shift to recurring NPCs.

Quote:
Do you use pre-generated unique NPCs if players decide to ask someone for help you haven't thought of(e.g. a player asks if there are any animal shelters in town, and you suddenly need an animal shelter leader), or do you make them up on the spot?

Both, actually. I like making NPCs ahead of time if possible, especially if they're themed, complex, or represent some sort of typical member of something in my campaign (such as a specific order, cult, or nationality).

Here's some NPC notes from my campaign, and here's some NPC notes from a specific portion of a campaign.

But since I've been at this GMing thing for a long time, a lot of NPCs are generated in my head on the fly. Simply because after a while the general statistics of things become kind of hard-coded into your brain. You can quickly generate things like a 6th level warrior in your head or with a calculator, or quickly add a few class levels to a monster on the fly with little prep. You can always go back and add more details later.

Quote:
What main attractions do you usually make notes of when heroes are supposed to enter a town?

Depends on how much time I have for prepping but generally I'll note any outstanding businesses or sights that travelers would be able to quickly find due to things like signs, such as public temples, inns, and/or a few businesses. In recent years I've generally skipped businesses unless it's a very small town, since there's likely to be multiple professionals scattered about a settlement.

When on Maptools, if I have some time to prep, I enjoy scattering little descriptive buttons around on the map to add little details that the players can click on and check out themselves.


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Kryzbyn wrote:

Yes that last bit is exactly what I have in mind. At first, it'll be day-to-day salvage/mining/transport mission, then the story one will be "hey while you're out there, can you check on x, you're the closest vessel, blah blah". Where they will find Odd McOddface or Shifty McShifterson...etc.

I can send you specifics, but I don't want my players to stumble across them here.

It's a pretty decent way to get characters involved with something that doesn't immediately seem to pertain to them directly. It's also really effective at seeding plot points into sandboxy type games if you want to give a sense of wholeness to what may otherwise seem like unrelated episodic adventures. (^-^)


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The pacing really is the trickiest part. My big issue is that I tend to be too excited about something and throw too much at my PCs too quickly, so in like one session it goes from "Somebody killed Mr. Body" to "It was the butler, in the BDSM room, with the flamethrower" in one session when it should probably have been split up over a few sessions. (^~^);

I think part of that is a lack of patience on my part mixed with my concern about time constraints and of course the countless campaigns that fall apart over time due to things like scheduling issues. I'm still salty that I never got to finish the marilith arc with Aratrok and Raital. (Q_Q)

I think your pacing of 2:1 missions sounds pretty solid. You might even decide to do it in a message-board style thing if they're supposed to be space cowboys. :P

So like, scribble out a few outlines for little scenarios, post 'em on their missions board, and let 'em pick through them. What order they go through them usually won't matter unless you introduce a reason for it to matter (which is fine if it's intended) and it should give them the feeling of absolute freedom (as they can decide what missions to go on out of a pool), just it happens that some of the missions will inevitably lead to the big reveal.

Hell, you could the event-based design technique to turn most any random adventure into a potential hook for the big adventure, simply because you can drop the hooks anywhere that remotely makes sense.

For example, maybe on a routine mission to stop some space pirates the PCs find something that's out of the ordinary (maybe the see SomeGuy McPlothook who leaves the scene, or they find something that suggests the space pirates had some sort of connections to BigBad McEvil). After the party gives their report at the close of the mission, a new quest becomes available as someone (say a government body or something) has a vested interest in something they found and were impressed with their results and so they approach them with a new offer that wasn't open to the general public (or give them access to a more restricted form of the usual terminal quest system for special agents or AAA+ crews).


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Kryzbyn wrote:

The biggest problem I have is, in order for the story to work, certain things need to be discovered or suspected by the characters. I have to lay hints or have them observe things that won't necessarily make sense early on, but later will ring loud effing bells. If they figure out things too quickly though, it could make the game a bit less exciting. While these things happen infrequently at first, I need to come up with missions for them to occupy their time and make money and names for themselves, while other things continue to occur in the background.

How would you go about building the template to accomplish this slow leaking out of the main story line?

Pacing can be a difficult thing for a GM, especially since it's easy to be excited about the thing you're really interested in introducing but being concerned about rushing it. This is something I often struggle with myself because I can be impatient and excited. (Q_Q)

I find that event-based design is really good for this though if it's your thing, because with event-based design you present the campaign as a series of interlocking scenarios that your PCs can explore.

So you can have something like

Main Quest #1, #2, and #3, of an arc.
Then you can have lots of little filler sidequests that can be interjected whenever. Some of those little sidequests can even be related tot he main quests.

I used a prototype of this in the first (and currently only) adventure I've self-published. It was designed to be really easy for the GM to run, so I separated the events of the adventure into "main" and "extra" parts, with "main" portions of the adventure being part of the main story and advancing the game through the adventure. The extra stuff included filler, such as an encounter with a depressed drunk, or happening upon a mugging turned hostage situation, and stuff like that.


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TheAlicornSage wrote:
If A happens, I think it is a sign the gm needs to improve. Also potentially a sign of poor campaign design. Of course, Alexandrian's Node Based design techniques sidestep this issue completely.

A is a bit subjective, and the propensity for something to come up you weren't totally expecting becomes more likely the more content you come across. Very few GMs, even those who are very familiar with both the system and GMing, are aware of everything that exists within the ruleset. Many GMs on the Paizo forum never once considered the very simple impact of Heighten Spell + continual flame, or that incense of meditation is even a thing, let alone a thing that is extremely powerful for druids, or that a bead of karma is a thing and is a thing that can allow a cleric to gate and most importantly control a solar, or that a candle of invocation is a pretty spiffy way for someone without planar binding to begin boarding the train to the wish-factory.

Being as the game is constantly evolving and changing over time, new ideas are formed, people use old tools in new ways, or simply do something unexpected. Simply saying "The GM needs to improve" isn't really all that helpful. The GM always needs to improve. You need to improve, I need to improve, everyone needs to improve. We never reach the point of "perfect GM" but it's a journey worth taking anyway.

A great example of a cool/reasonable thing that the GM wasn't prepared for would be a scene where the party knows the big bad and his cronies are meeting in a nightclub. It's been made quite clear that the big bad AND his cronies are too strong for the PCs to do battle with, but the PCs are expected to be able to see them and search for additional clues (such as trying to spy on them, etc). You expect that these clues will let the PCs know where the big bad and his cronies are going to be split up later and the PCs can choose who to make their move on (in a situation similar to how the Alexandrian describes the process of stopping Yassif and his goons at different locations after finding clues to their different locations and such).

However, the PCs happened to have chipped their money together and bought a couple scrolls of cloudkill a bit earlier, which is a spell that's beyond the level of spells they can actually cast themselves (so few would assume that the party would be able to use it). Finding the badguys, the party ends up casting hold portal or something similar on the exits from the room, and instead of spying on them through the ventilation ducts, instead fill their meeting room with cloudkill spells.

Oops. >_>;

In this case, I feel it's less about whether or not you were prepared for that to happen and more about how you handle it happening. There are also a lot of different routes that you can go after this happens (my go-to would be to roll with it and finish out the session, possibly already sketching out some loose ideas for new points of interest; while my least favorite choices would involve changing the scenario right then to make the baddies immune to cloudkill {such as spontaneously giving them all poison-immunity magic items, or making them undead, or giving them potions they didn't have, etc} or immediately inventing a new badguy to replace the big bad so that business proceeds as normal, which I feel partially robs the PCs of their achievement).

As to node based design itself, I prefer a different adventure design I came up with (or at least I haven't seen anyone except me talk about it), but one that I'm happy to say is for the most part compatible with node or linear adventure design if those are your teacups. It was born primarily out of a desire to be more open-ended and give players the maximum amount of content with the greatest amount of freedom for both the PCs and GM.

That is, Event Based Design. :)


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Klara Meison wrote:
If you had an opportunity to go into space for a year(assuming you were fit enough to do so) to do sciency stuff, would you sign up?

Probably not. There's a part of me that thinks it'd be a really cool experience, but at the same time, I also don't really have enough personal interest in spending a year in space. Since doing things just to say I did them isn't interesting to me in and of itself, I'd rather pass the torch to someone who'd appreciate that opportunity more.


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Aratrok wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
They now only appear to certain people via dream spells and the like to nudge or encourage people instead of interceding directly.
So, now that that campaign is over, how accurate was I when I was predicting divine intervention? ;p

About as accurate as you usually are when you're making predictions and/or guessing at statblocks. :3


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Tacticslion wrote:
What about other Paizo creatures that have been statted above that CR: obviously, not your cuppa, but what do you think about them?

My near universal complaint is usually that they aren't worth that level of experience budget and/or aren't interesting. If I'm dealing with a unique being of cosmic power, I want the encounter that would ensue to be more than just a slightly scaled up fight with a demon, and that desire is very rarely sated.

For example, the Tarrasque is just a big dumb brute that can be dismantled by a lone 20th level martial and his sidekick.

A being of such immense power should be its own encounter. It should have multiple phases of battle that you can expect, abilities that aren't just about numbers but change the way you are expected to battle them. In many cases, they should be able to change the very environment of the battle in ways that better suit themselves.

For example, great wyrms have side effects to their breath weapons, and abilities like being encircled by giant sandstorms, or the ability to zip around the battlefield with a variety of impressive movement abilities and spreading blinding fog everywhere that hinders everyone aside from themselves. These monsters are both powerful AND the battles against them can be epic and harrowing (because you're not just expected to dimensional anchor them and start spanking, you're fighting the very world around you as they manifest through it).

I tried to capture some of this mindset when I was revising mariliths and balors, giving them a number of swift-action abilities, unique powers and strategies, and things that changed the way they fight you and you fight them. Creatures of even greater CR (such as balor lords) have entirely different tactical schemes.

Quote:
On a related, but very different note, what about things like Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem?

Haven't played it. I loved the first Eternal Darkness on the gamecube though. :o


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Tacticslion wrote:
Weren't impressed with its power, its relation to the books, both, or something else?

Not necessarily power, though Cthulu was punked by a boat, so I think his presented power scale is way off base. I was most disappointed in that he's largely just an inflated package of numbers and there's nothing particularly interesting about him. He has a number of abilities that you are either immune to or you get wrecked, so you get immunity to those (not super difficult actually at even 20th level, let alone anywhere near 30th) and then you spank him more or less like you fight any run of the mill demon, and that bugs me.

If we're dealing with a unique, super-powerful being, I'd like to see something that was more interesting than a demonic tank & spank.

Quote:
Klara Meison wrote:
What about killing a god-did that ever happen?
Ashiel wrote:
Kind of. Deities in my games tend to cap out around the CR 25 range if I stat some out, and my PCs have slain things of godly powers before. In my campaigns, a lot of gods are just powerful outsiders of around CR 16+.
In those situations, does your internal head-canon have mythology for how the world was founded?

Yes it does in fact. The short version is that this particular material plane (there are many throughout the planar cosmos) was created by seven gods whose own world was destroyed. They wandered the planes for countless years before they decided to make a new home for themselves, wherein they each contributed to making the world. They created the life within in, much of it inspired or taken from places they had seen across their incredible journey. Their own creations eventually populated the infinitely expanding plane and started walking their own paths. The gods, who weren't particularly experienced with acting as gods, made lots of mistakes and eventually realized they might be causing more harm to their creations than not so they scattered themselves to the corners of the universe and let humanity and other creatures forget about them. They now only appear to certain people via dream spells and the like to nudge or encourage people instead of interceding directly.

Most of the gods that people worship in the world were created as thoughts given form, from the divine spark inherent in all souls. Essentially, most of the gods worshiped in the world were created by their own followers (unbeknownst to the followers), born from the godly spark of their own faith and souls. Said deities reside primarily their own realms on the plane of dreams.

Then you have the "gods" that are outsiders (one of the major deities is an advanced lillend, the patron arch-angel demigoddess thingy for the templar is a planetar, etc), or powerful creatures that are revered (such as with dragon cults), or in some rare cases humanoids who have stepped foot into this realm of power and other humanoids take to worshiping them as messiahs, god-kings, or avatars.

In the end, there's little functional difference between them. Divine magic comes from the spirits of those using it, which is one of the reasons piousness doesn't equate to magical power but strength of soul does (which is why clerics, oracles, and the like grow in power rapidly because their experiences are steadily tempering their spirits where a life of quiet solitude in a temple or monastery doesn't build the soul up as quickly). So deities don't really even need to grant spells, people just have to believe in them fervently enough that they make the connection to their own divine magics (this can sometimes lead to splits in religious ideologies since two clerics can have different ideas of what is correct in the religion but both could be just as gifted magically so there's no clear indication as to which their "god" favors unless the deity appears to them and indicates).

The plane has also been invaded by outsiders (in the literal and figurative sense), as it was invaded by the forces of hell (which in this cosmology is a catch-all evil plane that is home to both demons and devils who are eternally struggling against each other for dominance), and later interceded by the forces of the heavens, which has left much of the world tainted by their presence (giving rise to countless planetouched individuals). Out in the vastness of the material plane's space, other invaders, the Neothelids scheme and plan universal domination. They and their aberrant servants conquered entire planets by seeding them and taking them over through subterfuge and then later (when their forces have the advantage) open warfare. The inhabitants of one of these lost planets fled to the core world and now live there as refugees, trying to prepare and spread awareness of the immense evil that lurks behind the stars. They do not intend to be taken unaware the next time.


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Klara Meison wrote:
Did your players ever fight Ctulhu?

Nah. Cthulu's not really a thing in my campaigns and I wasn't particularly impressed with Paizo's rendition of Cthulu.

Quote:
What about killing a god-did that ever happen?

Kind of. Deities in my games tend to cap out around the CR 25 range if I stat some out, and my PCs have slain things of godly powers before. In my campaigns, a lot of gods are just powerful outsiders of around CR 16+.

Quote:
Have they ever destroyed the world?

Not intentionally, though there was a campaign I never got to finish where the PCs released an angel that sealed away by her peers. The angel was incredible powerful and had went mad with zeal, and was intent upon bringing about an apocalypse on the material plane to purge it of all evil. But since the campaign fell apart shortly after it began (mostly scheduling issues since jobs + school didn't mesh a lot for the group), we never knew if the PCs would eventually stop her.


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Tacticslion wrote:
The sunder is an interesting thing... hmmmm... I'm curious about your thoughts as well, Klara, and Ash: how do you feel about the concepts of gentlemen's agreements in personal tables and balancing acts?

From a design standpoint, I think the necessity for gentleman agreements should be minimized whenever possible. From a simple GMing standpoint, there is very little I'd prefer my players not do. My typical gentleman's agreement is simply talking about certain things if players have an interest in those things (such as taking leadership, as I have no issues with players taking the feat but I'd like to get a feel for what they want to do with it). Sometimes players do things that make me a little nervous at first but I've learned to make some calls after seeing the results and how it plays out in game (Aratrok had a wizard whose plans for end-game involved simulacrum + magic jar shenanigans, and that can be a little daunting).

I do try to avoid arms races, and I also tend to avoid trying to turn the PCs' own tactics against them on a regular basis (since if those tactics include specific builds, it can feel rather forced and obvious that I'm attempting to mirror-battle the characters). As an example, if I have a set of PCs and one of them is using magic jar + simulacrum, I'll still try to avoid building encounters consisting of lots of magic jar + simulacrum users (though maybe meeting one now and then is probably fine for immersion).

I understand, however, that most groups have a much lower breaking point, and some people essentially have to hold back with their core characters so that other players can have fun and stuff. I'd like to minimize that as much as possible whenever possible in anything I'm working with.


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Klara Meison wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Klara Meison wrote:
What is your opinion on Sunder combat maneuver being used against PC's items by the GM?

It's have hardness, hit points, and can be smashed. There's no magical special-snowflake badge the PCs get that says their stuff is immune to sundering.

In a more direct sense, I advise carrying an few extra spell pouches and backup weapons. >:)

Weapons are one of the hardest things to sunder, actually. They are made of sturdy stuff and have enchancing magic on top of it. I was talking about weaker things-headbands, belts, and amulets. Expensive, yet easy to sunder things.

Ahhh, those sorts of things. Ehhh, I think how easy they are to sunder is a problem, but I don't have anything against the sunder maneuver being used against PCs.

I did like how in 3.0 you needed an item of equivalent magical power to sunder another magic item (so you couldn't sunder a +1 weapon with a mundane weapon), and I used to have a house rule back then where the CL of the item determined the enhancement bonus needed to sunder non-weapon/armor items (so a CL 9 item was harder to sunder than a CL 3 item).

I'll probably incorporate some sort of system in d20 legends to make worn items harder to sunder. There's something a bit weird about how incredibly difficult it can be to wound somebody, but incredibly easy it is to slice a mask right off their face, or split their glasses, or destroy a magic ring on their fingers, etc.


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Klara Meison wrote:
What is your opinion on Sunder combat maneuver being used against PC's items by the GM?

Items have hardness, hit points, and can be smashed. There's no magical special-snowflake badge the PCs get that says their stuff is immune to sundering.

In a more direct sense, I advise carrying an few extra spell pouches and backup weapons. >:)


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Klara Meison wrote:
Perhaps it can act as some sort of minor debuff? For example, if you drop below 2/3 of HP you get a -1 on attack rolls and saves, if you drop below 1/3 it increases to -2, or something like that. That would smooth over weird step-like behavior HP has in Pathfinder, where you can go straight from "as good as ever" to "dead" from a cat brushing over your leg, although your death threshhold idea already does that to an extent.

It still creates a situation where alpha-striking, which is already the best situation to be in (proactive > reactive when in combat with exceedingly rare exceptions), and penalizing the wounded creates a stronger snowballing effect. It also requires you to track % of current HP round to round. And you'd need to come with with penalties that affect classes more or less equally (a wizard isn't going to care much about a -1 to attack rolls, for example).


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Tacticslion wrote:
As to Blue Rose and True 20, both are d20-based systems that use the "track" style damage, and, outside of Ash's general distaste for such, I wondered if he'd seen those. BR came first, while True20 was the revision thereof (akin to 3rd/3.5 or 3.5/PF). I like some things the latter did, though I like the over-all system of the former a bit better.

I'll try to check 'em out sometime soonish (I've got some days off coming up). I've seen d20 games that don't use the traditional HP system (a few different variants actually), but I'm one of those people that really doesn't hate hit points and have generally felt that hit points serve D&D-esque games the best for a few reasons.

1. It's a game about going from normal human beings to people who can challenge godlike evils. Having a deeper hit point pool creates a very visceral awareness of growth and progress.

2. It's a simple mechanic that doesn't require a lot of checks which speeds up gameplay. I've often lauded psionics because it's no more complicated keeping track of PP than it is keeping track of Hp, which is probably among the least complicated mechanics in the game.

3. It serves its purpose well in heroic adventure fantasies. Most games I've seen that have damage tracks measuring how wounded you are likewise have conditions that go along with those tracks (essentially injury penalties) which, while adequately realistic, doesn't lend itself very well to heroic fantasy where players take on things like the CR 20 demon horde. These sorts of systems encourage alpha strikes in the extreme since being hit first makes retaliation harder, which encourages a very specific kind of playstyle by making a strong tactic (going first, ambushing, etc) all the stronger.

4. Generally, HP also allows for really minor hits to add up over time. For example, even if you've got 150 Hp, the mooks dropping fireball or unholy blight spells on you are still causing "chip damage" even when you make your saves and such. Most RPGs that forgo an HP pool in favor of a condition track lose out here, because either the piddly damage never has any growing effect (because it just keeps getting resisted) or it moves you along too quickly (in which case a group of enrinyes will slaughter your party in short order regardless of your defenses simply by pushing you from full health to dead on the condition track by spamming unblockable stuff).

Since the save-halves mechanics allow for an extra layer of strategy and encounters, and is often a good way for servants and mooks to perform in mid and high level adventures, making this less viable (in the case of casually resisted and thus effectively immune) or too viable (you got hit so your condition worsens) would be a bad and sad thing.

The long and short of it is that I haven't yet seen a non-HP system that does D&D better than an HP system. I'm not saying it doesn't exist. Just that I haven't seen it yet. :)


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TheAlicornSage wrote:

"The only relevant resources are the orc's XP value in building the encounter and the resources the orc has to fill out its equipment and role,"

The orc is more than just equipment and xp. It has attacks, actions, bonuses, etc. Each of those are equivalent to resources. When a monster has +7 to atk that is identical to a pc having +7 to attack. The pc noticeably spends resources because the players are making that choice, but the monster's +7 has an equivalent value.

Those are the net result of resources. The orc is still limited by resources. Especially since we were talking about equipment.

Also, I'd like to try to keep the context on these things on track. There's little point in talking about the design goals of weapons and armor and then jumping to orcs eating food as if it was somehow relevant to the topic at hand.


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Tacticslion wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:
What do you think of the Blue Rose and later True 20 damage systems?

Anyone? Anyone? Ashiel? Ashiel? Anyone? Ashiel? Ashiel? Ashiel? Ashiel?

*cuts to exciting debate with TAS; cuts back*

Anyone? Ashiel? Ashiel? Ashiel?

Haven't seen/tried 'em, so I can't honestly say. :)


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TheAlicornSage wrote:
The balance between hard to hit vs hard to hurt is not dependent on resources spent, but rather system design.

This shows up frequently in monsters already. For humanoid enemies it's primarily about resource choices. With monsters, it's primarily about design goals.

As to some sort of innate opposition between evade-% and damage resistance, I don't really see the need. Neither implies or precludes the other and I'm not sure that it should.

Quote:
Oh but it is relevent. Mechanics don't give two dust bunnies about the fluff. +2 is a +2 regardless of whether it comes from innate strength or a magical enchantment. Therefore, mechanically speaking, a monster with similar stats to a pc costs similar resources, even though the monster doesn't have equipment. It's all the same to the mechanics.

But you argued that an orc had to be grown, and fed, and that's a "resource". In terms of mechanics, not it isn't. The only relevant resources are the orc's XP value in building the encounter and the resources the orc has to fill out its equipment and role, which are typically less than the expected resources of PCs after 1st level, and the priorities that are reflected in the choices of how those resources are spent.


TheAlicornSage wrote:

"TheAlicornSage wrote:

An alternative is a fort save and injury track.

Which isn't practical."

Huh, not sure how "track" got in there. The track thing though seems quite practical to me. Wasn't what I intended but it does work, savage worlds for example.

Not for a D&D-based d20. At least, it's far outside the game I want to play, and thus far outside the game I want to produce.


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TheAlicornSage wrote:
Monsters may not have all their resources in equipment, but even an extra orc is a cost in extra resources. That orc had to be fed and trained, had to grow.

Not in a way that's relevant to game mechanics, however. Which I think is clear the very clear point here.


TheAlicornSage wrote:
Klara Meison wrote:

>If you are a fighter, why choose a longsword over a pick?

In relation to this. One person gets Greater Grapple, grapples and ties up the foe as a full-round action. Another Coup de Graces him with a Scythe. Even if the Coup de Gracer is a lv 1 fighter(you can hire them as a hireling), they still deal 2d4(average 5)+3(power attack)+3(strength)+1(weapon focus)+1(sharpened with a whetstone) damage(average 13, minimum 10), which gives a DC 50 minimum save to not immediately die(average DC 62). Seems like a pretty functional build to me-at level 7, two rounds at worst to kill any target not immune to Coup de Grace.

EDIT:whoops, was wrong on my numbers.

So what? How does that refute my point? It is still a situation favoring maximizing damage and nothing else about the attack.

Because the damage in question only occurs in a specific situation, so it's more akin to a special ability of the weapon in this case. You're keeping the pick around for using it to perform a coup de grace for a massive damage spike, which is less about the damage and more about forcing a hopeless save vs dead.

Most of this will be irrelevant to d20 legends however, because damage differences between weapons will be minimal (hammer, sword, axe, pick, they all deal the same damage assuming same size or tech level), so you'll generally pick weapons based on preference or damage types. Weapon variety will tend to come in the form of abilities you can put on your weapons (sundering allows you to ignore an amount of hardness/DR, deadly increases your damage significantly on critical hits, powerful increases your base damage, etc).

So if you were making a woodsman's axe, you might make a small, medium, or large axe that has the sundering property. Not super excellent at damage but it's good at chopping up trees or hacking into the hide of a werewolf.


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TheAlicornSage wrote:

"Having a series of injury tracks, checks to resist injuries, and lots of different weapons that are more or less effective at penetrating armor and/or causing injuries is a lot more complication for - quite honestly - little appreciable gain."

What series of injury tracks? what resist injury checks?

You said:

TheAlicornSage wrote:
An alternative is a fort save and injury track.

Which isn't practical.

Quote:

It really isn't complicated. The additional strategy is emergent, much like a glider gun in the game of life is emergent from very simple rules about whether a cell is alive or dead.

Besides, you could just even out damage across the board or make dr scale with the damage in some way (such as reducing all damage dice by one step, works on all scales)

Reducing damage dice by one step isn't going to solve that that issue unless it has other damage mitigating factors that are more complex.

So if naked = best evade-%
Light = worse evade-%, damage step -1
Medium = even worse evade-%, damage step -2
Heavy = worst evade-%, damage step -3

That means a longsword would deal 1d8 vs naked, 1d6 vs light, 1d4 vs medium, and 1d3 vs heavy. Of course, I'd much rather be able to hit the guy with heavy armor every round for 1d3+4 damage than I would every three rounds for 1d8+4. So now we need some way to mitigate bonus damage.

And then if we have weapons that pierce the damage mitigation, then we just switch to one of those and wreck anyone wearing heavy armor because their evade-% is ass. Meanwhile, the difference we deal to the naked but high evade-% guy is more or less negligible but we end up dealing less damage to them overall because we hit far less frequently.

So if now to push this into a great sense of balance, we opt to try to make some sort of damage or condition track, every attack now needs to test to see if "bad thing" happened to the guy getting whacked, in addition to testing to hit and rolling damage. One way that this could be done would be to make it so that multiple weak hits have less chance of triggering the "bad thing" (D20 Modern did this with their Massive Damage Threshold which was equal to your Con score, and bad things happened if you took that much damage from a single blow), but then we just hit naked people with our biggest weapons whenever possible and tear armored guys apart because they can't dodge (which isn't very realistic either), and it doesn't matter to anyone except the guys wearing armor because we can just change what weapon we're using while they can't stop in the middle of the fight to change clothes.


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TheAlicornSage wrote:

"Sarah Kerrigan who can just throw one hundred million hydralisks at your face as if it's nothing, you will lose."

That is a serious expenditure of resources. Give me equal resources and my 10 soldiers will handle the hydralisks, at least good enough for actual strategy to be important. Of course, with that much resources, my 10 soldiers can hire, train, and outfit an army capable of handling the zerg even more easily.

I think you missed the point. The point is that the resources between PCs and NPCs is not equal, in the PC's favor. The latter can still be dangerous however because they can frequently outnumber you and leverage what resources they do have in their favor.

For example, an encounter of 5 orcs and a filler (say a 100 XP gearless adept) is CR 3. The orcs, individually, are weaker than a party member of equal or greater level (they are 1st level warriors). However, with their NPC gear, they may have things like longspears and potions of enlarge person. Their adept can cast bless on them. They outnumber the 4-person party, and can tag-team individual members to maximize their threat in the shortest time. They could cause some harm to an APL 3 party.

If you're going into an encounter that's higher than your tier, you're likely to be even more outnumbered, or dealing with beefier creatures, but those individual creatures are more limited in personal resources, meaning they have to make sacrifices for certain things (such as offense vs defense) according to their role.

However, PCs are supposed to be far more stacked in terms of gear and preparedness than most people, because you're dealing with an average of 4 dudes who are supposed to be able to at least attempt to deal with everything that they will come across (in the same adventure, they may encounter orcs, mages, shadows, mummies, oozes, elementals, and ankhegs, all of which vary wildly in both their resistances and their ways of hurting you, and being prepared for only one or two means that you will die later and the game is over).


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That said, in d20 legends we have basic attacks and heroic strikes. Heroic strikes are kind of like vital strikes from Pathfinder, in that you multiply your damage dice as part of one attack.

Basic attacks apply +static damage on each hit, and deliver their payload individually for each attack. So these are ideal for characters who wish to punch out lots of attacks with static damage modifiers (like enhancement bonuses, ability bonuses, etc).

Heroic strikes are a single attack but you multiply your bonus damage dice (which includes bonus damage from a high BAB, as well as features such as flaming or a rogue's cunning strike). These tend to deal less damage than if you hit with an equivalent amount of basic attacks, but it delivers its damage in one payload, making static modifiers less impactful and punching through damage reduction more readily.

Generally speaking, characters that favor weapons that are cheap, disposable, or don't reload very frequently, will tend to prefer heroic strikes. A pirate that carries twelve mundane pistols on his vest and has no time, money, or inclination to have them all made into +X weapons can just draw a pistol and blow somebody's head off with a big burst attack, and if they shoot a werewolf, well the damage will be reduced but the majority will go through.

Meanwhile, characters focusing on more attacks (like dual wielding, or archers) will tend to prefer basic attacks in most cases and will usually only heroic strike when the other options aren't very good.


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TheAlicornSage wrote:

"According to the rules for magic item creation, you use the lowest level versions available when determining their value"

If I recall that is only for spells not on the basic cleric/druid/wizard list trinity. Unless pf changed that, in which it is a case of them ,making a major pricing change without changing all items.

That's specific to the pricing of scrolls.

Magic Item wrote:

Since different classes get access to certain spells at different levels, the prices for two characters to make the same item might actually be different. An item is only worth two times what the caster of the lowest possible level can make it for.

...
The pricing of scrolls assumes that, whenever possible, a wizard or cleric created it.

The lowest possible is the Ranger, at CL 1, Spell level 1.

Paladins are also the reason we have lesser restoration potions for 50 gp.


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Klara Meison wrote:
Sarah Kerrigan who can just throw one hundred million hydralisks at your face as if it's nothing, you will lose.

Kerrigan for waifu. (^//^)


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TheAlicornSage wrote:

"Likewise, armor as DR mechanics have traditionally failed in d20."

It fails because there is only one path to defeat, depleting hp. (barring a couple save or dies, which I don't like) Thus armor as dr does nothing but control speed of that depletion (and is skewwed based on your lvl compared to what is hitting you).

There are many paths to defeat.

1. HP depletion.
2. Ability score damage / drain.
3. Immobilization.
4. Energy drain.

It just happens that the basic function of all armor is to mitigate incoming physical damage (they can be made to help guard vs other things but at the end of the day, armor is about making you harder to hurt). In systems that try to make it easier to hit you for wearing armor, either the DR has to be so high as to compensate for it (which it never is, because having it so high creates a situation where most attacks just do nothing), or it creates a situation where armor doesn't matter much because everyone uses armor-ignoring/mitigating weapons and strikes them repeatedly (thus dealing more damage than if they were constantly whiffing attacks).

I think trying to over complicate it is bad for the game and bad for introducing the game to new people. Even experienced gamers aren't likely to be able to look at things like the Armor as DR rules in Unearthed Arcana and instantly recognize them for the ass that they are.

And, again, since armor cannot be tactically switched in combat but weapons can easily, you end up in a situation where you are forced to wear whatever gives the middle ground so you can be somewhat protected vs damage AND penetration, because going for one or the other means you just get easily dismantled by the enemy changing their weapon while you're stuck in your armor.

Quote:
An alternative is a fort save and injury track. Higher damage makes it more likely to cause an injury, but weapons a;so have penetration making caused injuries more severe. Weapons that are better at damage are also worse at penetration. A pick is great against armor because if you manage to cause an injury it is likely to be significant, while a sword is more likely to cause an injury it will be far more minor. Of course, against unarmored rabble, a sword is nicer as it has good chance of causing injury and without armor protection, that injury is likely to be lethal. A pick against tjat rabble is suddenly less optimum because while any injury is certainly lethal, it will still be difficult to achieve that injury to begin with.

An alternative that will never happen, because it overcomplicates something that should be able to be resolved in 1 success test (hit roll) and 1 results test (damage roll). Having a series of injury tracks, checks to resist injuries, and lots of different weapons that are more or less effective at penetrating armor and/or causing injuries is a lot more complication for - quite honestly - little appreciable gain.


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It's also worth noting that due to the 50% markup rule, even using the correct multipliers, getting resist 10 vs Acid, Cold, Electricity, Fire, and Sonic would cost +22,500 gp on armor (or 21,000 gp for its own slot, or 15,000 gp at the cost of 5 slots).


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Klara Meison wrote:
Ashiel wrote:

Klara's correct on pretty much all of these points, as best as I can tell. The whole of d20 is a matter of weighing your resources. This is actually where I usually end up differing in opinion with a lot of forum-goers on subjects like offense vs defense (as I'm far more prone to emphasis defense over offense and just fight wisely and leverage class features and such).

If you want to have a good defense, you cannot just go for one defense. In regular d20, you have several common defenses.

1. Armor class (and its sub-groups: touch and flat-footed, and your choice in armors often do create some variance between these three).

2. Saving throws (because armor class won't help you against much beyond basic attacks).

3. Resistances (because things like fire resistance are important to mitigating large amounts of energy damage, or avoiding being melted by things like acid flasks).

4. Damage Reduction (essentially energy resistance for basic attacks, falling damage, and any non-magical physical damage).

5. Immunities (like being immune to poison, or negative levels).

Throughout most of your career in d20, there is an opportunity cost associated with everything that you do. Increasing things tends to get exponentially more expensive (a +1 armor is +1,000 gp, but a +2 armor is +4,000 gp, etc; a fire resistance 10 is 3,000 gp, but fire resistance 20 is 21,000 gp). These opportunity costs compete with each other and also with your offensive options (if you've got 2,000 gp lying around, do you upgrade your weapon to a +1 weapon, or upgrade your armor and your shield?).

>In regular d20, you have several common defenses.

I would also add miss chance to the list, since Concealment is pretty common.

>a fire resistance 10 is 3,000 gp, but fire resistance 20 is 21,000 gp

Isn't it 12 and 28 respectively, as per the ring of energy resistance?

Yes, but the energy resistance items are in error. They're priced as if resist energy was a 2nd level spell with a minimum CL of 3rd. However, resist energy is a 1st level spell with a minimum CL of 1st from the Ranger's spell list. According to the rules for magic item creation, you use the lowest level versions available when determining their value (which is the ranger's), and so the energy resistances are an oversight.

Similar to how ogres aren't proficient with greatclubs and thus the ogre creature entry is an oversight (the ogre isn't taking the appropriate -4 nonproficient penalty).

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